The Philippines is defined by its emerald rice fields, teeming megacities, graffiti-splashed jeepneys (jeep/buses), smouldering volcanoes, bug-eyed tarsiers, fuzzy water buffalo and smiling, happy-go-lucky people. Famous for it's beaches and with more than 7000 tropical islands to choose from, the Philippines is a beach bum's delight. There's an island to suit every taste, from marooned slicks of sand in the middle of the ocean, to volcanic fantasy-scapes concealing hidden lagoons, to sprawling mega-islands such as Luzon and Mindanao. Sun worshippers and divers should head straight to the Visayas, where island-hopping opportunities abound and the perfect beach takes many forms. More adventurous travellers can pitch a tent on a deserted stretch of coastline in Palawan and play solo Survivor for a few days.
Time Zone - 2 hours behind AEST. Do not observe daylight saving time
Weather Seasons - The Philippines has four distinct climate zones. Manila has a particularly severe wet season (peaking July to September). However, many other areas of the country are dry during this time.
Currency - Philippine Peso (PHP)
Peak Travel Season - November - March
Key Booking Period - August, October & January
Avg Length of Stay - 4 days
Visa Requirements - Australian citizens are not required to obtain a visa for stays of 30 days or less. Must have 6 months validity on your passport from date of arrival
Events /Public Holidays to note - Bataan Day and Maundy Thursday, April; Eid al-Fitr Jun & Aug; Philippines Independence Day 12 June; National Heroes' Day Aug; Bonifacio Day Nov
Key Airlines - Singapore Airlines & Qantas
Top Selling Hotels -
Pan Pacific Manila - Centrally located in the heart of the Spanish Quarter. This 5 star hotel is a 5 min walk from The Robinson's Place Mall and a 15 minute drive from The Mall of Asia. Floor to ceiling windows in the rooms offer views over Manila Bay and the City.
Movenpick Hotel Macatan Island, Cebu - A 5-star Mediterranean inspired beachfront resort and home to the hugely popular dining and entertainment venue, Ibiza. Perfect for families with a Family Programme and Kids Club.
Movenpick Resort Boracay - Set on a private beach on the northern tip of Boracay Island in Punta Bunga Cove. Offering a kids club and playground area for families and the Sol Marina Beach Club for those looking to get out after after dark.
While there are loads of fantastic dive sites in the Philippines, the sunken WWII shipwrecks in Coron, Palwan are considered a must for any avid diver.
Philippines has something for everyone - if you want to go surfing go to Siargao Island; if you want beautiful beaches and marine life, head to Palawan; for culture, diving and beaches head to Cebu, Bohol, Coron and Dumaguette.
Boat and bus schedules are notoriously unreliable and weather can throw a damper on the best-laid plans so stay flexible and allow plenty of time in the itinerary.
Karaoke is the national pastime in the Philippines so join in, have a laugh and don't be judgemental - it's serious fun for seasoned singers!