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Travelling to the Philippines - seeking Recommendations and Advice

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  • Sep 18th, 2016 10:27 pm
[OP]
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May 24, 2004
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Travelling to the Philippines - seeking Recommendations and Advice

My wife and I (in our thirties) willing be stopping over in Philippines for 3 days and would like for those that have been there to share their experiences, to-do's, places to go and not to go, etc. We are travel virgins have not been overseas before. With the recent terrorist attack that happened recently in the country, I am wary of setting foot in the country. Can anyone provide us with any advice to aid in our travel within the country?

Additional information
1st week of October
Landing in Manila International Airport
19 replies
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May 9, 2009
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What recent terrorist attack are you referring to? Have all the terrorists attacks in the US made you wary to set foot there? You'll be fine so long as you avoid the Mindanao region (with the exception of Davao City) and the Sulu Archipelago. Both are nowhere near Manila. I recently returned from 5 weeks in Manila and this was my third extended trip. I've never had any issues.

Manila is a pretty big place. Like any big city, your options as a tourist boil down to shopping and visiting museums and other historical sites. Rizal Park and the surrounding attractions are worth a visit and will easily take up a day. There's a lot of great things to do outside Manila but you won't have the time with such a short stay.

Manila was the first place I visited overseas as well. There was definitely a culture shock which I mitigated as much as possible by doing a lot of research before going. Reading articles on Wikipedia & Wikivoyage, reading blogs from locals and expats, etc.

If you have specific questions, I can try to answer them. Also, if you give more details on what you and your wife like to do, I can give you some ideas of things to do.
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Nov 18, 2015
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If this is your first trip abroad,might be good to look for and use a tour company....quick google search came up with several.Example
Malakijoys points programs tips

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Deal Guru
Apr 8, 2013
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baymoe wrote: It was a recent bombing attack in Davao City.
Davao bombing that killed 14 and wounded many others

We are interested in going on hikes and being outdoors.

While there, did you partake in any local tours around the city?
I would check out puerto princesa, its only about 1-2 hr from manila. AMAZING SCENERY. Hiking, beaches, trails, caves, lagoons. You name it.

You are only there for 3 days and you are a travel virgin. A guide would be a huge plus. You can maximize the use of your time.

You should be safe as long as you dont go to mindanao. Yes, Davao is generally safe but with the recent bombing the alert is high. They might hit them again. I wouldnt suggest traveling there specially if its your first time. Just stay away from mindanao.
[OP]
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May 24, 2004
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I hope flights to Puerto Princesa isn't terribly expensive. I was also suggested to visit Boracay, but due to the short stay, may only be able to visit one place.

Places to avoid is invaluable. I will be sure to avoid those areas.

For others who are also thinking of travelling there, the Tondo region is a place to avoid.
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baymoe wrote: I hope flights to Puerto Princesa isn't terribly expensive. I was also suggested to visit Boracay, but due to the short stay, may only be able to visit one place.

Places to avoid is invaluable. I will be sure to avoid those areas.

For others who are also thinking of travelling there, the Tondo region is a place to avoid.
Most locals will suggest Puerto Princesa over Boracay as the latter has become incredibly touristy (though still beautiful). It's also a lot closer. Flights are cheap by Canadian standards, especially if you can avoid checking a bag. Keep in mind that though the flight might only be an hour long, you need to arrive an hour early at the airport and travel to/from the airport will take at least 30 mins. So that 1 hour flight each way actually takes up ~6 hours of your time.

You mentioned you're stopping over for three days but made no mention of times/dates, where you're coming from and where you're going to. Don't forget to factor in arrival and departure times as well as jetlag in to your plans. For example, if you land in the morning of Day 1 and leave the evening of Day 3, you actually have less than 2.5 days in Manila. Also, let's say you arrive in Manila from Vancouver at 5 AM. You won't get out of the airport until at least 6 AM and then you'll need another 30 minutes to get to your hotel. You'll probably want to take a nap at that point. Even if you don't need a nap, you still won't be able to do much until 9 or 10 AM. And if you are arriving that early, you'll need to arrange for early check-in with your hotel and maybe even pay for the previous night to ensure you have a room available when you arrive. Then, if your departing flight is at 9 PM on Day 3, you'll need to start making your way to the airport around 5 PM (~1 hour for traffic, 3 hours to check-in, clear security, etc).

All this to say that depending on your timeline, don't get too over-ambitious with your plans. You might be able to squeeze a 36 hour trip to Puerto Princesa but would it really be worth it?

As for places to avoid, you're worrying too much. The Philippines is made up of over 7000 little islands. The places to avoid are nowhere near where you'll be going. You can't land in Manila and accidentally stumble in to the Mindanao region. It's like if someone told you "Hey, I'm coming to Canada and staying in Calgary" and you tell them to avoid a seedy neighbourhood in Toronto.
Deal Guru
Apr 8, 2013
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baymoe wrote: I hope flights to Puerto Princesa isn't terribly expensive. I was also suggested to visit Boracay, but due to the short stay, may only be able to visit one place.

Places to avoid is invaluable. I will be sure to avoid those areas.

For others who are also thinking of travelling there, the Tondo region is a place to avoid.
No its not really expensive. Once your in the philippines, almost everything is quite affordable. Boracay is great too. There are alot more people in boracay. Alot more tourist if thats what you want. Its better if you want to "party". Its way more developed and you can go to the mall and then the beach. Its great, if you have kids.

Puerto princessa is all about scenery. What a beautiful place.
All this to say that depending on your timeline, don't get too over-ambitious with your plans. You might be able to squeeze a 36 hour trip to Puerto Princesa but would it really be worth it?
Thats true. That 1-2 flight could take up to 6 hours including preparation and traffic. 12 hours of travel time but as soon you get there, it should be worth it.
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Nov 25, 2014
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3 days is too short for outside Manila. Though you can get a connecting flight to Caticlan for Boracay. You wil get faster from Caticlan Airport to Boracay Island than from Manila International Airport to your hotel if you stay in Manila. At this time, traffic is very bad in Manila due to road repairs and skyway construction.
But check the weather, it's typhoon season there. We just had a typhoon yesterday and another is on the way.
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Oct 2, 2006
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My favorite spot in the Philippines is El Nido. It's on the same island as Puerto Princesa, so you can visit both places if you wish.

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Another island I would recommend is Bohol. Lots of things to do and it's a short ferry ride from Cebu.
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Jan 31, 2013
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We're going to Bohol in March, but it'll be for a week.

Before deciding on Bohol, we were looking into Palawan (Puerto Princesa and El Nido) as well. Although El Nido looks beautiful, it will be way too much travelling for only 3 days. It's my understanding it's an almost 5 hour drive from Puerto Princesa?
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Apr 8, 2013
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Poutinesauce wrote: I will be going to Davao again in spite of the bombing since I like the city, but we will stay a few days and we will avoid the places that attract a lot of people but which have little to no security (like the night market).
Stay safe.
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Oct 18, 2014
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The Phils is one of the most underrated places to go, yet so beautiful and awesome, and not full of tourists. since this is your first experience, I suggest you do a tour. It will give you an idea how to plan future trips rather on the go. In Asia, tours are cheap since the labour costs is low, so you are paying almost "at cost" for the transportation, meals, tickets etc...while having a guide explain to you things that are always in the books.
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Oct 5, 2004
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A few suggestions given here are not relevant considering you only have 3 days. If you don't want to stay in Manila, you can catch a quick flight to Boracay and spend it there on a beach. 3 days is not a lot. Luzon is another good place to visit up north, but I doubt you you buy tickets on a short notice.
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