Last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that a more secure electronic passport will be available in April 2016. Nothing makes my heart beat faster than good design, so I am very excited about this new and improved document.
Before you chuck your passport out the window to get a new one (don’t do that), read on to learn more about the updated version that will be rolled out by the government soon.
What It Looks Like
We all know that the current passport is drab and unassuming. The new design, however, contains illustrations that speak to the country’s history and biodiversity. These include Bicol’s Mayon Volcano, Metro Manila’s skyline, and Ifugao’s world-famous rice terraces, among others. It also contains words from the National Anthem and the preamble of the 1987 Constitution.
Photo credits: ABS-CBN Online News
Improved Security Features
Aside from being pretty, the unique illustrations on the visa pages are actually an added security feature: these images are created using a process called intaglio printing, making it almost impossible to replicate. This is also the process used in printing banknotes.
In addition to these illustrations, the new e-passport will feature see-through holograms (or images visible at a certain angle), a microchip containing important details about the traveler’s identity, printed information visible only under UV light, watermark, and pages perforated with a unique document number (much like the old one).
Watch TFC’s interview with Ambassador Libran Cabactulan on the new e-passport’s features:
How to Get the New Passport
If your passport will expire anytime soon (like me), you’re in luck. By April, we’ll have the upgraded version of the Philippine passport. But if you just renewed yours, you’ll have to wait for five more years until it expires before you can get the new one.
For more information on how to obtain a Philippine passport, log on to the DFA’s web page for passport applications.
(UPDATE: It seems like the launch of the new passport was delayed. According to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, the printing of new passports starts on August 16.)