My Pilipinas


Entering the Country

Most people enter the Philippines at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) or through sea. Most nationalities are issued a 21-day visa on the spot.

AIR (Airports & Airlines)

Since most people fly to the Philippines and most flights land in Manila, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA; 02-877 1109; in Parañaque, is likely to be your first taste of the Philippines. Too bad, but don’t despair – most of the country is a lot better run than decrepit old NAIA. Doubtless as an incentive for people to fly with Philippine Airlines (PAL), the national carrier, its passengers get exclusive use of the nicer Centennial Terminal (NAIA II).

Cebu City’s Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA; 032-340 2486; is the country’s second-busiest airport and is much better. Depending on your itinerary, Cebu’s airport may also be a more practical entry or exit point. The biggest advantage of flying into Cebu is that it saves you having to deal with the chaos of Manila (and its unscrupulous taxi drivers). Cebu has international connections to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, Kuala Lumpur (via Kota Kinabalu) with Malaysian Airlines, Singapore with SilkAir, and Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul with Philippine Airlines. Since all these cities are well served with international connections, it’s easy for the determined traveller to arrive in Cebu rather than Manila.

Another airport in the Philippines with regular international connections is Francisco Bangoy International Airport (DVO) in Davao on Mindanao, which has flights to and from Singapore with SilkAir.

Previously confined to cargo, the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA, formerly Clark) in Angeles City now handles international flights by AirAsia (to and from Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Tiger Airways (to and from Singapore), and CR Airways (to and from Hong Kong). Airlines flying to & from the philippines

Air France (AF; 02-887 1202;; hub Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris)

Air Macau (NX; 02-243 3111;; hub Macau International Airport, Macau)

Air Niugini (PX; 02-891 3339;; hub Port Moresby Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby)

Air Philippines (2P; 02-851 7601;; hub Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila)

Asiana Airlines (OZ; 02-892 5688;; hub Incheon International Airport, Seoul)

Cathay Pacific (CX; 02-757 0888;; hub Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong)

Cebu Pacific Air (5J; 02-636 4938;; hub Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island)

China Airlines (CI; 02-521 9331;; hub Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport, Taoyuan)

China Southern Airlines (CZ; 02-551 3333;; hub Baiyun International Airport, Guangzhou)

Continental Airlines (CO; 02-818 8701;; hub Houston Intercontinental Airport, Houston)

Emirates (EK; 02-811 5278;; hub Dubai International Airport, Dubai)

EVA Air (BR; 02-864 3800;; hub Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport, Taoyuan)

Gulf Air (GF; 02-817 8383;; hub Bahrain International Airport, Bahrain)

Japan Airlines (JL; 02-886 6868;; hub Narita Airport, Tokyo)

KLM (KL; 02-887 1202;; hub Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam)

Korean Air (KE; 02-817 6668;; hub Incheon International Airport, Seoul)

Kuwait Airways (KU; 02-812 9579;; hub Kuwait International Airport, Kuwait)

Lufthansa Airlines (LH; 02-580 6400;; hub Frankfurt Main Airport, Frankfurt)

Malaysia Airlines (MH; 02-525 9404;; hub Kuala Lumpur)

Northwest Airlines (NW; 02-521 1928;; hub Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport, Minneapolis)

Orient Thai Airlines (OX;; hub Chiang Mai International Airport, Chiang Mai)

Philippine Airlines (PR; 02-817 1234;; hub Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila)

Qantas (QF; 02-812 0607;; hub Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney)

Qatar Airways (QR; 02-812 1888;; hub Doha International Airport, Qatar)

Royal Brunei (BI; 02-897 3309;; hub Brunei International Airport, Brunei)

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SV; 02-896 3046;; hub King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah)

Thai Airways International (TG; 02-812 4744;; hub Bangkok International Airport, Bangkok)


It’s possible to travel by sea between the Philippines and nearby parts of Malaysia and Indonesia. However, schedules and routes are very liable to change so it’s best to be flexible in your plans. Indonesia

EPA Shipping Line (083-380 3591) has ferries that sail between General Santos in Mindanao and the deep-water port of Bitung, 55km from Manado, Indonesia (P1800, 36 hours, twice weekly). The office is inside the port compound at Makar, near General Santos. This is a cargo boat that takes passengers; officially, foreigners should be able to make this trip, but you may want to check with the tourism office in General Santos first. You will need to get your visa requirements in order with the Indonesian consulate in Davao before you leave.

There is also a boat that sails between Bitung and Davao’s Sasa Pier (via General Santos) every Friday, but trip details change often so it’s best to check with Davao’s city tourism office. Malaysia

Aleson Lines (062-991 2687; PPA Terminal, Port Area, Zamboanga) boats leave Zamboanga in Mindanao for Sandakan in Malaysian Borneo twice weekly (cabin P3600, 16 hours).

SRN Fastcraft (992 3765) has two Weesam Express boats a week between Zamboanga and Sandakan (P5400, eight hours).