Global roaming rates are very expensive and since GSM (global system for Mobile Communications) phones are more popular than CDMA (Code Divisivion Multiple Acess), there are more countries with roaming areas for GSM and the latest hybrid of 3G (WCDMA-Wireless Code Division Multiple Access) here in Asia. 3G is also catching up in North America.
It is better to buy a pre-paid SIM card here (note: only GSM and hybrid 3g/GSM phones need SIM but pure 3G and CDMA Phones does not!) which is only 50 pesos and load with pre-paid credits than use your CDMA phone here since you need a dual phone (means it has GSM and 3G Capabilities for your roaming here) and besides, the philippines has the chepeast SMS rates for local use at just 1 peso per sms sent (it costs 40 cents in the states or 18 pesos sms text!) so you can just use your sms rather than relying on calls (calls cost about 7.50 pesos a minute on a pre-paid card) and save a lot than roaming (a roaming call here costs 80 pesos a minute and a international text costs 25 pesos).
You can buy SIM cards and Pre-paid Loads Everywhere! (malls, stores, supermarkets)
Fondest memory: If you're using T-Mobile like I do, remember that roaming rates for the philippines is $ 2.50 a minute for inbound calls and $ 2.80 a minute for outbound calls and sending and receiving text messages are $ 0.40. Better to buy the local prepaid cards here if your phone is not sim locked.
Filipino cuisine often comes as a pleasant surprise for foreigners as it's more moderate in its use of spices than some other Asian foods. Rice is the staple and is served with almost every meal. Fish features strongly and is served grilled, boiled, fried or steamed. Crabs, lobsters, prawns, oysters, tuna, freshwater fish and a regional speciality called 'sweet maliputo' are all commonly found on local menus.
Pork or chicken dishes are popular and include adobo, arroz caldo and crispy pata (fried pig skin). Vegetarians will have no trouble in Manila. Try gulay, (a vegetable dish simmered in coconut milk), mongos (chick peas) and pinangat (vegetables with very hot peppers). For dessert please try halo-halo (mish mash of fruits and sweets), buko-pandan (young coconut with pandanus leaf flavoring) or Ube (purple yam), pls see my local custom tips here in my manila page!
Fondest memory: The assorted Regional cuisines of the philippines
I agree with the others. You can also go to the outlying provinces such as Bohol, Cebu, Vigan and Iloilo. You'll find traces of Spanish culture there. You can also visit Cagayan de Oro for some water rafting adventure.
Fondest memory: Luneta Park.
You won't stay long in Manila Bay especially in the morning or afternoon. It will be hot and not much happenings . I think 1 and a half hour is the most to sit there, have something to eat, look at the sea, ships,people etc.
But if it is in the evening where the weather is cooler and more people , more food peddlers and happenings around, then 2 hours is just nice for you to walk and sit around.
The rest of the time is best to spend at Intramuros.You need at least 2 to 3 hours there. Walking may take too much time and tiring. Taking a trishaw ( 3 wheels bicycle ) is good. Take a map of Intramuros and tell the man to take you to where you want to go in the map. BUT REMEMBER TO AGREE THE PRICE WITH THE MAN FIRST. THEY MAY SAY 30 , ASK 30 PESO OR US DOLLAR. vISITORS ALWAYS THOUGHT THE PRICE THEY QUOTE IS PESO BUT ENDED UP IN US DOLLAR.
Many people were conned by these horse cart man, trishaw peddler, tourist guide who will say the amount in Peso but will ask for US dollar at the end .
I was there in Manila in March. Met many nice and helpful people though.
Have a nice trip
Fondest memory: Helpful people around ready to show you the way.
I have heard of the helpful people in Manila before i went there. But I thought this is common everywhere and nothing special. Everywhere will have its good and bad people.
When I was there in March, one night I was with my wife on the way back to our hotel in Melati. To save some pesos, instead of taking a taxi, we needed to use a few jeepneys . We got up a jeepney in front of Balikbayan Handicraft Centre where this lady told us we were heading on the wrong direction. She volunteered to take us to the nearest station where we could walk to our hotel. On the way,we changed a few jeepneys and she led us all the way and told us to be careful of our belongings .
We told her that we should be able to find our way but she told us that she won't leave us alone especially at this part of old Manila where pick-pockets are plenty. She was on her way back from work that night and she sacrificed her time and effort in helping total strangers like us .
On another occasion, another lady also led us to the correct exit point in the LRT, used the exit point for Philipinos where it is faster than the other lanes. Told us what to do and what to avoid etc.
I'm sure there are many more Philipinos around ready to lend a helping hands to visitors.
And I'm sure too that many visitors to Philipines have met these kind-hearted people.
Thank you Philipinos. I'll cherish and remember this wonderful moment.
