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Packing, Travel and Diving Tips for the SB Invasion to the Philippines

Discussion in 'ScubaBoard Invasion 2016 Philippines' started by ROXANNE, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. ROXANNE

    ROXANNE Artist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    3,924
    2,331
    113
    Packing, Travel and Diving Tips for the Invasion to the Philippines

    Well we are getting closer to the ScubaBoard Invasion 2016 to the Philippines!!!!!
    I thought we could touch base on some of the information we will all need and the great ideas that everyone has on preparing, packing, travel, and dive related tips.
    For some this is old hat, so share your knowledge.
    As additions are made to this list, I will highlight them in red
    along with important new posts so you know there is new info.

    I’ll get things started… Here are some of my tips.​


    PACKING AND TRAVEL TIPS
    DON'T FORGET These Items when Packing!


    DOCUMENTS AND ID

    -Airline tickets/info for going and return flights.
    -Maduro invoice for the resorts and diving.
    Cardzard and I will provide the actual vouchers for the group to give to Atlantis at check in.
    -Passports (I also make a copy of it and put it in my carry on)
    -Driver’s License or if you don’t have one, some other form of picture ID.
    -Diving Certification Cards (I also make a copy of it and put it in my carry on)
    -Here's a link to the Waiver for Diving > ONLINE FORMS - Atlantis Dive Resorts & Liveaboard.
    This waiver needs to be completed a minimum of 14 days before arrival.
    -Also your ScubaBoard Waiver will be emailed to you by Cardzard. Please print, fill out and bring with you to give to either Cardzard or myself at the welcome party. All Crew members must sign and turn in the ScubaBoard Waiver.
    -DAN and Health Insurance Cards


    CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS AND CASH
    -Credit/Debit Cards or ATM Cards (call your card company, let them know when and where you’ll be traveling)
    (Some CC company charge an extra fee for transactions when out of the country)

    -Money to Bring: The local currency is the Philippines Peso (Php). Atlantis will bill in either pesos or USD. All credit card transactions appear in pesos. Atlantis can also exchange AUD, EUR, HKD, JPY, GBP and SGD at the resort front desk. (USD cash may be accepted at some local establishments and at the airport for terminal fees, Small Bills (1’s, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s can be useful and go a long way) There are no charges for using credit cards for services and/or purchases and Atlantis accepts VISA, MASTERCARD or AMERICAN EXPRESS. Atlantis offers a 5% discount if you pay by cash for your resort charges. Please note: They cannot provide cash advances on credit cards and cannot process tips/gratuities by credit card. There is an ATM in Sabang, Puerto Galera and in Dumaguete City. However, we suggest you do not rely on ATM machines outside of Manila as the machines are prone to technical failure, may be out of cash or may not support your card.


    PRESCRIPTION & OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATIONS
    Anytime you travel outside of your normal area, you may want to make an appointment at a travel clinic or with your doctor - they will research (usually the CDC website) for where you are going and recommend any shots or prescriptions. You want to do this a least a month before you leave for your trip as some prescriptions may require you to start taking 7-10 days before leaving.
    -Prescription Medication (Carry in your carry on, keep it in the prescription bottle with your name on it)
    (Always bring a few days extra in case you have travel delays along the way)
    -Over the counter medications and first aid items that you may need. Especially allergy medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to anything.
    -I have a med pack for traveling with items such as band aides, sports wraps, Benadryl, Imodium, Advil, bug bite cream etc. (You may find some of the same products in the Philippines, but the packaging may look different and the instruction might not necessarily be in English)
    -Sunscreen (Try to use products if possible for the coral reefs health)
    I found this wonderful line of reef safe products Stream2Sea | EcoConscious & Biodegradable Sunscreen


    PLEASE REMEMBER TO CARRY ON ANY ITEMS THAT YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE

    ID’s, Credit Cards, Cash etc.
    Any Cameras/Electronics/Batteries and accessories
    Computers/Tablets/Phones/Dive Computers
    Prescription Medication
    Glasses/Contacts/Prescription Masks
    Jewelry/watches

    Note: Carry-On Luggage Restriction: Effective July 1, 2015 Philippines Office for Transportation Security has issued new rules that include ‘Scuba Diving Equipment’ (including regulators) on the list of blunt instruments that are not to be in carry--- on/cabin baggage on flights originating within the Philippines. Please ensure that all scuba equipment is secured within checked---in baggage on all domestic flights and on all departing international flights.

