TRAVEL TIPS

PASSPORT

 

You must have a valid passport to travel outside the U.S.  Passports must be valid for at least 6 months from return date of travel.  To apply for a passport, go to your local Post Office or your County Clerk for a form.  fill up the form and send along with processing fee, passport photos and birthcertificate.  Process takes about 4 weeks.  You can have this porcess expedited in one week by paying the extra expedite fee.

 

IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS

 

To travel to the Philippines, you need a round trip ticket, an onward ticket or a visa.  You are allowed 30 days (count arrival day as day one and departure day as the last day) in the Philippines without a visa.  You may get a visa before you leave by contacting the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. at 202-467-9300 or you can get a visa waiver extension in the Philippines by going to the Philippine Department of Immigratiion and Deportation.  You must wear long pant, collar shirt and shoes to enter any Philippine government building.  Entering the Philippines with your Filipina spouse may qualify you as a "balikbayan" and be exempt from a visa for up to one year.  To enter the U.S., you need a valid U.S. Passport, a visa or a valid green-card (U.S. residency status).

 

You are allowed up to $300 in personal items duty free going to the Philippines.  You may bring in up to 2 liters of alcohol and 2 cartons of cigarettes.  You may bring up to $5,000 cash without filling up a special form.  Please visit www.tsa.gov to learn more about what you can and cannot take on the plane.  Upon entering the U.S., you are now allowed up to $800 duty free, 1 leter of alcohol and 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars.  You may only bring P5,000 currency out of the Philippines.

 

TRAVEL TIPS

  • Please be at the airport at least 3 hours before your flight.
  • Make a photo copy of your tickets and pasport so they can be replace if lost or stolen.
  • Sign up for the frequent flyer program of each carrier you fly with.  Its free and you can eventually use your miles for an upgrade or free ticket.
  • Put your name, address and phone number on a piece of paper inside each piece of checked luggage as well as the outside...and also your carry-on.
  • A purse or camera bag does not count as a carry-on, but they may add this to the carry-on when weighing them.
  • Take a sweater, sweatshirt or jacket for the flight as the cabin tends to be cold during the flight.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during the flight to avoid dehydration which can increase jet-lag symptons.
  • Avoid sitting on the plane for long periods of time...get up and stretch and walk around from time to time. 
  • Practice Yogo, relaxing exercises, isometrics also.
  • Stay out in the sunlight as much as ossible on arrival to help your body adjust and minimize jet-lag.
  • Use your ATM car for the highest exchange rate.
  • Use the hotel safety deposit box for your valuables.
  • Do not wear expensive jewelry that will make you a target for a snatcher.
  • Take out travel insurance for a stress free trip.

 

AIRLINE TICKETS

 

Most airline tickets are now electronic ticket or e-tickets.  Use your itinerary from you travel agent as your check-in ticket with your passport.  Usually the lower the price of the ticket, the shorter the stay and other restrictions may apply.  Many cheap tickets now are non-refundable but changeable for travel within one year if the fare rate is available with only a change fee.  You may have to pay difference in fare and taxes, however.

 

You no longer have to reconfirm your flight, but experienced travelers still reconfirm several days before travel.  You should always confirm with the airlines after you receive your ticket and give them your contact phone, here and in the Philippines, your frequent flyer number and request your seating.  Emergency row seats are blocked from reserving and can only be assigned at check in as you need to prove you are capable of opening the emergency exit and helping with evacuation in case of emergency.

 

Most carriers now allow only 50 pounds for each piece of checked luggage and two pieces per passengers.  There are some exceptions however, and you need to check with your carrier for those details.  One hand carry per person is allowed and weight will vary by carrier also.  You must check with the airlines ahead of time to avoid paying a large penalty fee.

MORE TRAVEL TIPS TO THE PHILIPPINES

 

