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The PHILIPPINES is known as the “Pearl of the Orient” because of its rare scenic views and tourist attractions.

Mountains, caves, rivers and lakes are numerous in the Philippines. Volcanoes and waterfalls, on the other hand, are also one of the popular attractions in the Philippines.  Beach resorts here are widely considered as world- class.

And over the last decade of booming travel growth, the Philippines has had more modest tourism development. Some communities, throughout the Philippines‘ 7,107 islands, have maintained a simplicity, friendliness, and beauty that is difficult to find in the rest of the traveled world. As more traditional American/European destinations become mainstreamed and over-commercialized, the Philippines is everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

There are certainly numerous points of interest which have quickly become popular with visitors to this country. Tourist facilities have also undergone considerable development in more recent years. There are often a range of great hotel offers available in tourist hotspots, as well as accommodation options for those who are keen to visit areas which are a little more remote. For travellers who are looking to journey somewhere beautiful and unusual, the Philippines certainly has a lot to offer.

Not only that, this country has become a prime adventure and activity destination for tourists from all over the world.  Scuba diving, surfing, skydiving, mountain hiking, game fishing are just some of the adventures that you can experience here.

Besides these, Philippines has something to offer for everyone.  World- class golf courses abound here, wellness and health spots are sprouting everywhere, hospitals offer medical services, casinos serve all kinds of gamblers.  Whats more is this is just the start of what you can have… here in the Philippines.

Visa/ Entry Regulations
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

If you wish to stay longer you must obtain a Visa Extension either before your trip from a Philippine Consulate or Embassy. Or, once here, you may obtain it from the Bureau of Immigration.

Upon Arriving: Visitors are allowed to bring in duty free personal belongings, two cartons of cigarettes or two tins of pipe tobacco and up to one liter of alcohol. Balikbayans (Overseas Filipino Workers) have separate rules and should check with the Embassy or Consulate in their home city.

You may bring in unlimited amount of foreign currency.

Upon Leaving: Any antiques you may have acquired during your stay must be accompanied by a certificate from the National Museum. You may also not take more than PhP5,000.00 (five thousand Philippine pesos) out of the country.

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; humidity: 77%.

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.

220 volts, A.C. 60 cycles. Most hotels have 110-volt outlets.

People in the Philippines dress for the weather (HOT!) Casual attire during the day for women are light blouses and shorts. For men collared T- shirts worn over slacks. In the evening skirts are substituted for shorts and the T-shirts are tucked in.

For Men Only: If you expect to have to attend any occasion which would usually require a jacket and a tie (which is torture in this weather) there is a wonderful substitute. Go immediately to a department store and buy a barong tagalog. It is an embroidered shirt that is considered a formal dress. It will cost more or less PhP2,000.00, but it is worth every centavo.

Electricity is 220 volts a/c. Many of the major tourist hotels also have 110 volt a/c outlets.

Water supply in Metro Manila and in all the other major cities are considered potable. But it is highly recommended to drink bottled water.  Bottled purified water, spring water or mineral water is often supplied by hotels and resorts, and sold in all grocery stores.

Telephone service is modern and you can direct dial anywhere in the world. Public phones are plentiful. Public phones require a minimum of two one-peso coins for a local call.

Airport Facilities
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.

Airport Fees
P550 for international departure and P100 for local departure (paid in Philippine pesos only). Departing passengers for international destinations are advised to check with airport or tourist information counters the departure fees which may change without notice.

Local Transport
Metered and fixed rate taxis are widely available in key cities nationwide. Jeepneys and buses are inexpensive ways of getting around most places.
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.

You must know the transport schedules because destinations are being scheduled. If by boat, you must also know the weather because weather conditions affects these schedules.

Public Holidays
Take note of public holidays as most establishments do not operate during these days.

New Year’s Day December 1
Revolution Day February 24
Araw ng Kagitingan April 9
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Moveable
Labour Day May 1
Independence Day June 12
National Heroes Day Last Sunday of August
All Saints Day November 1
Christmas Day December 1
Rizal Day December 30

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.

Credit Cards/ ATM
International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard, and American Express Card are accepted in major establishments.

Please take note that when travelling to provinces and remote destinations, availability of ATM machines and credit card facilities are limited.  Bringing of extra cash is highly advisable.

Dining Out
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.

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.

Communication Facilities
Most national dailies are in English. There are 5 national television stations. which broadcast mainly in Filipino. Cable TV is available as well.

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