Singapore Trip Gone Wrong

Singapore Trip Gone Wrong

I was excited for the longest time!  I’ve been wanting to cross off one of my bucket list items and I thought I would be able to do that this week.  Unfortunately, something surprising happened when I arrived at Singapore for the first time.  My excitement was killed in an instant and my supposed to be fun cruise suddenly became just a dream :'(

I’m holding a Taiwan passport but I live in the Philippines.  I’m 100% pinoy at heart but I got the passport as one of my parents has one.  I travel a lot and never had any problems with visas, re-entry permits or passports.  I’ve visited the U.S., Thailand, Korea, Malaysia, and China with no problems whatsoever.  Everything went smoothly.

All those changed when I arrived at Changi Airport last thursday night.  It was my first time in Singapore and I was so happy when we arrived.  I was like a kid jumping up and down.  I even checked in via foursquare and was raving about my arrival in the country.  I never thought that I’d be put into a bad situation then.

When I arrived at the Immigration booth, the person was staring at my passport.  He stood up and went to the Immigration Officer, went back and told me to proceed there at the Immigration Office.  I thought they will just question me for a few minutes but never thought that as soon as I get to the booth, I got shouted with “We’ll deport you, go tell your friends to go ahead.”  I showed him my I-Card from the Philippines and also showed the payment I made at the Philippine Immigration before arriving in Singapore.  The guy said he doesn’t care about the Philippines I-card.  What Singapore is looking for is a re-entry permit from the Taiwan embassy/TECO in the Philippines.  I was shocked!  I called up an employee of TECO and asked about it.  I was then informed that there’s a NEW regulation effective February this year that all Taiwan Passport holders living in the Philippines should secure a re-entry permit from TECO before going to Singapore.

Of course, I was totally shocked!!  Why the hell would they do such a thing??? so our Taiwan passports are useless??  We weren’t informed and I was astounded!  The TECO employee I talked to asked me why the travel agency didn’t tell me.  I was like, only a few percentage of the Philippines’ population book flights from travel agencies anymore as it’s so much cheaper and convenient buying airfare directly from the airlines.

I appealed to the Singaporean Immigration officer but he was not sympathetic.  He was saying in a very loud voice that Taiwan doesn’t even recognize my passport so they won’t recognize it too.  I was asking if I could get it from the Taiwan embassy in Singapore but they just shut me off.

I told my travel companions about the problem.  I was supposed to join the AirPhil Express team and some co-media partners to experience the new offering of the airline: the Fly & Sail Adventour Package.  AirPhil Express tried their best to help me out, they called the Singapore Tourism Board, they also tried to book me a flight back to Manila on the same night.  However, the Singapore Immigration Office was so firm that they don’t want to accept any requests.

What I really don’t understand is… even if I’m paying extra just to be able to go back home the soonest to the Philippines.  The Singapore Immigration just didn’t wanna allow it.  I mean….. they wanted to deport me right?  Then why didn’t they allow me to go back to the Philippines faster?  Why do they want me to be detained in their airport jail for 24 excruciating hours??????

Reality finally set in.  I started to cry while I bid goodbye to my friends.  The Immigration officers asked me to wait in the office and then for a few minutes, a police arrived.  The police immediately asked me to shut down my phone and told me to walk with him to the security office where I’ll need to stay for 24 hours.  I asked him, “Is that really necessary?”.  The police then said, “Do you want me to handcuff you?”.

Sadness started to fill in.  I just lost the chance to go on a fun cruise, I won’t be able to cross off one of my bucket list items, I spent money on Malaysian visa and Immigration fee but yet they are useless, took 2-day leave from work but yet those days are wasted, I thought I’d be having the most fun this weekend but it looked to be one of the worst ever.

All communications were cut off because like all criminals, you can’t contact anyone.  I was escorted all the way to the security office in Changi airport.  I have to endure all those weird look by the people in the airport.  The situation looked like I’ve been caught with drugs or something.  It wasn’t a good feeling at all.  I was totally alone in a totally foreign place and any other connection that I can have with my friends at home were cut off.

We entered through a door, climbed up the steps then entered a secured place.  I was asked to surrender all my stuff, put them into the locker.  They asked me to get a pillow and a bed sheet (serves as blanket).  I was asked to stay in a room full of double-deck beds.  In all honesty, it looked exactly like a prison cell!  The only difference is there are no bars but instead, there’s a door.  It was not a comfortable room, you get to share the room with the rest of the tourists who are detained (just like in a prison).  There were about 6 double deck beds in a small, small room.  When I entered, the room was completely dark, full of Vietnamese detainees.  They all looked at me weirdly and I got scared.  I went out of the room ASAP.

double deck bed
not the actual picture, just looks like it.

The police office is right in the middle.  They have full view of the whole place so they can monitor each one of us.  Every part of the place has CCTV cameras too.  I really started breaking down.  I was crying nonstop.  I don’t have my friends with me, can’t contact anyone from the Philippines, I don’t have my things with me and I was totally alone.  The police saw me crying and said, “Immigration is watching you.  You have to stop crying, we’ll put a remark in your record and it might be hard for you to come back to Singapore.”

Is it a crime to be sad??  Am I not allowed to cry??  I just lost the chance to go on a cruise!  I just lost all communications!  I had to endure that awful place for 24 hours!  Is crying a crime now???!?

Food are being served three times a day in the security office.  Bread, coffee and tea for breakfast, rice meals for lunch and dinner.  We are only allowed to go out of the room 8AM to 12midnight.  We have to stay inside the room 12 midnight to 8AM.

