General information about the Philippines: Buhay Filipinas

The Philippines

Do you want to be touched by the Filipino culture and amazed by its beautiful beaches, mountains and underwater world? This is your chance!

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The Philippines

Lonely Planet: "The second-largest archipelago in the world, with over 7000 tropical islands, the Philippines is one of the great treasures of Southeast Asia. Often overlooked by travellers because of its location on the ‘wrong’ side of the South China Sea, the Philippines rewards those who go the extra distance to reach it. And because it’s off the beaten path, the Philippines is a great place to escape the hordes who descend on other parts of Southeast Asia. First and foremost, the Philippines is a place of natural wonders – a string of coral-fringed islands strewn across a vast expanse of the western Pacific. Below sea level, the Philippines boasts some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling, including wreck diving around Coron and swimming with the whale sharks off Donsol. Above sea level, it has a fantastic landscape with wonders enough to stagger even the most jaded traveller: the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, Banaue & the Rice Terraces and fascinating reminders of the islands’ history in places such as Samar & Leyte and Vigan. And if you’re after palm-fringed, white-sand beaches, try laidback Sipalay or flat-out party town Boracay.    

Of course, any traveller who has been here will tell you that it’s the people and their culture that makes the Philippines unique. Long poised at the centre of Southeast Asian trade, colonised by a succession of world powers, the Philippines is a vivid tapestry that reflects its varied cultural inheritance. And despite the poverty that afflicts much of the nation, the Filipinos themselves are among the most ebullient and easygoing people anywhere. The Philippines truly qualifies as one of the last great frontiers in Southeast Asian travel. Cross whichever ocean you need to and see for yourself. Ready to go?"

Climate

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.

Language

The language spoken in the Philippines is Filipino or Tagalog. In Manila and many other cities, the people speak English very well. In the more rural areas and the slums, it is more difficult to find someone who speaks proper English.

Religion

Almost all Filipinos are religious, please respect this. Most of the people are catholic with a strong Muslim population in the south.

Communication – mobile phone

At the day of arrival, we can go with you to the supermarket and get a SIM-card. It is possible to buy a card in almost every supermarket. You can also buy phone load, the instructions of loading are at the back of the phone card.

It is also possible to buy electronic load/ Eload. Eload stations can be found in supermarkets, sari-sari stores and malls. Upon transaction, you will receive a conformation message from AUTOLOADMAX, stating the amount of load you availed. The maximum amount you can avail from Eload is P200.

When calling landline numbers within Metro Manila, add 02 before the 7-digit number.

EXAMPLE: 02 533-8424

Mobile numbers can be dialled as: +632 917-413-7703 or 0917-413-7703

(+632 or 0 is added before the 10-digit number)

Electricity

The electricity in the Philippines is 220 volts on a frequency of 60 Hz. You will need a world plug for European electronic devises.

Accommodation

Anything is available from a bed in a dormitory to luxury hotels in Metro Manila. Make sure the neighborhood is safe and don't leave your valuables in your room. A typical dorm bed costs between 300-500 peso, a single room between 600 and 1,500 peso (shared bath, no aircon) a double room between 800- 2000 peso.

Costs

It is difficult to indicate how much money you will need. This depends on your living standard, your accommodation and if you have food included in your project/accommodation or not. Here are a few examples of prices, so you have an idea of the costs:

  • Soda in café P40
  • Cinema P180
  • Hostel P350 - P500
  • Breakfast at a hostel P100

When you stay in a hostel and pay for your own breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will spend approximately P850 per day.

Health

If you have your insurance checked and you have seen a travel doctor you are healthy and safe to start travelling. So now it just comes down to some good luck and common sense. In case anything happens, you can contact us, but usually it is more useful to consult the project management of the local organization in case of an emergency. They know the local situation better and can bring you in touch with people who can assist you immediately. Make sure that you know where the nearest and most reliable doctor is in case of emergency.

FoodFood market

In general people eat rice with some vegetables and meat or fish. When you eat in small local restaurants prices vary from P100 for breakfast to around P250 for dinner to more expensive international meals for more than P350. A soda will cost around P30 and a beer P40. In some of the projects/accommodations meals are included. This information can be found at the project description.

Water

It is not recommended to drink tapped 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.

Security

As with travelling to other countries, use common sense when travelling to and around the Philippines. Although the people of these islands are generally friendly and accommodating, one must be aware of the prevalence of poverty. Do not show your valuables in public, because they attract pickpockets. Please carry small change so it is easier to pay small amounts of money.

You can register officially at your embassy, when you will go to the Philippines for a longer period of time. Please write down contact details of family/partner or close friend who can be contacted in case of emergencies. Keep your details of your insurance easy to find, in case someone needs to contact them.

Smoking

Smoking is not allowed in all public spaces in buildings, public transport and on the streets. In restaurants, cafes and bars smoking is allowed when there is a smoking sign.

Drinking

Minimum alcohol drinking age is 18 years old. It is not prohibited to drink out on the streets.

What to wear?

Since you are a representative of your home country, you will need to dress properly. This is at least a skirt over your knees and a shirt with short sleeves. In Manila it is a warm climate and you won’t need warm clothes. Only for the airconditioning in busses and in cinemas. When you are going more North, you will need to bring clothes for the cold. It can be cold in the evenings. 

More travel tips and advice about visiting the Philippines you can find on WorldSupporter.org

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Travel during low seasons Some tourist avoids visiting the Philippines between June and September. And this result in drop the prices of accommodation and flight tickets. You can take advantage of this situation to fulfil your dream of traveling to the Philippines without spending a lot of money.Interact with the locals The Filipinos are generally friendly and hospitable people. They tend to welcome tourists with open hands and a smile in their face.  90% of the citizen of the Philippines unders...

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