TAIWAN Conference Info Pack # 6 (FINAL)
Dear ITP Eagles, Partners, and Friends,
We are fast drawing closer to our Taiwan Conference. The excitement level is rising fast. Some of us are already preparing things to bring on the trip . Our office staffs are also very busy preparing the conference materials, manuals, ID’s, backdrops, photo-wall, shirts, etc … Everything that is happening generate wonderful anticipation on an event that will believe will tremendously bless us all. In one week, we will see each other in the beautiful bustling city of Taipei. We are so excited for this gathering, and we look forward to walking the streets of Taipei with you. Here’s more information to add to the five info packs …
1. PRE- DEPARTURE MEETINGS : There will be several Pre-Departure meetings which will all be held in an online Zoom platform. Our organizing team have divided all participants to around 8 groups. They have set up the groups based on their flight schedule. The purpose was to ensure that you’ll get to know each other even before you arrive at the airport. There are assigned IT staffs who will handle the meeting to coach you on immigration matters and to distribute all documents that may be required from you by our airport officials. Please do not ignore this meeting. It may spell worry free travel for you if you join the meeting or an airport nightmare experience if you don’t. Our immigration officers are notorious for off-loading or denying flight boarding even for legitimate travelers like us. If you would not be able to attend the briefing for whatever reason, please make sure to ask our office for copies of the conference and company documents that you must have on hand should the airport officials ask for proof of your participation in the event. We will have the documents sent via email or through FB messenger. You need to ask those who were able to attend the meeting to at least brief you on matters that were discussed. Based on our past experiences, those who were interrogated/ off loaded/ failed to board their flight .. were mostly the same people who were not able to attend the pre-departure meetings. Please don’t take this matter lightly.
2. AIRPORT TAX: Please be reminded that there is a TRAVEL TAX of P1,620.00 required from Filipino nationals for international travels. You will have to pay that amount in the airport prior to check-in.
3. BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE: Your budget airline (Cebu Pacific or Air Asia) booking starts with the minimum baggage allowance of 7 kilos for hand carry alone. If you need to bring with you a check in baggage, you must pay for the check in baggage weight of your choice. You may go directly to your airlines website and order the additional baggage weight that you want.
4. BAGGAGE WEIGHT: Please weigh your baggage’s before heading to the airport. You need to make sure that you don’t go beyond the baggage weight limit that you paid for. The cost of extra weight when paid in the airport is a lot more expensive than on an online payment.
5. TAIWAN AIRPORT ASSISTANCE: We don’t have anyone at the airport to meet you on arrival. Please read the previous INFO PACKS for trip instructions to the city. Let me repeat … “NO AIRPORT ASSISTANCE”
6. OFFICIAL CONFERENCE REGISTRATION is on March 30 from 12:30 pm to 2 pm. Conference materials will be handed out to all participants. Registration area will be at the same venue where we will be holding our conference – the Chientan Youth Activity Center and Hotel. . Our Taiwan team led by Ptr. Macky and Ptra. Shirley Ramirez will be around to welcome you on registration day. During the registration, we will be doing a photo and video shoot. After the registration, our Taiwan hosts will be available to discuss matters related to the places to go to in the area, transportation, etc …
7. CURRENCY EXCHANGE: As soon as you arrive Taipei airport, we recommend that you have your money changed at any available Currency Exchange counter at the airport, to the local currency NTD or TAIWAN NEW DOLLAR. You may also withdraw from the available ATM machines so you will have local currency to use for your travel and other expenses. The exchange rate as of 11/7 is US$1 = TWD 30.50 = Pesos 54.65.
8. MOBILE PHONE ROAMING: Please have your mobile phones activated for roaming service. You may inquire from your local telecommunication provider for roaming activation instructions. May we remind you that the cost of calls and texts made in TAIWAN are so high that you may just consider using your phone to receive texts from the Phils. A simple one text message to the Phils may cost you around P15-25 depending on the Taiwanese carrier that your phone is using. You will not be charged for text messages that you receive.
9. DEPARTURE/ ARRIVAL FORMS (ONLINE or PAPER FORM): Address to write on your Phil. airport departure card and Taiwan arrival card – CHIENTAN YOUTH ACTIVITY CENTER & HOTEL, No. 16 Sec 4., Zhongshan N. Rd., Shilin District, Taipei, Taiwan. Purpose for the visit is either TOUR or ATTEND CONFERENCE.
10. COMMUNICATING DIRECTIONS : Please ALWAYS keep in your pockets the address of your hotel and the conference venue and emergency contact numbers or FB Messengers of our Taiwan missionaries. Hotel cards are available at the counter or the lobby area of any hotel. Please be reminded the pronunciation is different and the locals may not be able to understand you if you’ll just tell them where you want to go. So, always bring the hotel cards with you and present it to the driver when needed.