Outside the rooms, there’s television and several bench to sit at.  Since we don’t have any stuff with us, all we can do is sleep and watch TV.

I had the shock of my life when I entered the washroom.  There wasn’t any toilet bowls at all but a squat-type bowl.  It was dirty and I was really scared.  I asked the police if I can go to the bathroom in the airport, they can escort me if they want to.  The police got mad and said, “Can’t you understand english?  You can’t get out of this place.”

Squat Toilet
not the actual picture, just looks like it.

In fairness, some of the police took pity on me.  One of them even told me that they’ve been getting a lot of cases such as mine and he also thought that we are also just ignorant of the new regulation by Singapore.  He was giving small talks too like he went to the Philippines before.  He was also teaching me what to do the next time I go back to Singapore so I don’t get to experience the same thing again.

I spent the night crying in the room in my designated bed.  I woke up with big swollen eyes.  I felt a bit better when I saw 2 Filipinas in the outside area.  I started talking to them.  They told me they got caught because they were victimized by their employment agency.  Apparently, they were illegally recruited so they were sent home.  The night before, I was able to talk to a chinese who swore to me that she’ll never go back to Singapore after what we’ve been through.  Her situation was Singapore only allows people like her to visit the country once every 6 months.  She just came back from Singapore 2 months back so this time around, she was not admitted.  She didn’t know about the regulation and because our phones were confiscated, she wasn’t able to contact anyone too.

I spent the whole morning and afternoon watching TV.  I was glued to my seat as I can’t walk around.  I tried to walk around the room but I was apprehended.  I felt like I already memorized the TV shows in the channel.  Do you know that one of our ABS-CBN teleseryes are being shown on Singapore TV?  I saw Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson and Jake Cuenca’s TV show there.

I felt so much better when another set of Filipinas came in.  Two of them were also supposed to join the cruise.  Just like me, they are holding Taiwan passports.  The only good thing I can think of in this situation is I got to meet new friends.  I exchanged names with the 2 new friends I met inside, I tried to remember their names and I searched for them in Facebook when I got home earlier.

One thing I also learned is to do major research.  Rules and regulations change often.  Another thing that I must do ASAP is to apply for a Filipino passport.  I swear, I’m giving up this Taiwan passport.  It’s such a pain in the a$$.

My flight was scheduled 8:50PM.  I was praying and hoping that the girl Singapore police named Yana won’t be escorting me.  She has been pretty mean to me since I came in.  I don’t know why but why do girls hate fellow women???  I mean, she was really power tripping.  I was practically begging her if I can use the phone as noone knows I’m coming home.  Everyone was worried and I need to tell my friends that I’m safe and I’m going back to my beloved country, the Philippines.  She was firm and told me she won’t allow me to open my phone.  I was already going back to the Philippines yet she still didn’t allow me to use my phone even if I’m already out of that security jail.  It’s a good thing that I asked permission from the immigration officers and they allowed me so that EVIL Yana didn’t have any choice but to let me use my phone while waiting to aboard my flight back to the Philippines.

Mean Singaporean Security

It was a unique experience but something I really don’t wanna go through again.  I was escorted by that Yana until I get inside the plane.  Everyone was looking at me like a criminal.  I feel ashamed, embarrassed and sad.  I was planning for a fun-filled trip but I ended up spending 24 hours locked in a security room.

My passport is still confiscated that time.  I can only get it when Philippine immigration clears me.  When I got back to the Philippines, even the immigration officers were shocked why I was detained.  They were surprised that Singapore didn’t honor the Immigration card issued by the Philippines.  Apparently, this is new to everyone including our very own immigration!


Oh, before I forget, we even have to pay for the ‘accommodation’ in Singapore.  My 24 hour stay is worth three hundred eighty-four singapore dollars.  This definitely wins the award for the worst accommodation in the world.

NTL charges


UPDATE (08/21/2011 10:22PM):

Someone by the alias of Passerby posted detailed information on this new regulation that I initially thought was implemented by TECO. Apparently, it was Singapore who enforced this regulation without warning this year and not TECO. Here’s the complete comment:

Posted by Passerby  (August 21, 2011 09:14 PM)

Hi Rochelle,

First, I’m sorry about your terrible experience. I believe the treatment you received was unacceptable and unexpectedly harsh.

Second, I’d like to clarify that this regulation was implemented by Singapore authorities and NOT TECO. Based on my research (countless phone calls to both TECO and the Singapore Embassy in the Philippines), acquaintances’ accounts and personal experience, this regulation was enforced without warning in early 2011–around February, I think. TECO was NOT informed by Singaporean authorities prior to the implementation of this new regulation. In fact, the TECO staff only found out about it when an influx of passengers who got “A to A” (airport to airport–that is, Singapore airport back to Manila airport) arrived at the TECO office requesting for rushed entry permits. Travel agencies did not know about this regulation, and apparently, neither did local airline companies like Cebu Pacific and PAL. It was only after several weeks that TECO was formally informed of this new regulation–several weeks that brought many irate passengers to TECO, demanding to know why the latter did not inform them of this rule.

So, there. I hope this clears things up.

