Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and Asia Air Zest operate daily flights to and from Manila and Tacloban. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific also fly regularly between Tacloban and the neighboring island of Cebu. The Philippines has one of the largest domestic air transport networks in the world. It is possible (but not recommended) to travel overland to Tacloban from Manila using the Philtranco or Silver Star buses whose terminals are located in Cubao, Manila. It is also possible to get from Cebu to Tacloban City by taking a fast boat like the Supercat in Cebu City to Ormoc City and then taking a two to three hour bus from Ormoc City to Abucay Bus Terminal in Tacloban City.
The official language of the town is “Waray-Waray”, but English is widely spoken and understood by anyone with an academic background. In addition, the national language “Tagalog” and the neighboring province’s dialect “Cebuano” are also widely spoken and understood.
The currency used is the Philippine Peso (PHP). On site, 1€ is equivalent to around 57 PHP.
The cost of living in the Philippines is half as high as in France. To give some equivalences, a cinema ticket costs €4.50, and a lunch at a restaurant costs €2.70 on average. A dinner at the restaurant costs less than €9, and a draft beer €1.10.
Public transport can sometimes seem chaotic to outsiders, but after the orientation you will become familiar with the various transport vehicles in the area, especially between Bliss and Placement and within the town of Tacloban. The most common form of transportation in and out of Tacloban City is by jeepney. Most fares range from 7 to 30 Philippine pesos (€0.20 to €0.50). For shorter distances, tricycles (motorcycles with sidecarts) and footbaths (rickshaws) can be flagged down on the sidewalk for a nominal fee. For long distances outside the city, you will find buses and vans at the bus terminal in Abucay, Tacloban City. Fares vary between 100 and 300 Philippine pesos depending on where you are. If you need help with transportation during your stay, you can always ask your volunteer coordinator for advice.
For a stay of less than 30 days, a visa is not required for French nationals. However, you must either take a 59-day visa before leaving for a stay between 30 and 59 days, or request an extension on site. Taking care of the visa application before leaving will save you 43€!
Local doctors, clinics and hospitals are available. However, we require all volunteers to purchase comprehensive travel insurance prior to arrival in Tacloban City. In addition, we strongly recommend that all volunteers be vaccinated against hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, rabies, mumps and Japanese encephalitis or make an appointment with their local GP to obtain the latest medical advice. We also recommend that volunteers bring with them a sufficient amount of mosquito repellent and anti-malarial medicine.