Kabayans! It’s Visa Free in Israel – yep! we are Visa free for 90 days. This is great news for all Filipino Catholics who would want to do pilgrimage or just want to travel and see the ancient city Jerusalem. But let me tell you this, ISRAEL IS NOT CHEAP! For me, it’s an expensive city to travel and stay for a week. I am a Budgetarian Mommy so traveling here needs a month of saving at least for my pocket money.
A week ago I went to the Holy Land – Jerusalem. I was sponsored by TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) for a press trip. On March 2017 Jerusalem will host the annual TBEX. TBEX has members of Travel Bloggers, Writers and Photographers/Videographer around the globe all passionate about traveling. This was my 2nd time to join press trip in TBEX and I am having a blast, being with fellow Travel Bloggers, sharing and hearing individuals travel stories and budget tips is vital for me. It gives me more reason to travel the world and be an independent and strong woman again.
There are several airlines going to Israel from Manila. It’ll cost 45,000 to 50,000 PHP / 918.00 – 1,020 USD roundtrip airfare and that includes meal and 30 kg baggage. And friends, Manila to Israel will take 14-hours! Depending on your airline you will have a 1 or 2 stop over. I took via Turkish Airlines, my route was Manila – Istanbul (layover/transfer for 2 hours) – Tel Aviv Israel.
Visa and days of stay:
When you get to the immigration in Tel Aviv Israel they will give you (Philippine Passport Holders) a 90-day stay. Again, Philippine Passport Holders do not need a visa in Israel. Do not worry, they will not stamp your passport instead they will give you a small Blue paper indicating your passport number, name and days of duration in Israel. This also goes when you leave Israel.
Old City Tour:
We started our 1st day going to the Old City Wall Jerusalem, this 500-year-old wall was rebuilt by Sultan Suleiman I during 1537 – 1541. With 34 watch towers, narrow wall to walk above, 7 gates, and about 12 meters high. Jerusalem is an ancient city and this wall has been a defense since the ancient time.
|the view outside the old city wall
Inside the City of David – which is one of my fave part of the tour was a biblical and an archaeological place where kings during the ancient time built this massive wall and place during King David and King Hezekiah. Water Tunnels, secret passages were found here. To know more of the story, read the bible – Book of Jeremiah. Year after year they are digging this massive stone structure and finding a lot of historical and biblical artifacts.
With Guided Tour: Adult is 60 Shekels / 780 PHP / 16 USD, Youth/Israeli Senior Citizen is 45 Shekels / 585 PHP / 12 USD
Adult Entrance fee in group: 23 Shekels / 299 PHP / 6 USD, Youth/Israeli Senior Citizen is 13 Shekels / 169 PHP / 3.44 USD.
Single Ticket: 28 Shekels / 364 PHP / 7.4 USD, Youth/Israeli Senior Citizen is 14 Shekels / 182 PHP / 3.71 USD.
Birds and Cats are everywhere
Yup! they are everywhere and these stray cats look clean, though.
Great Architecture / Buildings / Art
This 2 art piece can be found in Mamilla Mall. Just across the Jaffa Wall.
|this can be found at the Israel Museum – Jerusalem
Tourists are everywhere in Jerusalem
Of course, Jerusalem is famous for tourists and religious people as well so expect a lot of tourists all through our the year especially during Winter season in Jerusalem.
Place of worship / Prayer / Smallest Bible
Modern City Wall is where all people goes to pray and a write their prayer intentions and wishes and placed it inside the carvings of the wall. I was born, baptized and raised as a Catholic and being here is one of my fulfillment of my Christianity. I may not a church-goer every week but I pray a lot!
Nano Bible, the smallest scripture in the world and can only be found here at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
We also went to Saint John the Baptist Church. Entrance is free. And I’ve seen a lot of Filipinos on a tour that day.
The most touristy and everyone should go to this church – Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is a historical / biblical and holy place for Christians where Jesus was crucified in Golgotha and the place where Jesus’ tomb where He was buried and resurrected. A very emotional night for me because I was able to touch the holy stone where Jesus’ cross was buried.
It is a HUGE church divided into different chapels/church/rooms were Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Roman Catholic are sharing this one holy place. Also, Protestants and Anglicans also share a room in this church.
No Entrance Fee to all the church that we went to.
Fresh Air and Parks
Because I live in Manila which happens to be a polluted city in the Philippines being here in Jerusalem is so refreshing and I like the fact that I see a lot of trees, nice pathways and parks.
Food and Wine
Israeli loves to eat as much as we (Filipinos) but mind you, folks, they are BREAD eater. In a way, it was a good thing for me because I’m able to lose few pounds of not eating rice for 1 week!
|delectable local chocolates
Israel produces good quality wines.
TBEX Jerusalem and Tourism Ministry of Jerusalem sponsored our hotel in Inbal Hotel. A 5-star hotel in Jerusalem located at the city proper. My Deluxe Room costs 13,500 PHP / 275 USD per night with free daily buffet breakfast and has a spacious room with a comfy bed, nice bathroom with bathtub equipped with complete toiletries. Has a LED TV, a coffee and tea maker, coffee table and a nice city view.
Inbal Hotel is located at Liberty Bell Park, 3 Jabotinsky Street Jerusalem. Contact (972) (2) 6756666 or email email@example.com or visit www.inbalhotel.com for reservations.
I stayed for 4 days in Jerusalem and 3 days in Tel Aviv and I brought 15,000 PHP / 306 USD for my pocket money and this amount of money is just enough for my sponsored stay in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv.
I spent my money on snacks, water, taxi, bus, train, gifts and did a little shopping at the market and at Mamilla Mall. However, if you will go here and you are on a budget I strongly suggest to stay in a hostel but if you have a huge budget to spend then stay in a luxurious hotel.
For budget travelers, a 15,000 to 20,000 PHP / 306 – 408 USD is enough for 1-week pocket money. Hostel in Jerusalem is still pretty expensive and costs around 3,500 PHP / 71 USD per night / per bed with free breakfast.
I also had a hard time on my Philippine Bank (BPI), I was not able to withdraw money from any of the local bank in Israel so make sure you bring enough cash with you and all stores, cafes, shop in Israel take credit cards. I also suggest to have an OFW atm card so anywhere you can withdraw money.
Israel may be an expensive country to visit but every part and every corner of this historical country are all worth it! Also, it’s safe to travel to ISRAEL.
I’m inviting all travelers and especially travel bloggers to join next year at TBEX Jerusalem, for more info visit http://tbexcon.com/
ISRAEL IS NOT CHEAP: Things to Know About Jerusalem