Manila? You need to know!

Need to Know


            Philippine peso (P)


            Tagalog (Filipino), English


            Tourists of most nationalities receive a free 30-day visa on arrival. You can extend your visa for a fee, but be sure to check the current rules and fees before you travel.


            ATMs are widely available. Take some cash if travelling in remote areas; otherwise, credit cards are accepted at hotels, restaurants and some shops.

 Mobile Phones

            Local SIM cards are widely available, and data and phone credit is cheap. Roaming is possible but expensive.


            Asean common time (GMT plus eight hours)

 When to Go

            AHigh season is dry season for most of the country; December to February are the coolest, most pleasant months.

            AMany resorts triple rates around New Year and before Easter.

 Shoulder (May & Nov)


            ARising May temperatures herald the onset of the wet season around Manila and elsewhere.

            ANovember sees high-season rates kick in.

 Low Season (Jun–Sep)


            AAccommodation prices drop 30% in resort areas.

            APassing typhoons can cause days of torrential rain.

            AEastern seaboard is usually dry, if susceptible to typhoons.

 Useful Websites

            Philippine Newslink ( Thorough pile of news, views, links.

   ( A great listings site for happenings in Manila and around the country.

            Lonely Planet ( Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

            Experience Philippines ( Tourism authority site; good for planning.

            National Commission for Culture & the Arts ( Arts listings and articles on all things Filipino.

 Important Numbers

            Dial 0 before area codes when calling from a mobile phone or a landline outside that region.

 Country code 63 Emergency 117 International dialling code 00 International operator 108 PLDT directory assistance 101171 Exchange Rates

 Australia A$1 P40 Canada C$1 P40 Euro zone €1 P60 Japan ¥100 P46 New Zealand NZ$1 P37 Thailand 10B P15 UK £1 P66 USA US$1 P50        For current exchange rates see

 Daily Costs

 Budget: Less than P1750 (US$35)

            ADorm bed or single room: P400–800

            ALocal meals and three beers: P600

            AMedium-range bangka or jeepney ride: P80

            ATricycle ride: P10

 Midrange: P1750–5000 (US$35–100)

            AAir-conditioned double room: P800–3000

            ARestaurant meal with drinks: P700

            AGroup van or bangka tour: P1000

            ADaily motorbike rental: P500

 Top end: More than P5000 (US$100)

            ABoutique resort: P3500–10,000

            AMeal and drinks at a resort restaurant: P1500

            AOne-way domestic plane ticket: P2000

            APrivate island-hopping trip: P3000-6000

 Opening Hours

            Offices and banks are closed on public holidays, although shops and malls stay open (exception: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, when virtually the entire country closes down).

            Banks 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday (most ATMs operate 24 hours)

            Post Offices 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, to 1pm Saturday

            Public Offices 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday

            Restaurants 7am or 8am to 10pm or 11pm

            Supermarkets 9am to 7pm or 8pm

 Arriving in the Philippines

            Public transport from both the Manila and Cebu international airports requires changing jeepneys several times and isn’t advisable given that taxis are so cheap.

            Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA; Manila) Yellow metered taxis are the best option for getting into town. They are cheap (P225 average to most hotels) and usually plentiful at all four NAIA terminals. Uber is another option, with fares averaging P150 to P200 (off-peak). Check carefully which terminal you arrive at (and, especially, depart from) – you’ll need up to an hour to switch terminals.

            Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB; Cebu) You’ll find a taxi rank of regular metered taxis (P40 flag fall) on the right as you exit. Uber is also an option. Either costs about P300 to the city centre.

 Getting Around

            Air Several discount carriers link a vast range of destinations, primarily with Manila, Clark and Cebu.

            Boat Bangkas, ‘fastcraft’, car ferries and large vessels with bunk beds and private cabins link the islands.

            Van Often the quickest overland option and generally shadows the same routes as buses.

            Bus Comfort and reliability runs the gamut from hobbling skeletons way past their expiration date to long-haul, modern vehicles with air-con and wi-fi.

            Tricycle The Philippine version of a rickshaw, these sidecars bolted to motorcycles are everywhere and will transport you several blocks or kilometres. Being replaced with quieter e-trikes in Boracay, Manila’s Chinatown and elsewhere.

            Jeepney Workhorse of the Philippines, both within cities and towns, as well as between more far-flung destinations.

            For much more on getting around, see Transport

Originally posted 2021-05-05 19:31:30.