    For anything in question or liquid form, check with your Airline for specific rules as to what's accepted and procedure for checking in, as these seem to be changing constantly. If it’s not permitted, TSA will take it and throw it away!

    We personally had a problem with our rechargeable batteries in our carry-ons one time. They weren't allowed in the checked and they weren't allowed in the carry-ons. Making up the rules as they go, Go figure??? I would suggest not putting them all in one place in your carry-on. Dennis had quite a few, all in one spot and I think they stood out like a sore thumb.

    Don't let your common sense go on vacation too. Be aware of your surroundings when travelling and watch out for each other. Lock up your cash, jewelry, passports and credit cards in your room safe. Don't leave your phones, tablets, laptops, cameras and dive computers sitting out in plain view when you're not in the room.


    PACKING TIPS AND ITEMS YOU MAY WANT TO BRING FOR YOUR COMFORT

    Good thing to started packing early, in case anything needs to be repaired before you go.
    I like to be organized (can’t you tell) so I have a travel checklist on file that I printout. Here's my list if you like or use this as a jumping off point for making your own list. View attachment 124688
    This way, I don’t have to think too much about remembering what I need. The list includes everything that might be needed and I can add to it. If something's on the list that doesn't apply to this trip, I just cross it off. I also include things to do like stopping the mail, newspaper, contacting your cell provider if you want service there, and calling the credit card companies to inform them that I will be going out of the country so they don't cut me off in mid-trip.


    Some links on surviving long flights

    26 tips to help you survive a long haul flight

    Experts Reveal 23 Tips to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

    The best way to survive a long-haul flight

    -Sunglasses and an extra cheap pair for the boat (polarized are better for gazing into the water)
    -Hats
    - Bug spray Bugs are normally not an issue at the resorts, but occasionally can appear, so best to be prepared. Here are a few products Cactus Juice , www.reefsafesuncare.com.
    - Water: bottled water can be purchased and you can refill the bottle at the resorts with their filtered water. Tap water at the resorts is not potable. Please only use filtered water when brushing your teeth and for drinking.
    - Tea bags, flavor packets or liquids to flavor your water for variety. I do strongly suggest drinking only bottled or can drinks when outside the resort and wiping any moisture from the tops to avoid having any health issues. I also avoid ice.
    - You should always be conscience of what you are eating and drinking when you are outside of your normal routine and country. Some even recommend avoiding the ice cubes on the planes.
    - Personal flashlight for your comfort.
    - The guest rooms are equipped with a safe and a mini bar stocked with water, a small selection of beverages, snacks and emergency toiletries for purchase.
    - Ladies - Feminine Hygiene pads can be purchased locally, but tampons can be very difficult to find.
    - Electricity in all rooms is 220V - (most guests will need a converter, not an adapter)
    Here's a link as an example of what you need. Samsonite - Converter/Adapter Kit - Red/Black

    -For those of you planning on participating in the Photo Contests or planning on sharing photos with other, DON’T FORGET A THUMBDRIVE! They come in real handy! IJS

    -The van ride from Manila to Batangas where you take the boat to Puerto Galera is about 3 hours. The van or bus will stop at a service plaza that has a Mc Donald’s, a convenience store, a Starbucks and restrooms. Starbucks took Visa or M/C . McD and convenience store took Philippine pesos only. It would be a good idea to usually exchange about $20 USD into PHP at the Midas in case you need it. There is no need for PHP other than this stop at this time. Leftovers can be used to pay the departure tax leaving the country, about $18 USD.

