“I have been putting Mike’s tour off for some time and I am so glad I went. I was overwhelmed with the possibilities of what can be outsourced. Mike is a wealth of information, which was all very up to date with much experience behind him. It is amazing how well he shared all the knowledge he has and it was all lots of fun. Thank you Mike!”
CEO – LYCON COSMETICS.
In no particular order, here are some pointers to keep in mind when you are “on MMT tour”
1. Open Mind
Be as curious as a young child. Take note of everything going on around you. Pay attention to each detail without making judgement about its usefulness. There will be time to review at the end.
2. Listen. Listen. Listen.
Even if you know how working with Filipinos works … pretend you don’t. Listen to everything and grasp a deeper understanding of the subtle nuances we share.
3. Thank you – Salamat (Sa-la-mat)
Learning a few words of the local language can be useful and appreciated
4. Transport – jeepney; trikes; cabs
Your transport during the tour is all taken care of, but during any days prior or after, you may wish to try the local transport – it is an experience sometimes! Your hotel may be able to provide a car if you are visiting local areas, either complementary or low-cost. Another alternative is to hire a car and driver for a day which is quite an affordable and convenient option, especially if you have a number of places to visit.
On tour … be on time. No excuses.
6. Retail Shopping
Some of the largest shopping venues are in Manila and surrounds. They are well worth visiting. If possible, find the shopping supermarkets and centres the locals go to for the best prices
A wonderful and exhilarating experience at the markets. There are both “gift” markets and “fresh food” markets (aka wet markets). Be prepared to haggle. The locals are tuned into westerners so try not to show any lack of experience. The wet markets are common for locals to buy their daily or weekly groceries. The seafood, meat, fruit and vegies are brought early and very fresh. Worth a visit if you have time. It is crowded very often, so pay extra attention to personal safety.
8. Appointments with businesses you visit
Be sure to connect with all the businesses on tour, even if you don’t see an immediately apparent connection, by the end of the tour, new ideas may (and probably will) begin to emerge and those very businesses may be just the perfect ones to help you bring those ideas to fruition.
If you are exploring the streets, beware of beggars, including young children. These are often fronts for illegal activities. Be polite and continue on your way.
10. Using gadgets/phones and dress rules in public
Westerners using phones or electronic gadgets or dressing “flashily” may be viewed as “wealthy” and therefore a target for robbery. Try and maintain a demure appearance.
11. Injuries or illnesses
If you are injured or become ill on tour, let us know asap. The MMT tour coordinator has the contacts necessary.
The Filipino culture enjoys shared plates of food.
The local currency is Philippine Peso. Usually hotel receptions or ATMs can dispense local currency directly from your credit card/travelling card.
14. New to overseas travel
You’re in safe hands. We have had a number of tour participants who have never travelled overseas before so we provide details as required.
15. Be forgetful … forget everything you ever knew
If you treat your tour as a new opportunity, as well as the chance to expand and improve your current business, you will gain the greatest benefit.
16. Business cards
Bring heaps. You’ll need them.
17. Have fun – sense of humour
Crazy. Traffic is crazy … well, it seems to be to a westerner, but the locals understand the courtesy and drive accordingly. If you are unfamiliar, we recommend hiring a local driver and car.
Hot and humid. Often rainy as well.
Your meals are all provided for the tour. For any days either side, purchasing food from “real shops” is fine. Avoid purchasing from the side of the street, although it may be tempting to try “local fare”. This is often not prepared according to commonly accepted western hygiene practices and can cause upset stomachs or severe illness
Wi-Fi connections are readily available while on tour, including in hotels, large shopping areas as well as in the on-tour transport.
The Philippines has a long history featuring war and occupation as well as political regime. Understanding the history helps to understand the culture and business practices.
23. Schooling and education
Predominantly a US based education system taught in English
A major cultural impact on the Filipino people is the family unit. The elder members are held in extremely high regard. Looking after the older generations is an expectations, as is providing support for younger siblings.
A strongly catholic based society.
26. Festivals & Celebrations
Local festivals are held throughout the region. Filipinos love to party, but the start time is not usually the start time … typically people arrive 2-3 hours late.
Even though celebrations are common in the Philippines, alcohol is not prominent.
28. Length of stay
We recommend arriving a couple of days prior to the start of your tour so you are rested and ready for a very hectic schedule, and staying a few extra days so that you can spend time with the business people you meet on tour.
29. What happens on tour stays on tour
This keeps it fun for everyone and ensures privacy is maintained where necessary.
30. Respect other tour attendees’ privacy (eg social media posts)
Speaking of privacy, different participants have different reasons for attending, and may not want their location publicised. Be respectful of this during social communication.
Whilst not “required”, the Filipino staff are very appreciative of tips for good service, but it is appropriate to be conservative.
32. Text not call
Don’t drink the water. Drink bottled water at all times, including for teeth-cleaning. This is readily available in the hotels and transport while on tour. Note that this doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the local water treatment, it simply contains different micro-organisms than at home. Many experts who have lived in the Philippines for quite some time drink the local water with no ill effects as their intestines have adjusted over time.
Mozzies are typically disease-transmitting pests. While they will probably not be a problem in the areas you will be on tour, having repellent handy is a good idea.
35. Toilets and Toilet Paper
Trust us … carry a handy travel pack of tissues with you at all times – males and females.