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
- The Philippines Travel Guide
- Tours and Activities
- Best Season to Visit
- Where to Stay?
- How to Get There?
- Map of the Philippines
- How to Get Around?
- Diving in the Philippines
- Top Dive Destinations
- Travel Comments and Reviews
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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!