Friday, November 18, 2011

How to get to Boracay

If you are carrying heavy equipment, PAL is the best airlines to choose, as they use Boeing 737-300s on this route with normal 20kg (44lb) checked baggage allowance (if you have Flying Sportsman Card you can carry even more). They have several flight a day from Manila to Kalibo, as well as flights from other islands. You then take a 1 1/2 to 2 hr bus or jeepney ride from Kalibo to Caticlan, where you board bangkas to ferry you across to Boracay.
(For the return journey, the buses leaving Caticlan are timed to meet the flights departing from Kalibo airport.)
This route is highly organized. You will be accosted at Manila domestic airport Terminal One by representatives of the two main transfer operators, southwest and 7107 Islands Tour Management Inc., who will sell you an all-in ticket for both an air-conditioned bus and the bangka transfer (the bangkas have radio contact with the transfer organizers). You could save some money by getting a jeepney from Kalibo to Caticlan and haggling with the bangkas, but it is hardly worth it if you are carrying any heavy equipment.
The bus ride from Kalibo to Caticlan can be avoided by flying directly to the little airstrip at Caticlan with either Air Philippines, Asian Spirit or Pacific Air. Smaller aircraft are used on this route with a checked baggage limit of 10kg (22lb)
.It is only a short crossing from Caticlan to Boracay but, depending on the tide, you will at least get your feet wet or possibly have to wadewhen embarking and disembarking, so it is worth wearing shorts and sandals. The bangkas tend to be overloaded and the crossing can be wet, so protect any equipment that you want to keep dry.
The bangkas call at regular stopping points along White Sand Beach, so it is a good idea to know in advance where you are staying.
The only types of mechanized transport permitted on Boracay are motorcycles and motor tricycles and these are barred from the beach. If the weather is rough, you will be dropped on the leeward (east) side of the island, where you will be met by motorized or pedal tricycles for transport.
Some of the larger up-market resorts have their own ferry service, also, if there are enough of you going to one particular resort, the bangkas will drop you there. Bangkas ply the route from other provinces as well.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Manny Pacquiao Vs Marquez III Fight - November 11, 2011

 The most awaiting fight will be tomorrow of the guy whom i admire, there's no other than Manny Pacquiao, the wealthy and humble billionaire boxer of our country. Our full support and prayer for you to win the battle tomorrow against Marquez... GO GO GO MANNY, we expect you to bring home the BACON... :)

Philippines- The Visayas

The Visayas are the large central group of islands between Luzon and Mindanao, comprising Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar, six of the Philippines' eleven major land masses, plus innumerable smaller islands, straits and channels.

One of the tourist attraction in Visayas is the Boracay. Boracay is a classic tropical paradise: sun-scorched fine white sand, a turquoise sea and a background of swaying palm trees set against an azure sky. Add a variety of watersports, trekking trails, accommodation of all standards from simple nipa palm huts to air-conditioned de luxe results, a good international variety of restaurants and bars without too many discotheques, and you have the perfect holiday destination for all the family - although sand flies, locally called nik-niks, can be a nuisance after rain.
Lying between the Sibuyan and Sulu Seas, just to the north of Panay Island in the Visayas, Boracay was discovered by backpackers in the early 1970s. Initially its existence was a closely guarded secret, confined mainly to German and Swiss visitors, but slowly the word go out, and the trickle of visitors became a deluge.
As Boracay is only 7km (4 1/2 miles) long and barely more than 1km (0.8 miles) wide, the quiet atmosphere could soon have been ruined, but there has been an active movement to control building development. Few tracks can take vehicles, motorized transport is limited to motorcycles and tricycles, and no vehicles are allowed along the beaches.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Palawan - Philippines


Palawan is one of the Philippines' best place for diving sites. The area have this beautiful and nice beach resorts for tourists and travellers(foreign nationals). A paradise island for some. Palawan is known for its Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.

Coron is the third largest island in Northern Palawan in the Philippines. Coron island has lakes, forest and hot springs. Makinit Hot Springs is one of the best in the Philippines; you can soak in two hot sulphurous pools, then cross 5m (16 ft) of beach to cool off in the sea. Lake Abuyok, 11m (360ft) deep, is wort a visit. Coron island also has some Tagabanua-semi nomads of Negrito descent.

The Northern part of Palawan has hundreds of tiny, picturesque island, which cover the richest fishing areas in the Philippines. Those either side of the main island are often reminiscent of southwest Thailand, combining sheer cliffs rising out of the water and white sandy beaches.   

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to get to Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera is on the northern tip of Mindoro Island, 2 hr by road from Manila to Batangas, followed by 2 hr by ferry. The easiest way to get there is to take the SIKAT bus and ferry service that departs every morning at 8:00 from the City State Tower Hotel, 135A Mabini Street, Ermita, Manila. It is not possible to buy a return ticket, this has to be bought at Puerto Galera. The return ferry leaves Poblacion at 9:00 daily. Ferries do not run doing typhoon warnings.

Alternatively, BLTB buses depart from E. de los Santos Avenue, Pasay City, for Batangas City, from where you can get a jeepney to the pier or the ferry terminal. Other buses run from the terminus in Plaza

At Batangas Ferry Terminal, there is a choice of "bangkas" that will take you directly to some of the more popular beaches at Puerto Galera.
If you disembark at Poblacion, jeepneys may be hired to reach Sabang, from where it is a 15 minutes walk to the beaches, although you would not want to carry luggage. In fact, the easiest way to get to most of the beaches from Poblacion is to hire a "bangka". You can cut costs by sharing, but they are not very big. Due to their outriggers, "bangkas" are not capable of mooring side-on to a jetty, so they are awkward to board without getting wet, and you will have to wade ashore at your beach destination: it is useful to wear shorts and sandals.

