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Home to some of the top beaches in the world, the Philippines is an archipelagic country that lies in Southeast Asia. This tropical paradise boasts more than 7,000 islands and provides a myriad of entertainment from natural wonders to historical and cultural attractions to unique tourist spots. The country is also well known for having warm and hospitable locals.
Whether you want to swim in the crystal clear waters of Boracay and Palawan, or to try surfing at La Union or Siargao, or enjoy a food trip at Binondo, or go white water rafting at Cagayan de Oro, or simply explore its heritage sites in Manila or Cebu, exploring is more fun in the Philippines.
Languages: Filipino, English
Currency: Philippine Peso
The nationalities of 157 countries including those from Australia, European Union, and the United Kingdom are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa and can stay up to 30 days. Meanwhile, those from Brazil and Israel can stay up to 59 days.
List of the countries that can enter the Philippines without a visa can be found here: http://www.dfa.gov.ph/list-of-countries-for-21-day-visa.
However, some nationalities need Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) to enter the Philippines. VUA can be filed by foreigners at the Philippines Bureau of Immigration Head Office. VUA is valid for business travel, international seminars, transit to go to another country, tourism, and some other reasons for a short visit. It is also valid for 30 to 59 days.
There are four main international airports in the Philippines: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila, Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB) in Cebu, Fransisco Bangay International Airport (DVO) in Davao, and Clark International Airport (CRK) in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Getting around the Philippines using their public transport is very cheap, though not always the best option. Jeepney is the most common mode of transportation throughout the country. In big cities like Manila and Cebu, jeepneys’ route appear on the windshields, but in small cities, you need to ask the drivers first.
There are also trains like the Philippines National Railways (PNR), Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT), and Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT). The first type operates in Luzon, serving two main lines: southrail and northrail. Meanwhile, the MRT and LRT is used in Metro Manila for intercity commute. There are also taxis and buses available. Other alternatives include vans or minibus in some areas.
For barangays and small towns, tricycles are commonly used. Depending on the size, it can accommodate up to five passengers. And if you’re going from one island to another, you’ll have to ride a ferry, a motor boat, or a bangka, which is a small boat with outriggers.
With 7,641 islands, there’s something for you to do and to discover in the Philippines. The country is made up of three major islands: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon is the largest located on the northern Philippines. As the main group of islands, many important sectors are built in Luzon such as the main international airport, business centers and many tourist attractions like Intramuros (Walled City) and Binondo, the world’s oldest Chinatown.
One natural wonder in Luzon is the Banaue Rice Terraces. The rice terraces is a 10,360 square kilometres area carved out by Ifugao people more than 2,000 years ago without any modern equipment. Hiking into the terrace is visitors’ most favorite activity. Bring your picnic basket and find a peaceful picnic spot.
Located between Luzon and Mindanao, Visayas is divided into three parts: Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas. This group of islands is famous for its beautiful beaches including the renowned Boracay Island. Located 350 kilometres away from Manila, this small island is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Mindanao, on the other hand, is the second largest group of islands in the Philippines. It is famous for its tropical rain forests. While trekking in the jungle, you can see the endemic animal, Philippines Eagle, known as a monkey predator.
Only in the Philippines will you also discover the Chocolate Hills. Located in Bohol, it is a unique group of hills spanning 50 square kilometres. In the summer, 1,000 green hills change color to brown, that is why this place is called Chocolate Hills. From the top of the hills, you can see beautiful landscapes of nearby cities.
Meanwhile, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is the perfect place for diving and snorkeling. In 1993, the tourist attraction was listed as one of the best diving spots in the world by CNN Travel. UNESCO also listed this marine park as one of the world heritage sites. The best time for diving in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is between mid March to mid June. At that time, the weather is nice and you can get the maximum underwater visibility.
Whether you are planning to stay in Metro Manila or one of the country’s provinces, you won’t lack for choices. There are many different types of accommodation you can choose from including five-star hotels, budget-friendly lodging houses, inns, guesthouses, hostels and more.
Make sure to book in advance so you can take advantage of great deals and more room options.
Get ready to party when you’re in the Philippines. Whether you’re in the metro or even when you’re at the beach, the nightlife in the Philippines is pulsing with life. Some of the best clubs in Asia are found in Manila, the country’s capital. You’ll find swanky rooftop bars with spectacular city skyline views, speakeasy bars, grungy and private clubs as well as lively nightclub featuring international and local DJs.
The Philippines imposes a travel tax on every local and foreign tourists who leave the country. Travel tax is paid when you depart from the territory of the Philippines at the counter of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) in international airports.
Taking a taxi? Make sure to use metered taxi or negotiate with the driver prior to riding when exploring. Taxi drivers in Manila and several areas in the Philippines are notorious for setting higher taxi fares to foreign tourists.
Bring enough cash. It is difficult to find money changers and ATM machines in small towns.