List of Philippine Holidays 2017

List of Philippine Holidays 2017 | SGMT

Time to start planning your travels next year!

Here’s the list of regular holidays and special non-working days for 2017, as decreed in Proclamation No. 50, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last August 16 and released by Malacañang today, August 18. The special holidays for the observance of Eid’l Fitr and Eid’l Adha will be announced as soon as the official dates of these celebrations are set based on the Islamic calendar. Long weekends in 2017 are in red.

January 1, 2017 (Sunday) – New Year’s Day (Regular Holiday)

January 28, 2017 (Saturday) – Chinese New Year (Special Non-Working Day)

February 25, 2017 (Saturday) – EDSA Revolution Anniversary (Special Non-Working Day)

April 9, 2017 (Sunday) – Araw ng Kagitingan (Regular Holiday)

April 13, 2017 (Thursday) – Maundy Thursday (Regular Holiday)

April 14, 2017 (Friday) – Good Friday (Regular Holiday)

April 15, 2017 (Saturday) – Black Saturday (Special Non-Working Day)

May 1, 2017 (Monday) – Labor Day (Regular Holiday)

June 12, 2017 (Monday) – Independence Day (Regular Holiday)

August 21, 2017 (Monday) – Ninoy Aquino Day (Special Non-Working Day)

August 28, 2017 (Monday) – National Heroes Day (Regular Holiday)

October 31, 2017 (Tuesday) – Additional Special (Non-Working) Day

November 1, 2017 (Wednesday) – All Saints Day (Special Non-Working Day)

November 30, 2017 (Thursday) – Bonifacio Day (Regular Holiday)

December 25, 2017 (Monday) – Christmas Day (Regular Holiday)

December 30, 2017 (Saturday) – Rizal Day (Regular Holiday)

December 31, 2017 (Sunday) – Last day of the year (Special Non-Working Day)

As you can see, we have 4 long weekends next year, not counting Holy Week and Christmas. Start planning and budgeting! 🙂

(And if you’re wondering, the beach in that picture above is Nacpan Beach in El Nido, Palawan. Batanes, pictured below, would be the perfect place to visit in the May/June long weekend. See: 7 things you should know before planning your trip to Batanes.)

SGMT_Batanes_Basco Lighthouse_1200x600


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Anti-Offloading Tips from an Immigration Officer

Anti-Offloading Tips from an Immigration Officer | SGMT —
Plus guidance straight from the Bureau of Immigration and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

I recently had the chance to put a few questions to an Immigration officer and he kindly agreed to give me a few tips for travelers who might be nervous about getting offloaded. (I promised him I would keep his identity confidential, even though he didn’t really require this as a condition to answering my questions, and I also assured him he didn’t have to reveal any “trade secrets” from the Bureau of Immigration.) Please take note that these tips are for legit tourists, particularly first time travelers who might understandably be worried about the possibility of being offloaded. If you’re reading this so you can find out how to fool the Immigration officer at NAIA, I urge you to please, please reconsider your plans. You may have good intentions — maybe you just want to work so you can send your kids to school and get your family out of poverty — but the risks can be very high. It might be your family who will end up having to sell everything to save you, so please think about it.

Required Documents: The Basics

First of all, if you haven’t read “Pinoy Abroad: List of Documents Required by Immigration for International Travel” please do so right now. (The link will open in a separate tab so you don’t have to leave this page.) That article will give you a list of documents you have to bring when you travel — the basic requirements, the additional documents that may be required if the Immigration officer has doubts about you, the requirements if someone else is paying for your trip, and the list of people who need a DSWD travel clearance or a Travel Authority. If you want to be really prepared — to the point of being over-prepared sometimes — you’ll find even more tips here: “Offloading, required documents, and other Immigration FAQs.”

SGMT Watermark Logo_Hibiscus_Colored_BlackSGMT

An Immigration Officer’s Tips

Here’s the gist of what the immigration officer said when I asked him for tips for first time travelers:
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Pinoy Abroad: List of Documents Required by Immigration for International Travel

SGMT | List of Documents Required by Immigration — 
In 2014, I wrote a post titled “What Filipinos Need to Know About Traveling Abroad: Guidelines from the Bureau of Immigration” and since then, I’ve had a lot of people writing to me and asking for advice on how to “pass” the Immigration screening. Two years have gone by since that article first came out so I thought I’d create this updated list of documents that travelers may be required to show at the Immigration counter.

