Welcome to the “Tanim-Bala” Country

“It’s more fun in the Philippines”. I definitely agree to this campaign and it is really because of the many sights and places you can explore throughout this beautiful country. And this slogan has attracted more tourists in the country, and put the Philippines in the map when it comes to tourism.

Tanim-Bala is prevalent in Philippine airports

A What??? A Tanim-Bala Country!!??

But there is another thing that is currently making a buzz, and it is really not that “fun”; it is none other than the “tanim, laglag-bala” or “TA-LA-BA” for short. For those that are still not familiar with this modus operandi, let me tell you how this works.

This extortion tactics happen “incredibly”, to only those that are travelling domestically or to those leaving the country. Once you get to the x-ray screening in the airport, the screeners will see a bullet, mostly a live round of ammunition, in your luggage. Then the screeners will inform you that there is something suspicious that was detected in your bag and will ask you to open it or they will ask permission from you to open the bag themselves. And of course, they will find a bullet there and they will begin to ask you about it and when you say that you don’t own it, they will just ask for money so that you will not face charges. The extortion money ranges from a couple of thousands pesos to hundreds of thousands.

Tanim-Bala or Bullet Planting App

Bullet Planting (Tanim Bala) App
OMG! A Bullet Planting (Tanim Bala) App for Android Devices

If you want to know more about this, you can download the “tanim-bala” or bullet planting app in your mobile device. It’s currently only available in Android devices. The developer of this app, Argene Tanyong, said that this app was created “out of frustration” from what is happening today. Basically, on this game, there are bullets that are raining down on you and you just need to make sure that it will not land on your bag, or else you will need to pay $1000.

How to Prevent Tanim-Bala from Happening?

So you wonder; how you can prevent this from happening? Most security experts and authorities agreed that in order to prevent this, you will need to do these 5 things:

1. As much as possible, use a bag with no external pockets, because it is also believed that the bullets are planted by some taxi drivers or porters at the airport.

2. It’s advisable to wrap your bag with plastics or cling wrap and secure it woth durable locks.

3. If they ask you to open your bag, ask for police assistance and call your lawyer and witnesses before opening, and make sure that you will not be the one opening it.

4. Make sure that you see your bags entering the screening area and even before entering the airports. Never ever lose sight of your bags.

5. And lastly, you should know your rights as a passenger.