The Philippines archipelago is made up of more than 7,000 islands, sandwiched between Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, surrounded by the South China Sea. Davao, situated in the Mindanao region of Philippines, is a commercial, industrial and transportation (sea and air) hub South of the country. It is also the centre of the Philippines fruit and flower-growing region, with the annual Kadawayan Festival held in August to celebrate the bounty of the fields and the different tribal cultures.
According to the national census in May, 2000, there are a total of 76.5 million Filipinos with a growth rate of 2.36% annually. Luzon, the largest island group, accounts for more than half of the entire population.
2.Climate & Clothing
The climate of the Philippines is tropical with little variation in temperature all year round.
The hottest time of year being April and May, the rainy season falls between June and October. The country is also subject to severe cyclones. March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy, November to February is cool. Average temperatures: 78°F / 25°C to 90°F / 32°C; humidity is 77%.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 60Hz. Two-pin flat blade attachments and two-pin round plugs are used.
4.Health & Safety
No special vaccination certificates are required, except by travellers entering the Philippines from an area infected with yellow fever. Recommended vaccinations include typhoid, hepatitis A and rabies.
There is a malaria risk in parts of the Philippines and visitors should seek medical advice before travelling; urban areas are generally considered risk-free.
Dengue fever is a risk throughout the country; the best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites.
Tap water is not safe to drink and ice in drinks should be avoided; cholera is a risk in the country and precautions are advised.
Sea snakes can be highly venomous; travellers should be cautious in remote coastal waters, lakes and rivers, as anti-venom may not be readily available. Medical care is good in the major cities, although very expensive, however it is limited in the more remote area. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.
Safety and security should be of paramount concern to any visitor to the Philippines. It is vital to be fully informed of threats and developments regarding crime, terrorism and kidnapping before and during a visit to the islands. However, vigilance is vital throughout the islands, particularly in Manila.
English is widely spoken though the official language of the Philippines is Filipino. Tagalog is the most predominant of the many dialects spoken throughout the islands.
6.Money & Currency
The currency of the Philippines is the Peso (PHP), divided into 100 centavos. Major credit cards are widely accepted in the cities and tourist destinations. Banks do not always accept travellers cheques but a receipt of purchase is useful. ATMs are available in the major cities.
US dollars are widely accepted in Manila and other tourist areas. It is easy to find a foreign exchange and US dollars are the easiest currency to exchange. Otherwise Euros and Pounds Sterling can also be exchanged in banks and hotels.
Banks open from 9am - 3pm, Monday to Friday, but their ATMs are open 24 hours. It is recommended to carry pesos when travelling outside of major centres.
Catholics - 82.9%
Protestants - 5.4%
Islam - 4.6%
Philippine Independent Church - 2.6%
Iglesia ni Cristo - 2.3%
Moving around Philippines by land is easy with national highways connecting the major islands and an extensive public transportation system, including the exotic Philippine jeepney, trains, taxis, buses and trikes are the main modes of public transportation. The calesa, a more elegant means of traveling in most major cities, is more commonly offered as a “fun ride” in many public parks across the country.
A land railway system operated by the Philippine National Railways, called the Metrotren, is recommended for long distance traveling. It reaches as far south as Carmona and Cavite, or as far north as Meycauayan, Bulacan.
Entry requirements for Americans: United States citizens must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to 21 days; extensions are possible.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to 21 days, unless passport is endorsed British National (Overseas), in which case no visa is required for a maximum stay of seven days.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to 21 days but extensions are possible.
Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to 21 days but extensions are possible.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to 21 days but extensions are possible.
Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to 21 days.
Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to 21 days but extensions are possible.
Passport/Visa Note: Everyone entering the Philippines must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended period of stay. All visitors must have return or onward tickets and documents necessary for further travel, as well as sufficient funds.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
11.Attractions in Davao
The tiny, pear-shaped island of Camiguin is on the north coast of Mindanao. Renowned for the friendliness of its people and characterized by its lively annual festival dedicated to the humble lanzones fruit, which is one of the island's major sources of income.
There are more than seven volcanoes, a multitude of hot springs, stunning beaches, offshore islets and a spring that emanates natural soda water. Mambajao is the capital, situated on the north coast with 35 resorts and plenty of restaurants. Most popular pursuits on the island (apart from enjoying the beaches) include climbing Mount Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano that last erupted in 1951 leaving a death toll of 500; snorkelling through the sunken cemetery at the barrio of Bonbon; reading gravestones that were submerged in a volcanic eruption in 1871; and taking a swim at Ardent Hot Springs, inland from Mambajao.
Lanang, the Davao Museum, located about seven miles (12km) from the Davao City centre at Insular Village, showcases the various tribal cultures of the region, a repository of tribal art, local costumes, jewellery and handcrafts. There is also a gallery of paintings, sculptures and ceramics, and a souvenir shop selling native crafts. Tribal women can be seen at work at the nearby T’Boli Weaving Centre weaving cloth from the fibres of the native abaca plant, featuring patterns that depict the folklore of the tribe.
For eco-lovers who seek 'off the beaten track' adventure, there is the region of south Cotabato in Mindanao, several hours' journey from Davao City.Lake Sebu, near the village of Suralla, is surrounded by rolling hills and forested mountains, is home to the T'boli tribe famous for their vibrant costumes, intricate beadwork, woven work and brass ornaments, as well as the Tasadays, a cave-dwelling people. The area abounds with waterfalls, natural caves and springs.
A short ferry ride south of Davao City, in the Davao Gulf, is the island of Samal. It is part of an archipelago of islets that offer a escapade from the city life and some adventure. The island offers fabulous sunrises and sunsets and a fascinating topography of rolling hills, white sandy beaches and dozens of caves. The shoreline has the usual coconut palms, mangrove swamps and coral reefs, together with some little fishing villages, washed by clear, clean water: all the delights of a tropical island within a stone's throw of the city.
San Pedro Cathedral
Named after the city's patron saint, Don Jose Uyanguren, is Davao City's oldest church. It is known as the 'Spanish Conquistador of Davao' built in 1847 during the Spanish colonial period. The original altar, carved with images of saints, has been preserved and can be seen in the right wing of the cathedral.
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