The Philippines is a truly gorgeous holiday destination, made up of over 7640 islands of all different shapes and sizes. They’re all a little different, providing something for everyone, with beautiful white beaches, stunning viewpoints, epic waterfalls, and home to a whole host of activities like surfing, diving, hiking and many more.
Thankfully, it’s a less popular tourist destination when compared to its neighbours like Indonesia or Thailand. This is likely because you need to fly to the Philippines independently – you can’t simply cross a land border. It’s quickly becoming more popular, but it’s still a bit of a paradise untouched by mass tourism.
Since this destination is still unfamiliar also to some seasoned travellers, I’ve decided to put together this packing list for the Philippines. I’ve covered some cool gadgets and accessories that’ll help make your adventures headache-free, as well as suggestions for essential clothes and other extras.
Let’s dive in.
- 1 What To Pack For The Philippines: Clothes
- 2 What to bring to the Philippines: Accessories
When you’re heading to a new environment, especially one as hot and temperate as the Philippines, it’s imperative that you pack the appropriate clothes so you don’t suffer from heatstroke or sunburn. Here are some of my suggestions for packing for the Philippines:
A long pair of loose baggy pants is the perfect item for the hot and humid weather you’ll experience in the Philippines. They’ll allow some good airflow through their breathable cotton fabric, and won’t stick to you when you’re getting sweaty. The pants will also offer great protection from the sun.
Sunburn can really ruin a great vacation, and while it’s tempting to strip down completely once the sun really starts heating up, you’ve got to remember to stay covered to prevent future suffering. If you’re planning to be on the road for a while you should also consider getting some packing cubes to store your clothes.
An open-fronted kaftan like this SweatyRocks Flowly Kimono is the perfect anywhere-outfit if you’re going to be spending the day in your swimming costume. It also provides great sun coverage but is adjustable if you’re trying to tan.
Here’s a hot tip – if you’re lying awake at night and can’t sleep from the heat, wet your kimono and put it on. Instant, full-body air conditioning.
It’s incredible, when you go somewhere like the Philippines, how many people you see without hats. Sunburn isn’t just uncomfortable, but it can be quite harmful to your skin – especially if you’re paler in complexion.
When it comes to a hat, you’ll want something similar to a Safari Hat Cap – offering coverage on your face, nose, ears and neck, and making sure nothing above your shoulders is left in the sun for too long. Even though it might not quite be your style, you’ll be thankful for it next time you’re on a long scooter ride with no shade on any side of you.
I know I previously said you should cover yourself, but also make sure to not forget a swimsuit! Everywhere you go in the Philippines is a beach and island paradise, you want to be ready to make the most of it! Keep those bikinis ready at hand so you can make the most of the stunning Filipino beaches.
Again, I’ve said above that you should have long loose trousers and some sort of kaftan / kimono, but don’t forget to pack shorts, tank tops and t-shirts! It may sound obvious but I don’t want you always wearing long sleeves or trousers if you don’t need to! For example for the evenings or later in your trip when you’re a bit more tanned and don’t risk getting sunburnt as much.
When looking for things to pack for a trip to the Philippines, there’s a healthy mix of things you probably would have thought of, and many things you probably haven’t.
This guide takes a look at the most important accessories, gadgets or extra items you should bring, just to be sure that your time spent on these gorgeous islands goes as smoothly as possible. Welcome to your Philippines packing list:
More so than any other country in South East Asia that I’ve travelled to the Philippines are extremely open to reusable water bottles. Most hostels, restaurants, bars, hotels and general public establishments will have a water dispenser where you can refill your water bottle. By bringing your own water bottle you can save yourself some cash and do your part in reducing plastic consumption. Some places like El Nido completely banned plastic so if you do any of the island hopping tours you won’t even be allowed to bring a single-use plastic bottle on the boats.
While the Philippines is a relatively safe country, where you don’t have to worry about constantly being on guard, there are chancers in every country on the globe. A great way to erase any worry about your petty cash or valuables being snatched is by using a money belt.