Pandan island is nearest to the town of Sablayan on the Mindoro mainland. To reach Pandan Island by air, you fly from Manila to San Jose, take either a public or pre-arranged jeepney to Sablayan and then a water taxi to Pandan island. By land and sea, you take a bus or car to Batangas from where, there are weekly ferries to Sablayan. Alternatively, from Puerto Galera, you can charter a "bangka" to Abra de Ilog and then take a jeepneys to Sablayan.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mindoro and Puerto Galera

The island of Mindoro lies south of Luzon and is divided into two provinces, Mindoro Occidental in the west and Mindoro Oriental in the east. It is the coastal areas which are populated while the inland forest and mountainous areas are home to various tribal peoples. Fishing, rice cultivation and coconut plantations are the main agricultural activities on the island. Mindoro Occidental is not a tourist destination whereas Mindoro Oriental has become a popular venue for travellers.
Oh well, Mindoro is a place where this man, Jason Buzi(someone who is a REAL ESTATE INVESTOR/AGENT)whom I met online visited the area and according to him, " I was really bored over there(Mindoro). Except for one ride on the carabao and one cockfight, there was nothing interesting to see or do. It was hot and there was no running water in the house, just bucket shower. There was nothing around except farms and nothing to do."
Yes, there are some areas who do not have running water but just deep well, but then still, it's nice to at least a stranger like him experienced these things he wasn't used of.
Mindoro is famous for its beautiful beaches and wonderful dive sites(one is Pandan Island). This place is very productive for its natural resources such as vegetables, fish, rice and salt.

Puerto Galera
Situated 150 km (95 miles) from Manila on a beautiful natural harbour, with many fine beaches, sheltered coves and a backdrop of lush green hills, Puerto Galera ('Port Galleons') has been since the 10th century a port where ships can safely shelter from typhoons. Billed as the "Pearl of Mindoro", this is now an international travellers' beach resort. In the early days the area earned a bad name, with hastily built huts crammed on top of each other, budget travellers', "hospitality girls" and soft frugs. Some areas are still very crowded with bars and discotheques, but others are beautiful places to stay. Many expatriates have fallen in love with the place, married local girls and even set up their own businesses.

Friday, October 14, 2011

For Divers: How to get to La Union and Subic Bay

How to get to La Union
To get to La Union, you can fly from Manila to baguio, then take a 2 hour bus ride to San Fernando using either Marcita Liner or Philippine Rabbit. Alternatively, you can travel by Philippine Rabbit direct from Manila (6 hr); there are several departures each day from the terminus on Rizal Avenue Extension, near the Chinese cemetery in Caloocan. Swagman Travel operate an Angeles/La Union/Baguio/Angeles bus service, with connections to Manila. But the easiest way to get to San Fernando is by car. During the rainy season, check the roads have not been closed by mud slides.

How to get to Subic Bay
To get to Subic Bay from Manila, you can take a Victory Liner bus to Olongapo (2 - 3 hr, depending on Manila's traffic). These leave every 30 minutes from the Victory Liner bus stations at Pasay and Caloocan. From Olongapo bus station, take a motor tricycle or any blue jeepney to Barrio Barretto, or a motor tricycle to the Freeport zone; motor tricycles are not allowed  into this zone, so you must ask at the gate for a representative of hotel to come and fetch you. Swagma Travel operate a bus service to Subic Bay from Manila, or you can fly.
The ferry service with a Supercat 6 called OK KA Ferry to or from Manila is recommended. Operators can transfer you from the ferry terminal to the resort.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Eruption of Mount Pinatubo

Mount Pinatubo Eruption
On June 15, 1991 Mount Pinatubo, just 33 km (120 miles) from Subic Bay, erupted with a force eight times greater than the Mount St Helen's eruption of 18 May 1980. Volcanic ash rose high into the atmosphere, affecting the world's weather for several years and, more locally, smothering everything to a depth of 30 cm (1 ft). Further earthquakes and a typhoon passing over Northern Luzon turned the event into a 36 hr nightmare, with many deaths. All non-essential base personnel and dependants were evacuated, but most had returned by the end of September, by which time the base had been largely cleared up and got back into operation. 

However, that month, the Military Bases Agreement of 1967 expired and the Philippine Senate voted to reject any further agreements. The Americans were given 3 years to leave. The US forces' withdrawal finally happened in November 1992.

Olongapo And Subic Bay - World War II

In World War II, Subic Bay and Olongapo were heavily bombed and eventually overrun by the Japanese. On 11 December 1941, Japanese Zero aircraft strafed the Catalina patrol aircraft used by the base, sending seven of them to the muddy bottom; they have not yet been found by divers.

On 14 December the Japanese inflicted heavy bombing on Olongapo and by 24 December, it was obvious that the situation at Subis Bay was hopeless. The order was given to destroy the station and withdraw. Olongapo and the base were torched and the old station ship, the ex-USS New York was towed out into the bay and scuttled. The Japanese army marched into Olongapo on 10 January 1942. The Amercans re-took Subic Bay at the end of January 1945, established a new Olongapo just inland of is pre-war site, and built up the Subic Bay Naval Base to be the US Navy's largest supply depot outside the USA.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Subic Bay Pampanga

Naval Base

Subic Bay was originally established as a naval base by the Spanish in 1885, when they realized that it had better deep-water facilities and did not suffer from the malaria problems of their existing base at Cavite, in Manila Bay.

