Please Wait (The Final Chapter)

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.

Mayang by the Inova
Mayang by the Inova

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!

Mayang, Ymir Thea and Efrin
Mayang, Ymir Thea and Efrin

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.

Waiting in Makati
Waiting in Makati

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!

Rosa the Meter Maid had a thing for Efrin
Rosa the Meter Maid had a thing for Efrin

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!

Post Author: Paul Thompson (313 Posts)

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

49 Ways to Make a Living without a Job


  1. marjorie says

    Not so painful this time Paul.

    My sons card took ages to get sorted, seemingly there had been some mix up. Such is life.

  2. Paul Thompson says

    My very first card the BOI first lost my passport then lost my I card, it took them one year to find it in their building, my passport…never turned up again.

  3. Rae says

    “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””


    Paul, I’m mostly a silent reader for months now but I’ve got to say ‘Thank you’! for your posts never fail to perk my day!

    • Paul Thompson says

      That’s all it took to cause you to make a comment? Stay commenting, as it’s fun! Plus; “Thank you for your kind words!”

  4. Loren Pogue says

    ■Express Lane Fee: P 500.00
    ■Double Express Lane fee: P 1,000.00
    Your are a very fortunate man Paul. Think how long it may have taken if you had not the extra cash for these special treatment fees. Head of the NO LINE– I will definatly drink to that.

    • Paul Thompson says

      I did not ask for either fee, I’ll assume my blue eyes did. head of the line? I was the only human-being on my side of the protective glass. What else would you drink to?

  5. Bob New York says

    Thanks for the conclusion Paul. Is Manila the only place in the entire country where these cards are renewed ? I am glad in the third chapter it seems like it was a much lower frustration level than the previous ones.

    • PapaDuck says


      Glad to see you finally get that odysey done, but again what else would you do to take up your time lol. Good luck to Cecil and Ernie on their trip to Alaska, hope all goes well for them. It won’t be long and it will be Grandpa Paul again. Hope all continues to go well for Ymir Thea. By the way the Red Sox have won 3 in a row from Tampa Bay this weekend, going for sweep on Boston Marathon Day. Thanks for the weekly injection of humor and have a nice day.

      • Paul Thompson says

        This year ESPN (Asia) has been showing NLB and not just brand X from New York, albeit I did see New York receive a spanking from Tampa Bay last week. Little new to be a Mama is doing just fine, Cecil seems excited about going to Alaska, but then it is the summer that he’ll be there, talk to me in December! Tampa will be a contender this year, let’s home Boston will be too.

    • Phil says

      I got off my ship in Subic once and paid American Express to take my passport to Manila and get the required stamps needed to stay there since I was living there at the time. Well, BOI lost my passport and the American Experess agent had to pay for a replacement at the American Embassy since he had responsibility for it. I always wondered what an American passport would sell for in P.I.

      • Paul Thompson says

        As I said above they have lost mine in the past and I paid the renewal. We are more than likely not the first nor will we be that last that the BOI have done this to. As for the selling price of a American Passport, that caused me to smile, I can picture a guy from the Philippines trying to copy my Boston accent when they land in the U.S. of A. I’d pay to see that.

    • Paul Thompson says

      I must make one more trip in May to pick up the completed card if it’s ready, and they gave me a phone number to call to check if it’s is ready, but government phones seldom work. Beer keeps my frustration level within manageable parameters.

      • jiji says

        hello Paul!

        So happy you got your paperworks done. uncle got his acr-icard just recently. To save u the bother of calling the BI office (line is always superbusy) u can check out their official website ( and there u will find the list of names of approved/updated/printed/ready-for-pickup i-cards. :)

        • Paul Thompson says

          For that bit of information I am in your debt until End of Days, the only question I have is why those followers of Nietzsche at the BOI failed to give me that fantastic piece of information? I’ve already tried their phone number and it’s always been busy (Off the hook?) So thank you ever so much, for posting that web site!

          • Paul Thompson says

            So I went to that site a few minutes ago, and after visiting a few places I did not want to visit I found the list, of course it’s to early for my name to show up yet, (Express Fee’s not counting anymore) but I did notice something very interesting, 50% of the people under the letter “T” were named TAN, so I’ll assume that in Manila id you throw a rock with your eyes closed you’ll hit one of two things, a stray dog, or someone named Tan!

            • jiji says


              you are most welcome! yeah its a “tan”-ful of lists! 😀

              you can check in again after two weeks and your name will be there in all its glory! haha

              have a great day chief! :)

  6. jonathan says

    Being not an alien in my home country, these fees are confusing for me Paul. Are you a victim of exorbitant double fees?

    ACR/I-Card Fee: P 1, 000.00
    Express Lane Fee: P 500.00
    Double Express Lane fee: P 1,000.00
    ICR I-Card Fee: P 2,133.00

    ACR/I-Card fees? What’s the difference between the two with different amounts? Express Lane/Double Express Lane Fees? Is this like NLEX/SLEX overlapping each other for easier access from North to South and vice versa? LOL (if there’s such a thing). And lastly, why do you have to wait for 2 weeks for these triple express service (1 for express and 2 for double express making it triple) ??? LOL again. Oh my, bureaucracy at its best. Oh wait, maybe their gonna wait for that stand off in Scarborough Shoal to be resolved which is going on now for more than a week LOL 3. I love my country!

