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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Philippines Travel Requirements

Visitors may bring in these goods duty-free: 400 sticks of cigarets or two tins of smoking tobacco, two bottles of alcoholic beverages not exceeding one liter each,cars and other vehicles, provided they are covered by "Carnet de Passages en Douanes" and a letter of commitment from the Philippine Motor Association guaranteeing the exportation of the vehicle within one year from the date of arrival or the payment of corresponding duties and taxes thereon.

Passports and Visas
Foreign nationals must carry a valid passport. All, except visitors from countries with which the Philippines has no diplomatic relations, stateless persons, and restricted, nationals may stay for 21 days, provided they show onward or return tickets. Those who wish to stay longer may apply for visa extension at the Bureau of Immigration, Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila.

Those who have not overstayed their visas do not require exit permits. Visitors are not allowed to leave the country with more than P500 in Philippine currency. All must pay a departure tax of US$10. Currency in excess of US$3,000 must be declared upon entry.

By Air
Some 40 major airlines flying regularly to major cities and countries around the world bring passengers to and from the Philippines. Philippine Airlines, the national carrier, has 26 international flights and serves 43 domestic points. Other airlines like Grand Air (the other national carrier), Cebu Pacific Air, Air Philippines, Aerolift, and Philippine Spirit fly to busy domestic destinations and routes not served by PAL.

By Sea
Over a dozen private maritime fleets call on inter-island ports. However, travel by sea is not recommended during the rainy season.

By Bus
Both air conditioned and regular buses travel all the major routes in metro manila except Roxas Bouleverd. On an air-con bus, a short ride is about P6, a moderate ride around P15 and a long ride to the provinces about P25. The regular buses start at P1.50 and also increase in price for longer rides. Just tell the conductor where you are going and he will tell you how much it is and give you a reciept. Keep the reciept as it is proof that you paid.

Called "folk art on wheels", jeepneys ply most of Manila's secondary roads and a few major thoroughfares. They're as much fun to ride on as they are to look at and you have to try one. Although there are regular stops, you can often just flag one down and hop on. Call out bayad and pay the driver. If you are too far back, pass you P1.50 down. When you are ready to get off, wait till he slows down and jump.

LRT (Light Rapid Transit)
It's the fastest cheapest way to go. P6 takes you from Monumento (the northern end of Edsa) to Baclaran, traveling first along Rizal Avenue and then Taft avenue. Many of the tourist maps have the route of the LRT marked.

Air conditioned taxis cost P3.50 on the meter and additional P12.50 is added to the final cost. Regular taxis cost P2.50 on the meter and then add P7.50 to the fianl charge. Taxis are always lined up at major hotels and tourist restaurants and can be hailed on the street. If you take a taxi, make sure the driver turns on the meter. If he gives you a story that it is broken, get out and take another taxi. Unless you are taking a long trip or traffic rides should be well under P100. Atleast a 10% tip is expected.

Money Matters
The Philippine currency is the peso (P). As of writing, the exchange rate is about P26 to the US dollar. There, are 100 centavos to the peso. Peso notes come in denominations of 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5; coins are in 5, 2, and 1 pesos and .50, .25, .10, .05, and .01 cents.

Foreign exchange counters are generally found in airports, banks, hotels, and big department stores. The US dollar is widely acceptable after the peso, although other foreign currencies are easily convertible in Metro Manila.
Traveler's checks and major credit cards are acceptable in most major hotels, business establishments, and restaurants in Metro Manila and key cities.

A 10 percent service charge is usually included in restaurant and hotel bills. In addition, 10 to 15 percent of the bill's total makes an appropriate tip. Airport and hotel porters expect about P5 per bag in tip. Bellhops, taxi drivers, hairdressers, manicurists, barbers, and security guards also expect a tip.


Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM

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