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FlyAway last won the day on February 14 2013

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  1. Being one who recently arrived, We were asked about return tickets. My wife said we plan on staying 6+ months. She asked about processing the 13a for me. Officer said check the website, then stamped my passport with 12 month Balikbayan. If you are not accompanied by a Filipino spouse, I would never risk not having a return flight.
  2. Wife and I are quarantine hotel as this is written. Several days prior to our scheduled flight, we checked out various Philippine Airlines recommended quarantine hotels. We chose one in Pasay in the Newport City area. I can see Villamor Airbase outside my window. We left San Francisco February 20. (Flight was rescheduled from original February 17 departure date) Ticket counter wanted to see our marriage certificate. All we have is a certified copy. Plus I had the 9a tourist visa from a few months ago when it was required. All in all, Philippine Airlines was no problem. We even brought two cats with us but that is for another topic. Yes, they arrived safe and sound. No issues or problems with their paperwork or customs. Before arrival, you are given several forms to fill out. Usual arrival card and customs declaration. Then health declaration and past travel history/employment forms. Upon arrival, Philippine Coast Guard will take your temperature while still on the plane and take the health declaration forms. You then depart the plane and are met by Department of Tourism representatives. They are there to coordinate with quarantine hotels and Covid test scheduling. I did not know it at the time but there is an additional online form that needs to be completed. They have QR codes there ready to help. Plus there are representatives through the whole process. I was very impressed. Worst part about the form fill out was trying to see the darn letters without my reading glasses. Face shield and mask do not go well with glasses. Fog up to fast! I had to resubmit the form a second time as my Microsoft email account never came through with the QR code response email (Didn't go to spam either, just never got it). Ended up using my gmail account. Once you finish this step, it is time to pay for your Covid test. They take credit cards. Unfortunately the processing system went down while processing ours. We were prepared with 8,000 Peso on hand. Easy process for the most part. Line to Immigration was shortest I had ever been in! It helped that we were pretty much the first ones off the plane throughout this process. Immigration asked for our marriage certificate. She asked if we had an original but didn't make any fuss about it. We were asked about return flight tickets. We didn't have any. Wife explained we were going to stay 6+ months and possibly process my 13a visa. My passport was stamped with the 12 month Balikbayan stamp, Have a good day and enjoy Philippines! Next step was Customs. Cats were waiting within a few steps of our luggage. A representative from the Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry was on the spot to inspect the cat's importation documentation. P410 import fee. Have a good day! Next we handed the customs declaration form to the representative. It went in a box stacked with many more. Have a good day, enjoy Philippines! We had the hotel provide transportation from Terminal 2 to our hotel. Driver called and text to let us know where he was. All went smooth. Our plan was to have relatives pick up the cats as there is no quarantine requirements for them. We got to the hotel at 6:30am. Sister in Law came and picked them up. Hotel had a no pet policy anyway. I may love the cats but spending 7 days with them in a hotel room would be torture! So now we await the next 6 days till the Covid test. One thing I highly recommend is having a Philippine SIM card and a load onhand. I kept our Globe SIM's active over the past year. Periodically loading them every other month or so. Upon our arrival I switched on the Globe and text 8080 then the message was GOTSAKTO120. Figured it was good enough to get us going. It did come in handy when filling out the online forms. The airport wifi is not the greatest. We did download the Traze app but so far no one has asked for it. Maybe once the Covid test is done it will then be used. All in all, it has not been a bad experience. We always hear horror stories. I wanted to let everyone know there are positives as well.
  3. I am going through these questions now. I have made arrangements so I can transfer money from Wells Fargo to BPI. Cost me $4.00 and a knock on the exchange rate but at least I can transfer $2,999 in a single transaction. I also have a Credit Union here in California I can transfer into the Wells Fargo account with no fee's. Also kept checking and credit cards open. My credit union doesn't seem to mind if I am considered an expat. As long as my retirement checks get direct deposited and I keep a minimum balance that is. My goal is to keep multiple avenues available as we never know what might happen. As previously mentioned above, talk to your bank directly. Manager would be preferable.
  4. My major concern is all the 2 factor authentication needed for banking. I need the ability to receive text messages. Looks like I will be going with Global Call Forwarding.
  5. Here in USA $10 doesn’t even cover the local, state and federal taxes on a basic phone plan.
  6. Looks like a good option. Plus I can possibly port my number to them. Thanks, I will look into them more and report back in a few weeks. We leave mid February. Provided nothing changes with restrictions that is.
  7. Thanks for the replies. Looks like I will be getting the lowest cost plan to keep my USA cell active. It’s the authentication texts that worries me the most.
  8. Wife and I are planning the move soon. Wondering how people there communicate with their banks and other agencies back in USA? periodically my bank and Signing into government agencies will want a reply to a text message. Do you just bit the cost of keeping your USA based cell number? I have an iPhone with the virtual sim for AT&T and a Globe as secondary. We have been keeping our Globe numbers active with periodic loads.
  9. I thought there has to be approval from the Philippine version of the Food and Drug Administration before they could even begin vaccinations? For some odd reason, in 10 years I can picture adds on TV. "Did you receive the Corona Virus vaccine? If so, you may be entitled to damages"
  10. Surprisingly I am impressed with the Wigo. For a little 3 banger it gets around decently. Borrowed my friends for a road trip. Took it to Vigan and then Baguio. Actually climbed the hills pretty good considering it is an automatic and had the AC on. The small size comes in handy for zipping in and out of traffic. When I drove it to Manila, it got into some pretty tight spaces.
  11. It is definitely insane these days. I have been here for 3 weeks and wonder why there is no road rage like back in USA! Wife and I have a condo that is 5km away from NAIA 3. Took an hour and a half. Was here 4 years ago and it was a quick 15 minute ride. All the construction around here it is just inevitable traffic will increase. Building call centers malls and condo's like crazy in BGC\McKinley West. NLEX is nice to drive on until you hit the toll plaza coming into Manila.
  12. A quick update. We arrived at Terminal 1 a few days ago. Line to immigration was long but moved quickly. Wife and I had to go to separate windows but we were side by side. She showed both her PI and USA passports. (Had our marriage certificate handy just in case) We were both given the 1 year Balikbayan no questions asked. Its been several years since my last stay. First time for me getting my fingerprint scanned.
  13. JGF, Good info with the letter. I was just being a smart a$$ with my previous post.
  14. Well now I am in trouble. We are flying Philippine Airlines!
  15. Looks like I will be testing the system soon. Wife wants to go visit for 6 weeks. We have received BB VISA's in the past but never stayed more than 3 weeks at a time. We will have return tickets but it will obviously be out of the normal 30 day tourist VISA. If I read the BI link correctly, Spouse is considered immediate family. Wife is dual with both valid USA and Philippine Passports http://www.immigration.gov.ph/faqs/travel-req 11. Who are exempt from the return ticket requirement? Philippine passport holders; Former Filipinos and their dependents (immediate family members) 12. Who can enter the Philippines without entry visa? 149. United States of America On a side note, over the past 15 years going back and forth to Philippines, not once have I ever been asked to show a return ticket.
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