In April 1898 war broke out between Spain and the USA Asiatic Squadron, under Commodore George C. Dewy, set sail from Hongkong to attack the Spanish fleet. The Spanish scuttled the gunboat San Quintin at the eastern entrance of the bay between Grande Island and Chiquita Island (where she remains today, as a dive site). They intended to defend the western entrance with the wooden cruiser Castilla, but they changed their minds and retreated to Manila Bay. Filipino revolutionaries took advantage of this, setting up their own revolution, but this was eventually quashed by the Americans when they decided to take over the area in late 1899. They began establishing the naval base in 1900. 

La Union

La Union Cottage and Beach Resort
La Union
La Union, at the northern end of the Lingayen Gulf, is a thriving beach-resort area catering for Europian tourists and expatriate residents; its most popular beaches are around Bauang, just south of San Fernando. Most visitors do not seem to mind the 6 hr bus trip from Manila or the 2 hr down the mountain from Baguio. San Fernando airport is now open again.
Because of the considerable Chinese influence in this area, the Chinese restaurants are worth a visit. The Mandarin House on Quezon Avenue is good. San Fernando is noted for its seafood. The local delicacy, "jumping shrimp salad", is perhaps not for everyone: tiny shrimps are marinated alive in spiced vinegar and lime.


Luzon Images This is the crater of Mount Pinatubo

The island of Luzon accounts for approximately one third of the land area of the Philippines. The landscape of Luzon is mainly mountainous, covering over 100,000 sq km (38,610 sq miles), and includes three major volcanoes, Taal, Mount Mayo and Mount Pinatubo. About half the population of the Philippines live on Luzon and it is the most important industrial and agricultural island in the archipelago. It is also the home of the nation's capital city, Manila, which has a population of more than 9 million.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Typhoon in the Philippines

The word "typhoon" was derived from Cantonese "tai fung" which means "great wind". Locally called "bagyo" in tagalog. Typhoon is a tropical cyclone in which the surface windspeed exceeds 119 km per hour (76 miles).

Typhoons form over warm oceans when several thunderstorms release heat as moisture that condenses to form rain. The center, or "eye", is a calm area about 30 km (19 miles) in diameter and of very low barometric pressure. Around the eye, cyclonic winds spread over an area up to 1500 km (190 miles) in diameter, with the maximum intensity just outside the eye. Winds circling the eye are accompanied by torrential rain and can reach 300 km (190 miles) per hour in extreme cases.

In the Philippines, the typhoon season is June to November. They are most common north of 15 degrees N and very rare south of  10 degrees N. There is a three-stage warning system in the Philippines. Signal 1 means, a possible typhoon within 72 hours, signal 2 within 48 hours and signal 3 within 36 hours. With 7107 islands in this archipelago, there will always be good, safe picnic, touring, mountain climbing, diving, etc in the lee of an island somewhere!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Electricity and Communications in the Philippines

MERALCO company is the main source of electricity in the Philippines. The electricity supply is mostly 220 volts, 60 cycles, though the actual voltage is often much less, particularly in the provinces. Brownouts and blackouts are much less of a problem than in the past, but unplug any appliances during power cuts or periods of low voltage, as there may be heavy surges when the electricity returns to normal. A major problem is that, the most of the plugs and sockets are of the standard US two or three-flat-pin type, normally used for the 110 volts. To make matters worse, there are some 110-volt supplies using plugs and sockets of the Continental European two-round-pin type normally associated with 220 volts! Where three-flat-pins are used, the earth pin is not interlocked as in Europe, so two-pin plugs can still be inserted.

Meralco Building
Many larger hotels now have a system where a plastic rectangle that is permanently attached to the room key, or is the room key itself, must be inserted into a slot in your room for the electricity to be switched on. This is a nuisance if you wish to charge batteries or keep the air-conditioning on while you are out. Many of these systems can be kept switched on by inserting a piece of stiff cardboard or plastic into the slot. 

Communications have improved recently in the Philippines. Most areas now have cellular telephones and there are more overland telephone lines than before; many of the Filipinos have their own e-mail addresses, access to an internet café or have their own computer at home or laptop.  However, telephone access is not always reliable, then few areas do not have telephone connections and in other places, the connections can be interrupted by power failures. Some of the larger resort hotels have set up their own satellite communications systems, but this does not mean that they will answer your inquiries.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Health in Philippines

The Philippines is a clean country, but you should exercise caution in remote areas. Tap water is safe to drink in towns and large resorts, but may not be so in smaller resorts and may be too salty to drink in others. Bottled drinks(wilkins brand is the most popular in this place) are always available, though carbonated drinks and beer are often cheaper than mineral water. Freshly cooked food and peeled fruit are safe to eat. Food cooked fresh in front of you at roadside stalls and small restaurants can be safer to eat than the food in luxury hotels, where it is often cooked earlier and then reheated. Power cuts may cause refrigeration to be irregular.

Malaria is a problem only in parts of Palawan and remote Mindoro and Mindanao. Some of the strains of malaria in Southeast Asia are now immune to prophylactics, but taking these will still be helpful. Remember to start taking the tablets two weeks before your trip and to continue for 6 weeks after your return. Dengue fever like malaria carried by mosquitoes can also occur. Insect repellent and mosquito nets should be used where necessary. AIDS is a growing problem, but not on the same scale as in some other parts of Southeast Asia.

