You have probably read or heard many good reasons to visit the Philippines like the beaches or the warm weather. But here are some more reasons to visit the country that you probably do not often hear or read about.
1) Low cost of living
According to a survey, the Philippines is one of the countries with low costs of living.
I think at least half’s worth of your airplane and hotel costs combined together will be the worth of what you will save by taking advantage of the cheaper but good quality services available in the Philippines.
However, there is a possibility that you will be charged slightly higher compared to how much they charge the locals but you can negotiate.
2) Service fees (dentist, barber, car wash, etc.)
For less than $2, you can have a nice clean cut in 15 minutes or less! Sometimes, with an after massage as free added service.
Other service products are relatively cheaper too, provided, you know where to avail of these services. Because as many as there are cheap services, there are also many expensive places to go to have these services.
I don’t know how much those fees cost in your country but if you live in one of the G20/OECD member countries, I am sure those listed above will be way too cheaper in the Philippines compared to your country.
Many female patients feel awkward or uneasy with male doctors. Countries like Japan, have more male doctors than female doctors (even for fields that tend to the female anatomy).
In the Philippines, there are many female medical practitioners that female patients could consult with. So if you are a female visiting the Philippines, why not have a simple check‐up or consultation with our lady doctors.
This might also be the reason why, in a survey of gender equality, the Philippines was ranked among the Top Ten countries.
If you love fruits, you will not be disappointed in the Philippines because fruits here are dirt cheap (compared to prices of fruits in wealthy countries). As of this writing, you can have all the pineapple, melon, banana, coconut or mango you can eat each for just under US$3/kg (but I’m sure you cannot eat that much).
5) Philippine products
Products made in the Philippines are reliable. I recommend clothes and leather products made in the Philippines. They last longer than products made in other countries and they have cheaper prices than those you can buy in wealthy countries.
6) Volunteer, outreach, charity projects
I am not really proud of this but if you are a foreigner who wants to do some humanitarian activity, there are many places in the Philippines where you can do this. No thanks to our corrupt politicians and government agencies, government money is not used properly and basic government services in several areas are poor.
Places such as those devastated by natural calamities or poverty stricken areas could always need volunteers.
7) We speak English
You won’t have to worry if you get lost or can’t find your way. You can ask anyone and you will be able to read most of the signs anywhere you go.
8) We love foreigners
You can have an unfair advantage over locals when it comes to service quality, friendliness and hospitality. Do not be surprised when in certain situations, you will get a special treatment just because you’re a foreigner.
9) We have the most beautiful beaches
The Philippines is popular for its beautiful tropical beaches and this year, CNN has cited Palawan as a perfect sailing trip destination.
In another survey, Palawan was voted as the best island to visit according to CN Traveler. Vigan and Boracay on the other hand, were finalists for the New Seven Wonder Cities of the World for 2014.
10) Foreigners can easily adapt in the Philippines
I cannot cover all the arrival procedures for each International Airport of the Philippines here. However, since the procedure does not change drastically from airport to airport, I will write about the arrival procedure for the busiest airport of them all. And that will be the infamous NAIA Terminal 1.
Why infamous? Because it has been consistently voted as one of the worst international airports in the world. And unfortunately, this is the airport that most airlines currently use. If it is at all possible, please refrain from using this airport (I recommend NAIA 3).
CAUTION: Everything is free in the airport when you arrive. You are not required to pay anything. The immigration process, the baggage carts, the customs check, the elevator, the toilet is all free to use. Report to nearby airport officials if anyone is trying to extort money from you.
Arrival Procedures for NAIA Terminal 1
1. Fill-out some stuff (preferably while inside the plane)
customs declaration form
health checklist form
arrival embarkation form
2. Get-off the plane (duh!) 3. Pass through the thermal camera/scanners 4. Line-up for the immigration check (use the Foreign Passports Lane)
At the immigration counter, submit to the immigration officer your passport, return ticket, immigration/disembarkation card and customs declaration form. Except for the disembarkation card, everything will be returned back to you.
Please note that there are 2 types of immigration cards:
ARRIVAL CARD – for arriving passengers
DEPARTURE CARD – for departing passengers
Sometimes it becomes very crowded as people line-up in front of the immigration counters, check which counters are for foreigners before lining up in front of any of them.
5. Get your luggage
After going through the immigration, you may go ahead to the baggage conveyors. Flight numbers are displayed on top of the conveyors in the baggage retrieval area.
6. Go through customs check
After retrieving your luggage, you may proceed to the customs checking area. Hand over your passport and customs declaration form to the customs officer and answer some questions.
Answer as honestly as possible and if the officer asks if you have anything to declare, it would be best if your answer is “none”. Meaning, you are not bringing anything with you any taxable or subject for inspection item (please refer to link at bottom of this post).
Luggages are very rarely inspected for arriving passengers. However, items larger than your luggage may be subject for inspection (such as a surf board, guitar, keyboard, golf clubs, etc.) If you say that you have something to declare, then prepare yourself for some inconvenience, time wasting and unwanted spending of precious money.
The best you can do in this situation is do not bring any taxable items in the first place OR do not say that you have anything to declare to customs.
If everything is clear, your passport and customs declaration form will be returned to you. Get your stuff and head for the exit.
There is another person right ahead (just before you head to exit) that is collecting the customs declaration form. Give that form to him/her. It will not be returned to you after that.
7. Changing your money to Peso
Before getting out of the arriving passengers processing section of the airport, you might want to change your currencies first.
