In-Country Expenses for those attending ASDAL 2012

Now that you have all your travel plans finalized, it is time to think about a few in-country expenses for which you may need to plan.  The biggest one, I believe, that you may be unaware of is the Airport Users’ Charge.  This fee varies depending on whether your flight is international (leaving the Philippines) or national (continuing to another destination within the Philippines) and is one more stop along the boarding process (immigration, security, airport fee).  You must have cash to pay this fee.  From the information I gathered at the Manila International Airport Authority website, , for those leaving the country via this airport there is an “Airport Users’ Charge of Php750.00. For domestic travel, it is the Passenger Terminal Fee at Php200.00. The collection booths are situated at the entrances to the pre-departure hall.”  Other sites I checked list the international departure fee is listed as Php550.00, so I’m guessing that the fee has just gone up and that it would be better to plan for Php750.00.  That is approximately US$17.00.

I found another good web site that can give you information about fees within the Philippines.  For those of you who may be spending a bit more time in the Philippines on your own either before or after the conference, you will undoubtedly find this site useful. Although the Airport Users’ Charge listed on the site is outdated, there is a lot of good information about fees and such while in the Philippines that you might find helpful, if not definitive: .

I look forward to seeing everyone in a week or so!

Welcome to the Philippines!

Travel Information

Travel Preparations

The following information will provide you with information about conveniences and necessities to help you best plan for your international traveling experience.

Housing Information

Conference attendees should dress for summer. The Main Function Hall and amphitheater will be air conditioned. The guest houses and rooms will have fans.

On the AIIAS campus there is duel wiring, meaning that the round holed plus are for 220V and the slit ones are for 110V. You may wish to bring along adapters to use for your electronics. Outside of the AIIAS campus the power is 220V so if you will be staying off campus plan accordingly. There are occasionally power surges on campus, although according to campus housing there have not been many of recent. If you are worried about electronics you may wish to provide your own surge protector.

Health & Safety

Water on the AIIAS campus is tested regularly for safety however, bottled water will be available for those who prefer to use it instead of tap water.

There is no malaria in this area of the Philippines. However, dengue is an issue in the region. No one has ever come down with dengue on AIIAS campus, but if people want to take precautions, bring mosquito repellent–DEET.

Be aware of safety issues when in a foreign country. Try not to look like a tourist: recommendations include avoiding shorts, tennis shoes, hats, and immodest clothing. Professional people will look well-dressed so avoid jeans, sloppy attire, etc. A small travel umbrella is recommended as it will be rainy season and can double as shade if needed. Wear money under clothing to avoid being targeted by pick pockets.

Bring toilet tissue with you for when you are in public places. Public toilets may not be equipped with tissue or may charge you for tissues. Bring any hygiene items that you are used to using as certain items may not be available for purchase.


Leave driving to the nationals.


There is a campus store that has basics such as bottled water and snacks. The mall is just 20 minutes away and one can go there and get some snacks and things that they may need. We can organize a trip going there or get somebody to purchase what individuals need if this is of interest to attendees.

Money can be exchanged at the AIIAS cashiers office or in town at the money changer or at the SM Mall near campus. The Mall typically works better than the money changer in town.

Technology & Communications

Email or printing can be done in the library. Wireless internet is available in the Guest Houses. Internet is slower than in the United States so things like YouTube and streaming videos, online games etc. may not work at AIIAS.

Prepaid cell phone cards and sims are available at a reasonable cost. Cell phones in the Philippines are reasonably inexpensive. Some phones can be used if they are open line.

Language & Personal Communication

Most people speak some English. People over the age of 50 or 60 are most likely to be able to speak to you in English if you are stuck somewhere. Using simple basic English will deliver the best results. Brush up on your Spanish.

Numbers used for prices and counting are in Tagalog, which is of Spanish origin. If you know how to count in Spanish, you will be okay. And if not, just use English and they’ll figure it out. They may charge you slightly more if there is no price showing, but it won’t be excessive so it’s usually not something to get upset about. (Example, in the vegetable market the local might be charged 50 pesos ($1) and then they would try to charge us 60 pesos. But when we point out the difference, the vendor will smile apologetically and give you the lower price.

 A Freebie!

Philip advises not to nap under a coconut tree, as you may be surprised by a falling coconut! 🙂 Annette agrees that this is true! There are many coconut trees on campus and it seems inviting to sit down under one. But it is not a good idea.

We hope that this information and these tips will help you enjoy your trip to the beautiful Philippines!

Banana Leave

ASDAL Conference 2012–Tour to SDA Institutions

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There is a tour of three Seventh-day Adventist institutions that are near the AIIAS campus.

Southern Asia Pacific Division (SSD)

The first is the Southern Asia Pacific Division (SSD) just a mile or so down the road from AIIAS. Some may remember the Far Eastern Division which was the precursor to the current North Asia Pacific Division located in Korea and SSD, now located in the Philippines.

