Philippine General Information
Geographically, the Philippines is a part of Southeast Asia. It is situated between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer. The country is bounded on the north by the Bashi Channel, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Celebes Sea and on the west by the South China Sea.
The Philippines is located 965 kilometers from the southeast coast of mainland Asia. Countries north of the Philippines are Taiwan, China and Japan. In the west, its neighboring countries are Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. In the south, its nearest neighbors are Brunei and Indonesia.
The Philippines, being a tropical destination, has two pronounced season—dry and wet. Therefore, Filipinos generally have no concept of spring or autumn.
March, April and May are the hottest months. It is always humid, but reduces with altitude.
December, January and February are the coolest months. It can get quite cold at night in the mountains – under 10 degrees in January – so pack a light jacket.
The typhoon season is June to November, but occasionally typhoons occur outside of the typhoon season.
Near sea level, the temperature is somewhere between warm and very hot, 365 days a year, day and night.
Climate Map of the Philippines
It is dry from November to April and rainy in October in the provinces of Negros, Palawan and Mindoro. This is also the climate of the provinces in the western part of Luzon.
No dry season and with the heaviest rainfalls from November to January in the provinces of Catanduanes and Sorsogon.
The provinces of Cebu, Negros and Romblon do not experience very hot to very rainy seasons in such places the changing of season is not regular although, most of the time the weather is dry from November to April.
Rainfall is distributed throughout the year in places like Batanes and Marinduque.
Most residents and business centers in the Philippines are using 220 volts a/c. However, a number of major hotels also have 110 volt a/c outlets.
Philippine communications are highly advanced with fixed landline telephone service with high-speed DSL internet access packaged into the service, 3G mobile phone service of SMS text messaging, internet access, streaming video and TV. Wireless communication and mobile phone companies are growing at high rates with the new technologies.
All cities and most towns are equipped to handle communication requirements of travelers from postal office to newspapers, cable TV’s down to WI FI internet cafes. Travelers would find themselves knowing every details of global news even away from home.
Telephone: country code 63
Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. If you are visiting the Philippines, it is wise to check your mobile carrier to see if they offer international roaming for your plan. But why would you use your roaming services when it will cost you too much when you can avail inexpensive services while you are in the Philippines. All you need is a GSM unlocked 900/1800 mobile phone and buy a Pre-paid SIM cards of these networks- GLOBE or SMART. Pre-paid SIM cards are easy to acquire and cost as low as P50 (approximately US $1) and provide a cheap alternative to (usually) expensive roaming charges on home networks.
If your unit is locked to your home service provider, cell phone repair shops in various malls have ways of unlocking. If you don’t have a phone to begin with, Nokia the most popular cell phone in the country offers lots of affordable cell phones. The cheapest unit cost 3,000 pesos (around US $60)
SMS Simple Text Messaging
Philippines is usually tagged as the “SMS capital of the world”. This is because ever since the advent of SMS, it has been a vital part of the Filipino lifestyle. Text messages sent locally cost as low as 1.00 peso (around 1 US cent) but sending SMS overseas cost 10-15 pesos per SMS, is way too affordable for foreigners alike.
Inexpensive Mobile Calls
Mobile call and messaging rates are very low compared with other countries, The usual cost of an international long-distance call to the United States, Europe, Australia and other major countries is 40 US cents per minute (approximately 20 pesos). National calls range from 6.50-8.00 pesos (approximately 13-16 US cents) per minute. Both Globe Telecom and Smart Communication often have promotions with discounted call rates to selected countries. You just need to ask the dealers.
Reloading pre-paid SIMs
Reloading pre-paid SIMs is a breeze. Electronic Load (E-Load) stations are sprouting like mushrooms, they are everywhere from small corner stores to the large malls where you just give your mobile phone number and the amount you wish to load. You can purchase pre-paid cards which are available in denominations of 300 and 500 pesos (approximately US$7 and 12 respectively).
