The Philippines’ unrivaled beauty enchants outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. This is hardly surprising considering this epic archipelago of over 7,000 islands has no shortage of natural attractions to explore. Others come for the happy-go-lucky inhabitants who welcome visitors with open arms.
But the last thing you want is a fried cell phone, tablet, Kindle, or laptop due to improper preparation. Use this quick guide to learn the basics of the Philippine electrical system and how to come prepared!
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Which power outlets do they use in the Philippines?
The Philippines has two different power outlet types: The US-style Type A/B and the European Type C. The tricky thing is that both these outlets have been installed randomly throughout the country, sometimes with two different types in the same hotel room!
The Philippines is a developing nation so outlets are often old and of poor quality, so always treat them with caution.
What kind of power adapter do I need for the Philippines?
If you’re making your first trip to the Philippines, you’re likely wondering, “What plug do I need for the Philippines?” American travelers will need a power adapter because they’ll almost certainly encounter a foreign Type C (European) outlet at some point during their trip. Be sure to get one that says “Type A/B to Type C” or “US to Europe.”
Furthermore, most Filipino outlets have dual-prong Type A, which means travelers with Type B (two prongs and a grounding pin) plugs will need an adapter to connect their devices. If that’s the case, get one that says “Type B to Type A.”
This Universal Adapter is the best choice for your trip to the Philippines because it will have you covered whether you come across the Type A/B to Type C outlet or the Type B to Type A outlet. It’s also compatible with outlets in over 100 other countries, so it will come in handy on your future adventures.
Not to mention, it comes with a built-in fuse protector to safeguard against any power surges, and a lifetime replacement guarantee so you can trust the quality.
In addition to your US-to-Philippines power adapter, these items will help you pack with intention and expand the possibilities of your getaway. Also, check out our Philippines packing list for more inspiration and ideas.
1. Neck Wallet / Passport Pouch
Extreme poverty has forced many Filipinos to turn to a life of crime to survive. And as a wealthy foreigner, you’ll be a lucrative target indeed. Although muggings are rare, pickpocketing remains commonplace. And should your precious passport and credit cards be stolen, you’d be in a bad situation, to say the least. Eliminate the risk by stashing your valuables in a neck wallet, which slides discreetly away under your shirt. This way, you don’t have to flash your cash and credit cards repeatedly, and your passport will stay organized when the jet lag sets in.
We do not recommend consuming the local tap water in the Philippines. We use this Grayl water bottle when visiting less-developed countries because it’s a small investment in our health since it purifies your water and removes e. Coli, Hepatitis A, pathogens, microplastics, sediment, and more.
It’s a bit pricey, but not having to go to a Filipino hospital will save you money in the long run. It’s also better than building up plastic waste your whole trip or hoping they have plastic bottles for sale when you’re off the beaten path (which is not always the case).
The Philippines is a hotbed of cybercrime, so travelers should take their online security seriously. The most common attack involves a criminal extracting sensitive information from other users on a public Wi-Fi network. And should that information include your online bank details, then you could lose your life savings in a flash. Also, Asia is heavily monitored by government entities and you’ll want a private network to ensure your internet service provider, nosy neighbors, and hackers can’t monitor your online activity.
We use a virtual private network (VPN) when traveling because your private data becomes vulnerable when joining public networks at cafes, airports, hotels, restaurants, etc. I learned this first-hand when my credit card number was stolen at an Airbnb on vacation. Protect yourself and free up your access from any regional censorship with NordVPN. They have the fastest streaming with unlimited bandwidth, and they’re super affordable too.
Whether you’re snapping a selfie with your BFF on Boracay or navigating your way through Manila’s top colonial sites, it’s best to have a fully charged battery for your trip to the Philippines. And the best way to ensure you’re always topped up is to carry a mini lipstick-sized charger on your person at all times. You don’t want to be in an emergency, unable to call for a ride or look up your hotel address if needed.
The Philippines is showered with bursts of unpredictable rain, that may only last an hour but are enough to get you wet and put a damper on your plans. Come prepared with this top-quality compact travel umbrella that comes with a nifty zip case that makes it easy to store in your daypack.
All manner of things could hurt you in the Philippines, from a dodgy curry to a car crash and everything in-between. Accidents happen every day and most are not foreseen, so insure your trip with travel insurance. Your domestic provider will not cover you overseas unless you have an international plan, so a smart traveler will always take out travel insurance. Otherwise, should you require emergency medical treatment or evacuation, you could be left with an eye-watering bill.
