At right in the heart of South East Asia is the Philippines, a rambling
chain of some 7,107 islands and islets. From north to south, this
tropical archipelago stretches for more than 1,700 kilometers towards
the equator. The South China Sea washes its western shores; a northern
neighbor is Taiwan, as are Hongkong and China; further north is Japan.
Westward lies other Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia
and Thailand. An arm of the archipelago points southwest towards the
isle of Borneo; and at its feet, the island chain that is Indonesia.
To the east and south, the waters of the Pacific Ocean sweep its headlands,
looking out towards Micronesia and Polynesia
Valid passport. Except for stateless persons and those from countries
with which the Philippines has no diplomatic relations, all visitors
may enter the country without visas and may stay for 21 days provided
they have tickets for onward journey. Holders of Hong Kong and Taiwan
passports must have special permits. Visas and special permits may
be obtained from Philippine embassies and consulates.
Unit of currency: Peso (P) = 100 centavos. Bank notes: P10, P20,
P50, P100, P200, P500 and P1,000. Coins: 5c, 10c, 25c, P1, P5, P10.
Money changers will be able to give you the official guiding rates
and are located at the airport, local banks, and other authorized
foreign exchange dealers in commercial establishments.
March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy. November
to February is cool. Average temperatures: 78oF/25oC to 90oF/32oC;
Filipino is the national language. English is the business language
and spoken widely. Approximately 111 languages and dialects are
spoken in the country.
GMT plus 8 hours.
No daylight saving time at the moment
Mon Jul 03 11:23:05 2006.
The Philippines is readily accessible from the travel capital of
the world. Traveling time to Manila from Hongkong is an hour and
50 minutes; Singapore 3 hours and 10 minutes; Bangkok, 3 hours and
50 minutes, Tokyo, 4 hours and 15 minutes; Sydney, 10 hours and
20 minutes; London, 20 hours and 45 minutes; Paris, 21 hours and
15 minutes; Frankfurt, 19 hours and 40 minutes; San Francisco, 20
hours and 15 minutes; Los Angeles, 15 hours ans 20 minutes; and
New York, 20 hours and 20 minutes.
220 volts, A.C. 60 cycles. Most hotels have 110-volt outlets.
Water in Metro Manila and in key cities and towns is potable and
safe for drinking. Bottled water is available in many hotels, restaurants,
resorts, supermarkets, and convenience stores.
The international airports have adequate traveler facilities: tourist
information & assistance counters, hotel & travel agency
representatives, banks & ATMs, postal service, telephone booths,
and medical clinics, among others. Baggage carts and porter services
are available for free.
The airports are handicapped-friendly. Wheelchairs are available
on request from the airline ground staff.
Visitors are advised to fill in the Baggage Declaration Form before
disembarking to facilitate Customs examination. Visitors carrying
more than US$ 3,000 are to declare the amount at the Central Bank
of the Philippines counter situated at the Customs area. Foreign
currency taken out upon departure must not exceed the amount brought
in. Departing passengers are not allowed to bring out more than
PhP 1,000 in local currency.
Metered and fixed rate taxis are widely available in key cities
nationwide. Jeepneys and buses are inexpensive ways of getting around
In Metro Manila the fastest way of commuting is via the railway
system. LRT connects Monumento on the north to Baclaran on the south.
MRT traverses the length of EDSA from North Avenue to Taft Avenue.
A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for
travelers coming from infected areas. Children less than one year
old are exempted but may be subject to isolation when necessary.
Hospitals are listed in the "Yellow Pages" of the local
telephone directory. Health centers provide emergency medical attention
in remote towns and cities.
De luxe, standard, economy, pension-type, and special interest accommodations
New Year's Day 1 January
Edsa Revolution Day 24 February
Araw ng Kagitingan 9 April
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Movable
Labour Day 1 May
Independence Day 12 June
National Heroes Day Last Sunday of August
All Saints Day 1 November
Bonifacio Day 30 November
Christmas Day 25 December
Rizal Day 30 December
BUSINESS AND BANKING HOURS
Private and government offices are open either from 8:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. or from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Most commercial establishments
are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. Banks are open from
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, with automated teller
machines (ATM) operating 24 hours.
International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard,
and American Express Card are accepted in major establishments.
Filipino food is an exotic, tasteful blend of Oriental, European,
and American culinary influences. There is a wide variety of fresh
seafood and delectable fruits. First class restaurants offer gourmet
specialties as well as Filipino cuisine.
ENTERTAINMENT AND CULTURE
Metro Manila is the center of entertainment and cultural activities.
The premier venue for the performing arts is the Cultural Center
of the Philippines. The hubs of nightlife activities are the Remedios
Circle in Malate, Ayala Center and The Fort at Bonifacio Global
City in Makati, Timog and Tomas Morato Avenues in Quezon City, and
Eastwood in Libis, Quezon City.
For visitors who want to try their luck at the gaming tables, there
are casinos in Metro Manila and in the cities of Angeles, Olongapo,
Tagaytay, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, and Laoag.
WHAT TO WEAR
Light, casual clothes are recommended. Warmer garments are needed
for mountain regions. When visiting churches and temples, propriety
dictates that shorts and scanty clothing be avoided. Formal occasions
require dinner jackets and ties (or the Philippine barong tagalog)
for men and cocktail dresses or long gowns for women.
Visitors can choose from an exciting selection of great buys at
reasonable prices: South Sea pearls, handwoven cloths, embroidered
fineries, terra-cota, porcelain, coral and mother-of-pearl home
accessories, among others.
Big malls are located in Manila, Makati, and EDSA, while handicraft,
antique, and curio shops abound at the Ermita District in Manila.
Duty-Free Philippines near the NAIA is the country's largest duty-free
TIPS ON TIPPING
Tipping is expected for many services. The standard practice is
10% of the total bill. Tipping is optional on bills that already
include a 10% service charge.
Most national dailies are in English. There are 7 national television
stations. which broadcast mainly in Filipino. Cable TV is available
Manila, the pioneer convention city in Asia, has played host to
a number of prestigious international events. The Philippine International
Convention Center and World Trade Center are some of the biggest
venues. Out-of-town hotels and resorts are alternative sites.
TOURS & SPECIAL INTEREST ACTIVITIES
Tour packages, from day trips to five-day programs, are special
ways of discovering the Philippines and its wealth of culture.