My Tuesday morning, last week sent me out early with a list of chores that I had planned on accomplishing all in one day. Then I could take the rest of the week off to enjoy having an adult beverage with friends under the mango tree. But it just wasn’t in the cards, as I kept adding little things on to the list trying to outfox the Philippine Bureaucrats, I should know better than to try and do that.
First I was to go to the Western Union so my wife can pick up the money we requested from the States. As I’m standing there I remember that the Immigration Office was just a hop skip and a jump away, but because of heavy traffic I decided to walk there. I guess-ta-mated that it should take a couple of minutes to pay my yearly “Head Tax” to the Philippine Government and keep them smiling for one more year.
To my surprise it was not done the way it was just the year before. Where you just show the I-Card, he/she swipes it through the computer and you pay the PHP 320 and leave, no muss no fuss. This year someone decided this was not efficient, so it was decided to go back to the way we did it in 1992. So out came the old cardboard cards which you fill out by hand, and mess your hands up applying your thumb prints the old fashion way, with ink. Plus the all important 2X2 photo which thankfully they had a man standing by to take your picture for only PHP 30, luckily I was there on a day when no baptismal or weddings were planned so the photo man was there. Time marches on, albeit in reverse once again!
One slight glitch was while filling out the card I couldn’t remember the day I got married, my wife was still at Western Union. So I figured if I didn’t know it, the people in Immigration damn sure didn’t know it. So I took a guess.
Pertaining to the date of marriage, if my wife was there I would have asked; Honey KO what day did we marry, and she would have answered with a frown, 19 April, to which I would have said; Sweetheart I know that, but was it a Friday or Saturday. Do you see what I did, pure misdirection, I’ve still got it!
Down the road we go from the BOI and Western Union business accomplished, so let’s get on with my day. The Head Tax is done; let’s deal with the brand new SIN TAX on smokes and booze. A ream of cigarettes which last month cost PHP 285 now cost 385, a 10 peso increase per pack. So a pack now costs near to a dollar a pack. I smacked myself on the head and shouted; “Thats what I paid in the 1970’s, who ever thought they’d be that cheap again?” To non- smokers, they will get you on the booze side of the house, so don’t lecture me! The Booze, as I knew the increase was coming so with foresight I bought 2 cases of my 12 Year Old Superior Rum in December, along with extra beer and put off the Sin Tax for awhile on booze that is.
Now for our monthly shopping on Subic Freeport.; But effective 1 January 2013 the plastic shopping bag is banned from the Freeport. It seems that the tourists were confused thinking that the plastic bag was the Philippines National Flower, which it pretty much is as they seem to grow on every street. So now you must buy cloth shopping bags, which I had done a year ago as they give you double Loyalty Points when you shop using the cloth bag. The trunk of the New Old Honda is full of them, Wow, Paul went green! But you could hear the other people who were getting everything packed into old boxes moaning and groaning, while I was smiling.
Finish shopping, fill the gas tank and head back to the house, patting myself on the back because it was 1330 hours and I was done, home in time to breakout my R2D2 Reading android pad tablet little computer thingy, enjoy a book and then take a well earned Battle Nap. Ain’t gonna’ happen!
It seems there is one more Tax to pay; the City of Dinalupihan Bataan requires that once a year we pay Property Tax on our abode. Off to City Hall to perform this last chore prior to having the first cold adult beverage of the day. The TAX on our domicile is PHP 12,000 per year, BUT, if you pay it early it’s reduced to PNP 9,000. Mumm save 3,000 pesos by just driving to City Hall a few weeks early, yeah, I’ll do that, as that will cover a lot of Sin Taxes for the rest of the year! I am a crafty old dude.
That ends my Philippine Tax Season for this year, and I was never even close to going over the Fiscal Cliff, amazing what can be accomplished in one day if you make a plan, stick to the plan, and promise yourself an Ice Cold Beer or cocktail when you complete your plan and still be home on time that Tuesday for cocktails under the Mango tree, are you coming.
Don’t you wish others that you elect could do the same?