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.”

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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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Real People: Yvonne Carangue

I met Yvonne in Batanes. There were 5 of us having breakfast together: Yvonne was there with her friends Marge and Cheng, while Sir Onkar and I were both solo travelers. I was fumbling my Tagalog when, to my great relief, I found out that the three girls were also native Bisaya speakers. Hay salamat! All four of them were very kind to me and told such interesting stories. I wouldn’t recommend the breakfast at Fundacion Pacita (so little food for such a hefty price tag!) but I do recommend traveling solo at least once in your lifetime — it will give you the chance to meet and make friends with people like Yvonne.

Maria Yvonne Carangue

Radio broadcaster / Account executive

Usually I take the budget out of my salary — 20% monthly. If I have commissions from sales, 50% of it will go directly to my travel fund.

Singapore and Kuala Lumpur last September 2014. That was our 2nd time there — the first was in 2011.

Singapore Tips:

  • If you want a discounted price for any attraction in SG, go to Lucky Plaza Mall and buy package tickets from the Cebu Pacific Travel Agency — you can save as much as SGD 5-10.
  • Don’t miss the light, sound and water show in Marina Bay Sands and the Supertree show at Gardens by the Bay — for free! Schedule: 7:45pm and 8:45pm; Lights and Sounds: 8pm and 9:30pm
  • Find a cheap but comfy hostel along Geylang Road and China Town near MRT stations.


Planning (fingers crossed) to visit Seoul, South Korea during spring time (to see the cherry blossoms) next year!



  • International
    • Beijing, China
    • Jerusalem, Israel
    • Japan
    • Paris, France
  • Philippines
    • Vigan
    • Palawan
    • Sagada



DESTINATION: Hongkong and Macau
When we got there last 2012, it was cold and Christmas season, that’s why travel was so comfy. And Disneyland was just so amazing for someone who’s young at heart like me. We stayed in the pad of an OFW, Annabelle Copia, in Kowloon for as low as P400 per night. She guided us through all the directions and attractions in HK. Hong Kong to Macau is just P900. Macau is really the city of dreams. It’s one of my favorites because we didn’t spend a penny for transportation there. The shuttle buses of all hotels and casinos are for free. Unlimited juice, tea, coffee and souvenirs are also for free. (Isn’t that amazing?) But if you’re with a group and spending 1-2 days there, it’s a must to have a Filipino tour guide (cheap).

STAY: Khaosan Immjai in Bangkok, Thailand
This is a newly built hostel near Khaosan Road for as low as 350-450 pesos per night with free breakfast, unlimited coffee and bread.

FOOD: I’m not really into restaurants or cafes when traveling. I love the street foods in Khaosan Road (Bangkok) and Chinatown (Singapore). You can eat there for as low as 50-100 pesos per meal.



We make sure that we have a cheap but memorable travel experience — inexpensive but including many places and attractions.

Additional tips:

  • Always bring printed maps and MRT maps.
  • Ask for help from locals.
  • We travel light but when we come back our bags are heavy with lots of pasalubong for our loved ones — as in maximum of 40 kg when we get home!
  • If you want to travel, make sure you read blogs from fellow travelers — you can get lot of tips on where to go, what to do, and where to stay. Consider all the dos and donts.

Ang pagbibiyahe ay isang paglilibang at edukasyon. Hindi kailangang maging mayaman ka para makapagbiyahe. Don’t let your dreams remain dreams. Start now while you are able. My favorite quote is from Lao Tzu: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Real People: Yvonne Carangue” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.