How To Avoid Getting Offloaded in the Philippines For First Time Travelers
My experience with unreasonable Filipino Immigration Officers
I had a nightmare during my flight last Oct. 2, 2014, I had a trip going to Costa Rica via Amsterdam and Panama. My flight was in the evening around 7:40 so I went to the airport terminal 3 very early. I was kinda nervous that time because I've done a research about how cruel my people in the immigration as a Filipino they treat tourists very badly as if they were the one paying the tickets. My round trip tickets really cost a lot worth 3k USD and they easily turned down citizens as quickly as they want. Their reason? Doubtful... I can really say that they are so bad.
Okay, let me tell you my story. My boyfriend and I planned to have vacation in Costa Rica for one month and we bought our tickets two days before the flight even we discussed it a month ago already. My departure was Oct. 2 and will return on Oct. 29, 2014. My bf is from USA, instead of coming back and forth to Manila, we decided to meet at CR but we need to synchronize our time of arrival.
Let's start my nightmare.
As soon as the KLM airlines opened for check in, I did not waste my time. It was 4 pm and too many passengers already. I just wanted to finish my moment so I can rest after interrogations with them, that's what I thought. At the airlines, the crew interrogated me already. I thought we had a new system now, I thought 'are they the Immigration Officers?' because they asked me too many questions:
where am I going?
What will I do in my destination?
Why I have big luggage?
Who bought my tickets?
Why I chose Costa Rica?
I was kinda irritated when answering her questions. The crew held me and went to the other staff to ask questions holding my passport. So, the other passengers behind me on the line up were also waiting for her. When she returned, she repeated all my answers and I said 'yes' to all. Finally, she puts stickers on my passport and let me pass through her to go to check in counter.
After checking in, I paid the terminal fee of 550 pesos and entered the immigration. I got my departure card, lined up again and gotcha! My nightmare started.
The officer named Corpuz (looks like gay or BI) checked my passport and tickets. He asked me what's my purpose of travel, why Costa Rica, who bought my tickets, what's my work current and previous, etc. I answered him 'I am the one who bought my tickets, I will travel for my site because I'm a writer, I will go alone because I'm a traveler and I told him i was a teacher'. I looked at directly in his eyes because he was younger than me and I'm 31 by the way. When he couldn't decide, he went outside of his cubicle and talked to other officer at the back and returned with a form. He asked me to fill out the form and told me that someone will interview me at the back. I knew already what 's gonna happen because that's the same scenario in my research online who experienced nightmare with immigration officers being offloaded.
So I filled out the form and faced another officer. The other officer who interviewed me was Ms. Salimbuyan. At first, we talked smoothly but when she started to be rude in her statement in questioning me plus she was not listening to my answers anymore because her reason was being doubtful of my trip, I began to change my approach too. She said she couldn't allow me to travel for that day. I need to accomplish first everything she wrote on the paper, just re-book my ticket. What? I was really disappointed. Everything I prepared to answer their questions was really useless. They won't ever listen to you promise! They will show you that you are a liar. They will make a way to make you feel that you are idiot. I'm not that kind of person. I fight for my right to travel. As long as I don't violate rules as tourist. I have my valid passport, round trip tickets and hotel bookings. What was the problem? They are the problem.... She was telling me my hotel bookings were not paid yet. What the hell was her problem with that? She will not pay it for me anyway. She has many suggestions to me and I thought not really immigration laws. She said why not apply for visa so you can visit your bf in USA. What? I'm going to CR not USA. I'm not going there just to meet my bf. My bf always comes to manila every two months. OMG! People in the immigration are really mean and unreasonable. Then, I told her if you gonna offload me now, I'll make sure you gonna pay my tickets. She said she won't pay it. I said well I'm gonna complain then I took picture of her. She noticed that and took my phone and erased her picture. She was irritated with me but suddenly she said if I can accomplish what she wrote, she will allow me to travel.
I started to deal with it and asked help from my bf during that time was online on skype because he was monitoring me. She asked me to do the following:
* send to her email an affidavit of support from my bf
* give her a xerox of my bf passport
* scan a copy of my bf id and send to her email
* asking my bf to deposit $ to my credit card
She was really unreasonable. She even pry my skype to read my conversations with my bf. She also asked me to show my pics with bf. To make it short, I did everything like a puppet. She was just playing with me. I knew it but later on I surrendered because I was tired. We couldn't provide scan ID of my bf. My bf was really pissed off because where the hell he can find scanner at 3am near his place in USA?
The officer asked me what's my next plan. I said I don't have interest in pursuing this trip anymore and showed her my tired face. Besides the boarding time already passed. The staff of KLM airlines was already looking for me because I was the only one and last passenger they were waiting to board. The crew asked the officer if she would pass me through. The officer looked at her wristwatch and finally said 'okay show the ids on cam using skype'. So I asked my bf to do it and we did it! See?
They are just making fun of the Filipino citizens and gave us hard time to feel stressed and humiliated. What kind of system do we have? I was really ashamed when I entered the plane because I was the cause of flight delay. This experience made me realized not to go back to Philippines. I already went to China, Malaysia and Brunei but I never experienced this kind of humiliation. I feel sorry for the others because they did not make it. They were offloaded, I've witnessed that! And the officers were washing their hands. They gonna say it's your fault, not theirs.
They are really suck! Oh, let me tell why she changed her mind in offloading me. She was scared of complains. I'm gonna sue her I promised her that! Her last words: 'next time, don't take picture of us because that's not allowed'.
So, to my fellow Filipinos, if you are having a hard time with them, don't waste your time. Do the same! Fight...
Tell them you gonna complain for being unreasonable and sue them for wrongly offloading you because of doubts or because they just want it. Lastly, take picture of them or write their complete name on your notebook. That's what make them scared of you. These tips are for ordinary citizens because rich people will never ever experience this. I hate our poor system, I'm sorry to say this. I was just pissed and every time I look back, I feel pain in my heart. I hope this article helps people like me. Because many citizens were offloaded without any valid reasons.
Just fight for your right to travel.