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Philippines Travel Guide


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Philippines Travel Guide
This travel guide was produced in September 2013.

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Philippines Travel Guide

  1. 1. Philippines The Travel Consultant Guide
  2. 2. Philippines Contents / Index Introduction p.2 Location p.3 Climate & Seasonal factors p.4 Geographical features p.6 History p.8 People & Culture p.13 Major Cities & Attractions p.18 Other Tourist Areas p.21 Man-made Attractions p.23 Natural Attractions p.26 Transports & Gateways p.29 Health & Safety p.35 Regulatory Information p.39 Updating Information p.41 Sources p.43 S40029545 Inês Pinto 1
  3. 3. Philippines Introduction welcome Not only geographically but also culturally and spiritually, The Republic of the Philippines is a land apart from mainland Southeast Asia. The result of about 350 years of Spanish colonisation becomes obvious through the infinite amount of Catholic churches all over the country. Vestiges of the Spanish era include exuberant town fiestas (festivals) like Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan, unique Spanish-Filipino colonial architecture as well as its currency, the Philippine Peso. On the other hand, malls, fast-food chains and widespread spoken English contrast with Spanish influences and give us the American ‘side of life’. “Despite these outside influences, the country remains very much its own unique entity”. «The people are, simply, Filipinos – and proud of it. Welcoming, warm and relentlessly upbeat, it is they who captivate and ultimately ensnare visitors.» Source: 2
  4. 4. Philippines Location «The Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands lying on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean and north of the equator. The northern part of the country is separated from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the south by the Celebes Sea, and on the west by the South China Sea.» It is approximately 6,290 kilometers away from Australia or, seven hours by plane from Sydney to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. The total land area is about 298,170 square kilometers (114,830 square miles). Source: 3 2
  5. 5. Philippines Climate & Seasonal factors The Climate of the Philippines is either tropical rainforest, tropical savanna or tropical monsoon, or humid subtropical (in higher-altitude areas) characterized by relatively high temperature, oppressive humidity and plenty of rainfall. There are two seasons in the country, the wet season and the dry season, based upon the amount of rainfall. This is dependent as well on the location in the country as some areas experience rain all throughout the year. Based on temperature, the seven warmest months of the year are from March to October; the winter monsoon brings cooler air from November to February. May is the warmest month, and January, the coolest. The months of April and May, the hot and dry months when schools are on their long, between-years break, is referred to as summer while in most of the Northern Hemisphere those months are part of spring. Source: 4
  6. 6. Philippines Climate & Seasonal factors Graphically the seasons can be represented this way: Typhoons have a great influence on the climate and weather conditions of the Philippines. A great portion of the rainfall, humidity and cloudiness are due to the influence of typhoons. They generally originate in the region of the Marianas and Caroline Islands of the Pacific Ocean which have the same latitudinal location as Mindanao. Source: 5
  7. 7. Philippines Geographical features The Philippines is composed of three major islands known as Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The largest island is Luzon, followed by Mindanao and the Visayas group. The Visayan region is composed of about 6,000 islands, including Panay, Samar, Cebu, Leyte and Bohol. Mindanao encompasses about 400 islands. Of volcanic origin, the Philippines is generally mountainous. Mountain ranges extend north to south, running parallel to the coasts and, in many places, bordering them. Source: 6
  8. 8. Philippines Geographical features Seismic disturbances are often experienced in the islands that include 20 active volcanoes. The most recent volcanic eruptions were in 1993 (Mayon Volcano in the Bicol Region, southeastern Luzon, dormant for 600 years) and in June 1991 and July 1992 (Mount Pinatubo, central Luzon). The mountains in Luzon include the Sierra Madre, Cordillera Central, the Caraballo Mountains and the Zambales Mountains. In the second largest island, Mindanao, are the Diwata Mountains and the mountain ranges in southern Mindanao including Mount Apo (a volcano) which, at 2,954 meters, is the highest point in the Philippines. Source: 7
  9. 9. Philippines History: a deeper understanding Early History 30 000 Years ago “Tribal Period” The Negritos are believed to have migrated to the Philippines some 30,000 years ago from Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaya. The Malayans followed in successive waves. These people belonged to a primitive epoch of Malayan culture, which has apparently survived to this day among certain groups such as the Igorots. The Malayan tribes that came later had more highly developed material cultures A Tagalog couple of the Maginoocaste depicted in the 16th centuryBoxer Codex. 14th Century “Tantric Period” Arab traders from Malay and Borneo introduced Islam into the southern islands and extended their influence as far north as Luzon. 16th Century Year 1521 The first Europeans to visit (1521) the Philippines were those in the Spanish expedition around the world led by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Other Spanish expeditions followed, including one from New Spain (Mexico) under López de Villalobos, who in 1542 named the islands for the infante Philip, later Philip II. 16th Century Year 1571 Only in1571, when López de Legaspi (another expedition from New Spain) established the Spanish city of Manila on the site of a Moro town he had conquered the year before, the Spanish foothold in the Philippines was secure. 17th Century By the end of the 16th cent. Manila had become a leading commercial center of East Asia, carrying on a flourishing trade with China, India, and the East Indies. The Philippines supplied some wealth (including gold) to Spain, and the richly laden galleons plying between the islands and New Spain were often attacked by English freebooters. 19th Century Year 1896 There was also trouble from other quarters, and the period from 1600 to 1663 was marked by continual wars with the Dutch, who were laying the foundations of their rich empire in the East Indies, and with Moro pirates. One of the most difficult problems the Spanish faced was the subjugation of the Moros. Intermittent campaigns were conducted against them but Spanish warships bombarding theMuslim without conclusive results until the pirates of the southern Philippines in 1848 middle of the 19th cent. Spanish injustices, bigotry, and economic oppressions fed the movement, which was greatly inspired by the brilliant writings of José Rizal. In 1896 revolution began in the province of Cavite, and after the execution of Rizal that December, it spread throughout the major islands. Source: 8
