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Emergency Numbers: Important Numbers of Government Offices - 23 Sep 2007
For the benefit of all local and foreign tourists in the Philippines, the following document provides a list of important numbers that should be used during times of emergencies and disasters. 

Government Offices

24 hour Tourist Police Assistance
Tel.: 524-1703/1660

Bureau of Customs
Tel.: 879-5185

Police /Fire/Medical Emergency
Tel.:117,166

Tourism Information  Center
Tel.:525-2000

Bureau of Immigration
Tel.:527-3280

Departmet of Foreign Affairs
Tel.:834-4000

National Bureau of Investigation
Anti Organized crime Division
Tel.: 523-3265

Civil Defence Operation Center
Tel.:911-5061

MNTC (North Luzon )
Expressway  road assistance
Tel.:362-8797

PNCC( South Luzon)
Expressway  road assistance
Tel.:611-5058

 
Emergency Numbers: Important Numbers: Hospitals - 23 Sep 2007
The important numbers of major hospitals are provide in the following document in case of medical emergencies. 

Hospitals

Asian Hospital Medical Center
Filinvest, Alabang
Tel.:771-9000

Cardinal  Santos
Medical  Center
Wilson St., San Juan
Tel.:727-0001

Chinese General Hospital
286 Blumentrit Street Manila
711-4141

Makati Medical  Center
Amorsolo Street
Tel815-9911

Manila Doctors Hospital
667 UN Avenue Manila
Tel.:524-3011

Medical Sanitarium and Hospital
1975 Donada Street Pasay City
Tel.:52 5-9191

San Miguel Avenue
Cor.Lourdes Road Mandaluyong City
Tel.:631-86 26

St. Luke’s Medical Center
E. Rodriguez Avenue
Quezon City
Tel.:723-0301

UST Hospital
Espana, Manila
Tel.: 731-300

 
Emergency Numbers: Important Numbers: Banking Institutions/ International Banks - 23 Sep 2007
The important numbers of international banks are provided in the following document. 

Banking Institutions International  Banks

ABN Amro Bank
18/F LKG Banking Hall el.:
6801 Ayala Avenue
Makati City
Tel.: 995-9999

Deutsche Bank
26/F Tower 1, Ayala Triangle,
Makati  City
Tel.:894-6900

HSBC
6766 Ayala Avenue
Makati City
Tel.:830-5300

ING Bank
8/F Tower 1, Ayala Triangle,
Makati  City
Tel.:840-8888

Standard  Chartered
6788,Ayala Avenue
Makati City
Tel.:886-7888

 

 
Emergency Numbers: Important Numbers: Local Banks - 23 Sep 2007
The following document provides a list of important numbers of big local commercial banks. 

Local Banks

Allied Bank
Allied Bank Center
Makati City
Tel.: 816-3311


Bank of the Philippines Islands
G/F BPI Head Office
Bldg.Ayala Ave.cor
Paseo de Roxas
Makati  City
Tel.:818-5541


Equitable PCI
Equitable PCI Bank
Towers, Makati City
Tel.: 840-7777

Metrobank
Metrobank  Plaza Bldg.
Makati City
Tel.: 898-8000

Philippine National Bank
2976 Taft Ave., Pasay
Tel.: 891-6040

Security Bank
Security Bank Center
Makati City
Tel.:867-6788

 

 
General Info: Best Islands In The Philippines - 17 Jul 2007


The Best of Islands Philippines


THE PHILIPPINES stands at the crossroads of the developed western world and the Orient. It lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, stretching more than 1,840 kilometers. Composed of 7,107 islands, the Philippines is readily accessible to the different capitals of the world. Its three main islands are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The South China Sea washes its western shores. Taiwan, China and Hong Kong are northern neighbors and further north is Japan. To the west lie Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. An arm of the archipelago reaches out towards Borneo and at its feet stands the chain of Indonesian islands. To the east and south, the waters of the Pacific Ocean sweep its headlands, looking out towards Micronesia and Polynesia.

Its unique location has made the Philippines the commercial, cultural and intellectual hub of Asia from the dawn of history.


8 Tourist Anchor Destinations
 

 

MANILA. Manila is a microcosm of the rhythm of the islands, named after a delicate white mangrove plant, this charming city lives as a silent witness to the country's turbulent history. Once ruled by the Islamic Rajah Sulayman, the city was captured one after the other by the Spaniards, the Americans, and then the Japanese. Today, the city is the country's capital, a fast growing metropolis spurred by the country's robust economy. Given its fascinating history, Manila is a showcase of different cultures. The enterprising tourist might want to visit the ruins of Intramuros or Corregidor, the greens of Rizal Park, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the mystique of Chinatown, or the urban veneer of Makati and Ortigas.
 

CEBU. In the island of Cebu, the worlds of business and leisure go hand in hand. Called the "Queen City of the South", Cebu is the site of the new and exciting business ventures between local and foreign capital. But amidst such hectic commercial activity, Cebu's numerous beach resorts and exhilirating historicity beckon tourists of all races. The city is also blessed with numerous museums and churches. As for the shopping, Cebu offers a lot of souvenir ideas from export quality fashion accessories and furniture, handcrafted guitars and handicrafts, to dried mango preserves, sugar coated biscuits, and peanut wafers.
 

DAVAO. Known for its elegant orchids, exotic fruits and Muslim heritage, Davao is a bustling city teeming with cultural diversity. It is the industrial hub of Mindanao with corporate centers, manufacturing sites, shopping centers, hotels, and casinos. Davao also features various points of interest for the adventurous visitor. Mt. Apo, the highest peak in the country and home to the Philippine Eagle, is a close distance from Davao City. Caroland Farms, 13 kms from the city, is a bird and wild duck sanctuary. Samal island offers an array of beach resorts for serious unwinding.

