The Philippines Travel Guide

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The Philippines is a scuba diver’s paradise situated right in the Coral Triangle, the epicenter of marine biodiversity.

Spending time above the water’s surface in the Philippines is rather fascinating too as this ideal beach holiday destination features a wonderful melting pot of different cultures. You’re sure to meet a variety of friendly, welcoming and mostly English-speaking people on your adventures in the Philippines.

Plan your next dive trip to the Philippines with the following travel tips and advices.

Table of Content

Pictures of The Philippines

Philippines Travel Guide

The Philippines is a collection of 7107 islands, big and small. At low tide there are 7108 islands because one island is low enough to remain submerged during high tide. Many of these islands are nameless, with only 2773 having been named so far.

Where is the Philippines situated?

The Philippines is in the Pacific Ocean, located in the south-eastern part of Asia, with Borneo in the South China Sea on its south-western side and Taiwan across the Luzon Strait on its northern side.

Activities and Tours

The Philippines is a tourists’ heaven. Whether you are a diver, a wildlife enthusiast, nature lover, sports lover, history buff, gourmet, beach lover, or nightlife party goer, the Philippines has something to offer you because it has excellent dive sites, water sports opportunities, verdant tropical forests, fabulous shopping centres, and wide variety of restaurants.


Being a country of 7107 islands, the Philippines has got a vast expanse of beaches.

Bacuit Archipelago

Bacuit Archipelago is great for snorkelling and seafood barbecue. It is a cluster of islands with lagoons, limestone cliffs, and glittering white beaches. There are outrigger boats called Bangka that take tourists to this archipelago.

Boracay Island

It is a well-developed island suitable for all types of activities, be it kiteboarding, scuba diving, or simply enjoying a beautiful sunset.

Cordillera rice terraces

The brilliant green rice terraces of Ifugao Province in Luzon Island are an eye-catching sight. In these terraces, the fields follow the contours of the terraced mountains and they are awesome in their size and workmanship. This is an example of the past’s unbroken links to the present because these fields were shaped before 2000 years. It is difficult to believe that all these were carved out using very primitive tools.

Mount Apo

With a height of 9692’, Mout Apo, which is a potentially-active volcano, is the highest mountain peak in the Philippines. Trekking it is a very exciting experience because it is full of mountain lakes, rain forests, rapids, and waterfalls, and is home to 272 species of birds.

Whale Sharks of Donsol

Whale sharks are abundant in Donsol and in order to protect them, diving is forbidden in Donsol Bay. Snorkelling is allowed, and you can rest assured that while snorkelling you will find at least four or five of these gigantic creatures. Those who are lucky may see even twenty or more. Local fishermen, who work as guides, are experts in spotting these giants at a distance and helping you to swim along with them.

Islands of Bohol

This cluster of islands is home to a very small type of monkey called Philippine tarsier. It was earlier found in many rain forests of the world but now its number has depleted drastically and the species is now threatened with extinction. Limestone hills, called ‘Chocolate Hills’ because of their resemblance to big chocolate drops, are another tourist attraction of Bohol.

Water sports in the Philippines

  • Kitesurfing: There are many beaches in the Philippines with ample provision for the sport of kitesurfing, also known as kiteboarding.
  • Surfing: There are surf schools in the coastal areas of the Philippines to train surfers. In certain seasons, the high waves are suitable for experienced surfers, while in other seasons the waves are gentler and more suitable for beginners.
  • White water rafting.
  • Sea Kayaking: Sea kayak tours are popular for island hopping, and accessing dive sites and snorkelling sites.
  • Wakeboarding: Wakeboarding, which combines in it the elements of surfing, water skiing, and snowboarding, is fast gaining popularity in the country.

Best time to visit the Philippines

The country is hot most of the year. The winter months, which are from November until February, are comparatively pleasant because of the cool sea breeze. However, the weather is different in different parts of the country and travellers must consider the local weather patterns before planning trips.

From July up to October there is the risk of intermittent typhoons. In places like Palawan, Coron, and Manila, the typhoon season is the rainy season as well. In Bicol region, the rainy months are December, January, and February. The cluster of islands surrounding the Visayan Sea, known as the Visayas, has a shorter dry period lasting from November until January. In Leyte and Bohol it rains quite frequently. In Leyte rain starts in November and continues up until January.

In general, tourists choose the months from January to March as the best months to visit, and also from March to May. However, those who surf may prefer to visit during the season of typhoon because typhoons create gigantic waves.

Where to stay in the Philippines ?

The Philippines have ample accommodation choices for backpackers, middle-class tourists, as well as high-end tourists. Many islands have luxury resorts with picturesque backdrops, set on secluded beaches. Mactan and Boracay have ranges of luxury hotels with many amenities like pool, spa, gym, fitness centre, parking space, massage parlour, space for pets, children’s room, restaurant, lounge, mini-bar, Wi-Fi, wheelchair access, room service, and many more.

