The Philippines is one of the treasures in South East Asia. It is an archipelago with more than 7000 small islands, only a small part is inhabited. The islands are divided into three groups called Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The capital Manila is located at the biggest island Luzon and together with 16 other cities it forms one megacity, which is called Metro Manila.
The Philippines is one of the 10 most biologically diverse countries. The Philippine’s rainforests and its extensive coastlines are the home of a diverse range of birds, plants, animals and sea creatures.
In the Philippines you will find beautiful beaches, an amazing underwater world, wonderful rice terraces, a biodiverse flora and fauna, friendly people and the biggest shopping malls in Asia. The Philippines has a lot to offer and the Filipino people will welcome you!
We listed some places that are definitely worth a visit:
- The Ifugao rice terraces, situated in the North of the Philippines
- The Underground river in Puerto Princesa
- Chocolate hills in Bohol
- Archipelago of El Nido
- Mount Pinatubo
- Taal Volcano
The Philippines has two seasons, the wet and the dry season which is based upon the amount of rainfall. Based on temperature, the seven warmest months of the year are from April to October. The winter monsoon brings cooler air from November to March. The average year temperature is around 26 degrees. The summer monsoon brings heavy rains from May to October.
The language spoken in the Philippines is Filipino or Tagalog. In Manila and many other cities, the people speak English very well, as the Philippines is the third English speaking country in the world. In the more rural areas and the slums, it is more difficult to find someone who speaks proper English.
- The national currency of the Philippines is the Philippine Peso. (PHP) You can check the exchange rate online. In the cities you can exchange money for international currencies. Euros will not be accepted everywhere, it is advisable to have American dollars.
- Use of the ATM: in the bigger cities you can use the ATM machine to get money. In some areas this might not be possible. The banks that mostly accepts western cards are Banco de Oro (BDO) Bank of the Philippines (BPI) and Metrobank. Depending on your bank, you will pay a small amount when you get money from the ATM.
- Creditcard: You will be able to pay with your creditcard in bigger establishments. In and outside Metro Manila they sometimes charge money for paying with a creditcard.
- Cash: take cash with you in dollars, in case you will get to an area without an ATM. Make sure you have smaller amounts in peso, at many places they will not have enough change.
- Bus: at many places minivans are substitutes for the normal buses.
- Jeepney: in the cities jeepneys are the most common way of cheap transport.
- Tricycle: motorcycles with a sidecar.
- Boat: a lot of transport is by boat, as the Philippines consists of more than 7000 islands.
- Bicycle: outside the cities or the smaller islands you can make use of a bicycle to discover the area. You can rent a bicycle at different places.
- Car: the traffic in the Philippines can be chaotic.
- Taxi: for western standards, taxis are cheap. Most taxis do have a meter, ask if they want to switch it on, otherwise you will pay too much.
- Metro: Manila has a LRT and a MRT. Rush hours can be very busy.
- Train: the Philippines has one functional railway, this between Manila and south East Luzon.
Food and Drinks
- Food: the Filipino food is mild in comparison with other Asian countries. In general people eat rice with some vegetables and meat or fish.
- Water: it is not recommended to drink tap water so rather buy filtered water. It is cheaper to buy a big can or bottle of water and fill it at a refilling station, found widely on the streets.
- Calamansi juice: this drink is made of citrus fruit.
- Halo-Halo: a dessert made of milk, kidney beans, fruits and ice cream. Halo-halo means mixed!
- Balut: a boiled egg with an embryo inside.
- Pancit: also called noodles.
- Adobo: this can be chicken, beef or port cooked with vinegar and soy sauce.
- Fruits: you can find many fruits in the Philippines; coconut, pineapples, mangos, papayas and durian. Durian does not smell nice, but the taste is good!