Roch Signature

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108 observations on “Singapore Trip Gone Wrong
  1. Frannywanny

    oh my good Roch…. yes please change your passport na it will be much more easier for you to travel. 🙁 i remember a friend who’s based in Singapore who’s also a Taiwanese, he told me the moment Singapore will grant him citizenship he’ll grab it in a heart beat. Holding a Taiwanese passport is difficult daw 🙁 i wonder why…

  2. docgelo

    sorry for what happened to you but thank you for sharing this. so timely, my family and i have a scheduled trip (our first timt too) in Sg at the end of the month.

  3. adtcruz

    Oh my! 🙁 Sana maka-recover po kayo sa traumatic experience. The decision to apply for a Philippine passport is the best and wise thing to do 🙂

  4. adtcruz

    Oh my! 🙁 Sana maka-recover po kayo sa traumatic experience. The decision to apply for a Philippine passport is the best and wise thing to do 🙂

  5. Kaoko

    And here I thought holding a Philippine Passport sucks because people always think you plan on not coming back. *hugs* It’s just good you’re back home safe, despite the horrible ordeal you had to go through. Unfortunately, we’re always at the mercy of immigrations when we travel. At least they didn’t do anything physical like lash you or something. I hope this doesn’t turn you off from traveling.

  6. Kaoko

    And here I thought holding a Philippine Passport sucks because people always think you plan on not coming back. *hugs* It’s just good you’re back home safe, despite the horrible ordeal you had to go through. Unfortunately, we’re always at the mercy of immigrations when we travel. At least they didn’t do anything physical like lash you or something. I hope this doesn’t turn you off from traveling.

  7. Roch

    Singapore Immigration is just doing their job…. I feel sad coz I was expecting to enjoy and relax this weekend but ended up doing the opposite.

    Believe me, holding a Philippine passport is way way better.  

  8. Roch

    Singapore Immigration is just doing their job…. I feel sad coz I was expecting to enjoy and relax this weekend but ended up doing the opposite.

    Believe me, holding a Philippine passport is way way better.  

  9. animetric

    I agree with Kao, I thought having a Philippine passport was the worst. I am glad you’re back home safe, I hope you don’t cross Singapore off your list just yet because it’s really a nice place. It’s just unfortunate you had to experience something like this.

  10. ruthilicious

    OMG. I am sorry to read this.. 

    I always get nervous when going through Immigration. Just like recently during a trip in China, the Immigration officer took a while to check my passport and clear me..

    I am glad you are home. I could imagine the fear of being alone in a foreign country.. 🙁

  11. Mom-Friday

    So sad this happened…Singapore is a really good travel destination but I can’t blame you for not planning to go back anytime soon.

    Hope you have recovered from this ordeal.

  12. mikoy

    i too hold a TW passport, i heard this rule early this year before i went on my first trip to SG last march, hassle, every country we will go to requires us to have an active TW visa attached so we can travel anywhere.. just know the rules, everything will be allright.. sad to hear about your horrible experience there in SG 

  13. Christian Shan Abellaneda

    sorry you had to go through what you went through… ive been in singapore for 4.5 yrs now and really ignorance from the law excuses no one here… but i dont blame you… i blame the phil immigration, how can they not know about new regulations… plus your travel agency should have informed you.. lastly, im surprised that if you came with airphilexpress team they should also know… i hope this experience doesnt prevent you from coming back to sg… i hope youve recovered from the trauma.. all the best and more safe travels!

  14. Jenn T.

    oh my! thank God that you’re back safe.  I am a Taiwan passport holder living in the Philippines too but I am currently compiling all the documents needed to renounce my passport and change my citizenship to Filipino.  You SHOULD do it too ASAP!

  15. Lionheart

    Possible party(ies) at fault on this unfortunate incident:1. AirPhil Express for not ensuring that all of the people they invited have the necessary permits and papers for travel.2. Philippine Immigration for letting you proceed with your trip despite the new requirements of TECO.3. Taiwan for not informing their citizens of this new rule.4. You for not knowing the possible new rules regarding your passport whenever you travel.NEED SOME SERIOUS EXPLAINING:Why did the Singapore immigration officials detained you for 24 hours if they wanted to deport you back to the Philippines? A flight from another airline was already on standby to get you back home yet they refuse to let you go. Hey Singapore, better explain this.

  16. Greenorth

    Each Taiwan resident (their locals) have a unique personal ID#; starting with an “E” followed by some numbers issued by the gov’t. Similar to Hong Kong, and U.S. (local) residents, their locals have a personal number issued by the gov’t. The ID-type “E#######” number is to identify their locals and is printed on their passport. Those who are non-locals do not have this “E” number on their passport, therefore is required to get an entry visa even to visit Taiwan and can’t stay longer than the date stamped at the port of entry on the passport , just like any other tourist visiting Taiwan. But this new regulation by TECO to have an entry visa to Taiwan in addition to the visa to your destination may be a safeguard procedure required by the international community to ensure that there is a country willing to accept the passport holder in case a foreigner/alien is denied entry to the country of origin, the Philippines for example. There have been so many international cases where the passenger left a country and was denied re-entry, the passenger is left in international court battle between the 2 countries not wanting to accept the passenger and is left in limbo, hoping for a third country to accept them as refugee. The passenger can’t earn a living, can’t leave the immigration “cell” or airport, can’t communicate with family back home, can’t afford to hire a lawyer to fight for them, can’t afford to purchase anything for personal grooming, etc., and cases do drag on for years and years. I felt bad for you after reading your story, hope you will not have another bad experience in the future.

