Phillipines Travel Insights

Photo by Cealwyn

Travel advice covering the basics when preparing to travel to Phillipines.


Alongside the indigenous people, who migrated to the islands from surrounding countries over several centuries, Manila was settled by Muslims. By the mid-1500s however, with Spain in full empire mode, the Phillipines was colonized and widely Christianized. Spain ruled the country for the next 300 years. In its war with Spain in 1898, the United States won control over the Philippines—albeit with a $20 million price-tag—until 1946, when efforts at independence that began during the 1930s, and were interrupted by WWII, came to fruition. The Philippines became a nation under indigenous control on July 4, 1946, though has suffered from political instability and insurgencies through to the 1990s. Now mostly peaceful, with pockets of communist and separatist violence.

When to Go

The Philippines is a tropical country, known for its sometimes oppressive humidity. The hot summer season runs from March to May, the rainy season from June to October (with August being the wettest), and the cool dry season from November to February. Typhoons of varying strength are frequent during the rainy season, can wash out roads and interrupt domestic flights. Christmas and Easter are major holidays in the Philippines, and when domestic travel is at its busiest.

Getting There and Around

Most international flights fly into Manila, with daily flights out of Hong Kong from major regional airlines. Easiest route from Canada is from Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver to Seoul or Hong Kong, then connector flights to Manila. Total flying time is about 25 hours. Once in country, you can travel through the islands by domestic plane, bus, ship and especially ferry—every coastal town or barrio has a ferry service. One railway line runs on Luzon Island only.

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