Friday, August 13, 2010

DFA Passport Renewal

Last July 6, I was able to get a passport renewal schedule through the Department of Foreign Affairs' (DFA) Passport Appointment System, the new and easy way of securing an appointment for your passport needs (new application, renewal or replacement). The process of securing a schedule is as easy as creating a Facebook account. Just log on to , fill out the required fields (such as your identification and passport details -- if for renewal) and you will be led to a page where you get to see the available dates and time that DFA may process your application.

Now, the latter part is not that easy...not the choosing of the date and time but finding the earliest date possible for your application, as the earliest dates are closed, and more often than not, you find a free/available slot at least a month from the date you logged in. Take my case, for example. I logged on July 6 and got an appointment (the earliest I found) was August 12. That's a month and 6 days waiting time! Though I tried about 3 to 4 times, testing my luck if I'd get an earlier booking, but no... August 12 was the earliest then, so I grabbed it.... August 12, 2010, 7:00AM.
During the 1 month waiting time, I prepared all the requirements needed, well, there isn't much actually... only the following:
  • photocopy of the front (where your photo is), pages 1-3, most recent immigration stamp, and back page of your old passport
  • print out of the application form (in pdf format) sent by DFA to your email in long bond paper
 Everything is set, just waiting for the day. Then, on August 6, I got an email from DFA stating that my 7AM schedule has been moved to 8AM, nevertheless, it also states to be in DFA at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Hmm, I appreciate DFA's effort to inform applicants of the time changes. Nevertheless, I was still fixed on going to DFA at least 45 minutes to an hour before my schedule just so I can finish early.

Fast forward to August 12, my tito and I went to DFA. There were lots of people already when we arrived (730am) so we proceeded to the gate to begin the process:
  1. At the gate, fall in line for bag inspection. Show printed printed application form to the guard.
  2. Proceed to the desk just a few steps across the guard (hehe) and present application print out for DFA Representative's checking (Rep highlights the bar code on the form)
  3. Proceed to the building entrance and present application form to the guard at the door
  4. As you enter, you will see a big sign on the wall 'RENEWAL' where the queue for passport renewal is (there are long benches where you can sit while waiting which also serves as the waiting line)
  5. Upon reaching the front row seat (facing the windows/counters), prepare application form & photocopy of passport (at this stage, everyone was informed that only the 1st and 2nd pages of the passport are needed)
  6. When it's your turn, present all requirements to the DFA officer. Sometimes, they ask for an ID (so bring one!)
  7. DFA Officer will ask you to sign the lower portion of the application form to confirm that the Officer has received your passport
  8. Officer will punch through 2 holes in your old passport as he asks you whether you would like your passport renewal to be processed either Regular (20 working days from day of application) or Express (10 working days from day of application). Officer prepares a voucher which indicates your choice.
  9. Officer returns your old passport, processing voucher and application form and lets you sign on his log sheet.
  10. Proceed to the second floor for payment.
  11. Go to the cashier, present voucher and pay fees (Php 950 for regular processing; Php 1200 for express). Wait for a printed receipt.
  12. Approach the verification counter (just adjacent to the cashier) to get your number for photo capture.
  13. Wait for your number to be called (it will be flashed on screen)
    waiting area for your photo capture
  14. LBC representatives may approach you while you wait asking if you'd like to have your passport delivered straight to your home/office address. You may/may not opt to avail of this... well, it all depends on you). If you do choose to have your passport delivered at your doorstep, just pay Php 120 per passport. It will be delivered a day after your scheduled passport release. (e.g. if DFA says that your passport will be released on August 26, your passport will be delivered to you on Aug. 27). 
  15. When your number is flashed on screen, proceed to the counter number assigned to you (also seen on the screen, next to your number).
  16. Present application form to the DFA representative (for scanning). The DFA Rep will ask you to put your thumb on the thumb print scanner.
  17. DFA Rep then requests you to face the camera, ears exposed, no smiling. 
  18. After (or at times before) your photo capture, you will be asked to sign on a digital tablet.
  19. The representative will ask you to review the information she typed on her computer before she clicks the 'Submit' button. And you're done!
  20. (Optional) If you chose to have your passport delivered to your home, proceed to the LBC counter, which is located near the exit (you won't miss this because you will pass by this area as you leave the 2nd floor).
  21. Present the payment voucher given to you by the LBC representative when you paid the Php 120 delivery fee.
  22. LBC Rep shall encode your delivery address, lets you check the details on screen, prints a form and requests you to sign it. 
And you're done!!!!
Now, I just have to wait until my passport is delivered.

  • Ensure that you have the pages of your passport photocopied before going to your appointment. This will save you time and money. Photocopying is at Php 3 per page in DFA!
  • Bring a pen
  • Bring an ID or a photocopy of your birth certificate/marriage certificate, just in case

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When You Least Expect It

I got up at around 730AM to prepare for today's appointments. I prepared the documents and made myself breakfast (1 slice of loaf bread with bacon spread + a cup of coffee). I barely drank coffee as I rushed to take a bath and get dressed, checked the clock and it's already a little past 9AM. Now, I need to move double time.

