survival guide for the Philippines.
 

 

Prologue

The western Visayas are a place where Mother Nature shows off. The rugged, mountainous interior creates a physical and political divide with two provinces lying on either side of the central range. In the Ilonggo speaking region of Negros Occidental, it won't take long for the bustle of Bacolod to disappear as you head south.

Isolated beaches, a vibrant urban hub and an awe-inspiring underwater world additionally bless the Negros Oriental (eastern) with a plethora of exquisite experiences. In these parts, the town of Dumaguete is the cool college hangout, where you'll chat to the locals in Cebuano. The natural beauty is particularly true of its southern coast, stretching from Danjugan Island around the tip to Bais, where divers come to worship. You'll meet fellow avid adventurers here, admiring the flourishing marine life of the historic neighbouring marine sanctuary, Apo Island.

 

Preparations

passports & visa

As we are visiting the Philippines for tourism purposes and for less than 30 days, you won't need to arrange a visa prior. If you are staying for longer or visiting for another reason (such as for work or study), you'll need to arrange a visa before you travel. Immigration authorities often also require travellers to show proof of an onward or return ticket, so keep this handy (print a hardcopy of your international tickets for this).

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia. Your passport is a valuable document, our team will endeavour to provide a safe option for storage, but you are ultimately responsible for mitigating risk when it comes to the security of your belongings.

insurance

Due to the nature of our expeditions, travel insurance is a must! Choosing this is at your own discretion, although we will require a copy of your Travel Insurance Policy by December 1. We will hold a copy of this during the trip. Our recommendation for travel insurance is World Nomads. They provide comprehensive cover for remote adventurers, with the option to additionally donate a portion of your cover towards some fantastic social and environmental causes.

For our scuba divers, it will also be necessary for you to register for DAN Membership. This secures the additional, critical support services required in the case of emergency.

money

The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). The current conversion rate is around 10 AUD for 400 PHP.

We advise the best opportunities for cash withdrawal along the way, with ATM's in Manila, Bacolod and Dumaguete. It is recommended to have 12000 PHP cash (approximately $300) for pocket money and emergencies. Keeping in mind, all major costs will be covered within your expedition package, therefore these spendings are based on additional luxuries! 

Once we depart Bacolod for Danjugan island, you will not have an opportunity to withdraw money until we head to Dumaguete, 6 days later. So, make sure you have a little kitty on the side for a massage, local bottle of rum and/or extra dive sessions... credit cards will be of no use where we are headed!

communication

The Philippines has one of the highest language diversity ratings in the world. Besides the Tagalog-based national Pilipino language, more than 6 out of 10 people in the Philippines speak languages other than Tagalog at home. In fact, across the islands, 187 languages are spoken! Although English is frequently used, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Hiligaynon or Ilonggo is the language predominantly spoken in Negros Occidental, while Bisaya and Cebuano are the languages used by most people in Negros Oriental.

Keywords and phrases for Negros.

Ilonggo (Casual)

Kumusta / Kumusta ka?

Ma'yong aga!

Ma'yong hapon!

Ma'yong gab-i!

Salamat!

Salamat gid!

Wa'ay man.

English

Hello / Hi, how are you?

Good morning!

Good afternoon!

Good evening!

Thank you!

Thank you very much!

You're welcome.


Counting in the Philippines.

Filipinos use both Tagalog and Spanish words for numbers and may switch from one language to the other depending on usage.  Tagalog numbers are used to count things and people ("one person" - "isang tao" --- "one dog" - "isang aso").  Spanish numbers are used when telling time (1:00PM is "ala una", 2:00PM is "alas dos"). Used interchangeably, Tagalog expresses numbers when counting money or age (Two thousand pesos is "Dalawang libong piso" or "Dos mil". Where as "Eighteen years old" is "Labinwalong taong gulang" or "Disi-otso anyos").

connection

After our departure from Manila city, prepare to go off grid. Danjugan island prides itself on being solar powered, so we strongly encourage bringing fully charged, spare batteries for your gear. We will have a team laptop, so to minimise hassle don't bring yours unless absolutely critical. For phone charging, we recommend scoring yourself a solar power pack here, starting from $40. Advise your telecommunications provider of your trip, set roaming to on yet keep your phone on airplane unless in the case of emergencies. Expect wifi free vibes, enjoy a good book and real life conversations.