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Ask us a question

Posted by on May 16th, 2009
Filed Under: General Philippines

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61 Responses to “Ask us a question”

  1. Steven says:

    I’m going to the Philippines for 2 weeks holiday with my friend in March.
    We will be travelling by Cebu Pacific to Clark Airport.
    Can you recommend some nice, safe and affordable hotels in Clark?
    Also are there any transports from Clark Airport to Baguio City?
    We like to visit Baguio City.

    Hope to get some useful advice from you soon.

    Thanks and Best Regards,
    Steven

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Steven,

      You may check out my Pampanga travel guide for Clark Hotels. The better (and less sleazy ones are usually more expensive). I dont think there are direct transfers from Clark to Baguio (the only ones that I know of are from Vlark and Manila). There are vans for hire but they may be very expensive. I believe you may have to head out to the Dau Bus Terminal for that.

      Regards!

      Ryan

      • Steven says:

        Hi Ryan,

        Thanks for your advice.
        We will be staying in Baguio City. Is it possible to travel to Banaue Rice Terraces and back for day tour?
        What’s the travelling time from Baguio City to Banaue Rice Terraces?
        Or is it better to stay nearby around Banaue area?

        Regards,
        Steven

        • Ryan says:

          Hi Steven,

          On a good day, travel time from Baguio to Banaue is approximately 6 hours, so I guess that answers your question regarding day tours to Banaue. However, I am not privy to the info whether the roads from Baguio to Banaue are still doing great after the last typhoon so it may take longer. Usually if you intend to go to Banaue from Manila, we bypass Baguio altogether because it would take us longer to get there. If you are planning to go to Ifugao, you might as well head out to Batad where the rice terraces looks more graceful and less commercialised than in Banaue,

          Cheers!

          Ryan

  2. Steven says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the suggestion to Batad rice terraces!
    We will stay few days in Bambang in Nueva Vizcaya.
    How long is the travelling time from Bambang to Batad rice terraces?
    If i’m not wrong from Bambang to Batad rice terraces is nearer than to Banaue, correct me if i’m wrong.

    Thanks and have a good day.

    Steven

    • Ryan says:

      Hi there Steven,

      I dont have the exact travel time from Bambang to Batad, BUT as far as I know, Bambang is one of the towns that you will pass by going to Banaue from Manila. Also if I am not mistaken in order to get to Batad, you have got to get off Banaue first and ride the jeepney to Batad wherein you will have to trek through the rice terraces to get to the village. I will have to double check on that.

      Cheers and Happy Thursday!

      Ryan

  3. Yvekes says:

    Ryan,

    Do you have any idea about the price for a taxi for the day in the Dipolog region?
    I know it al depends on the distances travelled, but I’m happy with a rough idea!

    Thanks,
    Yvekes

  4. Derek says:

    Hello Ryan,

    I will be spending a month in Baguio in February/March and, road conditions aside, I was curious what the best bet for visiting some of the rice terraces were. Reading some of your other replies, Batad sounds more enjoyable, would it be closer or further than Banaue? Are there scenic terraces closer to Baguio? Also, I noticed you mentioned about a minimum 6hrs travel time(pending conditions), do you have recommendations on a place to stay there, as I think if we do go I’d like to spend at least the better part of a day there and would either drive up the night before and drive back after checking it out, or drive up early in the morning to spend the day and sleep there before heading back in the morning.

    Thank you!
    Derek

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Derek,

      There are different planting seasons for the different terraces.

      Banaue – cleaning and planting season – March; best viewing is June/July
      Batad – planting seasons – August and February; best viewing is April/May and October/November
      Barlig, Kadaclan, Natonin, Hapao, Hungduan – planting season – February; best viewing is April/May
      Kalinga – (same as Batad)
      Kiangan- (same as Batad)
      Mayoyao – (same as Batad)
      Maligcong, Bontoc – (same as Banaue)

      All rice terraces are further away than Baguio unfortunately and you wont be able to see any rice terraces along the way. We actually thought of going to Batad this January 22 but we postponed it to April/May so that terraces looks better than mud paddies. We haven’t tried the places there yet, but we heard that according to reviews, Batad Kadangyan Lodges (they use traditional Igorot huts and they are situated on the terraces itself) and Hillside Pension seems to be good places to stay. Other tip: get your guide in Batad if you are heading to Batad as guides in Banaue charges more. I reckon if you are not familiar with the roads around that area, I would say to pass the opportunity driving at night- just to be safe. :)

      Lemme know if you pushes through. Hope this info helps!

