Travelling With A Third World Passport


My recent trip to the South America was a once in a lifetime experience. It was also at this time wherein I realized that indeed travelling with a passport from a third world country has its own perks.

It's obvious that the so called first world passports has more privileges like free visas.My   Philippine passport  also allowed me to travel to some Spanish speaking countries without  any immigration hassles and visa free. I was surprised when I learned that not all first world passport holders  can visit South American countries visa free. Some need to secure a visa before entering certain Latin countries while others need to pay reciprocity fee or both.  For example, US citizens need visa when visiting Brazil. Canadians need to pay reciprocity fee when travelling to Argentina. ( Note that this may already changed. Check with the country's embassy. )

At the Immigration counters  I only got asked  “ how many days are you staying?” They never asked me about itineraries, accommodations , pocket money, etc .  In one of the airports , when the Immigration Officer(IO)  asked me for the length of my stay, I replied “I can’t remember exactly” . He smiled and said” Just  tell me any number”  then he stamped my passport.  In another South American airport, the IO without any questions gave me 180 days visa for a 10hour layover. …  I guess many of my countrymen would agree with me that the IO’s in  our own country are way stricter than their Spanish speaking counterparts especially for departing solo travelers like me.

Though I’ve been living  in Europe for almost a decade now  I always say I am from the Philippines whenever someone asks me where I came from. Most of them become curious of my country. I am aware that there are foreigners who   haven’t been  and some  haven’t even  heard about the Philippines. Being a proud pinay ,  I would take that opportunity to tell them what my country can offer to tourists like  our beautiful natural parks and internationally famous beaches, food and so on. And yes there is such a country called Philippines. Hey, I can be my homeland’s walking tourism advertisement.

In one of the group tours I joined, a Russian once she learned that I am from the Philippines told me that it is her first time to meet someone from the  Philippines in South America. I think even the tour guides would agree with her because I always got surprise reaction whenever  I tell them where I came from. Some  became more friendly to me and offered to take me photos since I am travelling solo.

Discrimination? I never felt I was discriminated. Some actually became my friends. One Latin  American lady told me that I was the first Filipino she met and never heard about the country before. I will never forget the way she hugged me, it’s like we have known each other a long time ago. My only regret was I was not able  to get her contact information nor a photo with her..argh!

I got asked many times, “Do you have European passport? You should apply for dual citizenship so you can travel anywhere” .  Indeed having a first world passport have many benefits  and I am not saying I will not secure one but my usual answer is, “ I can go wherever I want with my third world passport. Indeed, there are many countries where I can go without  securing a tourists visa. “

For fellow Philippine passport holders click this link  the countries where you can visit without a visa. 

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