The Philippines is an archipelagic country lies on Southeast Asia. The country is divided into three group of islands: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. It also has more than 7.000 islands and 80 provinces.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Philippines is the 12th most populous country in the world in 2014. Tagalog is the native tribe which is about 28,1% of the total population with Catholic as the predominant religion.
The Philippines has a lot of sport achievements especially in boxing. Manny Pacquiao is a world champion professional boxer and referred to as a Fighter of the Decade in 2000 by World Boxing Organization (WBO).
Tourism is one of the biggest supporting industries of the country’s economy. In 2012, Philippines department of tourism launched its new slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” that later became the third best marketing campaign in the world according to WARC 100.
These are the three main group of islands in the Philippines:
Luzon is the largest group of island located on the northern Philippines. It is divided into four parts: Northern Luzon, Central Luzon and National Southern Capital Region.
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.
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.
Mindanao is the second largest group of islands in the Philippines and famous for its tropical rain forests. While trekking in the jungle, you can see the endemic animal, Philippines Eagle, known as a monkey predator.
In 1512, Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines. Later, the Portuguese explorers called it as a part of the Kingdom of Spain. The influences of Spain can be seen on the old building architecture.
In 1898, Spain handed over the Philippines to the United States (US). Knowing that the US would not let the independence of Philippines happens, the people started the war against US.
Until later in World War II, the Japanese came to attack. US asked Philippines to join the fight against Japan. Philippines then achieved its independence on July 4, 1946.
Philippines currency is Philippine Peso (PHP). 1 PHP = 0.021 dollars (as of August 2016)
There are the four main international airports in Philippines:
The Philippines impose the travel tax on every local and foreign tourist who leave the country. Travel tax is paid when you depart from the territory of Philippines at the counter of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) in international airports.
Travel tax rates:
(Prices may change at any time)
Countries with direct flights to Philippines:
Transportation from and to the international airport
Available at the terminal 1 and 2 and operate for 24 hours, with less operating fleet at night.
Rates: starts from 20 peso Philippines.
This is the most common and popular public transportation in the Philippines. Jeepneys are available at the airport and has two main destinations: Baclaran Terminal and Pasay Terminal.
Rates: starts from 8 peso Philippines.
The yellow airport taxis are available outside the arrival terminal.
Rates: starts from 70 peso Philippines.
Jeepney will take you to Save More Supermarket, from where you can take another jeepney or taxi to go to the hotel.
Rates: 8 peso Philippines.
Rates: about 520 peso Philippines.
Jeepneys are available outside the airport.
Rates: 15 peso Philippines.
Rates: about 165 peso Philippines.
Rates: about 50 peso Philippines.
Rates: starts from 300 peso Philippines. (Prices may change at any time)
Ferry boats depart from Sandakan, Malaysia and arrive at Zamboanga, Mindanao. The trip will take around 13 hours.
Rates: starts from 82 USD. (Prices may change at any time)
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.
Check out the top hotels in the Philippines:
As of August 2013, the nationalities of 151 countries are allowed to enter Philippines without visa and can stay up to 30 days.
However, some nationalities need Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) to enter 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.
VUA is valid for 30-59 days.
Here are the requirements for filing VUA:
Widely used by local resident and tourist, jeepneys are easily found in the city. In big cities like Manila and Cebu, jeepneys’ route appear on the windshields, but in small cities, you need to ask the drivers first.
• Rates: starts from 7 peso Philippines.
The tricycle is able to accommodate up to 5 passengers.
• Rates: starts from 8 peso Philippines.
Van or Minibus
• Rates: starts from 15 peso Philippines.
Philippines National Railways
Philippines National Railways (PNR) operates in Luzon, serving two main lines: southrail and northrail.
Northrail serves 8 routes with these main stations:
Southrail serves 6 routes with these main stations:
• Rates: starts from 10 peso Philippines.
There are two types of taxi in Philippines: yellow and white. The yellow taxis are the airport taxis and the white one is the taxis you commonly find in the cities.
• Rates: 40 peso Philippines for the first km and 3.50 peso Philippines for every next 300 meters.
Boat is commonly used to go from one island to another.
• Rates from Manila to Cebu: starts from 1.768 peso Philippines. (Prices may change at any time)
Bangka boat is a motor boat which is also used as an alternative transportation from an island to another in short distance. Bangka boat is a small motor boat with outrigger for the balancing on both sides.
There are three seasons in the Philippines: dry (March to May), rainy (June to November) and transition (December to February).
Tagalog and English are the national language used in Philippines. Tagalog is used for daily conversation, while English is widely used for business and education. However, some of the people, especially the elderly, use Spanish for daily conversation.
Popular terms in daily conversation in Philippines
• Ingat ka: Be careful.
• Magandang umaga: Good morning.
• Paalam: See you.
• Pasensiya po: I am sorry.
• Salamat: Thank you.
Located 350 km away from Manila, Boracay Island won lots of awards from the tourist sites. Tripadvisor and Yahoo Travel listed this small island as one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Boracay Island has many beautiful beaches with clear blue water and amazing sunset panorama. There are many lodges, restaurants and bars on the island.
Located in Bohol, Chocolate Hills is a wonderfull group of hills spanning 50 square kilometers. 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.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
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.
Banaue Rice Terrace
Banaue Rice Terrace is a 10.360 square kilometers 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.
San Agustin Church
Located in Manila, San Agustin Church is the oldest one in Philippines. Built in 1589, it survived from the earthquake that attacked Manila seven times. The interior design is influenced by Latin America style.
Located in Cebu, Taoist Temple’s is influenced by Chinese style of architecture. It is the only temple open to public for tourism activity. The temple’s altitude is about 300 meters above sea level. From up there, you can enjoy nothing but the magical view of Cebu City.
You better come on Wednesdays for its weekly cultural ceremony.
As the capital city of Philippines, Manila never sleeps. Some popular nightclubs you can visit in the city are Opus Lounge, Republiq, Resorts World, Global City and M Café.
Cebu is one of the most famous cities in Philippines. Three popular nightclubs in Cebu are IT Park, Crossroad and Mango Avenue.
Three popular nightclubs in Quezon City are Conspiracy Garden Café, Sip and Gog dan ‘70s Bistro.
One of the most famous place to taste all the Philippines traditional culinary is Mercato Centrale Night Market in Manila. The night market only opens on Saturday and Sunday, from 18:00 to 02:00. Mercato Centrale Night Market is located at Corner 34th Street and 8th Avenue, Taguig, Metro Manila.
These are the most recommended Philippines traditional culinaries:
Arroz Caldo is porridge made with special seasoning. This culinary is believed to warm the body because it contains ginger. Arroz Caldo is usually served with beef, chicken or boiled eggs.
Chicken Inasal is a grilled chicken served with warm garlic rice. Prior to being grilled, chicken meat is smared with spice made from a mixture of orange, lemon grass and onions.
• Make sure you made a deal about the taxi fare before. Taxi drivers in Manila and several cities in the Philippines often set higher taxi fares to foreign tourists and refuse to use argometer.
• Treat beggars politely. There are a lot of beggars and homeless people in major cities. You can reject them politely or just give them some pesos.
• Bring enough cash. It is difficult to find money changer and ATM machines in small towns. If you plan to visit a small town, better exchange money or withdraw cash from ATM in big cities like Manila or Cebu.