This article has been translated from Russian language using an artificial intelligence-based translation algorithm. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the quality of the translation. You can read the original of this article in Russian here, and ask questions on the topic of our travel forum in English here.
Philippines - a country of exoticism, wonderful sandy beaches, amazing underwater life, and seven thousand islands. The country is divided into three major regions or island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital is Manila.
The Philippines is Southeast Asia, but not quite what fans of Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and other Southeast Asian countries are used to seeing. The differences begin with the most important thing – religion, which is an integral part of the culture and history of the country, and shaped its current appearance. The Philippines is not a Buddhist or Muslim country, but a Christian one. The dominant religion is Catholicism, which was brought here by the Portuguese in the XVI century. And by the way, contrary to frequent misconceptions, Buddhism never existed in the Philippines, and Christianity Replaced Islam, which was then widespread on the islands.
It was Christianity and the colonial past that formed here a cuisine, culture, infrastructure, sights different from the rest of Southeast Asia, significantly changing the state from the moment it was before the arrival of Europeans in the XVI century. In general, during its history, the country has changed two colonial regimes: Spanish (1521-1898) and American (1898-1946). The Philippines gained legal independence in 1946, but in practice the country struggled with dependence on the United States for many decades with varying success.
Holidays in the Philippines
Holidays in the Philippines are primarily beaches, diving and snorkeling. The Philippines is a vast archipelago of 7,641 islands with so many beaches that someone estimated it would take more than 20 years to spend a single day on each of them. But it is worth considering that really good beaches and developed infrastructure are not on all islands, rather even on very few. The best beach resorts with developed infrastructure are Boracay, Panglao, Mactan, Palawan, Bantayan, Coron, Siragao. In addition to those listed, there are, of course, hundreds of beaches and islands with a couple of luxury hotels on them, but most of them are difficult to classify as full-fledged resorts.
If you are only interested in a beach holiday in the Philippines, it is easier to purchase a ready-made tour than to organize a trip yourself. Today, tours can be bought immediately from tour operators online without extra charges from travel agencies, for this you can use proven search and price comparison services:
The underwater world of the Philippines is one of the richest and most diverse in Southeast Asia, the conditions for diving are simply excellent. For this reason, the country invariably and primarily attracts divers and snorkeling enthusiasts. Here you can see countless colored fish, hard and soft corals, sea turtles, rays, sharks, etc. At the same time, prices for diving with a certificate and training are very low even by the standards of other Asian countries. For example, you can complete training and get an initial certificate from 250 US dollars (USD), one dive near the shore will cost from 1000 pesos ( USD), two boat dives from 1800 pesos ( USD), a tour to the islands with two dives and snorkeling from 2500 pesos ( USD). Of course, prices vary greatly from resort to resort, but in general, the minimum prices as of 2023 are about the same.
But if you are inspired and have already started packing your bags, it is worth learning about all aspects of recreation and travel around the country. First of all, the Philippines is very far from the European part of Russia, and there are no direct flights here. A flight to Cebu or Manila from Moscow will take from 17 hours, depending on the duration of the transfer at the connecting airport, and from the regions to fly even longer, since almost certainly the route will take place with another transfer in Moscow. The eastern part of Russia was a little more fortunate: from Vladivostok to fly from 10 hours, from Novosibirsk about 12. Given this, you should not go to the Philippines solely for the sake of a beach holiday, you can choose places closer, and with a more inexpensive flight, at least the same Thailand or Vietnam. Want to know more, how to get to the Philippines cheaper, read here...
If you can not imagine a vacation without trips to excursions to historical or cultural attractions, then in the Philippines you will clearly be disappointed. There are very few such attractions here, and those that are, as a rule, are in very poor condition. In general, it is worth saying that the Filipinos have not yet learned to present their sights to the face, and even at first glance, potentially interesting places when visiting are not at all pleasing, but rather the opposite. Lovers of beautiful Buddhist or Hindu temples, which can be found even in traditionally Muslim Indonesia or Malaysia, will not find anything like this here. In the Philippines, you can see only Catholic churches, which objectively few people will be surprised by their architecture or history.
But the Philippines can surprise with its natural beauty and wildlife, because the main visiting card of the country are waterfalls, caves, mountains, volcanoes, exotic animals, and of course endless beautiful beaches.
Well, another important point is the almost complete absence in the Philippines of traditional tourist attractions such as water parks, zoos, amusement parks, etc.and in general, the tourist infrastructure here is still very poorly developed.
As a result, in our opinion (the authors of the site) it is definitely worth going to the Philippines, but only if you have traveled all over Southeast Asia and want something new, or want to go diving or snorkeling. In the latter matter, the Philippines is out of competition.