      Cheers and Happy New Year!!

      Ryan

  5. Justin says:

    Sir,
    I am a US soldier going on leave from Iraq to visit the Philippines and would like any and help you could give me regarding what would be the most enjoyable way to spend my two weeks with the least amount of cost. I am looked up so much information that I am beginning to go into information overload. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

    Justin

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Sir, I am sorry, I haven’t seen your reply until today…

      Let’s see two weeks? Hmm.. what months are you coming? And how much exactly are you planning to stay and what stuff would you like to check out? Beaches? Mountains? Diving? Culture? Lemme know so I can suggest places that you can visit. :)

      Cheers!

  6. Steven says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I will be in clark next month. I plan to take bus in Dau bus terminal to Baguio city.

    I understand that there is a new highway called SCTEX. I like to know if the bus in Clark Dau bus terminal go by this SCTEX or McArthur Highway?

    Which route is faster to Baguio City and both routes take how many hours?

    Also what is the price each trip per person in Clark Dau bus terminal to Baguio city?

    Thanks for your time and have a nice day.
    Steven

    • Mhay says:

      Hi Steven,

      I wanna jump in since Baguio is my second home. :) Attended 4 university years there.

      If you are in Dau, wait for Victory Liner Baguio route at Dau terminal. I believe most of the buses headed north of Luzon are taking SCTEX now. That is the faster way to get to Baguio. Honestly, I don’t see a lot of difference in taking SCTEX or Mc Arthur highway. Just the same to me becasue you are still going to pass the long road of Tarlac province. :)

      Daytime travel time to Baguio from dau is 4-6 hours. Night time, ir depends.. you can get there in three hours.. really depends..

      Bus fare from Dau to Baguio? One way- 25o Php max.

      Hope that helps.

      Mhay

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Steven,

      Sorry for the delayed reply, I was away a lot these past month. AFAIK, all buses now traverse the SCTEX and it does cut the travel time significantly. Whether the bus go through the MacArthur Hway or SCTEX, you may have to check that out at the bus terminal itself. The prices vary for fares as well depending on which bus company you are going to take.

      I apologize again for the delayed reply, been traveling heaps lately, dint have time to look up the page.

      Cheers!

      Ryan

  7. Mhay says:

    Hi there,

    Need you help. Planning to have a vacay in Davao. Any idea on Pearl Farm day tour rate? We are planning to just stay in the city and just go to the wharf at 8am going to Pearl Farm then just go back to the city late in the afternoon. Any thoughts and suggestions. Any other itineraries fro Davao except for Mount Apo.

    Thanking you in advance.

    Mhay

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Mhay,

      You may try to check on their website- pearlfarmresort.com/home.shtml

      You can do the ziplines, visit the crocodile farm, the Philippine Eagle Center as well as if you got time, you may do a side trip to South Cotabato (Lake Sebu) or check out the beaches of Sarangani. More info on our Davao City article.

      Cheers!

  8. tanya says:

    hi,

    i’m very interested in visiting bantayan island with my partner.

    any feature coming up on the place?

    can we go with you if and when you’re going? :p

    i look forward to your reply.

    thanks!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Tanya,

      Sorry for the late reply, I dint see your reply come up. We have a planned trip to Cebu and other Visayan islands but no exact dates or info yet. I usually post updates of our trips on our Facebook website/Twitter site. You can find us there. :)

      Cheers!

      Ryan

  9. Dustin says:

    Hi! I have seen in, I think, in Jessica Soho, Carabao Island and I was trying to see some literature about it. Care to help me how to get there? I saw in one of your articles that to be able to go to Romblon, it’s possible to go thru Lucena or Batangas port? How come no Carabao Island or is it really a different place?

    Much thanks!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Dustin,

      The easiest route that I can find is to fly or do the Roro all the way to Caticlan and then hire a boat from either Caticlan or Boracay. It’d be really close. Currently, I do not have the data whether the routes from the main Romblon island to Batangas or Lucena still exists and which skeds. But I do know that you can get to Carabao Island faster through Caticlan/Boracay.

      Hope that helps!

      Ryan

  10. maree says:

    Hi Ryan

    Comments are v. helpful. Looking to travel with my husband to Manila on 26 Apr – 6 May. Is it safe to travel to Manila and then Cebu before the election?

    Help on itinerary please. Be in Manila for 3 days – any recommendations on sight seeing and some golf?

    Looking at going to Taal for sight seeing and and love to play golf there but not sure if tourists can.

    Also looking to Cebu (and perhaps Bohol) for a few days for sight seeing and Cebu for golf. If you have recommendations please.

