General Information for Israeli Tourists

 

Arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)

travellerIsraelis are not required to secure visas for a maximum stay of fifty nine (59) days in the Philippines.  There are cases however,  that the Bureau of Immigration limits the stay of tourists. Be sure to check the allowed number of days stamped on your passport by the Bureau of  Immigration.  It is also advisable to have a return ticket with a precise date of departure.  Passports should be valid for a least six months upon entry to the Philippines.

Please take care of your belongings.  Like any other major cities and airports in the world, pickpockets may be present.

The international airports have adequate traveler facilities: tourist information & assistance counters, hotel & travel agency representatives, banks & ATMs, postal service, telephone booths, and medical clinics, among others. Baggage carts and porter services are available for free.  The airports are handicapped-friendly. Wheelchairs are available on request from the airline ground staff.

Taxis and limousine rentals are available outside the terminal.  It is recommended that you have the exact address and telephone numbers of your hotel/destination.  Although US dollars are accepted by taxi drivers and rental services, it is advisable to exchange Philippine peso at the airport for tips and urgent purchases. (Approx. US$1.00 = Php 47.00)  You may find some difficulty in exchanging shekels but for purposes of conversion, NIS1.00 = Php 12.00, approximately.

 

getting_around2There are four popular modes of public transport in Metro Manila and surprisingly, they are easy to use.

Buses : Both air-conditioned and regular buses travel most of the major routes in Metro Manila. On an air-con bus a short ride costs PhP 9.00, adding a few peso for every succeeding kilometer. The regular bus' minimum fare is PhP 4.00. Just tell the conductor where you are going and he will tell you how much it costs. Keep your bus receipt as it is your proof of payment.

Jeepneys : Called "folk art on wheels," jeepneys ply most of Manila's secondary roads and even a few major thoroughfares.They're as much fun to ride on as they are to look atand you have to try one. Although there are regular stops,you can often just flag one down and hop on. Call out "bayad" (bah-yhad) and pay the driver. If you are too far back, pass your Php 5.00 (US$ 0.1)--minimum fare for the first 4 kilometers; 1 peso additional for every succeeding 500 meters -- down. When you are ready to get off, call out "para" (pah-rah); wait till he slows down and jump.

The LRT : It's a fast, cheap way to go to downtown Manila. A token can take you between Monumento (the northern end of Edsa) and Baclaran, travelling first along Rizal Avenue and then Taft Avenue. Many of the tourist maps have the route of the LRT marked.

The MRT: This is definitely the fastest mode of transport, this side of the metropolis. The MRT runs from the North Avenue Station in Quezon City up to Taft Avenue Station in Pasay City. Passengers would enjoy the traffic-less route, clean stations and coach, with a good view of Metro Manila's landscape. The only problem is that some stations have very high stairways. Although a number of elevators is operational, not all stations have one. Travel time is approximately 20 minutes end to end.

Taxis: Air-conditioned taxis cost PhP25.00 on the meter and an additional PhP 2.00 is added for every succeeding 200 meters to the final cost. Non-airconditioned taxis do not ply anymore. Taxis are always lined up at the major hotels and tourist restaurants and can be hailed on the street. If you take a taxi, make sure the driver turns on the meter. If he gives you a story that it is broken, get out and take another taxi. Unless you are taking a long trip or the traffic is unusually horrible, most taxi rides should be well under P100. At least a 10% tip is expected.

Other Modes of Transport
Most of the major car rental agencies, including AVIS, Budget, and Hertz have offices in Metro Manila and carry a full line of vehicles from jeeps to limousines. All vehicles may be rented with or without a driver. If you wish to do your own driving you must have a valid foreign or international license.


TRAVELERS’  NOTE

  • Dress for the weather – HOT! Light clothing is ideal year-round, and absolutely during the hot and dry months from March to May. Temperatures average from 78°F/25°C to 90°F/32°C. Mean humidity is at 77%.

  • Never leave home without your rain gear, umbrella, and heavy clothing during the rainy months from June to October as well as when setting out to the mountainous areas.

  • When shopping in a public market, it is perfectly acceptable to haggle for the cheapest price.

  • English is the most widely spoken next to Filipino/Tagalog, the national language. Learning the basic local phrases may come in handy. Over 111 local dialects are spoken in the country.

  • Comfortable yet sturdy footwear are best, as traveling the islands will often involve some walking.

  • When headed to the remote areas, come prepared with an insect repellant and even your own water in handy containers. Always have the island map with you.

  • Prepare to hop in a jeepney, tricycle, or pedicab – exotic modes of land transport that are the most commonly available for going around. Always bring loose change when taking public transport.

  • Know the transport schedules. Some destinations are only being serviced intermittently, not to mention extreme weather conditions that will affect these schedules.

  • Air-conditioned taxis should cost PhP33 on the meter. An extra PhP4 will be added for every 500 meters. (approximate).

  • Casual clothing is acceptable inside churches and business offices. Dining establishments and hotels impose no dress code but shorts and slippers are deemed improper.

  • For formal occasions, the traditional Barong Tagalog, the Philippine national costume for men, is just as suitable as the suit-and-tie.

  • When traveling by car, be mindful of the number coding ordinance for vehicles that is being implemented strictly in selected cities.

  • Do not miss visiting during the summer, when there is a concentration of major festivals, celebrations, and events.

