Cebu City in Philippines
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February 2008... Note that you MUST have an ongoing flight ticket or a visa in your passport when flying to the Philippines as your carrier will not allow you to board without one.
Mactan-Cebu International Airport, http://www.mactan-cebuairport.com.ph/. This modern facility serves both international and local flights. Passport control and baggage handling is fairly fast and efficient. The airport is on Mactan Island in Lapu-Lapu city. It takes about 20-30 minutes to get to the actual city of Cebu. From the Airport you will need to hire a taxi. If you are staying at one of the nicer hotels they usually can send a free van to pick you up at airport. If you forgot to ask for this you may find that the van of your hotel is there to pick someone else up and you can hitch a ride if there is room. Facilities and amenities at the airport include a shopping center, duty-free shop, souvenir shops, cafés, business centers, food shops, communication facilities, banking facilities, car rentals, hotel and resort reservations, and beauty and health services.
Foreign visitors may fly direct, non-stop to Cebu from Doha, Hong Kong, Busan, Koror, Singapore, Taipei, Kaoshiung, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.
Cathay Pacific and Cebu Pacific, a low-cost carrier, both fly between Hong Kong and Cebu daily, while for the Singapore route, Cebu Pacific has daily service and Silk Air flies there 10x weekly. Philippine Airlines service between Cebu-Tokyo is daily except Mondays. Malaysia Airlines fly from Kuala Lumpur via Kota Kinabalu to Cebu twice a week and twice Cebu-Kuala Lumpur direct as well. Qatar Airways meanwhile fly from Doha to Cebu three times weekly. Visitors may also pass through via Seoul-Incheon as Korean Air and Cebu Pacific has daily flights, while Asiana Airlines and Philippine Airlines have 4x a week service to Cebu each. Taipei and Kaoshiung is another point of entry for China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines have 2x weekly flights from each city. Cebu Pacific also services the Taipei route 3x weekly and the Busan route 2x weekly flight. Asian Spirit has 3x weekly flight from Koror, Palau. A new 3x weekly Cebu-Bangkok service by Cebu Pacific will commence in April.
Cebu is also the domestic air hub of the Philippines with close to 60 flights daily on average to and from popular destinations and key cities all over the archipelago such as Manila, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Boracay, Clark, Siargao (Surigao), Zamboanga, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Camiguin, General Santos, and Tacloban.
Visitors from North America, Europe, Middle East, and the rest of the world may fly first to Singapore or Hong Kong or Seoul or Kuala Lumpur or Doha to catch a flight to Cebu. If you don't mind braving the horrendous traffic and the cacophonic noise of Manila, you will get a faster connection to Cebu, for there are more than 20 flights daily between the two cities or almost two flights every hour. There are also flights to Cebu from Clark International airport, from which there are further flights on discount airlines to Macau, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and other points.
Charter flights are also available in some select destinations especially China, Russia and the USA.
Cebu City's domestic port is the country's busiest. Cebu City is home to almost 80 percent of the country's passenger vessels. The country's largest shipping lines, namely WG&A, Sulpicio Lines, Trans-Asia, George & Peter Lines and Lorenzo Shipping Lines, are headquartered in Cebu.
Large passenger ferries with a capacity of 2, 000 to 4, 000 passengers ply the more distant routes such as Manila, Davao, Butuan City, Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro. Medium-sized vessels such as the roll-on/roll-off (roro) types ply nearer destinations while fast ferries transport passengers to and from neighboring islands in two hours or less depending on the destination.
The simplest way to get around is by hopping on a taxi. Almost all of the taxis that you will find in Cebu are metered taxis. A typical trip can cost about 60-70PhP or slightly more than a U.S. dollar if one goes by the meter. Currently, flag down rate is at 30PhP and 2.50PhP per succeeding 200 meters and 2.50PhP per waiting time of two minutes. Drivers however may bargain if they notice that you are a tourist, hence the cost of the trip may double in price. However, you have the option not to agree and may report such to local authorities. If you know the name of the building, establishment, area or street you wish you reach, this is still the fastest way to get to your destination. Most drivers know where almost everything is. If they don't, then simply flag down another one. If the driver is pleasant then it is nice to pay 10-20 pesos extra for nice service and a bit more if he loads or unloads your bags. Most drivers do not have, or will tell you they do not have change, so be ready with 50's and 20's if you are going on short trips.
It is best to avoid the Private taxis. They take advantage of tourists and they charge 5-10 times the price that should be paid. You will find these taxis at the some of the nicer hotels, they are called Hotel taxis and are usually owned by the hotel to make extra money, they will charge you 500 for something that should cost 60. Some hotels make it very hard for other taxis to pick you up at their hotel and you may need to walk outside to save money. Another place that uses private taxis is the airport. The arrivals terminal only allows taxis that have a special airport permit that costs thousands of pesos per month, but these taxis get to charge you a much higher price. If you want to avoid them simply ask a porter for help and ask for a metered taxi, you go up a ramp and there are a large number of metered taxis waiting for you. You can also wend your way upstairs to departures where there are lots of metered taxis dropping off. Fare down town to Ayala or SM Malls should be around 150 pesos on the meter. You may be told 500 by the driver. Just grab the door handle and say what, you don't have a meter? Don't travel unless the meter is used.
Alternatively, if you opt for more adventure, then do as the locals and catch a colorful jeepney. Simply ask around for which route to take. They are available 24 hours and cover most of the nooks and crannies of the city. Airport to Lapu Lapu City (LLC) costs about 7 pesos while across the bridge to Mandaue or Cebu City costs more than 10 pesos.
Buses are also available but these tend to ply exclusively along the north-south route.