So, having booked your booked your flight to Manila, you’re excited about your trip. But how well do you know the western Pacific islands? Make sure you’re prepared – here are ten things you need to know about the Philippines.
1. Comprised of more than 7,000 islands, The Philippines is the world’s second-largest archipelago – that adds up to 36,000km of coastline.
2. The islands are home to an estimated 94-million people, making it the world’s 12th most populous country.
3. After a long history of imperial rule – Spain, United States and Japan – the Republic of the Philippines achieved independence in 1945.
4. More than 170 languages continue to be spoken throughout the nation – widely spoke and written, English is one of two official languages (the other is Filipino)
5. More than 90 per cent of the population is Christian – four fifths belong to the Roman Catholic Church
6. The peso (subdivided into 100 centavos) is the Philippine currency; £1 = 68 pesos (March 2012) – British pounds and US dollars are the best currencies to take.
7. Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines – catch a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) game between October and August.
9. The tropical climate varies over three seasons: March to May is hot and dry, June to November is the rainy season, and December to February is relatively cool and dry – take light clothing and footwear, and plenty of insect repellent.
10. Jeepneys, vibrantly painted customised ex-military jeeps adorned with chrome that can carry almost 20 passengers, are the most popular means of transport in urban areas – the cost of a ride depends on distance, but the minimum is 7.50 pesos.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…