    Continued into the next post
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
    ScubaSparky85 and Daeria like this.
  2. ROXANNE

    ROXANNE Artist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    3,924
    2,331
    113
    CONTINUED
    -Restrooms in the Philippines (except at Atlantis) are commonly not equipped with toilet paper. You will need to either brings some from home or takes what you may think you need from the Midas Hotel. In Batangas before you get on the boat, there is a gas station with a restroom for a charge of a few pesos, maybe a dime US. The boat to Puerto Galera has a “WC” water closet which is actually an enclosure but a hole that goes into the sea.

    Clothing options

    Think about light weight items when packing. Inexpensive t-shirts (like Hanes or fruit of the loom) are very lightweight and can be left behind if you shop too much in town.
    Light weight dresses and throws are great for the ladies.
    Think khakis or other light weight fabrics instead of jeans. Shoes can weigh a lot also. Even thou it's a pain at the airport, I'll wear my tennis shoes as they weigh the most. (You will want your tennis shoes to protect your feet if you go on excursions or walking about.) And if taking a light jacket, it goes on the plane with me as well. (Many of the airports and sometimes the planes can be very cold.)
    A lightweight travel vest or jacket with lots of pocket could come in handy too!
    Some Woolite or those all-in-one washer sheets if you plan on hand washing some of your clothes.
    If you have a companion travelling with you, put some of each person’s items in each checked bag. If a solo traveler, spread out your items between the bags. That way if one of the bags gets lost, you still have some of your things. Everyone should try to fit in at least 1 extra pair of your under garments in your carry on. Outer wear is easier to purchase if your bags arrive late or are lost, but trying to find under garments for purchase can be more difficult.

    Laundry service

    I have had a couple of people ask about laundry services so I have attached a rate sheet.
    Each piece 100 PHP = $2.25 USD.

    Making the most of the luggage weight restrictions

    CEBU PACIFIC
    Hand Carry Baggage with Domestic Airlines
    Domestic carriers strictly enforce a maximum of 7Kg/15lbs for hand carried luggage.
    CEBU PACIFIC
    Our domestic tickets on Cebu Pacific include 30Kg/66lbs.
    This can be upgraded to a total of:
    40kg/88lbs total ‐ $40 round trip add on
    55Kg/121lbs total ‐ $105 round trip add on,
    60Kg/132lbs total ‐ $115 round trip add on,
    70Kg/154lbs total ‐ $130 round trip add on,
    80Kg/176lbs total ‐ $150 round trip add on.

    Note: Maximum weight per bag should not exceed 35kgs. / 77lbs Confirmation of additional weight requirements must be given at least 60 days prior to arrival.

    Additional luggage for Cebu Pacific may be charged to personal bills at either resort. Current excess baggage fees are US$4 per pound for each leg of travel if purchased at the airport.

    Note: Carry-On Luggage Restriction: Effective July 1, 2015 Philippines Office for Transportation Security has issued new rules that include ‘Scuba Diving Equipment’ (including regulators) on the list of blunt instruments that are not to be in carry--- on/cabin baggage on flights originating within the Philippines. Please ensure that all scuba equipment is secured within checked---in baggage on all domestic flights and on all departing international flights.


    EVERYONE should base their luggage needs and cost based on ALL of the flights you will be taking not just your international flight.(Don't forget, Men and Women are allowed to have a personal item purse/back pack/briefcase/laptop case/man purse in addition to their carry on. Make the most of it!)
    I have a large purse that I use just for flying, but I may go to a backpack or laptop case for my personal item on this trip. The personal item is not weighed, so it's great for a few heavier items. Just make sure the items you put in your personal item can be carried on and not needed to be placed in checked luggage. (AGAIN, ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR AIRLINE OR OUR TRAVEL AGENT IF YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT SOMETHING)

    A personal travel hand scale is an invaluable tool so you don't have surprises when getting to the airport on your flights.

    Put your name, address, and phone number in all your bags including your carry on and personal item in case they become lost or separated from you.