Hospital standards are variable. Those in major cities and private clinics are generally better than those in outer areas. Foreigners can usually buy prescription drugs over the counter in pharmacies, but these may not have had refrigerated storage. Do not forget the strength of the sun on a white beach.

Philippine Fiestas

The Philippines is a country of fiestas, during which everything else stops. If one occurs during your visit, there is no point in getting uptight about time lost- it is better to join in the fun. Fiestas celebrate harvests, births and victories, as well as religious events. Like all modern religions, the Catholicism of the Spanish was overlaid on existing practices, with events taking place on dates formerly associated with odd rituals. Celebrations are found in every ethnic group and may be large regional events, or small local happenings. Activities center on the church, from where they proceed into the community.

Some fiesta pics in the Philippines

Quiapo Fiesta

 Children at the Fiesta

Philippine Festivals

These are our Philippine Festivals here. There are maybe some that I wasn't able to mention here but at least tried my best though just to give you an idea. 

January: New Year's Day, First Sunday, Three Kings; Second Tuesday, Black Nazarene, Manila; Third weekened, Ati-Atihan, Boracay; Sto Ni ño de Cebu; Fourth weekend, Dinagyang, Iloilo. 

February: 1-3, Feast of our Lady of Candles; 11, Feast of our Lady of Lourdes, Quezon City.

March/April: movable, Holy Week; Friday before Palm Sunday, Feast of the Virgin de Turumba, Palm Sunday; Holy Monday; Maundy Thursday, Good Friday; Easter Sunday.

May: whole month, Santacruzan; 6, Pilgrimages to Corregidor; 15, Pahiyas.

June: 22-25 Halaran Festival; 24, Manila Day; Feast of Saint John the Baptist.

July:  4-7 Pagoda Festival- held in Bocaue, Bulacan.

October: 3, Feast of our Lady of Solitude; 2nd sunday, La Naval de Manila.

November: 1, All Saints' Day. 

December: Dec 1 to Jan 2, Christmas; 8, Feast of our Lady of Immaculate Conception; 8-9 Feast of our Lady of Caysasay; 16-25, Misas de Gallo; 24, Christmas Eve; Last Sunday, Bota de Flores; 28 Holy Innocents' Day; 30 Jose Rizal Day; 31, New Years Eve.

Islamic Festivals: Different holidays and feast are celebrated in the Islamic areas of the Philippines. These follow a lunar calendar and thus fall 1 days earlier each year. They include Muslim New Year, The Prophet Mohammed's Birthday, Ramadan, etc. 

Pahiyas festival

Dinagyang Festival

Christmas Lantern Contest

Philippine Tourist Offices

Infos and details of philippine tourist offices written below. I hope that this eventually help you. Any tourist related concerns or issues, just call them.

Department of Tourism Website: 

 Manila Head Offices:
Department of Tourism, DOT Building, Agrifina Rizal Park, Manila
Tel no. (632) 524 1751 

Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation,
4th Flr. Legaspi Towers 300 Roxas Blvd., Manila
Tel No. 525-9318/525-7312

Domestic Tourist Information Centers:
DOT Complex, Gov. Pack Road, Baguio City 2600
Tel.:(6374) 442 6708 / 442 7014
Fax: (6374) 442 8848

Oasis Country Resort, National Highway,
Bgy. Sevilla, San Fernando, La Union 2500
Tel.: (6372) 888 2411
Fax: (6372) 888 2098
Cell. Phone: (0917) 791 5346

29 Rizal Street
Tuguegarao City
Cagayan Valley Region
Tel.: (6378) 844 5364/1621
Fax: (6378) 844 1621 / 844 1736 c/o PNA
Cell. Phone: (0917) 903 2849

Paskuhan Village, San Fernando, Pampanga 2000
Tel.: (6345) 961-2665/2612
Fax: (6345) 961-2612
Cell. Phone: (0919) 427 8351
National Capital Region & Regional Office
No IV, Room 208, DOT Building
TM Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila 1000
Tel. 32-5241969/ fax 32-5267656

Regional Office No. V
Regional Center Site Rawis, Legazpi City
Legazpi City (052) 482-0077
Fax #: (052) 820-5039

Regional Office No. VI
Magsaysay Village, La Paz, Iloilo City
(033) 320-09-07
(033) 320-00-93
Fax #: ((033) 320-09-08

Regional Office No. VII
Gov. Manuel Cuenco Avenue Banilad, Cebu City
(032) 231-19-16
(032) 2317015
Fax #: (032) 232-8632
(032) 231-7014

Regional Office No. VIII
Government Center Candahug, Palo, Leyte 6501
(053) 323-63-56
(053) 323-60-36
Fax #: ((053) 323-7110

Regional Office No. IX
Pettit Barracks Zamboanga City, P.O. Box 118
(062) 991-10-24
Fax #: (062) 991-2752

Regional office No. X
J.R. Borja Memorial Hospital Compound. Carmen,
Cagayan de Oro City
(08822) 72-81-02
(08822) 72-38-02
Fax #: (088) 858-3932

Regional Office No. XI
Davao Medical Center Compound. cor. Friendship & Dumanlas Roads. Bajada,
Davao City
(082) 221-52-95
(082) 221-59-71
Fax #: (082) 226-3921

Regional Office No. XII
DOST Regional Office No. XII
LTP Complex, Cotabato City
(064) 421-27-11
(064) 421-69-08
Fax #: (064) 421-1586

