I had to pay a bribe to leave the Philippines

Contents

Denied departure

I am an Australian tourist who arrived in the Philippines more than 6 months ago. Recently I decided to do a web development course in the US which was very important to me. It started on Monday the 7th of March and I was all set to depart from Manila airport 2 days before.

I checked in my luggage and proceeded to immigration with my boarding pass, passport, permission to enter the US and an onward ticket from the US.

The immigration officer asked for my exit clearance, I asked what he meant as I had never heard of that. He told me because I had been in the Philippines for more than 6 months I needed an exit clearance from an immigration office outside the airport before I could leave.

He said I would not be allowed to depart from the Philippines and I should leave the airport and not come back until I had the exit clearance.

I was stunned; missing the flight and the course would cost me thousands of dollars and ruin my plans. These were my arguments to I try to persuade the immigration officer, then his supervisor, then his supervisor’s supervisor.

  • I had never been told about an exit clearance, how was I expected to know?
  • I was only on a tourist visa and I was not seeking any re-entry permission.
  • The required clearance was from immigration and we were in the immigration area surrounded by immigration personnel and immigration computers; let’s do the clearance here and now.
  • I had always done the right thing according to Immigration’s rules with visa extensions, forms, ID cards, fees and everything.
  • The last time I was at an immigration office to get an extension I told them I was going to leave soon and they did not mention anything about an exit clearance.
  • I would be happy to pay a fine or a penalty, like someone who overstayed their visa would do.
  • I did not mind if I was blacklisted or deported and never allowed back, as long as I was allowed to leave.
  • I have visited over 30 countries and lived in 7 countries and I have never been required to get a clearance outside of the airport before leaving, including in my previous visit to the Philippines.
  • Forcing me to stay in the Philippines was in no way in the national interest, or anyones interest.

I got more and more nervous as no one cared about the above point’s only countering that it was my fault because I did not read all the information on Immigration’s website or the stamps in my passport.

As pictured below 1 of the dozens of stamps in my passport says visitors for more than 6 months are required to get an emigration clearance. All the other stamps in my passport from the Philippines Bureau of Immigration are identified as such. This stamp does not say where it’s from, there is no way to know it’s not from a different country’s immigration department. Who reads their passport anyway?

Philippines_exit_clearance_stamp

At this point my hands were shaking and I was in shock. I tried to make them see the punishment of losing my freedom of passage and being detained in a country I did not wish to be in was disproportionate to my mistake of not reading my passport stamps.

They denied I was being detained as I was free to move around the Philippines. I countered that given I did not want to be in the Philippines and the only thing stopping me from leaving was them physically preventing me, I was being detained to some extent.

The last supervisor I spoke to was particularly arrogant, dismissive and power drunk. He made a point of telling me Australian immigration was worse.

I gave up when my plane left. I walked out into the Manila night with nowhere to go, nowhere to stay, no local currency, more luggage than I could carry, stressed, angry and scared, only to have to deal with the worst taxi drivers in the world.

Going to immigration and being extorted twice

I looked up what I needed to get the exit clearance and as usual with immigration and government matters in the Philippines, there were no clear answers. Different people doing the same thing had different experiences.

Immigration’s own information was inconsistent with itself and inconsistent with the reality in immigration offices. Processes and requirements change from one office to another so you don’t know what you will need or if you will be able to complete your transaction on the first attempt.

The information page about the main office I had to go to does not even state its open hours and lists fax numbers instead of email address.

I went to Immigration first thing Monday morning and the process of obtaining an exit clearance was typically slow, frustrating and inefficient.

I stepped up to my 6th window of the day to submit one of the forms and I came across officer Mabasa (pictured below) texting socially. “Wait, wait” he said, “no problem, go ahead” I replied, seeing a chance to build quick rapport and we had a friendly chat and a joke.

He noticed I intended to leave that night, and saw his chance. It’s normally done in 1 day but Immigration does give itself 3 days. He seemed very “concerned” I needed the clearance that same day. “Come to discuss this with me over there” he said pointing to a corridor away from the main public space.

