Why was the Philippines chosen as the venue for the 2020 Balikatan Conference?
The selection of the Philippines as the venue for the 2020 Balikatan Conference was strategic. Holding the conference in the Philippines will bring us, Balikatan members and friends, up close and personal with the leadership and staff of IVCFP who we have been partnering with in reaching students for Jesus Christ in the Philippines. Having the Philippines as a Balikatan Conference venue would also allow Philippine-based IVCFP alumni to have fellowship with Balikatan members and friends and those alumni who are now residing abroad.
How different would this conference be from previous Balikatan conferences?
In addition to being held outside of North America, the 2020 Balikatan Conference will potentially have more attendees, especially those from the Philippines. It is foreseeable that the conference program and activities be slightly adjusted to take advantage of the attendance of Philippine-based IVCFP alumni and staff. However, you would easily notice the distinctive qualities of a Balikaton Conference, if you have attended one.
Considering that the conference venue is outside North America, how many attendees are you expecting and where will these potential attendees be coming from?
We are planning for, at least, 200 attendees, mostly from the Philippines. We are hoping that 25% would come from North America, another 25% from IVCFP and related groups, 10% from other parts of the world, and the rest from IVCFP alumni in the Philippines.
How much is the registration fee?
The registration fee is US$150 or PHP7,500, which covers food and lodging during the 3-day conference. The registration fees for those who won’t be able to attend the full conference are as follows: Dec 27 – PHP750; Dec 28 – PHP2,000; Dec 29 – PHP1,250. These registration fees include meals for the following days: Dec 27 (supper); Dec 28 (breakfast, lunch, supper); and Dec 29 (breakfast and lunch).
Where is the conference venue?
The conference venue is the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center in Tagaytay City, Cavite. It is a sprawling and serene hillside venue with a cool and unpolluted climate. The weather is a bit chilly in December. CCT-TRTC has earned high ratings on Trip Advisor, Facebook, and Google reviewers, reaping raves especially for their food and staff service. It is about 60 kms or 1½ hour drive from the Ninoy Aquino International Airports and about 2 to 2½ hours commute from the Quezon City provincial bus terminals. For more information, visit their blog: http://ccttagaytay.blogspot.com/
Will Balikatan be providing transportation from the airport to the venue?
There are currently no plans for Balikatan to provide or assist in transportation needs from the airport to the venue and return. However, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Philippines (IVCFP) may facilitate in addressing your transportation needs. Please contact Rein Arlegui at [email protected]
Will Balikatan be organizing reunions among members of various IVCFP alumni groups as a side event before or after the conference?
There are currently no plans for Balikatan to undertake such activities. However, IVCFP would be willing to assist in coordinating such reunions. We also encourage all IVCFP alumni to peruse Balikatan’s Facebook account in communicating with your fellow alumni in organizing reunions.
Is the venue accessible by public transportation?
The venue is accessible by public transportation.
From any NAIA terminal:
Take the shuttle bus service to the Pasay-Taft Bus Terminal. Fare = P20.00. Take an “Erjohn & Almark” bus to Tagaytay-Olivarez. Fare= P90.00. Alight at the Tagaytay Rotunda. Take a jeepney to Picnic Grove. Fare = P8.00. Alight at Picnic Grove. Take a tricycle to CCT. Fare = P30.00. Estimated time of travel from NAIA to CCT is between 2 – 2½ hours.
If you take the MRT:
Alight at the Taft station and exit towards the south side (left side). Exit the station and enter the narrow entrance leading to the Pasay-Taft Bus Terminal Take an “Erjohn & Almark” bus to Tagaytay-Olivarez. Fare= P90.00. Alight at the Tagaytay Rotunda. Take a jeepney to Picnic Grove. Fare = P8.00. Alight at Picnic Grove. Take a tricycle to CCT. Fare = P30.00. Estimated time of travel from Pasay-Taft to CCT is between 2 – 2½ hours.
If you take the LRT1:
Alight at the Taft station. Cross over to the Metropoint Mall and exit the station. Follow the foot traffic heading to the MRT Station. Pass through the MRT Station and go down the south side stairs. Exit the station and enter the narrow entrance leading to the Pasay-Taft Bus Terminal Take an “Erjohn & Almark” bus to Tagaytay-Olivarez. Fare= P90.00. Alight at the Tagaytay Rotunda. Take a jeepney to Picnic Grove. Fare = P8.00. Alight at Picnic Grove. Take a tricycle to CCT. Fare = P30.00. Estimated time of travel from Pasay-Taft to CCT is between 2 – 2½ hours.
Are there nearby hotels in case we choose not to stay in the conference site?
