Getting Around in Philippines

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Asia's First Airline

Asia's First Airline

The Philippines' national airline is Philippine Airlines (PAL).


The period over Easter from Good Friday to the following Bank holiday (and sometimes beyond) as are major holiday in the Philippines as is Christmas and New Year. There may be some difficulty booking a flight during these periods. But I always have told our guests NEVER pay any attention to an airlines' reply "Sorry We're fully Booked" Since there are several airlines available you can check with more than one . And you can buy a ticket with the next departing flight, get a "chance passenger number" and if you don't get on the first flight to a popular destintion you WILL get on the second flight. Also you can refund that ticket if you do not get on, walk a few steps to the next airline office and try again. Think Positive and Smile! Don't Worry Be Happy!

Approximate flight times

From Manila to London is 14 hours 25 minutes; to Paris is 13 hours 20 minutes; to Los Angeles is 11 hours 25 minutes; to New York is 14 hours 30 minutes; to Singapore is 3 hours; to Hong Kong is 1 hour 40 minutes; to Bangkok is 2 hours 35 minutes; to Tokyo is 5 hours 15 minutes and to Sydney is 8 hours.

International airports

Ninoy Aquino (MNL) is 10km (6 miles) south of Rizal Park and the center of Manila. Airport facilities include banks, post office, medical clinic, baggage deposit area, duty-free shops and car hire. Taxi services are available to the city (travel time – 30 minutes or more because of traffic). Bill and Lorna's Townhouse Hotel Manila is 2-1/2 km (1-1/2 miles ) from the airports and offers a airport pickup service from 6AM to 6PM , Monday to Saturday.

Mactan International Airport (NOP) (Cebu Island) is 45km (28 miles) from the city centre. Hotels and tour operators provide their own coaches; taxis can be hired.

Departure tax

P1000 for international departures. Anyone who overstays their 21 day arrival permit up to 59 days total can pay U$50 upon departure. Proceed to the left side of the immigration booths, look for the booth just behind which has "Cashier" sign, pay there and you'll be given a receipt. Often it's faster than waiting in line. Children under two years of age and transit passengers are exempt.


Manila is a major seaport a crossroads of trade in the Asia-Pacific region. Shipping lines which call at Manila include American President Lines Anline Ben Line Container Ltd Everett Lines Hapag-Lloyd 'K' Line Knutsen Line Lykes Orient Line Orient Overseas Container Line Scandutch Sealand United States Line and the Waterman Line. Schedules and rates are listed in the shipping pages of daily newspapers. Very few people arrive in the Philippines by sea but traveling around the islands once you have arrived is a great experience. It is possible now to take a ship once a week from Davaoin Mindanao to a port near Manado in Sulwesi, Indonesia. Occasionally ships travel between Zamboanga and Sabah, Malaysia but no dependable schedule is available.

Island Hopping By Ship

Passenger shipping in the Philippines has improved drastically in the past three years and I'd recommend it to people with plenty of time or with low travel budgets. All of the ships arrive and depart from Manila's North Harbor from Pier 2 to Pier 14. WG&A Passenger Lines formerly three family owned lines, William, Gothong and Aboitiz has combined to provide best and the largest fleet, known as the SuperFerry and maintains a website with schedules and prices. Another is Ramblon Lines at Pier 8 going to Boracay Island with departs Monday and Friday at 5PM.In the Manila Bulletin newspaper is a list of ships' departure. Most destinations by ship take from 14 to 24 hours after departing Manila. The price range starts with economy at an average of U$10 to US15, to tourist class at U$12 to U$18 and cabin class (4 to 6 beds) at U$18 to U$30 to most island towns. At some places in the islands are Banca, large, local outriggers which ferry passengers short distances like between Roxas on Mindoro Island to Boracay Island ( 6 hours)and from Coron in northern Palawan to El Nido (8 to 10 hours)

Ground Transport-Bus, Jeepney and Renting Cars

Jeepneys are unique to the Philippines so you shouldn't leave the Philippines without using them usually for short distance around a city. Often Jeepneys are used in place of buses in the provinces. In Metro-Manila the fare starts at P4 to P6+ but usually follow the most congested routes with traffic moving at a snail's pace. Take Care when riding jeepneys in Manila or the larger cities not to wear gold chain necklaces or bracelets which are the most common "grab and run" targets for petty thieves. Bus travel in the Philippines is very cheap and usually quite comfortable with fares of 60 to 70 U$ cents, 1DM, or P30 / hour. So a 5 hour trip would cost U$3+. Driving in an undeveloped country is a real challenge for most people from Europe, the States, or any developed country so I would not recommend it unless you have experience. Renting late model Japanese cars are best done by the week since often there's a one day discount so cost U$250 / week.

Asean Airpass

6 Asian companies have joined forces in an effort to turn off crisis in tourism industry, and they are now offering an "Asian Airpass". Companies participating include Thai Airways,Garuda, Singapore Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Philippine Airways and Malaysian. The deal is the following: You have to fly from your home to any Asian destination with one of the carriers. You could f.i. fly to Singapore or Bangkok.

You need to buy the pass at home for 270 US$. This entitles you to 3 flights within Asia with one of these carriers. This pass has to be bought at the same time you purchase your international flight, and it has to be booked outside Asean countries. Open jaws are not permitted, except within 1 country. So travel must be contiguous.

Domestic flights are permitted except in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Maximum stay is two months.

Extra flights can be purchased at 90 US$ for one.

You cannot do the same trip twice (f.i. Singapore-BKK-Singapore-BKK)!!

Domestic Flights Under U$50

Most domestic flights in the Philippines cost between U$35 to U$50 one way and can be purchased from any one of the several airlines, all with offices walking distance from the Manila domestic airport. They include: Air Philippines, Asian Spirit, Cebu Pacific, Pacific Air (small planes) Philippine Airlines (now with their own terminal for both domestic and international flights ), SeAir, Soriano Air( only one beyond walking distance at a private terminal)and Star Asia.Sometimes, Philippine Airlines offer specials which include several flights.

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