  10. 10. Philippines History: a deeper understanding 19th Century Year 1898 Revolution was brewing when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898. After the U.S. naval victory in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, Commodore In 1899, George Dewey supplied Aguinaldo with arms and urged him to rally the Filipinos against the Spanish. Aguinaldo led a new revolt, this time against U.S. rule. Defeated on the battlefield, the Filipinos turned to guerrilla warfare, and their subjugation became a mammoth project for the United States—one that cost far more money and took far more lives than the Spanish-American War. The insurrection was effectively ended with the capture (1901) of Aguinaldo by Gen. Frederick Funston, but the question of Philippine independence remained a burning issue in the politics of both the United States and the islands. 20th Century Year 1913 When the Democrats came into power in 1913, measures were taken to effect a smooth transition to self-rule. The Philippine assembly already had a popularly elected lower house, and the Jones Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1916, provided for a popularly elected upper house as well, with power to approve all appointments made by the governorgeneral. It also gave the islands their first definite pledge of independence, although no specific date was set. 20th Century Year 1921 When the Republicans regained power in 1921, the trend toward bringing Filipinos into the government was reversed. Gen. Leonard Wood, who was appointed governor-general, largely supplanted Filipino activities with a semimilitary rule. However, the advent of the Great Depression in the United States in the 1930s and the first aggressive moves by Japan in Asia (1931) shifted U.S. sentiment sharply toward the granting of immediate independence to the Philippines. The Commonwealth Year 1935 A constitution, approved by President Roosevelt (Mar., 1935) was accepted by the Philippine people in a plebiscite (May); and Quezon was elected the first president (Sept.). When Quezon was inaugurated on Nov. 15, 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was formally established. Quezon was reelected in Nov., 1941. To develop defensive forces against possible aggression, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was brought to the islands as military adviser in 1935, and the following year he became field marshal of the Commonwealth army. World War II Year 1941 War came suddenly to the Philippines on Dec. 8 (Dec. 7, U.S. time), 1941, when Japan attacked without warning. Japanese troops invaded the islands in many places and launched a pincer drive on Manila. The Japanese occupied Manila on Jan. 2, 1942. Source: 9
  11. 11. Philippines History: The Republic 20th Century Year 1945 Many atrocities and war crimes were committed during the war such as the Bataan Death March and the Manila massacre that culminated during the Battle of Manila. Allied troops defeated the Japanese in 1945. By the end of the war it is estimated over a million Filipinos had died. 20th Century Year 1946 Manuel Roxas became the first president of the Republic of the Philippines when independence was granted, as scheduled, on July 4, 1946. In Mar., 1947, the Philippines and the United States signed a military assistance pact (since renewed) and the Philippines gave the United States a 99-year lease on designated military, naval, and air bases (a later agreement reduced the period to 25 years beginning 1967). The sudden death of President Roxas in Apr., 1948, elevated the vice president, Elpidio Quirino, to the presidency. Meanwhile, disgruntled remnants of the Hukbalahap communist rebel army that had previously fought against and resisted the Japanese continued to roam the rural regions. Manuel Roxas 5th President of the Philippines 3rd President of the Commonwealth 1st president of the Third Republic 20th Century Year 1953 This threat to the government was dealt with by Secretary of National Defense and later President Ramon Magsaysay, but sporadic cases of communist insurgency continued to flare up long afterward. 20th Century Year 1965 Dictatorship In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was elected president. Nearing the end of his second term and constitutionally barred from seeking a third, he declared martial law on September 21, 1972. By using political divisions, the tension of the Cold War, and the specter of communist rebellion and Islamic insurgency as justifications, he governed by decree. 20th Century Year 1983 On August 21, 1983, Marcos' chief rival opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. ignored warnings and returned from exile in the United States. He was assassinated as he was taken off the plane at the Manila International Airport (now called the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his memory). With political pressure building, Marcos eventually called for snap presidential elections in 1986. 20th Century Year 1986 Corazon Aquino, Benigno's widow, was persuaded to become the presidential candidate and standard bearer of the opposition. The elections were widely considered rigged when Marcos was proclaimed the winner. This led to the People Power Revolution, instigated when two long-time Marcos allies – Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chiefof-Staff Fidel V. Ramos and Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile – resigned and barricaded themselves in Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame. Sources: & 10
  12. 12. Philippines History: The Republic 20th Century Year 1986 20th Century Between 1990 and 1999 In 1986, charges of massive fraud and violence were leveled against the Marcos faction. Marcos’s domestic and international support eroded, and he fled the country on Feb. 25, 1986, eventually obtaining asylum in the United States. Corazon Aquino’s government faced mounting problems, including coup attempts, significant economic difficulties, and pressure to rid the Philippines of the U.S. military presence. In 1990, in response to the demands of the Moros, a partially autonomous Muslim region was created in the far south. In 1992, Aquino declined to run for reelection and was succeeded by her former army chief of staff Fidel Ramos. He immediately launched an economic revitalization plan premised on three policies: government deregulation, increased private investment, and political solutions to the continuing insurgencies within the country. His political program was somewhat successful, opening dialogues with the Marxist and Muslim guerillas. However, Muslim discontent with partial rule persisted, and unrest and violence continued throughout the 1990s. In 1999, Marxist rebels and Muslim separatists formed an alliance to fight the government. 