Information on visas, airport taxis, SIM cards and Google Maps
Visas on Arrival
Citizens from 151 countries can obtain a visa on arrival in Manila. Chinese Nationals, including citizens for Hong Kong and Taiwan, will need a special permit.
Upon exiting the Manila airport, you will see the official airport taxi stand (Taxis are yellow). We recommend using this service. There are also individuals who may offer you transportation, but the cost is likely much higher and they’re not working with the airport in an official manner. Taxis are quite cheap in the Philippines. You can expect to pay approximately $8-12 to get from the airport to your hotel depending on traffic. If however there is a big line for the yellow cabs, a reasonable fare for the semi-official (white) ones would be 600-800 peso or 15-18 dollars (although they will try to quote you much higher).
Getting a SIM card upon arrival should be a relatively easy process. The two main providers in the Philippines are Globe and Smart. Either one is fine with Globe having slightly better coverage in Manila. Double check if you need mini/micro/nano in terms of the size your phone takes.
For more information, here is Globe’s website with a direct link to info about airport arrivals.
Otherwise, there are SIM cards available at convenience stores located very near to the hotels and ISM.
The cards generally come in denominations of (in Philippine Peso):
100 = $2.15
300 = $6.45
500 = $10.76
GPS and Google Maps
When traveling internationally, you can still get around on a smartphone via GPS without a data connection. This is great to finding your destination before you may have a data SIM. Here’s how:
- Open Google Maps on your smartphone
- Search for “Manila” or “Fort Bonifacio” (where the school/hotel is)
- Then, and here’s the fun unknown trick, in the search box type in “ok maps” (a throwback to Google Glass’s “ok google”)
- Voila – you can now use GPS to get around with that map even without any internet connection!