Your Dream Vacation is Here
The Republic of the Philippines
Created by: Landon Hullinger
The Republic of the Philippines
Introduction : The Republic of the Philippines
The Philippines is one of the most beautiful locations on Earth. Throughout the whole country there is a vast array of amazing natural and historical sites to visit. Each made easy to explore with cheap and convenient travel throughout the whole country. Along with amazing cultures and people the Philippines is a must go destination.
The Philippines has been inhabited for thousands of years. It was later colonized by Spain after Ferdinand Magellan first visited in 1521. Spain ruled all the way up to 1898 after the Spanish defeat in the Spanish-American War. This led to the United States occupying the Philippines for a time. Later during World War 2 the Japanese took over the country for a short time. After the war, the Treaty of Manila was signed in 1946 creating the independent Philippines Republic. All these Countries have influenced the culture in the Philippines. Although there are still many different groups and indigenous people across all the islands. These groups and peoples have developed different languages leading to the Philippines being the home of over 180 languages. Tagalog is the country’s official language but Cebuano, Ilocano and Bisaya are also very popular.
The Philippines has a very tropical climate being just north of the equator. This leads to a hot and humid day with temperatures ranging from around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees Fahrenheit with slight changes based on different islands and areas. The two main seasons here are rainy from May to November and Dry from December to April. Each region of the Philippines varies but it is best to visit in November to February for a cooler temperature and scares rain. The early dry months are the most popular for tourism to the norther island of Luzon including Manila. Try to avoid going in the late dry season as this is the hottest time of the year and typhoon season. There is an annual typhoon season from July to October with a few outliers. An average of 4 typhoons hit Luzon per year so this is something to watch for.
Tourism is a large part of the economy in the Philippines making up 12.7% or the GDP. The majority of tourist going to the Philippines are from Korea China and the United States. Most Americans will stay for less than 30 days due to visa requirements. But that is plenty of time to visit much of the diverse biosphere of the Philippines and its rich culture. Most of the hot tourist destinations can be found in Luzon the main island of the Philippines which includes places such as Manila, Vigan, and the Banaue Rice Terraces. Visayas is also extremely popular including Cebu and many of the white sand beaches. Along with the island of Palawan which holds natural wonders like the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. The Philippines provides a great variety of things to do and explore for everyone looking for an adventure. The diversity here is perfect for those who want to see nature and the intense beauty of the Philippines, and those who want to see the culture and history of the cities like the World Heritage Site of Vigan. The Philippines is also relatively easy to travel around as an English speaker due to almost 90% of locals being multilingual and knowing English. On average there are more than 8 million tourists arriving to the Philippines every year. The national currency is the Peso which can be exchanged around 50 for 1 US dollar. Making the stay for many Americans quite cheap. It is important to note that most ATM have a withdraw limit of 10,000 Peso or $200. The Peso has a 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 bill. It is difficult to exchange 1000 bills at many local markets and local travel. Try to exchange large bills at banks for smaller ones to make travel and buying goods easier. There are also a few specific places to avoid in the Philippines that are toward the southernmost islands of Mindanao. There are a few terrorist cells that are best avoided by all foreigners. Although there are places of the island that are safe from these terrorist cells.
Getting to Your Location
Air: The Philippines has many smaller islands with many destinations that require air travel such as Palawan. Almost all cities in the Philippines can be flown to through Philippines airlines or Cebu Pacific. Many airports are small and have few flights going in and out, so it is important to research when flights to specific locations depart.
Water: Due to the vast number of islands in the southern part of the Philippines there are some great options for cruises to locations such as Boracay. These cruises are run by companies like Royal Caribbean, or Dimond Princes. Some of these cruises also explore other parts of south east Asia. There are also small ships that can be used to travel across islands, but it can be dangerous due to weather.
