GENERAL INFORMATION OF THE PHILIPPINES

Getting there. Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark, Subic and Laoag are the international gateways. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila is the premier gateway. It is served by more than 30 airlines which fly to different cities around the world. Philippine Airlines, the country’s flag carrier, links Manila to 14 cities in 8 countries. Major cruise liners call on the port of Manila.1

Entry Regulations. Valid passport. Except for stateless persons and those from countries with which the Philippines has no diplomatic relations, all visitors may enter the country without visas and may stay for 21 days provided they have tickets for onward journey. Holders of Hong Kong and Taiwan passports must have special permits. Visas and special permits may be obtained from Philippine embassies and consulates.

Health Regulations. A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers coming from an infected area.

Airport Information. Airports and facilities: Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airtport (NAIA) is 7 kms from the city center while the Manila Domestic Airport is 1 km. from the NAIA. Duty-Free and souvenir shops, meet and assist personnel at the tourist information and assistance counters, hotels and travel agency representatives, car rental services, banks and automated teller machines, postal service, national and international direct dial telephone booths, medical clinics, and baggage deposit areas.

Customs. Visitors are advised to fill in the Baggage Declaration Form before disembarking to facilitate Customs examination. The following are allowed duty-free: reasonable quantity of clothes, jewelry, and toiletries; 400 sticks of cigarettes or two tins of tobacco; two bottles of wine or spirits of not more than one liter each.

Porterage. Baggage carts are available free of charge. Porter services are also free. Tipping is optional though traditional.

Airport Transfers. Visitors are advised to avail of accredited fixed rate or metered taxis at the NAIA’s Arrival Area. At the Manila Domestic Airport, accredited transfer services are available on pre-paid coupon basis. Other airports are served by metered taxis. All airports have counters for hotel transport and car rental service.

Airport fees. P750 for international departure and P200 for local/ domestic departure (paid in Philippine pesos only). Departing passengers for international destinations are advised to check with airport or tourist information counters (tel. nos. 524-1703; 832-2964) for prevailing departure fees which may change without notice.

Duty-Free Shopping. Duty-Free Philippines near the NAIA is the country’s largest duty-free outlet carrying quality imported items and selected Philippine export products.

What to Wear. Light, casual clothes are recommended. Warmer garments are needed for mountain regions. When visiting churches and temples, propriety dictates that shorts and scanty clothing be avoided. Formal occasions require dinner jackets and ties (or the Philippine barong tagalog) for men and cocktail dresses or long gowns for women.

Currency. Unit of Currency: Philippine Peso (Php) = 100 centavos. Bank notes: P10, P20, P50, P100, P500, P1000. Coins: 5c, 10c, 25c, P1, P5, P10. Tipping.

Tipping is expected for many services. The standard practice is 10% of the total bill. Tipping is optional on bills that already include 10% service charge.23

Language. Filipino is the national language. English is the business language and widely spoken.

Accommodations. In Metro Manila and in key cities and towns throughout the country, a wide selection of de luxe, standard, economy and pension-type accommodations are available. In island destinations, a variety of resorts ranging from de luxe to special interest category are also available.

Dining Out. Filipino food is exotic, tasteful fusion of Oriental, European and American culinary influences with a wide variety of fresh seafood and delectable fruits. First-class restaurants offer gourmet specialties as well as Filipino cuisine.

Shopping. Visitors can choose from an exciting selection of great buys in a country known for export-quality items at reasonable prices. Big malls are located in major cities of Metro Manila, while handicraft stores, antique and curio shops abound.

Business and Banking Hours. Private and government offices are open either from 8 am to 5 pm or from 9 am to 6 pm. Some private companies hold office on Saturdays from 9 am to 12 nn. Most shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets are open from 10 am to 8 pm daily. There are 24 – hour convenience stores and drugstores. Banks are open from 9 am to 3 pm, Mondays to Fridays, with automated teller machines (ATM) operating 24 hours.

Credit Cards. International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard, and American Express Card are accepted in major establishments.

Electricity. 220 volts, A.C. 60 cycles. Most hotels have 110 – volt outlets.

Water. Water in Metro Manila and key cities and towns is potable and safe for drinking. Bottled water is available in many hotels, restaurants, resorts, supermarkets and convenience stores.

Comnmunication Facilities. The country has international and national direct dial phone and facsicmile service, mobile phone sites, internet and e-mail facilities, and worldwide express delivery service. The postal system is efficient. Most national dailies are in English. Foreign publications are sold at major hotels, malls, and bookstores in Metro Manila and key cities. Seven (7) national television stations broadcast mainly in Filipino. Cable TV is available in many hotels and in many parts of the country.