Fayeis the best provider we’ve worked with because they add the human touch that is usually missing. Their 24/7 Claims Specialists are always on-call and they wired us the funds when we needed support most. They cover baggage loss, theft, flight delays, rentals, pet care, international hospital bills, evacuations, and more, even offering trip cancellation plans “for ANY reason.”
A direct flight from New York to Manila takes an exhausting 16 hours, making it one of the longest routes in the world. On top of that, you’ve got a 12-hour time difference to contend with, so you can all but guarantee you’re going to suffer from severe jet lag. Reclaim your first day in the country by taking jet lag relief pills. These really help you adjust when you land so you don’t waste an afternoon sleeping!
There are few things more important than a waterproof phone pouch for this country. Between island hopping, snorkeling, parasailing, and surfing – you’ll need a waterproof phone case to spare your lifeline from the elements. This one allows you to film epic underwater videos (with sound!) as you dive through Tubbataha Reefs Natural Par and Anilao.
You don’t want to carry fat, fluffy hotel towels around on beach trips or hikes to waterfalls. This compact travel towel is the perfect addition to your daypack since it’s light as a feather and small, but dries 10x faster than cotton. Also, you never know if your accommodation will provide one (or if it will be up to your cleanliness standards). So it’s always best to come prepared.
Unfortunately, food poisoning is common for travelers as they explore new places. Look out for street food that is not properly stored or could be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. If tap water, ice in a soda, or even a gourmet meal makes you feel a bit sick – have these activated charcoal tablets with you to detoxify any pathogens. It will help you get back on your feet way faster and with way less drama!
Always check your luggage with sturdy locks. These are TSA-approved so security staff will have a master key if you’re randomly selected for a search. They will offer real peace of mind that no sticky fingers are looking through your bags when they’re unattended. We bring a couple of sets for lockers, backpacks in crowded areas, and all suitcases.
Filippino hotels can often be a bit scarce on space and storage. Hanging toiletry bags are a lifesaver since you won’t have to throw your toiletries all over the place or risk leaving something behind. This bag creates a shelf-like system with 4 giant pockets for all liquid items, makeup, medicine, and face towels, plus 3 smaller compartments on the outside for jewelry, q-tips, cotton rounds, or tinier things.
Random but stellar bonus – we haven’t had any shampoo explosions in our suitcase since consolidating all liquids into this bag. It’s leakproof so you don’t have to worry about your clothes getting covered in that shea butter moisturizer or staining serum. This bag has simply maintained our self-care routine (and our sanity!) when on the road, we are obsessed.
Staying organized on the road is tricky business, not least when you’re lugging around a sizable amount of clothes. The best way to categorize your wardrobe is to stash each article type separately into a packing cube, which allows you to store and retrieve everything with ease. Put shirts in one, pants in another, essentials for day-trips in a small one, etc. This set even comes with 2 bonus laundry bags and you can get the 3-pack set if you want to work your way up to a 5-pack.
The Philippines is definitely a place to do some shopping! From the coffee to the pearls to the unique spices – there are so many great souvenirs you’ll want to pick up for yourself and your loved ones. This “just in case” bag is a wise precaution in case you need an extra bag. It’s the perfect size to count as your personal bag and is always a wise backup.
Spring and Summer get pretty toasty in the Philippines, not to mention HUMID! Bring these cooling towels for boating excursions, hiking, and visiting historical places. They will give you icey relief on a hot day and make the great outdoors way more comfortable. Just add water and wring it out – the towel will drop to nearly 30-degrees colder than the outside temp. It’s kind of magical honestly. And when you need more chilly relief, just add more water. You’re welcome!
What’s the electricity and power supply like in the Philippines?
The Philippines runs on 220V and 60Hz. Compared to 120V and 60Hz in the US.
Sadly, the nation is still woefully underdeveloped, so you should expect blackouts and power surges to occur somewhat frequently.
Do I Need A Voltage Converter In The Philippines?
Even though the country runs on a different voltage from the US, very few travelers will require a voltage converter. These days, almost all personal electronics are dual voltage, meaning they’re capable of charging on either system.
One common exception is the portable hairdryer, which typically runs on a fixed 120V. Check the manufacturer’s label to be sure.