  • Adopt to local customs; accept local differences. The Filipinos are divided culturally into regions a total of 16, at present, each with its own distinct traits and traditions.

  • The Philippine monetary unit, the peso, is generally preferred for financial transactions. Money-changing shops are available in key cities and towns.  (US$1.00=Php 47.00)

  • Tipping is expected for many services. The standard amount is 10% of the total bill. Tipping is optional on bills that include a service charge, which is often 10% as well of the total bill.

  • Be sure to sample the endless variety of native delicacies and local cuisine, which differ in every region. The Philippines is made up of 7,107 different flavors that you will want to take home with you.

  • For tourist information and assistance, get in touch with the Department of Tourism and any of its accredited offices nationwide.


Other useful information:

LANGUAGES: Two official languages --- Filipino and English. Filipino which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is also widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education. Eight (8) major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense. Filipino is that native language which is used nationally as the language of communication among ethnic groups. Like any living language, Filipino is in a process of development through loans from Philippine languages and non-native languages for various situations, among speakers of different social backgrounds, and for topics for conversation and scholarly discourse. There are about 76 to 78 major language groups, with more than 500 dialects.

CURRENCY: The currency in the Philippines is the Peso (PhP) and the Centavo. 100 centavos = P1. Coin denominations are: 1, 5, 10, and 25 centavos, P1, and P5. Bill denominations are : 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1, 000 pesos.

Foreign currency may be exchanged at your hotel, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops. Exchanging money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are strictly enforced.

Most large stores, restaurants , hotels and resorts accept major credit cards including American Express , Visas and MasterCard. Traveller' s checks preferably American Express are accepted at hotels and large department stores. Personal checks drawn on foreign banks are generally not accepted.

UNIT OF MEASURE: The Metric System is used in most trade and legal transactions.

ELECTRICITY: 220 volts a/c is the common standard. 110 volts a/c is also used, especially in major hotels.

WATER: Water supply in Metro Manila and in all the other major cities are considered potable. Bottled purified water, spring water or mineral water is often supplied by hotels and resorts, and sold in all grocery stores.

TELEPHONE AND MOBILE PHONE: Telephone service is modern and you can direct dial anywhere in the world. Public phones are plentiful. Public phones require a minimum of two one-peso coins for a local call.

Bayantel - Bayan Telecommunications, Philippines.
Globe Telecom - Forward thinking Philippine telephone company. Offers mobile phone services.
PLDT - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.
Smart - Smart is one of the leading mobile phone companies in the Philippines and also offers mobile banking.

Country code: 63
Area Code (manila) : 2

Important Telephone Numbers: (24-Hour Hotline)
Police & Fire: 757 or 116
Emergency No.: 501- 650 or 501- 728
Directory Assistance: 114
National Operator: 109
International Operator: 108
Embassy of Israel:

EMBASSY OF ISRAEL
23rd Floor Trafalgar Plaza
105 H.V. dela Costa Street
Salcedo Village, Makati City
Tel: (632) 894-0441 to 43
Fax: (632) 894-1027
Website: http://manila.mfa.gov.il
Hours of Operation:  Monday-Thursday: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM  ,  Friday: 8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
Reception Hours for the Public:  Consular Affairs Department : 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM, Monday

BUSINESS HOURS
Most businesses are open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM weekdays and 8:00 AM till noon Saturdays. Banks are open from 9:00 AM till 3:00 PM Mondays through Fridays. When banking in the Philippines, it is advisable to have your passport with you for identification.

The post offices are open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM weekdays only. Stamps for postcards are frequently available from the Concierge Desk at most major hotels. The Philippines uses ZIP codes, please include them in addressing local mail.

NOTE: The Standard lunch hour is noon to 1:00 PM. Most businesses and government offices are closed.

TIME DIFFERENCE: Local time is GMT plus 8 hours. Time difference between Israel and Manila is + 6 hours

AIRPORT TAX
Passenger Terminal Fee is levied on all passengers embarking for:
1. International travel (including Security Fee): PHP 750.00.;
2. Domestic travel: PHP 200.00.
Place of payment: Airport of departure.
Exempt:
1. Children under 2 years of age.
2. Transit passengers remaining in the transit area and not leaving the airport.
3. Crew members.

TIPPING: Tipping is expected for most services. The standard practice is 10% of the total bill. Tipping is optional on bills that already include a 10% service charge.

MEDICAL FACILITIES
High-quality medical care is available in Manila, but may be difficult to locate elsewhere. Many expatriates go to St. Luke’s Hospital (279 E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon City, tel. (011-63-2) 722-6161, 723-0101, 723-0199 ; 24-hour emergency room with ambulance services; accredited by the Joint Commission International; member of the international networks of the Massachusetts General Hospital and the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, two leading U.S. hospitals).  Other options are Medical City (Joint Commission International-accredited; address: Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City, tel. (011-63-2) 635-6789, 631-86-26) and Makati Medical Center (2 Amorsolo Street, Makati City, tel. (011-63-2) 815-9911, 892-5544 ).

ANTI-SMOKING LAW in Enclosed Places, etc.
Section five of the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (Republic Act 9211) prohibits the carrying of any lighted tobacco product in public vehicles, schools, health centers, elevators, cinemas, malls and in places where fire hazards are present. Smoking is also banned in recreational facilities for minors. Fines imposed on violators of this section range from P500 to P10,000.