21st Century Between 2001 and 2013 Several natural disasters, including the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on Luzon and a succession of severe typhoons, slowed the country’s economic progress. However, the Philippines escaped much of the economic turmoil seen in other East Asian nations in 1997 and 1998, in part by following a slower pace of development imposed by the International Monetary Fund. Joseph Marcelo Estrada, a former movie actor, was elected president in 1998, pledging to help the poor and develop the country’s agricultural sector. In 2001, amid charges of corruption and a stalled impeachment process, Ramos' successor Joseph Estrada was ousted from the presidency by the 2001 EDSA Revolution and replaced by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Her administration that lasted 9 years was tied with graft and corruption and numerous political scandals. As a result of the May 2010 elections, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was elected president and he is today the 15th President of the Philippines Sources: & 11
  13. 13. Philippines History: Today Since March 2010, the Philippine territory was divided into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 138 cities, 1,496 municipalities, and 42,025 barangays (the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village,district or ward). Benigno S. Aquino III, the current and 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines Source: The Lonely Planet] 12
  14. 14. Philippines People & Culture «The Filipino is basically of Malay stock with a sprinkling of Chinese, American, Spanish and Arab blood. From a long history of Western colonial rule, interspersed with visits of merchants and traders, evolved a people of unique blend of east and west, both in appearance and culture. The Filipinos are divided geographically and culturally into regions and each regional group is recognizable by distinct traits and dialects. Tribal communities can be found scattered across the archipelago.» The most important numerically are the Visayans, who live primarily in the central portion of the archipelago and the Tagalogs, who live primarily in central Luzon. The Moslem groups live mainly in the southern portion of the archipelago -- particularly in western Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, and southern Palawan island. The non-Malay groups are composed of people of Spanish and Chinese descent. Filipinos are a fun-loving people. Throughout the islands, there are fiestas celebrated everyday and foreign guests are always welcome to their homes. Source: 13
  15. 15. Philippines People & Culture According to the CIA World Fact Book the Philippine population is estimated in about 105,720,644 (July 2013 est.). The medium age is 23.3 years and the demographic structure is divided like you can see below: 0-14 years: 34% 15-24 years: 19.1% 25-54 years: 36.8% 55-64 years: 5.7% 65 years and over: 4.4% (2013 est.) Languages It is estimated that there are 111 linguistic groups or dialects spoken in the country. The national language is Filipino, which is based on Tagalog. Both Filipino and English are being used for official communication and instruction. The eight major dialects are: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan Religions Most of the people belong to the Roman Catholic religion: Roman Catholic 80.9%, Aglipayan 2%, Muslim 5%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesia ni Kristo 2.3%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.6%, none 0.1% (2000 census) Ethnic groups: Christian Malay 91.5%, Muslim Malay 4%, Chinese 1.5%, other 3% Source: 14
  16. 16. Philippines People & Culture Philippine Cuisine The style of cooking and the food associated with it have evolved over many centuries from its Austronesian origins to a mixed cuisine of Malay, Spanish, Chinese, and American, as well as other Asian and Latin influences adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate. Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate paellas and cocidos created for fiestas, of Spanish origin. Popular dishes include: lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken and/or porkbraised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), kaldereta (meat in tomato sauce stew), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), puchero (beef in bananas and tomato sauce), afritada (chicken and/or pork simmered in a peanut sauce with vegetables), kare-kare (oxtailand vegetables Chicken Adobo cooked in peanut sauce), pinakbet (kabocha squash, eggplant, beans, okra, and tomato stew flavored with shrimp paste) crispy pata(deep-fried pig's leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls). 15
  17. 17. Philippines People & Culture Local Customs «One patent Filipino trait that immediately commends itself to the foreigner is his hospitality. All peoples the world over are hospitable in their own way, but Filipino hospitality is something that is almost a fault. Are you a stranger who has lost your way? Knock at the door of even the humblest rustic and he offers you his home. In other climes you might be suspected of being a hoodlum or a poseur. Consequently you might be looked upon with suspicion. Call it naiveté but the Filipino opens his heart to you, a complete stranger, and offers you the best in his house. He makes the bed for you and asks you, usually with a profusion of apologies, to make you feel “at home”, while he, the host, sleeps on the cold floor. (...) The Filipino has very close family ties. The family has been the unit of society and everything revolves around it. (...) The father is the head of the family, but while he rules, the mother governs. For it is the mother that reigns in the home: she is the educator, the financial officer, the accountant, the censor, the laundrywoman, and the cook.» «But over and above the “ruler” and the “governor” are the grandparents, whose opinions and decision on all important matters are sought. Respect for elders (...) has remained in the book of unwritten laws.» Source: Philippines Country Guide Study, 2007 – p.109 16
  18. 18. Philippines People & Culture “The Fiesta Islands” «The Philippines has a diverse musical culture that blends Eastern and. Western influences. Traditional Philippine music is made up of the indigenous music of pre-Hispanic times and music derived from the Spanish era. (...) Filipinos have an innate sense of rhythm and music is a very much part of their daily lives.» The Filipinos are happy and joie de vivre type of people. They are satisfied with life and love to laugh and tend to love people with humor, which most festivals represent. Most of the festivals are vibrant and energetic and many are of Hispanic influence. Because of the uncountable number of festivals, the country is often dubbed as, "The Fiesta Islands". Among all festivals Christmas is the biggest, widest and longest celebrated in the Philippines, which starts from September and lasts till January perhaps the longest Christmas celebration in the world. Sources: Philippines Country Guide Study, 2007 – p.113 & WikiTravel 17
