Area: 300,000 sq km (land: 298,170 sq km, water: 1,830 sq km)
Climate: tropical marine; northeast monsoon (November to April); southwest monsoon (May to October)
Population: 101,833,938 (July 2011 est.)
Languages: Filipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official); eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuan
Government type: republic
Independence Day: 12 June 1898 (independence proclaimed from Spain); 4 July 1946 (from the US)
Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP); 1 USD = 0.39 PHP; 1PHP = 0.02 USD
GDP: $353.2 billion (2010 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $3,500 (2010 est.)
Information for Foreign Students in Philippines
Obtaining a Visa
It is not compulsory for nationals from Australia, EU countries, the UK and US, when it is for stays not exceeding 21 days for either tourist or business purposes. Tourists wishing to stay longer than 21 days may either obtain a visa in advance, or apply for an extension once in the Philippines at any Bureau of Immigration (www.immigration.gov.ph). The standard is an extension to 59 days, although longer extensions are available.
Link for houses: http://www.housinginteractive.com/rent/houses/philippines
It would be better to boil tap water before drinking it or brushing teeth. Besides, Health insurance is essential, particularly since approximately three-quarters of the hospitals are private. Call 117 for emergency services, although if you're in Manila then it may be quicker to contact an ambulance service directly. These include Makati Medical (02) 888 8999 and St. Luke's Hospital (02) 723 0101.
ATMs are widely available in cities and major tourist areas, but may not be present on smaller islands or in mountain areas. It is best to check ahead before relying on the presence of ATMs. Major banks accepting foreign cards include PNB (www.pnb.com.ph ), BPI (www.bpiexpressonline.com) and Land Bank (www.landbank.com).
Keeping in Touch
Internet cafés are common across the country. Access is cheap and usually reasonably fast. Wi-Fi is also usually easy to find, available in many hotels and coffee shops. The main telecoms companies offer reasonably priced 3G access via smartphones or USB dongles. As for mobile phone, coverage is good, other than in mountainous areas and remote locations. There is 3G coverage in many urban areas. Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies, but it is cheap and easy to buy a local SIM card. Credit top-ups (known as 'load') are readily available. International calls can be made on mobile phones, but the cheapest way is through a VOIP service. Software and headsets are available in most Internet cafés.