© Jonas Marcos B San L / age fotostock
Philippines in pictures - Manila and surrounds
In brief +
You will need a minimum of three weeks if you really want to explore the archipelago, that is if you don't want to be rushed from island to island. Some interior connections are not always reliable (eg, bus and boat schedules can change) so it helps to be flexible; and to be flexible requires time!
The classic itinerary usually includes any of the following: north Luzon and the famous rice paddies in Banaue, the home of the (once headhunting) Ifuago tribe; the charming colonial town of Vigan, also in north Luzon; the divine beaches of Palawan, namely the archipelago of El Nido; the paradisiac party island of Boracay; the island of Bohol with its Tarsier-filled jungle and Chocolate Hills; and even Bicol's Mt Mayon (a perfectly shaped volcano) and whale shark excursions.
Then of course, there is Manila, the capital city which gets a bad rap but is actually full of interesting things to see and do if it's given a chance. While most people come to the Philippines to see the beauty of its islands and beaches, Manila is colourful, full of life and deserving of a few days on your itinerary.
And finally probably the most practical tips we can give you: Filipinos love their air conditioning, so when you take the local buses between cities always carry an extra warmth layer. A roll of toilet paper wouldn't go astray either as you won't see any in the public toilets outside of the larger hotels.
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only a third of the story is completed, watch this space!