The Philippine archipelago north of the Equator has 7,107 Islands, 2,000 of them are populated and only 500 are larger than one square kilometer. 2,500 of this Islands don’t even have an official name. The islands of the Philippines cover an area in length of 1.850 km and a width of 1.100 km. The entire landmass covers an area of 299,404 square kilometers.
Mindanao in the southern part of the Philippines Is for the wrong reasons in the media. Whiel there are some problems with minorities, the huge island is still safe to travel to. There is no problem to visit Camiguin or Davao and enjoy scuba diving end experience the Philippine hospitality.
Due to the influence of many different cultures, wars and immigrants from many of the surrounding Asian countries, there are many different languages and spoken here, in fact over 80 different dialects are spoken throughout the Philippines. The difference between these dialects are sometimes so significant that they are basically totally different languages. While the population of Luzon speaks mainly Tagalog, Cebuano uses the dialect of the Visayas.
Language in the Philippines
The constitution of 1973 finally declared Filipino (with a “F” instead of the letter “P”) to be the national language. Filipino is based on Tagalog but includes portions of many other spoken dialects of this country.
Fortunately for tourists, English is the official language spoken in all public offices. English is spoken throughout the Philippine Islands and is taught in grade one of the elementary schools. You can easily get by in the Philippines even if English is not your mother tongue.
Money in the Philippines
The Philippine Peso (PHP or ₱) has 100 centavos. The US-Dollar is the most accepted foreign currency. But you should have no problem in changing Sterling, Euro, Australian or HK dollar in the touristic areas.
Credit-cards from the bigger companies like Master-Card, Visa, American Express and Diners Club can also be used to pay bills in some Hotels, Restaurants and Resorts. The additional charge for credit cards varies from 3% up to 10%.
Make sure you contact your hotel or resort to ask about the different payment opportunities.