Friday, January 7, 2011

Budget Biyahera’s First Trip Out of Pinas

After ending my last sem in college and before my birthday, my Kuya EJ (older brother and cousin) and I flew to Hong Kong for a 4-day vacation. It was his Graduation/Birthday gift to me. It was also my first time to go abroad, let alone ride the plane. 

Being a first time overseas traveler, getting inside the NAIA (Terminal 1) Airport was a new episode for me. I’ve never imagined it to be that small in space. But despite that, there was still a lot of appreciation on my end. And being the first-timer that I was, I had a lot of anxiety in my system. But on the brighter side of things, I was able to learn more by asking further questions from people with authority with regards to my country’s travel procedures and payments. I am Pinay (Filipina) by the way.

So for the new budget biyahera’s and biyahero’s out there, read up and learn a few tips from my first trip out of the country. I hope it helps you with your future international escapades!

Ninoy Aquino International Airport Arrival

Before anything else, be at the airport 3 hours before your flight-out to an international destination, and 2 hours for domestic flights. You’ll never know what those hours can do for you in case of any airport emergency’s.

Now, to gain entry into a Philippine airport, one must show the following:

  • A Passport, which should always be 6-months valid (important when traveling abroad!)
  • An E-ticket - I had with me my Cebu Pacific E-ticket, which I purchased online and printed thereafter (a ticket that has your booking reference and flight itinerary)
  • Your Credit Card - I showed the one that I used to purchase the tickets. (If you’ll be using someone else’s credit card, it’s advised that you get a photocopy of the credit card and the owners ID --- NOTE: Cebu Pacific may have already revised their rules regarding this, as this trip was from 5 years ago =P).

Before getting inside the premises, I was asked to place all of my bags/luggage through an electronic screening machine. After this quick security check, I looked and asked around for the Airport Travel Tax counter.

Note: Always do this before proceeding to the Check-In counter to save time from going to and fro different counters. 

Anyway, after paying the Airport Travel Tax, which cost me PHP1,620, I went straight to the Check-In counter (these counters have their own screens that show current flight details). Here, I was asked to show my Passport and my e-ticket again, for verification purposes. 

Note: Usually the person behind the counter will be handing you a Disembarkment Form, which you will be surrendering to the Customs counter later on. A Disembarkment Form is where you'll note down your flight, contact information and some trip details.

When I’ve finally been printed a copy of my official plane ticket, my bags were weighed, to check for excess baggage (as excess baggage may cost some more). I’m not quite sure how much per kilo though. That's why it's best to double check for the required weight of your preferred Airplane companies. Mine was Cebu Pacific, and they only allowed me about 15 kilos worth of baggage and 7 kilos for my hand-carry. 

Before I forget to mention, there was one last expense that I had to pay before finally settling-in for our flight -- the Terminal Tax. I had to pay PHP750 for this. 

After all these tasks, I proceeded to the Customs Counter, where I handed over my Passport again, as well as my plane ticket and Disembarkment form. This is where I got my first Passport stamp! Yehey! After my second and last security check, my Kuya and I headed off to the waiting area. In about an hour’s worth of waiting, we left my dear Pilipinas, Hong Kong bound!

Hong Kong International Airport Arrival

Seeing how the Hong Kong Airport was more spacious than my country’s airport, kept me in awe. The Airport was a sight in itself! Imagine Hong Kong having their very own train to transport you inside the airport. Anyway, having mentioned that, you should ride the train, get to your stop, and look for a long escalator going up the main airport. This will take you to where the HK Customs booths are located. And if you’re worried about getting around Hong Kong, maps are abundant and can be seen in several areas inside the premises. A wide selection of attractions is yours for the choosing and is all for FREE for your picking!

Before leaving the airport, I had to drag myself through a long line just to get cleared and stamped (my passport) by the Customs Officer. Anfter all the procedures, I claimed my luggage, met up with our cousin Kuya Angel and then headed off to the exit. 

Now, exiting the airport and finding a bus to transport us to where our cousin lived was a treat! It was my first time to ride a double-decker bus that had electronic flashing signages of their destinations! How British! =) As for bus ticket price, mine was free courtesy of my cousin! I wasn’t able to ask him how much each of our tickets were. But be sure to at least bring with you more or less $50 HKG Dollars (estimated per person) if you’re city bound. If you decide to take the train (the MTR-Airport Express) to the city for a faster travel, prepare to pay more or less $100 HKG Dollars.

My cousin, Kuya Angel on-board the City Flyer Bus

Note: There are money changers in the airport. But I recommend that you only exchange a few (whether it’s in Pesos or US Dollars), as there are other money changers within the city that could offer you higher exchange rates. I recommend the Central Mall (accessible through MTR) as it has floors filled with money exchange stalls. And remember, being a tourist in Hong Kong only allows you 14 days in the country from your date of entry. So keep note of that! 

So, off to the real adventure then! Click HERE for more of our Hong Kong and Macau journey! 


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