Your quick guide to the Philippines – from the weather and visas to translations and must-try foods.
Most nationalities don’t need a visa when visiting the Philippines, provided you do not stay longer than 30 days, and have return tickets and a passport valid for at least six months. Citizens of India, China and a select group of other countries require a visa.
Cash & cards
Filipino currency is the Philippine Peso (Php). US Dollars are widely accepted and ATMs readily available in major cities. Remember to have cash available in the rural areas where ATM access and exchange rates may be less favourable.
The weather is generally tropical with hot and humid conditions. June to November often experience heavy rainfall and occasional typhoons, and March to May are the hottest months. It’s generally recommended to visit from November to April, when the weather is dry.
Tagalog and English.
What is your name? Anóng pangalan mo?
My name is: Ang pangalan ko
How much? Magkano?
Thank you: Salamat
No thank you: Walang anuman
Filipinos usually greet each other with a smile and eye contact. As soon as they make eye contact they raise and lower their eyebrows as an additional greeting sign.
The Philippines, like Hong Kong, are 8 hours ahead of GMT.
World Heritage Sites
The historic town of Vigan
The rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.
Adobo, a dish consisting of chicken or pork stewed in vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
Something woven with Abaca (Manila hemp) such as placemats, rugs, hats, handbags.
Did you know?
- The Philippine flag is the only flag that is displayed differently in times of peace and war. In peacetime, the blue side is put on top; in wartime, the red.
- The University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila is the oldest existing university in Asia.
- The world’s longest underground river system accessible to man can be found at the St Paul National Park in the province of Palawan.
- It is considered offensive to point or wag your finger at anyone. Curling your finger when attempting to gain attention is also considered rude.
If you only read one book about the Philippines, make it this one:
Eye of the Fish by Luis H Fracia – these essays by a journalist who was born in Manila but raised in New York cover all kinds of issues facing Filipinos today.