BAGUIO. The country's summer capital, Baguio City, stands amidst the mountainous region of the Cordillera. Situated 1,500 meters above the sea, Baguio is one of the few places in the country blessed with a cool climate. At any given time, it is eight degrees cooler in Baguio than the lowlands. Apart from the numerous sightseeing "musts": Burnham Park, Club John Hay, Lourdes Grotto and the Mines View Park, Baguio is also a great shopping place. Delight on freshest vegetables and strawberries, Baguio is also the jump-off point to the famous Banawe Rice Terraces.
 

BORACAY. Known far and wide as an island paradise, Boracay has charmed vacationers with its powder white sand, crystal blue waters and purposely laid-back pace. Located at the northern tip of Panay island, Boracay is about three hours away from Manila. Sun worshippers from all over the world visit Boracay yearly, and some have even made it their second home. It is no wonder, therefore, that French, German, Spanish and English can be heard spoken in the island. The culinary fare is equally exciting, featuring a wide range from Thai and Austrian to Belgian and Filipino. Numerous water sports facilities, including dive shops, are on hand as well as a sprinkling of bars and discos. Most visitors, however, prefer to sit back and enjoy the sun.
 

PALAWAN. An island of peace and quiet, it seems time has stood still for Palawan. Situated between Mindoro Island and North Borneo, Palawan is the country's last frontier. It is the home of over 80 cultural minority groups.It is a sanctuary for the most exotic plant, animal and aquatic life in the country including the Calamian deer, the Palawan bearcat and the tarsier. As if these were not enough, Palawan also features white sand beaches, black marble caves, and breathtaking dive sites. Visit Calauit Island, Ursula Island, El Nido beach, and Saint Paul Park for an unforgettable Palawan sojourn.
 

BOHOL. The country's tenth largest island, Bohol is a veritable masterpiece of nature with its blend of pristine white beaches, wonderful dive sites, virgin forests and rolling hills. Situated in Central Visayas, Bohol is particularly popular for the Chocolate Hills. This natural wonder consists of hundreds of dome-shaped limestone hills covered with grass which dried up and turn brown under the sun. It is also in Bohol where the historic blood compact between the Boholano chieftain Sikatuna and Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi took place. Other points of interest include the Jesuit-built Baclayon Church and the underground watersprings of Hinagdanan Cave.


LAOAG/VIGAN. Time-locked Ilocos is a broad hardy country blessed with impressive wide highways and stretches of narrow cobblestoned roads, antiquated towns dominated by heavily-buttressed grand churches and Antillan ancestral homes, and a brave people who, by sheer industry, harnessed a formidable terrain into a source of sustenance. A seemingly tempestuous sea rimmed with uneven rock formations and ascetic mountains are the two scenic images that first impress the visitor to Ilocos. Wedged between the wild China Sea and the rugged Cordillera mountain range, the region presents a visual feast that is at once dazzling in its boldness. Divided into Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, their capitals - Vigan and Laoag City - are anchor tourist destinations and part of the 7,000 times more islands that make up the Philippine archipelago.


Tourism Highway


BEING an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands scattered over 114,000 square kilometers is no obstacle to travel in the Philippines. The country's geographical structure and makeup has, in fact, proven to be an advantage to the traveler, particularly the adventurous, daring and enterprising.
Traveling overland the entire length of the Philippines is now possible through the Pan Philippine Highway. Also known as the Maharlika Highway, the road network runs from Manila to Laoag City via Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon and from Manila to Davao in Mindanao via Bicol in southern Luzon, and Samar and Leyte in eastern Visayas.
Twenty-six areas in Luzon and seven areas in the Bicol region, the Visayas and Mindanao have been designated as Scenic Highways, all with great amenities for the traveller.


The Philippines in the World


THE PHILIPPINES is readily accessible from the travel capitals of the world. Traveling time to Manila from Hong Kong is an hour and 50 minutes; Singapore, 3 hours and 10 minutes; Bangkok, 3 hours and 50 minutes; Tokyo, 4 hours and 15 minutes; Sydney, 10 hours and 20 minutes; London, 20 hours and 45 minutes; Paris, 21 hours and 15 minutes; Frankfurt, 19 hours and 40 minutes; San Francisco, 16 hours and 15 minutes; Los Angeles, 15 hours and 20 minutes; and New York, 25 hours and 20 minutes.

 

Source:  http://www.gov.ph 
 

 
General Info: Visitors Information - 15 Jul 2007

 

TIME ZONE
 

There is only one time zone for the entire country, which is 120� East Meridian Time and eight hours in advance of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

 

GETTING THERE

Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark, Subic, and Laoag are the international gateways. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila is the premier gateway. It is served by more than 30 airlines which fly to different cities around the world.

 

The Mactan International Airport (MIA) in Cebu handles regular flights from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Busan, Doha, Seoul, and Australia as well as chartered flights from the United States and other major travel capitals.

Davao International Airport handles regular flights from Indonesia and Singapore. Seasonal flights are also available to Macau.

The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (also known as Clark International Airport) in Pampanga handles regular flights from Malaysia, Macau, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Subic International Airport handles regular flights from Taiwan and different cargo flights.

Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte services regular flights from China.

Philippine Airlines, the country's flag carrier, has 32 international and 20 domestic points. .

Major cruise liners call on the port of Manila.

 

ENTRY REGULATIONS

A valid passport is required.

Except for stateless persons and those from countries with which the Philippines has no diplomatic relations, all visitors may enter the country without visas and may stay for 21 days provided they have tickets for onward journey. Holders of Hong Kong and Taiwan passports must have special permits. Visas and special permits may be obtained from Philippine embassies and consulates.

