As an experienced traveler, there are some numbers you keep in the back of your head when you leave a country. How much money you have left is one of them. I generally make sure I have enough money for the taxi to the airport and some snacks on my final day. Nobody wants to leave a country with foreign currency in their pocket. What are you going to do with 125 pesos at home? When leaving the Philippines there’s a little surprise they don’t tell you about. That’s a $25 (750 php), exit fee that they tack on at the end. This is a fee you get hit with after you’ve already checked in at the gate.
If you try to pay this fee before the check in and getting a PAPER boarding pass, they’ll send you right back to the check in area. Like a super pro travelling master, you might have done a web check in advance and have your Epass on your smartphone. “Sorry , you need a paper pass” and back you go into the airport check in area.
That’s where the second number comes in. 1 hour. That’s how long it will take you to get from stepping into the airport at Cebu to your departure gate. I’ve been in countries where it takes 5 minutes and I’ve been in countries where it takes even longer than an hour. In the Cebu airport, 1 hour for an international departure is a good estimate of how long you’re going to need. Why one hour? The security check takes a bit, and you’ll also get random items taken. I’m an experienced travel writer, and I know that bringing a bottle of water, explosives and knives are strictly verboten. Did you know extension cables or tape is also on the no go list?
They confiscated the little power bar that I use to take advantage of the limited numbers of airport power outlets. No electrical wires they said. Also they took my roll of tape. (I take this tape along my journey to make book covers for my travel journals.) To be 100% fair, tape, electricity and some flashlight batteries might be all an enterprising terrorist needs to make a B-O-M-B (They let me keep my flashlight batteries though!).
Final number you need to know is 20kg. That’s the Air Asia check in weight allowance. Why I point this out is that out most international flights allow for 25kg. It might not seem like much of a difference but this extra 5kg, wound up making me look like a crazy hobo, as I had to unpack, and put on my suit jacket over my tank top and tshirt. My carry on bag also got stuffed with a couple extra kilos of random stuff. (They didn’t measure or weigh my carry on, or I’d have to do even more emergency throwing away.)
So if you’re travelling trying to find the best countries to retire in, and heading to the Philippines please keep these numbers handy. $25, 20kg, 1hr.