A penny for my thoughts – There’s always a reason for everything – part 1

I have a handful of friends who also availed of Cebu Pacific’s sale seat last February 25, 2011 for Hong Kong. Unfortunately, none of our schedules were the same. It’s like one will fly now, the other one the next day and my schedule was on the following day.

 A friend named Ian Ray Cruz was bound for Hong Kong on the 18th of June while me and my daughter on the 19th of June, 2011.

 My daughter and I were sitting at the waiting lounge waiting for the check-in counter of Cebu Pacific to open. After sometime, I saw a familiar face at the airport. I looked at him in disbelief as I thought he was off to Hong Kong the day before. Ian approached us and said he was not able to get on the scheduled flight for many immigration concerns. In short, he was offloaded and was trying his luck the following day. 

He was looking for us hoping to see me and might be  able to help him with this concern. The immigration officer were asking him documents to support his travel. Like invitation from her girlfriend, where he’s going to stay, and others.

 After we paid the travel tax and terminal fee, we went to queue again for the immigration check. The immigration officer asked me few questions like, who am I travelling with, where will I stay in HK.  When asked who was the guy with us, I told her, he is a friend who will also have a holiday in Hong Kong and just happened to meet at the airport. The other immigration officer saw him and said, you were the one who got offloaded yesterday, were you able to get the necessary documents?

 After she recognizes the face of Ian, the immigration officer then took again my passport and asked me if I’m coming back to Cebu. How ridiculous, of course, I’m just going to Hong Kong for a 3 days holiday with my daughter. One question lead to few more questions. Where do you work? I am an OFW and working in Saudi Arabia, I replied. They gave a stern look on my face and throw another question.  Where is your ticket back to Saudi? I did not bring my ticket for Saudi because I am not going to Saudi yet, I am going to Hong Kong, I replied.  Why you did not bring your Saudi ticket with you? she asked again. Why should I bring it? If I will bring my ticket it might get lost and it will be a big problem then, I  retorted. Do you have your OEC (overseas employment certificate)? I have but it’s not with me, it’s in the house. If you want to see if I’m really an OFW, you check my passport, my return visa is attached there, I replied. They then checked my passport where at the last page, they saw this note from POEA re my advance payments and the receipt number.  After seeing those notes with my employer’s name on it, they then said, we hope you understand why we asked you these questions because many are going out as tourists but are actually trying to work abroad. Also, we are in the hunt for human traffickers. They then stamped our passports and handed it back to us. It’s ok, no harm done, I replied.

 It was Ian’s turn to be grilled again by the Immigration officers. Even if he was able to comply with documents that what was asked of him he was still on the hot seat. To make the long story short, I vouch for his return back to Cebu after 3 days of stay by filling up a guarantor form. After all the necessary documents were properly documented, Ian’s passport was stamped and off we go to Hong Kong.


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