As a tourist, whether a local or a foreigner who wants to explore more about the Philippines, there are prior things to learn about this county in order to have and enjoy an easy and hassle-free travel experience. Besides, additional knowledge is a must for communicating well in a foreign country.
Being the third largest English speaking country in the world, communicating in and around this country is almost never a problem. But if you’d like to add a little bit to that ‘tourist’ look, then learning a little bit of Tagalog and/or Cebuano will definitely help.
Also, in line with the popularity of social networking sites as one of the fastest form of communication and expression especially for the travelers, the Philippines has international and national direct phone services, mobile phone sites, and an abundant number of internet and e-mail facilities.
The Philippines is a tropical country, so tourists can expect an ample blend of hot and cold season. Generally, November to February is considered to be the perfect season to travel around the country as it has the coolest duration of weather throughout the year and blending well with the holiday season. But for the beach lovers and all the people who love the sun, March to May is the perfect season for you as it marks the popular Philippine summer while June to September marks the rainy season. The average temperature in the Philippines is 86degreesF / 30degreesC; and for most places such as in Cebu and Davao, where it is warm and comfortable in all seasons, these places can be visited throughout the year.
The Philippines is a family-oriented country and its people are considered to be optimistic and very hospitable, thus tourists should expect a warm welcome from the local people. One of the best ways to experience this is through celebrating with some of the famous festivals and fiestas happening all year round. Ati-atihan in Aklan, Kadayawan in Davao, and the Santacruzan in almost every part of the country are among these celebratory and religious occasions you should not be able to miss.
Mass transportations are prevalent in most parts of the country, meaning that transportation here is generally cheap. Jeepneys are the most popular choice which can take you from one point to another but within only a city’s area. For landbase travel which covers longer distances from one city to another or to a rural area, riding a bus is also a great option. In some cases, such as in General Santos City and Camiguin, buses are even provided with a free wifi connection. And if you’re in for some island hopping in Boracay, Guimaras or Palawan, there are boats which charge for less than a dollar if you ride with a minimum of 10-20 people.
International gateways are present inside the country’s most popular places such as Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark, Subic, and Laoag while Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) serves as the premier gateway.
The Philippines is a democratic republic, presidential and representative country, allowing you to experience freedom in every corner of its land. But to better prepare you for a vacation of a lifetime, a few reminders which are useful as soon as you arrive at the airport need to be written down:
Except for stateless persons and those from countries that do not have diplomatic relations, everyone can visit the Philippines without a visa if staying in the country for 21 days or less; provided tourists have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months and a return ticket or a ticket to another destination outside the Philippines. As a rule, foreigners can bring in an unlimited amount of currency however no one is allowed to take more than five thousand pesos worth of money outside the country.
While for foreign tourists who want to bring with them treasures of their own county, allowed inside the duty-free section are the following: reasonable quantity of clothes, jewelry and toiletries; 400 sticks of cigarettes or two tins of tobacco, and two bottles of wine of not more than one liter each.
As of 29 October 2012, exchange rate of Philippine peso to U.S. dollar is 1 peso to 41.24 US dollars. Major credit cards such as American Express, Master card and visa are accepted for most hotels, restaurants and resorts.
All airport passengers are required to pay the terminal fee of P750 for international departure and P200 for local departure, to be paid in Philippine Peso only.