The Philippines is a collection of more than 7,600 islands in South East Asia and is a vibrant mixture of large cities, stunning beaches, colourful festivals and natural wonders. It is the perfect destination for action packed holidays for families and couples.
The Philippines is totally different both geographically and culturally to the rest of South East Asia, with many traces of its 377 years of Spanish rule. When the Spanish left in 1898, the Americans arrived and this means that English is widely spoken everywhere!
Many islands, like Boracay, have family accommodation right on the beach and there are plenty of water sports with good tuition available in scuba diving and wind surfing amongst others. In Boracay there is even a wreck site for divers. In the evenings there are plenty of restaurants on the various islands to enjoy and they are all child friendly. Many beaches have bars and again, children are welcome in many.
With so much to do in the Philippines, it is possible to tailor your holiday itinerary to suit everyone in the family as there are so many sports including horse riding, climbing and mountain biking. Hiring habal-habal (tricycles) for the family can be fun and the Philippines are the unofficial zip-lining capital of the world!
There are many natural wonders to enjoy including a boat trip along the longest navigable subterranean river (8km) and a visit to the Tubbataha Reef – both of these are in Palawan. There is plenty of wildlife to see too including the tiny but big-eyed Tarsier – the world’s smallest primate – as well as caves full of bats.
Island hopping is a fun way to get around once you are on an island is by ‘jeepney’. These old American jeeps that have been renovated into taxis that seat up to 20 people, are really cheap and give a fun but bumpy ride!
What is the food like?
The food in the Philippines is very diverse with many dishes from other world cuisines including Chinese. The local dishes are mild and not spicy, but many contain garlic instead. Adobo is often on the menu and is chicken or pork cooked in a sauce made from vinegar, black pepper, soy sauce and garlic. Lechon – whole cooked pig- is the popular national dish. Many places serve American style food like burgers too Kamayan means eating with the hand and this is a must for street food which tastes really good and is very cheap..
When is the best time to visit the Philippines?
The climate in the Philippines is tropical with March to May being the hottest months. The monsoon season is from June– October and definitely it is best to head east during this part of the year and to avoid Palawan and the West as these are the wettest areas. The coolest time of the year is from November – February – with the last six weeks of this part of the year being the best for cool dry weather. The temperature averages 25-32ºC with about 72% humidity. Typhoons are not an uncommon occurrence in this area so it is worth doing some research before you choose your dates.
What is the currency in the Philippines?
The currency is the Peso.
How long does it take to fly to Philippines?
The flight from London Heathrow to Manila, the capital which is situated in the northern group of islands is 13 hours 25 minutes. There are flights from London Heathrow to 30 different destinations in the Philippines. There are connecting flights from many airports and for example, those from Manila to the various islands are between 45 minutes – two hours in length.
What is the time difference in the Philippines?
The Philippines are seven hours ahead of GMT.
What language is spoken in the Philippines?
English is widely spoken everywhere and is the official language, but Filipino is also widely spoken
Do I need a visa to visit Philippines?
Holders of UK passports can visit the Philippines for up to 30 days without a visa. For up to date travel advice, visit the FCO website here.