Republic of the Philippines
PST (UTC +8)
The Philippines is made up of a total of 7,107 islands, only 2000 of which are inhabited. The islands are broadly categorized under 3 main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. It is the 7th most populated country in Asia and the 12th most in the world.
As a newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy which was once founded upon its agriculture is now moving towards an economy based on services and manufacturing.
It is unsurprising that the Philippines attracts tourists due to its incredibly rich biodiversity found across its islands. The mountains, rainforests and diving spots as well as its impressive cultural heritage all add to the reasons why the Philippines is such an incredible place to experience.
The Philippines experiences a tropical maritime climate meaning that it is normally hot and humid and there are 3 distinct seasons:
The southwest monsoon lasts from May to October and the dry monsoon in the northeast from November to April.
Temperatures in the Philippines normally range from 21°C to 32°C with the coolest month being January and the hottest, May. The yearly average is 26.6°C..
The Philippines sits on the typhoon belt and so most islands experience torrential rains and storms from July to October.
The Philippines is a secular state and stemming from its Spanish cultural influence and it is one of only two Roman Catholic countries in Asia. Its Christian population is at about 90%. The country displays a mixture of Eastern and Western culture. Whilst it undeniably preserves cultural aspects found elsewhere in Asia, its hispanic influence is perhaps most noticeable especially in the architecture and names of streets, towns and provinces.
True to its mixed culture, Philippine cuisine also reflects numerous different influences especially Hispanic, Chinese and American. Dishes vary from the simple to the elaborate and tend to be defined by strong flavours although they are generally less spicy compared to other Asian countries.
Moreover, unlike most Asian countries, Filipinos don’t eat with chopsticks and instead use western cutlery. The most common pairing, maybe due to the common consumption of rice is a fork and a spoon.
These are a sort of push tricycle and are particularly useful for short journeys.
These are motorbike taxis and normally slightly cheaper than the pedicabs.
These are essentially modified army jeeps that were left by the Americans after the second world war. They are frequently painted with images of the Virgin Mary and/or scenes from comic books.They are the main form of urban transport in most cities and are an alternative to bus transport between regions for the longer journeys. They are a popular mode of transport but not ideal for sightseeing along the way due to the narrow window space.
These come in all different shapes and sizes and bus stops are frequent throughout towns and more rural areas, although bus services in more remote areas may only run during the morning.
These often shadow bus routes and despite being quicker than buses, you often have to wait until the van is full before it will set off and they can be fairly cramped as well as more expensive than the bus.
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