Visas: All visitors to the Philippines will need a visa and an onward ticket or return ticket. Twenty-one day visas are issued on arrival. Fifty-nine day visas can be obtained in advance.
Public holidays: New Year’s Day; Holy Thursday; Good Friday; Labour Day; Independence Day (12 June); Philippine/American Friendship Day (4 July); All Saints’ Day; National Heroes Day (30 Nov); Christmas; Rizal (30 Dec); New Year’s Eve.
Good buys: Handicrafts such as rattan, bamboo or palm baskets and mats, embroidery and pearls can be found in abundance.
Local dishes: Filipino cuisine has Chinese, Malay and Spanish influences. Barbecued sticks of meat or seafood are popular evening snacks. Standard dishes, always served with rice, include meat and vegetables cooked with vinegar and garlic, grilled grouper, meat stews and a huge variety of soups – rice, noodle, beef, chicken, liver, kneecap, offal and sour vegetable.
Interesting fact: The Philippines is the only Christian country in the whole of Asia. The country comprises about 7,100 islands, of which only 460 are more than one square mile in area.