11. SECURITY: Taipei is a safe place, but one can never be sure. It is better careful and safe than be sorry. When going out specially at night, please try to go in groups. PLEASE …NO LONE RANGER or solo flyer!!!! We need to be able to always monitor each other’s activities and whereabouts. Always go out with a group and inform others of your plans. We would like each one to assist in policing your own ranks. Just like in every main city of the world, there are bad elements (pickpockets, snatchers etc..) that are out to prey on unsuspecting visitors. Please be extra vigilant and always protect your belongings. Of all items in your possession, please make sure to secure the most important item … your PASSPORT.
12. HEALTH: You may bring personal medications for those on maintenance and also for emergency cases – antihistamines for allergy, paracetamols for fever and pain etc .. Our office will also bring some so in any case you feel the need to take some, please don’t hesitate to ask from any of our conference staffs. We are bringing also RT/PCR Test kits, Blood Pressure gauge and other medical instruments etc. in case a need arises.
13. ELECTRIC ADAPTERS : The electrical outlets in Taiwan have two vertical slots , like the one we use in the Phils, US types at 110 volts. There is no need for an adapter if you are coming from the Philippines but please make sure that whatever unit you plan to plug in can run on 110 volts. Most mobile phone chargers run on worldwide voltage so there won’t be any problem. But those who will be using hair dryers etc, we advise that you check if it can run properly on that voltage level. . If you are from another country, you may need to have an adapter to convert to standard American type plug to use the outlets. If you could not purchase or borrow one while in the country, they are available at the airport stores or you can purchase cheaper ones in the Taiwan markets.
14. MEMORY CARD & BATTERY PACK: With all the beautiful sights and ministry site that you will be visiting, you might need to bring an extra SD card(s) just to be sure that you don’t wind up with a camera that you could no longer use just because of lack of memory space. A battery pack will also be as important to ensure that you will be able to capture all special moments, people and places.
15. T-SHIRTS: Our staffs have taken your individual sizes and will distribute the shirts at registration time. The T-shirts are given FREE to all registered conference participants. – one per participant. Please don’t wear it on the first day. We would like all participants to wear the T Shirts on the second day when we will have our Group Picture time.
16. JOSHUA RISING YOUTH GROUP: Our youth have set their itineraries and activities while in Taiwan. The person leading the charge for our youth group is Ptr. Nicole Aguinalde and assisted by Abby Abuan and other IT office staff. Should you want to get info on their ministry, please don’t hesitate to approach any of them. They will gladly share to you what their goals are for the youth and explain activities that they designed to move forward to their target goals.
17. GLOBAL INTERCESSORS will be in Taiwan at the beginning and end of the conference and events to ensure that all of us will be covered with prayers. They are led by Ptra Rosanna Sadogio. Should you be interested to know their plans and activities while in Taiwan, please do not hesitate to approach Ptra Rose or any of the Global Intercessors.
18. ACCESS PART 2: Our designated evaluators together with field missionaries present at the conference will meet with the whole group to discuss the group arrangements and the itinerary for Access program. Those who are not part of the training group have the full freedom to determine where they would like to go and what they would like to do after the conference. We will have group meetings to discuss options available. For those who are travelling alone, we will be happy connect you to a group, so you will be able to join them in their city tours.
19. HOTEL CHECK IN and CHECK OUT: I noticed that some hotels in Taipei have a check in time of 3pm!!! That means they will allow you to use the room ONLY starting at that time. Check out normally is at 12pm but some hotels require you to leave your room at around 11:30 am. PLEASE check out the times so that you won’t be billed extra .
20. HOTEL DEPOSITS: Some of hotels ask for a certain amount for deposit. They ask for it as a guarantee that should something is stolen or destroyed in the room they will be able to demand it from your deposit. Most often, the excitement of going back home makes you check out without asking for the deposit to be returned, I noticed that some hotels don’t remind their guests of their deposits unless it is demanded from them. They must have a good reason for it.
21. INTERNET/ WIFI: You will be surprised to know that there are Wi-Fi signals available for you to use in most parts of Taiwan … from the marketplaces to the train stations etc … But if you still want to have your own internet service that you could use together with the group that you are with, then we could recommend a Pocket 5G WIFI Rentals at a very reasonable daily rate and connects to 5 devices (laptops or smartphones). In our previous conferences, we got our WIFI rental from Klook and simply picked it up at the airport and returned it there before departure. Please ask Kathy Merencillo for more information.
22. TOUR MAP: TAIPEI is a beautiful city with so many amazing sites to visit. Travel within the city is easy with the train stations situated where the important tour sites are located. A map in your hand always will be very useful.
