Philippines Country Info – The compact Philippines guide

country info FAQ

What is the Philippines and where is the Philippines located?

The Philippines is an island nation in Southeast Asia. The land area of the Philippines includes more than 7500 islands. They are located between the South China Sea, the Celebes Sea and the Philippine Sea on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The direct neighbors are Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. However, there are no land borders with any of them.

What language is spoken in the Philippines or what is the national language of the Philippines?

The official language of Philippines is Filipino. This language is related to Bahasa, which is spoken in Indonesia and Malaysia. is spoken. English is the second official language of the Philippines and is widely spoken in everyday life.

That formerly also Spanish was an official language, find themselves in the everyday language use many Spanish words again.

Besides. 171 other indigenous and regional languages are spoken on the islands of the Philippines. Languages spoken.

How much time difference does Philippines have and what time is it in Philippines right now?

The Philippines have no time change between summer and Winter time. 

The Philippines lies in the time zone UTC +8. Germany lies in winter in the time zone UTC +1 in summer in the time zone UTC +2. 

The time difference from Germany to Philippines is therefore +6  hours according to German summer time and +7 hours according to German winter time. 

When it is after German daylight saving time thus 12:00 is, is it in the Philippines already 18:00 in the evening. 

When it after German winter time 12:00 is, it is in Philippines even already 19:00 in the evening. 

What is the capital of the Philippines?

The capital of the Philippines is Manila.

What is the currency of the Philippines?

The currency of the Philippines is called philippine peso (PHP, ) 54 PHP is roughly equivalent to one euro.

In larger Stores card payment is possible. 

What do you call the people of the Philippines?

The inhabitants of the Philippines are called Philippines (the Filipino, the Filipino)

The flag of the Philippines

Flag of the Philippines

Security in the Philippines:

How safe is the Philippines?

The Philippines does not have a good reputation when it comes to security. Poverty, organized crime and even terrorism are common in some regions.  However, when looking at the security situation, one must also between regions, islands and localities.  First, let’s take a look at the official assessments. official assessments, and then we would like to share our personal impressions. describe.

One legal information beforehand: Alcohol consumption on the street and Smoking outside of designated areas are forbidden in the Philippines and are readily fined, especially among foreigners. Prostitution is prohibited in the Philippines. The death penalty was abolished in 2006, especially drug possession and trafficking are, however, punished with long prison sentences.  

The app. Geosure rates the Philippines between 66-77 (0 safe, 100 dead, 34 Germany) This is safer than most countries in Central and South America.  Nevertheless, Manila is considered to be Manila as increasingly unsafe compared to the rest of the country.

For parts of of the Philippines, the State Department explicitly issues a travel warning. aus aus. Affected are above all regions, in which it in the past already occurred to kidnappings of foreigners, in which the Terrorist group Abu Sayyaf terrorist group is active or in which there have recently been conflicts in the drug war. We urge you to take a look at the current warnings before planning your trip. to take a look at the current warnings, because you can not simply without Background knowledge with the finger on the map should plan.

The Highlights (as of 02/2020) we have you in addition following summarized.

  • Terrorism: Before traveling to the following areas advises the Foreign Office from
    • Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX)
    • Northern Mindanao (Region X)
    • Davao region (Region XI) with the exception of the urban area of Davao City
    • Soccsksargen (Region XII)
    • Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)
    • Islands of the Sulu Archipelago
    • Southern Palawan except for Puerto Princesa

Also in other parts of the Philippines is advised to stay away from crowds of people to stay away. While some declining trend can be observed, a renewed flare-up of violence is possible at any time. In the past, there have been it repeatedly to bombings but also hostage-taking with hostage killings.

  • Internal political situation: Security forces are currently fighting a violent war against Drugs. In the process, even bystanders repeatedly get into clashes.
  • Pickpocketing: Gladly also in the Philippines the variant with the pocket robbery from the Scooter applied
  • robbery by cabs or guides: Especially with unlicensed cabs, cabs held up on the street or tourist guides there is a risk of being robbed.
  • K.O. drops: Are used especially in the club scene to rob people.
  • Subduing objects. and extortion: It happened in the past that. Tourists prohibited items were foisted by security forces and they were then extorted for money. Luggage should therefore be as locked and not left unattended.
  • Drug mules: tourists are asked to take things for example friends or acquaintances within the Philippines to take with them. Often drugs are hidden in them.
  • Tropical storms & Floods: Mostly from June to December move Typhoons through the Philippines. Possible concomitants are strong winds with falling or whirling around objects,heavy rain, landslides, collapse of infrastructure (eg electricity, water , traffic)
  • earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and Tsunamis: The Philippines are very seismically active. Volcanic ash should not be inhaled, take cover during earthquakes and then wait for the official tsunami all-clear à More Info around what to do during earthquakes

We personally had clear respect for the Philippines. Nevertheless, the impressions were not quite so bad then on site. Even in the tourist areas, the mood was rather relaxed. Despite this, you can not overlook the poverty that is still widespread. Especially Manila was in terms of beggars – even small children – blatant. Also the infrastructure and the general streetscape is kind of fucked up. The facades are dirty, power cables hang over the streets, the streets themselves are full of holes and the green strips are unkempt. There are a lot of people loitering on the sides of the streets. In addition, there is a strong smell of urine in many corners and backyards.