No. 174 km. 2, J.C. Aquino Ave., 8600 Butuan City
Tel. No. (6385)2255712/3418413
Fax No. (6385)3416371

Bacolod Field Office
Bacolod Plaza, Bacolod City 6100
Tel: 34-29021/ fax: 34-4332853

Boracay Field Office
Villa Camella, Boracay, Malay, Aklan Marilyn
Tel: (036) 288-5267

Overseas Offices:
Australia: Philippine Department of Tourism
Level 1, Philippine Centre, 27-33 Wentworth Ave., NSW 2000
Tel.: (612) 9283 0711
Fax: (612) 9283 0755

China:  Philippine Tourism Office
Embassy of the Philippines,
Room 14-01 CITIC Tower A
Peoples Republic of China 100004
Tel. No. (8610) 65128809 (trunk line)
(8610) 85262330 (direct line)
Fax No. (8610) 85262331

Uhlandstrasse 97
10715 Berlin, Germany
Fax: +49-30-873-2551

400 Orchard Road, #06-11 Orchard Towers, Singapore 238875
Tel.: (65) 6738 7165
Fax: (65) 6738 2604

USA: Philippine Tourism Center
556 Fifth Ave., New York, New York 10036 USA
Tel.: (1) (212) 575 7915
Fax: (1) (212) 302 6759

Manila Economic & Cultural Office
Philippine Representative Office
Tourism Center, 4/F Metrobank Plaza, 107 Chung Hsiao E. Road, Section 4, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel.: (886-2) 277 35724
Fax: (886-2) 2741-5994

Japan: Philippine Tourism Center
2/F Dainan Bldg., 2-19-23 Shinmachi, Nishi-ku Osaka 0013, Japan
Tel.: (816) 6535 5071/72
Fax: (816) 6535 1235

Canada: Philippine Department of Tourism
151 Bloor Street, West Suite 1120, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1S4 Canada
Tel.: (416) 924 3569
Fax: (416) 924 8013

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Accommodation and Entry Formalities in the Philippines

Accommodation has improved over recent years, as cheaper establishments continue to be knocked down and replaced by new facilities. There is a range of accommodation to suit all tastes, from the very basic to relatively upmarket establishments. Suggestions for where to stay are given in the Regional Directory at the end of each regional section.

Entry Formalities
Chinese, Indians and citizens from socialist countries require a visa before entering Philippines. They will be given 21 days upon their arrival for their visa.
If someone intends to stay longer than 21 days but not more than 59 days, you may obtain a multiple-entry 59-day visa from Philippine Consulate. Visas can be extended within the country for a fee, the length of stay being up to the discretion of the immigration personnel.

Sorry, I can't provide a picture of the Philippine Consulate here in the Philippines, this photo(Philippine General Consulate in California) attached here was from a friend, Jason Buzi, he sent me this September 5, 2011. Want to thank him of sending this one. The pic sending was I think not a total co-incidence but this served with a purpose. (Things always happened for a purpose.)

The Filipino People

The Philippines' most outstanding feature is its people, a  mixture of Malay, Chinese, Spanish and American. Filipinos have been described as having emerged from 350 years in a convent and 50 years in Hollywood! They are a fascinating blend of east and west, with ancient and modern ways, and spontaneous love of pleasure. They compromise 111 cultural and linguistic groups; the dominant religion is Catholicism, with a significant number of protestants and Muslims.

The Philippines is the world's third-largest English-speaking country, after the USA and the UK. Pilipino, a form of Tagalog, is the national language, but English is used for commercial and legal transactions. The literacy rate is high, at 88 %.

Some 6 million Filipinos make up cultural minority groups, though this number includes 4 million Muslims. About 25,000 are Negritos, dark skinned people, known as the original Filipinos, and the rest are individual tribal groupings of Malay/Polynesian origin. They tend to live in their own culture, in remote areas, rather than in mixing in with modern Filipino society.

The tribes most likely to be encountered by divers are the Bajau, Ifugao, Mangyan and Yakan. The bajau sea gypsies live in the Sulu Archipelago, in the South of the Philippines, and also across in Borneo and Indonesia. Most of them have given up the gypsy life, living either on their small boats (lipas) or in stilt houses over the water, though often on very remote islands and sandbanks. They survive mainly from fishing, but some of them gather sea cucumbers for Chinese restaurants and other cultivate seaweed, which is exported to Japan. The Ifugao tribe lives in the mountain of Northern Luzon, where they are responsible for the beautiful Banaue rice terraces. Some of the older ones still dress in their traditional red costume while others merely wear it to pose for tourist cameras. More than 50,000 members of the Mangyan tribe still live in Mindoro. Most of them have retreated into the mountainous interior, but there are some villages near Puerto Galera that everyone can arrange to visit. The Yakan are muslims who mainly inhabit Basilan island, south of Zamboanga (on Mindanao), though some of them have settled near Zamboanga itself. Mostly living by agriculture and cattle breeding, they are famous for their weaving.

And the modern Filipina of the current time(modern in some ways but conservative at heart most of the time) and that is yours truly Miss Jean.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Philippine Money

The unit of Philippines currency is called peso, which is divided into 100 centavos. The smallest coin currency in PI is 5 cents; the biggest paper money is 1,000 pesos. 

