FAQs

1. What is the Uncovering Asia conference?

Uncovering Asia is the first major investigative journalism conference to be held in Asia. The event will bring together top investigative reporters, data journalists, and media law and security experts from across Asia and around the world to Manila on  November 22-24, 2014. The conference is hosted by the Global Investigative Journalism Network, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, with additional support from the Open Society Foundations and more than a half-dozen co-sponsors.

The conference will mark two important occasions: a special reception honoring the 25th anniversary of the pioneering Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and a candlelight assembly to commemorate the UN-designated International Day to End Impunity on Nov. 23.

2. Who will the speakers be and what can we expect for the program?

Uncovering Asia will host speakers from more than 20 countries, including many of the world’s top trainers in investigative and data journalism.

Workshops include:

  • Advanced online search techniques by Internet sleuth Paul Myers of the BBC.
  • Tracking business across borders with Investigative Dashboard by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
  • Uncovering hidden assets with the Offshore Leaks Database of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
  • Advanced Google Tools, including searches, mapping, and public data with the New York-based Google for Media Team.

Among our speakers: Ying Chan, the Founding Director of the University of Hong Kong Media Studies Centre; Umar Cheema, investigative reporter for The News and the Center for Investigative Reporting Pakistan’s Founder; Reg Chua, Executive Editor, Editorial Operations, Data and Innovation at Thomson Reuters; Sheila Coronel, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism’s Co-Founder and Dean for Academic Affairs at Columbia University; Govindraj Ethiraj, the Founder of IndiaSpend; Malou Mangahas, PCIJ’s Executive Director; Yoichiro Tateiwa, investigative reporter for Japanese public television network NHK; and Yong Jin Kim, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism.

The conference will also feature a special roundtable on teaching investigative journalism. Among the schools that will be represented at the conference: the Ateneo de Manila University’s Asian Center for Journalism (Philippines), Asian College of Journalism (India), Chung-Ang University’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication (Korea), Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (U.S.), Danish School of Media and Journalism (Denmark), Hong Kong University Journalism and Media Studies Centre (Hong Kong), and Waseda University’s Journalism School (Japan).

3. Where’s the conference?

The Conference venue is the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria hotel. It is Metro accessible and centrally located in the vibrant Ortigas Commercial District that straddles the cities of Quezon, Mandaluyong, and Pasig in Metro Manila. The Crowne Plaza is a short walk away from the offices of the Asian Development Bank and the Philippine Stock Exchange building. The hotel is directly connected to Robinsons Galleria Mall and is only two kilometers away from the Greenhills Shopping Center, which offers great bargains.

4. How can I register?

Registration is available here. The conference fee is US$200. Please note that journalists based in the Philippines can register directly with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

5. How can I pay the conference fee?

If you are based in the Philippines, you can register directly with PCIJ here. All other attendees should pay through the registration site. You’ll have the option to pay with one of four credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, AMEX, or Discover).

6. Where can I find the cheapest flights to Manila?

The cheapest tickets to Manila can be found through sites such as Momondo, Kayak, Expedia, or Hotwire. Be sure to check if you need a visa for the Philippines or a transit visa if transferring through other countries!

7. What about transportation from the airport and in the city?

From the airport: The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is located 22 kilometers south of the conference venue. A taxi ride to the hotel takes about 30 minutes to one hour and costs from PhP250 (about US$6) regular service to PhP500 (about US$11), depending on the traffic and time of day.

Within the city: You may travel around Metro Manila by jeepney, bus, or train. Jeepney fares start at PhP8.50 (20 US cents) and bus fares, PhP11 (25 US cents), but could go as high as PhP30 (about 70 US cents). Train tickets may be bought at the station from PhP15 to PhP20. Taxis are the most comfortable way to travel in the city especially if you don’t know the routes. Taxis are widely available and metered. They can be flagged or booked via taxi booking terminals or from the hotel lobby.

8. Where should I stay?

PCIJ has identified a number of quality hotels. The closest are the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria (conference venue) and adjacent Holiday Inn Manila Galleria.

Both hotels offer single room or room-sharing arrangements. Check-in time is 2 p.m. and check-out time, 12 noon.

For those interested in sharing a room, please visit our roommate sign-up sheet.

You can find a list of other recommended hotels nearby at the bottom of the hotel page.