Philippines_Bureau_of_Immigration_bribe

I assumed we were going to a meeting room but instead in the corridor he told me that in order to get the exit clearance I had to put 2000 pesos ($44/105 m฿) in between the 2 pages of the form and hand it into his window.

He told me we were doing it this way because transactions, including submitting forms, could only be done at the windows, but we were talking in the corridor because there were microphones and CCTV on the windows.

I was shocked, if I thought about it I would have asked for some clarification and assurances. Instead I just said okay, walked out of the corridor, found a quiet spot to insert 2000 pesos between the 2 pages of the form and handed it into Mabasa’s window, as he had instructed.

If Mabasa pulls an extortion like this once a work day then he is averaging 41,000 peso a month in bribes. public Nurses and School Teachers make about 13500 per month which is the average salary in the Philippines.

I got the exit clearance and got out of the Philippines ASAP with no intention to return. I hope this post will make any people in positions of “authority” less likely to try to extort people.

I have emailed, Facebook messages and tweeted the Bureau of Immigration and will post any replies here.

Update: Responses from Immigration

Via Facebook message

“Hi Mr. BitEdge,

Appreciate if you can send us a formal complaint regarding what happened by sending a sworn affidavit at xinfo@immigration.gov.ph for us to forward it to the right office for their investigation.

Thank you.”

Via email

Dear Sir/Ma’am
Good day. We have forwarded your email to our Central Receiving Unit (CRU) for their review and proper disposition. Thank you.”

47 comments

  1. Eric

    Its obvious that most of the pro filipino immigration/anti OP comments would never admit the Philippines were at fault. The clearance should be available on the spot in Manila airport in the first place. Whatever you may blame the foreigner for its those who made the stupid crazy rules that are more at fault. They love to make life difficult.

    This man lost a lot of money and career opportunity. Every time a new law is implemented it is designed to make it harder for people, in the case of immigration, for foreigners.

  2. Robert Trotter

    We must THOROUGHLY study and communicate online with local residents of ANY third world country where corrupt governments milk it’s poor …By connecting with locals..MANY logistical problems can be vetted before your airplane lands..a LOCAL can guide BETTER than generic government “advisory” brochures or madison avenue travel guides…Realize the LOCAL could use some help for his or her family in return..EVERYONE EVERYWHERE needs help..STOP this BS of ALWAYS seeking “something for nothing”…. Give the ” foreigner colonialist arrogance” a rest aleady…Accept the fact WE, as tourists, journalists (or whatever )… travel for the low prices, wild festivals, beautiful countryside and outrageous emotions and sexual recklessness..
    We visit and travel to places to “get our freak on” and return to our homeland refreshed and exhuberant, ready to tell friends how ” great ” a time we had.! Pay up and shut up…ha ha ha..As the wise say.”T’aint sumptin’ fer nuttin’..!”

  3. Anonymous

    There are 2 sides of a story. We only heard one side. I cant say that the man was corrupt. How will we know if he was offered rather than he asked for the extra money to expedite. If this was your experience, then why on earth did you have to stay over 6 months. I do not understand people, they always try their luck. When things dont workout their way, they find someone to blame.

    • BitEdge

      > “There are 2 sides of a story. We only heard one side.”

      I invite Mabasa to tell his side of the story and I would be glad if the Bureau of Immigration released the CCTV and sound recordings of my time in the office.

  4. RM

    The writer may be interested to hear this system no longer applies. The exit clearance can be obtained at the airport now, partly due to the problems and corruption it was obviously causing. He was unlucky.

    But we need to understand in the Philippines that the whole immigration system is set up to do this… I know of no other country requiring exit clearances to leave. Immigration is inefficient and purposely so to incentivise corruption. And in the Philippines we need to understand the message this sends to the rest of the world… How could anyone assume that you need an exit clearance when no-one ever hears of this?

    Moreover it’s hardly as if we honestly all think the airport is not full of corruption. Laglag bala and immigration stories are all too common. Every foreigner seems to have their own horror story. If it’s one person or a few, it’s probably their fault. When it’s practically everyone who comes in, then the blame is elsewhere… it’s a system.

