05 January 2009

Philippine Immigration

Here I am, giving tips and all, but did you know that I almost did not make it through the Philippine immigration. I was denied twice. The immigration officers were asking for a return ticket and a POEA clearance, which was illogical because I'm holding a special kind of visa. I kept on to my argument but ended up losing over and over. I kinda felt like a pingpong ball that time.

It was a good thing I had the number of the French Embassy. I was also fortunate that someone's at the office even though it was a holiday. After explaining my dilemma, I was told to return to the immigration queue and get the names of the officer/s and the contact number.

Mustering enough strength and spirit, I went straight to the immigration supervisor. Instead of getting her name and office number, I ended up going through a bloody interrogation. Good thing I knew by heart what the French and Talent Competence Visa is all about. As I was explaining, I realized that I was caught in a tug-of-war of power between the French Embassy and Philippine immigration. And since I was at the Philippine immigration territory, I had to show them that they are the kings and queens and nobody else. Apparently, it worked. After another series of questions from the POEA supervisor, they finally decided to stamp my visa and let me go.

Although it was a hellish experience, oddly enough, the Philippine immigration earned my respect. Hearing so many stories about immigration money extortion, I was so ready to hand out cash just so I can make it to my flight. But they didn't extort a single centavo from me. At least in my eyes, I still think they are a bunch of respectable people. They still have my respect.

That incident also proved that there are still things that can be fixed minus money and connections. In the absence of money and connections, faith exists.