India vs Philippines, where do you start? Both of these countries are so different. From the landscape to the culture, the activities, and more, they have almost no similarities, so much so, that it’s almost impossible to choose between them.
But if you’ve whittled down the list of countries you want to visit for a holiday of a lifetime, and are left with India vs Philippines, how do you choose? Well, hopefully, our comparison below of all the things each country is known for will give you a step in the right direction.
When doing a VS of countries, I don’t usually include a landscape section but since the countries involved this time are so different from each, I felt it was an important section to cover. Landscapes often equate to what activities are on offer, the food you might eat, and a lot more, so they are well worth noting.
Known as the sub-continent, India is a huge country that spans 3.287 million km² and within it is a huge range of different environments and landscapes to explore.
You have the Himalayan Mountains in the North, the tallest mountain range on the planet, the lowland hills that sit just beneath them, the desert of Rajasthan, and the lush jungle lowlands near the coast.
There is also, of course, India’s coastline which measures 7,516.6 km that is littered with stunning beaches lapped by the warm Indian Ocean. Then you can add to that the stunning islands of Lakshadweep, Andaman, and Nicobar.
India truly has it all when it comes to landscapes and environments but with great distances between them, so seeing them all is a challenge.
The Philippines is a Southeast Asian nation made up of 7,640 islands that make up an area of 300,000 km². When considering India vs Philippines, you can fit the entire country of the Philippines into India close to eleven times, which should give you an idea of the size difference.
Unlike India, the Philippines is not a nation with every kind of environment in it, but the landscapes and environments it does are pretty fantastic.
The seas around the Phillippines are pristine and home to some incredible sea life, it’s an awesome place for island hopping, the beaches are stunning, and since the Phillippines is made up of volcanic islands, there is a ton of jungle-covered mountains inland that are awesome to explore and hike around.
Another great thing about the Phillippines is its small size making it easy to see a lot of it in one visit, unlike India.
Weather is a very important factor to consider when going away as it can make or break your vacation, quite literally. Life is always better in the sunshine I say, but sometimes too much heat can also be a problem, so we need to look for that happy medium.
It’s hard to compare the weather of such a huge country such as India, as the weather you experience very much depends on whereabouts in India you are at the time, but I’ll give it a go anyway.
The temperatures in India can range from – 2°C to 40 °C and sometimes can hit −4 °C in winter if you’re in the mountains, and up to 47 °C if you’re in the desert during summer. If you’re not staying high in the mountains, the rest of India doesn’t go below 10 °C (50 °F) in winter so you only need to worry about the cold when you’re actually in the Himalayas.
Being on the shores of the Indian Ocean, India has two monsoons one of which you should avoid if you don’t want to be rained on. Between June and September, in the summer monsoon, western and central India get’s around 90% of their annual rainfall and southern and northwestern India gets around 50%-75% of their rain, so these are times to avoid traveling in.
Overall, the weather in India, outside of June-September, is very pleasant making it lovely to travel around. Although if you’re going into the Himalayas in winter, you will want to wrap up warm.
The Phillippines has a very different climate to India and it’s always warm which is lovely. The average yearly temperatures range between 21 °C (70 °F) and 32 °C (90 °F) which is the exact kind of temperatures you want when spending time on the beach and in the ocean.
May tends to be the warmest month in the Philippines while unsurprisingly January is usually the coldest month.
Due to the location of the Phillippines, it also suffers from monsoons that bring a lot of rain, just like in India, and the monsoon season is at a similar same time of year, June to November.
This is when the Philippines gets 90% or more of its rainfall, and it also experiences high winds, so be sure to travel there in the dry season between December and May. March and April are the most pleasant months in the Philippines as it’s not too hot, or too cold, and it’s dry.
When traveling to a new country, something I always get very excited about is the local cuisine that I’ll get to try. I love experiencing new flavors and getting some inspiration to add to the meals I cook at home.
