I have been across the U.S. and after returning to my dysfunctional home in Texas for far too long am embarking again. I am planning on leaving with a small bag this time- no larger than a schoolbag. To haul around a 50/60 Liter bag through the Philippines like I did in the U.S. just seems contradictory to the nature of my trip. Bare necessities, one book (probably the Gita) and a few changes of efficient clothing. I want to be on the opposite longitude of the earth. I want to learn and heal for the first time in this life.
Sounds very liberating. Travelling light is a lot of fun, and makes you focus on how little you really need. You look outward to your surroundings not inward to your possessions.
Philippines is an interesting choice. What do you plan to see and do there? Makes a nice change from all the people going to Thailand.
With a little research and preparedness it's really, really easy to travel with carry-on sized luggage and still have lots of room left over. Here's my Cut & Paste Rant:
For many travellers a carry-on size backpack is more than sufficient. Think light, efficient and mobile... you definitely don't need to be hauling around a boat anchor.
I travel independently for indefinite periods (several months at a time) via hotels/hostels through 3 climates with a carry-on size 46 litre backpack with LOTS of room left over - all the cinch straps are yanked to their tightest dimensions so the backpack is really only about 30 - 35 litres when I start the trip.
That's including a set of nice clothes to crash an Embassy party or high-end club, normal day-to-day casual and hiking wear, beach clothes, personal hygiene products and everything else you need to be safe/comfortable plus a laptop, digital still/video package and all the peripherals.
I have a separate daypack that fits inside the main backpack. I use it to carry all my essentials when the main backpack is in an overhead bin, etc.
It's easily doable and you'll see LOTS of experienced backpackers doing the same - and in warm climates going even lighter. Seeing other travellers - especially smaller women - struggle with 60-70-80 litre backpacks (usually with additional daypacks!) is insane.
Going light makes sense to me because it allows me to keep my backpack with me all the time - it's carry-on size for aircraft, it doesn't need to be checked into the baggage space under the bus where it's out of my sight and out of my control - and it's obviously way easier/faster to navigate a crowded train aisle, keep with me inside the taxi, stow in a small boat, fit into a tuk-tuk, onto the back of a motorcycle and a million other situations which are crucial for travel in off-the-beaten-path situations.
Everyone's needs are different though... Good luck with your shopping and travel safe.