The Philippines was discovered in 1521 by a Portuguese explorer named Ferdinand Magellan, sailing for Spain, who named the Island after King Philip II of Spain. The Americans took control of the Philippines upon defeating Spain in the Spanish- American war of 1898. During World War II, the island was occupied by the Japanese during the American –Japanese War. Toward the end of the war, the American returned, and following the war, the Philippine granted independence. The country is known today as the Republic of the Philippines lies right in the heart of Asia between the Pacific Ocean and in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines has 7,107 islands extending more than, 1,700 kilometers (1,056mi) in the direction of equator.
The Islands are divided into three main areas: LUZON, VISAYAS and MINDANAO. Luzon is the major northern island: It is there that you find the capital is MANILA. The VISAYAS, is the middle cluster of islands featuring tropical beaches scattered throughout warm seas. Mindanao is the southernmost group of islands and has diverse topography. There are five major mountain systems and the same number of peninsula as well as valleys, lakes and regions of dense forests and swamps.A visit to the Philippines is a travel bargain. Your expenses are relatively low, and the offerings are varied with good facilities. Take your pick from the hectic city life of Manila or the unspoiled natural beauty of the countryside. The bonus is that, unlike many other destinations in Asia, the country is not overrun by tourism.
WEATHER CONDITIONS & GEOGRAPHY
The climate of the Philippines is tropical with an average year-round temperature of 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees F). Summer is from March to May and is always hot and dry. The average daily maximum in summer ranges from 92 to 94 degrees F (33 to 34 degrees C). June to October is the west season with monsoon rains and typhoons in most parts of the country. The coolest weather in the Philippines is from November to February, when the daily maximum is around 84 degrees to 88 degrees F (21 to 31 degrees Centigrade.
BORDERS: WEST PHILIPPINE SEA to the west and north PACIFIC OCEAN to the east and south.
COASTLINE: 22,549 MILES (36,298 KM)
TERRAIN: Many of the islands in the Philippines are extinct volcanoes and atolls. On the larger islands are many mountains, tropical rain forests, rich valleys and swamp regions. There are narrow to extensive coastal lowlands. The Philippines does still have thermal activity consisting of active volcanoes and hot springs.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
The country is marked by a true blend cultures; truly in the Philippines, East meets West. The background of the people is Indonesian and Malay. There are Chinese and Spanish elements as well. The history of the American rule and contact with merchants and traders culminated in a unique blend of East and West, both in the appearance and culture of the Filipinos, or people of the Philippines.
Hospitality, a trait displayed by every Filipino makes these legendary in Southeast Asia. Seldom can you find such hospitable people who enjoy the company of their Western visitors. Perhaps due to emotional and passionate about life in a way that seems more Latin than Asian.
The Spaniard introduced Christianity (the Roman Catholic Faith) and succeeded in converting the overwhelming majority of Filipino. At least 80% of the total population belongs to the Roman Catholic faith. The American occupation is responsible for teaching the Filipino people in English Language. The Philippines is currently the third-largest English speaking country in the world.
The unit of currency in the Philippines is the peso (P). Notes are issued by Central Bank in denominations of P20, P50, P100, P200, P500, and P1000. Coins are issued for 5c (centavos), 10c, 25c, P1, P5 , P10.
The most foreign currencies cab=n be exchanged at banks, hotels, and authorized foreign exchange dealers. Outside of Manila, the use of the Philippine pesos payments is referred.
Travelers checks issued by American Express. Bank of Tokyo, Bank of America, Barclays and Citibank are widely accepted. Major credit cards such as Visa, be used to pay for most goods and services.
THINGS TO KNOW
FLAG: Two equal horizontal band of blue and (top) and red with a white equilateral triangle based on the hoist side. In the center of the triangle is a sun with eight primary rays, each containing three individual rays, and in each corner of the triangle is a small, yellow, five-pointed star.
SHOP HOURS: Most shops operate from 10 am to 7:30 pm daily and are mostly open on public holidays.
BANKS HOURS: Banks are open 9am to 3pm and are closed on Monday to Friday and are closed on public holidays.
TIPPING: As in US tipping is expected for many services. When in doubt, do as you would at home.