What documents are required for ALL Filipinos who are traveling abroad as tourists?

  1. Passport issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) – must be unexpired with at least 6 months remaining validity*
  2. Visa – if required at the final destination
  3. Return ticket

*I emailed Immigration some time ago and they verified that the passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of departure.

The visa must be unexpired.

You must have a ticket for your flight back to the Philippines. A few people have asked if return tickets are still needed if, for example, they plan to go backpacking around Southeast Asia and don’t want to set their schedule in stone. I asked an Immigration officer about this and, yes, you still need a return ticket. This is because the country you are heading to — and most other countries — will almost certainly require tourists to present a return/onward ticket upon arrival, as proof that you don’t intend to stay in their country illegally or for longer than you’re permitted. Without a return/onward ticket, you could be sent back to the Philippines.

  • If you really intend to go on a trip without making specific plans for return, I suggest you set an estimated date of return and: (a) buy a ticket back to the Philippines from a budget airline, so it won’t hurt your pocket too much if you decide not to use it, OR (b) buy a ticket from an airline that will let you change travel dates. This strategy might cost you a bit more but that’s better than being sent back — prudence is cheaper than regret.
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Filipina offloaded from flight at NAIA 3 for not bringing her grandfather’s birth certificate? Here’s what probably happened — and how you can stop it from happening to you

Just a few days ago, a Filipina posted on Facebook about her experience being offloaded from her June 17 flight to Singapore. She reports that she was made to wait for 1.5 hours for her interview with an Immigration official and that she was eventually offloaded for not being able to present her grandfather’s birth certificate. As of June 25, 2015, 12:01 AM, her post has been Liked by 9,907 people and shared 11,258 times.

Now, Immigration officers aren’t exactly my favorite people in the world and offloading is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. (Well, okay, it is, but only on my worst enemies. Heh.)

That said, before we join the bandwagon and question the ludicrousness of having to bring your dead grandfather’s birth certificate just to board an international flight, I think it’s worth examining the situation more closely.

Let’s get two points out of the way first:

  • We only know the side of the offloaded passenger. (Let’s refer to her as Ms. dela Cruz, though her complete name and her Facebook name are obvious enough in her post, which she made Public.) As people are never likely to divulge their own shortcomings when ranting, it would be nice if we also heard the side of the IO, just to have a more complete understanding of what happened. (See 26 June update below for the BI’s subsequent explanation.) Details that we don’t know — that might have proved to be important — include:
    • Is this Ms. dela Cruz’s first time to go out of the country?
    • Is this her first time to go to Singapore? (Her Facebook page states that she lives in “Bedok, Singapore.”)
    • How long was she going to stay in Singapore?
    • What was her itinerary?
    • Does she have a job here in the Philippines? (Her Facebook page states that she works in “Pbcom Tower.”)
    • Did she have proof of financial capacity? Or was her relative going to support her stay? If it’s the latter, was her relative able to provide her with the Affidavit of Support & Guaranty and was it duly authenticated by the Philippine embassy in Singapore?
      At any rate, here’s a screenshot of Ms. dela Cruz’s Facebook post — please just click to enlarge it (it’s rather long).

      From Ms. JA de la Cruz's Facebook page (Public post)

      From Ms. JA de la Cruz’s Facebook page (Public post)

  • Second, I definitely agree that she shouldn’t have been made to wait for an hour and a half for secondary inspection, especially as her boarding time was nearing.


Anti-offloading tips from an Immigration officer


The most important point, though — and the one that we should be most concerned about, since we don’t want the same thing to happen to us — is the fact that she was offloaded.