More info

 

HEALTH REGULATIONS

A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers coming from infected areas.

 

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Airport and Facilities: Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is 7 kms. from the city center, while the Manila Domestic Airport is one kilometer from the NAIA. The international airports have adequate traveler facilities: duty-free and souvenir shops, tourist information and assistance counters, hotel and travel agency representatives, car rental services, banks and automated teller machines, postal service, national and international direct dial telephone booths, medical clinics, and baggage deposit areas.

Facilities for the Physically-Handicapped: The airports are handicapped-friendly. Wheelchairs are available on request from the airline ground staff.

Customs: Visitors are advised to fill in the Baggage Declaration Form before disembarking to facilitate Customs examination. The following are allowed duty-free: reasonable quantity of clothes, jewelry, and toiletries; 400 sticks of cigarettes or two tins of tobacco; two bottles of wine or spirits of not more than one liter each. Porterage: Baggage carts are available for free. Porter services are also free. Tipping is traditional.

Check out Airline Flight Schedules

Airport Transfers: Visitors are advised to avail of accredited fixed rate or metered taxis at the NAIA's Arrival Area. At the Manila Domestic Airport, accredited transfer services are available on pre-paid coupon basis. Other airports are served by metered taxis. All airports have counters for hotel transport and car rental service. Airport Fees: P750 for international departure or its US dollar equivalent as of March 10, 2007, $15.50 US dollars; and P200 for local departure (paid in Philippine pesos only). Departing passengers for international destinations are advised to check with airport or tourist information counters (Tel. Nos 524-1703; 832-2964) The departure fees may change without further notice.

Automated Teller Machine: American Express

Duty-Free Shopping: Duty-Free Philippines near the NAIA is the country's largest duty-free outlet carrying quality imported items and selected Philippine export products.

 

CLIMATE

March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy. November to February is cool. Average temperatures: 78�F/25�C to 90�F/32�C; humidity: 77%.

 

WHAT TO WEAR

Light, casual clothes are recommended. Warmer garments are needed for mountain regions. When visiting churches and temples, propriety dictates that shorts and scanty clothing be avoided. Formal occasions require dinner jackets and ties (or the Philippine barong tagalog) for men and cocktail dresses or long gowns for women.

 

CURRENCY

Unit of currency: Peso (P) = 100 centavos. Bank notes: P10, P20, P50, P100, P200, P500 and P1,000. Coins: 5c, 10c, 25c, P1, P5, P10.

 

TIPPING

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

 

LOCAL TRANSPORT

By air, Philippine Airlines (Tel. No. [632] 855-9999) and Cebu Pacific (Tel. No. [632] 702-0888 ) provided daily services to major cities and towns. Asian Spirit (Tel. No. [632] 851-8888), Laoag International Airlines (Tel. No. [632] 551-9729), and Seair (Tel. No. [632] 891-8708) service the missionary routes. There are also scheduled chartered flights to major domestic destinations serviced by smaller commuter planes.

By sea, interisland ships connect Manila to major ports. Ferry services connect the smaller islands.

By land, Philtranco connects Manila to Bicol in Southern Luzon, to Samar and Leyte in the Visayas, and Davao in Mindanao.

Metered and fixed rate taxis are widely available in key cities nationwide. Jeepneys and buses are inexpensive ways of getting around most places. In Metro Manila, the fastest way of commuting is via the railway system. LRT-1 (yellow line) connects the northern district of Monumento to the southern district of Baclaran with stations situated at major intersections. MRT traverses the length of EDSA and connects North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, passing through the major arteries of Makati's financial district. LRT-2 (purple line) starts at the university belt in Recto, passes through Sta. Mesa, Cubao, Katipunan, and ends in Santolan, Pasig.

 

LANGUAGE

Filipino is the national language. English is the business language and spoken widely.

 

ACCOMMODATIONS

In Metro Manila, key cities and towns throughout the country, a wide selection of de luxe, standard, economy, and pension-type accommodations are available. In island destinations, there is a variety of resorts ranging from de luxe to special interest category.

The Department of Tourism has a Homestay Program in several destinations outside Manila. The program offers visitors the comfort of modest homes and an insight into Philippine life. For information, contact the Tourist Information Center at Room 106, Department of Tourism Building, tel. nos. (632) 524-2384 / (632) 524-1703.

 

DINING OUT

Filipino food is an exotic, tasteful blend of Oriental, European, and American culinary influences. There is a wide variety of fresh seafood and delectable fruits. First class restaurants offer gourmet specialties as well as Filipino cuisine.

 

ENTERTAINMENT AND CULTURE

Metro Manila is the center of entertainment and cultural activities. The premier venue for the performing arts, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, features world-class performances by local and international guest artists. Museums located in Manila and in some parts of the country offer a glimpse of Philippine history and culture. Art galleries exhibit the works of the country's leading and promising visual artists.

Manila's nightlife is one of the most vibrant in Asia, reflecting the Filipino's love for music. The hubs of nightlife activities are the Remedios Circle in Malate, Ayala Center and The Fort at Bonifacio Global City in Makati, Timog and Tomas Morato Avenues in Quezon City, and Eastwood in Libis, Quezon City. Nightclubs, music lounges, pubs, and sing-along bars feature Filipino bands and singers who are known for their great musical talent. De luxe hotels offer a variety of live musical entertainment. Concerts and stage plays form part of the country's entertainment scene.

For visitors who want to try their luck at the gaming tables there are casinos in Metro Manila and in the cities of Angeles, Olongapo, Tagaytay, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, and Laoag.

