Feeling Nervous Traveling to the Philippines from Bangkok? Read more.

Last Tuesday, June 5, 2022, I boarded a Cebu Pacific airplane bound to Manila, Philippines from Bangkok, Thailand, and later transfer to Bacolod City. Like some travelers, I had some travel stress. I asked my friends who traveled earlier what requirements they need. In order to prepare me for the journey, I did a checklist of things I needed to prepare that some friends of mine told me.

From the Thai immigration side, you will need to compile a similar checklist below.

  • Re-entry visa (Prepare copies of the following) 
    • Information page of the passport holder
    • Current visa page
    • TM6 paper (both sides)
    • Proof of residential address
    • Passport size picture
    • 1000 baht fee
  • Vaccine card
    • Ask around where you can avail of it
    • If you are a stay in Nakhon Ratchasima, you can get it in Central Korat, on the 3rd floor, right below the cinema for 100THB.
  • Predeparture Checklist (Note: Check first on the airline’s website the requirements needed to go to the Philippines.)
    • ATK Testing
      • Only for passengers without a booster shot
      • Need travel vaccine or proof of vaccinations
      • In Suvarnabhumi Airport you can get this at Level 1, go to door 3, and turn left
      • Cost: 550 baht
    • Predeparture counter check-in requirements
      • One Health Pass Email Confirmation
        • All passengers need to register on the One Health Pass website with 24h prior to departure
        • If this form is not done before you check in they will not allow you to check-in
        • Get ready to take a picture of your ATK results and the documents required to upload in the form. I used my phone to take a picture of some of the documents I could not scan needed for the form
      • Proof of vaccination
      • ATK lab results
    • Immigration procedures are the same
    • Same traveling protocols after immigration prior to departure.

For passengers having connecting domestic flights, the counter agent at Suvarnabhumi Airport gave us a yellow slip of instructions as to what we should do when we arrive at NAIA. It was more confusing than useful. This the steps we encountered when your plane was delayed more than 2 hours and you missed your connecting flight.

  1. One Health Pass Checkpoint prior to immigration
  2. Go to immigration
  3. Collect bags.
  4. Go to declaration counter
  5. The transfer desk is located to the left of the exit. There is a sign and a guard that directed us to the counter.
  6. At the counter, they will rebook your flight to the next available flight.
  7. Since our flight was not the same we were informed that had to go upstairs to the check-in counter to check in our bags. Go to the check-in counter of Cebu Pacific upstairs.
  8. From there you go back to the main waiting area and follow the signs to go to the domestic departure counters. You can take the escalator or the elevator to go up.
  9. Check in bags and get your new boarding pass
  10. Head to the security and departure gate and wait for boarding
  11. Ensure you have your vaccine card. On arrival at your destination, they may ask for a vaccine card.

On a personal note, the Cebu Pacific service is good for a budget airline. However, I was not impressed with the food. The adobo beef lacked a balance of acidity and sweetness. I believe I had an oatmeal burger. The bread was good, however, the patty did not hit the spot for me. It is no wonder they do not get orders for their food.

I believe most of the chaos of this travel goes to the NAIA airport management system. Even though they have expanded NAIA Terminal 3, they still have lots to improve. A recent article by PhilStar ranked NAIA the worst business airport in the world. As an experienced traveler, traveling to over 20 countries, I have to agree to an extent in relation to busy airports. I have gone through worst airports in other countries.

Here are some of my suggestions based on my experience. First of all, the need to make a transfer desk for doing all transfer transactions. It defeats the purpose of the word “transfer desk.” This in turn requires the tired passengers the need to transfer the bags themselves. In my years of traveling, if I have to do this in other airports, the transfer desk does it all, which includes printing out new tickets and gathering your check-in baggages. In most cases, I don’t have to even claim my bags. It also defeats the purpose of tagging our bags as “transfer.”

The are some highlights though. The airport has become more honest. I had left my tablet in my trolly. I did not realize it until I went through the security check. In my mind, I knew it was gone. As I went back, I asked at the counter desk and they said none.. Then I asked an attendant that talked to me earlier and he directed me to a police officer who was just about to call my phone. Luckily I had purchased a sim card prior to this incident.

The immigration process has become much faster. I did not have to queue up as long as before. It could be the travellers were few in comparison to pre-COVID times.

Duties of OFW

I was informed that you can register your information online on the POEA website. Prior to continuing with the form, the website asks for your Pag-IBIG Fund number. If you do not have an account, you can sign up for one online. It takes two days to verify. Updates will come soon!

I hope some of this information will help you in your plans to travel home. You can follow this vlogger in YouTube. Her channel is called Jennifer Teri