So many packing lists start with “I’m an overplanner. I know exactly what to pack. I am prepared for every single situation.”
Who else is the total opposite?!
Okay, maybe not you, you’re doing the smart thing and looking it up first. #WeNeedMoreYous
But I’m the total opposite. I don’t bring that much besides clothes, which leads to me not bringing a bunch of things that would have been LIFESAVERS on my trips, or having to buy convenient but cheap knockoffs that fall apart after a few minutes.
Like… in my recent two week vacation to The Philippines. Every day in the Philippines, I realized I forgot to pack something else that made the day suck for five minutes (or in the case of #3, 4 days).*
Please learn from my mistakes. Here’s what you need to pack for the Philippines! To be honest, I think my under-preparedness is more useful for you, since you’ll know exactly what to pack and why! No fluff!
In This Post
Don’t forget to pack these!
Waterproof Phone Pouch
You’re probably going to the Philippines to do a bunch of epic water activities. Kayaking in lagoons, swimming with whale sharks, snorkeling to colorful corals, etc.
If you want to take pictures of everything without water damaging your phone, you need a waterproof phone pouch! If you have a fancy waterproof case already, great, but I prefer this kind so you don’t have to hold it while swimming!
I didn’t pack this, so I bought a cheap one while I was there. While it worked for a glorious 10 minutes, it broke after a bit and I missed so many cool photo opportunities. At least memories are priceless… while you can remember them…
Note: Replace “phone” with any electronic you want to bring with you during water activities- GoPro, tablet, etc.
You’ll need to dry off after all those water activities, and these are the perfect towel to pack because they don’t take up a lot of space in your luggage and dry relatively quickly.
I’m sorry to all the people who follow my blog, because you’ve probably noticed that I talk about these towels in every other post, and it might be really annoying reading the same thing over and over. But microfiber towels are a travel life changer. I can’t stop.
Some countries don’t have safe tap water- including the Philippines. If you drink the tap water (btw, this includes ice made with tap water) in these countries, you may get sick because your body isn’t used to the things in the water. Yes, this could mean no iced coffees or blended smoothies.
Some places in the Philippines use filtered water, but sometimes it’s hard to double check with language barriers, and sometimes you might forget to check while you’re in an uncaffeinated haze. Staying safe is still important though. Trust me. I accidentally drank tap water ice and had explosive diarrhea for four days. Explosive diarrhea.
So I did a little investigation and found out that there are actually highly reviewed ways to filter your water before drinking it! Like straw filters! I personally have not used this yet, but most reviews recommended it. Now that I am an owner, I will update this post after I get a chance to put it in use. You investigate and see what’s best for you though.
Toilet paper and/or wipes
Similar to Europe, not all toilets in The Philippines come with toilet paper (or bedets).
But unlike Europe, there isn’t always someone outside selling it.
Please bring your own toilet paper or baby wipes- you don’t necessarily need to pack this for the plane, but you can grab some from the stores in the Philippines to put in your day bag. With or without explosive diarrhea, you need toilet paper.
Yes for the plane, but also if you’ll be driving around the country a ton, a neck pillow is really helpful. For example, if you’re taking the 6 hour shuttle from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Or even if you’re just going from one side of Manila to the other, the city is massive and traffic is terrible, so you’ll be in the car for a bit. Get comfy!
Not all neck pillows are the U shape by the way, in case those don’t actually work for you. You can find all different shapes online! Like this totally adjustable neck pillow!
Disclaimer: I’m getting old, so my neck is way more sensitive to bumpy roads than it used to be.
Reusable water bottle
Yeah, yeah, everyone wants you to bring a reusable water bottle. But FYI for the Philippines- you’re literally not allowed to bring plastic ones in some places, namely places in Palawan.
According to our hotel keeper, part of this is because cities in Palawan like El Nido had beaches that were so trashed in the past with waste. Once one of the mayors in recent years started promoting cleaning up and implementing more sustainable waste practices, that’s when it started being built up as a tourist destination. Help keep the city clean and try to avoid purchasing more single use plastics.
And just BTW – cigarette butts don’t biodegrade and are way more present in our oceans and beaches than plastic bags or bottles. Please don’t leave your cigarette butts on the ground (not that you’ll listen- since lung cancer doesn’t mean anything to you, would the environment?).
