Facts about the Philippines

Where in the world is the Philippines?

Ok.. ok.. After watching the It’s More Fun in the Philippines and WOW Philippines videos, probably your next question is: where in the world is the Philippines?

Ok, let me help you.

The Philippines is an archipelago located at 13º00´ N, 122º00´ E. Just kidding! Who understands that?

It is in the Southeast Asia region. It is located just below China/Taiwan, above Indonesia/Borneo and on the right of Vietnam. Or you could just use the map below as your reference.


View Larger Map

The Philippines is composed of 7,107 islands. The 3 main island groups are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Philippine Map
Philippine Map from www.drdf-uppi.net

What’s the capital?

The capital of the Philippines is Manila which is part of the National Capital Region (simply called Metro Manila) that is composed of 16 cities. It is located in Luzon.

What’s the language?

One of the official language is Filipino which is based on Tagalog, one of the dialects.

The other is English. The Philippines is the 3rd largest English speaking country just after the US and the UK. Most Filipinos speak and understand English. Some Filipinos don’t even speak Tagalog. They speak only their native dialect and guess what? English! So, you can pretty much strike up a conversation with anyone in English.

If you get lost, you can just simply ask for directions in English. I’m sure you’ll find some willing Filipinos to help you. Sometimes, they might not understand your accent or get shy but they can just easily grab someone to help you out.

How do I get around the Philippines?

The most common mode of transportation is the jeepney. There are also tricycles which you would use for shorter trips. Of course, there are also buses, taxis or cabs in urban areas.

You need to ride a plane or a boat to get to the islands.
For long boat trips, you can ride a RORO and for shorter trips like island hopping you can ride a bangka.

There are 6 major airlines in the country which offers great deals if you book ahead of time.

I’ll discuss more about the different modes of transportation here, here and here.

What’s the weather like?

The Philippines is a tropical country so expect it to be hot (Average Temperature: 78 degrees F or 25 degrees C)and humid (Average Humidity: 77%).

There are 2 seasons: dry and rainy. But the dry season can further be divided into two – cool dry and hot dry.

Seasons:

Rainy Season – June to November
Cool Dry Season – December to February
Hot Dry Season – March to May

If you are coming for a visit, you can monitor the weather here in the official website the country’s weather bureau – PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration). I know the website looks ugly! 🙂 You can also get the weather app for Android and IOS.

Will I be able to access the Internet?

I know you wanna know this! Internet cafes are available in urban centers and popular tourist spots. Wifi is also available in malls, coffee shops and hotels. You can also access the internet through 3G and 4G mobile networks. So don’t worry that much, you’ll still be able to update your facebook status, tweet and upload travel photos to the envy of your friends back home.

Will my cellphone work in the Philippines?

The mobile network band used in the Philippines are 900/1800, 3G 850/ 2100, 4G LTE, HSPA+ so you could pretty much use your phone here since most phones now are triband.

If you are planning to stay in the Philippines for a while and you’ll be making a lot of local calls, you should just probably buy a new prepaid SIM card which only costs around 30-40 pesos.

Electricity

Most tourist spots have electricity. There’s still a lot of areas in the Philippines that doesn’t have electricity though but usually these are remote areas like an island and mountainous regions. Some remote communities, resorts and hotels have their own generator to light up their places during the night.

If you are doing the off the beaten track type of traveling, of course, don’t expect the place you are going to have electricity.

Also, the Philippines uses 220 Volts AC, 60 Hz so if you have gadgets and equipments with you that’s only for 110 Volts you need a transformer to use it. Keep this in mind so you won’t end up with a toasted, useless gadget. Although, most hotels already have a socket for 110 volts it’s better to check first.

Some more facts about the Philippines:

Population: 96 Million
Local time: UTC/GMT+8 (No DST)
Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP) locally known as piso
Currency denomination: 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, P1, P5, P10, P20, P50, P100, P200, P500, P1,000
Government: Democratic Republic
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Buddhist
Country code: +63
Most popular dish: Adobo
Most popular beer: San Miguel Pale Pilsen and Red Horse