Traveller’s Gateway

And so it came that I have to renew my passport. Simple plan but needs a lot of money, time, effort and help from friends for this to happen. Why? I am from Negros Oriental and there’s no regional consular office nearby. I have 3 routes to choose from and that will be;

Route #1 – DFA, Cebu
Systematic yet takes a lot of effort and time as I have to travel half-day to get there. Long qeues, as in very long that I need to line up starting at 12 midnight to get a priority number. Sounds medieval right? Shout out to all IT’s, maybe you could help DFA cebu program an appointment system.

Route # 2 – DFA, Bacolod
Haven’t tried but rumor has it that it only takes less than an hour to process a passport but rumor has it too that there are incidents of delayed releasing of passport; like the 25 days regular processing became more than a month and a half of waiting while the 15 days of rush processing became a month long of waiting. There are also reports that no one will answer their trunkline in cases of inquiry and complaints.

Route # 3 – traveling agency
Expensive and not ideal for those who want their passport to be rush.

Obviously I took route #1 for the reason that I feel more at home in cebu and there is no language barrier in case there is a need for me to make complaints and inquiry.

So here’s what happened, i dragged my cousin and my sister-in-law to travel with me to Cebu. We travel for 5 hrs from Negros to Cebu. We arrived in Cebu at 8pm and headed directly to Ayala for our dinner. Unfortunately, nothing seems to please our palate judging through the aroma coming out from various food establishments inside tha mall so we headed to AA’s in Apas, Lahug. Phew! we forget that we travelled this far with their scrumptious food. 20131002-153103.jpg

Then we headed to another cousin’s apartment to refresh ourselves and a quick nap. At half past midnight, we started our way to DFA and get there around 12 minutes later.

The new location of DFA adds to my dilema as it was too far that i have to pay a fare P120 if no traffic and P135 during morning or if there is any build-up of vehicles along my route (the rate is applicable only for route Apas – Pacific Mall). Unlike before when it was still situated near sto. Niño Church, where it was accessible by jeepney which means cheaper fare and I wont need to hassle anyone to come with me.

Unexpectedly, there are quite a few in line already when we got there. “>20131002-151852.jpgThen a few hours later, the SG starts to check our requirements if it’a all valid or if we have all the requirements needed for our purpose. The rest of the hour was spent chitchatting with my seatmates. I made new aquaintance by the way and they are; Merlisa on my right and Wilma on my left. My cousin bought me a cup of coffee before they left. >

20131002-153407.jpgSoon around 4am plus, i started to feel sleepy, eyelids become heavy and puff i fall asleep, making the bench my pillow.

When i opened my eyes, it was already twilight. A few hrs later, the guard starts to give away priority number and my lucky number is 20131002-154508.jpg

and was ask to come back at 9am. Afterwards, I proceed to Jollibee for my breakfast and headed back to my cousin’s apartment for quick nap and freshin up.
Soon enough, my 1hr sleep feels like 5 mins and off back to DFA.

Inside the DFA, the ambience is relaxed and there’s a clear system established. All you need to do is sit pretty in their most uncomfortable but humble chair and wait for your turn. While waiting, soothe yourself to a gag program showing on flat screens television high above. If there is no interruption from
courtesy lane, stupid fellow applicants and lunch break then i think, the total process will only takes 30 mins. Sorry for the term “stupid fellow applicants”. It’s just irritating to have people ahead of you who lacks requirements nor dont have photocopy ready. It’s just non-sense to line yourself up without a ready documents when that’s what you came for and it’s clearly printed on the back of the application form and boldly printed on a poster size tarpaulins at the gate of the consular office. Also, they interrupt or should i say delayed the flow of the system. And it’s a domino effect to the rest of the applicants .

There are 3 major steps inside:
1. Processing – documents will be checked and verified
2. Payments – cashier will receive your fees. They will ask you how much you’re going to pay:
1200 for rush (15 working days)
950 for regular (25 working days)
3. Encoding – information will be encoded. Photos will be taken. Word to the wise: please check for any mistakes in your information and dont forget to fix your signature before you left.
4. Releasing – come back after 15 or 25 working days. Please refer to your receipt as they note there the date to
claim your passport.

Feeling accomplished, exhausted and somehow happy with how my day ends, i rode my way back home with a box of buko pie.

20131002-153325.jpgLooking forward for the release of my new passport as well.

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