 

SHOPPING

Visitors can choose from an exciting selection of great buys in a country known for export-quality items at reasonable prices: South Sea pearls, handwoven cloths, embroidered fineries, fashionable ready-to-wear and haute couture clothes, terra-cota, porcelain, and home accessories. Artifacts, pineapple fiber shirts, prehistoric jars, native handicrafts, and footwear are interesting items, too. The Philippines also produces fine basketry, furniture, fresh and processed fruits, exquisitely crafted jewelry, and gift items made of wood and stone.

Big malls are located in Manila, Makati and EDSA, while handicraft, antique and curio shops abound at the Ermita District in Manila.

 

BUSINESS AND BANKING HOURS

Private and government offices are open either from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Some private companies hold office on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Most shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. There are also 24-hour convenience stores and drugstores nationwide.

Banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, with automated teller machines (ATM) operating 24 hours.

 

CREDIT CARDS

International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard, and American Express Card are accepted in major establishments.

 

ELECTRICITY

220 volts, A.C. 60 cyles. Most hotels have 110-volt outlets.

 

WATER

Water in Metro Manila and in key cities and towns is potable and safe for drinking. Bottled water is available in many hotels, restaurants, resorts, supermarkets, and convenience stores.

 

COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES

The country has international and national direct dial phone and facsimile services, mobile phone sites, internet and e-mail facilities, and worldwide express delivery service. The postal system is efficient.

Most national dailies are in English. Foreign publications are sold at major hotels, malls, and bookstores in Metro Manila and key cities. There are 7 national television stations which broadcast mainly in Filipino. Cable TV is available in many hotels in Manila and in many parts of the country.

 

CONVENTION FACILITIES
Manila, the pioneer convention city in Asia, has played host to a number of prestigious international events. The Philippine International Convention Center is equipped with modern convention facilities and services. It can accommodate 4,000 delegates in its Plenary Hall and 5,700 persons in its Recepcion Hall. The World Trade Center near the PICC can hold huge exhibitions and events. Smaller meetings can be held in hotels and other establishments. Out-of-town hotels and resorts are alternative convention sites.

 

MEDICAL SERVICES

Hospitals in the country are equipped with modern facilities to meet any medical need. In some remote towns and cities, clinics and health centers provide emergency medical attention. Most hotels and resorts provide medical assistance. Hospitals are listed in the "Yellow Pages" of the local telephone directory.

 

TOURS AND SPECIAL INTEREST ACTIVITIES

Tour packages, from day trips to five-day programs, are special ways of discovering the Philippines and its wealth of culture. Special interest activities include golfing, game-fishing, diving, white-water rafting and other aquasports, trekking, spelunking, and safari trips.

Information on tour itineraries may be obtained from the Philippine Tour Operators Association (Philtoa), tel. (632) 893-0284, or from the Tourist Information Center located at the ground floor of the DOT Bldg. on T.M. Kalaw Street, Manila, tel. (632) 524-2384/(632)524-1703.

 

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

New Year's Day, January 1; Edsa Revolution Day, February 24; Araw ng Kagitingan, April 9; Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, moveable; Labor Day, May 1; Independence Day, June 12; National Heroes Day, last Sunday of August; All Saints' Day, November 1; Bonifacio Day, November 30; Christmas Day, December 25; Rizal Day, December 30.

 

Source:  http://www.gov.ph
 

 
General Info: Vital Statistics - 14 Jul 2007


Population
: 84.6 million (2003 estimate)
Area:300,000 sq. km (116,000 sq. miles) but 95 percent of this is formed by the 11 larger islands, on which 95 percent of the people live.

Capital
: Manila

Government
:Presidential Republic, with a constitution modelled on Spanish and Anglo-American laws. The executive president is elected for a six-year term.

Language
: Pilipino and English, and at least 110 other dialects/languages are spoken.

Religion
:Christian, with a small percentage of Muslims and Buddhists.

Time Zone
:GMT +8 hours; EST +13 hours, adjusted to daylight savings time in summer

Currency
:Peso (P), composed of 100 centavos; and peso notes available in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000.

Electricity
:220 volts (though many outlying areas have only 100 volts)

Weights and Measures
:    Metric

International Dialling Code
:       63
 

 
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General Info: Philippine Cities Trade & Tourism Information Service - 30 Jan 2007

To help promote Philippine trade, ePLDT has partnered with the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) and the Center for Urban Management and Environment, Inc. (CUME) to launch the Philippine Cities Trade and Tourism Information Service or PhilCTTIS.

 

Developed and conceptualized by Yolanda C. Velez, President of the Center for Urban Management and Environment in collaboration with the LCP and ePLDT. PhilCTTIS consolidates web links to local government units to create a network of trade and tourism information services on Philippine cities. It also offers full, comprehensive and expanded access of the general public and investor groups to economic and business opportunities via organized internet shops nationwide with the full support of the Internet Cafes Association of the Philippines (ICAP).

As it is a web-based information service, the PhilCTTIS provides network members with an opportunity to maximize the potentials of ICT for better economic governance and active participation of Philippine cities in a globalizing economy via e-media campaign for trade and tourism promotion and development. While focusing mainly on trade and tourism investment opportunities, PhilCTTIS will also provide the latest news most relevant to traders, producers and suppliers as well as interesting trade and tourism events, tourist attractions and tour packages across cities from Northern Luzon to Southern Mindanao.

The PhilCTTIS was formally launched during the First LCP Convention held at the Manila Hotel last January 29,2007.  Project collaborators ePLDT, LCP and CUME signed a Memorandum of Understanding during the convention. The ePLDT’s collaboration with LCP and CUME attests to its commitment to support local government initiatives through technology.  As the premiere Information and Communication Technology (ICT) company in the country, ePLDT makes use of its resources, expertise and infrastructure to help government agencies and organizations improve and enhance delivery of public services, bringing governance to the 21st century.