    Thanks again

    • Ryan says:

      Hi maree,

      Travel is safe even during this elections season. Manila and Cebu are beaten paths so you wont have problems at all during this time.

      As for your Manila Itinerary:

      Here are some of my recommendations for you to see and do:

      Go on a Walking Tour of the Intramuros (Manila’s Old Walled City) with Carlos Celdran (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
      Visit the Ayala Museum (Greenbelt) in Makati for their Gold of Ancestors exhibition (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
      Binondo Food Wok – A Culinary Walking tour of the Oldest Chinatown in the World
      Manila sunset dinner by the bay (Sofitel got great views, or you can go to the Mall of Asia for a dinner by the bay)
      Manila Ocean Park

      Side trips- Tagaytay, Taal or Corregidor (Check the articles on these places in this website)

      Check out my 24 Hours in Manila article for more information.

      As for Golf in the Philippines please check this site – golfph.com/

      As for Cebu:

      Must go to:

      Sto. Nino Basilica
      Mactan Shrine

      Don’t miss – ngohiong (Cebu -style spring rolls) and the Lechon Cebu (dubbed by Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain as the world’s best).

      For Bohol, check out my destination guide on this island on this website. ;)

      Hope that helps!

  11. wayne england says:

    Hi all having a good read here, I had a nice trip there for my 21 days last year my first ever trip anywhere hehe, well just wondered as I want to come back and do some proper backpacking and wondering about wild camping in my tent on the beachs out on hills ect, only reference I can find to a camp site!! in on Taal where I will head for a few nights for sure. anyone know of anyone else been there camping.

    many thanks.

  12. Justan says:

    Hi. Looking to visit the rice paddies in Banuae in june/july. Can you recommend a tour company that visits the area for approximately 3-4 days, leaving from manila, or is it best just to catch a bus and work to our own schedule?

    • Scott says:

      Hi Justan,

      I just went up there and did it by myself. You can catch either Florida or Autobus (Florida buses are nicer and have a toilet), but you’ll have to go out to Sampaloc, Manila and pay for your ticket in advance. The Banaue terraces are quite extensive and beautiful, but they’re also the more touristy. I totally recommend going out to Batad. It’s a 1.5 hour jeep ride from Banaue to Batad saddle, then a two hour hike down to where most people stay in Batad. If you’re after a great experience then I suggest staying at Raymond’s Homestay (Ifugao huts down on the terraces http://batadkadangyanlodges.multiply.com/). However, be aware that the Banaue terraces should be green in June, but in Batad, June is around harvest time. If you want to find out about tours I suggest looking up Violeta Imperial http://philecotourism.wordpress.com/

      Hope that helps

  13. wayne england says:

    Just do it your self when you get there!!! get the promo cebu air ticket

    • Ryan says:

      Wayne. There are no airports in Ifugao. :) The nearest airport is in Tuguegarao which is about 6-8 hours away by land depending on the route you take. :)

  14. stuart whitley says:

    Hi Ryan just thought i would let you know that i found a great little place to stay and not too expensive ,, when i enquired about hotels in Imus Cavite you could not really tell me much as you did not know the area too well, at first we stayed in Manila but the traffic was bad having to making the trip to Imus every day so i will just pass on the info,,, kartina hotel, centennial road,kawit,cavite
    it is a new hotel and well fitted out and the price starts a around 1474.00php for the standard room to 2875.00php for a suite, the staff are very helpful LOL this sounds like a hotel review ,
    ps ryan how do i follow you on twitter,

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Stuart!

      Great share! Do you have their contact details too? Would be great to post it here- This website’s Twitter Page is @TourismPinas; my personal Twitter Page is @xxxriainxxx

      Cheers man and thanks for that piece of info!

      Ryan

  15. Michelle says:

    It’s normal or legal or common for airport security personnel’s on duty to ask tourists upon leaving Philippine for money or souvenir or even to spend them foods or drinks???

    It’s not my first trip but third and yet they still do that every time!

    Confuse and frustrated,

    Michelle

    • Ryan says:

      Michelle,

      ONE BIG FAT NO. They are NOT allowed to ask you for anything except proper papers and documentation. If this happens again, take down their name, time this happened and write/call the proper agency. Or you can post the name of the people here on this site as well. This happened to my Aunt last January as well. Let us not tolerate this kind of behavior and report them immediately to their superiors. If that would be too much of a hassle, just ignore them and pretend not to understand what they are saying. If they are being too persistent, remind them that that is against the law and they will be reported if they wont stop harassing you or other passengers.

