The kids and I were in the Philippines, in the southern part, specifically for a month last mid-July to mid-August. I thought I’d regularly write “What to pack?” posts since I myself am a fan of those kind of travel-related information. I started with What to Pack in the Maldives last year so with our recent vacation to the Philippines, I know I had a list to compile!
Packing for a trip to the islands requires travellers to have an understanding of the weather conditions. A tropical location, the weather does not vary drastically from month to month. Throughout the year, the average year-round temperature measured from all the weather stations in the Philippines, except Baguio City, is 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). Rain can be problematic for travellers from June to October. July, August and September present the rainiest months.
* As much as we would like to be there when it’s real summer during the months of March, April and May, we can only go during school holiday months of July and August.
If you’re like me and travelling with children to the Philippines, then this post is for you. Take note that just because you are travelling with children doesn’t mean you need to bring 10 luggages. Good news: the temperate weather will allow you to pack lightly.
Cotton shirts/sleeveless tops (an ample amount of it!) – the climate is still hot even during the rainy season (it’s hot during daytime and it could get humid at night when it’s not raining) so you will definitely sweat. And because it was the rainy season when we went, it took a lot longer for our clothes to dry that I had to shop for Benjamin and Pristine had to borrow shirts from grandma!
Shorts, sun dresses, don’t pack too many jeans/trousers – I brought 3 pairs of jeans which I could have swapped for more shirts and shorts. I only used a pair on few occasions.
Light jacket, cotton long sleeves – for when inside the plane or in colder places.
Flip flops – don’t bother about bringing normal shoes, unless an event calls for you to wear heels and sneakers with socks.
Sunglasses – it can be really glare-y there and I find that the polarized sunglasses are most comfortable for me.
Hand towels, handkerchief – because, if I must say it again, you will sweat!
There are 7,100 islands in the Philippines so there’s a big chance you’ll be going to a beach or to the pool because there are so many natural, free flowing cold springs too which we went for a swim (more on that in another post). I brought:
- Swim wear, including the UV protective rash guards from UV Skinz
- Waterproof case for my phone
Insect repellent stuff in the form of mosquito sprays or adhesive patches. – I cannot stress this enough. Although there weren’t much mosquitoes where we stayed, you can never be too careful since dengue fever is quite common in a tropical country like the Philippines. I am paranoid with this and became very worried even before our plane took off from the UAE! I always make sure to put a mosquito repellent patch on the kids’ clothes even if they are just staying indoors and even if our house had screened windows and doors. And I put two patches, one in the shirt and one on their pants..because, I told you, I was paranoid.
Insect bite liniment/creams – I brought the one we use in Japan called “kinkan” for insect bites before it could get inflamed or irritated.
Anti-allergy medicines and prescription meds, if any – unlike in the UAE where we can buy antibiotics without doctor’s prescription, it’s not possible in the Philippines. Benjamin had some stomach ache and loose bowel movement so I went to buy Flagyl or Kaptin but wasn’t allowed without any prescription.
Coconut oil – I’ve just started using coconut oil to remove make up, moisturize my face and as a hydrating body lotion. I had difficulty finding this in my home town so I’ll bring definitely bring my own stock next time! (My friend Katrina was kind enough to bring me a bottle when she visited!)
Bioderma Atoderm and Lipobase – my kids have very sensitive skin that easily itches when the weather is dry and when the weather is too humid. (Yes, they are very good children but they can keep you awake at night with their itching sessions!!)
- Appliance converter – if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (220V)
- Plug adaptor
- Phone chargers
- Umbrellas you can use rain or shine, preferably small, foldable ones
- A portable hand fan
- Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, pocket tissues (most public toilets do not have toilet paper!)
If you are a woman and use tampons during that time of the month, I would suggest to bring your supply. It can get expensive (and sometimes hard to find) there.
That said, it is not too expensive to shop in the Philippines so there’s no need to panic when you’ve forgotten to pack some things. You can pick it up there.
I hope I covered all the bases! I might update this list when I remember some other essentials I packed in my bag that I forgot to include in this post.