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Philippines Tourism

Continent: Asia

Ideal Duration: 7 - 10 days

Best Time: November - April Read More

Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP)

Budget: Moderate

"Gateway to hidden beaches and exotic islands"

Philippines Tourism

The Philippines is a nation studded with a myriad of islands in south-east Asia. It is home to many fantastic beaches, coral reefs and churches. It is also a very popular tourist destination offering plenty of options for tourists regarding nature, wildlife, adventure, entertainment and nightlife. The people are very warm and affable, and they will not hesitate to go an extra mile to see a smile on your face.

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Regions in Philippines

Philippines houses 120 cities and numerous islands. Major cities include Manila (the capital city), Baguio (a hill station), Cebu, Palawan, Bacolod, Davao and Boracay islands.

Best time to visit Philippines

November - April is the best time to visit Philippines

The best time to visit the Philippines is during its dry season that lasts from November to April. The dry season is also the most popular time to visit this tropical archipelago because rainfall is at its lowest, even the most remote regions and islands are easily accessible. The weather conditions are also ideal for sightseeing and trekking activities. Even within the dry season, the temperatures in March and April are higher in comparison to December and January. So you can opt for a month depending on your choice of suitable temperatures. The climate is a major factor in deciding when to travel to the Philippines. The period from June to October is the wet season and is best avoided owing to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons are most destructive, and most tours and activities remain cancelled under such circumstances.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Hospitable people. Fresh and cheap seafood. Inexpensive liquor. Pristine beaches and islands. Ease of English communication.

What's Not So Great?

Not possible to explore on a shoestring budget. Long travel times. Scamsters and touts.

For Whom?

The adventurous. Beach lovers and scuba divers. Night life seekers. Nature lovers.

Stay options in Philippines

Accommodation options include apartelles, homestays, condominiums renting rooms for long and short term stays and hotels for those who seek decent and high-end accommodation although the pricing of the star hotels is not very high compared to other international destinations. Decent stay options with basic amenities start from as low as PHP 1500 including breakfast.

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Currency of Philippines

PHP is the most widely used currency. US dollars are accepted only in the main cities like Metro Manila and Cebu. Cash denominations include 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. Coin denominations (in cents) - 1 (silver), 5 (yellowish gold), 10 (silver outer border). All major establishments accept credit cards whereas it is preferable to pay by cash in kiosks, restaurants and cafes.

Exchanging Money in Philippines

There shouldn't be a problem locating ATMs for cash withdrawal. At the same time, it is almost impossible to find fee-free ATMs. Some local bank ATMs have a withdrawal limit, ranging from PHP 4,000 to PHP 20,000 per withdrawal (charges PHP 10-20) and some also have imposed a limit of 2 withdrawals per day. ATMs also levy a charge of PHP 150 - 200 for foreign credit cards. As far as currency exchange is concerned, it is better to change currency in the city than at the airport, banks or hotels as they provide better rates than the official international exchange rate. Greenhills in Manila provides excellent conversion rates.

Nightlife in Philippines

The Philippines offers a plethora of vibrant nightlife scenes and entertainment activities. It provides a great chance to mingle with locals. Karaoke is a quintessential element in Philippines nightlife. Summer (March to May) is the best season to enjoy the nightlife. Avoid wearing garish outfits and be careful with expensive items and gadgets as theft and pickpockets are very common. High-end clubs refrain guests from entering who wear funky outfits, sleeveless shirts, and flip flops.

Shopping in Philippines

The Philippines is a shopping haven. Feel free to haggle. You can buy clothes, footwear, and souvenirs at unbelievable prices. However, the quality of products purchased at flea markets and that of the ones in malls vary considerably. If you don't mind shelling out some money, you can go on a shopping spree in high-end stores.

Festivals of Philippines

Filipinos give great importance to their customs and festivals. The festivals happen all through the year and range from a day to an entire month. There is typically some festival going on every month. The major festivals include:

Ati Atihan (parade with tribal dances)- 3rd week of January
Sinulog - 3rd week of January
Panagbenga - February
Pahiyas (harvest festival) - 15  May
Kadayawan - 3rd week of August
MassKara Festival - 19 October

History of Philippines

The Philippine archipelago is believed to have been formed at least 30,000 years ago when migrants from the Indonesian archipelago and elsewhere settled in. Additional migrations took place over the next millennia. Over time, social and political outfits developed and evolved in the widely scattered islands. The first settlers in the Philippines crossed seas and bridges from mainland Asia to arrive in this group of islands, and they were the Negritos. Several thousand years later, Austronesian settlers travelled the same route as the Negritos - but this time over sea in their impressive boats.

Hygiene in Philippines

Avoid eating food from street vendors. Drink bottled water. Limit alcohol consumption. Politely decline if a stranger offers drink as it might be spiked. Do not touch or feed stray animals. You will be in serious trouble if you get involved with drugs as the Philippines has strict anti-drug laws. Carry first aid kit and use insect repellents to avoid bug bites.

Customs of Philippines

The Philippines has a non-tipping culture. As service tax is already included in restaurant bills, there is no necessity to tip. Bell boys and taxi drivers are usually given a tip of PHP 20 and PHP 50 in salons/parlours. If you think that the service was a letdown, you can skip the tip. A warm handshake with a smile is the standard greeting. By being polite and friendly, you can earn the respect of the locals. It is common to leave the footwear outside before entering someone's house. Do not get into conflicts and never shame anyone publicly as Filipinos consider it a great insult and loss of self-esteem.

Culture of Philippines

The Philippines is a concoction of eastern and western culture. Spanish, American and Mexican influence on dance, cuisine and ethnicity is profound. Filipino and English are the official languages of the country. English is widely spoken in main cities and tourist areas. Common phrases in Filipino are

Salamat - Thank You
Kamusta - How are you?
Oo - yes
Hindi - no (not)
ako - I (me)
Sarap -delicious
ikaw - you
pau manhin - sorry excuse me
po - a mark of respect in sentences
ikaw - you
palam - farewell

A majority of the population follows Christianity. Islam is the second largest religion, and Buddhism constitutes 2% of the population.

Food of Philippines

Philippine cuisine is loaded with a burst of spicy, salty, sweet and sour flavours. Filipinos are family oriented. They enjoy eating with their families. Food is eaten with hand, unlike other South East Asian countries where chopstick is predominantly used. Rice is the staple food. Beef, pork, fish, shrimp, chicken is usually served with steamed rice or noodles. Soy sauce and fish sauce are the most commonly used condiments. Fruits like bananas, papayas, jackfruits and pineapples are found in abundance. Coconut meat is used in making desserts. Famous dishes to try include Halo Halo (dessert), rosquillos (cookies), lumpia (spring rolls), chicken adobo, pancit palabok (noodles), ube ice cream (purple yam), calamansi whiskey, pork sisig, kare kare (Oxtail stew).

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