  19. 19. Philippines Major Cities & Attractions 1. Quezon City – population 2 761 720 (2010) Former capital of the country (1948–1976). Largest city in Metro Manila in population and land area. Hosts the House of Representatives of the Philippines at the Batasang Pambansa Complex and the metropolis' largest source of water, the Novaliches Reservoir. 2. Manila City – population 1 652 171 (2010) Capital of the country (from 1571-1948 and 1976–present). Historically centered around the walled city of Intramuros, by the mouth of the Pasig River. Host to the seat of the chief executive, the Malacañang Palace. By far the most densely populated city in the country. Source: & Google Maps 18
  20. 20. Philippines Major Cities & Attractions 3. Caloocan City – population 1 489 040(2010) Historic city where Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan held many of its meetings in secrecy. Much of its territory was ceded to form Quezon City, resulting in the formation of two non-contiguous sections under the city's jurisdiction. Caloocan is the third most densely populated city in the country, lying immediately north of the city of Manila. It serves as an industrial and residential area inside Metro Manila. 4. Davao City – population 1 449 296 (2010) The largest city in Mindanao. Davao is also the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area. It has an estimated population of 1,530,365 as of 2011. The City Mayors Foundation ranks Davao City as the 87th fastest growing city in the world, and it has been listed by the FDi magazine as the 10th "Asian City of the Future". Source: & Google Maps 19
  21. 21. Philippines Major Cities & Attractions 5. Cebu City – population 866 171 (2010) Popularly nicknamed as "The Queen City of the South." First capital of the country. Capital of the province of Cebu and regional center of Region VII. Most populous city in the Visayas. Core of Metro Cebu. Cebu City has been honored as the 8th Asian City of the Future owing to its expansive business districts, premier entertainment destinations, and its pristine waters which attracts tourists worldwide. The city is home to the most popular Sinulog festival celebrated every January which attracts tourists and Filipinos alike. Source: & Google Maps 20
  22. 22. Philippines Other tourist areas Laoag/Vigan Ilocos Norte, the northwestern tip of Laoag/Vigan Luzon, is wedged between the steep Baguio/Banaue Grand Cordillera Central in the east, the rugged Ilocos Mountains in the northeast, and the Ilocos Range in the South. The centuries old churches that dot every town of Ilocos are testimonies to the Subic/Clark colonial past. They formed part of the nucleus of the plaza complex town planning instituted by the Spanish Boracay colonizers. With a coastline that stretches to 90 statute miles, Ilocos Norte is blessed with rich marine life (shells, giant turtles, seaweeds, starfishes, tuna, and a variety Palawan of more fishes). Baguio/Banaue A mountainous topography of towering peaks, plateaus, and intermittent patches of valleys, the Cordillera mountain range has a history as vast and as beautiful as its mountainous curves. Populated by the Ifugaos, a gentle yet fiercely proud ethnic community, the Cordillera enjoys abundant mineral reserves. Subic/Clark The Subic Bay Leisure Zone, a 37,000-acre virgin triple-canopy rainforest with wildlife and rare marine life, is a destination one should not miss. The former US Navy facility was vacated in 1992 and is now among Asia's emerging tourist destination. Trekking through the tropical rainforest on foot or on horseback accompanied by native guides is both a challenge and delight. One can enjoy the numerous beaches, or go camping, or just take a tour around the zone. Source: 21
  23. 23. Philippines Other tourist areas Boracay Laoag/Vigan Boracay, also known for its colorful AtiBaguio/Banaue Atihan festival , is a paradise for certified sun-worshippers all over the world. In fact, local and foreign tourists have made Boracay their yearly destination. Others have chosen to live on this haven. Subic/Clark Boracay's thousand-hectares boast of all the elements of a tropical heaven - crystal blue waters, powder white sand, liberal doses of tropical palms and flowering Boracay plants, and a healthy and diverse marine life. Boracay has three little communities Yapak in the north, Manoc-Manoc in the south and Balabag in between. Hilly Palawan elevations of up to 100 meters above sea level characterize Yapak and ManocManoc. Intertwining trails link the small villages and lead to lush tropical jungles. Palawan Known as the country's last frontier, Palawan has managed to preserve its fascinatingly natural habitat through the years. Situated north of Mindoro and north of Malaysia's Sabah Island, Palawan is the country's largest province spanning 1.5 million hectares. An ideal breeding ground for tropical flora and fauna, Palawan has more than a thousand islands and islets where monkeys, squirrels, bear cats, and zebras thrive with wild tropical plants and corals. Palawan's population follows the same pattern. The province has attracted peoples of all backgrounds and it is said that today's Palawenos are a fusion of 81 different cultural groups. Foreigners, too, have grown to love this quiet province. Source: 22
  24. 24. Philippines Man-made attractions «The Philippines has a rich history beginning from its Laoag/Vigan earliest days as one of the busiest trading posts in South Baguio/Banaue East Asia and later, in the trans-Pacific galleon trade. A period of Spanish colonization spanning three centuries then made an indelible impression on the country. This Subic/Clark mercurial era, along with the American occupation, played a vital role in shaping the Philippines and its people. A vivid past has left its mark all over the archipelago in many Boracay different forms that present-day visitors to the country are now discovering.» Rice Terraces of the Palawan Philippine Cordilleras Location: Ifugao, near Banaue Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage «The 2,000-year old Banaue Rice Terraces – the most extensive anywhere in the world – were carved into the mountains of Ifugao by ancestors of the Batad indigenous people. The terraces are located approximately 1,500 They are fed by an ancient irrigation system, an meters (5,000 feet) above sea level ingenious complex of bamboo pipes and canals, and cover 10,360 square kilometers drawing water from streams created by bubbling (about 4,000 square miles) of the springs located in the mountain rainforests. mountainside. Considered as a monument to man’s genius in turning a Known as the “eight wonder of the rugged and forbidding terrain into a source of sustenance, world,” the terraces were carved the rice terraces stand to be the most awe-inspiring man- with only simple tools and bare made landscape in the Cordilleras. They are also invariably hands. called “The Stairway to the Sky.”» Source: 23
