“There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.” – Bertrand Russell
Research, Research, Research!
I do not think that one can be too prepared for a trip. As this is the case this will be one of the longest sections to this guide as I will try to cover as much as I can to get you familiar with everything you will need to know and if it is not here in this section you will have a ton of links to find the answer to the question I don’t cover.
I suggest doing all you can and plan for as much as you possibly can before you make your visit so that once you get here no surprises will spoil your holiday. Of course emergencies and situations come up but with the right kind of planning you can minimize the chances of something happening to spoil your vacation.
You are already doing one of the best things you can do to prepare for your trip and that is reading this guide. There is also a ton of information out there on many web sites all devoted to helping you get the most out of your money and time in Angeles City.Always good to know about any weather problems coming along that might affect your travel or time whilst in the Philippines. There are many sites on the web which track major storms but one of the best is Typhoon2000.They will follow all major storms in the area and have excellent graphics as you can see from this sample to the left.There literally thousands of sites to help you research your trip. Some of these sites are, but not limited to:
Asian-Escapades: A pay site with a board, photos, reviews, and more devoted to Asian travel.
Gotophil: Another pay site that has pictures, a board and occasional news items from Angeles City.
Angeles2 Board: A message board where many questions can be answered. But beware, a lot of false information is here to and there are a lot of people who post there that are not so pleasant.
TSM: A pay site devoted to the Travel of the Single Male.
Wow Philippines: The official Philippine tourism site.
Philippine Travel – Travel advisory and tips on the Philippines.
Travel Information of the Philippines – Self titled, travel info for the Philippines.
Lonely Planet Guide to the Philippines – Very nice travel guide.
Local Time in the Philippines – 8 hours ahead of GMT
Journeys to the Philippines – One man’s views on his travels.
Philippine Consulate – Tourism/Business/Travel/Information Pages.
Immigration Law Net – A site with information on most immigration questions.
US State Department – Consular affairs, passport and visas.
Here are some links to Philippine online newspapers:
The Manila Times
The Filipino Express
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Manila Bulletin
And many more! Simply put the words Philippines and Tourism into any search engine and you will find thousands of sites to get information from.
The best thing to do is read everything you can and then make your own decisions. I also suggest you get on the various message boards and lurk for a while and learn which posters information you can trust and then use these to get any unanswered questions resolved. You can’t have too much information and be over prepared. Now don’t think I’m being paranoid as there is obviously a point that you will get overwhelmed with all the information, but take all advice just don’t feel obligated to follow it. Once you get to Angeles and experience you will discover how much was bola bola (false) and how much was truth. You then in turn can help the next newbie with information and together we will all make Angeles a better place and more enjoyable for all.
I will go into hotels, restaurants, and club options in later sections of this guide but realize that those opinions are just that: opinions. Read all you can about the different options then decide on what is best for you.
But first let’s discuss a few things you should do and think about well before your trip.
Passport and visa requirements.
Passport: Yours must be valid for at least six months beyond the last day of intended stay.
Visa: There is no visa required for a stay of up to 21 days. If you plan to stay longer, you will have to apply for an extension at the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, if staying in Manila or on 7th street in Dau if staying in Angeles City.
Visas are required for business travelers. (If holding passport stamped “Executive Order Number 226,” a visa not required.) Children 15 years old and younger must obtain a visa, regardless of length of stay, if not accompanied by at least one parent; youths must also have a consent document issued by a Philippines Consulate. Visas may be obtained through the Embassy of the Philippines, 1600 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Their phone number is (202)467-9300. Visas may also be obtained from the Philippines Consulates General in Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco.
Many times a visitor extends his trip once getting here as he discovers that 21 days just isn’t long enough. Well don’t worry; there are many ways to extend your trip once here. You can do it yourself at the immigration branch office here in Angeles City or have one of the local travel agents do it for you. Action Travel located in Kokomo’s, Beeline Travel, or the Swagman offices can process the paperwork for you although handling it yourself is no hassle and also cheaper.
The local office is on 7th Street in Dau which is just a quick trike or taxi ride from Field’s Ave. If you do decide to go to the office yourself make sure you wear pants as they do insist on this. I have heard stories of the guard not even letting people in the door unless dressed conservatively so do yourself a favor and wear something nice but casual. The same outfit you wore on the airplane over will do nicely, but more on clothes in a bit. Back to your visa…
In about 20 minutes and for about 2000 pesos you can get a visa waiver which will allow you to stay for 38 days. If you are past your 21 days you will get assessed a 500 peso fine so make sure you get this waiver before your 21 days are up. The phone number to this office is (045)892-6110 and is a local call from Angeles City.