Sunglasses that preserve color balance
Sunglasses are a given in bright, sunny places like the Philippines, but you may not want to get ones that make everything a different color for optimal beautiful island appreciation!
I hadn’t realized this was a thing, until we were seeing all these beautiful beaches in The Philippines, and I realized I was seeing them in the wrong color! My boyfriend’s sunglasses by Electric for example are grey and therefore according to this site, preserve all color recognition because they’re grey.
Obviously if you have a condition where you need a particular lens, listen to your doctor and not the random girl on the internet.
This is honestly the difference I saw. Still beautiful, but actual #fakenews!
Duh. You’ll be in a tropical island paradise.
Sure, you can get this in the Philippines if you forget, but most of their sunscreens are “whitening”. Same goes with any beauty products you need- lotion, soap, cleanser, etc. Most of it will be “whitening”. If you want this, great. Like I always get whitening deodorant when I’m in Asia to lighten my underarms. If you don’t, don’t forget to pack not whitening versions!
Optional things to pack for the Philippines
These are items that you may or may not find useful to pack for the Philippines. Scroll through and see if anything will apply to your situation!
At least one pair of long pants and a light cardigan
You should mostly bring summer clothes like listed below because you’ll be in tropical island paradise. Shorts, light clothes, swimsuits, etc.
But depending on your trip, you might need to cover up.
Like if you’re going inside one of the Philippines’ many beautiful churches, cathedrals, or religious centers. You can’t wear booty shorts and tank tops in these houses of God.
Or if you’re heading to slightly cooler, mountain cities like Baguio, you’ll probably want a light extra layer. It’s usually cooler here than in the beach cities.
And depending on your body type (i.e. if you’re like me and get cold easily), you’ll want this for days you’re in the bus/car for long periods of time since they blast the AC.
If you already have these, great- you know that they’ll make walking on wet, rocky surfaces easier, and you probably want to bring them.
If you don’t, I don’t think it’s worth it to buy them for once, since you can rent them in The Philippines too! Either way, these are so helpful for the rocky beaches.
Like said above, you’ll probably be doing a lot of water activities. If you want to bring a lot of stuff with you, like a change of clothes, electronics, or money, this will help keep them dry!
Well if you’re US based, you don’t need an adapter if your electronics are dual charge. If not, you may want a voltage converter. You can double check this website for more info.
So this was something I did bring, and I loved it for staying dry while on boats (I know, I’m that weirdo wearing a jacket while island hopping in the ocean), but I’m putting it here in case you hate being unnecessarily wet like me.
I love this super packable one from Uniqlo because it takes up such little space in my luggage. You don’t notice it’s there. And since it’s so light, it’s perfect for places that are actually hot, like the Philippines!
Tampons or Menstrual cup
If you don’t like pads, know that pad alternatives are not easy to find in some countries like the Philippines, so you’ll want to bring your own stuff. I’m actually #teamPad (hey, my family is from here), and even then I packed a ton of pads because I knew my period was coming and hate desperately looking for pads as blood is dripping out of my vagina. Up to you and your cycle and preferences though!
Clothes to pack for the Philippines
Hopefully you weren’t planning on forgetting these, but just in case! Since the Philippines are tropical island paradise, you’ll want lots of light, summer-y clothes. I was there for two weeks, and it felt like I had the perfect amount of stuff. I packed:
- 4 shorts
- 3 long pants and 4 light cardigans
- You don’t necessarily need to pack these, but I’m that person in long pants and a cardigan when it’s 80°F because the sun is burning my skin.
- 1 pair of leggings
- I actually didn’t use these at all, but you never know
- 4 dresses
- I was also in the Philippines for a wedding, so
- 1 pair of flats
- 2 pairs of nice sandals
- 1 pair of tennis shoes
- If you’re hiking, you may instead want hiking boots
- 4 nicer tanks
- Like not spaghetti straps, but ones you’d wear around your conservative family
- 5 shirts
- A light rain jacket
- 1 swimsuit
- 3 pairs of socks
- Underwear and bras
I did do laundry at my auntie’s house and had a few outfits I didn’t use (which I actually prefer, because I Iike being able to choose between different outfits).
And there’s my packing list for the Philippines! Of course, don’t forget the travel essentials like your passport, money, etc, but I hope this helps you to remember to pack the things that are easier to forget!