    In the Philippines we need to admit there are a LOT of problems that need solving. Only admitting those problems will allow us to change things. Otherwise we’ll still have the same problems a decade from now… we cannot defend our nation on the idea of ‘pinoy pride’. This is something we should not be proud of. We should be proud of being Filipino, but admit problems and mistakes to make the country better…

    • BitEdge

      > “this system no longer applies. The exit clearance can be obtained at the airport now, partly due to the problems and corruption it was obviously causing. He was unlucky.”

      It does still apply. It depends what visa the visitor has. It can not be obtained at the airport for tourist visa holders who have stayed for more than 6 month. But your saying it can (and my whole experience) is an example of the confusion and uncertainty that results from bad policies that change often, are poorly communicated and inconsistently implemented.

    • Anonymous

      http://www.immigration.gov.ph/index.php/news/press-release/109-april2015-pr/772-foreign-nationals-should-secure-ecc-before-leaving-bi

      Yes, ECC’s are now issued at the airport but only to those who meet the following guidelines:
      (http://www.immigration.gov.ph/images/OPERATIONSORDER/APRIL2015/OOSBM%202015-009.pdf)
      Section 1. Issuance of ECC at the International Port of Exit. – An Emigration Clearance Certificate may be issued to a foreign national at
      the international port of exit who:
      a) Is leaving the country within twenty-four (24) hours and with
      Boarding Pass;
      b) Stayed in the Philippines for six (6) months but not more than one
      (1) year;
      c) Is a holder of a valid Temporary Visitor’s Visa (TVV);
      d) Has no pending obligation with the Government, its
      instrumentalities, agencies and subdivisions, and has no pending
      criminal civil or administrative action which by law requires his
      presence in the Philippines; and
      e) Is registered under the Alien registration Program (ARP) and was
      issued a Special security Registration Number (SSRN).

      • Phil

        Wrong. No one believe this post or any of the bullshit your read on official government Filipino sites. You CAN NOT get an ecc at the airport. I just got denied flight due to this., even though I met all the requirements on the immigration website.

  5. Brian

    Filipinos are poor, foreigners are rich, share (any which way) that a national narrative, so of course they make everything s trap that is the national game! ‘Give me money’ is a standard greeting with a hand out that’s impossible to shake…

  6. star

    Thank you for yet another story of f**k up in the Philippines.
    We should be careful and might be better away from so-called 3rd world country.
    This ECC rule doesn’t make any sense. I don’t see any need of an exit clearance.
    Such a bunch of stupid rules define the country itself.

    But I guess that guy, in a sense, helped you.

    We might follow the most rubbish rule when we are there. But we need to complain it otherwise shit will be shit forever.

  7. Anon

    I had a lot of experience handling foreigners here in the Philippines how lazy they are when it comes to filing up papers/forms and how inpatient they are when it comes to waiting. You are in a 3rd world country for Pete’s sake. Make sure not to return, this blog only shows how stupid you are as your level of thinking comes from your mouth (which is ranting) rather than using your brain. Instead of showing pity on you, what I felt was remorse for reading this blog. Think before you click or better yet (blog)

    • BitEdge

      > “I had a lot of experience handling foreigners here in the Philippines how lazy they are when it comes to filing up papers/forms”

      I filled out every form and completed every immigration and government procedure that I was ever aware I had to do. It was not because I was lazy that I had not gotten the exit clearance, it was because I had no idea it existed.

  8. IO

    I’m sorry to say, but it is your responsibility to know certain laws and regulations as a tourist coming here in PH.. It is not the Filipino peoples job to inform you those laws Just like us Filipinos going to other countries, we make sure we know almost everything we need to know even before booking an airplane ticket ..

    About the extortion of money for your extension, I would say, its not a perfect world. Even at church, there’s corruption..