  25. 25. Philippines Man-made attractions Historic Town of Vigan Laoag/Vigan Location: Vigan, Ilocos Sur Baguio/Banaue Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage «The 16th century town of Vigan is “an exceptionally Subic/Clark intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and East Asia.” Its architecture reflects the fusion of cultural elements from the Philippines, China and Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that Boracay has no parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia. Palawan Seemingly impervious to time, spared from rebellion and the ravages of war, Vigan has remained unchanged and its many preserved historic sites – more than 180 edifices – make it look like “a piece of Spain.” With its grand cathedral, massive mansions with redtile roofs and spacious balconies, narrow cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, and friendly faces peering out of large windows, Vigan is a place where “time stood still.”» Source: 24
  26. 26. Philippines Man-made attractions Baroque Churches Laoag/Vigan Location: Manila Baguio/Banaue Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage «Built in 1587, the San Agustin Church is the oldest stone Subic/Clark church in the Philippines, the only one that remains as the original evidence of the 16th century Spanish architecture. It has defied several earthquakes and the heavy shelling of both Japanese and American forces in Boracay 1945 and now stands as a reminder of the grandeur of the past. Palawan The structural design of the church is extraordinary. It boasts of the only example in the country of a barrel vault, dome and arched vestibules, supporting its choir loft, all made of stone. Its façade is notable for its two pairs of columns – the lowest pair in Doric style, the upper pair in Corinthian topped by a pediment surmounted by a Cross. The main door, carved out of Philippine molave, has a bas-relief of St. Augustine and his mother, Santa Monica. San Agustin Church represents the art and technology of Spanish, Chinese, and native cultures fused together “to suit human sentiments and faiths that found expression in customs and traditions that were evolved through the centuries.”» Source: 25
  27. 27. Philippines Natural attractions Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park Location: Middle of the Sulu Sea, 181 kilometers southeast Laoag/Vigan of Puerto Princesa, Palawan Baguio/Banaue Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage «The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park covers 33,200 hectares including the north and south reefs. It is a Subic/Clark marvelous marine wilderness and a special ecosystem much appreciated for its beauty as well as its scientific value. Boracay Palawan It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species, with 80% coral cover of 46 coral genres and 376 fish species. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100-meter perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two-coral islands.Tubbataha’s north islet is a nesting site for sea birds of all kinds and hawksbill sea turtles; aendangered diver’s paradise with gorgonian seafans, soft corals, and gigantic sea sponges serving as home to turkey fish, anemone crab, banded seasnakes, nudibranchs, starfish, catsharks, surgeon fish, batfish, and butterfly fish. The rare, unusual looking fox-faced rabbit fish can also be found in the marine park. Marine turtles, including the critically endangered hawksbill and green turtle, nest on some of the beaches.» Source: 26
  28. 28. Philippines Natural attractions Puerto Princesa Subterranean Laoag/Vigan River National Park Baguio/Banaue Location: Saint Paul Mountain Range on the northern coast of Palawan Subic/Clark Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage «The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with its underground river. The river is unique because it flows Boracay directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences. The area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a Palawan whole ecosystem --- from mountain to the sea; and protects forests, which are among the most significant in Asia. A highlight of each visit is a ride through its 8 km-long underground river which runs through a dome of stalactites complemented by stalagmites running the entire length of The park is a popular destination for bird the cave. watching and is known for regular sightings of threatened bird species of Palawan peacockpeasant and Philippine cockatoo and the endemic birds Palawan scopsowl, swiftlet, hornbill, flyeater and blue flycatcher, tit and flowerpecker. It is blessed to have the Palawan flying fox, Oriental small-clawed otter, stinkbadger, binturong, flying squirrel, mountain tree squirrel and porcupine. The park also features an exciting Monkey Trail with its series of wooden paths to the forest.» Source: 27
  29. 29. Philippines Natural attractions Chocolate Hills Laoag/Vigan Location: Bohol, near Cebu Baguio/Banaue Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage «The Chocolate Hills is a geological formation in Bohol Province, Philippines. There are at least 1,260 hills but Subic/Clark there may be as many as 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). They are covered in green grass that turns brown (like chocolate) Boracay during the dry season, hence the name. Bohol The Chocolate Hills is a famous tourist attraction of Bohol. They are featured in the provincial flag and seal to Palawan symbolize the abundance of natural attractions in the province. The Chocolate Hills form a rolling terrain of haycock hills – mounds of a generally conical and almost symmetrical shape. Estimated to be from 1,268 to about 1,776 individual mounds, these cone-shaped or dome-shaped hills are actually made of grass-covered limestone.» Source: 28
