This is the second and last of two questions about an unusual international departure from the Philippines, the other is Is it really forbidden to take extension cords out of the Philippines?
Several years ago I did an exit/enter trip to the Philippines for visa reasons. My scheduled stay was only several hours long. The location was Cebu because there was a particularly cheap ticket available at the time.
When leaving, the agent at the immigrations/passport control took my passport then started asking me questions of the form:
When did you last come here, how many times, and why?
and I answered somewhat cautiously, not wanting to give an incorrect answers nor say "well give me back my passport and I can look it up for you."
Finally the agent asked me point blank
You just got here, why are you leaving?
to which I answered
Oh! I'm just doing an exit/enter from nearby country X for visa reasons and unfortunately I just don't have time this time to stay and enjoy myself, I wish I could!
The agent then told me what I was doing was illegal. He was also taken aback by my candid response and informed me that he would not take any action this time but that I should not do it again.
So I'd like to ask two related questions:
- Is it illegal to visit the Philippines for a few hours for a visa run?
- If I ever have to do this again, how can I know ahead of time for which Southeast Asian countries this will be okay? Is there a list or specific search term by which I can find reliable current information?
note: I understand item #2 is somewhat moot at the moment due to travel restrictions but there may be some general way to address this beyond that.