Visas, Vaccines, and Outlets:

U.S. citizens may enter the Philippines without a visa if they are traveling with a U.S. passport and a return ticket[1]. The passport must be valid for the duration of the stay. If visiting for more than 30 days check the Embassy of the Philippines website for visa requirements.

No additional vaccines are required[1]. If the travelers plans to stay more than a month and travel around the country then some vaccines a Malaria vaccine is recommended. For an extended list of recommended vaccines visit the CDC‘s website.

In the Philippines the power sockets used are of type A and B. For power sockets of type C you need a power plug adaptor[2]. The voltage is 220-240 volts, as opposed to 110-120 volts in the U.S.

Social Customs:

It is important to note that these generalizations are but generalizations and do not attest to the view of all Filipinos. The culture of the Philippines is very diverse.[3][4][5]

  • The culture of the Philippines is influence from Japan, China, India, Arabia, and Borneo. There is also colonial Hispanic influence from Mexico and Spain
  • Filipinos tend to be outgoing and do hesitate to ask personal questions that some may interpret as rude
  • It is common for foreign men to be greeted by passers-by with calls of “Hey Joe!” from GI Joes of World War II.
  • Time is a fluid concept. For medical or work-related appointment punctuality is key but for social gatherings showing up half an hour late is good.
  • In areas where foreigners are rarely seen, staring might occur
  • Curling your index finger back and forth (to beckon) is considered an insult – instead use your palm
  • Standing with your arms on your hips means you are angry
  • Filipinos find it difficult to say “no,” disagree, reject or be confrontational especially when a superior is involved. No’s are usually ambiguous or indirect answers.

Education System:

School/Level Equivalent Notes
Primary 1-6 Grade Includes the first six years of compulsory education[7]. At the end of 6th grade students take the National Achievement Test (NAT) by the Deparmtent of Education (DepEd)[7]. The exam is suppose to measure a school’s competency.¬†7th grade is optional.
Secondary 8-11 Grade Similar to Western high school curriculum.
Upper secondary/ Vocational N/A Technical and vocational is offered by colleges[7], either government operated or private institution. Upon graduation student must take the The operatedGoverned by the TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority ) examination to receive the certificate or diploma[8].
Higher Education N/A Higher Education is governed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)[9][7]. Colleges typically offer 1 or more specialized program while universities must offer at least 8

1. Philippines U.S. Passports & International Travel
2. Power Plugs and Sockets
3. Culture of the Philippines Philippine Islands
4. Local Customs in the Philippines Gap Year
5. Cultural etiquette eDiplomate
6. Classbase
7. About DepEd Department of Education
8. About TESDA Technical Education & Skills development authority
9. CHED Prevention Web