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Shopping: The Philippines is a haven for shoppers. Countless bargain opportunities for the handicrafts of the different regions are found in the numerous shopping complexes, which range from sleek air-conditioned department stores and malls to open-air bazaars. The chain stores offer everything from the famous barong tagalog (hand-embroidered dress shirts for men in delicate jusi material) to Tiffany lamps made with capiz shells. For local colour there's nothing like the flea markets where visitors can buy all kinds of cloth weaves, brassware from the south, woodcarvings and other local crafts, as well as rare seashells and souvenirs, like the painted papier-maché horses of Laguna. Some particularly good buys are the silver jewellery from Baguio, coral trinket boxes, rattan furniture, baskets in different designs, woven grass mats (banig), antique wooden figurines of saints, ready-to-wear clothes, garments embroidered with the traditional callado, Filipino dresses for women (usually made from banana and pineapple fibres), cigars and abaca placemats. Handicraft stores are found everywhere in the country, especially in cities. Large department stores sell both local and foreign manufactured goods. Shopping hours: 1000-2000 Monday to Saturday, but these can vary. Most department stores and supermarkets are open Sunday.

Special Events: Dozens of colourful festivals are celebrated in the Philippines each year. A comprehensive listing, including all important Muslim festivals and Catholic feast days in honour of patron saints etc, may be obtained from the Department of Tourism. The following is a list of some of the major events in the Philippines during 2001: Jan 7 2001 Nazareno (religious procession in honour of the image of Nazarene), Quiapo and Metro Manila. Jan (third week) Ait-Atihan Carnival, Kalibo and Aklan; Sinulog Festival, Cebu City. Feb Feast of Our Lady of Candles, Iloilo City. Feb 25 EDSA Revolution Anniversary. Apr Moriones (re-enacting of the beheading of Longinus), Boac, Mogpog, Gasan and Marinduque; Turumba, Pakil and Laguna. Apr Summer Arts Festival, Baguio. Apr 8-15 Holy Week Lenten Rituals, nationwide. May (whole month) Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo Festival, nationwide; May Carabao Festival, Pulilan and Bulacanl; Pahiyas (parades and flower decorations), Lucban and Sariaya. May 17-19 Obando Fertility Rites, Obando and Bulacan. Jun Independence Day Celebrations, Kawit and Cavite. Jun Parada Ng Lechon (roast pig feast), Balayan and Batangas. Jul Pagoda Sa Wawa, Balayan and Batangas; Sandugo Festival, Bohol. Aug (third week) Kadayawan Sa Dabaw, Davao City. Aug 29-Sep (first week) Aurora Festival, Tanjay and Negros Oriental. Masskara Festival, Bacolod City. Aug 31 National Heroes Day, nationwide. Sep Nuestra Senora de Penafrancia, Naga City and Carmarines Sur. Oct Zamboanga Hermosa Festival, Zamboanga City. Oct (second week) Masskara Festival, Bacolod City. Oct (third week) Lanzones Festival, Camiguin Island. Nov 2 All Saints' Day, nationwide. Nov Feast of San Clemente/Gigantes, Angono and Rizal. Dec Giant Lantern Festival, San Fernando and Pampanga; Binirayan, San José and Antique. Dec 25 Christmas Festival, Laoag. Dec 30 Rizal Day (festivities at Luneta Park).

Social Conventions: Government officials are addressed by their titles such as Senator, Congressman or Director. Otherwise, usual modes of address and levels of politeness are expected. Casual dress is acceptable in most places, but in Muslim areas the visitor should cover up. Filipino men may wear an embroidered long-sleeved shirt or a plain white barong tagalog with black trousers for formal occasions. The Philippines are, in many respects, more westernised than any other Asian country, but there is a rich underlay of Malay culture. Tipping: Usually 10% of the bill. Hotels generally have a 15% service charge.


Economy: The Philippine economy is basically agricultural, with rice, corn, coconuts, copra, sugar cane and bananas as the main crops. Production of timber, formerly a major export earner,

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