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  1. #11548
    Quote Originally Posted by MrEnternational  [View Original Post]
    You are correct; I was not there. And technically an immigration officer and a customs officer are the same people these days. One day they can perform immigration duties and another day they can perform customs duties.
    Dude! You don't need to explain to us how customs and immigration works. Any of us from the US who have been abroad recently are familiar with the process, and the changes in the process, which aren't likely over yet.

    As for dogs, I've been flying in and out of DFW since the late 70's, worked there for a while in the 80's, and have never seen any kind of police dog at that airport. Never.

  2. #11547
    The regular warning from the US State Dept regarding travel in Phils. Take it how you will.

    Exercise increased caution in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and a measles outbreak. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

    Do not travel to:

    The Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.

    Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.

    Reconsider travel to:

    Other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.

    Terrorist and armed groups continue plotting possible kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in the Philippines. Terrorist and armed groups may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, markets / shopping malls, and local government facilities. The Philippine government has declared a "State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao. ".

    There is an outbreak of measles in the Philippines. Philippine authorities have reported deaths in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Davao. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional information on the outbreak at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices...s-philippines..

    Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

    If you decide to travel to the Philippines:

    Visit the CDC Travelers Health Page.

    Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.

    Avoid demonstrations.

    Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

    Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.

    Review the Crime and Safety Report for the Philippines.

    USA Citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.

    The Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea.

    Terrorist and armed groups kidnap USA Citizens on land and at sea for ransom.

    The USA Government has limited ability to provide emergency services to USA Citizens in the Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea as USA Government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to those areas.

    Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

    Marawi City in Mindanao.

    The Philippine government has declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region. Civilians are at risk of death or injury due to conflict between remnants of terrorist groups and Philippine security forces in Marawi.

    The USA Government has limited ability to provide emergency services to USA Citizens in Mindanao as USA Government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

    Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

    Mindanao.

    The Philippine government has declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region. The Philippine government also maintains a state of emergency and greater police presence in the Cotabato City area, and in the Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

    Terrorist and armed groups continue to conduct kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks targeting USA Citizens, foreigners, civilians, local government institutions, and security forces.

    The USA Government has limited ability to provide emergency services to USA Citizens in Mindanao as USA Government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

    Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

  3. #11546
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    No dude. It was customs. Immigration was greeting the foreign visitors in a different section of the building. Bear in mind dude, I was there, you weren't. And I didn't mention anything in my post about dogs. If you can't bother to read posts before you comment on them, and don't realize that you can't retroactively place yourself in some other person's experiences, you need to quit posting a while. The fact that you compulsively post replies to others posts all day long, speaks volumes about your credibility.
    You are correct; I was not there. And technically an immigration officer and a customs officer are the same people these days. One day they can perform immigration duties and another day they can perform customs duties.

    When you enter the USA, you are in what is called a Federal Inspection Station (FIS). At major airports in the USA, this consists of two parts (and I think it is the same for most countries): 1. Immigration. 2. Customs. Immigration was always the part before you pick your luggage up. You had to show them your passport and your customs declaration. They asked you if you were bringing anything back with you. Then they marked on the form whether you needed to go for secondary inspection or not. These days you scan the passport yourself and the computer primarily decides if you are to go to secondary. After that you hand your passport and form to the immigration officer who collects it, may ask questions, and sends you on your way.

    Customs was always after you pick your luggage up. As I was saying, they have done away with the customs part of the process, so that you are only in contact with the person that has traditionally been the immigration officer. Now it is more like Philippines where if you have nothing to declare you can just keep walking out after you get your bags instead of stopping to talk with a customs officer. Before, the customs officer never asked questions and he did not need to see your passport. All they had to do was read the designation that the immigration officer had written on your form in order to know whether to send you to secondary or not. These days, if you have to be sent to secondary then when you hand your form in, the immigration officer will call someone over to escort you there after they have gone with you to pick up your luggage.

    I apologize for attributing the dogs statement to you. It was contained in the statement that you quoted from Soapy.

  4. #11545
    Quote Originally Posted by Dg8787  [View Original Post]
    And thank God for the over caution and extra screening so you can live to tell about it.
    I'm good with just about whatever security they want to have.

    I oppose the security theater that actually exists.

  5. #11544
    Quote Originally Posted by SoapySmith  [View Original Post]
    ... The other difficulty is having to carry a bunch of currency from your home country. The ATM route that BD recommends is a good compromise.
    I have also used remittance services. Worldremit.com is what I used but there are others. Low fees, pick up any bank or LBC or similar place, transfer in immediate and I have never had any problems.

    I have actually beat the rate all in using this than the cash ATM withdraw method and limits are higher.

  6. #11543
    Quote Originally Posted by MrEnternational  [View Original Post]
    Actually it was the immigration agent that you handed your form to. They did away with the customs part of the process since they scan your checked bag before you get it and they can always do a random search of your carry-on, plus like you said, they have the dogs.
    No dude. It was customs. Immigration was greeting the foreign visitors in a different section of the building. Bear in mind dude, I was there, you weren't. And I didn't mention anything in my post about dogs. If you can't bother to read posts before you comment on them, and don't realize that you can't retroactively place yourself in some other person's experiences, you need to quit posting a while. The fact that you compulsively post replies to others posts all day long, speaks volumes about your credibility.