Apparently, Ms. dela Cruz was going to be staying with a relative in Singapore. She doesn’t mention in her post how exactly she was related to her host, but she says that the IO asked for “PROOF LANG NA KAPAMILYA KO DAW YUNG TITIRHAN KO” (proof that the person she will be staying with is a relative). She says she gave the IO a copy of her relative’s passport, invitation letter, Singapore ID and Philippine ID. However, the IO asked for proof that she was truly related to her host “KASI MASYADO NA DAW COMMON YUNG DELA CRUZ” (because dela Cruz is a common family name) — that is, it’s possible that they just have the same family names but aren’t truly related.

It was at this point that the IO apparently asked for Ms. dela Cruz’s grandfather’s birth certificate.

According to Ms. dela Cruz, “ANG SABI KO NAMAN, PAG BINIGYAN BA KITA NG BIRTHCERTIFICATE NG LOLO KO NAKALAGAY BA DUN NA GODDAUGHTER NYA KO?” (“I said, if I give you my grandfather’s birth certificate, will it show that I’m his goddaughter?”) This actually confuses me a bit — is “goddaughter” a typo, and she actually meant “granddaughter,” or did she mean that she was her host’s goddaughter, and if it’s the latter, are they really related? Either way, to cut the long story short, Ms. dela Cruz apparently could not present proof that she was related to the person she will be staying with in Singapore, and so she was offloaded.

As a footnote, it’s worth mentioning that Ms. dela Cruz made another attempt to fly to Singapore on June 19, and she was offloaded again, though she didn’t elaborate why.

From Ms. JA dela Cruz's Facebook page (Public post)

From Ms. JA dela Cruz’s Facebook page (Public post)

Why would someone need her grandfather’s birth certificate to fly abroad?

Ms. dela Cruz needed to present proof that she was related to the person she was going to stay with in Singapore. I suspect that the grandfather’s birth certificate was only mentioned as an example of a document that would prove the relationship — say, if she was going to be staying with an aunt, birth certificates would be a way to trace the family tree. If the IO did not explain that, then that’s quite an omission on her part, and Ms. dela Cruz is justified in complaining — though it wouldn’t change the fact that Ms. dela Cruz wasn’t able to prove her relationship to her would-be host. (I think it’s worth pointing out that the IO was right — dela Cruz is a common family name. In fact, the name Juan dela Cruz is our equivalent of John Doe.)

Why is it the Bureau of Immigration’s business whether one is related to one’s host?

According to the BI website, “a traveler will be subjected to a secondary inspection, when deemed necessary, for the purpose of protecting vulnerable victims of human trafficking, illegal recruitment and other related offenses. As such, Immigration Officers (IOs) are allowed to propound clarificatory questions relating to any documents presented or the purpose of travel. Based on answers provided, the traveler will be given a list of additional requirements to support his alleged purpose of travel.”

There have been thousands of cases of people going to other countries as “tourists” only to stay there as illegal workers. This month alone, the BI was able to catch strangers pretending to be friends going on a tour and women pretending to be missionaries, all of them on their way to undocumented jobs abroad as domestic helpers. Mary Jane Veloso flew to Kuala Lumpur as a “tourist” with a “friend” and $500 cash, and look where that got her.

Basically, Immigration officers have seen it all. So when a young girl traveling alone to Singapore says that she will be staying with a relative, but she can’t give definitive proof that she is indeed related to her host, I can imagine that would raise alarm bells for the Immigration officer.

Again, let me emphasize that I am not defending the Bureau of Immigration — I am just trying to put myself in their shoes. It’s a flawed system, and a lot of innocent people get trapped in the net along with the guilty ones, but since Immigration officers don’t have veritaserum or lie detectors, they have to rely on, well, less reliable methods like instinct and experience. That’s why it’s so important for travelers to prepare their documents.

What can we learn from this?

The lesson here is NOT that we should bring our dead grandfathers’ birth certificates when we travel.

What we should bring is proof that whatever we’re going to say to the Immigration officer is true.

If you’re flying to another country soon, here are some articles that might help:

What Filipinos Need to Know About Traveling Abroad: Guidelines from the Bureau of Immigration

Offloading, required documents, and other Immigration FAQs

I can’t stress this enough — it’s really better to over-prepare than to under-prepare. OA na kung OA, ‘wag lang ma-offload.

