1. A small cross body bag (girls) – preferably one with a few zipped compartments. Super handy to keep purse, money, lip balm and all those other essentials safe and easy to access. I always have my ’emergency money’ of between £10-£20 somewhere harder to access, and not in my purse so I can use it for a taxi etc if I lose my purse or get it snatched.
2. Mozzie spray. Deet is the most effective, mine was 30% deet, and I didn’t get a single insect bite. I also use a more natural one for sensitive areas like my face.
3. Sun protectant- sun cream is essential, preferably spf 30 or higher- the sun here is super intense! I got burned despite trying to hide from the sun. Make sure your sun cream is water resistant- you will be in and out of the water so much on these islands, I think that’s how I got burned- my sun cream had washed off and I didn’t re apply it often enough. We saw so many lobster red burned tourists! Also wear a cap/hat and t-shirts to cover shoulders.
4. Tissues/toilet roll. I made sure I had a packet of tissues in my bag at all times as the public bathrooms rarely had any, even in cafes and restaurants. Be prepared at all times!
5. Hand sanitiser- again the public bathrooms rarely have soap. A hand sanitiser to carry at all times is essential- pack a few small ones! You’ll probably get a dodgy stomach anyway!
6… on that note take medication for your stomach. I had a stomach ache and was experiencing a few digestion problems. It was a pain to go to a pharmacy (although there’s many around and it’s easy enough to get things from) but they didn’t carry pepto bismol which is what I asked for so I had to get something else. Take medicine with you rather than relying on getting it there.
7. Waterproof your valuables. Bring waterproof phone cases, a waterproof bag, at the very least plastic zip lock bags and carrier bags to keep things dry if water splashes in from the boat (which it will). There were also many times we had to wade to boats and hold our bags above our heads! A waterproof bag gives you that added protection against water damage.
8.A decent camera phone or go pro or small digital camera. You will want to take photos- and lots of them! If you can get a waterproof camera or case that is ideal. You will be swimming and kayaking through lagoons. We didn’t have a go pro so missed out on a lot of photos. However, sometimes that helps you to focus on your surroundings and enjoy the moment a bit so don’t get too caught up in finding the perfect pose- we saw some people posing for literally hours but I don’t think they actually stopped to look around them and enjoy the scenery or atmosphere!
9. Snack bars/cereal bars. You might be on transport for hours and not have chance for food, or you may simply not be able to stomach the offerings (Filipino cuisine leaves something to be desired to put it lightly!) I do suggest having some emergency snacks – I ate all of mine and wish I had brought more!
10. Hair oil- the humid climate of the Philippines results in Monica style frizz! A small bottle of hair oil can be a godsend.
11. Deodorant and wet wipes. The hot, sticky climate and the ocean water can leave you feeling very erm hot and bothered. And not only do some bathrooms not have soap they may not even have running water! Therefore a quick spray of deodorant and wipe with wet wipes can make you feel a little less repulsive!
12. Flip flops or ‘thongs’ if your Australian! You will be in and out of boats, on and off beaches, in and out the ocean. Therefore you want footwear that easily slips on and off and also that isn’t going to be a problem if it gets wet. Another tip- try to get some that are a bit unique in style or colour or brand as everyone kept getting their havianas mixed up and accidentally taking the wrong ones! Better to go for something a little different!
13. In terms of clothes- I mainly wore bikinis, shorts, t shirts and occasionally loose, harem style trousers. I had a hoodie for the cold planes and bus rides which I was very glad of. Most places do laundry so you can always get your clothes washed if you get stuck.
Hmm. Those are the main items I can think of for now! I hope they’re helpful. Remember you will be in and out of the water a lot, and hopping from tricycles to boats to buses to ferries to jeepneys. I recommend packing lightly so that you can easily carry everything and pack a rucksack rather than a suitcase. It’s much more practical for getting between the islands and on and off boats etc. Don’t take too many clothes. Even the nightlife on the islands is casual- I wore denim shorts and a vest top and flip flops and didnt feel out of place. You certainly won’t need ten pounds of make up, heels and a sparkly Gucci dress!
Any questions please ask 😊
Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.