  7. #11542
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    always have water handy while I was on a 15 hour flight? Though it was unopened, security screening told me I couldn't take it on board. I had to throw it away. Today I checked my credit card statement, and that bottle of water cost me $9. 95 USD (I was confused by the exchange rate of the Qatari Riyal, so I had no idea what a ripoff that airport was). The guy who sat next to me on the way back said that Qatar was on the State Department's shit list and that is why the screening needed to be so rigourous.
    Its the new normal. Why you whining? In order for flights to fly from those countries to the USA they need to screen you again before you get on the plane, despite having gone through security already. Where you been dude? This has been happening for months after Trump puit the kabash on Muslim countries.

  8. #11541

    Thanks for the money feedback.

    Thanks for the advice. I traveled in Europe before the Euro change, always interesting having to get local currency when changing countries. Of course the Italian ATMs seldom worked. LOL. S. E. Asia is the same now as Europe was then. FT.

  9. #11540
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    I also went through customs and immigration DFW in recent weeks on my way back from KUL, via DOH. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of an American citizen to "self-report" through the automated terminals, and not even encounter an immigration agent. Handed my print out to the customs agent who asked "Bringing anything back?" I said "No" and he waved me on. Its a big difference from my youth, when I was regularly hassled by customs and immigration agents. I got swarmed by a group of customs agents once, after I walked off the plane at DFW. Another time at IAH, I had USDA agents go through my bag and confiscate the Black Pudding I was bringing back from the UK. Why was the USDA in the middle of customs and immigration back in the 80's?

    But back to my recent experience. I also got run through the wringer changing planes through Qatar. After the initial painless and quick screening one must go through to transfer at DOH, I was forced to go through yet another screening at the boarding gate. I swear I had to show my passport and boarding pass no less than five times between the time I approached the gate and the time I stepped onto the jetway. At one point I had to take out all my electronics (phone and tablet) and after a screening of those items, they were sealed in a thick plastic bag, until I got on the plane (it was a pain getting the plastic bag open without a sharp item). I got to carry my carry on, passport, boarding pass and sealed bag of electronics to the next screening point. There I got to remove my shoes, belt, and even thing else just like in the USA, and go through an X-ray machine, and then get a pat down. Then I got to show my passport and boarding card again just to get to the boarding lounge. Every staff member I passed had to see my passport and boarding pass. Oh, and that bottle of Evian I paid dearly for so I would always have water handy while I was on a 15 hour flight? Though it was unopened, security screening told me I couldn't take it on board. I had to throw it away. Today I checked my credit card statement, and that bottle of water cost me $9. 95 USD (I was confused by the exchange rate of the Qatari Riyal, so I had no idea what a ripoff that airport was). The guy who sat next to me on the way back said that Qatar was on the State Department's shit list and that is why the screening needed to be so rigourous. I swore I would never pass through DOH again, but it sounds like you can incur the same hassle transiting through other places, as well. It was just back in late 2016, I passed through TPE on the way home, and I was hustled through screening by an impatient Chinese lady in less than a minute. I'll probably fly EVA to Asia again, for the reason.
    And thank God for the over caution and extra screening so you can live to tell about it.

  10. #11539
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of an American citizen to "self-report" through the automated terminals, and not even encounter an immigration agent. Handed my print out to the customs agent who asked "Bringing anything back?"
    Actually it was the immigration agent that you handed your form to. They did away with the customs part of the process since they scan your checked bag before you get it and they can always do a random search of your carry-on, plus like you said, they have the dogs.

  11. #11538
    Quote Originally Posted by BrainDrain  [View Original Post]
    Also, just withdraw money via ATM P10,000 at a time, P250 fee. The direct exchange rate this way is always better than any airport counter or USA bank.
    I'm not disagreeing at all, but it's worth pointing out many foreign banks will charge their own fee for this so that should be factored in. I think my bank, Wells Fargo, charges US $5 which, on top of Php250 by the local ATM, is nearly US $10 for a US $192 withdrawal. One thing (for newbies to the Philippines) is finding an ATM that will dispense that amount of money AND is actually online. Not so bad in the big cities though I even had problems with HSBC at Mall of Asia more than once. Travelling to smaller cities or provinces? Be prepared *before* you need it!

  12. #11537

    Arrival at DFW via DOH

    Quote Originally Posted by SoapySmith  [View Original Post]
    Returning through Dallas-Fort Worth, I noticed that immigration clearance was very perfunctory and all self-reported and automated, but the security checkpoint seemed to be swarming with TSA agents and a very deliberate dog-sniffing team.
    I also went through customs and immigration DFW in recent weeks on my way back from KUL, via DOH. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of an American citizen to "self-report" through the automated terminals, and not even encounter an immigration agent. Handed my print out to the customs agent who asked "Bringing anything back?" I said "No" and he waved me on. Its a big difference from my youth, when I was regularly hassled by customs and immigration agents. I got swarmed by a group of customs agents once, after I walked off the plane at DFW. Another time at IAH, I had USDA agents go through my bag and confiscate the Black Pudding I was bringing back from the UK. Why was the USDA in the middle of customs and immigration back in the 80's?

