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Philippines Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republic of the Philippines
Area: 300,000 sq km
Population: 97,98 million (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Manila
Language: Filipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official)
Religion: Roman Catholic 80.9%, Muslim 5%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesia ni Kristo 2.3%, Aglipayan 2%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.6%, none 0.1%
Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Time Zone: UTC+8
Dialing Code: 63
Electricity: 110/220/115/230V 60 Hz
Weights & measures: The metric system is the legal standard, but some local measures also are used

Money & Costs:
Currency: Philippine peso (PHP)
Average Yearly Salary: USD 3,300

Budget: USD1-5
Mid-range: USD5-25
High: USD40+
Budget: USD10-50
Mid-range: USD50-90
High: USD100+

Geography: The Republic of the Philippines is located in Southeastern Asia, in the Pacific Ocean. The archipelago of Philippines is made of 7,107 islands. The country is surrounded by the following waters: the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea, the Celebes Sea and the Philippines Sea. The islands are mostly mountainous, and covered in tropical rainforests. The archipelago of Philippines is of volcanic origin, and aroun 20 earthquakes are registered daily (though most of them are too weak to be felt). The white sand beaches in Boracay, make it a popular vacation destination to visitors.

Climate: Tropical marine climate is dominant in the Philippines. It includes as rainy and a dry seasons, and the weather is generally hot and humid. Most of the rain show up from May to October, because of the summer monsoon. Whereas the winter monsoon brings drier and cooler weather from December to February. The capital, Manila, and most of the other lowland areas are usually dusty and hot, especially from March to May, with the temperature rarely rising above 37 C. The average yearly temperature is usually about 27 C (80 F) and rarely fall below.

Recommended clothing: Lightweight cotton clothing is recommended when traveling to Philippines. Do not forget to take a hat, sunglasses with UV protection and sun-block lotion, to protect yourself against the heat of the sun. If planning to travel to countryside or any rural areas, bring comfortable sneakers or sandals.

Social conventions: Covering up your shoulders and legs is necessary when visiting Muslim areas. Since the Philippines are more westernized than other Asian countries, casual wear is common.

Health: Approximately three-quarters of the hospitals in Philippines are private; the health facilities are, generally, of a good quality. Cholera is a risk and precautions should be taken. Vaccination against typhoid is also advised. Malaria risk exists almost throughout the country, except the urban areas. Avoid swimming and paddling in stagnant fresh water; however, swimming pools that are well chlorinated and maintained are considered safe to swim in. Dengue and filariasis occur and plague is carried by insects, therefore mosquito repellent is essential. Hepatitis B is highly endemic. Rabies is present; for those at high risk, vaccination should be considered.

Food & Drink: The Philippine cuisine is a mixture of Hispanic, American, Chinese, and other Asian influences with the local traditions. The dishes range from the very simple rice and fish meals to the elaborate cocidos and paellas. As in most Asian countries, the staple food in the Philippines is rice. Fruits and vegetables are often used in cooking as well: coconut milk, coconut meat, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and bananas are usually added to meals. Meat staples include pork, chicken, beef, and fish. Seafood is, of course, very popular, as a result of the bodies of water surrounding the Philippines. The most common dishes include: lechn (whole roasted pig), tapa (cured beef), longganisa (Philippine sausage), adobo (chicken and/or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), torta (omelette), kaldereta (meat in tomato sauce stew), pochero (beef in bananas and tomato sauce), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), afritada (chicken or pork simmered in a tomato sauce with vegetables), crispy pata (deep-fried pig's leg), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), and etc. Tap water is not of the best quality, therefore you should stick to bottled water. There are a wide variety of alcoholic drinks in the Philippines. This includes brandy, rum, gins, and etc. The most popular choices of beers in restaurants and bars are San Miguel Beer, San Miguael Light and Red Horse Beer.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Feb 24 EDSA Revolution Day
Varies between Mar 22 & Apr 25 Good Friday
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 14 Independence Day
Last Monday of Aug National Heroes' Day
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Monday nearest Nov 30 Bonifacio Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Monday nearest Dec 30 Rizal Day
Dec 31 New Year's Eve

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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