Philippines – The Pearl of The Orient

The Republic of the Philippines has two international gateway cities – Manila and Cebu. Manila is served by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which handles more than 30 foreign airlines flying to different destinations in the world whereas Cebu, the Queen City of the South, handles regular flights from Japan, Australia, Singapore and Guam including charter flights to Hong Kong, the United States and other major travel destinations at the Mactan International Airport.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is the country’s flag carrier linking Manila to 26 cities in 19 countries; it also flies to principal cities and towns all over the archipelago. The country’s airports and seaports serve major international carriers and cruise liners.

All visitors with valid passports can enter the Philippines without a visa and can stay for 21 days provided they have tickets for onward journey to other international destinations with the exception of stateless persons and those from countries with no diplomatic relations with the Philippines. Hong Kong and Taiwan passports holders require have special permits, which they can obtain from Philippine embassies and consulates.

There are only two seasons in the Philippines, wet and dry. The dry season generally begins from March up to May, with temperatures from 22-32 degrees Centigrade. The rainy season (wet) begins from June and lasts up to October. From the months of November to February, the country generally has cool temperatures ranging from 22-28 degrees Centigrade. The Philippines average humidity throughout the year is 77%.

The Philippines’ national language is Filipino, however, English is also an official language and widely spoken and is extensively used in business and government. Major dialects are Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan

Unit of currency is the Philippine Peso (PhP).

Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines, Pacific Airways and Asian Spirit provide daily services to and from most local destinations in the Philippines.

Inter-island ships connect Manila to major ports and there are ferry services, which connect the Philippines’ smaller islands. You can even travel the length of the Philippines by road, crossing the inter-island connections via the recently established Roll-On – Roll-Off system.

Jeepneys and buses are inexpensive ways of getting around most places anywhere in the country. For a faster commute, there is the elevated Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit I and II systems.

International direct dialing, telex, facsimile, worldwide express delivery, postal service and telegraph service services are available in most areas all over the country.

Cellular providers in the Philippines are on the GSM 900/1800 band and are served by Smart (Talk n Text, Addict Mobile, Infinity) Digitel and Globe (Globe Platinum, Globe Handyphone, Touch Mobile, Smart and Globe telecommunications have 3GSM service while Digitel is soon to follow.

They each have their own type of calling cards and phone cards available in the market ranging in value from Php100 to PhP1,000. PLDT recently launched their multi-use Pwede Card which can be used for fixed line calling and loading prepaid value in their cellular phones. The card is also reloadable in value at any PLDT or Smart business center and accredited agents.

Several prepaid calling card and phone card companies are available to call both to and from PHILIPPINES.

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