Resorts where to go
At first glance, just my head is spinning from the number of islands and possible holiday destinations in the Philippines, because there are more than 7 thousand of them. But in fact, there are not so many developed tourist islands and resorts here, and in one month of travel, which is how much is given to visit without a visa (see all about the Philippines visa), you can visit most of the more or less interesting and developed ones. If your goal is just to relax on the beaches, then the choice is generally reduced to just a few developed resorts.
Diving is another matter. There are a lot of places where you can watch the amazing underwater life of the Philippines, and all of them are unique in their own way, one is better than the other. But not everywhere there is a developed infrastructure: diving centers, equipment rental, instructors. As a rule, the less popular a place is with mass tourists, the higher the prices, so if you want to visit special "diving" places, get ready to fork out.
Here's a quick overview of the most touristy Islands and resorts in the Philippines:
- Manila / Manila 🏢. The capital and one of the two main entry points to the country through the International Airport. The city itself is not very interesting, you can safely skip it.
- Boracay Island / Borcay Island 🌴 . The most famous island and resort of the Philippines, the main beach resort. If you are here to relax and have fun, then go right here, there is no better place to find.
- Cebu island 🌴 . The Big Island and the second popular entry point to the country through the local international airport. On the island of Cebu there is only one full-fledged resort-Molabol, but there are resorts on neighboring islands belonging to the province of Cebu:
- Cebu / Cebu city 🏢. A large and developed city with its own tourist area and the largest seaport in the country. There are several historical attractions, night entertainment, but there are no beaches.
- Moalboal / Moalboal 🌴 . A village and the only full-fledged resort on the island of Cebu. But be careful: it consists of two remote beaches, one of which is suitable only for diving and snorkeling, and the other for beach holidays.
- Oslob / Oslob . A world-famous place where there is a tourist attraction-swimming with whale sharks. It is visited only for one day, there are no normal beaches here.
- Mactan Island / Mactan Island 🌴 . A small independent island near Cebu, formally refers to it. This is one of the most developed beach and diving resorts, but rest here is expensive, all good beaches are paid.
- Malapascua Island . A small island near Cebu with a moderately developed infrastructure, medium quality beaches, and excellent conditions for diving and snorkeling. For a classic beach holiday is not very suitable: too boring, and the beaches are so-so.
- Bantayan Island / Bantayan Island 🌴. A small island near Cebu with beaches that are considered to be not inferior in quality to the famous beaches of Boracay. But so far the infrastructure is still poorly developed. Suitable for a very relaxing beach holiday in the village.
- Camotes Islands 🌴 . A group of islands with excellent beaches and conditions for diving and snorkeling, but still very unpopular with tourists.
- Bohol Island. Here are the famous Chocolate Hills, but there are no full-fledged beach resorts.
- Panglao Island / Panglao Island 🌴 . A small island that belongs to Bohol. Here is one of the most developed resorts in the Philippines – White Beach. Second in development, perhaps, only to Bohol.
- Anda 🌴 . A new developing resort in Bohol. There are excellent beaches, but the situation is still like in the village.
- Tagbilaran / Tagbilaran 🏢. The Capital Of Bohol. The city has many hotels, shopping centers, the main port, but no beaches.
- Siquijor island 🌴 . A well-developed island of medium size. There are beaches, diving, snorkeling, and natural attractions. But not very suitable exclusively for beach holidays, it does not have full-fledged beach resorts.
- Negros Island. A large island with several beaches and natural attractions, but no beach resorts.
- Fr. APO / Apo Island . A tiny island, known for excellent conditions for diving and snorkeling, but for a long rest is not suitable, in a couple of days it will become very boring.
- Dumagete / Dumageute 🏢. A popular tourist city on the island of Negros, but there are no beaches, only natural attractions in the vicinity.
- Bacolod / Bacolod 🏢. A large city on Negros, there is little of interest to tourists except for a few historical attractions, and as a starting point to the volcano Canlaon / Canlaon Volcano.
- Siargao Island 🏄 🌴. A popular beach resort and the best place to surf in the Philippines.
- Camiguin Island . A small island known for volcanoes and natural attractions, relatively good diving and snorkeling. For a beach holiday is not very suitable.
Attention! This list contains the most popular and famous tourist places and is still incomplete. Will be replenished. See also overview of resorts in the Philippines Here...
Map of the Philippines with resorts
You can download ⤓ points of interest, important transport points (bus stations, airports, etc.), districts and beaches from our map in KMZ/KML format. These files can be downloaded to the navigator or smartphone for use with offline or online Google Maps applications, Organic Maps and others that support this format, and use them to navigate and explore resorts.
