One of the words you hear associated with the Philippines is “paradise.” Mostly you hear that word from people who “want” to move here. Want to retire here. Have a long distance love affair with the country. You rarely hear that word from people who have lived here, though.
Is the Philippines a paradise? Personally, I think not. I have long said that there is no paradise on this earth. Every place has problems. Oh, don’t take my words the wrong way, I love living in the Philippines. If I didn’t love living here, I’d move. Heck, I bet Paul Thompson would even give me a lift to the airport! 😉
Let me tell you about how my day went on Monday this week, and you decide if it is paradise or not.
Just like Paul mentioned in his article on Monday, my ACR I-Card is about to expire. I still have about 2 1/2 months before the expiration, so it’s no rush. But, on Monday I decided to go down to the Immigration office here in Davao and get it taken care of. So, first thing, I gathered up my passport and all of the receipts from my annual check-ins at the BI. I gave all of these to my nephew and asked him to take the documents and get two photocopies of everything. One thing is for sure, if you are doing any kind of government business in the Philippines, you will need photocopies of any document involved.
After my nephew, Deo, got home from getting the photocopies, I put everything in a big envelope and headed off to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) office. I rode the jeepney. Traffic was extremely heavy, and it took me about an hour just to get into the City Proper. When I got to Roxas Blvd, I had to switch to a different Jeepney, which I did. Another 15 minutes ride and I was at the BI office. Here in Davao, there is a mall just across the street from the BI. I got thinking and realized that I would also be needing some ID photos for my new I-Card, so I better go to the mall and get some photos taken, which I did. It took an hour to do that, 45 minutes of the hour was trying to get somebody to help me, even listen to my questions. Typical service. After finishing up with my ID photos, I walked across the street to the BI office. The guard at the door asked to see my passport, which I gladly showed her, then she asked what my business was at the office.
“I need to renew my I-Card,” I told her.
“Oh sir, the lady who handles I-Card renewals is on leave” she replied to me.
“Oh, OK, but when will she be back to work?”
The guard replied, “We don’t know.”
I asked her how would I know when I should come back again then, and she told me that I could go inside and talk to the person in charge, and maybe he could help me.
So, I went in and asked the person in charge of the office, he also said that they don’t know when she would be back again. Another person inside the office told me that I should “come back tomorrow.” I didn’t do that, because 2 out of 3 people said that nobody knows when she will be back, so it is doubtful that she will be there tomorrow. All the while, I was wondering why there is only one person who handles I-Card renewals. But, to be honest, this is how stuff works in the Philippines, so I was not angry, upset or frustrated, I just accepted it, and said I’d come back another time.
Was this inconvenient? It sure was. Was it normal? Indeed it was. So, why get angry.
But, is this the way things are in “paradise?” No, I don’t think so.
For anybody who says that the Philippines is Paradise, I can only guess that they have never lived here. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a nice place to live. Paradise it is not, a nice place to live it is.
Don’t believe me? After you’ve lived here a year, drop me an e-mail and tell me what you think then.