Qatar Airways HQ 300x250

Update 26 June 2015: The Bureau of Immigration’s Response

According to the Inquirer, BI spokesperson Elaine Tan spoke to them in a phone interview and said that the IO asked Ms. dela Cruz to provide “the marriage certificate of her father and marriage certificate of her father’s cousin in Singapore whom Dela Cruz was going to visit” because “she was assessed to be financially incapable to travel in the secondary inspection.” Tan said, “Hindi rin po na-establish ‘yung employment niya. So based on the totality of circumstances, she is likely to be a victim of human trafficking. High risk po.” I don’t totally understand it — Is the person in Singapore only her father’s cousin by marriage? Or is the cousin married to a Singapore national which would explain her residency in Singapore? — but, still, the lesson here is to provide proof of your claims.

© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved. 


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A newspaper columnist just said that any mom who goes out with a toddler in heels and jewelry is just faking being a hands-on mom.

britney are you kidding me

And I’m like…

It’s not even that the tone of the article is decidedly catty, or that the writer calls all of us “dearies.”

Neither am I being defensive. For the record, I don’t have nail-polished fingernails, I do know what my son’s last poo looked like, and I don’t go out with the little guy in heels and jewelry. (Unless 2-inch wedges are considered heels. Wait…are they? And is there, like, a height cut-off for heels? How about half-inch? See, I don’t even know these things. And, hey, what if a person wears heels because flats make her high-arch feet ache?)

And it’s definitely not that I think this one person’s opinion matters so much that I have to try to do everything in my power to change her mind. Based on the tone of her replies to comments, and on the tone of her follow-up article, her beliefs appear to be firmly entrenched. I don’t think there’s anything I can say that will ever convince her she’s wrong.

But you know what? She IS wrong.

That’s why I’m writing this, because there might be a mom somewhere who suddenly finds herself questioning her worth, or a husband who now thinks less of his wife, or a woman who thinks, “That’s it. I’m never going to have children” — all because of that article.

(Also, gotta admit, I’m writing this because I’m pissed off. I mean, wouldn’t you, if someone keeps calling you “dearie”? Samuka uy. Maurice Arcache ang peg, te?)

And just to be clear: this is NOT an attack on the article writer herself. Catty tone and snide remarks notwithstanding, it’s entirely possible that she’s the nicest, smartest, most respectful, most beautiful person on the planet, whose kids adore her, and whose husband thinks himself the luckiest man. (After all, nothing is impossible with God. Char. Hahahahaha! De betaw.)

But that doesn’t take away the fact that she’s wrong.

She’s Wrong — Here’s Why

What is a hands-on mom?

If you’re going to define what something is and what something is not, you’ve got to have a factual, logical basis for your conclusions, right? You can’t just, oh, for example, look at your Facebook News Feed, find those moms whose photos you find annoying, and build an article based on their characteristics, right? Or you can’t just, say, think of one or two people you want to put down, or, I don’t know, someone whose “real life” you want to expose to the world, and simply list down the differences between them and you. Right? (Just for example.)

“Who is right, who is wrong? Your opinion is as good as mine,” the writer insists.

Um, NO.

“Hands-on” is not one of those eye-of-the-beholder adjectives. The term has a pretty specific definition; in Merriam-Webster, it is being “actively and personally involved in something.” Other dictionaries have similar definitions.

The problem is, in her article, the writer is basically saying that there is no way the following moms — the ones she labeled as “fake hands-on moms” — are actively and personally involved in raising their kids:

  • Moms who have long, manicured fingernails
  • Moms who can’t describe their children’s last poo
  • Moms who wear heels or jewelry when going out with toddlers

(Yes, seriously.)

Moreover, she writes:

[T]here she is again, in her heels, perhaps sitting this time, with the little one in her lap at another outing. And then another pair of heels and another set of jewelry in yet another outing. Definitely a fake. There is a yaya, a Grandma or a hands-on dad outside of the scope of the camera’s lens.”

In short, she also seems to be saying that moms who receive childcare help from nannies or family members are not actively and personally involved in raising their kids.

