Philippines travel guide books abound but it’s sometimes confusing to know which ones are the best. The fact that you’re logged on to this website tells me you’ve at least considered visiting The Philippines, if not moving there for retirement. I’ve just turned 54 and am not convinced the USA is where I want to spend the rest of my own life, so I’m at the “serious consideration” stage myself. The PI isn’t the only place on my Expat Short List, but it IS at the top of it. This isn’t an easy choice for me or you, and it shouldn’t be. Life elsewhere is truly a life apart from what we’re used to, and there are lots of things to seriously and honestly consider.
What I’m doing here is giving you a short list of five affordable Philippines travel guide books that I would strongly suggest you read carefully before committing to a move to The Philippines. Obviously, spending some time there beforehand is a great way to help the decision-making process (and I wouldn’t spend less than a month in any country while three to six months is better), but before you book a flight to Manila, it would definitely be worth your while to buy these books and READ them…they are neither doorstops or shelf-fillers, but very practical methods of helping determine if the PI is the right place for you. I’d read them in the order they’re presented.
Top 5 Philippines Travel Guide Books
INSIGHT GUIDE: PHILIPPINES
This is the “pretty picture book” that gives you both a visual introduction to the country and some ideas of places you might want to visit or stay while you’re there. The Insight Guides are geared towards tourists as opposed to people considering a move to a particular country, so don’t expect a great deal of cultural analysis here. You do get some of that, along with a bit of history, but it’s not where you’re going to find what makes The Philippines tick (I’ll touch on that with the next couple of Philippines travel guide books). Insight Guide books are more about what you’ll SEE when you’re in a given country. It’s a good first look at a country filled with natural beauty. Read More
CULTURE SMART! PHILIPPINES
Now we’re getting into what’s actually going on around you as opposed to the sightseeing aspect of the PI. As with the Insight Guide, there are dozens of countries profiled in the Culture Smart! series of books. There are no pictures to look at, but plenty of history and practical advice on how to negotiate your way around the country and deal with the folks there. Every country is different, and this is a good first look at how The Philippines is truly a mix of Asian, Spanish and American cultures. It’s the least-expensive book on my list (when bought new), small enough to fit in your back pocket and in general a good introduction into the PEOPLE around you. Read More
CULTURE SHOCK! PHILIPPINES
Another multinational series of book featuring the word “culture” and an exclamation point in the title, but also the best of its kind. I have similar volumes for Ireland and Mexico as well as the PI, and all three are tremendous at really getting into why things are the way they are where they are (if that makes any sense). If you have to choose between Culture Smart or Culture Shock Philippines travel guide books, pick this one. It’s a little more expensive, but worth it…I would call this required reading. Every country is different and we don’t always agree with what goes on, but we need to UNDERSTAND why. You’ll really feel like you know the Pinoy better. Read More
EXTRA) NOLI ME TANGERE by Jose Rizal
If you’re not familiar with Dr. Rizal before going to The Philippines, you soon will be. He is THE national hero (and martyr) and a Renaissance man of the truest sort who was a very vocal proponent of Filipino independence from Spain in the late 19th Century before his death. He wrote several good books in too short a lifetime, but Noli Me Tangere captures the heart and soul of this country. It may be an overworked phrase, but I believe that if you truly want to know The Philippines, read Rizal. You can download this for free at www.gutenberg.org.
SURVIVAL KIT FOR OVERSEAS LIVING by L. Robert Kohls
I wouldn’t necessarily read this one until deciding that you’re serious about moving anywhere (not just The Philippines), but you absolutely, positively should buy and very carefully go through this book once you genuinely consider moving to a foreign country, especially if you’re an American. It does drag a little in places, but if you’re paying attention you’ll ask yourself questions you have to answer within yourself before living overseas. The book itself has a chapter with 47 questions for readers to ponder. ANSWER THEM HONESTLY, because they touch on things you WILL deal with at one time or another. Read More
THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE PHILIPPINES
This is one to read once you’ve reached the point where you’re tired of reading Philippines travel guide books. and want to experience The Philippines for yourself as a visitor but not a resident. There are any number of travel guides to consider, but the Rough Guide series is my personal favorite because they’re NOT Fodor’s or Frommer’s guides in that the target audience is not people who insist on four-star accommodations. If you’re considering the PI, you may already be budget-minded to begin with. You can buy an older copy of any other book on this list, but do NOT scrimp on this one if you’re actually going because places close and prices change. Get it new. Read More
Benefits of Philippines Travel Guide Books
All these titles are available online and are highly recommended Philippines travel guide books. Check Amazon first to see what the going retail and used rates are but if also you visit eBay or other sites and compare, you should be able to buy all six books (including the Rizal novel, if you prefer a hard copy) for well under $100, including postage. But do it.
It’s better to spend a few bucks now to help determine whether ANY place is the RIGHT place for you (and there isn’t any one place for everyone) as opposed to spending thousands of dollars only to decide it isn’t. This kind of knowledge isn’t just power…it’s fiscally prudent.