Things to Know About ePassport


PR-614-09, What is an ePassport?

An ePassport is a passport which features microchip technology. An integrated circuit (chip) within its pages contains the data that are essential in verifying the identity of the passport holder. These data include the personal data found on the data page of the passport, the biometrics of the passport holder, the unique chip identification number, and a digital signature to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip.

The chip technology allows the information stored in an ePassport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.

What are Biometrics?

Biometrics are the unique and measurable physical characteristics of an individual that include face recognition, fingerprints, and iris scans.

The Philippine Electronic Passport (or Philippine ePassport) uses the digital image of the passport photograph that can be used with face recognition technology to verify the identity of the passport holder.

It captures the fingerprints of the passport holder, for identification using the Automated Fingerprint Verification System (AFIS).

What are the special features of the Philippine ePassport?

The Philippine ePassport allows information stored on the chip to be verified with the information visually displayed on the passport.

It uses contactless microchip technology that allows the information stored on the chip to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.

It contains an integrated photograph of the holder, a digitized secondary photo, and an electronic print of the holder’s signature.

It contains overt and hidden security features such as Invisible Personal Information (IPI), letterscreen, microprinting, and UV reactive ink, among others.

What is the difference between the existing maroon machine readable passport (MRP) and the ePassport?

An MRP is a passport that contains a machine-readable zone (MRZ) printed in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard. It is capable of being read manually and with the use of a machine.

An ePassport has an embedded IC chip where the photograph and personal information of the bearer are stored in accordance with ICAO specifications. These information can be read by chip readers at close distance. An ePassport also contains a machine-readable zone.

What advantages does the Philippine ePassport offer?

The ePassport is highly secure, hence avoids passport reproduction and tampering. The ePassport database is enhanced with AFIS that guards against multiple passport issuances to the same person and enhances imposter detection.

It facilitates fast clearance of travellers at immigration checks.

ePassports provide travellers benefits such as use of automated border clearance or “E-gates”, automated issuance of boarding passes, and faster travel arrangements with airlines.

For countries, the use of electronic passport also provides better border protection and security.

Why do we have to use ePassports now?

The MRP has the minimum ICAO standards in travel documents. The ePassport is the world standard in travel documents. As member of ICAO, the Philippines has an international obligation to enhance the security of its travel documents.

The issuance of ePassports will allow the Philippines to offer world-class consular services to its nationals.

Countries have greater confidence and acceptance of the ePassport since it is enhanced with biometric technology.

ePassports are already being used in more than 60 countries worldwide. In ASEAN, five countries have already issued e-passports (Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia).

Who can avail of the Philippine E-Passport?

The ePassport will initially be made available in limited number. Regular issuance will start sometime in October 2009 from whence all applicants who can comply with the documentary requirements may avail of the ePassport.

How much does an ePassport cost?

The ePassport is available for P950. A passport applicant, however, may choose between the ePassport and the less expensive Machine Readable Passport, both compliant with ICAO standard.

Why is the ePassport more expensive than the current passport?

The added security features of the ePassport are factored into the production cost. Comparative prices of ePassports from different countries, however, show that the cost of the Philippine ePassport is among the lowest in the world.

What other countries use ePassports?

ePassports are already being used in more than 60 countries worldwide. In ASEAN, five countries have already issued ePassports (Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia). In the future, all countries are seen to switch to the ePassport due to the increasing need for efficient and better border security.

What is the ePassport logo and what does it mean?

The ePassport logo which appears on the cover of the ePassport is the international symbol for an electronic passport. It means that the passport has an integrated circuit or chip on which data about the passport and passport holder is stored. The logo will alert border inspection lanes at all airports and transit ports equipped with special data readers for ePassports that the passport is an ePassport.

I have a previously issued passport. Can I use it for travel as long as it is still valid?

Yes. Previously issued passports (MRP and non-MRP) are valid until their expiry. It is a good practice to make sure your passport is valid at least six months before intended date of travel to avoid any inconvenience.

Will there be additional requirements needed for the processing of ePassports?

None. Essentially, the requirements for ePassport processing will remain the same as that for the MRP, although personal appearance is required for the taking of biometrics (i.e., fingerprints, photo, and signature).

Can existing holders of the maroon MRP simply surrender their passports and have them converted to an ePassport?

