♥ bring a photcopy of your passport with you and store it in another place, like inside your luggage. while no one wants their passport lost or stolen, having a photocopy makes it easier should you need to present proof that you were actually issued a passport by your home country.
♥ US$50 and US$100 is converted at the same rate, while US$20 below is converted at a much lower rate. therefore, if you must change your dollars at the airport (just so you'll have the local currency already), bring a US$50 at least. that way, you don't lose on the exchange rate either way -- you get the best rate, but you can save the rest for a money changer in the city which gives a much better rate than the airport banks.
♥ however, if the currency is already available in manila, well you might get a better deal buying the currency of the country of destination from manila rather than buying dollars here, then buying the local currency when you get to your destination.
♥ check online (yes, the internet is my friend -- most of the information i used are available online) for the exchange rate. that way, you'll more or less have an idea if the rates you're getting are accpetable.
♥ bring a small calculator with you. while i know my cellphone has a calculator, it's so much easier to press just an on button rather than several buttons to get to the calculator application. also, a calculator is much easier to hand to the salesperson who doesn't speak english rather than an expensive phone.
♥ have a separate wallet for foreign currency and leave your regular wallet in the hotel safe (just make sure to retrieve it before going home!). if you're like me, then your regular wallet will have your credit cards, identification cards, driver's license, and a whole lot of stuff -- none of which you'll need when you're out of the country. storing your foreign currency in another purse means that you can leave the "real" one at the hotel, safely out of reach from pickpockets, and you'll be able to monitor your remaining foreign currency better.
♥ bring a pen with you -- you'll be asked to fill out a number of forms from the time you check-in so while there are pens readily available at the check-in counter and immigration, having your own makes it more convenient as you can fill out the forms somewhere else. (in our case, at yellow cab while eating dinner)
♥ pre-departure expenses: P1,620 for travel tax (which you don't have to pay anymore if it's already included in your ticket) and P750 for terminal fee. there are certain individuals who are exempt from paying travel tax and you may check it out here and here.
♥ if no one's picking you up from the airport:
☺ don't forget to set aside money for the taxi fare
☺ depending on where you live, you'll have to decide between taking a coupon taxi or an airport metered taxi. in my case, the airport metered taxi is much cheaper.
☺ if you're kuripot, then go down the ramp and take an ordinary taxi. much cheaper than any of the airport taxis.
so i've covered the technical stuff, and given that i've been writing about this for four days already, i do hope i'm done. and if i haven't covered everything, well, that's why there's google.
enjoy your flight! bon voyage.