Period: November 6 to 13, 2017
Companions: Claudia, Angel, Xyza
Point of Departure: Kalibo & Manila
Point of Arrival: Incheon, South Korea
There are four airports in the Philippines with direct flights to Seoul: Manila, Cebu, Clark, and Kalibo. Since I am based in Kalibo, Claudia decided to come to Kalibo from Negros on the 5th of November for our early morning flight on the 6th. Angel and Xyza are based in Manila so they will be coming from there on the 7th.
Since it is her first time in Kalibo and we had time, I brought her to the nail salon and had a mani-pedi treatment. She got a temperature-sensitive gel nail polish. The polish is pink in ambient temperature and turns various shades of purple when it gets cold. Dama niya ang full-blown effect sa Seoul which made her so happy in getting that particular type of nail polish.
In writing this throwback travelogue, I asked Claudia for help in the little details.
Me: "Ate, do you remember that nail polish you got in Gaisano? 'Yong nag-iiba-iba ang kulay. What is it called again?"
Indeed! Well, the wonders of science! (Tip #1: A temperature-sensitive nail polish is fun when visiting countries which have four seasons. It is useless here in the tropical climate of the Philippines).
Afterwards, we went to Lorraine's Tapsi (at their old location) and made her try the house specialty of sweet and spicy beef tapa and barako fingers. Barako fingers a.k.a dynamite is a type of Philippine pulutan made with green (sometimes scarlet red makes me wanna cry) chilli peppers with the seeds taken out and then stuffed with ground meat and cheese. Super sarap! Ang anghang nga lang sobra minsan. Anyway, Claudia loved the sweet and spicy beef tapa so much she ordered for take away. We were supposed to eat it at the airport but this plan fell sideways when we forgot it at home. In the end, my mother enjoyed it for herself.
We made our way to my house eventually to finish packing my stuff.
That is Tip #2 for you: Get a bright colored luggage to save you from craning your necks out by the baggage carousel at the airport.
And finally, time to head to the airport. Yohoo!
We have not yet arrived in Seoul but we already looked like the tourists. The two of us were the only Filipinos traveling that morning to Seoul.
Tips for First Timers to International Travels (for Filipinos)
- Check-in online. This will save you time and lessen the stress at the airport. You still have to go to the airline counter to get your boarding pass but at least you will not really have to worry that they've sold your seat to some chance passengers out there.
- Pay your airport terminal fees and the Philippine Travel Tax online. These days, sinasama na ng mga airlines ang terminal fees sa sinisingil nilang airfare. There are also airlines that offers payment services for the Philippine Travel Tax. You can opt to avail of that at isabay mo na agad sa pagbili ng tickets. If you missed to do that or ang airline mo is not offering that service, huwag mag-alala. You can still pay for it online sa TIEZA website.
- Be at the airport at least 3 hours before your scheduled departure time. Yes. Kahit naka-check-in ka na. Remember, you still have to go through the immigration, and depende sa airport na panggagalingan mo at sa oras ng alis mo, ang pila ay maaaring epic ang haba. Also, you have to get your boarding pass at the airline counter. Baka may pila din doon. Maybe, hindi ka din nakapagbayad ng travel tax, and again, there will be a line there for sure.
- Get the departure form from the airline counter and fill it up before going to the Immigration Section. The immigration officer will ask for it and s/he will get irritated when you have to fill it up in front of them, holding up the line.
- In support of #4, prepare your travel itinerary, round trip tickets, hotel bookings, other valid IDs. The immigration officer may ask for one or all of them and again it will irritate him or her to wait for you while you search for them inside your pit of a bag.