Well, for me, you can visit anytime (I grew up there!)! But for non-Filipinos, remember that the rainy season in Manila lasts June to October - and when we mean the streets are flooded, they literally are. Unfortunately, even just a small tropical rain causes so much traffic! The water drainage system is not so good in this very old city...and once I had to brave the flooded waters --- carrying my wife in my arms (we were still in college). It was awful (but a bit romantic for my wife), not to mention the risk of getting the disease called "leptospirosis" if you walk on rat-infested flooded waters...
But then enough of that, I did not want to scare you out of my Motherland! Of course, Manila is exotic - what did you expect? Very exciting...And the true traveller will experience everything.
But the best time is still December to March with sunny coooler days, and lower humidity. As for April and May, be prepared for the HEAT!
Of course, the world is experiencing such weather changes now, so always check with the Weather Channel! This is just an overview....
Favorite thing: Generally speaking, There are quite a few that you can get. Typhoid, dengue fever, rabies, hepatitus, just to name a few. I always suggest a minimum of getting the hepatitus series, but that takes about 6-8 months for the whole series, and some of the others may take some time for effect. Depending on where you are going to be going you shouldn't have any problem. I suggest the hepatitus shots only because you can get that anywhere, US, Europe, anywhere. Doesn't look like you'll have enough time for it. If you are staying in Manila or other big city you should not have a problem, and it's not the rainy season. You are not going to be checked so there are no legal ramifications and you are not required to carry a shot card. If you venture into the provinces or country, again you should be OK, mosquito netting is always good to be sleeping under if in the provinces during the mosquito/rainy season. If you are healthy, you should be OK.
Sorry to differ, but you should always be getting a better rate for a hundred dollar bill versus a 50 or 20 bill. If not, go somewhere else that will give you a better rate. This is usually the case in all of the SEAsian countries, at least any country I have been to.
The rates may be comparable at the airport versus in town, but generally speaking you can get better rates in town. Money exchangers are all over, in the malls for the most part.
The only big difference that I have found from one country to the next is whether to take travel cheques. Some countries will give you better rates for cheques than actual dollars, some will not.
there are a lot of taxi that you can hire here.on the airport, you can hire them if you want.there is also a rent-a-car here in manila.i have no idea what their phone number is.but you can wait on the street and just call a taxi if you want.try our jeepneys..
Fondest memory: night life here in manila is really good
Here are some things to "see" & "do" in the country's capital of Manila:
1.) Experience the famous Manila Sunset
2.) Stroll along Roxas Boulevard where you get an unobstructed view of the Manila Bay
3.) Visit antiquated churches around town especially along the old Manila area (e.g., Malate)
4.) Visit Intramurous--the old and charming historic district of Manila
5.) Eat at the many Filipino oriented restaurants serving an array of local dishes/specialties
6.) Visit Luneta Park/Rizal Park
7.) Visit the Japanese Garden
8.) Visit Nayong Pilipino (a replica of famous tourist spots in the country)
9.) Visit the Cultural Center of the Philippines
10.) Visit the Manila Chinatown in Binondo
11.) Visit Fort Santiago
12.) Visit the neighboring cities (e.g., Quezon City, Makati, Pasay, San Juan, etc.)
13.) Shopping in the "tiangges" (local markets) of Quiapo for cheap native handicrafts & souvenirs. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities in the upscale malls of Makati.
Enjoy your trip to busy Manila!
I'll second Intramuros and from there you can walk to the nearby Rizal Park (I think that's the name).
Also, you should take a tour (by boat) to Corrigidor Island, which was a location of fighting during WWII.
If it is raining, you could visit the large mall there (I think it's called the Mall of Asia).
You can also take a day trip by car to Tagaytay, and see the volcano's there. It's possible (and I recommend) arranging a boat to the island volcano and then bargaining with the villagers to take you to the crater on horseback.
Welcome to Manila. The PI infastructure leaves a lot to be desired to say the least. More than likely, the phone that you are calling from is not connecting because the switch is not connecting you. This happens a lot in Manila especially if you are not calling form a reputable establishment or a pay phone. Just becuse it's ringing doesn't mean a whole lot, and it especially doesn't mean that it's ringing at the embassy that you are trying to call.
I know that I am not telling you anything substantial, but this is the Philippines, and it doesn't make sense. Also, when trying to get the operator, it could be as simple as, they don't want to pick up. I've been to many establishments and businesses where the clerks just didn't feel like waiting on you and you'd sit there and stare at each other. Frustrating. I can't believe that they think that this is the way to do business, but... Now, I could be wrong and I definitly don't mean to put down the filipino people, I am married to one. I am just relating the experiences that I have had. Good thing you didn't have a tourist question, you'd really get me going!
