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Life in the Philippines

Last year I flew to the Philippines with my friend Adam.  We were flying in to Manila, and then getting on a domestic plane to fly to a different city, Iloilo City, Iloilo, Philippines.  The purpose of this trip was to go visit Adam's girlfriend, Sybel, who was very helpful at making us feel at home.  Sybel had a bunch of brothers and her brothers had a bunch of friends who all immediately became our friends and helped us a bunch during our trip there.  They welcomed us into their gang and helped us to stay out of trouble (for the most part).  

Manila Airport (MNL) Internatinal and Domestic

If you are arriving in the international terminal and need to take a flight to a different island domestically, it is a nightmare.  The two terminals aren't connected in any way, and you need to find a taxi and have them drive you from the international terminal (where you arrive) to the domestic terminal.  It's kinda hard to grab a taxi and you definitely need to be assertive.  Tell the driver you want to go to the domestic terminal and he will probably know what you're talking about, if he can't understand you, say sorry and try another taxi.  The roads are super busy and clustered around the airport, with overpasses and side streets going every which way.  Traffic jams and the seemingly constant state of rush hour means that it will take your taxi guy around 40 minutes to get to the other terminal!  At least that's how it was for me.  So definitely if you're doing anything with this airport, make sure you are super, super early and have plenty of time so you don't miss your flight.  

I had to sleep in the international terminal through the night to wait for my morning flight back home, of all the airports to sleep in, this is probably the worst, I slept on a cold cement floor and a security guard would poke me to wake me up every 45 minutes to "make sure nobody robbed me"...? idk, I was confused by that.. 

Cedrick, me and Adam playing with fire in our kitchen. We rented this house for 50 USD a month, and it was right across the pathway from Sybel's house.
Our front yard

Philippines FAQ

Can I drink the water in the Philippines?

  • No, Adam and I bought bottled water every day and if I remember right, the people living there would get water shipped in, in big containers for drinking.  Definitely don't drink the water from a spout.

Is food cheap in the Philippines?

  • Yeah it is, this is one of the cheapest places I have been to, Adam was constantly, "Bulking up" maybe a little too much... You can get plates of cooked food for a couple bucks, and glass bottle Coca Cola and Mountain Dew for a quarter.  

Is a place to stay / hotel cheap in the Philippines? 

  • We rented a house for 50 bucks a month.  A few days we walked out of our village and into iloilo and bought a hotel room.  Concierge desk, two beds, a shower, air conditioning, for 12 bucks a night. 

Should I order Pizza in the Philippines?

  • No, it is a weird round thing with green tomatoes on it and Kraft Singles cheese, I would stay away from the pizza unless your are really hungry. 

Should I eat the chicken intestines on a stick sold by street vendors?

  • Adam and Sybel thought it would be funny to give me this without telling me what it is to see if I liked it.  I did not.  I also got UNGODLY SICK!  I literally couldn't get out of bed for a day straight, it was terrible... I was constantly throwing up too.  If you listen to me for once in your life, do not eat the chicken intestines on a stick... 

If you have any other questions, type them in the comments below and I will add them to this list.

Packing List

  • Sandals (you are definitely going to want sandals)
  • Flashlight (for sketchy late night situations)
  • Backpack (I wouldn't want to check anything on the plane, it would be a nightmare getting it back)
  • Sunglasses
  • Shorts
  • Clothes for hot environment
  • Ibuprofen for headaches

My lightweight travel sandals:  http://amzn.to/1WnGIns
My Travel Backpack:  http://amzn.to/1T9m1aU

Philippines weather

If there is one place on planet earth that I would classify as hot, it's the Philippines!  It was like over a hundred degrees everyday, and extremely humid.  I ended up just doing my laundry in a sink, and rinsing out my clothes all the time just to try to keep them clean.  You will definitely not need any warm clothes on your trip so don't bother packing any.  It is only a little cooler at night but still warm and humid.  The girls in Iloilo would almost always wear tight fitting blue jeans, I don't know how they did it!  The people here don't seem to sweat.

Two neighbor kids flippin' me the bird. I don't think they understand this gesture. Or they do, and they just really don't like me...

Is the Philippines Dangerous

There are few travel destinations that have seemed to me more dangerous than downtown Manila.  We arrived at night, and left the airport to try and find some food, and we both felt pretty uncomfortable with the situation.  The alleyways were dark and janky, reminded me a lot of Gotham city from the Batman movies.  Having said that, nothing happened to us here, and many places you are not familiar with seem dangerous before you get to know them.  But having said that... I'm pretty sure Manila is a dangerous city so you gotta be careful with what you're doing...

In iloilo I got followed home one night as I was walking back to our village alone.  I would turn around and look over my shoulder at this guy (like 20 meters back) and he would also turn and pretend he was doing something else, and then continued to follow me again once I started walking.  I was lost and could barely remember the route back to our house through the trails and turns and eventually ran into some of our local friends.  I was happy to see them, and walked with them back to our house.  Later that night I was alone in the the house.  My door had a super tiny lock on it, so I put some pennies on the door knob so I could hear them fall if anyone tried to come into my room.  I was super tired so I then fell asleep.  Around 3 am, the pennies fell off the knob and bounced across the cement floor and I woke up.  There was someone at the door.  Why didn't they knock first?  Why were they trying to get onto my room in the middle of the night?  Adam was still not home and it was just me in the house so I had no backup if this situation escalated.  So I pretended I wasn't there and didn't make any noise and waited to see what this character was going to do next.  He kept trying to open the door, the little lock was barely holding the door shut and I was looking around the room for some type of weapon to fight this guy with if he managed to get in.  Eventually he gave up with the door..  30 seconds later I heard him outside, and he started trying at the windows... the blinds were closed and lucky for me these windows had bars on them (for good reason I guess...)  This didn't stop him from trying though, he was literally clawing at the glass trying to get in.  He continued this for like a half hour... and then eventually gave up and left.  About a half an hour later Adam came home and I told him about my close encounter and we were both perplexed and had a good laugh about it, but who knows what this intruder wanted, it was pretty unsettling...

So is the Philippines dangerous?  Yeah I guess so...