  30. 30. Philippines Transports & Gateways By Air Airports & airlines We recommend you to book well in advance if you plan to arrive in the Philippines during December - expat Filipinos flood the islands to visit their families during Christmas and New Year. If you're flying into Cebu, the lead-up to Lunar New Year in late January or early February can also get congested, as the city's sizeable Chinese population prepares to celebrate. Most people enter the Philippines at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). This is a dismal introduction to the country: lines are often long at immigration, and the entire facility is in need of a facelift. That said, once you clear the lines immigration is usually straightforward. You may be asked to show an ongoing ticket, and most nationalities are issued a 21-day visa on the spot. Since most people fly to the Philippines and most flights land in Manila, Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque, is likely to be your first taste of the Philippines. Too bad, but don't despair - most of the country is a lot better run than decrepit old NAIA. Doubtless as an incentive for people to fly with Philippine Airlines (PAL), the national carrier, its passengers get exclusive use of the nicer Centennial Terminal (NAIA II). Cebu City's Mactan-Cebu International Airport is the country's second-busiest airport and is much better. Depending on your itinerary, Cebu's airport may also be a more practical entry or exit point. The biggest advantage of flying into Cebu is that it saves you having to deal with the chaos of Manila (and its unscrupulous taxi drivers). Cebu has international connections to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, Kuala Lumpur (via Kota Kinabalu) with Malaysian Airlines, Singapore with SilkAir, and Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul with Philippine Airlines. Since all these cities are well served with international connections, it's easy for the determined traveller to arrive in Cebu rather than Manila. Source: 29
  31. 31. Philippines Transports & Gateways By Air Another airport in the Philippines with regular international connections is Francisco Bangoy International Airport (DVO) in Davao on Mindanao, which has flights to and from Singapore with SilkAir. Previously confined to cargo, the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA, formerly Clark) in Angeles City now handles international flights by AirAsia (to and from Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Tiger Airways (to and from Singapore), and CR Airways (to and from Hong Kong). Qantas and PAL offer the only direct flights from Australia to the Philippines (Sydney to Manila); otherwise, it's necessary to fly via cities such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong. Source: 30
  32. 32. Philippines Transports & Gateways By Sea It's possible to travel by sea between the Philippines and nearby parts of Malaysia and Indonesia. However, schedules and routes are very liable to change so it's best to be flexible in your plans. From Indonesia EPA Shipping Line (083-380 3591) has ferries that sail between General Santos in Mindanao and the deep-water port of Bitung, 55km from Manado, Indonesia (P1800, 36 hours, twice weekly). The office is inside the port compound at Makar, near General Santos. This is a cargo boat that takes passengers; officially, foreigners should be able to make this trip, but you may want to check with the tourism office in General Santos first. You will need to get your visa requirements in order with the Indonesian consulate in Davao before you leave. There is also a boat that sails between Bitung and Davao's Sasa Pier (via General Santos) every Friday, but trip details change often so it's best to check with Davao's city tourism office. From Malaysia Aleson Lines (062-991 2687; PPA Terminal, Port Area, Zamboanga) boats leave Zamboanga in Mindanao for Sandakan in Malaysian Borneo twice weekly (cabin P3600, 16 hours). SRN Fastcraft (992 3765) has two Weesam Express boats a week between Zamboanga and Sandakan (P5400, eight hours). Source: 31
  33. 33. Philippines Transports & Gateways Getting around Boat «Spend any length of time in the Philippines and you're bound to find yourself on a boat. Boats range from the high-class multideck WG&A ferries and highly efficient luxury passenger catamarans (known as fastcraft or fast ferries) to the smallest of outriggers (called bangka or pumpboats), which shuttle between myriad beaches and piers. Ferries of all descriptions and levels of seaworthiness ply the waters between islands. They are often overcrowded; cramming every inch of leaky tubs with passengers doesn't make them watertight, but it does increase the probability of the ship sinking, especially in heavy seas. You often have options as to which boat to travel on, so ask around about reliable companies and ferries and plan accordingly. Fastcraft are becoming an increasingly common sight between islands. These are smaller, lighter and newer than the ferries, and are well fitted, reliable and safe. They aren't called fastcraft for nothing, as they can cut long rides by half. One modern convenience used to excess on these spiffy ships is airconditioning, which is permanently set to 'arctic' - take a sweater or fleece. Though service on the main routes is pretty reliable, you'll need to be prepared for changes in the itinerary. Adverse weather conditions (especially during the typhoon season) or renovation of a ferry can totally alter the sailing times and boats used for various trips. As with planes, boats fill to overflowing during Christmas, New Year, Holy Week and All Saints' Day/All Souls' Day, as well as to the locations of major festivals.» Source: 32
  34. 34. Philippines Transports & Gateways Getting around Hitching «Hitching is never entirely safe in any country in the world, and we don't recommend it. Travellers who decide to hitch should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk. People who do choose to hitch will be safer if they travel in pairs and let someone know where they are planning to go. And, needless to say, hitching in the guerrilla territory of Mindanao is positively suicidal. The cost of transport in the Philippines is generally so low that hitchhiking isn't worth the trouble; you're seldom left stranded without a cheap and willing jeepney in sight. A hitchhiker is such an unusual sight in the Philippines that most regular drivers will probably ignore you if you stand on the roadside with your thumb out; the only ones who might stop are truck or jeepney drivers, who would expect a few pesos if they gave you a lift.» Car & Moto «If time is short, driving yourself is a quicker option than relying on jeepneys and other public transport, but it does come with caveats. Philippine driving is possibly at its most manic in and around Manila, and in Luzon's central mountains. It's less lifethreatening elsewhere, though, and verges on pleasant in and around cities such as Cebu. Whatever you do, don't try to emulate the local style - driving in the Philippines is one area of cultural difference where the 'when in Rome' principle doesn't apply. Philippine law requires that you have third-party auto insurance with a Philippines auto-insurance company when you drive in the Philippines. If you rent a car, this can be arranged with the rental agency. You are required to carry a minimum of P750,000 of insurance. » Source: 33
