The republic of the Philippines, consists of an archipelago with 7,107 islands, and have a dramatic and
exciting history. The Spaniards discovered the country in the 1500s, it later became a Spanish colony which was named Philipinas after the reigning king of Spain, Philip II. The last century has
the U.S. had a strong influence on the Philippines, which is evident when a large proportion of the population speaks English. The Philippines is known for its beautiful white beaches, the good
diving, its friendly people and their great hospitality. The landscape is very varied with lush green jungle, waterfalls, beautiful terraces, long beaches and high mountains.
With approximately 34,000 sq km of coral reefs around the Philippines, one finds a great diversity of both coral and fish. There are nudibranchs in rainbow colors, sea snakes, moray eels, pipefish and frogfish, manta rays, sharks, turtles, barracudas and enormous amounts of hard and soft corals. The diving around the Philippines is highly variable with gardens, caves, walls and there is also a wreck cemetery from World War II
President: Rodrigo "Rody" Roa Duterte
Area: about 300,000 sq km, of which 1,830 sq km water
Coastal: 36,289 km
Population: over 101 million inhabitants (2011)
Religion: 92% of the population are Christian
Local Time GMT: Winter +8 hours, summer +7 hours
Language: Filipino even named Tagalog and English are official language. In Visayan they speak the dialect called Visayas or Cebuano.
Currency: Philippine Pesos [PHP]. 100 PHP = about 2 USD. Cash is advisable on many places, while credit cards are accepted on some resorts and dive centers. In Panglao you can find a bank and ATM (cash machine)
Electricity: Adapter necessary on many places, outlet adapted to communicate with two flat pins.
Passport & Visa: No visa required, tourists can stay for 21 days. The passport must be valid for another 6 months. To extend visa is quite easy as
Bureau of Immigration has their offices in many towns.
Vaccinations: No compulsory. Contact your health center or a vaccination Agency for advice.
Food & Drink: The price level of food and drink is very low. Tap water is not drinkable. San Miguel beer is about 40 peso and a full meal dinner on the Alona Beach restaurants is from 200 peso and up (2011) Beside the seafood and Filipino dishes you can find a big variety of restaurants around Alona.
Climate: Tropical with two seasons; amihan, the northeast monsoon (November-April), with cooler weather and the habagat, southwest monsoon (May-Oct), which is warmer. Normaly the Island of Bohol and Panglao don't get affected of typhoons. They are passing farther north in the Visayas.
When to go: Any time is a good time to visit the Philippines, with the possible exception of Holy Week (around Easter), when hotels book out months in advance and prices triple. New Year’s sees a similar hotel crunch in popular spots, but the parties make it worthwhile. Also be aware that during typhoon season (June to early December), tropical storms raging up the east coast can mean foul weather for days, but there’s not much you can do to predict typhoons. Adopt the Filipino maxim – bahala na (whatever will be will be) – and wait it out.
Diving season: Very good throughout the year with a peak in spring. Water temperature is between 26-29C.