The following items are also required by law but on my many trips I have never been asked for them but better to be safe than sorry.
Documents for onward travel: This includes onward or return plane tickets; it also includes all documents required for entry to next destination. (If holding passport stamped “Executive Order Number 226,” no return/onward ticket is required.)
Adequate funds for stay: Not sure what they consider “adequate funds” but it is required by law so I thought I would mention it here.
International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever: Required if arriving within five days of having been in an infected area.
Other: Unaccompanied minors age 16 or 17 years or minors under 18 accompanied by one parent must carry a notarized letter of consent to travel. It must be signed by the absent parent.
While on the topic of airports and travel through them a departure tax is charged for domestic and international departures in the Philippines. The departure tax for international flights is 550 pesos; for domestic flights it is 100 pesos. Children under age two are exempt. Transit passengers are exempt as long as they remain in the transit area and do not leave the airport between flights.
Also while talking of airports let’s take a moment and go over entry and export restrictions.
Philippines detailed customs guidelines include limits on the duty-free import of tobacco and alcohol.
For tobacco you are allowed up to 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of pipe tobacco (passengers 18 and older only). For alcohol you can bring two bottles of alcoholic beverages of not more than one liter each (passengers 18 and older only). I have personally brought more than this with no problems before I knew the regulations but best to know what the legal limits are. Visitors carrying more than $3,000 US dollars are requested to declare the amount at the Central Bank of the Philippines counter located at the customs area.
- Firearms and firearm parts, firearm replicas, ammunition and explosives
- Printed subversive, obscene and pornographic materials
- Drugs or substances for abortion
- Gambling machines and articles, jackpot or pinball machines, lottery sweepstakes tickets, coin-operated video machines
- Articles of gold, silver and precious metals without indications of quality
- Misbranded and/or adulterated drugs or foodstuffs
- Marijuana, poppy, coca leaves, heroin, opium or any other prohibited drugs; opium pipes and parts of opium pipes.
The Philippines takes its fight against illicit drug use very seriously so don’t even think of trafficking any illegal substances into the country.
Free export (by passengers 18 and older) of:
- One quart of alcoholic beverages
- 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 500 grams of tobacco.
Currency: Export of local currency is prohibited. Foreign currencies may be exported up to the amount declared upon arrival.
Antiques: may not be exported without a certificate from the National Museum.
“I consider myself an expert on love, sex, and health. Without health you can have very little of the other two.” – Barbara Cartland
Now is as good a time as any to talk about some health concerns while traveling in the Philippines. I do not share this information to try and scare you or dissuade you from making a trip here but feel that this information should be known so you can make your own decisions.
Bottom line on water: Drink bottled water when in the Philippines!
Unlike in other countries, the Philippines’ water problem is not due to its shortage but to its uneven distribution. This inequity is worsened by mismanagement of water catchments, deforestation and pollution of water sources by factories and households. In 1992, the delivery of water supply and sanitation services in the Philippines became the responsibility of local government units (LGUs) instead of the national government. The intention was to place responsibility for the sector closer to the population. However, several years later, there has been little improvement in the water situation in rural areas. This is because as long as they remain financially and technically ill prepared for the task, the LGUs will never be able to adopt an integrated resources management approach. National government agencies face similar problems, caused by insufficient budgets and lack of personnel with expertise. In many cases, and particularly in rural areas, the private sector is in no position to offer a viable alternative. This problem is serious, because one of the principal social development prerequisites for the majority of the Philippines’ population (the poor) is access to reliable and safe water supplies, adequate sanitation facilities and efficiently operating distribution systems.
According to Dr. Peter H. Gleick of the Pacific Institute for Environment (PIE), the country happens to have 323 km3 per year of total renewable freshwater supply, third most bountiful in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and Malaysia. But think again. Of that amount, the country can only withdraw a total of 29.5 percent yearly.
Dr. Gleick, in his January 2000 edition of The World’s Water says, the Philippines will need some 393 percent of total water withdrawal starting this year 2000 until the next ten years. For the moment, only 18 percent can be withdrawn from the renewable freshwater supply for domestic use, 21 percent for industrial use and 61 percent for agricultural use.
