Travel in the Philippines is very similar to basically all of Asia; however that doesn’t mean you should look past some of these helpful and insightful tips before you head there to battle it out on the streets for the cheapest and fastest mode of transport without getting totally ripped off.
If you are a traveler, then you know the joys of navigating around an undeveloped country and usually haggling in your non-native tongue. However the best thing about the Philippines (for most of us anyways) is that their second language is English. Yea, you know it, how awesome is that! And although this is a massive advantage, it still proves to be tough to find out what is the best way to get to certain places.
Taking the motorbike for a spin around Coron, Philippines
One thing you must know is that when you are travelling to somewhere (or anywhere) in the Philippines, it always and I mean always takes longer than expected. Their country consists of 7,000 islands and they have been on what is known as Island Time forever and always will be, it’s just a way of lie. So, the best thing for you to know is to cop it on the chin, suck it up and accept that it will take you a little longer to get to where ever you want to go. That being said, if you have dates you need to be in certain places, for flights, meeting people, are special occasions, than plan to get their early or allow enough time.
Long distance travel is where you save the big buck and for getting from island to island usually the ferry is the way to go, especially if you are on a budget. But be warned, the ferries are very slow and I can’t see things changing for a long time either. Before I went to the Philippines I was told flying to some islands that are further away is the best way to do it.
And me being a budget traveller and thinking I had enough time in the Philippines, little did I know that I would never have enough time in the Philippines because its so amazingly awesome and also that the ferries may be cheap but often flights are comparable and take a lot less time. So I sucked it up, ate my pride and did take a few flights along with the odd ferry ride in between. The great thing about flights is, you will rarely ever get a delay, unlike the ferry system. Well the Philippine ferry system is a story in itself.
This is what a Jeepney looks like, and yes it’s practically their local buss service (privately owned)
When it comes to travelling shorter distances in the Philippines you barely need to pay anything to get to somewhere that is just down the road. Often if you need to get somewhere such as from your hostel to the beach or to the shops or anywhere nearby you can jump on a tricycle and get there for around 20-50 Pesos. If you want to travel a little further and save on some coin you can jump in the back of a Jeepney. These things load up with people and it is how everyone travels in the Philippines, it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and get a cheap ride to out of town or even to a place. These Jeepneys are crazy cheap only costing sometimes 8-30 pesos. I know right, that’s next to nothing!
With that, haggling for cheap deals is only done with tricycle rides and you can’t often budge them too far. They know the price, they know you are a tourist and what’s fair is fair. It is such a small amount of money to us too that I would rarely say no to a tricycle unless they asked for an outlandish price.
And here I am catching a tricycle which is the norm
My advice when traveling in the Philippines would be to allow A LOT of time. I am not joking either; spend as much time here as you possibly can. Which is not just because traveling in the Philippines generally takes longer than expected but mainly because the Philippines is one of the most beautiful countries on earth. Not even kidding here guys! I can’t rave about it more and yes there will be a post to come out on why the Philippines is my favorite country and why you are missing out if you don’t visit so stay tuned for that one too.
I hope I brought you a little insight on travel in the Philippines and if you have any epic stories, such as sinking ferries, crashes or massive delays please share in the comment box below