  35. 35. Philippines Transports & Gateways Getting around Bus & Tram «An enormous number of bus services cover the Philippines and generally do it quite cheaply and reliably. Island-hopping on a bus is even an option; in fact, you can travel all the way from the northernmost tip of Luzon to the southernmost corner of Mindanao without getting your feet wet. Departures are usually quite frequent, but take care if there's only one bus a day - drivers sometimes decide to leave earlier than scheduled if the bus is full! Many Filipinos like to travel early in the morning or after nightfall, when it's cool, so there are often more buses at this time. As in most countries, it pays to mind your baggage while buses load and unload. Costs: You can roughly calculate the fare and the time a bus journey will take based on distance. Regular buses generally cover a bit under 2km per peso and the average speed is about 50km per hour. Voilà! A 100km journey costs P50 or so and takes two hours.» Train «The route south from Manila to the Bicol region in southeast Luzon is the only railway line in the country. Although it's old and none too speedy, it's a viable option for travel down to Naga and Legaspi and points along the way.» Source: 34
  36. 36. Philippines Health & Safety Medication & Travel warnings advice «We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy. Medical facilities in the Philippines are adequate in major cities but are very limited in provincial regions and remote islands. Major private hospitals, particularly in Metro Manila, are well equipped and internationally accredited. Most hospitals will require up-front payment or guarantee of payment prior to commencing treatment, which can be expensive. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with the required facilities may be necessary. Medical evacuation costs are considerable.» Source: 35
  37. 37. Philippines Health & Safety Medication & Travel warnings advice «Malaria is endemic in many provincial regions of the Philippines but does not affect the capital Manila. Dengue fever has been on the rise in Manila and neighbouring provinces along with outbreaks of other mosquito-borne diseases (including Japanese encephalitis and filariasis) in many areas particularly during the rainy season between June and November. There is no vaccination or specific treatment available for dengue. We encourage you to consider taking prophylaxis against malaria where necessary. You should take measures to avoid insect bites, including using an insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof. Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, measles, meningitis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis) and leptospirosis. Following flooding, travellers should be aware of the potential for outbreaks of leptospirosis and gastro-related illnesses. You should be aware that the high risk of contracting a water-borne disease continues after floods recede. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea. Avoid temporary 'black henna' tattoos as they often contain a dye which can cause serious skin reactions. For further information, see the Australasian College of Dermatologists' website.» Source: 36
  38. 38. Philippines Health & Safety Terrorist threats «This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 01 August 2013. It contains new information under Safety and security: Terrorism (as of 1 August 2013 the restriction on travel by Australian embassy staff to Davao City, Cotabato City and Zamboanga City has been lifted). We continue to strongly advise you not to travel to central and western Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula and Sulu Archipelago, due to the very high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping, violent crime and violent clashes between armed groups. We continue to advise you to reconsider your need to travel to eastern Mindanao.» • Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. • Violent crime is a significant problem in the Philippines. • On 29 May 2013, the US Embassy in Manila issued a message to warn its citizens in the Philippines of a credible kidnap threat against foreigners in Zamboanga in Mindanao. • There is a danger of kidnapping throughout the Philippines, particularly in the southern Philippines, including coastal and island tourist resorts, dive sites, and live-aboard dive boats including in remote locations in the Sulu Sea. Terrorists have kidnapped foreigners from these areas in the past. If you decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, you should ensure you have personal security measures in place, seek professional security advice and take out kidnapping insurance. • The typhoon season normally runs from late May to early December. This is also the rainy season when tropical storms, flooding and landslides may occur. Source: 37
  39. 39. Philippines Health & Safety Natural disasters, severe weather and climate «Typhoons usually occur in the Philippines between late May and early December and can result in substantial loss of life. This is also the wet season when tropical storms, flooding and landslides are common. Australians are encouraged to monitor bulletins issued by the Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council and the Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and to take appropriate safety measures. You can also check the weather updates at typhoon2000. Telephone and internet communications, services and transport may be disrupted in affected areas. The direction and strength of typhoons can change with little warning. You can check the latest typhoon information from the World Meteorological Organisation Severe Weather Information Centre and Asia Pacific Disaster Alerts. For typhoon and other weather alerts in the Philippines, visit the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) or the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) website or call its hotline on +63 2 4338526.» «Earthquakes and volcanoes: Parts of the Philippines are subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Mayon, Taal and Bulusan volcanoes have a permanent danger zone (PDZ) established around their summits by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). Mayon volcano in Albay Province has a PDZ of six kilometres, Bulusan volcano has four kilometre PDZ and the entire volcanic island of Taal is a PDZ. You should avoid areas surrounding these volcanoes. In the event of major volcanic activity, you should follow the advice of local authorities and monitor warnings issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).» «Tsunamis: All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches.» Source: 38
