Although preparing yourself for travel is different for everyone, here are some general guidelines.
Arrange a flight
For cheap flights, it is always best to book far in advance, the cheapest seats are always sold out first. If you would like us to meet you on arrival, we can arrange an airport pickup from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.
Be aware that an airport terminal fees needs to be paid when you leave the Philippines.
Tips for cheap flights:
Get your vaccinations and malaria prophylaxes
Before you leave you should consult your travel doctor about vaccinations and malaria prophylaxes. Tell them where you will be staying and how long, they will need this information. Check www.cdc.gov.
For Dutch visitors: You can arrange your vaccinations through JoHo partner Vaccinatiesopreis.nl.
Arrange your insurance
You need to have a travel-, health- and (when applicable) volunteer/internship insurance. Some insurances do not cover incidents if you are volunteering abroad or don't cover trips that last longer than 30 days. Talk to your insurance adviser or contact JoHo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will need a visa
- You will need to have a passport that is valid at least 6 months at arrival in the Philippines. A visa is not required if you stay 30 days or less. If you stay more than 30 days, you will need a visa, which you can get either at the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines (see below) or at the Embassy of the Philippines of your country of residence.
- When coming in on a 30-day visa, you can extend your visa in the Philippines by applying for an extension of the visa at the office of the Bureau of Immigration in Intramuros, Manila or at their regional offices. Please check the Bureau’s website www.immigration.gov.ph for more information.
Arrange your money
- The unit of currency in the Philippines is the peso, which is also spelled piso in Filipino.
- The smartest way to bring cash to the Philippines is in the form of a credit card, cash card or debit card. Provided you have your PIN, you can use these to get cash or cash advances from thousands of banks and ATMs in the Philippines (but don't expect to find these in rural areas - always stock up on cash before leaving a city). Of course, you will want to back up your plastic with some cash and travellers cheques. Using plastic with a cash back-up will save you from having to deal with local moneychangers, who seem to have made a science out of ripping off tourists (warning from the Lonely Planet).
- The leading banks in the Philippines are BDO, BPI, Metrobank, Landbank and RCBC.
- Banks are open from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM and ATMs are open 24 hours. The maximum amount you can withdraw from the ATM is different per branch at BDO and BPI per transaction with a maximum of PHP10,000-20,000, Citibank Makati PHP15,000 and HSBC PHP40,000. Depending on your own maximum for cash out of an ATM limit a day. At the Citibank, you don't have to pay the extra foreign bank fee.
Read about the Philippines
For the touristic highlights and places to stay & eat there's a good selection of travel guides such as:
- Lonely Planet
- Marco Polo
Other books you can read about the Philippines are:
- Noli Me Tangere
- El Filibusterismo
F. Sionil Jose
- Rosales Saga novels: A five-novel series that spans three centuries of Philippine history, widely read around the world and translated into 22 languages
- Handbook of the Philippines: A comprehensive introduction to Philippine society, economy, politics and culture. It aims to shed light to the different facets of life (and of daily struggles and survival) in the Philippines.