Nationwide, the government’s National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) estimates that only 67 percent of the total population of 75 million have access to clean drinking water and almost 35 percent have access to water for sanitation.
So while here only drink recognized brands of sealed bottled water that have a license to produce. Raw sewage, industrial and agricultural wastes contaminate Philippine water supplies. For example there are reported high levels of heavy metals contaminating the Boac and Makulapnit Rivers. In March of 1996 an unused drainage tunnel at the bottom of a mine tailings disposal pit on Marinduque Island collapsed, flooding the 26 km. Boac and Makulapnit rivers and nearby coastal waters with some 4 million tones of mine tailings, effectively killing the rivers, covering corals in the sea and severely affecting at least 20,700 villagers. Public Works Secretary Gregorio Vigilar said safe drinking water may be scarce in Manila in five years unless more homes are linked to sewage treatment systems. Only 10 percent of 800,000 households are connected to the sewer system. The rest use tanks that dump waste into canals and contaminate underground water. If left unchecked, the contamination could severely limit the supply of safe drinking water, Vigilar said. A recent cholera outbreak in Manila killed seven people and sickened 310.
It is best not to even take the chance and stick to bottled water.
There are also dangers of drinking liquids with ice that has been made with tap water and also eating food that has been washed using local water sources. This is a real danger especially if you are susceptible to these problems. But even if you have traveled widely without catching a bit of traveler’s diarrhea, you might meet your match here in the Philippines. Make sure you bring some Imodium with you or some other medicine to combat this.
Many doctors also recommend you avoid eating local seafood; local marine waters are polluted as well. For example mercury has been reported in shellfish in Honda Bay, Palawan. If you are going to eat seafood (which many do with no reported problems) make sure you eat thoroughly cooked foods served hot.
In 2001, the Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines issued an urgent warning to the public against eating large carnivorous predator fish in response to 50 cases of food poisoning from eating ciguatoxic barracuda. I would avoid eating barracuda and other carnivorous reef fish while traveling in the Philippines.
Hazardous Plants & Animals:
There are also some animal hazards in the Philippines to be aware of. Especially beware of free roaming dogs which there are many in Angeles City. The Philippines has the third highest rate of rabies cases in the world. Approximately 400 to 500 cases of human rabies are reported each year. Some other animal hazards to be wary of include cobras, centipedes, scorpions and black widow spiders. Philippine coastal waters are home to stingrays, jellyfish, nettles, sea cucumbers, sea wasps, sea urchins, anemones and the Indo-Pacific man-of-war. If you have allergies to any of these animals make sure you have appropriate medicines available or advise people with you during times you could be at high risk (like when scuba diving for example) of your condition so they will know how to help you best should you require it.
Travel health risks in the Philippines:
This information was gathered from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Traveler’s diarrhea: This is commonly caused by bacteria. Diarrhea in travelers can also be caused by parasites and, to a lesser extent, viruses. Contaminated food and water pose the greatest risk. This is the most common illness in travelers.
Typhoid fever: This is transmitted by contaminated milk, water and food. Food can be infected directly by water that is used in washing and preparation and by human carriers. Raw shellfish from contaminated waters are likely to be infected. This can cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms.
Cholera: This is transmitted directly through food or water contaminated with fecal material from an infected person. Can cause acute gastrointestinal infection (a recurring theme?). Outbreaks have been reported (November 2001) in the communities of Kagbanaba, Jipapad and Eastern Samar.
Hepatitis A: This causative virus is commonly transmitted through food, water or milk contaminated by fecal material. Known as infectious hepatitis, it is an acute inflammation of the liver.
Malaria: Malaria is caught through mosquito bites. Sadly this is a preventable infection characterized by high fevers and chills. It can cause rapid death through shock and multiple organ failure if not treated promptly. Malaria is present in rural areas at low elevations (below 600 meters). There is no risk in metropolitan Manila or urban areas. The risk exists year- round, but is greater May through November.
Malaria information for the Philippines:
Area of Risk: Rural only. No risk in provinces of Bohol, Catanduanes, Cebu and metropolitan Manila. Malaria transmission in the Philippines is largely confined to rural areas not visited by most travelers; most travel to rural areas in the Philippines is during daytime hours when the risk of exposure is minimal.
Chloroquine resistance: Confirmed in Islands of Basilian, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Palawan and Sulu Archipelago.
