Lets get started
the PI can be extremely exciting and exhausting
for the everyday traveler. For the wheeler to
enjoy your stay, it can be even more so.
and being prepared can make a world of difference
in your stay. So... Here are a few ideas and
helpful suggestions you might want to consider
before making your trip. There is a bit of special
information you should know and be ready for
before going. The trip is very possible, but
planning ahead is vital for a wheeler to fully
enjoy their trip.
In case I
missed something, please feel free in letting me
know if I missed something. Your and my
experiences may differ.
There are many
people and places that want your business.
Going to the PI for a wheeler won’t be as
easy, but it is doable. Planning to go to the
Philippines is not ton bad. You know your
situation so only you can plan for your needs.
would suggest gong to Amazon.com and pick up a
book or two about the Philippines. Learn as much
as you an about their culture and be open to their
beliefs and lifestyles. It is a different country.
Don’t expect everything to be accessible as
here. Also, you are on the web. 90% of what I
learned I found bt doing searches. But some of he
books you can find at your local library or
bookstore really show of this beautiful country.
good ones I found are at
Virgin Beach Resort
– Ron Perry has helped quite a few
guys in wheelchairs experience the Philippines.
He is also a flight coordinator and tour guide
for Cebu. His flight tickets are always the best
and his resort is a great place to stay. Check
him and his site out. Tell him Mike sent you...
– A great place to get valuable information
to sites around the world. Updated monthly with
new-featured travelers experiences. You can even
join their monthly mailing list
of new places to visit.
Many other Links
Choosing an Agent
Most travel Agents should be aware of the rules and regulations of the
ADA and how it affects the airways. However, not
all will have experiences with everyone’s exact
needs. Some people wont agree with me, but I feel
that it is the responsibility of the disabled
passenger to wholly control and explain their own
Ask, ask and ask more questions. Explain, explain and continue to explain
your needs and requirements. When contacting
airlines and such I make them aware of what my
needs are. If issues arise, I kindly explain to
them what the laws state. I also bring along the
ADA document incase I need it. The document might
be extra weight, but it will go far if you get
stuck with “Mr. I know it all”.
Of course those who have had past experiences with the disabled traveler
can be of value. Still make sure you ask many
questions and inform them of your needs.
are two helpful ADA resources:
Department of Transportation
at Information for the Air Traveler with a
Carrier Access Act This
Act that prohibits discrimination on the
basis of disability.
To Cebu, you have a variety of choices to travel by airplane. Your
best bet is to one, pay attention to costs, and
two, pay attention to the route. Flight total
flight time can very depending on which route you
take. Also, beware that your selected route dose
not keep you in Manila over night or you will have
to get to a hotel on your own.
companies flying into and out off the US must
follow the ADA guidelines and the Air Carrier
Access Act. But not once you are in the PI. There
is not a lot of accessibility laws in the
Philippines. So, it is very beneficial to treat
everyone very kindly if you expect any future
suggest you contact all of the airlines involved
in your trip, well in advance, and notify them of
your trip intentions.
might also, after getting your ticket, information
check out your connecting airports on the web.
Locate your Gates so you have an idea of where you
need to go.
In 1999, the
Department of Transportation, DOT, began recording
of access complaints for each airline carrier.
These reports could be used to give disabled
consumers an idea on which carrier to travel with.
To get a copies of the monthly report, call (202)
To lodge a
complaint with the DOT, call (202) 366-2220 or
Consumer Protection Division
Dept. of Transportation
Room 4107, C-76
Washington, D.C. 20590
located on the web also deals in passenger rights.
From an airline, cruise ship, hotel, tour group,
or car rental they will help you file a complaint
and get it to the right agency. Passenger
inform all the major airlines that you are
coming and that you are disabled. Notifying them
that you are a wheelchair passenger and that you
want to make sure everyone is clear on your
be a pain and show up with the airlines not
knowing. You will be insured of a lousy trip. It
just makes sense to be forward with your
situation. Make sure you contact them all.
Philippine Airlines has you fill out some health
information forms. This is the time to mention
your wheelchair information and that you will
require removing the seats cushion in place of
airlines will also be inquiring to make sure you
will have someone to care for you during the
trip. Their staff is not there to take care of
the most part, contacting the airline companies
is painless. Philippine airlines wants
assurances from your doctor that you are ok to
fly, description of then medical equipment you
will bring (i.e. wheelchair electric or manual),
that the batteries are safe and that your
cushion is safe from catching on fire. What ever
that is for.