    • BitEdge

      > “us Filipinos going to other countries, we make sure we know almost everything we need to know”

      So did I…

  9. Filipino doctor

    I am sorry for your awful experience here in the Philippines. Being a young spine surgeon, I have always done my best in everything I do, whether I am here or abroad. This is my response to the sad and pitiful image foreigners have of my country. I have always believed that the Filipino can do better. Unfortunately, it is these corrupt people in the government who pull our image down. It seems like a losing battle after all. Nonetheless, I hope you don’t lose faith in the Filipino. Good luck in all your endeavors.

  10. Eddie

    Well, I just don’t believe after more then 6 months of living in the Philippines that you would be “shocked” as you put it by this situation. Damn if I’m not ready, to have a few thou pesos on me at any one time to get out of whatever. Anyone reading this you can see it two ways… One your paying for VIP treatment, and a cheap deal usually at that, plus your helping those in a difficult economic climate, that man or any security or lucky would not be working there every day if they where rich and that money trickles down….. Or you can see it as petit corruption from which you benefited. I would have paid the guy at the airport 10,000 pesos and got on my plane in time. It’s not the people of the Philippines’s fault that the economy sucks there and I can totally understand that any way of grabbing a little extra income Barr hurting anyone or putting them in jail is completely justified. Be a little sympathetic to their situation when you are in their country, there is a reason corruption is a big part of the culture there. Some families literally cannot afford their food for the day(s) just put yourself in their shoes for a bit, you would do the same. Having said all that I think it’s a good article but with moral holes and it is good to highlight the situation for the very reasons I’ve given, it won’t be this way for too long more, use it to your advantage while you can, believe it or not as ironic as it may seem low level (mutual) corruption is one of our only freedoms left. If this happens to you don’t be shocked. Lastly I would really like to see an article on bullet planting or drug planting in visitors baggage, this type of framing corruption I really do not like, it is obviously not mutual and it creates colossal harm to the individual, these people are the real criminals. Most people in the Philippines on a personal level are super friendly, hard working, party loving, smiling people so don’t let it out you off visiting, just be vigilant.

    • skyking

      But I’ll guarantee that the poor Filipino who can’t afford food has at least two cell phones with a load for each one!

  11. Derekr

    The title of your article is misleading. You did not “have to” pay a bribe to leave. You payed a bribe to expidite the proccessing of your immigration paperwork. You did not have the patience to wait. Someone offered you an easy way out and you took it. In a first world country both of you would be in jail right now. By doing so you delayed processing of another person’s form because you chose to pay to jump the line. Of course when it was convenient for you you did not hesitate and now you act like you were the victim. I would have sympathy for your plight if you chose the high road and did not pay the bribe.

  12. Anonymous

    I have no sympathy for you at all. You were just downright stupid then you you compound that by writing an article about it.

  13. David Brodtmann

    I spent over 19 months in jail in Cebu and 9 months in Bicutan Immigration Dentention Centre in Manila for trumpted police charges financed by the IJM who tried to bribe witnesses to testify against me. I was never convicted of anything nor did I have to launch a defense as there was no evidence against me accept for the corrupt police. Im back in Australia now. Having gome through 35kg weigh loss and 5 weeks in hospital because of malnutrition which caused pneumonia ! Hows that for Filipino hospitality ! 777 days behind bars for giving a Xmas gift to 3 families to help them buy some cheer for Xmas !

  14. Damon

    The fact that an emigration clearance is required for anyone spending more than 6 months in the country is published on the Immigration website, the information is posted in most immigration offices that I have ever been to for a renewal. Legally you should have been denied an exit and lost your tickets. The corruption is a different issue but you put yourself in the position by not being properly aware of the procedures, procedures that are pretty well published.

