Philippines Basic Information
Despite popular belief, karaoke was actually invented in the Philippines, not in Japan. Roberto Del Rosario invented the concept, which he suitably dubbed ‘Sing along with the system’ – the name karaoke came later. But if there’s one thing you do in the Philippines, let it be scuba diving – but if you have to do a second thing, make sure it’s karaoke. Want to know more, read on.
Australian passport holders do not require visas for visits of less than 30 days to the Philippines. In order to travel under these terms, you must hold a valid passport with at least 6 months’ validity for the dates you are travelling. Please be aware this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute information, contact the Embassy or Consulate of the Philippines in Sydney.
The Philippine Peso is the currency of the Philippines. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Philippine Peso changes constantly, so keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase your cash when the rate is at its best. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit or debit card.
There are ample food experiences to be had in the Philippines from the infamous balut (a boiled duck egg containing a partially formed embryo) to lechon, a spit-roasted whole pig served with liver sauce or dinuguan - pork blood stew eaten with steamed rice. For a more conceptual experience there’s the unique Labassin Waterfall Restaurant at the Villa Escudero Resort where you can dine at the foot of a waterfall with your feet submerged in Mother Nature while your lips sample the nectars of the gods. Perhaps Beyoncé was singing about the Filipino dessert halo-halo in her song of the same name? Confounding to some yet irresistible to others, the part-drink/part-dessert is a concoction of shaved ice and evaporated milk mixed with sweetened beans and various curious Filipino delicacies. Don't forget to top it off with a scoop of ube or purple yam ice-cream. Meat lovers will find much satisfaction with street foods boasting lots of pork and chicken. Seafood lovers are in even greater luck – in the Philippines you’ll find everything from fresh squid to lobster at bargain prices. With its varied cultural background, you’ll also find American, Chinese, Indian, Spanish, Japanese and French cuisines in the Philippines too.
There is an abundance of places to go to and enjoy a night out in the Philippines. To say Filipinos love to sing would be an understatement - if someone hands you the mic, you take it! Live music is also big in Philippines, with the main nightlife found in Manila, but there is also plenty of opportunity to slam back some cocktails on tropical islands. The ultimate island hotspot in the Philippines is Boracay Island with its carefree attitude and many beachfront bars and clubs - Bazzura, Hey Jude and D’ Mall are favourites among the backpacker crowd. In Manila’s financial district of Makati, you’ll find a string of clubs along Jupiter J. P. Rizal Streets, or head to Malate for the newly rejuvenated Roxas Boulevard and its Baywalk. Most Manila clubs are close together so it’s easy to bar-hop on foot. Outside of the capital, you can hit up the lively nightlife in Subic in the province of Zambales – famous for its history as a former R’n’R centre of the US Navy. Many expats and foreigners feel right at home with Subic Bay’s many bars, restaurants and shopping precincts.