Snapshot(s) of the day: Philippine Passport during the American Occupation

11:38 AM

I have to admit that when I saw this old passport, I was astounded.

I assumed that passports have always been the seeming booklets we have now. But as you can see, passports during the American Colonial days were just a sheet of paper and is valid for only a year.

I have mixed emotions about this.  On one hand, it disturbs me that it – one’s freedom to travel abroad, seems so flimsy and can easily be ripped. There is also the fact that this particular freedom was only given in such brief periods. Considering that traveling abroad then meant being at sea for months at a time, well, a passport that's valid for a year isn't really that much. Which I guess was a constant reminder that we were indeed under another country’s rule.

But on the other hand, to travel under the protection of the United of the States of America seems so empowering in a way. To have a military superpower have one’s back when one’s overseas would give that sense of security and the confidence that everything will be all right.

Here’s an example of a copy on a Philippine Passport during the American Occupation. 

United States of America,

The Philippine Islands.

To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting;

I, the undersigned, Governor General of the Philippine Islands,

hereby request all whom it may concern to permit,

= Encarnacion Alonza =
a citizen of the Philippine Islands,

owing allegiance to the United States,


and freely to pass and in case of need to give
her all lawful Aid and Protection.

Given under my hand and the 

seal of the Philippine Islands,

at the City of Manila

the 2nd day of May
in the year 1919, and of the 
Independence of the United States
the one hundred and forty third.

Charles Elfeater

Acting Governor General

No. = 9830 =  

Here's Ms. Encarnacion Alonza's earlier passport. It shows that, literally, The Philippines is under the United States. 

Since her passport was only valid for a year, she had to get a new one. 

Immigration officers stamp the backside of the passport. 
A Philippine passport then was only valid for a year. One's destination and reason for travelling were specified. 
Here's the immigration stamp of London circa 1927. 

Many many thanks to the Ateneo Library of Women's Writings (ALIWW) for showing me this piece of history.

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