We’ve had all this before in some countries, but in the Philippines it did cause us to walk less than usual and I still held on to my handbag extra. The vibes just weren’t that good.

Flights and travel to the Philippines

Philippines Have several international airports. The two largest airports are the airport of the capital city Manila (Ninoy Aquino International Airport –  MNL, and probably the worst airport of our world tour) and the airport of the island Cebu (Mactan-Cebu – CEB ) in Lapu-Lapu City. But also many of the other islands have airports that are are approached internationally or with connections via Manila. 

For Flights changing terminals in Manila, be careful because the airport’s four terminals are not connected. When changing terminals, you can either take one of the unreliable shuttles or take a cab or grave. Since the connecting road between the terminals is also one of the main roads of the city, one should have enough especially in the rush hour sufficient time for the transfer to plan.

Direct flights to Philippines are rather the exception. Most flights from Germany to the Philippines land in at least one of the major regional flight hubs between. Frequently, for example, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Accordingly, one should plan for the arrival at least 20 hours, even if the actual flight time is shorter. is.

The Entry is possible with a German passport for a tourist stay up to 30 days without a visa. More Info you can find here.

Climate & Weather in the Philippines

The Philippines is located in the tropical climate zone. Accordingly, it is warm and humid all year round.

In the west of the archipelago, a dry season is pronounced from November to April . In the rest of the region it is rather consistently wet. The average temperature throughout the year is 26.5°C.

The maximum daytime temperatures very rarely rise above 40°C, the lowest nighttime temperatures usually do not fall below 20°C. Accordingly, you have perfect T-shirt weather all year round.

Typhoons occur clustered in the northeastern Philippines from July to September. However, the other regions are frequently hit by tropical cyclones throughout the year with wind speeds sometimes exceeding 250km/h. The tendency to this is increasing as a result of climate change.

Sights in the Philippines

The Philippines have an insanely beautiful and diverse nature. Unfortunately, there is a certain a certain “all or nothing” attitude and we had the impression that it is either completely exploited and thrown to the mass tourism to food or is hardly accessible for tourists. A healthy, sustainable and ecologically sensible middle course in tourism we missed completely.

Originally we had we also planned to dive in the Philippines. However, we took distance from this, when we saw the reefs to which tourists and divers were carted.

The Philippines are therefore ideal for a classic beach vacation with not too many activities.

The main tourist spots in the Philippines are:

Transportation in the Philippines

Rental cars in the Philippines

The Philippines hasright-hand traffic. On the roads it is a little chaotic and everyone drives freely, but there is largely consideration for each other.

In Manila and other regions with higher crime rates, you should always lock your doors when driving and also keep your windows closed, as carjacking occasionally occurs. Furthermore one should pay attention straight at traffic lights to dealers, who run around between the standing vehicles and also to begging children, in order to drive at nobody by mistake.

In addition to pedestrians, there are also many dogs running around on the streets or sleeping in the middle of the roadways. Please be considerate of them as well and don’t run over them.

In many tourist areas, scooters, which can be rented for about 350PHP per day, have also become established. Occasionally there are police checks. Here, particular attention is paid to ensuring that the helmet obligation is observed.

Here you can find a scooter guide for the Philippine island of Siargao

The German driver’s license is sufficient for stays of up to three months

Trains in the Philippines

Rail transportation in Philippines is currently experiencing a renaissance. The rail network, which had had largely fallen into disrepair, has been lavishly rehabilitated over the last twenty years and rehabilitated and investments are being made in new trains and stations.

Currently, there is only single track network on Luzon island, to which the public transport system of Manila city public transport is connected.

Operated are the trains by Philippine National Railways. All routes and fares can be found on their website.

Taxi in the Philippines

In the tourist areas of the Philippines, thetricycle have become firmly established. With these motorcycle sidecars, you can get from A to B quickly and cheaply. When negotiating prices, you should pay attention to whether you negotiate the price per person or per group.

In areas with higher crime rates such as Manila, however, we would generally advise against advise against any ridesharing services that you simply stop on the side of the road. The Foreign Office warns that even official cabs have been involved in the past in Attacks were involved.

Therefore, only call taxis that you have previously ordered yourself (or through a hotel) should be used.

We alsohave had good experiences with Grab, a ride service provider app widely used in Asia. Since all drivers have to be registered and every ride is tracked, the app also offers some protection. However, we once had the case that a driver contacted us via the app and said he would come in a car with different license plates. As a precaution, we did not start this trip and canceled the booking. Grab, however, is only available in major metropolitan areas.

