Monthly Archives: October 2011

My New Passport

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My New Passport

September 29, 2011

1 PM

DFA Consular Office

Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard corner Bradco Street.

~

The cab come to a stop.

I look out the window and I see a lot of people milling around.

I psyched myself up by saying “It’s now or never!”

I faced the cab driver and paid him. Yes, with a hefty tip.

I go down and proceeded to the nearest gate.

Gate number 3.

I was about to ask the security personnel about where I should when a sign on the gate said “For those who have an internet appointment they should enter through gate number 2.”

With the heels of my leather shoes clicking on the pavement, I proceeded to search for the said gate.

After locating gate number 2, I looked down at my watch. It’s 1:oo pm and my schedule is at 2 pm. Should I cross the street and grab something to eat at McDonald’s?

“I am physically required to be at here by 1:30 pm. I have less than 30 minutes to spare!”, a debate ensues in my brain.

I decided against it and entered. It’s always better to be early than late. Besides, I don’t like eating in a hurry.

I now face the security guard while he checks my appointment “print out” that was emailed to me on the 8 days prior when I set my appointment. He then points me to a table where my appointment was to be verified.

After the verification officer pointed a laser gun at my paper, I had to ask him where to go next. “The first door on the right.” was all he said.

I proceeded and was blocked by a security guard. He checks my print out and says (in Tagalog) ” You’re due at 2pm. Go and take a seat first by the waiting area on the benches marked 2 PM.”

I look over to where he pointed.

There, seated under a tarpaulin tent was a long line of people sitting ; waiting for their appointment.

I let out a deep sigh and proceeded to find my place in line.

The waiting game has begun.

~

If you are a Filipino citizen, I’m sure you have already known for quite some time that the Department Of Foreign Affairs has “updated” the Passport application and renewal system. All you have to do is book online at http://www.passport.com.ph/ or call The DFA Passport Appointment System Hotline at telephone number 737-100 to book a date.

Here are my tips on how to survive a grueling day having your passport renewed:

1. Just make sure to bring the necessary documents that you were told to bring and make sure to PHOTOCOPY them before you get there. I have seen so many people lose their queue because they had to rush to the photocopy area to have some of their documents copied. The line is just as long!

2. Be physically present at the DFA consular office 30 minutes prior to your set time. Once your schedule has been set they will tell you this.

3. You are not allowed to bring any beverage or food inside the consular office. Make sure you had something to eat before going! Make sure you’ve peed or pooped! Make things easier for you.

4. Be observant. Read all the signs that you see. Ask the security personnel if you are in doubt, DO NOT ASK YOUR FELLOW APPOINTEES! They know not what they tell you and they are only there for themselves.

 ~

When I was looking for a seat under that hot tarpaulin tent, I didn’t know that there was a line. I sat down on an empty seat. I got a lot of heat from some women who said that I was inserting into the line.  Here’s what I said, “Pardon Me. I didn’t know there was a line. At this point I don’t give a shit where the line starts and ends. There was no need to be bitchy about it. Please proceed to the door if you want to go ahead and wait there” I stood up, put my tan leather bag over my arms and proceeded to the benches marked 3 pm. There I relaxed and continued observing people while no one was violating my air space.

~

5. The line will be non-existent once you proceed to the payment area . You get divided and mixed up on your way to the second floor after your documents and passport has been checked by the documents verification officer on the first floor. There are three cashiers and one line. Its Php 1200 for an expedited passport service (10 days) and Php 950 for regular passport service.

 

~

Once it’s your turn, The security personnel will tell you guys to stand up and proceed to the STEP 1 windows on the first floor. It’s still quite orderly UNTIL you are to proceed to the second floor for the STEP 2 of the process. Payment of passport.

My passport has just been cancelled and the guy asks me, “Would you like to have your passport process expedited?”

“YES!” was my all out reply.

After watching him repeatedly stamp various things on my documents, he gives me my papers and tells me to proceed to the cashier on the second floor. upon exiting the building, I asked the security personnel where to proceed. He told me to go to the third door all the way at the end.

I stood in line upon finding the door that would lead me to the cashier. Then this young lad stepped in front of me.

“There’s a line.” I said.

He looks at me and goes, “I know and I was behind this guy in front of me the entire time.” He stands there while my patience starts to simmer. He then starts talking to the girls behind me. I knew what they were trying to do.

With my patience running thin, I turned to the girl behind me and said, “Would you like to stay in front of me even if I was here first?”

“We were together the entire time.” was all she said.

“At this point I don’t give a shit who’s with who. I was here first.”

Just about then, the security personnel let us all in.

~

6. If you see people falling in line and being all chummy and saying things “We’ve been together the entire time.”; DO NOT FALL IN LINE WITH THEM. They are people who are being handled by travel agencies. Once you get to the second floor, go straight to the main entrance and proceed to the cashier for your payment. If you follow their line, you will end up sitting outside waiting for their other companions to catch up.

7. After paying proceed to Step 3, The Encoding and Photo Capture Area,  which is like “12 inches away” from the cashier. This is the point where everyone will end up. It doesn’t matter if you set your appointment via the phone, the internet or through an agency. You have to get a number and wait for it to be called.

~

When I got my number, I started looking around looking for the electronic board to see what number was being called. To my horror, I saw the number 3109 flashing.

