About the Philippines
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.
Unit of currency: Peso (P) = 100 centavos. Bank notes: P10, P20, P50, P100, P200, P500 and P1,000. Coins: 5c, 10c, 25c, P1, P5, P10.
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.
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.
P550 for international departure and P100 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. 524-1703; 832-2964) the departure fees which may change without notice.
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.
Metered and fixed rate taxis are widely available in key cities nationwide. Jeepneys and buses are inexpensive ways of getting around most places.
A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers coming from infected areas. Children less than one year old are exempted but may be subject to isolation when necessary.
De luxe, standard, economy, pension-type, and special interest accommodations are available.
BUSINESS AND BANKING HOURS
Private and government offices are open either from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Most commercial establishments are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. Banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, with automated teller machines (ATM) operating 24 hours.
International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard, and American Express Card are accepted in major establishments.
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
Metro Manila is the center of entertainment and cultural activities. The premier venue for the performing arts is the Cultural Center of the Philippines. 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, and Eastwood in Libis, Quezon City.
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.
Visitors can choose from an exciting selection of great buys at reasonable prices: South Sea pearls, handwoven cloths, embroidered fineries, terra-cota, porcelain, coral and mother-of-pearl home accessories, among others.
TIPS ON TIPPING
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.
Most national dailies are in English. There are 7 national television stations. which broadcast mainly in Filipino. Cable TV is available as well.
Manila, the pioneer convention city in Asia, has played host to a number of prestigious international events. The Philippine International Convention Center and World Trade Center are some of the biggest venues. Out-of-town hotels and resorts are alternative sites.
TOURS & SPECIAL INTEREST ACTIVITIES
Tour packages, from day trips to five-day programs, are special ways of discovering the Philippines and its wealth of culture.