Pokémon GO now officially live in Philippines! Here’s 11 tips and tricks to get you started

After our published Open Letter to Niantic Labs yesterday,Pokémon GO now officially live in Philippines! 11 tips and tricks to get you started as a new Pokémon trainer, from how to play, catching Pikachu, leveling up, getting free items, winning Gym battles, and more.

ONE Store Beta Now Available


After our published Open Letter to Niantic Labs yesterdayPokémon GO, the phenomenal augmented reality mobile game by Nintendo and Niantic Labs, is now officially released in the Philippines. You may now download the mobile game via

Download on the App Store



Using mostly of the classic game play of Pokémon, players will become Pokémon trainers and go outside with their smartphones to discover, battle and capture Pokémon in real-world settings. The game requires Internet (WIFI or mobile data), and location services such GPS.


Wanna be the very best? Like no one every was?

Check out these 11 tips and tricks to get you started as a new Pokémon trainer, from catching Pikachu, leveling up, getting free items, winning Gym battles, and more.


1. Your first Pokémon can be Pikachu.

By default, you have an option to catch the classic Pokémon starters: Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander, but you may also choose Pikachu.

To do that, ignore the 3 starter Pokémons for four or six times by just walk around them. Afterwhich, Pikachu will appear on the screen.


Pikachu as the starter Pokémon


2. Catching a wild Pokémon.

Similar to the screen above,  tap on the wild Pokémon (e.g. your 1st Pokémon) you wish to catch.

The app will then display “encounter screen” where the target Pokémon is at the center of the screen, and the Poke Ball will appear on the middle of the screen. Above the Pokémon is its name and the Combat Power (CP), if the CP is “???” means unknown.


Ready for capture (The Encounter Screen)


To catch, you can simply tap and hold the Poké Ball, then the target ring will appear, and fling or release your hold from Poké Ball. You have multiple attempts to capture before it runs away.

giphy (3)

Catching a Pokémon (Source: giphy.com)


You have better chance of capturing the wild Pokémon when the ring at it is smallest diameter, and also get extra Experience Points (XPs). You may also do a “curve ball” to get more extra points, see #5.

Notice while targeting, the ring color may vary based on the difficulty to capture based on their CP and/or rarity. The following are the possible ring colors:

  • Green means a bit easier to catch;
  • Orange means a little be harder to catch;
  • Red mean extremely hard to catch.

Once you have caught the Pokémon, you will be rewarded with 100 Stardust and 3 Pokemon Candy, specific to the Pokémon you’ve just caught .

After the catch, the screen will display the Pokémon details as seen below. The screen display the type of Pokémon, weight and height, abilities, location where you have caught it, and the number of stardust and candies required to “Power Up” or “Evolve”.

You can personalize the nickname of Pokémon by clicking on the pencil icon.

Also, each individual Pokémon is assigned Combat Power (CP) at capture, which means the attack level during battles. On the other hand, Hit Points (HP) means is the health indicator, which can be depleted during battles.

Charmander and Exeggcute

Charmander and Exeggcute (Photo courtesy of R. Solis)

One last thing, as you watch the Poke Ball wiggles after a catch, there may be times the Pokémon you have recently caught may still escape, so cross your fingers that it won’t.


3. Tracking Nearby wild Pokémons

While exploring the map, you would notice that small bar on the right hand of the screen, that is the “Nearby bar”.  Pokémon figures may appear on that bar if there are any in the area. You may tap on the bar to view it in detail

Nearby Bar

Home screen & Nearby bar

Pokémons you have already caught a before will appeared colored, else the figures are grayed or dimmed. (Training we got “Who’s that Pokémon!” after each episode of the show is now paying off.)  You have to move around and watch the screen get closer to them (trial and error).


4. Finding different Pokémons.

Similar to the original game, Pokémon Go also features 142 different types of Pokémons you can encounter in this game.

  • Normal Pokémons like Pidgey, Meowth, Rattata, Doduo. They can be found in parks, parking lots, business districts, schools, restaurants, and the likes; and is available in all climates. Their attack includes tackles and scratches, and do not generally have any of the characteristics assigned to the other types, except in the case of dual-typed.
  • Grass Pokémons can be tracked at grassland and coastal areas areas, normally at grass area of the parks and golf courses, and beach areas. They usually use have combinations with the Bug and Poison type, which includes Bellsprout, Bulbasaur, Exeggcute, Tangela and Leafon.
  • Water-type Pokémons, as the name implied, can be found near a body of water such as river, lakes, ponds and coastal areas. Most Water-type Pokémon are based on creatures that live on water, or use water for their disposition. Popular Water-type Pokémons includes Magikarp, Squirtle, Psyduck , Staryu and Gyarados.
  • Fire & Ground Type Pokémons normally lingers around arid climates, but you may also find them around the residential ‘green’ areas such as parks, and sometimes near the beach. Charmander is one of the popular Pokémon of this type.
  • Rare Pokémons tends to lurk around on specific places and at specific times. You’ll find element-based Pokémon close to the real-world version of their element.

