Last November 4-8, 2011 had been one of the most memorable days in my travel calendar. With the help of Cebu Pacific’s promo fares, I was able to book a roundtrip ticket to Singapore for less than Php3,000. Imagine that!
And since a friend of mine is going there as well to visit his brother who’s working there, I decided to join her in her adventure – and so my Singapore experience began.
Touchdown at NAIA Terminal 3
It was around 6pm when my flight from GenSan arrived at NAIA terminal 3. I was travelling all by myself since my friend, Queeny, had already gone ahead of me to Singapore. Funny as it may seem but although I’m a traveller at heart, I’ve realized that almost all my destinations are located in Mindanao and Visayas. The last time that I’ve visited Manila was 5 years ago. And today is my first time to set foot to NAIA 3 (my previous travel landed at NAIA 2 via PAL).
Being a first timer in NAIA 3, I felt the need to be a bit anxious. My flight to Singapore is still scheduled at 5am the next day. But I had no plans in booking for a hotel or whatsoever. I’ll just be spending the night here at the airport along with other Filipino nomads who I think’s already living here. Yes there are a lot of them. If only I’ve taken a shot of the scenario, I’m sure you’ll be surprised.
Facing the Immigration
If there’s one thing that you need to be afraid of prior to an international flight – it is the immigration. This was emphasized further with what other Filipinos told me at the airport.
“Kung mahirap lusutan ang immigration papuntang Hongkong, mas doble hirap ang papuntang Singapore. Meron nga diyan na kapatid na niya mismo ang pupuntahan nya roon eh hindi pa pinayagan. Marami-rami rin ang mga Pinoy na ang intensyon lang sana talaga ay magbakasyun doon na hindi rin pinaalis.”
I was also able to get to know several Filipinos who were not allowed to get out of the country. The airport guards also affirmed this issue. But hey, andito na ako eh, ngayon pa ba ako aatras? And so I proceeded armoured with courage and faith in my hand.
Things to Do Upon Check-in
At 3am the next day, it was time to check in. Here’s the step by step guide for fellow travellers at heart alike who might find this of help in the near future.
- Pay the P1,650 Travel Tax at the Travel Tax counter is at the far end of the terminal.
- Get a copy of an Immigration Form at the Check-in Counter. Accomplish one copy per person. You will need the exact address of your hotel here.
- Check in! Present the Immigration Form together with the Travel Tax receipt, printed ticket and passport to the check-in agent. The Agent will give you your boarding pass.
- Proceed to the Departure Fee Booth. You will have to pay P750 per person here.
- Go to the Immigration Booth to have your passport stamped. *the scary part.
- Final security check. Remove all gadgets and metal items (including belts and coins) from your body. Remove your shoes, too.
- After the final security check, head to the Pre-Departure Area. Check your boarding pass to see what gate you should go to. You should be fine here. All you need to do now is wait for the boarding call.
After much nervousness and anxiety, I was now face to face with 3 immigration officers. Their opening statement which had never helped at all went like this,
“Bawal ang magsinungaling dito. Sagutin mo lang ng maayos at totoo ang mga katanungan namin para walang problema.”
I swallowed, and uttered a seemingly confident “Ok po.” All along the interview I was pretending to be really confident and I guess this did really help.
If there’s one thing that you need to really prove them is that you are employed here and you have no plans of looking for a job in Singapore and be one of the many TNT Filipinos. This had been quite troublesome for me since I am employed virtually – and a lot of people aren’t aware of the nature of that job (including these officers). Luckily I did bring with me printed copies of my online job payment transactions to help me.
And yes, I was able to pass through the immigration, and now on my way to the City of Lions!
On my next posts will be the most awaited Singapore Chronicles. See you!