SSD includes the countries of   Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and islands of the Pacific, namely the United States’ territories of Guam and Wake Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Belau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. SSD has a membership of 1,123,671.


Here is their website:


Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP)


AUP is located 1/2 hour away from AIIAS.  It had it’s beginnings in 1915 when A.G.Daniels visited the Philippines to set the foundations for a Seventh-day Adventist educational institution. It’s first location was in Manila before it moved out to Cavite province. For more information about AUP’s history, visit their website:

For a representative sample of photos of the campus, visit this private online blog:


1000 Missionary Movement


1000 Missionary Movement  started in 1992 in the Philippines.  It’s mission is to send 1000 young missionaries out into the countries of the 10/40 window to proclaim the message of hope for these end times.  It is a self-supporting missionary movement that trains young people in short, intensive coursework that involves physical fitness, survival skills, Bible study, English, and health principles and then sends them out to spread the gospel. They have trained over 4000 missionaries and have sent them to more than 50 countries. 


We will be visiting their main campus, located just a short distance down the road from AIIAS.


For a video clip (this is approximately 11 minutes) that shows the campus and also shows how missionaries are trained, view: 



aiias house

AIIAS Guest Houses

Here is a sneak peak at the AIIAS guest houses where you can arrange to stay.  I lived in one of these homes for 8 years (well, actually, I lived in two of them!).  We were very happy and comfortable in these houses, and you will be, too.

AIIAS takes great care to keep their guest housing clean, comfortable, and up-to-date.  You wake up in the morning to tropical birds singing outside your window, palm fronds rustling in the breeze, and to the greenest lawns you have ever seen!  The homes are airy and light and come equipped with an open-plan living area made up of a large kitchen separated by a counter bar area, a dining area, and a living room.  Homes are shared by guests and each home comes with 3 or 4 bedrooms. One of the rooms has a bath within.  The other rooms share a bath.

The homes are located at the back of the campus and are literally a 2-minute walk up the road or across rolling green hills to the conference center where the meetings will be held and to the rest of campus.

Here are some pictures of the guest bedrooms and homes:

aiias house

This image was taken from:

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Wow, this is like the furniture we had in our home! You are lucky folks.  They are very comfortable and pretty!

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Here is the other traditional styleof furniture in the living rooms, also comfortable.

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Dining area in a guest home.

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A single guest room.

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An en suite room.

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Corregidor: One of my favorite spots near Manila

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I can hardly wait to visit Corregidor again! Corregidor is one of the possible day tours planned for the ASDAL Conference in the Philippines. It is an historical site that we shared with visitors when we lived in Asia. The one thing that impressed me more than anything were the mile-long bombed out barracks! Something you will remember forever!

Image of Mile-Long Barracks in Ruins (Aerial photo)

So what is Corregidor? The story begins the day after Pearl Harbor, when, on December 8, 1941, the Japanese bombed the Philippines, destroying the US air force and navy in Southeast Asia. They concentrated their efforts on the Bataan peninsula, a piece of land that borders Manila Bay and protects the city of Manila. Corregidor Island sits 30 miles out at the entrance of Manila Bay. The combination of the Bataan peninsula, Corregidor Island and the defensive guns of Manila protected the bay and the nation beyond. After destroying the American air force and navy, the Japanese landed and overran the beachheads causing the US-Philippine army to retreat into their defensive positions in the hopes of holding off the Japanese for 6 months until relief could come from the US.

On December 24, President Quezon and General MacArthur moved the Philippine government and military HQ to Corregidor Island. While they directed the defensive retreat from afar, the Philippine-US armies fought to defend the Bataan peninsula. They withstood heavy air and artillery strikes for two months. On March 12, MacArthur left Corregidor bound for Australia. At his departure he spoke those famous words, “I shall return.”

By April 9, after 4 months of heavy assault, the US-Filipino forces surrendered Bataan.

The victorious Japanese army forced their American and Filipino prisoners of war to march 70 miles to remove them from the theater of action as they planned their final assault on Corregidor. Soldiers already weak from malnutrition, disease and exhaustion were forced to march in tropical heat with no water or food. Thousands died or were executed leading to the name, the Bataan Death March. After the surrender of Bataan, Corregidor received the full bombardment of the Japanese. The final surrender came on May 6, 1942, after 5 months of brave resistance.

The Bataan and Corregidor resistance engaged the Japanese for 5 months allowing the allies time to rebuild their forces in Australia and eventually take back Asia and win the war in the Orient.

