Living in the Philippines

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The Philippines is a Southeast Asian archipelago of 7,107 islands. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, close to Malaysia and Indonesia. But only about 7% of these islands are wider than one square km, and only one-third are named. Named in honor of King Philip II of Spain – the Philippines served as a Spanish Colony for three centuries. This fascinating country has been inhabited for nearly 70,000 years. Being one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, it comprises species that are exclusive only to this part of the world.

living in the Philippines
Coron Island, Palawan

Capital : Manila Currency : Philippines Peso(PHP) Population : 108,399,576 Number of Universities : 110

The Philippines is ranked among the best in Asia for its higher education systems. It is home to several ISO-certified universities and 2300 higher educational institutions identified as Centers of Excellence. As a result, it is gradually becoming one of the finest medical education hubs in the world. More than 8000 international students enroll in Philippines universities each year. If you are planning to go to the Philippines for your higher studies, then you will most probably be heading to one of the following study cities – 

  • Manila–  ‘Pearl of the Orient’ with significant architectural and cultural landmarks
  • Quezon City – ‘City of New Horizons,’ home to many important government headquarters
  • Cebu City – Center of Filipino culture, commerce, trade, and education, with 11 big universities
  • Baguio – ‘Summer Capital of the Philippines’

By the end of this article you will have gained an insight into the a) Culture, b) Linguistic Landscape, c) Food & Drink d) Security & Safety. Aspects that will give you less of a culture shock when you arrive in the new country for your higher studies!

Cultural Scenario of the Philippines

The nation is culturally diverse with people from different backgrounds. Tagalog, Bisaya/Binisaya, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon/Ilonggo, Bikol/Bicol, Waray, as well as other local ethnicities. In fact, it has a long history blended with Eastern and Western influences of Spanish and American rule. Many festivals preserve traditions such as folk dancing. Likewise, Filipino customs and traditions will profess lessons beyond the classroom. 

Living in the Philippines
Pahiyas Festival

Why are Filipinos the happy lot? You will find that out in the Filipino warmth and hospitality on various occasions, colorful festivals, and flavorful food.

Religious Make-Up

The religion of the Philippines is predominantly Catholic, followed by Islam. Buddhist are among the other religious sects.

Climate in the Philippines

It has three kinds of seasons – summer, monsoon, and winter. Places such as Cebu and Davao, revel in the warm and comfortable feeling in all seasons. In general, the Philippines experiences a tropical climate with plenty of opportunities for water activities in your spare time.  

Recreation

There are a range of things to do for all kinds of tastes in the Filipino land – 

  • Recreational activities – Centering around water, including swimming, surfing, diving, and snorkeling. 
  • Tourist attractions – From marine parks, rice terraces, mountains to underground rivers. 
  • Popular sports – Famous sports include basketball, boxing, mountaineering, cycling, and karate
  • Natural Bounties – There are extensive mountain ranges for hiking, underwater landscapes, flat plains, beaches, cave systems, volcanoes, waterfalls, rock faces, rivers, lakes, and much more.

Linguistic Landscape of the Philippines

According to some estimates, the Philippines has a whopping 170 number of spoken languages. Although English and Filipino, are the two official languages, which make studying there relatively easy. Eight other regional dialects are officially recognized.

Flag of the Philippines
Flag of Philippines

Since the Philippines was a colony of Spain, followed by the USA during the Industrial Revolution, the English language is dominant. Business, Government, the legal system, medicine, sciences, all use English and is also the medium of instruction in all colleges. Although English is used less commonly outside of main cities, the urban Filipinos generally speak English and use their native languages mostly with family and friends.  The Philippines stands at being the third-largest English-speaking nation in the world.

Communication Culture

It is a Filipino culture to address the other person using their academic, professional, or honorific titles plus their surname until they invite you to use their first name.

Food & Drink

Philippines’ Cuisine is a blend of Oriental, European, and American foods, and most of the dishes are made of either coconuts, mangoes or seafood.

  • Some of the traditional dishes include: Chicken adobo, Kare Kare, Kinilaw, SINIGANG, Tapsilog, and Halo-halo
  • Local food produce includes rice, fish, livestock, poultry, bananas, coconut/copra, corn, sugarcane, mangoes, pineapple, and cassava.
  • Meals in most of the Philippines include the use of boiled or steamed rice or rice noodles. Some of the meat, including chicken, pork (in non-Muslim communities), goat, or fish accompanies the rice or noodle core, along with an array of fresh fruits and cooked vegetables.
  • Different alcoholic drinks generally made from coconut sap, sugarcane, and rice
  • Balut, a parboiled embryonic duck still in the egg, is a popular street food you will find in the Manila area
  • You will find the western fast-food chains in each street corner, from KFC, McDonald’s, Dominos, Shakeys, 7/11 Stores, to Ministop stores
  • Cafeterias and food court stalls offer both local and international cuisines at pocket-friendly rates.
  • Filipinos eat most of the meals with a spoon and fork, not with chopsticks, due to the style of dishes.
Halo-halo,  popular Filipino cold dessert
Halo-halo, popular Filipino cold dessert

Security

The Philippines has been a safe city for international students. However, the crime rate of the country has significantly increased in recent years. Hence it essential to carefully follow the safety guidelines issued by the local authorities and check up-to-date weather warnings. Let us take a look at the kind of risks – 

PICKPOCKETS RISK: Present, especially in the beach area and main touristic spots.

MUGGING RISK: Since reports of muggings are on the rise, one must take caution.

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: Beware of intolerant drivers speeding and reckless driving is a reason for numerous road accidents. Therefore, one recommend an early departure to your destination due to bad traffic jams.

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: Some risk of typhoons, floods, landslides, tsunamis & volcanic eruptions are an area of concern.

TERRORISM RISK: Terrorism is a threat around the world. Risks of terrorism in the Philippines is high.

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: Being alert at all times, and avoiding poorly lit areas will significantly reduce the risks to women travelers.

In conclusion

Life in the Philippines is sure to be a unique and exciting experience with cheerful Filipinos who have a great sense of humor. Besides Filipinos, liberally use English language, affordable education, and low cost of living are among the top reasons why students choose the Philippines.

What are you still waiting for? Explore your Study opportunities in the Philippines today! All the Best !!!

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