The country is marked by a true blend of cultures; truly in the Philippines, East meets West. The background of the people is Indonesian and Malay. There are Chinese and Spanish elements as well. The history of American rule and contact with merchants and traders culminated in a unique blend of East and West, both in the appearance and culture of the people of the Filipinos, or people of the Philippines.
Hospitality, a trait displayed by every Filipino, makes these people legendary in Southeast Asia. Seldom can you find such hospitable people who enjoy the company of their Western 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.
The Spaniards introduced Christianity (the Roman Catholic faith) and succeeded in converting the overwhelming majority of Filipinos. At least 80% of the total population belongs to the Roman Catholic faith.
The American occupation was responsible for teaching the Filipino people the English language. The Philippines is currently the third-largest English speaking country in the world.
Filipinos often use their eyes, lips, and hands to convey a wide range of messages. Raised eyebrows and a smile indicate a silent "hello" or a "yes" in answer to a question. Fixed eye contact between men is considered an aggressive gesture. The proper method to summon somebody is with a downward wave.
Filipinos place great emphasis on polite language and gentle conversation. Voice tone is always soft and gentle, and direct questions should be avoided.
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Things To Know In The Philippines
The country known today as the Republic of the Philippines lies right in the heart of Southeast Asia, between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. The Philippines has 7,107 islands extending more than 1,700 kilometers (1,056mi) in the direction of the Equator. The islands are divided into three main areas: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon is the major northern island; it is there that you
will find the capital, Manila. The Visayas, is the middle cluster of islands featuring tropical beaches scattered throughout warm seas. Mindanao is the southernmost group of islands and has a diverse topography.
A visit to the Philippines is a travel bargain. Your expenses are relatively low, and the offerings are varied with good facilities. Take your pick from the hectic city life of Manila or the unspoiled natural beauty of the countryside. The bonus is that, unlike many other destinations in Asia, the country is not overrun by tourism
The climate of the Philippines is tropical with an average year-round temperature of 32ºC (90ºF). Summer is from March to May and is always hot and dry. The average daily maximum in summer ranges from 92 to 94ºF (33 to 34ºC). June to October is the wet season with heavy monsoonal rains and typhoons in most parts of the country. The coolest weather in the Philippines is from November to February, when the daily maximum is around 84 to 88ºF (29 to 31ºC).
The unit of currency in the Philippines is the Peso (P). Notes are issued by the Central Bank in denominations of P5, P10, P20, P50, P100, P500 and P1,000. Coins are issued for 5c (centavos), 10c, 25c, 50c, P1, P2 and P5.
Most foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks, hotels and authorized foreign exchange dealers. Outside of Manila, the use of the Philippine pesos for payments is preferred.
Travelers checks issued by American Express, Bank of Tokyo, Bank of America, Barclays and Citibank are widely accepted. Major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club can be used to pay for most goods and services.
The world-famous Dakak Park and Beach Resort in Dapitan City, Zamboanga, Del Norte, Philippines. Photo by Milex Fabula
Tagalog speakers in the Philippines have many ways of greeting other people. It is common also to hear them say "Hi" or "Hello" as a form of greeting, especially among close friends. There are no Tagalog translation for these English greetings because they are basically borrowed terms, and any English-speaking person will be readily understood by Filipinos in general (yes, Virginia and Joe, English is widely spoken in the Philippines, a former colony of the US of A for nearly 50 years!). Below are a few Tagalog greetings that are importart to learn if one wants to endear himself/herself to Filipinos.
Magandang umaga po - Good morning
Magandang hapon po - Good afternoon
Magandang gabi po - Good evening
Kumusta po kayo?- How are you?
Mabuti po naman.- I'm fine
Tuloy po kayo. - Please, come in
Salamat po - Thank you
Opo/ oho - Yes
Hindi po/ho - No
Ano po ang pangalan nila? - What is your name?
Ako po si ________ - I am ______ (name).
Saan po kayo nakatira? - Where do you live?
Taga saan po sila? - Where are you from?
Kumain na po ba sila? - Have you eaten yet?
deretso - straight ahead
(sa) kanan - on the right
(sa) kaliwa - on the left
umikot - turn around
(sa) harap - infront
(sa) likod/likuran - at the back/behind
hilaga - north
silangan - east
kanluran - west
timog - south
(sa) itaas - on top
(sa) ibaba - below/at the bottom
(sa) ilalim - at the bottom
(sa) loob - inside
sa) labas - outside
It is best to wear light, natural fiber, and loose fitting garments. However, practical clothing such as shorts and a blouse or T-shirt is recommended especially while traveling. The basic rule is: dress comfortably but decently.
If you are going to the mountain areas, a jacket or sweater will be useful. If you are going on a hike, bring a hat, sunscreen or sunblock, and an insect repellant.
When visiting churches or mosques or Muslim areas, wear a knee-length skirt or pants. Skimpy tops and shorts should be avoided.
1. For those active travelers or those who have been bitten by the travel bug, traveling has, perhaps, become a way of life. And one important travel dictum that is an essential know-how is: "Pack or travel light." Read up on a few pointers:
The first basic rule to remember before packing for your trip is to stick to one suitcase. This is an art learned through trial and error. But most importantly, it takes careful planning.
2. If you're staying in a hotel, you don't have to haul your own shampoo, lotion, soap, and towel. Most hotels provide robes, hair dryers, and irons.
3. Pack according to the weather or your itinerary.
4. As much as possible, don't bring jeans. They're heavy and bulky, and hard to wash, too. In any event, jeans aren't a great option if you want to save space in your suitcase. It is advisable to bring clothes with lightweight material such as leggings or shorts or slacks.
5. Stick to wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying materials.
6. Learn to fold clothes correctly. Rolling your clothes saves a lot of space.
7. Items such as a small camera and socks can be stuffed into shoes and other spaces.
8. You don't have to bring sports equipment (golf clubs, scuba gear, etc.) or other equipment that can be rented.
9. Make sure you assemble a toiletry kit that never gets unpacked. Most often, we are never able to close our suitcase the day or night before our trip, as we have to use our toothbrush or toothpaste the minute before we leave. It is best to have a separate toiletry kit for traveling.
10. Don't forget to bring other essentials such as: medications (motion sickness tablets or Paracetamol), sunglasses, sunblock lotion, insect repellant, a map, camera, plenty of film, moist towelettes, and plastic bags (for damp items, toiletry).
Yours truly, enjoying a lovely sun, sea and sand (pool) in Dakak Park and Beach Resort back in '96.
For most foreigners staying up to 21 days, visas are not required upon entering the country, provided visitors have valid passports and tickets to leave the Philippines. Visas are required only for stateless persons and citizens of countries with which the Philippines has no diplomatic relations. For visitors who are planning to stay up to 59 days, a temporary visitors visa is required, and registration with the Commission on Immigration and Deportation is necessary. Foreigners arriving from an area infected by plague, typhus or yellow fever are required to have valid vaccination and immunization certificates. Holders of Hong Kong and Taiwan passports need special entry permits. Visas and permits may be obtained from Philippine embassies and consulates
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