23. WEATHER: All our weather predictions in our previous two conferences regarding the weather were terribly wrong. When we informed everybody that the weather will be warm and there was no need to bring any jackets to the event … we were so wrong !!! It turned out to be the exact opposite. It was good that our brethren in Taiwan felt sorry for most of our missionaries and lend some jackets to wear. The next conference was the same story. We announced the weather prediction would be a cold week and it turned out the exact opposite again. NO MORE WEATHER PREDICTION and Clothes to Wear Advice” from me!!! Please google “Weather in Taiwan” and decide what clothes to bring with you.
24. PRAYER & INTERCESSION: Please pray for the success of our Taiwan conference. Let’s believe that GOD will do something amazing and unforgettable at our conference. Let’s all join hands in our commitment to honor and glorify the LORD before all men in all the nations of the world. Let there be nothing but praises and thanksgiving to our Master and King all throughout the conference.
25. DO’S AND DON’TS IN TAIWAN
a. Table Manners
While Western-style restaurants use the spoon and fork, the utensils of choice throughout Taiwan are chopsticks. Be free to pick up your bowl and hold it under your chin when you eat .Make sure to never stand your chopsticks up in your rice bowl – this action is seen as food left for the dead, usually done at funerals. When beckoning someone over, a waiter perhaps, your hand should be palm down to be polite, not palm up.
Tapping your thumbs on the table is a compliment when eating and a gracious host will tell you the food isn’t as good as he wanted it to be, out of humility.
Tipping is not expected in Taiwan, except when it comes to bellhops in hotels. In restaurants, they will just add service fee of 10-15% to your check. Other than those places tipping is a custom yet to be practiced regularly. It is not necessary to tip taxi drivers, but if the balance is not too much tell them to keep the change (“bu yong dzao.”) It will be appreciated.
c. The Shoes
Wearing sandals and flip flops is viewed as a farmer’s habit, and therefore inappropriate for town outings and work. Many libraries and finer establishments prohibit sandal-wearers onto the premises. Also, don’t forget to take your shoes off when entering someone’s home.
d. Public Transportation
· When riding a bus or MRT’s lower your voice. Police may be called by train riders. We tend to forget, so please let’s all help in policing our ranks.
· Queue up nicely for the subway. In fact, queue up nicely for anything that has a queue. There are normally markers on the floor indicating where to stand. Please don’t ignore them.
· Don’t block the escalators on the left side if you’re not going to walk up or down.
· Eating and drinking inside the public transportation is prohibited or you will be penalized. This includes chewing gum.
26. VERY IMPORTANT … (a repeat reminder !!)
i. Please check your passport’s EXPIRATION DATE. If it shows a date that falls within 6 months’ period, your passport is no longer valid for travel. You will not be allowed to leave by our immigration officials in the Philippines nor will you be allowed to enter TAIWAN if the date falls in that period on the course of your travel.
ii. If you are an active government employee, you are required by law to secure a TRAVEL PERMIT. You will not be allowed to leave the country if you don’t present that document to our immigration officers.
iii. Those who have not booked your RETURN TICKETS yet, please make sure that you’ll have one ready before you leave for the conference. Our immigration officers will not allow you to depart the country without proof that you possess a return ticket. You may book your ticket to the place of your last planned destination.
iv. SAFEGUARD your passports to the maximum. Please have it photocopied and bring the copy with you always.
v. WARNING: If someone approaches you at the airport and asks for help in checking in their baggage and/or requests if they could include some items with your own with the excuse that they have no money to pay for the extra baggage allowance… DO NOT ENTERTAIN THEM. You might be used to transport illegal items. You will be held fully responsible for your own belongings. Please always be on the side of caution.
vi. CHECK FLIGHT TIMES : We had instances in the past where some of our missionaries missed their flights due to confusion in flight times. Those who have flights in the early morning, need to know that you must be at the airport the day before your flight time. If you go to the airport on the date listed on your booking, the possibility is that you have made a mistake and the flight might have left already early in the morning of that date. You will need pay for a new ticket, which is always expensive, to get a flight back.
COURTESY: May we remind all conference participants that the teams and staffs who will be assisting you will be doing it from the generosity of their own hearts. The best response that you could give is to show gratitude and appreciation. Please take note that a good number of you will be there to be trained and evaluated and not the other way around. Our field team and conference staffs will expect courtesy and humility from all.
This is the FINAL INFO PACK. You may want to print out all info packs (#’s 1-6) and bring with you as reference in case you need guidance. We pray for God’s favor and protection for all the conference participants ENJOY the conference and all of God’s blessings!!
See you in Taiwan soon!!! EXCITING. !!!!
Ptr. Gani Sison