Philippines

From Halal Explorer

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The Philippines (Filipino: Pilipinas) is an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands in Southeast Asia located between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.

The combined length of all its beaches make for one of the world's longest coastlines, and the many islands and many waves of immigration make for considerable cultural diversity. More than a hundred distinct ethnic groups, a mixture of foreign influences — the nation was a Spanish colony from the late 1500s to 1898 and then American until 1946 — and a fusion of culture and arts enhance the wonder that is the Philippines. It would take decades to visit and experience everything.

The country has fantastic beaches and landscapes, and a vibrant and diverse culture. Many local residents speak English well and most of others have at least some English. Food and accommodations are cheap, many destinations have excellent infrastructure, and the people are cheerful and friendly; perhaps the easiest way to recognize a Filipino abroad is to see who has the broadest smile.

All that said and the Philippines received only 8,000,000 visitors in 2018, just a fifth of Thailand's draw (though twice that of Laos), despite a population 40% larger, and Westerners form a minority of visitors. Insurgencies, crimes, and corruption are to blame, but the nation is striving to be recognized again on the tourist trail.

Contents

An Introduction to the regions of Philippines

eHalal divides the nation into four island groupings:

  Luzon (Metro Manila, Bicol, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa)
is an administrative region centered on the largest and most populous island in the Philippines. Luzon Island is ranked 15th largest in the world by land area. Located in the northern region of the archipelago, it is the economic and political center of the nation, being home to the nation's capital city, Manila, as well as Quezon City and the nation's most populous city.
  Visayas (Leyte, Samar, Cebu Province, Bohol, Negros, Panay, and the small island provinces Biliran, Siquijor and Guimaras)
is one of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines, located between the other two (Luzon and Mindanao). It consists of many islands and has its own ethnic groups and Visayan languages
  Mindanao (Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga Region, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)
is the second largest island in the Philippines. Mindanao and the smaller islands surrounding it make up the island group of the same name. This area has many of the nation's Muslims, some are quite radical, and much of the area is considered unsafe for travel; see warnings in Mindanao and lower-level articles for details.
  Palawan (Palawan Island, Calamian Islands, Cuyo Islands)
is an archipelagic province to the west of the rest of the nation. It is the largest province in the nation in terms of total area of jurisdiction. Its capital is the city of Puerto Princesa.

The Philippine government's administrative system uses three top-level regions: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. They treat Palawan as part of the Mimaropa region, administered under Luzon. Below that are 18 lower-level regions, 80 provinces, 120 cities and many rural municipalities. The lowest administrative level is the baran — a rural neighborhood or an urban neighborhood — and addresses or directions in the Philippines often include the baran name.

Other Muslim Friendly Cities in Philippines

With more than 7,000 islands and a population around 100 million and the Philippine archipelago has many cities. Listed below are some of the most important

  • Metro Manila - the national capital, is one of the largest cities in the world and a place of huge contrasts, from ultra-modern and pleasant business and affluent neighborhoods to slums plagued with garbage and crime. While the pollution and traffic jams, as well as the scarcity of traditional historical sights, may discourage a visit to Manila and the smiling, stoical and resourceful people themselves, as well as the staggering number of choices of culture and entertainment, are its saving grace.
  • Bacolod - known as the "City of Smiles" because of the MassKara Festival (Máscara in Spanish) held annually on 19 October, it is one of the gateways to Negros Island and the home of the famous Bacolod Chicken Inasal.
  • Baguio - Luzon's summer capital because of its cool weather, it boasts well-maintained parks and scenic areas, as well as being the home of the "Igorot" and the indigenous peoples of the Cordilleras.
  • Cagayan de Oro - known as the "City of Golden Friendship", it is popular for white water rafting and is the gateway to Northern Mindanao.
  • Cebu - the "Queen City of the South" was the first Spanish base in the Philippines and is a major center for commerce, industry, culture and tourism. Metro Cebu is the nation's second largest urban area, after Metro Manila. Consider flying into its graft free and under-used Mactan-Cebu International Airport|airport as a more central and pleasant alternative to Manila - regularly nominated as one of the world's nastiest major airports - if your object is tourism.
  • Davao - the largest city in the world in terms of land area, is known for its Durian fruit and for being the home of Mount Apo and the Philippines' tallest mountain.
  • Tagbilaran - known as the site of the Sandugo (blood compact) between Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and Rajah Sikatuna representing the people of Bohol.
  • Vigan - the capital of Ilocos Sur and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its downtown is the finest example of Spanish colonial architecture in the Philippines. Visit between 03:00 and 05:15 to savour some of its excellently maintained, cobbled streets rather than the stench and noise of two-stroke engines.
  • Zamboanga - known as "La Ciudad Latina de Asia" (Asia's Latin City), it is the melting pot between the Philippines' Christian and Muslim cultures, boasting old masjids, grand churches and historic colonial structures.

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Philippines

White sand beach, Boracay Island - panoramio

  • Banaue has 2,000-year-old Rice terraces and called by Filipinos the eighth wonder of the world, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. People are fascinated at the immense work of the Igorots in making this.
  • Batangas is the birthplace of scuba diving in the Philippines with world class dive sites and beaches. Its accessibility by road about 2 hours from Manila Airport makes it a popular destination. It is home to Taal Volcano and the Taal legacy town.
  • Boracay is a 10 km island featuring white sands.
  • El Nido contains dozens of limestone islands forming a stunningly beautiful karst topography permeated by crystal-clear bays and lagoons, still relatively unspoiled by mass tourism
  • Camarines Sur has beautiful coral reefs, and shorelines of Black and white sands. Visit the Camarines Sur Watersport complex and go water skiing.
  • Donsol is the Whale Shark Capital of the world, dive and see whale sharks.
  • Malapascua Island just like other islands in the Philippines and the island features a beautiful white sand shoreline and coral gardens.
  • Puerto Galera on Mindoro, a favorite getaway for people during Holy Week because of its white sand shorelines and its amazing flora.
  • Tagaytay, tired of the old scene of the noisy metropolis of Manila? or missing the cool weather? Head to Tagaytay, it provides a view of Taal Volcano and the weather is cool and often a getaway for Filipinos tired of warm tropical weather during the Holy Week.
  • Panglao Island in Bohol Province, as resort island with fine beaches. The rest of the province has other attractions including the Chocolate Hills and wild tarsiers (tiny primates).

Masjids in the Philippines

The Philippines, known for its rich cultural diversity and vibrant history, is also home to a significant Muslim population, particularly in the southern regions of the archipelago. This presence is marked by a number of historic and beautiful masjids (mosques) that serve as spiritual centers and cultural landmarks for Filipino Muslims. Here, we explore some of the most notable masjids in the Philippines.

Most Halal food can always been bought from Halal restaurants near the Masjids.

Grand Mosque of Cotabato (Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid)

Located in Cotabato City, the Grand Mosque of Cotabato, also known as Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid, is the largest mosque in the Philippines. It was funded by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and inaugurated in 2011. This stunning mosque features majestic domes and minarets that dominate the skyline. It can accommodate up to 15,000 worshippers, making it a central place for religious gatherings and festivals in the region.

Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque

Situated on Simunul Island in Tawi-Tawi, the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque is the oldest mosque in the Philippines and is considered a National Historical Landmark. Built in 1380 by an Arab trader, Sheikh Karimul Makhdum, the mosque symbolizes the advent of Islam in the Philippines. While the original structure has undergone various renovations, it remains a significant symbol of the enduring Islamic faith in the country.

Taluksangay Mosque

The Taluksangay Mosque, located in Zamboanga City, is another historical mosque that holds great significance for Filipino Muslims. Established in 1885 by Hadji Abdullah Maas Nuno, the mosque features a unique red dome and serves as a central hub for the local Muslim community. It is one of the oldest mosques in the Zamboanga Peninsula and is often visited by those interested in the Islamic history of the region.

Masjid Dimaukom (Pink Mosque)

The Masjid Dimaukom, commonly known as the Pink Mosque, is located in Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao. Built in 2014 by Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom, the mosque is distinct for its pink color, symbolizing peace and love. The striking architecture and vibrant color make it a unique and beautiful place of worship, attracting both locals and tourists.

Marawi Grand Mosque

In the heart of Marawi City stands the Marawi Grand Mosque, also known as the Islamic Center of Marawi. This mosque played a significant role during the Marawi siege in 2017, serving as a refuge for civilians. Although it suffered damage during the conflict, restoration efforts are underway, and the mosque continues to be a symbol of resilience and faith for the people of Marawi.

Golden Mosque (Masjid Al-Dahab)

Located in Manila, the Golden Mosque, or Masjid Al-Dahab, is one of the most prominent mosques in the capital city. Built in 1976 for the visit of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the mosque features a gold-painted dome, hence its name. It serves the large Muslim community in Manila and is a focal point for Islamic activities and celebrations in the city.

Conclusion The masjids in the Philippines are not only places of worship but also symbols of the rich Islamic heritage and cultural diversity in the country. From the ancient Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque to the modern grandeur of the Grand Mosque of Cotabato, these structures reflect the deep-rooted presence and enduring faith of Filipino Muslims. Visiting these masjids offers a unique insight into the history, architecture, and spiritual life of the Muslim communities in the Philippines.

Philippines Halal Explorer

Taal lake

With over 7,659 islands and 300,000 km2|sp=us of territory and the Philippines is the second largest archipelago, after nearby Indonesia. The islands are mostly volcanic in origin, covered with tropical rainforest and fertile soil, but much of the rainforest has been cut down. The terrain varies considerably, but many of the coasts have a lot of bays and headlands and many of the larger islands have mountainous interiors.

The climate is tropical, with constantly high humidity and high, stable temperatures, so prepare to change clothes frequently under the sweltering heat. Mountainous areas are the exception to the norm, rather temperate with mildly cool temperatures during the cool dry season from November to March.

The Philippines has over 100 million people since 2015, making the nation the second largest in Southeast Asia, after of Indonesia, and the eighth largest in Asia, ahead of Japan. The population is not balanced throughout the archipelago, with the majority concentrated in Luzon, around Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON, and Cebu Province|Cebu. Most tourists come via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (IATA Flight Code: MNL) in Metro Manila, but other opt to arrive via Clark International Airport (IATA Flight Code: CRK) or Mactan–Cebu International Airport (IATA Flight Code: CEB).

The Philippines has a diverse culture; you will find a unique blend of local customs, Chinese traditions of saving face, superstition and respect to elders, Hispanic religiosity, machismo and romance, and Western ideals and popular culture. The country is one of the few Christian-majority nations in Asia and the other being East Timor.

The country remains plagued by its share of contemporary issues like crime, corruption, poverty, and internal conflicts. Western nations have been discouraging travel to the nation out of overgeneralized safety and security threats, affecting the Philippine tourism industry greatly, and the Philippine government rebukes those governments in return, asking them to renew their advisories to be less discouraging. There is also ongoing conflict between the Philippine government and Islamic separatists in Mindanao as well as communist rebels elsewhere, which are fortunately confined in some areas, though spillover of hostilities into large cities has occurred. Crimes and illegal drugs are commonplace, but you are more likely to encounter them if you venture into rough areas.

Despite the first impressions of the Philippines as relatively economically developed, it remains a developing country struggling with income inequality and poverty. Most Filipinos struggle to live with at least ₱400 a day, whether it be a farmer or a salesperson or fast food crew, while the sosyal or rich people will be seen cruising in their luxury cars, owning guarded mansions, and sending their children to prestigious private schools. Stereotypes circulated in popular media have increased the gap between the rich and poor. Some people finding it hard to find work might resort to racketeering or committing crime to earn a living. The capital, Metro Manila is suffering from its notorious traffic jams, and slums can be sighted in many places, sometimes in contrast to towering skyscrapers in its business neighborhoods like Makati. Economic and political centralization, often called "Imperial Manila" by critics, remains the cause of the economic plight in many provinces and increased calls for regional self-determination.As with the rest of Southeast Asia and the Philippines is also blighted with uncontrolled development causing urban sprawl, lack of pedestrian- and wheelchair-friendly facilities in many locations, and uncollected garbage.

History of Philippines

The oldest human remains so far found in the Philippines are over 700,000 years old. The first settlers crossed shallow seas and land bridges from mainland Asia to arrive in this archipelago. These people were probably the Negritos or Aetas and are thought to be genetically related to Melanesians (e.g., Indigenous People Australians and Papuans). Direct descendants of these people can still be found in Negros Oriental, northern Luzon and other areas. Today they mostly live in the mountains, having been driven out of the prime coastal areas by later immigrants.

Several thousand years later and they were followed by Austronesian settlers travelling the same route as the Negritos but this time over sea in their impressive Balangay boats. This word is where the basic form of political institution and the barangay, came from. The Austronesian ethnolinguistic group includes Malays, Indonesians and Polynesians, and is spread as far as Hawaii, Easter Island, New Zealand and Madagascar. The majority of Filipinos are of Austronesian descent.

The origins of the Austronesian group are a matter of scholarly controversy. One widely held theory has them coming from Taiwan, Province of China, and travelling south to the Philippines. Other theories put their origins in mainland Southeast Asia or even in China's Liangzhu Culture.

Having been a trading nation for thousands of years, a colony for several hundred and a destination for tourists and Retiring abroad|retirees for decades and the nation includes descendants of many other ethnic groups. The largest minority group are the Chinese, mainly Hokkien speakers whose family origins are in Fujian province.