  17. Anonymous

    That is so horrible. I don’t understand why they ddin’t allow you to leave asap. There are so many flights back to the Philippines. They wanted to make you suffer? I hope you feel better the coming days. Let’s meet up when I get back to the Philippines

  18. Wilson

    Thanks for sharing your story. Im also a TW passport holder.  I frequently go to Singapore and had gone three times already this year . First was in January, the immigration didnt asked for my re-entry. Upon my return, my Aunt advised me of the situation so I applied for re-entry March for my flight again on April. Again, immigration didnt looked at my re-entry. I went back last week of April with my kids for their summer vacation, that’s the time the immigration looked for my re-entry permit. Luckily, i have applied for it but good for 6months only. The re-entry will expire on Sep30 2011. If what your saying is we need to secure a re-entry for all the travels, then it’s really very dissappointing. I travel a lot but I thought the re-entry was a Singapore requirement only.

  19. Mykeloo

    I used to hold a Taiwanese passport when I first worked in singapore for my first job training. It was my first time to leave the Philippines. When I tried to cross over the border to Malaysia via Johor Bahru with my Filipino friends, I was detained by immigration temporarily. I showed them my Singapore work permit. After some discussion, I was ordered to return to Singapore. By then, it was ingrained to me that a Philippine-born Chinese carrying a Taiwanese or a Chinese passport will always have problems traveling abroad. When I went to Hong Kong one time, the immigration officer commented to his fellow immigration officer that he found it strange a Taiwanese passport was issued in Manila.

    A few years later, circumstances in my work forced me to re-evaluate my citizenship. Upon careful analysis, it was found that I’m a Filipino! I immediately went to the Bureau of Immigration to work on securing my Filipino citizenship and a Filipino passport. I suggest you do the same immediately.

  20. Mykeloo

    I agree.

    As you are born and bred in the Philippines, it’s only proper and way better to hold a Phillipine passport. Much less hassle when traveling in ASEAN countries.

  21. Mykeloo

    It’s partly because of the ONE CHINA policy. Singapore, like many other countries, don’t have direct diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

  22. Jo

    Hi! I just open this link thru facebook one of my friend share this to me. I will contact with the person in charge of CAFC – (Concern Alliance for Filipino Chinese) here in Taiwan and some important people.  I believe it’s time that all Overseas Chinese Filipino with Taiwan passport should share important news to everyone to avoid this type of problem.  JO/former member of CAFC   

  23. guest

    i am sorry to hear the ordeal you going thorugh.
    first of all i strongly disagree with the unnecessary treatment, they shouldn’t disallow communication, this made the detention worse than detention under ISA, they should allow you to contact your embassy or some authority, even if they don’t allow you to use your mobile, at least they should allow you using their phone.
    last but not least, the most ridiculous thing is they made you pay so much for the “prison stay”, even a one day stay in budget hotel 81 won’t cost you more than one third the price of that “prison”.

  24. Baby

    my gosh.. i went to singapore last june di naman nangyari sa akin yan.. bakit ganun? 
    but its true there’s no use of holding a taiwan passport, have to change it to filipino passport.. i was detain in an immigration room in the states, asking why am i holding a taiwan passport living in the Philippines and having chinese citizenship (republic of china).. that time i swear im gonna change my citizenship here to filipino.. 

    so sorry to hear your story… thanks for telling and sharing your experience 

  25. Jimmy_sim

    Holding a taiwan passport is a pain in the ass if u travel from Philippines to other countries especially going to china. I was interrogated about 20 minutes for my purpose of travel. I told them for business trip so they let go off me.  it is only useful when you travel  to taiwan country only. Taiwan is not considered a country but part of china. Im holding a taiwan passport also. it is only useful if you travel from taiwan to other countries and theres no question ask by the immigration  as long as u have visas. Its better to use Philippine passport when you travel from philippines to other countries.

  26. Danny8x8

    Sorry about your experience. As a Singaporean, I would like to apologise for the treatment you received. The problem in Singapore is that the people are repressed, and would lord it over anyone whom they think are not able to fight back. Again, SORRY, and hope the experience will not leave a bad impression of Singapore and most Singaporeans in general.

  27. PaoST

    Philippines recognized JUS SANGUINIS (citizen by BLOOD) and not JUS SOLI (citizen by BIRTH). To get a Philippine passport LEGALLY, you have to apply for Philippine citizen (NATURALIZATION).

  28. PaoST

    The regulation by TECO to have an entry visa to Taiwan in addition to the visa to your destination is not new…That was a requirement in the 60s, 70s, 80s.
    I think things only changed with the ICARD system.

  29. Passerby

    Hi Rochelle,

    First, I’m sorry about your terrible experience. I believe the treatment you received was unacceptable and unexpectedly harsh.

    Second, I’d like to clarify that this regulation was implemented by Singapore authorities and NOT TECO. Based on my research (countless phone calls to both TECO and the Singapore Embassy in the Philippines), acquaintances’ accounts and personal experience, this regulation was enforced without warning in early 2011–around February, I think. TECO was NOT informed by Singaporean authorities prior to the implementation of this new regulation. In fact, the TECO staff only found out about it when an influx of passengers who got “A to A” (airport to airport–that is, Singapore airport back to Manila airport) arrived at the TECO office requesting for rushed entry permits. Travel agencies did not know about this regulation, and apparently, neither did local airline companies like Cebu Pacific and PAL. It was only after several weeks that TECO was formally informed of this new regulation–several weeks that brought many irate passengers to TECO, demanding to know why the latter did not inform them of this rule.

