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Bureau of Immigration, Philippines / Consumer travel companies don't give a ### about travelers!

1 United States Review updated:

Can anyone help me? I'm an American citizen and I tried leaving the Philippines on Sunday, but immigration stopped me. They said my temporary visitor visa which allowed me to stay up until 10/20/2007 also meant that I could not leave without the permission of the Bureau of Immigration. The duty officer wouldn't do anything to help, but instructed me talk to his supervisor. The supervisor said I could leave by writing a letter to the commissioner that I wanted to revoke my visa. He said I'd have to pay a penalty and an extortion fee of 2500PP to him. After arguing that a bribe was unnecessary, I realized it was. We went to the cashier to pay the fines. But the duty officer, who was in the same area as the cashier, came out and told his supervisor that he wouldn't allow it. But it wasn't because their was a problem with the fines/bribe. He said that they could get fired and then ask if I was a lawyer. This was because I had asked him earlier if he knew the telephone number of the US Embassy in Manila. After talking together the supervisor then asked for $2500. I said I didn't have that kind of cash. He said he couldn't let his boss process the revocation of my visa. They told me I'd have to go to BI and get a clearance to leave the Philippines.

Hold on, this wasn't even the worse part.

So, we had our baggage offloaded from the plane, with just a few minutes to spare. We had talked with immigration for almost 3 hours. I called the airline and they were completely unsympathetic, I explained what had happened. They wanted $100 as a cancellation fee before booking my flights. I didn't know when I'd get the clearance from BI. So, I said I'd call back.

Well, BI wasn't difficult. Just 2120pp in fines, a 500 express fee, and a 500 mandatory extortion fee and I had the appropriate documentation to leave. The very nice person at BI who processed the paperwork said I just didn't communicate effectively with the immigration duty officer - he would have accepted far less, but that was his way of just increasing the stakes so that paying a couple hundred USD wouldn't feel so bad. I just needed to negotiate, instead of saying I didn't have the money.

I called back the airline and they now wanted $150 to move my flight to Monday evening. Great, got jacked at BI and now with Continental Airlines. They only had 1st class on 1 of my 4 legs, hiking the flight to $1700 to $4100. I asked for some consideration. The agent talked with a supervisor. They said too bad they weren't going to help. Then I asked for a waiver of the $150. No help. Two supervisors later and about $25 in IDD charges and I was beaten to a pulp by their insensitivity. They just didn't give a crap. I now had to decide if I could afford being [censored]ed by BI and Continetal.

Hold on, this gets worse.

When I called back they would only get me on a Wednesday evening flight.

So, I had to reschedule my car rentals, intra-island flights, and hotel arrangements in Hawaii. was fantastic. Went online and cancelled and rescheduled my cars. Now it gets bloody. Hawaiian Air doesn't allow you to change online, you have to call. OK, I called. After 4 attempts and waiting on hold for close to an hour - 25usd. I almost gave up. But they finally answered. $80 to change one flight, which costs $78. The agent was in the Philippines, just a few miles from me. I was paying 42cents a minute and she wanted to talk about the weather. I asked for help with the change fee. She said now. Her supervisor said no. This after explaining why I didn't make my flight. They just didn't care.

Hawaiian Air was bad, but the hotels were worse. In Honolulu the Aqua Marina, where we were to stay 5/6-5/8, wouldn't budge on charging us fully; even though we wouldn't be in Hawaii until 5/9. They couldn't care less about our distress. They had me call someone named Rene to follow-up and plead some more. Four times I called, they took forever NOT to find her. They wouldn't waived the cancellation penalty.

Then there was I booked a 5 day stay in the ResortQuest hotel in Kihei. Expedia's agent and supervisor would not waive the cancellation fees. They would book me in a mountain view for the same price for 3 days and charge me a 2 day cancellation fee. They did say they'd check with ResortQuest to see if they would waive the cancellation fee. NOPE. They stood firm also. I called numerous times, costing me 20usd.

I've got to admit each and everyone of these consumer travel companies couldn't give a ### about travelers in distress. Frankly, they read from scripts, reading me the riot act that I needed to call earlier. This was consistent 2 managers up. Only one said she was sympathetic to my situation, the one in the Philippines. Then she said she'd still have to charge me $80 to change a $78 flight. There were so many times that I just wanted to scream at these monsters, but I didn't. They are crass, unsympathetic, money grubbing crap holes. If there is anything that you think I can do to recoup my money - then please let me know. Not interested in making them feel like they made me feel, like a 2x, 3x, 4x loser; but it would be nice if I could have talked to one person who really cared, understood my situation, and gave just a little travel mercy.

