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.