If you’re a mother, and you work, and during your working hours you leave your child in the care of someone else, you’re a fake — that’s what she’s saying. You’re not “the real deal.” The fact that there are some parts of the day when you are not personally washing your child’s poop off his behind basically precludes you from being actively and personally involved in raising him — that’s what she’s saying.

Dearies,” she says. “I have nothing against moms who will not or cannot be hands-on with their toddlers. Each of us has our own reasons for raising our kids the way we do. But please, do not pretend that you are.”


Disproving a Null Hypothesis

They say the advantage of using a null hypothesis in research is that it is very easy to disprove. If you say “mermaids exist,” it’s very difficult to say you’re wrong even if no one sees a mermaid, because it’s very possible that there are mermaids and no one has just seen them yet. On the other hand, if you use a null hypothesis and say “mermaids don’t exist,” if just one person sees just one [verifiable] mermaid, you can confidently reject your null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypothesis, which is that mermaids do exist.

(Aaand at this point I had to break off because my son pooped. Swear to God. Nothing like a soiled diaper to take you down a peg or two after you talk about statistics. Uhh…anyone want to know what it looked like? Hahahahahahaha!)

Anyway, back to null hypotheses.

No mom who has long manicured fingernails is a hands-on mom? I have a cousin who has had to raise two children without her husband’s help, and they are beautiful, smart, well-mannered kids. She has a job, she performs household tasks, she works herself to the bone each day, and, yes, she occasionally takes the time to have her nails done. Does that one luxury mean she is not actively and personally involved in raising her children?

The only time I had long manicured fingernails was during my wedding, but I can say, without a doubt, my cousin is much, much more of a hands-on mom than I am.

A mom who can’t describe her child’s last poo can’t possibly be a hands-on mom? I have a friend who is raising two children, one of whom has special needs. When she goes to work, her kids are cared for by a nanny, but when she is home, she personally attends to their needs, their learning, their playtime. She has to put in more effort than most other moms because of her son’s condition. If one of her sons pooped at 2 PM today, and I ask her now what it looked like, and she can’t answer because she was at work, does that automatically cancel out all the things she has been doing for her children?

I know what my son’s last poo looked like, but my friend’s involvement in her children’s life can put mine to shame.

Jewelry and heels and toddlers cannot mix? I know plenty of people who have gone to events with their kids looking fabulous. I can’t chase a toddler in heels — actually, I have just one pair of 3-inch heels and I can’t spend an entire evening in it to save my life, with or without a toddler in tow — but that doesn’t mean no one can. And, yes, admittedly, many of these moms have someone they can share toddler-chasing duties with during the event: the dad, the grandma, or the nanny. If she does receive help, does that mean she is not actively and personally involved in looking after her child?

And what’s the deal with calling the dad a “hands-on dad”? If a mom has help, as apparently evidenced by her jewelry and her heels, she is automatically a “fake hands-on mom,” but the dad who is not at that point in time looking after his child can still be a “hands-on dad”?



And speaking of dads, since the burden of working and earning money still falls mostly on them, does that mean most of them will never be hands-on dads? Are they fakes because they have no idea what their child’s last poop looked like? Or do we have separate standards for dads?

My mother was a hands-on mom in every sense of the word, while my father had to leave home most days to work, but I never felt for one moment that my dad was not a hands-on dad. And right now I have friends, dads, who are not able to be in the house all day because they have to work, but they are still very much actively and personally involved in raising their children. What about them?

Of course, Ms. Plonky Talk (the article writer) might say, “well, that’s not how I define ‘hands-on’ — I don’t believe it means ‘active and personal involvement.'” So unsa diay? Maghimo na lang ta’g laing dictionary kung dili mo-fit atong definition sa unsa’y standard? Are meanings of words subject, therefore, to the vagaries of lifestyle columnists? And can we really just label people in whatever way we want, make them feel bad about themselves, and then hide behind the skirts of “well, that’s just my opinion”?

adjective \ˈhan(d)z-ˈȯn, -ˈän\
characterized by active personal involvement

What’s sad about this whole thing is that there are actually people who would judge your involvement in your child’s life by the length of your heels or the finish of your fingernails.

It’s sad that women who are doing everything they can for their kids have to defend themselves and fight for the right to be called “hands-on moms.”

