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Getting a passport at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

I can finally breathe. For the last 2 nights, I barely get to sleep after learning that my passport application was put on hold. I scarcely have 3 weeks before my scheduled flight. Everything has been laid down and for some odd reason; I still don’t have a passport. I freaked out! I’ve been convincing the CSR’s of DFA to somehow consider my few available papers at hand, but to no avail. I almost lose hope. I came up with the possible scenarios of rescheduling, have my mom take my post and even to the extent of cancelling my flight (booking is non-refundable). I am utterly perplexed! Backing out should never be an option and should never cross my mind at all … at any cost. What should I do?

Of all tasks noted in my organizer, applying for a passport is the most urgent, with high priority flag. And yet, procrastination (for once this year) killed it! It was deferred for two (2) weeks! Not acceptable! (I hear my mom and ton’s voices whispering in my ear). In my lethargic routine, I should have nailed it, soon as planned. But I’m apathetic! Can somebody kick my ***?! I am struggling!

Everyone’s so excited for this vacation. The itinerary, the luggage and the clothes are all geared ahead. The excitement builds up as week passes by. I can’t even contain myself that I even told my circle about it. Never have I thought that behind all these anticipations, all that followed was anticlimactic.

But I refused to give in! I’m not a shirker, I won’t quit. I can do it!
After mulling over all possible worst-case scenarios, I set aside my
gloomy thoughts and focused on what can be done. This isn’t over yet.
I’ve started gathering all documents that could prove my identity. From my High School ID (yeah, still have it), College ID, Library Card, Registration Form, BIR and SSS forms, Insurance documents, NBI clearance, Birth Certificate (both local and NSO copies) to my confidential pay slips and bills. Don’t dare ask me why I don’t have any school records (that is a different story). So there, I presume all these will speak for themselves. Not just that, you’ll find this side-splitting or strangely insane ‘cause I even thought of a spoof to satirize the verifier (Star Circle days). Hahaha … So there, if this won’t work, then it really isn’t meant for me. At least I’ve tried and I’d be damn proud of it!

I am going to crash DFA Manila Office and will nail them! (I have in mind)
Fully equipped (with four (4) hours sleep) I headed to Roxas Boulevard via cab. Manong driver was so considerate to get me there in 20 mins (at 4 am, some usually asks for a “gratuity”). He dropped me straight to the gate next to the guard to ensure my safety. Then the security guard approached me and gave me directions towards the applicants’ lane, leaving me with a piece of advice “whatever happens, never talk to anyone outside the gate even if they’re in full uniform”. With that in mind, I walked my way to the annex. I now sense, GOD must have sent these people to guide me (prayers answered). I went to the entrance gate right away, paying no heed to fixers. They are excessively assertive and they mushroom to each corner of the road. Did I say a lot of them? I’ve been incessantly trailed until I get in touch with another guard. After undergoing some security checks and making sure I’ve got all needed documents, I was assisted to the lane. (Thanks, Guard #2). I am now about to start my arduous assignment.

Of all 25 years of my existence, I never got to work on any papers. If there is any task that includes waiting, expect me to not be at your sight. I lived my life with somebody working for me. I hate to admit it.
To my surprise, as early as 5 am, there were about hundreds of them sitting inside the waiting area. I thought I was early! “This is going to be tough”, I said to myself. As of all virtues, it is patience that I am not bestowed of. I need something to keep me sane. After a couple of minutes, applicants next to me started nattering. I took this opportunity to face ‘em and smile. It didn’t fail me; I became instant friends with the 3 next to me. So there goes the never ending interweave of queue. It wasn’t dreary as I thought. My “new friends” – (Jessrich, the BIG guy; Kristina, the snoopy; and the garrulous Ryan) kept me perky. Even if I had to leave my post a couple of times for photocopying, it was secured. This company of strangers bonded so well that even the applicants on the other lanes started to chat with us. The network goes on and on. There was never a dull moment. (Prayers answered).

An hour before the office opened, I’ve decided to sit on the floor. All eyes are riveted on me since I was the only one on our lane to do that. I retorted with a smile. Hahaha … Look at the photo.

Windows then opened around 7:30 am. After verifying all information and checking our documents, I found myself to the most dreadful part, the evaluation. This is it! The one I’ve been crossing my fingers for. The applicant before me was held for about half an hour due to lack of supporting documents. He badly pleaded for consideration but to no gain. I got flustered. My 2 hours of draining wait will come to waste if I’ll have the same fate. With all my remaining guts, I faced the verifier. I gave a smile and handed my documents (while thinking of a spoof just in case, got rejected). She scrutinized my papers and I kept on waiting for her to ask me questions. I’m prepared for it. You won’t believe me but she didn’t, not even once! It only took me 3 minutes of her time and it’s all done. APPROVED! This is entirely different from what I‘ve anticipated. (Prayers answered). What a relief! This is insane!

I gleefully went straight to the cashier for payment and to the auditorium (with an awesome interior) for encoding. And soiled my thumbs for marking to seal the last step. I now have a passport, my well-deserved passport. Well, I had it couriered so I’ll have it in 8 days.

I’m leaving DFA Office but how will I get home? This is the most trivial catch that would make you hate me.
On my way out, a lady in pink (who happened to join us in one of our chitchats) approached me. (I’ve been calling her “Pinky”.) She asked for my name and introduced herself, “I’m Ate Mercy “. She accompanied me to the courier booth (where a guy freely assisted me) and then offered me a ride. (Thanks Ate Mercy! It’s 7 pesos, scrap the 40!) She dropped me at the nearest LRT station (from there I know where to go). While waiting for the train, I suddenly felt a tap on my shoulder. Surprisingly, he’s one of those who warily secured my post at all times. His wife then waved “Goodbye, Take care!” It’s so heartwarming knowing that we met just hours ago. This is too much! I’m surrounded with a lot of good soul! (Prayers answered)

For others, their experience getting a passport from this office could probably be described awful. But with me, I won’t forget this day because of the morale the people have shown me. I won’t hesitate to undergo the same experience 5 years from now if I’ll be surrounded with the same soul I’ve known today.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, that is to value time. Procrastination finally took its toll on me.
Time is the one thing in this world that none of us have the power to capture again. “Time, as they say, is gold. Even if I’m dead-beat of hearing this cliché, I finally absorbed the philosophy of this quotation. There are no rewinds in life but just play, and sometimes even fast forward. This means that you cannot go back to that one moment where you could change how you could have reacted. The problem is you would have already realized this only when that moment has passed. So make the most of what you have and what you can NOW.

If there’s anything left undone, I dare you to move!

* Shoutout: Happy Birthday to Mama Baby! Love yah!

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