About The Philippines
“Philippines: Your One-Stop to Everything”
El Nido, Palawan
Located in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is a populated country, rich with natural resources. The country has 7, 107 islands, but is geographically categorized into three divisions: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. It is surrounded by huge bodies of water, like the Philippine Sea and the Celebes Sea, making it abundant in fishes and other aquatic animals.
Since the country is located near the equator, Philippines only has wet and dry season; the wet or rainy season usually lasts from July to October. Although many foreigners believe that it is always summer in the Philippines as compared to their home countries, the hottest months in the country are just April and May when the Filipino students enjoy their summer break.
The most populated area and the capital of the Philippines is Metro Manila. Here, there are many food establishments, sights, churches and malls. There are fast food chains, restaurants, bakeries and other food stalls located in almost every street.
Famous historical sites include the Intramuros and the Fort Santiago. Since Philippines is a Catholic country, there are also many old and preserved churches around the vicinity like the Manila Cathedral, the San Agustin Church and the Quiapo Church. The Manila Bay, famous for its spectacular sunset, is also in Manila. For the children, there are countless numbers of arcades, cinemas, museums and theme parks in the heart of the country, such as the Manila Ocean Park, Enchanted Kingdom and Star City.
Metro Manila is not the only place where you can have fun. The other parts of the country are also just as good as the capital. There are several beautiful and heart-warming beaches all over the country where you can swim, dive, do some water sports or just plain show off. Some of these are Boracay, El Nido and Puerto Galera. Apart from that, several must-see destinations are Taal Volcano, Mayon Volcano, Banaue Rice Terraces and the Chocolate Hills.
Filipinos are known to be kind and hospitable. When they have visitors, the locals would usually offer a drink and food for the guests. Also, the people take pride in their houses. They make their living rooms extravagant so that their guests would be comfortable in their short stay. Filipinos have very close family ties, so much that if one member of the family is sick, the other members would bring something to assure their well-being or simply care for them. They keep in touch with each other, helping their relatives whether necessary or not.
There are a number of reasons why you must visit Philippines. If you have an active lifestyle, there are lots of adventure camps and beaches in the country. If you prefer relaxation over anything else, there are more than enough parlors and resorts all over the country. For people who travel often, the country has tons of beautiful and preserved historical landmarks. Some of which may have legends among them. If you fit into any of these and prefer to experience more, Philippines is your next destination.
Hints and Tips for the Philippines
Most foreign visitors are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for 30 days or less upon arrival. A passport with at least 6 months remaining validity is required. You can find out more about visa information at www.dfa.gov.ph.
Philippines has wet and dry season; the wet or rainy season usually lasts from July to October, with July being typically the wettest month. This is also the tropical cyclone season that usually brings strong winds, flooding, and landslides in the country. Visit www.weather.com.ph or http://www.typhoon2000.ph for latest local weather and tropical forecast around the Philippines.
Travellers are advised not to travel to some remote areas in Mindanao, particularly the Sulu Archipelago, the Zamboanga Peninsula and the southern Sulu Sea Area, as the terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf and Jema‘ah Islamiyah are active there.
Expect delays when travelling along major thoroughfares in Metro Manila due to many factors, including congestion of motor vehicles, overpopulation and ineffective traffic management.
Highlights from the Philippines
The official languages in the Philippines are Filipino and English. The country is one of the largest English speaking countries in the world.
Philippines is the only Christian nation in Southeast Asia. Roman Catholics make up 86 percent of the population, and more than 8 percent belong to various forms of Christian denominations. The remaining 4 percent of the country’s population is Muslim.
Some of the world’s most ancient cultural heritage sites in the world are found in the Philippines, including the ancient Basilica of San Sebastian in Manila, the historic Town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and the iconic Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao.
The most popular places to visit in the Philippines include the tantalizing Subterranean River of Palawan, the blissful white sand beaches of Boracay, the spectacular 100 Islands of Pangasinan, and the breathtaking Chocolate Hills of Bohol.
Major cities like Manila and Makati present ‘modern face of the Philippines’, featuring world-class shopping malls, towering skyscrapers, and luxurious lofts and condominiums for endless shopping, fine dining and luxury living.
- Every city across the country holds a festival or ‘fiesta’ at least once a year to honor local Roman Catholics saint and to celebrate local customs and traditions. Examples of fiesta include the Ati-Atihan festival in Kalibo and the Sinulog festival in Cebu.
Philippine Currency and Money
The official currency of the Philippines is the Philippine Peso (PHP), usually denoted by symbol ‘₱’. The bill denominations are: 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 pesos and the coin denominations are: ₱1, ₱5, ₱10. The smallest currency unit is called centavo with the following denominations: 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢.
International credit and debit cards (i.e. MasterCard, Visa, and American express) are generally accepted by major ATMs (i.e. BancNet, MegaLink and Expressnet.) nationwide, although a ₱200 surcharge per transaction is standard for using their ATM machines in addition to cash withdrawal and exchange fees already imposed by your bank. Major establishments, including hotels, major shopping malls, and restaurants, in Philippine major cities and towns usually accept international credit cards, such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express and JCB, although some merchants may have a minimum purchase requirement before accepting credit card payments. International and even local credit cards are not accepted for government-related transactions, smaller establishments, and those in rural areas- they accept ‘Cash’ or ‘Peso’ payments only.
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A 12% VAT of the gross selling price is applied to all goods and services in the Philippines.
Philippine Capital: Manila
Considering the fact that Manila is the capital city of the Philippines, it comes with the title of being the country’s center of social, cultural, political, and economic endeavors. Manila, formerly known as “Maynilad” got its name from a plant called “nilad”. Through rapid improvements, there’s no doubt that it is also crowd’s favorite city in the Philippines. Whatever your desire is, Manila is a source of it. Making your way to the city is a great part of itinerary. Click HERE to continue reading...
Featured Places in the Philippines
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