Buses and public transport in the Philippines

Manila has a sort of. Bus system of open-top buses, so-called jeepneys, that run certain routes that are written on the outside of the bus written on the outside of the bus. It is organized in a rather adventurous way. Passengers are for example gladly times at traffic lights in the flowing traffic set down.

The safer alternative is the Mass Rapid Transit Manila light rail system, which has a well-developed route network in the city.

In some regions. there is also a network of intercity buses. However, these are usually not air-conditioned, uncomfortable and stop very often, making travel times extremely in the length drag.

On most of the islands however, there is no well-developed public transportation system. For Tourists recommend in agencies or hotels Shared Driver to hire. to hire. These tourist shuttles drive partly according to demand, mostly however according to a fixed timetable with minibuses the tourist routes. Some have restrictions on the amount of luggage that can be carried. can be taken.

Flights within the Philippines

Flights within the Philippines are comparatively expensive when compared to other island countries. You should factor the cost into your travel budget in advance.

The most important domestic airline in the Philippines is Philippine Arlines. Other major airlines are Airphil Express,Cebu Pacific, Zest Air and Midsea Express.

As with the Getting to the Philippines, it is also true for domestic flights that the Airport of Manila is decentralized and therefore there can be considerable delays in the transfer between the Terminals can come to considerable delays.

Ferry service in the Philippines

Ferry and speedboat services operate between many islands in the Philippines. However, the safety standards of the ferries cannot be compared with European standards. Therefore, it is recommended to take a look at the reviews beforehand, for example on Tripadvisor or Google Maps.

It is not recommended to cross at night. Especially for ferries arriving in Manila in the early morning, there are regular reports of passengers being assaulted after disembarking. However, companies usually allow passengers to remain on board until official port operations begin at 6 am. During the day, especially on tourist routes, ferry trips are problem-free.

Tickets can be booked in advance online with many operators. Baggage restrictions usually apply, but they are not necessarily checked at the port as well. Often, business fares are also worthwhile if you have a larger suitcase with you.

Hotels in the Philippines

The Philippines is actually one of the few countries where we felt that the value for money in hotels is significantly better than in Airbnb accommodations.

Prices are generally quite reasonable outside of tourist locations. In tourist areas However, one must quickly also significantly deeper into the pocket.

Two things that struck us very negatively in all hotels in the Philippines are the poor cleanliness and the organizational unreliabilityt.

So a previously agreed hotel transfer from the airport was forgotten to organize, with another transfer the wrong time was organized, with again another we came wrong information about the duration, whereby we almost missed our flight and scooters, which we had requested in advance and had been promised, were suddenly not available on our arrival. This has never happened to us in any other country – in the Philippines there were problems with every single request. Therefore, it is better to ask three times too often, get information in writing, plan at least one hour different pick-up times (one of our flights also started 30 minutes before schedule) and assume that you will not be listened to properly.

Food in the Philippines

In Filipino cuisine, a lot of boiled meat and fish is eaten. The classic dish is adobo. The prices for food are comparatively low. You can eat well for under three euros outside the tourist areas. For vegetarians, the typical Filipino cuisine is not suitable.

In the tourist areas, however, the international, hip and healthy cuisine has long since held entry. Here you can also find vegetarian and vegan restaurants, Burgers and international cuisine. The prices are higher for this, but are with Main courses from about 5€ still well affordable.

Conclusion: is a trip to the Philippines worthwhile

We went to the travelled to the Philippines with mixed feelings and also left the country with mixed feelings when we left.

What many tourists certainly don’t count on is the ubiquitous poverty that you inevitably encounter when you leave your hotel. This can be somewhat of a culture shock for some.

The nature of the Philippines is absolutely great, but in our eyes is used for tourism completely wrong and not sustainable. There one sees then also kilometer-wide clean sand beach, which disappears however at its edges where the sand ends meter far under plastic garbage.

The result is dead Reefs and “zoos” in which half-dead animals lie in filthy cages. The one simply does not want to see as enlightened European tourist. The multitude tourists, especially Asian tourists, who are driven through the attractions in this way attractions, however, do not seem to see this so narrowly and hold then also once a starfish into the camera, which the guide even brought out of the water for them (which is water (which kills starfish instantly). That makes concerned.  

Crime is also a problem from which tourists as well as locals suffer. One should not be completely unaware when traveling.

Also the unreliability and a certain “will fit” attitude was exhausting for us, as it just made so many things unnecessarily stressful and awkward. Nevertheless, the people are very friendly.

We personally think that the Philippines is a country that still needs to develop healthy tourism. In some regions, one can also see tendencies in the right direction, such as the attempt to do without plastic bottles with water dispensers. But the road to a general change in mentality will still take a few years.

As a tourist, you have the choice of hiding from it in a resort, or actively dealing with it. While the latter will set the worldview a bit straight, it is not particularly relaxing. Aperfect carefree beach vacation without having to waste unnecessary thoughts on the problems of the country is of course possible, but costs accordingly.

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