Summary: The Philippines are an archipelago of around 7000 islands in southeastern Asia to the east of Vietnam that are mostly mountainous with some coastal lowlands, all of which are along the main typhoon belt and are frequently touched directly or indirectly by storms. The Spanish colonized the islands during the 16th century which were then ceded after the Spanish-American War in 1898 to the US, and the present economy is now built on the strengthening of its exports, industrial and service sectors, and improving tax collection and tourism.
Time Zone: UTC + 8
Languages: Filipino and English
Power: 220 V, 60 Hz
Currency: Philippine Peso
- Currently 1 PHP = 0.0243 USD $
Climate: The Philippines have a tropical marine climate with a dry northeast monsoon from November to April, and a wet southwest monsoon from May to October.
- Currently 101ļ, Partly Cloudy
Foreign businessmen told 'behave or get out' of Philippines - Philippine Daily Inquirer - 18 minutes ago
Dr M, Anwar on Philippines TV - Malaysia Today - 1 hour, 9 minutes ago
U.K. Seeks Extradition Treaty With Philippines to Curb Abuse - Bloomberg.com - 2 hours, 27 minutes ago
Flash floods in Philippines turn deadly - CNN.com - Jun 05 8:50 PM
Philippines Composite Leading Economic Indicator Rises in Q2 - INO News - 2 hours, 15 minutes ago
| Manila: Known affectionately as the City of Sin, Manila serves markets, museums and skyscrapers and sights like the Intamuros, the walled city of European style dating from 1571, Luneta Park with the Rizal Monument to the national hero, San Agustin Church and the nearby Taal volcano, which, while still active, is still home to peddlers and merchants.|
| Cebu City: On the island of Cebu, Cebu City is the second largest Philippine city, and capital of the Visayan Islands. Legend holds that the Magellanís Cross found here was placed by the explorer himself in the mid-16th century, and thousands come to see that piece of history. Fort San Pedro, the oldest Spanish fort in the islands, dates from 1565 and has a nice museum with some Philippine history, and the beaches here are quite fine.|
| Boracay: The beaches on Baracay Island are beautiful, with fine white beaches, crystal blue waters and enough resorts and restaurants you wonít need to go without. Activities like scuba diving, windsurfing and kiteboarding are popular, or you can explore the Bat Caves on the northeast coast of Yapak or the Sunken Forest at the southern end of Bulabug Beach.|
Local Customs: In the rural areas and to a lesser extent the urban areas, both of which tend to be male-oriented, visitors are welcomed. Dress and behave modestly wherever you travel, and show respect and courtesy for others and you will enjoy your stay. Muslim locals consider it very rude to be called a Moro.
Safety: Violent crime is not very common; however, keep an eye on your surroundings, your wallet, and your drink, all of which may need your attention. Also, note that some islands are politically unstable and should be avoided if possible, otherwise, maintain a low profile.
Change: Credit cards and travellerís checks are available widely enough in the main cities to not cause any concern, and all the banks in the capital will exchange currency. You should have a small supply of pesos if you travel through the back woods.
Boating: Ferries are the primary mode of transportation around the archipelago, some of which are in fine shape, and some of which are dilapidated. Considering that every year sees 100 accidents a year with ferries, take a look at the boat before you board and fly or wait for the next ferry if it looks risky.
When To Visit: May to August is the typhoon season, so a riskier time to travel, but with lower prices as well. Easter and Christmas tend to leave the flights and country packed, so aim to travel between January and March to miss the storms and still have an easier time getting around, plus see some of the local festivals and have the best of views of the lush countryside.
Food: Influenced by Malaysian, Chinese and Spanish cultures, a meal could start with appetizers like merienda and pulutan, meaning small morsels, with the main course including barbequed meat or seafood, rice, and vegetables cooked with garlic and vinegar, and wide variety of soups. Hunt out lumpia, local spring rolls, adobo, chicken and pork marinated in vinegar, and the dessert called halo-halo: crushed ice mixed with fruit, coconut and other sweets, topped with caramel and ice cream.
Tipping: Most locations include a 15% service charge in the bill, otherwise, add an additional 10% for good service, and the same for taxi fares.
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