    So, there. I hope this clears things up. And yes, you should totally get a Philippine passport now.

  30. Joriben Zaballa

    OMG, Roch I’m so heartbroken hearing all these things happened to you. I know that there are hardly no words can comfort you now but I think for now you need to take a break to let go of the bad experience.  But I just want to let you know that I’m glad you are back safe.

  31. Princessmarie_888

    That was nice to hear coming from a Singaporean. Not all people are the same… Don’t worry. But she really doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. hope this will an eye opener to everyone. .

  32. Princessmarie_888

    That was nice to hear coming from a Singaporean. Not all people are the same… Don’t worry. But she really doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. hope this will an eye opener to everyone. .

  33. Anonymous

    Thanks for posting this Roch… we were so worried.  I wasn’t even able to say goodbye 🙁 Thank you for posting this, at least your experience will be for nothing.  At least many people will know that his kind of thing happens.  And I don’t understand why they would put a “REMARK” on your record… that is so unfair.  I hope they clear their policies.  We’re just glad your back, and safe 

  34. Hungryalien

    is this for all taiwanese citizen? or just passport holder who are not citizen but holding an overseas taiwanese passport?

  35. Jenn T.

    yes. that’s true.  I am currently compiling all documents needed for change of citizenship.  Good thing I can now apply for Filipino citizenship, by marriage. (Hubby is Filipino citizen).

  36. Christine Lao

    First of all, I felt so sorry for what had just happened to you. Although, I am a Philippine Passport holder, my mom isn’t. Just like you, she is a Taiwan Passport holder who lives in the Philippines. Lately, she’s been traveling a lot and I would hate for my mom to go thru the same ordeal. My best friend is also holding a Taiwan Passport and she did mention about planning to go to Singapore this year. This is a big eye opener for all of us. I wanna say thank you so much for posting this, you have no idea how many people you have helped. You’re such an angel.

  37. Calvin

    glad you’re ok roch. sad to hear na naging ganito yung first vacation mo to singapore. ang sama talaga nung mga nagdetain sa iyo. power-tripper talaga. will reblog this if it’s alright with you.

  38. Cook2ph

    because in the Philippines, the law is by blood, meaning if you were born in the Phil and your parents are American citizen, you are automatic an American citizen. You follow the citizenship of your parents, unlike in the states, if you were born in the states, then you  are American citizen.

  39. Friendly Neighbor

    Those holding Taiwanese without permanent resident status are require to apply for a re-entry permit at the Representative Office, this application is free and good for 6 months or 1 year. How to know if you are not a permanent status? just take a second look at your passport, does your passport have Identification Number? if none… you are not then and you have to apply the said re-entry permit.

  40. Karen Nelson Kramer

    i hold a taiwan passport as well, and think of taiwan as my second home, so i got a major panic attack. After consulting with my travel agent, it appears that this is the policy of singapore only. Although i believe Taiwan may be supporting this move ever since the Phil. deported them taiwanese to china. The re-entry permit is a visa for non-resident taiwanese overseas for entry to taiwan (allowing 3 month stays), and shows that taiwan wants you in case you are deported or get in trouble abroad. This permit is free of charge at teco, around 500 pesos via travel agency. First timers get a 1 year permit. I’m a 2nd timer and got a 3 year permit.

  41. Shoolie2001

    hello, this ruling caught us by surprise also. A friend of mine was supposed to join us on our business trip to singapore this July. Unlike you, she was lucky that cebu pacific told her she can’t go to singapore with a taiwan passport bec of the new ruling. Even if cebu pacific will allow her daw, upon reaching singapore, she will be deported back. So she is indeed luckier than you. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  42. Anonymous

    so, the lesson learn, still go thru with a TRAVEL AGENT who are knowledgeable then BUYING TICKET online :>

  43. Jenn T.

    not hard to apply naman, but it’s hassle.  You’ll need to get clearances from NBI, PNP, Office of the Prosecutor, etc. Medical certificate from Bureau of Quarantine.  I’ll try to post the link once Bureau of Immigration cleaned up their site, my internet security’s blocking the URL due to potential harmful content.  I’m doing everything on my own, estimate cost will be around 25k for documents, fees, etc.  Travel agencies daw charges 100k to 150k.

  44. jehzlau

    Dude, bat will be for nothing? O_O hehe…

    Oo nga unfair, may remark pa. Wala naman siyang kasalan talaga.. tsk tsk tsk… buti hindi to nangyari sa akin. hehe

  45. Cy

    Maybe it’s the same girl, Yana, who looked at me so badly at Singapore-Malaysia boundary. Or whoever they are, they’re being so mean. Taking a bus ride from Malaysia at 4 in the morning is very tiring and I can’t get enough sleep. And that girl looked at me like I’m an addict.

  46. Ferdz

    Hi Roch! First time to read this. Made me sad and thought you don’t deserve that treatment. But I’m glad you kept strong there. 🙂

  47. chyng

    im not surprised our own immigration / govt didnt even know about this one. lagi namang walang travel advisory from them.. lang kwenta!

    feel sorry for you. baka nagshake ako sa takot at kakaiyak if that happened to me. but you survived this ordeal alone. next time, sa budget terminal ka nalang,para walang Yana ^_^

  48. Catcall

    My wife holds a Chinese passport when we went to Singapore on December 2009. I and our children all hold Filipino passports. When we arrived in Singapore and went tru the immigration booth, my wife was informed that she need a visa to enter Singapore. Luckily, the immigration officer we talked too, a good looking male in his late 20s was really understanding and accommodating. He said that they would allowed my wife entry provided that she would applied for a visa the next day. We didn’t wait the next day. My sister who is a Singaporean residence applied her a visa online that same day  and was approved within 24 hours. The visa was valid for 3 months and we only stayed in Singapore for just 7 days. When we’re going back to the Philippines and we went tru Changi airport immigration booth and showed our passport. The officer looked at my wife’s passport and I immediately handed out a print of the visa. The officer looked at the visa and said it was not needed since my wife was allowed entry when she first arrived in Singapore. I looked at my wife and just smiled. I hope if we plan to go back to Singapore in the near future, I hope that those same visa rules still apply.