    But back to my recent experience. I also got run through the wringer changing planes through Qatar. After the initial painless and quick screening one must go through to transfer at DOH, I was forced to go through yet another screening at the boarding gate. I swear I had to show my passport and boarding pass no less than five times between the time I approached the gate and the time I stepped onto the jetway. At one point I had to take out all my electronics (phone and tablet) and after a screening of those items, they were sealed in a thick plastic bag, until I got on the plane (it was a pain getting the plastic bag open without a sharp item). I got to carry my carry on, passport, boarding pass and sealed bag of electronics to the next screening point. There I got to remove my shoes, belt, and even thing else just like in the USA, and go through an X-ray machine, and then get a pat down. Then I got to show my passport and boarding card again just to get to the boarding lounge. Every staff member I passed had to see my passport and boarding pass. Oh, and that bottle of Evian I paid dearly for so I would always have water handy while I was on a 15 hour flight? Though it was unopened, security screening told me I couldn't take it on board. I had to throw it away. Today I checked my credit card statement, and that bottle of water cost me $9. 95 USD (I was confused by the exchange rate of the Qatari Riyal, so I had no idea what a ripoff that airport was). The guy who sat next to me on the way back said that Qatar was on the State Department's shit list and that is why the screening needed to be so rigourous. I swore I would never pass through DOH again, but it sounds like you can incur the same hassle transiting through other places, as well. It was just back in late 2016, I passed through TPE on the way home, and I was hustled through screening by an impatient Chinese lady in less than a minute. I'll probably fly EVA to Asia again, for the reason.

  13. #11536
    Quote Originally Posted by ForkTruck  [View Original Post]
    My first post. I'm planning a visit to the Philippines in a couple of months for some are&are. How and when is it best to change US $ into P $. I can convert in states but sure don't want to travel with large amount of cash either US $ or P $s. How about paying in us $, do they take it and do you get P $ as change? Consider exchange fees. Thanks. FT.
    The airport money changers give you a decent rate. Change enough for taxi and food needs until you can get a better local money changer. BTW, it is best to bring new crisp $100 bills to change. You can change one at the airport to get by on.

    Personally I send money to myself via Cebuana for my needs instead of bring large sums of cash.

  14. #11535
    It has been discussed here and on ther tgreads. RTFF.

    Basically, avoid exchanging in US. Get your exchange on arrival. Either USD cash to local or just withdraw at ATM. FX at airport varies so don't exchange everything. Best way is to use a no foreign transaction fee credit card and ATM card. Second best is cash in large denomination and exchange in town at a shop or money changer. Watch for slight of hand magic tricks.

    Quote Originally Posted by ForkTruck  [View Original Post]
    My first post. I'm planning a visit to the Philippines in a couple of months for some are&are. How and when is it best to change US $ into P $. I can convert in states but sure don't want to travel with large amount of cash either US $ or P $s. How about paying in us $, do they take it and do you get P $ as change? Consider exchange fees. Thanks. FT.

  15. #11534
    Welcome to the new normal.

    All US bound flights are now subject to enhanced security. On top of the bag and water bottle screening at the gate.

    This began rolling out in the fall last year in some areas and all classes and passengers were affected. The questions were obnoxious or stupid or rhetorical but I refrained from cracking any jokes because I guess they were designed for my safety.

    In some areas, in town check-in facilities for US bound flights were closed. In a way, I can understand this because of the security incidents in the States. Guess it is even worse overseas. At least I can bring my tablet and laptop and phone on board. However, I think they are not as good as El al.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoapySmsith  [View Original Post]
    I wanted to see whether anybody else has recently experienced what I encountered when I left Manila for the states via Incheon. Coming through Incheon via Delta and Korean Air to Manila two weeks ago I found the immigration clearance routing a little inefficient, but nothing like the intrusive experience I experienced returning to the states this Monday morning. American-bound transfer passengers were subjected to a grilling by a gaggle of officious young Korean women. They asked numerous questions about the purpose of my visit and what I was carrying with me, but especially wanted to know about all the electronics I was carrying. They wanted to know when I had purchased each, whether I had purchased them myself, or whether anybody had given me any of them to carry. They seemed especially focused on tablets and laptops. Only those headed to the states got this special attention. I asked my questioner tersely about the reason for all the attention. She said they were responding to requests from the USA Transportation Security Agency. The same process was repeated by the same female inquisitors for everybody at the gate check-in a few hours later. Nobody was permitted through without a special security sticker on the back of the passport.

    So I am wondering if anybody experienced the same accelerated treatment in Tokyo or other transfer points to the USA, or whether this is just Korean hierarchical bureaucracy run amok. Returning through Dallas-Fort Worth, I noticed that immigration clearance was very perfunctory and all self-reported and automated, but the security checkpoint seemed to be swarming with TSA agents and a very deliberate dog-sniffing team.

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