    • Paul Thompson says

      You may describe a Bureaucracy: “As having the power to transform energy into solid waste.” (my Face Book post from the other day)
      The truth is I have no answer on those fees, but if they were going to get me to hell out of that puzzle palace I’m going to pay them.
      A person loving their country is normal, but understanding it it impossible, and I’m speaking about both the US and the RP. Ours not to reason why…..

      • jonathan says


        I agree with you about love of country. I remember when I was in Civilian Military Training which is a compulsory subject for males in PH colleges and universities during my time, the officers would always say “obey first before you complain”. I thought I’m out of that, hell no, I’m in it FOR LIFE, whatever you do, wherever you are in the world, this rule applies to every bureaucracy / government out there! I forgot to ask, if you’re going to be a fixer, are you gonna line up to the Express or Double Express Lanes? Lol…

        • Paul Thompson says

          The US Military has the comply first rule, so Mr. Ring Knocker orders me into a certain death situation, which would negate the complaining part of the rule. Nay I think not! I’ll take my chances at a Courts Martial. As for my new fixer job, if I’m working for beer I’ll take my time and never divulge info on the express plans. Local Lawyers won’t finish a case until their son has finished college. Why would I be different? (lol)

          • Mars Z. says

            Senior Chief, you are right about working for beer because they say money can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a case of beer! Are you gonna be wearing a T-shirt that says ” Will fix your I-Card problem for free” and in a small print underneath it’ll say “and a case of San Miguel Beer per BOI visit.” lol!


            • Paul Thompson says

              If they paid me with a case of cold delectable SMB’s I’d still be under the shade tree and the customer would be on their own, unless they also likeed beer, then we could start bukas!

              • Mars Z. says

                Ha ha, bukas, another Filipino phenomenon-Manana Habit, it’ll still be there tomorrow.


  7. Mark G. says

    I still think the annual balikbayan ‘vacation’ will be better for the mind and maybe even the wallet, lol. Who knew?
    Mark G.

    • Paul Thompson says

      You just might have a good plan going for you, it’s to late for me I was suckered into that first ACR and once in you don’t get out, kinda like going to the BOI Building!

    • Paul Thompson says

      May be the lady at Window 34 is a Lawyer? That one didn’t get me as much as the other four fees did!

  8. Bruce Michels says

    Thanks for the break down on the I- Card and the expense involved. I recok’on
    they charged you for express for both those line because their was no one else there so it was express to them. :)
    Look at the bright side you got your I-Card and saw some great historical sights.
    Little bummed today A very good friend of mind Gary left to day to go back to Cebu. What a bummer another one beats me to the Philippines again.
    Darn I’m chewing at the bit while still tied to the hitching post.

    • PapaDuck says

      I know what your talking about, i’m ready to go there too. I sent you an e-mail a while back. Did you receive it? Hopefully we can meet up when were both there. Take care

  9. Paul Thompson says

    The bright side is I’ve still got one more trip to pick up the I-Card, I would have paid to have it FedExed to me but that’s another 20 years in the future.
    Your time will come, slow down and it will get there quicker, it’s the Philippine way!

  10. Mike Gunkel says

    Same here in Bacolod, they have the “Express Fee” also. The office here is small, 2 lines and everytime I have been there only 2-4 people are there, so why the “Express Fee”? But from reading some of the posts about the philippines I knew not to rock the boat and just smile and pay, like a good kano.

  11. Paul Thompson says

    You’ve figured it out! As you said just smile and pay and Life will be fun in the Philippines. Some guys buck their head into the wall and try to fight it, but to no avail, they are left bitter and broken and sitting in a beer joint bad mouthing the RP to anyone who’ll pay attention. No one does!

  12. jiji says

    I read your post again (just scanned it first time) and u got me laughing at your story. you’re a good story teller, very detailed and witty :)

  13. Paul Thompson says

    You read it twice? Normaly I can’t get anyone to read it the first time. But thank you for your compliment. Live-in-the-Philippines is the name of Bob’s site and I write about what it’s like from a Kano’s point of view. Thank you for reading!

  14. Steve maust says

    Glad to hear you were able to avail yourself of the express lane services! Leaves you more time to enjoy the cold SMB’s! Would have joined you, but there were no express busses to Manila. Just had to sit under my Mango tree and enjoy the few SMB’s I could.

    • Paul Thompson says

      That’s a song I sing everyday, “Don’t sit under the Mango Tree with anyone else but SMB and Me!”

  15. Gary Suzuki says

    I know that people love to rant about the “Express” fees at immigration. Here is my experience with Express fees for visa extension.

    There was a time when I would get my extensions at the Santa Rosa, Laguna office. I would have to leave my passport there for a few days before my extension was processed. If I wanted the extension that day or the next day I would have to pay the Express fee. If I could wait the few days, then no express fee.

    Sometime in 2008 that changed. The Express fee was made mandatory no matter how long it took to process the extension. (But by then I think you could get the extensions done on the same day unless the person required to sign off the paperwork was not in the office that day.)

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