Country Information

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About country

The Philippines is a tropical country with 7,001 islands. The total land area of the country is 115,739 sq. m. (299,764 sq. km.). The islands are grouped into three: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The capital of the country is Manila.  It is made up of 17 regions and 79 provinces.

 

There are currently close to 80 million Filipinos. The country has an estimated population growth of 2.36 annually. The country’s national language is Filipino but majority of its citizens can speak English. English is widely used in media, in education and other areas of life in the country so a foreigner who speaks English won’t have a hard time communicating with Filipinos.  There are also eight major dialects in the country: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense.

 

The Philippines experience only two seasons: warm and rainy.  For more information on the country, visit: http://www.wowphilippines.com

 

Accommodation

There is no shortage of appropriate accommodation in the Philippines that can serve your budget and purpose from small bed and breakfasts to five-star, luxury hotels. 

 

Airport Tax

The airport tax for departure is P 550 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  This tax is often incorporated into the air ticket. Verify with your travel agent or with the airline if the airport tax has already been incorporated into the ticket.

 

Arrival and Departure

There are five operational international airports in the Philippines.  The Ninoy Aquino International Airport is located in Pasay City Manila. The four other international airports are located in provinces. The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport is located in Clark, in the province of Pampanga.  The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is located in Cebu in Visayas. There is also the Subic Bay International Airport located in Zambales and the Francisco Bangoy International Airport located in Davao.

 

Currency

The local currency is the Philippine Peso. There are enough licensed agents all over the country to change other currencies to the Philippine Peso,

 

Money Changers

Other currencies can be changed to the Philippine Peso in banks and various money changing agents authorized by the Central Bank of the Philippines. 

 

Banking

There are plenty of banks in the country, most of which operate from Mondays to Fridays from 1000 hrs to 1500 hrs. Commercial banks can change foreign currencies and also handle travellers’ checks. Guidelines regarding traveller’s checks vary from bank to bank.

 

Credit/Charge Cards

The following major credit card networks are widely-accepted in the Philippines: Visa, MasterCard, JCB, and American Express.

 

Food   

The country is littered with restaurants and other joints that offer various menus from French cuisine to Indian food.  There are also many common American fast-food joints such as McDonald’s and KFC.

 

Drinking Water

It is highly-recommended for travelers to drink purified or distilled water that can be bought from supermarkets, convenience stores and even small neighborhood stores as the quality of the tap water is not consistent for the whole country.

 

Electricity

The Philippines regular voltage is 220-240 volts AC, 50 cycles per second.  Hotels usually make use of have three-prong plugs but most households only use two-pin plugs.

 

What to Wear

The Philippines being a tropical country has a hot and humid client for most parts of the year except during the rainy season.  It is best to wear light, summer clothes and to simply bring a light jacket or cardigan for cold or rainy days. Except for high-end restaurants and clubs that require formal clothing, the general outfit for day-to-day activities is usually laid-back and casual.

 

Mobile Phones

There are three major mobile phone service providers in the Philippines: Globe Telecommunications, Smart Communications and Sun Cellular. All three service providers operate on GSM 1800. It is easy to acquire a prepaid phone kit from any of these telephone companies. Prepaid phone kits can cost as little as $ 47 and can be used to call abroad.  You just need to buy prepaid phone cards or e-credits from the thousands of retailers nationwide.

 

Payphone Services

There is an abundance of payphones in malls and other commercial and public places. A local call can be made for P 5.00 (US $  0.11) . Charges for international calls and mobile phone calls vary with every provider.

 

Postal Services

The Postal service in the country is operated by the Philpost.  Post offices are open from Mondays to Fridays, 0800 hrs. to 1700 hrs.

 

Transport

Public transportation in the nation’s capita can be a headache for travelers especially during rush hours. But public transportation in the country is incredible economical. 

 

Visa and Entry Facilities

Nationals from the United States, the United Kingdom and some other 143 countries are allowed entry to the Philippines without any Visa. Entry without visa is allowed for a maximum of 21 days. This is allowed provided that the foreigner has a valid exit ticket and a passport that is valid until 6 months after the intended time of stay.  Any foreign national who wishes to extend his or her stay in the Philippines must apply for the appropriate visa.

 

Country Code

The country code for the Philippines is 63. The area code is different for every province and mobile phone service provider.  Check with the local operator for the appropriate area code or check the listing in the local telephone directories.

 

Useful Telephone Numbers

Here are some important telephone numbers when traveling to the Philippines:

 

Police assistance:     117
Flight Information:         (02) 877-1100; (02) 833-8135
Visa Card hotline Toll free :1-800-1111-9015
MasterCard hotline Toll free :1-800-1111-0061

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