Pre-trip Advisory: Survival Kit

To get you ready for your journey to ACPRS 2018, please take note of this pre-trip advisory that will help you in your travel to Cebu City, Philippines.

YOUR DESTINATION: Cebu City

Dubbed as the Pearl of the South, the beautiful island of Cebu is found in the middle of the Visayas region, composed of one main island and 167 surrounding islets. Cebu City is one of the seven cities that comprise the Cebu Metropolitan area and is considered as the center of trade, commerce and education in the Province. Cebu is one of the top tourist destinations in the country best known for its beautiful white beaches, dive spots, rivers and waterfalls - located just a few hours’ drive away from the city.

LANGUAGE

The local language in Cebu is Bisaya but majority of Cebuanos are fluent in both Filipino and English.

RELIGION

The predominant religion in Cebu is Roman Catholicism, making up 80% of the total population. A minority of the population are divided between Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and other Christian faiths (e.g. Protestants, Mormons, Baptists, Methodists and others).

CURRENCY

The local currency for the Philippines is the Philippines Peso. Businesses rarely accept payments in other currencies; hence, foreign guests are strongly encouraged to have their money exchanged to Philippine Peso. There are numerous establishments that offer currency exchange services. Money changers can be found in the Mactan Island International Airport and in most of the major malls and banks in the city. You can also withdraw money via ATM. Foreign guests are reminded to visit their banks and inform them of your trip to the Philippines to activate your account for international transactions.

WEATHER

The Philippines is a tropical country and the weather is mostly sunny all year long. The country has 2 well-defined seasons: the dry season (November to May) and wet season (June to October). The mean temperature however, do not vary greatly, ranging from 25 to 28 degrees Celsius.

Transportation

The most common means of getting around the city is by taxi, jeepney, bus and by Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS)

Taxis

All taxis, regardless of the company have a flag down rate of 40 PhP and trips are priced at 13.50 PhP for every kilometer travelled and 2.00 PhP for every minute of waiting time in traffic. All taxi operators are expected to price passengers using the set metered rates. It is illegal to do transaction outside of using the taxi meters.

Jeepneys

Jeepneys are the most popular form of public transportation in the Philippines. These vehicles follow specific routes and fares can vary depending on your destination (pick-up point and drop off point).

Buses

Most of the major bus companies ply routes going to the southern or northern parts of Cebu Island. Currently, there is only one Bus Rapid Transit Company (MyBus) that transport commuters around the city area. Please refer to this link to see the latest bus routes and fares.

Transport Vehicle Network Service (TNVS)

Transport vehicle network service (TNVS) is a relatively new means of transportation in the Philippines. Currently, GRAB (http://grab.com/ph/download/) is the most commonly used TNVS Company operating in the country (UBER is no longer available in Philippines). Visitors who wish to make use of this means of transportation can download the application into their mobile phones. GPS must be turned on for the app to function.

NOTE: For those who are booked outside of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel, there is a bus that will ferry conference participants from specified bus stops to the venue from June 4 to 8. Click here to see the location of the bus stops and routes.

 

Photos from https://mactancebuairport.com

GOING TO THE CONFERENCE VENUE FROM THE AIRPORT (recommended means of transportation)

By Taxi

There is a metered taxi lane right outside the Arrival Hall of the Mactan Island International Airport. The conference venue (Marco Polo Plaza Hotel) is one of the major hotels in the city and is a very common destination for taxi drivers. Trip by taxi can cost around 300-400 PhP but can vary depending on the route taken and the current traffic situation.

By Bus

There is no bus route that will take participants directly to the conference venue. For those who want to take the MyBus option, you can get on a bus going to SM City Cebu (cost: 25 PhP) and hail a taxi from there. Taxi stands are available at the mall entrances.

By TNVS

Travelling to the conference venue by TNVS will require an app (depending on the type of TNVS you wish to use, you may download GRAB (http://grab.com/ph/download/). Once installed on your mobile phones, turn on your GPS app to identify pick-up point and type in Marco Polo Plaza Hotel (location: Nivel Hills, Veteran’s Drive, Cebu City) for your drop-off destination.

From the Mactan Cebu International Airport, participants can book a GrabCar and use the code “BESTOFCEBU” to avail Php 100 off.

