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Our world Travel On 10th May 2007 I fled the UK on a journey around the world with a long list of places to go. Got as far as the Philippines where I met my wife. We got married on 11th May 2010 and are now sharing the experiences of travelling the world together

India back to Philippines

PHILIPPINES | Sunday, 5 December 2010 | Views [6133]

Thursday 2nd December - Today is the end of our journey through India and the premature return to the Philippines. We arrived on 2nd August from Malaysia, so have spent only 4 months out of our possible 5 1/2 months allowed on the visa. To be honest, it is a shame it is ending as there was much more to see and we had originally planned to spend Christmas in Sikkim in the snow and then head south to the Maldives before heading back to Malaysia after some time in Sri Lanka. Plans have been scrapped due to family problems back east. Not sure what will be happening after we return. There is much research to do over in Malaysia in regard to the possibility of living there, and so the visit to the Philippines will be brief for me, maybe until early February, and Shiera will possibly stay in the Philippines for the time I am away. There will be an immediate requirement to find somewhere partly furnished to rent for a short while so that life can function. Shiera also has to get her passport updated to her married name through the NSO (National Statistics Office), and also possibly return to her birth Christian name too. She was born as Shiera Baltazar, but her parents later changed her name to Joyce. We are trying to ascertain how easy it will be to change from Joyce Ann Baltazar to Shiera Bradshaw in one step and save later hassles with her passport. All a bit messy and maybe taking a while to resolve, which necessitates being in the Philippines to sort it out.

First stage in the return is to fly to Bangkok aboard Air Asia flight FD/AK3783 departing at 12:20. A time zone change from India's GMT+4.5 to Thailand's GMT+6. We now have a Sitar to carry plus extra baggage. A taxi from the hotel to the airport cost Rs250 and it is a long way, taking about 50minutes to get there.

After arriving at the airport we had a short wait before check-in opened, and then the hassle started. Despite having pre-paid and extra 10kg extra baggage on-line, the Sitar was not allowed as carry-on but my guitar was ok. They charged me an extra 2,400 rupees excess baggage for it....excuse my language...the swines! No ATM at the airport and I didn't have enough cash in rupees, and only $20USD in extra currency on me, so changed it and managed to just cover the baggage charge....the Stress!!! It all adds to the cost of flying and carrying any goods of course. And the so called budget operators get you every time.

I always think that Air Asia's red livery is very smart. The A320 airbus was nice and clean and the service good. I had pre-booked a meal which was small but tasty. I always wonder about in-flight meals why they are designed to barely keep you alive, and just about big enough for a 3 year old child?

Time forward 90minutes and arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport at 4:50pm.

Next and most fraught with problems is the CebuPacific flight 5J932 to Manila. Why problems? I will attempt to get a 'Balikbayan' visa on arrival at immigration at Manila airport, which allows for a 365 day visa as a husband of a Filipino national. Without that, I will only be given a standard 21day tourist visa. Without such a visa I would be forced to buy an outgoing flight from the Philippines to even be allowed to board the flight. I have not done that, and will have to resolve it at the airport.

As it turned out, we were getting a little stressed at the possibilities of it all going wrong, and it turned out fairly well. There was a lovely girl on check-in and her supervisor who let the Sitar on for free, and accepted a little over weight without any charge. So, we had bought 40kg allowance on Air Asia and still had to pay another 2,400 rupees, but had only 30kg allowance on Cebupacific and paid nothing extra...now work the logic of that one out! And air Asia was a larger A320 airbus whereas CP was a smaller 737. No excuses other than being a rip-off!

Flight 5J932 Departing 00:35 on 3rd December and arriving in Manila at 04:15 with another timezone shift to GMT+7. Smooth enough with plenty of time for another meal at the airport before boarding.

The flight was pleasant enough and we arrived at Manila at 5:15am in the dark. By the time we got through baggage reclaim and passport control it was daylight. The visa was easy enough. They have a 'Special Assistance' booth, where they gave me a 1 year visa without question once they saw the marriage certificate.

Our final destination was to be Tagaytay to find a hotel. Buses would have been an option to get there. But with the long journey and feeling a bit weary, we decided to go for a taxi all the way, costing 1500 pesos from the pre-paid booth outside. The taxi booth inside the terminal wanted 2030.

So it's back to Tagalog, the Peso currency, the English accent with an American twist...and Christmas. Yep, the first sight of Christmas trees and Paroles (the star ornament), and Christmas tunes...at the beginning of December... You can tell we're back in the Philippines!

Slept for a while and missed breakfast, so ended up with a late lunch before cracking on with the main duties of the day, mainly finding some better accommodation. We hired a tricycle driver for a couple of hours but didn't find anything suitable around the Tagaytay area, so will have to look elsewhere tomorrow. Somewhere less touristy where the prices should be more reasonable.

We managed to find a reasonable option at the Robertson’s Inn in Kaybagal area of Tagayatay city for a couple of weeks. Good location and plenty nearby to keep us amused.

On with getting stuff sorted out….. 


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