In this case, India vs Phillippines, the local cuisines are both absolutely delicious but at the same time very different, and here is how.
We have all heard and probably eaten Indian food. There isn’t a country or city in the world where you can find an Indian restaurant but nothing is quite like eating Indian food in India.
Indian cuisine is so diverse and different dishes have originated from different regions. In any case, whatever Indian dish you try, it’s going to have some kind of spice involved somewhere.
Some of the food you have to try in India includes a Massala Dosa, which is India’s version of a French crepe. Massala Dosa’s originate from southern India but can also be found at south Indian restaurants in the larger cities of the country.
They are not easy to make as the batter, made from rice, flour, and lentils, has to soak for 24 hours before it can be shaped and then cooked on a griddle. They are usually served folded and stuff with potatoes and a little spice like hot sambar.
If you’re on the road a lot, you’ll be eating at roadside canteens often and have the opportunity to eat some chaat and dal makhani, along with some bread in the form of roti, naan, chapati, and paratha. Dal makhani is a kind of spicy lentil soup, and chaat is diced potato, fried bread, and chickpeas covered with fresh coriander leaves, yogurt, dried ginger, and tamarind sauce.
Another delicacy not to miss is vada pav, which is as close to an Indian veggie burger you’re going to find. it’s made by putting a deep-fried dumpling of potatoes, vegetables, and spices into a bun and comes from the state of Maharashtra.
You then of course have the dishes you will have probably heard of including korma, massala, pasanda, tikka, tandoori, and rogan josh, buhnas, and great street snacks like bhajis and samosas. The list goes on.
I will say, that if you don’t like spicy food, or coriander (cilantro), then your experience of India’s food might not be that pleasant, and western food isn’t very available in a lot of the regions unless you’re in a big city.
One probably hasn’t heard of Filipino food very often or even stumbled upon a Filipino restaurant. I lived in London for years never found one, but I wasn’t looking hard either. Filipino food is actually incredibly delicious and can hold its own when compared to other Southeast Asian cuisines such as Thai or Vietnamese.
You might think the Philippines would have a lot of seafood, and it does, but their favorite protein to put into any meal tends to be pork.
Something you have to try in the Philippines is some Tocino, which might just have some of the best bacon you have ever tried inside it. Tocino is served in a traditional breakfast dish in the Phillippines called tosilog and comes served with garlic fried rice (sinangag), a fried egg (itlog), and the bacon (tocino).
Tocino is made of pork belly that is cured in sugar, salt, and various other spices then fried up. It’s incredibly tender, full of flavor, and as I said, maybe some of the most delicious food you might ever try.
A light dish, which is kind of a Filipino version of ceviche, is Kinilaw. It’s made by soaking cold slices of raw fish with vinegar, salt, pepper, chili peppers, and calamansi juice. It also comes served with fresh salad, yum!
There are also some curry-based dishes in the Philippines such as Kare-Kare which is an oxtail stew made with spices and peanuts. It tastes a bit like Thai curry and it’s a great dipping sauce to have on the table too.
With the curries, you also get to have noodles, soups, broths, all with fresh tastes like spring onions, and soy sauce. So while Filipino food isn’t as diverse as Indian food when it comes to spices, there is a great mix of Asian tastes and curry dishes, plus if you don’t handle spice or coriander well, you’ll love it.
There is so much to do in both India and the Phillippines that no matter which country you choose to visit, you’ll have a never-ending list of great things to do. There are some major differences between the two though that are worth noting and these lie mainly in their differing landscapes and culture.
Culturally, India is one of the most immersive countries on the planet, and that’s why there have been so many bestsellers written on the topic such as Shantaram and Paperback Raita. When you’re on the streets of India, you’re a part of it, it can be immensely peaceful or complete chaos, but where ever you are, you’re not an outsider.
Between the two main religions of Hinduism and Buddism in India, you’ll find there are so many amazing temples to visit, both old and new, that will blow your mind. Architecturally, India is also pretty fantastic in parts and the festivals of color are quite extraordinary.
