Philippine tips Do's and Don’ts:
What to do and what not to do in the Philippines.
• Do be security-conscious. Throughout the islands, there’s an unusually high incidence of petty thievery, which can ruin your vacation. Also, while most Filipinos are extremely friendly, there are some who aren’t, so do not accept drinks or food from a stranger (particularly in tourist areas), and keep an eye out on all your possessions.
• Do bargain at markets, but never at department stores or supermarkets (unless you like talking to annoyed police and security guards).
• Do be polite. Public displays of anger generally won’t get you what you want (even if you are in the right).
• Do find out whether prices are being quoted to you in U.S. dollars or Filipino pesos (especially with local tour operators).
• Don’t be enticed to exchange money on the street unless you enjoy watching con artists at work. Frequent only licensed money changers (they have their own shops, and their license on the window).
• Don’t be surprised at the slowness of the postal service (it can take MONTHS to send a letter).
• Don’t be shocked by the number of people who carry guns, especially in cities. You’ll even see signs asking people to leave firearms outside before entering various premises. Because guns are so common, you may find that you and your possessions are subject to searches from time to time.
• Don’t be surprised by black-outs. Power shortages in Manila or Cebu are not uncommon.
• Don’t expect to travel faster than 45 mph/70 kph on the roads (and less in the cities). Jeepneys, tricycles, carts, water buffalo and people share the roads as well
• Don't let others buy you drinks at the club ( you may get doped) keep your drink full.
Add a small tip for good restaurant service, even though a service charge has already been tacked on the bill.
Always have loose change say, P 20 or P 50 bills, and coins. These are for transferring buses when the bus attendant does not have enough change. By the way, always clear your tickets with him. Don’t take his word that you’ll be reimbursed or get your change in the next bus. An elderly couple had to argue their way all throughout their trip because of this.