There are many questions that can arise when going on a medical mission to the Philippines. We have provided you with some of the answers to the questions you might have below. And here is a 25 minute video on the Philippines: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=inAe6Wpn6ok
What part of the Philippines are the Missions?
Panay, located in the central Philippines. It consists of four provinces: Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo. Mending Faces currently visits San Jose in Antique, Kalibo in Aklan and Roxas City in Capiz. Our 2015 Mission is in Kalibo.
Is it safe to travel to the Philippines?
Just as in many of the major metropolitan areas in the United States and Europe, crime is a significant concern in Metro Manila. You should exercise good judgment and remain aware of your surroundings.
Visit the U.S. International Travel information for the Philippines for additional and updated information: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_999.html
What health concerns or risks are there in going to the Philippines?
Before visiting the Philippines, we recommend you visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/philippines.htm
How will our travel arrangements be made?
We will provide you with the final airport destination and airport code once you are selected to be a part of our medical mission volunteer team. You can book your own travel, use airline miles or book your travel through the recommended Mending Faces travel agent. If you are fund raising for your mission contributions, we will book your flight for you.
Who takes care of our lodging arrangements and what sort of lodging arrangements are there?
Mending Faces will take care of all the lodging arrangements during the dates of the medical mission. If you need to stay additional days, we can certainly help you and provide suggestions as needed. We usually book a nice room with two beds in it. There are options for a single room for an additional cost. All of this will be included in the welcome packet when you have been selected to join the medical mission volunteer team. Mending Faces will arrange breakfast and lunch during the dates of the medical mission. Here is one example of our lodging: http://www.thesanantonioresort.com/
Do we need a Visa to go to the Philippines?
A Visa is not required, but proof of a return ticket will be necessary to enter the country.
How much cash should I have on hand?
We recommend that volunteer team members bring about $200USD. The exchange rate averages around P42 pesos per U.S. dollar. Check out the most updated exchange rate at: http://fx-rate.net/PHP/. Airport taxes are required on entry and exit at the Manila airport. Recent tax to leave Manila was P750 pesos or about $15 U.S. You can exchange U.S. dollars for pesos prior to leaving the U.S. or when you arrive at the Manila airport. After arriving in the Philippines, you will likely need some cab or tricycle fare. Tricycle fare from the hotel to the hospital is typically P50 pesos. Typical tips are P50 pesos for bellboys or airport porters. If you don’t want to tip, carry your own luggage. Other items you may spend money on include dinners, souvenirs, and sight-seeing.
How much do things general cost in the Philippines?
Things are less expensive in the Philippines than in the U.S. A nice dinner out could cost you $5 USD, coffee and donut might cost $1 USD.
What is our schedule like?
Our days start early and go until about dinner. We will have some dinners scheduled for the entire team and members of the local community. Here is a general schedule of the week:
Saturday- Arrival Day
Sunday- Orientation & Screening
Monday- Screening & Surgery
Tuesday- Surgery & Outreach
Wednesday- Surgery & Outreach
Thursday- Surgery & Outreach
Friday- Surgery & Packing
Saturday- Travel Day Out
Can we travel after the medical mission? Are there any suggested travel destinations we should know about?
Yes, you are welcome to travel after the medical mission. Many volunteers go to Boracay: http://www.myboracayguide.com/menuoption/generalinfo.html. Other people spend time in Manila, travel to other parts of the Philippines or other parts of Asia.
If I am not traveling with the main team out of Denver where should I meet with them?
There are several places along the flight route where you can meet up with the team. Once we have confirmed the flight itinerary we will make sure everyone gets the information, so you can plan to meet us at one of the several stops along the way.
What are my options for fundraising the money for my mission contributions?
There are several ways you can fundraise for your mission contributions. Several volunteers send out letters to family and friends asking for their support. We also have a great online tool where you can create your own fundraising page and direct folks there to donate as well. If you are selected to the volunteer team, we will send this information in the welcome pack.
How long is the flight to the Philippines?
This depends where you are flying in from. From the U.S. it is generally a 24-hour travel day. There are several stops along the way and several layovers getting to where we need to go.
What airline does the team normally fly with?
We normally use Philippine Airline or United as they have direct flights from the U.S. to Manila.