Immigration Pains

33_FI

Yesterday was an eventful day as I needed to obtain a visa in order for me to stay in The Philippines until July 3. As a tourist you’re allowed to stay up to 30 days visa free, but longer than that you need one.

In The Philippines, it is required to wear pants and closed toe shoes. I had all the bases covered only to find out that my tank top just wouldn’t do. The immigration office in Makati is about a 20-30min drive from our place, so going back just wasn’t am option. Luckily the guard told us there was a secondhand shop just down the road called Okai Okai, so off we went to find me something to cover my shoulders. It was meant to be as I found an awesome cat shirt wearing 3D glasses. The best kinds of souvenirs are ones like these – the guards even loved it as we returned with my new garb.

I know you're jealous of my sweet cat shirt!

I know you’re jealous of my sweet cat shirt!

We arrived shortly after noon, and I filled out the form required for my application. Just as I got up to the counter, the lady leaves… and does not return for over an hour. Waiting wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for this poster sitting right in front of me, rubbing salt in the wound.

Now that's just adding insult to injury, am I right?!

Now that’s just adding insult to injury, am I right?!

The best part was that upon her return, she had 3 passports in hand which meant we were waiting even longer for processing. Apparently this is referred to as ‘fixing’, and used to be a major issue in The Philippines. Fixers are now illegal, but apparently not enough as they’re still around – as this trip proved.

The waiting was not a complete waste however, as I bonded with a lovely lady over our frustration. Upon determining (with the help of a wonderfulĀ Filipino man, I couldn’t thank him enough) that I almost way overpaid for my visa, we grabbed some lunch. An absolute gem, we also met her boyfriend and have plans for this weekend! It’s funny the people you meet in the least likely of places, but it’s definitely one of the big perks of travelling.

So happy to meet awesome people in the randomest places!

So happy to meet awesome people in the randomest places!

PS – I apologize if the format of this post isn’t as nice as usual. I’m using my WordPress app on my phone as I’m currently on my way to Tagaytay!

PPS – Format fixed and my awesome cat shirt photo has been uploaded – the wait is finally over! I know you’re excited.

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