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Made up of more than 7,000 islands, you will find the Philippines.  This country is nestled between Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, in addition to the South China Sea.  The Philippines is a beautiful place to visit where the ocean is crystal blue and the islands alluring and mesmerizing. 

Sadly, with news of kidnappings and terrorism, some people are leery about visiting this part of the world.  With a difficult political reputation, the Philippines continue to overcome the effects of martial law.  Unfortunately, this country consists of rundown roads, a bad infrastructure, and ferries that are not very safe.  Because of all these negative aspects of the country, tourists have chosen different destinations. 

While there are definite things to consider when traveling to the Philippines, you will find some positive aspects as well.  For example, the people of the Philippines are among the most hospitable.  They are very inviting and have big, warm smiles.  Additionally, the islands are gorgeous.  In fact, many of the islands are popular scuba diving locations because of their beauty both on the land and in the sea. 

If you plan to visit the Philippines, you can stay in an all-inclusive luxury resort.  The advantage here is that you can enjoy the beautiful island in safety without having to go into the towns where safety is an issue.  Not only is the price of these type hotels affordable but also, English is commonly spoken and the food is amazingly delicious. 

If you prefer to get away from the standard type things to see and do, and you do not mind roughing it a little bit, then you will find the countryside of the Philippines incredibly beautiful.  In fact, the Philippines is just one of a handful of places in the world that still have tribal lands where adventurous people can wander without being bothered with modern day conveniences.  The only thing you would need to follow closely is the current safety advice.

 The Philippines is an interesting place for many reasons.  One of these reasons is that a Belgium research firm found that this country is the most disaster prone country in existence.  This study was performed in 2000, showing that the Philippines have experienced earthquakes, typhoons, floods, volcanic eruptions, militant action, landslides, and more. 

Even with all the negativity and problems that plague the Philippines, their government is working diligently to make this a better country.  Therefore, while you do need to follow some strict guidelines when it comes to safety, just as you would with many other countries, this is a wonderful place to visit! 

The Philippines has both a dry and rainy season.  The monsoon brings in heavy rains, typically running from May to October.  Then in the winter months, cooler and drier air is brought in by the monsoon, which in this case, runs from December to February.  In the lowlands, the climate is generally very hot and dusty, starting in March and going through May.  At this time, the temperatures can reach upward to 100 degrees.  Because of the location of the Philippines, it is rare for temperatures to drop lower than 80 degrees. 

As mentioned, the most important thing to consider when traveling to this country is safety.  You need to check with your travel agent, as well as the local authorities regarding the development of any threats.  They should be able to tell you which islands to avoid, when, and why.  Keep in mind that opportunistic crimes are common because of the levels of poverty. 

However, foreign tourists have been kidnapped and even killed by extremist groups.  There have even been recent bombings that have occurred in areas around the Philippines, typically focusing on transportation and other public areas where a significant amount of people gather. 

This particular threat is generally more prevalent in the southernmost, western, and central areas of Basilan, Mindanao, Sulu, and Tawi Tawi.  Even on the seas around the Philippines, piracy still lives.  Even as recent as May 2004 during the elections, political unrest was heightened. 

When visiting the Philippines, you will find the official language being Filipino.  However, again, English is widely spoken, along with the dialect of Tagalog, which is popular among the islands.  Currency in the Philippines is just like the Peso in Mexico.  It is divided into 100 centavos, which comes in denominations of 5, 10, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000.  However, if you do not want to mess with the currency exchange, you can simply use just about any major credit card, which are accepted at most restaurants, hotels, shops, and so on. 

To visit the Philippines, you will need a current passport that is good for a minimum of six months beyond the time you plan to stay.  Additionally, you will be required to have a return ticket to your origination point, along with legal documents for any future travel.  Finally, you want to ensure you have enough money or financial means so that if you do end up in the country longer, you will be okay. 

Again, the Philippines is truly a beautiful country and the people here, some of the warmest in the entire world.  Just remember that safety is an issue so if you plan to go there, be wise about your travel decisions.


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