Situated in the Pacific Ocean south-east of
China, the Philippines is made up of 7000 islands
with an area of 300000 square kilometres. The
climate is hot and humid and the population in 2010
was a total of 87.5 million. In 1521, Magellan
discovered the Philippines. The archipelago was
conquered by the Spanish and remained in their
possession for three centuries, despite efforts of
the Portuguese, then the Dutch, to expel them and
also by local insurrections.
It wasn’t until 1898 that the Spanish were beaten
and replaced by the Americans, who occupied the
islands until the Japanese attacks in 1941. After
the liberation from Japanese occupation by the
American troupes in 1944-1945, general elections
were held in 1946 and on July 14, 1946 the
Philippines Republic was officially proclaimed.
After Ferdinand Marcos, who held power for over 20
years (1965 – 1986), his successors have cleaned up
the financial sector and re-established democracy.
Visa regulations in the Philippines are subject
to change, so be sure to check with a Philippine
embassy or consulate before making your travel
plans. At the time of writing, citizens of nearly
all countries who are traveling to the Philippines
for business and tourism purposes are allowed to
enter the Philippines without visas for a stay not
exceeding twenty-one (21) days. An exit or onward
ticket is required and your passport must be valid
for at least 6 months after the intended stay.
Immigration Officers at ports of entry may exercise
their discretion to admit holders of passports valid
for at least sixty (60) days beyond the intended
period of stay. For longer stays, before you
travel apply at a Philippine embassy or consulate
for a two months single-entry visa.
Passenger Terminal Fee is levied on all
passengers embarking for: 1. International travel
: PHP 750 2. Domestic travel: PHP 200 Place of
payment: Airport of departure. Exempt: 1.
Children under 2 years of age. 2. Transit
passengers remaining in the transit area and not
leaving the airport. 3. Crew members.
Visitors are allowed to bring in duty free
personal belongings, two cartons of cigarettes or
two tins of pipe tobacco and up to one liter of
Money, bank, change.
The unit of currency in the Philippines is the
peso (PHP), and is divided into 100 centavos (c).
Banknotes come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200,
500 and 1000 pesos. Coins are in 10c and 25c pieces,
and P1, P5 and P10. In December 2013, 1 EUR = 58
Banks are generally open Monday to Friday, from 9
to 15 hours.
It is illegal for any incoming or outgoing
passenger to bring in or out Philippine Pesos in
excess of P10,000.00 without prior authority from
the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Any violation of
this rule may lead to its seizure and civil
penalties and / or criminal prosecution.
The transportation of foreign currency or
monetary instruments is legal. However, the carrying
of foreign currency in excess of US$10,000.00 or its
equivalent in other foreign currencies must be
declared to a Customs Officer or the Bangko Sentral
ng Pilipinas. Violation of this rule may lead to
seizure and sanctions, fines and / or penalties.
Foreign currency may be exchanged at your hotel,
and in most of the large department stores, banks
and authorized money changing shops. Exchanging
money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are
Most large stores, restaurants , hotels and
resorts accept major credit cards including American
Express , Visas and MasterCard. Traveller' s checks
preferably American Express are accepted at hotels
and large department stores. Personal checks drawn
on foreign banks are generally not accepted.
Exchange and accepted payment
There is no
difficulty in currency exchange of euros or US
dollars. There are numerous exchange offices in the
tourist zones. The hotels also exchange currency and
traveller’s cheques are accepted in the banks of
large hotels. Cash machines are situated in most of
the tourist areas but may be more difficult to find
in remote areas.
Payment by credit card is more and more available
in hotels and restaurants in the large towns,
nevertheless, take cash to pay hotel and restaurant
bills in small villages and towns.
The country can be visited throughout the year.
Average temperature is 25C degrees and 77% humidity.
There are generally three seasons: Tag-init or
Tag-araw, the hot season from March until May;
Tag-ulan, the rainy season from June to November and
Tag-lamig, the cool season from December to
Local time is GMT plus 8 hours. Compare to
Europe, Philippines is 7 hours ahead of Central
Europe in winter time, and 6 hours ahead in summer.
220 volts. is the common standard. The plugs are
flat, according to the American standars.
International adaptors are easily found in the
country. 110 volts is also used, specially in major
What to bring?
Light cotton clothing for all seasons. For cooler
evenings, a thin fleece or sweater, and a light
raincoat for bad weather. The Philippines is a very
religious Catholic country so make sure you have
appropriate covered clothing for visits to churches
and other religious monuments.
Don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, sun protection
cream and mosquito repellent.
In Manila and other large cities medical
facilities are comparable with those in major
Western cities but in places far from the cities,
this is not the case. Certain hotels are in isolated
places and health problems which would be minor at
home can be more problematic there.
No vaccines are necessary, though it is
recommended that you are covered by tetanus, polio,
diphtheria, typhoid and hepatitis A and B.
Yellow fever vaccination is not necessary in
Asia, though still required in Africa.
An anti-malaria treatment is recommended as the
Philippines is classed Zone 3.
Recommended in your travel kit – anti-diarrhoea
pills, pain killers, disinfectant, insect bite
Water supply in Metro Manila and in all the other
major cities are considered potable, but it is
recommended to drink only bottled purified water,
spring water or mineral water. It is recommended you
eat food that is well-cooked and wash your hands
Despite the huge poverty on the Philippines most
people who have already been here will tell you that
the Filipinos are always smiling and are
unbelievably friendly people you hardly find
anywhere else. You always feel welcome wherever you
are and people are trying to help you. Still, as in
most countries, pay special attention to your
personal belongings, specially in the big cities,
like Manila. Avoid wearing valuable jewelry and use
the official taxis from your hotel rather than the
ones found on the streets. In the islands and beach
places, the atmosphere is generally more relaxed.
Adopt to local customs; accept local
differences. The Filipinos are divided culturally
into regions a total of 16, at present, each with
its own distinct traits and traditions. Filipinos
(as with most Asians) are mostly conservative. Act,
speak and dress modestly, more so when going to the
countryside. Filipinos are a very friendly and
welcoming people. The Philippines has a lot to offer
to its visitors. Discover the country, get to know
the people and their culture. Enjoy your visit to
the Philippines and Mabuhay!