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Philippines – Getting There

Endowed with 7,107 islands that boast of the most pristine beaches, breathtaking diving sites, and nature destinations that present the most thrilling adventures, it’s safe to say that Philippines is one of the most beautiful countries in southeast Asia. Despite its lack of land connections to other countries, there are still many ways — easy and uncomplicated — to get to the Pearl of the Orient Seas. Use this quick travel guide to the Philippines as you build your adventure itineraries.  

Daily direct flights to the Philippines are available from North America and Australia. If you’re coming from Europe, the only direct flights to the country are the ones in Amsterdam. Other than these options, travelling to the Philippines from non-Asian countries require a layover in either Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. From these points, you can also book flights to Cebu.  

Tourism in the Philippines boom from November to April. During this time, fares can be 3% to 7% higher.  

At the same time, to ensure a hassle-free travel to the Philippines, here are a few things you should know about Visa, customs, and immigration: 

Visa
Most nationalities are issued a free 30-day Visa upon arrival. Should this prove to be inadequate, you can also extend your stay in the country for a certain fee, which can be done in all official government offices.
The Bureau of Immigration has changed some of its rules on Visa and Visa fees last 2017. To get up to date information regarding these changes, visit their official website.

Some of the changes include the following:

You can now extend your stay for 29 more days via a Visa waiver. The fee costs PhP 2200 (USD 41) for most nationalities. You can also opt for one-month, two-month, and six-month extensions. The fee is PhP 4000 (USD 80) upon extension and PhP 1000 (USD 20) for the succeeding months. Those extending their stay will need to avail of the ACR I-Card which is valid for one year.

Visa extensions can be processed at the head office in Manila or in one of the provincial hubs. You can also apply for a 29-day extension upon arrival, which you can accomplish at the airports in either in Manila and Cebu. Those who will avail of the Visa waivers are allowed to stay in the Philippines for 36 months.

When applying for Visa or Visa extension, dress respectfully. Items like shorts and flip-flops are strictly not allowed.

Immigration

The Philippine Immigration is popular for the long lines in front of each counter. Bring loads of patience. Upon arrival, you will be required to fill out immigration arrival cards. Tourists must be able to show to the Immigration officers that their passports are still valid for the next six months. You also have to present your accomplished immigration arrival card. Immigration officials might also ask for your return ticket, which will guarantee that you will leave the country. If you don’t have one, you might be asked to purchase one at that instant.

After presenting all the requirements, you will be granted a 30-day Visa-free entry which you can extend to 59 days for a fee. Before leaving the immigration counters, make sure to check the “Valid Until” date. Some officers just stamp 30 days automatically.

Customs

The Philippine Customs is quite unique compared to other countries. Instead of going through green channels, you have to proceed to a desk with a Customs officer. Tourists and returning citizens are to proceed to different kinds of desks labeled “Nothing to declare” and “Goods to Declare.” Generally, tourists are allowed to carry wine, and other spirits not exceeding two bottles, cigarettes not more than 200 sticks, and cosmetics and perfume that don’t exceed one bottle each. If you are carrying something that needs to be declared, tell the customs officer. If an officer finds something, those items will be confiscated and you will be charged a hefty fine.

Don’t forget to plan accordingly for your Philippine trip!

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