Friday, August 27, 2010

Point of Entry Experience: LAX

I arrived at the PAL airport four hours before my scheduled flight. My fiancé purchased a one way direct flight for me from MNL to LAX. When I got to the airport, I looked for the kiosk with my flight number but my uncle’s friend came to the rescue and guided me through the process.

1. A man from the airport helped me with the trolley and he put my bags through the x-ray scanner. I didn’t want to carry the bags so he did that for me. I gave him a Php 100.00 tip.

2. I proceeded to the Business Class section and surrendered my luggages which were then weighed. I was asked for my fiancé’s address in the States and was told to pay for the travel tax. He upgraded my seat to business class. I had two pieces of luggage; one weighed 23.5 kilos and 22.7 kilos for the other. The ground stewardess inspected my visa packet for damage.

3. I paid for the travel tax which cost me Php 1,620.

4. I filled up a form for immigration then my uncle’s friend paid for the terminal fee of Php 750.00 on my behalf.

5. The immigration officer looked at my visa and asked me if my fiancé was attractive. He started kidding with me about giving birth to twelve children, 11 children and we finally concurred on 10.5. Hilarious.

6. I had to put my carry on through the x-ray machine again and this time, I removed my sandals.

It all ended there. The total amount of time it took for me was probably around 20 minutes. I went through the makeup section at the passenger’s lounge and quickly spanked my wrist. I said no to make up at least for now. I remained seated at the laptop station for the time being. I sat there with no internet so I decided to write this experience and continue once I arrive at Jordan’s place. What else was there for me to do but observe random people at the airport?

Random Meaningless Sightings:

It made me laugh to see an elderly lady run towards the podium at the boarding section since she had no socks on. That was a lesson learned for me. I had slipper socks in my carry on and since I only wore sandals, I put my socks out for me to wear just in case my turn comes up. Smart, eh? hihi…

Another funny observation was when a Korean girl who spoke little English approached a Caucasian seated at the laptop station. She was pointing at the adapter he was using to charge the laptop. He tried to explain to her that the adapter was his and not the airport’s property. After fifteen minutes of being lost in translation, all she wanted was to borrow the adapter to charge her laptop. She repeatedly said “two minute only!” along with the hand gesture. The man was kind enough to lend it to her and just gave her a quick smile

A few people seated at the laptop station were glancing at each other only to find out that it wasn’t just just me who couldn’t get a signal. That was awkward and funny at the same time. I talked to one of the ground people at the airport and told them about the loss of connection and all he had to say was, “Ay mahirap talaga connection niyan.” So I just shrugged and said thanks.


The food that PAL served was better than I expected. For dinner, I ate chicken with a brown sauce and some vegetables then leche flan for dessert, a cold salad as an appetizer and a bun with butter on the side. For breakfast, a chicken sausage, chicken patty, hash browns, mushrooms, mammon, pineapples and a bun with butter on the side.

I slept for merely three hours since I didn’t want to have jet lag. The plane departed at 10:00 pm and my arrival at LAX was scheduled for 8:00 pm so I made it a point to keep the winks to a minimum. The turbulence on the plane was really bad at the half way point so I couldn’t really sleep. I made a new friend on the plane. The man seated next to me happened to be a Filipino missionary based in San Diego. He was nice enough to guide me on how to correctly fill up the forms and it shocked me that he accompanied me through every step at the airport. One hour towards the end of the flight, the attendants handed out various forms depending on the visa category. I filled up a Customs Declaration Form and an I-94. On the Customs Declaration Form, I rounded off my belongings to $500 and distributed the amount between the clothes and delicacies in my baggages.


When I arrived at LAX, it felt so much like home because there were so many Filipino employees at the airport. There were two people assigned to accommodate the visitors’ lane. One was Filipino and the other was Indian. Everyone who went through the Indian took long and I even saw one who was refused of entry because of his paperwork. I was assigned to the Indian so I greeted him a good evening and handed over my visa packet (This includes the small envelope which contains the photos submitted with the I-129F.), passport, Customs Declaration Form and I-94. He opened the packet and inside it were papers from the Embassy.


-What’s his name?

-What does he do for work?

-What did you use to do for work?

-Where’s your ring?

-What’s your purpose here?

-When do you plan to marry?

-Is your fiancé waiting for you outside?

I was free to go after a few questions. I didn’t have a ring on since Jordan proposed through Skype and he wants to give me a proper proposal once we’re together for long. We’re having a civil wedding first then a second one years from now. The officer then coldly said, “If your fiancé isn’t waiting for you outside then I’ll send you back to the Philippines.”


