To be emotionally prepared:
* Come without preconceived expectations
* Come with an open mind and a willingness to try new things.
Other ways to prepare:
* I would suggest learning some Tagalog before you arrive here. Although it is likely that you will end up learning another dialect, Tagalog is the national language and is widely understood. Also, it will help you when you are in Manila.
* Talk to returned PCVs if you can., they can provide you with tons of insight on what life in the Peace Corps is really like.
Packing, what to bring:
* A good rule of thumb is to bring what you like, but wouldn't be incredibly upset if it was lost, ruined. or stolen.
* There are HUGE malls here and you can pretty much buy what you need.
* Clothing - keep in mind that it is usually hot and raining or hot and dry. Clothes that are light, wash easily, and dry quickly are the best. Don't bring too many white things, they get irreversibly dirty. Bring the clothing and styles that you like, things that are comfortable to you. Also, remember that it is hard to find average to large American sizes here.
* For women, bring extra bras.
* Bring some funky outfits for some disco dancing and clubbing (if that is your thing).
* Money-good for traveling, buying additional items, going out.
* Thermarest - very hard to find here and indispensable if you are sleeping on bamboo.
* If you are into camping, bring your own equipment, it is hard to find it here.
* For women, TAMPONS - very hard to find.
* Field guides.
* Walkman and portable speakers.
* A large backpack and a daypack.
* Little gifts from home - keychains, etc.-to give to your host families.
Packing, what not to bring:
* Household items like sheets, etc.
* Sunscreen, generic medications - Peace Corps will supply.
* Heavy clothing that is hard to wash.
* Flip flops - there are tons here.
* Too much stuff - you get sick of carrying it around and you accumulate many things here.