Ground: There are often local drivers working for Express Vans, that speak English and other languages that can be hired as a personal driver for a certain period. Most drivers will charge 1000 pesos per day which gives access to an Express Van that can seat up to 10 and the Driver to help you navigate your travels.
Getting around Your location
Travel in the Philippines is not difficult if you understand how to use it. In almost every single part of the Philippines there is mass public transport. This ranges from things such as large buses, to motorcycles with side cars otherwise known as trices or tricies. The buses will make stops at most large cities and make multiple stops depending on public hubs. The drivers will also inform you when you arrive at a location if you tell them where you are going once you enter the bus. Bus prices range from 50 pesos for short rides down the road to 1500 pesos and up for cross country trips. These rates change based on the quality of the bus, Victory Liner and Florida buses are more expensive but nice and smaller brands are cheaper. A ticket taker will often approach you asking where your final destination is and will request that you pay the price there on the bus if you did not previously buy one at a bus station in a large city. There are also two kind of car that has been converted to hold 10-24 people called Jeeps or Jeepnies, and vans in the Philippines. These are generally cramped and slower than the buses, but they travel to many more far reaching locations, such as Banaue. Jeeps and vans are much cheaper with the base price of 10-20 pesos and they can cost up to 100-500 pesos depending on distance traveled. These jeeps all have routes posted on the side of the car and the windshield letting you choose which jeep is best. The last popular form of transport is the Tricie. These are generally for short trips across town and they only hold 2-4 people in them. The prices vary based on destination, but the base price is 10 pesos per passenger. All of these forms of transport can be called from the side of the road as they are driving your direction by waving your hand. To stop at a desired destination, one could yell Para po which means stop. Almost all drivers understand Stop too. There are also general waiting stations or tents that hold buses, jeeps and tricies. It is often very difficult to find a jeep or a tricy after 7 or 8 pm if you are not in a major city like Manila. Buses run 24/7 through most main highways so they are always an option. It is also important to note that most local or public transportation does not provide change. For example, if you pay a jeep 1000 pesos for a 20-peso ride, they will take the 1000 and leave you. Travelers are responsible to have change on hand. It can be difficult to travel as a foreigner if you are alone on these different forms of travel, I would suggest traveling in groups or having an experienced guide assist in travel around different locations. Many local tour guides can be found on Facebook or at local tourism agencies.
There are thousands of places to visit in the Philippines. For this first section we will focus on the large island of Luzon. This is where most people will first arrive flying into the Manila International Airport. There are hundreds of hotels to stay in throughout the island but some of the most popular areas to visit are Manila, the city of Vigan and the Banaue Rice Terraces. Each area has hotels that can be less then $10-100 a night for people looking for a cheap place to stay. Along with extreme luxury hotels up to $1000.
HOTELS / RESORTS
Manila Marriot Hotel
This is a Leisure, and Groups hotel
Ranging from $200-$1200 Based on rooms
Adjacent from the Airport Pool, Spa, Workout area High quality restaurant 3000 square foot ballroom/ conference hall
This appeals to travelers who want a place close to the airport to stay and in the center of Manila. The beautiful rooms and amenities are perfect for guest relaxation in the busy city.
4.5 stars on TripAdvisor Classed as a 5-star hotel 2020 Travelers Choice
Hotel Luna in Vigan
This is a leisure hotel.
Ranging from $63-$100
Beautiful center pool Restaurants
This hotel appeals to many Americans visiting the city of Vigan. The stunning Spanish architecture will attract many tourists looking for an authentic feel of the city.
4.5 stars on Google reviews Classed as a 4-star hotel 2019 Travelers Choice
Baleh Boble Guesthouse in Banaue
This is a leisure and specialty lodging
A Restaurant Laundry Fireplace/ Kitchen Experience of living like the rice farmers.
This appeals to travelers looking to live on the Banaue Rice Terraces and to experience to way of life there. With few amenities but a great location this is for the adventurers.