Near all good dive spots, there are excellent dive resorts that cater to scuba divers’ needs in multiple ways. Besides providing amenities like restaurants and bars and spas that make their stay comfortable, these resorts train divers, provide diving equipment for hire, and organize dive tours.

How to get to the Philippines ?

Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is connected by air to all major countries. There are direct flights from many countries of Europe, Australia, the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, and Thailand.

Manila is served by Manila International Airport, also known as Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). It has four terminals and many international flights arrive at terminal 1. Terminal 2 is for Philippine Airlines flights. The domestic terminal is Terminal 4, though it hosts some international flights as well. Other important airports of the Philippines are Clark International Airport which serves most of northern and central Luzon, Mactan-Cebu International Airport located in Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island in Cebu, and Francisco Bangoy International Airport (also known as Davao International Airport) serving Davao City.

Flights from Australia

Qantas and Philippine Airlines run direct flights to Manila from Australia. Manila is connected to Australian cities like Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Darwin, and Adelaide. Alternatively, you can fly to Manila from Australia via some of the Asian countries like Singapore, though that may work out to be costlier. The average Sydney-Manila flight time is 8 hours.

Flights from the USA

There are direct flights to Manila from US cities Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu. From other cities, you will have to change flight midway to travel to Manila. The flight time from Los Angeles to Manila is about 16 hours.

Flights from Europe

From London there are direct flights to Manila and so are there from some other European cities. The flight time from London to Manila is about 15 hours. However, all European cities are not connected directly to Manila by air and you will have to change at Hong Kong, Singapore, or Bangkok and take a connection flight.

Flights from Asia

Flights to Manila from Asian countries are not limited and a few of these airlines give good discounts as well. Some airlines have direct flights to Cebu and these will help you to avoid the domestic flight from Manila to Cebu. Cebu is served by Mactan–Cebu International Airport.

Map of the Philippines

How to get around the Philippines ?

The islands are easily accessible thanks to many airports, ferries and buses, simply adding to the sentiment that the Philippines is truly a scuba diver’s paradise.

There is no dearth of transportation options inside the country. From airplanes to taxis and tricycles, you name it and you will find it in the Philippines. You will even find certain types of transports that you have not come across till now.

Banca boats are a typical example of such Philippines-specific transport. The fastest and most convenient mode of travel is, needless to say, air travel.

Other transportation choices will have to be made based on where you want to reach, how fast you want to reach that destination, how enthusiastic you are, and how much of natural beauty you want to imbibe.

Travelling by air

The cities of the Philippines are well-connected by air and the flights are quite reasonably-priced as well. With an endless array of islands to visit, it is the best mode of transport for those who can afford it.

Given below are the names of some domestic airlines:

  • Cebu Pacific Air is a budget airline which runs both international and domestic flights based mostly on Ninoy Aquino International Airport. It has 17 travel destinations within the Philippines.
  • Philippines Airlines or PAL is a flag carrier which has many domestic flights, and international flights to Australia, Canada, the USA, the UK, Middle East etc.
  • AirAsia Zest and Air Philippines, also known as PAL Express, operate domestic and international flights.

Flight duration of domestic flights from Manila:

  • From Manila to Cebu: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • From Manila to Davao: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • From Manila to Palawan: 1 hour 10 minutes

Water transport

While big ferry boats operate between the larger islands, coastal areas are served by smaller indigenous boats known as banca boats. Most bancas have inboard engines, though there are smaller ones that rely on sail only. These boats are popular among locals and tourists alike. Bancas vary in size from small 4-meter paddle boats to big 50 meter ones used for fishing or transporting passengers.


The public transport jeepney, which is a slightly modified and highly decorated version of a jeep, is ubiquitous in the Philippines. They are more or less like buses, ferrying passengers to different destinations for a fixed payment.


Though taxis are not as abundant as jeepneys, they are also quite common. There are ordinary cabs, airport taxis that are found only in the airport, and special service cabs used for other purposes like shuttle services.


Motorized cycles with a sidecar, known as tricycles, are also a popular public transport. They serve rural areas and small towns.

Time difference

UTC/GMT +8 hours.


The official language is the filipino, but english is commonly spoken. The local currency is the philippine peso (PHP), but US dollar is widely accepted. There are no restrictions on the amount of currency allowed to be brought in the county, but there is reporting obligations at the customs.


No mandatory vaccinations is required, but it is recomended to have immunization against hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and malaria.

Scuba Diving in the Philippines?

Check out our Philippines scuba diving guide and start planning your next dive trip!