  49. Marioang0228

    Time to exchange your Taiwan passport with a PROC passpory.. That is what I did before coming to USA.. It is One China policy after all

  50. Marioang0228

    Time to exchange your Taiwan passport with a PROC passpory.. That is what I did before coming to USA.. It is One China policy after all

  51. simpleheart

    yeah.. where are your friends? why only you were detained?  all i can say  is, every where in the world you go, its always  the same people we are  going to meet….not only in the airport, i am a Filipino, but i hate the people in working in the Philippine Airport NAIA, abusing abroad workers as if we are just picking up the money from the garbage…. making money out of cheating and betraying their own kabayan’s… really ashamed…. and this people are useless! not being fair in the eye of god! this is whats going to happen, People to People, Country to Country… Innocent  people treated bad while those sinners are enjoying their life, laughing for what is happening! Change yourself, For God Sake!

  52. Badet

    Ano ba yan, I’ve been reading so many not so nice blogs about Singapore immigration, nakakatakot na tuloy. Buti na lang we breezed through immigration last July, sa Budget Terminal lang kami. Maybe it helped that we’re traveling with the baby.

    I also don’t get it when they won’t allow you to fly back to the Philippines ASAP. Baka sayang din kasi yung 384 sgd na sisingilin nila sayo.

    I can’t blame you if you’ll cross off Singapore from your to-visit list. Fly domestic na lang, it’ll help our country’s tourism pa.

  53. Shai Sudirman

    Hi. I am a Singaporean. I feel sorry that you have to go through this ordeal. Let me emphasize on some things. Firstly as you might have known, Yana is just doing her job. Without people like her, our country will not be safe. Secondly, it is every traveler’s responsibility to check the requirements whether or not the new ruling was set by Singapore or TECO. Thirdly, come back to Singapore, we are not a bunch of repressed people because if that was the case I would have ran away long ago and default my service in the Singapore Army. Lastly, we are a nice country. Don’t let your experience ruin your impression of us. =)

  54. CH

    This whole behavior is just rediculous. If you are refused to enter a country you should proceed to the transit area which is on international soil in Switzerland your are even allowed to stay there until 14 days. This sounds pretty much like a securtity jail and I wonder due to which law there are allowed to arrest people like this. Again dear Singaporeans this is not Singapore soil and there is no Singapore law that applies there. Btw. the statement without people like her is like wtf. well I’ ve been living know for 3 month in Singapore and well I am swiss citizen and guess what we don’t have this strict law but whatta suprise switzerland is as clean as Singapore and also quiet safe.  We don’t have to prohibit selling chewing gums cause our people are smart enough that they won’t stick it everywhere. However this is not the subject here finally you can say Singapore is far away to be a so called democracy and I am sure this is against international law or even human rights to arrest people like this while there are still in an area that does not belonge to Singapore and where Singapore law doesn’t even apply. I mean come one do they really think poeple gonna escape from the transit area after the fly and every thing is booked…. 
    The wohle country and its rules are just not to be taken serously. Guys step down from your thron your not the united nation itself or the United States. Sometimes I think the country does treat their habitants like babys, you should not allow a baby to chew chewing gums else it will swallow it because it does not know that is unhealthy because it’s still a baby. But I am sure that Singaporeans are also quiet smart or at least some of them that those kinda rules are just needless. Sorry but this makes me kinda frustrated coming from a country where you are allowed to speak out your mind and this even in politic matters. I am glad that I only have to worke here for one year. Sorry for your bad experience…:-(

  55. Shai Sudirman

    Erm, not Singapore soil? What are you talking about? Do you even know the history of Singapore? I am sure you don’t. Do your homework ok?

  56. Kristine

    I hate Singapore, they think they are above Filipinos because we are third world. I know this because I used to live in Singapore for 4 years. I guess I had it lighter than most Filipinos because I look local to them unless I speak then they know. Unfortunately, I still have to go back to Singapore once in a while and the Immigration stills scares me even though I don’t have any reason to be scared. I’m scared of maybe a new regulation I don’t know about (like what happened to you) or scared that someone will power trip over me because I am better looking than them (happened once with a local woman). I guess we have to use our charms to our advantage but not to the point it will not come off decent. Oh I hate Singaporeans who are Indians. Believe me, no matter how shallow it may seem but because of your fair skin, they’ll pick on you.

    I love the food in Singapore so I am torn. I guess I’ll just be heading to Malaysia then.

  57. PaulWilliam

    Hi, I also experienced the same thing. I was refused to enter Singapore and was detained in the airport police headquarters. It was really a humiliating experience especially that the officer escorted me up until the airplane door (Other passengers were looking at me like I’m a criminal).

