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Thursday, April 19, 2007

How to get in

On entering the Philippines foreigners from most countries automatically get a free 3-week tourist visa. If intending on staying longer you should apply for a visa extension. Each visa extension is valid for 59 days, except the first which is 38 days (i.e 59-21).
You can pay on departure a fine of PhP1000 per month of overstay plus the PhP2020 fee.
To avoid all the hassle, before traveling get the longer visa from the embassy (or a consulate), as this saves you a couple of days hassle during your holiday. Contact the Philippine embassy of your country about the exact requirements for a visa application and opening hours of the consular section. When you arrive with a visa, show it to the immigration official, so that he will actually give you the 59 days, instead of the normal 21 days, on your arrival stamp.
Bureau of Immigration offices are as follows:

-Bureau of Immigration Main Office. Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila. Tel (011-63-2)527-5657.

-Bureau of Immigration Regional Office. P Burgos Street, Tribunal, Mandaue City, Cebu. Tel (011-63-32)345-6442/6443/6444.

-Bureau of Immigration Regional Office - Davao. BI Building, JP Laurel Ave., Bajada, Davao City, Tel (011-63-82)300-7258.

-Bureau of Immigration offices in other locations
Many tourists also get caught out on the dress code .....No sandals or shorts! So, dress well!


By plane

NAIA Centennial Terminal(Terminal 2)
Since the Philippines is an archipelago, most visitors will arrive by plane. International travelers can fly into airports in
Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark, Laoag, Subic, Basco (seasonal), Zamboanga (beginning April 23, 2007).

If you plan to travel around the various islands it is best to get an open jaw ticket. This can save much time time back tracking. Most common open jaw combination in flying into Manila and out of Cebu.

The cheapest options when coming from Europe or North/South America is via Singapore or Hong Kong. There are many regional carriers that can give excellent open jaw ticket options Silkair with Singapore Airlines being one.

Most visitors will fly in through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila. NAIA has three terminals. Terminal 2 is exclusively used by Philippine Airlines for its International and Domestic flight networks and by Air Philippines for its Domestic flight networks. Terminal 1 is used by airlines that flies to international destinations. Manila Domestic Passenger Terminal are used by airlines that flies to domestic destination. Terminal 3, as of the writing of this article, is not yet open to the public.

Major airlines that fly to Manila include KLM and Lufthansa, which has daily connections to Amsterdam and Frankfurt, respectively, and to other points in Europe; Northwest Airlines, which have various connections to the United States via Japan; Singapore Airlines with multiple connections each day to Singapore and Cathay Pacific which offers multiple flights a day to Hong Kong and further into the the Chinese Mainland. Budget carrier Jet Air Asia operates flights from Singapore to Manila unlike other low cost carriers which fly to Clark (see below).
Major airlines that fly into Manila include (as of January 2007):

Air Macau (Macau)
Air Niugini (Hong Kong, Port Moresby)
Asiana Airlines (Busan, Seoul-Incheon)
Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)
Cebu Pacific (Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul-Incheon, Singapore)
China Airlines (Kaohsiung, Taipei-Taiwan Taoyuan)
China Southern Airlines (Beijing, Guangzhou, Xiamen)
Continental Airlines (as Continental Micronesia; Guam, Koror, Saipan, Yap)
Emirates (Dubai)
Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi)
EVA Air (Taipei-Taiwan Taoyuan)
Gulf Air (Manama, Muscat)
Japan Airlines (operated by JALways; Tokyo-Narita)
Jetstar Asia Airways (Singapore)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam)
Korean Air (Seoul-Incheon)
Kuwait Airways (Bangkok, Kuwait)
Lufthansa (Frankfurt)
Malaysia Airlines (Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur)
Northwest Airlines (Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nagoya-Centrair, Tokyo-Narita)
Philippine Airlines (Bangkok, Beijing, Busan, Fukuoka, Guam, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Jakarta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Nagoya-Centrair, Okinawa, Osaka-Kansai, San Francisco, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei-Taiwan Taoyuan, Tokyo-Narita, Vancouver, Xiamen)
Qantas (Brisbane, Sydney)
Qatar Airways (Doha)
Royal Brunei (Bandar Seri Begawan)
Saudi Arabian Airlines (Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh)
Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
Thai Airways International (Bangkok, Osaka-Kansai)

From either international airport, passengers can connect to domestic flights. Philippine Airlines domestic flights leave from the same airport (Terminal 2), while other domestic airlines fly out of the old domestic airport.

The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga is where budget airlines like Air Asia (from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu) and Tiger Airways (from Singapore and Macau) fly to, aside from that it also receives direct flights from Hong Kong and Korea. Clark is located to the north of Metro Manila, about 1 to 2 hours by bus.

The Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu on the island of Visayas receives international traffic from Malaysia, Qatar, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.
The Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on the island of Mindanao receives direct flights from Singapore, Manado and Gorontalo in Indonesia, and Palau in Micronesia and seasonal flights from Macau.

The Laoag International Airport in Laoag City in the province of Ilocos Norte receives direct flights from Guangzhou in China.

The Subic Bay International Airport in Subic in the province of Zambales receives direct flights from Taipei in Taiwan.

The Basco Airport in Basco in the province of Batanes receives seasonal flights from Macau.
The Zamboanga International Airport in Zamboanga City on the Zamboanga Peninsula will soon recieve direct flights from Sandakan in Malaysia beginning in April 23, 2007.

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