Other FAQs about traveling in the Philippines
1. When to Travel to the Philippines?
The dry season is the best time to visit, which lasts between December and April. However, December to February is the peak season because March and April get rather hot. The wettest time of year, from May to November, isn’t necessarily the wrong time to come because the rains tend to last less than an hour and the countryside is lusciously green.
The shoulder months of May and November are particularly enticing because the weather’s fine, the flights are cheaper, and there are few other tourists around. Typhoons can hit any time of year, although August and September usually see the biggest storms. Be sure to check current Philippines travel advisories before you go.
2. What’s the weather like in the Philippines?
The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate, so you can expect ample heat and humidity at any time of year. Consequently, it’s wise to pack lightweight and breathable clothing.
The rainy season occurs from June to the early part of October, while the dry season, from the later part of October to May. The dry season can be further subdivided into the cool-dry and hot-dry season. The cool-dry season from the later part of October to February and the hot-dry season, from March to May.
3. What to do in Manila?
A haphazard array of clandestine constructions and chock full of snarling traffic, there’s plenty not to love about the country’s overcrowded capital. But dig beyond its gritty surface, and you’ll uncover a captivating metropolis with ample attractions to explore. Most make a beeline for the Intramuros, Manila’s cobblestoned old-town that once served as the capital of the Spanish East Indies. A plethora of pretty plazas, stately statues, and charming churches make it appear straight out of a European fairytale.
To put the country’s colonial and Catholic history into context, the San Agustin Museum offers a comprehensive collection. Families would probably prefer to appease the little ones by visiting the Manila Ocean Park or DreamWorks DreamPlay. For a rapid eco-escape, the Paco Park and Rizal Park provide some much-needed greenery. The latter is a popular bohemian hangout with chic museums and art installations to peruse.
The Philippines’ second-largest city is the more tourist-friendly Cebu. As the gateway to the central Philippines, a diverse range of pristine beaches and marine life-rich dive spots lie just within easy reach. Non-divers can face off with a Whale Shark on a snorkeling trip at Oslob. True marine aficionados, however, make their way to Palawan, a pristine archipelago that boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches on earth. Of course, there’s plenty of action under the water in this unspoiled island paradise as well.
More sun-kissed delights can be found elsewhere in the Philippines, with lush tropical islands such as Siquijor, Apo, Surigao, Dinagat, Britania, and Samal (the list goes on and on) just begging to be explored.
Bohol is a bucket list destination, mostly thanks to its famed Chocolate Hills that rise out of the landscape as if they were, well, hills made out of chocolate. While you’re in the region, be sure to visit the Tarsiers, the world’s tiniest and most adorable primates.
Trekkers can choose from an array of exciting destinations to trample all over. Up north, the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras combine authentic rural immersion with sweeping valley views. The lush rainforests of the Masungi Georeserveare are another hiking hotspot, while Mount Batulao, Mount Daraitan, and Mount Maynoba all provide challenging uphill ascents. For a quick history fix, Laoag and Ilocos Norte host an array of UNESCO-listed Hispanic ruins, while Vigan is widely considered the best-preserved Spanish colonial town in all of Asia.
The Philippines has several transportation options to choose from, the cheapest of which are uncomfortable and sometimes downright dangerous. Given the topography involved, the ferry remains a popular way to travel around. Note that speed boat services are nauseating in rough seas, while rustic watercrafts probably aren’t as seaworthy as they seem. A comfortable and safe option is the Roll-On, Roll-Off (RORO), although these vehicle-cum-passenger ferries are painfully slow.
Domestic flights have become an increasingly popular option, and stiff competition makes airfares cheap. Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, Philippine Airlines, and Cebgo are the major carriers. Buses ply all major overland routes, although you’d be wise to opt for a premium class to avoid suffering through rock hard and rigid seats. Be sure to schedule in a jeepney ride at some point during your trip. Despite being overcrowded and kitsch, these outrageous public transport options are a quintessential Filipino experience.
Asher has been traveling the world since he left Australia to study in the USA in 2004. He received a Master’s in Business Administration degree in 2013. He has lived all over the globe including India, Europe, Hawaii, and mainland US. He enjoys researching the travel industry, loves being a dad, cooking & eating delicious food, photography (took many of our photos), surfing big waves on Maui, camping trips and walking barefoot on the earth.