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Do's and Don'ts in the Philippines

PHILIPPINES | Wednesday, 31 August 2011 | Views [10510] | Comments [4]

There are plenty out there that categorize the Philippines as an exotic destination.  So as a public service to those who are interested in braving the foreign frontier that is my backyard, I compile a few tips here to help you survive as soon as you touch down:

1.  DO pack light clothing.  The Philippines is a tropical country and rains are usually preceded by humidity like nowhere else.  DON’T come without being prepared.  The Philippines is also prone to typhoons that, even with warnings from the weather bureau, always manage to surprise us with how intense (or mild) they turn out to be.

2.  DO learn key phrases in Tagalog.  We appreciate it when foreign people make an effort and will reward you by teaching you more.  For your own sake, DON’T repeat everything we teach unless you’re positive of what they mean.  We admit to getting too much of a kick out of hearing bad words spoken in different accents.

3.  DO visit Philippine beaches because that’s what we’re famous for.  But DON’T think that seeing the tribal north is any less rewarding. 

4.  When hosted by locals, DO eat when you’re offered food.  People that get offended when guests refuse to eat actually exist here, so best be on the safe side and have a little something.  In cases where someone is in the middle of eating his own meal, DON’T be surprised when you’re invited to partake in it.  It’s just something Filipinos do and you’re not actually meant to take him up on that offer.  (Though if you really were that hungry, I’m sure you’ll be given a fair share too.)

5.DO greet friends like a local.  “Beso-beso”, or making your cheek come in contact with another’s, is a common way to greet a friend here.  But DON’T be shy to show us how YOU greet close friends.  We are always interested to learn how other people do it.

7.  DO have a taste of the only burger chain in the world that has ever trumped McDonald’s:  Jollibee!  But DON’T make the mistake of thinking that this is the only thing we have going for us when it comes to food.  Adobo and balut you’ve probably heard of, but these are just two out of many delicacies that make up the Philippine gastronomic experience.

8.  DO travel in local style.  The jeepney has long been a symbol of the country and its people’s creativity.  There have been concerns of late that the art of jeepney making is slowly coming to a decline, so make sure to hop on before the streets are clear of these colorful modes of travel.  DON’T be too trusting of taxis in the metro.  But of course you already knew that, right?

9.  DO be a sport when it comes to videoke.  Doing it with friends is fun and definitely safer than news on the infamous “My Way” killings will have you believe.  And DON’T take it too seriously.  We promise that your effort should make up for any lack of talent and will be enthusiastically applauded.

10. DO travel beyond the beaten path if you are keen to discover a more personal experience of the country.  If you stick to the big malls and the usual stuff, DON’T say I didn’t warn you.

11. DO pack nice clothes for an evening out.  It’s true that you can wear flip-flops and shorts on a regular basis, but Filipinos like to make a big production out of a night out or a “gimmick”, which is what we like to call it.  Come prepared to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb, but DON’T feel bad if you forget the fancy threads at home.  We understand and are used to seeing backpackers in the city all the time.

12. DO get married in the Philippines if you are truly in love.  As of 2011, we are the only country in the world where divorce is still illegal.  And obviously, DON’T take that last part seriously:)

Of course the most important DO of all is to travel with Filipino friends if you have them.   Not only will they guide you through the dos and dont’s listed above, but they will also take you to the best places and make sure to show you the best time ever.  DON’T be shocked if you end up wanting to stay longer than planned…

Tags: #blogyourbackyard



Hi traveltym,

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  travel-competitions Sep 14, 2011 9:47 AM


Really enjoyed this post! I am going to the Philippines in November so it's good to learn some new things before :)

  crazy sexy fun traveler Sep 28, 2011 8:25 AM


thanx :) i really enjoyed the Philippines last winter. i will go back! thanx for your welcome

  sapote Sep 28, 2011 10:32 AM


Hi, traveltym! I enjoyed your article! I'd like to ask for your permission if I could use a bunch of this for a youtube video. It's very informative and I'd like to share it through a video presentation. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you and keep writing! =)

-Stephanie Ecate

  Stephanie Ecate Jan 5, 2014 9:21 PM

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