Manila, the capital city of Philippines, strongly influenced by the Spanish is also considered as the hub of Christianity in Asia.
December to February is the best time to visit Philippines with temperature range from 24 – 30°C (75-86°F) at its peak and rise up from March to May.
It would be advisable to avoid the northern part of Philippines from late May till early November as this will be the wet season with common occurrences of typhoons and tropical storms.
Communication in Manila with the local would not be a major issue as English and Filipino (Tagalog) are the common languages.
In Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown district,Hokkien (Chinese dialet) is widely spoken in addition to Mandarin amongst those Chinese educated individuals.
Globe and Smart are the largest mobile carriers providing roaming services, only dualband GSM phone is supported.
To make calls within Metro Manila-
- Dial the 7-digit telephone number from a payphone/ landline
- Dial 0+ areacode(2) +telephone number if you need to call other cities of Philippines
- Dial 00+ country code (65) + area code (2) + telephone number to make an international phone call from Philippines
- Cheap overseas calls can be made at Netopia branches via their VOIP service
Money and costs:
ATMs are widely available at most banks, so accessing your cash via ATMs is not a major issue in Manila.
Money changers are not common in the Philippines except for some tourist areas and malls. It is advisable to conduct currency exchange with the banks. Do take note of the limited operation hours on weekdays from 9am to 3pm for most banks besides Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Banco De Oro (BDO).
Be cautious of exchange currency at the stalls along the streets as there might be high possibility of them exchanging your money with counterfeit money.
A 10% service charge is generally included in the price at restaurants, but leaving an extra P20 is always appreciated (perhaps P50 if service is not included). Round up taxi fares and consider tipping more (approximately, P50) to reward your driver for turning on the meter.