Yes, there are nearby hotels from CCT that you can easily check online indicating not only rates and amenities but also their distance from CCT. *Summit Ridge Tagaytay (4.3 miles from CCT) is recommended by Balikatan member Abe Navarete. The restaurant in it called “Sartin” is operated by Chef Jasper Versoza, a Christian and their inaanak.
How do I register for the conference?
If you live or work abroad (outside of the Philippines), please complete a registration form and send completed form together with payment in US funds to: ABE NAVARRETE, 6804 Dundee Court, Yakima, WA 98908 (US and Canada). If you live or work in the Philippines, please complete a registration form and send completed form together with payment in PHP funds to: REINSTARY ARLEGUI, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, 101 Don Primitivo St. Don Antonio Hts., Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City 1127. A downloadable Registration Form will be available on Balikatan’s website by January 2019. You may also register on site.
We are currently working on ‘online’ registration. Please bear with us.
We are a family of four. Is there a room for us?
Yes, the venue has a family room for four.
What are the visa requirements to travel to the Philippines?
A valid passport and return ticket are required for US, Canadian, British, Autralian and EU citizens and no visa is required if staying less than 30 days in the Philippines. Other nationals are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for the Phil. You may also visit www.immigration.gov.ph to check visa requirements.
What meals will be served in the conference? I’m a vegetarian...
All meals will be served buffet-style at the Dining Hall. CCT-TRTC observes the CLAYGO (clean-as-you go) practice which means guests are expected to tidy up their table after eating and bring their used plates and utensils to the designated area.
What is the weather in Tagaytay that time of the year and what should I wear?
Tagaytay City’s climate is characterized by relatively low temperature (average of 23 degrees C/73 degrees F), low humidity and abundant rainfall. Situated approximately 600 meters above sea level, the city is misty and is relatively cooler during the months of December, January and February. (Source: http://www.tagaytay.gov.ph)
Is there a discount for early registration or large groups?
We’re sorry but we do not offer discounts for early registrations or large groups. The good news is that there is time to save up for it for the next 2 years! =)
I’m a senior citizen and can’t climb high stairs. Can you provide me with a room that’s on the first floor?
We will prioritize senior citizen and PWDs in room assignments. Please register in advanced.
Can I invite friends to attend or observe? Will there be fees required?
Yes, please invite your friends! However, they will be required to pay a “daily” fee. See Question #4 for fees and rates.
How much do meals cost?
Registration is limited to full registration of US$150 (PHP7,500) and registration on a per day basis with a 24 hour notice. The registration fees per day include meals and they are as follows: Dec 27 – PHP750 (supper); Dec 28 – PHP2,000 (breakfast, lunch, supper); and Dec 29 – PHP1,250 (breakfast and lunch).
Can you provide us with with a map of the conference site from Manila/Laguna/Batangas?
Please make use of Google maps or WAZE for your navigation needs while in the Philippines. Both apps are available in Android and iOS devices.
Are there activities for children during the conference for us to fully be present in the conference and to have time with others?
Yes, infant and child care services will be provided for children 0-12 years old. A youth program will be provided for ages 13-18.
Is there a nearby hospital/ pharmacy in case someone gets sick/doctor to call?
Tagaytay Medical Center is 13 minutes away by car from the conference venue. CCT will have a Medical Staff during the conference.
Are there good restaurants you could recommend in case we arrived early or stay after?
Yes, there are nearby restaurants to choose from. Please check online for options and preferences.
Are there Alumni in Mission participants?
IVCFP alumni who are actively involved in various ministries will be invited to attend the conference.
Are there good parking spaces in the area?
CCT has enough parking spaces to accommodate vehicles of all guests and visitors.
Is it walkable from the highway/trike is available?
You can ride a tricycle from the highway to CCT.
On the fun night do you have a theme? Any costume you would like me to bring? (maybe this is too early a question)
The theme for the Fun Night is usually determined during the conference; and based on previous conferences, costumes are usually improvised from whatever is available at the conference venue. However, if a Fun Night theme is determined before the conference, we’ll let you know.
Internet connection is not easy in the Philippines or at CCT, how can you help me?
There is wifi at CCT, but limited to the plenary hall. We advise that you purchase a local prepaid SIM card and load it with an equivalent data usage according to your needs.
Can you notify us if there are ongoing US to MNL or Canada to MNL airfare deals?
You won’t be notified directly, but you’re encouraged to visit our www.balikatan.org or our Balikatan FB group for postings on air fare deals, if any.
When is the best time to book our tickets?
Book as soon as you are certain that you’re attending the conference. However, some airlines won’t allow you to book more than 12 months in advance.