In a few days, I will be going to Hongkong. Yep. This is official as I received my round trip tickets already. This will be my first time to go out of my sweet Pilipinas. After ~25 years of commuting via Jeepney and other Philippine PUVs, I will be able to board a plane going to a foreign land. Although Hongkong is not that far from the Philippines (approximately 2 hours away), the thought of me going there is just overwhelming.

But as much excitement I have now is anxiety… As an SEI-scholar I need to secure travel clearance from DOST, which is, let me stress, NOT EASY! It’s tedious and the fact that I need to leave a huge amount of money as an assurance of me getting back (as if I don’t have my return ticket! As if I don’t have my job here!) is a pain in the neck! WTH! Just by mere thinking, I already feel nauseous! I imagine me going to Taguig… me going to NBI… queuing… waiting… then me going back to Bicutan… me going to the BI! Waaaaaah! I am going to d#$ @_@.

SIGH. Seriously, can I pass the Bureau of Immigration without having my temporary DOST clearance? Comments threading from posts are keeping my hopes high but still, I worry about the possibility of me not being able to board the plane.

My best friend is also an SEI-scholar and she went to Singapore and Malaysia March this year. She wasn’t held by the BI officers in NAIA. She actually advised me not to mind, she suspected that SEI-Scholars are not actually in the BI database… this is also what some scholars testified on the forums I checked. BUT! I can’t help being nervous!

Recently, scholars talk about the TRO for WTO against us… here is the image of the TRO uploaded over the internet:

Reading the comments at The Filipino Scribe blog I feel like there is really no need to secure a travel clearance especially for me who’s gonna travel for the first time. BUT! Some comments from other blogs would say otherwise.

I tried to send Mr. Hilbert Libres, the original uploader of the above mentioned DOST Memo on facebook but he hasn’t replied to my message yet. But here’s what he told the Filipino Scribe author:

I do respect DOST’s comment on the memo. But personally, I don’t buy it. It’s a memo duly signed by the DOST secretary. And that signify its valid. I know an appeal has been made, but that doesn’t make the memo invalid. It’s clear in the letter that the lift is only temporary. And it also states an appeal is being processed. And they say the memo is not final? -This negates what’s stated in the letter. C’mon, DOST scholars are not stupid. Or am I?I also understand why they are restricting the circulation of this memo. It stirs up the interest of DOST scholars to go out of the country before they complete their service. I just think DOST-SEI was not ready to handle this issue. Although, I still strongly suggested to all my DOST scholar friends to secure clearance from the agency than risking to pass through immigration just purely relying on the issued memo.“

So… what’s left for me to do is to at least try to call DOST office… and try to talk to Sir Dante. My second plan is to go directly to the Bureau of Immigration and ask if my name is in the watch list (I am not sure if I am allowed to do so). If this fails, I’ll secure a guarantor… I am not familiar with this yet but I heard some stories… If everything else fails, I would ask my granny to lend me money (note that I am more scared of her than the BI officers) and get nauseated as I do the step by step process of securing my temporary travel clearance…

Wish me luck for I only got a couple of days left.