What to do Once You Land in The Philippines

Posted on July 17, 2012. Filed under: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

We Have Arrived

Once you are on the ground in the Philippines you will have several things you will need to do just to get through the airport.

First you will walk up the ramp into a very large international airport. After going through security you will be greeted to “Duty Free” shops where you can purchase various items.

Chocolate is the biggest one that they push. I don’t understand the Filipino love for Chocolate but if you are meeting family or friends Chocolate will always be a welcome gift.

You will then need to collect your checked bags and go through customs. They will check your passport. You will have one more check before you go outside.

Make sure and keep the baggage tickets close at hand because you will need them to match up with your luggage as you exit the facility. 

There will be numerous taxis outside after you go down the ramp.

See this link on some extensive advise on how to grab a taxi.   After reading that post you will be schooled enough to handle any situation. 

I would highly suggest that you plan on getting a hotel room. Secure this before you leave your home country if you can.

It will be more expensive than the hotels you stay at in the rest of the Philippines but it will be worth the price.

If you come from America it will take up to 30 hours sometimes just to get to the Philippines so you will definitely need the rest.

You will be able to regroup and refresh yourself, you will need a clear head especially if this is your first time in the Philippines.

I’m sure you will have made some travel plans before you arrive in Manila.   There is not a lot more you will need to know at this point.

My advice would just be to take it easy and soak in the sights and sounds of the Philippines.  Enjoy your trip!

If you need more specific info please visit me at The Philippines Project.

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Street Level Living Philippines

Posted on June 21, 2010. Filed under: Stories from the Philippines! | Tags: , , , |

Street Level Living

Reality is something we Westerners dodge.

We fight reality for the illusion that is comfort, that is distraction. We are addicted to comfort and distraction to the point that we are shocked when reality comes up to rear it’s “ugly” head.

You may wonder what I am talking about when I mention illusion and distraction but we are sorrounded by it and have been so accustomed to it that we don’t even realize we are blind to the reality of life.

I go back into the magic screen in my mind and re-live some memories of “street level” living in the Philippines.

I find myself on the side of a crowded highway having just stepped off the Jeepney. Waiting with countless poor and yet smiling faces that I have bonded with in this short stream of consciousness that is, and will ever be a part of my life. I travel with the locals on their most popular mode of transportation. The Jeepney is a Filipino Icon in that it efficiently transports people day in and day out to their desired destinations for such a small amount of Pesos. You see in most parts of the Philippines it is unnecessary to even have a car. To the American it is a forein concept indeed to be without one!

The excitement of being on literally the “other side of the world” in a strange land riding in this tin can on wheels with people you don’t know is a thrill and gritty slice of realness that can only be experienced first hand. We waited on the dirty shoulder of the road near a clumsily put together Jeepney stand. Small thin brown skinned people will stare at you, when you catch their glance they will smile sweetly and acknowledge you as if you were “somebody” just because you are a westerner. The Filipino people are so accepting and accommodating that you never feel like you are away from home. You might actually, like me, feel like you are truly home for the very first time.

It is a beautiful contrast (the Philippine experience). Waiting at the side of the road amidst a sea of traffic that is seemingly reckless but somehow perfectly in harmony at the same time. The smell of diesel smoke and the noise of the street will assault you while the grace and peacefulness of the Filipino people make you feel totally at ease.

We waited for a little while for another Jeepney to safely take us to the other side of the six lanes of traffic so we could do some shopping in one of the most modern malls that you will ever see!
We finally boarded hunched over entering through the back, ever clinging to the small handrail that is firmly bolted to the roof of the vehicle. Walking gently so as to not step on the feet of fellow travellers as we endeavor to find a seat on the narrow benches on either side. When seated it is a nice visual to behold. Mothers and daughters going to the store. Young women donning immaculately kept nurses’s uniforms going home from training for the day. Smiling children on their Father’s laps and those who can sleep sitting up are all along for the ride. Happy teenagers riding with their friends having an innocent good time.

When we arrive at the Mall (SM) as they call it. We get off the Jeepney and hurry to the comfort of the Mall.

I don’t know why I wrote this. Sometimes I just sit down at my laptop and want to translate memory to page. I want to convey the experience, the color, sites sounds and smells that are all a part of the experience.
I love the Philippines and miss it so much. There are so many stories, so many experiences and memories that always make me drift back. They always make me homesick for the Philippines.
I go back into the magic screen in my mind and re-live some memories of “street level” living in the Philippines.

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