Michael July 27, 2017

Can you recommend how to book 2 rooms for this weekend.


Ivan August 24, 2017


I would like to inquire if your establishment offers day use of facilities. If you do, can you pls email me the rates, inclusions, and TOC’s? I would highly appreciate a quick response.



ROWENA September 01, 2017

How much is a one night stay for 4 on Sep 9-10


Ed October 04, 2017

We just want to have lunch and swim at the beach.. how much will it cost all four of us


Jessiel October 15, 2017


My husband and I are planning to renew our vows in a beach wedding kind of setting. Wanted to know all about the wedding packages your resort has to offer. Our guest would be around 50-60, next year in June.



Ken December 09, 2017

Do you have non smoking room available for Feb 15 – 18 for 2 adults


Hollmann December 09, 2017

Good morning

Pa reserved ko at this Date Feb:10 until Feb:12-2018 thanks


Joey January 08, 2018

Do you have room available Jan 16 leaving Jan 21


Judilyn January 11, 2018

inquire ta ko muaccomodate ba mo ug school reunion.. 30-50pax, how much and what are the inclusions…


Karen January 21, 2018

Do you have 2 rooms for 2 adults for Feb 19 to 22? Thanks.


yumiji January 30, 2018

I want to book 2 room for 4 adult, 6 kids
how do i do?


yumiji February 01, 2018

I made a booking throug Agoda.
But I did’t receive booking voucher.
There is an error in payment through Agoda.
The card is settled, but I do not get the voucher.
Could you check in my booking
My name is yumiji
I made a booking two room for 10 members.
check in date is 03/02/2016
check out date is 04/02/2016
reply to my mail.


yumiji February 02, 2018

Could you check my booking throug Agoda
check in 03/02/2016
check out 04/02/2016
my name is yumiji
I reserve two twin rooms.
reply to my email~


Suzette February 07, 2018


I’d like to inquire if the mactan vista mar beach resort handles wedding functions?

How much is the cost for the venue including the buffet?

If you could provide more details (e.g. capacity and sample pics of event), that would be great!



Rob February 12, 2018

I am looking for an available room from February 18—22. Please let me know if you have anything available at this time.



Manny February 26, 2018


just to inquire if how much the day use rate for mactan vista resort in the weekend?

Thank you,


Will March 30, 2018

I am visiting the Philippines in November. I am an intermediate windsurfer and certified intermediate diver. I have some burning questions I hope you can answer: 1) Do you offer windsurfing gear rental or is there an operation nearby which does?
2) What size windsurfing boards and sails do you have available for rent?
3) What is the daily rental rate?
4) What are typical wind velocities in late November, (if you have that info)?
5) Do you offer scuba dive day excursions to Cabilao Island and also Malapascua Island?
6) What is the cost for each dive boat excursion including all rental gear?
7) Do you have “WhatsApp” on your phone so we can have free international calling?
Thank you in advance,


Jayson September 25, 2018


Dear Mam/Sir

I’m Jayson Cordano of Amnesty International Philippines. I would like to ask a quotation for 19 pax from October 22-24, 2018.

PS: Please Include meals
please reply to my request


Helge January 01, 2019

Hello can you offer us room and rate for our vacation for 4-5 days.

We come to Philippines and would be interested to stay with you.

We are coming Mactan CW 7or 8 , 2019 we are flexible.

If you have sea view it would be nice.

pax 4

2adults and 2 child (10,13) years old girls.


Mr. Helge



Mara January 29, 2019

Hello I was wondering if you had any availability for February 10 through the 12th checking out the morning of the 13th. It would be for three people. I am traveling with my parents. We would need two beds one for the parents, and one for me. If you do have availability, could you quote me a price? Thank you.


Jezleen February 10, 2019


I am Jezleen Guico, owner of Guicaux (gi-co) Sports Travel – a travel management company that specializes in sports and team travel.

Cebu is a popular venue for sports such as marathon, duathlon and triathlon. I would like to promote these sports events to athletes from around the world including hotels, transportation and tours.

I am looking for partner hotels who can provide our travel agency the best service and assistance for athletes during their stay in Cebu.

Kindly provide us your rates and terms & conditions for travel agencies.

Looking forward for your response and future partnership.

Best Regards,


Robert February 21, 2019

Interested in reservations (arrival) 10 April to 14 April (departure) 4 X nights two persons, twin room ..can you please help?
many thanks


Agnes March 04, 2019

Hi, good day!

I would like to ask if you can send me a quotation for the following:

– room/s for 12 adults and 2 children (2 years and 6 months old)
— rooms should be in ground floor as one guest in on wheelchair

– lunch-dinner-breakfast

– island hopping with lunch onboard (on the next day)

The one-night stay is scheduled on May 18 (Saturday) to May 19 (Sunday). If the dates are already fully-booked, may you tell me available dates between May 14 to May 18?

