For Balikbayans (Filipinos returning to the Philippines for a vacation), a trip back home can be both fun and hectic. You are coming home to reconnect with family and friends, to embrace the Filipino hospitality and enjoy the beauty of your home country.
Always remember to cherish the special moments of your vacation as a Balikbayan. There can be logistical and cultural things you may not know how to navigate anymore, but no worries, we prepared some tips, just for you!
1. Plan Ahead:
- Determine the duration of your stay and create a rough itinerary of places you want to visit or activities you want to do.
- Check the weather conditions during your visit and pack appropriate clothing and essentials.
2. Travel Documents and Logistics:
- Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay.
- Book your flights and accommodations well in advance to secure the best deals.
3. Stay Connected:
- Purchase a local SIM card or consider using a mobile roaming service to have access to affordable local calls, internet data, and messaging services.
- Keep important contact numbers saved in your phone, including emergency contacts, embassy or consulate details, and numbers of your local family members.
4. Health and Safety:
- Carry a small first aid kit with essential medications and supplies.
- Stay hydrated, use sunscreen, and protect yourself from mosquitoes, especially if you plan to stay in some areas outside the city.
- Best to drink bottled water only and avoid ice in small establishments that may not be using purified water. Some tourists and Balikbayans experience travellers’ diarrhea. If diarrhea or food poisoning symptoms last for more than three days, best to consult a doctor in the nearest ER. You may need oral antibiotic for a bacterial stomach infection and would want to stay clear of dehydration which can cause more problems.
5. Local Customs and Culture:
- Familiarize your non-Pinoy family members who are travelling with you, with local customs, traditions, and cultural norms to show respect and avoid unintentional misunderstandings.
- Learn a few basic Filipino phrases and expressions to help you communicate with locals and enhance your overall experience.
- Consider hiring a private car and driver because public transportation in Metro Manila and around the provinces do not have the efficiency, predictability and quality standards you may be used to.
- In planning your social calendar, be aware that traffic conditions vary per time of day and depending on weather. Like when there is a sudden heavy downpour of rain, expect heavy traffic and possible flash floods in certain areas that can delay your travel time.
7. Money Matters:
- Exchange some currency to Philippine Pesos (PHP) upon arrival for small expenses.
- Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues with accessing your funds or credit cards.
- Carry small denominations of cash for convenience in smaller establishments or when traveling to remote areas.
8. Safety Precautions:
- Stay aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas or tourist hotspots.
- Keep your valuables secure and avoid displaying expensive items openly.
- Follow local safety advisories and guidelines, particularly in regions with specific security concerns.
9. Enjoy Local Cuisine and Experiences:
- Indulge in delicious Filipino cuisine and try local delicacies from various regions.
- Explore cultural festivals, street food markets, and traditional performances to reimmerse yourself in the vibrant local culture.
- Contact us and we will plan a gastronomic itinerary for you and your foodie family members to enjoy!
10. Spend Time with Family and Friends:
- Plan quality time with loved ones and reconnect with your Filipino roots.
- Create memorable experiences by participating or organizing family gatherings, and sharing stories with relatives.
Call us at Great Life! We can help you with all your Balikbayan travel concerns through our complete Balikbayan concierge package. We provide hassle-free, clean and professional car and driver service for your entire stay. We can also organize all-in family gatherings and reunions to match any budget and ideas you have in mind. We can even help you with your pasalubong shopping and so much more.