5 Stars on TripAdvisor
In the southern islands of the Philippines there are some of the best beaches in the world. This area is perfect for travelers looking for a relaxing location while staying close to some of the natural wonders of the world. The southern islands are dotted with luxury resorts and spas close to white sand beaches. These resorts can be found on their own personal island too for added guest privacy from the world.
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa
Beach front access, Airport Shuttle, Gym, Spa, Pools, Breakfast buffet, and Restaurants
This resort is perfect for couples trying to get away and relax on a perfect white sand beach.
4.5 stars on TripAdvisor and rated as a 5-star Resort. 2019 Travelers Choice from TripAdvisor
Cauayan Island Resort in Palawan
Pool, Gym, Spa, Beach front, Free Airport Travel, Free Breakfast, Air-conditioned rooms
This resort appeals to people who want luxury right next to some of the world’s natural wonders. Mostly couples and travelers looking for a relaxing vacation come here.
4.5 Stars on TripAdvisor and rated as a 4 Star Hotel, Travelers Choice 2020 from TripAdvisor
Crimson Resort and Spa, Mactan
Pool, Gym, Beach, Entertainment Staff, Kids stay free, Free Wi-Fi
This is a beautiful white sand beach resort just 15 minutes away from the Mactan International Airport. It is the perfect place for general travelers to stay close to the city while still having a place to relax.
4.5 Stars on TripAdvisor and rated as a 5-star Hotel. Travelers Choice 2020 TripAdvisor
Food & Beverage
The Philippines has a great quality and richness to its foods. With many different restaurants and styles throughout the country. There are not very many high-quality restaurants that serve true Filipino cuisine. But there are countless small local locations that serve all types of Filipino foods. These locations should be used with caution by travelers because the food safety is not always up to par with many of the restaurants and it is easy to get sick. But the food is great in these local carinderia is fantastic and extremely cheap. I have not listed any here because they very so much from location to location, but they are a great place to eat for the brave hearted. Many restaurants in the Philippines are mostly American Style or Korean style and easy to navigate for most travelers. The employees speak English at almost every restaurant location. The fast-food restaurants are common throughout almost every city in the Philippines. Fine Dinning can be harder to find based on location. If you are not in the main or surrounding cities of Manila or Cebu it could be very difficult if not impossible to find a fine dinning location.
JolliBee is a staple of the Philippines serving mostly fried chicken, burgers, and spaghetti.
Fried Chicken with Rice, Burgers with fries, Spaghetti with a side, Ice cream and other desserts.
The workers will bring the food to your table for you after ordering
Mang Inasal serves grilled chicken and unlimited rice for all who are hungry.
Chicken and Unlimited Rice, and Halo-Halo
Workers will carry a large bucket of rice and refill your plate when asked
McDonalds like most places around the world serves Burgers along with fried chicken and nuggets. There is also a great secret menu in the Philippines at all McDonald’s.
Burgers and Fries, Fried Chicken and Rice, Nuggets, Floats, and Ice cream
The Secret menu with extra items is only shown when asked for. The workers will bring the food to you.
Greenwich is a classic pizza parlor in the Philippines
Pizza, Pasta, and Fried Chicken
There are many meals deals here to choose the foods based on what you want.
Zarks is one of the fastest sit-down dining restaurants in the Philippines that serves burgers and fries
They serve a variety of different Burgers, Nachos, and Fries
Zarks has several fun challenges and a unique blue lemonade. The servers will sit you and bring you your food.
Yakiniku is my favorite of the many Korean style barbeque buffet in the Philippines where you grab your own food and cook it yourself.
Beef, Pork, chicken, Sushi, Soups, Ice Cream, Rice, and lemonades.
This is a serve yourself style restaurant where you can eat as much as you want for 90 minutes.
Kenny Rogers is American styled comfort food with a focus on chicken
Chicken, Ribs, Potatoes, Fries, Mac & Cheese, Rolls, and Rice
You will normally order at a large counter which holds all of the available selections then you will be seated, and the food will be brought to you.
