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13th EARC 2023 in TAIWAN INFO PACK # 2

Updated: Feb 18, 2023


Dear IT Phils Eagles and Friends,

Next month, we will be seeing each other in the beautiful city of TAIPEI for our 13th EAST ASIA REGIONAL CONFERENCE 2023. We are so excited for this gathering.



Additional instructions:



A. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS for both PHILIPPINES & TAIWAN


1. Please check regularly the announcements on our Facebook. We will have a pre-departure briefing for all registered conference participants to best prepare you on your immigration encounters – both in the Philippines and in Taiwan. The dates and time will be communicated to all via announcements on our Facebook page.

2. All documents that may be asked from you by immigration officers will be provided by our office. Please show the documents only when asked by the immigration officer!


3. There is NO VISA requirement for Filipinos. All you need to show is your Philippine passport. You are allowed to stay for a maximum of 14 days. The visa exempt program of Taiwan for Filipinos is good only until July 31, 2023.



B. AIRPORT IN TAIWAN

Our conference venue is in Taipei City. All arrivals must be in TAIWAN TAOYUAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. This airport serves Northern Taiwan and Taipei. Distance from the airport to the city center is around 50 kms, The airport has two terminals (the 3rd is still undergoing construction). Cebu Pacific arrives and departs from Terminal 2. There are bus, taxi and train services from the airport to downtown Taipei. Airport MRT is the fastest way to reach Taipei. You’ll arrive the city center in 35 minutes using the express Service. Transportation from airport to the city center will be discussed in another section.


C. AIRPORT DEPARTURE & ARRIVAL / CURRENT VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS

a. DEPARTURE from MANILA … the airline check in personnel may ask you about the status of your vaccination and may demand the following …


1. FOR VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS:

a) No flight restrictions on vaccinated individuals

b) Bring with you your Vaccination Certificates (Vax Cert or Bureau of Quarantine Yellow Passport) in case you are asked to present it at check in.

- Vax Certificates are retrieved ONLINE (Free)

- Yellow Passports are secured from Bureau of Quarantine office or its satellite centers in malls.


2. For UNVACCINATED

We will inform those who are unvaccinated of the latest travel advisory on the matter, if they come out. Our experience in our past conference held in Singapore indicates that our airport authorities don’t require anything anymore from the unvaccinated. If any of you have read a circular or announcement stating new requirements for the unvaccinated, please make us know right away so we could inform our unvaccinated participants on the steps they must take prior to departure.



b. ARRIVAL in TAIWAN… upon arrival there are ground staffs who will simply ask you if you have accomplished already Taiwan E-Arrival Card. If you have done so, they will point to the immigration counter and instruct you to proceed there. If you haven’t filled up the online forms, you may join the others in filling up an arrival form available in tables strategically located near the immigration area.








There are no quarantine requirements anymore in Taiwan. There are no checks on vaccination certificates. Immigration officers will ask the standard questions such as reasons for visit and how long do you plan to stay in Taiwan. Please be ready with the immigration documents supplied by our office and present the documents if… and only of it was asked. If not, then you may just keep those documents with you. There is a self-initiated prevention requirement that still needs to be followed. Please go back to the first info pack and review this requirement. They do have a 7days self-initiated epidemic prevention ( to be discussed in greater detail at our Pre -departure briefings). This simply intends to make everyone careful and conscious of their medical condition during their stay in Taiwan in order to fight the spread of the virus.


c. DEPARTURE from TAIWAN … their immigration area is fully automated which means you will just go through machines for verification of your passport and to have your picture taken. No more human interaction.


d. ARRIVAL in NAIA (Manila) … you must accomplish an ETravel card by downloading the application from etravel.gov.ph and fill it up completely. Once completed , you will receive a QR code (take a screenshot right away). You will be asked to present it upon arrival before you will be allowed to proceed to immigration counter.