Thanks for listening,
Mike Gwinn

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  • De
      29th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    hi i just want to inform you about the foreigners who come here to work without visa. these people come here and open their business as a "boiler room" it is located at pacific star makati ave., corner buendia.

    here is the story, i met this guy name christopher messmer live in 29L radisson condo at aguirre st. close to greenbelt mall. nagbebenta sila ng stocks worht of 60, 000 usd and they pay them a 300 dollar a week with free condo and plane ticket. they're were 20 if them live there but no working visa. they only open for three months tapos isasara nila ung company then papalitan lahat ng mga numbers and website so ung mga investors dina cla mahahanap pa. pasok nila is 11am to 7pm or 3pm till 11pm. chris have a tattoe, sa leeg ay baril, sa kanang kamay is mukha ng babae at sa legs nya is ung name nya mismo. this is a serious crime, i think they're syndicate. you can arrest this guy through chris messmer.

  • Ju
      7th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    hi i just want your agency to look into this Korean Youth Association in Iloilo City, this is an association of Korean businessmen operating here in the city. Most of their members have labor-related problems with Filipinos. It seems that it is a place of refuge for erring Korean businessmen. For your reference, you can check DOLE Iloilo. We, ourselves, are also victims of this labor malpractice. Our Korean employer just evaporated into thin air without paying us our back wages ( of which DOLE has already made a computation ), 13th month pay and half a month's salary. What makes us more furious is the fact that the Filipino manager of our school knows all about this but she helped them get away with it. She connived with them. Now we don't know if they're still here or in Korea already. Anyway, we just want your office to look into this association.

  • Pg
      24th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    Ladies and Gents,
    Im an Australian 2 years living in the Philippines.

    My advice, DONT waste ur time with this place, from the president all the way down to barangay captains this place is ROTTEN TO THE CORE!

    Theres is no point posting rants and raves, im sympathetic, but sorry this place stinks more than the septic pit at the back of my house!

    NOTE: the bush administration, australias john howard and britans blair have propped up and supported the electoral cheating [censored] president here. so we are the reason this place is still rotten

  • He
      30th of May, 2011
    0 Votes


    I, together with three of my friends were so excited to go to Singapore because of the Universal Studios and so many other nice places to see. Below is an outline of the circumstances that happened at the NAIA Terminal 3 that never allowed this dream to become a reality.

    As a background, we booked our flight last February 7, 2011 through the internet with the total amount of PESOS: TWELVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED EIGHTY-NINE & 84/100 ONLY (P 12.689.84) for May 27, 2011, Friday, 1330H.

    We left Manila area at 10 AM to reach NAIA 3 at least 1-2 hours before our departure time of 1:30PM. But lo and behold, we were faced with a 3-hour heavy traffic from Espana to Osmena Highway ! Because of this, we arrived at NAIA 3 less than 30 minutes before departure time. Since my other friends were taking a while at the ticketing office, as we were purchasing an extra ticket for another friend who was joining us, I proceeded to paying my boarding pass and submitting my passport and ticket to the immigration officer. This was when the nightmare happened.

    I was asked by the officer where my ticket was and I replied that it's in the passport I handed to him. He eventually told me to proceed to the immigration office. I asked him why I had to go there, but he didn't explain. Next thing I knew I was being asked to accomplish a form which I did not know anything about and what for. I just complied. As I was doing this, I kept telling them, almost hysterically, that I will be left behind as I can see my friends being escorted to boarding already. The officer still didn't mind my appeal and instead asked me just wait. At this point, I already felt like I violated something big, while at the same time I started to feel I won't be able to make it to my friends to the plane. I kept asking them what I violated but I didn't get any response. The other officer who was supposed to assist me was still busy talking/interviewing another person. Next thing I knew my checked-in baggage was being taken out from the plane already. So much for Universal Studios!!!

    After about 10 minutes, I was approached by a certain Mr. Manansala (as stated in his ID pin), whom I assumed is one of the officers as he was dressed in black uniform and people around me kept addressing him as "Sir". Mr. Manansala tried to console me by explaining that in some cases they suspect people who check in alone. I, of course, defended that I just checked in ahead, not alone, since obviously I was with my friends, whom I kept pointing at as they were being escorted to board. He apologized about what happened --- that I was left behind and couldn't anymore join my friends in Singapore ---just yet! He later on told me that since I didn't have any violation anyway, I can actually still join the next flight. All I have to do is rebook my flight by paying a penalty of PhP: ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED ONLY (PhP1, 500.00) and purchase another ticket for the flight difference (or whatever term they use) amounting to PhP: NINE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED ++ ONLY (PhP 9, 800.00++). Now that is starting to smell really fishy and absurd.

    As stated earlier, my friends and I purchased our trip for a total of P12, 689.00, via online booking, three months ago for four (4) people, 2-way, Mla-Sing and Sing-Mla. Now I am "courteously" being offered a ticket worth PhP 11, 300++ for a single way to Singapore so I can finally join my friends. WOW!!! Hold up in another form this is! Is this another scam???!!!

