Luggage. A backpack, trolley, or wheeled suitcase come in handy. Just don’t bring a lot of them.
Clothes. What to wear.. pants, shorts, shirts and light clothing are okay. Bring comfortable casual clothes. People living in Camotes are simple and some are still traditional. You can’t wear fancy clothing. Wear descent clothes when you go to church or a party. Wear the right clothes for the right occassions.
Shoes. Use rubber shoes/sneakers, simple shoes, slippers, and sandals.
Medicines. Bring medicines for emergency. Only few are available in sari-sari stores and you can rarely find a drugstore. Small clinics are available but opens 9am until 4pm. For women, stock up some pads and tampons, just in case. Be prepared. Mini stores are closed as early as 6 o’ clock in the evening. There are no malls in the place or a 24/7 store in a simple province, a quite and serene rural area. Have some repellents/calamine lotion ready. In a tropical island, there are always mosquitoes present especially during rainy season.
If some emergencies occur, contact the barangay tanod (chief official) or health worker at the place.
Equipments/Appliances. Be aware that most of the voltage system for electronic equipments is 220V in the Philippines . Equipments from US and other countries are usually 110 V. If you are not sure about your equipment, check the adapter. You’ll find a label says 110V or a 220V. Some equipments usually portable devices, like cellphones and other portable stuffs, are 110/220V, which means it can be plugged either 110V or 220V. You can bring an adapter/transformer for 220V. Always consult and ask assistance before you plug your equipment.
RainJackets/LightJackets/Umbrellas. For rainy seasons, which starts from September ’til February, bring some lightjackets or sweaters for your protection against the rain, and cold weather. On the summer time, from March to August, you can bring hats and wear light clothing.
Money. Bring Peso, the official currency of the Philippines. Peso bills come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000. One peso is equivalent to 100 centavos and coins come in 5, 10 and 25 centavo variants in addition to the 1, 5 and 10 peso coins. No money changer office in the island. Have your money change at Cebu City malls including ATM’s in Cebu, an urbanized island near Camotes. You can also do it in the airport in Mactan, Cebu. Credit Cards can not be accepted in hotels and beach resorts in Camotes. There are no ATM’s in Camotes.
Food. Fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables are available in the Camotes island. You can bring canned goods, which are also available at mini stores. Filipinos usually eat three (3) times a day: breakfast, lunch, and supper. A light snack usually at 3pm and native foods are served, hot, sweet, delicious and yummy. It’s safer to buy bottled water in stores. Water may not be much available especially during hot summer, or in times of El niño.
Communications. Mobile phone cards are available almost at every store. Pay phones are rare. There are three major telecommunications company: PLDT, Globe, and Sun Cellular. Smart Communications are partly owned by PLDT. Note that phone cards of one company can not be used with the other company’s card. Country code (of Philippines) is +63. Area code in Cebu is 32.
Internet cafes are available at central towns of Poro and San Francisco.
Cameras. Have your photos printed at Cebu City, Cebu. There are no printing shops in the island.
Outing. Bring sun tan lotions or sun block lotions if you go swimming to protect yourself from the heat and rays of the sun. You can wear sun glasses and hats, too. Always bring the right gear for the right occasion.
Travelling. If you happen to ride on a pumpboat, always check if the boat is overboarding. Always check for the latest weather updates before going to Camotes.
Language. Native dialect is Cebuano, Porohanon, and Bisaya but the locals can speak and understand English and Filipino.
Time. Philippine standard time is GMT +8.
Tipping. They will be delighted if you give a tip for waiters, drivers, and porters. Most establishments and restaurants add 10% service charge as government tax. Tipping 5-15% of the bill is appropriate if no service charge was included.
Manners and Social Communications. Do invite people at least three times. Local residents are taught that it is proper to refuse for the first time or two. To them, insistence is a clear sign that the offer or invitation is genuine.
Never embarrass a locale. Honor and integrity is a way to respect a Filipino. Verbal signs like Ok (thumbsup sign), and nodding are ways to communicate with them that you are agreeing.
Greetings. Take a time to smile and say “Hello”, or “Hi”. They will appreciate it if you talk in dialect.
Some examples of Cebuano greetings:
“Mabuhay” means Long live for you and your family.
“Maayong Buntag” means Good Morning. “Maayo” means good. “Buntag” is morning.
“Maayong Hapon” means Good Afternoon. Hapon means afternoon.
“Kamusta?” means How are you?
A wave or “Adto nako” means you are leaving.
Hotels and Accomodation. Always schedule dates ahead of time. You may end up nowhere to sleep. Camotes beach resorts are almost always fully booked. It’s one hot tourist destination in the Philippines at this time. Just make some reservations to be safe. Almost all beach resorts do not accept credit cards in Camotes.