5 Must-Have Items For A Trip To The Philippines

Packing for your dream vacation to the Philippines may sound easy to do: passport, camera, clothes, and out the door! But the reality is that packing so haphazardly is bound to cause issues down the road.

Keep reading to get an idea of some key items to make sure are on board with you as you travel to the exotic destination in southeast Asia.

Identification Documents

Aside from the obvious need to pack and carry identification in the form of a passport so that you can travel to and from the Philippines, it is a good idea to bring a couple of forms of identification with you.

This is because many commercial institutions in the big cities like the capital, Manila, and other well-developed tourist destinations in the country will usually want to verify your identity should you choose to purchase goods or services on a credit card.

Not only that but having a couple of copies or alternate forms of identification can be helpful in the event of an emergency.

No one wants to have to think about it, but if you fall victim to an identity theft scam, or someone in your travel group goes missing, it is far better to be able to rely on other identification when dealing with the proper authorities.

Just make sure that, if possible, at least one form of identification is in English as it is an official language of the Philippines.


The Philippine peso (PHP) is the official currency used throughout the many islands of this country and although there has been a huge push towards cashless transactions across the archipelago, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, cash has reigned supreme as the de facto payment method in Filipino society for many years and for good reason.

As stated above, providing identification for any credit card purchase can be cumbersome and annoying. It is much easier to pull out the necessary cash and be on your way.

Not only is it usually easier, but cash is also more universally reliable since credit cards may not be accepted outside of the largest cities and tourist hot spots. Cash is always good to have for any situations that might involve tipping as well.

You might accidentally run out of pesos if you didn’t have enough cash. In these urgent situations, US dollars (USD) are sometimes an acceptable replacement if you can negotiate correctly.

If you have to use dollars, make sure you have a general idea of the current exchange rate between USD and PHP to get an equal and fair payment for both parties.

Toilet paper

The Philippines may not be an underdeveloped country, but it does have some particularly remote and rural areas.

Even in popular and well-traveled cities, toilet paper is a scarce commodity in public toilets of any kind. Having a few sheets with you can keep yourself comfortable and clean in case of gastric distress.

Rolls of toilet paper can be easily compressed and packed if you remove the cardboard tubing in the center, and it doesn’t weigh anything so there is no reason not to bring some with you.

Using toilet paper in the tropical growth of more wild areas is not ideal since it can take longer to decompose than more natural solutions, but if you have to relieve yourself on a hike through the jungle, it is better to use something you know is safe.

If you get creative, toilet paper can also be used for a couple of other things that might come up on your travels such as makeshift tissues or sterile bandaging for small cuts and scrapes.

Bug Repellent

Unfortunately, mosquitoes and other common pests tend to hang around the same places as many tourists that visit the Philippines. This is because both groups are seeking water in most cases and so their worlds collide much to human dismay.

Good bug repellent is highly advised because some insect-borne diseases are especially prevalent in the Philippines and can make you intensely ill. You don’t typically have to worry about things like malaria and the Zika virus, but dengue fever is common.

Try to use DEET-free repellents to do your part in maintaining the environment’s health.

Dry Bag

The Philippines is a very hot and humid place, with three distinct seasons:

  • wet  
  • dry   
  • monsoon

Some say that the country is wet all year round which makes this item all the more important for keeping your valuables like electronics and documents safe from rain and water damage.

Aside from the rain, many popular activities in and around the islands of the archipelago involve water or are situated very close to bodies of water. From island hopping boat tours, swimming, and snorkeling, to scenic waterfall hikes, there are plenty of activities that can get you and your things wet.

In some ways, using a dry bag as your day pack for short trips is also safer for your items. The Philippines are generally considered to be a safe country but there is always a chance of theft wherever you go.

The roll-up clip that many dry bags use to keep their contents watertight can make more noise and fumbling with them is less discreet than simply using a zipper, which makes you a more difficult target.