The Philippines is known for its high humidity and blazing hot, sunny weather, but most travelers forget that the country has its fair share of rainy days, too, and what you bring in your luggage then is very different. Stay safe and dry while enjoying your travels by having these rainy season essentials at hand:
More than being inconvenient, rain can cause a mini-panic attack when the water seeps into your papers, camera, powerbank, or other valuables. Plastic bags are already a travel staple–ideal for storing knick-knacks or scrunching dirty clothes into–so it won’t be too much of a hassle to pack an extra set. Put gadgets and important documents inside to keep dry, or take the opposite approach and stash whatever’s dripping wet there, so it won’t contaminate the rest of your bag.
Umbrellas are a necessity when traveling in the Philippines, regardless of the season, but they’re doubly important during rainy days. While there are plenty of convenience stores around if you’re in a large city, err on the safe side and pack one–you wouldn’t want your mobility to be limited just because the nearest store with umbrellas is more than ten minutes away. Cheap can work, but given how common strong winds are, they might collapse in a jiffy, so better to invest in a sturdy umbrella that’s last you through your travels.
Jacket / Poncho
The typical recommendation is a rain jacket, but because downpours in the Philippines can coincide with humidity, go for a poncho instead to drape over yourself and protect your bag. Alternatively, you can bring a shawl or scarf since these are adaptable and can masquerade as fashion pieces. To ensure coziness if the temperature dips down, don’t forget your favorite hoodie or jacket, or a blanket to wrap yourself with.
Footwear is often overlooked, but the wrong type can cause you to slip painfully across pavement or earn you stinky feet as the water pools inside. Choose shoes with strong traction and breathability, such as rubber shoes, sneakers, or rubber flats. Flip-flops are a no-no, since they’re accident-prone, but sandals are okay as long as you’re fine with getting your feet wet–just make sure to wipe them with tissue or a towel once you get to sit down.
It’s a rare case, but power outages can happen, especially if you’re in more secluded areas, or the evening can become doubly ominous and you need more light to see. A mini-flashlight that’s waterproof will give you insurance. Double-check the battery and be prepared with an extra set in case it dies out on you. If you’d rather not lug a flashlight around, let your phone do the trick with apps like Super-Bright LED Flashlight (Android) and iHandy Inc.’s Flashlight (Apple).
Mosquito Repellent Lotion
Not only can mosquito bites itch like crazy and leave ugly red bumps (or scars from compulsive scratching), they might even leave you unfit for travel. Dengue is extremely prevalent during the rainy season, with more than 200,000 cases reported every year, and once you’re sick, you’ll be down for several days, at minimum. Lower the risk by slapping mosquito repellent lotion over your exposed skin and reapplying once it wears off, every single day.
It’s hardly as fascinating as browsing through itineraries or Instagram shots of your destination, but make it a priority to check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. Accuweather’s website is very reliable, and you can download their app, too, for quicker access. Other free mobile apps that will stand you in good stead (whether you’re an Android or iOS user!) are NOAA Weather Radar & Alerts and the Philippines’ own Project Noah.