Almost got caught out very badly the other week and looking for advice.
30 day visa free entry. Went to check-in at the airport, staff wanted to see a departure ticket. Thankfully I had already booked a flight out (this is often not the case, Philippines are basically flight-only options though) however due to leaving Australia I had no SIM card in my phone. Thus no 3g, or access to the itinerary. It was with the same airline however they couldn’t look it up (given the complete lack of competence this probably is true). Thankfully the airport had wifi and I managed to eventually load up an email after some stressful minutes. A number of airports only have wifi near the gates not out in departures too. If I couldn’t load up the ticket she literally wasn’t going to let us on the flight. Wtf. Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam… all places I have been, had no exit flight/transit booked because was going over land, and train/bus tickets in a lot of countries aren’t readily available online. None of them have ever cared.
Is this usual or was this chick just nuts? Of course when we arrived customs didn’t care at all, “when are you leaving, where to?” and that was it. How many Australians exactly are smuggling themselves to live illegally in the Philippines, especially with only 7kg of luggage? Come on…
We finally arrive Manila at 1am. Literally no ATM works. 3 different cards with 3 different banks, half a dozen ATMs… nothing, all “error communicating”/some generic message. By this stage we were attracting a fair bit of attention having wandered the airport trying every ATM, our only saving grace was $30 I still had in cash that I exchanged at a booth, which was enough to get a taxi to accommodation 5km away. Next morning found an ATM nearby, stomach full of nerves… worked perfectly. We used 2x cards, both worked first go. Same bank as one of the airport ones. God knows why they didn’t work at the airport (well, insert a nothing ever works or is done properly in the Philippines joke here), however I haven’t read much about people carrying much cash. It seems like we should always have $100 - or more if an expensive country - in case this ever happens again? Even though I can’t think of why this even happened in the first place. All the money in the world won’t help if you can’t get your hands on it