Philippines

A scenic view of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, the Philippines

The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia, bordered by the Philippine Sea on the east, the South China Sea on the west, and the Celebes Sea on the southwest. It has a population of around 107 million (13th in the world), 12.9 million (13%) of which reside in the nation’s capital, Metro Manila. Situated near the equator, it has a tropical climate with three seasons: the hot dry season from March to May, the rainy season from June to November, and the cool dry season from December to February.  

While most Southeast Asian countries practice Buddhism, the majority of the Philippines’ population is Christian. The country is known for its large shopping malls and the iconic jeepney, the most popular mode of public transportation that resembles a small bus. It’s home to a great number of beautiful beaches that international and local travelers visit. The Philippines is also known as the largest supplier of nurses around the world.

Diving in the Philippines

An archipelago consisting of 7,641 islands, the Philippines boasts world-class dive sites with a large variety of marine life. Some of the most popular dive sites in the country include the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park where you’ll find the highest biodiversity and Malapascua Island, the best dive site to find thresher sharks. There’s also Anilao Batangas, a site that offers the best muck diving; and Moalboal Cebu; the home of the Great Sardine Run.

Diving in the Philippines runs all-year-round. Although most divers visit the country during the dry season from November to May, you’ll find that the wet season (June to October) is also a good time to explore the different Philippines diving sites. There are fewer crowds at most dive spots and its easier to book for accommodation and  Liveaboards. But whichever month you decide to explore the most popular Philippines diving spots, you’ll have one of the best diving experiences of your life!

A yellow and black nudibranch on the reef of Anilao Batangas, the Philippines

Anilao, Batangas

A turtle swimming around Apo Island, the Philippines

Apo Island, Negros Oriental

Free diving at a reef at Apo Reef Natural Park, the Philippines

Apo Reef Natural Park

A wreck on the sandy bottom in front of Bohol Island, the Philippines

Balicasag island, Bohol

Palm trees on the famous White Beach on Boracay Island, the Philippines

Boracay Island

A view of the coast and waters at Coron Bay in Palawan

Coron Bay, Palawan

A thresher shark in the waters of Malapascua Island, the Philippines

Malapascua

A Manta ray in the Ticao Pass in Masbate, Philippines

Manta Bowl, Ticao Pass, Masbate

A drone photo from Pescador Island, the Philippines

Pescador island, Cebu

A drone photo from the beach in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro in the Philippines

Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

Swimming and snorkeling between thousands of Sardines just in front of Moalboal, the Philippines

The Sardine Run in Moalboal, Cebu

A hammerhead shark in the blue waters of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Weather and climate in the Philippines

The Philippines has a tropical and maritime/oceanic climate with elevated humidity, relatively high temperature, and plentiful rainfall. From March to May, the temperature  and humidity in the country are at their highest levels. May is the hottest month with an average temperature of 28.3 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, the coldest month is January with 25.5 degrees Celsius average temperature.

There are two seasons in the Philippines based on rainfall: rainy season and dry season. The rainy season occurs from June to November, with an average of 28 typhoons visiting the country per year during this period. Meanwhile, the dry season runs from December to May. The period of December to January is considered cool dry, while March to May is the hot dry season.

Traveling to the Philippines

The easiest way to travel to the Philippines is by flying to either of its two largest international airports: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila and Mactan Cebu International Airport (CEB) in Cebu. It’s also easier to move within the country by airplane, owing to the good number of airports (12 international and 32 domestic airports) around it. The three main airlines that operate both domestic and international flights in the Philippines are Philippine Airline, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia Philippines.

Peso (PHP) is the Philippines’ currency. The country allows visa-free to 157 countries for periods ranging from 14 to 59 days. Once this period is over, tourists who wish to extend their stay in the Philippines can apply for it at any Bureau of Immigration offices. The Department of Foreign Affairs also dictates the Philippine visa requirements and updates.

Aside from being a great diving destination, the Philippines also has plenty of amazing tourist attractions. These include the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, the Rices Terraces in Banaue, the Underground River in Palawan, Siargao Island in Tacloban, and the world-renowned white sand beach of Boracay.

Is the Philippines safe?

The Philippines is generally a safe country to visit and the number of tourists that visit it each year is a good testament. In 2019 alone, 8.2 million international tourists traveled to the country, an all-time high throughout the Philippines’ tourism history. However, there are still some places that require caution from travelers, particularly the southern region of Mindanao including Zamboanga and Sulu. But overall, you can travel anywhere in the Philippines safely and discover the best of this country that’s called “Pearl of the Orient”. Before you go, we recommend to check the latest travel advises from your country and the (local) government of the Philippines.