Living in the Philippines

Visa Run in the Philippines

Maybe once a year you will want to leave the Philippines for a new Visa, to visit your family and friends back home or simply to breath some civilized air from a neighboring country.

Even if you live in the Philippines on the Visa Extension basis, after 12 or 16 month you have to go out and come back in, to start the extension process from the beginning. In Thailand, we used to call that a Visa Run!

But, to make a Visa Run in the Philippines used to be more difficult and more expensive than in Thailand because you always have to book a flight to leave the country (In Thailand you can use a bus or a van). Today, you still have to do that but flying became much cheaper than maybe 4 or 5 years ago.

To leave the Philippines for a short weekend shopping trip, maybe to Singapore, Hongkong or even Bangkok, you can now go with one of the many budget airlines that serve the Philippines. By now, most of them only use the Clark Airbase in Angeles, north of Manila but we can hope that sooner or later some of them would also fly to and from Cebu in the South of the Philippines.

So if you stay somewhere in the North of the Philippines in Luzon and Angeles, you can choose between Tiger Airways from Singapore, Air Asia, from KL in Malaysia or Asiana Airlines from Korea.
If you stay somewhere in the South of the Philippines, you might have to stick to Cebu Pacific or Silk Air, which serve the Cebu or Davao to Singapore Route, without going to Manila first. Cebu Pacific also has direct flights to Hongkong from Cebu for a reasonable price.

The last time I tried to make a booking for a Cebu to Singapore flight, I ended up with about 15.000,- Peso or about 300,- US$ return for two people.
Using Air Asia from Angeles I managed to book flights for three people from Cebu to Clark, Clark to KL and KL to Hat Yai in Thailand and return for 270,- € or 380,- US$ in total.
All you have to do is to book early enough, maybe two month or three month in advance and you will be OK.

If you want to go out and get a new Balik Bayan Stamp in your passport on your return, make sure to bring your Filipina wife, otherwise the Balik Bayan status will not be granted.

As a US or European citizen, you can enter most of the neighboring countries of the Philippines without a Visa at least for a few days: Singapore (30 days), Thailand (30 days), Malaysia (up to 90 days), Hongkong (up to 90 days)