 

 
General Info: Tourism gets big slice of P61-B Korean investments in RP - 17 Aug 2007
Korean investments in the Philippines have surged to more than $1.3 Billion or over P61 Billion over the past two years, including the first quarter of the current year when total foreign arrivals reached a record high of almost a million, with Koreans accounting for the biggest bulk. 
Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said these investments included at least 10 projects worth $35,865,000 or P1,826,655,000 in hotels and restaurants alone, the second biggest capital drawer after warehousing.  This amount, according to Durano, does not include other tourism-related ventures falling under construction, real estate, wholesale and retail, and service-oriented projects, which aggregate to some $63,363,000 or P2,978,061,000. “The phenomenal investments in tourism can be attributed largely to the increasing number of Korean tourists and retirees who account for a big portion of the investors’ captive market,” Durano pointed out. “It is, therefore, strategically important for the Department of Tourism (DOT) to attract more Korean tourists and retirees so as to keep these dollar investments coming,” Durano added. The P61 Billion total investments covered 21 projects in manufacturing, 15 in construction, 13 in real estate, 28 in services, 11 in wholesale and retail, 8 in warehousing, and seven in others. The figures from the Korean Exim Bank, with which Korean companies must register their foreign direct investments abroad. Among the foreign retirees in the Philippines, the Koreans account for the third biggest group, numbering 3,225, after the 3,690 Chinese and 3,241 Taiwanese.        The benefits of Korean presence are far reaching since they are practically all over the Philippines, making dollar investments from tourists and investors reach even the countryside and other remote areas.
 
Hospitals: SSS Hospital Financing Program - 23 Sep 2007
There is an important lending facility for financing of construction or rehabilitation of hospitals as a government service facility. This is a government supported loan program called the SSS Hospital Financing Program. 

A facility available for the following:
• Construction, repair, or renovation of hospital building
• Acquisition or upgrading of hospital equipment

Features of the loan:
  Maximum loan of P150 million or 75% of total project cost, whichever is lower
  Maximum term of 20 years inclusive of a 3-year grace period on principal
  Interest rate reviewable every 5 yrs
  Quarterly repayment in arrears

Interim financing is also available.

The loan may not be used to finance working capital, land acquisition, or the acquisition of an existing hospital.
You can borrow up to P150 million or 75% of the total project cost, whichever is lower. The loan is funded entirely by the SSS, and has a maximum term of 20 years inclusive of a 3-year grace period on principal repayment. Interest rate is reviewable every 5 years. Payment is done quarterly, in arrears.
Interim Financing until the release of the Loan by the SSS is available.

 
Museums: Museums - 07 Aug 2007
Apolinario Shrine * Marcela Agoncillo Historical Talaga, Tanauan, Batangas Landmark, Taal, Batanags  

Miguel Malvar Hospital * Leon Apacible Historical Landmark, Sto. Tomas, Batangas Taal, Batangas

Museo ng Batangas at Aklatang Panlalawigan Dr. Jose P. Laurel Library, Batangas City Tanauan, Batangas

Gen. Malvar Museum and Library (National Land Mark)

It serves as memorial to the last Filipino general who surrendered to the American forces. The place, which was donated by the family of the late general houses some of his memorabilia and collection of oil paintings. Location : Gov. Malvar St., Sto. Tomas (near the municipal Hall) How to get there : The Museum is easily accessible by car from Manila due to its proximately one hour from Manila.

Msgr. Clemente G.Yatco Museum

The museum was built in memory of the late parish priest who started to work for the creation of the museum. It is found within the compound of the basilica located at the city proper. Location : Basilica Site, Batangas City How to get there : Buses coming from Manila bound to Batangas City pass near the church. Within the province, the basilica site is also accessible by public utility jeepneys plying the Batangas City route. Travel time : 2 1/2 hours' drive from Manila.

 
Resorts: Adorable Beaches - 16 Jul 2007


The Philippines is a hot [ 22C-38C] and humid [85%] Asian country
loaded with lovely relaxed people, tropical jungle and glorious beaches - some of which are now the preserve of luxury resorts.
The country costs little to travel in unless you stay at a fancy resort, and that's not necessary, there are plenty of downmarket hotels available.
Manila, the capital, is polluted, uninteresting and not short of crime, but you'll have to stop over briefly en route to your island paradise of choice. Unless you have a lot of time you'll fly there.

 

The dry season runs roughly from January - June, the rest is wet, though that could mean just a shower once a day or a full-on typhoon. December-February is cooler, while March-May is hotter. But there are considerable regional variations...

'Haze', caused by forest fires and slash/burn agricultural practices in both Malaysia and Indonesia has, in the past, obscured the sun and reduced air quality around Aug-Sept, but does not seem to be such a problem in this millennium.

Plus: friendly locals, travel/accommodation/beaches can be very cheap, sand is perhaps the best in the world - soft white coral sand that never heats up, and the live coral is also superb.
Minus:
the humidity is a killer, Manila is a pain, the Philippines is not as safe as Malaysia, and bouncy boat rides may be necessary to reach your perfect beach.

White Beach, Boracay Island [picture above right]
A tranquil atmosphere - tho' quite busy - and friendly locals. The sand is exceptionally white, soft, never gets hot and stretches for 3 miles.
There is a huge variety of small hotels, restaurants and bars offering cosmopolitan cuisine just off the beach, relatively cheap and comfortable. Although rated as one of the top ten beaches in the world, recent tourism expansion has lead to some environmental concerns.
There is no coral off White Beach, though plenty of dive boats will take you to good dive sites. Windsurfing months are Nov-April, best Dec-Feb.
The best months are Jan-May, OK June- Sept [with some rain], but April and May are Philippine school holidays and the place gets noisy and crowded then. Don't consider Oct-Nov [windy, possibly grey and wet].
Fly from Manila to neighbouring Panay island, then 20 mins by banca [boat].

