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PhilippinesPhilippines

Philippines

The Philippines is a group of islands located in South-East Asia and has a population of 91.1 million people. There are 7108 islands that make up The Philippines, combining for a seemingly never-ending stretch of coastline. However, the majority of The Philippines' population reside on only 11 of these islands. The capital city, Manila, is said to be a city full of life that blends the traditional oriental culture with the more modern developments. The Philippines is also a true natures playground with some of the world's best diving and snorkelling with its stunning coral gardens and abundance of marine life. Above sea level there are countless white sandy beaches and striking landscapes to enjoy. The Philippines is a growing Medical Tourism destination with an 8% increase in 2007 alone, and is said to have an exceptional medical education system that exports many qualified doctors to the USA. The official language of The Philippines is Filipino, although English is also widely spoken.

Medical tourism

While offering a large number of medical tourism service providers, the most common areas of specialisation in the Philippines are spinal, obesity, cardiology, cosmetics, dental and eye procedures. See the box to the right to view a full list of available treatment areas.

Best time to travel

While some say that The Philippines has two distinct seasons (the wet and the dry), these can in fact be divided into three seasons: the rainy season (June through to September), the cool and dry season (October through to February) and the hot and dry season (March through to May). May is by far the hottest month, and being a tropical climate, the "cool" season in The Philippines can still be pleasantly warm. There are occasional typhoons with strong winds and heavy rains, but these mainly occur between June and September. The best time to visit The Philippines is between September and May. Often it can be very busy around Christmas and New Year's when the locals take their holiday, so be sure to book ahead if intending to travel at this time.

Money and costs

The unit of currency in The Philippines is the Philippine peso (PHP, symbol Php). The Philippines can sometimes be more expensive than countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, but many travellers will still find it excellent value for money. Find up-to-date exchange rates and conversion through a currency conversion tool. Mid-range travellers can expect to spend P1950 and above per day.

Visas

A visa is not required by visitors from the USA, Canada, Australia, UK and most of Europe for stays of up to 21 days. If you wish to stay longer than this you can apply for a visa via the embassy, which will usually extend your stay till up to 59 days. It is best to try and do this before your departure, as it can be time-consuming once in The Philippines. However, you can pay an "express fee" which will ensure your application is processed within a few days.

Getting there

The majority of international flights into The Philippines land in Manila at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, although many also land at Cebu City's Mactan-Cebu International Airport. The majority of international flights entering The Philippines are from the Asian regions; this means that those travelling from North America, Europe, UK and Australia will have to change flights at a connecting Asian airport (e.g. Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul). Some airlines flying to/from The Philippines are Air Philippines, Air France, Cathay Pacific, Continental Airlines and Emirates.

Dialling codes

To call Philippines, the country dialling code is +63.

Useful links

Find more in-depth information on Philippines at:

Lonely Planet - www.lonelyplanet.com/​philippines

The Philippines Tourism - www.tourism.gov.ph

Philippines Embassy in the USA - www.philippineembassy-usa.org

Philippines Embassy in the UK - philippines.embassyhomepage.com

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Page last updated: Friday, 2nd September 2011