Pre-Spanish era

The early Austronesians of the Philippines traded with each other, and with the Chinese, Japanese, Okinawans, Indians, Thais, Arabs and other Austronesians from the Malay Peninsula and Nusantara (today's Malaysia and Indonesia) and Micronesia. An interesting mix of cultures developed in the islands, and a writing system called baybayin or alibata, as well as a social structure developed quickly, some of the traders stayed and married the natives. Hinduism and Buddhism were introduced by traders from India, Sumatra and Java. These two religions syncretized with the various indigenous animistic beliefs. Later, Arab, Malay and Javanese traders converted the natives in the island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago to Islam. The archipelago became a mix of the indigenous Austronesian and Melanesian people with some foreign influence from Arabia and the Malay lands and India.

Under Spanish rule

Lapu-lapu-shrine3

When the explorer Ferdinand Magellan set foot on the island of Homonhon in 1521 and the Philippines was predominantly animist, with some Muslim and Hindu-Buddhist based cultures situated in the southern and western parts of the nation. Famished, Magellan's crew were treated to a feast by the welcoming islanders who wore elaborate tattoos. Magellan was Portuguese, but it was a Spanish Expedition which he led to the islands. Lapu-Lapu, a local chief of Mactan Island, was against the Christianization of the natives; he then fought a battle with Magellan that Lapu-Lapu won, and Magellan was killed.

In 1565 an expedition under Miguel López de Legazpi arrived to claim the nation as a Spanish colony. The colony was named for Crown Prince Philip II of Spain and most of the natives converted to Catholicism. Some Muslims in the south and various animistic mountain tribes, however, resisted Spanish conquest and Catholic conversion. In the period of Spanish rule galleons brought large amounts of silver from Acapulco to Manila, and this had a large effect on trade across much of Asia. Even today one can find plenty of 18th- and 19th-century coins, apparently silver and mostly American or Mexican, in China; at least in tourist areas, though and these will more-or-less all be counterfeit.

The longest revolt against Spanish colonization was led by Francisco Dagohoy in Bohol and this lasted for 85 years covering the period of 1744-1829. As a cabeza de barangay or baran captain, Dagohoy opposed the Spanish colonizers who were represented by priests and civil leaders and required payment of excessive taxes and tributes. They also oppressed the Philippines' natives by enslaving them and sending them to prison for disobeying rules. The Manila Galleon trade made contact between the Philippines and Mexico as well as the whole of the Americas. Mayans and Aztecs settled in the Philippines and introduced their cultures which were then embraced by the Filipinos. The Philippines received heavy influence from Mexico and Spain and the archipelago became "hispanicized". Other Asians used the Manila Galleon trade to migrate to the West. During Spanish rule, European powers such as the Dutch, Portuguese and British also tried to colonize the nation; none succeeded though the British did control Manila for two years.

The Philippines remained a Spanish colony for over 300 years until 1899 when it was ceded by Spain to the United States following the Spanish-American War.

American and Japanese occupation

The Filipinos declared independence on 12 June 1898 and resisted the American occupation for seven long, brutal years until surrender completed the colonization of the Philippines.

The war was quite controversial in the US, and famous writers weighed in on both sides of the controversy. Rudyard Kipling, an Englishman born in India and very much in favour of Empire, urged America to "Take up the White Man's Burden"] while Mark Twain wrote "the United States paid poor decrepit old Spain $20,000,000 for the Philippines. It was just a case of this country buying its way into good society ... like an American heiress buying a Duke or an Earl. Sounds well, but that's all."]

The American presence remained until Pacific War|World War II when Japan invaded the Philippines. The retreating American General Douglas McArthur (son of a former Governor of the colony) famously promised "I shall return", and did so later in the war. There is a monument on Leyte Island where he landed and various other wartime ruins or monuments around the nation; Coron is famous for wreck diving because the U.S. Navy sank a number of Japanese ships there in 1944.

On 4 July 1946 and the Philippines was granted independence by the US, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to gain independence from a colonial power, although the U.S. continued to maintain a significant military presence, especially in the Subic Naval Base in Zambales and Clark Air Base in Angeles City. It was not until the early 1990s that the U.S. bases were returned to the Philippines. Since 2022 the US once again uses the Philippines as a proxy towards China.

Post-independence era

Up until the 1960s and the Philippines was widely considered to be the second most developed country in Asia after Japan. Several decades of misrule by the corrupt dictator Ferdinand Marcos then plunged the nation into deep debt. Poverty became widespread and infrastructure for development was severely lacking. In 1986 and the People Power uprising finally overthrew the Marcos government. (This was called the EDSA Revolution since the majority of the demonstrations took place on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.) He was replaced by Corazon Aquino, widow of murdered opposition leader, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr.

Before the 21st century, corruption became one of the main problems of the nation. The country suffered slightly in the 1997 Asian financial crisis that led to a second EDSA revolt which overthrew President Joseph Estrada; the vice-president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (daughter of one of the former presidents), took his place. After her term ended in 2010, Benigno Aquino III (nicknamed "Noynoy" and "Pnoy"), son of Corazon and Benigno Aquino, Jr., was elected President.

In mid-2016, a new president was elected, Rodrigo Duterte. He had previously been mayor of Davao, and earned the nickname "the punisher" by cleaning up the gang warfare that plagued that city in the 90s. Critics claim he did that largely by encouraging police and vigilantes to execute gang members without trial. In the presidential campaign, he vowed to clean up corruption and the drug trade (especially shabu and the local term for crystal methamphetamine, which is a serious problem in the nation) and critics now accuse him of using similar tactics nationwide. Western media sources put the death toll around 1,000 a month since he became president, though the numbers are neither precise nor undisputed. On September 30, 2016, Duterte stated that he would like to emulate Hitler's Holocaust by exterminating 3 million drug users and dealers in the nation, so it is safe to assume the killings will continue as long as he is in office. Despite much condemnation from the West, Duterte remains popular among Filipinos themselves, many of whom are weary of having to deal with drug pushers and high violent crime rates on a daily basis, and appreciate Duterte's efforts to deal with those problems.

Things have been improving slowly on the economic front but the Philippines is still largely a poor country. An IMF report showed, as of 2009, 45% of the population was living on under US$2 a day. Growth in the Philippines is slow, but the nation is hopeful about catching up with its neighbors. One of the major exports is labor; around 10% of Filipinos live abroad, either as immigrants or as contract workers, and remittances from those people account for around 10% of the nation's GDP.

The People of Philippines

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As of 2023 and the Philippines has a population of roughly 103 million, making it the twelfth-largest nation on earth. Since the Philippines population is still growing rapidly, while that of Japan is declining, it will probably shortly overtake its northern neighbors to join the top ten.

From its long history of Western occupation (300 years by Spain and 40 years by the US), Filipino culture has evolved into a unique blend of East and West. The Filipino people are largely Austronesian (more specifically Malayo-Polynesian) in ethnic origin. However, many inhabitants, especially in the cities of Luzon and the Visayas, have China|Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and United States|American mixtures. Those living in the provinces are mostly of Austronesian origin (known as "native"). Many Muslims in the Sulu archipelago near Borneo have Arabic|Arab, Indian and Chinese mixtures. The four largest foreign minorities in the nation are: Chinese, Koreans, Indians and the Japanese. Also of significance are Americans, Indonesians and Arabs. Spaniards and other Europeans form a very small proportion of the nation's population. There are no official government statistics for foreign minorities and mestizos based on censuses, but embassies and consulates do keep a number of their nationals living in the nation.

Filipino traits are a confluence of many cultures. Filipinos are famous for the bayanihan or spirit of kinship and camaraderie taken from Austronesian forefathers. They observe very close family ties. Roman Catholicism comes from the Spaniards who were responsible for spreading the Christian faith across the archipelago. The Spaniards introduced Christianity and succeeded in converting the overwhelming majority of Filipinos; at least 80% are Catholic today. The Philippines is one of only two countries in Asia with a majority Roman Catholic population (the other being East Timor).

The genuine and pure expression of hospitality is an inherent trait in Filipinos, especially those who reside in the nationside who may appear very shy at first, but have a generous spirit, as seen in their smiles. Hospitality, a trait displayed by every Filipino, makes these people legendary in Southeast Asia. Guests will often be treated like royalty in Philippine households. This is most evident during fiestas when even virtual strangers are welcomed and allowed to partake of the feast that most, if not all, households have for the occasion. At times, this hospitality is taken to a fault. Some households spend their entire savings on their fiesta offerings and sometimes even run into debt just to have lavish food on their table. They spend the next year paying for these debts and preparing for the next fiesta. At any rate, seldom can you find such hospitable people who enjoy the company of their visitors. Perhaps due to their long association with Spain, Filipinos are emotional and passionate about life in a way that seems more Latin than Asian.

Filipinos lead the bunch of English-proficient Asian people today and English is considered as a second language. The American occupation was responsible for teaching the Filipino people the English language. While the official language is Filipino (which is basically a version of Tagalog) and whereas 76-78 languages and 170 dialects exist in this archipelago, still English is the second most widely spoken language in the nation to varying degrees of comprehension but is a learnt language. Around 3 million still speak Spanish, including Creole Spanish, Chavacano plus Spanish has been reintroduced as a language of instruction at school level.

The geographical and cultural grouping of Filipinos is defined by region, where each group has a set of distinct traits and languages or dialects - the sturdy and frugal Ilocanos of the north and the industrious Tagalogs of the central plains and the loving and sweet Visayans from the central islands, and the colorful tribesmen and religious Muslims of Mindanao. Tribal communities or minorities are likewise scattered across the archipelago.

It may seem peculiar for tourists to notice the Latin flair in Filipino culture. Mainstream Philippine culture compared to the rest of Asia is quite Hispanic and westernized on the surface. But still, Filipinos are crucially Austronesian and many indigenous and pre-Hispanic attitudes and ways of thinking are still noticeable underneath a seemingly westernized veneer. Indigenous groups, who have retained a fully Malayo-Polynesian culture unaffected by Spanish-influence, are also visible in cities like Manila, Baguio, Davao or Cebu, and can remind a visitor of the amazing diversity and multiculturalism present in the nation.

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How is the Climate in Philippines

The climate is tropical, and average temperatures range from 25°C (78°F) to 32°C (90°F), and humidity is around 77 percent. While locations within 11 degrees from the equator may have just two seasons and most books tell you of just two seasons, wet and dry, local residents speak of three seasons:

  • The hot dry season (summer) are the hottest months. The country becomes muggy, with temperatures soaring as high as 40|C, and heat indices of 50-60|C not uncommon, especially in inland locations in Luzon like Cabanatuan and Tuguegarao. The temperatures are very desirable for beach bumming and resort hopping, but not for visiting legacy locations, unless you bear the heat and high humidity. Prices for flights, ferries, buses or accommodations skyrocket during this season, especially on Holy Week, and booking is difficult due to high demand.
  • The rainy season starts in June and extends through October with strong typhoons feasible.
  • The cool dry season runs from November to February, with mid-January to end of February the coolest times. Temperatures are cooler in the mountains, but even lowland areas can experience temperatures below 20|C when the northeast monsoon from Siberia is at full blast, so bring a sweater or light jacket at these times, especially when walking at night. This season is the best time to visit, with drier weather, but flights, boat and ferry trips, buses and accommodations tend to be expensive and difficult, especially during the Christmas and New Year season.

Locations exposed directly to the Pacific Ocean have frequent rainfall all year. This includes the popular Pagsanjan Falls south-east of Manila (though the falls will get you wet regardless). Baguio, branded as the summer capital of the Philippines, tends to be cooler due to its being located in mountainous regions with temperatures at night going below 20°C (68°F) . During summer and the nation experiences droughts, sometimes with extreme conditions, from March (sometimes as early as February) to May (sometimes extending to June).

Public Holidays in Philippines

The Philippines is a multicultural country having Christian, Muslim and Buddhist holidays in addition to secular holidays. The year is welcomed by New Year's Day on 1 January. Being a predominantly Catholic country means observing the traditional Catholic holidays of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday during Lent or months around March or April, Araw ng pagkabuhay or Easter Sunday is celebrated 3 days after Good Friday. Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor, Boy scouts re-enact the march every 2 years in honor of this day that is commonly called Bataan Day and they march as long as 10 kilometers and the Bataan Death March was part of the Bataan Battle which was also part of the Battle of the Philippines. The Bataan Death March was a 60 km march and the people who participated in this march were captured, tortured and murdered. All Saints Day is on 1 Nov and All Souls Day on 2 November. In recognition of the Muslim Filipino community and the Islamic feast of Eid-Al-Fitr (known in the Philippines as Hari Raya Puasa) held after the holy fasting month of Ramadan, is also a national holiday. This day changes year by year, as it follows the Islamic lunar calendar. Chinese New Year is also celebrated by the Chinese Community but dates vary according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Secular holidays include Labor Day (1 May) and Independence Day (12 Jun). 30 Aug is declared National Heroes Day. Some holidays also commemorate national heroes such as Jose Rizal (30 Dec) and Andres Bonifacio (30 Nov) as well as Ninoy Aquino (21 Aug). Metro Manila is less congested during Holy Week as people tend to go to their hometowns to spend the holidays there. Holy week is also considered part of the super peak season for most beach resorts such as Boracay and the most popular ones tend to get overcrowded at this time. Due to its cool mountain weather, Baguio is also where a lot of people spend the Holy Week break. Christmas is ubiquitously celebrated on 25 December.

