Flying from Chicago to Manila with EVA Air may be a long-haul, but it's a convenient way to reach the Filipino capital. Flights with EVA Air depart from Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD), which can be found 15 miles north-west of downtown Chicago. EVA Air's flights use O'Hare's Terminal 5, which is the airport's only international aviation hub.
Flights arrive at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL). MNL is also an out of town facility and is situated around eight miles south of the city center. EVA Air services will touch down at Terminal 1 in most cases, providing easy access to Manila's public transport, car rental services, and taxis.
Flights from Chicago (ORD) to Manila (MNL) with EVA Air will need to cover a distance of 8,132 miles, and journey times will be lengthy. Flight times are just over 16 hours, but total journey times are longer, due to the need for at least one stop. This generally involves a change in Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) (EVA Air's home airport) and may require a change in Vancouver as well.
This means that the fastest services can reach Manila in 24 hours, while the longest durations can reach as much as 40 hours, so choosing the right flight makes a big difference. On any given day, there should be 12-14 flights with journey times under 30 hours, and around 80 services per week with viable journey times. Flights leave year-round, but will tend to be most popular around Christmas, and the peak vacation season between January and late March.
EVA Air is a Taiwan-based airline that has been offering trans-Pacific services since the early 1990s. Founded in 1989, the airline operates out of Taoyuan, and has one of the finest safety records in the world. It also has a strong record for comfort and hospitality, along with code sharing arrangements with various global airlines via the Star Alliance.
Flights from Chicago (ORD) - Manila (MNL) with EVA Air make sense due to the wide range of departures from ORD. It's a long journey but flying with EVA will be enjoyable for passengers who are happy to include breaks in their trip. The reliability of EVA's Boeing 777 and Airbus A321 planes is another great reason to choose the airline.
There's no EVA Air lounge at ORD, bus various Star Alliance lounges are available for travelers to book, including United Club and SAS Business lounges. All provide dining, beverages, and working spaces.
On board, passengers can expect excellent food, with vegetarian options, and meals for religious or dietary needs. EVA's Star Gallery provides movies and TV, while In Flight Treats provide perks for Royal Laure, Business, and First-Class passengers. Aside from those premium classes, EVA also offers Economy and Premium Economy fares. Even budget fares include complementary cakes, while comfy quilts are provided for Premium Economy travelers.
Luggage allowances vary by class. Economy travelers can check two 50lb bags, rising to 60lb for Premium Economy, and 70lb bags in the elite classes. Excess baggage fees apply above those points. It may also be worth noting that EVA runs the Infinity MileageLands scheme, which delivers free air miles and discounts for excess baggage.
CTA's L trains run from downtown Chicago to ORD's Blue Line station, which is right next to the departure terminal, while Coach USA buses run from Midway, and Go Airport Express offers shuttles from across the Chicago Metro area. Ride sharing and taxi apps like Uber are also possibilities, as is self-driving. ORD has ample parking, with Lot D being the closest option to Terminal 5.
UBE Express buses run from MNL to the city center, although it may be cheaper to take Bus 2 to the EDSA MRT station, where you can catch trains into the city. Taxis are a popular, more direct way to reach Manila's hotels. Expect journey times of 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic. Car rental is also available at MNL from Avis, Hertz, and other multinational operators. If travelers choose to drive, it's important to know that locals drive on the left-hand side.
American visitors to Manila will need a valid US passport to enter the Philippines, and it simply needs to be valid on the day of entry. No visa is required, making entry much easier. The Philippines is 13 hours ahead of Chicago, so travelers will want to change their watches or clocks before arriving - and some adjustments may be needed to handle jet lag.
Expect big climate differences as well. Most months see average highs of over 85 degrees Fahrenheit in Manila, something that Chicago rarely achieves, even in high summer. And the humidity will be much higher, while rainfall between June and September can be torrential (so pack an umbrella).
Changing some dollars into Philippine Pesos is recommended. As of November 2019, the exchange rate is 50 pesos to 1 US dollar. Most shopping malls and restaurants will accept global credit cards. Even so, having currency helps at markets, and is useful for tipping as well.
The people of Manila speak tagalog, and maybe some Spanish. English is commonly spoken in the capital as well but learning some tagalog will help to make a good impression. When greeting locals, try to smile and shake hands, dress as smartly as possible, and refrain from using first names until you are well-acquainted.
Go shopping at Quiapo Market
Quiapo Market is like nothing Chicago natives will know. It's a teeming mass of vendors, selling everything from colorful mystical amulets (buy one for good luck!), potions that claim to induce weight loss, along with super-fresh mangoes, and hard-to-resist banana fritters. And be sure to see the Black Nazarene - a statue of Jesus which forms the centerpiece to one of Manila's biggest Easter celebrations.
Take the Ghost Walk in Intramuros
Literally "within the walls", Intramuros is a UNESCO-protected historical gem. Manila's colonial heart is full of notable buildings that are fascinating to tour during the day. But pay a visit at night, and the district is a whole lot spookier. Ghost Walks summon up stories from wars and executions, with grizzly tales of the spirits that haunt Intramuros - giving a whole new perspective on the ancient streets.
Join a food tour to taste the real Manila
Manila's cuisine mixes local Pinoy cooking with Chinese, Indian, and western influences, creating a wonderful fusion. There's no better way to explore the city's gastronomy than organized tours which showcase the finest pollo asado (roast chicken), sour-but-seductive sinigang stews, and healthy veggie-packed pinakbet dishes. There's something for everyone, and plenty of gourmet experts waiting to show you the ropes.