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  1. #1
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    Default Visiting the Philipines advice please

    I didn't want to hijack the other post about moving to the Philipines so I started a new one. I've been dating a a lady here that grew up in the Philipines. She wants me to go home and meet her mother sister and brothers. Here's what freaks me out. A I've never been on an air liner, I've only been to Mexico just across the border and back and the same with Canada. B I'm unsure of going there. I trust her but I'm afraid I'll look like a total goober over there. She's from Negros Oriental but later her family moved to Cebu city.

    She has a couple rental properties there and since we aren't married I'll have one to myself. I was just looking for some survival tips for a 2 or 3 week stay. I've never taken off work more than 10 days. Im dreading being away from there because boredom sets in. Thanks in advance guys

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Visiting the Philipines advice please

    Where in the PI are you going? Are you staying near Cebu? Boredom should not be an issue. Theres lots to see and do in the PI. Its a beautiful country. Are you a white guy? No matter what you're going to stand out if you are. However if you're somewhat prepared for immersion in their culture you 'll be Ok.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member NoTrespassing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visiting the Philipines advice please

    Wow, very cool. Don't pass up the opportunity.

    The flight is VERY long. One leg will be at least 14 hours. I don't know where you'll be flying out of, Dallas maybe? We usually fly out of Chicago. We're going this summer, it will be my fifth time there. Cebu is a piece of cake as far as PI goes. It's very visitor friendly. If you guys fly direct into Cebu you can avoid Manila, the most densely populated city in the world I believe.

    The exchange rate is really good right now, 50 pesos per dollar. I've seen it as high as 56 and as low as 39. I usually take quite a bit of cash because sometimes my bank cards have not worked. We also have a XOOM account for transferring money from one of our checking accounts. If your account has been pre-approved you can get cash almost instantly. Nobody take traveler's checks. The best exchange rates are from pawn shops or malls usually. They only want new $100 bills usually. They made us write down the serial number for each bill in the mall last time.

    You will need a passport book, not just the passport card used for Mexico/Canada entry.

    Most residents of PI know some English and most signs are in English. I usually try to drink bottled water only. In Cebu you will be able to get just about any kind of food you want. The residents are very friendly but watch out, some will try to take advantage of you. When taking a taxi make sure they turn on the meter. If renting transportation with a driver, negotiate the price in advance and do not pay until you reach your destination. I learned that lesson the hard way.

    My first trip in 06 was my first trip out of the country and I flew alone to meet my fiance. She was living in Mindanao and there was a US travel warning at the time. We took overnight ferry boats to Samar and all kinds of various transportation. It was quite an experience. I'm sure you'll have a great time. By the way, it's tropical with humidity of 90% and temps in the 90's so be prepared to sweat a lot.

    What time of year will you be going?

    Kevin
    L3710 HST/LA681FEL/6ftRM/6ft Woods aerator/6ft Woods Box Scraper/roller/speader/posthole digger

  4. #4
    Platinum Member CowboyRon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visiting the Philipines advice please

    You will have lots of fun, we are planning on going to PI in August. The people are friendly, and the beaches are beautiful. The worst shock for me was most places don't have hot water, so taking a shower is a big wake up call.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Visiting the Philipines advice please

    Ron she warned me about the hot water. In her rental property she has hot water for her stays there. We thought about going in August but her work and my work are too busy for that time. We are going to Cebu and Negros Oriental.

    She has several Filipina friends here locally and I like their culture and tradition. They get tickled that I'm one of the only Americans that eat their food.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member NoTrespassing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visiting the Philipines advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylortractornut View Post
    Ron she warned me about the hot water. In her rental property she has hot water for her stays there. We thought about going in August but her work and my work are too busy for that time. We are going to Cebu and Negros Oriental.

    She has several Filipina friends here locally and I like their culture and tradition. They get tickled that I'm one of the only Americans that eat their food.
    Speaking of the food, if you eat balut with the locals you'll score some cool points. I eat it at least twice every time I visit. I have to have a few beers first though. Balut is a fertilized duck egg that has been incubated for a certain length of time to allow the embryo to develop. Street vendors will come around in the early evening selling them. Go for the shortest number of days you can find.

    It will be nice to get out of Cebu and away from the tourists also. I'm sure you can experience the local culture better in Negros Oriental. Check out the history of the PI if you haven't already. Spain ruled the country for hundreds of years before the US took over after the Spanish American war. The country is a hodgepodge of Spanish/American influence. Kenny Rogers is one of the most popular artists in PI. If you really want to be a hit, sing a Kenny Rogers song at a Karaoke bar. You'll be an "American Idol" lol

    Kevin
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  7. #7
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visiting the Philipines advice please

    I've never been to PI, but I lived in Indonesia back in the 80's when I was in the Marine Corps and traveled quite a bit around that part of Asia. The biggest issues we dealt with was US tourists getting robbed. Women with their purses, men losing their wallets. Never carry a wallet, and put all your cash, debit card, credit card and ID in your front pockets. Be sure to make copies of your cards and keep one in your luggage and give another to somebody at home who you can call in case of an emergency.