Most credit cards are widely accepted; credit card fraud does exist, as in any other country. Travellers' cheques are also widely accepted, with most hotels and exchange offices requesting to see the  certificate of issue from your bank. The larger cities have a remarkable number of legal money changers, often streets full of them, but you may have to ask around for one that changes travellers' cheques. Remarkably, the bigger hotels give a better exchange rate for travellers' cheques than many exchange offices on the street. But it can be difficult to change travellers' cheques in some areas, even in Boracay, Puerto Galera, Moalboal and Bohol; but cash dollars will always be accepted. 

The US dollar is the most accepted foreign currency to carry in remote places, but most hard currencies will be accepted in the cities and larger hotels. There is no real black market, so avoid anyone who approaches you in the street.

Customs in the Philippines

Items for personal use are not a problem. Duty-free allowances are 400 cigarettes, 100 cigars or 500g (18 oz) of tobacco and two bottles of alcohol of not more than 1 litre each. Prohibited items include weapons, ammunition, explosives, obscene material and gambling equipment. Foreign currency in excess of 3,000 USD must be declared on entry, and it is wise to keep all certificates of currency exchange until you leave. In theory you can reconvert pesos to hard currency at the airport before you leave, but the banks may be closed. Up to 500 pesos maybe exported, but they have no value outside the Philippines. It is best to spend any excess of local currency, just an advice from a filipina, someone who is a native here, and that is ME.

Travelling in Philippines

Most of the world's major international airlines operate services to the Philippines' main airport- Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Metro Manila. The best connections are with Singapore Airlines who fly to Manila and Cebu daily via Singapore.Other popular carriers from Europe are Malaysia Airlines and Royal Brunei Airlines. Philippine Airline resumes its flight to Europe 2009. Mactan International Airport, in Cebu, is served by direct flights from Japan, Singapore and Hongkong. Most ports in the Philippines can be reached by sea, but there are no official international passenger routes. If you do arrive by sea you will require an outbound air ticket before you will be allowed entry.

This is NAIA

Our PAL (Philippine Airlines)

Mactan International Airport

Philippine History

The early Negrito/Malay/Polynesian inhabitants of the Philippines were little disturbed until a thousand years ago, when Arab, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian traders arrived. Islam was introduced in the 14th century, sweeping across the southern islands.

In 1521 AD the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, in the service of Spain, landed on Homonhon, an uninhabited island to the south of Samar. He soon moved on to the flourishing trading port of Cebu, converting the local people to Christianity and claiming the land for Spain. Later expeditions were conducted in the name of King Philip II of Spain, who named the country Pilipinas, and permanent Spanish colonial occupation began in 1565. From 1565 until Mexican independence in 1821 the Philippines was administered by the Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico). After 1821 Spain ruled directly. Spanish hopes of finding a fortune in spices and gold were soon disappointed and they had to make many costly military operations to put down internal uprisings. The lack of development caused the Philippines to be a burden on the Mexican treasury until 1782, when the profitable tobacco crop was introduce to northern Luzon.

Up to 1815, the main Spanish economic activity was the galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco. The Spanish were harassed by the Portuguese and the Dutch, and later, the British, who took brief custody of Manila in 1762-1764, as a result of the Seven Years' War in Europe.

Throughout the Spanish occupation, small rebellions were common, but all were ruthlessly put down. However, Spain's defeat by the British in 1762 persuaded the Filipinos that their oppressors were not invincible. The first major revolt occurred in Cavite in 1872. It was soon put down, but the execution of three Filipino priests awakened a national consciousness.

In 1892, several secret societies were organized to act against the Spanish authorities. Foremost amongst these was the Philippines League, founded in 1891 by Jose Rial, and the more radical Katipunan ('Highest and Most Respectable Association of the Sons of the People'). The Spanish discovered what was happening in August 1896 and the insurrectionists began armed hostilities. Although Jose RIzal was executed in December 1896, the rebel force, under Emilio Aguinaldo, was initially successful, but reinforcements from Spain won the day and in August 1897 Aguinaldo and the Spanish Governor-General signed a pact guaranteeing Spanish reform within three years. However, domestic events were overshadowed by the Spanish-American war. In 1898 war between Spain and USA ended in victory for the latter, and the Filipinos hoped to profit by winning independence after 327 years of Spanish rule; but the USA bought the colony from Spain and ruled until 1942, when the Japanese occupied the islands. The Allies retook the islands in 1945 and the US took control once more until full independence was achieved in July 1946.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

About Philippines

Philippines is an Archipelago of 7107 tropical islands. Our nation is considered as the second largest archipelago in the world after Indonesia.

The country is divided into 14 regions- including the National Capital Region (Or Metro Manila) and the Cordillera Autonomous Region - 73 provinces and 60 cities. The economy is based on light industry and agriculture, the chief products being rice, maize, coconut, pineapple and sugar. Naturally being surrounded by so much water, a large proportion of the population relies on the sea for food. The land is rich in cobalt, copper, gold, iron, nickel and silver deposits. The textile, clothing and home appliance industries are well-developed, and those aquaculture and micro-circuits are expanding fast.

After the excesses of the Marcos years, the administration under presidents Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos produced an era of stability, industrialization and economic growth that attracted foreign investors. This had continued under President Joseph Estrada. As well as industry, tourism has increased, 40 % of tourists being japanese.