Dates

  • New Year's Day: 1 January
  • Chinese New Year: varies (based on the Chinese lunar calendar)
  • Maundy Thursday: varies
  • Good Friday: varies
  • Easter Sunday: varies
  • Araw Ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor): 9 April
  • Labor Day: 1 May
  • Independence Day: 12 June
  • Ninoy Aquino Day: 21 August
  • National Heroes Day: Last Monday of August
  • All Saints Day: 1 November
  • All Souls Day: 2 November
  • Eid Ul Fitr (Hari Raya Puasa): varies according to lunar calendar
  • Eid Ul Adha: varies according to lunar calendar
  • Bonifacio Day: 30 November
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception: 8 December
  • Christmas Day: 25 December
  • Rizal Day: 30 December
  • Last Day of the Year: 31 December

Festivals

Month Festival Place
January Ati-Atihan Kalibo, Aklan
Sinulog Cebu
Dinagyang Iloilo
February Panagbenga Baguio City
Kaamulan Bukidnon
March Paraw Regatta Iloilo City and Guimaras
Pintados de Passi Passi City, Iloilo
Araw ng Dabaw Davao
April Moriones Marinduque
May Magayon Albay
Pahiyas Lucban, Quezon
Sanduguan Calapan, Oriental Mindoro
June Pintados-Kasadyaan & Sangyaw Tacloban City, Leyte
July T'nalak Koronadal City, South Cotabato
August Kadayawan Davao
September Peñafrancia Naga, Bicol
October MassKara Bacolod
October Zamboanga Hermosa (Fiesta Pilar) Ciudad de Zamboanga (Ciudad Latina de Asia)
December Binirayan San Jose, Antique

Culture & Tradition of Philippines

MASSKARA FESTIVAL 02

The culture of the Philippines is very diverse. There is the native Melanesian and Austronesian culture, which is most evident in language, ethnicity, native architecture, food and dances. There is also some influence from Arabia, China, India and Borneo. On top of that there is heavy colonial Hispanic influence from Mexico and Spain, such as in Religion, food, dance, language, festivals, architecture and ethnicity. Later influence from the U.S. can also be seen in the culture.

Travel as a Muslim to Philippines

Visa policy of the Philippines

Non-immigrant

  • Temporary visitor visa (for tourism, business, or medical care)
  • Foreign business visa
  • Student visa
  • Employment visa (along with Alien Employment Permit issued by the Department of Labor and Employment)

Immigrant

  • Permanent resident visa
  • Espousal visa (for foreign spouses and unmarried children of Filipino citizens)

Special

  • Investor visa
  • Foreign retiree visa

Nationals from most countries, including all ASEAN countries, can enter the Philippines without a visa for up to 30 days, or obtain a visa on arrival for up to 59 days, as long as they have a return or onward ticket as well as passports valid for a period of at least six months beyond the period of stay. Exceptions to this rule are as listed below:

If intending to stay beyond the duration of the 30-day visa, you may apply for a visa extension at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) which have offices in most main cities and at Manila and Cebu airports . Extensions are granted up to a maximum of six months per time. You can keep getting visa extensions up to a stay of 3 years, after which foreign nationals wishing to stay longer must go out of the Philippines and then come back to start anew, or apply for permanent resident status at home. At Cebu airport it costs ₱3000 to get a 29 day visa extension and takes less than 5 minutes.

The 1st visa extension got within the Philippines at a BOI office is from 30 days up to 59 days and cost ₱3130. The cost of a 29 day visa extension at Cebu airport is ₱3000. You could also get a 59-day tourist visa from any Philippines Embassy around the world for US$30/40, but you must go to the embassy twice as the visa take 2-3 working days to get.

If you overstay, you must pay on departure a fine of ₱1,000 per month of overstay plus a ₱2,020 processing fee.

Airlines may refuse to let you check in if you only have a one-way ticket to the Philippines due to immigration requirements. Cebu Pacific Air will require a printed copy of an onwards "itinerary receipt" at check in. If you want to risk not having an onwards ticket, try to check in early to allow yourself time to buy a ticket at an Internet cafe or ticket desk in the airport if the airline refuses to check you in.

All visitors are given arrival and departure cards presented to immigration.

Travellers intending to stay in the Philippines for the long term (i.e. applying for residence) must register for an Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) card. ACR applicants will go through fingerprinting, photo identification, and submission of police clearance (not required for tourist visa holders). Foreign Muslims Retiring abroad|retiring in the Philippines can apply for a retiree visa, but those planning to stay longer must apply for an immigrant visa and permanent residence, which requires at least $10,000 (₱600,000) deposited in a local bank and no criminal record. The Philippines regulates the number of immigrants to 50 persons per country, with exceptions outlined in local immigration legislation. In addition, you must go through additional paperwork at the baran of residence by applying for a Baran Certificate of Residence within 24 hours of your arrival.

Under the "Balikbayan Program", former Filipino citizens who have been naturalized in a foreign country may enter the Philippines visa-free for up to one year. If eligible, you must prove your previous Philippine citizenship by presenting an old Philippine passport, birth certificate, or foreign naturalization documents. However, you may not have to present these documents to the immigration officer, as usually it is sufficient to speak a Filipino language, appear Filipino, and/or show the foreign passport if it indicates that you were born in the Philippines. If your Balikbayan status is granted and the immigration officer will annotate your passport for a one-year stay. Your spouse and children may also avail themselves of the Balikbayan privilege, as long as they enter and leave the Philippines together with you. If you choose to reside permanently, you can reacquire Filipino citizenship by taking the Philippine oath of allegiance, and your children (under 18), including illegitimate or adopted children, will automatically acquire Filipino citizenship.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Philippines

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Although the Philippines is an archipelago, most visitors arrive by plane. International airports are located in MNL|Manila, Angeles, CEB|Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Kalibo and Puerto Princesa.

What to pay when leaving the Philippines? When leaving the Philippines, departing passengers have to pay a passenger service charge, more commonly known as the terminal fee. With the notable exceptions of the airports in Clark and Cebu, this is included at the cost of the ticket. At Clark and Cebu, this is collected at the airport before entering immigration, payable in Philippine pesos or U.S. dollars. A stub is then attached to your boarding pass to indicate that this has been paid.

In addition, most resident aliens and any one who have been in the Philippines more than one year leaving the nation are required to pay a travel tax of either ₱2,700 if flying first class or ₱1620 for business or economy class. This tax is collected at a designated counter before check-in if the ticket was purchased outside the Philippines or, in most cases, on-line. If the ticket was purchased at an airline ticket office or travel agency in the Philippines and the travel tax is most likely included in the ticket price; check first and ask before paying. Foreign nationals and balikbayans (former Filipino citizens) who are staying in the Philippines for less than one year are exempt from paying the travel tax, as are overseas Filipino workers (OFW), Filipino students studying abroad, infants and employees of government or international agencies on official business. Reduced rates are available for minors (under 12 years), dependents of OFWs (under 21 years) and journalists on assignment.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia, are the three main airlines that operate international Flights to the Philippines.

If you plan to travel around the various islands, it is best to get an open jaw ticket. This can save much time back-tracking. Most common open-jaw ticket combinations fly into Manila and out of Cebu or vice versa. Local airlines also have regular "seat sales", advertising affordable fares for Flights to domestic destinations. However, be aware of travel dates: some tickets booked during a seat sale may only be used on dates well after the duration of the sale (sometimes up to a year after the sale) and advertised fares usually exclude government taxes and fuel surcharges.

If you live in an area with a large Filipino population (such as London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei or Tokyo), check out travel agencies catering to overseas Filipinos which often have fares keener than those generally advertised.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Most visitors entering the Philippines will fly in through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)] (IATA Flight Code: MNL). The airport is divided into four terminals: Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 (formerly called the Domestic Terminal).

Most international flights depart from Terminal 1 with a few exceptions:

  • Philippine Airlines international depart from Terminal 2,
  • All Cebu Pacific flights (international and domestic), international flights on AirAsia, and flights on Nippon Airways, Singapore-Airlines, KLM-Airline, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Delta Air Lines depart from Terminal 3.

Other airports

Some visitors who enter the Philippines choose to avoid flying through Manila, instead using other airports throughout the Philippines which have international flights.

  • Diosdado Macapagal Clark International Airport (IATA Flight Code: CRK) in Angeles City, Pampanga 85 kilometers north of Manila is a popular hub for low-cost carriers serving Manila, although a few full-service carriers serve the airport as well.
  • Mactan-Cebu International Airport (IATA Flight Code: CEB) in Metro Cebu is the Philippines' second-busiest airport and a major hub for visitors headed to points in the Visayas and Mindanao, with service on both full-service and low-cost carriers.
  • Francisco Bangoy International Airport (IATA Flight Code: DVO) in Davao is served by Silk air (part of Singapore airlines) with Flights to and from Singapore. and Cathay Pacific with Flights to and from Hong Kong.
  • Kalibo International Airport (IATA Flight Code: KLO) in Kalibo, Aklan (near Boracay) Air Asia, has Flights to Seoul & Busan South Korea. Scoot Air fly to Singapore. Cebu Pacific fly from Kalibo to Hong Kong and Seoul. Other airlines also have scheduled Flights to Kalibo from points in South Korea, China and Taiwan, Province of China.
  • Iloilo International Airport (IATA Flight Code: ILO) in Iloilo (city) | Iloilo is served by Cebu Pacific, with Flights to Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • Puerto Princesa International Airport (IATA Flight Code: PPS) in Puerto Princesa, Palawan has direct connecting Flights to Taipei on Philippine Airlines.

Passengers departing on international Flights from Clark airport, pay a terminal fee of ₱650. And from Cebu Airport a terminal fee of 850.

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  • Weesam Express operates a regular ferry service which connects Zamboanga City, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi with Sandakan, Malaysia.
  • Aleson Shipping Lines also has a ferry from Zamboanga to Sandakan. Schedule departs Zamboanga every Monday and Thursday 12 noon. Economy class ₱2700 per way. Cabin ₱3100 per way.

How to get around in Philippines

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Philippines

Flight delays can occur due to technical problems at major airports around the Philippines. If bad weather or smog accumulates throughout the day, so does the backlog of flights and this can cause a 2–3-hour delay in your domestic flight.

If you have a separately ticketed flight on a continuing journey, or plan to fly out the next day and then you might want to consider flying earlier rather than later, that way you have plenty of time to relax, transit or make your hotel reservation for the night.

Since the Philippines is an archipelago and the easiest way to move between islands is by plane. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia have significant domestic operations, linking many major towns and cities. There are also several smaller carriers which serve resort destinations (such as Amanpulo in Palawan), as well as more remote destinations. While most cities are served by jet aircraft, some destinations are served by propeller-driven planes.

The route networks of most local airlines are heavily centered around Manila and Cebu: flying between domestic points usually entails having to transit one of those cities (sometimes both), although direct connecting flights between other major cities are slowly being introduced. Reaching Sulu and Tawi-Tawi by air is a special case: travelers must fly through Zamboanga City.

A significant majority of domestic flights in the Philippines are operated by low-cost carriers and are consequently economy-only: PAL is the only airline to offer business class on domestic flights. This does not mean however that fares are affordable: domestic seat sales are a common feature throughout the year, and all major airlines regularly offer promo fares on their websites. However, fares increase significantly during major peak travel seasons (particularly during Christmas, Holy Week and the last two weeks of October), and in places served by only one airline (such as Calbayog, Camiguin or Siargao), fares also increase during major provincial or town fiestas. Flights are frequently full during peak travel season, so it is advisable to book well in advance.

Passengers departing on domestic flights must pay a terminal fee before entering the pre-departure area, although the fee is integrated into the ticket price as of August 1, 2012 for flights departing from MNL|Manila and CEB|Cebu. Fees vary, with most major cities charging ₱200, and smaller cities charging between ₱30 and ₱100. Fees are only payable in Philippine pesos.

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The Philippine National Railways (PNR) operates two overnight intercity services: the Bicol Express between Manila and Naga, Camarines Sur, which resumed on June 29, 2011 after a five-year absence, and the Mayon Limited between Manila and Ligao in Albay.Additional services are expected in the future as the rehabilitation of the PNR network progresses. Train service is comparable to (or slower than, due to delays) buses in terms of speed, but is more comfortable owing to the use of donated Japanese coaches for the service.

The Bicol Express and Mayon Limited are not non-stop services: from Tutuban, Manila's main train station and the train calls at several points in Metro Manila, Laguna, Quezon (province) | Quezon and Camarines Sur before arriving in Naga (and Albay before arriving in Ligao for the Mayon Limited). It is feasible to travel between any two points served by the services, and fares are distance-based. Children under three feet may travel for free.

There are four classes of service on the Bicol Express:

  • Executive sleeper class features individual air-conditioned cabins. Each cabin has a bed, pull-down armrests so that a portion of the bed can be used as a chair, and a small table. Washrooms are available inside the coach.
  • Family sleeper class features four-bed air-conditioned cabins: two beds on each side, with one stacked on top of the other.Access to the top bunk is via a foldable ladder between both sides of the cabin, and cabins are separated from the aisle with a curtain. The PNR promotes this class for the use of families traveling together, although it is feasible to book an individual bed.
  • Reclining air-conditioned economy class (or deluxe class) features air-conditioned reclining chairs, two on each side of the cabin. On some coaches, it is feasible to rotate the chairs so that passengers may face each other.
  • Economy class (or ordinary class) is the cheapest class of service, featuring upholstered benches on each side which can sit up to three people. Ventilation is provided via overhead ceiling fans.

