Philippines

Packing List

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in-country and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in-country.

Baggage & weight limit: The Peace Corps limits the size and weight of baggage and will not pay to transport baggage that exceeds these limits. The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers.

General Clothing

  • One fleece or jacket (for use on air-conditioned buses)
  • Six pairs of socks
  • Four or five casual cotton T-shirts (for women, nothing with a deep V)
  • Four pairs of shorts that extend to mid-thigh or knee
  • Two or three pairs of jeans (no rips, holes, or shredding)

Women

  • Five pairs of casual pants and/or capris or skirts for work
  • Six work shirts/tops (like polos)
  • One nice dress or skirt and top for official, more formal occasions, such as the swearing-in
  • ceremony and courtesy calls to government officials
  • Two modest one-piece bathing suits (if one gets ruined, it is hard to find a replacement locally), board shorts, and a two-piece for vacation
  • 20 pairs of underwear (anything larger than a size 8 is hard to find locally)
  • Five bras (anything larger than a size 36B is hard to find locally)

Men

  • Two pairs of khakis or dress pants
  • Swim trunks
  • Five short-sleeve button-down collared shirts and/or polos (at least one of which formal enough for dress occasions)
  • 12 pairs of boxers/briefs

Shoes

  • One pair of formal black shoes for important and special occasions
  • One pair of comfortable dress/work shoes
  • One pair of flip-flops
  • Sandals with straps
  • Sneakers or running shoes

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions 
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contact are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
  • A starter kit of travel size toiletry items that you can refill when you deem necessary.
  • Tampons are not readily available and you may want to pack a large zip-top bag full
  • If you have curly or kinky hair, you may want to bring a starter supply of hair products; it is difficult to find products for hair other than “Fine-straight.”

Electronics

  • It will be important to take good care of your electronics by keeping things dry in plastic and away from insects that could be potential hazards.
  • Reader device (Kindle, Nook, or tablet)
  • Earbuds or headphones
  • MP3 player, iPod, music playing device (music is a big part of the culture in the Philippines)
  • External hard drive for backing up files and file sharing with PCVs
  • USB or flash drive
  • Good quality flashlight
  • Camera: Waterproof for diving, DSLR, and/or point and shoot(depending on your needs/hobbies)

Miscellaneous

  • Three lightweight, super-absorbent quick-dry body towels
  • Rechargeable batteries and charger (AA and AAA)
  • Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool
  • Durable backpack big enough for a five-day trip
  • Photos of your family, friends, and pets to show your community
  • Sunglasses
  • Ear plugs (useful when there’s so much noise around)
  • Two cotton sheets (queen-sized flat sheet only, with pillow cases)
  • Small, cheap gifts for your two host families, such as Uno and other American games, U.S. maps, calendars with pictures in them (maybe of your home state), coloring books, key chains, pens and pencils, chocolate, and hard candies like Jolly Ranchers.
  • Snorkel gear, especially for CRM Volunteers
  • Bike helmet and removable bike light(s) (If you plan on riding a bike)
  • If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra money to suit your travel plans; credit cards or traveler's checks are preferable to cash. There are ATMs in larger cities, and most towns so you may want to bring an ATM card to access a bank account in the U.S.

What Not To Bring

  • Mosquito net (the Peace Corps issues you one upon arrival)
  • Pepto, Imodium, water tablets, dental floss, bug spray, etc. The Peace Corps issues Volunteers a thorough medical kit with all this and more on the day of arrival.
  • Jewelry with emotional value or anything with diamonds
  • Spices for cooking. Spices could be construed as an agricultural product and importation restrictions may apply.
  • Short-wave radio. There are legal restrictions related to the use of short wave radios in the Philippines.