Weather in the Philippines, tourist seasons
The Philippines is a year-round resort, and in theory it is believed that it is comfortable to rest here at any time. But in fact, this is not entirely true, and the low season for recreation and the high tourist season stand out.
High tourist from January to May
Winter and spring, and specifically the time from January to May, are the best for holidays in the Philippines. At this time there is little rain, the temperature is comfortable (not too hot), the water is warm, there are no strong winds and waves. As a result, the water is much more transparent and calm, which, of course, is good for snorkeling and diving. Well, the ideal time is March, April and may.
Low tourist season from June to December
The low season almost throughout the country runs from June to December. In the resorts to the North (Boracay, Manila and Luzon, Palawan), the low season sometimes ends earlier-in October, but you should not count on it.
What is a bad holiday in the low season? This is a time when the sky is often covered with thick clouds, there is a high probability of rain, and the heat is sometimes unbearable, reaching 40 degrees. Especially bad months are July, August and September, when due to heavy rains there are floods, mudslides, landslides.
But what is really bad between June and December are tropical storms that sometimes turn into typhoons into devastating typhoons with destruction and casualties. For example, in 2019 there were 27 tropical storms, 17 typhoons, and 10 powerful typhoons with casualties and destruction.
Seasons in the Philippines by month, when is the best time to go
* best time to visit;
acceptable time to visit;
not recommended time to visit
Weather in the resorts of the Philippines by month
How and how to get to the Philippines
The Philippines is an island country, which can be reached from Russia and other countries only by plane. Previously (until 2019), there was a single regular ferry service between Malaysia (Sandakan port) and Zamboanga port on the island of Mindanao, but it is currently suspended and there is no information about the resumption.
There are several international airports in the Philippines that can be accessed from other countries, but for tourists from Russia and other CIS countries, the most convenient entry points are:
Ninoy Aquino International Airport Manila / Manila International Airport
Ninoy Aquino airport - the largest in the country, is located near the capital (Manila airport on the map). The cheapest international flights are usually operated here.
Mactan-Cebu International Airport / Mactan-Cebu International Airport
The second is large, but the most popular with tourists. Located in the center of the country on an island Mactan/Cebu (Cebu Airport on the map), and from here you can easily reach popular resorts and islands by ferry and other transport Bohol, Panglao, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Moalboal, Bantayan, Malapascua, Boracay. Learn more about Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
Clark International Airport / Clark International Airport
Alternative option for arrival near Manila (Clark Airport on the map). Convenient if you do not want to go through the busy capital.
These are the three largest and most modern airports, and they have the largest number of international and domestic flights. They are convenient in location, since they are geographically located in the tourist centers of the country, from where you can further reach popular resorts and islands using domestic flights or ferries.
Current minimum prices for flights from Russian cities to the Philippines:
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|Москва ⇄ Кларк
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|Москва ⇄ Пуэрто-Принсеса
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|Москва ⇄ Сайяк (Сиаргао)
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|Москва ⇄ Давао
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|Москва ⇄ Тагбиларан
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|Москва ⇄ Манила
Learn more about all the ways, how and how to get to the Philippines read here...
In the Philippines, There is a system of public intercity and urban transport, you can move around the country and resorts inexpensively and relatively conveniently. True, there is a question of increased danger, since the Philippines is an island state, and one of the most common and quite dangerous ways to move around the country are ferries. Also, the country can be conveniently and inexpensively moved by planes and buses within the large islands.
Urban transport in the Philippines is poorly developed. As a rule, jeepneys and tricycles operate in cities. Although they ply the routes, but their traffic patterns are chaotic, you can understand only with the help of local residents. Large city buses are only available in selected large cities. One of the most convenient ways to move around resorts and small islands is to rent transport by tourists. A car for rent here is very expensive, but a low-power scooter is very affordable, and besides, you do not need to obtain international rights to manage it.
Language in the Philippines, How to communicate
The traditional language of the Philippines is Cebuano (Cebuano, aka Sugbu, Sugbuanon) and Filipino (Filipino). In addition, they distinguish different dialects depending on the region or island. But for tourists it is very good that almost every resident of the Philippines speaks English at least in its basics, and many speak it almost perfectly. All signs, signs, and even official documents are duplicated or written entirely in English. In general, Filipinos are considered one of the best English-speaking peoples in Southeast Asia, so there will definitely be no problems with communicating in English.
Despite the Spanish and Portuguese past, these languages are almost not spoken here. Russian is not possible to meet even in developed resorts.
Electricity and sockets
The characteristics of the electrical network in the Philippines are the same as in Russia – 220 volts, 50 hertz. that is, all devices manufactured for the Russian Federation work here without problems. However, sockets and plugs are used here of a different type – two-pin flat, not compatible with those used in the Russian Federation. At the same time, the vast majority of hotels have universal compatible sockets for both types, so you will not need an adapter. In those hotels where there are no compatible sockets, adapters for temporary use are offered free of charge at the reception.