9. Do I need a visa to enter the Philippines?

Citizens of 157 countries do not need a visa to enter the Philippines for a visit not exceeding 30 days, provided they have return tickets and passports valid for at least six months. Please click here to review the list.

Participants who do require a Philippine visa are requested to apply for visas through Philippine embassies in their countries. You can find a list of the closest embassy near you here. The process may take up to two weeks, so be sure to apply as soon as possible.

The following are required for a visitor’s visa, but be sure to check directly with the Philippine Embassy near you to confirm if additional documentation is required, such as vaccination certificates:

  • Passport/Travel Document Valid for at least six (6) months beyond the intended period of stay in the Philippines;
  • Duly Accomplished Visa application forms;
  • Passport Photos (two);
  • Proof of bona fide status as tourist or businessman (this may include confirmation of payment of conference registration fee. Official letters of confirmation from PCIJ are available upon request; write to pcij@pcij.org.
  • Confirmed tickets for return or onward journey to the next port of destination; and
  • Payment of Visa Fees.

AIRPORT TAX

Passenger Terminal Fee is levied on all passengers embarking for:

  • International travel, PHP750 (about US$17)
  • Domestic travel: PHP200 (about US$3.50)

Place of payment: Airport of departure terminals

The following persons are exempted from paying the terminal fees:

  • Children under 2 years of age.
  • Transit passengers remaining in the transit area and not leaving the airport.
  • Crew members of airlines.

10. What is the dress code for the conference?

Business casual. Men — no ties are needed.

11. How can I become a conference sponsor?

Interested in helping sponsor the conference? Media organizations sending at least five people or contributing US$5,000 or more can become a conference co-sponsor. For sponsorship opportunities, contact us at hello@gijn.org.

12. What else do I need to know?

CURRENCY

The currency in the Philippines is the Peso (PhP) and the Centavo. 100 centavos = P1. Coin denominations are: 1, 5, 10, and 25 centavos, P1, and P5. Bill denominations are 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1, 000 pesos. You may find a list of exchange rates for all countries here.

Foreign currency may be exchanged at your hotel, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops. Exchanging money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are strictly enforced.

Most large stores, restaurants, hotels and resorts accept major credit cards including American Express, Visa, and MasterCard. Traveler’ s checks (preferably American Express) are accepted at hotels and large department stores.

ELECTRICITY

Electrical current is 220 volts, 60 Hz. The Type A electrical plug (or flat blade attachment plug) is used. Universal adapters are recommended to ensure you can connect. In major hotels, 110 volts a/c may also be available.

COMMUNICATIONS

The international access code for the Philippines is +63. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the United States). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)2 for Manila.

The major telecommunication companies in the country are:

  • Bayantel (Bayan Telecommunications, Philippines)
  • Globe Telecom
  • PLDT – Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.
  • Smart (also offers mobile banking)

HOTLINES AND IMPORTANT NUMBERS:

  • Police & Fire: 757 or 116
  • Emergency No.: 501- 650 or 501- 728
  • Directory Assistance: 114
  • National Operator: 109
  • International Operator: 108

NOTE: It is advisable to always have the telephone number and the address of your embassy or consulate with you, as well as your hotel.

WEATHER

The Philippines has two seasons only – the dry season and the wet season. Up to 20 typhoons visit the archipelago usually between the months of May to October, and the sun shines the rest of the year.

November is a typically warm and humid month, with the temperature fluctuating from 27 to 30° Celsius. There is still the possibility of rain during November, so bring your umbrella!

WATER

Water supply in Metro Manila and in all the other major cities is potable and safe. Bottled purified water, spring water or mineral water is also available in all hotels and resorts, and sold in all grocery stores.

LIGHTING UP?

The Anti-Smoking Law is enforced in most enclosed and public places, including the entire strip of EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue), the national road that straddles Metro Manila where the conference venue is located.

The Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (Republic Act 9211) prohibits the carrying of any lighted tobacco product in public vehicles, schools, health centers, elevators, cinemas, malls and in places where fire hazards are present. Smoking is also banned in recreational facilities for minors. Fines imposed on violators of this section range from P500 to P10,000 (about US$12 to US$220).

Some hotels, business establishments, and government offices have smoking areas, however.

TOURIST DESTINATIONS

For more information on tourism in the Philippines, you may go here. For a list of beaches and other tourist destinations, check out the Department of Tourism’s website.