Prophylaxis: chloroquine, mefloquine, malarone or doxycycline.
Dengue fever: This is also transmitted through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are active in daylight hours in both urban and rural areas. Present throughout the country. Dengue outbreaks are common in densely populated areas: Quezon City; Manila; Bacolod; Bulacan; Nueva Ecija; and Benguet. Risk of outbreak is higher during the wet months, May through November. In 2001, 15,600 cases and 118 fatalities were reported.
Japanese encephalitis: Again this is caught through mosquito bites. Risk is greatest if living for prolonged periods in rural, endemic areas. There have been outbreaks reported in Nueva Ecija, Luzon and Manila. Japanese encephalitis occurs year round and is also more prevalent during the rainy season May through November. There may be an elevated risk in January through March because of rice crop irrigation.
Schistosomiasis: This is a parasitic infection spread by free-swimming larvae that penetrate the skin though only found only in fresh water. Avoid swimming and wading except in well-chlorinated swimming pools. Swimming and wading should be avoided in Leyte, Samar, Mindanao, southern Luzon and the east coast of Mindoro and Bohol Islands.
Rabies: This disease is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually by a bite. The degree of risk to the traveler is largely dependent on activities and level of exposure to infected animals. Avoid petting or touching wild or stray animals. The Philippines ranks third in the world on a per population basis for incidence of rabies; believe it or not there is an average of 10 dogs for every human in the Philippines. Approximately 98% of the rabies cases come from dogs; 2% from cats. An estimated one-third of rabies cases are treated at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. San Lazaro also functions as an animal bite treatment center.
Air Quality: Excessive air pollution, caused by industrial and transportation emissions, is reported in and around Manila, Philippines. According to latest World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, total suspended particulates were assessed at 200 micrograms per cubic meter. WHO annual mean guidelines for air quality standards are 90 micrograms per cubic meter for total suspended particulates. If you have asthma or other respiratory illnesses, consult with a health care provider prior to travel and carry sufficient medications.
Yellow fever: This vaccine is required if traveling from an infected area and older than one year of age.
When possible, see your health care provider at least four weeks prior to your trip. All routine vaccinations should be current, including: polio, tetanus, diphtheria, measles, mumps and rubella. Influenza (flu) vaccine may also be advisable.
Hepatitis A: This is a two-dose series. This is generally recommended by doctors for all travelers regardless of destination. Hepatitis A /Hepatitis B are also available in a combined vaccine.
Hepatitis B: This is a three-dose series. Again this is generally recommended by doctors for all travelers regardless of destination. Hepatitis A /Hepatitis B are also available in a combined vaccine.
Typhoid: This is particularly important because of the presence of S. typhi strains resistant to multiple antibiotics. There is a one-dose vaccine or oral four-tablet sequence.
Japanese encephalitis: This is a three-dose series. This is needed for stays in rural, agricultural areas.
Rabies: This is recommended if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals. These three-dose treatments are pre-exposure. Post-exposure treatment is still required for animal bite or contact.
Again let me state that this information was not meant to overwhelm you or scare you into not coming. Most of this is general advice and I admit to not being fully immunized before any of my trips and have not had any problems. But you can’t say you are ignorant of the risks now, how you proceed is your decision.
Medical attention once in the Philippines:
Pharmacy service in the Philippines:
There are literally hundreds of pharmacies peppered all around Angeles City. You can get some prescription drugs by simply walking up and asking for them by name. I have seen many a foreign tourist walk up to one of these places and get everything from serious pain medication to Viagra. Also be aware that international brands of medications are available in major pharmacies. You won’t have to go for some knock off brand. Mercury is the largest chain of pharmacies in the Philippines though many are available from the larger chains surrounding hospitals to mom and pop places everywhere.
Some of the smaller pharmacies may not have what you are looking for so you may have to try the larger ones located towards AU hospital or elsewhere. The pharmacy located on McArthur next to Johnny’s Supermarket is pretty well stocked and I have had little problem getting what I need there
Unfortunately there are some times we need medical attention when traveling. Here is a list of hospitals and contact information for some major cities in the Philippines.
St. Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart
Cebu Doctors Hospital
Davao Doctors Hospital
188 E Quirino Ave.
Capitol Medical Center
Makati Medical Center
#2 Amorsolo Street
Manila Doctor’s Hospital
667 UN Avenue
St. Luke’s Medical Center
279 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue
Phone: 632-723-0301; 632-722-6161
When in Angeles I recommend that you use:
Angeles University Foundation Medical Center (AU)
Phone: 045-322-8876; 045-322-8877 to 80
Philippine International Hospital (PIH)
654 Malabanas Road
Plaridel 1 Subdivision
Phone: 045-322-1911; 045-892-1911
Contact information for some other important places in the Philippines:
The Philippines country code is (63). Please remember the Philippines are 8 hours ahead of GMT.
If you are dialing a number in the Philippines from over seas you will need to drop the leading zero in the area code. For example a landline phone number in Angeles is something like 045-555-5555 and a cell phone number would be something like 0919-555-5555. If you were dialing these from the states it would be 63-45-555-5555 or for the cell 63-919-555-5555. If dialing within country you would need to add the zero back in and not use the country code, or in other words 045-555-5555 and for the cell 0919-555-5555.
The Philippine National Red Cross
PO Box 280
Phone: 63-2-527-0866; 63-2-527-0856; 63-2-527-8384 97 (main line)
Telex: 27846 PNRC PH
Telegram: PHILCROSS MANILA
Philippine Department of Tourism
Department of Tourism Building
T M Kalaw Street
Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation
4th Floor Legaspi Towers
300 Roxas Boulevard
Fax: 63-2-5216165; 63-2-5253314
Embassy of the United States of America
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Manila, The Philippines
Marine Security Guard (after hours), ext. 2311 or 2688
U.S. Consular Agency
Third floor, PCI Bank
Lahug, Cebu City
Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Emergency phone numbers:
POLICE EMERGENCY – 166
FIRE EMERGENCY – 166
AMBULANCE EMERGENCY – 166
Ok, I guess now is as good a time as any to discuss a little about terrorism in the Philippines. I know this is a topic that weighs heavy on a lot of minds especially those from the east coast in the states and in particular New Your City.
While it is true that there is a splinter group of nationalistic terrorists in the Philippines and it is also true that there have been some kidnappings here, the activity is mostly concentrated in the southern islands and even then around places that most tourists wouldn’t consider going anyway. There were some isolated events around the Palawan area but security has been beefed up tremendously in this region of the Philippines and reportedly the faction group leader that was preying on this location has been caught and is out of the terrorism business.
Ok, now that we have all that boring stuff out of the way, let’s talk a little more down to earth and some practical advice. You have your passport ready with any visas you might need, you have your plane ticket, you’ve reserved your taxi for airport pick up, (more on airlines and taxis in the next section), and you are a few days or a night away from your trip. It’s time to pack that bag!
What to pack and what to leave at home:
It is almost impossible to under pack. One can get by in Angeles on the bare minimum and buy everything you forgot to bring. For any trip of any length I suggest the same airplane wear. Wear a nice pair of slacks (Dockers or something like that) a nice shirt (I suggest something long sleeve that you can roll up your arms when you get a little warm) your heaviest pair of shoes you plan on bringing with you on the trip, with socks. These should be the heaviest clothes you will need for the entire trip. Often times I don’t wear these again (except the shoes) until the return trip. The reason for this is will be less you have to carry. This is a great way of bringing only a carry on. For a normal trip of around two weeks you shouldn’t have to check in any luggage. Given all that the following is a list I would suggest at a minimum.
For a two week vacation I suggest the following (not including what you wear on the plane):
3 changes of underwear. With what you’re wearing that will be four pair. This is plenty as laundry is available everywhere and not very expensive.
One pair of socks. This will be two with the pair you wear on the plane.
Pair of thongs. Not cheap shower shoes, a nice pair of flip-flops.
Sandals. Again, a nice pair like Tevo or something like that.
1 pair of pants. Some Dockers or some blue jeans.
4 pair of shorts. The kind with deep pockets.
4 to 5 shirts. Combination of T-shirts and Polo type shirts.
Shower items. Lot of options her that I will go into later.
Swim Suit: A must if you are planning on swimming.
Misc. Books, CD Player, Tape Player, Camera, etc.
…and of course cash, credit cards, ATM card, passport, etc.
