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Hi, it seems everyone has a company they use and trust.  I personally use OPODO, have used them for about 11 years now and never ever had any problems.  They cover a lot more than most and by using them you get all of the info from Kayak, Expedia and most of the major companies.   It is all a matter of trust, but over the years I have used quite a lot of these companies, OPODO is now always my 1st port of call.
Lately, I do all my flights through  I gave them a try again around a year ago after not using them for a LONG time.  Decided to see if they are worthwhile.  Now they are my go to.  You can do just about anything with them.  I am in Taiwan right now as i write this.  Cost me round trip about $120 usd. 
They have a +3 -3 day flexibility. I just put in my starting point and finishing point.  Gave a date for departure and a date for return and they search all airlines on the dates given as well as the 3 days before and the 3 after.  You get a 7x7 grid with all the available dates and the lowest prices on each date combo. 
When I needed to do a throw away, went back to them.  This was even easier.  Typed in the complete month(of the throw away period) and then said see where I could go on a budget.  A map shows up will all of southeast Asia and destinations available throughout the month time frame and the lowest prices to each destination.  Cost me about $45 for the throw away.
Some other sites can still do better I'm sure, but probably not by much and the ease of use is just making such a nice site to use.
Oh, and these are NOT their flight.  They are just showing you the cheapest setups available and then send you to THOSE sites.  I used Fiji to get here.  Using Tigerair to get home.  Can't complain so far.
I book on-line and follow up with a phone call to get seats I want.  you can always talk to representatives of expedia, asap, etc.  if you book on the airlines website e.g. delta, aa, etc you have access to seating arrangements and you can choose.  the price for these seats (if any) are also shown. 
Cellphones, communication in general / Re: phone calls to the states
« Last post by Gray Wolf on Today at 05:52:14 AM »
I was just wondering this myself in preparation for a possible visit later this year. Now I have the answer with Skype.

Thanks guys!
Getting here and back and getting items here and back / Booking flights
« Last post by MadDog on Today at 12:40:42 AM »
Hello to you all. Thanks for all the good writing, I enjoy the reading. The question I have is booking flights through the internet with websites like Expedia. Lately there is this cheap-o-air site that keeps popping up in my search. In my reading they talk about consolidators and local in country websites for the best deals. My consern is the quality of the booking, seat availability, being able to verify I have a seat on a flight and how best to resolve any problems. I know a travel agent is best for putting trips together, but if I want to last minute wing it, what is the best website or what is a good proccess? Thank you for all the good writing. 
Philippines News / Duterte signs Universal Healthcare Act
« Last post by Hank on February 20, 2019, 08:59:40 PM »
This could indeed be a significant day for all Philippine peoples. Best of luck with this, and here's hoping all goes well.

Health care for all: Duterte signs Universal Healthcare Act

By Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Feb 20 2019 05:28 PM


President Duterte at the ceremonial signing of the Universal Healthcare Act .. February 20, 2019

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday signed the Universal Health Care Act, a measure that would provide health care coverage for all Filipinos.

The measure ensures all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health goods and services and protection against financial risks. It automatically enrolls all Filipinos to the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

Under the measure, membership in the NHIP will be classified as “direct contributors” or those who have the capacity to pay premiums, or “indirect contributors” or those sponsored by the government such as indigents, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

The law also grants every Filipino “immediate eligibility” and access to preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative health services, delivered either as population-based or individual-based health services.

Senator JV Ejercito, principal author of the Senate version of the measure, earlier said the passage of the law would expand PhilHealth coverage, which would include free medical checkups, laboratory tests, and other diagnostic services.

All graduates of health-related courses who are recipients of government-funded scholarship programs will be required to serve for at least 3 years in the public sector, he said.

Funds for public health coverage will be pooled from the incremental sin tax collections, charity fund from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), income from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), premium contribution of members, annual appropriations of the Department of Health (DOH), and government subsidy to PhilHealth.

Budget for the first year of the implementation of the bill is pegged at P257 billion, Ejercito said.

Banking / Re: Western Union
« Last post by RUFUS on February 20, 2019, 12:42:18 AM »
I have been using Xoom for years and it is fairly cheap.
US$50 exchanged costs me $1.99 to send directly to our Landbank account.
If you transfer $200 exchanged to your bank or more there is no fee, but I believe there are fees if you send cash.
The Piso exchange is not the greatest, but I enjoy the point-click-ship ability
Xoom is now linked with PayPal and it has become very fast.
You can send Pisos or dollars.

Here are the money send limits limits
Cellphones, communication in general / Re: phone calls to the states
« Last post by jjcabgou on February 19, 2019, 04:35:28 PM »
I use the same phone I had in the USA, with the same phone number.  I have t mobile and they have an international plan  I pay a fixed price and as long as I have internet connection I can make and receive unlimited calls.   Dial direct, and the connection is great.  In addition, I can connect to the local networks and use the internet, again, at no additional charge. 
Cellphones, communication in general / Re: phone calls to the states
« Last post by suzukig1 on February 19, 2019, 02:32:27 PM »
I also use Skype on my smartphone.  After downloading the app I loaded up 10 USD in credits (I think that is the minimum you can load) and started making calls.  Skype to Skype calling is free.  To the U.S. 800 numbers are free.  According to the article in the following link connection charges for calls to the U.S.: < 5 cents initial connection + 2.3 cents per minute.

I did not pay to get a U.S. phone # because I didn't need one.

You need an internet connection.

Charges to connect to landlines or cellphones are based on the place you call to.  (connection charges)

Where you call from does not affect the charges.  (So the service travels as long as you have an internet connection.)

If you are going to make regular calls to the U.S., they have monthly subscriptions which could end up being cheaper.
Cellphones, communication in general / Re: phone calls to the states
« Last post by FastWalk on February 19, 2019, 10:39:25 AM »
Skype works well.  I use the local number in the US for ppl and places that need or want to call a local number.  It rings right through to me in the phills or to the builtin voice mail.  I use the same to call others in states.  It is usually pretty good,  at least as good as my mobil was when in the states.  There are some small fees/subscriptions to pay to get all those futures.

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