Traveling to The Philippines

First-time traveler to the Philippines? So glad you have decided or are contemplating to visit our beautiful country!  I’m pretty sure you have already looked up all the basic information about the weather, language, currency, entry requirements, etc – haven’t you? I thought about not boring you with that one anymore, but let’s just take a quick run through anyway..just in case!

Weather:

Late May to October – Summer Monsoon (rainy season)
October to April – Winter Monsoon (dry season)

More on monsoon
A lot of people, as I’ve noticed, get confused with the term monsoon as its traditional definition does not exactly mean to say a “rainy phase” as it is known now but a “seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in percipitation”.

There are also major monsoon/wind systems which affect different areas of the world and in the Philippines the weather is characterized by the Summer Southwest (Habagat) and Winter Northeast (Amihan).

But anyone who has lived in the Philippines for a while can attest to the fact that it can give you burning love from the sun and lash out at you with torrential rain any damn time. But right now, the cool weather (and some rainshowers) is almost always guaranteed from the end of December til early February and scorching heat in March and April (this is our peak and summer season) so book those plane tickets to and hostel/hotel accommodations in popular destinations early on if you’re planning to visit during these times.

Entry requirements:

  • You must have a return or outbound ticket as a proof of onward travel
  • Your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months beyond your intended period of stay
  • Visa free for 151 countries listed below. Maximum stay in the Philippines is extended from 21 to 30 days. If you want to spend more time than that, get a 59-day temporary (visit) visa at the Philippine Embassy in your country or apply for a visa extension if you’re already in the country.
List of 151 countries
Andorra
Angola
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Botswana
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
Colombia
Comoros
Congo
Costa Rica
Cote d’Ivoire
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Fiji
Finland
France
Gabon
Gambia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
Indonesia
Ireland
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Latvia
Lesotho
Liberia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Monaco
Mongolia
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Norway
Oman
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Republic of Korea
Romania
Russia
Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
Spain
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Thailand
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Tuvalu
Uganda
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United Republic of Tanzania
United States of America
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Vatican
Venezuela
Vietnam
Zambia
Zimbabwe

The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding fourteen (14) days:

1. Holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative (SAR) passports
2. Holders of Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports
3. Holders of Israeli passports
4. Holders of Brazilian passports

The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding seven (7) days:

1. Holders of Macau-Portuguese passports
2. Holders of Hong Kong British passports

Custom Regulations

The following items are allowed duty-free:

  • A reasonable quantity of personal clothes, jewelry, and toiletries
  • Two (2) reams of cigarette or two (2) tins of tobacco
  • Two (2) bottles of liquor or wine not exceeding one (1) liter per bottle

The following items are prohibited:

  • Firearms
  • Dangerous drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Pornographic materials

The following items are regulated:

  • Transceivers
  • DVDs and VCDs
  • Controlled chemicals/substances/precursors

The following must be declared:

  • Amount in excess of Php 10,000 AND/OR
  • Amount in excess of USD 10,000 or equivalent foreign currencies

Note that these two are separate declarations

More on bringing and taking out excessive money into/from the Philippines

Foreign Currency in excess of US$10,000

No permit is required from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to bring in to or to take out from the Philippines of foreign currencies.  However, foreign currency in excess of US$10,000 carried by the traveler must be declared at the Bureau of Customs Desk in the airport. This is pursuant to the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, which requires all money transactions involving amounts in excess of PhP400,000 to be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (even if the transaction is done through the banks).

Travelers arriving in the Philippines must submit to the Bureau of Customs Desk in the airport Arrival Area a Declaration Form stating the amount (foreign currency in excess of $10,000.00) being brought in. The source of the money (e.g., personal income) must be stated.

Travelers departing the Philippines must submit to the Bureau of Customs Desk in the airport Departure Area a Declaration Form stating the amount (foreign currency in excess of $10,000.00) to be brought in or taken out of the Philippines. The source of the money (e.g., personal income) must be stated.

Pesos in excess of Php 10,000

The taking in and bringing out of Philippines of Philippine currency in excess of PhP10,000 is strictly prohibited, and any need carry any currency in excess of the said amount must be given authorization by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Cash Division.

Source:
http://www.philippin…hilippines.html

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