That’s it! That is plenty for you to have a great trip. Anything else is a luxury and while nice to have, you won’t need it to have a great time. For a longer trip add minimum amounts of each item. Laundry services are so cheap it is easy to over pack clothes and have way more than you need. If you can avoid checking luggage do it as this will save you up to an hour or more upon arrival. The luggage retrieval in Manila is infamously slow. Often I have carry-on only and through immigration, customs, and in a cab headed towards Angeles in 15 minutes. Would have been faster but sometimes I was deep in the plane and got stuck behind some people in the immigration line. Conversely, once when I checked some luggage as I was brining a bunch of Christmas gifts, it took me 2 hours to get out of the airport.
Sometimes however it just isn’t practical to have only a carry-on. If you do check in luggage be patient on the other end as you will see more big boxes coming off the plane and traveling on the conveyor belt than you could ever imagine. Bring a book or listen to some music to pass the time.
What not to bring:
Laptop. It is not necessary to bring your own laptop. That is of course assuming you won’t need it for business, but on a pleasure seeking vacation there are a ton of Internet cafes with exceptional equipment available with many hotels even having their own for use that you won’t need to bring your own.
Clock. All hotels have wake up calls and services that are very reliable and you won’t have to pack this item. Of course the small travel alarms are so tiny that it won’t make much difference, but I am speaking of the large radio desk clocks I have seen some people bring with them when they travel.
Expensive jewelry. There is no need to have any of this as it will get in the way and affluence is not measured by opulence. You will get more attention and affection from women having a pleasant personality and showing some respect and acting nice than trying to impress with jewelry.
Expensive clothes. The same as jewelry. Wearing shorts and t-shirts is not considered rude or impolite. I’m not saying that you should wear clothes that are old and full of holes, but you won’t have to wear a tie or slacks every night to the clubs. But if there is a night you want to dress up a little and go to a better restaurant you’ll have the slacks you wore on the plane. There are some who wear nothing but pants so this wont apply, but if you do wear shorts, do yourself a favor and don’t pack but maybe one more pair.
Pagers and cell phones. These work on a different system then in the states and elsewhere and your coverage will not work. Unless it’s a tri-band cell that is, then go ahead and bring it and buy a SIM card for it here. Cell phones are cheap and if you need one you can get one for less than a hundred dollars. More on cell phones later.
The point of all this is you will not need all these gadgets and toys while you are here. This is a simple country with a simple people and there is plenty to keep you occupied during your trip. The basic packing list I presented is a starting point. Add or subtract to your particular needs, I just provide this to show you that not much is needed to have a great trip.
Other advice for you to plan and prepare for before your trip:
The Filipina is a very clean person. They spend literally hours a day cleaning or taking care of them selves. The same grooming habits in the men they like to meet are highly coveted. Get used to washing thoroughly. I mean thoroughly! The Philippines is a very humid place and you will probably end up taking 2 or 3 showers a day. A clean person is much more attractive than an unkempt one. So start that scrubbing now. Get all those nooks and crannies that you usually just glance over in your daily showers. I suggest start using one of those scrubbers or other good cleaning device. The girls will also enjoy using them if they are in your shower.
Speaking of that, here is some great advice on types of shower items to bring. Before your trip take some time and go to a bath and shower place. Instead of just bringing regular soap like Ivory or something, buy some colorful scented soap. Not perfume scented or anything like that, but a lilac or vanilla, or something like that. The girls love it and you will notice the difference. On that same note buy large bottles of a good shampoo. Again something colorful and looking out of the ordinary. A good red or purple works great for this. You can do the same for your hair brush and other toilet items as well. Get a nice salon brush for example, or bring a small make-up mirror. It’s these small touches that will make the girl enjoy herself with you when she spends time with you in your hotel and the rewards are numerous. Again I must stress that the Filipina is an immaculate creature and enjoys being around a man who takes care of himself.
That goes for facial hair too. If you aren’t too attached to that mustache, beard, or sideburns down to your chin, shave them off. For the most part (and this is a big generality) the Filipina likes a smooth face. I had a friend come over once with me and he had a goatee. After the first night he was down to a mustache and by the third he was clean shaven. I know this is a hard area for some, but it’s true. To tell the truth I miss my goatee as well, but better to be more attractive than less to the Filipina.
Also get used to wearing a strong deodorant and a nice smelling after shave or cologne. The Filipina really appreciates a nice clean and good smelling man. They will forgive a little extra weight, a lack of hair on the head, and even some social graces, but they do not forgive an unkempt man.
