Halloween is fast approaching. And this weekend, it’s not the zombies, manananggal, tikbalang, tiktik, multo, tiyanak, and other hair-raising elementals that will scare the hell out of us during the holidays and beyond.
Move away from your favorite Halloween TV features. Stop reading ghost stories. Take a break from watching the Walking Dead.
These five frightening, terrifying, petrifying, and grossly-alarming entities lurking the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals will definitely make your blood (pressure) shoot to the heavens.
When I arrived at NAIA 1 from a business trip in Japan, my cellphone battery lost power. I could not find our company driver anywhere around the arrival area.
So I approached the security guard and asked a favor to radio their paging office and announce the name of our driver and that I am already at the arrival area. The security guard directed me instead to go to one of those “sari sari stores” located just around the arrival area and use their payphone to call the NAIA paging and information office.
That was Php5 in exchange for the NAIA’s service to announce your name and your “sundo”!
The NAIA management should have this service for free for all. Why commission those sari-sari stores to be your “Information Desk” agents?
2) Extortionist Police Security
I was asked by a businessman friend to bring a number of Swiss wrist watches to his home in Cebu City. That filled about 1/4 of my small luggage.
At the security check section of the domestic airport, the policeman asked me why I have so many expensive watches in my luggage. He said I should be charged for bringing them outside of Manila. Sinong niloko nya? Hindi naman ito international trip ah. I told him that these are gifts by a friend to his family members in Cebu.
The policeman then asked me if he could just have one of those Swiss watches instead so I won’t have to pay for the “charges”. Then I told him, “Okay, I will ask my boss first at GMA-7″. That’s when and why he let me go.
I guess wearing that GMA-7 complimentary shirt given by a cousin helped.
Sorry and thank you, GMA-7.
3) Airport Taxi Scams
There has been a lot of stories of OFWs, migrants, and tourists being abused by taxi cab drivers plying all the NAIA terminal roads.
I almost got duped by one of these taxi cabs when I got back home from my Korea trip. But before I hopped into the cab, I immediately asked the driver “Metro yan, boss?” And he answered, “Depende kung san punta nyo sir.”
So I told him, “No, thank you.” I took the coaster instead that brought me to Pasay Rotonda MRT station for Php20 only if I remember it correctly.
Transferring from one terminal to another? Picking up a foreigner friend? Never step on these terminals with only a few hundred bucks in your pocket. Beware of these taxi fraudsters who victimize expatriates and tourists by charging them from $25 to $100 depending on your destination. When I say “destination” it means within 1 to 10 kilometer radius from the NAIA terminals.
Demand to get off these taxis and refuse to pay if you have the opportunity to do so. Take a photo of the license plate number and ID of the cab driver and upload these to http://taxikick.com to warn others.
**Please take note that yellow airport taxi cabs have a flag down rate of Php70 for the first two kilometers and Php2.50 for every succeeding 500 meters.
4) Visa Checkers
This is definitely one of the most ridiculous procedures I have ever encountered at NAIA Terminal 2. OFW’s and migrants who are leaving the country and are boarding the Philippine Airlines have to fall in line and have their visas checked first before entering the Terminal and do the rest of the crazy procedures inside.
This specific incident happened to us on our way back to the Middle East this year. My wife and daughter had to endure the heat outside the terminal because of the long queue for “visa-checking”. The visa checker told me that the passports of my wife and daughter have no “exit stamp” by the Saudi Arabia immigration. I told him we have an exit and re-entry visa to Saudi Arabia and that the Saudi immigration will not allow us to leave their airport if our visa is invalid!
He insisted that we will have a hard time re-entering Saudi Arabia if our passports don’t have an “exit” stamp by Saudi immigration. I told him “What do you want me to do? Go to Saudi Arabia first and have it stamped there and go back to Manila so that my family can leave the Philippines?!”
He then asked me to go to PAL’s office (inside the terminal) and request for confirmation of the Iqama (residence ID) details of my wife and daughter. Yes, I went through the security check before I enter the terminal and the PAL office. Even the PAL officer was wondering why the visa checker had to ask for that procedure.
When I got back outside the terminal and returned to that annoying visa checker, he stared at the PAL certification and our passports as if trying to look for something inserted. He asked me “Yan na yun sir?”
I stared at him and he didn’t look back. He finally stamped our passports “OK”.
5) “Laglag/Tanim Bala” (Bullet-Planting) Scam
This is the latest scam that has victimized several local and foreign travelers.
You all have heard the stories of some of the victims like OFW Gloria Ortinez, the American missionary Michael White, a Japanese tourist, and a lot more unreported incidents.
OFW blogger PEBA suggests the following:
a. In case airport officials ask you to open your luggage, ask for a lawyer first, who will be present, or someone who can serve as a witness while your luggage is being opened.
b. Don’t ever open your luggage by yourself, to avoid your fingerprints be marked on the bullet or at the area where the bullet was seen. Instead, ask the airport officials to get it.
c. Ask the airport officials to check your fingerprints on the bullet, in front of your lawyer and police authorities. This is of course assuming that the bullet is not really yours.
d. If your fingerprint was not found on the bullet, file a case against the concerned airport officials and ask for the corresponding damage fees. They should also re-book your flight.
BONUS: On a lesser gravity, I will include the Paawa Porters. I once experienced being assisted by a porter after my trip from Singapore. He pushed the cart with my one very light backpack. And upon reaching our car, he asked me “Boss, baka pwede makahingi kahit Php50. Pang-lunch lang.” I don’t easily give in to these kinds of drama. I gave him my leftover Singapore cents instead. Bahala ka magpapalit nyan.
Are you an OFW or a Balikbayan who plans to spend the All Saint’s Day and Christmas holidays back home? Beware of these “legal scams” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport!
Do you have other scary experience at NAIA? Comment and share below.
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Rock your way to abundance!
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Photo credit: Silver Bullet, by Ed Shipul