There are thousands of OFWs working on the different sides of the world. Each and everyone has their reason for leaving their home country and most of them is to save for their future and to help their families back home. Knowing Filipinos, we have the undeniable traditions and beliefs or the things our ancestors used to do and imparted to us. Being specific for overseas workers, we get used to bringing “pasalubong”, ambag, padala etc. There’s nothing wrong with sharing our blessings, our hard earned money through working abroad. Remember what Chinkee Tan said “Walang masama mamigay basta meron ka, walang masama bumili basta afford mo”. But one thing we must remember, you are not obliged. So when you are going for a vacation we are always worried of the cost, the time spent with our families and sadly the other people’s expectations. As much as you want to save and only take a rest and relax yourself away from work, it usually happens the other way around–overspending. Let’s discuss some of the helpful tips where you can actually save on your vacation:
- Cheap Airfares. Lucky are those who’s airline tickets are shouldered by their companies. But for those who purchase at their own expense, book your ticket ahead of time. Once you have confirmed your dates of vacation, start searching for cheap flights. The closer the date, the higher the prices, so be ready ahead of time.
- Pasalubong craze. Okay, okay here we go! If you really want to give something to the most important people in your life, that includes those who helped you along your process towards success and those who really cared for you during your ups and downs, or those whom you owe a lot. Remember, don’t feel guilty of failing to give if you can’t afford, be true to yourself, you are not obliged. But, if you are planning to share blessings, prepare a box to be shipped ahead of time. Purchase items that are on sale where you can buy in volume and with good quality. Do not be intimidated of the brand they demand. You are the most entitled person to choose what you want to give, and they will be the one to adjust on what they receive, they will be thankful anyway. When you have pasalubong on the box, do not bother yourself buying more to fill your check in luggage unless it’s for different set of people. You will end up broke for pasalubong itself if you double it, spare something for your pocket money.
- Avoid announcements. If you are running for politics soon and cannot contain the boast in your body, then you can have a press release that you’re coming home. Otherwise, just go home quietly. Your family is so excited to see you and be with you again and so you are, do it intimately. You can inform your most immediate family member to pick you up at the airport if you have heavy luggage; or surprising your family is much sweeter plus economical. The more everyone knows that you’re coming home, the more they plan to ask you something and that’s horrifying ‘coz sometimes, it comes with brands! LOL!
- Calendar of activities. Creating your own itinerary makes it easier for you to manage your time and make your vacation worthwhile. Do not forget that 80% of the reason you came home is for your family and to take a rest, then 20% could be for other activities you missed. Of course, when you are having a bonding with your family, that includes leisure, date outs or anything that everybody could enjoy.
- Treats. This is very common. One way that can share your blessings, you can treat them instead of pasalubong. So either you choose to give them something from where you’ve been or treat them for an excursion or a mukbang. Remembering them in either way is more important. If you plan to call for some drinking sessions, the awesome way to save is, buy liquor in wholesale. A box bought as wholesale is far cheaper than buying it one by one at some stores, whatever drinks you want. One more bonus, if you’re coming home for an occasion like feast, birthdays, wedding, etc., invite your friends! That way, you can treat them, they can eat well, you can buy them drinks and that saves you a lot. Save you from bringing them to restaurants, save you from setting different dates for meet up. You can have them all on one occasion, that’s so much of fun! But once again, if you can afford to treat them according to their demand, you can still do it, but if you can’t, then don’t force yourself. You are the ones who knows your budget, don’t get intimidated or feel pressured.
- Out of town trip.When you plan to have an out-of-town trip with your loved ones, you can book hotels ahead of time at a cheaper price or choose to book at any AirBnb properties. If there is any accommodation where you are allowed to bring and store foods, that is much better. You can bring bigger quantities plus you can enjoy your meal. It is always best to plan your trip early. If it is your first time to go to a certain spot, try doing some research and reading reviews and asking friends before getting in there so that you will be aware what to prepare, the do’s and don’ts of the property and the cost will be put into a budget.
- Pocket money. Number one rule, “don’t end up ZERO!” The ideal way to save for pocket money is start ahead of time. Allot an amount monthly for your goal budget. If you are planning to use 1-month entire salary, make sure you have spared an amount for upcoming expenses back to the country you are working for. Never ever get in advance your next monthly salary for the sake of leisure if you don’t wanna starve when you go back. It also doesn’t mean that saving up for vacation requires ravenous for some months; you have to be frugal but not famished. Eat well and stay fit, your family doesn’t want to see your skull or ribs. LOL
- Public Display Aura. Well this is common. Since some people think that you’re digging up lots of bucks outside your home country, you get so pressured; pressured to boast. To the point that, you want to show up on your homecoming, with all the Apple’s and Vuitton’s. If you are earning great and you can afford, it’s fine, you are very well entitled to have the things you deserve and makes you happy. But if you are earning paycheck to paycheck or just enough for monthly expenditures then came to think of the value of your purchased items. Enjoy your vacation without the need to stress out on what brand to wear or what phone to show off. There are so many rich people in the world who keep themselves simple and live below their means while these middle-class are so restless and even going off for a debt just to afford the things “they think they need” but actually they only want it in order to show to others that how it should look like when working abroad. But for some, it’s actually not a prerequisite. So don’t bother yourself buying invaluable items that you cannot afford on the last minute of your vacation. Save it for greater experience with your family.