    I never carried any clothes with me when I traveled. They are so cheap there that I would just buy something when I got there to wear. You can even have just about anything you want custom tailored for a fraction of what it costs here.

    We always drank bottled water and even used it for brushing our teeth.

    Find out which taxi company is the trusted one. In Indonesia, Bluebird was the one we tried to use all the time because they where considered the honest, safe one. The other companies would hire drivers that where known to take a passenger to the wrong place, demand money and then leave them. If you didn't pay, the drivers friends would be right there to take it from you. If you did pay, his friends would also want money to help you get a taxi out of there. Most tourists have no idea how to get around a new place, so this was a fairly common scam. Just like here in the US, be sure the taxi drive has a picture ID in the cab, and that there is a meter. You can also agree to the price to get where you are going before getting into the taxi, or tuk tuk, or whatever vehicle is available there to take you. Locals know what to pay for each trip and it's usually a fraction of what a meter will charge you on a taxi, but you have to know this beforehand. Your girlfriend should be able to what to pay and who to use.

    Never go to somebodies house that you do not know. I don't know if it's still a problem or not, but tourists meet friendly people, get an invite to their home, have something to drink and wake up the next day laying on the side of the street somewhere without any of their belongings. This wasn't very common for Americans, mostly we heard about it happening to Australians more then anybody else.

    For me, I always liked eating a the smaller places and trying everything new there was to offer. Sometimes my stomach didn't like me, so be sure to bring plenty of Pepto or Imodium AD. Also, if you have any prescription medicine, be sure to have it in the original bottle.

    Don't forget adapters for your electronics and chargers. I also bring a power strip with me so I'll have extra outlets. Airports have outlets and charging stations all over the place, and they will all be crowded with people charging what they have. I have universal adapters because you never know what will be available to use.

    Bring a laundry bag. Lots of places in Asia will do your laundry for you every day for very cheap, or at least they used to.

    Bring brand new personal hygiene items. You can buy it there, but it will be different and I prefer what I'm used to.

    I'm a big picture taker and always have at least two cameras because I've had one break on me before the first time I went to Paris. Fortunately I managed to get a couple pictures of the Eiffel Tower before it froze up on me, but I didn't get any other pictures. Now with digital cameras, I carry an extra fully charged battery with me for my good camera and it has a 32 gig chip in it. Last trip I went on, I took over 7,000 pictures. I only kept a couple hundred, but I did go through every single one to find the best ones. My thought is that if I take enough pictures of something, changing it just a little bit every time, odds are that I'll get at least one good one.

    Pay the money for a good, up to date travel book. We download Rick Steves books when we where in Europe and found it to be very helpful for things we had no idea about. Like where is the best place to get gelato in Florence Italy!!! Same thing with finding restaurants, what to see and some information about those sites. We're not big on tours, and like to explore at our own pace.

    Have a good map of where you are going. My wife has At&T on her phone, I have Verizon. We've found that one works and the other doesn't in different places. In Venice, we got lost chasing a sunset and by the time it was dark, we had no idea where we where. The place is a maze with dead ends and more twists and turns then we thought possible. Her map on her phone saved us. Even when we couldn't see where the next turn was, we trusted it and it got us out of there. If your phone doesn't work, or you cant get a local map on it, buy a paper one and keep it with you.

    If you party and like to stay out late, be sure to be with people you know and trust.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member NoTrespassing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visiting the Philipines advice please

    Good advice Eddie, come to think of it, I wear a travelers wallet around my waist and yes, I do keep photocopies of my ID, passport, bankcards etc.

    Amazon.com: Travel Money Belt, Water Resistant Hidden Waist Pouch with RFID Blocking: Clothing

    Kevin
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Visiting the Philipines advice please

    Make sure your passport is valid and not expired.

  10. #10
    Elite Member CobyRupert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visiting the Philipines advice please

    And wear a baseball cap, a tee shirt and blue jeans if you want to scream: "Hey everybody! I'm an American tourist!"

    Don't worry about airliners, way, way, way, safer than driving to your local supermarket.

    14 hour flights, or sitting in one spot anywhere for 14 hours, is hard. I like getting an aisle seat so you can move around easier. I'd bring my own noise cancelling headphones on the flight instead of relying on those cheap airliner ones if your going to be watching 14 hours of movies. Also those horse-shoe travel pillows that support your head are great too if you're trying to get a couple hours of shut-eye.

    Be open to new, and very strange by American standards, practices. Throw out your assumptions of what normal is. This may apply to food, traffic, personal space in public, queuing up to stand in line, etc... Things are going to be very different than what you're use to, but hey: "100 million people can't be wrong!"

    You shouldn't be bored, if anything there may be stimuli overload. Not sure if you know the language, but try to learn a few phrases each day before going. You'll be surprise how far just knowing a few phrases like "hello, goodbye, thank you, yes, no, I don't speak Filipino, how much(?)" can take you.

    What does your friend think of the Philippine President?
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