      Ryan

    • wayne howard says:

      really they never asked me for anything, but i was told by my friend to be ready to be asked for anything off them and if asked to demand to take to there supervisors and say no!!! so Michelle did you give them anything? but when I was about to fly back to the UK from Manila I didnt like the guys in the loo they were well cheeky I thought there I was thinking got a day on the plane best go to the loo and these guys hassled me from the hall way into the loo even opened the door and broke me off some bog roll hehe I was like go away leave me alone!! just wanted a private minute and ended up having a guy stood outside the loo door to demand money for invading my private poop hehe think that was one of the moments I hated most about my trip, wouldnt have been so bad a pretty lady but was kinda gay hehe well thats how my airport exit went. oh and as i left they wanted money so i gave them p5 and walked out.

  16. wayne howard says:

    others seem to be saying about hotels here now so will say the manila hotels i stayed were either mega dear or the worst you can think of will think about what there called for next reply dont want to say there names if i get them wrong, but in Cebu the cebu tourist inn in cebu city was great clean room staff mostly nice, and rooms were P650 a day or P580 a day if you stayed a week, its in the old part of the city near the oldest road in the Philippines so i was told, also was strange seeing filipino police handing out fines to people who walked across this road got to use the crossing when the lights change lucky me i was with a local usa guy who pointed this out to me and showed me the bus full of people who couldnt afford there fine so were off to do sweeping the streets which is nice for them, love to go back to there next year think my second trip be so much better than the first.

  17. pallida Mors says:

    Hi, do you know a hidden and pristine beach, river, falls or lake ideal for camping out? The type that’s not commercialized or at least not over-commercialized and is near Manila? Thanks!

    • Ryan says:

      Near Manila? Hmmm… it depends how near you’d like it to be. There are heaps in Camarines Norte, Quezon and some hidden pockets in Zambales. Check out the guides on Cam Norte and Zambales…

    • wayne says:

      hiya pallida did you find any nice camping places by the waterfalls lakes?? I am off starting in cebu next week and ready to go everywhere possible in my 21days :O)

  18. Guy says:

    Hi, how do can I read your older posts? seems that if I google the word like Pampanga, a million sites come up and can’t find your site at all, what I am after in particular is Panay island, and not only Boracay but the other cities like Iloilo, etc.

    thanks heaps,

    cheers!

  19. Ria says:

    is cebu still the no. 1 destination here in the Philippines? if not, will you please give me the latest ranking of the top 10 destinations here in the Philippines.

  20. rowena says:

    How do you say the greetings in Camarines Norte when u see someone?

  21. Mike says:

    I’m going to the Philippines for 2 weeks from April 14 to May 1 with my kids ages 4 and 7. We already booked for Boracay trip from April 18 thru 22. We don’t have any plans yet from April 23 to May 1 except going to Enchanted Kingdom one of those days. Can you recommend some nice and safe place to go to besides shopping malls that my kids will definitely enjoy?

  22. Deepak says:

    Dear Ryan or others,
    I and my wife ( at present in China )will be visiting Manila from 31st Jan to 6th Feb – already done air and hotel booking ( near Makati area ). Would like some advice on how to go about seeing Manila and also nearby beach side. Are there conducted tours in private cars or city bus tours with guides? Also good places for Indian food.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Depak

    • Scott says:

      Hi Deepak,

      I would suggest an Intramuros tour with Carlos Celdran – http://carlosceldran.com. This is a walking tour around part of the old Spanish walled city. There are also Jeepney tours that you can do around Manila. There are actually lots of places to see in Manila, some of which are mentioned in the articles on this site.
      As for Indian food, I like Swagat which is on Rada Street, Legaspi Village, Makati. Otherwise, there is Prince of Jaipur at SM Mall of Asia, the food is not as good but it has a good view of the Manila Bay sunset.

      Hope that helps.

  23. John Mark says:

    Hi there. I’m not sure if this is the right thread or website to ask for. But let me go straight to my concern. I have a girlfriend in USA, and she wants to go here, stay and look for a Job here in our country Philippines. Well my question is, what are the requirements for her to be able to get here? I have no idea aside from passport upon going here in our country that’s why I want to know what are the requirements for her to be able to get here in our country and most specially, can u please give me the suggested expenses she needs to? Please reply I really need help as soon as possible. Thank you everyone God Bless!

  24. Nicolas says:

    Hi guys,
    I am planning to visit Bohol two first weeks of March.
    Is it a really crowded period?
    Do you think it is better to book an hotel in advance or to find it once i will arrive there?

