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THE PHILIPPINES PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

THE PHILIPPINES PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

The Philippines is my favorite country in the world! And if you’re reading this now, it’s about to be yours too. If you’re looking to adventure, go cliff jumping, snorkeling, and waterfall hunting I’ve got you covered. This is the Ultimate Philippines Packing list to prepare you for your adventures throughout the 7,500 islands that make up the Philippines.

THE ULTIMATE PHILIPPINES PACKING LIST

Here’s everything you didn’t know you needed to make the most of your trip to the Philippines. First, I’ll include a list of items to prepare you for your vacation. At the end of the blog post, is a complete Philippines Packing Checklist to ensure you don’t miss any important items.

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Reef Safe Sunscreen

While not officially banned in the Philippines, sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate cause damage to marine environments. Their continued use endangers the fragile coral reefs of the Philippines. In other words, opt to pack in reef-safe options to minimize your impact on the local environment.

Non-nano Zinc Oxide sunblock provides effective protection without risking absorption into your bloodstream, making it the safest option for you and the environment. Raw Elements Face + Body SPF 30 delivers 80 minutes of waterproof sun protection, and my favorite reef-safe option for the face is SuperGoop’s Unseen Screen.

FACE + BODY SPF 30

  • Reef safe
  • Non-nano zinc particles
  • 80+ minutes water resistant

Waterproof Phone Case

With island-hopping, waterfalls, and world-class beaches, chances are you’ll have your phone with you near the water. Many smartphones are advertised as water-resistant these days, but water-resistant is far from waterproof. Consequently, a waterlogged phone is the most easily preventable way to ruin a trip to the Philippines.

Save yourself the trouble and invest in a waterproof phone pouch like this. Or, if you want to turn your phone into an underwater camera rig, the Axis GO is a great investment. 

Waterproof Phone Case

  • Touch-screen & camera friendly
  • Flexible pouch fits most phones
  • Adjustable lanyard
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Cliff jumping near Tugawe Cove Resort

Bug Spray

Mosquitos run rampant in the hot, humid climate of the Philippines. Pesky tropical mosquitos love to hang around same places you do, like palm trees, lagoons, villa pools, and pretty much anywhere else you’ll find water.

While Malaria and Zika are rare in the country, Dengue is common. If you plan to visit, it’d be best to pack an effective Deet-free mosquito repellant like this one. If you want full coverage, here’s an alternative with Deet.

Picaridin Insect Repellent

  • DEET free
  • Repels mosquitoes, ticks, & flies
  • Doesn’t harm gear or equipment
  • Low-odor, non-greasy lotion

Water Shoes

Water shoes are a great way to explore the Philippines. Firstly, they prevent cutting up your feet on the volcanic rock that often accompanies its white sandy beaches. They also protect your feet from sea urchin stings and accidental coral abrasions. Secondly, they can also protect your feet against hot, midday sand, and provide traction on muddy waterfall trails. These Xero Water Shoes tick all the boxes, with these NRS Water Shoes offering a slightly more cost-effective option.

Xero Water Shoes

  • Quick-dry linings
  • Removable 2mm insole
  • Grippy 5mm FeelTrue sole
  • Vegan friendly

Dry Bag

An easy way to ensure all your electronics and valuables stay dry, traveling to an island without one seems negligent. If you plan to do any island-hopping, waterfall, or boat tours, a dry bag is highly recommended.

If you’re visiting during shoulder-season or the monsoon, a dry bag might be necessary to keep your electronics safe during sudden downpours. Either way, make sure one of these options makes its way into your packing list!

This dry bag is large enough to fit all your valuables and includes backpack straps for easy carry. For a more minimal approach, this Sea to Summit Dry Bag provides 5 liters of protection at a more budget-friendly price.

SeaLine Dry Backpack

  • 100% waterproof
  • DrySeal™ roll-top
  • Removable straps and hip-belt
  • Exterior bungee system

Travel Day Pack

Also known as the carry-on pretending to be a personal item, few people travel to the Philippines without one. A pack like this can comfortably carry your laptop, water, snacks, and a change of clothes for your long-haul flight to Manila. It also doubles as an adventure bag for your island hopping tours and waterfall hikes. In conclusion, it’s an item that shouldn’t be left at home.

Northface Backpack

Recon Backpack

  • 30L capacity
  • Laptop compartment
  • Removable hip belt
  • 2 external water bottle pockets

Underwater Camera

While we’re on electronics, let’s talk about underwater cameras. With so many picture-perfect beaches, waterfalls, and underwater activities to offer, having a waterproof camera on hand is always a good call. For this, the GoPro Hero 10 is my top recommendation. With HyperSmooth available in 4K resolution and slow motion, shaky, dull vacation footage is a thing of the past.

