How should I dress in the Philippines?

I’m going to the Philippines. Woo-hoo! I’m so excited!

Most of the time, I’ll be in the middle of nowhere, hiking around and collecting insects. I’ll be spending a few days in cities, though, meeting academic colleagues, going to seminars, and dealing with bureaucracy for collection permits. I’m not sure how I should dress for those things.

The on-line guides I’ve read so far say that Filipinos are rather stylish, and that women should dress in relatively conservative Western-style dress in urban areas.

I’m not sure exactly what that means, though. For those of you who are from or have spent time in the Philippines–what do you suggest I pack? What kinds of shoes, pants, dresses, etc. would work well for seminars and dinners with faculty members and museum curators? How long should my sleeves and skirts be? Are there styles of clothing or shoes that would be OK in the US, but not cool in the Philippines? Is it important that I wear jewelry or have a manicure done?

I’d really appreciate any tips or info you could give me!

Yes certainly have a manicure! Here it is so cheap ($4- $6) for manicure and pedicure that everyone I know, me included have a regular manicure. You could save it till you arrive.

Sounds obvious but its hot here. Its always hot in the city ( 34 deg ) every day. In the Sun in the provinces it can be cooler ( High areas like Baguio or Tagaytay) or hotter ( Palawan beaches)

Dress wise, I don’t see many women at all wearing pants. A skirt or light dress seems de rigour. Seminars will be held, hopefully in air conditioned arenas so business attire would suit. Not sure about dressing up to meet beaurocrats as invariably you could be queueing for quite a while so overdressing could be uncomfortable, especially if no aircon.
Where will you be staying? Whats your itinery? Hope you enjoy it.

I’d love to just have a manicure once I arrive, but I get the feeling that I won’t have time to do much of anything other than what’s already on the itinerary. I’ll have to arrive in Manila with my nails already done.

Would something like this or this be considered appropriate for going to a seminar and meeting colleagues?

What shoes should I wear with it? Would sandals be OK, or should I wear something with closed toes?

I lived for a few years in the Philippines.

For everyday clothes in the smaller cities most women wear jeans, t-shirts, and sandals.

The dresses that you linked to should be fine for meetings in Manila.

Both would seem equally acceptable to me. Open toe sandals seem to be everywhere. Hopefully a female doper may be able to give you better fashion advice.

Am a dude and am more used to trying to get ladies out of their dresses rather than put them into them :smiley:

But I do notice that most taller western women here would go for the longer dress whilst less tall pinays would wear the skirt suit.

No way do I know better than manila, but I had an Internet friend from there, a bank officer who hopped a tram each day, and she stressed that it was hot hot hot and WET. From the way she described her environment and dress, I envisioned a kind of Tropical/British Empire kind of thing going on. So unless you’re going during their dry season (relatively) I don’t know about sandals.

Thanks so much for your advice! I really appreciate it.

Do people usually take their shoes off when they enter people’s houses? Is it considered vaguely icky to have to touch your shoes to take them off?

manila–I’d love to tell you my itinerary, but that would probably reveal my identity to anyone from my department. I don’t know if anyone I know is a fellow Doper, but I’d rather not risk it.

I hope it’s enough to say that I spend three days meeting people and such in Manila. Then I go to various national parks and collect insects at different elevations and in different ecoregions. After about a month, I fly back to Manila, where we spend a couple of days in sorting out paperwork and giving some of the specimens to various Filipino partners in crime. If we can get all this stuff done quickly, I might get a day off to explore Manila.

Then I go back to the USA. I go from the plane to the lab, where I chuck the bugs into the deep freeze. I chuck myself into bed and recover for a day or two, before I start doing lab work on the specimens we just got.

Outside the front door of most homes you will see a stack of shoes/sandals where people have taken off their shoes before entering a home.
Many homes will have a supply of “slippers” (flip-flops) that you can wear inside the house.

I lived for years in the Philippines wearing shorts, t-shirts, and sandals.
Many of the local women wear jeans, not out of modesty, but to keep the sun off their legs.

Sunglasses and a hat are recommended.

I hope you’re aware of the travel advisories. You wouldn’t want to be wearing a .45 muzzle in your mouth.

Not to be alarmist. Just be aware.

Thanks for the warning, echo7tango. I think I’ll be OK, though.

I doubt very strongly that the regions we’ll be collecting in are particularly dangerous, but I’ll keep my wits about me. I’m not going out into the middle of nowhere alone. I’ll have a small group of people with me, including guides native to the regions where we’ll be.

If you are going insect hunting up in the mountains… remember these mountains are volcanoes and at least 17 of them are still active!! ( more to fear from that than the Abu Sayyaf or the New Peoples Army or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front -MILF! I kid you not!) Hehe not wanting to panic you! You will have a wonderful time I am sure

And err… cough cough if you return ( I have no doubt you will as the Philippines islands are magnetic!) Next time you book one of my Makati apartments yap? (only joking!)

Enjoy your stay Scribble