What do i need for the Philippines?

The thing with the Philippines is most things are casual. The most you need is the power of the pen. Many people will go through the hassle of extra visas which in the UK can be expensive if you don’t live in London. But in essence you are unlikely to be refused an extension visa. Best way to operate is the following :-

Book your flight (don’t go a major hauler if your paying more than £600 return your overpaying! do a web search. IF your stopping longer than 6 months and can’t get an open ticket than book one way. Works out around £400 each way from the UK. You need an exit ticket when entering the Philippines so book via Cebu Pacific or another cheap airline to get an exit ticket to Hong Kong, Malaysia or anywhere else on special offer at the time. While on the flight make sure you bring a pen as you need to fill the Visa entry form in which is very simply and when it asks for your address in Cebu generally I put a resort because they are fewer words and people know where they are. Either way fill it in and as soon as the plane lands get off as quick as possible a quick run to the immigration could save you an hour of waiting in a queue.

As soon as you have collected luggage and passed immigration if you have no Pesos grab some at a money changer which will be lining up the entry. Dont change lots but maybe just £50 which is enough for a couple of nights in a hotel, food and cab fare. Because once you find a better money changer you will get a better rate. As you exit the cabs are touting for business and asking for a fixed rate totally ignore them. If you head up to the departure lounge you will find that taxis are happy to take you on the meter (which is the legal way to travel). As they need to get back to the area they work in. You should always go via the meter even if you grab a taxi via the exit of the terminal because they will rob you blind otherwise. P600 doesn’t sound much but when you find out the real price is P200?? Which is the equivalent of a persons days pay in the Philippines. If you want to be taken for a ride these people are geared up for it and looking to make a quick killing on the foreigner who lacks knowledge. When you book your hotel discuss discount for stopping two weeks. As they will more than likely offer 10% discount. Only pay in 3 day amounts that way if you’re not happy you can leave to find another location.

Never take expensive jewellery, cameras, or electronics that can be seen. Keep your laptop hidden when it’s not in use and everything else out of view. Dont take more money than you need unless you are worried about the hotel if so split your money into as many “secure” pockets as possible keeping small bills in one so that you can use that pocket first. Break the P1000s in malls where possible to get a few separate amounts of small bills this way you’re not flashing too much money. The thing with the Philippines is it’s a great place but you can also easily be robbed if people see too much money floating around. You don’t need to and you simply should be avoiding. Try to use taxi cabs if your unsure of areas but if possible text the registration of the taxi to someone (Even if you don’t) but make it visual so the taxi driver knows he is already tagged as having you as a customer. The thing in the Philippines is being wise to your surroundings if your on a resort you have less to worry about. If outside please find people who know and understand the area. I’m in Cebu and can offer any advice if you need it.