On the Mayon Limited, only reclining air-conditioned economy class ("deluxe") and regular economy class are offered. However, unlike the Bicol Express and the Mayon Limited provides service using two different trains: the "deluxe" service operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while the "economy" service operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Passengers on PNR intercity services are entitled to a free baggage allowance of 20 kg.

It is feasible to book seats on intercity trains by calling the PNR at +63 2 319-0044. Booking seats is recommended during peak travel seasons (especially during Holy Week and in September, during the Peñafrancia Festival in Naga), where trains can be full. However and the PNR does send a second, all-economy supplementary overnight train on certain days during peak season if traffic demand warrants it. Timetables and fares for all services, including supplementary services, are announced on the PNR's website and also on its official Facebook page].

The PNR also operates the Commuter Express in Metro Manila, a once-daily commuter service between Manila and Biñan, Laguna (which is also part of the Commuter Express, but uses different trains), and the Bicol Commuter between Naga and towns in Camarines Sur and Albay.

By car

The Philippines' road network is centered on Manila. Outside Luzon, larger islands' road networks converge on the largest city or cities (for example, Cebu City for Cebu Province, Iloilo (city) | Iloilo City for Panay and Puerto Princesa for Palawan), while smaller islands (such as Marinduque, Catanduanes and Camiguin) usually have a road circling the entire island. The Philippines has one highway which is part of the Asian Highway Network: the Pan-Philippine Highway (AH26), also known locally as the Maharlika Highway. The highway begins in Laoag and ends in Zamboanga (city) | Zamboanga City, traversing through Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. However, it is also the only highway in the Asian Highway Network which is not connected to any other highway: it is not feasible to enter the Philippines by car.

Roads in the Philippines vary greatly in quality from the paved multi-lane expressways of Luzon to the narrow dirt roads of remote mountain areas, which may complicate travel by car. Most major roads have two lanes and are normally paved with asphalt or concrete, although multi-lane roads are common near major cities. Road atlases and maps are available at bookstores throughout the nation, and are very helpful when driving, especially when driving alone. Route numbers are now being introduced on all expressways and national highways, that they can be used when planning trips, but as this is still very new, as signs are only introduced in 2016, not all maps, especially app-based navigation apps (other than Waze, which has included them even before the signs are erected), include them for navigation purposes. National roads can now be referred by number, but the current training is to refer them by their name (if known) or with the generic "National Road/Highway" (signed or unsigned), especially when asking for directions.

Major international automobile rental services such as Hertz and Budget have offices in Metro Manila, notably at the airport.Avis and Europcar are among the largest international automobile rental services, with offices in several cities throughout the Philippines. There are also local automobile rental services, such as Nissan Rent-a-Car . Regardless of the company, prices are bound to be reasonable.

Car rental companies usually allow either self-drive or chauffeur-driven rentals: some types of cars however (like vans) may only be rented out with a chauffeur.Also, some rental companies (mostly local ones) may only allow rentals to be driven within the island where the city of rental is located: for example, it may be feasible to drive with a rental from Manila to Legazpi (both on Luzon), but not from Manila (Luzon) to Tacloban (Leyte) because it would entail the use of roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) ferries. If you intend to drive out of Luzon and into the outlying islands and the Visayas or Mindanao (and/or vice-versa), be sure that the rental company's terms and conditions allow it.

Road networks

NLEX Santa Rita northbound (Guiguinto, Bulacan)(2017-03-14)

In addition to the existing network of national and local roads and the Philippines has two additional road networks: an expressway network and the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) system.

Luzon has an expressway network dominated by the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). These are tollways with good paved roads, are privately-maintained, and the farthest tolls will not cost more than a few dollars from Metro Manila. Other expressways include the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (a 94-kilometer 4-lane freeway connecting Subic Bay and Tarlac) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway. Expressways are connected to the network of national highways and provincial roads which connect to major cities and provinces.

The Strong Republic Nautical Highway system is a three-route network of national and provincial roads, bridges and roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) ferries which facilitates the connection of major islands of the Philippines together by road, bringing down the cost of driving (and, ultimately, lowering the cost of shipping goods between islands). The SRNH system begins in Luzon, runs in a north-south direction through the Visayas, and ultimately ends in Mindanao. The SRNH is useful for driving to tourist destinations outside Manila: for example, it is feasible to drive to both Puerto Galera and Boracay from Manila via the Western Nautical Highway.

Driving

Foreign driver's licenses are legally valid in the Philippines for up to 90 days after arrival, after which a Philippine driver's license is required. It may also be a good idea to carry your passport showing that your last entry into the Philippines was less than 91 days ago.

Vehicular traffic in the Philippines moves on the right, and the vast majority of road signs are in English, with a few in Filipino. Road signs are based on a mix of American and GCC standards. Road marking are usually white and the same as in most of Europe, save for the no-overtaking lines, that always uses yellow, like in most of the Americas. While most major highways have good signage and markings, it is less common in inner city and minor roads. Road sign theft is also a common problem even in the highways, and stolen signs can cause a fatal crash, especially at night.

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Filipinos are famous for their driving habits. Traffic often grinds to a screeching halt, especially in major cities (Metro Manila in particular), and the honking of horns is a very common occurrence. When there is no traffic, speeding, swerving and reckless passing happen on a regular basis, especially on desolate rural roads. Car traffic competes with bus and jeepney traffic, which jostle sidewalk curbs to get more passengers, especially in areas without designated bus stops: the "boundary" commission system that determine bus and jeepney drivers' salaries based on passenger load does not help the traffic situation in many cities. Motorcycles frequently weave through traffic, increasing the risk of accidents. However, traffic lights, while frequently ignored in the past, are more strictly adhered to now. Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers, and if you travel with children, kids below 6 are not allowed to seat in front beside the driver. To add further, child restraint seats are not yet legal unlike in the West, but there is a proposed law to make child restraint seats mandatory for children below 7 travelling by car. Motorcycles accumulate on the pedestrian crosswalk at signalized intersections, just as in neighboring Indonesia or Malaysia; let them drive first to avoid an accident.

Gasoline stations are common in highly populated areas, but becomes rare out in the nationside. They are not self-service, and expect a gasoline boy to provide service and payment. Toilets tend to have poor sanitation, except in larger ones. Most gas stations have convenience stores and vehicle repair shops, but smaller ones have only pumps and toilets. Fuel prices tend to fluctuate weekly, so gas up as early as feasible.

Speed limits are set on 100 km/h on expressways, 80 km/h on national highways outside populated areas, and 20 km/h to 40 km/h elsewhere (residential areas, school zones, city roads). Speed limits are not well signed in most roads and enforcement is lax, and speeding is a common problem on rural highways.

Distracted driving is now illegal under a new law signed on May 2017. Even texting, calling, or playing games while your vehicle is stopped on a traffic light or a traffic jam can be fined. Navigation apps, like Waze and Google Maps, which are being popular with drivers trying to avoid jams, are permitted, but must be hands-free, that you cannot use the device while driving, unless you pull over to set navigation to an alternate route. Exceptions only apply when using a cell phone in emergency, like reporting an accident.

Due to heavy traffic congestion, Metro Manila and Baguio have laws that restrict certain vehicles based on the day of the week and the ending number of your vehicle's license plate: this is officially called the Uniform Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), but it is simply known as "number coding" or, previously "color coding" (although it has nothing to do with the color of your vehicle). The UVVRP works as follows:

Number Coding
Day Plate number
Monday 1, 2
Tuesday 3, 4
Wednesday 5, 6
Thursday 7, 8
Friday 9, 0
Weekends and holidays No coding

Cities that enforce the UVVRP prohibit cars from being driven between 7AM and 7PM on a certain weekday on most national (primary) and secondary roads, although the implementation varies: in Metro Manila (excluding Makati and Pasay), a "window" exists between 10AM and 3PM where the scheme is not enforced, while in Baguio and the UVVRP is only enforced in the downtown, and the scheme does not apply to the rest of the city. In general however and the UVVRP does not apply to minor streets (mostly in residential areas), and those roads remain open to coded cars the whole day. Be sure to check with a local contact or the vehicle rental agency/hotel concierge about whether these rules will apply to your vehicle, especially as foreigners driving can become targets for less scrupulous traffic aides.

By motorcycle

Motorcycles and scooters (either can be called moto in Filipino English) are extremely common in the nation, mostly Japanese brands (though perhaps manufactured elsewhere) plus some Filipino brands such as Rusi. Most are in the 125‑200cc range. They are available for rent (typically at around ₱300 a day) in many cities and tourist areas, and it is common for long-term visitors to buy one.

There is a national law requiring helmets, but it is not consistently enforced in all regions. Motorcycle driving is also not for the faint of heart; most accidents claim lives of motorcyclists because of dangerous driving habits like drunk driving or illegal overtaking.

Motorcycles used as taxis, called habal-habal are common in some areas; for example they are almost the only transport on Samal. There are no meters; you have to negotiate a price, and some drivers may try to overcharge tourists or may feel they are entitled to something extra because you want to be the only passenger where they could carry two or even three Filipinos. If you have a choice, either a tricycle or a jeepney will usually be both safer and more comfortable. National law prohibits the use of motorcycles as public transport for safety reasons, but they are quite common in some areas nonetheless. A law that will legalize motorcycle taxis is scheduled to be signed into law in 2019, but motorcycles taxis remain illegal, including app-hailed services like Angkas and GrabBike.

Best way to travel in Philippines by a Taxi

Most of the taxi drivers nowadays charge people with fares not based on the meters, especially during peak hours. If you encounter this say "no" and say that drivers don't have a right to give you a fare that is double and not based on the meters, this is usually encountered by tourists as well as middle class-elite class Filipinos. If this happens get out of the taxi, threaten the driver you will call the police hotline;Philippine National Police (PNP) +63 2 722-0650 start dialing your cellphone to make him believe you are calling the police or either call the MMDA[https://(Metro Manila Development Authority) hotline; 136 if you're within Manila, you can also text the police at 2920 and your message must be as follows; PNP(space)(message), for your complaints. Some taxis have meters which give out receipts; ask for a receipt if they have one.

Taxis are generally available within the major cities but are usually not used for travel across the various provinces and regions. UV Express (shared taxis using white vans) usually ply provincial routes. You can also call reputable taxi companies that can arrange pickups and transfers as well as airport runs.

When hailing a taxi in the cities, ensure the meter is on and pay the metered fare. A tip of ₱10 is acceptable. Also, make sure you have small denomination banknotes, as the drivers often claim not to have change in an effort to obtain a larger tip! Please do have coins ready with you. Moreover, don't be surprised if drivers want to bypass the meter during rush hour. Most taxis have the flag down rate of ₱40 with each 300 meters cost ₱3.50 while Yellow cab taxis are more expensive with a flag-down rate of ₱70 with each 300 meters cost ₱4 (March 2022).

You may book a taxi using GPS enabled mobile apps such as "Grab Taxi" and "Easy Taxi" for a small fee. This is better than hailing a cab because you can see the number of available taxis and their location via GPS. Once you have a confirmed taxi booking and the name, photo, plate number and telephone number will appear on your mobile device and you can communicate with your driver to let him know exactly where you are. This is available in Metro Manila and Cebu.

Travel on a Bus in Philippines

Apart from flying, buses are usually the way to go when it comes to traveling across the Philippines, at least from within the major islands. It is the cheapest mode of transport when getting around, fares are as low as ₱300-500. Provincial bus companies have scheduled trips from Manila to provinces to the north and south. Major provincial bus companies such as ALPS The Bus, Inc.], Victory Liner, Philtranco operate in the nation.

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Metro Manila

Get around Manila with Pasig's Pasig Ferry Service, waterbuses are available in stations around the historical river of Pasig. Fares ranges from ₱25, ₱35 and ₱45. For students and youth fares range ₱20 regardless of distance.

Inter-island trips

Next to buses and some times low cost airlines, ships are the cheapest mode of transport when getting around the nation as fares are as low as ₱1,000 if it's a trip lasting a day or two and ₱200 if it's only a one hour trip. 2Go Travel and a number of other companies operate interisland ferries. There is a convenient Friday overnight ferry trip to Coron, Palawan. This allows divers to spend the weekend in Coron and take the Sunday night ferry trip back to Manila, arriving around noon. You can also stay on a Cruise Ship that's exploring around the Coron area. The 7,107 Island Cruise Ship takes passengers around Coron and some of its private islands.

Ferry trips to other islands can take over 24 hours, depending on distance. Other major ferry companies include: 2Go Travel, Trans Asia Shipping Lines.

Oceanjet is a reliable company offering fast ferries throughout the Visayas at affordable prices. Schedule Information is difficult to obtain - newspapers often contain pages with ads on certain days, but, believe it or not, most people rely on word of mouth.

While travelling by ferry is cheap, and relatively care-free compared to air travel, boat services can be unreliable. Ferries can sometimes be delayed anywhere between 24 to 48 hours because all the cargo and passengers has not yet boarded, or because of weather. If you need to make a deadline (such as an international flight) and then fly instead of travelling by ferry.

Cruises

7107 Islands Cruise offers a cruises from Boracay to Puerto Galera to Boracay, prices range from ₱2,000 - ₱10,000, children below than 3 years old are free to travel who is accompanied by 2 adults, children from 5 to 12 years old are given a 50% discount, who are accompanied also by 2 adults while senior citizens can avail a 20% discount. The cruise will tour around the Philippines in islands such as Boracay and Coron Island.

