The Incidental Tourist

TIP: Getting into and out of the Philippines

Diosdado Magapagal International Airport (Clark Airfield)

I must admit I made a rookie mistake this past week.  I am currently living in Taipei for a month and since February 28th was a national holiday here in Taiwan, I took that and Friday and turned it into a long weekend trip to the Philippines.  My reasons for going were personal, I have family there that I’ve never met before and the timing was right for a trip.

But I made a big mistake for traveling internationally.  I didn’t check the entry/exit requirements closely enough.  So this tip regards getting into and out of the Philippines.

As always, check your

local info for visa requirements.  As an American, I don’t need any special Visa to visit the Philippines, however, there are a couple catches that I didn’t know about until I got to TPE to fly into Angeles City, and when I got back to Clark to return to TPE.

First, when flying to the Philippines, whether you’re flying into Clark (CRK) in Angeles City or Manila (MNL), you need to be sure you have printed proof of your return trip. You’ll never be allowed across the border into the Philippines if you don’t have at leas

t a printed itinerary showing both your inbound and outbound flights.  If you don’t have this, you’ll most likely be needing a Visa of some sort.  But with documented inbound and outbound flights, most people get an automatic visitor visa.

The next gotcha I didn’t know about was the exit fee.  I don’t know if the same applies in Manila, Cebu, or any other airports in the country, but at least at Clark in Angeles City, you have to pay 450P (currently about $11US) just to get out of the country.  It didn’t even occur to me that I’d have to pay this, but looking back, I had to pay $25US to get out of the Bahamas  on my last trip there years ago.

 

So the lesson is to pay close attention to entry and exit requirements for the country you are visiting.  Some places you need a Visa ahead of time, some places you need to pay to leave, some places you can only fly into from other places.

And some places will raise red flags.  For instance, it’s probably perfectly legal for me to fly to Cuba from Canada.

However, the TSA and US State Dept would be quite curious if my US Passport was scanned in Havana

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