Philippine Travel Information Guide
Philippine Travel Information: Visas
All tourists with valid passport and onward/return ticket or proof of funds (credit card) will be issued a 21-day tourist visa upon arrival (except stateless persons or citizens of countries without diplomatic relations with the Philippines).
It can be costly and time consuming to extend the 21-day visa; if you plan on staying longer we advise you to obtain a multiple entry 60-day tourist visa from your nearest Philippine consulate prior to your arrival.
There are 61 Philippine embassies and 21 Philippine consular offices worldwide. One mark of all these Philippine embassies and consular offices, if ever you visit them, is that all those who work in these places will treat you with that hospitality very much a characteristic of the Filipinos, making you feel very much at home and very special.
Guide to several Philippine Embassies in various cities around the world
Philippine Travel Information: Customs
Visitors are advised to fill in the Baggage Declaration Form before disembarking to facilitate Customs examination.
Visitors carrying more than US$ 3,000 are to declare the amount at the Central Bank of the Philippines counter situated at the Customs area. Foreign currency taken out upon departure must not exceed the amount brought in. Departing passengers are not allowed to bring out more than PhP 1,000 in local currency.
Allowable--personal effects, small quantity of perfume, 2 cartons (400 sticks) cigarets or 2 tins cigars, 2 bottles (not more than 1L ea) alcohol, up to US$3000.
The international dialling code for the Philippines is 63
When making international telephone calls from the Philippines first dial 00 +country code + area code + telephone number
Philippine Local Telephone Codes
|Manila, Quezon City, Pasay||2|
The international airports have adequate traveler facilities: tourist information & assistance counters, hotel & travel agency representatives, banks & ATMs, postal service, telephone booths, and medical clinics, among others. Baggage carts and porter services are available for free.
The airports are handicapped-friendly. Wheelchairs are available on request from the airline ground staff.
Many hotels offer shuttle services to/from the airport. "Airport Taxis" lined up just outside have fixed rates (P300-500) and are usually higher than regular taxis but are probably the most hassle-free way to get into Manila.
If you are going to the Malate-Ermita area, Sunshine Bus Service shuttles passengers to various hotels in the area (P50/person).
To get to the Domestic Airport, the alternative to taking a taxi (P200) is to catch a bus (P5-7/person)--walk down the arrival ramp to the main road where you can flag down almost any bus, tell the conductor which terminal (what airline) you are going to at the domestic airport so he can let you know when to get off.
P550 on departure at the International Airport (Manila), P250 in Cebu.
Offices usually open weekdays 8:00/9:00am-5:00/6:00pm. Several private companies open on Saturdays. Banks open weekdays from 9:00am-3:00/4:00pm.
Malls, stores, and supermarkets generally open 10:00am-7:00pm.
During December stores stay open til 10:00pm and later during "midnight madness" sales (do expect traffic to be horrible around the malls).
Philippine Travel Information: Communications
The Philippines has over 25 daily newspapers, many are written in English.
Major cities and well-developed tourist destinations have phones, international direct dial, fax, telex, courier and telegram services.
Internet services are available in major cities, Baguio, and Boracay. For cellular phone roaming, GSM 900 and 1800 are available.
The peso is divided into 100 centavos, bills are issued in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 pesos and coins are 25, 50 centavos and 1, 2, 5 pesos.
Major credit cards are accepted at larger resorts, hotels, restaurants, and shops. Some small shops outside of Manila accept credit cards with a 10% surcharge.
Cirrus cards can be used to withdraw pesos from Equitable-PCI, BPI, and a few other bank machines in Manila, Cebu, and Davao. Plus card-holders can withdraw from HSBC in Makati and Unionbank in Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
Usually classified as Malay-Polynesian, Filipinos are predominantly Malay, with Chinese, Spanish, and other admixtures.
Travel Information: Electricity
220 volts, 60 cycles. Most major hotels in Manila have outlets for 220 and 110. Baguio City is 110 (it was built by Americans during the US occupation).
Click here for the exchange rate today. In Manila, most currencies and travelers checks can be exchanged at banks, major hotels, and authorized dealers. If you bring travelers checks, bring your original receipt in case you are asked to show proof of purchase. Outside of Manila, most currencies can be exchanged in Boracay, Cebu, Davao. Beyond these destinations you may be able to change only US$, and at a disadvantageous rate.
Tagalog/Pilipino is the national language. English is widely spoken.
Predominantly Roman Catholic (over 80%). Other major religious groups: Protestant (9%), Muslim (5%), Buddhist (3%).
Philippine Travel Safety
In general, most of the Philippines is safe for travel. As in most countries you should take reasonable precautions and use common sense (don't display wads of money, go off with people you do not know, etc).
There are a few isolated "hot-spots" advisable for you to stay away from: some southern islands of Sulu and Jolo, some remote areas of Mindanao, etc.
Be careful with your wallet/purse/bags around public areas, don't accept food or drink from strangers.
Philippine Travel Tipping
A 10% tip is expected for most services. Most hotels and restaurants include a 10% service charge on your bill; additional tipping is optional--if you find the service good an additional 5% is recommended (even when paying with a card, leave the tip in cash to make sure that the wait staff do receive it).
Philippine Travel Information: Water
Water in Metro Manila and in key cities and towns is potable and safe for drinking. Bottled water is available in many hotels, restaurants, resorts, supermarkets, and convenience stores.
Water purification tablets are available in the large drugstores of major cities.
Philippine Weather has two very different climate zones. In the coastal and lowland areas there's a typically tropical marine climate: hot and humid throughout most of the year. However, most of the year constant sea breezes temper the climate somewhat except during the dry summer months from March to the end of May.
What to Wear
General--light, natural fiber, loose fitting garments are most comfortable. Light jacket or sweater for the mountain areas, especially during Dec-Jan.
Do not wear short-shorts and skimpy tops when visiting churches or mosques.
Business & Formal--men may wear the barong tagalog (a long sleeve shirt of light fabric; formal ones have intricate embroidery). The barong is worn untucked and may be worn instead of a suit.
Women may wear a cocktail dress or light suit.
Philippine Travel Information Guide
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