Malinta Tunnel (View of the entry tunnel to the underground tunnel system where President Quezon, General MacArthur, and later General Wainwright, soldiers and hospital held out)

Visit Corregidor and stand on the beachhead where MacArthur spoke those monumental words, “I shall return!” Tour mile-long bombed out barracks and touch the shell-pocked walls of the gun instalments where men withstood months of heavy bombardment from hundreds of tons of bombs dropped by Japanese. Stand in the oppressive darkness of Malinta Tunnel where the President of the Philippines along with 4,000 soldiers, doctors, nurses, and the wounded withstood the onslaught of the Japanese for four months. Listen to the fearful tale of the Bataan Death March. Experience this historic trip of a lifetime.

Putting it into perspective:

Did you know that General Jonathan M. Wainwright was left in charge of Corregidor when General MacArther left and that it was General Wainwright who ultimately made the choice to surrender when it was apparent that there was no relief coming.  Many allied troops survived because of his hard decision.  For those of us at Walla Walla University, we know that General Wainwright was a native son of Walla Walla, Washington, since the Veteran’s hospital here is named after him.  Here is a newsclip of his heroic return to his hometown back in November of 1945: Walla Walla honors native son…  And one more noteworthy tidbit…the father of a former employee here at Walla Walla University Library was on the Bataan Death March. Do you know anyone who was stationed at Corregidor or Bataan?

Want to learn more?

Bataan Death March

Malinta Tunnel

Siege of Corregidor (video)

The Last 27 Days


Photo Credits

Top Photos by J. Melgosa.

  • Photo 1: Statue of MacArthur on the shore at Corregidor where he spoke the famous words, “I shall return.”
  • Photo 2: Eric Melgosa inside one of the gun instalments…to see the size of one of the guns.
  • Photo 3: Statue of Bataan Death March…Filipino and American soldier leaning on each other

Link to Mile-Long Barracks Ruins photo from ID: DNST8601667 Service Depicted: Other Service Aerial view of the ruins and a memorial to American defenders of the island during World War II. Camera Operator: PH1 DAVID C. MACLEAN Date Shot: 13 Jan 1982 Source:

Link to Malinta Tunnel photo from: Makisig (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,

AIIAS Campus: The Pearl within the Pearl of the Orient

I am so excited to invite you to AIIAS (Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies) for the 2012 ASDAL Conference!  I lived for 8 years at AIIAS, from 1998-2006. I lived in the same homes where we will be staying, worked in the beautiful library, and enjoyed the multicultural ambiance of the campus.

Perhaps you don’t know that the historic name for the Philippines is the Pearl of the Orient.  Well, AIIAS is one of the pearls within!  And ASDAL is so privileged to be able to host its Asian conference on their beautiful campus.
File:AIIAS Bell Tower September 2006.JPG 

Photo courtesy of: Edgy mph at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons


Think green, rolling hills lying beneath tropical palm trees and you have some idea of the treat that awaits us.  AIIAS is located approximately 30 miles south of Manila, where the higher altitude means that you have warm tropical days and cooler nights.  It is close to the resort town of Tagaytay, where you will find the Taal Volcano (I will share more about this tourist attraction in another post).  AIIAS occupies what was formerly a coffee/coconut tree plantation.  You will soak up Asian mystique on this campus of waving palms, Asian architecture and gorgeous landscaping. You will experience international cuisine and culture, as AIIAS is host to many nationalities of faculty and students.

So what is AIIAS?  AIIAS is a Seventh-day Adventist international graduate school serving Asia and beyond.  It does not have undergraduate education but is made up of the School of Graduate Studies and the Theological Seminary. It offers post-graduate degrees (master’s and doctoral) in Education, Public Health, Business, Theology and Religion. Students often come with their families and stay for one or more years while working on their masters or doctoral studies.  AIIAS has a junior high school for the children of staff, faculty, and students.  AIIAS also has an aggressive online program for distance learning and also operates in distance learning centers throughout Asia, where intensive courses are offered to students who cannot leave their places of employment and transfer to the Philippines. For more history about AIIAS, read this article in Adventist World.

In terms of health concerns, there is no malaria in this region of the Philippines. The location and upkeep of the campus means that AIIAS has never had a reported case of dengue fever.  The campus has its own deep water well which is regularly tested. The campus has its own medical clinic and doctor and Asian Hospital, a state-of-the art medical facility is 14 miles away in Alabang.

As for amenities, campus, fiber optic links the buildings and homes.  Homes, library, offices, and the brand new church/meeting facility are modern, clean and comfortable.  There is a small shop on campus and the nearest town of Silang is just a mile down the road. A major shopping mall is 6 miles away in Dasmariñas.

Here is a short, 5-minute video posted on YouTube that provides you with a virtual tour of the lovely campus.  This video is a bit older and does not include the new church/meeting complex, but you should get a good idea of the rest of campus:
AIIAS Campus Revisited



Annette Melgosa, ASDAL Treasurer