Honda Bay, Palawan, Philippines
Despite its outstanding natural beauty, Palawan's 1,770 islands have been one of the least developed holiday destinations in Southeast Asia [apart from the famous El Nido Resorts].
So far the lack of commercialism has made Palawan very special, but it is becoming more popular particularly for international divers, as well as adventurers.
The ideal place for sun seekers and snorkellers is Honda Bay, which has several islets including Cannon Island, Bat Island and Starfish Island, with coral reefs breaking crystal clear water onto empty, fine white sand beaches. Arreceffi Island contains the luxury Dos Palmas Resort, while lesser accommodation can be found on other islands, or stay at Puerto Princesa and take a half hour boat trip to your favourite deserted beach.
Palawan also offers the Philippines' best dive spot at the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, a World Heritage Site. Dive boats operate from March to May and can be arranged at Puerto Princesa, Palawan's capital. The city also offers all sorts of jungle eco-hikes and an 8.2 km underground river trip. Best Dec-May. Possible heavy rains June- November, but not necessarily.

Malapascua Island, Cebu [picture above left]
This tiny island, situated at the northeast tip of Cebu Island, is relatively new to the international market, but already rates highly on the the list of world's best beaches - some say it is the new Boracay.
This has also become a major dive centre, famous for the crowds of thresher sharks using the marine highway between Cebu and Leyte islands. Driest Feb-May, but OK the rest of the year too with mostly short spells of rain. Worst Oct-Dec.

Bantayan Island, Cebu
Bantayan island, 15km from the northern tip of Cebu is well-known for its powder white sands and crystal clear water, especially along the southwest coast. It is a low-key, laid-back resort with friendly locals. The beaches are considered as some of the most inviting resorts, particularly around Santa Fe. If you looking for a virgin paradise, try nearby Puo Island. Driest Feb-May, but OK the rest of the year too with mostly short spells of rain. Worst Oct-Dec.

Muelle Bay, Puerto Galera, Mindoro Island
Puerto Galera is an ideal place to do island-hopping from Luzon or a place to laze on pristine white sands and clear, warm water. The most popular beaches for swimming are White beach and Tamaraw Beach, while beaches near Sabang have best facilities for coral-cruising. For more tranquility try Big and Small Laguna Beaches. Puerto Galera also offers excellent inland nature walks. Best Nov-June. OK July-Oct [an occasional typhoon will bring rain/wind/rough seas for 2 or 3 days].

Puraran Beach, Catanduanes Island
Catanduanes Island lies in the Pacific Ocean just off Luzon and is one of the Philippines' major surf venues. Puraran Beach's white sand is very appealing, but currents can be dangerous in the surfing season [October].
There are other white sandy beaches, for instance
Pamangal Beach near San Andres town or Igang Beach. Note that this is one of the wettest provinces of the country. Best April-June. Worst Nov-January. 

Alona Beach, Panglao Island, Bohol
Bohol, just across from Cebu, is best-known for its curiously bumpy Chocolate Hills landscape. It is becoming more popular as the region's best beach destination, with superb white sand and some world class diving sites, tho' mostly on the adjacent little island of Panglao.
The 800m long, picturesque Alona Beach, with plenty of accommodation, restaurants and dive centres, is for action men [and women], though it has sea grass that conceals sea urchins, so sand shoes are useful.

The 2km of unspoiled Doljo Beach
is a more secluded, less developed, shallow water option, while Cabilao Island on the west coast of Bohol has some splendid diving sites and exceptionally clear water.
And don't forget a trip to see the 1,000 30m high chocolate hills in Bohol's centre! The best time is indefinable; it may rain briefly every day, it may not... A typhoon may happen along...but March-May is likely to be driest if you must have a guesstimate.

Source: www.bugbog.com

 
Resorts: Best Beaches in France - 30 May 2007
Looking for the world class beach with "bling-bling"? There are a few around St. Tropez along the French Riviera. This area was the hangout of starlet Bridget Bardot, but today the hotels and clubs are packed year-round with Hollywood's hottest stars. 

Cote de Azur - The French Riviera

Make sure you click on the images so you can see the best view. Looking for the world class beach with "bling-bling"? There are a few around St. Tropez along the French Riviera. This area was the hangout of starlet Bridget Bardot, but today the hotels and clubs are packed year-round with Hollywood's hottest stars.

Not far from Nice or Cannes, St. Tropez is a lively town, full of grand culture and shopping during the summer and can be a nice hideaway during the winter months. Hotels abound, and some great bargains can be made if you plan far enough in advance. Tourists planning vacations from all over the world make it once to St. Tropez, and with good reason. The area around the beaches is full of culture, gourmet food and exciting nightlife.

The beach to be seen? Plage Port Grimaud! Wealthy sunbathers and international beach bums cruise the beach. But don't let the crowds stop you. The Cote de Azur offers exciting beach options for any taste - and I mean any. Plage de Tahiti is notorious for its clothing-optional policy. And if you're bringing the whole family, make sure you stop by at least one of these gems: Plage de la Bouillabaisse, Plage des Graniers and Plage des Jumeaux, which also offers beachside playgrounds.

Plage de Pampellone has over three miles of beaches and hotels throughout the area. You'll find yacht harbors all along the famous Cote de Azur, or French Riviera. While you're taking a break and venturing from the beach or your hotel, check out the open-air markets, boutiques or local groceries. Pick up a bottle of olive oil from the area, or wine.

