The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific, comprising more than 7,000 islands. 7,000!!! This means you can travel to the Philippines multiple times and never feel like it’s the same trip. Of all the places that I’ve visited, this was a destination that I never envisioned. However, when the opportunity presents itself, fly out! This was one of those random trips where my friends Kiara, Khristina, and Marcus found a flight on the site TheFlightDeal. They were able to capture the deal but I missed it. It’s one of those things that you have to be on top of the minute the glitch is released. Instead, I had to take a different route. I used Airfordable to purchase my ticket months in advance. We stayed in the Philippines from June 21-29 and traveled to different cities while there. Traveling to different cities can be easy, but going to a different island requires a flight or ferry. Below I have given some details that will hopefully be helpful for when you visit the Philippines! Please feel free to ask me any questions. Can’t wait to see and hear about your journey. (^_^)
- This flight was about 19 hours in total. The first leg was from JFK to Vancouver, about 6 hours. Once in Canada, we did not deplane. People that had their final stop in Canada got off. The cleaning crew cleaned for the new passengers that would be boarding. We left Canada and began our second leg, which was 13 hours. This was all of our first time being on a plane that long and it was no joke. The Philippines is 12 hours ahead of U.S., so the jet lag had us a little sluggish. It wasn’t as bad when we arrived. For me, it really took a toll once I was back home. There were a few essentials that we had for this long flight. Due to the extended amount of time on the plane and the recycled air, it probably would have been beneficial to take Vitamin C or EmergenC prior to the flight. Due to a number of people on the large aircraft, the germs need to be kept at bay. To do this, the aircraft is extremely cold. They give blankets but I had an extra blanket that I brought along just to keep warm. It’s important to boost the immune system in order to fight off the germs that circulate on the plane. I know this sounds gross but it’s the truth and it’s better to be safe. However, don’t let this discourage you from taking a long flight.
Here are some essentials that we had on board:
- Books to read
- Crossword puzzles
- Hand sanitizer
- Once we disembarked the plane, we walked straight to customs and hopped in the line. It was pretty easy to maneuver around the airport. We followed the sign that read, “foreign passports”. Once we had gone through, it was pretty easy to spot the luggage carousels to grab any checked bags that we had. I chose not to check a bag due to a bad experience last year. So I had all of my things with me. When we got out of the airport, to the left was a kiosk for a Sim card that provided data during the stay. If you’re like me and you have T-mobile, that’s not really a concern because we have an international plan. All shade to people that have other service providers. To the right of the exit, we found an ATM. We took out 5,000php. More details on the currency exchange, below.
- Uber functions the same as in the U.S. so that made getting around pretty easy. Just as home, we split fares. We were paying maybe 1-2 bucks per person for the Uber after the fare was split. You can also catch a taxi cab which runs on a meter. In the city of Manila and Cebu, there are many taxis. I can’t speak for all, but most of the taxis we took were not equipped with a machine for card payments. It was much easier to carry cash and not worry about swiping.
FYI: There is no Lyft as an alternative.
- We stayed in 3 different hotels while in the Philippines. The first hotel was in Manila (City Garden), the second and third were in Cebu(Alicia Apartelle, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers). Because you will probably island hop in the Philippines, you will more than likely stay at different hotels. This can be a lot for some people because you are constantly having to lug your things around. However, I think it made our trip even better. Each hotel made our journey feel fresh and like a restart to the trip. Now it gets tricky when finding the best hotel to stay in because there are many to choose from, and all are not honest about what they offer. Out of the three that we stayed in, only one was a total shit show. I normally hate to discredit any establishment especially when I travel outside the country. It’s easy to get lost in our “first world problems”. By this, I mean complaining about things that don’t really matter or can be overlooked. However, “Crown Regency Hotel and Towers” in Cebu will get this bad review today!
To see my reviews of all three hotels please click on the links below
Hotel #1 Makati: City Garden Hotel Makati
Hotel #2 Cebu City: Alicia Apartelle
- I’m not really the best to take food advice from. Unlike many travelers, I am not a “foodie”. To be honest, my biggest concern when traveling is the thought of what I will eat. No disrespect to the Philippines, but the food was not the best. Although I’m the “picky eater” while traveling, the four of us agreed to the food being a hit or a miss.
- Traveling can be so expensive. I mean think about it, you can spend a lot of money just for a flight and hotel fees. The last thing you want to worry about is not having enough spending money once you get to your destination. Well my friends, I have good news! The Philippines is not one of those places that you have to concern yourselves with overspending. The currency exchange is 50 Philippine Peso (PHP) to 1 United States Dollar (USD). Not the math type? No worries, I got you. This means that 100usd will get you a little over 5,000php. We can clearly see that a little goes a long way in the Philippines. Depending on all the activities that you engage in, 300usd could have you set. However, if you decide to do heavy island hopping that may require a flight, of course you’d need a little more. In 2017, the peso is the weakest that is has been in many years. While this may be good for tourists, it should also be recognized that this can have a negative impact on the country itself.
- Airswift is an airline that many people use to bounce around to different islands in the Philippines. It’s not that expensive and will get you right where you need to go. We booked our Airswift flight from Manila to Cebu prior to leaving the U.S. The flight was about an hour and we had no issues other than the wait at the airport. The weather was pretty bad so we were delayed a little longer than expected.
Manila (Things to do)
Cebu (Things to do)
- Kawasan Falls
- Swimming with Whale Sharks
- Osmena Peak
- Sumilon Island
Bohol (Things to do)
These pictures of my adventures are for people that prefer visuals. For those that may have questions about the excursions, I will share my thoughts through video. Stay tuned to hear how being adventurous led me to overcome fears during this trip!