MANILA, Philippines (
The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – You would hope that the extortion sheme ‘Laglag Bala’ at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, more incidents where unsuspecting passengers are questioned and detained for discovery of live bullets in their luggage — “planted” by scheming airport personnel — have surfaced.
In the interest of public service, The Adobo Chronicles is issuing these Ten Guidelines that local and international travelers passing through NAIA can consider in order to avoid being victimized by the extortion scheme. You’re welcome!
1. Make sure your check-in luggage is locked. If traveling to the U.S., choose a lock or luggage that is TSA-approved (which means the TSA can still open it for inspection using a master key).
2. If at all possible, don’t travel with a carry-on bag.
3. If you absolutely have to have a carry-on bag, choose one that does not have zippers and outside pockets.
4. If your carry-on bag is singled out for manual inspection, demand that YOU open the bag yourself.
5. If airport personnel insist that THEY open your bag, be ready to take a video of the proceedings with your smart phone.
6. Place a business card of your attorney on your luggage tag. Make sure the card uses BOLD fonts, especially the word “ATTORNEY.”
7. Avoid using designer carry-on bags. They invite interest among inspectors. Instead, use a bayong or some other cheap bags, perhaps even a re-usable grocery bag from Safeway.
8. Place one of the following inside your carry-on bag: durian, bagoong, daing na bangus, or kimchee. Any of these items will surely repel the inspector with the foul smell, eventually choosing not to inspect your bag.
9. Place an activated mouse-trap inside your carry-on bag. That will give the scheming inspector a painful lesson.
10. If all else fails, just enjoy the experience. Be thankful for an extended stay in the Philippines, with free board and lodging — inside the prison cell.