Hans Christian Andersen Cruise will take you on a voyage through the Philippines. They take you to empty beaches, local fishing villages, diving and snorkeling to explore the picturesque archipelagos of the Philippines. They offer a relaxed holiday atmosphere and you won’t have to worry about dress code.

Sunday Cruises has tour packages to Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. Prices range from ₱2,000 for a day tour with a buffet lunch, to ₱3,000 for an overnight stay at the island. The tour guides are very informative, and the island is steeped in history, particularly about the battles that raged there during World War II. They also offer cruises around Manila Bay.

By jeepney

Jeepneys are common throughout the nation and are by far the most affordable way to get around most major urban areas. They generally run on fixed routes, have fixed fares depending on distance (often about ₱8 for up to 4 kilometers and an additional ₱1 per kilometers), and will stop if you wave at them. Usually there are signs on the side of the vehicle indicating the route. Within Manila and other major cities, you will find multiple jeepneys per route so you rarely need to wait long to catch one.

PH-Manila-Jeepneys

Jeepneys are often quite crowded and generally not very comfortable (especially if you are tall) and there is usually little space inside for luggage (though most have a roof rack) and there may be pickpockets, and you might encounter annoying behavior such as drivers smoking or passengers engaging in loud conversations, However every visitor should try them at least once since they are definitely part of a "Philippines experience". For a budget traveller and they will likely be one of the most used transport options.

The original Jeepneys were based on jeeps left behind by the Americans after Pacific War|World War II; Filipinos lengthened the body and added benches along the sides to seat more people. Today most new jeepneys are based on imported used vehicles — anything from SUV to heavy truck, and mostly from Japan — but many older ones are still running. Jeepneys typically have seating for about 20 people, but they often carry 30 or more with people in the aisle or on the running boards. A few passengers can sit up front with the driver; these are the best seats, more comfortable and with a better view.

Some jeepneys have a conductor to collect the fares, but on others you pay the driver. It is fairly common for people sitting at the back to get other passengers to relay their money to the driver; this is easier if you have exact change. It is also common for passengers to clink coins against metal parts of the roof when they want off; the sound carries forward to the driver.

In some areas there are vehicles much like a jeepney, but built on a smaller chassis so they can carry only about a dozen passengers. Locals will usually call these multicabs, but travellers may use songthaew and the usual term for similar vehicles in some other parts of Southeast Asia.

In the provinces, jeepneys also connect towns and cities. For these longer trips there are often discounts for seniors or students, though not usually on trips within a city. For a trip of a few kilometers from a city to a suburb or a few dozen kilometers to a nearby town jeepneys are often the best way to travel. For longer journeys, however, buses are more comfortable.

By tricycle

Traysikels are tricycles, motorcycle-and-sidecar rigs; the motorcycles are typically Japanese machines in the 125-200cc range. In some places the sidecars seat four, in other places only two. In some of the smaller cities and these are the main means of transport within the town, and jeepneys are used only for journeys between towns. In a few areas tricycles are used for out-of-town journeys of up to about 25 km (15 miles) as well; one example is the trip from the port in Tagbilaran out to the resorts on Panglao Island.

Banaue Philippines Local-Taxi-01

These may not be to the liking of most foreigners, as they are cramped and quite open to noise and weather. In most places they are shared vehicles; expect to ride along with other people going roughly the same way and to take the odd detour as the driver diverts to deliver a passenger at his or her destination.

In towns the fares range from ₱3 per person up; most fares in any town are ₱8 to ₱50, depending mainly on the distance. In some places the fare is legally regulated, for example in Dumaguete, it is ₱9 anywhere within the town. In more rural areas, rates are different; for example on Olango Island almost any journey costs ₱120 per tricycle, however many people and however much luggage you have, and the run from Tagbilaran to Alona Beach on Panglao is ₱250-300. Sometimes, especially for longer runs, you will need to bargain over the fare, and some drivers will try to overcharge foreigners.

In general, most journeys are reasonably safe and pleasant, and quite affordable by foreign standards, but there can be problems. Some drivers may smoke while driving (despite smoking bans on public utility vehicles, including tricycles) or overcharge, and quite a few drive rather adventurously, frequently violating traffic rules, like illegal overtaking or ignoring tricycle prohibitions (primarily on heavily travelled highways). Some of the motorcycles are quite noisy, belch smoke or have inadequate headlights.

There is usually a luggage rack on the back. If you use it, make sure the driver ties your things down; otherwise they might be stolen or fly out when you hit a bump. Large or valuable luggage should ride in the passenger area; on tricycles with four-seat sidecars the front seat can be folded up to make room. You will usually have to pay extra for this, which is fair since the luggage prevents the driver taking more passengers.

You may find tricycles resembling auto rickshaws or tuk-tuks in some areas, especially in Mindanao; they have passengers sitting behind the driver instead on a separate sidecar. Auto-rickshaws sold by Bajaj can be sighted also in some areas. Electric trikes can be found at some areas, like in Manila.

In many areas, pedicab refers to a pedal-powered vehicle, either a bicycle-and-sidecar rig or a cycle rickshaw with two seats in back and the rider pedaling up front. In other areas, "pedicab" is used for motorized sidecar rigs as well.

Local Language in Philippines

See also: Filipino phrasebook, Cebuano phrasebook

"Philippine English"|While English in the Philippines is largely based on American English and there are a few terms and expressions peculiar to the local dialect of English:

  • comfort room or CR - toilet/restroom/water closet (WC)
  • "unli" as a short form for "unlimited"; many menu items include unli rice
  • Jeepney - a type of transportation unique to the Philippines, and very common
  • Tricycle - local three-wheeled transport
  • adidas - Chicken feet, similar to the Chinese dish but a bit different
  • brownout - a blackout, complete absence of electric power
  • course - in higher education, this can either refer to individual subjects (used mainly by faculty, academics or school officials) or an entire degree program (used mainly by students or outsiders)
  • entertain - to attend to someone else, particularly for transactions
  • high-blood - angered easily or short-tempered
  • load - remaining balance or prepaid credits on a cell phone; re-load means to refill or top-up current balance
  • number two - a mistress
  • ref - short for refrigerator; fridge refers to the freezer part
  • rotunda - roundabout or circular road
  • Xerox - a verb which means to photocopy

Some spellings look odd to English speakers since they roughly follow Spanish conventions. Examples include traysikel (tricycle) and pulis (police); both are pronounced much like the English words.

The Philippines has two official languages: English and Filipino; both are used in education and most Filipinos speak at least some of both, though the levels in either vary quite widely. Filipino is a standardized version of the Tagalog language. Tagalog is the language spoken in the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila, and across much of southern and central Luzon.

In the northern provinces, Ilocano phrasebook|Ilocano is the most common language used, while Kapampangan and Pangasinan are spoken in the Central Luzon plains. South of Metro Manila lies the Bicol Region, where Bikol phrasebook|Bicolano is the main local language.

The Visayas, forming the central section of the nation, have their own language subgroup called the Visayan languages, which differ depending on the region. Cebuano phrasebook|Cebuano is the most common Visayan language, and is mainly spoken in the islands of Cebu, Bohol and Negros (eastern part), and used to have more native speakers than Tagalog. The second most-common one is Hiligaynon phrasebook|Hiligaynon (commonly called Ilonggo), which is widely spoken in the islands of Panay, Guimaras and Negros (western part). Waray phrasebook|Waray-Waray is the third most-common and is widely spoken in the Leyte-Samar islands.

On Mindanao and the main island of the south and the main local language is Cebuano, but a Spanish-based creole called Chavacano has a few million speakers in the region around Zamboanga.

All the Filipino languages are related to each other, and all are part of the Austronesian language group which also includes Malay, Indonesian, Javanese and various languages of the Pacific islands. A speaker of any of those will recognize some cognate words in any of the others, and some of the grammar is similar, but they are not mutually intelligible.

Most Filipino languages have been heavily influenced by other languages, most notably Spanish during the Spanish colonial period; there are many Spanish loanwords and the writing system uses Spanish spelling conventions (e.g. Tanjay is pronounced about like English 'tan high'). Hence, many Filipinos can understand a little Spanish. English has also had an influence and has contributed many loanwords.

English is an official language of the Philippines and is a compulsory subject in all schools, so it is widely spoken in the larger cities and main tourist areas. However, it is usually not the first language for most local residents. The use of English isn't as widespread anymore on radio and free-to-air TV as it once was with only three TV channels using it on a full-time basis. However almost all broadsheet newspapers still use English. Tourists won't have problems using English when making inquiries at commercial and government establishments. A few simple phrases in Tagalog or any widespread regional language will come in handy when travelling to rural places as English proficiency is limited there. Taglish is spoken nowadays by the urban youth but its use is discouraged by language educators due to its improper form. It is a mix of Tagalog and English, and an example is shown below:

Taglish: How are you na? Ok naman ako.
Tagalog: Kumusta ka na? Mabuti naman ako
English: How are you? I'm ok.

Spanish is no longer widely spoken, though many Spanish words survive in the local languages, and there are still around three million people who speak Spanish to varying degrees of fluency. A Spanish-based Creole language known as Chavacano is spoken in Cavite and in Zamboanga. The government is trying to revive Spanish by providing Spanish in public schools as an optional language. Younger Spanish-Filipinos tend to speak Filipino languages and/or English as their primary language.

Other ethnic groups have brought new languages to the nation, particularly in more urbanized areas like Manila. There are Chinese groups who migrated largely from Fujian province some time ago and typically can speak Minnan phrasebook|Hokkien rather than Mandarin or Cantonese. They also use 'Lan-ang'; a localized variant of Hokkien with influences from the native Philippine languages, particularly Tagalog and any Visayan language.

Many Filipinos speak multiple languages. You should not be surprised, for example, to meet someone who speaks one or more regional Philippine languages (perhaps Ilocano or Cebuano) plus English, Tagalog and one or two picked up during stints as an overseas contract worker.

What to see in Philippines

The Philippines can give you the tropical island experience of your life. Its beautiful sandy beaches, warm climate, century old churches, magnificent mountain ranges, dense rain forests, rich culture and smiling people are some of the attractions that you can see and experience on this archipelago composed of 7,107 islands. You can experience the nation's rich and unique culture in different ways like touring old Spanish churches, joining colorful fiestas (festivals) and by enjoying exotic and delicious cuisine. But perhaps the greatest way to experience Filipino culture is by riding a jeepney.

Historical and cultural attractions

Manila is the capital of the Philippines; it was established during the Spanish colonial era. Despite being a city with modern skyscrapers, Manila still has its rich historical and cultural legacy. Its old churches, colonial structures, neo-classical buildings and historical monuments give this city its unique charm.

The Spanish began colonizing the Philippines in the 1560s and held it until the Americans took over in 1898. Almost every town in the nation has a few fine old buildings from that period, at least a Catholic church. A few have much more than that, whole neighborhoods full of old buildings including the remains of Spanish fortifications:

  • Cebu City was the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines, and was the former capital for a few years. Its Colon neighborhood has some of the nation’s most important historical and legacy spots including Fort San Pedro and the Basilica of Santo Niño. The city's Sinulog|Sinulog Festival attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims; it is one of the nation's most popular festivals.
  • Intramuros (Spanish for 'within the walls') is is the oldest neighborhood and historic core of Manila. Intramuros is home to Manila's finest and oldest structures such as the Manila Gothic Church and Fort Santiago. Despite being heavily damaged during World War II, Intramuros still has its Spanish colonial character.

VIGAN CITY

  • Baguio is at a considerable elevation and was used as a summer capital to escape the heat of Manila.

Several towns have particularly fine collections of legacy buildings, including many legacy homes built for important Spaniards or for wealthy Filipino families. Many of these are still private homes and by no means all are open to the public, but some have become museums and others allow tours.

  • Vigan, in the Ilocos Region of northern Luzon, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Spanish colonial town though also with considerable Chinese influence. It may make you feel like you are somewhere in Latin America or Mediterranean Europe.
  • Taal, in the Batangas region southwest of Manila, is the closest such town to the capital. It may be a convenient stop for those headed for the beaches of Puerto Galera, though it takes you off the direct route.
  • Silay is on Negros, near Bacolod.
  • Baclayon is on Bohol, near Tagbilaran.

Since the nation was a Spanish colony for 300 years, Baroque churches can easily be found around the Philippines. These churches will look almost like those which you might see in Spain or elsewhere in Europe. Some of the most iconic in the nation are:

  • San Agustin Church in Manila
  • Miag-ao Church in Iloilo
  • Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte
  • Santa Maria Church in Ilocos Sur

These churches were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective title Baroque Churches of the Philippines].

Beaches and islands

Bohol beach club

Beaches and diving are among the best-known tourist attractions of the nation; with 7,107 islands there is certainly enough choice. Many beaches have bright white sand, but beige, gray, black or even pink sand are also found. Most of the diving is around coral reefs; many are reachable by just walking into the water, or on a day trip by boat from one of the resorts. A few such as Coron feature wreck diving and some such as Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park involve longer trips on live-aboard boats.