It took me about thirty minutes because a lot of the luggage weren’t even on the conveyer. I had two pieces of luggage with me and I quickly found the first one. The man I met on the plane, Bernardo was kind enough to gather my bag along with those of the other passengers. There were people who mistook some baggage as their own and left it on the ground. It’s a good thing that one employee who was Filipino approached me and a couple of irate passengers. My bag wasn’t there but rather, it was the last one dropped down to the conveyer.


I went through customs after Bernardo. He was asked about the contents of his bag. He said that he has delicacies with him so he was asked to leave the line and fill up another form. It was my turn to go through the same officer and since I declared delicacies and clothing on the form, he asked me what kind I had. I answered, “I’ve got banana chips and stuff.” He replied, “That’s good enough for me. You can go.” It was as quick as that so I was scouring for Bernardo but he was nowhere to be found. I went up the ramp and once again laid eyes on mi amore! It was the best feeling I’ve ever felt! He was dressed so well and I was so compelled to hug him and of course, I did. At the intersection, I was getting ready to leap towards the street when Jordan pulled me back because unlike the Philippines, you have to press a button on the pole for you to cross. It was so funny!

So yeah, I’m in America with my love. I couldn’t be happier. A void has finally been filled.


  1. Awh, this was so nice to read. I loved hearing about all your experiences, as sadly I don't get to travel much. However, I have had a couple experiences at LAX: ugh. And I loved your random people-sightings! All the people you come into contact with are some of the best parts of going on trips. The end warmed my heart! So glad you're with your love, and congratulations!

  2. Haven't read the entry yet but I just want to say that I love, love, love-love the signature. I want one too! :p

  3. @Courtney Thank you!
    @Miss Meg Thank you! I haven't traveled to much places before but I'd like to so I'm hoping that this will be a start and I'll do just that with my fiancé. I tend to observe people. I know it's weird but I just do. Thanks, I appreciate it. :) I'm so happy and busy! hihi.
    @Vajarl Thank you! It's boring airport stuff. Go get one. I wrote an entry about it. :)

  4. That's so exciting! It seems like such a hectic process though!

    But I love watching people at airports. I especially love it when I sit next to little kids and they entertain everyone within hearing range :)

  5. Yay! So glad you made it to the States safe! I hope you like it here.
    Love the people watching... always a fun way to waste some time when you're bored.

  6. Welcome to the states! I heart traveling. I totally remembered those "custom questions". Mine was a lot more drilling (like is your husband a boxer short type or a tightey whitey type?) and thought for sure they're gonna do a strip search on both of us being that I am from the East and Jeff is as white as a Caucasian get. But I'm glad you're safe and sound! Now get out there and get a drink!

  7. @Lex It was hectic just because of the type of visa I have but if you're on a tourist visa then I think they won't hassle you so much.
    I'm an observer as well. I can't help it. :)
    @Russ Thank you!
    @Dana Thanks Dana! The plane ride was exhausting. I still have jet lag and sleep at 3 am but I'll somehow adjust eventually.
    @Dhila Thank you, Dhila! Did you have a fiancé(e) visa too or a CR/IR1? Oh, I was tipsy last night. I got you on that one! :))

  8. I have a green card. I was lucky to not have to mess with that myself. My mom took care of that and her husband is an American lawyer and they both work at the Embassy in Chicago.

  9. Detailed =) you're lucky coz you have a direct flight. Gosh mine was horrible! Just glad that I came home safe. It's a good thing being an observant,(I'm learning that now) coz I'm a total careless! lol =)

  10. wow! you're very detailed! thank you so much! :) I read the rest of your post and it was so helpful! I'll surely show your page to my fiance. I'm so happy for you and your hubby! Do you have any tips on what to wear for the interview?:)

    stay pretty and happy!

  11. @makeup, hauls, and anything under the sun! Thanks and you're welcome. :P Okay then. Go ahead! I'm going to update this tomorrow with the steps on how to apply for a marriage license.

    For the interview, I just wore a turtle neck, jeans and loafers since it was a rainy day. Don't overdo it. You know what I mean? Smart-casual. I some some girls who were waaay overdressed and others who looked like they were walking around in their pj's.

    Nice to meet ya! :)


Leave a comment in good faith and respect my space as I do with yours.


No shameless self promotions, please. Comments with URLs leading to personal blogs will be DELETED.

Exception: Giveaway Posts