What to Wear in The Philippines

Last updated on November 20th, 2021

Ed. note: Ruth is Editor of the newsletter, Network for Living Abroad, a resource for study, work, living and travel abroad. It’s great! Want to know how to get a subscription? Contact her at liveabroad@aol.com.

I have lived in the Philippines before. If you are travelling to this destination I suggest: any conservative outfit such as t-shirt and long pants (lightweight but not transparent). No jewelry. Revealing clothes attracts gropers, rude men and pickpockets. A handkerchief is handy to wipe off sweats, or just to protect your nose from smog.

Jennifer, Orlando, U.S.A.

You can wear ANYTHING in the Philippines especially in the main cities. Shorts and sandals work best with the weather

Weng, Manilla

In Manilla people dress very well . Business women wear designer clothes but they avoid black. P.S. If you are travelling with a man you can pass this info along–Business attire for men may be suits or at least white or light shirts with a tie. For social occasions, men wear a “barong tagalog” or an open shirt.

Ruth Halcomb, Sherman Oaks, California

Women usually cover up — avoid unwanted attention by sticking to jeans/pants or knee length shorts/skirt with tops that have sleeves. This is the general attire here. Polo tops are popular and very comfortable. Natural fibers are the best for work clothing/suits etc.

Louise, Sydney, Australia

Because of the heat and humidity, try to wear lightweight clothes made primarily from natural fibers, preferably cotton. Carry a collapsible hand fan and use it when necessary. Take a flashlight, baby powder and industrial strength deodorant. In a country where power failures and reductions (“brown-outs”) are frequent, a flashlight is essential. In the Philippines, count on three to four hours of brown-outs (ergo no air-conditioning) per day. If you are trying to conduct business under these conditions, you’ll be grateful you remembered to douse yourself with baby powder before leaving your hotel in the morning.

Barb Ouimet, Montreal, Canada

Proper attire is very important in the Philippines. When going to a bank, or other business foreigners will be better treated by dressing in something more formal than shorts, flipflops and a tank top. Foreigners that dress in beachwear everywhere they go will be viewed poorly. When visiting a home, look for a row of shoes at the entrance – this is a sign that you should also take off your shoes.

Joan, Tuscon, USA

Pack shorts, skirts and t-shirts. This is what I saw being worn there as it is always hot, even after it has rained. But malls, cinemas and hotels are all air-conditioned so that you will get very cold in a shorts and t-shirt outfit. I suggest you carry a light, cotton shawl (easy to carry and put in a handbag) at least to protect your arms when you’re indoors.

Issa, London, UK

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