1. Get a local SIM card
As wifi is pretty non existent in the Philippines, purchasing a local SIM makes things a lot easier for booking accommodation on the go, using Google maps to get around or grabbing an Uber. We went with a SMART SIM, which are available at the airport, just look out for the green pop up stands. You can also get them in the bigger locations like Boracay, Cebu city and Manila. Just speak with the SMART rep and they’ll tell you all the different Internet deals.
2. Uber and Grab
Travelling around cities like Cebu and Manila can be stressful and unfortunately unavoidable. To get from island to island, you must taxi it between airport terminals or airport and ferry ports. We got so sick of bargaining with taxi drivers who were trying to charge extortionate prices (that would rival Sydney!), so we gave up and downloaded Uber. The cars are comfy the journeys are cheap. We took at 45 minute Uber from Cebu bus terminal to the airport and it only cost 240PHP.
3. Rent a bike
This is a tip we swear by on every trip we go on! Scooters are the best and by far the cheapest way to get around the Philippines and you can see so much more! Forget booking tours, rent a bike for about 400-500PHP, get out Google maps on your new local SIM and set off on your own adventure!
4. Low Expectations for Accommodation
Try keep your expectations reasonable when it comes to booking hostels/hotels in the Philippines. The smaller islands of the Philippines are still developing and trying to keep up with the influx of tourists. Do not book a holiday to the Philippines if you’re into the life of luxury. Accommodation is cheap, but it’s also very basic. In the likes of Thailand, 40AUD will get you a night in a spacious room, with white sheets and towels, aircon and a tv with decent wifi. In the Philippines you will be lucky to have a hot shower during your stay. However, the draw to the Phillippines isn’t its hotels, it’s the beautiful islands, beaches and nature. So get out of your hotel room, get on your scooter and get busy exploring!
5. Intermittent Electricity
A lot of destinations in the Philippines have limited electricity. Some towns run on generators after sundown and others cut electricity off altogether at nighttime. Make sure you have all your portable chargers ready, and accommodation booked in advance.