Further down is the discussion of the handling
of your wheelchair, batteries, etc
Visa / Passports
Visitors with valid passports may stay 21 days without a visa. Hong Kong
and Taiwan passport holders require a special
permit, obtainable from Philippine embassies
Visitors with passports valid at least 6 months beyond the period you
intend to stay and either a return ticket or a ticket to another destination outside of the
Philippines, are allowed entry without a visa
for up to 21 days. For visits longer than 21
days, a temporary visitor's visa must be secured
from the Philippine embassy or consulate in your
will require a passport to go to visit the
Philippines. If you don't already have one, or
yours has expired, please visit your local U.S.
post office or government office for an
application. Processing may take a month or
longer--especially during the summer. There are
ways to obtain your passport faster, however
extra charges will be added.
will need proof of citizenship and a certified
copy of your birth certificate, including the
registrar's seal. You must enclose two identical
2"x 2" inch photos of yourself. First
time applicants over 18 pay $65 for a 10-year
you have an expired U.S. passport, issued no
more than 12 years ago, you may apply by mail.
Send your old passport, new photos, and DSP-82
renewal form. The cost is $55. Allow 3-4 weeks
for its arrival.
more information on obtaining your passport
A new printable passport application
form can be
The following are helpful suggestions and ideas on how to handle your
shipping of your wheelchair and other necessary
equipment. Make sure that all of those involved
are informed of your required equipment needs.
Make sure your
chair is in good operating shape. Don’t risk it
if not so. You wont find many, if any, shops that
carry wheelchair parts.
– It could be very difficult in finding new
tires after having a blowout in the PI.
You don’t have to change them. But I
would strongly consider doing so.
– Purchasing new sealed deep cycle batteries is
a must for a safe trip. Go to Wal-Mart and safe
yourself a ton of money. I find these batteries
usually last longer then the medical store brand
names. AND, flying on airplanes will be a much
easier. Some airlines will remove your batteries
and put them in “safety containers” Which they
end up loosing. If you do happen to get them back,
you will have to get someone to re-install them.
Or, they wont even think of transport you if you
don’t have sealed batteries. Best bet, enjoy
your trip and safe a lot of headaches, and get
some sealed batteries.
– Bring it, you will need it. There are many
bulky wheelchair battery chargers available. You
can get 220/110 volt transformers to handle your
needs. The 50/60 cycle difference does make the
charging slower but doable. You will also need to
make sure you get plug adapter. Here we use a ( |
| ) plug. In the PI, a ( o o ) plug is used. Most
Radio Shack or travel stores have an assortment of
plug adapters for purchase.
I opted for a universal charger by Soneil. These
chargers are very small, much better at fully
charging your batteries, and come to charge at 110
or 220 volts. You will still need a plug adapter
as suggested above. In the Philippines most
everything is 220 volts. Some hotels have 110 volt
outlets but only for smaller appliances. Soneil
can be reached at : http://soneil.com/
you have questions about converters, first check
with your wheelchair manufacturer And ask them to
describe what your wheelchair requirements are.
Seat Cushion – Make
sure your cushion is in good shape. You don’t
want to have a problem in the PI with a faulty
cushion. In my daily life I use an air-filled
cushion by Roho. It’s great for everyday use.
But for flying, it has some major disadvantages.
problem in the air is that as the airplane goes
higher, the cabin pressure drops. This causes the
air in your seat cushion to expand. Making your
seat cushion hard as a rock. To compensate, you
have to leave out the air to adjust for the low
cabin pressure. When you land, you have to refill
your seat cushion to the correct level to insure
is recommend that you get a gel cushion. This is
not a necessity, as I did not buy a gel cushion.
But if you are worried, be safe, check with your
local medical supply and see which cushions are
suitable and recommended for flying.
I was contacting the airlines of my intent, I also
notified them of my need to remove the airplane’s
seat cushion to be replaced by my own. At first it
was a concern of theirs.
But after a kind dialog, and reassuring
them that my cushion
was “Fire Safe”, everything was fine.
did I demand this? Seating my cushion atop of
their seat made me sit so high that my head would
not rest on the head rest. Having my head sit
above the seat for a 12+ hour trip is very
uncomfortable. If you ever receive a letter from
the air carrier, make sure you bring any
documentation with you onto the airplane.
are mainly suggestions but very helpful ideas to
consider. Playing it safe in a country you are not
very familiar with is very important.
advised to drink bottled or boiled water. Tap
water in the hotel is potable. Bottled drinking
water is also available in the hotel room,
compliments at most hotels. Some doctors suggest
getting your hepatitis shoots and staying away
from uncooked fruits and vegetables. Some also
recommend staying away from pastries due to how
milk is pasteurized in the PI. But all interested
in visiting should consult your own personal
doctor for advice and recommendations.