  • PACK AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE.  Too many vacations are ruined by trying to take too much or prepare for every emergency only to find out you're lugging luggage all over the world.
  • IF YOU TRAVEL TO THE PHILIPPINES more than once a year and you stay at the same hotel or have family there, leave clothes in a rodent proof bag or suitcase so that you are not always taking clothes back and forth.
  • MARK YOU LUGGAGE WITH YOUR NAME, address and phone number.  All airlines require it now.  Also leave your card with name, address and phone number on the inside.  This is the only way delayed or misplaced luggage can be returned to you.
  • MOST EXPERIENCED WORLD TRAVELERS travel only with carry-on luggage.  Many Philippine travelers send a "balikbayan box" about a month ahead so it will arrive when they do.
  • HAVE YOUR CLOTHES LAUNDERED IN THE PHILIPPINES...its cheap and will save you from taking lots of clothes.
  • BUY CLOTHES YOU NEED IN THE PHILIPPINES that you didn't pack.  Clothes in the Philippines are usually cheaper than in the U.S. anyway.  You may want souvineer Tshirts.  Some people buy material there and have a suit or dress tailor-made for them...much cheaper there than in the U.S.
  • THE PHILIPPINES IS IN THE TROPICS, so pack accordingly.  It is hot all year round in the Philippines.  Tshirts, jeans and sneakers are the normal attire.  Shorts are ok too.  Don't forget your sunglasses, cap or hat, sun lotion and insect repellant.  Wear loose comfortable clothing for your flight.  It is uaually cold on the plane, so you may need a sweater, sweatshirt orjacket.  Wear comfortable shoes as you will probably do some walking and don't forget your swim suit.  The sea is warm in the Philippines, unlike the U.S.
  • TAKE AT LEAST ONE NICE OUTFIT for a night out on the town or church.  You can also purchase a Barrong Tagalog (a native formal shirt)...makes a good souvineer of the Philippines also.  You may wish to take a white shirt and tie, but you won't need a coat unless it is tropical weight.
  • MOST ELECTRICAL CURRENT IN THE PHILIPPINES IS 220 VOLTS.  You will need a converter if you plan to take any electrical appliances although some hotels do have 110 volts.  220 volts will burn your electrical appliance without a converter.  Most laptops and cell phone charges are dual voltage.
  • PHILIPPINE AIRLINES IS THE ONLY CARRIER WITH THRU FARES  to all domestic Philippine cities.  If you use another carrier, you may have to overnight or have a long layover in Manila.
  • IF YOU USE ANOTHER CARRIER FOR INTERNATIONAL and continue your travel on a Philippine domestic carrier, your luggage may excede the domestic weight limits and you will be asked to pay a penalty fee. 
  • THE CURRENT PHILIPPINE AIRPORT FEE is P200 for domestic flights and P750 for international flights.  This is paid prior to your departure.
  • BE AWARE OF EXTRA SECURITY in the U.S. pror to boarding as well as in the Philippines, so be early for check in.
  • CALL THE AIRLINES ON THE DAY OF YOUR DEPARTURE to check if flihgts are on time, early, delayed or cancelled.
  • AVOID ALCOHOL BUT DRINK PLENTY OF FLUITS during the flight.  The pressurized cabin on the plane tends to dehydrate you which contributes to your disorientation on arrival known as "jet lat".  Alcohol tends to dehydrate you also.  Some people recommend one glass of liquid for every hour on the plane.
  • TRY TO RELAX ON THE FLIGHT AND LET GO OF YOUR ANXIETIES.  This will help you to m inimize jet lag also.  Enjoy the food on the plane but avoid overeating as you wont be albe to take a walk after eating.   Sleep when you feel like it, but dont worry if you don't or can't sleep long...your body will adjust after you arrive.  Movies are free on most carriers to the Philippines but some people prefer to wear earplugs to help block the jet engine noise.  Sleeping masks seem to work for some people.  The important thing is to enjoy the flight.  It's generally 12 to 15 hours flying time from the west coast to the Philippines and the more you think about it the longer it gets, lol.  Many a good book has been read on international flights.
  • IMMIGRATION, LUGGAGE, CUSTOMS.  It's the same where every you travel.  Not having to wait for your luggage gets you through customs quicker.  Luggage can take up to two hours to arrive at times.  Only answer questions you are asked.  Do not volunteer any unsolicited information.  If they ask you to open your luggage, avoid argueing and if they asses a fee you will generally have to pay it or the item will be held by customs untill you can produce a receipt.
  • BE PREPARED FOR HOT HUMID WEATHER when you arrive in the Philippines.
  • DO NOT WEAR EXPENSIVE JEWELERY.  The Philippines is generally a safe place to travel, however, as in most countires (and the U.S. is no exception), you should take resonable precautions:  don't display wads of money etc., do not off with people you do not know who promise a car, hotel etc.
  • THERE ARE SOME AREAS TO AVOID IN THE PHILIPPINES. Some portions of Mindanao, especially the southern islands of Sulu and Jolo and the very remote areas of mindanao are strongholds for the Abu Sayof and have kidnapped Americans for ransom.
