Country & People
The Philippines lie in South East Asia, to the north of the equator and 160 km to the south of Taiwan. The land surface amounts to 299.404 sq.km. In total add to the Philippines 7.107 islands from what about 2,000 are inhabited.
The Philippines can be divided in three bigger islands: Luzon in the north, Mindanao in the south and the island-group of the Visayas in the middle. More than 2,500 islands are not in particular registered.
About 80 percent of the population of all Filipinos are Catholics. Nowadays the mixture of the deep religiousness of the Spaniards with original animism of the Filipinos appears in to passionate religious parties.
Manila is the capital and has developed as a big-city metropolis and the business-centrum of the Philippines. It is a delightful mixture of old and new, where traditions, modern uses, century old buildings and gleaming high hotels and skyscrapers, idyllic food stalls, modern shopping centres, museums, discos and bars brightly together that makes Manila to one of the pulsating mega-cities of South East Asia.
Plants and Animals
National flower is the sweet-scented Sampaguita.
There are many native orchids, native animals include the rare Philippine Eagle, the dwarf buffalo (tamarraw), the tarsier, a niniature primate, the mouse deer and the Palawan Bear Cat. The water buffalo (carabao) is the main domestic animal. From nationally known 1000 animal species, more than 230 species appearing exclusively on Palawan.
Palawan is the biggest province of the Philippines, with about 1770 islands. Already since long time bridgehead of numerous migrations and commercial base of the region, Palawan is today still a destination for pioneers and new colonists, at the same time an Eldorado for nature lovers. Hidden, untouched beaches line the coasts, some of the world-best diving-spots like the two groups of island of El Nido and the Calamianens, and in to the east located Tubbataha Reef present an most exciting and amusing underwater world.
Many islands with high limestone rocks and white sandy beaches all around PALAWAN, CULION, CORON and BUSUANGA promise an endless variety into untouched places which are to be reached only by a boat.
Calamianes Island Group lies in the most northern share of Palawan. The main islands are Busuanga, Coron Island, Culion and Linapacan. Busuanga, the biggest island of the Calamian Island Group consists of 63 islands and islets. The Calamian Island Group is a Mecca for diving enthusiasts, attracted by the wide variety of marine life, particularly around the wrecks of sunken World War II vessels. Coron Island is renowned for azure water, rugged limestone cliffs and secluded inland lakes.
Do not expect prompt or speedy service anywhere you go: speedy does not exist here. This is a world where everything happens tomorrow - if you are lucky! It will be different, very different. Enjoy the difference! Respect the people and the country.
The Philippines has two official languages, Filipino and English. Filipino or Tagalog, originated as the language of Manila and surrounding areas, but now incorporates elements of other dialects. The vast majority of Filipinos are fluent Tagalog speakers and many also speak their own local dialect.
English was taught extensively during the era of American rule and remains the official language of commerce, government and law. Fluency in English varies according to the degree of education of the individual.
Spanish was once widely spoken, but is now largely obsolete. Its use is now confined the small areas such as Zamboanga and Cavite
How to say in Tagalog
below there are simple examples, the Filipinos will appreciate if you try at least some of it! Its normal to use also a mixture of English and Tagalong!
To show respect you use always the word “po” or “opo”
Good morning: Magandang umaga po
Good evening: Magandan gabi po
How are you?: Kumusta ka?
Thank you: Maraming Salamat po
Yes: opo (respect) oo (normal friends)
No: hindi po (respect) hindi (normal friends)
Whats your name?: Anong pangalan mo?
I am .......: Si .......ako.
Do you have....?: May .......ba kayo?
How much?: Magkano po?
Malaria mosquitoes are not a problem in either The Calamian Islands, where Coron is situated, nor in the Northern Palawan province. When you read about Malaria on Palawan Island please realize that the province contains about 2,300 islands and Busuanga is part of the Calamian Island Group at the furthest northern end of the province.
In Coron town, and on the rest of Busuanga Island, you should take normal precautions as you would do for any place with ordinary mosquitoes. The local brand, ‘Off’, works very well and is available in every drugstore.
Mosquitoes that carry malaria are a problem in the southern part of Palawan Island. If you travel an additional 14 hours south by ship, or fly an additional hour south, to Puerto Princessa you should consider anti-malarial precautions if you will be in rural areas.
Bring your own waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF. Supplies of good quality sun-screen are not always available in Coron.
The local water comes from the mountains. Bottled water from Manila or Puerto Princessa is available in local stores. "Aquabest and Aquasafe" treats the local water with micro filtration, reverse osmosis, sterilization and bottles it in Coron. You buy your first gallon in order to get the bottle and then keep having the bottle refilled for a reasonable price per gallon. Tap water is generally quite safe for washing and showering and even cleaning your teeth, but if you are sensitive take extra precautions.
The major causes of an upset tummy are ice in drinks. Ice is ok if it is tube ice but some bars use the same ice they use to cool the beer bottles, which is delivered on the back of a trycicle, then dragged across the street before being broken up and place in a cool box. Once it is deemed to have acquired sufficient bugs from the dirty beer bottles it is then broken down further to pieces that will conveniently fit in your glass!
Coron has a very good dentist. Most foreigners make their check up by Dr. Joseph Tradio at National Highway.
Hot and humid all year round. Two defined seasons dry from January to June, wet from July to December. December and January coolest month. March to May hottest month. Mountainous regions such as the Cordillera can be quite cool. Especially in January.
The temperature is approximately 26 degree and 37 degree Celsius. The average degree of humidity amounts to 82%.
The typhoon season starts around June. Typhoons become less probable by November, December and January.
Central European time (CET) +7 hours; during the European summertime +6 hours.