GoPro Hero 10

  • Waterproof to 10m (33ft)
  • 60fps ; 4K resolution
  • 120fps ; 2.7K resolution
  • Hypersmooth 4.0 stabilization
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Dome Port

If you don’t opt for the Axis GO phone housing, I’d highly recommend a cheap dome port attachment for your GoPro. While a bit bulky, these make for awesome over-under shots. The double handles also help keep your underwater footage stable. Certainly, if there’s any time to use a dome port, it’s in the Philippines.

dome port

Dome Port for GoPro

  • Waterproof to 45m
  • Double handles for stable shooting
  • Create 50/50 shots easily
siargao island pictures photo gallery

Selfie Stick

Need I say more? Pack yourself a selfie stick robust enough to handle the hard impact of the Philippines’ best cliff jumping spots, and long enough to get the whole crew in the shot. Don’t be ashamed of using your selfie stick. They capture some of the best and most engaging angles.

I use the Sandmarc GoPro Pole for a few reasons. Firstly the Sandmarc pole is longer than the default GoPro stick. Second, it doesn’t have a three-arm bend. Most importantly, it’s built for holding out during a cliff jump, on a moped – it doesn’t bend or need adjusting. Just whip it out, get the shot, and put it away before anyone notices!

selfie stick

Sandmarc GoPro Pole

  • Designed for action
  • Telescoping length
  • Lifetime warranty
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Reusable Water Bottle

Being on a tropical island shouldn’t be the only time you’re eco-conscious, but it can be a great reminder. Help keep the Philippines clean by opting out of plastic water bottles, and carrying a refillable Hydroflask instead.

Insulated and built to last, this is the bottle for all your adventures. Moreover, most bars and restaurants will happily fill a reusable bottle. If not, you can use the next item in my list to filter your water.

Hydroflask Water Bottle

  • TempShield™ vacuum insulation
  • Food-grade stainless steel
  • BPA-free
  • Covered by a lifetime warranty

Grayl GeoPress Water Filter

I’ve used this for the past three years while traveling to some of the most remote and raw places in the world, and have never gotten sick. It filters your water with one 8 second press. In addition, you can drink directly from it once it’s been filtered. As a result, you could never buy a plastic water bottle again!

Grayl water press

Grayl GeoPress Water Filter

  • Removes viruses & bacteria
  • Activated carbon
  • Purifies and filters in 8 seconds

Travel Adapter

You should never travel without a travel adapter, even if you’re visiting a country with the same plug-in points. Being stuck during a layover with dead electronics is a drag. This universal travel adapter includes 2 USB ports to allow multi-device charging, as well as covering over 150 countries. It’s a lightweight and convenient way to improve your travel kit for a couple of bucks, and certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

Universal Travel Adapter

  • Covers 150+ countries
  • Dual USB ports
  • LED power indicator

Power Bank

I’ve been using Anker power banks for years and highly recommend them for a few reasons. Firstly, this model features dual-USB ports to allow multi-device charging. Secondly, it comes with a massive storage capacity, which can be more useful than you know. It’s great to have during the power outages that sometimes sweep through the Philippines, for example.

Anker power bank

Anker Power Bank

  • 92 hours of extra phone battery
  • Dual USB ports
  • Versatile recharging

Light Rain Jacket

A lightweight rain jacket is a very handy addition to your adventure backpack. The Philippines is known for its great weather but it’s pretty common for there to be a short burst of rain each day. From the late night moped rides, to protection from torrential downpours or waterfall spray, you’ll be happy to have one of these in your bag.

Patagonia Rain Jacket

Torrentshell 3L Jacket

  • 3-layer H2No® Performance
  • Self-stuffing pocket
  • bluesign® approved and Fair Trade Certified

Travel Towel

Never underestimate the need for a lightweight travel towel – especially in a place like the Philippines. Having a microfiber towel on hand can be the difference between shivering through a boat ride or enjoying a sunset cruise. These microfiber travel towels pack very small and easily fit in your day pack or beach bag.

Microfiber travel towel

PackTowl Personal Towel

  • Absorbs 4x its weight in water
  • Antimicrobial treatment
  • Variety of sizes & colors
  • Included travel pouch
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Crushable Sun Hat

The Philippines is way too close to the equator to not pack a hat. Whether it’s a baseball cap, a hiking hat like this one, or a wide-brimmed sun hat, make sure it’s in your suitcase. A crushable hat is a travel-friendly option that doubles as a fashion accessory.

Crushable Sunhat

  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Adjustable size
  • Chinstrap
  • Travel friendly

Leave-In Hair Conditioner

If you’ve got long hair and are planning to spend time in the water, I’d recommend taking good care of your hair. My girlfriend worked on a dive boat and swore by this leave-in conditioner to keep her hair healthy despite the salt water and sun day after day. Stream to Sea includes eco-conscious packaging and natural, reef-safe ingredients for guilt-free care.