Outside of culture, some of the greatest things in India to do are to trek in the Himalayas where you might find a snow leopard or two. Having been to the Himalayas, I have to say that it’s an incredibly beautiful place and it somehow feels different from any other mountains I have been to. Maybe it was the cherry and apricot blossoms along the rivers, or the never-ending valleys, and giant peaks that surround you.
Another awesome thing to do in India is to get into the national parks and explore the jungles looking for incredible animals like tigers, multiple leopard species, and even Asiatic lions.
Youn should also spend some time camping in the desert of Rajasthan where the colors of the landscape are hard to beat, and it’s worth exploring the delightful coastline between Mumbai and Kerela where you can swim in the sea, sunbathe, surf, and more.
If you want to experience the Indian Ocean properly, then a few days in the Andaman Islands will have you diving, snorkeling, and fishing in an ocean full of life.
As you can see, India does have it all, but doing it all requires multiple flights across a huge country and you will just be able to squeeze it all in on a 2-month trip. Chances are, you will only have 10 days or 2 weeks to explore, so you will have to pick and choose.
Something most people don’t know about the Philippines is that it was once colonized by the Spanish and has a lot of beautiful old Spanish architecture that is stunning and worth seeing while you’re there. San Agustin Church, Fort Santiago, and Santo Nino Basilica are all found in Manilla and showcase the best of the Spanish architecture the Philippines has to offer.
If you love the sea, then a trip to the Phillippines will make you very happy. Between the 7,640 islands of the Philippines, you find amazing beaches and stunning coral reefs. The fishing is excellent as is the diving, snorkeling and you couldn’t be in a better place to do some island hopping.
The beaches themselves are stunningly beautiful with white sands lapped by azure blue warm tropical waters. To enjoy some amazing snorkeling, you only need to bring a mask and fins, and then swim off the beach. You’ll find the underwater scenes awash with colorful fish, corals, and if you’re lucky, you might bump into a few turtles, rays, and even the odd shark.
There are numerous diving operations all around the islands which will take you to some amazing dive sites including caves, drop-offs, reefs, and wrecks.
If you enjoy hiking, then the Philippines is a wonderful destination too. As soon as you go inland you’ll ve surrounded by jungle-covered hills and volcanoes that you can hike to the top of.
There are some unusual hilly formations to see while you’re there including the chocolate hills that look like the ground has lumps and bumps from something chickenpox.
You’ll also find some stunning lakes, rivers, and waterfalls inland from the coast which runs with stunning clear greeny water. Swimming in the waterfalls and taking a boat cruise around the lakes and rivers is a wonderful way to spend your days.
Highlights would be a visit to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park where you’ll find a river that flows for 8,2 km through the caves and directly into the sea. You can take a boat all the way through the amazing cave system. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you can’t find anywhere else but in the Philippines.
If you want a serious adventure, head to the lakes of Coron Island. You’ll need to hike over hills to find them and when you do, you’ll be blessed with a swim in the crystal clear waters and an endless view of the jungle surrounding you, it is truly beautiful.
One of the lakes on the island that is harder to get to is Lake Barracuda where the water can sometimes get to 38 degrees Celsius and is like bathing in a hot spring.
As you can see, India and the Phillippines are very different countries, and choosing to visit one or the other is not easy.
The choice in some ways comes down to culture and what you would like to do on your holiday. India offers far more cultural experiences than the Phillippines and you can mix that up with a trek in the Himalayas, time in the Rajasthan desert, or some great beach time in the south between Mumbai and Kerala.
What India doesn’t have is the pristine oceans and islands of the Philippines. If it’s sun, sea, sand, lakes, rivers, mountains, and island hopping you are after, then the Phillippines is a clear winner. Plus it’s smaller, so you actually see the country in a 14-day trip, whereas to see all of India could take you 6 months.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!