 

Shuttle service to and from Marco Polo

The Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium will be providing a free shuttle service to the delegates with the following bus stops:

  • Rumah Highlands Hotel
  • Cebu Hilltop Hotel
  • Harolds Hotel
  • Cebu Grand Hotel
  • Wellcome Hotel
  • Cebu Parklane Hotel
  • Quest Hotel
  • Golden Prince Hotel

There will be two trips done in the morning for pick-up from different bus stops to Marco Polo with the following schedule:

  • 0700H-0800H
  • 0800H-0900H

Participants should be keen in waiting for the shuttle service at the designated area of each bus stop since there will be no waiting time at each point. Once all the guests waiting at the designated area has loaded, the bus will directly proceed to the next stop.

Shuttle services will also be provided during the night out events and participants will be ferried from the venue back to the bus stops. Evening shuttle services will vary depending on the time the event ends.

 

MEDICAL CARE

Cebu City has one of the best and most highly-equipped medical facilities (public and privately owned) in the country. Major hospitals (in most cases) accept payment by credit card or by cash. ATM machines are also mostly available within the hospital facility. For inquiries concerning medical insurance, please send them directly to your hospital of choice as arrangements can vary depending on your insurance provider.

The organizers will not shoulder the medical costs of the participants, but a first aid kit is on stand-by for immediate treatment in case of emergencies. The nearest hospitals to the conference venue are the following:

Hospital Name

Address and Contact Details

Perpetual Soccour Hospital

Gorordo Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City

http://www.pshcebu.com/

(032) 233-8620

Cebu Doctor’s Hospital

Osmena Boulevard, Cebu City

http://www.cduh.com.ph/

(032) 255-5555

Chong Hua Hospital

Fuente Osmena, Cebu City

http://www.chonghua.com.ph/

(032) 255-8000

ELECTRONIC GADGETS

The most commonly used sockets in the Philippines are Types A, B and C and the standard voltage and frequency is 220 V and 60 Hz, respectively. Visitors are highly encouraged to bring the correct power plug adaptors for the safe use of their electrical gadgets. Power plugs are available in the conference venue on a first come, first serve basis.

FOOD PREFERENCES

Cebu City offers one of the most bustling food scenes in the country. Halal, vegan and vegetarian restaurants are available within the city.

GENERAL TIPS

  • Light clothes are highly recommended when going around the city. Shorts and shirts are commonly worn by locals. Dress code during the conference is business casual.
  • Usual business / office hours within the city run from 9am to 5pm. Malls and other establishments are usually open at 10am and close at 9pm during weekdays and until 10pm during weekends.
  • Some restaurants automatically charge customers with a 10% service fee. Most restaurants however, do not and giving of tips is welcome.
  • Travel lounges are available at SM City Cebu (open from 6am to 9pm) and Robinsons Galleria Cebu (open from 8am to 9pm). These establishments offer baggage storage services, showers, comfort rooms and charging stations for your electrical gadgets.
  • Like other big cities, guests are strongly encouraged to be mindful of their belongings to avoid thefts and pickpockets.
  • Tap water is provided by the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) and is considered potable. However, it is advisable to drink filtered water that will be openly available during the conference.

POST CONFERENCE ACTIVITIES

For those who are interested to go on a post-conference trip, an accredited travel agency will be setting up a table in the conference venue to offer participants with tour options for a fee. There are also FREE post-symposium tours available. Slots are limited and registration will be done on site at a first come, first serve basis. Please click on this link to see details of the tours.

NOTE: All activities after the official conference dates (June 4-June 8) will no longer be under the responsibility of the APCRS Organizing Committee. All who are planning to go on a post-conference tour are REQUIRED to sign a waiver releasing the Organizing Committee of any responsibility should any untoward accidents happen during the course of the trip. Waivers will be distributed on site.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS

  • Cebu City Hall Command Center : (32) 253-0357
  • Cebu City Mobile Patrol Group : 166
  • Cebu City Bureau of Fire Protection : 160
  • Emergency Rescue Unit : 161
  • Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Management - Cebu Province : (32) 255-0046
  • Cebu City Disaster Risk and Emergency Management - Cebu Province : (32) 255-0046
  • Philippine Red Cross : 143

Please keep posted for further updates and notifications. If you have any questions before conference day, feel free to contact the APCRS secretariat through this e-mail: apcrs2018@gmail.com. A help desk will also be set up during conference day to assist all APCRS participants with their queries.

We are excited to meet you all in Cebu! Safe travels and see you in a few days!