During the Spanish colonial period from the 1500s to 1800s, Intramuros was the seat of Philippine government. The historic walled city remains replete with sterling examples of the colonial lifestyle and Spanish architecture, including the Manila Cathedral, the region’s oldest church. Intramuros is best visited during the day; various tours are available at the Fort Santiago visitors’ center.
Just two hours south of Manila is the world’s smallest active volcano. Part of the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, it is the second most active volcano in the Philippines, with 33 historical eruptions. Taal’s unexplained shape and location -- on an island (Vulcan Point) within Crater Lake, which is on Volcano Island, within Taal Lake, which itself is on an island – makes it a unique geologic wonder, enthralling thousands of tourists and geologists yearly. It is not only well worth seeing, but an adventure to approach, since the peak is accessible by boat, horse, or hike. Overnight and day tour packages are available onsite.
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All tourists are welcome for a 21-day stay in the Philippines with no formal visa; only lengthier stays necessitate visa application. The majority of international flights arrive at and depart from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which has three separate terminals, so it’s important to note which one your flight uses. Philippine Airlines flights use Terminal 2.
The Philippines has a tropical climate, with heavy rainfall from June to August, cooler temperatures from late November to early February, and very sunny summers from March to May. Regardless of the season, it tends to be humid all year round, so lightweight clothes and especially cotton are recommended.
Local currency is the peso. Money changers abound, especially in shopping malls or commercial buildings in the business districts. Credit cards, particularly VISA and Mastercard, are widely accepted.