These are items I'll be packing for the next trip to the Philippines (in no specific order):
1) Umbrella - especially during the rainy season (which starts in August).
2) Tita Cora and/or Tita Grace - the former is Mom's sister-in-law, the latter is Dad's sister-in-law. They are some of the best hagglers in our family. ALWAYS bring them when shopping!
3) Dramamine - they come in orange-flavored chewable tablets now! I don't need it for planes, trains or boats, just cars in the Philippines. Urban & rural travel. If you're in the city, you'll need it for the potholes and crazy taxi drivers. If you're in the country, you'll need it for the potholes, winding dirt roads and crazy drivers.
4) Fan - the hand-held type. You'll need it 80% of the time (indoors & outdoors).
5) Boyfriend - real or rental, it doesn't matter. Pictures and/or assurances of one don't work. He has to be there in person.
6) Reservations at the Amigo Terrace Hotel (when in Iloilo City) - it's right in the middle of town, has a/c in the rooms, bathrooms with showers, hot water & toilets that flush and a great staff. Bell service not only takes care of your luggage, but will run out to the 24-hour pharmacy/convenience store for you!
7) Reservations at the New World Renaissance Hotel or Shangri-La Hotel (when in Manila) - aah...the joys of a 4-star hotel! Where does one start? Rooms, room service, lounge, restaurant, drivers, walking distance to Greenbelt, Landmark & SM...the list goes on.
8) Reservations at the Tirol & Tirol Beach Resort (when in Boracay) - the rooms look like nipa huts (those are the huts on stilts with thached roofs) from the outside and each room has a porch with chairs, table & hammock. Oh, and coffee delivered to your porch every morning.
9) A lightly-packed suitcase - that way you have room for the obligatory souvenirs, cheap pearls & loads of GREAT coffee!!!
10) Bottled water - make sure you have at least 2 on hand!
11) First class round-trip - flying coach for 20 hours is no fun!
12) Toilet paper / tissue paper - trust me, most public bathrooms don't stock them.