“Oh I wish I had known ahead of time TRAVEL TIPS TO MANILA AND TO THE PHILIPPINES…”
Guidebooks and travel websites don’t tell you everything. We have all traveled to places and had those “Oh I wish I had known this before I arrived” moments where a tiny piece of information, if given before hand, might have made an experience that much more enjoyable or planning a day that much more effortless. Having had many friends come to visit, and having had my own share of such moments while exploring the country, I have made a list of some HELPFUL TRAVEL TIPS which people visiting Manila or traveling in the Philippines will find useful.
1. Always drink bottled water that is properly sealed. Do not drink from the tap.
2. Bring Off or mosquito repellant in case you go to places that have a lot of bugs
3. Bring hand sanitizer at all times. You will find plenty of toilets but very rarely will they have soap.
4. The restroom is known as the “CR” or Comfort room
5. Ladies- bring tissue in your purse. Toilet paper is not often available in public restrooms.
1. Sunglasses or a hat are always good to have as it is sunny most of the year.
2. The weather is always hot however malls, offices etc are air conditioned so helpful to always bring a sweater or scarf.
3. Bring a travel adaptor if you’re not from the USA (our plugs have USA-type prongs)…universal travel adaptors can be found in hardware shops but that’s one extra errand to run.
If you’re from the USA, remember electricity here is 220v not 110v…110 plugged into 220 will pop.
1.Tipping – nice restaurants pHp100 is good. For taxis, hotel valet etc PhP20 is enough
2. Taxis are generally safe but best to get Taxis from hotel lobbies, mall lines or reputable areas that give you the details of the taxi. There are some dishonest drivers out there so make sure they have a meter and helpful to have someone write down the taxi license # just in case. Some drivers don’t seem to know the city very well so it’s also best to check and make sure they know where they are going before you get into the taxi.
3. Always lock your door when in a taxi.
4. Traffic is bad so if you are traveling from city to city give 30 minutes more time to get to your destination.
5. When traveling to Boracay, you will be walking a plank to get on and off boat- high heels not suggested
6. Double check all details when making travel plans locally- as friendly and helpful as the Filipinos are, attention to detail is not their forte.
7. Don’t schedule appointments one after the other if you need to travel between venues…to be safe, give yourself 2 hours between meetings.
8. If traveling on business, book a hotel near where most of your meetings will be, or meet in the hotel. Traffic is awful.
1. Get a local sim card and phone when here- easy to get and not expensive and easy to buy reload for the card. Pretty much no one uses voicemail here and many people won’t pick up the phone if they don’t know who is calling so if you have trouble getting through to someone, send them a text message. Everything is done by text in the Philippines.
2. Though not announced, many coffee shops, salons, restaurants, etc. have wifi. Some (like Bo’s Coffee in High Street in the Fort) have it for free (you just need to ask for the day’s password). For those that charge for it, ask a waiter/cashier/someone from the place and they’ll probably sell you a P100 scratch-off card with a code to enter.
1. Be aware that ATM cards from foreign banks don’t always work for all ATM tellers and there are varying limits per day so its good to always have some cash with you to exchange. You also might end up traveling to somewhere remote without a working ATYM or in a place where there is only one with very long lines.
2. It can be a hassle to pay by credit card here if you can’t bring the credit card in person i.e. many travel agents won’t take cards over the phone. There are also often varying surcharges (diff percentages added on) to use your credit card.