During security screening departing the Philippines on an international flight an X-ray of my backpack showed a simple, cheap two-pronged, 2-3 meter household extension cord that I use with my laptop in coffee shops (and airport waiting areas!) where the plug isn't close to where I want to sit.

The person in charge of the X-ray machine flagged it, and when I presented it another security person (possibly looking a bit apologetic) said something along the lines that if necessary they can go find the regulation about bringing work tools out of the country and show it to me.

I got the feeling that the guard was telegraphing "This is cheap, you can easily afford another, please just say okay" but I could be imagining it.

I'm still just curious; is it really forbidden to take extension cords out of the Philippines, at least by some extension of existing regulations related to tools for work (e.g. drills, power saws, etc.)?

  • 4
    I couldn't find anything obviously relevant on the Philippines' list of prohibited and regulated exports, but it's over 100 pages long and I am not a Philippine lawyer (or any sort of lawyer) so may have missed something.
    – mlc
    Feb 25, 2022 at 3:16
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    Security screening usually do not care about export regulations (that’s for customs, though in some cases both are combined). However there may be local security-related regulations (you could strangle someone with it, or whatever, so they consider it dangerous), but that seems a bit overkill.
    – jcaron
    Feb 25, 2022 at 10:07
  • 3
    I suspect most of us computer-literates have traveled complaint-free for decades carrying similar accessories. Feb 25, 2022 at 14:37
  • 1
    @DavidSupportsMonica Definitely. It's been a long time since I've been on a plane without some sort of electric cord. Feb 27, 2022 at 4:04
  • 2
    Philippines have really sneaky power sockets and plugs - they look like US 110V and the grid is in fact 220V. Moving anything related to the mains electricity in and out of Philippines is risky unless you know what you are doing.
    – fraxinus
    Feb 20 at 7:06

5 Answers 5


I found a Philippine Airlines article that says extension cords are only allowed in checked baggage, not in carry-on luggage. See the "worker tools" section of this article https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/before-you-fly/baggage-information/security-reminder This might be the reason why some people say it is forbidden to take extension cords out of the Philippines. However, Philippine Airlines is not the only airline that operates in the Philippines, so you should check with your specific airline for their rules on this. Hope this helps!

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  • Great find, thank you! Yes, the more senior person said that if I really requested it, they could produce the written document with the "tools rules", and the phrase "worker tools" sounds very familiar :-) This must be it.
    – uhoh
    Nov 28 at 5:15
  • It's possible it's actually a security issue, and they're afraid that 'worker tools' could be used for nefarious purposes. For example, an extension cord might be used as a garrote. Nov 28 at 6:41
  • StackNance, please do not add chatty lines, like Hope this helps! to your answers. We all hope our answers help, no need to mention it.
    – Willeke
    Nov 28 at 9:14

I agree with @jcaron's comment (and I am shamelessly converting it to an answer):

Security screening usually do not care about export regulations (that’s for customs, though in some cases both are combined). However there may be local security-related regulations (you could strangle someone with it, or whatever, so they consider it dangerous), but that seems a bit overkill.

Most probably you faced security-related concerns and not customs-related ones, as this is what airport security focuses on.

  • 1
    It is also possible that the searcher was overzealous, and the seizure had nothing to do with Phillipine airport security regulations. I traveled for decades with a 2" long round-tipped scissors to trim facial hair. It was taken by a sneering teenaged security searcher in the Paraguay airport. Feb 27, 2022 at 14:57
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    Entirely possible that someone on the airport needs an extension cable, and taking it from your suitcase is the cheapest way to get one.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 27, 2022 at 16:19
  • @gnasher729 I thought about that but my goodness low-tech things are incredibly cheap in Asia. My best wild guess is that the person at the X-ray machine was new and/or in training, and the more senior person did not want to discourage them from being careful so felt it was better to back them up. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but it's what it looked like based on the vibes I got from the more senior person. It was an international but small airport seemingly for tourists from nearby countries in SE Asia.
    – uhoh
    Feb 27, 2022 at 23:46
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    It’s possible they recently failed an audit and are now following the strictest interpretation of anything that leaves any doubt (and usually the classification of dangerous objects is full of borderline cases open to the interpretation of whoever is in charge at that moment). Will last until they get bored and go back to letting guns and grenades through.
    – jcaron
    Feb 28, 2022 at 13:18

Just saw it happen in Manila Terminal 3 and when I challenged them, yes they said they do not allow it - seems ridiculous; no place else I’ve encountered is this the case.

  • 1
    Another datapoint - I carried same in my carryon through Singapore and Indian airports and never flagged even once. Feb 18 at 14:21
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    @AnishSheela Singapore and Indian airports are rarely located in the Philippines though, they are usually either in Singapore or India.
    – littleadv
    Feb 19 at 0:16
  • I meant that this is not a universal rule. Feb 19 at 1:53

I travel weekly and many flights are from the Philippines. Unfortunately, today the airport near my second home had the most ignorant security check staff. One of them needed one obviously... All other airports in the Philippines did not have this "rule".


Incredibly, it does seem to be the case, @uhoh, that there are vague restrictions against power cords,

although it's vague whether these are "national airline restrictions" or an emission from the "Office for Transportation Security under the Department of Transportation and Communications"

You need only google "philippines" airport security extension cords to find a few mentions.


Funnily enough, it really makes sense. After all, of course you could not take say a hammer as carry on.

An interesting point. I always take EVERY cable (small and large) and EVERY electronic in my carry on, and not in the checked luggage. The reason? I feel if there is anything at all electronic / metallic in your checked luggage, there is more chance they will open up your checked luggage for a search. Of course, your carry-on is searched anyway since all humans now have devices, so it's no further burden to have cables in your carry-on. Apparently I have to take care with this policy when transit Philippines!

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