It’s sad that someone — in an effort, ostensibly, to make exhausted borderline-nervous-wreck moms feel good about themselves — has to do so in a way that makes other moms feel bad about themselves…and then signs off with the line “cheers to motherhood.”

Bitaw, wala ra ni syay connection sa article, dugay na lang ko ganahan mogamit ani nga pic hahaha!

Bitaw, wala ra ni syay connection sa article, dugay na lang ko ganahan mogamit ani nga pic hahaha!

I don’t expect her to change her mind. She seems to thrive on being divisive — after all, instead of addressing comments in a sensible manner, she resorted to envisioning a battle between the “Long Clawed Team” and the “Short Clawed Team” — and I guess some people are just like that and we really can’t expect too much from them. But I hope those people who read the article and, as a result, started to look down on the so-called “long clawed” moms will come to see that motherhood is so much more than fingernails or heels or who is doing what.

I’m a short-nailed short-heeled mom who just washed her son’s poop, and I can tell you that I don’t need others to feel bad so I can feel good about myself. The truth is I will never get to the point where I feel 100% good about myself as a mother. I have too many shortcomings, too many failures. There are so many things I can’t do for my son. And that’s hard to accept. But I like to think what matters is that I try. That’s what I hope people will focus on: that I’m trying. That we’re trying, most of us. Focus, not on our fingernails, not on our heels, but on our sincere efforts to be good parents and to raise our kids to become good people. For most of us, that’s all we can do.

© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains

Batanes sale! PAL Manila-Basco-Manila tickets for only P4,000+ — several dates available

BatanesFor the past months, the cheapest Batanes tickets have been PHP 6,000+ (with the most expensive at nearly PHP 20,000) so this latest crop of PHP 4,000+ tickets is a very good deal. Just click on the screenshots below to take a closer look — the dates with the red stars are the cheapest. Travel dates range from July to October 2015.

Manila-Basco July9-14

Manila-Basco August2-6

Manila-Basco August8-13

Manila-Basco August22-27

Manila-Basco September10-16

Manila-Basco September24-29

Manila-Basco October2-6

© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains

Must-Knows for Filipinos Traveling with Children


Are you traveling with, or making travel arrangements for, a Filipino child? Here are the rules/requirements of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for minors traveling abroad.



Anyone below 18 years of age is considered a minor (or child).


Getting a Passport

These are the general requirements for getting a passport from the DFA:

  • Confirmed appointment (except for 1 year old and below)
    * Not necessary for those applying in Cebu. See Passport Application/Renewal at DFA Cebu: What You Need To Know.
  • Personal appearance of the minor applicant
  • Personal appearance of:
    • EITHER parent (if minor is a legitimate child)
    • MOTHER (if minor is an illegitimate child; that is, if his/her parents aren’t married)
  • Original Birth Certificate of minor in Security Paper issued by NSO
    Certified True Copy of Birth Certificate issued by the Local Civil Registrar and duly authenticated by NSO

    • Transcribed Birth Certificate from the LCR is required when entries in NSO Birth Certificate are blurred or unreadable.
    • Report of Birth duly authenticated by NSO is required if minor was born abroad.
  • Marriage Certificate of minor’s parents duly authenticated by NSO
    * Only if parents are married.
  • Photocopy of valid passport of:
    • EITHER parent (if minor is a legitimate child)
    • MOTHER (if minor is an illegitimate child)
  • IF MINOR IS 8-17 YEARS OLD (whether a first time or renewal applicant):
    • Document of identity with photo such as School ID or Form 137 with readable dry seal
    • For minor applicants who never attended school, the DFA requires a Notarized Affidavit of Explanation executed by either parent (if minor is a legitimate child) or by mother (if minor is an illegitimate child) detailing the reasons why the child is not in school.
  • Notarized Affidavit of Support and Consent to travel from:
    • EITHER parent (if minor is a legitimate child)
    • MOTHER (if minor is an illegitimate child)
      * The DFA lists this as one of the general requirements for getting a passport, but in my experience in Cebu, this was not necessary.
  • Original and photocopy of valid passport of the person traveling with the minor
    * Not necessary if there are no specific travel plans yet


