13 Things You Should Understand Before Traveling To The Philippines

This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclosure

The Philippines is an amazing country full of some of the friendliest people on the planet, but there are a few simple things you should understand before traveling to this beautiful island nation.

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - Simizu Island - El Nido Tour A-1

1. There are more than 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines.

From north to south and from east to west there are countless unique and diverse landscapes. From powder-white beaches to dense rainforest, and even volcanic mountains. Make sure to check out the best tourist spots in the Philippines guide to decide which spots are best for you.

Related Article: El Nido Palawan Guide


Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - San Miguel - Traditional Boats-2

2. It would take you 20 years to see the whole Philippines

If you visited one island a day in the Philippines it would take you nearly twenty years to see them all. Luckily there are day tours to groups of islands where you can visit several gorgeous islands in a single day. One of our favorites was El Nido Tour C on our last visit to the Palawan island.

Related Article: El Nido to Coron Ferry

*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels in the Philippines check prices on Booking.com, we’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*


Things to do in El Nido - Philippines Food Balot Egg -1

3. That egg is not what you think it is

The eggs you see for sale in the little white styrofoam coolers are not what you think they are. They may look like chicken eggs, but they are actually a Filipino specialty, Balut.

In case you’re not familiar, Balut is a fertilized duck egg that has been maturing for about 2 weeks. It’s then cooked and served street side from the aforementioned little white coolers. Balut is a must try for the adventurous traveler in the Philippines!

El Nido Philippines - Day Trip C-26

4. “The Beach” is actually in the Philippines

The popular travel movie “the beach” was actually inspired by the islands of El Nido, Palawan, Philippines, but filmed in Thailand. It makes you wonder if the director was trying to keep the islands in the Philippines a secret. Either way, the secret is out now, the Philippines is home to some of the most stunning islands in the world.

Related Article: Must Do Things in the Palawan


Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - El Nido Sunset - Las Cabanas Beach-2

5. Book the morning flight

Many airports on small islands close before sunset because they don’t have runway lights. We found this out the hard way on our first trip to the country when we were all set to board a flight to Coron but had to turn back because the plane wasn’t going to make it before dark.

Related Article: The Secret Truth Behind Kayangan Lake


Philippines Food - loose the knife and eat Filipino Style-3

6. The Philippines was once a Spanish colony

You can see the Spanish influence in their language, cuisine, and culture. My favorite part of the Spanish influence is in the food. You can taste a little Spanish twist on Filipino food like chicken adobo, breakfast favorites like tocino and even paella are common in the Philippines.


El Nido Day Tour A boat

7. You might hear a little Tagalish

If you listen closely to Filipinos speak you can hear some English and Spanish words mixed in with the local Tagalog language. These are leftovers from colonial times for the Spanish. While the English comes from the time after the Spanish and through WWII times when there was a large American influence.


8. Basketball is a big deal in the Philippines.

Likely a leftover from the American GIs that were stationed here. Besides Kim Jong-un, nobody in Asia loves more than the Philippines.


9. Jeepneys are the way to get around

The local transport in Manila and many places throughout the 7,000+ islands is called a Jeepney. The jeepneys are a collective taxi, but what makes them unique is that they are leftover army jeeps from WWII. They have been maintained and used for the last 70 years in the Philippines. Many of them now are covered in chrome, bright-colored paint, and flashing light to attract passengers.


El Nido Philippines - Day Trip A-55

10. Book Local

When traveling in the Philippines it’s a good idea to use a local booking agent to arrange transportation and accommodation. Some major online booking agents don’t have access to everything there really is to book. When visiting The Philippines try Traveloka to find rooms and flights.


11. The Philippines is a devout Catholic Country

The Philippines is one of the few Asian countries that is majority Catholic. When the Spanish ruled they converted the people to Catholicism in the 1500s. Of the 98 million people that live in the Philippines, 82% are Catholic making it one of the largest Catholic countries in the world.

Related Article: Siargao Island – The Philippines’ Best Kept Secret


coron philippines - diving - Dive 3 - Okikawa1

12. The Diving is Amazing

The diving in the Philippines is rated as some of the best in the world and is reason enough for many visitors to come. There are pristine reefs, tons of marine life, and a whole bunch of WWII wrecks to explore.

Related Article: Coron Palawan Guide


El Nido Philippines - Day Trip C-43

13. Filipino beer is good and strong

Red Horse beer is stronger than your average beer, coming in at nearly 7% ABV. Which comes in handy if you are trying to muster the courage to try a balut egg. While another Filipino beer, San Miguel, is actually pretty good with less kick. The best Sam Miguel is in the brown bottle and labeled as “pale”, it actually has a little flavor to it. Well, at least I have fond memories of drinking on the beaches of the Philippines.


Don’t Forget About Me! Pin Me!

things you should know tips before traveling to the philippines - Pinterest Feature