I was at it again, can’t help myself but look at the passports of the other passengers in line at the immigration counter. Who is from what country? What passport are they holding? Who can travel the world at a moment’s notice without even spending effort, time, and money (not to mention stress when gathering required documents) on a Visa? Them. Who is envious? Me.
It was about the last quarter of the trip to US when the flight attendants asked where I was from. I proudly said, ‘The Philippines’. Then they gave me a form and an embarkation card to be filled out and given to the immigration officer upon arrival to San Francisco. The attendant gave the other passengers their forms as well. There I was again. Like a spy, I again couldn’t help myself from peeping at the passports of the other passengers who are already filling out their forms. Who is from what country? What passport are they holding? Who can travel the world at a moment’s notice without even spending effort, time, and money (not to mention stress when gathering required documents) on a Visa? Them. Who is envious? Me.
As a citizen of the Philippines, I am required to secure a U.S. Visa prior to entering the United States. It is quite a long process, and may cause a few frustrations on the applicant’s part – there’s a time out thing in the online application form wherein you have to start all over again if you do not complete the lengthy questionnaire in the given time, and you have to make sure to secure all your relevant documents as well. However, it was all worthwhile. I can travel to the US anytime I want for the next ten years.
My next plan is to go to Europe and Egypt. I have the budget (I’m an expert in sourcing the cheapest flights and accommodations), however, it is the tedious Visa application process that hinders me from fulfilling my bucket list. I’m sure I will do it in the near future (I have this YOLO attitude), though. However, my main point in this article is.. Why? Why are there lucky people who are free to roam the earth visa free? Why can’t I roam the earth freely as well without going through the beureaucratic process of obtaining a visa? LOL!
The Philippines ranks 69th at the Henley and Partners Visa Restriction Index of 2013, a global ranking of countries according to travel freedom their citizens enjoy. There are at least 58 countries and territories that allow Filipinos to enter their borders visa-free, only needing a valid Philippine passport.
The number pales in comparison to Finnish, Swedish, and British passport holders who are allowed to enter 173 of the 219 countries and territories worldwide without a visa.
The Philippines allows 157 countries to enter its borders visa-free as part of the country’s efforts to attract more tourists and investors.
But how come the Philippines only has the same privilege to over 50 countries and territories abroad?
I understand that boundaries and restrictions are placed by countries for the interest of their nations. There are lots of understandable reasons however I can’t help myself but be a little bitter about the Filipino tourists’ situation.
Hey, I am allowed travel to 58 countries and territories without a visa, so no need to fret, right?! Whew. It’s good knowing that at least there are countries I can go to without the hassles of getting a visa.
But wait, what about the other countries like the Palestinian Territory (36 countries), Pakistan (32 countries), Somalia (32 countries), Iraq (31 countries), and Afghanistan (28 countries) which make the bottom 5?
Wouldn’t it be nice if the world does not have boundaries like it used to or at least keep the visa requirements and procedures at a minimum?
*I have recently found out about the World Passport which claims to grant you a world citizenship and virtually be able to travel the globe visa free. How true is this? Find out in this post.