Travel to Philippines

Philippines
Philippines

The Philippines, or ‘the Phils’ are they are affectionately called, consist of more than 7,000 islands, ranging from the sophisticated and developed to the proverbial deserted. In Manila, the vestiges of the 350 year Spanish colonial era make for fascinating touring. Filipinos are the warmest and most welcoming.

Manila – the capital of the Philippines, sets the beat for the rest of the country. A bustling crossroads of east and west, at the middle of the intersection is Intramuros, which features the Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago and San Agustin Church.  Greater Manila consists of 11 cities and 5 towns, is the upmarket area with the most desirable business and residential addresses. Hip hotels, restaurants, clubs and boutiques are mostly found in Ayala and Ortigas.

Cebu – has long been the epitome of a tropical island paradise. Near perfect climate, pristine beaches and luxury resorts and spas offering all sorts of hedonistic activities and services. Cebu mangoes are legendary –sweet and juicy. When Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Phils for Spain in 1521, its possible he had a retirement spent lying on the beach eating mangoes in mind.

Bohol – is home to the deliciously named Chocolate Hills, as well as the Tarsier, the world’s smallest monkey. Other exotic wild and plant life can be found in the province’s forests. Bohol’s verdant rolling hills, crystal clear springs and beaches, and historical homes and churches attracts travellers year round.

Boracay – a mecca for sun worshippers, Boracay is decorated with powder white sand beaches, small villages, flowering plants and tropical jungles. Below sea level, an underwater wonderland awaits snorkelers and divers.

Baguio – the City of Pines. The misty mountains of Baguio, and the city’s cooler temperatures, are what distinguish it from other destinations in the Philippines. Baguio has long been a cool weather highlands haven for those traveling in summer.  The people of Baguio are welcoming of tourists , and proud to share their culture with visitors.  Adding a few nights in Baguio to a Manila plus beach trip, round out your itinerary and gives a sense of rounding out your experience in the Phils.

Palawan –the Philippines’ last frontier and most sparsely populated region, consisting of over 1700 islands. The best diving destination in the archipelago. Also a natural history lovers heaven, wildlife, marine life and flora thrive in Palawan which resembles a Garden of Eden.

To fall in love with the Philippines, you only have to ride in a jeepney.  A jeepney? Yes, a common way to get around in the Philippines, a jeepney is a small bus that seats many more people than it is licensed for, is often wildly painted and decorated, and transcends public transportation to become fellowship and hilarity on wheels.  In the Phils, jeepneys are as ubiquitous as tuk-tuks are in India and Indo China. Don’t take a taxi; take a jeepney and make a dozen new friends at the same time.

People

The population of the Philippines is over 103 million. Major ethnic groups represented are Visayan and Tagalog.

Language

Tagalog is the official language of the Philippines however English is widely spoken.  There are over 100 dialects in the Philippines.

History

Early inhabitants of the Philippines were hunter-gatherers, later farmers who grew rice and domesticated animals. From about 10th century, trade with China developed, and in 12th century, Arab merchants brought Islam to the islands.
In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan landed in the Philippines and claimed the islands for Spain. Magellan installed a local puppet ruler hoping that he would rule by proxy, but some chiefs refused this arrangement, and an uprising led to Magellan’s death.
The Spaniards made a successful attempt to colonize the Philippines in 1571. They built a city called Intramuros (now Manila) and named the archipelago after King Philip II. A feudal system was created and Filipinos became the estate workers for the Spaniards, as well as being forced to convert to Catholicism.
Peace and prosperity continued until 1762 when the British briefly captured Manila, handing it back under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, in 1763.
Nationalist feeling grew, ignited by an author, Jose Rizal. His execution turned rebellion into revolution.  In 1898 the US and Spain went to war, and Spain ceded the Philippines to the Americans.  The Filipinos had other ideas and so began the brief Filipino-American war, which the US won.
Just after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Japanese troops invaded the Philippines. The US recaptured Manila in 1945, and made the Philippines independent in 1946.

Currency

The official currency of the Philippines is the Peso.  Code is P or PHP

Best Time to Travel

The coolest months to travel are November through February, with March to May being dry but hot. June through October is a rainy period and subject to monsoons.  Some islands, like Cebu, are comfortable year round.

Health Requirements

No shots or medications are required for travellers entering the Philippines from the US. Please check with your travel clinic for their recommendation based on your personal health history.

Visa Requirements

US nationals are eligible for a 21 day visa on arrival. You will be required to have a passport valid for at least 6 months from date of return and at least 2 blank visa pages.  This is subject to change without notice.

Tipping & Porterage

The Phils are a non tipping culture, so tips are not necessary but appreciated for extra service.

Credit Cards

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, American Express less so.  Cash is needed for shopping at street markets.

Electrical Appliances

Voltage is 220, frequency is 60 Hz. Plus are type A, B or C

Water

Not potable, bottled water is cheap and readily available.


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This Destination

Philippines

Related Destinations

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Bhutan
Cambodia
China
Hong Kong & Macau
India
Japan
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Malaysia
Myanmar
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South Korea
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Taiwan
Thailand
Vietnam

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