Leave in Conditioner

  • Reef safe
  • Paraben & Sulfate-free
  • Lasting UV protection
  • Detangles and restores shine

Packing Cubes

Declutter your suitcase and invest in some packing cubes. This packing set can keep help separate your electronics from your swimwear, activewear, and resort casual outfits. Personally, I love packing cubes as they’re the closest thing to having a wardrobe and chest of drawers on the road.

red packing cubes

Packing Cube Set

  • Durable Ripstop Nylon
  • Water repellant finish (DWR)
  • Expansion zippers
  • Top and side handles

Money Belt

While the Philippines is generally known as a very safe and travel-friendly destination, I always recommend carrying the next two items on the list. First up, is the money belt. This is a sleek redesign of the travel fanny pack and hides seamlessly under a shirt. The silk fabric makes it cool and comfortable to wear, and an elastic waistband leaves plenty of room for chicken adobo and pancit.

black money belt

Silk Undercover Money Belt

  • 2 zippered pockets
  • Sweat-resistant satin
  • Adjustable elastic waistband
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Sarongs / Beach Cover Ups

While not necessary for modesty (the Philippines is pretty open in most places), having a quick coverup or sarong handy is great for ladies. If you’re feeling a bit extra, my girlfriend loves this white beach wrap.

White sarong

Beach Wrap Skirt

  • Multiple sizes/colors
  • Adjustable ties
  • Side slit
  • extra

Passport Wallet

I’ve been keeping my travel documents and bank cards in my passport wallet for the past 6 years, and have never had an issue – unlike some of my friends randomly losing passports and atm cards. With vaccine cards to add to the list of travel requirements, having a place to store all your documents is needed peace of mind. Therefore, I always recommend a passport wallet.

passport wallet

RFID-safe TEC Passport Wallet

  • RFID-blocking
  • 4 card slots
  • Fits up to 2 passports

Philippines Packing Checklist

Aside from the highly-recommended items above, here is a complete Philippines Packing Checklist so you can start packing for your island vacation:

Clothing:

  • Breathable t-shirts (2-3 pairs)
  • Quick-dry shorts (1-2 pairs)
  • 1 pair of full-length pants
  • Long-sleeved outer layer
  • Rain jacket
  • Light puffy jacket (if hiking in the mountains)
  • Workout clothes for hikes & adventures
  • Bathing suits/ board-shorts (always have spare while used pairs dry)
  • Beach cover-ups & sundresses for women
  • Long-sleeved button-up shirts for men (Resort casual is enough to get you into most places)
  • 1 dressier outfit if going out in Manila, Cebu, or upscale bars
  • Underwear

Footwear:

  • Hiking/walking shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Water shoes (optional but recommended)
  • 1 dressier shoe (some nightclubs require for entry)
  • Socks

Toiletries:

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm (SPF)
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription medication
  • Insect repellent
  • Lotion (local products often contain whitening agents)
  • Feminine hygiene products (tampons can be hard to come by in remote areas)
  • Toothbrush
  • Travel-sized versions of your favorite toiletries:
    • Deodorant
    • Toothpaste
    • Shampoo & conditioner (optional if hotel/local products suffice for you)

Electronics

  • Phone
  • Camera(s)
  • Headphones
  • Tablet/Kindle
  • Power bank
  • Travel Adapter
  • Charging cables
  • Memory cards
  • Spare batteries

Miscellaneous

  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Backpack or bag for daily adventures
  • Reusable water bottle / water filter
  • Packing cubes
  • Dry bag
  • Money belt
  • Passport wallet
  • A good book
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Final Thoughts

There it is, the most extensive Philippines Packing List. Have a blast, enjoy the raging waterfalls and be sure to send it off a few wild cliff jumps for me. P.S Don’t forget to wear a helmet on the moped.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

Suarez

Saturday 9th of April 2022

Votre blog fait rêver. Merci pour tous vos conseils, bon plans, ... Vos photo sont incroyable, j'aimerais déjà être dans l'avions !

Bonne continuation et bon aventure dans vos futur voyage !

Carl Gutierrez

Thursday 14th of October 2021

very helpful! thank you for sharing this blog. I can relate much to this because night before our trip I always make my packing list to ensure that essentials are all packed for tomorrows trip.. great job!

Sindy

Thursday 21st of April 2022

@Carl Gutierrez,

Hi there! I'm from the Philippines 😄😄😄

Doris

Friday 21st of August 2020

Nice tips..I hope one day I could travel a lot just like what you did in your blog..

Jackson

Friday 21st of August 2020

THANKYOU

Manawa Beach

Monday 16th of September 2019

Thanks for the helpful article! Do you mind us sharing your content on our social media channels? This will help a lot of travelers going to Cebu! :)

Scott O’Neil

Thursday 29th of August 2019

This blog is awesome! Question for you... Which specific Anker power bank do you use? The link connects to a Lifeproof. I’m gonna trek to base camp and have a Sony a7riii which uses np-fz100 Batts and wanna keep em charged throughout. Trying to find the right combination of sufficient power but as light weight as possible. Seems like yours worked out fine so wondering which model you used. Thanks and appreciate all the helpful information.