Cebu: Clearing-in and the Yacht Club

Published 10 years ago, updated 4 years ago

Posted May 25th, 2013

I arrived with my yacht at Cebu Yacht Club in April 2013.

First, to be clear, Cebu Yacht Club is not on the Island of Cebu, nor in the City of Cebu.  Instead, it is on Mactan Island in the City of Lapu Lapu.  Cebu Airport is close by.

Clearance Formalities

Quarantine: Here is the latest on check-in.  It seems you can’t avoid the quarantine inspection. The marina staff will call quarantine for you. A full medical doctor will arrive at the marina and fill in forms.  Ask a few questions.  Charge is 2,500 Peso (Currently about 40 pesos per USD).

Customs & Immigration: Be careful.  The marina staff seems very keen to call customs and immigration for you too.  They will then come down to the marina and charge you similar fees.  If you are a budget cruiser, tell them you will do it yourself.

After you do your quarantine, you can just walk up the road and catch a mini-bus to the airport.  Then go to the airport package area.  This is a group of buildings a short walk from the airport itself. Yes, they will tell you it is a long way from the airport, I estimate it was 1.25 km. To me, that is a short walk.

Customs is pretty disorganized but friendly.  It took them 2 hours to check me in.  They actually type up a letter in your name that states you are requesting permission to enter the country.  You then sign that.  There were an official cashier and a nominal charge.  I think it was around 400 peso.

Immigration is fun!  You get in a taxi and go to the central immigration station in the City of Mandaue.  There, expect to be received like royalty.  Firstly dress for the occasion in long pants, full shirt, and shoes.  (I did get by with sandals).  I have whisked away to a room where immigration officially gleefully filled in the forms and suggested I pay a 5,000 peso fee.  Hmmm!  I said.  I don’t think so.  I told him I am not allowed to pay bribes and could get in trouble.  He watched me carefully write his name down.  He dropped the charge to 2,500 pesos.  I stood up and left the room. He was shocked.  “Where are you going?”  He demanded. “To the cashier of course.  You don’t expect me to pay you directly, do you?  That is why your office has an official cashier.” “Oh no oh no!” he said.  I will give you a receipt. He pulled out a photocopied page. He signed the name of a different immigration agent.

A few days later, another cruiser and I talked about immigration.  He too was scammed for 2,500 pesos.  He called his embassy and they told him there should have been no fee.  Upon check out, immigration was demanding another fee.  He told the guy.  “No way, and give me my money back.”  He got his money back!

10 days later I had to renew my visa.  This time I could go to the new immigration office that is just down the road from the marina.  I passed them a note with a question.  “If an immigration officer demands funds from you, is that a police matter?”  I showed them a copy of my receipt. That very afternoon, when I got back to the marina, the marina staff were very interested that the head of immigration was calling them trying to get in touch with me.  They wanted to give me my money back. “Can you come tomorrow?” “I’m busy”, I told them. So far they still have my money and are probably worried I took a picture of a sign about phone numbers to call if you suspect “FIXING”.

Cebu Yacht Club Marina

The marina itself should be closely looked at in this link.

The marina is very small and as you can see pretty full. Pictures of it on the web fail to show you the big commercial boats. My boat is in the picture.  Notice the trimaran on the upper right-hand corner.  Most of the mono-hulls anchor to the South of the Marina.  I’m up here to the North of the Marina because the anchorage is very difficult for a big multi-hull. It is shallow, muddy and there is a strong current that changes direction with the tides.  On top of that, there are dozens of ferries going past each day.   These throw off short period waves that slam into your boat and push you towards shore.

I finally got a stable anchorage by dropping anchor out in the channel and backing up towards land with all chain out.  Then I took two lines to shore.  These helped keep my boat from turning with the current.  However, the ferries still pushed the boat towards shore.  I finally figured out how to stop this by placing a light anchor 1/2 way along one mooring line.  Now when I get hit with the waves, both the anchor chain, and the mooring line can absorb the shock by lifting and lowering weights.

If you do mooring lines, you have to do them to the North of the marina, unless you take the one and only one spot on the outer seawall.  Use lots of anti-chaffing. Check them every two days to clear the mega-ball.  Mega-ball?  Don’t you know what that is? It is a huge mess of plastic, sticks, clothing, diapers, rope, and yuck that snags on your mooring lines. Mark your lines well with buoys so the fisherman knows they are there.

Stench from the factory, the power, plant, and city is bad.  But don’t run AC if you have to draw water.  You will clog intakes with plastic bags.

Fortunately, compared to other hot places, the Philippines isn’t that hot.

The best part of the marina is the Vue Restaurant.  Pasta chicken pesto dinner as low as 190 Peso.

Philip Maise

Hot Buoys Trimaran

Posted January 30th, 2012

When we arrived in the Philippine Islands, we went to the Cebu Yacht Club for clearance. The yacht club does not have a VHF radio or a service boat. It is necessary to anchor out and make your own way into the Marina and they will call the officials.

None of the officials came to our boat. Quarantine is first. The quarantine official came to the club and we completed the forms there. Quarantine was interested only in our health. There was no mention of fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. He charged us 2500 pesos ($60.00 US). It looked like a legitimate charge and we got a receipt. Next, Customs came to the yacht club. We completed some forms and he wanted $75.00 US, no pesos for him. He also gave a receipt. Another cruiser who was clearing in challenged him on that charge and the two of them left for the Customs office. Later he came back wearing a big grin. He said that he got out of paying their fee. He is braver than I am. I have visions of my boat being taken apart during an exploratory search or them planting evidence just to get back at me. Next, we had to take a taxi to immigration. The important thing here is to not wear shorts. Immigration will not let you into the building with short pants on and no sleeveless blouses for the ladies. We completed some forms there and the agent wanted 2500 pesos. I paid, received a receipt “for services rendered,” and left. The other cruiser says he challenged them and got out of paying that charge as well. He told me he had researched the fees online before arrival and knew that there were no charges for customs and immigration on arrival.

The yacht club is close to a supermarket and a laundry. There are many restaurants in the area and prices are quite low. On the grounds of the yacht club is a chandlery, a chart store, a restaurant, and free Wi-Fi. Anchoring out is free. If you want to move into the marina, the prices are 4,000 pesos for the first 10 days, 5,000 for the next 7 days and 3,000 pesos per day after that. If you anchor out the use-fee for their dinghy pier is 200 pesos a day. In the anchorage, the water is very polluted. There is good holding in mud and plastics, and cooling breezes. The drawbacks are you will be on the edge of a busy channel, terrible karaoke singing from a neighboring restaurant, and you will be anchored off a shanty town.

Donald Bryden

s/v Quetzalcoatl

Related content

Cebu City

Related to following destinations:

You must Login or Register to submit comments.