Study the language:
I am not saying become fluent or anything, but take the time to learn some basic words and phrases. While it is true that English is very prevalent here, even considered the second official language, there are words in English that are not the same as in your home country. I will go into this more in the section on Communicating Effectively, but for example it is called a CR and not a bathroom, it is a tissue and not a napkin (you say napkin and it means the female hygiene type), spread the butter is a must at breakfast, and so many more. So just study a little so you won’t be lost when you get here. This is also a great ice breaker with the girls. Show them you are trying to learn their language and their culture and you’ll hit a home run every time.
Get on the boards:
The various message boards out there have some of the best up-to-date information available. While it is true that there is a bunch of crap to wade through, there is also a ton of good information as well to be found. You can read about what events are upcoming and happening during your trip and get a good sense of which clubs are hot and which are not. You can read about which hotels and restaurants are worth frequenting and which to avoid. As always it is best to form your own opinion as most of what you read, even this guide, is tainted by the author’s experiences and background. However, you can quickly determine which posters are posting from their heart and which are posting from their ass.
Some of the boards to visit are:
AC2: The Angeles City 2 board is one of the oldest and most frequented boards out there. There have been good times and bad times, but over all you can get a lot of current events and news off this board with a lot of trip reports, pictures, with a good dose of spam. It is best to stay on as a lurker for a while before diving into the deep end of the pool. Sometimes you need a thick skin to be on this board as there are a ton of flamers that enjoy nothing more than tearing up new guys. Just realize that nothing is personal on there and don’t give too much personal information. If you have the right attitude and demeanor the AC2 can be a lot of fun.
Asian-Escapades: Obviously you’re reading this guide and I highly recommend joining this site as it has a ton of information and news on Angeles City and one of the friendliest boards with onsite people answering questions for newbies and even seasoned visitors. There are news letters and reports from Angeles and tens of thousands of pictures and many many videos to wet your appetite.
Gotophil: This is a board on another pay site run locally here in Angeles City. Although they have trip reports and people posting from other places such as Thailand, the main focus still seems to be on the Philippines and in particular Angeles City. 99% of the news items and about 70% of the posts are about this town. The good thing about this board is that it is only accessible by paying members. It is amazing what that does to filter out the trouble makers. While the traffic isn’t as strong as the AC2, you are more likely to get honest answers to your questions.
TSM: This board is a hit and miss. While it is on a pay site and that generally means that you weed out all the trolls and flamers, many times wars break out on this board between the Asian crowd and the Latin American crowd. They have tried to segregate the boards and still these seem to happen. However the board still has some unique posters you won’t see on the other boards while the first listed have a lot of the same guys posting to all of them. The TSM site also has many trip reports so a historical view can be seen however when I read through these when I was a member I always seem to ask myself, “Where was this guy?“ as even though he is writing about Angeles City, it seems completely foreign to me and totally opposite of my viewpoints. However saying all that if you have the money and want to join, there is some valuable information here.
Some boards and Internet sites to stay away from:
The Wild West Board, AD2T, Gossip board, and Angeles City News are all boards that are for the most part just spill over of the main AC2 board and full of repressed men who are sitting around their house bored to tears and just want to start some flames. There is more bad information and pure gossip on these boards then anywhere else. Another bad thing about these boards is that you can post as anyone you want. I have never posted on any of these boards but posts from my name are constantly being posted. If want some irreverent humor and no serious information by all means visit and have fun. Just realize that it is a sewer and nothing really there to help you.
Jade Cool, Filipina Spice, Adult Club, Tri Cams, and other Filipina chat sites: While these sites are a lot of fun and you can meet and talk with some lovely Filipinas, they are full of deceit, games, and cons. The whole point of these sites is for you to be hooked on the Filipina charm. While this is true, the other stuff they spout out at you is not true. You can quickly become jaded with the Filipinas promising the moon and delivering nothing. But, if you realize this going in and visit these sites just for pure pleasure, no problem, knock your self out and have fun. But if you are planning your first trip I would suggest waiting until you got back home and have spoken to these beautiful Filipinas in person before getting some incorrect preconceived notions by visiting these chat sites on speaking to the Filipina for the first time online.
The last thing I can suggest you do before you make the trip is to convince a friend to go with you. As much of a great time you will have on your vacation in Angeles City, you will have more if there is someone there to share it with. But the bottom line is being prepared and taking the time to research where you’re going. This section is a great start and will get you here fully briefed but test out those links and get on those boards and you will know as much as a seasoned visitor well before you make your cherry trip.