Travel Guide: Philippines
Philippines Travel Guide: General Travel Guide Information about Philippines.
This concise travel guide for the Philippines is the property of Day Translations, Inc. and World Interpreting, Inc. We have written this travel guide on the Philippines to help you to develop an understanding for the Philippines and all of the beautiful points to travel. We also want you to understand the nuances of traveling to the Philippines such as how to be safe, what places to see, and much more. We assure you that our travel guide to the Philippines would be a very helpful tool when visiting this beautiful country. We also offer interpreters in the Philippines whenever you need. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need an interpreter in the Philippines or assistance in any way.
As a special service to our clients and readers, we at World Interpreting, Inc. are working hard to offer you something different aside from our language translation and interpretation services. As we actively pursue excellence in our services, we also want you to experience what it would be like to travel to other countries by providing you with concise country and city profiles and other interesting tidbits of information about each country. Travel Guide Philippines is just one of these innovations we are introducing. We will be coming up with more.
Travel Guide Philippines is our initial offering to you. It will take you to different fantastic places in the Philippine Islands as well as some of the famous landmarks and notable places, so you would already have a general idea about the Philippines if and when you decide to actually travel and explore this fascinating and exciting country in Asia.
Travel Guide Philippines could assist you in getting a bird’s eye view of the country’s geography, language, the places of interest, landmarks and things you could do in Philippines as well as give you travel safety tips. We do hope you will come back often to travel with us to other destinations around the world.
:: Introducing Philippines ::
The Philippines is an archipelago in Southeast Asia. This unique country in Asia is one of the most culturally diverse in the region. Unlike other Asian nations, the country is a product of both Malay and Spanish heritages, with the added influence of its Chinese neighbors and ties to the United States. Known for its pristine white beaches, spectacular sunsets, vibrant nightlife and hospitable people, there are 7,100 reasons why travelers choose to explore this country located in the western side of the Pacific Ocean.
Travelers who want to have a different taste of Asia go to the Philippines. Our Philippine pocket travel guide contains a plethora of information, perfect for the busy traveler on the go. It is written in a brief and concise manner, yet is highly informative. Our Philippine pocket travel guide begins with an overview of the country. Travelers would find that the section on places to see and things to do is one of the most useful sections of the travel guide, because it could help travelers create the perfect travel itinerary. Travelers would also know what to pack, with some guidance about the climate in the Philippines. Travelers should also read the suggested travel safety tips to help ensure an enjoyable and hassle free vacation. Finally, it pays to speak the language of the people to be able to communicate your needs. Learn a few Filipino words and phrases used in the Philippines to help you order what you need, ask for directions, bargain when shopping or simply to make friends. The travel guide is easy to understand and organized in brief yet highly informative sections. This makes it a handy reference guide to use.
Where is the Republic of the Philippines? This sovereign country is located in Southeast Asia. It does not share any land boundaries with other countries, although its neighboring countries are Taiwan, Vietnam, Borneo and Indonesia. Where is the Philippines on the map? It sits on geographic coordinates of 14° 35’ North and 121° 0’ East.
The country comprises 7,107 islands, although there are three main geographic islands in the Philippines. These are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The largest island is Mindanao, although the capital city of Manila is located in Luzon. The largest city in the Philippines is Quezon City, which is also in the main island of Luzon. Also, only about 800 of the country’s islands are inhabited. It may not have a massive land area as other countries in Asia, but the Philippines is one of the most biodiverse counties in the world. At the same time, it is also one of the richest in terms of natural resources.
The Philippines is surrounded by rich and biodiverse bodies of water. There is the Luzon Strait on the north, the South China Sea on the West, the Sulu Sea towards the southwest and the Celebes Sea on the south. The Philippine Sea is found in the east. All of them are rich in fish and other marine life.
The country’s land area measures 299,764 square kilometers, or 115,831 square miles. This is inhabited by more than 92 million Filipinos as of 2010, which gives the country a population density of 308 people per square kilometer. The country also ranks as the 12th most populated country in the world. 49% of the total population resides in the urban areas, mostly in the Metro Manila area.
The capital city of Manila has over 11.4 million residents, while Davao has 1.5 million residents and Cebu City has 845,000 inhabitants. Zamboanga has 827,000 people.
There are various ethnic or regional groups in the country. Many are Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Bisaya, Ilonggo, Bikolano and Waray. The people of the Philippines are also largely Catholic, although there is a small Muslim population. In fact, it is the only Roman Catholic country in Southeast Asia, thanks to being a colony of Spain for three centuries.
Over 60% of the population are between the productive working ages of 15-64 years of age, while close to 35% are below 15 years of age. Seniors comprise just over 4% of the population. The country has a young median age of 22.9 years old. At the same time, the population grows by 1.87% a year. This translates to 3.15 children born to every Filipina woman. There are also slightly more males than females in the country. The average Filipino is expected to have a life expectancy of 71.9 years, although women tend to outlive men at 75 years of age versus 68.9 years. Filipinos are literate, with over 92.6% of the population able to read and write.
The exposure to major infectious diseases is quite high in the country. Food and waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis A and typhoid are still prevalent. Dengue fever, malaria and Japanese encephalitis, as well as leptospirosis are also reported. As a developing country, obesity is hardly an issue, with just four percent of the population diagnosed as obese. However, over 20% of children under five years of age are considered underweight.
The Filipino people are some of the most hospitable in the world. Warm, welcoming smiles greet travelers, readily making them feel welcome at all times. They are also known to be the heaviest text message senders in the world. At the same time, they are a hardy and resilient lot, and are able to endure many trials and hardships caused by weather disturbances, extreme poverty as well as political, social and economic turmoil.
