Let’s see. What shall I write about today? Do I want a quiet week with only a few comments, or do I want to say something controversial and laugh as the comments come rolling in? I suppose Bob Martin (site administrator) will insist that whatever I write about has something to do with the Philippines.
President Trump is in the Philippines today (Nov. 13th), but nothing of much interest has happened yet. It is amusing, however, seeing him and President Duterte standing together. The height difference is significant (or maybe Duterte is really taller than Trump and fake news is making it seem just the opposite. I don’t recall if I was watching CNN.)
This week, sitting here in a small Cebu town, I enrolled in Obamacare (U.S. health insurance) for next year. It took less than an hour. I suppose you are wondering why I would want health insurance that is of no value in the Philippines. It doesn’t cover anything here. Well, for starters, the premium I pay is less than a dollar a month. Since I am visiting the United States in May 2018, having Obamacare means I won’t need to buy travel/health insurance. Obamacare also allows me to be flexible regarding my Philippine return date. My wife and I are covered by a good insurance plan for as long as we are in the Chicago area.
My wife and I are in the Philippines on a balikbayan visa/privilege, which means we can stay up to a year. Since we want to visit the USA yearly anyway, it works out well for us. We book a round trip ticket where the return flight is way in the future, but less than a year. Our current Philippine stay is almost half over, starting last June.
Flexibility and planning ahead is the key when trying to save money on air travel. My wife and I made many vacation trips to the Philippines before retirement. We accumulated many frequent flier miles. Now we are starting to use them… when it makes sense. First, I’ll go online and compare the cash prices for a range of dates. Next, I’ll compare the cost, in mileage points. I may do this daily for a month before I find that sweet deal that I can’t resist. Sometimes a deal appears in the morning and by evening it’s gone.
When planning air travel, I consider many things such as airlines and airports. I try to avoid smaller airlines (safety concerns) and overcrowded airports. When traveling to the Philippines, I have used Delta/Northwest, Cathay Pacific, Asiana, and Korean. My flights always start at Chicago’s Ohare Airport. I would rate their international terminal as average/good. It’s not overcrowded, however, they don’t have a great choice of restaurants. Delta typically stops over in Japan/Narita. My experience has been it’s overcrowded and I avoid it. Cathay Pacific stops over in Hong Kong. It’s a good airport. Asiana and Korean Airlines stopover in Seoul/Inchon. It’s also a good airport. My last several flights have all been on Korean Airlines. I have no complaints. Living on Cebu, I naturally do everything possible to avoid Manila. These days it’s easy. I haven’t seen Manila for almost 15 years. Cebu’s Mactan airport is simply ok. I won’t review it at this time since it is undergoing a massive expansion.
In many countries, once your flight lands, you might wonder whether your taxi to the hotel will end up costing more than your flight. In Cebu, you need not worry. You will likely arrive at your hotel in 30 minutes, providing you land late at night, which happens often for international flights. The taxi fare should be less than 10 US dollars (500 pesos).
It would appear I haven’t written anything controversial today, so I guess there will be very few comments. Maybe next week I’ll shake things up with an article titled, “Would Trump or Duterte be the Better Poker Player”.