I'd just hail a taxi so I won't have to walk distances. First attempt was a failure, taxi is occupied, and so is the next. But then the passenger inside the cab waved at me as if she knew me. I just looked at her in surprise and looked away. In a matter of a second or 2, I realized that I know that person... it was Anne, my college barkada. I just smiled at her and waved goodbye... then in a split-second (again) I told her I'd ride with her...and there it was, I got my cab ride. 

Anne works in Ortigas (Antel building) which is just across my first destination, Centerpoint building. We were both surprised to see each other, so surprised that there was silence in the cab for about a minute! Then we made our kumustahan until we reached their office. So I just passed through their building and walk myself to Centerpoint. Fine... I still had to walk, in heels by the way, and cross an overpass. No worries, it's the least I'd do for a free ride. Hahaha.

And there I was, just in time for my 10AM appointment. I was served about 10 minutes after I arrived, exchanged information with Ms. Boots Sarte, the Recruitment Consultant, who happens to be a graduate of UST - AB Behavioral Science Batch 1997. The interview turned out to be more of a chikahan between 2 Thomasians. Go Uste! Hahaha. Five minutes later, she let me take an exam (aptitude, sentence completion, and psychological exam) which lasted for about an hour.

As I took the exam, my stomach grumbled like crazy! It was embarrassing since I know for a fact that my seatmate can hear it! Geez! And my tummy was like making that sound every 3 minutes, so I had to fake a cough to overpower it! Gosh, crazy crazy! I knew right there that I should never skip breakfast ever again, especially if I have 'professional' appointments. 

As I finished the exams, I bode farewell to Boots and she told me to expect an update after a week. I rushed out of the building and was lucky to find a can waiting in front to take me back home immediately so I can have brunch.

Reaching home, I immediately prepared myself a decent meal, and killed 2 hours of waiting by watching tv. An hour after, the intercom rang and I was told that I there's a flower delivery. I was surprised. I even asked the receptionist again to confirm. As soon as she said that it was indeed for me, I headed to the lobby to pick it up. 

Lo and behold, it was indeed for me, though there was no indication from whom the flowers were from. When I went back to the unit, I opened it and read the card.... it's from my fiance. :) It's a belated monthsary gift.... 3 red roses and a little teddy bear. Cute. 
gift for our 119th

And yes, from that moment, ang haba ng hair ko! Hahaha. I immediately called him on the phone but he wasn't answering. Minutes later he returned my call so I was able to thank him for the sweet surprise. He was happy that I liked it.

An hour later, I dragged myself out of the house to go to my next appointment. Destination: Ayala Avenue, Makati. I left 230pm thinking that I'd make it at 3pm but I reached Makati around 320pm due to traffic congestion along Ayala Ave. itself. Crazy. Nevertheless, I made it on time.

For my 330pm appointment, I was served around 4pm by a young lady, who seems to be fresh out of college, and handed me an application form. Filling it out was easy, compared to other application forms that companies give to applicants, so I was able to finish it in 5 minutes. After which, the long wait has begun. An hour and a half has passed, I still wasn't called.

Then my phone rang, a number I am not familiar with was calling me..when I answered it, I was immediately engaged in a phone interview with Ms. Jewel Layug of IBM Business Services. A minute into the phone conversation, my interviewer came out and called for me. Talk about bad timing. When she saw that I was on the phone, she made a gesture saying "I'll let you take that call". But then, the person on the other end of the line kept asking me questions and I cannot seem to interrupt her... that was when the interviewer went out again for the second time to check on me. God, I was in a weird situation. Fortunately or unfortunately, my phone signal was out, thus cutting my conversation with Jewel. At that point, I said to myself "bad impression to the interviewer" .... not only with the one I was scheduled with that afternoon but also on Jewel. I was thinking of walking out or whatever.

Minutes later, Ms. Mitch (the interviewer) went out to call me and we proceeded with the interview. Of course, I apologized for making her wait and she seemed cool about it. And so the interview began and lasted for about an hour. She explained to me what the job will be like and their organizational structure...and told me that they will call/email me after a week for updates.

Whew! Finally, all my appointments are done for the day. Long day it was. But I am glad I have accomplished a lot of things. And upon reaching home, I felt much better seeing that I have 3 red roses and a bear waiting for me. Love Love Love!

Monday, August 9, 2010

When Rules are Rules

It's been 10 days since I filed for our marriage license in Mandaluyong City Hall, which means that our license is now ready for pick up/release. However, I was politely informed and guided by the Civil Registry officer, Mrs. Ador, that our license cannot be release until we accomplish the following:

  1. Personal Appearance - obviously, she's seen me, flesh and blood, and is convinced that yes, I intend to be married. But my fiance also has to appear before her so she can attest that we are the same couple who matches the pictures I submitted as part of the document requirements requested by their office
  2. Attendance to the Family Planning Seminar - this runs every Wednesday from 1pm-3pm, wherein a certificate of attendance shall be given to the couple upon completion. 
So until then, I cannot get my hands into that license. Hahaha. Well, in a way, I am happy because this proves that the local government in Mandaluyong follows rules, requirements, etc. to the letter. Never was there a time, during that second meeting with Mrs. Ador, did she make me feel that red tape, under the table or "lagay" can expedite the process. Bravo! And with that, fiance and I will be able to claim our license on the 25th when fiance is back in Manila! Yey, I'm excited!