There is also a better way how to send email using your mobile phone just have it activated (make sure your phone is capable) Mobile email can cost from 10-15 pesos. Mobile internet browsing rate is 5.00 pesos (around 10 US cents) for 15 minutes for Globe Telecom and 10 pesos (around 20 US cents) for 30 minutes for Smart telecom.
Accessing internet service poses no problem in the Philippines, Internet Cafes are scattered and growing at a rapid pace within the entire Philippine Archipelago due to good telephone system within the three areas, Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao. Internet cafes are plentiful especially in the cities and around the tourist belt. Quality and cost varies tremendously. Services are also available at Philippine hotels. Internet services offered by hotels and shopping malls are little expensive but neighborhood cafes can be as cheap as P15/hour (approximately US$0.35).
Wifi Internet Access
Paid and Free Wifi or wireless internet access is now becoming widely available in coffee shops, resturants, hotels, and shopping malls in the metro areas. Many estalishments offer free Wifi service in exchange for your patronage. Wireless internet access where there are no wifi hotspots is available from Globe Telecom or Smart Communications service consisting of a USB connected adapter connected to your notebook laptop computer with either post-paid or pre-paid plans.
Telex and Fax
Most hotels in the Philippines will offer complete telex, telegraph and facsimile (“fax”) services as well as numerous private businesses.
Mail & Package Services
Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) is the ultimate agency handling the mailing system of the Philippines. It caters to both local and international mail and other special service. Postal Service in the Philippines is reliable and efficient. We have more than 2,000 Post Offices, Distribution Centers and Mailing Outlets located all over the country.
The Manila Central Office in Liwasang Bonifacio in Lawton Manila opens from 9am-5pm. For sending goods and other merchandize through the mail within the Philippines and to other countries, you can use our Philpost-Pak packaging materials. Philpost-Pak packaging materials are guaranteed to protect your items from bumps while in transit, and available at the following sizes at very affordable prices.
International Courier Services
There are several reputable international couriers in the Philippines like FED-EX, DHL, JRS Express, Johnny Air Cargo, UPS and Air 21. These couriers are always nearby, providing convenient drop-off locations that will save your time and money. You can find drop-offs of any of these couriers around Manila and in the provinces, you can even spot them inside the big shopping malls in Metro Manila. Here are some of the addresses of these couriers on some tourist areas
DHL Worldwide Express
Customer Service Hotline:
#19 Brixton St., Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Trunk line: 631-7351 to 56 / Fax No.: 631-7356
UPS (United Parcel Service)
Head Office: 888 Delbros Avenue
Pascor Drive, Barrio Sto. Nino
Paranaque City,Metro Manila 1704
Metro Manila Office
Old MIA Road, Barangay Vitalez
Parañaque City 1700
Customer Service Hotline
Metro Manila: (+63 2)854.2100
Clark: (+63 45) 599-2800
Subic: (+63 47) 252-7575
Cebu: (+63 32) 341-2121
Federal Express ( FED EX)
phone: (63-2) 855-84-84 (Manila)
(63-32) 495-84-84 (Cebu)
Fax: (63-2) 854-02-36
Press and Media Publication
The Philippines have Freedom of the Press, with more than 24 different morning papers to choose from, most of them in English. There is also a wide range of magazines printed in English including Newsweek, Asiaweek, Time, and Reader’s Digest. The International Herald Tribune, USA Today and, Asian Wall Street Journal is also available in Metro Manila and some highly urbanized cities along with fashion and other hobby magazines. The newspapers printed in English-language include the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Star, the Manila Times and the Daily Tribune.
In the Philippines, Cable/ Satellite TV with 100 channels or more is becoming a necessity. So you’ll never miss your favorite news channels like CNN, BBC, Fox and Bloomberg. Local stations also have wide varieties of programming you can choose from. You can see global news at your fingertips.
BBC World Service and the Voice of America can be heard. There are FM radio broadcasting around the country with the latest music being aired
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