As soon as the production of the ePassport comes into full swing, holders of MRPs can have their passport cancelled and apply for ePassport if they so wish.

Where can I apply for an ePassport?

The ePassport will be initially available at DFA Manila, to be followed by Philippine Embassies and consulates abroad and throughout the Philippines through DFA’s regional offices.


2010 PIFGEX “Gifts of Nature” Photography Competition

The “Gifts of Nature” is a photography contest being organized with the purpose of increasing awareness of the need to protect our environment, educate people about the Philippine’s natural beauty with its rich yet fragile biodiversity, its endearing culture and also, its unique products.

Categories: We are looking for impressive or unusual images of nature — on land, in the air and beneath the water’s surface—from anywhere in the Philippines.

Category A: Flora (Plants)

This category includes photographs focusing on Philippine endemic or indigenous plants or flowers. Partial adjustment of the brightness and color variation of photos is allowed. Sharpening adjustments that will not reduce the photo’s natural effect are allowed.

Category B: Fauna (Reptiles, Amphibians, Marine, Avians, Mammals, Insects)

This category includes photographs focusing on Philippine endemic and indigenous animals portrait and behavior. Partial adjustment of the brightness and color variation of photos is allowed. Sharpening adjustments that will not reduce the photo’s natural effect are allowed.

Category C: Nature and Landscapes

The category includes photographs of any landscape or object in the Philippines in its natural state regardless of geographical location, weather or season, such as rains, mists, sunrises, sunsets, flowers, trees, mountains, rivers, animals, plants, etc. Partial adjustment of the brightness and color variation of photos is allowed. Sharpening adjustments that will not reduce the photo’s natural effect are allowed.

The Organizing Committee of

PIFGEX 2010 Photography Competition

Mechanics and Guidelines


Dampalitan Island, Quezon Province


Special Trip

Trippers Beach Bumming @ Anawangin Cove, Capones Island,  Camara Island


Anawangin Cove is a crescent shaped cove with a pristine white sand beach with the unique and unusual riddle of tall pine trees flourishing round its vicinity.

Capones Island and a couple of other smaller islands (the Camera Islands) lie a few kilometers from the shores of Pundaquit, Zambales. The Camera islands are 2km offshore and Capones is 3 kilometers farther (5.2 km offshore). Capones and Camera are known for their white beaches, speckled with colorful crushed coral. Clear turquoise waters held us spell-bound. High rock cliffs beckon rappellers. Capones is known for an old Spanish-era lighthouse that brings visitors back in time.

Package Fee: P1,700.00
Package Inclusions:
* Transportation, Private Van ( McDonald Quezon Ave. Edsa pick-up point)
* Dinner
* Boat Ride going to Anawangin Cove+ Capones island + Camera Island
* Entrance fee/ Camping fee
* Trippers ID

Pre-trip meeting April 16, 7pm at Trinoma foodcourt near Yellow Cab

Note: 50% downpayment on pre-trip meeting is a must to save slot for the Van. You will receive a copy of complete guidelines, including things to bring, itinerary, reminders, etc…


Text: 0932-540-7941 // 09264499694 // 0923-712-5083
email your concerns to


Note: We also arrange group trip on your requested date, just text or email above contact info.


Magalawa Island, Zambales

Palauig became popular as one of the Tourist Destination because of its Mt. Tapulao. But there’s more than just Mt. Tapulao Palauig can offer. Aside from its beaches and the scarborough shoal, Palauig is fortunate to have a beautiful island name Magalawa and it is now on the rise after its long sleep. Truly another pride of Palauig next to Mt. Tapulao and is hoping to be one of the top tourist destination in Zambales and of the Philippine Island.
Magalawa Island with its creamy white sand beaches and prestine waters is perfect for swimming, water/sand sports, boat riding, jetskiing, scuba diving, snorkelling or just relaxing on the beach amidst the crystal clear waters and white sand. Another attractions of Magalawa Island are coral reefs, magroves and abundant water resources .
Magalawa is 56 hectares in area. Although the island is surrounded by the sea potable water is abundant within the island and uses jetmatic and pitcher pumps. The main source of livelihood is fishing and some are engaged in shell craft industry.There is a complete primary school with two teachers. No rice
is planted in this area, so the people resort in buying everything they need except fish. Coco trees and century trees are abundant also.
Magalawa Island Looking back.
In the early century, MAGALAWA was apart of sitio Luan, Barangay Lipay. The said sitio was bi-sected by a small body of water crossable by people wherein the current flows southeast during high tide and northward during low tide. The current that runs n this area is about to 2 to 3 knots. In that situation erosion made this body of water wider and wider, which later on became a sea. This came when this part of the land was isolated far from sitio Luan, so the inhabitants called in their native word “MAG-LUWA” that means “about two places”. This word passed through generation to generation and was later changed to “MAGALAWA”.

