I like to get on the Yahoo Philippines Adoption Board from time to time. I found this post from a woman who recently adopted domestically from the Philippines. She had some travel tips for all of us who will one-day travel to meet our child.
"i live in manila, we did domestic adoption last year. my husband
and i were in limbo of whether to take the adoption plunge and my
discovery of this support group was the exact push we needed to begin
our adventure in parenthood.
> to those beginning their adoption research, let me assure you that
this group is a gold mine of information, suggestions and a veritable
source of moral support. i may not have endured the same 2-year wait
as a lot of you have/had but the local adoption process also had us
going through the eye of a needle. i sure can relate to the fears,
nightmares, hopes and dreams of PAPs.
> lurking through the mails, i wish to offer my usual sporadic
suggestions based on my travels and experiences here with foster
families, orphanages and tips from social workers:
> 1. CONTACT BEFORE TRAVEL - i am told one of the best gifts you can
send before your meeting is a thick photo album of your family made
to look like a picture book -- this way your child's foster parents
and caregivers can use it as a tool to introduce you to your child
and create some sense of familiarity. i saw caregivers using them
during day care with the kids in their laps and them saying this is
your daddy, this is your mommy blowing you a kiss, this is big sister
waving at you, look there is your house. it works better than a video
because its always handy ( the caregivers may not always have access
to the video player,etc.), the kids get to regularly touch and kiss
the faces on the photos and caregivers like it because it helps them
also detach from the child and lessen the separation pains.
> 2. DOUBLE BEDS IN HOTELS NEAREST AIRPORT - if you want hotels in
relative proximity to the airport this means hotel addresses in the
following cities: Pasay, Makati, Manila (roxas blvd and remedios area
only) and Quezon City (only up to Ortigas and Greenhills area) in
Metro Manila. Double beds or queen size beds are usually de rigeur in
deluxe hotels (eg Intercon, room rates $100up), but then it gets iffy
when hotels go down the budget lane. Bringing family? consider
condotels where you can cook and do the laundry. I find
tripadvisor.com and traveltipid.com useful for such info.
> 3. TRAFFIC UPDATE - Believe it or not, the roads (in Metro Manila
at least) are abnormally easing up of late. Call it the silver
lining of rising gas prices, traffic officials noted a 10% decrease
in traffic with more people using the MRT and car pooling. So you may
still to choose a cheaper hotel relatively farther from the airport
or city center and still catch your flight.
> Cebu City's roads, however, are still choked so do follow the
locals' advice on travel time to the Mactan airport on the other
island. The nice thing about most Cebu hotels is the hotel shuttle
service (some are free of charge) which you should use to ensure on-
> 4. AIRPORT TAXIS AND TIPS - the airports have new metered taxis but
i always take the coupon taxis which has fixed rates per area of the
city depending on the distance from the airport. this way i still get
safe and good service and i don't have to haggle for rates or worry
about over or under paying. depending on distance and how much
luggage you have with you, tipping is usually from $2 up.
> 5. TRAVELING SOON? - Anyone with travel dates from july to october -
- best bring an umbrella or a light water repellant jacket. we are
now in the monsoon season, and a wetter than usual one these days.
The up side of this is this is also the time for the best low-season
travel deals especially with hotels and domestic airlines. so it's a
good time to bargain hunt if you want to do some side trips other
than ICAB and the child care centers.
> 6. THE WAIT - please do not be discouraged with the long wait for
philippine adoptions. on hindsight i finally understood why the ICAB
people and the like have to be thorough given the challenges they
face processing your cases. but you will see why it is worth it as
soon as you see your child's face.
> i remember what the orphanage director told me when i held my baby
for the first time: it is not you who chooses your child, but it is
actually your child who has chosen you."