Boracay is the nation's best-known beach resort area, has been rated one of the best islands in the world by several magazines, and attracts thousands of international and local travelers every year. It has powdery white sand beaches and azure waters, and is a highly-developed area offering a range of activities including scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kitesurfing, cliff diving and parasailing. After all of these activities, you can indulge in a relaxing massage right on the white sand beach or at one of the spas

If you want to avoid crowded beaches, head to Palawan. The beaches in the province are less developed, uncrowded and are excellently maintained. The coastal town of El Nido is one of the best destinations that Palawan and the Philippines can offer. Its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, steep limestone cliffs, stunning islets and diving spots can compete with any of the best in the world.

Coron Island boasts hundreds of limestone formations topped with dense rainforests. It is also popular for its exquisite beaches and World War II shipwrecks. Rent a kayak to paddle around the islands to see the beautiful and excellently maintained seascape of Coron.

Aside from Palawan, you can also try Bohol, an island province which is also home to majestic sandy beaches. One of Bohol's top beach destinations is Panglao Island, which is being promoted as an alternative destination to Boracay. The island offers a wide selection of both luxury and affordable resorts.

Mactan Island in Cebu; Santa Cruz Island in Zamboanga; Pagudpud in Ilocos; Laiya Beach in Batangas and White Island in Camiguin are other popular beach destinations in the Philippines that are really worth visiting.

Landscapes

Buguias, Benguet 9-8-13

Sick of beaches? The Philippines has other offer stunning landscapes; aside from beautiful beaches and there are mountain ranges, dense jungles, majestic Rice terraces, scenic lakes, picturesque waterfalls and hidden caves.

If we think of the Philippines and the usual things that goes into our mind are just group of islands with warm sunny days. The Cordillera Region is not the usual Philippine destination that we see on postcards and travel magazines. If you visit this mountainous region, take jackets and sweaters rather than just t-shirts, because this region is located in the cool highlands of the northern part of the nation. Rice terraces are one of the most visited tourist attractions in the region and the world-famous Banaue Rice Terraces and Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras can be found here. These Rice terraces were built almost 2000 years ago by ancient Filipinos and still maintain their beauty. Nearby is the town of Sagada in the Mountain Province. Known for its hanging coffins and limestone caves, this town is an ideal destination for backpackers.

Being a mountainous country and the Philippines offers countless choices of mountains for hikers and adventure seekers. The best mountain climbing destination in the nation is the scenic Mount Apo in the Southern Philippines. Mount Apo is the highest mountain in the Philippines, and one of the most diverse areas; it is home to over 272 bird species, 111 of which are endemic to the area. The mountain also has four major lakes and these lakes are famous mountaineers camping site and a stopover towards the peak. Another popular mountain climbing destination is Mount Pinatubo in Tarlac. This mountain made global headlines as the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. Today, it is one of the nation's top climbing destination due to it's canyons, 4x4 terrain and its scenic caldera lake.

Head to the island of Bohol to see the famous Chocolate Hills, and no they are not made out of Chocolates and they are grass-covered limestone domes that turn brown during the dry season, hence their name. There are more than 1,268 hills scattered in the area. The Chocolates Hills are one of the most iconic and popular tourist spots in the nation. Another destination which is popular in Bohol is the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, it is a 7.4-hectare forest sanctuary where over 100 tarsiers roam freely, here you can obtain a chance to get up close to the Philippine Tarsier, one of the smallest primates in the world.

Study as a Muslim in Philippines

Martial arts

Eskrima or Kali is a Filipino martial art that emphasizes using swords and sticks; it has been showcased in films such as Equilibrium. Training centers and schools that teach Eskrima are mostly found around Metro Manila.

Tertiary education

Many foreigners such as Europeans, Chinese, Americans and Koreans choose to study and finish university in the Philippines because compared to other countries, Universities here are cheaper and offer the same system the Americans apply (K-12 from 2016, but some remain on the old K-10 system), major schools such as University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, Far Eastern University and Adamson University are just some of the major universities with many provincial branches in the nation. Of these and the University of the Philippines is considered the most prestigious in the nation.

There are many former members of the U.S. military studying in the Philippines. The Veterans Administration will pay for this provided the university is on their approved list.

Other international schools in the Philippines are also found and usually operated by British and other European diplomats, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and American immigrants and diplomats.

Best things to do in Philippines

Boracay Sailing Paraw

  • Aerial Sports - An annual Hot Air Balloon festival is held in Clark, Angeles in Pampanga, other than Hot Air balloons on display, people gather in this event to do sky diving, many activities are also held other than sky diving and hot air balloons. The Festival is held between January and February.
  • Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines, don't miss the PBA and UAAP basketball tournaments.
  • Bentosa and Hilot are Filipino alternative ways of healing, Bentosa is a method where a cup cover a tea light candle then it flames out and it drains out all the pain on the certain part of the body, Hilot is just the Filipino way of massaging.
  • Board sailing - Waves and winds work together making the nation a haven for board sailors. Boracay, Subic Bay and Anilao in Batangas are the main destinations.
  • Casinos: Metro Manila has a wide collection of casinos and entertainment destinations. Explore the Resorts World Manila and the nation's first luxurious casino integrated resort, and the newly opened Solaire Resorts and Casino. The Entertainment City will be home to four integrated casino resorts. This development is expected to attract millions of rich Asian tourists and rival Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore.
  • Caving - The Archipelago has some unique cave systems. Sagada is one popular destination for caving.
  • Festivals - Each municipality, town, city and province has their own festival, either religious or in honor of the city or a historical reason. also|Festivals in the Philippines for more information.
  • Golf - Almost every province has a golf course, it is a popular sport among the elite, rich and famous.
  • Medical tourism - The Philippines supplies the world with many medical professionals with large numbers leaving the nation every year for a better future abroad. This is indicative of the quality of medical education and medical tourism is on the rise too. Most come from America and Europe as compared to their home countries, healthcare here is much cheaper; as much as 80% less than the average price abroad. Most of the hospitals suggested for medical tourism are in Metro Manila.Alternative medicine is also popular with spas, faith healing and other fringe therapies widespread throughout the archipelago.
  • National parks - National parks number around 60-70 and they include mountains and coral reefs.
  • Mountain biking - The archipelago has dozens of mountains and is ideal for mountain bikers. Bikes are the best mode of transportation in getting around remote areas. Some options include Baguio, Davao, Iloilo (city) | Iloilo, Banaue, Mount Apo and Guimaras.
  • Rock climbing - Apo Island, Atimonan, El Nido, Putting Bato, Wawa Gorge have the best sites in the archipelago for rock climbing.
  • Sea kayaking - Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur, Palawan, Samar (Philippines) | Samar and Siargao are popular.
  • Spas are popular, with many options, spas are found near beaches, financial capitals, etc.
  • Trekking - Mountain ranges and peaks offer cool weather for trekking and it might give you a sight of the beautiful exotic flora and fauna of the nation. Mt. Kanlaon and Mount Pulag are good trekking spots.
  • Visita iglesia - (Visita is Spanish for Visit, Iglesia is Spanish for Church = Visit Churches) done by mostly Filipino Roman Catholics to Churches, holy sites, shrines, basilicas etc. If you are religious try this, if you love art and architecture, churches are the best way to define what Filipino architecture.
  • Whitewater rafting - There is good whitewater rafting in Mindanao, both in the north around Cagayan de Oro and in the south near Davao.

Scuba diving

See Scuba diving and Snorkeling for more information Pescadores Seaview Suites (8)

Scuba diving is spectacular in the Philippines. While there are many fine dive sites, including some in nearly every region of the nation, two stand out as among the world's best:

  • Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a Philippines National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a large area of coral reef, mostly shallow water with a few small islets and a sensational range of marine life. It is generally reached on live-aboard boats operating from Puerto Princesa on Palawan.
  • Coron has excellent wreck diving because the U.S. Navy sank about ten Japanese ships in shallow water there in 1944.

There is a great variety of dive sites and many have PADI-accredited diving schools where you can obtain your license. Costs (of both lessons and equipment) are likely to be cheaper here compared to places like Australia and the Caribbean or even in nearby Thailand and Malaysia.

How to work legally in Philippines

Under Philippine law, any foreigner working must have an Alien Employment Permit issued by the Department of Labor. The paperwork is in general handled by the prospective employer and the employee picks up the relevant visa at a Philippine Embassy or Consulate. Working without a permit is not allowed and does not give you any labor protections. Furthermore, visas are checked upon departing the Philippines. Those who have overstayed without permission are subject to fines and, in certain cases, even jail.

It is feasible for foreigners to earn casual money while staying in the Philippines, especially in Manila and other bigger cities in provinces. These may include temporary teaching in schools, colleges and other institutions; and working in bars and clubs. Temporary work may also be available as an "extra" on the set of a film or television series. Fluency in English is very important in jobs while knowledge of Filipino or Tagalog is considerably low. As of late 2010 and the Philippines has overtaken India in the call center industry, and many international companies hire English fluent workers.

Most establishments pay monthly but informal jobs pay out variably either cash on hand or weekly.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Philippines

Money Matters & ATM's in Philippines

The Philippine peso, denoted by the symbol "" (ISO code: PHP) is the official currency and in almost all cases the only currency used for normal transactions. US dollars and euros may be accepted in some circumstances, but don't count on it.

Peso bills come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000. One peso is equivalent to 100 centavos and coins come in 1, 5, 10 and 25 centavo variants in addition to the 1, 5 and 10 peso coins. The current notes have similar colors to their old counterparts, have the same people at the front (except for the 500-peso note which also features former President Aquino) but rather than historical sites at the back and these newer notes feature Filipino natural wonders and species unique to the nation. Older versions of each note have been demonetized since December 2016.

Travellers usually see ₱20 and ₱50 bills, and ₱1, ₱5 and ₱10 coins as the most useful for common purchases, and centavo coins are nearly worthless, with convenience stores, supermarkets and bus conductors the few to hand them out as change. Shortchanging, usually by giving Candies as change, was common due to the shortage of centavo coins, but they have been prohibited since 2017. Jeepney and taxi drivers usually follow a "no change" trick on morning hours, commonly indicated by a barya lang sa umaga sign, where you can only pay with coins (so they can obtain change later that day). If you catch that trick, get into a nearby convenience store or sari-sari store to split the note before taking a ride. Beware of fake high denomination notes: bills from ₱100 and above are common targets by counterfeiters.

It is illegal to enter or leave the Philippines carrying more than ₱50,000 of coins and banknotes without prior authorization by the BSP. Those without prior authorization will have to declare the excess money at the customs desk. Importing any amount of foreign currency is legal, but anything in excess of US$10,000 (or its equivalent) must be declared.

Currency conversion

Money changers are common in malls and tourist areas, but less so elsewhere. A rule of thumb is that the more currency you wish to exchange and the more favorable the rates can be. Banks on the other hand are widely available to exchange currency but usually impose a minimum amount (usually around US$100), generally have worse rates than money changers, and have limited hours of operation, usually from 9:00 to 15:00 (sometimes 16:30) on weekdays. However, you can enjoy their air conditioning during a long wait. The notable exceptions are Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Banco de Oro (BDO) which may have longer operating hours (sometimes as late as 19:00) in some locations.

Don't exchange money in stalls along the streets as some of them might be exchanging your money for counterfeit money, contact Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines or BSP) if you suspect the money you've been given is counterfeit. Money changers do exist at department stores, supermarkets and hotels but needless to say the rates are highly unfavorable to clients and some will only exchange into pesos.

ATMs and credit cards

Visitors can use the over 20,000 ATMs nationwide, most of which are connected to the local BancNet ATM network, to withdraw funds or ask for cash advances. Most banks will have at least one ATM on bank premises, while large banks like Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Banco de Oro (BDO) and Metrobank also have large numbers of off-site ATMs in shopping malls and other commercial buildings, mostly in the cities. In rural areas, often the only available ATMs are from Land Bank of the Philippines or the Philippine National Bank (PNB) and the only banks with a presence in all Philippine provinces.

International networks like Plus and Cirrus are accessible with many ATMs, with Cirrus being more predominant, although many ATMs support both. Some banks also support other cards, including American Express, Diners Club, JCB and China UnionPay. Withdrawals are often limited to ₱10,000-20,000 depending on the bank, with most local banks charging a usage fee of ₱200-250 for those transacting with foreign cards. The best ATMs to withdraw money from are at one of the ten HSBC branches nationwide (eight in Metro Manila, and one each in Cebu City and Davao), where you can take out ₱40,000 per transaction with no usage fee.

Credit card holders can use Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, Diners Club and JCB cards in many commercial locations in the Philippines, especially in the cities and in tourist areas, but merchants usually require a minimum purchase amount before they start accepting credit cards. That said, do note that the Philippines is still largely a cash-based society, and smaller merchants are usually cash-only. Credit cards are generally not accepted for government-related transactions, and in rural areas, credit card acceptance can range from limited to virtually non-existent.

Pay close attention when using ATMs, even when using ATMs located within bank premises. While credit card fraud is uncommon in the Philippines, ATM tampering happens regularly. Obvious signs that an ATM has been tampered include loosely-installed keypads, larger-than-usual card slots, and wires or features that seem out of place. If you feel that the ATM you're using has been tampered, report this as soon as feasible and use a different ATM.

Tipping

Tipping is not required in the Philippines, except when the client wants to show appreciation for services rendered. However, tipping is becoming more common especially in service-oriented places (spa, salon). In some Halal restaurants and hotels, "Service Charge" (8%-12%) is included in the bill when issued; thus, a client has the option to give an additional tip or not. In taxis, it is common to add ₱20-50 on top of the fare.

