wow what great timing on the forum , as i have just started planning my holiday to the philippnes for next year, and i am finding it hard finding good infomation, i am planing on going to manila , palwan,cebu and finish in mindanao.
millionario when is the best time to go for good weather , and who is best budget airlines to use while in philippines. also do u have cheap guest houses there like thailand
thanks for the help
@Danny: I would avoid the typhoon season at all costs, starting in May/June and finishing September/October. As I write this post there is heavy rain in Manila again, even though we had pretty good weather last week.
Regarding the airlines, there's a very healthy competition ongoing right now. Flying here is *very*, *very* cheap(as low as PHP1000 (~15€) for a typical Manila-Kalibo flight to bring you to Boracay).
- Philippine Airlines is the national airline, with very good quality they can compete also with the low costs on the most trafficked destinations. Check for their "Econolight Fares" on their website.
- Cebu Pacific is the major low cost airline of the Phils also flying to a handful of international destinations for very cheap prices (Bangkok, Manila, HK, Osaka, Jakarta). They have their own dedicated terminal in Manila Intl. Airport and fly brand new european aircraft such as Airbus A319 or Aerospatiale ATR-72.
- Zest Air is the most recent contender with a less comfortable fleet of chinese-made turboprops' Xian MA60 and a few A320 flying to the major cities. They are usually the cheapest, I prefer to use Cebu Pacific if possible though.
- SEAIR is the smallest local airline, founded in 1995 by Iren Dornier, the heir of the German plane manufacturer. They fly small, 30-seater planes but with STOL (short take-off and landing) capabilities, which allow them to fly directly where other airlines can't (understand = usually difficult to reach destinations, like El Nido, Palawan).
*** NB : You cannot book Cebu Pacific and SEAIR online. They only accept local credit cards :( PAL and Zest should accept Visa and Mastercard though, they use third-party systems.
Regarding the guesthouses, sadly it's still more expensive than in Thailand and Vietnam. Depends on the place, if it's swarmed by tourists or not. The night should cost you no more than PHP1000 (15€), and of course in the low season, you can bargain for a discount if the place is empty.
Also regarding your itinerary, if I were you I would avoid Manila, except if you're into nightlife or shopping centers. You can fly directly to any of your other destinations, or you can visit around (Tagaytay in the south of Manila is a nice city to stay).
#2 millionario has been a member since 22/6/2004. Posts: 25
Agree with Boxee ( Danny ), this is pretty good timing for me also as I'm due in the Philippines for most of February next year and have been looking for some reliable first hand info on the place.
Danny - Check out Cebu Pacific Air for flights, they have reasonably cheap prices and their coverage is pretty good too. I used Asian Spirit last year but they have recently undergone a rebrand ( Now called Zest Airways ) - They were pretty good too, not sure since the rebrand though.
Anyone got any tips on getting from Busuanga to El Nido in Palawan? I understand there is a Dive operation in Coron that operates a ferry but not sure how safe/reliable it is? Has anyone done this trip?
SBE - That's not good news on Malapascua! I'm heading there and that's put me right off!!
#3 bronzedwarrior has been a member since 23/11/2007. Posts: 41
You cannot book Cebu Pacific and SEAIR online. They only accept local credit cards :(
In february, I booked flights with both airlines via the website and a european/german Visa card. I think at that time they only refused to accepts American credit cards, I met some people from the US having similar problems throughout the country. I would recheck this from time to time, I do not believe they really intend to block out US customers longterm.
As for the Busuanga - El Nido link, there is a kind-of regularly local "ferry". We found it a tad expensive, though, and after catching a glimpse of the wooden boat, we enthusiastically opted out. You should check the current situation when there.
Flying was pretty expensive when we looked. In the end, we got a superferry to Puerta Princessa and trickled up from there. Takes time because of road and truck conditions (at least one flat tire per trip seems to be mandatory, but it goes all the way up from there). But it really is a beautiful area, if you have the time.
#4 hokasch has been a member since 24/12/2008. Posts: 45
hits the invisible edit button
If you go wreck diving in Coron, ask around for experiences with the various dive centers, some of them can be a bit dodgy. I had my first open water dive after certification (in germany) there and somehow ended up 25m deep inside a wreck with a leaking bottle.
#5 hokasch has been a member since 24/12/2008. Posts: 45
hokasch, you're very lucky since I have European Visa Card also, and many of us have this problem :( Anyway, you can try your luck. Better know that in most cases it is rejected.
#6 millionario has been a member since 22/6/2004. Posts: 25
Yeah, you did hide it real good!
edit: just try to close your eyes, rub a fresh durian on yourself, then
visualize a big EDIT, mutter some curses, and whooms there you go. Worked for me. good luck.
Last edited by hokasch (4/9/2009 - 21:46:02)
#8 hokasch has been a member since 24/12/2008. Posts: 45
A warning about Cebu Pacific's reimbursement policy.
I decided change my plans and not to go to Peurta Princessa on that open banca hokasch mentions which meant I no longer needed a Puerto Princess->Cebu flight.
The (official) Cebu office where I'd bought the ticket in BKK had assured me that there would be no problem about getting reimbursed if I didn't use all the flights I'd bought. I'd initially only wanted to buy the outward bound flight but the lady persuaded me to buy a return and a couple more internal flights too ... "it's cheaper to buy them here because the Baht is stronger than the Peso". She failed to mention that flights are much cheaper when bought in the Philippines ... I should have listened to the loud voice in my head telling me that her salary was no doubt largely derived from ticket sale commissions but I didn't...ah well, I'll know better than to shrug off a little extra cost for the sake of being sure of having a ticket next time won't I.
