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Tropical Experience Travel Services - Tours of the Philippines
How to Make Your Trip More Sustainable: Our Tips for Travels to the Philippines...and Elsewhere!
These are friendly reminders you could consider during your trip to the Philippines. Take some time to read them: they could also make your experience more pleasant!
Even if you are not going to travel to the Philippines soon, you could still find these tips helpful in making your travelling experiences more environmentally and socially sustainable.
Since 2020, all clients of Tropical Experience are receiving these advices before their departure for their tours of the Philippines, together with their "Travel Handbooks".
Buy authentic, locally crafted souvenirs. Research about the native specialties online or ask your local guide. You can also contact us on Whatsapp/Viber for suggestions.
GIVE FAIR "MONETARY GIFTS"
Tips are not compulsory in the Philippines, thus not expected. You may still want to give a tip to someone doing an extra service/effort for you: we suggest balancing the tip on local wages and costs (not too little, not too much). To estimate, observe prices in restaurants and shops.
BARGAINING IS NOT COMMON
It’s not so common in the Philippines: final prices are already tagged in most of the shops. Bargaining is sometimes accepted in bazaars or by street sellers: in this case, try to be fair: saving 50 Pesos (1 Euro) may almost be worth “nothing” to you, but it could be a heavier sacrifice for the seller.
PURCHASING COULD BE BETTER THAN DONATIONS
If you want to give money, we encourage to rather buying from small sellers, even just key chains or flowers, to encourage a mentality of work. If you want to give money to beggars, you may consider buying some food for them: you'll be sure your money was spent usefully.
REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS ARE BETTER THAN DISPOSABLE ONES
Despite being banned from many municipalities and establishments in the Philippines, there is still a surplus of plastic bags from some sellers. You can help the environment by refusing them if you don't need them.
EAT LOCAL RECIPES
Choose Filipino food: give value to local ingredients, familiarize with local eating habits and culinary traditions while you eat better (because Filipinos cook Filipino food best!). Check online for order suggestions or send us a message on Whatsapp/Viber for recommendations.
PROMOTE LOCAL INGREDIENTS
If you miss Western food, we won't judge you! Filipinos also love international cuisine and you'll find many options available. We suggest to select dishes made with local ingredients and to avoid imported items. Your food will be tastier, fresher, cheaper and supportive of the local economy.
TIPS FOR SMOKERS
If you are a smoker, please consider to stop soon. We care about your health.
Remember that a cigarette filter tip can take 18 months to 10 years to decompose: always dispose them properly in a trash bin, or better yet, bring your own portable ash tray.
Be aware that it is prohibited to smoke in many public areas, in tourist spots and cities in the country. Always mind signboard notices for prohibited areas or you might be fined by local authorities. It happens. The same rules apply to electronic cigarettes.
TIPS WHEN IN NATURE
FOLLOW RULES IN PARKS, NATURE SANCTUARIES AND WILD AREAS
In parks, natural reserves and the likes, you'll find sets of rules to follow (i.e. stay solely on a specific path, not swim in designated areas, keep silent in particular places etc). Those rules were made to assure that the beauty you are witnessing will be guaranteed to the future generations.
DON'T STEP ON/DON'T TOUCH CORALS
Corals are very fragile creatures, and they are homes to many fish species. Stepping on (or touching) them might cause damage, discoloration at first, and even lead to their death. Just float and admire them from above.
DON'T TAKE SHELLS, SAND OR OTHER EFFECTS (TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES)
If everyone picks even just one shell as souvenir, it will total to a huge number and will damage local ecosystems. In airports, you could find a list of natural effects like sand and shells which are strictly prohibited to take with you. If detected among your belongings, aside from confiscations, this may lead to sanctions. Same applies to bottles or other containers filled with sand.
REEF SUNSCREEN: A GOOD IDEA
Sunscreens contain chemicals that are harmful to coral reefs and certain marine species. Reef-friendly sunscreens are available in stores, though they are not too spread yet: consider this on your next purchase.