I would suggest going to the embassy itself, or going to a good hotel and calling from there, even if it meant paying a bit more, well, maybe a lot more, but at least you'd probably get through.
Favorite thing: Filipino musicians are among the best in Asia. Metro Manila bustles with nightlife and is often heralded as Asia's entertainment capital. There is a wide variety of music to choose from: pop, rock, jazz or Broadway, as well as a wide range of bistros, nightclubs, pubs, bars and cafes at which you can hear it. Traditional Filipino music and dance are offered at theaters or hotel restaurants where cultural dance troups perform regularly.
A wide choice of food establishments awaits visitors, whether they will be dining in Metro Manila or in the various provinces in the country. When in the Philippines, it is worth seeking out kamayan (eating with your hands) restaurants for a true cultural experience. Because of its coastline, the Philippines boasts of seafood galore. In fact, most restaurants offer seafood cooked one way or another. The most popular form of cooking, though, is broiling (inihaw).
Filipino food is an intriguing blend of Malaysian, Chinese, Spanish and American cuisines. For instance, the use of coconut milk as an ingredient is a gastronomic legacy from the Filipinos' Malay ancestors. Popular dishes such as lumpia (egg rolls) and pancit (noodles) are Chinese. Even the country's most famous dish lechon (roast pig), originated in China. Some traditional dishes are still called by their Spanish names such as mechado (beef with pork fat), menudo (diced meat and potatoes stewed in tomato sauce) and pochero (pork, green beans, cabbage and other selected vegetables).
Within each region, you will find specialized dishes. Baguio is famous for serving the best in fruit and vegetables from the Trinidad Valley. Pamanga is known for tocino (sweet preserved meats), Bicol, the coconut-growing region, uses gata (coconut milk) in cooking, along with many spices. Don't miss Zamboanga for its excellent prawns, crabs and lobsters.
Ordering in restaurants is easy since the menus are in English, although most of the dishes are simply described by their method of cooking. Remember, you're not finished with your meal until you have had dessert. Choose from the wide variety of baked delights, Philippine-made ice-cream, or fresh fruits, since the Philippines offers one of Asia's largest selection of tropical fruits.
(pls see my restaurant and local customs tips!)
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) is eight miles (12 kilometres) south of Manila. Take only official, metered or pre-booked taxis, do not accept rides from people that approach you in the terminal. The taxis in the line in front of ÔarrivalsÕ are metered and will charge around 150-200 Pesos (6USD-8USD) to central Manila hotels. It will take about 20 minutes to one hour for the trip, depending on traffic. Many of the major hotels run cars which you can book in advance, or you can look for a hotel representative in ÔarrivalsÕ. The cost is around 750-950 Pesos (30USD-38USD), and is considered well worth the cost for the convenience and security. Once youÕre in town you may be advised to use the pool of taxis operated by your hotel. They have fixed fares and provide a more convenient and safe way around the city than driving yourself or dealing with the difficult public taxi system
Fondest memory: Arriving at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) may be a nearly unique lifetime experience. Because of security, no one without special authorization may come into the airport. All "greeters" must remain outside, across the street from the main entrance. There is an air-conditioned, glassed in raised waiting area, where for a nominal fee, your "greeters" can wait. Because of the huge number of Filipinos who work overseas, Balikbayans, the luggage area can be pure mayhem. Take a deep breath. You're here!
WARNING: Watch your purse and carry on baggage while you are standing at the carousel waiting for your luggage. Although undoubtedly no worse than any other large city, there are pickpockets and thieves about who take advantage of your distraction to rob you. I know of at least one seasoned expat whose welcome to Manila included the theft of her wallet and all of her money, documents, and credit cards. Exercise caution!
(last date bought the medicines - June 14, 2006)
Botica ng Bayan
Siao-Brigino Pharmacy & Gen. Merchandise
Balut, Tondo, Manila
1. imodium for diarrhea - 30 pcs @ 7 pesos = 210 pesos
2. biogesic for fever - 10 pcs @ 2.75 = 27.50 pesos
3. benadryl A.H. for allergy - 10 pcs @ 25.25 = 252.50 pesos
4. bonamine for dizziness - 10 pcs @ 10.25 = 102.50 pesos
5. lagundi tablets for cough - 20 pcs @ 4.25 = 85.00 pesos
6. cetrizine tablets for allergy - 20 pcs @ 20 = 400 pesos
7. strepsils for sorethroat - 5 packs @ 21 = 105 pesos
Total amount - 1, 182.50 Pesos
This is my Makati Shangrila Tips with the Newer Pictures. The Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is a...more
Interesting... Sometimes ,yes, yes, yes, means no ,no ,no. --Very disappointed with staffs English...more
Stay was ok. The worst part is if you are a member, you get to be passed around until you get a NO!...more