    Weather Forecast to help you decide what to pack
    Puerto Galera on land, daily lows/highs around 74°F / 94°F, 21°C / 32°C throughout the month of June.
    https://www.wunderground.com/history/wmo/98431/2015/6/18/MonthlyHistory.html?req_city=Puerto Galera&req_statename=Philippines&reqdb.zip=00000&reqdb.magic=44&reqdb.wmo=98431
    Average water temps 85.4°F / 29.7°C
    81.7°F / 88.4°F, 27.6°C / 31.3°C /
    Puerto Galera Sea Temperature June Average, Philippines | Sea Temperatures
    Full moon on the 20th.

    Dumaguete on land, daily lows/highs around 75° / 90°F, 24° / 32°C throughout the month of June.
    Weather History for Dumaguete, #HISTORY.statename | Weather Underground
    Average water temps 85.1°F / 29.5°C
    83.0°F / 86.9°F, 28.3°C / 30.5°C
    Dumaguete Sea Temperature June Average, Philippines | Sea Temperatures


    Diving Tips

    -For those of you planning on participating in the Photo Contests or planning on sharing photos with other, DON’T FORGET A THUMBDRIVE! They come in real handy! IJS

    Here's a few links on the dive sites you might be interested in.

    Puerto Galera Dive Site & Map

    Dumaguete Dive Sites & Map

    Tanks are yoke or DIN so an adapter is not needed. All tanks are 80 cu ft/12 L.


    This is a good time to get your gear serviced! If it's new or has been serviced, you might want to get in a pool session/dive in and make sure it works.

    Get yourself hydrated before the trip and stay hydrated, but don't overdo it. Drinking smaller amounts of water throughout the day is better than just guzzling a glass or 2.

    We like to use baby shampoo for mask defog.

    My feet get blisters and take a beating while diving multiple days, so I wear the thin socks. It also helps your feet slip into your wetsuit! You may want to wear dry shoes in between dives to allow your feet to dry out.

    Atlantis is not allowed to build docks in front of their resorts which means when boarding the dive boats, you will walk a few feet through the water. For those with booties it’s no factor. For those with full foot fins and with tender feet, you may want to bring water sandals or Crocks.

    A lightweight cooler bag is a great way to carry those bigger underwater cameras and the smaller ones too! They give the camera some protection and are easy to fold up for packing, light weight and rinse out easily. I have also found the little neoprene draw strings bags with clips are great for protecting your Go Pros on the poles or trays.

    If you tend to get over heated easily, bring a bandanna with you. Wet it and tie it loosely around your neck, it will help to keep you cooled down.

    Some Woolite or those all-in-one washer sheets if you plan on washing the funk off your clothes or dive wear in the sink/tub. Don't forget some clothes pins too. They help when hanging items up for drying and to keep them from blowing of the balconies.

    I use Scuba Do Rags to keep my hair under control. If I don't keep my hair braided and covered like that, it would just be shredded. I also like to put some biodegradable conditioner in it while dry before covering it. Again Stream2Sea | EcoConscious & Biodegradable Sunscreen has a wonderful leave in conditioner that works great and is safe for the environment. Some kind of covering is great for gals with shorter hair and guys to keep their heads from getting sunburned too. Unless your bald, it very hard to put sunscreen on your scalp.

    The age old question of Skin or Wetsuits-
    Warm tropical weather is the norm, but you can get some cooler up swells from deeper waters. See the water temps above under the weather forecast. And remember many of you will be doing quite a few dives, so plan accordingly.

    Water Visibility varies based on the site, but is generally very good, ranging from 40 to 80 feet at coastal sites and up to 125 feet at both Apo and Verde Islands.

    Found this article and thought it might have some helpful tips for your ears and diving.
    Ear Clearing 101

    Some of the crew has asked about their Save a Dive Kit (Spare Parts) Rental equipment is available from our hosts Atlantis Resorts. You'll find they really go out of their way to be helpful there.

    I would just bring some basics if possible, but I would absolutely include a spare battery for your computer and a backup if you are using a subscription mask.

