The Philippines is a beautiful country known for its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant culture. It is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Still, like any other country, there are things that tourists should avoid. As a matter of fact, there are also travel misconceptions in the Philippines that are worth learning about.
In this article, we will discuss some of the things you should avoid as a tourist in the Philippines to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Tourist traps to avoid during your trip to the Philippines
1. Respecting local customs and traditions
The Philippines has a rich culture and a unique way of life. Therefore, a tourist must respect and understand the local customs and traditions.
• Learn about Filipino culture
Research the local customs and traditions before you go to better understand the local way of life.
• Ask for permission before taking photos
Always ask for permission before taking photos of locals or religious sites.
• Participate in local events
Participating in local events like festivals and celebrations is a great way to learn about Filipino culture and show respect.
• Disrespect religious sites
Avoid wearing revealing clothing and taking photos in sacred places.
• Touch religious artifacts
Touching religious artifacts is seen as disrespectful.
• Disrespect elders
Respect for elders is an essential part of Filipino culture, so avoid showing any disrespect.
Showing respect for the local customs and traditions leads to having a more meaningful and enjoyable trip to the Philippines.
2. Interacting with the locals
Respect extends to how you, as the tourist, interact with the locals and other tourists.
• Smile and be friendly
Filipinos are known for their hospitality and friendliness. However, a simple smile can go a long way in making a good impression.
• Learn some basic Filipino phrases
Knowing a few words and phrases in Filipino can help you communicate with the locals and show that you respect their language.
• Take off your shoes when entering someone’s home
It is customary to take off your shoes when entering a Filipino home.
• Touch someone’s head
Filipinos consider the head sacred, and touching it is seen as disrespectful.
• Point with your finger
Instead of pointing with your finger, use your lips or eyebrows to indicate something or someone.
• Show public displays of affection
Public displays of affection are not commonly accepted in the Philippines and can be seen as disrespectful.
Remember, respecting the local customs and traditions can go a long way in making your trip to the Philippines more enjoyable.
3. Dressing appropriately
The Philippines has a tropical climate, which means it is hot and humid all year round. As a tourist, it is important to dress appropriately to avoid discomfort and respect the local culture. Here are some tips on how to dress appropriately in the Philippines.
• Wear comfortable clothing
Opt for loose-fitting, lightweight clothing from breathable cotton or linen fabrics.
• Cover your shoulders and knees
When visiting religious sites or attending formal events, make sure to cover your shoulders and knees out of respect.
• Wear comfortable shoes
Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking, as there are many places to explore in the Philippines.
• Wear revealing clothing
Avoid wearing revealing clothing like shorts or tank tops, especially when visiting religious sites.
• Wear shoes inside someone’s home
As mentioned earlier, taking off your shoes when entering a Filipino home is customary.
As a tourist, dressing appropriately means avoiding discomfort while respecting the local culture.
4. Avoiding overcrowded tourist spots
The Philippines has many popular tourist spots that attract large crowds. While these places are undoubtedly beautiful, they can also be overcrowded, detracting from the experience.
• Visit during off-peak season
If possible, visit during the off-peak season to avoid large crowds.
• Visit less popular destinations
Consider visiting less popular destinations to have a more unique and authentic experience.
• Go early or late
If you’re visiting a popular attraction, go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid large crowds.
• Follow the crowd
Avoid following the crowd and doing what everyone else is doing. Instead, be open to new experiences and explore off the beaten path.
5. Staying safe
While the Philippines is generally a safe place to travel to, it is essential to take some precautions to ensure your safety.
• Keep your valuables in a safe place
Keep your money, passport, and other valuables in a safe, secure place like a hotel.
• Be aware of your surroundings
Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas, especially at night.
• Use reputable tour operators
If you’re going on a tour, use a reputable tour operator.
• Carry too much cash
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you. Use credit cards or withdraw money from ATMs instead.
• Display expensive items
Avoid displaying expensive items such as jewelry or electronics in public places.
• Take unmarked taxis
Stick to marked taxis or use ride-sharing apps like Grab to avoid getting scammed.
These things ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to the Philippines.
6. Staying safe at night
While the Philippines is generally safe, taking extra precautions when traveling at night is vital.
• Stick to well-lit areas
Stick to well-lit areas and avoid dark alleys or streets.
• Use transportation services
Use transportation services like taxis or ride-sharing apps to get around at night.
• Travel in groups
Group travel can deter potential criminals and make you less of a target.
• Walk alone at night
Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
• Carry too much cash
Avoid carrying large amounts of money with you at night.
• Drink too much alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can impair your judgment and make you more vulnerable.
7. Avoiding scams and touts
Like any other tourist destination, the Philippines has its fair share of scams and touts.
• Research before you go
Research the places you plan to visit and the usual prices of services like transportation and tours.
• Use metered taxis
Again, if you need to take a taxi, use only metered taxis to avoid getting scammed.
• Negotiate prices
If you’re buying something from a market or a street vendor, negotiate the price to avoid overpaying. Haggling is a welcome practice in the Philippines, but do so respectfully.
• Accept unsolicited help
Avoid accepting unsolicited help from strangers, especially regarding transportation and tours.
• Fall for the “closed attraction” scam
Some touts will tell you that a popular attraction is closed and offer to take you to a different one for a fee. So always check the attraction’s opening hours before going.
By being aware of these scams and touts, you can avoid getting scammed and enjoy your trip to the Philippines.
8. Being responsible
The Philippines is known for its beautiful beaches and natural wonders. However, as a tourist, you must also be responsible and protect the environment.
• Dispose of trash properly
Always dispose of your waste in designated bins.
• Use eco-friendly products
Use eco-friendly products like reusable water bottles and utensils to reduce waste.
• Support eco-friendly initiatives
Support eco-friendly initiatives like beach cleanups and reforestation programs.
Avoid littering and leaving trash on the beach or other natural areas.
• Participate in activities that harm the environment
Avoid activities like coral reef destruction and wildlife hunting.
Practice responsible travel and help preserve the natural beauty of the Philippines for future generations to enjoy.
The Philippines is a beautiful country with a rich culture and breathtaking scenery. While it is generally safe, it is crucial to know what tourists should avoid ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip.