Foreign Exchange as of May 16, 2006
) 1 US $ = PhP 52.15
2) 100 Yen = PhP 45
3) 1 HK $ = PhP 6.00
4) 1 UK pound = PhP 95.40
5) 1 Euro = PhP 65.45
6) 1 Australian $ = PhP 38.70
7) 1 Canadian $ = PhP 46.53
8) 1 Saudi Riyal = PhP 13.75
(date exchanged - April 3, 2004)
SM Manila - Foreign Exchange
Address: SM City Manila
Conception cor Arroceros & San Marcelino St.
(1st Floor inside SM Department Store)
10,000 Yen = PhP 5,300
Other info: as of April 3, 2004)
1) 1 US $ = PhP 56.15
2) 100 Yen = PhP 53
3) 1 HK $ = PhP 7.10
4) 1 UK pound = PhP 99.16
5) 1 Euro = PhP 65.70
6) 1 Australian $ = PhP 40.74
7) 1 Canadian $ = PhP 40.89
8) 1 Saudi Riyal = PhP 14.27
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....
I traveled to Manila over the Chinese New Year period, arriving on the morning of Chinese New Year's Eve. While I figured that there would be some interest in the holiday given the Chinese ancestry of some Filipinos, I had no idea how big.
The first sign was our carriage ride around Old Manila, which took us into Chinatown on New Year's Eve. The place was wall-to-wall people, many setting off fireworks or dressed in dragon costumes. Unfortunately, the low lighting and bouncing of the carriage prevented many of my pictures from coming out.
Then, two nights later, we were invited to a boisterous Chinese New Year's party at the Heritage Hotel. There were about 300 people there, all dressed nicely and enjoying the food and drink provided (starting two hours late, of course). The party was outside around the pool, which wasn't used except for a place to float a large Chinese dog (it was the year of the dog). A line of tables was set up upon which was laid the longest salad ever constructed in Manila. All the guests were then given chopsticks and asked to toss the salad in the air -- the higher the better for good luck. Of course, salad got everywhere and all over everyone. After the salad tossing was done, a 20-minute fireworks barrage took place both overhead and riding up flagpoles behind the stage. We had to cover our drinks as remnants of the deafening pyrotechnics fell everywhere. Watching the spectacle silently -- it was too loud to speak -- I made the observation that I have never been to a party where the guests were both so well-dressed and covered with so many vegetables and fireworks casings. It was a bizarre sight.
(date written - June 2, 2006)
I went to Embassy of India to apply for tourist visa.
Visa fee - 2,100 pesos (for Filipino)
a) Other nationality - 3,150 pesos
b) American - 4,200 pesos
Date applied - June 2, 2006
Date of release - June 8, 2006
Acceptance of Application:
Monday to Friday
9:30 am - 12:00 noon
Location : Embassy of India
2190 Paraiso St. Damarinas Village, Makati City
Phone # 843-0101/843-0102
Fondest memory: (date written - June 8, 2006)
Multiple-Entry Tourist Visa (India)
1. Finally, I got my multiple-entry tourist visa for India today. Valid for 3 months. (June 5 - Sept. 5, 2006)
Since I will leave Bangkok for India this 18th of July, I can spend only 50 days in India. It means to say that I can spend only few days in Nepal and other neighboring countries if I'll be successful in getting visa in Kolkata, India.
Favorite thing: The symbols on the white triangle of the Philippine flag are an eight rayed sun and three stars in gold. The sun represents the dawning of a new era of self determination that was desired in 1897 (when the flag was first designed) after the Spanish-American war and the US promise of independence, which was granted in 1946. The 8 rays on the sun stand for the 8 provinces that rose in revolt against Spanish rule in the late 19th century. The 3 stars stand for the 3 principal geographic areas of the country, Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. To complete the symbolism of the flag, the red stripe represents courage and bravery and the blue stripe is for noble ideals. The white triangle stands for the Katipunan, a revolutionary organization that led the revolt against Spain and the color white represents peace and purity. This flag is unique in that in peacetime, the blue stripe is uppermost but during wartime, the red stripe is on top.
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!
(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
would be a BLAST to attend one in Manila...
see my homepage for our very 1st VT Meet last December 16, 2004...we all had a great time...just post a meeting sched and will call the troops!!! HEHE!
Fondest memory: oh the food and the stories we all share when we're together...
Embassy of Philippines in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
No. 1 Changkat Kia Peng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: (603) 2148-9989
Web Site: http://www.philembassykl.org.my/
For Malaysia citizen, you need not to apply travel Visa so long your stay in Philippines is not exceeding 21 days. This will translate into lower cost of traveling to Philippines and probably can buy few jugs of beer or 1 dive with that money.
Chickens! even in the city they wake you up at the crack of dawn! Everyone has at least one. Boiled Chicken! Grilled Chickens! Chicken at the market, dead or alive! Chicken fights! And the most memoriable experience I have had of all my travels!
Balute! In fact I don't think that is even the proper spelling! What is it? An egg with a fully developed chicken embryo (or in my case a duckling) is taken and buried to ferment for a couple of weeks.
Fondest memory: Eating balute after being invited to a persons house which I met walking down a street in Subic. You take the egg crack it, and eat the fermented chick. Ahhh.
I recomend you don't look at it, or give as much thought as I did. Once I got it in my mouth, I rolled it continuously around until I worked up the courage to force it down. With a big swig of my San Miguel Beer I survived. Oh well, I think of a quote I heard on T.V. today 'I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of not living!'
Try native food at major native restaurant chains. These are easy to find. Order 'adobo with coconut milk', 'special bibingka', roasted pig or 'lechon.
Fondest memory: Too many since I live here. My most memorable experience, unfortunately, cannot be relived by anyone else. Its about something I did at work when I outfoxed many older more experienced people.
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.
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!
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
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!)
This is my Makati Shangrila Tips with the Newer Pictures. The Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is a...more
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