PHILIPPINES

 

THE PHILIPPINES

HISTORY

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.DRAPEAU DES PHILIPPINES
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.

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TRAVEL

VISAS

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.

AIRPORT TAX

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.


CUSTOMS

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 alcohol.

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Money

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 PHP.

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 strictly enforced.


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.

Climate

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 February.

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Time difference

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.

Electricity

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 hotels.

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.

Health

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.

Vaccines

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 treatment.

Hygiene

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 regularly.

CAUTIONS

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!