FINE DINING RESTAURANTS
Ninyo Fusion Cuisine in Manila
This is a fine dinning restaurant that offers 7 course meals and beautiful food.
Steak, Sea food, Soups and Sorbet
This is a full-service restaurant where everything is brought and done for you. With a limited menu for choice the food is high quality and plated perfectly.
Anzani Mediterranean Restaurant in Cebu
Anzani serves a variety of Mediterranean inspired meals with a great view
Steaks, Pastas, Sea Food, Pizza, Rolls, Desserts and Salads
This is a full-service restaurant with many options on the menu. It has been voted best in Cebu for 2 years in a row. They also take reservations.
Antonios Restaurant in Tagaytay
This is a high-quality fine dining restaurant that serves a variety of foods including Filipino styled cuisine
Salads, Roasted Pig, Lamb, Steaks, and Desserts
This is one of the highest quality restaurants in the Philippines, with Full Service and reservations. And a large menu
MEETINGS AND EVENT LOCATIONS
- Stake Centers in northern Luzon. This would be a great and easy place for a large family to meet. All stake centers accommodate for wheelchairs. I know many stake presidents and bishops that are willing to open the building for families to gather.
- Warehouse Eight Coworking and Events Space https://www.venuerific.com/ph/venues/warehouse-eight-coworking-events-space
- Lounge https://www.venuerific.com/ph/venues/warehouse-eight-coworking-events-space
- Hotel H2O https://www.venuerific.com/ph/venues/hotel-h2o
- Club Paradise https://www.venuerific.com/ph/venues/club-paradise
- Villa Ibarra https://www.venuerific.com/ph/venues/villa-ibarra
- Minami Saki by Astoria https://www.venuerific.com/ph/venues/minami-saki-by-astoria
- Astoria Palawan https://www.venuerific.com/ph/venues/astoria-palawan
- Faustino’s Event Palace https://www.venuerific.com/ph/venues/faustino-s-events-place
- City Garden Grand Hotel https://www.venuerific.com/ph/venues/city-garden-grand-hotel
TOP 3 WITH DISABLITIY ACCESS
- Stake Centers in northern are a perfect place for families to meet. They all have wheelchair access and are a great location for families to meet and gather. They are also usually in city centers and close to other amenities.
- The Hotel H2O would also be a great location to meet because it is an entertaining location that would accommodate to younger kids and adults. This is also a full access location that will allow all family members to attend.
- City Garden Grand Hotel is a good location due to the number of amenities of the hotel. It is an easy access location and would also provide a place to stay for the whole family. The hotel also supports wheelchair access.
RECREATION AND ENTERTAIMENT
The Philippines has countless recreational activities to find throughout all its islands. From water activities like white water rafting in Cagayan de Oro to visiting the many beautiful Spanish styled cathedrals some up to 400 years old. The Philippines attracts adventure seekers looking to see and experience the endless natural wonders in these tropical islands. The landscapes to visit from the volcanos to rolling hills to pristine beaches and underground rivers provide a variety of options for people to visit. The Philippines also brings in those looking for history and culture with its great world war 2 sights in manila, the unique Spanish styled cities, and museums from the native cultures. The southern islands of the Philippines also boast some of the clearest waters in the world with amazing snorkeling spots on its untouched reefs. There are almost to many things to do and see in the Philippines it could take a lifetime to visit them all.
Sports & Recreation Spas:
Arts, Culture, Entertainment:
Fun in The Philippines: An Itinerary for Young Couples
Day One: Ifugao
A day of hiking and experiencing some of the local culture in the mountain provinces of the Philippines for a young and energetic couple. This day will take a lot of energy but leads to great views and once in a lifetime experience.
Morning: Banaue Rice Terraces
The Banaue Rice Terraces are a great location to start a journey through the Philippines. They are often referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. They hold years of culture from the Ifugao people who are indigenous to the area. These Terraces have many different hikes that lead to different views on the terraces. This visit will take most of the first day.
