Nationals from 151 countries may enter the Philippines without a visa and stay for a maximum of thirty (30) days, provided they are holders of a passport valid at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines, and present a return or outward bound ticket to their country of origin or to your next country of destination (They are quite strict with showing an outbound ticket so plan accordingly). Brazilian and Israeli nationals are given fifty-nine (59) days stay based on existing agreements.
Some nationalities can only stay for 7-14 days so it is best to check the government website beforehand. If you plan on staying for longer than 30 days, you can apply for a visa waiver first, granting an additional stay of twenty-nine (29) in the Philippines.
The transport from one place to the next is can be a mission due to it being an archipelago. If you have limited time, flying from one island to the next is essential.
While you can visit the Philippines all year round, it is generally better to avoid the wet or rainy season. Although with the exception of big typhoons, during the wet season, days are more likely to be hot with short rain showers in the afternoon so it isn’t entirely too bad. In a nutshell, the weather in the Philippines can be broken down into two parts. The dry season (January-May) and wet season (June-December).
Undoubtedly, wherever you are in the Philippines, there is a big party, festival, or fiestas (local celebration) going on. It is very common for people to invite complete strangers to join in on the fun. A few big ones though are Ati-Atihan in Kalibo which is near Boracay (January), Sinulog in Cebu (January), and Masskara in Bacolod (October). These festivals generally comprise of big street parades with locals showing off their indigenous native costumes. Expect to have lots of street dancing, and local rum drinking.
Although it is still considered cheap, compared to other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines is still slightly more expensive with accommodation usually being the biggest expense. A comfortable budget would be around $35-40 a day, depending on your travel style.
Because most of the places around the Philippines is spread out (it is an archipelago, after all) most people end up spending a lot on transportation as well. If you have more time and you don’t mind traveling slow, you can definitely stretch your budget a bit more. Here’s an estimate of rough costs on traveling the Philippines.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN THE PHILIPPINES
Go Hiking Through Rice Terraces and Mountains
While many people head to the Philippines purely to enjoy the many picture-perfect beaches, the Philippines also has some pretty beautiful mountains to climb. One of the best things to do in the Philippines is to head
North to the mountain provinces to hike Banaue, Batad, and Sagada. Here, you can find a complex irrigation system built in the impressive rice terraces, which was engineered by the local tribesmen. Apart from the rice terraces, there are also loads of other Philippine mountains to climb like Mt. Pulag, Mount Apo, and Pico de Loro.
Party it Up in Boracay Island
Loosely dubbed as the Ibiza of Asia, if you enjoy partying, head on over to Boracay Island where you can bask in a long stretch of white sand during the day and party it up until sunrise by the many beach bars scattered along the shore. Apart from partying, there are also heaps of adventurous things to do in Boracay that are worth checking out.
Go Scuba Diving in Sunken Shipwrecks
For avid underwater explorers, scuba diving in the Philippines is something that you shouldn’t miss. While there are loads of fantastic dive sites in the Philippines, the sunken WWII shipwrecks in Coron, Palawan are considered musts!
Other famous dive destinations are Apo Reef, Pescado Island and Malapascua in Cebu which is famous for the thresher sharks. If you want to venture out further to places like Tubbataha Reef, you can also consider doing a Philippines liveaboard diving trip to help you reach untouched sites. The liveaboard diving in the Philippines can take you to some of the best diving in the region.
Explore Remote Islands
While I could easily ramble on about all the best beaches in the Philippines, I’m afraid I would never end. From the beaches of the lesser known Gigantes Island to the shores of world-famous Palawan (whose beaches was dubbed as one of the best in the world), there is no shortage of islands to choose from.
If you want to go surfing and enjoy world-class waves, go to Siargao Island. If you want to explore beautiful beaches and marine life, head to Palawan. For a good mix of culture, diving, and beaches, head to Cebu, Bohol, Coron, and Dumaguete.
Go Scuba Diving
The Philippines is known for its spectacular marine life. Why not explore the country top and bottom by going on a diving trip? There are various dive schools all over the country as the diving in the Philippines is some of the best in Asia.
If you want more details, take a look at our Philippines liveaboard diving guide where we compare the best boats to help you find the most bang for your buck when it comes to diving in this beautiful country.