- It is better to be safe then sorry. You have to understand
that the PI does not have the same standards as we
do when it comes to bacteria control. Doctors will
tell you to stay away from non-cooked vegetables
and fruits and dairy products, even bakery
products. Why? The primarily used fertilizer comes
from the dung of animals. Called Cow-Dung. Here in
the US of A this is not allowed. In the PI it is a
Medication – Take extra. Lots of extra
and have it in a few locations. If the medicines
are super important, like spasm pills, place them
in your carry-on luggage. Extras in your regular
luggage. In case you losse one, you will have an
Incase you are susceptible to bladder infections,
ask your doctor for a prescription to be filled
before leaving. Just in case. You never know what
could or could eat or drink that will give your
bladder the fits.
- Always take 10x more then you need. And take them with you on the
airplane as take-on luggage. This is very
important and true of any medications and things
that are too important to loose. Cloths can be
replaced, but catheters and supplies will be hard
to come by.
You could travel around the world with a shower
chair. But why? I purchased a plastic garden chair
and had a whole cut out of it. Tada? This can be
provided for you for a small fee. Most showers are
not accessible. But roll up to a sink, lean
forward, and have your hair washed.
that could be lifesavers.
A medicine called Viagra (yes, I said Viagra) is a great help in
controlling your blood pressure on short and long
flights. The higher you fly, the worse you feel.
Ask your doctor for more information.
Nothing is worse then flying 12-30 hours and
having sinus problems.
This is also a must. New and different foods. As
bowel management is hard enough, don’t assume
everything will be fine. Take the liquid quick
response and the pills for longer needs.
- Don’t drink it. Drink bottle water only. It still has a
funny taste but it should be ok for everyday use.
– I would advise staying away from San Miguel
beer. Last time I heard they use embalming fluid
to spice it up. Taste great … kills your liver.
At least then rumor has it that San Miguel is made
with embalming fluid that gives a kick to the
beer. Your choice but it was banned from the US of
people are terrific, but not that terrific. There
are many nurses available and happy to earn the
money, but difficult to find. Therefore you should
bring your own attendant to insure your trip is
magical. Sorry, I can’t help you out here. Maybe
in time will build up a number of people o help in
providing care in the PI but I doubt it. The
airplane companies will help you get into and out
of your seat and airplane and back in your
wheelchair. But they wont empty your leg-bag o fix
There are a few
resources to help those who need to find an
attendant. Depending on your needs, they will try
and find the specialist you need.
disabled takes a great deal of planning. Decide
what you need on a daily basis but on a much
There are new
stricter measurements of allowed carry-on bags.
There is a (H+W+L) total allowed. Some airliners
are extremely strict with there measuring. Others,
as long as you don’t go overboard in your
request, most stewardesses will let you bring on
what you need. So check with them. Try to manage
with just one carry-on piece of luggage. This
might not be feasible due to all of your needs.
But keep the bags small.
documents needed to describe your requirements
and any other super important life necessities
camera, etc … valuables
bag to place your wheelchair parts into.
make sure you take the important stuff that you
need no matter what. If you're a wheelchair
traveler, take parts (if needed), charger, etc.,
and a wheelchair backpack. Personally, I take
along an air mattress bubble pad and pump. This is
something I find very important to keep my health
feet supports (if used)
pad & pump (if used) - 220volt
Charger - 220 volt
Cloths (they are very cheap in the PI)
set of nice cloths
& Blue chucks
of your family.
.. in case you are visiting that someone
have we FORGOTTEN...?...
pack – This is great to keep your valuables
**Your wheelchair is not counted as a bag.
big day ...
It is important
get look into as early as possible the following
categories. Being a wheeler means you had plan
I do have a few links to travel and
those who can help with obtaining and booking your
airline tickets at a reasonable rate. They can
also can help with some accommodations and will do
there best to insure your happiness. Here are a
few other things to consider and that you should
Make sure you are packed. Tickets? Passport? Meds? Charger? … Cash?
Credit cards? Gifts? Make sure you have gone
through what you need. Once you are in the PI, don’t
expect to easily find what you need.
the men) - It is far better to be safe then loose
your catheter mid flight. Not good. External
catheters users should use medical tape to add
extra holding power.
FORGET TO LOCK YOUR BAGS!!!
