Need Help on Putting Together a Good List of Things to Bring to the Philippines Short Term/Long Term

Maayong hapon, everyone!

First off, I have been getting some good feedback on the Twin Lakes video I put up the other day that was filmed entirely with out new(ish) Samsung S6.  The phone did a pretty great job of capturing our adventure there, and the only issues were some “juddering” as I panned the S6 too quickly and the images became jumbled.  And although the optical image stabilization was good, I am actually going to order a phone adapter for mounting it on a tripod or monopod. 

I have also been putting more work into making our e-book, Chasing Your Philippine Dream, even better.  One of the things I neglected to include in the last edition was a list of things to bring and not bring with you, whether you are just coming over for a month or so or transporting yourself for the long haul.  I came up with an initial list (noted below), but I could always use more suggestions.  Leave any additions or recommended subtractions in the comments section.  And thanks for taking the time to help out!

Here’s what I have so far:


If you are visiting the Philippines, don’t get too worried over what you should or should not bring.  Just use common sense and remember that on most “same ticket” international flights you can carry over 120 pounds of luggage (check in’s and carry on’s).  With that noted, here’s some suggestions that our writing team has put together.


Short Term Stay (Visiting)
Medications and prescriptions/note from doctor.
Medical ID bracelet.
Newer unlocked cell phone (at least a Samsung S5 or iPhone 5S)
Small laptop or tablet w/Bluetooth keyboard and mouse
Cargo shorts/bathing suits w/deep front pockets and secured cargo pockets
Lightweight T-Shirts (cheap Walmart Gildan brand are PERFECT)
Lightweight socks.
A few lightweight collared Polo shirts
Sturdy running shoes/sneakers
Convertible lightweight pants/shorts
Sunscreen (usually much cheaper abroad)
Vitamins and supplements (cheaper abroad)
Bluetooth speaker (Creative or Bose recommended)
Phone/tablet chargers
Small motion alarm (Amazon recommended)
Good quality (not local Chinese quality) collapsible umbrella
Kindle or Kobo e-reader (or tablet with long battery life)
Long-sleeve t-shirt for sun protection.
Wide-brimmed hat (or buy one here).
Good quality headphones (I like Bluetooth and a earbud-style backup).
Knife sharpener (Amazon recommended)
A few pairs of “real” sunglasses with actual UV protection.
Google Chromecast or Kindle Firestick loaded with Kodi (google it).
Shaving gear.

Long Term – Lugagge or BB Box – All the above plus:
Eneloop batteries (AA and AAA) and charger 
Bed sheets (I love the cheap cotton sheets that feel like t-shirt fabric – available Target or Wal-Mart)
Computer components (motherboard, drives, GPU etc.; purchase case in Phils)
Long term supply of vitamins/supplements (protein powder, vitamins, etc.).
Gaming consoles (much cheaper in the West)
Good quality router.
M&M’s or other “pasalubong” gift items.
Deodorant (a lot of stores only sell antiperspirant).
Extra phones/laptops*

*If you don’t actually use the extra phones and laptops (“gadgets”), you can usually sell them at a profit to pay for the BB box shipping.  Just make sure the items are not new or in their original packaging or customs could charge you fees and taxes.  Note that brining in items intended for commercial resale is not allowed in the Philippines.

What NOT to Bring

Towels – the thin, cheap towels sold here actually dry faster that thick, “Western” ones.
Flip flops – these are sold everywhere in the Philippines.
Dishes – The cheap ones sold here work just fine.
Blenders – very good quality ones available here.
Monitors/TV- offers good deals on both.
Kitchen Appliances (toasters, small electric ovens, etc.) All are available here and all run on 220 v.  The only problems with voltage seem to occur with 110V Western kitchen appliances and surge protectors.
Kitchen Knives – Available everywhere.  Just bring a good sharpener.
Furniture – Most foreigners don’t stay in the Philippines so shipping everything that you own in a 20 foot container doesn’t make much sense to us.  There are custom, handmade furniture shops all over the Philippines that offer inexpensive, high quality products.  Just be sure to avoid particleboard (“fallaparticleboard”) furniture as it is a mold and mildew magnet and doesn’t last long in the tropics.

Any newer cell phone will work in the Philippines as long as the SIM slot is unlocked. (By newer, we mean the newer models up to and including the iPhone 5 and Samsung S5.)   