For affordable tour to Magalawa Island you can inquire to Trippers




Nasugbu, Batangas
Jump-off point: Evercrest Golf Course, Nasugbu
LLA: 14.0408 N 120.8011 E 811 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-4 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3 with 60-70 degrees assault


The cool and arid clime of Mt. Batulao is a pleasant escape from the tropics. The moment you alight from the Crow bus at Evercrest Golf Course – the jumpoff – you will feel the same coolness felt by the visitors of Tagaytay. And this temperature will be with you all the way. Batulao is the only mountain in the region where you can wear jackets at high noon. You have to. There is no tree cover throughout the climb. On sunny days, this paradoxical blending of heat and cold, on dramatic, sometimes steep landscapes, with forceful winds that make the cogon grass dance, forming beautiful waveforms across the slopes, earns for Batulao the distinction of being the most spectacular of the mountains in Batangas.


Even its name draws from a spectacular origin. Every yearend, the sun sets right between Batulao’s two peaks, creating an image of rocks surrounding a disc of red light. In Tagalog, this phenomenon of “Bato sa Ilao” (Illuminated Rocks) became abbreviated to “Batulao”. Although this happens only in the last week of December, Batulao’s charms throughout the year are more than enough to make it among the favored mountaineering destinations. Access to the mountain is easy; just take the Nasugbu-bound buses from EDSA cor. Taft.


The trails are initially rough roads, then transition to paths that are well-maintained, taking you up and down, up and down, at first gently, and then the slopes will be more pronounced later. After around forty minutes of trekking, you will encounter a hut, fondly called ‘Mini Stop’ where buco juice is sold for P20 each. 500 meters beyond this hut is the fork between the two trails to Mt. Batulao’s summit.


During the cool months of December-February, jackets or long-sleeved shirts have a dual purpose in Batulao: they protect you from the chilly morning temperature, and shield you from the sun’s UV rays. Avoid garments that easily stain with dust, for Batulao is arid. During the rainy season, however, Batulao also gets humid, so wear clothes according to your comfort. Also, during rainy days, the portions of the trails could be severely muddy — preparing accordingly. In all seasons, however, long-sleeved clothing is still advised.

For the old trail, some would advice wearing gloves during the final ascent to Batulao’s peak, but it would depend on the hiker’s grip and convenience. For the new trail, gloves are not needed nor recommended.


Boy guides, aged 8-17, wait for mountaineers by the highway; you can secure their services for a range of prices but recommends P300/day. Don’t worry much about the ‘child labor’ aspect as these kids are able to go to school on weekdays; they do the guiding on weekends as their part-time job.


You can save time by taking a tricycle from the highway to the end of the road – about a 20-minute trip that costs P100/tricycle ride. You can also get their cellphone number to fetch you on your way back. At the small village that you will pass by foot or trike, you can buy food and water. A local ice cream is also sold.


At Camp 1, P20 fee is collected; a similar fee is collected at the New Trail campsite. Take note: If you want to two different trails up and down, you must pay P20 on both sides.


There are no immediately accessible water sources throughout the Batulao trail but guides can access further sources, 30 minutes away for you on either trails. For dayhikes, 1.5-2 L water is advised. Cellphone signal is present throughout the climb.

(Thanks for this Article Gideon Lasco)



Sombrero Island, Batangas

Sombrero Island (named because the island looked like a big hat sticking out of the water) is about 15 minute boat ride from Mabini Batangas (My start point going to the island).

Sombrero Island is a small patch of land known only to local fishermen. The changing tides and rainy season make it less known to tourists, but also unsurprisingly more pristine.