  15. Anonymous

    The same thing happened to me I checked in luggage etc then was told haf to have exit I threw up my arms in disgust started arguinng with them so they asked for 3000 peso I told them take a jump, with this everybody in my queue started hassling them also I paid 250 peso for the exit at the counter just goes to show you have to be tough

  16. Theblondninja

    Come on you super intelligent foreign misfits who think they know everything, this is a 3rd world country, corruption is rife, and is self perpetuating, and only made worse by the smart arses; have you had a look at your passport, and where the stamp is generally placed – mostly, you cannot find it; not everybody knows everything!
    I will not give one peso, and did you note the spelling, because it’s not piso, nothing to anybody who puts their hand out, but that’s me, others may not have my strength: before some people comment, they should get their facts straight,mand as for the attack by any Filipina who says to get the fuck out of their country, maybe, you push all the foreigners long and hard enough, extort them continually, and they will get the fuck out of your country, along with their trillions of dollars, both private and business, and let you implode.
    Yes, luckily, not all are like the BI low life who screwed this guy, but what the original post does, is bring out why those type of Filipina think the foreigner is ” fair game “, and should be ripped off, it shows the level of prejudice that exists because of greed.
    You prejudiced types, go back to eating your mystery bags, full of lips and arsehole, A.K.A. hotdogs, think of why you do everything to emulate something foreign, and it’s because you are too weak to have a mind of your own.
    Personally, I have never had any difficulty with authority here, except for the odd traffic enforcer trying for a ” snack”, generally, I am treated as I treat.

  17. Anonymous

    I think it would be nice to offer exit for 2000 PHP at the time your booked flight is waiting,ive known several people who have made this mistake,all have been coming here for years,all missed their flights and had to rebook after getting the clearance.im on balik byan visa and immigration thinks I don’t need the clearance to leave,but wants me to check closer to departure,also if I need it I must go to Cebu for it,Dumaguete office cant get me the exit clearance,if I need it.everyone at immigration has been nice,but we are still not sure on the rule yet.

  18. frank

    “Who reads their passport?” Most intelligent folks do. You’re in a foreign country, and you don’t make yourself aware of the rules? Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

    Some of the other remarks made, in the post, are totally wrong, also. You cry that it was a bit much to expect that you read your passport, to see the notice explaining that you’d need the ECC, but you expected immigration to know enough to inform you that you did’ “”The last time I was at an immigration office to get an extension I told them I was going to leave soon and they did not mention anything about an exit clearance.”” You wanted immigration to know that you would have been in the country long enough to need one, but you have your passport, constantly , in your possession,and didn’t know. Your estimate of how much people make here, is way off. teachers can make up to 25,000, even more, per month, just to point out one. You also wrote; “”the process of obtaining an exit clearance was typically slow, frustrating and inefficient.”” How would you know this, had you never obtained an ECC before?

    When the immigration officer requested you put 2,000 in the papers for the ECC, the next thing you should have done was to ask where the nearest PNP officer was. I’m sure that’s what you would have done, had a similar situation has arisen , in your country. But, you opted to pay…..your fault. You just encouraged that officer to extort more people.

    • BitEdge

      > “Your estimate of how much people make here, is way off. teachers can make up to 25,000, even more, per month”

      No you are way off, are you thinking of private school teachers in the metro? I am talking on average

      http://www.worldsalaries.org/philippines.shtml

      > “You also wrote; “”the process of obtaining an exit clearance was typically slow, frustrating and inefficient.”” How would you know this, had you never obtained an ECC before?”

      I meant typical for Immigration and government procedures in the Philippines 🙂

      > “You just encouraged that officer to extort more people.”

      Surely this post, which has already been viewed over 5000 times, will discourage him and/or any immigration officers from extorting people.

  19. beanstalk

    If you had just done your due diligence you would have figured out you needed an exit pass and why were you so quick to just give up the money like a little punk bitch?? I am American I have lived in the Philippines 3 years you do not have to comply with horseshit like that especially from a freaking a window teller at immigration. This is a third world country genius of course the web site for immigration is unreliable , of course the rules and the fees and everything changes as often as the wind blows. What do u expect you said your self the average monthly income is 12,000 piso a month here for Filipinos if you are not expecting to run into this kind of thing then you were a jack ass to begin with and probably would have got your simple ass killed or worse if u had stayed any longer. Next time grow a pair and stand up for yourself you could have easily found someone with more authority then Mabasa that would have explained to you the real deal on your exit pass. Next time do not perpetuate the scam mentality here by complying and participating in it. most Filipinos are good hard working honest people that would hand your wallet back to u if you unknowingly dropped it and they found it on the sidewalk and all your cash would still be there.