    I’m surprised that you paid for their horrible accommodation (Yes horrible, I lost my watch in a police headquarters!), they did not ask any from me. BTW, do you know if we are banned from entering Singapore? If yes, in how many months/years?

  58. Roch

    you have to get a clearance from Singapore Immigration before you can attempt to go to Singapore again.  I haven’t done that and I don’t know if I ever want to do that.  After my traumatic experience, I’d rather go some place else.  Our world is so big.

  59. kathkath

    No need to finish reading what happened to you because I know how ****** SINGAPOREANS ( not all ) are, they must know how to speak and write proper english, no wonder FILIPINOS are more UP technically than them. 

  60. Abbie

    Hi! I also hold an ROC (Taiwan) Passport. Good thing I stumbled on your blog. Very helpful. I will be travelling to SG with my Mom this February and I wouldn’t know what to do if ever this happens with me and my mom. That would be crazy. Sorry for what you had to go through and thanks for sharing your story.

    Just to be clear, if I hold an ROC passport without the personal ID number, I need to secure a permit from TECO in Manila. Right? 
    And since my mom HAS a personal ID number on her passport, she doesn’t need the permit? 

    I hope someone can enlighten me on this. Thanks

    PS. I called TECO and asked for the requirements for the permit.
    — Birth cert.
    — Passport
    — 2 2×3 pictures
    — I-Card

    This is free.

  61. Roch

    Taiwan re-entry is only needed for Taiwan Passports WITHOUT ID number 🙂

    I’m sure TECO can explain this further

  62. Ruby

    Hi Roch, where can I see the personal ID number in the passport? glad to have stumbled upon your blog, we booked a flight to Singapore and had no idea on this, and our flight is on Feb 2 already =(

    would very much appreciate your response on this


  63. global traveller

    So sorry to hear about your ordeal. I have visited singapore for work purpose and have not had any overt racism experience but have always felt that there is a hierarchy based on who does what work – it seems the hierarchy is chinese at the top because all the banking and office work is mostly dominated by those and then all the menial work is done by other races. 

  64. Jamy168

    CH is right, Shai you should get your facts straight! He is not talking about history of Singapore, CH is talking about international law. The area before immigration is considered international soil, meaning it is NOBODY’s land even though it is situated in Singapore. That is why there is “Duty-Free” shops. Just like the concept of embassies. For example, US embassy, though physically located in Singapore, it is considered US territory! Maybe you should learn your history better… the plight mentioned here is ridiculous and uncivilized without no regards to providing extra safety

  65. Ayellesy

    hello there can i ask you what are the advantages of having a taiwan passport instead of philippine passport? i have ph passport and thinking of arranging my papers to get tw passport. i thought that it will make my travelling much easier like no visa needed for other countries that requires ph passport holders visa. please help thanks 🙂

  66. Roch

    Taiwan passport has 2 kinds: (1) the one without the ID # (2) the one with ID #.  the one without the ID # is basically useless IMHO.  For (2), it has some advantages like not needing a visa to go to Japan, Korea and Singapore.

  67. Jane

    Hi, so sorry for what happened to you in SG, and at the same time, thank you so much for this post, it helped prevent my aunt from experiencing the same thing! We’re just hoping that TECO will be able to process her permit even though it’s rush already. I do hope that whoever’s in charge announces this to the public because visa is not required and that’s what people usually doublechecks when going abroad. 
    Again, thank you for sharing your experience. 🙂

  68. Cherie_uhuat

    Hi rochelle,

    I wanted to clarify one thing though.. what if I am a Taiwan passport holder with taiwan personal ID but is now living here in Manila and I had my passport renewed na here as well. 

    Do i still need a permit? Or as long as i have Taiwan personal ID no matter where my passport was issued ok na yon no need for the permit anymore?


  69. Roch

    If you have the personal ID, I don’t think you need it anymore.  But to be sure, please ask TECO (Taiwan embassy), they’re the ones who can tell you.

  70. greenblooded

    Hi Cherie. This brouhaha is all because they don’t recognize overseas chinese taiwanese passport holders without national ID. So for all ROC passport holders without national ID, get an entry/exit permit in TECO wherever you’re going to avoid future inconveniences.

  71. sadlady

    so your saying tht if immigration and police are polite and talk like human they are not doing their job…..everyone deserves respect and rights even the so called convicted…

  72. Webmx04

    Why were you deported? You need to go get a visa to malaysia, nag punta kami 2009 sa thailand, malaysia and singapore all of this country kumuha ako visa yun sa singapore ngayon ko lang to nalaman nakailangan pa ng re-entry permit from teco before I was given a paper lang dinikit sa passport ko sobrang simple lang nakalagay name and passport number wala nga expiry eh. 

    passport ko taiwan no id number

  73. Webmx04

    Hi how did you change your taiwan passport to PROC before kasi china passport ang inapply ko just like my other brothers nun nakita nun tao duon na taiwan passport ni papa sinabi niya di daw pwede kailangan taiwan ako.  Im also afraid to change anything kasi yun visa ko sa us and canada taiwan nakalagay. pero it would be helpful kung PROC nalang talaga.

  74. Webmx04

    Hi Rochelle I just want to ask whats your citizenship do you use cause I’m quite confuse, I have Taiwan passport no national ID, on my passport I can only see nationality taiwan but no citizenship, If i apply for a visa usually they ask for your citizenship , On my birth certificate it’s only written as chinese and that’s not included in any visa form

    Many Thanks

  75. bubu

    Wow truly Uniquely Singapore. Booooo………… I promise not to eat hainanese chicken for 3 mons or maybe 6.

