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Jo Fitzsimons is a freelance travel writer who has visited over 50 countries. www.indianajo.com is the place where she shares destination details, travel itineraries, planning and booking tips and trip tales. Her aim: to help you plan your travel adventure on your terms and to your budget.

30 Responses

  1. Kai
    Kai at | | Reply

    Hi,

    I had the same exact experience, but at BKK airport with Cebu Pacific Airline. I also have been traveling throughout SE Asia and the world for many yrs. Plenty of money but forced to buy a ticket out, or denied boarding, total bullshit !

    If the Philippines wants to be truly a tourist destination with its prices double plus that of its’ SE Asian neighbors it better lighten up.

    Kai

    1. IndianaJo
      IndianaJo at | | Reply

      Kai, sorry you had the same trouble – I completely understand the pain and frustration. Also good to hear I wasn’t the only one who found the Philippines more difficult and expensive than it’s neighbours. Hope it isn’t the sign of things to come for SE Asia. All we need is Thailand realising the higher prices elsewhere and following suit!

  2. Mark Ellis
    Mark Ellis at | | Reply

    Hello, i am going to the philippines for 7 months in june this year. I planned to buy a one way ticket as i cant book a return just yet and i am not entirely sure what date i want to return home. Am i correct in saying that i just have to find the cheapest flight to a neighbouring country (basically a ticket i wont use) for them to allow me enter manila. If so any suggestions.

  3. seancau
    seancau at | | Reply

    I have been asked for return flights out of Indonesia, Thailand (!) & Taiwan as well as Philippines. For Thailand the explanation I was given by the check-in girl was that the airline was responsible for transporting me back to my origin destination should I be refused entry or overstay…hmmm. Anyway I refused to buy a ticket & explained that I would be leaving by bus to Laos & was eventually allowed to board.

    There is, however, a simple & free way around this silly requirement – just fake a flight. Copy & paste modify your flight into the country on Microsoft Paint or equivalent, takes a couple of minutes. I don’t even print out the return flight, just show the check-in girl a printscreen on my phone or laptop.

  4. Mark T.
    Mark T. at | | Reply

    Well this is going to be a bit curly, I am looking at flying up to the Philippines in May to bring a boat back to Australia, so to that end I not going to need a return ticket and seems absolutely silly to have to buy one since I will be sailing out of the Philippines, anybody got any idea’s on that one

    Regards
    Mark

  5. Nathanial Thomas
    Nathanial Thomas at | | Reply

    Howdy IndianaJo. My name is Nathanial and I am a traveler myself. Let me start off by saying how I found your article to be very fascinating. I have myself been puzzled by how flying one way doesn’t always fly when your travelling internationally.

    What it is, is that technically you are not supposed to fly one way into a country that you are not a citizen of without showing proof of either a return ticket, or an outbound flight going somewhere else. But most of the time you can do this and get away with it without any hassal.

    However, I’ve been hearing these honor stories of travelers trying to fly into the Philippines on a one way ticket and being denied boarding without showing proof that at some point you will be leaving the country within’ the 30 day period you are allowed. I’ve got a story that is kind of similar to yours but not quite as theatrical. I sent you a friend request on Facebook. Maybe I can share it with you.

    Anyways, this crap that the airlines pull in regards to one way travel is a joke. It’s total bull shit because not once have I ever been questioned by a Philippines immigration officer about how long I’m gonna stay or anything like that.
    Philippine Immigration doesn’t seem to give a shit about who’s entering the Philippines let alone how long they’re staying.

    But like your article focusses on, there is a question of whether you’ll get hassaled by the damn airline. I am actually in a similar situation right now. I am in Bangkok and I want to go back to Manila. But I am concerned about booking a one way ticket and then getting hassled by the ticket agent or whoever when I check in for my flight.

    Once again, fascinating article and I look forward to hearing back from you on this matter on Facebook. Happy trails..

  6. Mark T..
    Mark T.. at | | Reply

    I sent an email to the Philippines Embassy and this is the reply I got back

    Quote
    According to our office in Manila, you may exit the Philippines via yacht. However, you need to justify and present a passenger manifest from the yacht to the airlines and the Bureau of Immigration at the airport.

    Unquote

    As I will be on a yacht with a crew of 4, I am unsure how official a “Passanger Manifest” has to look.. I am wondering if some sort of “royal seal” will be needed.

  7. pete giffard
    pete giffard at | | Reply

    hi..i have been to phils from australia 7 times in the last 3 years and never been asked..nw heres the story…my filipina g/f, visa in hand and fully booked to oz…was denied leaveing cebu airport on monday..11th april..2014…..several frintic calls to me in oz….and the customs guy thr insisted she must have a return ticket form aus to phils……..i told him thts b/shit…2 calls later he backed off and said…..a ticket into phils would do….meantime time is ticking away……..internet hong kong to clark…$60 later ….i txt the flight no………….not gd enough…………….wanted booking no………sent booking no…………he then went into the back office fr 10 mins….(my g/f said she yelled out thtshe would miss her flight…(he poked his head arounfd the corner and replied tht he must verify the flight)……..all done fixed……….run run run……..flight gate shut………….the prick had pissed her around just long enough to miss the flight…………bneware the filipino customs power plays……..upon a bit of research ive found a few other stories of the younger guys playing games with young filipina travelling alone………….of course i was ropeable……….a g/f stuck in an airport a 1 hour flight and 3 hours by bus away from her home……crying her eyes out…………i wanted his name and badge……..she went to the counter where they all headed out back and pretended they werent there……..$750 and 5 hours later she is on a plane on a new route to australia…(as missed all previous connecting flights)……

    anyway im nt sure how u get around a situation like tht as its b/s to start with and cant be predicted)….australian embassy(i rang them)..says its nt needed as visa covers it……….its also her 3rd time to oz….and has never been asked or hassled before…..(but i have been with her other times……..sorry fr the rave……hope this helps someone out thr……

