(***Important things you want to know when travelling in the Philippines)
After being away for 6 years, it made me WONDER what was awaiting for me when I come back to my hometown. With all the negative news in my newsfeed and Filipino news channel, it somehow made me nervous that visiting home will compromise my health and safety.
It was a mixture of both — fears and excitement, doubts and trust. I am that kind of traveller that has an occasional anxiety attack and I am clumsy at times.
But my love for family and faith are stronger than my fears. Alone, I travelled back. And there was one thing that I was sure of, my family back home was longing to see me, and at the same time I was longing to see them too.
Having given the limit of only 50 lbs each of the two checked in baggages with the most common maximum size bag allowed of 62 linear (total) inches or 27" x 21" x 14", I found it so little to fit in the pasalubongs that I wish to carry. Those were simple pasalubongs that I collected since January ( 3 months prior to my flight ). It wasn’t like an obligation. Giving something back no matter how small it is, made me feel happy.
So I wanted to start my diary not on my first day back in the Philippines, but on the first day prior to my flight.
I haven’t gotten enough sleep. I worked 12 hours-weekend shift prior to my vacation. I worked 7 days straight. But to be honest, I didn’t feel tired. I will be off from April 01-24. Only twenty days in the Philippines, as almost 3-4 days will be spent with the flight. I took the connecting flight Winnipeg-Vancouver-South Korea-Philippines. Aside from it was cheaper than direct flight , I will have a lay over in South Korea and have a day trip around the city. I was grateful with my travel agent , who was also the manager of Global Travels, who had everything organized.
Prior to traveling , below are some tips and pieces of advice that you may consider:
If you have a company insurance on dental, have your teeth checked and cleaned. Have a general check up too with your family doctor. These are just precautionary so your vacation will not be ruined by health and dental problems. There are some flu shots and vaccine that maybe needed in some countries.
Ensure that you have enough private insurance just in case you had emergency or get sick outside Canada. Most employers offer and include travel insurance. Please take note that the Manitoba health card doesn’t cover all expenses outside the province. (Source: gov.mb.ca)
Here’s what's covered outside Canada:
If you are a Canadian Citizen , Register your departure and return on: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration. Registration of Canadians Abroad is a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home. The service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest .
Bringing something back to families and friends back home is actually good for the heart, no matter how little it can be. Put names so you won’t mix it up and so you know if you may have forgotten someone or something.
Plan your budget and itinerary. Research the cost and tried to book online if possible to secure the dates. Your budget depends on where you want to go and what you want to do. Just to give you an idea (1 cad is about 39 php) , 4-5 CAD will already give you a decent meal and 40 CAD will give you a one night stay in a hotel for 2 or can even be cheaper if you’re not choosy. Jeepney for transportation starts at 50 CAD cents.
Ensure your checked in baggage or box is only 23 kgs each. It’s expensive to pay for over weight. Also if you are a solo traveler, anything over than 23 kgs is difficult to carry by yourself. Make sure that you know what’s inside and they are all allowable for an international flight. Your carry-on baggage also should not be more than 10 kgs. Two carry on and a small handbag are just fine. Just ensure no liquids exceeding 100 ml. By liquid includes liquid foundation , moisturizer and perfume. Gels and spread are also included. They actually confiscated my 2 bottles of Nutella as they said it’s considered as liquid.
Better to have your carry-on luggage to be distinctive, so you can easily pick it up in the baggage counter. For boxes, don’t rely on the handle at both corners. It’s unsafe to leave it open. Use a tie to carry the box. Put names, names and names and contact information, so there’ll be no reason other people will mistakenly take it as theirs.
Review your plane ticket. If you have a flight of 12:15 am, it means a quarter after midnight. Check lay over time, and plan something if it’s a long lay over. Also, consider the time zone difference.
Avoid over thinking. It is essential to have the presence of mind while travelling especially if you are alone. Be cautious, but not scared.
ENJOY. Itenerary is just a guide. If it doesn’t work the way you plan it. Go with the flow and enjoy the moment