Flight to Manila, Philippines
Today I left to go to see my friend in Manila. I met her online. This is a big step for me, but one I think is worth taking. I will staying with a typical Filipino family and living their lifestyle.
In preparation for my journey there was a few things to take into account. This is my guide, but you should check for yourself to be sure:
Firstly vaccinations. I had dyptheria, typhoid, polio and tetanus booster. Be sure to schedule these in plenty of time as some injections need to be done a fair period before travelling. I'm also taking malaria tablets. Manila is a low risk area but as I'm travelling out into the countryside I want to be safe. My tablets need to be taken 1 week before, during and 4 weeks after. Other medical considerations might be the usual tablets for headaches and stomach upsets. I'm only drinking bottled water which includes its use for cleaning my teeth. You might also be warey of ice in your drinks as there have been cases of illness in other countries due to this. Don't forget sunscreen and insect repellent.
Currency. There are very tight restrictions on bringing in or taking out Philippines currency from the country. It is limited to only 10,000PHP (Philippines Peso) which is only £112 or $222. Take your own currency and get it converted at a money exchanger of which there are many in Manila. Consider like myself using a cash card where you can draw your money out of ATMs, but beware of using your credit card for purchases as it might be scammed.
The flight. I'm flying from England and found it pretty cheap, compared to say Australia which I regularly travel to. I paid £587 return. This is from a local airport too. You might want to consider this as often although slightly more expensive, you save that money in fuel and parking fees - and of course, its much more convenient. From England I took a short flight to Schiphol Airport (Amsterdamn) and from there as straight 12 and a half hour flight to Manila. I went economy with KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines). It was quiet and comfortable. The quietness might well be due to the Filipinos travelling on board, particularly their well behaved children!
Manila Airport was very different to what I'm used to. Customs was quick and there was no baggage x-ray or even baggage check. After a short wait for my luggage I was out. When I left the aircon building the heat really hit me. 36°C is hot, especially when its so humid. You feel like you've walked out into an oven. Best thing to do is relax and accept it!
I can't really comment about public transport. The family I am staying with picked me up at the airport.
One last thing. I took my mobile phone. In Manila at least a get a great signal and can text and talk to people inside and outside the country no problem. Texts are relatively cheap. I'm with Virgin Mobile and its 25p to text anyone, anywhere in the world.