The east side of the island, you’ll find the beach but it does not offer much for the snorkeler but the white pristine sand makes the island more attractive. However, on the western side, you’ll find a spectacular coral reef garden. The only problem is that the snorkeler is limited only to about 50ft from the island. The farther you go out the stronger the current. To better enjoy this reef, scuba gear is needed.

Entrance to the island is 200Php cottage rent is 800Php


1st Philippine Summer Youth and Mountaineers’ Adventure Camp (PSYMAC)

Join, Experience, Learn and be the Pride of you group…..Bring Home up to 400,00php cash prizes and specially designed Trophies, Plaques…with freebies…Gift Certificates…and more…

1st Philippine Summer Youth and Mountaineers Adventure Camp (PSYMAC)

April 9-11, 2010

Caramoan (Island), Camarines Sur. Venue of Survivor France, Belgium and Turkey. Where you’ll see White Sand and rock formations comparable to Coron, Palawan


Ready…GO!…a mix event of Survivor, Fear Factor and Amazing Race with a twist. A three day event from undisclosed place in Bicol Region to the Island of Caramoan in Camarines. Composed of Five members per team of any gender.

Survivor…a typical survival challenges from simple to extreme. A team of three members of any gender will compete for three days in the island of Caramoan, Camarines Sur.

Fear Factor…three day event of unexpected challenges of a team with three members of any gender.….

On the first day of the event, experience the Bicolano Fiesta Celebration with sumptuous and unique Bicolano cuisine…Island Camping…and the Filipinoi Native Sports competition among non participants of the highlights events.

Mr. Anthony Pangilinan, Prof. Harvey Kee of Ateneo de Manila, Paolo Bediones, Marc Nelson, Mr. Rovilson, JC Tiuseco, Amanda, Kiko Rustia, Leo Oracion, Romi Garduce, Bert Emata, Pinay Everest Team, Ryan Agoncillo, Jiggy Manicad and a lot more….

Each Event will have four categories….

Company Based Org….organization based and accredited by the company with a common goal.

School Based Org…..organization based and accredited by the school.

Community Org….organization in the community whether sports, services among others with a certain goal.

Open Category….open to any individual with no group/org affiliation as long as they from a team of five or three.

Champions per categories will win 150,000php plus specialized trophies, plaques and freebies. Non winners and all the participants will receive freebies and certificates. Finalist will received gift certificates, plaques and freebies.

To all participants – 1,500php registration fee per head inclusive of a round trip fare from Manila to the Island of Caramoan in Camarines Sur plus uniform, ID, Certificate, and a souvenir shirt and event yearbook.

March 5, 2010

All Official Contestants of the 3 events are required to attend the briefing and trainings either on March 13 or 20, 2010 or both. (Venue to be announced)

Participants and Contestants are required to attend the Final Meeting on March 27, 2010 at 7:00pm. Venue will be at RCBC Plaza Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Ayala cor. Sen. Gil Puyat Avenues, Makati City.

Available at all branches of Tobys, Chris, Sandugo, Conquer, Montanara and 7-11 stores starting February 20, 2010

For more details please contact ANTHONY GO @ 09214725161 // 09157883729 or e-mail :


DFA passport service moving to new location

Starting March 8, Filipinos applying for passports may do so at the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Office of Consular Affairs at the corner of Bradco and Macapagal Avenues in the Aseana Business Park, near the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

Authentication services will be transferred to the new building on March 4, while all passport operations will transferred there on March 8.

The new 7,000-square meter, four-storey building is a few blocks away from the DFA main building in Pasay City.

The new building is part of the ongoing modernization program undertaken by the government to improve its frontline services.

These include harnessing new technologies in passport and visa issuances and streamlined procedures in the authentication of documents.

To ensure quick service, the DFA said applicants should check the passport requirements and secure an online appointment at, or call the consular helpline number (02-556-0000) or DFA trunk line (02-834-4000).

Applications may also be filed with the DFA’s 19 regional consular and satellite offices.


March Festivals and Events

Parraw Regatta
Date: First Sunday of March Location: Iloilo City
An exciting race among native outriggers in the strait between Guimaras Island and Iloilo City. This is an activity every summer hedged with rules, umpires and kibitzers.

Eid-El-FITR Muslim Festival
Date: March 9 Location: Region XII
A worldwide Muslim festival celebrating the end of the month-long fasting period of the Holy Month of Ramadam by the Muslims.

Please let me know if I missed anything.

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