Holy week has passed, and my ACR I-card was expiring on 11 April 2012 Monday was of course another holiday, So now it’s Tuesday 10 April and I must go back to Mega Manila and finish my processing of the paperworks for my ACR I-card. I was informed during my last visit that taking pictures inside the BOI Building was frowned upon, so I have very few photos’ this week.
04:00 (Oh dark thirty) Efrin and his Inova arrive at my gate, we all load up, Cecil, my new son-in-law, my very pregnant daughter Ymir Thea, my lovely bride Mayang and yours truly. As we settle in I notice an extra guy sitting in the front seat beside the driver. “Who he be?” I asked. Oh! States Cecil my new son-in-law, he’s my friend Ernie and he needs a ride to Manila.
I further glean that Ernie was a former US Merchant Marine, and was going to fly with Cecil to Dutch Harbor Alaska the end of May, to work in the fishing industry there. I had explained to Cecil that I’d been to Dutch Harbor in the past and had noted that there was a woman behind every tree, but there were no trees, and what a garden spot hidden here on Earth it was. I had no envy there!
We stopped at MacDo’s for breakfast and braced myself with food before we arrived at the Immigration Office at 0730 I waltzed up to window 32 and handed the “Smiling” lady my paperworks (and realized that she was smiling) I’ll assume because she had just had a long Holy Week off, and Monday too.
My paperworks were processed within 4 minutes (I timed it on my cell phone) I was done, and stood there like a fool trying to figure out how that had happened so quickly and she sent me to window 41 to pay the bill, which worked out to this:
- ACR/I-Card Fee: P 1, 000.00
- Legal Research Fee: P. 10
- Express Lane Fee: P 500.00
- Double Express Lane fee: P 1,000.00
- ICR I-Card Fee: P 2,133.00
- Totaling To: P 4,643.30
I never requested the either Express Option Plan, but was smart enough to keep my big mouth shut, and go with the flow. I was the only person there, why did I need express? But again I was not going to quibble or rock the boat and throw a monkey wrench into the works.
Now I must Xerox each receipt because I have to pay for that, and save them money. and then present all this to window 34, NO NOT WINDOW “34” that’s the window I’d been dreading, as the evil lady that manned that damnable spot did not like me for comments I’d made a few weeks prior. By the way, it not yet 0800 and I’m in the final line, the light was shining at the end of the tunnel, my Yin and Yang were in balance and my journey or Odyssey was almost completed. If I can only survive Miss McEvil, the scourge of window “34” Oh woe is me; I’m doomed, doomed and more doomed. Plus I can vision my Express and Double Express Fees being set to be flushed!
Then like brilliant rays of sunshine cascading from the heavens, I notice; it’s a new lady! I broke into my most charming smile, greeted her warmly and slid my paperworks under the window to her and heard those dreaded words; “PLEASE WAIT!” I’m crushed; I’ve fallen into the abyss it must be McEvil’s sister and she was warned about the wise ass Kano.
Paperworks were shuffled, pages examined, stamps’ were assigned, scowling and grunting ensued, I glanced at my cell phone and saw that it was 0756, my day was going into a tailspin. When all of a sudden this angel looks up and smiled and informed me it was all correct. I asked what window I go to next and she told me I was done, finished, no longer required to be there I was absolutely stick a folk in it done, and would I please go home! She then cut off a section of my application, known as the “Applicant’s Claim Form” handed it to me and said; “Call in about two weeks”
As I’m racing pushing and dancing my way towards the EXIT, when it dawned on me that I was in violation of Philippine Law, by not having my I-Card on my person to show to any and all Philippine authorities who might request it..
My anal retentive mind is screaming that I must go back in and find out the answer to this burning question, until it occurred to me that I was in procession of the most powerful document the Philippines produced; “The Official Receipt” it’s akin to a magic wand, just wave it and it answers all questions, solves all problems. It’s like being smeared with Duck Butter and all will slide off your back. It’s Golden! Hell I never need to go back to Manila to pick up my I-Card as long as I have “The Official Receipt” with me, but I will go back, as I love to finish something once I’ve started.
On my way home now? No not yet, Cecil and Ernie must go to “Makati” to purchase their plane tickets to Dutch Harbor, and then we were off to the Singapore Embassy (Also in Makati) to certify as original all copies of Ymir Thea and Cecil’s Marriage Contract from Singapore before the Philippine government will recognizes that they are legally married. The Singapore Embassy has a huge gray wall around it similar to Changi Prison, and just as welcoming. Very trusting people!
But while waiting I did see the electric passenger thingies there, it’s not a Trike, and it looks a little like a Tuk-Tuk from Thailand, but carries 5 people and no noise, well except for the sound of people yelling about being tangled in the extension cord. (Just Joshin’) They were quite cool.
So there it is, my I-card is being processed, and the cost with transportation, it has set me back, close to $500.00 but that’s the way it is when a government is centralized in one area and providing service to its people and visitors is not on the list of priorities. But that’s for them to figure out, and I know I’ll be long gone by the time they do.
But I complied with every rule and regulation, and I do look forward to April 2017 when I get to do it all over again. If I lived closer to Manila I’d become a “Fixer” at the Immigration Office, and stand under a shade tree holding up my sign. “Kano Fixer; Will Work for Beer”
Life is fun in the Philippines! Visiting a Government Office: Not so muck!