Packing list for Philippines

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Country Resources

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in the Philippines and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that 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 that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in the Philippines.

General Clothing

For Women

  • Two or three blouses and cotton skirts (at least knee length) and two or three dresses (at least knee length) for work, meetings with officials, social events, and formal Peace Corps functions (bring enough for at least three days a week of formal practicums, especially in education; also, bring a light shawl/scarf/sweater to wear over any sleeveless tops)
  • Two or three pairs of lightweight pants and two or three pairs of walking shorts (which extend to mid-thigh) for wearing around the house, working outdoors, and travel
  • Several nice T-shirts, including plain white ones to be printed with Peace Corps designs
  • Lightweight sweatpants and sweatshirt (for the occasional cool, rainy nights)
  • One lightweight jacket or sweater
  • Eight pairs of cotton underpants
  • Five to eight bras, which Volunteers must wear (larger sizes are hard to find locally)
  • Two cotton half slips
  • Two or three pairs of socks
  • Modest one-piece bathing suit (though when swimming at site, girls are generally required to wear shorts and a t-shirt)
  • Bandannas or scarves for protection from dust, pollution, and heat
  • Hat for sun protection

For Men

  • Two or three pairs of cotton slacks (khakis are ideal), five to eight short-sleeved cotton shirts with collars, two cotton dress shirts, and one necktie for work, meetings with officials, parties, and formal Peace Corps functions
  • Two or three pairs of lightweight pants and four or five pairs of walking shorts (which extend to mid-thigh) for wearing around the house, working outdoors, and travel
  • Five to eight casual but neat T-shirts
  • Eight to 10 pairs of cotton briefs or boxers
  • One or two undershirts
  • Cotton socks
  • Swim trunks
  • Bandannas or handkerchiefs for protection from dust, pollution, and heat
  • Hat for sun protection


  • For women, one pair of comfortable, versatile flats or low-heeled shoes that can be worn with pants or dresses (education volunteers are required to wear dress shoes at least three days a week during training, and every day when at site - bring several pairs since women's sizes over 7 are difficult to find)
  • For men, comfortable, casual dress shoes
  • One pair of durable shoes for fieldwork
  • One pair of comfortable athletic shoes
  • One pair of sturdy sandals (e.g., Tevas) (Check the volunteer discount page on this wiki, as both Teva and Keen provide discounts to PCVs)
  • Flip flops (these are standard to wear around the house)

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Supply of fine dental floss (also available in your Peace Corps medical kit)
  • Toothpaste (if you want a brand other than Colgate)
  • Tampons for women (hard to find locally)
  • Special soaps
  • Shaving kit
  • Toiletry bag
  • Deodorant


Note that Volunteers receive a modest settling-in allowance at the end of the pre-service training to purchase household items.

  • Swiss Army knife (a necessity)
  • Good basic cookbook (ovens are extremely rare, so particularly bring recipes which can be cooked on a stove-top)
  • Plastic storage bags of different sizes
  • Sugar substitute (if you avoid sugar)


  • A computer (Peace Corps will tell you this is optional, but they will also give you most of your technical materials on a USB, so make sure to bring some variety of laptop/tablet/etc. which can read USB flash drives. Also, a lot of the technical work is a lot easier with a computer, such that the few in our batch who didn't bring one quickly decided to buy one here.)
  • Battery- or solar-powered calculator (if you need one for your work)
  • Music
  • Recreational equipment such as a Frisbee, baseball glove, or mask and snorkel
  • Two flat sheets (not fitted) and two pillowcases
  • Sewing kit (but needles and thread are available locally)
  • Three lightweight towels—two bath size and one for traveling
  • Your favorite technical books (there are also a lot of technical books in-country)
  • Small tape recorder/player for recording language lessons
  • Camera with silica gel and airtight container to protect film and equipment from the heat and humidity; most standard black-and-white, color, and slide films are available in larger cities, but the quality of processing varies markedly (you can buy mailers to send your film to the United States, Japan, or Australia for processing) (Or cities will have places that can print digital photos)
  • Durable, waterproof backpack for overnight trips, and/or a duffel bag for short trips
  • Photos of your family, pets, home, etc. to share with Filipino co-workers and friends
  • Duct tape (useful for fixing almost anything and hard to find locally)
  • Money belt
  • Sleeping bag, especially if you are assigned to the mountains up north
  • Waterproof flashlight
  • Reusable earplugs (the kind for musicians or concert-goers) (In the Philippines, the louder the music, the better. Further, there are no taboos about when it is appropriate to blast your tunes. You may need these just to sleep at night, and they'll definitely help at public events.)
  • Gifts from another place (known as pasalubong) for host families, such as Uno and other American games, U.S. maps, coloring books, key chains, magnets, pens, chocolate bars, and hard candies (Filipinos love them!) (Be aware you'll need both gifts for two host families for both welcome and good-bye, though you'll also have opportunities to buy chocolate, etc. in-country.)