BEACH INDEX:
• Sand - medium grain, coral/loam mix
• Facilities - full on all popular beaches
• Shade - umbrella rentals
• Sports - some snorkel gear rental
Notes - the Riviera is packed with tourists all summer, expect crowded restaurants and even more crowded highways. Best months to visit are June and September, when you can enjoy the beaches and nice summer weather away from the hordes. Last two weeks in July and the entire month of August are hot holiday time for French families and other Europeans on vacation. Plan accordingly. Closest airport - NCE (unless you have your own jet).

Biarritz Beaches - Napoleon's Favorite Resort
Biarritz established itself as a popular coastal resort in the mid-19th century when Napoleon III and his wife Eugenie used to spend their summers here. Since then it has proved popular not only with royalty but also with Europe's rich and famous.

Biarritz lies along the Basque coast, near Spain's Basque region. You can easily see the influence even today in the Biarritz architecture and cuisine. Any of the many hotels in this beautiful French resort town reflect that.

Today Biarritz is home to the "Biarritz Surf Festival" attended by over 150,000 surfing enthusiasts.

You will find this area of France astoundingly picturesque with majestic hotels and old resorts with all of the amenities. But book your hotel early; this is one popular place for both local Europeans and people from all over the world.

If you tire of the beach and don't want to be cooped up in the hotel, head for the local aquarium, one of the best in the region. Or, walk to several of the museums of Biarritz. Check with your hotel concierge for times and locations.

 

 
Special Areas Of Interest: Sustainability in World Heritage Cities - 30 Jun 2007

As visitor numbers tend to concentrate in time and space, urban destinations - especially the World Heritage Cities - are confronted today with a great opportunity and a formidable challenge, said the Organization's head of Sustainable Development of Tourism, Eugenio Yunis.

 

A successful workshop on policies, indicators and managing congestion was held at the Southern European and Mediterranean OHWC meeting in Cordoba, Spain, in October 2006. As visitor numbers tend to concentrate in time and space, urban destinations - especially the World Heritage Cities - are confronted today with a great opportunity and a formidable challenge, said the Organization's head of Sustainable Development of Tourism, Eugenio Yunis.


"Managed properly, tourism can revitalize the life of a city, generating new economic and social activities, and help strengthen residents' pride in local culture and authenticity."
With tourism to major attractions continuing to grow, UNWTO is to stage a panel discussion among mayors to look at the sustainable management of urban areas when the ninth Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) meets in Kazan in the Russian Federation in June 2007.

Indicators of sustainability for tourism destinations
In the context of sustainable tourism development, indicators are information sets which are formally selected for a regular use to measure changes in assets and issues that are key for the tourism development and management of a given destination.
  
UNWTO has been promoting the use of sustainable tourism indicators since the early 1990s, as essential instruments for policy-making, planning and management processes at destinations. The Guidebook on Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism Destinations, published in 2004, is the most comprehensive resource on this topic, the result of an extensive study on indicator initiatives worldwide, involving 62 experts from more than 20 countries. The publication describes over 40 major sustainability issues, ranging from the management of natural resources (waste, water, energy, etc.), to development control, satisfaction of tourists and host communities, preservation of cultural heritage, seasonality, economic leakages, or climate change, to mention just a few.


For each issue, indicators and measurement techniques are suggested with practical information sources and examples. The publication also contains a procedure to develop destination-specific indicators, their use in tourism policy and planning processes, as well as applications in different destination types (e.g. coastal, urban, ecotourism, small communities). Numerous examples and 25 comprehensive case studies provide a wide range of experiences at the company, destination, national and regional levels from all continents.


UNWTO organized a series of regional and national workshops on sustainable tourism indicators to train tourism officials and professionals on their application, using a demonstration technique and participatory approach at pilot destinations:
• Hungary (1999) for Central- and Eastern-European countries (Final Report)
• Mexico (1999) for Central American nations and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean (Final Report)
• Sri Lanka (2000) (Final Report)
• Argentina (2000) for South American countries (Final Report)
• Croatia (2001) for the Mediterranean islands (Final Report)
• Cyprus (2003) to assist the Cyprus Tourism Organization in developing a national system of sustainability indicators for tourism
• Trinidad and Tobago (2004), jointly with the Association of Caribbean States
• Thailand (2005), regional workshop with a special focus on Sustainable Redevelopment of Tourism Destinations for Tsunami Recovery (Final Report)
• Bolivia (2005) for countries of the Andean Community (Final Report)
• China (2005) (Final Report)
• Saudi Arabia (2006) for countries of the Middle East and Northe African Region (Final Report)
• Kazakhstan (2006) Regional seminar for the UNWTO European Commission on "Policies, Strategies and Tools for Sustainable Development of Tourism" (Presentations, Conclusions)
UNWTO is currently promoting a Sustainable Tourism Monitoring Programme to promote the use of indicators in policy-making and planning processes at the national and local destination levels.

 
Tourism Related Government Regulations & Policies: Laws and Incentives Covering Tourism Investments - 25 Sep 2007

What are the laws and incentives covering tourism investments?

 

 


What are the laws and incentives covering tourism investments?

A. Executive Order No. 63
This Executive Order grants incentives to foreigners investing at least US$50,000 in a tourist-related project or in any tourist establishment as determined by the Committee created in the same law.
E. O. 63 grants the foreign investor a Special Investor’s Resident Visa (SIRV) for as long as the investment subsists. The E. O. also recognizes the right of the investor to remit earnings from his investment in the currency in which the investment was originally made and at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of remittance. In case of liquidation, the investor is also allowed to repatriate the entire proceeds of the liquidation of the investment in which the investment originally made. Lastly, the right of succession is also recognized.
An investor may apply for SIRV at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in his home country or place of residence. If already in the Philippines, the investor may file the application at the Department of Tourism for endorsement to the Bureau of Immigration.