    We will also be emailing the group some additional pdfs for your information by the end of March.
    Resort FAQ
    Domestic flight info
    NAIA Terminal Maps
    SB Waiver
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  3. Freakita

    Freakita Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: London
    73
    104
    33
    Thanks! Lots of usefull tips.
    I have never done a 15h flight, never done 2 weeks diving! So all the experience you all can share will be welcome.
     
    Audsred, cardzard and ROXANNE like this.
  4. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    55,641
    22,873
    113
    This needs to be emphasized. Many of the dive booties won't let water drain efficiently, so you find your feet soaking in sea water all day long. That makes your skin soft and easily abraded. Nylon socks can really help prevent your skin from blistering as well as sloughing off. Personally, I wear sandals and other open to the air footwear between dives to allow my skin to dry out and toughen up.

    New gear. It's often really tempting to take new gear on a dive vacation. Be careful with this. I suggest that you try it out first, at least in a pool. There are limited, quite limited options to acquire replacement gear where we are going. That new mask or fins might not feel the same when you're actually diving them, so find out before you leave your old faithfuls at home. However, be sure that you check the straps and such on those old faithfuls too. Don't just assume it's all going to work!
     
    Audsred, Freakita, MNJoe and 2 others like this.
  5. MNJoe

    MNJoe Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Rochester, Minnesota
    211
    256
    63
    I also use the old "sock in the dive bootie" trick. Otherwise half way through the week I have horrible blisters. I use a very thin, wicking sock.
     
    Audsred, ROXANNE and cardzard like this.
  6. Freakita

    Freakita Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: London
    73
    104
    33
    I find most of the booties are to wide for my feet and I´m always cold underwater, so I got sharkskin socks :) and that was the end of my blisters and cold feet.
     
    Audsred likes this.
  7. Audsred

    Audsred Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boynton Beach, FL
    324
    371
    63
    I use the socks in by booties too - use to get blisters - but no more. When diving two weeks 4/5 dives a day - you will start getting chilled into the second week. I normally wear only a skin but on long dive trips like this I will be wearing my 3mm in the second week. You can try layering with a hood/beanie or a vest too. I plan to bring some dive layers with me
     
    ROXANNE and Freakita like this.
  8. Audsred

    Audsred Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boynton Beach, FL
    324
    371
    63
    You may want to make an appointment at a travel clinic - they will research (usually the CDC website) for where you are going and recommend any shots or prescriptions. You want to do this a least a month before you leave for your trip as some prescriptions may require you to start taking 7-10 days before leaving. At a minimum make sure your tetanus shot is up to date!
     
    ROXANNE and Freakita like this.
  9. MNJoe

    MNJoe Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Rochester, Minnesota
    211
    256
    63
    Note: Carry-On Luggage Restriction: Effective July 1, 2015 Philippines Office for Transportation Security has issued new rules that include ‘Scuba Diving Equipment’ (including regulators) on the list of blunt instruments that are not to be in carry--- on/cabin baggage on flights originating within the Philippines. Please ensure that all scuba equipment is secured within checked---in baggage on all domestic flights and on all departing international flights.


    So after thinking about this, I must ask, "What are people doing with their SPG's?" It is SCUBA gear, it is a blunt object. If I remember correctly, and I do not always, I was taught you are not supposed to check your pressure gauge due to having less than atmospheric pressure on it, and it could have a detrimental effect on your gauge. Now it was way back in '87 that I had my Basic Open Water so I may be way off base. I have just always put itin my carry on.

    Can anyone either correct me or confirm what I remember?
     
    ROXANNE likes this.
  10. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Solo Diver Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Palm Beach, Fl
    3,599
    809
    113
    Mnjoe, you should be fine. Even the cabin is less than the ground level pressure.

    Or consider it like this: the plane is still flying in the atmosphere so anywhere it goes it's atmospheric pressure! :)

    Several trips with gear in the hold and never a problem. Cabins are for people and camera gear, regulators...just duct tape it to the wing if you want to, should be fine!!!
     
    crd_kats and ROXANNE like this.

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