The best way to discover new different Pokémons is to keep walking, and do keep an eye of your surroundings.

To learn more about the different types and abilities of each Pokémons, visit this site.


5. Training Levels and Gaining XPs

The core aspect of the game progression is tied to the Trainer’s level.

Everyone starts at Level 1, and in order to jump to the next level one must reach a certain number of Experience Points (XPs).

Whenever you do something in the game, such as catching a Pokémon, encountering Poké Stops, battling at the gym and the likes, your character will gain experience (XPs) and eventually level up.

Below are a variety of activities you can gain XPs.

  • Catching a Pokemon : 100 XPs
    • Catching a new Pokemon : +500 XPs
  • Visiting a PokeStop : 50 XPs
  • Evolving a Pokemon  : 500 XPs
  • Hatching a Pokemon (Egg) : 100 XPs per KM
  • Training at a Friendly Gym (requires at least @ Level 5) :  XP varies
  • Battling at a Rival Gym  (requires at least @ Level 5) : XP varies

As mentioned in #2, during the catching a Pokemon activity, may give you extra XPs based on the way you throw the Poké Balls. To obtain a throw bonus, the thrown Poké Ball must land inside of the colored circle. The smaller the circle, the greater the bonus:

  • Excellent Throw : 100 XPs
  • Great Throw : 50 XPs
  • Nice Throw: 10 XPs
  • Curve Ball (throwing with style): 10 XPs




Leveling up your character also get various perks, and unlock new items (see #7) .


6. Get free items and 50 Experience Points (XP) at a Poké Stop, and your Bag.


Left: PokéStop icon Right: Photo Disc

Marked with the blue icons, Poké Stops are locations where you can gather items for free, such as Poké Balls, Incense, Egg  and Potions. Specials items are unlocked when you reach a certain level these includes Revive (Level 5), Egg Incubator (Level 6), Razzy Berries (Level 8),  Lure Module (Level 8), and Ultra Ball (Level 20).

To get the free items and the XPs, move closer towards a Poké Stop and tap on the Poké Stop icon to interact with it, and spin the photo disc and tap on the items to fall out and float in bubbles. Items you were successful acquired will be added to your inventory and experience points will be added to your character bag. During interaction, best you are slowing down or  or stopped in a moving vehicle.

A stop changes color from blue to purple after interacting with it. Purple means you have exhausted all free items, and the stop requires a few minutes to recharge.

At the start, your bag can hold as much as 500 items. You may purchase a Bag upgrade from the Shop for 200 PokéCoins.

Interacting with a PokéStop will also give you 50 Experience Points (XPs) per successful visit.

Poké Stops are real-world locations such as buildings, monuments, landmarks, murals and graffiti. Along EDSA Southbound, several graffitis just before Buendia Avenue are confirmed Poké Stops. While in transit, best to interact with these Poké Stops during slow moving traffic (and you are not driving or crossing the street!)


7.  Optimize your catch with use the Incense, Lure Modules, and Razz Berries.

Incense, LureModules, Razz Berry

If you use to catch a wild Pokémons, while waiting sitting at a park or restaurant,or just basically  stuck in one  place, you may use an Incense to attracts wild Pokémon/s to your location with its aromatic scent.  A spawn of Pokémons will start to appear near your  character for 30 minutes. At the start, each player begins with free 2 Incense ready for use.  You may also purchase a Incense for 80 Poké Coins.

Near a Poké Stop, you may also use a Lure Module can make a spawn of wild Pokémons for 30 minutes. When used your game character will display a shower of of pink petals around the stop. Lure Modules can be purchased at Shop for 100 Poké Coins.

Upon reaching level 8, Razzy Berries can be one of your level rewards. A Razzy Berry can be used to catch high CP level or a rare Pokémon a little bit easier than the usually. Unlike the Incense and Lure Modules, Razzy Berries can not be purchased.


8. Duplicates, Power-ups and Evolving Pokémons.

Often than not, you might ignore a Pokémon you have already have caught.

They are actually very useful (1) when you caught them, they give you XPs, stardust and candies, and (2) transferring them to Professor Willow to get more candies.


Doduo, a lot of them

Doduo duplicates (Photo courtesy of C. Bantigue)

To transfer, tap the Poké Ball button at the bottom of the screen, then select Pokémon, then the specific Pokémon you want to transfer. Scroll to the bottom of the profile, click “Transfer” and you’ll be rewarded with one candy.

Just some hat tips:

  • Remember is that once you transfer a duplicate Pokémon, you cannot get that back.
  • Choose the duplicate with the lowest CP to transfer, so as not to waste a stronger Pokémon in the process.
  • Candies are specific to the Pokémon you have caught or transferred.

Which we do first Power up or Evolve?

A highly debatable topic, but in my opinion, your main goal while still at Level 1 to 5 is to get more XPs to level up to the next one. This can be done by catching more Pokémons (even if its duplicates), and visiting Poké Stops.

You will encounter higher CP-level of the wild Pokémons when  your player level becomes more advanced. It is actually “cheaper” to do that, than trying to Power up a low-level CP Pokémon with candies and star dust.

