Travelling basics you should be familiar with before travelling to Philippines. Part II. continues where part I. ended – from letter K until Z.
K – Kotong gangs
There are only few criminal behavior you should be aware off. Kotong gangs (kotong means rip off in slang) are people offering you favorable change of money, but instead of change they steal your money. There reason for you to change outside of bank and real exchange office, so tick with those. Emergency number-just in case- is 166.
L – Language
Everybody, really EVERYBODY in Philippines can speak English. Therefore, you are not going to meet any language difficulties. I sincerely wish communication in English would work just so smoothly in all other countries (including my home country).
M – Mango
The most delicious fruit I ate in Philippines. Try to consume it as much as you can – in all the shapes. Get mango shake or juice every day. It costs about 100 pesos (1,89 Euro) and gives you all the vitamins you need on your journey.
N – Napkins
Napkins/tissues and small bottle of sanitizer is what is gonna be useful for you anytime you reach public toilets. When it comes to other items of personal hygiene such as shampoo, body wash and others, don’t waste space in your backpack or suitcase and just easily buy them in the Philippines.
O – Ocean
Going under water is a must in Philippines! No matter if you choose to dive or snorkel- there is just so much waiting for you under the sea level. I tried snorkeling several times when joining island hopping tours in El Nido and Coron. Besides coral of all possible colors and shapes, I have encountered down there also fishes and even one turtle!
Q – Questions
Don’t be shy to approach locals if something is not clear to you. Filipinos are very friendly and helpful. One thing which surprised me (and several times even embarrassed me) was the respect Filipino showed when treating me. Get ready to be addressed “Madam” (or shortly “Mam” and Sir, even if you are younger than your conversation partner.
R – Repellent
According to World Health Organization, over 12 million people in the Philippines (almost 13% of the population) are at high-risk of malaria causing death. The best prevention if- of course -not to be bitten. So bring your repellent and USE it. Check your room when moving in and if you think it is not very well protected from mosquitoes, ask for mosquito net.
S – Sari Sari shop
Small room or simple “whole in the hall” where you can buy everything starting from shampoo to snacks and beer. Every product comes in the smallest package possible (very handy for travelling). Some of the shops even operate 24 hours a day.
T – Tampons
Girls, arrive with your tools as you cannot buy it in Philippines. In my search, I did not succeed even in one of the modern Manila shopping malls. It is also useless to try explain to one of many shopkeepers what you are rearching- I had impression they did not even have idea about that product.
U – UNESCO
(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). There are 8 World Heritage Sites in the Philippines: four Baroque Churches built by Spanish (including San Agustin Church in Manila), Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordillera, The Historic City of Vigan, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
V – Visa
You don’t need any visa if you are staying 21 days or less. It is enough to have valid passport with you. The officials will stamp to your passport a date when you have t leave (21 days from your arrival). If you decide to stay longer, you have to apply for extension.
W – Weather
Check the weather for your specific location. There are four recognized climate types in the Philippines. When I was travelling, there it was dry period in the northern Luzon, but as soon as I reached Mindanao, I started to encounter rain showers every day (mainly during the night, so it was not such a big problem).
X – eXtra money
Every time you fly, you need to have some cash money with you to pay airport fee. At small domestic airports it is only about 30 php, but for international flights it is more. When leaving Philippines with international flight, you pay PHP 550 from Manila and Cebu and 600 php from Clark. Make sure you have something left even after buying souvenirs.
Z – Zip Line
Zip lines represent activity delivering lot of adrenalin to your blood! I haven’t tried but some people say it is like flying. Ziplines are u metal cables set up from high ground, slanting down to a lower area. Connected to the cable is a pulley with a harness meant to hold people as they zip down to lower ground. Have safe rideJ