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Your Holiday Guide to the Philippines

The Philippines, an archipelago made up of over 7,000 islands in Southeast Asia, is a beautiful country with a diverse ecosystem of beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, plants, and animals. Featuring a plethora of natural beauty, it is a popular tourist destination for visitors around the world.

Named after King Philip II of Spain, the history has given this island nation a unique culture with influences taken from Spanish societies and those around the globe. The diversity offered by this country never fails to attract millions of tourists from all over the world every year.

In this Pacific Prime article, we will walk through things that you need to know for an enjoyable trip to the Philippines. From geography and weather to food and culture, this holiday guide to the Philippines is going to help you explore the wonders of the country like no other.

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The Philippines is located in the western Pacific Ocean, surrounded by Taiwan, Vietnam, Borneo, and parts of Indonesia. The country comprises over 7,000 islands, but only 2,000 of which are inhabited.

The islands are divided into three groups – Luzon (North), Visayas (Center), and Mindanao (South) – and further split up into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 138 cities, 1,496 municipalities, and 42,025 barangays (small village-like units).

Like many archipelagos, the islands frequently experience volcanic and seismic activity. Little do you know, around 20 earthquakes happen every day, although most of them are too small to be detected by humans.

Because of this volcanic activity, the Philippines is rich in minerals, including what are said to be the world’s second-largest deposits of gold, copper, nickel, chromite, and zinc.

But the forces of nature don’t mean the Philippines is a deserted, untouched country. Shockingly, the islands are home to more than 117 million people, making this the world’s 13th most populated country. The nation’s capital, Manila, is even the 18th most populated metropolitan area in the world.


As with features such as volcanoes and earthquakes, the weather in the Philippines can also be unpredictable. High winds, monsoons, and typhoons have all been known to plague the Philippine coasts and other locations on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

But this offbeat weather has its perks, encouraging the diversity of nature on the islands. If planning a visit, simply knowing the general weather patterns can be useful. While normally hot and humid, there are still three distinct seasons in the Philippines:

  • Hot and dry season: March to May
  • Rainy season: June to November
  • Cool and dry season: December to February


The culture of the Philippines is a mixture of Eastern and Western influences, displaying many Asian traits but also parts of Spanish and American culture.

The Spanish influence was prevalent in the architecture of the Philippines, much of which was destroyed in World War II. Some examples, mainly in churches, government buildings, and universities, can still be seen today.

Another unique example of Spanish influence is the prevalence of Spanish surnames. While not necessarily indicative of Spanish heritage, these date back to a colonial decree that dictated the wide distribution of such last names.

An American influence can be readily detected in the use of the English language and the acceptance of American trends, especially fast food, film, and music.

Unfortunately, some traditional practices are being lost as the years go on. Organizations like the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company have been working hard to preserve customs like traditional Philippine dances by ensuring their practice and performance continue.

Many districts also celebrate the feast days of patron saints with festivals of music, food, and dancing.


Like other parts of the culture, the food of the Philippines is a mixture of its many influences. American, Hispanic, Chinese, and other Asian techniques blend with local Philippine ingredients and flavor to create a unique cuisine.

Dishes range from very simple and common Asian meals like fried salted fish and rice to intricate fiesta cuisines, like paellas and cocidos.

An interesting point to note (and another example of foreign influence) is that, unlike many other Asian countries, Filipinos eat with Western utensils as opposed to chopsticks.


Some things persist across cultures and time and the importance of family is one value that has been preserved to this day in the Philippines.

The family, including the nuclear family, extended relatives, and even unrelated people close to families (godparents and close friends for example) are the center of Philippine society.

Children may grow up with many godparents, and it is normal for family connections to seep into the professional world too. It is not uncommon to see family members working together, as preference is sometimes given to relatives seeking work.

One aspect that is not unique to the Philippines in Asia is the idea of shame, or “hiya.” This shame dictates how many people act in public, as they feel they have to live up to social standards or they will disgrace themselves and their families.

Because of the rainforests and so many miles of coastline, the biodiversity is rich in the Philippines. More than 100 mammals, 170 birds, and 3,200 plants are thought to be unique to the Philippine Islands.

Exploring marine sanctuaries, islands, beaches, hiking trails, and remote villages are all ways to get closer to nature in this island country.

The Tubbataha Reef

Tubbataha Reef

The Tubbataha Reef is a popular place to dive among the coral reef walls. It is home to more than 1,200 marine species, including sea grasses and algae, corals, sharks, rays, fishes, sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals – the perfect location for all ocean lovers.

San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church, Philippines

Built between 1587 and 1606, San Agustin Church is the oldest church in the Philippines and the only building standing after the destruction of Intramuros in WWII. Inside the church are must-see carvings and paintings with historical value.

Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano, Philippines

Camp, climb, hike, bird watch, and take in the scenery at the most active volcano in the Philippines. Mayon Volcano’s perfectly symmetric conical shape has inspired many legends and art and is regarded as sacred in Philippine mythology.

Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa, Philipipnes

Puerto Princesa is home to the world’s longest navigable underground river, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, and other natural wonders. The city in which it resides, Palawan, is also recognized as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines.

Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces, philippines

The Banaue Rice Terraces are called the 8th Wonder of the Modern World by locals. These mountain terraces were carved more than 2,000 years ago by tribes and are still used for farming.

Prioritize Your Health During Your Trip to the Philippines

If you decide to visit the Philippines, chances are you might venture into the mysterious sea and rainforest. With all the uncertainties under the force of nature, it is best to secure yourself (and your family) international health insurance to make sure you and your loved ones are protected.

Pacific Prime has over 20 years of experience in helping expats secure the best international health insurance for their requirements and budget. Our team of insurance specialists is trained to compare and choose a policy from globally renowned insurance providers, and offer value-added services.

Contact us today for impartial advice and an obligation-free quote, and have us protect your safety during your journey in the Philippines!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Hong Kong
Eric is an experienced content writer specializing in writing creative copies of marketing materials including social media posts, advertisements, landing pages, and video scripts.

Since joining Pacific Prime, Eric was exposed to a new world of insurance. Having learned about insurance products extensively, he has taken joy and satisfaction in helping individuals and businesses manage risks and protect themselves against financial loss through the power of words.

Although born and raised in Hong Kong, he spent a quarter of his life living and studying in the UK. He believes his multicultural experience is a great asset in understanding the needs and wants of expats and globe-trotters.

Eric’s strengths lie in his strong research, analytical, and communication skills, obtained through his BA in Linguistics from the University of York and MSc in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Bristol.

Outside of work, he enjoys some me-time gaming and reading on his own, occasionally going absolutely mental on a night out with friends.
Eric Chung