RESTAURANTS: Most upscale restaurants automatically add a 10% to 15% charge to the total amount of the bill and 4% to 10% sales tax for food and drinks. In restaurants, when no service charge has been added, at least 10% of the bill is expected as a tip
PORTERS: In hotels, tip doormen and porters P10-P20.
TAXIS: 10% OF THE FINAL FARE.
For most foreigners saying up to 21 days, visa are not required upon entering the country, provided visitors have valid passport and tickets to leave the Philippines. Visas are required only for stateless persons and citizens of countries with which the Philippines has no diplomatic relations. For visitors who are planning to stay up 59 days, temporary visitors ‘visa is required and registration with the Commission on Immigration and Deportation is necessary. Foreigners arriving from an area infected by plague, typhus or yellow fever are required to have valid vaccination and immunization certificates. Holders of Hongkong, China and Taiwan passports need special entry permits may be obtained from Philippines embassies and consulates
Visitors are advised to fill in the Baggage and Currency Declaration Form before arrival to facilitate customs examination. For those with no currency or article to declare, BC Form 117, signed by the customs officer, serves as a gate pass.
Foreign currency more than US$3,000 must be declared at the Central Bank of the Philippines counter situated behind the customs examination area. Departing passengers are not allowed to take out foreign currency more than the amount that was brought in and declared. Local currency not exceeding P1,000 can be taken out of the country . Imported items bought in , and not be taken out again upon leaving , are taxable. DUTY-FREE ITEMS: Two bottles (1 liter each) of alcoholic beverages, two reams (400 sticks) of cigarettes and two tins of smoking tobacco are allowed to be brought duty-free into the country.
The national language is PILIPINO, which is based on the language of TAGALOG although there are at least one or two dialects spoken in every region. English is both spoken and understood throughout the country, especially in business negotiations and in the government. Hokkien, Cantonese and Mandarin are spoken by older of the Filipino- Chinese community.
RELIGION: 83% Roman Catholic, 9% Protestant , 3% Buddhist and other.
Filipinos often use their eyes, lips, and hands to convey a wide range of messages, Raise eyebrows and a smiled indicate silent ‘’Hello” or “yes” in answer question. Fixed eye contact between men is considered an aggressive gesture. The proper method to summon somebody is with a downward wave.
Filipinos place great emphasis on polite language and gentle conversation. Voice tone is always soft and gentle, and direct questions should be avoided. Filipinos value their self -steem, so never criticize, or argue with them public. Most men, when so provoked, will fight for preservation of their pride or self –steem.
Avoid topics such as politics, religion, corruption and foreign aid. Filipinos enjoy conversations about their families.
English is the language used to conduct business. Punctuality is expected for meetings, it is better to arrive a little late for a dinner invitation. Greet business people with a handshake. Women feel comfortable conducting business cards, as Filipinos like to know who they are dealing with.
TRAVEL TO THE COUNTRY
Ninoy Aquino International Airport ( Located 7km, or 4 mi, from the city center ) Ninoy Aquino Avenue Manila
Tel. (632) 877-1109/831-4006
- Air France:
- British Airways:
- Cathay Pacific:
- China Airlines:
- Continental Air Micronesia:
- Gulf Air:
- Japan Airlines:
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines:
- Korean Air:
- Lufthansa German Airlines:
- Malaysian Airline System:
- Northwest Airlines:
- Pakistan International Airlines:
- Philippine Airlines:
- Quantas Airways:
- Royal Brunei:
- Saudi Airlines:
- Singapore Airlines:
- Swiss Air:
SHIP OR FERRY
Sea or Travel is very slow but is considerably cheaper than flying. Touring the Philippines by boat is one of the pleasures adventure travel in Southeast Asia. Email Pan Pacific Travel Corp. for more details.
Traveling by car can provide a great view of the scenery , and the roads are generally in good condition. Driving in /manila can be a little tricky, and chauffeurs major car rentals agencies around the town
The elevated Light Rail Transit (LRT) has service from Baclaran Market in Pasay City to the Bonofacio Monument in Kalookan City and back. In between are 16 station, with intervals at every kilometer (.621mi). The state run Philippine National Railways.