I hope you can help me on this. Thank you very much.



jo March 22, 2019

how much is the entrance fee we just wanna use the pool and beach?


YOUNG April 10, 2019

(May 26 ~ May 31)

It is scheduled to arrive at Mactan Airport at 1:30 am on the 27th.

Is is possible to check-in from 2:30am~3:30am?

How much does it cost if I apply for pickup service to Mactan Airport at 2am on the 27th.
(2 adults and 1 child)


Trixia April 11, 2019


Good day!

I want to ask how much is your venue rental for a wedding in Mactan this coming August 23.

Thank you and looking forward to your reply

Best Regards,



Eda April 24, 2019

I am planning to have a birthday 40th party for my daughter and if you please send me your package deals for any arrangements.
The party will be on Oct 3, 2020.
I know its still a year from now, but since I am living here in USA, would like my plans set ahead of time and for budgeting purposes.
I really appreciate your attention.
Thank you.


Wildor April 25, 2019

To management in change of diving operations,

I’m a freediving instructor (age 35) based in the Philippines since 2016. I’m originally from USA/Italy. I’ve been working in Mactan (FreediveHQ) as an instructor for over 6 month now and together with my business partner I’m currently looking to invest in a professional freediving business here in the area.

I’m writing to you to find out if you would be interested in having a meeting about facilitating and hosting freediving courses in your facility/dive center. With the freediving boom in SEA we believe Mactan to be the ideal location due to accessibility, diving conditions and minimal competition in the area.

We would be ready to invest in equipment and all logistical aspects of the business including the marketing side to set up and offer a professional freediving service. Please let us know your interest. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind Regards,



Katrina May 14, 2019

Interested in Vista Mar! Do they offer Day use in the resort? How much? Thanks!


Garnier May 18, 2019

We are a family of 2 adults and 3 children (9/9/4 years old) and we would like to come tomorrow in your hotel to have a rest in the swimming pool and lunch during or airport transit.
Is it possible for you and how much is the swimming pool access ?
Thank you


Garnier May 18, 2019

We are a family of 2 adults and 3 children (9/9/4 years old) and we would like to come tomorrow Sunday 19th in your hotel to have a rest in the swimming pool and lunch at restaurant.
Is it possible for you ?
Thank you


Tirso June 08, 2019

Would like place a room reservation today in Balicasag


Michael Castro June 14, 2019

Hi, i would like to know the prices of the rooms and details. Thank you!


JUNG June 15, 2019

I would like to book a resort for 2 days
Day : 30 june ~ 2 July
I request i want to 1st floor room.
Please reflect my opinion and confirm


JINSIK JUNG June 18, 2019

Gumusta ka? ako si JINSIK

I booked this mactan vista mar
The renovated room is known as Room 101, so if possible, please make room 101. Please. If you can not get 101, please help me stay at least on the first floor. But I prefer the room 101, which is a renovated room.

Check-in : June 30, 2019
Check-out : July 2, 2019

maraming salamat po~~


Eda July 01, 2019

Planning to have a birthday party for 100 guests and I would like to know your package event deal, if you please?
The party will be on 10/03/2020.

I am residing here at MO, USA and making my plan ahead of time and the budget.

I really appreciate your attention!
Thank you,


Diane July 08, 2019



Paloma July 22, 2019

Good night, i would like to book 1 room for 4 people or 2 rooms for 4 people, from july 27th to july 28th, it is available? Thanks, Paloma


Marko July 26, 2019

Do you have day passes?
living in Mactan.


kimchoa August 08, 2019

From September 17th to the 21st, I booked Kim for 4 nights.

We want a first floor room near the swimming pool

Thank you ^^


Charisse October 07, 2019


Do you have a room for 3 adults and 1 child? What is your room rate? I couldn’t find it in the website


Cheala October 31, 2019


We would like to request quotation for 100pax on Nov 29, 2019 for a teambuilding event (lunch) in Mactan resort.


Marynell November 02, 2019

Room inquiries


rokushima January 19, 2020

My name is Rokushima who used Vistamar Resort on an all-blue tour on 1/19.
I forgot the green swimsuit in the pool.
Are you not entrusted?


Sora Kim February 03, 2020

Hello Sirs,
I stayed two night Vistamar from Jan 31 to Feb 1. I left my T-shirts in the room(201). Now I,m in Crimson resort. Would you please check my T-shirts.

Thank you,


Maria Aurora V. Tadeo March 03, 2020

Can you please e-mail us your Travel agent contracted rate for Mactan?


Eric March 10, 2020

Reservation booking for march 13 to 15 for two person.


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