DON'T TOUCH STARFISHES
The Philippines are full of beautiful starfishes. It's true that they can survive for some time out of water. Though, please, refrain from touching them. Starfish are very delicate creatures and the millions of bacteria from our hands could easily contaminate their skin and kill them. The impact on water when put (or thrown) out back to the sea could cause irreparable damages. Just look, don't touch.
TIPS ON FEEDING ANIMALS (DON'T)
Certainly, you are asked not to feed animals in natural reserves (i.e. monkeys). There are also 2 special categories of animals we would like to stress not to feed:
don't feed fishes to attract them while snorkeling: The digestive system of fishes is different from humans and giving cookies, crackers or bread might lead them to die.
don't feed dogs and cats (pets or stray): we understand you could like to give some food to dogs and cats in some informal restaurants or during a picnic. Please don't: the owner of the establishment (hotel, restaurant, bar, resort) might find difficulties in keeping animals away and guarantee hygiene. Also remember that many street dogs and cats are not vaccinated and certain diseases like rabies are still present in developing countries like the Philippines.
TIPS ON WASTE MANAGEMENT
BRING A REUSABLE DRINKING BOTTLE
Plastic pollution is a worldwide problem: try to limit the usage of plastic during your trip. Buying a big water bottle to drink instead of many small bottles is already good. Having a refillable flask /jug / bottle would be the best: many hotels and restaurants provide drinking water dispensers where you can refill your container for free, making it easy to reduce plastic waste.
EAT WITH REUSABLE UTENSILS
They’re everywhere. You might need disposable eating tools, sometimes and it's OK, but if you have a choice, the less polluting option is better.
Do we need to explain more?
You actually paid for those toiletries provided in your hotel bathroom. If your toothbrush is still good, take it with you instead of opening a new one in the next hotel. If you just used half of a shampoo/soap bottle, take it with you.
SAVE ELECTRICITY AND WATER IN HOTELS
We understand you paid for those services and it’s your right to use them. Yet, just use what you need and reduce your environmental footprint as much as you would do in your own house.
TIPS ON SOCIAL INTERACTIONS
KEEP YOUR VOICE LOW
Filipinos are known as kind and welcoming people. If ever you’ll need to raise a concern to a local (i.e. front desk officers, local tourists, waiters) we advise do it in a gentle manner. Using a loud voice in public is considered offensive, even if your words and intentions are not. You may try to avoid it.
DON'T TAKE PHOTOS OF OTHER PEOPLE - ESPECIALLY CHILDREN - WITHOUT PERMISSION
Filipinos love taking pictures and selfies and it's unlikely someone will deny you a picture. Probably, you would even be asked by locals to take a picture with them. Said this, it's still a subjective matter: it's a good habit to ask permission, especially when taking pictures of /with children. It's always a good habit not to post pictures with recognizable faces on social media, if those people didn't give you permission to do so.
MIND LOCAL HABITS AND WAYS
Filipinos can ben conservationists on certain aspects. At the same time, you can expect a high level of tolerance: Filipinos are not judgmental and accept everyone’s habits, especially with foreigners. Yet, being discrete will preserve your privacy from curious people. French kissing in public, for instance, is a big thing and it's unlikely to see a local to do that. By doing it, you could look hilarious or even scandalous.
SOME EXTRA PATIENCE: REMEMBER, YOU'RE A GUEST
Filipinos are ready to serve and cordial, in general. Our tours are pre-organized in a way that aims to minimize discomfort, misunderstandings or delays. At the same time, especially during the busiest days, it might be possible to encounter some delays or issues. Some personnel of hotels and restaurants or some tour guides could be young and new to the job. Please remember that tourism industry developed in the Philippines relatively just recently: be reasonably understanding with the local personnel. At the same time, Tropical Experience does not tolerate suspicious and unprofessional behaviors: in case of problems, please contact us.