October 16, 2010
I’m the type who hates late and loves taking my time so I arrived at the airport a bit early. I sat down and waited for the check-in counters for international flights to open. Everything was going fine then until it was time to go through immigration. It certainly isn’t my first time to go outside the country for vacation so I was confident that I won’t have any problems. I was waiting in line when I noticed the people in front of me were taking so long talking to the immigration officer and would end up going to the main immigration office. I wanted to transfer to another line because I was thinking my line’s having a bad luck with that poker-faced officer but the other lines were too long already so I ended up staying where I was and waited for my turn.
When I was finally on, the officer asked what my purpose in going to Kuala Lumpur is and I answered that it’s just for vacation. What’s really annoying was that she didn’t even look at my passport and just said “go to the immigration office right there (pointing at the office where a lot of passengers already were on hold)”. I asked why and tried reasoning that I’ve already been outside the country several times and I’m of legal age to travel alone. She just gave me that poker-face look of hers and raised her brow. :(( But anyway, I just smiled at her.
So I just went and asked around what to do next. During times like this I advice travelers, particularly those my age traveling alone to never show fear and just stay calm especially if you are REALLY just going for vacation and not to find work illegally (if you are, go and panic! Hahaha). These immigration officers are naturally very strict and rude (like the ones I had to deal with) so if you look anxious and worried they might assume that you are not saying the truth.
I didn’t bring any documents with me to support that my mom’s also working abroad and I’ll just be going for vacation and not for anything else so I texted my brother, who also contacted my mom to fax any helpful documents there is at home. Hassle! I waited patiently for two hours (good thing I was there early so I got enough time to process). It took so long because they were interviewing everyone on hold one by one and there were like sooooo many of us there! The people I talked to while waiting in line all had invitations from their friends/family members who are already abroad and I had NONE. But I just smiled and said “Okayyyyy.” :))))
Some of those on hold were offloaded from the flight because there’s no time left or the immigration did not approve them. When it was finally my turn, I presented my UP Manila I.D. and said the same thing I said to the officer at the immigration window. And guess what? Without any other questions, the officer put a stamp, signed and approved! Just like that. YES. Not to mention I waited for 2 hours. WAIT, WHAT?!
I understand that they had to be strict because of all the illegal cases of our kababayans who are working abroad. But they have to have procedures and definite basis on who and when to hold people, etc. because honestly, they’re wasting our time and effort. Not just that, they’re ruining the vacation especially those who are really just going out to relax. My mom and brother were stressed trying to fax documents and contact me the whole time I was on hold. And then what? They would just ask me the same question and say OK? Annoying diba? They were asking for any proof that my mom’s working in the country that I’m going but again, we have the right to go outside the country. So are they saying that those people who only have OFW relatives/friends who can provide invitations and all that documents will be allowed to go even for vacation? What if I have the ABCs for travel (passport, ID, ticket) and I’m of legal age and I just want to go somewhere I don’t know anyone just to relax and have fun? That’s easy as 1-2-3.
I was really disappointed. Good thing I held every proud words I got in mind and just smiled at them. :D
When you travel alone, don’t forget to be tough but still friendly at the same time ^^