Manila, Cebu, Clark, Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Laoag, Puerto Princesa and Zamboanga are the international gateways. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are the premier international gateways. More than 30 airlines fly to Manila through here, from different cities around the world.
The Mactan International Airport (MIA) in Cebu handles flights from Japan, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Qatar. Davao International Airport handles flights from Indonesia, Singapore and Macao (seasonal). The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport and Subic airfield in Central Luzon service both chartered and cargo planes. Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte services regular flights from Taiwan and China.
Filipino is the national language. English is the business language and widely spoken.
Valid passport. Except for stateless persons and those from countries with which the Philippines has no diplomatic relations, all visitors may enter the country without visas and may stay for 21 days provided they have tickets for onward journey. Holders of Hong Kong and Taiwan passports must have special permits. Visas and special permits may be obtained from Philippine embassies and consulates.
A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers coming from infected areas.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE REGULATIONS
It is illegal for any incoming or outgoing passenger to bring in or take out Philippine Pesos in excess of Php10,000.00 without prior authority from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Any violation of this rule may lead to the money’s seizure and civil penalties and/or criminal prosecution. (BSP Circular 98-1995) The transportation of foreign currency or monetary instruments is legal. However, the carrying of foreign currency in excess of US$10,000.00 or its equivalent in other foreign currencies must be declared to a Customs Officer or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
1 Philippine Peso (Php) = 100 centavos.
Bank notes: Php20, Php50,Php100 Php200, Php500, Php1,000.
Coins: 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, Php1, Php5, Php10.
Foreign currency may be exchanged at most hotels, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops. Exchanging money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are strictly enforced.
The Philippines has been experiencing a lift in its credit rating & general economic health. The Peso is currently about Php47 per US$. For the latest exchange rate, check Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) http://www.bsp.gov.ph
March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy. November to February is cool. Average temperatures: 78 F /25 C to 90 F/ 32 C; humidity: 77%
WHAT TO WEAR
Light, casual clothes are recommended. Warmer garments are needed for mountain regions. When visiting churches and temples, propriety dictates that shorts and scanty clothing be avoided. Formal occasions require dinner jackets and ties (or the Philippine barong tagalog) for men and cocktail dresses or long gowns for women.
BUSINESS AND BANKING HOURS
Private and government offices are open between 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Most banks close by 4:00 p.m. But ATMs – some with Cirrus, Citi and Maestro tie-ups for international withdrawals – are common in most cities and major towns.
Most shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with hours extending until 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. They usually stay open until 11pm during peak Christmas season. You can also watch out for the Midnight Sales, when they stay open until, well, midnight.
Visitors can choose from an exciting selection of great buys in a country known for export-quality items at reasonable prices: South Sea pearls, handwoven cloths, embroidered fineries, fashio-nable ready-to-wear and haute couture clothes, terra-cota, porcelain, coral and mother-of-pearl home accessories. Artifacts, pineapple fiber shirts, prehistoric jars, native handicrafts, and footwear are interesting items, too. The Philippines also produces fine furniture, basketry, fresh and processed fruits, exquisitely crafted jewelry, and gift items made of shell, wood and stone.
Tipping is expected for many services. The standard practice is 10% of the total bill. Tipping is optional on bills that already include a 10% service charge. Feel free to tip waiters, drivers, porters, housekeepers, salon staff, barbers, and other service providers.
By air, Philippine Airlines (Tel. No. 855-8888), Air Philippines (855-9000), Cebu Pacific (702-0888) provided daily services to major cities and towns. Seair (849-0100), Zest Air (855-3333) service the missionary routes. There are also scheduled chartered flights to major domestic destinations serviced by smaller commuter planes. By sea, interisland ships connect Manila to major ports. Ferry services connect the smaller islands.
Filipino food is an exotic, tasteful blend of Oriental, European, and American culinary influences. There is a wide variety of fresh seafood and delectable fruits. First class restaurants offer gourmet specialties as well as Filipino cuisine.
ENTERTAINMENT AND CULTURE
Metropolitan Manila is the center of entertainment and cultural activities. The premier venue for the performing arts, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, features world-class performances by local and international guest artists. Museums located in Manila and in some parts of the country offer a glimpse of Philippine history and culture. Art galleries exhibit the works of the country’s leading and promising visual artists.
Manila’s nightlife is one of the most vibrant in Asia, reflecting the Filipino’s love for music. The hubs of nightlife activities are the Remedios Circle in Malate, Ayala Center and The Fort at Bonifacio Global City in Makati, Timog and Tomas Morato Avenues in Quezon City, Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong and Pasig Cities, and Eastwood in Libis, Quezon City. Clubs, music lounges, pubs, and sing-along bars feature Filipino bands and singers known for their exceptional musical talent. De luxe hotels offer a variety of live musical entertainment. Concerts and stage plays form part of the country’s entertainment scene.
For visitors who want to try their luck at the gaming tables there are casinos in Metro Manila and in the cities of Angeles, Olongapo, Tagaytay, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, and Laoag.
750 for international departure and 200 for local departure (paid in Philippine pesos only). Departing passengers for international destinations are advised to check with airport or tourist information counters (Tel. Nos 525-2000; 832-2964) for prevailing departure fees which may change without notice.
220 volts, A.C. 60 cyles. Most hotels have 110-volt outlets.
The country has international and national direct dial phone and facsimile service, mobile phone sites, internet and e-mail facilities, and worldwide express delivery service. The postal system is efficient.
Most national dailies are in English. Foreign publications are sold at major hotels, malls, and bookstores in Metropolitan Manila and key cities. 7 national television stations broadcast mainly in Filipino. Cable TV is available in many hotels in Manila and in other parts of the country.
DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
#351 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., JB Bldg., Makati City, Philippines 1200
Contact Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. – Secretary
Tel. No. (63 2) 890-0189 (Office of the Secretary)
Trunkline (63 2) 459-5200 loc. 607 / 610 / 459-5230
Contact Armand Lorenze “Ren” Sapitan – Executive Assistant IV to the Secretary
Contact Margarita Patricia “Meggie” Valdes – Marketing and Promotions Executive (OSEC)
Contact Atty. Christer James Ray Gaudiano – Legal, Policy and Technical Officer
Website www.tourism.gov.ph / http://www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.com/