Time zone: GMT + 8
Telephone services: Country Code: 63
Outgoing Code: International calls to smaller towns must go through the operator
Emergency telephone numbers: Not present
Tourist information: Philippine Department of Tourism, 17 Albermarle Street, London W1X 7HA Tel: (020) 7499 5443 (general enquiries) or (020) 7499 5652 (incentive travel) Fax: (020) 7499 5772.
Passport information: Valid passport required by all. Passport MUST be valid for more than six months. Return Ticket Required. Requirements may change at short notice. Contact the embassy before departure.
Visa information: Visa required by all except transit passengers. Tourists and business travellers will not require visas providing they have a valid passport for at least one year and onward tickets, providing their stay does not exceed 21 days. NOTE: Certain nationalities will require pre arrival approval by the authorities in Manila before visas can be issued. Check with the embassy before making travel arrangements. Overstaying can lead to detention and heavy fines.
Health information: Polio, Typhoid: Vaccination recommended
Malaria: Exists throughout the year in certain areas below 600m in the Falciparum variety, which has been reported as being highly resistant to chloroquine.
Other Health Risks: Dengue Fever, Bilharzia, Cholera and Rabies
Food & drink: Water is untreated and not safe to drink. Avoid dairy products as they are not pasteurised. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled before consumption.
Currency: Philippine Peso (PP) = 100 centavos Exchange: Large commercial and central bank dealers in Manila. Always use authorised money changers or banks in Manila Metro area.
Credit cards are accepted in larger cities. Travellers cheques may be difficult to exchange and commissions may be high. US dollar cheques are the preferred currency.
ATM availability: Over 800 locations.
Cost of living: Can be relatively inexpensive in comparison with Northern and Western Europe. Philippines is a haven for shoppers with bargains available at all shops, but especially markets. Hotels range from the deluxe to small guest houses and prices vary accordingly.
Languages: Filipino. English is widely spoken and Spanish may also be spoken.
Weather: Tropical climate with constant sea breezes. Rainy season = June – Sept. Oct – Feb is the cool dry season. Mar – May is usually hot and dry. There are occasional typhoons between June and Sept.
Electricity: 220 Volts AC 60 Hz. 110 Volts is available in most hotels. Plugs = flat and round 2 and 3 pin
Post: At least 5 days.
Transport: FLIGHTS: Internal services are operated by several companies. Reservations should be confirmed prior to departure date due to high demand. BUS: Widely available and cheap. ROAD: Travel off national highways and paved roads, especially at night, is particularly dangerous. Inter island travel by small boats can be hazardous as storms whip up very quickly.
Special information: EXTREME RISK: in Mindinao – Southern Zamboanga Peninsula and islands south west of Mindinao. Typhoons earth quakes and volcanoes are known hazards in the Philippines. Seek advice on recent activity before travelling. Tourists from the West are considered wealthy by the host population. Stick to the main tourist areas. Visitors are required to carry dentification at all times. Visitors are advised to be vigilant and avoid travel off the beaten track especially on Mindinao where bandits and Islamic militants are active. There are also many cases of kidnapping and piracy. Casual dress is acceptable in most areas excluding Muslim areas where visitors will be required to cover up. Armed Islamic groups are active in some areas and great care is needed [Consult the FCO website] Medical care is VERY expensive. Passports must be valid for more than 6 months. Overstaying the length of the visa is a serious offence which can lead to detention and heavy fines. The Philippines consist of over 7 000 islands . Charter planes may be hired to visit the most remote. Possession or trafficking in even the smallest amount of drugs can lead to the death penalty. Take care of accepting food and drinks from strangers as there are reports of these being laced with substances that cause drowsiness or unconsciousness. There are also reports of single male travellers being set up for extortion over charges of paedophile activity for which there are severe penalties including the death sentence.