Click on the images below to see the additional required documents for:

  • A minor who is traveling alone or is not traveling with either parent
  • A minor whose parents are both currently outside the Philippines
  • A minor who was originally illegitimate but has been legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his/her parents
  • A minor who is illegitimate but is acknowledged by (and uses the surname of) his/her father
  • A foundling
  • An orphaned minor applicant
  • An abandoned minor applicant
  • A legally adopted minor
  • A minor applicant whose parents are annulled/divorced
  • A minor applicant whose mother is also a minor


Getting Through Immigration

According to the Bureau of Immigration, the following minors do not need a Travel Clearance from the DSWD:

  • A minor traveling to a foreign country with:
    • Both parents
    • Either parent, if the child is legitimate
      or the mother, if the child is illegitimate*
    • His/her legal guardian;
  • Children of Philippine Foreign Service or diplomatic corps officials;
  • Children living abroad with Philippine emigrants, subject to child-trafficking regulations;
  • Minors with unexpired alien passports;
  • Adopted children, subject to a court-issued adoption order with Certificate of Finality;
  • Minors with proof of unexpired visa for permanent residence outside the Philippines;
  • Minors accompanied by a court-appointed guardian, subject to proof of guardianship;
  • Minors accompanied by a solo parent, subject to a Social Welfare Office-issued ID. If illegitimate, subject to a Local Civil Registrar-issued Certificate of No Marriage.

*According to the BI website, illegitimate children traveling with biological mother are exempt from a DSWD clearance. Proof of lawful custody is required for illegitimate children traveling with biological father.


The BI will require a DSWD Travel Clearance for the following:

  • A minor traveling alone to a foreign country;
  • A minor traveling to a foreign country accompanied by a person other than his/her parents;
  • A minor who is a subject of an ongoing custody battle between parents will not be issued a Travel Clearance unless a Court Order is provided stating that the child is allowed to travel abroad with either one of his/her parents or authorized guardian. (DSWD)

The Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International-Bound Passengers in All Airports and Seaports in the Country specifically states that a minor “traveling alone or unaccompanied by either parent or legal guardian without the required travel clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)” will be automatically subjected to secondary inspection.

(For BI guidelines applying to all passengers — of any age — read: What Filipinos Need to Know About Traveling Abroad: Guidelines from the Bureau of Immigration)


Via Wikimedia Commons

Via Wikimedia Commons


Getting a Travel Clearance from DSWD

The DSWD website lists the requirements for securing a Travel Clearance for Minors and answers frequently asked questions.

A few important points:

  • A minor who is married still needs to secure a travel clearance if he/she is traveling abroad alone or with someone other than his/her parents. (This means that a married minor still needs a travel clearance even if he/she is traveling abroad with his/her spouse.)
  • “A minor who is the subject of ongoing custody battle between parents will not be issued a travel clearance unless a Court Order is issued to allow the child to travel abroad with either one of his/her parents or authorized guardian. The family shall be responsible to notify the Bureau of Immigration to include the name of the children in the watchlist of minors travelling abroad. It is therefore the Bureau of Immigration’s responsibility to ensure that no child under the watchlist order leaves the country.”
  • If an illegitimate child has been abandoned by the mother and is currently under the custody of the father or other relatives: “Since the mother has the absolute parental authority over her illegitimate children the father would need to secure a Court Order vesting in him the parental authority over the illegitimate children. If a parental authority has been granted to the father, and the minor will be traveling with the father, he is not required to secure a travel clearance. If the minor will travel alone or with someone other than the father, he/she is required to secure a travel clearance.”

The application form for the Travel Clearance may be downloaded here.

For more information, contact:

Note: I am not an authority on Philippine travel regulations, just a girl who did some research. While I will try my best to answer any questions you might have, you will definitely get a more authoritative answer from the agency concerned. If I answer your query with a succint “Please contact…” that means I don’t know the answer (and probably that I’m ridiculously busy at the time and can’t manage a lengthier reply). 🙂 Good luck and happy travels!



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Must-Knows for Filipinos Traveling with Children
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