  76. Don G

    Hmm..I guess what Rochelle experienced with Yana was an isolated case just like in any other situation. Even here in the Philippines there are policeman (some will say most) who are arrogant/rude. Shai is right because Yana is not representing the entire Singaporean people. But I also agree to Sadly that we are all humans and to wherever country we come from, we deserve respect. Even Afghans and Iraqis.

  77. Abbie

    Hello Jenn. Can you share the link to the steps / procedure on how to change citizenship? I also married a Filipino and my Taiwan passport is giving me a headache. Thanks!

  78. disqus_pxWH8Uuvk7

    In time I bet Singapore will change this law if they will notice a decline in their tourism. Mayabang na sila ngayon kasi nga tourist attraction sila, at madami pa pumupunta…so lets see.

  79. MarLvin Lao

    hi my wife had gone through the same ordeal last January of 2011. I read on earlier posts that the new rule then was implemented early of Feb of 2011. I guess my wife was one of the firsts who have gone through this traumatic experience.

    it has been 2 years now, I was just wondering if you ever had the chance to go back to singapore. I would love to go to singapore with my wife and 2 kids but hesitant that we might go through the same ordeal even if we have secured all necessary permits.

    thanks and hoping to hear from you the soonest

  80. mei

    Got mine helped by an atty. It cost me about 90k php please search atty. Jesusa lim for more info.hope it helps

  81. mei

    Got mine helped by an atty. It cost me about 90k peso..i think the process will be easier if you have kids got it approved less than 5months..got my prc id bec of it..hope it helps..search atty jesusa lim his office is located at damarinas st. Binondo manila

  82. evan

    i got a similarity treatment from Singapore immigration on march 12 2015,I’m a successful businessman from Nigeria with widely experience,i have traveled a lot counties for business and holidays but it was unfortunate scenarios.

    I travel from Nigerian to Indonesia for a business trip and i have Indonesia multiple visa of 1year called business visa after completing my transaction i decide to buy some second handed PC for my offices uses and my colleague whom equally demanded for some,i then flue to Malaysia thinking it maybe more cheaper there unfortunately my thinking was extremely wrong after 2days spent i went back to Indonesia and contact my associate in Indonesia whom in return advise me to go to Singapore that its cheaper there.

    i have know option then to proceed for visa instead of going back to Nigerian first then i was giving e-visa to Singapore i bought my two ways ticket and was advise to make a hotel reservation for two days,i select one of 3stars hotels in Singapore since it was my first time going there and i have enough money for my two days which intended to stay.

    I arrived at Singapore for the first time, It really started as comedians story,i was taken to a room where i saw a group of people and i was told to wait for about 5minuts a man came and call me for interview,first question…what are you doing for living…i respond business….for how long you’re into business….15yrs… are you married Yes….what are you coming to Singapore to do,My purpose of coming is to compare the prizes of PC if cheaper possibly i have know option rather to buy it here… how much do you have here can i see the cash…..I showed him……meanwhile its not covenant for me to carry a big cash because i have bad experience before,It is ridiculous for Singapore immigration keep asking a suspicions and distrust question despite he saw evidence that i have know intention to stay more then 2days in his country,,,,another question where do you want to buy the PC in Singapore and what brand…..i have know choice of brand am looking for nice type,i will require from the hotel if the don’t have business guild in the room….do you know anybody in Singapore….i don’t know anybody and its not necessary i must know somebody before coming to Singapore since am financial ok include my hotel reservation just to stay only 2days….final question..what’s your company name and address include home address ….i gave to him…..if i check the address and find it was wrong i will deport you back….. address i gave to him there was a wrong spelling which course it difficult to find instead of immigration to notify me for immediate correction but the failed and deport me back without known the reason,In a decent society, nobody takes the views of people like.

    Singapore immigration must be fairness in asking question especially we blacks that came from third world countries,we are underdeveloped country therefore don’t expect us to have all your basic requirements before allowing us to enter.

    I was finally deported to Indonesia where i face psychological trauma from Indonesia immigration the most ugly experience i have ever hard in my life,Indonesia immigration refuse me to enter unless i paid $1300us despite i have one year Indonesia visa which allow me to stay Indonesia for a period months,i was denies detain at the airport until the next day when i called my company spouse until i paid $1300us and stamp me inn…Indonesia immigration is one of the most cock and corrupt institute in the world.

  83. shabri

    hello ..

    i have just face slimier experience in Singapore immigration ..i have been deported the reason is im a feq traval to Singapore.. .and i have stay IPwhere you have been for 24 hours ..singapore ICA is so horrible they treat us like they did a murder and elope to Singapore … the way they treat people is so bad

  84. Halim

    Dear all i am facing some problem.. My problem start from ticket return my friend buy not valid. All treament same as this blog says . The simple problem will solve with call from my firiend who invite me to sg or they let me or help me buy ticket back cause i have money equal 1500-1600 sgd. actualy when investigation , my friend calling but they sillent my phone. As i conclude they choose some target and create opinion u quilty actually simple solution they can offer to me. And i got charged 155 sgd for 5 hours in ip room ( in my opinion my ticket return not worth than 100 sgd. thats just sharing and i want ask. Is i got unlimited baned? How about my friend make sponshorship for me or make letter of quarantee for me .. Is that can erase my banned forever? Or just one time? Note they take my picture and finger print too.but in my paspor i search no stamp at all, thanks all


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