Philippine Presidents

Emilio Aguinaldo Y Famy
First President of the Philippines

General Emilio Aguinaldo, a leader of the Katipunan in the province of Cavite, went on to become the undisputed head of the Philippine Revolution and consequently, on January 23, 1899, was elected the first President of the Philippines by the Malolos Congress of the First Republic. After having exiled himself to Hongkong in accordance with the Pact of Blac-na-Bato that had ended the first phase of the Revolution, he had returnd to the archipelago to resume the fight against Spain with the help of the United States of America, proclaiming independence on June 12, 1898. The outbreak of the Philippine-American War eventually led, after many bloody conflicts, to Aguinaldo's capture and surrender in Palanan in the province of Isabela on March 23, 0901. He formally surrendered on April 1, made an oath of allegiance to the United States, enjoined all his forces to lay down their arms, and dissolved the Republic of the Philippines.

Manuel L. Quezon
Second President of the Philippines

Famously described as the "Paladin of the Philippine Freedom", Quezon was instrumental in the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act of the United States Congress which paved the way for transition to an ultimately independent Philippine Republic. Resident Commissioner in Washington and founding President of the Philippine Senate, Quezon was elected President of the transitory Philippine Commonwealth in 1935, and re-elected in 1941. With his government, President Quezon was forced to go into exiled in the United States during the imperial Japanese occupation of the country. The man who had over his lifetime become the dominant Philippine political personality for an entire generation then served as a member of the Pacific War Council until his death in 1944.

Jose P. Laurel
Third President of the Philippines

After serving the country in various elective and appointive posts and during the Quezon administration, including Secretary of the Interior and Justice of the Supreme Court, Laurel was instructed by Quezon to remain in the Philippines during the wartime occupation. The Japanese Military Administration created the Executive Commission of which Laurel was a member, and when the second Republic of the Philippines was proclaimed in 1943, Laurel was elected by the National Assembly, an opportunity which he used to ameliorate the plight of his people under occupation. With the liberation of the country by the Allied forces underway in August 1944, Laurel and the seat of the government were transferred to Baguio on December 21. Brought to Japan with the Japanese retreat, President Laurel proclaimed the dissolution of the Second Republic on August 17 during the period of the Japanese surrender to the Allies. After the war, Jose P. Laurel was elected Senator of the Third Republic.

Sergio Osmeňa
Fourth President of the Philippines

A lawyer and newspaper editor, Osmeňa became the Governor of Cebu in 1904. He resigned in 1906 and was elected to the new Philippine Assembly. he served as founding Speaker until his election to the Senate in 1922. He also founded the Nacionalista Party, which went on to dominate domestic politics. In 1935, he was elected Vice-President of the Philippine Commonwealth. IN exile with Quezon, he succeeded as President of the Commonwealth upon the latter's death in 1944. He famously "returned" with General Douglas MacArthur and worked towards the rehabilitation of the war-torn country.

Manuel Roxas
Fifth President of the Philippines

Roxas started his political career in 1917 as a member of the municipal council of Capiz. He then served as Governor from 1919 to 1921, after which he won election to the House of Representatives and to the post of Speaker. Roxas worked closely with Quezon and Osmeňa in leading the campaign for national independence. In 193, Roxas became a member of the Constitutional Convention that produced the 1935 Constitution, and during the Pacific War, he was forced to serve under the Japanese-sponsored government. Defeating Osmeňa in the 1946 elections, Roxas became the last Commonwealth President and, on July 4, 1946, President of the Third Republic.

Elpidio Quirino
Sixth President of the Philippines

Quirino was a practicing lawyer until he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1919, and in 1925, Senator. He collaborated with President Quezon in securing the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act in 1934. After serving in the Constitutional Convention of the same year, he became Secretary of Finance and of the Interior in the Commonwealth Government. After the war, in which most of his immediate family were massacred, he was elected Vice-President, and becoming President after Roxas' sudden death in 1948. Quirino saw his mission as restoring the people's faith in government, as well as solving problems of agrarian unrest.

Ramon Magsaysay
Seventh President of the Philippines

an automobile mechanic, Magsaysay was appointed Military Governor of the province of Zambales after his outstanding service as guerrilla leader during the Pacific War. He then served two terms as Liberal Party Congressman for Zambales before being appointed as Secretary of National Defense by President Quirino. He won the Presidency under the Nacionalista Party during the elctions of 1953, running against his former boss. As President, he was empowered to purchase large estates and distribute land to tenant farmers. Wildly popular as a leaader, Magsaysay tragically died in a plane crash on March 17, 1957 at the age of 49.

Carlos P. Garcia
Eight President of the Philippines

Garcia was instrumental in pressing the Philippine case in the United States for war damage claims arising from the Pacific War. A former school teacher and wartime guerrilla leader, he served as a Governor of the province of Bohol, as well as Senator, before being elected Vice President in 1953. He was concurrently appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Garcia succeeded Magsaysay as President after the latter's death and was elected as President in his own right later that same year. Known for his austerity program, he popularized economic nationalism through the "Filipino First Policy." President Garcia is also remembered for being a poet and a keen chess player.

Diosdado Macapagal
Ninth President of the Philippines

Known as the "poor boy from Lubao" in the province of Pampanga, Macapagal was first elected Congressman in 1949. IN the elections of 1957, he became Vice President under the liberal party ticket. Though not given a cabinet portfolio by President Garcia, who was from the rival Nacionalista Party, Macapagal worked to familiarize himself intimately with the concerns of ordinary people all over the country. In 1961, he was elected as President. During his term, he famously enacted comprehensive land reform. He was affectionately called the "Champion of the Common Man" because of his many achievements in improving the plight of the masses and the poor.

