Leaving the Philippines
The Philippines,  Travel Stories & Inspiration

Leaving the Philippines – where did the time go

And just like that, after nearly three months, I was leaving the Philippines already-where did the time go? I thought to myself. I enjoyed my time immensely. Losing the sense of time- my brother-in-law reminded me at our hotel in Makati that that night was my flight. “Oh my gosh! It’s tonight!” I groaned. Having mixed emotions, I didn’t feel ready. Yet, I knew the moment had come- I was leaving home- like a high school student going away for university. Leaving the Philippines meant not only departing from my country but also being separated from my loved ones and leaving everything behind to be back in my real world.

Leaving the Philippines – departure out of Manila and entering Munich

Upon leaving the Philippines, there were several things I needed to prepare on hand—for example, my aufenhalstitel or residence permit in Germany, my passport, and my vaccination card. However, the vaccination card was not asked for at the immigration in Manila and Munich.

However, be sure to have it at hand. Better to be safe than sorry.

At the Philippines’ airport and immigration

My family sent me to the airport just like when I moved to Germany in 2019. As usual, my mum plus my ten-year-old niece, Iway, became emotional. As I waved my last goodbye to them and hurried to enter the airport, there was a very long queue at the Emirates counter. I didn’t realize it was for the counter; I went directly when the staff stopped me. HAHA.

But not too long, everybody’s got the chance to have their turn to check in. The airline staff did not look for my vaccination card, residence permit, or passport. However, she asked me if I had already paid the travel tax, and I said no because I was not a tourist in Germany or the Philippines. She directed me to the travel tax counter to request my travel tax exemption certificate. Hence I did.

Surprisingly, the gentleman officer said I was not still part of the travel tax exemption as he briefly inspected my residence permit in Germany and my Philippines passport. As a result, I paid Php 1,620.00. I didn’t ask why because I was in such a rush to get back to the counter to pick up my flight ticket.

It’s my regret I didn’t.

If you were to expect this scenario at the travel tax counter, please ask the reasons why. You have the right to know, and it’s their responsibility to answer honestly.

The good thing is they accepted cards, as I didn’t have a Philippine peso anymore. So be prepared for some cash. Cash is king.

While at the Philippines’ immigration, I only presented my flight ticket, residence permit, and passport. No questions about why I was leaving home or anything like that. And that was all. It was a smooth process.

At Munich, Germany’s immigration.

Finally, after nearly 24 hours, I landed at Munich airport. A grass-covered ground view from above welcomed me and made me feel at home.

At Munich immigration, they only needed my residence permit and passport and asked if I had made an appointment to renew my residence permit. I returned to Germany on July 30, 2022, and my residence permit expired in October 2022. I said yes, and that was it.

In any case, it would be best to prepare your yellow vaccine passport. Of course, you already have it when you return to the Philippines. Just don’t forget. There’s no harm in being fully prepared.

Leaving the Philippines – Some missions (un)accomplished

I am happy to report that upon leaving the Philippines, I completed several of things-some were unexpected, and some were simply- fulfilled.

I went to the wet markets and grabbed a lot of local groceries, drank gallons of fresh coconut juice, and had turon and other Pinoy kakanins- my comfort foods were some of the accomplished things. Moreover, I rode public transportation, had short trips and getaways with my husband and family, took a remarkable journey with my sister, spent perfect time with my nephews, and met and traveled with my friends. Most importantly, I stayed and spent at the beach-my happy place.

These were my top priorities from the beginning until the end, and they brought me plenty of joy- I was glad I finally ticked them off my list.

On the other hand, there were a handful of unexpected things, like renting a beachfront apartment in San Juan, La Union. It was out of the plan, yet, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever had during my stay. Although I have not bordered a long time in our house in Calasiao, I made sure my mum came to my apartment and spent time with me, along with my aunts and sister-in-law.

Moreso, spending more time with my nephews and nieces was one of sorrow. Coming back to Germany, I constantly questioned and wondered what I did and why I have not had more quality them with them, despite having more than enough time to spare before leaving home. Thus, I promised myself that the next time I am back home in the Philippines, splurging most of my time with them would be my number one on the list.

Not meeting (old) friends and people

There were people I thought I would love to meet and planned to meet. But then, it didn’t take place. For some reason, I didn’t have the prompt and pleasure to get acquainted with them again, and I thought, well, it was alright. When I posted photos on my Facebook page that I was back in my homeland, a few told me they wanted to meet with me. But to be fair, making contact with them was something I gave thought to.

Three months passed, and I was packing up my luggage; I still didn’t meet them, let alone replied to their chats. I guess I just had a change of heart and became wiser to decide that connecting with them did not bring joy to me, and then I would not do it, and then I didn’t.

In my article about coming back to the Philippines after 2.7 years, I described how I felt upon finally coming back home, and things have not changed- but surprisingly, I did. At heart, I had my reasons.

Things I’ve forgotten to buy

Leaving the Philippines, I anticipated that I could bring loads of things to Germany. But then the outcome was the opposite. Back home in Germany, I realized I had forgotten to buy many things I wanted. Filipino groceries like biscuits, dried fish, instant noodles, soups, and many more. I don’t mean luxury as the expensive ones, luxury goods as I call them, because, in Germany, I rarely find them, and when I do, it’s such grandeur that I never want to consume it all at once.

And then again, I promised I’d never leave home without these extra fun goodies in my luggage!

Leaving home and the last quality time with my family

Leaving home meant- extra quality time with the fam bam!

Filipino families always have a good excuse and reason to get together. And that’s what we did. I booked a family suite at Selah Garden hotel for our family gathering and for sending me off again. It was pretty sad but a significant moment for us all.

I especially looked forward to this event.

All of our family members were there except my extremely busy businesswoman sister. It was enjoyable, and I loved it. However, time flew so fast that day. My sister, mum, and nephews went to Tagaytay for quick sightseeing, leaving a small amount of time for our family dinner.

Even so, I could adequately say my farewell to all of them and gave each other a massive embrace and smooches. It was sad but so precious.

Personal thoughts on leaving the Philippines

A home is a place where you grow up wanting to leave and grow up wanting to go back to

John Ed Pierce

I came back home to the Philippines with the thought that I was going to leave anyway. In my mind, I knew that this day would come, and the vacation was temporary. But in my heart, I never really wanted to leave – only if my husband was there with me. Understandably, the Philippines wasn’t my reality and my world anymore.

Plenty of random thoughts I had in my mind upon leaving the country I grew up in.

However, my friends thought the other way around. Needless to say, I left my home country with a heavy but full heart. And I know for sure that it’s a place where I would always choose to keep coming back to. Although I could not say three months were sufficient to meet my desires and goals, I was more than grateful.

I will always miss my family, my loved ones, and many, many things there. Missing home is what I always do.

Have you recently left the Philippines? Or your home country? How did you feel? Do you somehow resonate with this post? Let me know by sharing it below! I would love to hear from you! ?

Finally, if you have any questions about departing from the Philippines, leave them in the comment box. Please don’t try to send me a message on social media, as I usually don’t check spam or requested messages. Thanks! ?

Born, raised, and forever loyal to the Philippines. Catherine is a teacher and a BA in Mass Communication graduate who loves anything child-friendly. She loves writing in her diary every day and is in love with beaches, books, Safari, and Tokyo. Her ultimate dream destinations are Madagascar, Mongolia, and Hawaii. Check out her van camping adventures in Europe at vancampingguide.com.

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