B. Omnibus Investments Code (Executive Order No. 226)
This Executive Order authorizes the Board of Investments to grant fiscal incentives and non-fiscal incentives for local and foreign investors engaged in tourism activities listed under the current Investments Priorities Plan (IPP).
Incentives granted include income tax holiday (4-6 years for non-pioneer and pioneer projects, respectively) and the employment of foreign nationals. (Please see insert for more details)

C. Foreign Investments Act of 1991 (Republic Act 7042 as Amended by Republic Act No. 8179 )
With the passage of the Foreign Investments Act, foreign nationals are now allowed to invest up to 100% equity participation in new or existing economic activities including restaurant operations that are incidental to the hotel business. Foreign equity participation of up to 40% is allowed in the operation and management of utilities (i.e. land, air, and water transport).

D. Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law (Republic Act 6957 as Amended by Republic Act No. 7718)
The BOT Law authorizes the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects by the private sector. It allows national implementing agencies and local government units to enter into BOT arrangement as a means of encouraging the participation of foreign and local companies in the country’s infrastructure development program.
Tourism estates including related infrastructure facilities and utilities are among the priority projects eligible for BOT implementation.
Backed up by a wide range of credit enhancements and investment incentives, the BOT Law opened to the private sector a new window of investment opportunity.
Salient points of the amended BOT Law include the following:
Provides flexibility to both the government and private sector by allowing the use of a variety of arrangements under the BOT scheme to suit specific conditions;
Broadens the type and variety of projects that can be implemented under the BOT process;
Recognizes the need for private investors to realize rates of return reflective of market conditions;
Institutionalizes government support for BOT projects; and
Allows government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to accept unsolicited proposals.
The BOT Law mandates the BOT Center to coordinate and monitor all projects undertaken under RA 7718. The BOT Center is empowered to actively promote all modes of private sector participation in the implementation of development projects in the country. Under A. O. 67, the BOT Center expands the coverage of the program to include the BOT scheme, joint venture agreement, concession agreement, lease and contractual management, among others.
The DOT Center is specifically involved in:
Project development
Policy advocacy
Institution-building
Marketing and promotions
Monitoring

E. Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 (Republic Act 7916)
This Republic Act provides for the legal framework and mechanism for the creation, operation, administration and coordination of Special Economic Zones in the Philippines, creating for this purpose, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and for other purposes.
On October 7, 2002, the DOT entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with PEZA that will grant Special Economic Zone status to tourism development zones and tourism estates upon registration with PEZA subject to the issuance of the required Presidential Proclamation.
The PEZA shall consider for registration tourist-oriented enterprises to be located in PEZA-registered tourism development zones/tourism estates which are enclosed by the DOT as enterprises that will be established and operated with foreign tourists as primary clientele.
Incentives available are:
Up to 100% foreign ownership of locator-enterprises;
Income tax holiday (ITH) for six years for pioneer firms and four years for non-pioneer firms. If a non-pioneer firm is located in a less developed area, it shall generally be entitled to 6 years ITH.
After the ITH period, the option to pay a special 5% Tax on Gross Income, in lieu of all national and local taxes, except real property taxes;
Tax and duty-free importation of capital equipment required for the technical viability of registered tourism activities;
Special Investor’s Resident Visa;
Employment of foreign nationals; and
Other incentives as may be determined by the PEZA Board.

F. Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 8762)
This is an act liberalizing the retail trade business, repealing for the purpose Republic Act No. 1180, as amended, and for other purposes.
With the enactment or implementation of the Trade Liberalization Act of 2000, up to 100% foreign equity participation in restaurants is now allowed for enterprises with a paid-up capital of US$2.5 million.
  

Source: Department of Tourism

 
Transportation: Shanghai-Davao fligths on the drawing board - DOT - 25 Sep 2007
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 August) – Talks are underway for the opening of chartered flights between this city and the bustling Chinese city of Shanghai, Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said.  

Durano told reporters Thursday that China-based airline China Southern has eyed opening the new route this year in addition to doubling the number of its Shanghai–Cebu flights.
While in Davao, Durano visited the Philippine Eagle Center in Calinan district, where he vowed to fund a P5-million rehabilitation project of its visitors' lounge to attract more tourists.

He told MindaNews he was also in town to discuss with the governors of the four provinces surrounding the Mt. Apo Range Natural Park, which is also being promoted as an eco-tourism destination.

Durano also opened the Second Mindanao Travel and Tour Expo at the  SM City Davao Entertainment Plaza on Aug. 10.

The expo is part of the city's annual celebration of the renowned Kadayawan Festival.

He told reporters covering the event that DOT will bank on the gains of the Asean Tourism Forum in 2005, where Davao City was launched as among the key players of the industry in the world owing to its being an international tourism destination.

Durano said the talks for the new air connection with the Chinese city are part of the continuing efforts to promote Davao.

Talks on the new air route came on the same week that a city councilor proposed a resolution urging the Chinese government to open a consular office in Davao as part of the city's policy to promote international friendship, cooperation, tourism, trade, and investments.

The city has entered into a sister-city pact with another Chinese city, Nanning, China's gateway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

In March this year, travel and tourism officials trumpeted Davao City's air connectivity to cities in the Asia-Pacific region and called on Mindanawons to fly via the Davao International Airport to boost traffic and investment here.

DOT announced the launching of a joint government and private sector marketing blitz dubbed "Davao Gateway" to promote the use of the city's international airport.

 
Date  Title  Action
Article 
15 Nov 2012  Philippine Consulate In HK Lauds CEBís Iloilo-HK Direct Service  View
31 Dec 2008  POPULAR DIVING SITES IN THE PHILIPPINES  View
06 Nov 2007  World Heritage Sites in the Philippines  View
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23 Sep 2007  SSS Hospital Financing Program  View
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