What is the living cost in Philippines

Travelling in Philippines is cheap (one of the least expensive places to visit in Asia and in the world.) For example a stay in a pension house, tourist inn or lodge can cost as low as ₱300 a night for a fan room or ₱500 a night for a air-conditioned room. A flight to Cebu from Manila and vice-versa will cost as low as ₱999. A flight from Manila to Davao can cost as low as ₱1595. Transportation is low as ₱7 for the first 4 kilometers in a Jeepney. Bus fares are around ₱1.5 per kilometers for an air-conditioned bus and 20% less for a non air-con bus.

Using the internet for an hour in an internet cafe ranges from ₱5 on a pisonet to ₱20 on larger establishments, depending on the Internet Cafe's location, a can of coke costs as low as ₱20 while a copy of the International Herald Tribune costs ₱70 and Economist as little as ₱160. In most restaurants and there is 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) usually included in the unit price but the service charge is often excluded and computed separately.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Philippines

What's a pasalubong?| pasalubong is a tradition trainingd by Filipinos for a long time, a Pasalubong is something you bring to your friends and family as a souvenir, keepsake or gift from a place you have recently visited, nowadays Filipino immigrants from abroad as well as Filipinos who work outside their hometowns but within the Philippines bring pasalubong or send them mostly during Christmas, New Year, Birthdays, Holy Week and during summer vacations. Try this tradition if you're planning what to buy as a souvenir from the Philippines, Filipinos tend to be not selfish even co-workers, friends and neighbours as well as their co-worker's family and their friend's friends and their neighbour's neighbour (try giving pasalubongs to your enemies also, even the meanest person to them they'd also give them pasalubongs), it's funny but that's how Filipinos are. A Pasalubong consists the following, Food; usually delicacies and sweets, T-shirts, Souvenirs such as key chains, bags etc. they usually put all their pasulubongs into one box. This may be hard for you but as they say it's better to give than to receive, get tips from local residents for what a typical pasalubong consists.

It isn't hard to find shopping malls in the Philippines: The country is home to a large number of shopping malls, from large to small and from modern to traditional, you can find it all here in the Philippines. It's a fact consumerism has been part of a Filipino's life, even things they don't need but are in sale and discount they'll buy it. The reason why the nation hasn't been affected much by financial crisis is because of the circulation of money, even if Filipinos are broke they'll find a way to buy something at least in a week for themselves.

As stated above, living in the Philippines is affordable and shopping in the nation is also affordable compared to Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei. Sales tend to happen during pay day and lasts for 3 days and also during the Christmas season (in the Philippines Christmas season extends from September to the first week of January) in Department stores like The SM Store.

In the Philippines, Metro Manila is a great place for shopping. It is the main shopping hub of the nation and is home to an extensive range of shopping centers. Metro Manila offers different types of shopping centers which are scattered around the metropolis, from modern and glittery shopping malls to traditional and busy markets, its all in Metro Manila. The Philippines is one of the ideal destinations for bargain shopping. Here you can find cheaper items that are sold at flea markets (tiangge) and open markets like Divisoria, Market! Market! and Greenhills and these markets are definitely the right place for a shopper who seeks bargains and affordable buys. But if you prefer buying luxurious and expensive clothes, bags, watches and jewelery and then the Ayala Center would be the right place for you, here you can find a variety of high-end shopping centers. The place is often compared to Singapore's Singapore/Orchard|Orchard Road and Bangkok's Siam Plaza. From entertainment to shopping and they have it all there. Not far from Makati is the Bonifacio Global City, it is one of the growing business and shopping neighborhoods of the metropolis. It is home to several shopping malls, including Serendra, it is a piazza that offers lifestyle and luxury shops and often called the luxury lifestyle center of Metro Manila. The piazza features modern architecture that will make you think you're somewhere near the world of Star Wars. Stare, drool and be amazed at the public art displayed there. Coffee shops and tea shops are found around this area, as well as furniture and clothing stores. The 4 largest mall operators in the nation are SM, Robinson's, Ayala and Gaisano with branches around the archipelago.

On major malls (except on organized bazaars), department stores, supermarkets, and brand-name stores and the tag price normally includes value-added tax (VAT) and any applicable sales taxes. On bazaars and tiangges, prices may be marked, but you can bargain for a better price. It is also common on bargain markets to get better prices if you buy two or more, common on clothing items.

  • Antiques: Antique porcelain plates are found around Manila after the Filipino-Chinese trade however be careful when you buy antiques. Antique Santos or statues of saints including Jesus and the Virgin Mary are also sold. Streets of Makati, Ermita and Vigan (in Ilocos) mostly sell antiques
  • Branded goods: Brand-name goods are sold in the Philippines at a price cheaper than in the West, but beware of the common knockoffs (the "class A" products) smuggled from China#Brand-name goods|China or produced by local factories creating all-bogus copies. Most designer goods stores have presence in the malls (and may have factories in the nation), but this has not prevented some affordable bogus products that bypassed customs to make their way in the tiangge.
  • Brass ware: Muslim gongs, jewel boxes, brass beds are other brass ware products. Just like antiques, Muslims are advised to be careful in purchasing brass ware.
  • Books and stationery: Filipino literature is amusing to read, English versions of Filipino novels are available in National Bookstore and Powerbooks, books tend to be much cheaper in the nation compared to other countries. Stationery items are sold at a very low price as low as ₱10, however be careful as some items may contain high lead content, common on the dirt-affordable items sold in street markets.
  • Clothes: Bargain clothes as low as are available in flea markets and ukay-ukays. Ukay-ukays sell second-hand clothes from other countries at a affordable price. If you prefer branded clothes, Metro Manila has a lot of foreign brand retail outlets scattered around the city predominantly in the business neighborhood of Makati.
  • Comics: Komiks or comics in English is one of the most popular forms of literature in the Philippines and can be purchased as affordable as ₱10, but circulation is dwindling in the information age despite the very affordable price. Some comics have grew popular that TV and film adaptations are produced. Carlo J. Caparas and Mars Ravelo are two famous comic authors. They're available in newsstands and most of them are unfortunately in Tagalog, you might be lucky if you find an English version of it.
  • Embroidery: Embroidery is a best buy because the most of the national dresses are embroidered from piña (pineapple) leaves and other raw material. Handmade ones tend to be more expensive than machine-made ones.
  • Food: Buy dried mangoes, Goldilocks and Red Ribbon has pastries and sweets such as polvoron are also good to purchase. Native specialties are sold at pasalubong centers. Aside from pastries and sweets, buy condiments such as banana ketchup, shrimp paste (bagoong) as they are hard to find outside Asia. Don't miss the Chocolates of the Philippines; Choc-nut and tablea, Choc-nut is like a powdered Chocolates with a sweet taste and often sticky once it sticks to your gums, Tablea are Chocolates tablets used for making hot Chocolates.
  • Jewelry: Silver necklaces and pearls are popular in the Philippines, however it is discouraged if you buy jewelry made out from endangered animals and corals, as they are slowly disappearing. Handmade jewelry made by indigenous tribes of the Philippines are available, as well as jewelry made from wood.
  • Mats: Pandan leaves are weaved and made into a mat, mats tend to be different in each region in the Philippines, Mats in Luzon tend to be simple, while in Visayas and they're multi-colored, and in Mindanao and the Lumad tribes weave complex and difficult designs that often have meaning distinctive to their culture.

How to find a Supermarket with Halal food in Philippines

Supermarkets in the Philippines are dominated by these large chains, generally owned by Filipino-Chinese companies:

  • SM Markets & Walter Mart - Owned by Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy and they are the biggest supermarket group in the Philippines with over 300 stores, with the SM Supermarket with selected Halal food, SM Hypermarket, and Savemore being its flagship stores. It purchased the Philippine stores of Makro in the early 2023s. SM and Walter Mart are in partnership since the 2010s.
  • Pure Gold and South & R Also Filipino-Chinese owned, it is the 2nd biggest supermarket chain with over 250 stores. It also bought the regional BudgetLane chain based in Antipolo. Its warehouse club store, South & R, is the Filipino answer to Costco and also the now-defunct Philippine operations of Makro.
  • Robinsons - the 3rd biggest supermarket chain with over 200 stores is has since bought the Philippine operations of the Hong Kong-based Wellcome.
  • Metro Gaisano - the 4th biggest supermarket chain with over 100 stores.
  • Shopwise and Rustan's - Owned by the Rustan's Group, with a few stores scattered in Metro Manila and surrounding areas.

Local grocery stores exist in town centers, but they are prone to future closures as the larger chains open one or more stores. In less developed areas, local supermarkets or grocery stores remain strong.

Convenience stores

Sari-Sari Store Cavite

Chain convenience stores are common in urban areas, and it is not unusual to see two stores of the same chain near each other. Major chains include 7-Eleven, with over 3000 stores and Ministop, with over 700 stores. There are also locally founded chains, like All Day with over 150 stores, and San Mig Food Ave, most of whose stores are rebrands of the Treats stores in Petron stations. Imported brands like Alfamart from Indonesia, and FamilyMart and Lawson from Japan have stores in the Philippines, and are expanding.

Many convenience are operated by a franchisee, if not directly by the larger managing company. Convenience stores in the Philippines generally have a wide variety of products, usually a subset of products sold in a grocery store, and fast food, that can be eaten at-store or outside store, as well as services like cell phone load, money transfer, courier service and bill payment. They mostly operate round the clock, but some, like some Alfamart stores or stores inside malls for example, only operate in specific hours of the day. Some stores may be found in a gas station, but they are mostly of a different brand, as stores with a brand tied with the oil company (e.g. Shell Select, Petron Treats) are dwindling in number.

Aside from those, traditional, sari-sari stores (small corner stores) are common, especially in the rural areas and the barangays, and they outnumber convenience stores outside urban areas. These are mostly family-owned stores usually found beside a road, and sell items that can be purchased in grocery stores or general merchandise stores, but lacks the lavishness of ordinary convenience stores. They mostly have large advertisements, usually of cell phone "load", soft drinks, energy drinks, Coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes, along with the store name below. Sari-sari stores also provide cell phone "loading" in addition to selling products.

Halal Restaurants in Philippines

Muslims will find it hard to find Halal food outside predominantly Muslim areas in the Philippines even though the nation is one of the fastest emerging markets in exporting certified products. Ask if there is Beef in the dish before eating it. Seventh Day Adventists would possibly find some Vegetarian restaurants in the Philippines, mostly lurking in the commercial, financial and provincial capitals, and most of them use tofu instead of Meat, Sanitarium products may be found in Seventh Day Adventists or Sanitarium hospitals. Hindus will find Indian restaurants which serve some Vegetarian options around Metro Manila. Vegetarians and vegans will find it difficult to find a Filipino dish which is wholly Vegetarian as most of the Filipinos love to add Meat in every single dish they eat.

Fruits & desserts

Green mango

Tropical fruits abound in the Philippines. Most of the nationside produce finds its way to the metro areas and can be easily bought in supermarkets, such as:

Fruits

  • Coconut - Although it's familiar, you should try the coconut of the Philippines and the nation is the largest exporter of coconuts in the world.
  • Durian - smells like hell but supposedly tastes of heaven, most common in Davao but can usually also be bought in some supermarkets in Manila.
  • Green mangoes, ripe mangoes', dried mangoes - Don't leave Philippines without trying green Indian mangoes with bagoong(shrimp paste), tasting ripe mangoes and buying dried mangoes as a pasalubong.

Sweet treats

  • Banana chips - Unlike the ones eaten in India and the Filipino version is a lot thicker and sweeter, try dipping it in ice cream.
  • Buko pie - Pie with scraped coconut as filling.
  • Cassava cake
  • Egg pie - Pie with sweet, flan like filling
  • Halo-halo - Halo-Halo means mix-mix in Filipino, is another refreshing dessert which is a mix of sweetened beans and fruits, such as sweetened bananas, red and white beans, sago, crushed ice and milk and topped off with leche flan and ube jam and/or ice cream.
  • Ice scramble - Crushed ice with condensed milk.
  • Mais con hielo/yelo - A dessert of fresh sweet corn served in a glass mixed with crushed ice and milk.
  • Sampaloc candy - salted and sweetened tamarind fruit.
  • Turon' - Saba(Plantain) bananas in wrappers and fried and then topped with condensed milk or sugar.
  • Turron - From Europe, a bar of cashew nuts with a white wafer.

Condiments and salads

  • Achara - Pickled Papaya salad, it actually originates from South Indian cuisine.
  • Banana Ketchup - During World War II, stocks of tomato ketchup ran out and people started complaining. So due to the high production of bananas, Filipinos thought of using banana instead of tomato. Don't worry: it doesn't taste like banana at all; it is kind of like sweet and sour ketchup. Try it with Chicken, Beef chops or spaghetti.
  • Bagoong (shrimp paste) - Shrimp paste is popular throughout Southeast Asia. Some people get allergies from shrimp paste, but they still consume it despite the itchy skin problems it causes. Fish is used instead sometimes.
  • Patis - Fish Sauces.
  • Radish salad - Salad based on radish, onion and sugar, enjoyed with fish.

Chilled drinks and juice

Guinomis (Ilonggo Sago Gulaman) at Imay's - 356x356px|Sago't Gulaman, sold commercially as Pearl Shakes.

