Wondering what to pack for the Philippines? It’s important to think about the activities you will engage in before you start loading up that suitcase. More than likely, you will be doing a lot of water activities and spending time at the beach. That’s why most of us go to the Philippines right? To enjoy a tropical vacation! I just came back from traveling in Coron, a beautiful island paradise in Palawan. Admittedly, there were many items I shrugged off when I did my packing and regretted during the trip. Thankfully I had my aunt with me. She brought along several things that I initially thought were extra, but ended up saving our behinds. I guess aunties know best!
This list of essential items was birthed from our experience traveling in the Philippines. Don’t forget to grab your FREE printable at the end!
*Psst this post contains affiliate links. Which means at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission for purchases made through the links.
Clothing (For Ladies)
Starting with an obvious, pack your favorite bikinis/one pieces! 2-3 options are recommended. It’s hot in the Philippines so you can easily hang dry one set while you still have a set to wear. While in Coron, we were pretty much in the water everyday so I was glad to have brought extra swimwear.
I have a love affair with sarong when in South East Asia. They are just so multifunctional. You can use it as a beach cover up, a blanket when it gets chilly. It can even turn into a bag with some tying skills!
During the day, you will often find yourself needing to change into your swimming attires and then back to your regular clothing, like when you are on an island hopping or canyoneering tour. An easy pull over or wrap dress is hassle-free for this purpose. And of course, who doesn’t love a pretty flowy dress for those ootd beach photos?
Did I mention the Philippines is hot? When choosing tops to pack, make sure they are light, loose and breathable. Cotton t-shirt and tank tops are perfect.
Bring along a pair of classic jean shorts to pair with your tanks, bikini tops.
A pair of comfy sandals is a must as you will be walking a lot on bumpy and uneven dust roads. I always recommend Ipanema sandals as they are the best travel sandals I’ve ever found. Super comfy, easy to clean, and the design is simple yet stylish.
Something I read about before I travelled but didn’t think I needed them. We definitely needed them. There are many sharp rocks on the beaches and in the water when you travel to places like Palawan. Aqua shoes are life savers. They protect your feet and are very quick to dry. You can even swim with them so you don’t need to take them on and off. I thought they look kinda ugly so I didn’t want to buy them, but thanks to my persistent auntie we got them and my feet stayed injury free.
Sun wear products
Good sun care is SO important in the Philippines. Make sure to have a sunscreen with high SPF and reapply often!
I’ve preached for big hat before in my post 6 Essential Items for Cute Travel Photos, not only are sun hats photogenic, they are very necessary for protecting you from the harsh sun rays.
The sun and white sand beach combo means brightness that will blind your eyes. DO NOT FORGET your sun glasses!
Items to stay dry
Keep all your belongings safe in a proper dry bag. You don’t want to come back to the boat to find your things sitting ruined in a pile of water. Trust me (happened to someone on our boat).
Water proof cell phone case
Again, thank you auntie for buying us this! It was the only way we were able to take some of our photos during the trip. I could not have hauled my DSLR in to some of the stunning swimming holes we went to like the Twin Lagoon in Coron. Instead, we used a water proof cell phone case to take photos with my aunt’s Iphone X and the pictures turned out great. Highly recommend the case we got. You won’t be sorry.
Micro fiber towel
Don’t expect any island hopping tour groups to provide you with towels. You have to bring your own. A micro fiber towel is a quintessential travel item I have touted many times. It’s quick drying, lightweight and easy to bring around.
Consider forgoing make up in the Philippines, it’s so hot it will melt right off anyways. Stick with some tinted moisturizer and sun screen. You are good to go!
Hey there sweaty monkey! It’s easy to feel gross and yucky when it’s so humid. Keep yourself fresh with some body wipes.
There are many circumstances where having a bag of tissue paper come in handy. For example, you’ll find that the toilet situations in the Philippines are often pretty bad. You get where I’m going with this…
I am by no means a germophobe, but I was grateful for hand sanitizer while in the Philippines. One of my fears is getting sick on the road (it’s happened before while traveling in Bali), so I definitely suggest sanitizing often.
On the subject of staying healthy and safe, the Philippines offer many adventurous and exciting activities from diving to waterfalls jumping. But with that comes with risks. Don’t leave home without travel insurance. My favorite company to use is World Nomad. I love this program for its flexibility and simplicity. The coverage is very comprehensive and process to making claims is very easy and smooth! The fact that they have 24/7 emergency assistance really gives you a peace of mind.
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World Nomad Travel Insurance is trusted by the best:
Do you consider photography gears essential when traveling? Well I guess for a lot of us bloggers, we do! If you don’t have a good camera yet, maybe it’s time to invest in one for the Philippines. The drop dead gorgeous sceneries deserve to be captured in their truest beauty. I have used my Canon camera for years and it’s what I used for most of my Philippines shots you see on my Instagram.
For those who is determined to stick with phone photography, I have to bring up Iphone X. My aunt brought her new Iphone X to the Philippines and I was able to witness its glorious photo quality. Sometimes, I even preferred her shots over my DSLR! That’s how powerful it is. I am absolutely getting myself one of these babies this year (saving up slowly).
Go pro Hero 6
Two words: Underwater photography. In Palawan, we visited some of the most beautiful coral reefs and cool ship wrecks. I even saw a huge sea turtle one day! But we didn’t have underwater cameras to capture the moment and I was so sad. We rented a Go Pro for the last couple days and were able to get some cool shots. You better bet I will be investing in my own one next time!
DJI Mavic Pro Drone
DJI is the best drone maker out there. I brought my DJI Mavic Pro to Coron and had a lot of fun getting video footage on the islands. The aerial view of the water is just incredible. You can see different shades of blue rings surround the beaches and the mountains. Ugh I can’t even describe the epic-ness!
If you are planning to snorkel in the Philippines (which you should), buy your own snorkel mask. You can rent from tour companies but the ones you get can sometimes be old and chewed up. It’s not fun to have sea water leaking into your mask. The cost of renting also adds up.
For gathering more ideas on what to do in the Philippines, get a good old guidebook like this one by Lonely Planet.
What to pack for the Philippines Printable
I hope this post has successfully answered what to pack for the Philippines. I’ve put together a free printable for you so make sure to get your instant download! By signing up, you will also receive the TBB newsletter where I share monthly travel tips, new itineraries, and exclusive goodies like free printables.
Looking for more tropical packing tips? Check out The Minimalist Packing Guide to Bali.
Going to the Philippines soon? Plan your trip in 4 easy steps
Book A Flight: Find the cheapest flights on Skyscanner, my go-to search engine.
Find A Hotel: Score affordable accommodation on Booking.com. Receive $16 off your first booking with my link here.
Buy insurance: You never know what may happen on the road. Protect your trip & gear with World Nomad, the best travel insurance company ever. Get a quote here.
Read up on the best advice: Love a good old fashion guide book. Suggested reading: Lonely Planet: Philippines Travel Guide
Until next time!