    Mr. Manansala even asked me to wait a while since he'll talk to the Cebu Pacific Head. He even said that he'll wait until I'm ready to board the next flight. So after three hours of coming to and fro the long walkway of NAIA 3's Cebu Pacific and to the Immigration Office, hoping to catch the next flight without additional charges, I realized no way will they just allow me to do that for free. Due to stress and hunger, I just grudgingly decided to go home, very lonely and very, very, very, upset.

    I was really very disappointed with everything that happened. What my friends and I ever wanted was to go to Universal Studios altogether! I did not deserve any of this and so do the other people who have been treated the way I was. I know my rights have been violated and the only way I can think of is to retaliate by sharing with you my story. If money was not an issue, I could've filed a case already. But money is an issue, that is why people like me wait for promos such as the one my friends and I purchased.

    This is not my first time to travel using the Cebu Pacific deals. I have gained a lot of wonderful memories in those trips. Now I am not sure what will make me consider Cebu Pacific in my next travel plans. No way will I want to risk a traumatic experience similar to what happened last May 27, 2011.

    Hope this doesn't happen to any of you.

    Michelle Anastacia A. Reyes
    1632-A Metrica St., Sampaloc, Manila

  • Ch
      11th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    Hi Michelle,
    I had the same experience just a week after yours. We just had our wedding last June 4. And June 6 is our scheduled flight to Singapore for our honeymoon and it was supposed to be a wonderful day but this MR. BISCARRA, a temporary immigration officer, almost ruined it all. Take note, a temporary employee. Kung sino pa ang temporary siya pa ang mas mahigpit na di mo maintindihan.

    My wife has her passport already stamped and for me it was taking a while. I checked my watch it was already 5:00 in the morning and our boarding time is 5:20am. Our flight via Tiger Airways is 5:50am. This immigration officer asked me about the purpose of the trip and I answered for tour. Asked me if I am an OFW. Actually I am an OFW working in KSA for more than 4yrs but for that purpose I am a tourist, so I answered no. He asked me of my ID which I thought I left but i found it eventually and showed it to him. But at that moment I saw him already writing on a sheet of paper. And he didnt stamp my passport endorsing me for interview with another officer. I asked him what is that for and he replied that it is for my protection. For what protection? He said for illegal recruitment that many Filipinos are being victimized and that some are just transiting Singapore for another purpose (jump ship as they say). For illegal recruitment? Jump ship? Ano ba yun? I already felt being discriminated at that time. I initially argued that it is no longer needed because I have complete documents, a round trip ticket, a hotel booking and all. Just to save time I complied. I still have around 10 minutes before boarding time. But the whole process took more than a hour, that interview with the strict officer and going back again to immigration counter and final security check. They finally stamped my passport but its too late the hero because we were already offloaded.

    It is really very sad that those people whose earnings are coming from our taxes ay sila pa kung magtrato sa kapwa pinoy ay akala mo kung sinong diyos. That they are just doing their job. Bull ###.

    Charlie Lugay
    Pasig City

  • He
      11th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    hey that's too sad too Charlie!

  • Je
      6th of Aug, 2011
    -1 Votes

    i would like to call on the attention for this immigration officer in NAIA named Lynn Mangahas... she is a REAL DISGRACE IN UR DEPARTMENT!!!

  • He
      6th of Aug, 2011
    0 Votes

    It's just so sad to know that these Filipino people treat other Filipino people with stubbornness and disgrace. It is very disappointing indeed!!!

  • So
      6th of Aug, 2012
    0 Votes

    Most, but I can't say all, government workers here in the Philippines are nothing but negligent which leads to becoming lazy which turns them into tyrants. No matter how honest, and truthful, you are being, they are just too lazy to help you. The Constitution means nothing in this country because they have their little RA laws they pick and choose to support their complaint to the citizens and foreigners. Always remeber Article 11 Sections 1 in the Constitution ARTICLE 11
    Section 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.

  • Ot
      13th of Oct, 2012
    0 Votes


    A Canadian citizen, Michael Henry Lukaniuk, has been using Cebu City as his port of entry and exit, ferreting drugs in and out of the country. He is in cahoots with some BID officials who stamped his passport with fictitious dates of arrivals and departures. On June 15, 2011, he executed an affidavit of loss over his old passport and had the alleged affidavit of loss recorded at the Dumaguete City Police Station. In fact, the passport was not lost, but contained falsified entries. He has been since then issued a new passport by the Canadian government which he is again using for illegal activities.

  • Ml
      2nd of Jun, 2014
    -1 Votes

    I am Michael Lukaniuk...this slander by an anonymous poster is completely false. I have had my 60 day tourist visa renewed a total 17 times with NBI clearance granted each and every time. If there was a grain of truth to these accusations i would have been deported long ago...if anyone would like to discuss this with me my one and only email address for the past 14 years is Thank-you

  • Th
      3rd of Jun, 2014
    0 Votes

    I know Michael l and he is a good friend of mine, the person who reported this also cheated me out of php 300, 000. She has also cheated many other foreigners over the years but one day she will get what she deserves! Pure evil

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