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Understanding Philippines: Home

This guide provides useful information and links to resources on the Philippines.

At A Glance


The following information have been carefully selected for your reference. Some resources may have bias perspectives. Please approach the SMU Libraries ( ) should you have any doubts or need clarifications.

An introduction video about the Philippines.

  • Demographic Trends
    Learn more about the population distribution density of the Philippines.


Learn more about the Philippines provinces and capitals through this educational video.

Get to know the history of the Philippines that explained in 8 minutes.

Need To Know

This section helps prepare an individual before embarking to the Philippines, such as learning the cultural etiquette, basic conversational phrases, and even some useful local contact numbers.

Cultural Dos and Don’ts


Filipinos are really hospitable, especially to guests from the other countries. To get a great experience visiting the Philippines, it is important to note the following:

  • Do say "Oo" as it's a polite way to replace "Yes".
  • Use "Kapatid" (brother) as an expression to be friendly when negotiating.
  • Eat with spoon and fork at all times, if possible.
  • Never ask women about their age.
  • Do not refuse the gifts/food by Filipinos. Kindly accept it to acknowledge their efforts.

Basic Conversational Language

Some phrases in Tagalog that are handy to know when visiting the Philippines.

  • Kumusta (Hello)
  • Paalam (Goodbye)
  • Musta (How are you?)
  • Maraming salamat (Thank you very much)
  • Kinagagalak kong makilala ka (Nice to meet you)
  • Magkano ito? (How much is this?)
  • Hanggang sa muli (See you again)
  • Mawalang galang lang po (Excuse me)

Phone Apps

    Lessons are broken down into bite-sized chunks and it feels like you’re playing a game. Duolingo is a great introduction, but it can feel like you’re learning a random mix of information, often through repetition. The more you do, the more robust your vocabulary will be.
    The only way to become fluent in a new language is to speak it. Tandem is geared toward conversations with native speakers. The idea is that you can help one another learn new languages via text, audio, and video chat. The app vets you and then helps you to find a partner who shares your interests. They teach you and you teach them.


Philippine Pesos (PHP)

More details on the exchange rate.

Dialing Code


Useful Numbers

  • Police: 117
  • Fire: (02) 426-0219, (02) 426-3812, (02) 426-0246
  • Ambulance: 911
  • Singapore Embassy in Philippines (Manila): (+63) 2 856 9922
  • Embassy of Singapore (Manila)
    • +63 (2) 856 9922 (General Line)
    • +63 (2) 856 9922 Ext 110 (Consular Services)
    • +63 (2) 856 9922 Ext 113 (Visa Services)
  • More emergency numbers

Useful Links

This section provides useful links to the Philippines social media.

Social Media

Republic of The Philippines Department of Tourism


Local Media Source

This section links to the various local news media in the Philippines.

RSS News Feed

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What To Look Out

This section informs the common scams and crimes to look out for when visiting Philippines.


  • Common Tourist Scams
    Learn how to protect yourself from these common scams and crimes when visiting the Philippines.

Crime & Security

  • Overall Crime and Safety Report
    Find out more information on the common crime threats, areas of concerns, transportation-road safety, and even terrorism threat.


This section lists some recommended readings about the Philippines.


Acceptable Use Policy

Electronic resources (e.g., databases, datasets, e-journals, e-books and streaming audio/video) provided by the SMU Libraries are governed by license agreements that restrict use to current students, faculty and staff of SMU and the Singapore Copyright Act.

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy