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Still Have To Hand $5 To Manila Customs Guys?


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fred42

In over 25 years I have never had my bags searched at Manila..Filling in the customs declaration form always seemed a waste of time as they have never even looked at it properly..

Once I traveled in only with my son who was 5 back then..I requested a balikbayan.She asked if my son was half Filipino and when I told her he was she proceeded to stamp the balikbayan in PP.

I always wondered what would be the outcome if I was traveling alone and placed

Edited by fred42
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Bob Ward

Last 2 times for me they never even looked at anything. declaration, bags or carry ons.

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Does it have anything to do with what time you arrive in the airport? We arrived in Manila late at night with NWA a few years back and they (immigration workers) were so tired they just pushed everyone thru. The longest wait, was waiting for our bags to be unloaded from the plane. Of course we were not in any real hurry, since we had to wait till the morning in the domestic airport to fly out...so nice...

Tim

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tom_shor

I don't know why they pick on you. I just went right through on Saturday with two boxes and they waved me right through. You must look rich. :D

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  • 2 months later...

I've never had a problem with customs in the Philippines. I have far more hassle in American airports to be quite honest.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I've never had a problem with customs in the Philippines. I have far more hassle in American airports to be quite honest.

 

I've traveled to the Philippines 10 times in the last 6 years, and I've never

been stopped by anyone at the Ninoy Aquino airport. Try to blend in with

the filipinos.. don't look like a million bucks and you should be fine.

 

I was only checked once by customs and that was entering the U.S.

where I had three fake rolex watches in my luggage. The customs

officer told me it was illegal to enter the U.S. with these items,

and then smiled and said that he couldn't afford a real one either,

then he let me enter the country with the fake rolex watches.

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  • 1 month later...
I have had muliple entries to the Philippines since 1994, landing in Manila and Cebu. In 1994, there were signs at customs saying to report any officials who ask for bribes. I never gave any money and have never been asked for any money and have never had muy luggage searched in all that time.

 

My last entry to the Philippines with my ex wife was in 2001. Never had any problem receiving the Balikbayan stamp in Manila or Cebu up until then. Never offered any money and was never asked for any money.

 

 

Regards: Jim

 

Hey Jim, just curious here, you said "Never had any problem receiving the Balikbayan stamp in Manila or Cebu up until then" what troubles did they give you about your balikbayan stamp then?

 

I have only left once, since I have only been here 2 years, but got my balikbayan stamp no problem last time, so my question is, Is there something that I should look for or be aware of?

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mlampkin

Though its an old message... just to add my experience since I am bored today...

 

Personally I have entered the Philippines 15 times just in the past 6 years ( or so )... btw - the 6 years and entry count is by counting stamps in my current passport...

 

Even though I normally travel with 2 laptops... computer equipment etc. for customers... and my own luggage... no one has ever asked for a bribe of any sort... and in fact - no one has ever even hinted at it...

 

Now I will say this...

 

The way the 'bribery' laws are written AND enforced in the Philippines is a bit odd... though personally I like them...

 

More or less what it comes down to is that if you 'bribe' someone BUT get no better / faster / preferential treatment ( and btw - you have to PROVE you got preferential treatment ) then it is really not considered a bribe... as an example... if you give a custom's agent $5 ( or whatever ) to 'expedite' things... and they do the normal routine... which is to ( as an example ) check every 20th passenger's bag... and you are passenger #19 - then its a gift and NOT bribery... ;)

 

Completely off the topic of customs... but sorta related...

 

My friend and I used to watch folks renewing their passports / visa in the Philippines... typical foreigner would get a 'fixer'... get charged anywhere from a 100 to 1000 pesos extra to 'fix' things... she and I would spend an hour... maybe an hour an a half in customs and never any problems... the guys with the 'fixers' would have to come back the following day ( sometimes week ) for their expedited visa...

 

Btw - it was the guards and the folks at immigration that explained the entire bribery thing to me... i.e. the guys with the 'fixers' were actually ( usually ) getting delayed... so NOT bribery... lol

 

 

Michael

Edited by mlampkin
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We have never been searched or hassled when entering the PH.

 

Last trip we went to Saigon for 4 dys and I forgot about the "onward ticket" stipulation. My onward ticket back to the US was left in Cebu.

 

The ticket agent in Saigon asked about it but let me on the plane anyway. The immigration agent in Cebu didn't even bring it up.

