The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia with astounding beaches and other natural resources that entice foreigners to visit the country. The old textbooks tell that the Philippines has 7,107 islands until it has been discovered in 2017 that the country already has 7,641 islands. This fact certainly confirms that the Philippines is a must-visit country if you want to experience island life.
Curious to know what is the current time in the Philippines? Check it out below.
Conquered by Spain for 333 years, it’s no wonder that the country was named in honor of Philip II of Spain by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos who was then an explorer back in the 1500s. If you would visit some of the places in the Philippines today, a few of these are still named in Spanish. Some of the words used by the Filipinos are derived from Spanish words as well. One of the best samples:
Como estas in Spanish is Kamusta in Filipino which means “How are you?”
Geographically, the Philippines has been a challenging country to manage because the nation is separated by bodies of water. Classifications were done to easily address how each island is separated. It’s called Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Luzon is where the capital of the Philippines, Manila, is situated. It is also the most populated group of islands and where most international airports reside. The Visayas is the smallest group on the island but it boasts a lot of beautiful tourist spots. Mindanao, on the other hand, is a group of islands with a very rich culture where most ethnic minorities live here. However, some parts of Mindanao are not safe for tourists and even for the Filipinos themselves because of kidnapping and terrorism.
Getting to Know Filipinos
The people of the Philippines are called “Filipino” for males and “Filipina” for females. The slang term for these is “pinoy” for male and “pinay” for female.
Filipinos are known to be hospitable. They are friendly to foreigners although precautions must be considered since some Pinoys could be deceitful most especially in the city – Metro Manila. Some deceitfulness can also happen to tourist spot places except to one place – Coron. Coron that is being taken care of Tagbanua tribe has centralized tourism aiming to preserve the natural beauty of Coron.
The Philippines has 120 to 175 languages but 8 of these are most commonly used such as Bicolano, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Waray, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano and Tagalog. The Philippines official language is Tagalog and English. If you would visit most of the tourist spots, the locals can understand and speak English. The language barrier is not a problem should you worry if you are a foreigner that can speak English, too. For every 100 Filipinos, 94 are basic literate.
It’s unavoidable not to buy anything while traveling. To know how much is the Philippine Pesos in your currency, you can convert it here.
Currency Converter by OANDA
Despite this, it was recently found out in 2019 that the Philippines is in 79th place for Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA is an organization responsible for benchmarking the effectiveness of the curriculum or programs of the countries based on the performance of 15-year old students.
Filipino students are more exposed to narrative content than informational content. Informational content includes an understanding argumentative essay, graphs, data, news article analysis, and etc. The Department of Education is planning to address this alarming study to improve the competency of students.
Philippines Known For
Except for the fact that Philippines is known because of Boracay, Chocolate Hills, and the Underground River, here are the other things that you can only find or experience in the Philippines:
Jeepney is cheap public transportation in the Philippines inspired by the US military back in World War II. Fast forward today, jeepneys have colorful exteriors and longer bodies to accommodate more passengers.
Highly influenced by the Spaniard colonization, the majority of the Philippines’ religion is Catholic. As such, Filipinos celebrate religious festivals or known as fiesta. The most popular ones is the Feast of Black Nazarene where the procession is held every January 9 with over 10 million devotees aiming to touch the holy figure as it brings miracles.
Apart from this, there are other municipalities most especially in the provincial area where fiesta is still being observed. During this event, there will be a procession of the saint figure and later on, a feast happens to own houses with overflowing food. Strangers coming over to the house are deeply welcome.
Long Celebration of Christmas
Christmas in the Philippines does not start in December. Filipinos start hearing Christmas songs as early as September. Ber months means Christmas. Some stores start decorating Christmas ornaments.
December is expected to be busier for Filipinos. They attend simbang gabi which means “night mass.” Loyal devotees would attend nine times starting from December 16 to December 24. Some believe that if they have completed 9 nights, whatever you will wish for will come true. On the night of December 24, the celebration is called Noche Buena.
Basketball is the Most Popular Sport
Mini basketball courts can be seen on the street where kids or teenagers would play. An indication that Filipinos love basketball. Apart from keeping their tabs on during NBA, Filipinos also have their local version called PBA. The university competitions are leaning more on this sport, too.
Karaoke is the Favorite Hobby
Filipinos love to sing! Whenever there are celebrations, karaoke has been a form of way for Pinoys to bond. It is also a Filipino inventor, Roberto del Rosario, who holds the machine’s patent. The Karaoke Sing-Along System was developed in 1975.
Seasons in the Philippines
The Philippines has two seasons – rainy and dry. Here is the weather you can expect for the following months.
January – dry and cool
February – dry and cool
March – dry and warm
April – dry and warm
May – dry and warm
June – rainy and warm
July – rainy and warm
August – rainy and warm
September – rainy/dry and warm/cool
October – dry and warm
November – rainy and cool
December – dry and cool
If you want to enjoy the beach, March to May is the best months to book since these are considered to be the “summer months” in the Philippines although the Philippines don’t have summer. However, before May ends, you may already start to experience the rainy season. Booking in September can be quite tricky because the weather is not mostly stable whereas October is mostly sunny than rainy.
Here are the top recommendations to visit during those months:
- Puerto Galera
- La Union
- El Nido
Meanwhile, during the dry yet cooler season, it would be best to visit places that are elevated to experience much cooler weather.
- Eden Nature Park
- Mount Apo
Airline Companies of the Philippines
Philippine Airlines is the oldest airline in Asia. It is often known to be more expensive than Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. However, the aircraft of this airline tends to be more spacious than Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. The uniform of the flight attendants here is way more formal than Cebu Pacific.
Cebu Pacific and Air Asia are both cheaper. It is said that Philippine Airlines have state-of-the-art upgrades to their planes that made Cebu Pacific sell cheaper tickets.
Cebu Pacific uses smaller planes for trip to Coron. The used aircraft is A320.
Air Asia is another budget plane that you can choose should the flight you wish for are fully-booked.
The punctuality of these airlines is not always on time. Please avoid bomb jokes so your flights won’t get canceled. On the other hand, the airline is accountable for the free transportation, free ticket, and free accommodation should there be canceled flights happened.
What to Bring When Travelling to the Philippines
The Philippines is a warm country so you can survive the vacation without wearing thick jackets. Except when you are traveling to the Philippines for corporate or business meetings, you can only bring and wear slippers or sandals, rubber shoes for trekking, water shoes for snorkeling or canyoneering, a shirt, shorts, swimsuits, sunscreen, deodorant, tampons since Filipinos use napkins, and pants and closed shoes since some bars in Metro Manila won’t let you enter if you’re wearing shorts and slippers most especially for men.
On the other hand, the Philippines use a 220 vault plug so bringing a 220 vault plug adapter is a must although some hotels have 110 vault plugs.
Here are some of the hotel reviews from our travels around the provinces of the Philippines.
Pocket WiFi and power banks will be helpful for your travels, too. Don’t forget to bring GoPro for your water adventures and a drone for your aerial view shots. Take home this memory and fell in love with our country, the Philippines.
To help you decide what tourist spots to visit in the Philippines, see the latest posts below.