  40. 40. Philippines Regulatory Information Visas «Tourists can visit the Philippines without a visa if staying in the country for 21 days or less; provided tourists have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months and a return ticket or a ticket to another destination outside the Philippines. If you wish to stay longer you must obtain a Visa Extension either before your trip from a Philippine Consulate or Embassy. Or, once in the country, you may obtain it from the Bureau of Immigrations. » Customs «Upon arriving; Visitors are allowed to bring in duty free personal belongings, two cartons of cigarettes or two tins of pipe tobacco and up to one liter of alcohol. “Balikbayans” have separate rules and should check with the Embassy or Consulate in their home city. You may bring in unlimited amount of foreign currency. Upon Departure; any antiques you may have acquired during your stay must be accompanied by a certificate from the National Museum. You may not take more than PhP5,000.00 (five thousand Philippine pesos) out of the country.» Travel tax & Airport fees «Philippine Nationals are expected to pay for the Philippine Travel Tax upon departure from the Philippines. It is usually paid at the airport upon departure or; oftentimes, already included in the cost of the ticket when purchased. US Nationals and Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders) are exempt from the Philippine Travel Tax. US Permanent Residents need to secure a Travel Tax Exemption Certificate from the Philippine Tourism Authority at the Department of Tourism Building at TM Kalaw Street, Ermita Manila. The Philippine Travel Tax is PHP1,620.00 (approximately $35.00). All passengers departing from the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) are expected to pay the Airport Terminal Fee of PHP750.00 (approximately $17.00). No one is exempt from paying the Airport Terminal Fee.» Source: 39
  41. 41. Philippines Regulatory Information Other Immigration laws «The Philippine Government strongly enforces immigration and entry laws. You should ensure you have proper and valid visas and remain aware of your visa status while in the Philippines. Immigration authorities may require travellers to show proof of an onward or return ticket. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into the Philippines. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas. Australians have been detained for having improper visas or violating immigration laws. Offenders can expect jail sentences, fines, and/or deportation and may also be prohibited from entering the Philippines in the future. If you have any concerns about the status of your Philippine visa or if you want to extend your visa, you should refer to the Philippine Bureau of Immigration website.» Currency «The currency in the Philippines is the Peso (PHP) and the Centavo. 100 centavos = P1. Coin denominations are: 1, 5, 10, and 25 centavos, P1, and P5. Bill denominations are 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1, 000 Pesos. Foreign currency may be exchanged at your hotel, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changing outlets. Exchanging money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are strictly enforced. Most large stores, restaurants, hotels and resorts accept major credit cards including American Express, Visa and Master Card. Traveler' s checks preferably American Express are accepted at hotels and large department stores. Personal checks drawn on foreign banks are generally not accepted.» Source: 40
  42. 42. Philippines Suggested updating source & Information There are many different ways one can use to update travel related information. Far from simply following a single source, from our perspective, the key is to follow as many sources (official & non official) as possible, and cross the different information inputs to get the most realistic picture of the country, its culture, its people or simply its weather. Besides following the news daily to see any new events or happenings in a specific destination, when updating the information about the Republic of Philippines, we recommend to start for the official Philippine based (local) institutions like: Philippine Department of Tourism Philippine Tourism Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration Climatology and Agrometeorology DOST Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards Then we recommend the travel consultant to check the official institutions based on the departure country (or the traveler's nationality), in this case, Australia n citizens: Philippine Embassy in Australia Smart Traveller Australian Government 41
  43. 43. Philippines Suggested updating source & Information After checking the official sources the next step for updating and confirming the inputs from the initial research would be to check specific travel guides (which include real life traveler’s experiences in the destination) like: Lonely Planet Trip Advisor Wikitravel – The free travel guide Other good ways to update your information or at least to get new inputs about a certain destination is to get some travel brochures (either on paper either online) from other travel players in the market like : Infinitiy Holidays Intrepid Travel More fun in the Philippines Though not valued by many travel consultants, we also recommend a more alternative way of understanding and knowing more about the Philippines which is as simple as meet and talk with a Filipino  42
  44. 44. Philippines Sources CIA: The World Fact Book Climatology and Agrometeorology DOST Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards Lonely Planet Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration Philippine Center for Masonic Studies Philippine Department of Tourism Philippine Embassy in Australia Philippine History Philippine Tourism Philippines Country Study Guide, 2007  By Ibp Usa, USA International Business Publications 43
  45. 45. Philippines Sources Pinas Smart Traveller Australian Government Wikitravel – The free travel guide Wikipedia - Philippines World Health Organization 44
  46. 46. Philippines Research assessment This research assessment was built according to Australian Pacific College guidelines displayed below: «You are required to prepare a destination reference file for your office. You will be demonstrating your ability to source, collect and interpret destination information. Your file will be a source of information for all travel consultants in your office and must include the following: Sources for each item of information (eg website, tourist office, tour operator ect) Methods of updating information about the destination (ie to retain currency of info) Updates using Magazines, official websites, tourism bureaus, brochures, ect Location of the destination and the region in which is located; include a map Brief local history (up to now) Local customs Climate and seasonal factors (graphic) Major geographical features Culture: this should include religions, languages, food Health and safety risks in the destination or region: Regulatory information, such as visa requirements for Australian Passport holders Features of the destination: Major cities, towns, tourist areas Major man-made tourist attractions Major natural tourist attractions Major gateways of transport networks within the region and destination» Course: Tourism Diploma International Attractions & Destinations Teacher: Sue Freshwater Student n. S40029545 Inês Pinto 45