  20. michael bang

    Thosse people who says foreigner’s own fault is more than stupid PERIOD!!!!

    This country I love for good and bad, but what I hate here is the corruption and one of the worst all over the world!!!

    Their rules and regulations many totally stupid and what the f… is going on with all their paperwork hahahaa taking half a lifetime to make and as well information in commern to let people now that a city in Russia mamamia officials and government people here not have brain
    enough to get important notice for everbody out in public.

    I feel for this guy and what he experience here that’s is so wrong!

  21. Bob

    To get the paperwork expedited for $44 dollars, man thats a great deal! I’ve paid thousands of dollars for that option for various immigration paperwork processing legally in the US. But to walk up, pay the money and not wait a week, man that is great! HOW MUCH DID YOU SAVE (time, money, etc.) BY DOING THIS? You had a choice, and you chose to take the easy way out; and not wait up to a week to process your paperwork. YOUR CHOICE!

    AT LEAST YOU HAD THE OPTION TO MAKE A CHOICE. Most people that are truly extorted DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE for far greater consequences then what you have experienced.

    You were not extorted, what happened was you needed extra attention to process your paperwork in an expedited mannor (immediate gratification syndrom). If you want that option, it costs $44, but you get your paperwork back the same day (sounds good right? Since you failed to do your homework)
    OR
    You can wait a week (since you didnt read your passport or the websites).

    The officer offered you a way out of you situation and you CHOSE that option.

    I just hope that when someone else REALLY NEEDS (not like your situation, your is a want, nobody was dying, your just out of some money) to leave the country, that you my friend have not cost them that OPTION when THEY NEED IT.

    I guess another way is for the imigration department to post the ‘expedited’ prices on the website. At least then your not ‘feeling’ you were extorted. But this would probably lead to just more laziness of not knowing.

    I would feel very lucky that I could get out of a pretty crappy situation, that I created, with the help of the immigration officer.

    “If I did my homework, I could have saved myself $44.” would be a better title for this article, explaing all of the pifalls you encountered with your situation and how to avoid them. But instead your tone of the article is that the officer was wrong to help you out.

    I hope you NEVER have to go back to PI. If one thing I know Filipinos never forget a face or name, especially one that causes them problems from there help.

    • Jørgen

      You certanly dont know what you are taking about for start its the only country l know og WHERE you need permission to leave 2. Its a headeeg for many peopel like me we have to get it no later than 72 hours before we leawe and can only apply 1 month before so a lot og traveling ( cost money and time in bus Ferry ) l have travel by bus and Ferry 20 hours to apply then 20 hours to pick it up then 20 hour travel to airport for the trip outside the Philippine just all that traveling for old peopel who live here and support their PH family

  22. anon

    I feel your annoyance. When I first came to the Philippines, I had some positive and idealistic notions and outlook in staying here.

    I’ve just been financially penalised for NSO’s typo, something that I believe wasn’t my fault and when my NSO application was correct. I had to pay a fee for an affidavit to state I’m the same person name on my NSO’s certificate as my passport. My name on my birth certificate (assumed to be received straight from the hospital) matches the name on my Australian passport. From my understanding, an error occurred between the data entry of information from the hospital to the data entry information into the NSO database, even though the NSO certificate has all fields ticked. An administrative error that I didn’t do. I understand errors happen all the time (I’m guilty of it) but I don’t think I should be penalised for something I didn’t create nor had any responsibility for the input of the data. While the amount is small when exchanged to AUD and this didn’t bother me since I paid it; the amount to get the affidavit was increased after my Australian passport was shown. Though the employees at the law firm cahooted that the larger amount was said. But I’ll never know for sure since there was no price list given to me at the beginning of the conversation or during the process.

