The Asawa Joins Me for Visit to the Iloilo Immigration Office

My asawa must have been bored. She volunteered to go with me to the Immigration Bureau Office in Iloilo City. I had to make my annual report as a foreigner. Breezy warm day. Temperature 28° C  (82.4 F) and 89% humidity. Arrived around 10 am. The place was crammed with people, the majority of them Filipino. Fortunately the air con was working. Only two people waiting in the facility last year at this time. I knew we were in for a long wait.Bureau of Immigration in Iloilo

I went up front to a familiar face. I had seen this immigration officer on previous visits (that’s him at the desk in the next photo taken during last year’s report.) Asked if I needed to take a number. He asked if I wanted to extend my visa. I advised him I was here for my annual report as a foreigner and already had a permanent visa. He requested my ACR, Alien Certificate Registration, and after handing the ACR card to him, he instructed me to take a seat.  I tried to find my spouse in the crowded office. Took a couple of minutes before I located her.Bureau of Immigration in Iloilo City

I saw a couple of other kano’s waiting. Two Filipinos, a young man and middle-aged lady sat in front of me. I excused myself for asking a personal question but I wondered if they knew why there were so many people in the Immigration office today. I said I usually have seen only a few foreigners on previous visits.

The young Pinoy was here to extend a work visa. The lady was here to extend her visa. She had dual citizenship and was visiting from the States.  Looks like I had falsely assumed that kanos were the main clients of the Immigration Bureau in Iloilo City. There was quite a large contingent of older Filipino couples that had evidently had come to extend their visas, also. 

A few minutes passed by and a tall man that I mistook for a Middle Eastern gentleman walked in. He looked around at the crowd. I asked him what he was here for. He wanted to make a change of address. He had been living in Palawan but had recently moved to Iloilo City.

Turns out he was from California and was an American expat that had been living in the Philippines with his Filipina wife since 2001. Again, this aging kano, soon to be 61, makes another wrong assumption. I pointed to the immigration employee that had helped me and he went to him. The official looked over at me but the American expat came back with some paperwork that the worker helped him with.

Ken, the American from California, was quite impressed with the attitude of the staff at the Iloilo City Bureau of Immigration. I told him it was quite different from the service you receive at Manila. The employees in Iloio are helpful and very courteous.

While I’ve also encountered many helpful and courteous immigration officials at the main office, the massive amount of people they have to work with surely must add to their stress level.  But I’ve also met a few grumpy and rude Immigration officials in Manila, though they were in the minority. But I wouldn’t want their job.

I chatted with Ken and he told me that he had applied for and received his 13a Permanent Visa at a Philippine consulate office in the States before arriving in Manila in 2001. He had all the necessary paperwork with visa in hand and a flight to Palawan to catch in four hours. He was told by the Immigration officials at NAIA that he needed to go to the Immigration office. He didn’t have time for that and thought his 13 (a) Permanent Resident Visa was already cared for. He was allowed to catch his flight to Palawan but was told to report to immigration within the week.

It took awhile for the American expat to get matters sorted out but he eventually did get his new Permanent Visa. My asawa sponsored me for my visa a few years ago after we moved to the Philippines. I’ve heard of other expats in the Philippines who’ve had similar problems as Ken. I’ve known other Americans that have moved to the Philippines and obtained their Permanent Resident in the States and arrived in Manila without any problems.

After about 45 minutes of waiting I was asked for the P310 fee for my annual report filing. In the past I had always gone over to the cashier’s office to pay but the procedure was different today. Ken, who had arrived after me, already had his paperwork processed and stopped by to say good bye. Pleasant man. Enjoyed talking with him. We’ll probably meet again since he also is a frequent visitor of SM City in Iloilo as I am.

Another 30 minutes passed before I received my receipt and we were on our way. Time to meet my American expat friend, Scott B, and go on another tour of Iloilo City. The asawa was going to tag along. Like I said. She must have been bored if she wanted to watch a couple of guys drink beer and spread some manure (which mainly comes from me.)


Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

18 thoughts on “The Asawa Joins Me for Visit to the Iloilo Immigration Office

  1. Dave,
    I guess i will have to start looking forward to that in the future. Just a small price to pay to have more fun in the Philippines. It’s also nice to get out and meet new people too. With Melinda with you, you will have to stay in line lol. Take care and stay safe

    1. Don’t know if Melinda will be out with me next time, PapaDuck. Unfortunately she inhaled a lot of cigarette smoke, though we were sitting outside, while talking to the owners of a favorite eatery. She has a sore throat now and is not up to par. But you’re right, I DO have to stay in line. Had to drink two less bottles of Red Horse this trip out. 🙂

  2. hey papa duck,are you comin to live in iloilo? I myself enjoy the scenery at the waters edge where the fast boats are docked and lots of action goin on and if you want you can drop a fishing line in and go back to your chair and drink your beer and watch your pole.

    When we were there an englishman was fishing with eight poles in the water and he would get up and check his poles and then sit back down with us.I miss bass fishen myself using spinner baits,there is a fishing club i went out with in december on their boat,we went out about an hour west of iloilo and threw anchor and spent 6 hours out there and i caught a red snapper using live shrimp.The club goes out 2 times a month and total cost for boat rental and bait is 500php and its actually a tournamant as the team i was with consisting of 20 guys competes against other teams and when all boats get back at the end of the day they weigh the fish and a trophy and prizes are awarded for biggest fish and heaviest and the winning team gets a trophy.

    1. My next post will have a pic of the Englishman and yourself, Scott B. The Iloilo wharf is a great area to hang out. And the cop that was issuing a ticket to the guy arguing with him was an extra added bonus that day.

  3. Hey Scott b, I will be bringing all my fishing poles and tackle with me but I never see anyone fishing from the banks where I’ll be going. I just wonder whether the fishing is good or bad in the overly fished waters. Then again, I don’t believe leisure fishing is something most Filipinos ever get into…until they move to California! 😀

    1. RandyL. My wife’s home province of Guimaras is fished out. Her father used to pull shrimp out of the waters. Not any more. Tatay also used to fish to feed the family of 13. Can’t do that any more. No conservation program was in place. Not many folks here have time for leisure fishing as you know.

    1. Roxas Ron, here’s the address: District Office Customs House Bldg. 2nd Flr., Aduana St. Iloilo City. It’s right near the wharf and near the Freedom Grandstand. Tricky to find the entrance. Just ask someone nearby. They’ll help you out.

    1. Ron, Bureau of Immigration in Iloilo is located inside the Bureau of Customs right next to the river wharf along Muelle Loney street. The Iloilo Domestic port is nearby which has ferries from CDO and Cebu.

  4. Scott,
    Were thinking of buying a condo and live part time down there. When we visited there we really liked it. Very nice area. Since Annes clients are in Cavite Area we have to live up there. Maybe in the future we will live fulltime there. Hopefully we will be visiting in August. Looking forward to seeing you again. That fishing sounds pretty good, haveb’t done that in a while. Take care.

  5. hi Dave,
    First of all, i want to greet you and Melinda Happy Velentine’s
    Day, Papaduck is right were planning to buy a condo for the
    future, and also to put up small business, i really want to visit you and melinda but really dont have free time because of my busy schedule, we will visit you soon, i want everything
    ok before papaduck get back here. see you soon.
    have great day.

    1. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, also, Anne. Melinda sends her greetings. Even burly armed guards at SM City were greeting me with a Happy Valentine’s Day yesterday.

      I understand you’re quite busy. We’ll see you when you can make time. Looking forward to your visit and to Papa Duck’s return.

Leave a Reply