D. AIRPORT ARRIVAL : WARNING!!!

a. ITEMS PROHIBITED TO BRING IN TO TAIWAN … upon arrival you will see signs warning you to declare if you have with you banned items. Drugs, guns, etc.. are obvious prohibited items and would land you in jail right away. But all travelers are warned that bringing in meat, fruits, flowers, seeds, vegetables, spices etc… are subject to customs exam and items can be confiscated and you will be penalized with heavy fines and deportation… from NT$ 3,000 to NT$ 1,000,000. YES, One million Taiwan Dollars (1.8 Million in Phil Pesos). If you have any food items with you, please be sure to declare them upon arrival. Please don’t attempt to bring in any of the mentioned items. The airport makes use of sniffer dogs in their search for these prohibited items.








E. TRAVEL FROM AIRPORT TO THE VENUE (Chien Tan Youth Activity Center)


1. TRAVEL OPTIONS : You have several options: Airport Taxi (expensive) , Bus or MRT Train. The train is the faster and easier option while the bus is the cheaper alternative. Tine difference will be in a 15 - 30 mins difference.


2. CHANGE CURRENCY: Exchange your US$ or whatever currency to the local NT$ or Taiwanese Dollars at any Currency Exchange Counter that you’ll see at the airport

The exchange rate as of February 15 is USD 1 = NT$ 30.19. (Phil Pesos @ 54.82)

Some Currency Exchange Counters accept Phil Pesos and the rates are normally posted on a board or screen. You will have to pay your bus or train or taxi in NT$ so please remember to have your money changed to the local currency before heading towards your preferred mode of travel.




3. MRT CARD: Buy an EASY CARD (for use in Trains, buses and taxis) at any MRT Station service counter or from any convenience stores (7 Eleven, Family Mart etc..) . The cost of an Easy card is NT$100 exclusive of a deposit and balance (zero balance) . Top up the cards or add a load balance from the MRT Stations Card Machines or at the convenience stores. Each travel from station to station or single fare would normally cost at around NT$ 20. You may start with a NT$100 load for your use in your trip to and from the conference venue and tour of the many wonderful sites in the city. There are 3 types of card available: ADULT, Student & CONCESSIONAIRE. Adult cards are charged the normal fare. The 2nd are cards issued by schools to their students. The third category is the “Concessionaire” Easy Card for those who are 65 years of age or older and people with disabilities. This third category of Easy Card also comes with special discounts when taking public transportation. I am not sure though if short term visitors or tourists are allowed to get this type of card. No harm in asking for one.





Easy Cards can be used on all the MRT trains, buses and taxis.

If you possess and old Easy Card, you could check the load balance on any of the card machines situated before the entrance to the train lines. If your balance is low, you could add on the same machine an amount you would like to have on your card based on your estimated use for the duration of your stay. EasyCards have no expiration date, so after the event you could just keep it and bring it when you return to Taiwan.


4. TRAVEL BY TRAIN TO THE VENUE: If you prefer to use the Airport Express Train service to bring you to Taipei, then proceed to the MRT station in the airport. The AIRPORT MRT TRAIN STATIONS at the airport can be accessed in both Terminals:


Terminal 1: The escalator south of Basement 1 Food Court leads to the A12 Airport Terminal 1 Station

Terminal 2: The pathway at the side of B2 Food Court leads to A13 Airport Terminal 2 Station


Cost of Train Ticket from airport to Taipei Main Train Station is NT$160 (Pesos 290)







5. MRT MAPS: You’ll see MRT maps posted in so many locations inside the train station. Get a screenshot of the MRT map which initially will look like a maze but with a few explanations, you’ll find it easier to understand and use. You may also download the MRT map from Google.




6. CARD READERS ON ENTRANCE & EXIT: As soon as you reach the entry section with guard rails, tap your MRT card on the card reader with a small sign indicating:” please tap card here”. The machine will scan your card and indicate on the screen the value stored in the card and automatically open the guard rails to allow you to pass thru. You do the same when you exit the station.