    I even asked around if there was a governmental body that deals with administrative errors so I could try and get it fixed, without financial penalty. Security guard, immigration employee and employees at the law firm had no idea. But I did get it signed by a lawyer, whom I never met nor I probably do not know anyone who would know this lawyer who signed my affidavit. If this occurred in Australia, I think you could get a warning. Affidavit is still technically incorrect by Australian standards, as there’s a statement that says my mother’s maiden is my mother’s maiden and I’ve never used a surname like Smith-Jones*. And my NSO certificate lists my first and middle name under “first name” and my mother’s maiden name under “middle name.”

    I’ve even had to pay for two self addressed envelopes which is to be added to my citizenship application. Why does a government body need two self-addressed envelopes, when one should suffice if it’s just a document that needs to be forwarded to the person? But like most governments, not just the Philippines, I find it’s easier to play sheep, do what they say, than argue. At least it’s just a small amount of time and money.

    In less than 3 weeks, I’ve learnt the incredible speed of word-of-mouth and the opportunism of the Filipino culture. Once there is an inkling that your a foreigner, there sometimes an increase of price. From my experiences, I find that there is a notion that a person with a foreign passport has money, with many false assumptions and without any other consideration of circumstances.

    From being able to buy phone credit or trying to stay legally in a country, it seems this type of behaviour is rife and molded. You just need to go with it so you can contact people using your device or be legal in a country. Corruption, bribery, opportunism, malversation- I’m not sure what you call it but it seems normal.

    I hope your story sparks an awareness to the Filipino who take pride in their country, that globalisation is increasing and having these experiences diminishes a country’s appeal. I understand Philippines is a poor country or the value of their currency is quite low and it’s interesting the way many people I’ve associated with seems to have adopted and even encouraged this belief. And in my opinion, it limits the economical growth and attractiveness of a country.

    It’s so sad.

    *Smith-Jones is not part of my name. It always bemuses me that identity documents and details of a name are so important to most people, when documents can be forged or used by another person. I’ve always been in the camp that it’s the person’s personality, history, beliefs and values that should be in focus.

  23. Anonymous

    As they say: it’s more fun in The Philippines! Thank you for sharing your story. As a foreigner living in the Philippines for almost 20 years already, I have hundreds of stories like yours, all involving government agencies… it’s very sad to see that nothing is done to change this awful mentality… It’s so prejudicial to this otherwise nice country where ordinary Filipinos are mostly nice people!

  24. Dave

    I love Philippines and have never encountered this issue only sloppy airlines that lose baggage and take 3 days to retrieve giving the excuse it’s stuck in customs but under the circumstances I feel I would have been happy to pay the extort and probably let people know to warn them in an effort to eliminate the problem but realising that his own lack of research was a contributing factor
    So let’s all thank this guy for alerting us but your out now so please don’t inference that all Filipinos are like this as most are kind and helpful in my experience

  25. Reekay

    While I can commiserate with the sudden exasperation and position you found yourself in, the unfortunate reality is that tourists are required to know the requirements of staying in a foreign land. Not bashing you. Just stating how it is. If I ever go to Thailand, I’ll first look up every Youtube and website related to tourist requirements before I go. To avoid the situation you found yourself in.

    It sucks, but “ignorance of the law” doesn’t really fly anywhere. Toss some trash in Singapore and they will hand you your ass in fines and penalties.

    Once you did find yourself in your predicament, and reasoning failed, you still had the option to “stand on principle” and not consider the bribe as an option. But, for your own reasons you chose that option. Maybe you’ll be able to get the guy fired. I hope you do. But realistically, whoever replaces him will likely not be much different. Bribes are common in most struggling countries. Many of them Catholic countries, ironically enough.

    • BitEdge

      > “If I ever go to Thailand, I’ll first look up every Youtube and website related to tourist requirements before I go.”

      I did do that and never saw the exit clearance mentioned. This is because for the vast majority it is either not necessary or it is done at the airport when you leave. Also because Immigration’s own information and implementation is inconsistent.