  8. pete giffard
    pete giffard at | | Reply

    i just re read..and to clarify a few things…..it was 2 days ago..the 7th april…(so im still spewing)…….her visa is an open ticket visa for 12 months so that justifies a non return ticket(according to aus dfa)…

    so…i really dont know how to get around this one…bt i think from now on i will book a bodgie ticket (one of the ones some airlines give u 48 hours to pay) just in case…

    im nt fr the cut and paste idea…great if it works…bt this “customs official” in question said he had to verify the flight booking no….not just the flight…..hmmmm.

    also..there is no wifi if u fly into cebu….though there is a small netcafe with a printer…if the lady is thr….(its hit and miss)

    anyway to mark t…….i read somewhere that u can get a ferry from zamboanga to malasia for about 800p..(20$)…though after this last lil escaped….i would just get a disposable air ticket.

    after all hair transplants are much more expensive.

    hope i havent bored u all thx to read

  9. pete giffard
    pete giffard at | | Reply

    hi jo…please excuse the late reply…im not much of a blogster.
    upon a bit of research this is my findings..:

    1.isent emails to 3 different officials at cebu airport and recieved no reply….its no surprise to me as they simply dont want to know nor deal with it..

    2..my travel insurance will not cover..”things out of their control, except natural disasters”

    3..though the dfa here in oz says that due to the nature of the visa..issued by dfa manila a return ticket is not nessesary.[.(12 month tourist visa with multiple entry...BUT..3 month maximum stay)...yeah...clever huh..!....and yes that means she has to leave oz every 3 months],.
    ,philippines is a different kettle of fish..different ways ,different thinking……and so the point is, dfa oz thinking is not there,neither in their office in manila ,nor at the airport.

    4… the reality…..apparently the return ticket out of the country(for foreigners)..or back into the country (for nationals) has been in place for years,though only very loosely adhered,if at all….and so the false sence of security!

    5….the” now” reality…on march 17 the foreign affairs minister decreed a crackdown…via social media…newspaper front page..net…and television .thus enforcing the return ticket rule,.makeing airlines accountable by threatening large fines.
    ..the reasoning is to protect filipinos (and so they should )from human trafficking

    so g/f was a prime target as a youngish female travelling alone
    being it her first time without me and shitting herself…she was lamb to the slaughter for the said immi official at the airport.

    anyway she is here safe and well and hopefully we are wiser…..so i guess the thing is,,when dealing with a third world country with a mind of its own

    dot the “i”…and cross the “T”….good luck all…i must go now and book a return ticket to new zealand(the cheapest out of oz) for the girl….with less than a 24 hour turnaround there(so she doesnt have to get a visa)……hohum….wheeeeew

  10. pete giffard
    pete giffard at | | Reply

    btw…..her initial flight was with air asia…who would not let her board unless the immi poeple thr ok,d it….u know that story!

    her rebooked flight(4 hours later) was with philippines airline…..they also demanded to see her return flight ..or no board,..so the disposable flight WAS nessesary.
    even though she had flight confirmation no..(but no printed ticket)as i had sent in a text,,they would book her only to manila where she had to go to the counter of phil air to confirm her onward flight out of the country.

    in short…it seems they are backing the decree (march 17 2014)of the minister of immi there in phils to the letter of the law

  11. Zivah
    Zivah at | | Reply

    Hi, my boyfriend and I, we are from USA, will be traveling to the Philippines next month. We are planning to buy 1 way tickets to Manila as we decided to travel to Cebu then Zamboanga and leave from there to Sandakan, Malaysia by boat. Do we need any onward tickets?
    Thank you.

  12. Parrotfish Journey Blog
    Parrotfish Journey Blog at | | Reply

    I was recently flying to Philippines and they made me buy return ticket , so would recommend to get you return ticket sorted .

    http://www.parrotfishjourney.com/latest-post/flight-from-narita-japan-to-manila-philippines
    Parrotfish Journey Blog recently posted…Ferry from Boracay (Catiklan jetty port ) to Manila  (2 Go Travel )My Profile

  13. Trevor Howard
    Trevor Howard at | | Reply

    Hi

    Great article.

    I live in the Philippines on a tourist visa and have this all the time when I travel on business. Kota Kinabalu is my favorite option too. Seem to be all the Philippine operators that in force it and I am certain it is a scam to get you to book a ticket with them! I have lived there for 4 years and been in and out the country over 50 times, not once have I been asked by immigration to show a ticket.

Please comment with your real name using good manners.

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