    Thanks a lot for your help

  25. Aiai says:

    I will bring my dog to Philippines this May. How can I get an import permit?? The website of BAI is temporarily down. Can you help me please. I need your assistance right away.

    thank you..

    • Ryan says:

      Try calling the numbers listed in the other article pertaining to this. Or try again and see if the site is up.

  26. Natalie says:

    Hello,

    I need help. I have been traveling around Philippines (Batanes, El Nido, Sagada, Ilocos, Coron, Boracay, etc) and I’m thinking of where else to go for first week on November.

    We wanted to see/experience different things like culture, sights, bit of adventure, etc and hoping something not too touristy but awesome nevertheless.

    I am considering Lake Sebu plus Davao bec I havent been there and is currently amazed by it but I’m not sure how good the weather will be during that time. I’m bringing an american friend who is flying from Germany and he was hoping to get some tan. We are both working in the office and quite active/adventurers and willing to rough it but we’re not really the backpacker type. We are in late 20s and early 30s.

    Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.

    • Scott says:

      Hi Natalie, If you’re thinking about Mindanao you can also look into Siargao and Camiguin. In the Visayas there’s great spelunking and beaches in Samar, and there’s also really beautiful sights in Siquijor.

  27. Natalie says:

    Hi Scott!

    Thanks so much for your quick reply. I’ve been to Siargiao and Camiguin already but not yet to Samar and Siquijor…I’ll look into those as well..but are they good to visit in first week of November? That’s the only time when we could only do the trip, October 30-Nov 6.

    Which among our wonderful destinations would be good to visit at that time, I’m worried about bad weather (esp typhoon) thats why I thought of Davao area which I heard is not frequented by typhoons. Batanes is also typhoon free but considering the small planes flying there, there is also a possibility of cancelled flights when wind exceeds safety limits. It would be expensive to miss an international flight due to delayed/cancelled local flights :P

    Cheers,

    Nalie

    • Scott says:

      Hi Natalie,

      Well, that time of year you would have the risk of typhoons around Samar, but you never know with the weather these days. Siquijor would be safer and you can also see Dumaguete and Bais. Also, you should look into Romblon, Sibuyan Island is also known as the Galapagos of Asia.

      Back in October 2009, I had plans to go to Batanes, but suddenly Ondoy hit, then Pepeng, and every other weekend another typhoon. In the end I didn’t make it until the end of November. So you have to try and be a little bit flexible, as you never know what the weather will be, but the central Visayas are usually ok at that time of the year.

  28. Miran Ali says:

    Hi guys

    Is Christmas a bad time to visit the Philippines? Would all the shops and restaurants be closed?

    We’re planning to go to Boracay, which should be fine. But what about Manila and Cebu?

    Thanks for your help.

  29. stuart whitley says:

    hello there i just want to say you have a great site for info and have my own question,
    with christmas time being so busy getting to the philippines the only flight i could get was getting to manila on christmas day in the afternoon so can i expect problems getting to Quezon city ? for example will taxi’s or the train be running as normal or would i be better getting a hotel near the airport for a day and traveling on the following day,

  30. stephen says:

    Hi, i want to bring in around PHP 75k in spending money in local currency with me in June.How do i go about getting authorisation for this with it being over the PHP 10k limit.?

  31. Guy says:

    Hi Stephen,

    As far as I know, it is the equivalent of Us$10,000 that is the currency limit, so tou should be ok.

    Enjoy your trip.

    Cheers

  32. stephen says:

    Hi Guy, Thanks for your response.According to this site > http://www.tourism.gov.ph/SitePages/customs.aspx and others too it is a criminal offence to bring in more than PHP 10,000 in local Filipino currency. I think the $10,000 limit applies to foreign denominated currencies.I already have it in Pesos and would like to avoid exchanging it if i can.I’m waiting for an email response from the Philippines central bank for authorisation.

  33. Guy says:

    Well there you go, you learn something new everyday.

    Please let us know how you go, would be very interested in the outcome of your quest.

    Cheers

  34. stephen says:

    F.a.o Guy.

    Here is the official response from the Philippine central bank >>

    ” Under current rules, the Bangko Sentral only allows cross border transfer
    of Philippine peso for testing/calibrating counting machines and a small
    amount for numismatic purposes.

    You may bring in your funds in foreign currency and simply exchange these
    for Pesos when you arrive here. If you are bringing in more than USD10,000
    or equivalent in other foreign currencies, you only need to make a written
    declaration using the form available at the Customs desk of the airport.”

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