Security in the Philippines
The main problem for tourists in the Philippines are thefts, robberies and robberies are much less common. In resorts, small islands, in small towns and villages, crime is low, you can safely walk at any time of the day. But in big cities, street crime is a problem. Pickpocketing and various kinds of fraud flourish.
The political situation in the country is calm, but at least 16 terrorist groups operate in the South. These are the islands and provinces of Mindanao( Mindanao), Sulu (Sulu) and Basilan (Basilan), visiting them is not recommended.
The Philippines is in the area of the so-called "Ring of fire" or Pacific volcanic Ring of fire, prone to frequent volcanoes and earthquakes. It is not yet possible to predict these phenomena, but one should be prepared for an unfavorable development. There are several active volcanoes in the country, which periodically go into the active phase.
Another natural hazard of the Philippines are tropical storms and typhoons. For example, in 2019 there were 27 tropical storms, 17 typhoons, and 10 powerful typhoons with casualties and destruction. They take place mainly in the rainy season from June to December inclusive. At this time, ferry service may be interrupted, flights are canceled, and evacuation is announced in places where the epicenter of typhoons passes. Usually storms and typhoons last 1-3 days.
There are no mandatory vaccinations for visiting the Philippines, but it is recommended to do traditional preventive vaccinations for tropical regions: tetanus and diphtheria; hepatitis A and B; rabies; Japanese encephalitis. There is a chance to get even leptospirosis. There are many stray dogs on the streets and beaches of the Philippines, Some of which have rabies. Every year, the country records an increase in the number of HIV cases by 20%, including due to flourishing, albeit prohibited prostitution, so be sure to protect yourself. In some regions, there is a risk of malaria or dengue fever, but in general there is no epidemic.
A separate conversation about sanitary conditions. Drinking tap water is not recommended, buy bottled. Be wary of street food. Always carry food poisoning remedies with you to take for prevention at the first sign.
The availability of travel insurance when entering the country is not checked, but it is recommended to issue it.
Check and compare prices for insurance you can on these trusted sites:
Learn more about security in the Philippines Here...
Currency and money in the Philippines
The currency of the Philippines is the peso (piso). Denoted by the international sign ₱, pronounced "piso". One peso consists of 100 sentimos (formerly called centavos), but in practice it is rarely used. In circulation are coins of 1, 5 and 10 pesos, and banknotes of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pesos. When exchanging foreign currency in cash, the amounts are issued in bills of a thousand pesos, and this is a big problem, since there is usually no exchange in shops, cafes, and at the entrance to attractions. Therefore, if possible, when exchanging, ask to be given small bills, i.e. say: "small bills" or "exchange".
Settlements are made in local currency, in tourist places for goods and services you can pay in cash dollars, they are even indicated in prices and on price tags. But the conversion rate in this case is not profitable for tourists.
It is best to carry US dollars with you, preferably large bills of 50 and 100, their rate is higher. You can take Russian USD to the Philippines only as a souvenir, you will not be able to exchange them.
The use of Visa and Mastercard bank cards in the Philippines is possible, but not yet very profitable and widespread, the Russian Mir system is not supported. So far, the cards are inferior to cash in terms of profitability due to the high ATM Commission for withdrawals, as well as the not very favorable conversion rate when paying. Most ATMs allow you to withdraw no more than 10,000 pesos at a time, with 250 pesos held for each transaction (USD) in addition to the commission of your bank. The only ATMs that do not withhold withdrawal fees are HSBC.
Курс обмена валюты (филиппинский песо) на сегодня ()
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Useful tips for the Philippines
- This is not a Buddhist or Muslim country, so there are no such strict rules of conduct towards monks of the opposite sex in places of worship, except in the southern regions where the majority of the population is Muslim. So you can behave relaxed, but, of course, within the bounds of decency.
- If you plan to travel on ferries and boats, do not interfere with the means of motion sickness. In extreme cases, you can replace the remedies for motion sickness with simple headache pills like citramon, But Everything Is individual, you need to check.
- Try to always keep food poisoning remedies with you, and take them at the first sign. Food poisoning is a problem here.
- In transport (airplanes, intercity buses, high-speed ferries), air conditioners work at full capacity, it is easy to catch a cold. Take warm clothes on a trip, it's really necessary.
- There are strict bans on popular public beaches. You can not, for example, smoke, drink drinks and food, relieve yourself. Large fines are imposed for this.
- Large cities have high crime rates. Pickpockets and crooks work during the day, but at night it is dangerous to walk in poor neighborhoods.