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Capital: Manila  Population: 88.7 million  Language: Tagalog, English  Time: GMT+8  International Dialling Code: +63  Money: Filipino Peso (PHP)
Visa: Not required by UK nationals.  Further Information: Philippines Tourism , Philippines Embassy in London : 0207 451 1800
When to go: This is an all year destination although in Manila the rains arrive in Jun and end around Oct, Dec to April are the best times to visit. As in any large archipelago there are regional differences and micro climates determining local conditions.
Filipino cultural icons: Freddie Aguilar
Music: Pinoy Rock is a western adaptation of the local rhythms, Aguilar is the undisputed legend throughout the islands although now there are countless boy bands and Spice Girl wannabees.
Islands, islands everywhere. Tropical and palm fringed for the most part, here’s a fun loving place where great piety sits right besides great slapstick and exhibitionism. Music everywhere, a gay lassez-faire ambiance in the islands of the south is the same as that in Manila and the main Luzon island too. Colour, dressing up and a totally charming curiosity awaits you when you get to these happening islands.

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