[ Note : As they’re on their way here, Ganda and Bunso asked for whatever I could offer by way of tips, on how to make the departure from NAIA as pain-free as possible. It’s been some time since I left from the Phils, so some insight may be a bit dated. Thanks for reading ! ]
Dear Ganda :
I know it’s a bit daunting, but traveling on your own with just Bunso to accompany with you is just the same as travelling with an adult, only this time you are in charge of yourself, and of course your brother. You asked for some tips, and although I’m a bit out-of-circulation, here’s what I remember.
1. Since there are just the 2 of you it might be better to just bring suitcases with built-in trolleys, the type you can pull, not the old kind. But I guess that’s not practical since you’ve a lot to bring. Sigh.
2. you might want to ask Nana to help bring you and Bunso to the airport, since it will be a chance to say goodbye and someone can help you unload and load the luggage
3. at the entrance they will already ask you to show your passport and ticket, because unlike airports in other countries, NAIA doesn’t allow non-travellers to enter the airport proper.
4. so you won’t be inconvenienced, ask Bunso and yourself as well to avoid any metals in your possession unless you can put it in your bag. always have your travel documents ready so u can easily present it. and don’t forget to bring cash for the airport tax. last I remember, it was P750…
5. I think the last counters either left or right are the airport tax counters.
6. depending on the airline and how full the plane is going to be, boarding time will be 30 minutes to 1 hour from actual take off time. so you have to be nearby the boarding gate, because esp if there are lots of OFWs, it will be an early queue to the gate
7. There, you will be asked to present your passport, because they will examine your visa. they will probably ask you what your purpose is , even though it’s plain to see on the visa. They are watching out for white slavery and illegal recruitment schemes
8. All you need to do is tell the immigration officer that you are visiting your mother in NZ, and if they ask for how long, state the period of your visa. It’s a formality, and sometimes, sometimes they are asking for something else. But doing that to you is unlikely because you’re very young, almost a minor. But remember, you’re accompanying Bunso who’s really a minor.
9. As long as you’re direct in your answers, they’ll finish with you straightaway and you can proceed to the waiting area.
10. Because you arrived at the airport early, you will probably anticipate at least an hour’s wait, or more. But it’s a small sacrifice, I guess.
11. you can still say your last goodbyes at the waiting lounge / area with your cellphone, but that’s the last place where you can do that. i think there’s an area you can go use the computer and there’s wi-fi. you can check your emails and change your profile pic one last time. 🙂
12. going back to your luggage, most airlines allow 20 kilos luggage but if it’s PAL and you request nicely, they allow up to 25 kg. Handcarried is up to 10kg but the size of the bag allowed is not large, maybe the size of a briefcase maximum.
13. Try to eat a lot before going to the airport, and eat as little as possible in airports because (1) you never know what’s in the food, and it wouldn’t be a pretty sight to try to spend some time in the toilet, wherever airport you are; and (2) airport cafes and food outlets tend to be expensive.
14. If you’re in for a long wait, either in NAIA or during a stopover, I would recommend that you bring along a nice thick volume, like a novel you’ve been wanting to read but never had the time for. You will breeze through it in no time. Otherwise, the shops in NAIA are not the best, sorry to say, and their counterparts in Sydney or Melbourne are much better.
15. I almost forgot, and I should be doing a facepalm for this, please don’t forget to keep with you the document showing parental consent and allowing Bunso to travel, and that you are his guardian / escort for at least the duration of the trip. They will ask for details and documents at least once during your check-in processes, and don’t be flustered if they ask to call either your mother or me, for that reason it may be prudent to have lots of credit / load on your phone. Just to be sure.
Overall, you’re in for a marvelous adventure, and that’s just getting here ! Just stay alert, don’t be too friendly with strangers, no matter how handsome or cute they are, and you’ll be here in no time. I love you always, kaawan kayo lagi ng Diyos !
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