This advisory is intended for foreign participants to the 2009 CC Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on 5-6 February 2009 at the Waterfront Manila Pavillion Hotel, especially those would be travelling to Manila for the first time.
AIRPORT/VENUE TRANSPORT: The Organizing Committee endeavors to bring CC affiliate leads and staff from the airport to their respective hotels when they arrive in Manila. Members of the Transport Subcommittee will be there at the airport, with CC marks to distinguish from the public. If you have not yet informed the organizers of your flight arrivals and departures, feel free to send an email at guerrero AT mydestiny DOT net. All international guests will be transported to and from the Cultural Night venue on Day 1. Please do inform us of your plans for your return trip to the airport (Day 2, Day+, Day++), so that we could be prepared in transporting you back.
WEATHER AND CLOTHING: Current temperatures are from 22 to 29 degrees Celcius, as of 24 January 2009, alternating between sunny and cloudy. Light/summer clothes, especially for those from winter countries, would be recommended.
LANGUAGE: Although Tagalog is widely spoken by the locals, they are quite capable in understanding English.
ELECTRONICS: Electrical systems are usually 220 volts, using 2-pin Type B ungrounded sockets (Not type C or F, which are rounded). Wireless connections are available for free at the conference area, but connections in rooms may be for fee.
MONEY/FOREX: Legal tender is Philippine Peso. If you intend to convert currencies to Philippine Peso, do note that the exchanger's fees are absorbed in the margins in selling/buying, not fixed on the number of transactions, regardless of the amount. Current rates are at around US$1 = P47+ or 1 Euro = P61+, as of 24 January 2009, but are subject to change as per market forces. You should also have no problem withdrawing cash from ATM machines (which allow those with Cirrus, Visa, and MasterCard marked bank cards) or paying with any of the major credit cards.
- UTENSILS: The common utensils used in local restaurants would be spoons and forks. Do request for forks and knives if you are not accustomed to this. Only Chinese, Korean and Japanese restaurants have chopsticks.
- WINE: Small restaurants might not carry wines in their menu. Soft drinks are more common.
- TIPS: Generally, tips are given in restaurants (not fastfood) if there are no service charges.
WATER: It is recommended to buy bottled water, since the quality of tap water here is not consistent. Bottled water is clear water, not szeltzer.
SMOKING: Smoking is not generally allowed in enclosed offices and buildings, and public transportation. Smoking may be allowed in designated enclosed areas, smoking rooms, or in open areas.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: All public transportation are route-based, and not time-based. Buses and jeepneys are available most of the day but dwindle during the wee hours of the morning. Taxis can be hailed anywhere. Generally, taxi drivers expect tips.
SUN FUN OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: If you intend to join the optional activity at Terrazas de Punta Fuego on Day+, do bring swimming trunks/bathing suits, towels (just in case), and sunscreen. Kayaking activities may carry additional charges. Golfing activities may also carry additional charges. If you intend to go for golfing, do inform us of your plans so that we can prepare the availability of golfing equipment, to save you from additional costs besides the green fees.
AIRPORT DEPARTURE: When departing from the Philippines, the airport terminal would normally charge a terminal fee of PhP 750 for all departing passengers. Do have this available as credit cards are not used for this particular transaction/requirement.
ASSISTANCE: In case you need assistance when you are already in Manila, especially when outside the conference venue, you can call Jimmy at +63 915 2036295, Mars at +63 915 2914028, or Berne at +63 921 5173631. You can also call the AUSL-ITC (Tina or Dhang) at local landline +63 2 5214690.