 

He did almost stamp my PP with a regular 21days untilI said I was "Balikbayan". My wife had gone through a different line, trying to save time...

 

I also explained I am1/2 Filipino but he thought I am Mexican! Next time I will bring my B certificate!

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I have lived here 26 months and been out a few times so have seen foreigners coming in looking like "HELP!!" ha so wearing that kind of a sign around their necks it's no wonder so many flock to their "aid" like what was said here, it's so true, what was given was not at all a "bribe" but rather a 'gift" a "thank you whew if it was not for you I just don't know what in the world I would have done" gift.

 

Now the ones who can not accept these gifts because it would cost them their jobs if they was to ever get caught doing it are the ones wearing a uniform, so all the people that you "bribe" is legal, what i prefer to call "good corruption" as long as they are in civvies and you know from being through so many times that there are far more out of uniform as are in, this works extremely well at the immigration office where no one wears a uniform but everyone would more than welcome a "gift" and it does get you in and out extremely fast.

 

Although just by paying the expedite fee is no longer an option it is a requirement, it never did expedite a thing to begin with nor does it do that now, you want that and a "gift" will assure that you get that, its legal as long as the money does not get seen the guy/gal doing the service though is doing nothing illegal just doing his/her job but carrying your papers by hand to where they need to go and having a quick signature applied does get you in and out very fast.

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Cebuned

My very first trip to the PI's was back in 1998, on the flight over, this is when I learned of the $5.00 tip from the man next to me.

 

Not because I feel I have to, but kind of because I like to now, I always tuck the $5.00 bill in my pocket and and I TIP, not bribe the customs bag checkers. For so little money, I feel good, the agent feels good, and I move right along with no hold ups....

 

I"m usually just thinking about getting a hot shower, cold beer, and what has become a ritual for me, a new hair cut and massage... :D

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Alan S

The problem is that you do it and they then expect everyone to do the same thing.

 

No matter how you dress it up, corruption is corruption, and is one of the major ills of the Philippines.

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Tatoosh

Well, I like it dressed up in very short skirts and 3 inch stilettos, but each to their own. You are right Alan, it is corruption. When it lets us deal with absurd laws or rules, we nod and use it. When it causes serious distress to us, we stand tall and denounce it. I agree the world should be ... could be a better place, but sometimes I simply revel in it as it is. Five bucks to the customs guy doesn't seem to get me all that worked up. Paying some big ass tariff on electronics does. So while I haven't had to actually do the payola thing, I am going to keep a fiver handy when I come back into the Philippines next time. It will be my first time through Manila's international airport.

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Lee

A friendly smile and hello works just as good. I do not think we should bribe anyone and if you have nothing to hide then there is no need, but if your bags are full of goodies that you will most likely have to pay duties on, you are going to pay one way or the other.

 

A note to this, if your end destination is Cebu and if you can pass your luggage along to the end destination, such as if you are flying with PAL, then you never see your bags until Cebu and the customs in Cebu must be more honest, because I have never even been asked to open a bag. Again, smile and say good morning and be on your way.

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The problem is that you do it and they then expect everyone to do the same thing.

 

No matter how you dress it up, corruption is corruption, and is one of the major ills of the Philippines.

 

I do not, nor ever will view it as corruption at all, coming from the USA where there is real greed and corruption, I find that by giving a working man trying his best to support a family on $5 a day wage hardly qualifies as corruption, when placed against a man making $25 an hour who we gladly give the same "tip" to in the states to get us through different ventures such as cars, real estate, banking, heck we even give waiters and waitresses more than that to bring us the food we order and pay for, imagine that, paying someone 15% just to bring us something that we bought, who is to say that they don't go out and buy drugs with it, does that mean that we contributed to their corruption? sure it does, yet we do it without fail or thinking, yet we question giving a working man who may help us clear some paper work $5

 

The Filipinos would not need the $5 which equals a days wage here, 250 peso, if they where paid even a half decent wage, anybody here, including myself, is more than welcome to take their wives and children and try and live on $5 a day and see just how far they get, I know exactly how far I would get with my wife and children as well as my own arse on the line, I would get as far as the employer who would hire me to become a customs agent so I can pray that I might find a foreigner who would be willing to give me a measly $5 without blinking an eye and I would thank him as well as the good lord above that my family can eat tonight.

 

If that is corruption than I am all for corruption, give the people a break, we4 give more than that $5 to our kids to play stupid video games while we shop at Bloomingdale's.

Edited by kanoy
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