Load on phone
Google Voice (Hangouts and Hangouts Dialer)
Make sure SIM is unlocked
Games for waiting in line/queue
Make sure contacts are being uploaded and backed up to cloud service (iCloud or Google).

Backed Up to a Cloud Service (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.)

Scans of medical records (immunization, prescriptions and recent visit documentation), personal identification (scans of driver’s license and passport stored in secured folder/file)


That’s all I got so far.  Thanks again for any help.

And if you haven’t seen our Twin Lakes video, here it is!  Although I got a bit long-winded during some parts, I think it came out pretty durn good.


  1. The hardest thing to find is a good quality can opener. I find cutlery knifes forks spoons hard to find good ones anyway. Polo shirts are to hot but a couple of short sleeve light shirts and formal long pants are useful. For shorts try the bargain basement of Robinsons especially Ermita that’s where the Kano sizes usually end up.

  2. does anyone know what the hell these bitey things are, my arms and legs were covered in bites wasnt till i got back to australia did they clear up. and they weren’t mosquitoes.
    Steve Kelly

      1. Could be Sand Flies, they are even smaller than Midges and they treat the hairs on your body like dogs use trees except that what they excrete is an irritant to the skin.
        What ever you do don’t scratch the itch, use either Metho or Tea Tree Oil or even Eucalyptus Oil on a ball of cotton wool to clean the area where you itch.
        Sand Flies are common in the Tropics of Australia and may also be present in the Philippines. They are usually only a problem around sun set so if you can stay indoors around that time of day you should have no problems.

  3. I compared your list to mine, and it was pretty spot on, even to the point of Bluetooth speakers. But you did forget the most important thing – CASH! Good quality $100 bills! And make sure the print is up to date, crispy and new. I have experienced some money exchange places where some of my dilapidated bills were rejected.

    And bring no more than $10,000 US, and keep it on you at all times… even through the security scans at the airport. I leave my cash in my pocket – always… until I have access to a hotel safe.

  4. For a short stay, a roll of TP. If you get one of those high density rolls, it will last you 4 to 5 weeks even if your guts get sabotaged.
    Rule Number 1: Never lend your TP, you will never see it again or everyone will want to borrow it once you lend it the first time.
    Zip lock bags, big enough to hold each of your electronic items and TP roll – especially if its the rainy season when you visit.

  5. Great list, Ned. Only surprise was your saying not to bring towels as lots of others say to bring those good cotton towels and my wife is already stocking up 🙂

    But it makes sense that the thin ones are pretty usable in PI. You don’t have to have the warm ones like you do in the US.

  6. I’ve always stocked up on shorts every trip back to the US, for quality and price, the US cannot be beat. Never bought a single pair over here in my 20 years! Agree on the can opener, all junk over here. Having tried many good brands, I have to say OXO is now my favorite because they seem to use stainless on both the blade and the gears… no rust after 3 years (fingers crossed).

  7. Bringing a large amount of cash on your person seems like a roll of the dice to me. How much can you really save in exchange rate? With Transferwise it’s 1% over spot, and that includes the secure transfer. What % over spot do you get at the changer?

  8. If traveling to Angeles City from Manila set up van transportation prior to arriving, airport taxis are rip offs, bus rides can be lousy experiences. If staying long term and you plan on using 110 items, send in a BB box to a friend, some heavy duty 2000w power transformers (110 v/ 220v), they get pricey in country. Bring a minimum 6 month supply of required personal medicine, good medicine can get pricey and can be in short supply. Important suggestion buy 220v appliances in country less hassle in long run and may save on your electric bill. If things break it is cheaper to just replace then get fixed if it can be fixed at all. Lost a tv and xbox 360 when some one else assumed they were dual voltage, which they were not. check fine print on power supply s !!! I had problems finding certain (USB to USB) and specialty cables for computers bring extras from USA. good luck on your Adventure!

    1. Great points one and all! I don’t think you need heavy duty power transformers – everything here is 220. Instead, get an AVR voltate regulator to protect your electronics from dirty current. Most AVRs also have a 110 outlet on them. Thanks, Till!

  9. I started watching your videos when my wife and I decided to start spending winters there after we have enough money to retire

  10. Bring lots and lots of chewable Peptol-Bismol tablets for upset stomach (Bismuth subsalicylate).

    I didn’t see any while I was in PH, but maybe they have a generic available. Not sure. Either way, you’ll probably need them.

  11. Dear Sir After reading your very informative and intelligent e book with all those PH problems I’ve decided to cancel my 3rd trip.

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