- To have and to hold. Learn to havea right budget plan for your vacation and learn to hold your budget when it’s not necessary and not obligatory. Stick to your itinerary and the obligations to your family. Don’t get overawed to peer pressure. If there is any emergency, then there should be an emergency fund and this fund is not coming from your pocket money. We can’t avoid emergencies, and not everyone has prepared for it. Facing the reality that emergencies happen, then also face the fact that you need to save for it before it occurs. Take note that not all emergencies in your town, neighbors, far far relatives are under your responsibilities. Go and help without pressure. There are many types of help you can offer.
- Enjoy. Yes have fun during your vacation, it doesn’t need to be expensive. Playing with your nephews/nieces, going to the beach with family, laugh out loud during tea time with your most favorite people around. All these things does not come in expense, so come home with no pressure, swear, nothing will loose if you’ll be true to them and to yourself.
What’s most important is you and your family are healthy and once again you are all together making happy memories at home.
Additional tip, before planning of vacation to the Philippines please make sure to follow protocols about COVID-19. Please follow these protocols issued by the US Embassy in the Philippines.
The U.S. Embassy continues to closely monitor COVID-19 developments in the Philippines. The Philippine Department of Health provides regular updates on the number of confirmed cases.
According to the Philippine government, the following quarantine classifications are in effect through December 31, 2020:
General Community Quarantine (GCQ):
Luzon – National Capital Region (Metro Manila), and province of Batangas;
Visayas – cities of Iloilo and Tacloban; and
Mindanao – Iligan City, Lanao del Sur, Davao City, and Davao del Norte
For quarantine classification protocols and regulations, visit the Philippine COVID-19 website. The Philippine government requires that face masks be worn in all areas and has said face masks may be store-bought or improvised, such as a handkerchief or small towel covering the nose and mouth. Local governments continue to implement additional requirements to slow the virus’ spread.
Entry and Exit Requirements:
- Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes, in limited circumstances as outlined below.
- Starting December 7, 2020, the following may be allowed entry privileges to the Philippines under the Republic Act No. 6768:
- Filipino citizens’ foreign spouses and children, regardless of age, who are traveling with the Filipino citizen;
- Former Filipino citizens, including their spouses and children, regardless of age, who are traveling with the Filipino citizen.
- The entry of these persons shall be subject to the following conditions:
- They are allowed visa-free entry under Executive Order No. 408, s. 1960;
- With pre-booked quarantine facility;
- With pre-booked COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport; and,
- Subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.
- Contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate for additional information prior to booking travel to the Philippines.
- U.S. citizen residents of and visitors to the Philippines must contact the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) for information on visa extensions. U.S. citizens can review a complete set of instructions and requirements needed for every BI transaction on its website.
- Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? No.
- Upon entry, passengers are required to undergo a COVID-19 RT-PCR test at the airport.
- Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes.
- Upon arrival, local authorities will brief passengers, who will also undergo a temperature check upon deplaning and will proceed to the designated waiting area for other protocols and swab testing.
- Is a curfew in place? Yes.
- The timing for each curfew is set by the Local Governmental Unit (LGU) and varies by region.
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes.
- Checkpoints are in place and domestic air travel remains limited. LGUs my request information about your purpose of travel. In general, leisure travel is not permitted at this time.
- Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes.
- Quarantine is required for 14 days in a government-controlled hotel/facility.
- Individuals granted permission to enter by the Philippine authorities must have a confirmed booking for at least two days at a hotel accredited by the Philippine Tourism and Health Agencies while waiting for their COVID-19 test results.
- U.S. citizens must stay at the booked hotel until they receive a Philippine Bureau of Quarantine medical certificate.
- U.S. citizens may obtain COVID-19 testing at local medical facilities. In general, payment is in cash only by the U.S. citizen prior to testing. Costs vary according to the test given and the medical facility.
- Are commercial flights operating? Yes.
- There is a daily cap on the number of incoming passengers.
- Is public transportation operating? Yes.
- Availability of public varies based on instructions from the LGU. Masks are required, and some LGUs require face shields. The number of passengers per taxi is limited due to social distancing requirements.
Fines for Non-Compliance:
- Consequences, such as fines or arrests, for non-compliance with Philippine rules regarding social distancing, movement restrictions, and mask/face shield mandates vary according to the LGU. U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to follow instructions of local governmental authorities.
- American Citizen Services: Limited passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) services are available by appointment only at U.S. Embassy in Manila and at the Consular Agency in Cebu. We are not providing walk-in service at either location.
- Visa Services: Limited visa services are available by appointment only at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Visit the Embassy’s visa alert page for updates on visa services and operations.