Returning to the Philippines for a short break this year? Wow, we’re jealous! We hope you have a lovely time visiting your family – just make sure you follow these 5 hacks for Filipino immigrants in Canada to make sure your trip is smooth sailing.
1 – You Don’t Need to Pay Travel Tax
All travel to and from the Philippines is subject to travel tax – unless you’re tax exempt! If you are:
- Hired abroad directly or through POEA
- A permanent resident of Canada who doesn’t return to the Philippines for more than 1 year at a time
- Filipino students with an approved scholarship in Canada
- Children under 2 years old
Check if you could be tax exempt at the Official TIEZA website, and find out what you need to do to prove your exemption status.
2 – You Can Bring Your Favourite Foods Back to Canada
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is very clear about what foods you can bring back to Canada from the Philippines – and it’s not as strict as you might think.
Foods you can bring to Canada:
- Up to 20kg of baked goods (including pandesal, monay, ensaymada)
- Dried fish and seafood (EXCEPT pufferfish and Chinese mitten crab)
- Fresh fruit (including mango, pineapple, papaya, guava etc.)
Foods you must leave behind:
- Eggs (balut especially)
- Milk and dairy products
Check with the food inspection agency for up-to-date food information for travellers.
3 – Travel in The Off Season
Obviously, the immediate benefit is you get to avoid most of the tourists that visit the Philippines. But travelling to the Philippines in the off season is also cheaper!
Skyscanner has found that the best time to book flights to Manila is 9 weeks before you go, and the best time to fly is in September. So, the best time to book your flights is in July for a September visit for your family.
Tickets are generally 8% cheaper for September flights than other times in the year.
4 – Avoid Exchanging Money at The Airport
After living in Canada permanently, you’re likely to have way more Canadian dollars than Philippine pesos in your wallet. The currency exchange booths at the airports, both in Canada and the Philippines, will be at a higher rate than other exchange services and even some banks!
A good way to send money to the Philippines ahead of your trip is to use Remitbee. Remit over $500 as travel money to your family for free, then pick it up with your family when you arrive in the country. Find out how.
5 – Manila Traffic May Be Worse Than You Remember!
Every year, traffic in Manila gets just a little bit worse. It’s a pretty tough drive at all times of day, but if you can time your travel to avoid the rush hours, you may just get home a little bit earlier.
7am to 9am and 5pm to 9pm are the worst times of day to be driving across Manila or trying to take public transport with all the daily commuters. A direct flight from Toronto to Manila is 16 hours long (nearer 20 hours for connecting flights), so use that to work out your timings to book an earlier or later flight… or just find accommodation near the airport so you can wait until the Manila streets have cleared a little.