Ferdinand E. Marcos
Tenth President of the Philippines

Marcos began his political career as a technical assistant to President Manuel Roxas, after which he served as a member of the House of Representatives for three terms from 1949 to 1959. He also served as Senator and then later Senate President from 1959, before being elected as President in 1965. In 1969, he won re-election to unprecedented second full term. Noted for his focus on improving the country's infrastructure with his wife Imelda Romualdez Marcos, President Marcos later, invoking subversion and rebellion, placed the whole country under martial law on September 21, 1972 and suspended Congress. A new constitution drafted by a constitutional convention was ratified in a referendum in January 1973. The amendments to this constitution led to the establishment of the Fourth Republic of the Philippines in 1981 and a further term for Marcos. From 1972 till 1986, the country experienced virtually absolute rule, which, after the assassination of the opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983, ultimately led to the EDSA People Power Revolution and on February 25, 1986, the President was overthrown and exiled to Hawaii, where he died in 1989.

Corazon C. Aquino
Eleventh President of the Philippines

The widow of Benigno Aquino Jr. was suddenly cast into politics when Ferdinand Marcos called for Snap Elections in 1986, which "Cory" is generally believed to have won, despite massive fraud against her. She was sworn into office after the dramatic events at EDSA and forced Marcos to leave the Philippines. Despite facing six coup attempts, domestic insurgency, disagreements with the United States over military bases, and huge foreign debts, President Aquino was credited primarily for restoring democracy and human rights in the Philippines, safeguarding these freedoms and rights as well as the national interest in a new constitution promulgated on February 2, 1987, which established the Fifth Republic of the Philippines.

Fidel V. Ramos
Twelfth President of the Philippines

The President during the centennial of Philippine Independence was also like Aguinaldo. In 1986, General Ramos turned his back on repressive autocracy and embraced the democratic forces of EDSA, with the help of others, bringing a critical mass of the military along with him. Under President Aquino, he became the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and later Secretary of National Defense. Nominated by Aquino, he narrowly won the presidency in the 1992 elections. The energetic Ramos proceeded to negotiate peace with Communist and Muslim rebels, tackle the prevailing electric power crisis, and successfully effect many social and economic reforms that liberalized key sectors, boosted growth and lifted the country's international profile.

Joseph Ejercito Estrada
Thirteenth President of the Philippines

Known universally as "Erap," the former film actor started his political career As Mayor of San Juan, a municipality within Metropolitan Manila. After the EDSA Revolution, he won a seat in the Senate before being elected as Vice President in 1992. After which, he was tasked by President Ramos to lead crime-fighting initiatives . Elected President by a large margin in 1998, Estrada pursued a hard line against Muslim rebels and sought to eradicate poverty, crime and corruption in the country.
After being accused of corruption, he was impeached by the House of Representatives and was subjected to an unfinished trial in the Senate. In January 2001, Estrada vacated the Presidency in the face of popular outcry and the loss of military support.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Fourteenth President of the Philippines

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, daughter of the ninth President Diosdado Macapagal, and Dr. Evangelina Macaraeg Macapagal, was born on April 5, 1947, After enjoying a teaching career in various schools, she joined the government in 1987 during the Administration of President Corazon Aquino, who appointed her Undersecretary of Trade and Industry two years later. She was elected as Senator during her first try in politics in 1992, and was re-elected in 1995 with nearly 16 million votes, the highest number of votes in the Philippine history. During her tenure in the Senate, she authored 55 laws on economic and social reform and was named outstanding Senator several times. In 1998, she was elected Vice President of the Philippines with almost 13 million votes, the largest mandate in the history of presidential or vice presidential elections. President Joseph Estrada appointed her concurrent of Social Welfare and Development, a post she held until her resignation from the Cabinet in October 2000 amidst the scandals that plagued the Estrada administration. The military's of withdrawal of support from President Estrada, and the overwhelming movement of the people for his resignation following an aborted impeachment trial, led to the vacating of the presidency by Estrada. Thus, according to the constitutional succession, Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn in as the President of the Philippines on January 20, 2001 by Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., after which she served the remaining years of her predecessor's term. In the 2004 elections, the President won the re-election and a fresh mandate, and with the new Vice President, Noli L. De Castro, was inaugurated for a six-year term on June 30, 2004.

Benigno S. Aquino III
Fifteenth President of the Philippines

Driven by the public outpouring of grief over the death of former president Corazon C. Aquino, and heeding calls from various groups to offer himself as a candidate in the next presidential elections. Benigno S. Aquino III, decided to be the Liberal Party's standard bearer in the first automated national elections held on May 10, 2010. Running on a platform government based on transformational leadership, Aquino received more than 15 million votes in the polls. He took his oath of office before Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales on June 30, 2010.
The President comes from a long line of Aquinos who have entered public service: his great-grandfather, Servillano Aquino, was a general in the army that fought against the Spaniards and the Americans, while Benigno Aquino Sr., his grandfather, was chosen as the Speaker of the Natonal Assembly during the Second Philippine Republic, in addition to serving in other positions during the American and Commonwealth eras. His father, Benigno S. Aquino Jr., served in various executive positions in the province of Tarlac before being elected to the Senate in 1967. His imprisonment during martial law from 1972 to 1980, and his assassination upon his return from exile in 1983 triggered widespread protests which led to the deposition of Ferdinand E. Marcos from the presidency in 1986. The President has served as the representative of the second district of Tarlac to Congress from 1998 to 2007, and was elected to the Senate in 2007. Benigno Aquino III is the first bachelor President of the Philippines.