On the way to the City of Vegan are the Hanging coffins of Sagrada which are a great short hike to see while traveling to our next location. This is a short stop to see a unique location involving local traditions of burial for this area of the Philippines only.
Day Two: Vegan
After hiking and traveling from the mountains a nice calm day in a beautiful location is perfect for a young couple to recuperate and enjoy the unique Spanish architecture of the city.
In the morning after a day full of hiking and exploring it will be nice to have a more relaxing time in the morning at the beach of Sta. Catalina Beach Resort in Vegan. This is a beautiful black sand beach with clean water right next to the historical city.
The beautiful lights in the nights of Vegan make walking through Calle Crisologo a must. The Spanish styled cobblestone streets and buildings provide a unique experience while getting to visit some of the local shops and food locations. This is a more relaxing part of a busy trip around the Country.
Day Three Manila
Taking a change of pace and traveling to the Capital of the Philippines to experience its rich history and modern attractions and shopping.
The morning of day three will involve a short plane ride out to Manila to avoid a 14-hour bus ride. Once in manila a great place to spend the morning would be in Fort Santiago. This is one of the most historically important locations in the Philippines and was built by the Spanish in 1593. It was the prison to the national hero Jose Rizal and the fort holds a shrine honoring his life.
To have a more fun afternoon we will jump back to modern times and visit Sm the Mall of Asia in metro Manila. This is one of the largest malls in the Philippines and holds a skating ring, a movie theater, a sports arena, and even the Bay amusement park holding 17 rides for guest to enjoy. This mall provides a little of anything perfect for couples who want to try different things.
Day Four: Palawan
A day in the water on the isolated island of Palawan.
The morning you will catch another plane to the island of Palawan. This island holds some of the best resorts the Philippines has to offer but for the morning the main attraction will be the under-ground River. The Puerto Princessa subterranean River is a national park and a world Heritage site, along with being vote one of the 7 wonders of the world. In this area couples can canoe and explore the river running through the cave and get experienced tour guides to lead them.
For the afternoon on Palawan El Nido beach is the perfect location. There are pristine beaches great dive sights and beautiful lagoons and rock structures surrounding the location. This is one of the best beaches in the Philippines.
SWOT OF THE PHILLIPINES
- The Philippines holds several natural wonders in relatively close proximity to each other.
- Most people understand or can speak English
- There are opportunities for leisure, cultural and recreational tourism.
- An extremely friendly and helpful community
- The public transport can be slow and frustrating due to extreme traffic
- Plane travel is required to reach different islands of the country.
- Foreigners are susceptible to food born illness common in the Philippines
- Finding specific location on your own can be daunting and confusing
- A growing economy leading to new luxury resorts and hotels being built
- The Philippines is an open country making it more and more easy for others to travel and visit
- There is so much history and natural beauty that the Philippines can advertise to increase tourism
- The Philippines gets hit by about 4 hurricanes per year.
- Some areas of the Philippines like Mindanao have radical terrorist groups
- Theft of phones and purses are quite common in certain streets of large cities like Manila
- Very few regulations for various attractions that can and have caused damage to natural wonders
The Philippines is a great destination for everyone ranging from those looking for a luxury stay near the white sand beaches of Boracay to those seeking a cheap way to visit a new part of the world. This is an explores paradise with the ability to travel on your own and explore the natural wonders that the Philippines has to offer. There are endless possibilities of places to visit and explore with a rich culture in every city and island. The Philippines has many amenities that can make travel easier such as the public transportation and well-known fast-food restaurants in almost every town. You are destined to grow and learn throughout your travel of the Philippines. The new experiences you will gain while meeting people from the different cultures and seeing the history of this country will be fantastic stories to tell back home. The Philippines is a joy to visit, relax, and explore in. As they say “Its more fun in the Philippines”