7. STATION CLOSEST TO THE VENUE: From the TAIPEI MAIN TRAIN STATION, you could take the MRT Train that goes to JIANTAN Station. Look for the RED LINE TAMSUI and double check if the train will head towards the JIANTAN Station. It is 5 stations away from the Taipei Main Train Station.






8. JIANTAN STATION – YOUR FINAL DESTINATION: AS you exit the JIANTAN station, you’ll see two exit directions. If you reach the Exit with the sign that indicates SHILIN NIGHT MARKET you are in the opposite direction. Turn around and you’ll see the exit way to CHIENTAN YOUTH ACTIVITY CENTER. . As soon your escalator reaches the street level, you are 5 minutes’ walk away from our conference venue. Before reaching the venue, you will notice one of the famous hotels in Taiwan, THE GRAND HOTEL – on your left. And on your right you’ll see the sign Chientan Youth Activity Center . YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR DESTINATON … CONGRATULATIONS!!!










E. IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN TRAVELING VIA THE MRT


1. MRT LINES: Each MRT Train have an assigned route called LINES that bring passengers from point to point. The lines are usually named after the last station where the train is heading. Since, TAIWAN have many lines passing through several levels in the same station, the best way to identify them is through their assigned COLOR scheme.

Don’t worry, everything will make sense once you start to use the MRT’s around the city.


2. MASK POLICY .. Make sure that you have your mask worn at all times specially when in the Train Station. Without a mask, you will be apprehended and be made to pay a Fine for the infraction.

3. DESIGNATED WAITING AREA …be sure to stand in the right place before boarding. Look at the markers on the floor that indicates where you should stand while waiting for the next train to arrive.


4. ESCALATORS … Always stand on the right side of the escalator if you will just be still. If you will continue to walk up or down, use the left side.




5. DO NOT EAT INSIDE THE TRAIN STATION.. there are designated eating places and restaurants in the station where you could dine.


6. SEAT DESIGNATION … there are seats, normally near the entrance/ exit area which are designated for the elderlies, pregnant women and PWD’s. Make sure that you are not seated there. They are normally colored differently from the rest.


7. CARD LOAD .. double check your card balance whenever you exit. Add load to your card when it has reached low level. You may add load to the balance of your card in any of the following: 1. CONVENIENCE STORES (7-11, Family Mart etc…)

2. MRT STATION COUNTER

3. CARD MACHINES in MRT STATIONS










8. SHOES TO WEAR: Often, moving from station to station will be at great distance. Please be sure to wear comfortable walking or running rubber shoes and not the fancy leather or high heeled shoes. You are warned!

5. LINE MAPS/DIRECTIONS and SIGNAGES: Maps and signages are posted in every strategic area and will guide you to where you want to go. Please read and double read before making the final decision on the direction you would take.




6. GOOGLE: Before you use the MRT, Google the place where you want to go and take note of the closest MRT Station. Figure in your mind how you will travel and with the screenshot of the MRT map in your Smartphone try to visualize the lines you will take, and the possible line transfers you will have to make. Do not go out of the station, if you will transfer lines and could not find the other line. It is there! You just need patience and extra leg work to check where it is located. If you still could not find it, do ask any Train ground personnel to assist you.


8. STATION ANNOUNCEMENTS: Every train have a prerecorded announcements to inform all passengers of the name of the next station. On most trains, you’ll see the names of the stations with red lighted dot on the current station that your train is in. You will be able to count the remaining stations and know where to alight.


9. MRT LOGO: If you are searching for an MRT Station close to where you are, you just need to spot the LOGO (like the IT logo) and the station is right there. (It could be inside the mall or in a regular street). It would be good to ask around. Taiwanese are friendly and will surely assist you. Most of the young people that you’ll meet most likely speak English.

10. AUTOMATIC DOORS: TAIWAN have a unique station where they have extra gates, that open simultaneously when the train doors open. They had it installed to prevent tragic loss of life cases. There were cases in the past where mentally disturbed individuals would just jump at the rails to face the incoming train.