The country sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire. This translates to a number of seismic activities and typhoons in the country. The country’s climate is described as a tropical rainforest climate. On average, the daytime temperatures are at around 26 °C or 80 °F.
The summer season is the hottest time of the year to visit the country. Summer lasts from March to May. On the other hand, the coolest time is in December to February. The wettest time of the year is between the months of June to October, wherein the country experiences many monsoon rains. January is recorded as the coolest month, since temperatures average 25 °C or 77 °F. In contrast, May is regarded as the hottest month, since the daytime temperatures could hit a sizzling high 30 °C or 86 °F or even hitting 40 °C, which is about 104 °F. In the month of May, the evening hours could still be quite warm at 27 °C or roughly 80 °F.
Travelers visiting the country should be prepared for hot and humid weather. Lightweight and natural fabrics are a must. There’s no need to bring heavy coats, woolen items or other winter wear. Many people could be seen wearing shorts, sleeveless tops, t-shirts, skirts, resort wear and even flip-flops. Travelers who plan to be out sightseeing, need to wear comfortable shoes and cool lightweight clothing. Be careful of heavy sun exposure; wear a cap or a wide brimmed hat and slather on a thick layer of a high SPF sunscreen. Those who want to enjoy outdoor activities or want to go to the beach should pack the appropriate swimming attire. However, for a night out of town, dress up a bit since some establishments do have a dress code.
Monsoon rains could be quite windy accompanied by heavy rainfall. In the Philippines, this could cause severe flooding in many areas. The southwest monsoon winds experienced between May to October is called habagat, while the northern monsoon winds that occurs from November to April is called amihan. The country’s hot and humid tropical climate could be off-putting for some travelers, but it is perfect for enjoying the many beaches found in the country or engaging in a number of outdoor activities.
The country’s history accounts for the diversity of its people. For over three centuries, it was a colony of Spain. The country’s name came from King Philip II of Spain, when it was discovered by Europeans in 1542. Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to land on Philippine shores. Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the islands Felipinas, which later evolved to Las Islas Filipinas.
It is believed that the islands were inhabited as far back as 67,000 years ago. The Negritos are believed to be the first inhabitants of the country. Later on, various groups settled on the land, traversing land bridges.
In the 16th century, the islands became a colony of Spain. It was declared an independent country from Spain on June 12, 1898. In the 19th century, it was placed under American rule. In 1935, the Philippines became a Commonwealth government, in preparation for a ten-year transition period towards independence. However, this was thwarted because of World War II, and the Philippines became occupied by Japanese soldiers. Liberation from the Japanese happened in 1945, fulfilling General Douglas MacArthur’s promise to the Filipinos, “I shall return.” On July 4, 1946, the country achieved independence from the Americans.
The country faced many challenges towards the end of the 20th century such as insurgency, debts, government corruption, several coup attempts and threats from Islamic separatists. Ferdinand Marcos placed the country under Martial Law in 1972, enabling him to hold office for 20 years. He was later removed from office after a mass protest of the people, called People Power, propelling his main opposition’s widow, Corazon Aquino, to become president. This has successfully been duplicated in many parts of the world seeking to change government through peaceful means. Aquino’s son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, would become the 15th Philippine president just over two decades later.
The official language spoken in the country is Filipino, which is largely based on Tagalog and some words in Spanish that have been adapted to the vernacular. However, there are a number of dialects in the country. Regional languages include Bikolano, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilokano, Pampango, Waray, Pangasinense and Tagalog. Fortunately, many Filipinos are articulate in speaking English. Also, our Philippine Travel Guide has a section on useful words and phrases in Filipino that travelers would surely find useful. When foreigners attempt to speak Filipino, the people usually respond positively with warmth and appreciation.
The Philippines is an emerging economy. In 2010, it grew an impressive 7.6% before dropping down to a dismal 3.7% in 2011. Poverty is still a major economic issue. The currency used in the country is the Philippine peso (PHP) or piso. The country’s GDP (PPP) is an estimated US$394 billion. This gives it a per capita GDP of US$4,111.
Services are the backbone of the Philippine economy, accounting for over 54% of the country’s GDP. This is followed by industry and agriculture. The industry sector includes electronics assembly, garments, footwear, pharmaceuticals, wood products, food processing and petroleum refining, while agricultural products include sugarcane, coconuts, rice, cassava, pineapples and mangoes. In its favor, the country has a strong, young and cheap labor force of over 39 million people. However, the unemployment rate sits at 7.2% and a third of the population sits below the poverty line. The inflation rate in the country is at a high 5.3%. Main trading partners include, China, U.S., Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Thailand, the Netherlands and South Korea.
Travelers would find that the Philippines has produced some exceptional people. The world’s best pound for pound fighter, Manny Pacquio is Filipino, as is Sir Laurence Olivier and Tony award winner artist Lea Salonga. Another rising entertainer is Charice Pempengco (also known as Charice). Journey lead singer, Arnel Pineda, also hails from the Philippines. The Fashion Czar of Asia is Pitoy Moreno. Furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue hails from Cebu. Other famous personalities that have Filipino blood include wrestler Dave Batista Jr., Pussycat Doll’s lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, actor Lou Diamond Phillips, apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas and actor Rob Schneider.
Use our Travel Guide Philippines to help you learn more about the country and to create a fun and memorable vacation. By learning about the history, culture and traditions of the people, travelers could have a better appreciation of what makes the Philippines special and see why “It’s more fun in the Philippines!”
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