This RFID money belt sits flat along your waist, fitting snugly and comfortably underneath your clothing, keeping all your wallets, passports and documents safe. It also protects your tap-cards with RFID protection, meaning you’re about to become a really difficult person to scam.
A towel is one of the most important things to pack for a trip to the Philippines. While most lodgings and accommodations you’ll stay at will offer towels, many won’t. It can also be quite an added responsibility to lug a massive bath towel up a mountain so you can dry off after a dive into a forest pool.
That’s what makes this Rainleaf Microfiber Towel so perfect. It’s super compact and lightweight, comes with a handy carry bag, and the microfibers allow for better drying, especially in an environment as humid and wet as that of the Philippines.
Wherever you are in the world, in this day and age you’re going to need a spot to charge your mobile phone and laptop, or any other accessories you may bring around with you day-to-day. The Philippines has a plug-type that they share with Japan, which you might have issues using if you’re bringing in plugs from overseas.
Everywhere I travel to I always bring with me an international adapter. They’re a bit bulkier than country specific ones but I would much rather only have one that I can use all over the world, than have to purchase a new one every time I change country.
When you’re in the Philippines, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be constantly in and out of the water, whether you’re at a hotel pool, the seaside or hiking up to a waterfall. If you’re going to be carrying a camera, or any other electronics with you, you’re going to want to make sure they stay fully dry throughout your adventures.
The KAKA Travel Backpack is the perfect everyday carry backpack for tech lovers exploring near water. It’s made from high-quality terylene oxford fabric which is water and scratch resistant, keeping your valuables safe and dry. It also has anti-theft features to keep any chancers out of your belongings. It’s well compartmentalized and comes with a secure password lock, which is a big bonus.
There’s not much that hasn’t been said already about the GoPro HERO6 Black. While it’s a bit of a luxury, if you can afford to get your hands on one, it’ll make for a lifetime of fantastic memories that you most probably wouldn’t have been able to capture otherwise.
This model shoots at 4K / 30fps, has a touch screen and voice control features, image stabilization, and can be controlled remotely using a mobile phone over BlueTooth. Whether you’re snorkelling with turtles in Moalboal, island hopping in Siargao, swimming in the clear water of Malcapuya Island, or canyoneering in Kawasan Falls, it’s the perfect camera for capturing all your underwater escapades. If you have space in your backpack I highly recommend adding a GoPro dome to your camera gear, so that you can get cool 50 / 50 over and under shots like the one below! (read my full review and guide on how to use a GoPro dome here)
When you’re out adventuring in an unfamiliar place, a Headlamp Flashlight is essential. Whether you’re using it for an early morning jog, walking home from a rural restaurant late at night, or even just staying somewhere the lighting isn’t great. It’s a really handy tool to have – and perhaps one of the most essential.
We’ve said it before, you don’t want to get sunburnt in the Philippines. I noticed when I was in the Philippines that a lot of the local shops often sell moisturiser and sun protection cream that contains whitening elements, I was often unable to find normal sunscreen at small convenience stores. While I obviously want to protect my skin from the sun, I’m not really looking to become paler, I’m at a beach and tropical destination also to get a tan after all! It’s easier if you bring good sun block with you from home.
Another ultimate essential when travelling is a first aid kit. The Surviveware Small First Aid kit is the perfect little kit for travel, allowing you to patch small wounds and injuries, and give immediate treatment for any number of minor injuries.
A first aid kit like this can often mean the difference between a small injury, and a medical emergency, especially if you’re far away from professional medical attention. I’d also recommend you do some reading on how to use the kit properly for treating basic wounds, as that will only give you a headstart over any potential injuries you might encounter.
You should now be well on your way to being packed and ready to go to the Philippines. The Philippines are a stunning destination and I’m sure you will love them, they’re amongst my favourite places I’ve travelled to lately and I definitely want to go back. I hope you’ve found this packing guide useful in helping you figure out what to pack for the Philippines. It’s based on the items and clothes I brought myself for my Philippines trip. If you’re looking for more Philippines inspiration, make sure to check out my Cebu itinerary.
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