  • TAXES AND TIPS ARE ADDED TO YOUR HOTEL BILL.  Many hotel have the Philippine Value Added Tax (V.A.T.) and servive fee added into your hotel bill, others give the rate without the tax, so you need to ask upon check in if these items are included.  Generally hotels are cheaper in Cebu than in Manila.
  • EAT COOKED FOOD FROM SIDEWALK VENDORS THAT HAS JUST EMERGED STEAMING HOT FROM THE POT OR BAR-B-QUE.  Food prepared in restaurants generally is safe to eat.  The problem with sidewalk vendors is that the food may sit for several hours at lower temperatures affter cooking.
  • WATER IS SAFE TO DRINK IN MOST AREAS.  If you feel insecure about the water situation you should stick to bottled water which is now available everywhere and very cheap.  Most wells by law must be chlorinated (as in the U.S.) so hotels and restaurants are generally safe.
  • MALARIA IS A PROBLEM ON ON REMOTE ISLANDS.  If you are anxious about such problems, your doctor can give you anti-malaria shots several weeks prior to your departure.  The interior remote areas of Palawan, Mindoro and Mindanao are the only places still reporting malaria.
  • YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION IS REQUIRED FROM VISITORS FROM INFECTED AREAS.  If you arrive in the Philippines from a stay in another Southeast Asian country that has yellow fever (Viet Nam, Cambodia, etc.) you will have to be vaccinated upon arrival in the Philippines.
  • SHOULD YOU BECOME ILL, SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE BEFORE LEAVING THE COUNTRY.  Philippine doctors may be more knowledgeable about tropical diseases than their temperate climate counterparts.  Makati Medical Center in Manila has a good emergency room as does the Doctors Hospital in Cebu City.  The U.S. Embassy has a list of recommended physicians and dentists.  Medical care is inexpensive in the Philippines.  Most medicines are available, but under local brand names.  Bring with you any medicines you anticipate needing.
  • WHEN VISITING A RURAL AREA IT IS CORRECT PROCEDURE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THE BARANGAY CAPTAIN, MAYOR OR PRIEST.  Almost all will ovver valuable assistance and advice, and many will take it upon themselves to look out for your welfare.  Filipino hospitality is a wonderful thing.
  • FILL OUT A MISSING BAGGAGE REPORT IF YOUR LUGGAGE DOES NOT ARRIVE AT THE BAGGAGE CLAIM AREA.  There is a place in every terminal to report your missing luggage.  Fill out the form and notify the airline.  You will need to give the address and phone where you will be staying.  Get a telephone number you can call to follow up.  Usually your luggage will only be delayed a day or two.  You are entitled toa a small payment for each day your luggage is delayed, so be sure to ask for it.  You should also find out what they will pay if the luggage is lost and not returned at all.  After you return, you should follow up by calling the airline's customer relations desk.  Your travel agent should be able to assist you also.  Anyway, these are all good reasons to take only carry-on if you can.
  • ON YOUR RETURN TO THE U.S. AVOID BRINGING ANY AGRICULTURE PRODUCTS.  You may bring dried or processsed products in a sealed commercial container, but all other home processed or raw foods will be confiscated and you may face a fine and/or jail.  Do not try to bring in any plants, seeds or fruits/vegetables.  Do not bring any food from the airplane.  U.S.D.A. is very protective about foreign pests and disease so don't take any chances.  Be sure to answer no to questions relating to whether you have been on a farm in a foreign country.  You will have to go through a seperate ag inspection line if you say yes.
  • DO NOT CARRY ANY ITEMS FOR ANOTHER PERSON THROUGH CUSTOMS OR SECURITY.  It is against the law and you will be detained if caught.
  • SHOULD YOU BECOME ILL AFTER RETURNING TO THE U.S., BE SURE TO TELL YOUR DOCTOR YOU JUST RETURNED FROM THE ORIENT.  This will assist your doctor in making a diagnosis.  Some diseases take several days for symptons to appear.
  • ADJUSTING TO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE AFTER COMING HOME CAN BE VERY DIFFICULT.  Most people have a harder time with jet lag after returning home.  Adjust to your time zone as quickly as possible utilizing normal meal times, sunlight, etc.  If you must take a nap duringthe day, keep it short. 
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Virgin Beach Resort Sitio Suba, Barangay Malbago, Daanbantayan 6013 Cebu, Philippines.

 

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LIVE VIDEO AND CHAT AT VIRGIN BEACH RESORT

Virgin Beach Blog

Greetings from Virgin Beach Resort Cebu.  Please check here daily for a new blog about Virgin Beach Resort, The Philippines, Cebu and any interesting related subjects about our unique place.

Virgin Beach Resort suffered severe damage November 8, 2013 from Super Typhoon Yolanda. We thank God that all of our staff, family and neghbors are alive and unharmed. We did not have any guests during the storm. The wind was gusting over 200 miles per hour and caused damage to almost every building to some extent...some more than others. 

 

We have repaired all damage and are once again accepting guests. Electricity is restored to the resort and the swimming pool is cleaned daily. We look forward to serving you again at Virgin Bach Resort.

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