Near the Recto LRT train station in Manila several people are trying to sell fake documents. All kinds of documents can be bought here. All kinds of identification papers and cards, from College to University degrees, drivers licenses, government papers like Police clearances and a lot more. They are just sitting on the sidewalk with their billboards and run away when they see a police officer coming. The owners and sales persons do not want to be photographed but I was able to got a few. The quality of the pictures is not the best but you can see that they offer a large variety of documents complete with seals, stamps and signatures. fake_papers2.jpg
You probably know that on the internet you can also buy all kinds of false documents. But those you can buy on internet are from non-existing schools and universities. Here they really falsify documents from existing institutes and are selling them in the open in the street.
Ordinary people like you and me (and especially foreigners) can’t see the difference with original documents and a lot of Filipinos have those fake documents to show where necessary. For example if you are doing business with a real estate agent to buy property. They could show you papers that they are licensed brokers or otherwise. Be always aware that those papers might be false. fake_papers1.jpgThere are even examples of people working as a doctor (in medicine) or lawyers on fake papers having a little shop/office somewhere in the street.

So all (future) expats and others coming to the Philippines: be warned about this.
If you do not believe me and are interested to see the place by yourself: it is situated at C.M. Recto Avenue corner Rizal Avenue in Quiapo.

earlier comments (lost at update):

Tropicalpenpals Submitted on 2009/05/07 at 9:32pm
It’s sad to see but the problem is I believe this is why so many corruption things are reaching the West in large numbers because in Asia its very common. In the UK its gone as far as “borrowing” children to claim benefits for a family because they arrive mainly from Pakistan, Afghanistan and African nations without a shred of documentation (to hide the fact in the majority of cases that they don’t in fact come from a war zone but if that was found out they couldn’t plead asylum). Anyway.. my point being for every bit of protection the world creates for something there are thousands of people trying to get round it.

Reply jan
Hello Matt, Thanks for your comment.
You are right about a lot of immigrants (refugees, economical or political) in western countries.
They often throw their papers away when arriving in a western country, so they cannot be sent back (because they don’t have citizenship anymore).
In the Philippines it is an other problem I think. Lots of people like to have a title or school diploma, but they don?t have the capacity or financial resources to follow the studies. It’s easier to just buy a diploma and the status to go with it when they use it. There are probably more reasons for them which I don?t know exactly. I just wanted to report this issue to all of my readers.


Submitted on 2009/05/19 at 8:50pm
Yes this has been going on for years. Filipinos are very skilled forgers. They used to do passports and bank books as well. That was another reason Filipinos receive close scrutiny when traveling abroad. (not the only reason but one of them)
Now that the government is issuing the new passports hopefully that part of the industry will go away.
That is also another reason not to change money from guys on the street. Often is all counterfeit.
Funny that they sit right on the street. Do they sit next to the guys selling pirated DVDs?

Reply jan
Hello Tom,
Yes, they are sitting next to the pirated DVD’s and other pirated stuff.
By the way, pirated dvd’s and all kinds of computer programs can be bought in practically every market or outlet. And also pirated audio can be bought everywhere.
They are even falsifying the 200 and 500 peso bills (4 and 10 US$). Lots of stores are having those violet lamps to check every bill they receive. You have to be carefull in changing money in the money changers as well.
Changing your money in the street is NOT advised. Better go and ask for an official money changer. There are offices everywhere. And always ask for their rate first, so you can compare them and go to the one who is offering the best rate.