Anyway, I knew I wouldn't be able to get reimbursed until I got back to BKK so I phoned Thailand and the lady assured me that the cancellation had been duly registered and to come and see her when I got back.
Back in BKK, I traipse halfway across town to the Cebu Pacific office again to get my 2500B or whatever back.
Ah sorry the computer system down today, come back another day.
I phoned them next day ...no sorry, computer system still not working.
This went on for about a week until the woman finally said OK you can come and get the reimbursement.
So I traipsed over to the other side of BKK to their office yet again just knowing that this was going to take the whole afternoon.
There were no other clients waiting but the phones never stopped ringing and from what I could overhear was mostly people asking about reimbursements or messed up bookings.
Just before closing time we finally get down to business. Yes everything's in order, come back in THREE MONTHS and we will give you a reimbursement minus admin fees.
When I pointed out that I'd paid in cash and that I would be in Europe in 3 months time that did not seem to surprise them... but no, they could not transfer the money to my Thai bank account and they could not open the drawer and give me my money back on the spot either. I had to come back three months hence, in person, to collect it.
"I would like to speak to the manager about this," I say.
Sorry, he go to Japan on long business trip...he not come back long time, after you go back your country.
Anyway, I've kissed goodbye to the money but I would like to take this opportunity to slag off Cebu Pacific and particularly their Bangkok Branch.
Do NOT buy any air tickets for internal flights until you reach the country
@ Bronzed Warrior.
There is both a Cebu Pacific and a Phippines Airlines office in Busuanga so you can check the prices of both places for any flights you need. I used PAL to fly back to Cebu because it was cheaper than Cebu. There's a 10kg baggage allowance if I remember right and I remember seeing people and bags getting weighed at the airport in Coron. Probably for the SEAIR flights as they use very quaint old fashioned planes I think. The other airlines use propeller planes too but they are bigger and probably more capable of fighting gravity.
I can't remember if there were flights to Peurta Princessa from Busuanga ... if so they weren't very cheap. Most people seemed to go on that open banca. That wasn't cheap either 2200 or 2400 pesos? and I've a feeling it only left once a week.
The superferry is probably the best cheap and safe option for getting from Coron to Peurta Princessa but I didn't try it.
PS WHAT EDIT BUTTON WHY CAN'T I HAVE ONE? I knew it, it's a conspiracy ... just you wait till I get to Bali somtam!
I used PAL to fly back to Cebu because it was cheaper than Cebu.
I used PAL to fly back to Manila because it was cheaper than Cebu (Cebu Pacific, the airline).
Sorry, I thought I'd better to make a whole new post just to change one word otherwise that sentence made absolutely no sense.
PS. I heard getting reimbursed for online bookings was even harder than through an agency.
The superferry is probably the best cheap and safe option for getting from Coron to Peurta
... but I can't guarantee it won't sink.
There's a superferry in distress in the south of the country today and 900 people have just had to abandon ship.
It's just a bit safer on a superferry than an open banca.
dear friends, going to SE asia. will start in Thailand. kindly suggest the cheapest/best ways to reach philippines (manila, palawan, boracay etc) from Thailand/laos.May be not expensive ways via malaysia? Air tickets from laos a little bit expensive.
thanks a lot))
#12 ivanostapov has been a member since 22/8/2008. Posts: 1
I am currently planning my trip to the Philippines while I am here in Malaysian Borneo. I have been looking at flights from Kota Kinabalu to the Philippines and found it cheapest to fly with Air Asia to the Clark airport. I had been hoping to fly from KK to Cebu but found it to be a bit expensive for my budget. I am inderested in visiting northern Luzon (Baguio, Banaue, Sagada, etc) so the Clark airport seems to be in the right direction. The flight would get me to Clark in the afternoon, does anyone know if its possible to get up to Baguio that same day via bus? Sounds like there are frequent buses from Manila to Baguio but I'm not sure if they are easy to catch from that airport. Thanks for any help!!
#14 jmcentee has been a member since 6/1/2010. Posts: 3
You would have to go from Clark airport to the Mabalacat/Dau bus terminal.
It seems a bus bound for Baguio leaves that terminal every 30 minutes. Try to get on a Victory Liner or Genesis bus. They seem to be a bit better than the competition.
Visit this website Philippines travel pictures for general info on places to visit in the Philippines.
#16 dannyfos36 has been a member since 30/9/2010. Posts: 4
@millionario -i have been bookings flights on cebupacific since 2005 with european credit card and only one time experoenced some problem booking so had to use another card ,was there this year flew from hong kong to manila vv and manila to cdo vv with cebu pacific -all booked by credit card ,btw there is also newer airline airphils or now airphil express but have only used for one return flight .
#17 mindanao has been a member since 12/9/2011. Posts: 19
Mindanao - you are replying to a post which is more than 2 years old.
Indeed Philippines are changing very fast. Cebu Pacific has a new website which is working well, and maybe doubled or tripled its fleet in two years.
Airphil Express also is doing well with a new fleet of A320's. I've used them a couple of times and they are on some occasions cheaper than Cebu Pac.
#18 millionario has been a member since 22/6/2004. Posts: 25
well actually the last post was sept 2010 -so whats ur point ?i guess i didnt read the rule that said u cant reply if 2 yrs old - NB : You cannot book Cebu Pacific and SEAIR online. They only accept local credit cards PAL and Zest should accept Visa and Mastercard though, they use third-party systems. i replied to this in which i stated that i have been booking flights since 2005 online on cebu pacific.
#19 mindanao has been a member since 12/9/2011. Posts: 19
visiting the Philippines is best during summer.good thing the country already has all forms of transportation.
#20 francis5k has been a member since 20/10/2011. Posts: 5