Once you have a number of high-level CP Pokémons, Power up them first, then evolve. High level CPs and/or evolve Pokémons are very useful at Pokémon battles at the gym.


9. Eggs

Eggs allows you to hatch a Pokémon that may not usually be available in a player’s area. Each egg is associated a certain distance requirement for the egg to hatch by walking. Make sure the app is active when you are walking, else your steps will not be counted.

The greater the distance high probability the Pokémon is rare.


Pokemon Eggs

Pokémon Eggs

Eggs requires an incubator in order to hatch. At the start of the game, you are given with one (1) incubator.

Pokemon Go - Eggs

Pokemon Go – Eggs

Above are the possible Pokémon you can get through hatching.


10. Hitting Level 5 : Gyms and  Teams


Left: Gym Marker Right: a Captured Gym w/ Doduo defending it at the corner of Ayala and EDSA


Gyms can be found in real world locations throughout the world, similar to Poké Stops, it can be landmarks, monuments, buildings, parks, etc.

Gyms are good source of XPs, free items and Poké Coins. Poké Coins is the virtual currently of Pokémon GO, where you can buy items at the Shop section of the app.

If a gym doesn’t have a Pokémon on top, it means it is free and ready capture for your team. You may battle in a Gym of your team to train and gain XPs and free items, or a rival team to capture it. A Gym can be challenged by multiple Trainers at the same time, but the battles are still one-on-one.

A Gym’s strength is determined by the prestige points it has. The higher the prestige point, the more Pokémon can defend / guard it. Prestige points are gained for every victory, and of course, loses prestige with every loss esp. if a rival team won from the battle.

To enter a gym and join a team, your player level must be at least Level 5.

If it is your first time to enter a Gym and it is not captured, you will be first asked to join a team. You can select Team Instinct (rellow), Team Mystic (Blue) or perhaps Team Valor (red).

Each team has a legendary bird Pokemon for a mascot. Valor are represented by the fiery Moltres and is lead by Candela; Mystic are fronted by the icy Articuno and lead by Blance; Instinct fly under the sigil of the electric Zapdos which is lead by Spark.

Pokémon Teams

Team Instinct, Team Mystic, Team Valor

At present, all teams does not have unique powers nor any advantage from another, but perhaps they can have those the future.

For now, the best team to join is the team where your others friends and colleagues will join as well. All of you can tandem up to capture a Gym or steal it from another team, when rival team Gym’s prestige points is zero.

To battle at the gym, first check the prestige points and the CP level of the Pokmons you need to fight. Make sure that you have the right types of Pokémons to succeed, check vulnerabilities of Pokémons defending.

Attacks on vulnerability of a Pokémon makes at least twice the damage ,than a normal attack will do. Though, some Pokémons are immune to certain attacks, while other Pokémons have two types that can work or not to their advantage.

You can battle in a friendly Gym to train by challenging a defender, and if you win, the prestige of that Gym increases. Once the prestige is raised enough, the Gym level increases and another defender can be added.

As mentioned, battles are done one-on-one per player. The Pokémon’s CP will be key in determining the result of the match, as well each of the Pokemon’s type. You can boost your combat power and evolve your Pokemon by using candy, see #5.

To attack, you can tap the screen to unleash a normal move, or hold down your thumb or finger to build power for a special attack. After each attack,
you will be notified if it was successful or not. Your opponent’s Hit Points (HP) will decrease when your attack is successful, indicated by the blue horizontal below the CP bar.

To dodge, you can dodge an attack by swiping left or right, depending on the position of the opposing Pokemon. After each dodge, you will be notified if it was successful or not. For an ineffective dodge though, the Pokemon will suffer some damage.


Pokémon GO - Battles

Battle at the Gym (Source: giphy.com)


After a battle, your Pokémon may faints after a battle, you may revive it using Revives or Max Revives; or you are required to heal it use Potions. Revives, Max Revives from your Bag items.


11. Gear-up! Be mindful with your surroundings.

Playing Pokémon GO is a physical activity, you will need walk around to be able to visit Poké Stops, Gyms, and encounter wild Pokémons.

Wear comfortable footwear. Watch your step, you might be already on the cross streets or edge of a cliff.

Bring cap or umbrella due to the unpredictable weather nowadays.

Do not forget to hydrate.

It is more enjoyable to go on Pokémon hunting with your friends. Just avoid sketchy areas.

Pokémon GO is battery hogger app. It uses location-services including GPS, sounds and vibrations, and the Internet (WIFI or Mobile data), extensively.

 It is advised to you bring battery pack to recharge your device.

To minimized battery usage, check the Battery Saver option on the ‘Setting’ section of the app, and turn-off the AR mode camera.

And as we are reminded whenever we open the app, “Remember to be alert all times and Stay aware of your surroundings.” Play Pokémon GO responsibly. Cause no harm to you,  nor to others. Observe the law.

Loading Screen Reminder


We do hope these tips and tricks were helpful.

Feel free to leave any comments or inquires you may have, or perhaps share your own tips and tricks as well.


Pokemon GO