This is a relatively long, uninformative post in regards to one of the craziest travel experiences of my life.
I finally arrived in the Philippines a few days ago, after a hellish day at the airport. I arrived at the Singapore airport, excited to get to the Philippines and finally stay in one place for more than a couple nights. The Philippines was going to be my 3rd country in 5 days, so my head had been spinning a bit. I went to check in with the discount airline I was flying, Cebu-Pacific and the madness began.
After taking my ticket and passport, the check-in lady asked me where my ticket out of the Philippines was. The country was worried about people staying illegally in the country for over the allowed 21 days or whatever, and so they needed to see exit tickets. Of course, I didn’t have one booked yet. I had just found out my crazy schedule the night before, and had never even heard of such a requirement before, so as a result I hadn’t even thought about needing my other ticket already. My phone wasn’t working, and so I had to awkwardly borrow a phone from a friendly Filipino couple in the airport. After unsuccessfully calling the 5 numbers I had from Singapore, my boss Prashant fortunately finally answered just as I was about to give up. He said that he was going to e-mail me the ticket, which I believe based on the time that it took him to e-mail me, was purchased as soon as we got off the phone haha. Following that, I had to run into the Cebu-Pacific office to log into my e-mail to print off my departure ticket, and managed to check in about 10 minutes before check-in ended for the flight.
The nightmare didn’t end there. Since it was a discount airline, I was informed that you were only allowed to have one checked bag (That was only 20kg, not the reg. 23kg) and one handbag + Backpack. Since the checked bag had to be 20, I threw a bunch of shit into my handbag at the check in counter, and then ran over to security. As I was approaching security, a guard asked me to put my handbag on the scale, and it was 15kg. He proceeded to inform me that the limit was 7kg for handbags, and it was 20 bucks per KG over. I ran back out to try and check my bag in again, and was frustrated once again to find that you couldn’t check a second bag with sucky cebu. Fortunately, the check-in lady sympathized with me and gave me this sticker, which meant they would just check the bag in, and through it all I somehow managed to get that bag checked on the plane for free.
To add to my issues, as I was going through security the guy asked me for my immigration document that I had submitted upon entering the country. Apparently, you were supposed to hold onto a receipt of that document (First time I’ve ever heard of that) and show it upon leaving the country. I had to go to the customs place and explain myself, and only had a few minutes to catch my flight. To shorten this already too long story, I finally managed to get past security and literally had to run to my gate as they were calling my name on the intercom for the flight, and was off to the Philippines!
On the strange, and small Cebu flight. They played a weird game halfway through, in which if you guessed a countries currency correctly they gave you a box. Yes, a collapsable box.
I was one of very few non-filipino’s on the flight, and was sitting next to a Filipino dude a few years older than myself who happened to be a marine engineer, who traveled around the world on a boat and had some helpful tips in regards to the country I was soon to be living in. Cebu Pacific is an Asian discount airline, and is clearly designed for Asians. I’m 5 ft. 9in. and my knees were up against the seat in front of me, never been in such a small seat before. Was clearly a sign of things to come, as in what has proved to be a pleasant surprise, I am one of the larger people in the Phillipines haha.
Anyways, after my interesting day of travel I finally landed in my 3rd country in 5 days; eager to see where my new adventure in the Philippines was to take me. My first destination was the Outback Steakhouse in Makati City, Philippines!
Landed in the Philippines! The rain was a sign of things to come, as it’s rain season and all it does is rain nowadays.
More to come on my life in the Philippines soon. Here’s to hoping the rest of my travels (There’s a bunch to come) will be far less stressful than this last one..
Hope everyone is doing well!