      • HP Lovecraft

        Hi BitEdge. I stayed in this country and what I’v hate the most about this place is how stupid and illogical how Filipinos are. The lack of logic and common sense is eveywhere and most Filipinos always make silly strategies to justify the poor and dumb ways things are done. We always hear pinoys complaining that the poverty is caused by corruption but that’s not true at all. The real poverty in the Philippines is intellectual, cultural and ethic. They never want to take their responsibilities. I bet you all you want that if you would have said that the immigration officer have put his hand in your pocket, took your wallet and the money inside and throw you back your wallet, you would have received the exact same kind of comments: the officer did his job, it’s all your fault. It was your fault cuz ur not supposed to have your wallet in your pocket at the airport. The officer teached you a lesson to show you the law. Pinoys are like this. Filogic! They always justify the mediocrity they do except when they are the victims of these acts. Other than that, nothing is never their fault. It’s impossible to make them admitting their wrongdoings. It’s a matter of pride. Filipinos have a huge complex of inferiority due yo the immoral way they have been raised by their parents. They have a weak psyche. Filipinos are primitive and chaotic. A permit to exit their pirate island loll. That’s the Pinoy logic and compassion for others. No accommodation at all. Just a good old pinoy give me give me give me. Our relationship with pinoys is a giving/taking relationship. We give to them and they take from us.

  26. N

    great articles BitEdge! U proved hoe ignorant you are with laws governing your visa and Philippine law. Next time, read so you dont suffer in the end. And regarding the average salary in the Philippines, you’re very funny coz u cant get your statistics correct. The average salary is around 20,000 to 30,000 for teachers, nurses etc. and even if u think the salary in Philippines is not that high, we dont mind coz we can afford to eat oysters everyday and hire 5 housemaids to serve us entiendes?! Dont believe. Dont care. What can u expect from a guy who doesnt do reading and research and then comes up with a blog acting like a victim when he was at fault in the first place. Pity u.

    • BitEdge

      I was a bit off but much closer than you, according to this

      http://www.worldsalaries.org/philippines.shtml

      and my personal experience teachers make 15,000 pesos a month and nurses make 9000 pesos a month. Obviously there is a big difference between private and public sector.

      • Anonymous

        9,000pesos for a nurse? That”s big enough. As what I learned 4,000 pesos is the amount nurses received in private hospital in cebu.

  27. Anonymous

    Why don’t you tag your employer in a tweet and let them know how easily you are to be coerced into corruption and how little self awareness you have. You didn’t seem to hesitate to benefit from the whole transaction, yet act like you’re innocent and all holier than thou. ‘Had to pay’. Fuck off! You chose to pay. Don’t act like you’re morally any better than the officer.

    Don’t forget this whole fiasco started because you weren’t up to speed on your visa requirements (as illogical as they may be).

    • Anonymous

      You are an idiot. Typical Filipino defending their shitty country.

    • Anonymous

      why the fuck are you blaming the victim? whether or not it is his own damn fault that he did not get an exit visa or did not happen to read it is debateable. i personally think that notifications that are important as this should be printed out in bold letters and needs to be verbally said by an officer. (you know,like when you go scuba diving for the first time). but anyway, lets leave that point for now as i have said this is debateable. however, how the F are you still offended by this guy’s article when we, as a filipino, also experience this kind of harassment and bribe in many govt departments that we have our things processed to?!?! this is exactly why there are so many corrupt officials in the philippines because a victim raises this issue. and here you are feeling offended just because a foreign man said it.well, would a filipino be feeling scandalized or horrified about this considering that we are all used to it. you dont realize that by reacting this way, you are an enabler of the corrupt and the reason why corruption gets worse and worst in the philippines..

    • Anonymous

      the writwer of this reply is an arsehole and is porberbly a corrupt official too

  28. uhm

    sounds like your own damn fault.

  29. Haha

    This guy is a Grade A douche

  30. Anonymous

    Haha. Great article, and absolutely typical of the Philippines!!

    • michael bang

      Hahahaha so typically for Filipinos is so right.

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