Eleven large islands make up more than 90% of the Philippines' 297,850 square kilometers. Most of the 67 million Filipinos are Malay descent. More than 90% are Chrisitians, mainly Roman Catholic. With a well-educated populace and considerable natural resources, the Philippines could compete against other nations for success.
For stays up to 21 days, visas are issued on arrival to nationals of counries with which Philippines has diplomatic relations.
Yellow fever vaccination is required if arriving from infected areas. Vaccination against cholera, typhoid, and polio is recommended, as are precautions against malaria in rural areas. Rabies exists. Visitors are advisted to bring supplies of prescribed medication. Drink only bottled or boiled water outside Manila.
MAJOR CITIES / POPULATION
Manila (capital, 8.2 million)
Jan. 1 - New Year's Day
May 1 - Labor Day
Jun 12 - Independence Day
Nov.1 - All Saints day
Nov. 30 - Bonifacio Day
Dec. 25 - Christmas Day
Dec. 30 - Rizal Day
Sunny, hot and humid, but with distinct seasons. June-November is the humid rainy season. Average daytime temperatures in coastal areas are 21-32 degrees Celcius.
WHAT TO WEAR
Lightweight, summer clothing is suitable, except in the cooler highlands.
Metric, but some local units are still in use.
Electricity: 220 volts, 60 cycles AC.
One peso equals 100 centavos, Note denominations: 1, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 pesos. Major credit cards and US dollars are accepted.
Tip 10-15% when service charge is not included. For porters, give P5-10 per piece of luggage, taxi drivers, 5-10% or loose change.
A10% vat is levied on goods plus 4% tax on services.
Banking hours are from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. on weekdays
Governement office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Private officess are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a one hour lunch break.