F. ACCOMODATIONS

Option 1: CHIENTAN HOTEL: The hotel is a 3 star rated hotel which means cost of rooms are no longer on the budget rate. They offered room options with twin beds or 4 beds in a room .








Option 2: Dormitory type or Capsule type accommodation.. These types of accommodations are available in most parts of Taiwan. We are still negotiating with some hotels either for a volume discount or a special arrangement where they will allow two individuals to share a single size bed and 3 individuals on a King size bed.


Option 3: XIMEN AREA group of hotels. The XIMEN area is known in Taiwan as the commercial / shopping center. This is also where most of the budget hotels and backpackers lodging can be found. When using booking sites like Agoda or Booking.com, use Ximen as the specific location choice. The site will show you all the available hotels and their rates for the day. To go there. look for the Ximen station on the Green Line



Option 4: Church Facilities. We are still on the lookout for churches who would be willing to offer their doors to accommodate our missionaries. In our past conferences, churches graciously allowed us the use of their guest rooms and even their sanctuary for free to our financially challenged missionaries. We will announce right away if we find a church who will respond positively. We also requested our missionaries based in Singapore to help us in this search. Most of our good options are located in the Filipino Community where the generosity of our kababayans are wonderfully experienced.


We will provide a more detailed accommodation info options which include costs of rooms etc ... in our next Info pack.


G. COVID PROTOCOL AT THE CONFERENCE

1. There will be a regular temperature check on everyone who will participate in the conference. We will bar from participating anyone who show symptoms of covid in order to prevent the possibility of spreading the virus.


2. Anyone who gets feverish,37.5C and above, must undergo RT PCR test., If found positive for Covid , you will be placed in an isolation room and separate you from the rest. If the person with fever happens to share a room, all the individuals in the room must also undertake RT PCR tests. Those tested positive may be quarantined /isolated for 7 days before they are allowed to leave.


3. Our office will be bringing several RT PCR or Antigen tests and should the need arise, please don’t hesitate to ask for one. The test kits could also be purchased on local pharmacies or convenience stores.

4. We will try our very best to help the government of Taiwan in their fight against Covid. More will be discussed at our PRE-DEPARTURE BRIEFING.


H. TAIPEI CITY TOUR


1. We will be discussing at the next Info Pack the Pre and Post Conference activities – optional tours to special sites. Missionaries in Training who signed up for ACCESS 2 will follow an itinerary set by our SEA WORKSHOPS TEAM.. The rest will have their options open to any trips or activities in and out of the city.. We will be presenting suggestions on good places to go to and activities to do while in TAIWAN on our next posting.

I. REMINDERS:


1. ALWAYS …. Wear masks and maintain social distance. Throw trash in the garbage or trash bin. Cross streets only on pedestrian lanes. When using escalators stand on the right side. Refrain from eating or drinking in MRT’s. Please take these seriously less be fined, Taiwan is serious in their application of the law..

2. COURTESY. … After meals in any restaurant, return plates and utensils to designated areas. Just don’t leave them on the table as a courtesy to those who are next in line to use the table.


3. SMARTPHONE. … everyone must bring their own smartphones. We would like everyone to be accessible in case of emergencies.

4. ROAMING SERVICE: Please ask your service provider (Globe, Smart etc...) if they could activate your phone for International Roaming. When you are on roaming, your friends and loved ones can call you or text message wherever you are. Warning the cost of roaming services is high. When activated your mobile phone will be able to receive text messages and calls from the Philippines, for free. However, once you start to answer the call or send a reply text, the cost to you is extremely high. Better purchase a local SIM card that you can use to respond to text messages.


J. PRAYERS and INTERCESSION: Please always include the conference and the organizing staffs in your prayers. Pray also for GOD’s provision for all those who will be attending the conference.


We’ll this is it for now! I’m excited and looking forward to another great East Asia Regional conference. More conference info and updates in our next INFO PACK


See you next month in the beautiful city of Taipei … much blessings!

Ptr. Gani Sison

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