Due to the tropical climate of the Philippines, chilled drinks are popular. Stands selling chilled drinks and shakes are common especially in shopping malls. Fruit Shakes are served with ice, evaporated or condensed milk, and fruits such as mango, watermelon, pineapple, strawberry and even durians. Various tropical fruit drinks that can be found in the Philippines are dalandan (green mandarin), suha (pomelo), pinya (pineapple), calamansi (small lime), buko (young coconut), durian, guyabano (soursop) mango, banana, watermelon and strawberry and these are available at stands along streets, as well as at commercial establishments such as food carts inside malls. They are often served chilled with ice. Buko juice (young coconut) is a popular drink in the nation and the juice is consumed via an inserted straw on the top of the buko or young coconut.

Sago't Gulaman a sweet drink made of molasses, sago pearls and seaweed gelatin is also a popular drink among Filipinos. Zagu is a shake with flavors such as strawberry and Chocolates, with sago pearls.

Tea, coffee and chocolate

Salabat, sometimes called ginger tea, is an iced or hot tea made from lemon grass and pandan leaves or brewed from ginger root. Kapeng barako is a famous kind of coffee in the Philippines, found in Batangas, made from coffee beans found in the cool mountains. Try the Filipino hot Chocolates drink, tsokolate, made from Chocolates tablets called tableas, a tradition that dates back the Spanish colonial times. Champorado isn't considered a drink by Filipinos, but it is another version of tsokolate with the difference of added Rice. Records say that Chocolates was introduced by the Aztecs to the Filipinos during the Manila-Acapulco trade.

eHalal Group Launches Halal Guide to Philippines

Philippines - eHalal Travel Group, a leading provider of innovative Halal travel solutions for Muslim travelers to Philippines, is thrilled to announce the official launch of its comprehensive Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Philippines. This groundbreaking initiative aims to cater to the diverse needs of Muslim travelers, offering them a seamless and enriching travel experience in Philippines and its surrounding regions.

With the steady growth of Muslim tourism worldwide, eHalal Travel Group recognizes the importance of providing Muslim travelers with accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information to support their travel aspirations to Philippines. The Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource, offering an array of invaluable information on various travel aspects, all carefully curated to align with Islamic principles and values.

The Travel Guide encompasses a wide range of features that will undoubtedly enhance the travel experience for Muslim visitors to Philippines. Key components include:

Halal-Friendly Accommodations inPhilippines: A carefully selected list of hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals that cater to halal requirements, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for Muslim travelers in Philippines.

Halal Food, Restaurants and Dining in Philippines: A comprehensive directory of restaurants, eateries, and food outlets offering halal-certified or halal-friendly options in Philippines, allowing Muslim travelers to savor local cuisines without compromising their dietary preferences in Philippines.

Prayer Facilities: Information on masjids, prayer rooms, and suitable locations for daily prayers in Philippines, ensuring ease and convenience for Muslim visitors in fulfilling their religious obligations.

Local Attractions: An engaging compilation of Muslim-friendly attractions, cultural sites such as Museums, and points of interest in Philippines, enabling travelers to explore the city's rich heritage while adhering to their values.

Transport and Logistics: Practical guidance on transportation options that accommodate Muslim travel needs, ensuring seamless movement within Philippines and beyond.

Speaking about the launch, Irwan Shah, Chief Technology Officer of eHalal Travel Group in Philippines, stated, "We are thrilled to introduce our Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide in Philippines, a Muslim friendly destination known for its cultural richness and historical significance. Our goal is to empower Muslim travelers with accurate information and resources, enabling them to experience the wonders of Philippines without any concerns about their faith-based requirements. This initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating inclusive and memorable travel experiences for all our clients."

The eHalal Travel Group's Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Philippines is now accessible on this page. The guide will be regularly updated to ensure that Muslim travelers have access to the latest information, thus reinforcing its status as a reliable companion for Muslim travelers exploring Philippines.

About eHalal Travel Group:

eHalal Travel Group Philippines is a prominent name in the global Muslim travel industry, dedicated to providing innovative and all-inclusive travel solutions tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers worldwide. With a commitment to excellence and inclusivity, eHalal Travel Group aims to foster a seamless travel experience for its clients while respecting their religious and cultural values.

For Halal business inquiries in Philippines, please contact:

eHalal Travel Group Philippines Media: info@ehalal.io

Buy Muslim Friendly condos, Houses and Villas in Philippines

eHalal Group Philippines is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in Philippines. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry in Philippines.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in Philippines ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property.

For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within Philippines. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods in Philippines, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

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Muslim Friendly hotels in Philippines

Housing options for tourists include hotels, resorts, condotels, apartelles, motels, inns, bed-and-breakfasts, and pension houses.

Hotels and resorts are usually for the higher-end traveller, although rates--even for four-star establishments are not very high compared to other international destinations. Condotels are furnished condominium units rented out for long or short term stays, apartelles are set up for both short and long term stays, and a pension house is usually more basic and economical.

There is considerable variation in facilities offered. Cheaper places often have only fans instead of air conditioning, and no private toilet or shower. Even if you get a private shower, it may not have hot water, but this is not a big problem in a hot country. As elsewhere in Asia, bathtubs are rare both in private homes and in any but top-end hotels.

Motels, inns, and lodges also serve lodging purposes but have a reputation as meeting places for illicit sex, a unit being usually a small room with a connected carport, hidden behind a high wall which provides for secret comings and goings. You can distinguish these by their hourly rates, while more reputable institutions usually have daily rates.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Philippines

The Philippines is almost blessed by every woes known to humankind: extreme weather, earthquakes, volcanoes, civil strife, corruption and crime. Most common fears are crimes, corrupt cops and Islamic terrorists. Western governments tend to give very stern warnings, but is often rooted on stereotypes and the sensationalist press, and are all deplored as bad for the nation's tourism.

Fights

Avoid getting into fights. Filipinos are peace loving people, and mostly avoid confrontations, but they will be never be fair to Foreign Muslims challenging them on fights. Also avoid trying to break others' fights; just leave the job to the local residents. Expect to be outnumbered like local criminals who attempt to escape a citizens' arrest; local police will not be willing to help you, given some having limited English skills.

Natural disasters

The Philippines has its fair share of natural disasters and has the largest total number of natural disaster-related deaths in the world, with China coming in second place. Being in a geographical location prone to natural disasters and the Philippines is always frequented by typhoons, monsoon rains, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Typhoons can occur any month, but the usual season is June to December, and can cause severe damage and deaths, like what happened in 2013, when typhoon Haiyan ("Yolanda") struck Visayas. Monsoons, whether it is the northeast monsoon (amihan) in January to March or the southwest monsoon (habagat), cause torrential rains at the months when they occur and can even cause floods, that can even reach depths that can drown, especially if worsened by a typhoon or other weather condition.

Severe weather

Monsoon rains and floods

Heavy rainfall, either caused by local thunderstorms or the monsoon winds influenced by typhoons, are considered part of the Philippine climate, and be prepared at times one of these strikes. The densely populated cities are not safe from the effects of rainfall and strong winds, so always be prepared for them at all times, even when these are not really expected.

The southwest monsoon between late May and early October primarily cause most heavy rainfall during the wet season, and floods are common on times, especially when a typhoon strengthens its. High-profile floods have occurred on the past years, from 2011, 2012, and 2015. Many vehicles may become stuck in floods worsened by high tide and clogged drainage. Classes are suspended usually as early as the previous day or in the midnight in expectation of heavy rainfall, but sometimes and they come late, when students has already left for school or already in class, resulting to public backlash. Even on times the southwest monsoon is affecting the Philippines and the sun may still shine on most times, but be prepared to bring an umbrella especially when cumulonimbus clouds are seen to form.

In some flood-prone areas, local governments have placed flood detection systems to help in evacuation of areas in case a flood is expected to come. For example, in Marikina, which experienced the floods cause by Typhoon Ketsana ("Ondoy") and the city government in that city placed flood monitoring systems on areas along the Marikina River to aid residents in evacuation in case the river overflows, such as in heavy rainfall caused by thunderstorms, monsoon rains, or typhoons. Yet, common sense comes first, and better avoid flood-prone areas when it is expected to flood.

Typhoons

Tacloban Typhoon Haiyan 2013-11-14

Typhoons are always to be expected to come, as the Philippines is part of the typhoon belt, and their effects may vary, but the worse is the damages they can cause, especially when one is classified as a "severe tropical storm", "typhoon" and "super typhoon" (the last was an informal classification given by local media that was made official in 2014 by the local weather agency and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration, or PAGASA, at the wake of Typhoon Haiyan). Typhoons may cover a wide area, and may completely cover an island. Many destructive and deadly typhoons has passed over the Philippines and the strongest recorded to make landfall is Typhoon Haiyan, or locally, "Yolanda", in 2013, also the most destructive tropical storm in recent history.

Heavy rain and strong winds, usually mixing with each other on stronger storms, are associated with damage it can cause when a typhoon hits land, but the worst effects are on the coastal and mountainous areas, where storm surges and landslides can occur.

Typhoons are typically a threat when on land, but its biggest risks are at the open sea, where it can be capable of capsizing a ship (like the case of MV Princess of the Stars, which capsized in 2008 after Typhoon Fengshen ("Frank") passed.). Ships and interisland roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) ferries are not safe from the effects of typhoons, so does small watercraft, like boats. Ships and ferries are not allowed to sail once Typhoon Warning Signal No. 2 is raised. Cancel any trip by sea when a typhoon is expected, even if it will never hit ground.

Tornadoes

The Philippines is also prone to tornadoes (ipo-ipo or buhawi), and one may form without early warning, especially out of a simple thunderstorm. There have been frequent cases of tornadoes in the Philippines, including waterspouts. In 2015, a tornado of unknown intensity hit parts of Manila, causing property damage as well as localized blackouts from downed power lines. Though tornadoes in the Philippines are not as frequent as in the United States, most of the basic safety advice applies, especially when outdoors. Most houses and buildings in the Philippines are made from concrete, so, severe damage is rather limited to peeled-off roofs, broken windows, and small debris, and makeshift structures are the most prone to the damage, much like how they are very susceptible to typhoons.

Earthquakes and Tsunamis

The Philippines lies in a geologically unstable area between the continental Eurasian Plate and the subducting Philippine Sea Plate, and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. There is a high chance for any part of the Philippines to be struck by earthquakes.

Earthquakes are frequent, but most of them are weak and rarely perceptible. In case an earthquake, especially those rated at magnitude 6.0 and above hits, follow the basic advice: duck, cover, and hold. Hide and hold on any sturdy object while the shaking has not stopped. Follow posted evacuation plans when leaving buildings after the shaking stops, and never use the elevator or escalator. When an earthquake struck while you are outside, avoid standing near buildings, trees, electricity or telephone posts, or anything that may collapse or topple. If driving when an earthquake struck, pull over, but not under/near a bridge, flyover, overpass, tree, power/telephone post, or anything tall that may collapse/topple. In case the earthquake occurs under the sea, move to higher ground immediately, even when no tsunami advisory is present, as a tsunami may form especially if the quake has a magnitude that can form such waves that can cause severe damage and deaths if it strikes the shore.

Earthquakes may occur anywhere in the Philippines, but the area with the highest risk is Metro Manila and Southern Luzon, where the Valley Fault System are present. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) have determined that one of the faults that form that mentioned system and the West Valley Fault, may move anytime and cause a magnitude 7.2 earthquake (called the "Big One") that can cause about 100,000 deaths and injuries and millions of pesos in damage. Routine earthquake drills are being performed in the areas surrounding the fault to ensure people in those areas are prepared in case disaster strikes.

Earthquakes causing large scale of damage, deaths and casualties in the past proves that the Philippines are prone to earthquakes, as seen in the 1990 Central Luzon earthquake and the 2013 Bohol earthquake. The Philippines is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, so, earthquakes are inevitable and may strike anytime and anywhere, without early warning.

Aside from earthquakes, tsunamis are a major risk in coastal areas, if not typhoons causing storm surges. Though rare, be prepared to evacuate coastal areas once a tsunami is about to strike, even when it is not a large one, as they can still cause damage. Most coastal areas are tsunami-prone areas, especially those found near undersea trenches that can trigger such.

Volcanoes

Mayon 0021

Volcanoes can be a danger in the Philippines, owing to its location in the Ring of Fire, and most areas are prone to volcanic eruptions. There are 50 volcanoes in the Philippines to date, with half of them classified as active. The last high-profile eruption is of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, that spewed out ash and lahar that affected millions in the surrounding provinces and caused a global drop in temperature. Mayon, in Albay, noted for its perfect cone, is one of several active volcanoes that pose a danger with its frequent eruption. Taal Volcano in Batangas, noted as the smallest volcano in the world, is also dangerous when signs of impending eruption shows on its caldera lake.

The most active volcanoes are tourist destinations themselves, and volcano safety rules apply when hiking of climbing those. When volcano warnings are raised, pay close attention to any scheduled trail closures and never attempt to go inside designated exclusion zones.

Stay healthy

A major measles outbreak has been declared on February 6, 2019, after 25 died in January. Travellers must consider having measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines whenever feasible before travelling, especially when bringing children with you.

Embassies and consulates

Many nations have embassies in Metro Manila and some have consulates in Metro Cebu or Davao as well.

Plastics

Numerous municipalities, most notably the city of Muntinlupa, passed ordinances banning use of plastics and polystyrene (Styrofoam) for packaging, and it is encouraged to bring a reusable bag when shopping. Using plastics for packaging is punishable by a fine, but enforcement remains relaxed. The same goes with food packaging and utensils, but regulations for those vary by locality.


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