Philippines


Photo credit: OldGreySeaWolf from morguefile.com

The Philippines (Filipino: Pilipinas) is an archipelago in South-East Asia. The nation consists of 7,107 islands located between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,right on the eastern edge of Asia. Combine all its beaches it forms one of the world’s longest coastlines and it takes about 2 to 3 decades to visit and experience every island. Since Spanish colonial times, the country is considered to be Asia’s largest Catholic country. Over a hundred ethnic groups, a mixture of foreign influences and a fusion of culture and arts have enhanced the uniqueness of the Filipino identity and the wonder that is the Philippines.

History
Several thousand years ago, the first settlers in the Philippines crossed shallow seas and land bridges from the mainland Asia to arrive in this group of islands. These were the Negritos or Aetas. These people are related to Melanesians, Australian Aborigines and Papuans. Direct descendants of these people can still be found in the country. Several thousand years later, they were then followed by Austronesian settlers travelling the same route as the Negritos but this time over sea in their impressive Balangay boats. This word is where the basic form of political institution, the baranggay, came from. The Austronesians are thought to have come from Taiwan, and traveled south to the Philippines, and as far away as Hawaii, Easter island, New Zealand and Madagascar.The majority of Filipinos are pure Austronesian.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Palawan Island Courtesy of PCSSD Philippine Commission of Sports Scuba Diving

Why Philippines

Well… we recommend as little as possible, you are after all on holiday!

Obviously we would advise that you have comprehensive medical, travel and, if appropriate, diving insurance.  If you are taking prescription medicines you should also bring these with you as they may be hard to obtain.

It’s hot and, at times, wet so bring (or better still, buy here) shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, trainers or walking shoes, and a spare towel or sarong. You should consider light long sleeve shirts and trousers for the evenings when it may be a bit cooler. A light raincoat is probably a very good idea and you might like to consider a lightweight sweater for the hilly areas. You don’t need your party frock but there is a thriving night and club scene throughout The Philippines so if you fancy dressing up and clubbing with the best then bring your togs with you.

Bring a hat, mosquito repellent and sun block. Women may prefer to bring tampons with them as they are not easy to obtain outside the cities – sanitary towels are.

Make sure you have a camera and it’s a good idea to carry an adaptor with you for any electrical items you carry.

If you need to stay in touch with the rest of the world then you can pick up SIM cards just about anywhere for your cellphone which will allow immediate access to international calls. Internet access is widespread and relatively cheap. There are also a fast increasing number of Wi-Fi centres.

Contrary to what you might have expected it’s not the ‘wild east’ here! The major centres such as Manila, Cebu and Boracay will provide all that you need for your holiday. The shopping malls in Manila and Cebu are amongst the biggest in South East Asia and carry all the global and domestic brands.

Definitely bring a wide smile and a good sense of humour. Filipino people are some of the friendliest in the world and you will find that a smile goes a long way to getting everyone on your side.

Finally, before you depart check your visa requirements. The majority of foreign travellers are issued a 21 day visa on arrival which can be extended. For some countries this may be different so you are advised to look up http://philippines.travisa.com/. Also, your insurance may or may not cover diving, please do your homework; the folks at http://www.nriol.net/ can cover recreational diving as well as deep sea diving.

To know more visit: scubadivephilippines.com