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.
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.
Philippine Newslink (www.philnews.com) Thorough pile of news, views, links.
ClickTheCity.com (www.clickthecity.com) A great listings site for happenings in Manila and around the country.
Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/philippines) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
Experience Philippines (www.experiencephilippines.org) Tourism authority site; good for planning.
National Commission for Culture & the Arts (ncca.gov.ph) Arts listings and articles on all things Filipino.
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 www.xe.com
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
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.
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.