The Philippine archipelago
is made up of 7,107 islands. Strategically located east of the
Asian mainland and blessed with abundant natural resources, the
country has attracted traders, explorers and adventurers for centuries.
It has three main group of islands: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The islands are known for their pristine sandy
beaches, volcanoes, coastlines, coral reefs, thick forests and
ancient rice terraces. The clear water and abundant sea-life make
it a paradise for diving enthusiasts. In addition to the scenery,
a trip to the Philippines is made more memorable by the fun-loving
Filipinos, whose hospitality is legendary.
A valid passport is required for all visitors.
Check with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate for Visa requirements.
As a rule, visitors may stay without a visa up to 21 days, provided
they possess an onward or return journey ticket.
Yellow fever vaccination is required upon arrival
of visitors coming from infected areas, except children under
one year of age who are, however, subject to isolation when necessary.
Tourists may import the following items free
||Tobacco. 400 cigarettes or
two tins of smoking tobacco.
||Alcoholic Beverages. Two (2)
regular-size bottles not exceeding one liter each.
||A reasonable amount of perfume,
for personal use.
||A reasonable amount of personal
effects necessary and appropriate for their personal use,
comfort and convenience.
||It is strictly forbidden to
bring in dynamite, gun powder, ammunition, firearms, weapons
of war and narcotics in any form.
Philippine Peso (Piso) made up one hundred
centavos (sentimos). Coins in 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos, one (1)
and five (5) pesos (PhP). Paper denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100,
500 and 1,000 pesos. As a general rule, money changers and banks
offer a better exchange rate for foreign currency than hotels.
Always demand an exchange receipt, to enable you to reconvert
your unspent local currency, upon departure.
Two distinct seasons: Dry summer months from
November to May, and rainy months from June to October. Coolest
months from November to February (average temperature 26°
C). and warmest April and May (average temperature 30° C).
Wear light clothing, with some warmer clothes for visits to cooler
mountain regions. When formal attire is required, a coat and tie
will do, or better still, the Filipino "Barong Tagalog"a
light material shirt worn untucked, over dark pants.
Private companies from 8:00 AM to 12:00 NN and
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Monday to Friday and 8:00 AM to 12:00 NN on
Saturdays. Government offices same hours, except Saturdays. Banks
from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM without lunch break Monday to Friday.
Commercial establishments from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday to Sunday.
220V, 60 cycles. Major hotels in Manila and
Cebu, however, also have 110V. Electric sockets are for flat prongs.
110 dialects are spoken in the various regions
and islands. However, most Filipinos speak the national language,
Pilipino, and a majority speak English, which is the basic language
for business, government, schools and everyday communications.
Spanish is still spoken by a few, among the affluent in particular.
In urban center by taxi, bus, light railway
system and jeepneys. By jeepney and tricycle in rural areas.
The standard tip is ten (10%) percent of the
total amount of the bill. Hotels and restaurants, however, automatically
add this amount as service charge, plus any applicable tax. Additional
tip is optional. Five to ten pesos per bag for hotel porters/bellboys
is expected, depending on the amount of your luggage. Taxi drivers
are usually tipped depending on the figure in the taxi meter.