These are very
import strategies to get into the airplane and
When going to the airport, be early. They should be aware that you are
coming but it can never hurt to confirm the day
before. You should be asked to board the airplane
first. They will take you to the door of the plane
where you will transfer to an isle-chair. This is
a very skinny chair that will transport you to
your seat location. You can ask them to help you
or have those who are traveling with you
down your chair - When
you travel by air, there is always the
possibility that your wheelchair will get
damaged. Not everyone, especially in smaller
countries like the PI, will be trained to be
expert wheelchair movers and handlers. What you
tell the baggage handlers in the US won’t
necessarily be conveyed to those who load your
chair at the destination. So a few rules apply.
off the wheelchair anything you can that can be
bent, broken or lost. I usually disconnect the
main battery power. I remove both armrests
placing them and the two leg rests on the
wheelchair seat. Then I run the seatbelt through
everything making sure nothing can come loose. I
have a side support that I take on the airplane
with me since there is no easy way to connect it
to the wheelchair.
people use a bag to place all of there parts
into and then attach it to the wheelchair. That
is fine too. Just make sure the bag has your
name on it.
safety and time-savings, try to
bring your battery receipt explaining the
battery type. It is very important that your
batteries be gel/sealed type batteries. Some air
carrier’s won’t let you fly or they will
remove your batteries and place them in special
“safety” containers. This is not such a good
idea. On a past trip one of my batteries ended
up getting spilled and the other was lost on the
plain. Battery acid is very toxic. So save
yourself some time. Go to Wal-Mart and get the
the Airplane - Remove the airplane’s
seat cushion. Make sure you insist on this. You
can sit on your own cushion lower and more
comfortable. Some people will use a spare gel
filled seat cushion. These gel filled cushions are
not affected by the air pressure change as air
filled cushions. You can adjust the air pressure
as needed but make sure you immediately refill
your cushion on landing. DON’T forget your air
pump if you use a air-cushion type.
– Always ask to have a visual check of your
wheelchair be made to insure it’s being placed
on the airplane.
The above link takes
you to my "While in Cebu" site.
If you have a connecting flight, especially in Manila, demand that you
have your wheelchair brought to you after your
international flight They won’t allow you to
take there wheelchair from the International
side to the Domestic side of the Manila airport.
Even if you by pass Manila by going via Tokyo,
it is better to make sure now that your legs are
with you. Also, your chair will be more
comfortable to sit in hen their low cut, one
size fits all, wheelchair.
then likely you will have at least one transfer
between planes. More then one unless you live in
a city like Las Angeles or San Francisco where
there are direct flights to and from Manila.
Nowadays, almost every flight to the Philippine
flies through the new Manila Airport.
you arrive at the international side of the
airport and must transfer to the domestic side.
Your bags should have been checked through to
your destination of your trip. HOWEVER, make
sure you ask for your wheelchair. Demand it. If
you get into a wheelchair belonging to the
international hub, they won’t let you take it
to the domestic hub. They will demand the chair
back causing you to transfer again. Also the
wheelchairs they have are very standard.
Armrests are not removable and so are the leg
for your chair to be brought to you at the
doorway of the airplane. This will make sure it
arrived safely, that you are comfortable during
your stay, and that you can avoid excessive
transfers. If anything is wrong, usually there
is a manager close at hand,
could be a very sad time for some travelers.
Depending on your circumstances. As when you
came to the PI, Be ready for a lot of security
checks. Over and over and OVER again.
possible check your baggage from Cebu directly
to the US. This way you wont have to pick up
your bags in Cebu. I would highly recommend that
you not check your wheelchair through. In
Manila, the wheelchairs they have are old and
don’t sit very well. Also, you are not allowed
to take a domestic airport’s wheelchair to the
international airport. If you do they will make
you transfer wheelchairs again.
is extremely tight at the Manila International
Airport when returning home. So bring as little
as possible. The less you have, the less time
digging in your things.
you take your valuables and your high-pressure
Viagra medication (Yes, I said Viagra) and other medical supplies.
Viagra can help some men with low blood pressure
problems in flight. Don’t
ever get on a plain without your meds.
flight home goes via Manila, as you are
approaching the stewards will remind you that on
departure you will require a fee to leave. It is
more like a “privilege tax” to use their
airport facilities. It is only a couple of
dollars (around 1600 pesos per person or $8 USD).
But your life will be miserable if you don’t
have it with you. So save some cash for your
then the numerous checks in the manila
International Airport, if you go this way, not
much take place until you get to the US for
customs. As you get your wheelchair and find
your bags you will then go through the US
customs lines in your arriving city. Hopefully
you looked ahead to where your connecting flight
Please contact me if you need further
information, new questions, or anything
For more great info