Useful information on the Philippines, including all the things to know before leaving for a trip or vacation in this state of Southeast Asia.
Philippines in a nutshell
- Capital: Manila
- Area in sq km: 300,000
- Population: 94,013,200 (2010)
- Religion: 83% Catholic, 9% Protestant, 5% Muslim and other religions.
The Republic of the Philippines is a state of Southeast Asia that occupies an archipelago made up of 7,107 islands, located on one of the deepest ocean pits in the world, between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea to the west, the Luzon Strait to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east and the Celebes Sea to the south.
The archipelago is made up of the major islands of Luzon (northern end), and Mindanao (southern end), and medium-sized islands such as Cebu, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Samar, as well as thousands of islets some of which are not still explored.
The islands are of volcanic origin and their territory is mainly made up of the summit of semi-submerged mountain ranges, which extend from north to south following a pattern parallel to the coasts.
The smaller islands have rugged and mountainous ridges, while the larger ones, in particular Luzon and Mindanao, have a more varied territory, with fertile valleys that interpose the mountain ranges.
On the island of Mindanao there is the highest peak of the archipelago, the active volcano Apo m. 2,954 s.l.m., followed by Mount Pulog (2,928 m. S.l.m.) which is located on the island of Luzon.
The islands have jagged and irregular coasts, often fringed by coral reefs.
The major waterways of the Philippines are the Cagayan, Pampanga and Agno, which flow on the island of Luzon, and the rivers Agusan and Mindanao (also known as Rio Grande de Mindanao), which are located on the Mindanao island.
The Philippines has a hot and humid tropical climate. The seasons are influenced by monsoons.
Rainfall is abundant especially from June to November, a period in which hurricanes can occur.
Temperatures rise in the period from March to May, and drop from December to February making the season cooler.Recommended readings
- Manila: what to see in the capital of the Philippines
- Palawan: what to see on the island of the Philippines
- Philippines: useful information
The majority of the population of the Philippines descends from peoples of various origins, largely mixed with Austronesian ethnic groups.
On the territory there are a very large number of different ethnic groups, while the original population of the archipelago constitutes a very small minority.
In the Philippines, the time difference is 7 hours ahead of Italy, 6 hours ahead when daylight saving time is in Italy.
The official languages of the Philippines are English and Filipino (Tagalog dialect promoted to the official language).
In addition, many dialects are spoken, English is widely used, while Spanish is in disuse.
The economic situation in the Philippines is affected by the strong dependence on international capital and the lack of diversification of trade, as well as a disparity in development between the various regions and significant imbalances in the distribution of income.
The sector that provides the main export products is agriculture, where the majority of the active population is employed, despite the fact that ownership is concentrated in the hands of a few.
Traditional economic activity is the cultivation of rice, while the main industrial crop is sugar cane, the production of which feeds various sugar factories, in fact the industry mainly concerns the processing of local agricultural products.
The manufacturing industry is lacking, and even the discrete mineral resources present in the country are not supported by an adequate transformation industry.
For the purposes of domestic consumption, it is appropriate to keep in mind the contribution that Filipino workers who emigrated abroad send to their families at home.
The tourism sector is expanding.
When to go
The best time to visit the Philippines is from December to May.
The period between June and November is to be avoided, due to the rains and the risk of hurricanes.
To enter the Philippines you need a passport with a residual validity of at least six months upon arrival in the country, and a return flight ticket.
An entry visa is not necessary for stays of less than 21 days, but in case of need it is possible to extend the permit for a single period of a further 38 days, by applying to the Manila Bureau of Immigration, or directly at the airport.
- The international code to call from Italy to the Philippines is: 0063
- The international prefix for telefoanre from the Philippines to Italy is: 0039
The electrical current in the Philippines is 110/220 V - 60 Hz. With electrical sockets type A (2-pin American), type B (American with ground contact) and type C (2-pin European), therefore a adapter.
The official currency of the Philippines is the Philippine Peso (PHP). It is possible to exchange currency at authorized banks, hotels and money changers.
The most popular credit cards are accepted in the main hotels, resorts, restaurants and shopping centers.
How to get
Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Cebu's Mactan International Airport (MIA) are the main airports in the Philippines.
The flag carrier Philippine Airlines operates international flights, and together with other airlines it operates in the country with domestic flights.
The Philippines are well connected with many cities in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
There are no direct flights from Italy, but various airlines, including Cathay Pacific (stopover in Hong Kong), Air China (stopover in Beijing), KLM (stopover in Amsterdam), Emirates (stopover from Dubai), Qatar Airways ( call at Doha), connect Italy to the Philippines.
There are no mandatory vaccinations to go to the Philippines.
Vaccination against yellow fever is required only from travelers older than one year, coming from infected areas.
Vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus, and malaria prophylaxis in risk areas below 600 meters are recommended, subject to medical advice, except in the provinces of Aklan, Bilaran, Bohol, Camiguin, Capiz, Catanduanes, Cebu, Guimaras, Iloilo, Leyte, Masbate nord- Samar, Sequijor, Manila metropolitan area and urban areas.
It is also advisable to follow some hygienic measures, drink only bottled water without adding ice, eat only cooked meats and vegetables, fruit only if peeled personally.
Before departure, it is recommended to take out health insurance that covers medical costs and a possible repatriation.