I looked around and realized that there are more than 80 encoders. This will definitely take a while.

~

8. Bring a book. It will keep you company when you have to wait for 400 people to be served before you.

9. You can pay for your passport delivery service at this point. It’s only Php 120.

10. Be patient. Throwing a fit or complaining will not get you any where.

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Airport Terminal App

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Airport Terminal App

I recently discovered a new APP on the istore that I enjoy playing when I’m flying. It’s called Airport Terminal. Let me just say that I don’t really play lots of games on my Ipod Touch, but there are some games I’ve come to enjoy.

The Airport Terminal app follows in line with Diner Dash and Amy’s Burger Shop Series, where you not only manage people but you also learn to manage TIME.

This game has many characters with different personalities. There the slow moving ones, the impatient ones, the divas… it’s the people one can see walking around the airport.

You aid these characters during Check-in, Duty Free Shopping, Food Shopping, Baggage Inspection and Boarding. It sounds relatively easy until you run out of TIME!

The star of the show is Penny, an airport terminal personnel, who wants to visit all the airport terminals in the world. There are 9 countries to visit, and I am currently stuck in my third country; Germany.

This game is primarily a time management game. You need to earn extra clocks to increase your time limit, especially when you are guiding the characters through the final phase leading up to boarding. Make sure to collect as much Gold clocks as possible during prior stages or during bonus rounds because you will definitely need it!

~

I downloaded this App when it was free! I think i caught it at a time when they were giving it out for free, BUT as I’ve checked it is now selling at $1.99. But then again nothing is really for free so, maybe when I get to a higher level, I might need to purchase it to play the game for all its worth!

As for the moment, I’m really enjoying it. It’s bringing out my competitive nature. And when the time comes when I do have to pay for it, it’s gonna be deleted.

P.S.

Frankly, the reason why I clicked on this app was because I loved Penny’s eyeliner.

On Dumbo

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On Dumbo

September 2011

Elephant Camp

Ratchaburi, Thailand.

 

~

 

It’s quite an experience riding an elephant. Swaying from left to right is a different sensation.

 

We started entering the water and my mom started to panic. She was scared to fall into the water.

Dumbo made a noise because he had to poop. That part I edited out.

 

Here you can see him gliding through the water before making his exit.

 

~

 

To get to Elephant Camp you have to book a whole day or half day tour.

Your hotel or guest house can help you with this.

It costs around 800 Baht for a half day tour and around 1500 Baht for a whole day tour.

A half day tour will bring you to the Floating Market and the Elephant Camp. The prices stated above are exclusive of the paddle boat ride and the elephant ride.

A whole day tour will bring you to the Floating Market, the Elephant Camp, the Handicraft Center, the Rose Garden Show, the Elephant and Crocodile Show, and for the Cobra Show.

The price stated above excludes the payments for the paddle boat ride around the floating market, the elephant ride, the entrance to the Cobra show and the entrance to the Rose Garden Show.

The paddle boat ride at the floating market : 150 Baht per person

The elephant ride : 600 Baht per person

The cobra show : around 200 Baht per person

The Rose Garden Show: 500 Baht per person.

Feeding Dumbo

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Feeding Dumbo

August 2009

Elephant Camp

Ratchaburi, Thailand

 

 

~

I look around me.

We are speeding past the expressway.

I look down at my watch.

It’s a little past 7 am.

I decide to doze off yet again. That 6 am pickup  was too early.

I shift on my seat, closed my eyes and brought my shades over them.

My tour guide’s voice slowly woke me up an hour later.

As I gazed out the window, an elephant is starting to appear clearer and clearer.

~

 

I decided not to go on an elephant ride this time because I was running out of cash. 600 Baht will pay for my cab ride to Suvarnabhumi later that night. Hopefully I won’t have to pay for excess baggage.

I made a mental note to my self that I would make sure to ride on one when I return.

For 100 Baht, you get a bunch of Bananas to feed them.

That’s as close as you could get.

 

 

It was my first time to feed an elephant.

It’s a bit scary when they reach out to you. Especially when they blow air out of their trunks at the same time.

Having elephant snot on your face at 8 in the morning is not a pleasant feeling.

It is an amazing feeling none the less.

“How can a giant be so gentle?”

 

 

100 Baht worth of Bananas won’t last very long.

It’s all gone in one gulp.

I bought her another bunch.

It too, was gone in one gulp.

I wanted to buy more, but I realized that those were very expensive bananas.

Sorry Dumbo.

 

 

 

 

~

 

To get to Elephant Camp you have to book a whole day or half day tour.

Your hotel or guest house can help you with this.

It costs around 800 Baht for a half day tour and around 1500 Baht for a whole day tour.

A half day tour will bring you to the Floating Market and the Elephant Camp. The prices stated above are exclusive of the paddle boat ride and the elephant ride.

A whole day tour will bring you to the Floating Market, the Elephant Camp, the Handicraft Center, the Rose Garden Show, the Elephant and Crocodile Show, and for the Cobra Show.

The price stated above excludes the payments for the paddle boat ride around the floating market, the elephant ride, the entrance to the Cobra show and the entrance to the Rose Garden Show.

The paddle boat ride at the floating market : 150 Baht per person

The elephant ride : 600 Baht per person

The cobra show : around 200 Baht per person

The Rose Garden Show: 500 Baht per person.