To change your currency into Philippine Peso, you may find some booths in the airport that specializes in this service. Unfortunately, these booths have very very poor rates so DO NOT change all of your money with these booths.
Change only a certain amount of money that you will immediately need. And have your other currencies changed elsewhere (like the mall). You can also change your left over Pesos into your country’s currency before returning home but there might be a set minimum amount of how much of your currency you can buy.
8. Head for the exit
Finally, at the exit, an airport staff will compare your baggage tag with that of your airplane ticket. This completes your arrival procedures for NAIA Terminal 1. Cross the street and head for the arriving passengers waiting area.
9. Wait for the person who will pick you up
If someone is scheduled to pick you up, you should wait at the arrival area coinciding with the first alphabet of your last name. Or you just call whoever is picking you up and tell him/her where you are.
If someone comes bargaining with you to ride a taxi or stay at a hotel, just ignore them. Or pretend you do not understand what they are talking about. Or simply turn them down.
Do not go with anyone you do not know if there is someone already scheduled to pick you up!
10. Welcome to the Philippines!!!
It’s hot, it’s humid, and you’re profusely sweating. Yeah, baby!!!
waiting area for passengers
non-passengers wait here
vehicles may pick-up the passengers but shouldn’t take too long
Currency Import Regulations:
For residents and non-residents, an amount of up to 10,000 Philippine Peso (PhP) will be allowed without declaration. Exceeding amounts require an authorization from the Central Bank of the Philippines. Foreign currencies of up to USD 10,000 or its equivalent will not need to be declared. Amounts exceeding USD 10,000 or its equivalent, on the other hand, must be declared.
Information must be furnished on the source and purpose of the transport of such amount. Violation will be subject to sanctions under Philippine customs law and regulations.
Only banknotes and coins, which are legal tender must be declared (travellers checks, credit cards etc. are exempt from declaration requirement)
This guide is mainly applicable to residents and travelers visiting the Philippines for tourism purposes and do not require a visa
For other travelers to the Philippines, please check the Immigration website or the Philippine Embassy in your country for more information
Here are the major International Airports of my country, the Philippines. See below where they are located and which airlines use them.
LIST OF INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
1. Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA 1) Location: Metro Manila International Airlines:
China Eastern Airlines
China Southern Airlines
Jetstar Asia Airways
Royal Brunei Airlines
Thai Airways International
2. Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 (NAIA 2) Location: Metro Manila International Airlines: Philippine Airlines
3. Ninoy Aquino International Terminal 3 (NAIA 3) Location: Metro Manila International Airlines:
All Nippon Airways
Delta Air Lines
4. Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4 (NAIA 4) Location: Metro Manila International Airlines: Air Asia Zest
5. Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (Clark International Airport) Location: Pampanga International Airlines:
6. Mactan-Cebu International Airport Location: Cebu International Airlines:
Far Eastern Air Transport
7. Davao International Airport (Francisco Bangoy International Airport) Location: Davao del Sur International Airlines: SilkAir, Sriwijaya Air
8. Iloilo International Airport Location: Iloilo International Airlines: Cebu Pacific
9. Kalibo International Airport Location: Aklan International Airlines:
10. Puerto-Prinsesa International Airport Location: Palawan International Airlines: Malaysia Airlines
Consult with your airline or travel agency to check if they have options for you to arrive directly to the airport that is nearest to your intended destination in the Philippines. This will save you a lot of time and money.
Do you want to visit the Philippines? Are you wondering if you need a visa or not?
As of August of 2014, nationals from 158 countries may enter the Philippines without a visa and may stay for a maximum of thirty (30) days, provided they are holders of a passport valid at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines, and present a return or outward bound ticket to their country of origin or to a next country of destination.
Pursuant to the Bureau of Immigration’s Memorandum Circular No. RADJR-2013-006, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Foreign Service Circular (FSC) No. 95-2014 and Executive Order no. 408.
Below is the list of countries:
3. Antigua and Barbuda
19. Burkina Faso
24. Cape Verde
25. Central African Republic
31. Congo, Democratic Republic
32. Costa Rica
33. Cote d’ Ivoire
36. Czech Republic
40. Dominican Republic
42. El Salvador
43. Equatorial Guinea
73. Korea (ROK)
89. Marshall Island
102. New Zealand
109. Papua New Guinea
118. St. Kitts and Nevis
119. Saint Lucia
120. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
122. San Marino
123. Sao Tome and Principe
124. Saudi Arabia
128. Slovak Republic
130. Solomon Islands
132. South Africa
142. Trinidad and Tobago
148. United Arab Emirates
149. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
150. United States of America
156. Viet Nam
* Brazil and Israel remain eligible for a 59-day visa-free entry as elaborated under Section D of FSC-21-10.
For Indian Nationals
Since May 1, 2012, Indian nationals with a valid U.S., Japanese, Australian, Canadian, Schengen, Singapore, or United Kingdom visa are granted a 14-day visa free entry which may be extended for an additional 7 days for a maximum stay of 21 days. (BI Memorandum Circular No. RADJR-12-008)
The policy only applies to Indian Nationals arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA 1-3) who have the following:
(1) National Passport valid at least 6 months, beyond the contemplated stay
(2) Return or Onward ticket
(3) No derogatory record in BI, NICA, or INTERPOL
For trips more than 21 days, Indian nationals are required to apply for a tourist visa in New Delhi or any Foreign Service Post where they are valid residents.
For other nationals (not mentioned above) or for non-tourist purposes, you will find more information about visa requirements under the “VISA” category of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration’s website.