Things to Do Before You Leave:
- In the excitement of preparing to leave for a time of adventure and serenity such as you will find on Bantayan Island, it is important to remember to take care of a few items of importance.
- Book your Airline tickets Early for the best price.
- Apply for your Passport at least 2 months ahead of your desired departure date.
- Bring enough cash to convert to Philippine Peso’s, about 100 USD per day.
- If possible, bring some Philippine Peso’s with you as they may be needed at the airport and for a taxi ride to the hotel.
- Bring at least two different credit cards if possible, such as a Master Card and a Visa
- Make sure that your pin code is no more than 4 digits as any more that this may not be accepted at the teller machine.
- Don’t forget your drivers licence if you plan to rent a car of scooter.
- Check with your insurance company to see if you are covered while in the Philippines.
- Bring all important prescription medications that will last for the entirety of your trip.
- Bring the toiletries that you are used to as they may not be found here in the Philippines.
- If you are used to taking over the counter medications such as Pepcid AC, Tagament, Cold or Allergy medications, bring enough with you to last your entire trip as these will most likely not be found in the Philippines.
- Pack in your carry on Dramamine or other generic motion sicknes medications for the 15 hour or greater plane ride and future boat, ferry or bus rides. If you are succeptible to motion sickness at all this is a must to bring.
Bring a medication for diarhea, just in case you over indulge yourself or drink some whater from a tap or that is unpurified.Pack Light
- Remember that you are coming to a sub tropical climate in which most of the people wear T shirts, shorts, and flip flops everywhere.
- You do not need allot of clothes to be happy in the Philippines. In fact if you pack too many things you are going to be misserable trying to lug all that heavy baggage around.
- For a week long trip, just bring 5 shorts and 7 T shirts or blouses, a bathing suit, sun tan lotion of SPF 30 and above, and 2 pairs of flip flops.
- All of these items can easily fit into a carry on bag saving you from going throught the hassle of checking and retrieving baggage. Retrieval of your checked bag at the International Airport in Manila takes close to an hour sometimes. Remember you are in the Philippines and they run on “Filipino Time” which is twice as slow as you are used to.
Travel Alerts from the United States Department of State
For as long as I have been travleling back and forth to the Philippines there has always been some sort of travel alert or advisory from the Unites States Department of State.
They will either advise you to not travel to the Philippines at all or to use extreme caution.
The best advice is to always use extreme caution when you travel to any foreign country, but never allow a travel allert or advisory stop you from experiencing the adventure of a lifetime.
Except for the extreme southern portion of the Philippines called Mindanao, it is safe to travel just about anywhere in the Philippines. If you look like a scared tourist when you travel you will always attract attention. If you act courtiously, respectfully and humble when you speak or are around those in the Philippines you will never have a problem.
You may notice that Filipino’s will stare at you when you arrive at the airport and also when you go anywhere inside the Philippines. This is because of their interest in you and the United States, not because they hate Americans or despise you. Filipino’s admire and respect Americans, except for those who are loud, prideful, impatient or arrogant. If this is your normal personality, please do not come to the Philippines. These are kind hearted and gentle people who are humble, cheerful and very nice. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us who treat the gentle people of the Philippies with respect and courtesty.
I was in the grocery store today at Geisano’s and waiting for my wife to gather some of the things she needed while standing by the shopping cart. As Filipino children passed by they looked at me with such a serious look on their faces. I turned to look at them, smiled and said “Hi”. Their immediate response was to light up their face, smile and say “Hi” back at me.
Remember, you are bigger than most Filipino’s, have a big nose, and light skin and it may be that the person looking at you has never spoken personally to an American or other foreigner before. The Bible says that in order to have friends, you must be friendly. Be friendly and smile allot in the Philippines and you will make many lifelong friends.
After You Arrive in the Philippines:
Do not ever drink tap water or water that has been poured into a glass, no matter what the waiter tells you. I trusted a waiter many years ago and became very sick for over a week when I drank unpurified water. Only drink bottled water or other beverages.
Airport Taxi in Manila
At the airport in Manila, if you require a taxi from the airport to your hotle room, do not allow a porter to book the taxi for you. Take the initiative and go yourself to the curbside of the airport and talkt to the taxi driver yourself. The fair rate for a taxi from Ninoy Aquino Airport in Manila to Makati where most of the better hotels are located is about 250-350 peso’s.
If you allow the porter to bring you to a taxi, he will inflate the price to about 650 Peso’s or more to pay 50 peso’s to the policeman at the curb, and he weill receive 100-200 of your peso’s from the taxi driver as a comission.
As a general rule, never allow ANYONE to negotiate a fare for anything for you. Be bold and go directly to the service you want to hire and ask them for their rate. If you think that it is a little too high, do not hessitate to say no and ask another taxi driver or passenger service. You will find that the price of passenger services for taxi and passenger vans is always negotiable.
The only fares that are fixed and not negotiable are Ceres bus fares, Ferry rates that you pay at the port window and airplane fares.