When your onboard the plane make sure you bring a pen and fill out the visa form on entry. Don’t worry about the address if you don’t know it to well as long as they have the hotel etc. They pretty much know where you are.
On arrival try to get through check in as fast as possible because its generally the difference between 5mins and 1 hour of waiting. While in the queue text (get a mobile number of whoever is meeting you) ahead to let friends/family or driver know you are there and ask for they’re location in relation to the front doors of the airport as it can get hectic.
Double check your luggage before leaving the airport for any theft or damage of valued items I strongly advise anything of value is kept in your hand luggage.
If your going by taxi know roughly where you are going, ask the hotel the best route and tell the driver to take it. He will then assume you have local knowledge. Make sure the meter is on and running. As you will often get the “I forgot to put it on” or a fixed price. Don’t help these people act illegally the more we stop using the ones that are corrupt the less likely the next person arriving at an airport in the Philippines is going to be ripped off.
Hotel bookings “can offer discount for online” BUT the hotel may not be as good as it seems online so I would advise taking a day by day booking as there could be a better hotel nearby who also isn’t charging international rates. Unless your on a specialist holiday such as diving then I would ask around online with the diving community.
Now if you have met people already at the airport such as friends your pretty much set for your holiday. But if your travelling as a newbie in the Philippines just try not to stand out where possible, chat at your hotel reception on sights and places to visit and avoid. Because they will be concerned about your safety due to you paying the bill.. On top of that generally things are pretty secure most hotels will have either have a room safety deposit or counter I would advise using the main one but would also advise not bringing unnecessary jewellery or electronics you will only use now and again as it only opens people up to opportunities.
If you go via hotels you will find the rates much higher than what a lot of the locals pay such as myself. But then again you are on holiday and its pretty much the same where ever you are in the world.
BUT if you need a driver, car hire, car and driver hire or tour guide drop me an email and I can point you in the right direction.
Thinks to avoid –
Ice is one of the worst things to take yet most locations drop it straight into your glass a lot of it is made from tap water (majority) and unless you want a couple of days on the toilet I would advise avoiding it.
Make sure you bring good repellent for mosquitoes although you can pretty much buy it anywhere here. But like most things you always need it after the event so best getting it in advance.
Sun cream is very important especially if your light skinned as the sun is high for up to 12 hours of the day and going to the beach can leave you some pretty nasty sun burn if your not careful. I would advise buying in somewhere like Boots to guarantee the quality (in the uk)
Small bills are something to keep at all times, if you go to a McDonalds or other major outlet try to change your 1000s every time you go there. Reason for this is that taxi drivers will tell you they have no change, street vendors have no change and most stores don’t like giving out change. Also split your money up into seperate pockets away from pick pockets a large collection of 1000s will make you an ideal target but a collection of 100s and 20s no one is really interested.
Wear shorts with plenty of zip pockets. Reason for this is its handy not only for storing money but also your passport, camera and 100 and 1 other things aswell as being pretty hard to pick pocket.
Avoid carrying bags.. Holdalls,camera bags or hand bags are a snatchers ideal source of income. Not only for the snatch but often bags are slashed and the items are taken from within.
Keep coins in your pocket as its handy for most things such as a thank you for someone helping you reverse or getting a bottle of juice on route. Try not to give beggars coins because a lot of it is being used for glue sniffing and I would hate to see anyone’s money help support a drug habit. If you want to do something positive I can put you in touch with charities operating in the Philippines where your money will be used in a positive way.
At night avoid badly lit areas as these are often a scene for street robberies aswell as bag snatching using two people on a motorcycle. Don’t make yourself a soft target. If your going sight seeing hire a car with a driver as they will get you there quicker aswell as look after your safety.
This is the start of the list and I hope people will add to it below and also add a few experiences.. Im just wanting people to have a great holiday not a nightmare.