TRAVEL TIPS

INSURANCE

Even if you are fit and healthy, don’t travel without health insurance – accidents happen.
Declare any existing medical conditions you have (the insurance company will check if your problem is pre-existing and will not cover you if it is undeclared). You may require extra cover for adventure activities such as rock climbing or scuba diving. If you’re uninsured, emergency evacuation is expensive. Ensure you keep all documentation related to any medical expenses you incur.

MEDICAL CHECKLIST

  • Medication for diarrhoea,- and treatment – oral dehydration solution, eg Gastrolyte
  • Anti-nausea medication
  • Medication for skin infections
  • Antihistamine for allergies
  • Anti-inflammatories, eg Ibuprofen
  • Antiseptic, eg Betadine
  • Antispasmodic for stomach cramps, eg Buscopan
  • Contraceptives
  • Decongestant
  • Insect repellent
  • First-aid items such as scissors, safety pins, Elastoplasts, bandages, gauze, thermometer (electronic, not mercury) and tweezers
  • Indigestion medication, eg Quick-Eze or Mylanta
  • Migraine medication (your personal brand), if a migraine sufferer
  • Paracetamol for pain, eg Panadol
  • Steroid cream for allergic/itchy rashes
  • Sunscreen
  • Throat lozenges

 

VISA

Citizens of nearly all countries, including Australia, will receive a 30-day visa free of charge upon their arrival. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the period you intend to stay.

 

CUSTOMS

You can bring up to 2L of alcohol and up to 400 cigarettes (or two tins of tobacco) into the country without paying duty. Foreign currency of more than US$10,000 and local currency of more than P10,000 must be declared upon entry or exit.

 

WHEN YOU ARRIVE

When you arrive by air, there will be a bank just outside the terminals. Obtain a small supply of low value P20 and P50 notes, as these are invaluable for tips and taxis.

Hire a yellow taxi (P70 flagfall) to get to Manila (Ermita or Malate - Manila Bay area), Makati, Quezon City, Ortigas Center, Fort Bonifacio Global City (Taguig), Pasay City for Mall of Asia or any other metropolitan destination. Most drivers are pretty good: if yours is not, keep the slip you received when you stood in the taxi line and report the driver.

TAXIS AT MANILA NAIA AIRPORT

There are 3 ways of taking a taxi from Manila airport

1) Most expensive - Take the white pre paid cab. First line on the right of exit. A trip to Makati or Ermita will cost you 500-600 pesos

2) Medium expensive - Take the yellow Airport taxi - Second line on far right side of exit. A trip to Makati will cost you 200-250 pesos.

3) Take the escalator to the upper Departure level of the airport (4th floor) and exit. Join the line for the normal white coloured regular taxis. This is the cheapest and will cost you 160 pesos to Makati.

Always keep all taxi doors locked. If drivers refuse to switch on the meter, bail out and catch another taxi. This is a common ploy taxi drivers in Manila indulge in with foreigners.

 

MONEY CHANGERS

Changing USD, AUD, EU money and currency notes of other countries is very easy all over Philippines. The best rates are available at smaller private money changers in shopping malls like Robinsons, Greenbelt, etc. The worst rates are given at hotels, airports and banks.

 

CREDIT/TRAVELLER’S CHEQUES/TRAVEL CARDS/ATMs

Note: Your PIN - only acceptable in 4 digits

Most business establishments in Metro Manila and in other major Philippine cities accept credit cards. However, there are a few establishments that will have a minimum purchase requirement before accepting credit card payments

Most merchants don't take travellers cheques and travel cards. Some money changers will take them but expect to pay commission on buying and cashing.

Foreign ATM cards can be used in the Philippines. However, an additional surcharge of 200 pesos is levied per transaction. You won’t have a problem finding an ATM in major Philippine cities, especially in Metro Manila. Any malls will have at least one ATM there. It is wise to look for available international bank ATMs such as Citibank or HSBC. Some ATMs may run out of money on weekends, paydays (10th/15th and 25th/30th of the month), just before and during national holidays. There are also long queues on the mentioned days.

A lot of the newer machines will return your card right after you enter your PIN, before your transaction is complete. Keep your card and continue with your withdrawal.
Bring cash in the local currency to all remote places. Some rural areas may not even have a bank.

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