Recently, I have had my TB testing done in IOM, Makati as part of my visa requirement. Therefore, I would like to share my experience so anyone who will also be undergoing the same test would know what to expect especially during a pandemic. As expected, the process is a little different this time since COVID 19 is still around without a vaccine. There will be a temperature check before entering the building and triage before entering the health center.
If you are coming to the UK or Canada from the Philippines, one of the visa requirements is a certificate confirming you don’t have active TB or Tuberculosis. In the Philippines, the only approved clinic is the IOM (International Organization for Migration Health Centre) located in Makati City, Metro Manila.
With that said, if you live in the Mindanao and Visayas region, the only way is to fly to Makati to have this X-ray done. And that is exactly what I did, flew to Manila during a pandemic which can be considered either a brave act or just stupid. Put into consideration the fact that if I return to my town in South Cotabato, I would be quarantined for 14 days in a facility. I would like to think of myself as brave though. =)
Book an Appointment
The first thing you will need to do is book an appointment with IOM through their contact information.
International Organisation for Migration Health Centre (IOM)
15th Floor, Units A and B Trafalgar Plaza
105 H.V. dela Costa Street
Makati City 1227
Telephone: +63 (2) 8883-9339 or +63 (2) 8511-8771
Mobile: +63 (917) 593-4688 (globe operator) or +63 (919) 993-4667 (smart operator)
Fax: +63 (2) 8883-9377
Once the appointment is confirmed, they will email you with more information including the requirements, fees, and some reminders.
What to Bring
The following are the requirements you need to bring on the day of your appointment. You need to comply with an easy and hassle-free transaction.
1. Actual and valid PASSPORT
2. 2 pieces of government-issued photo ID (one will be surrendered to the Ground Floor security upon entry and one will be presented at the clinic)
· Voter’s ID
· PRC ID
· Driver’s License
· SSS ID
· TIN ID
· Philhealth ID
· Postal ID
· NBI clearance
1. 1 Photocopy of passport and ID
1. For students/ children
· Actual and valid passport
· PSA Birth certificate
· School ID – for the current school year
· 1 Photocopy of passport and ID/birth certificate
2. For applicants with previous certificates, kindly make sure to bring the original certificate with you.
The fees are below.
11 years old and above – Php 3,600.00
10 years old and below – Php 600.00
My IOM TB Testing Story
This is my version of my IOM TB test. Please understand it may be different from yours.
This all started by booking my appointment a month before my flight to Manila. It was my agency who contacted IOM directly. I gave them all my details such as my passport number, address, and contact information. On that same day, I received a confirmation email from IOM.
With a month to spare, I was able to better organize my plans- book a flight, find accommodation in Manila, and process the requirements needed before the flight. Coming from a town/city under MECQ, I needed to have tests done for my medical certificate, barangay clearance, and travel authority. More about these will be shared in a different post because I feel that these topics need their own space for explanation.
Fortunately, I was able to fly to Manila without any problems. Many times before my flight, I was worried I won’t make it or that there will be changes on the flight which will result in canceling my appointment.
On My Appointment Day
I did make it through, however. My appointment was set for 9.15 am the next day of my arrival at Makati. I woke up early that day, at around 6 am, and got ready. My original plan was to take a taxi from my hostel going to the center which would only take about 10-15 minutes according to google maps.
Since it was still a bit early with hours to kill though, I decided to walk. When I checked how long it would take, it was only approximately 30-40 minutes’ walk. It wasn’t that far, I thought, and it was a great way to spend my excess energy. To those who are new to my blog, I consider myself an active person. Therefore, walking isn’t a problem for me especially if time isn’t an issue.
When I arrived at Trafalgar Plaza, it was only 8 am. The guards on the building advised me to wait or return when it was nearly 9.15 am. There is a Starbucks cafe opposite the building for those who like coffee. In my case, I was looking for something a little heavy for breakfast. Maybe the fact that I walked that morning, made me hungrier than usual.
So after a few minutes of walking again, I found MacDonalds which I was happy about. I was excited because for seven months, I haven’t had any Mcdonalds. In our town, the only fast food available is Jollibee, no MacDonalds, no KFC, nothing else. As a result, I planned on enjoying my Mcdonalds meal since the last time I had it was before covid started.
Once I was full and happy, I walked back to Trafalgar Plaza. This time I was allowed to go inside, the time was around 9.05 am. There are a temperature check and a hand sanitizer available upon entrance. Fill out the health declaration form once inside. Moreover, at the front desk, you will have to log in and leave one identification card in exchange for a visitor pass.
IOM Health Center
Take the lift to the 15th floor next. Another guard will be welcoming you with an instruction to wash your hands at the restroom. Make sure you sanitize your hands again. The guard will then give you two copies of your queue number. One copy will be taken by staff inside, the other one will serve as your copy. They will not call out your name but rather your queue number inside.
Still outside, I was interviewed and was asked questions like, “Did you have a fever, cough, etc for the last 14 days?”, “Where are you from?”, “Did you have a swab test taken?”. Just answer them honestly. Once the interviewer was satisfied with my answers, I was allowed to enter the health center.
Submit the Requirements
Once inside, you will have to fill out a form, submit the requirements (passport, photocopy of passport and ID) and one copy of your queue number to a staff. She will take your photo thereafter. Afterward, they will lead you to a room to speak with a physician. The physician asked me questions like, “What is your job?”, “What ward are you working in?”, “Did you have contact with a covid patient?”,” Have you experienced symptoms such as sudden weight loss and night sweats?” and more. Again, just answer the questions honestly.
The next step after that would be the payment. Another staff member will ask you to sign some documents including the consent form. She then instructed me to pay the fee of 3,600 PHP at the cashier and return to her for further instructions.
This was when the waiting began. They will call each one using the queue number so you have to pay attention. The fact that people are wearing masks and face shields doesn’t help. Sometimes, I wondered, “Did she say 5B or 5D?!”.
Called twice for an X-ray
I had a worrying incident that happened on that day though. So, I was called to enter the x-ray room. The technician gave me instructions, you know, just the typical x-ray if you have done it before, nothing special. After I was finished, I was told to wait outside.
After the x-ray, I waited for my number to be called for the release of the certificate, the final step. An hour passed by, however, my number still wasn’t called. Two hours passed and I was still waiting. I got more concerned when the x-ray technician called my number again. I thought, “What, again?”.
So, I got up, I went inside. She needed to do more X-ray of me, she said. She made me do two different poses. One with my left arm raised facing back and the other was a weird couture-like pose facing the x-ray machine. Afterward, again, I was told to wait outside.
Moment of Doubts
At that moment, I was freaking out inside, worried that they might have found something wrong with my lungs. That I have TB. You know how crazy the brain works sometimes. Until I reached a point in my mind when I thought, “You know what, if they find that I have TB, that’s great because then I can seek treatment right away”. On the other hand, there’s a part of my brain disagreeing, thinking, “Ira, if you have TB, you should have symptoms which you don’t have.” Crazy brain, I know.
Then, 12.30 PM arrived. Some staff was going out, obviously to have lunch. There were only a few people left in the health center including me. And I am starting to feel hungry too.
Finally, my number was called, halleluja! I’ve got my certificate confirming that my chest X-ray is normal and that I don’t have an active TB, thank goodness. At that point, I was able to breathe out and properly visualize what food to eat for lunch.
This is my IOM UK TB test story. One requirement checked out from my list, I am so relieved. Right after I went out of the building, I looked for food and walked back to my hostel.
Good luck to whoever is reading this post. Hopefully, this helps.
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