New Guy Experiences #1

Something was up. This was different. The nice lady behind the desk handed me a form to “accomplish”, and requested photocopies of my receipt. I didn’t have copies of my receipt. I asked where I could get one. She gestured toward the city park across the street, and said “There.” I looked at the gateway to the park, scratched my head, turned back to the lady, and asked again “Where?” Once again, she used the polite, Asian, palm up, hand gesture toward the park, and said: “go there.”

Nothing was going to get accomplished anyway until I “accomplished” the form. It requested my life history plus a bit of genealogy. It would require some time. I thanked the lady and went back home where I could make my own copies and fill out the form in comfort.

Bisaya Buddy Language Course

Sounds like countless other encounters with Philippine bureaucracy. So what was so special about this one? This was at the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Six months prior, I had “accomplished” a similar form and handed over multiple copies of ID documents in order to convert my US license into a Philippine driver’s license. Everything went smoothly. They took my paperwork and sent me to a medical office where I filled out more forms, had my blood pressure checked, and received a signed and stamped form to be returned to the LTO. The guy at the window added this to the stack I had already given him and asked me to take a seat until my name was called.

While waiting, I had a nice chat with a fellow who was getting his expired license renewed. By and by, my name was called. I was photographed, fingerprinted, and paid 852.63 Philippine pesos, whereupon, I was presented with an official receipt. It was carefully explained to me that this official receipt was to serve as my driver’s license while my paperwork went to Manila for more bureaucratic action before my permanent plastic one could be issued. One or two months was the wait time, I was told.

Philippine Driver's License

Philippine Driver’s License

Now I’ve been paying attention, and I knew there was some type of backlog of hard plastic licenses. Some folks say that they’ve been driving on their paper official receipt for years. But it’s a pleasant walk around town by the LTO, and checking on my license is a good excuse to get out and about. I would wander by there every month or so just to ask about it. Month after month, from July to December, the same lady would smile and tell me “Sorry Sir. One or two months.” But now, six months later, something was happening. I took the form home and filled it out. I made copies, front and back, of my official receipt, as well as more copies of ID documents.

The next morning I was at the LTO, documents in hand. Word must have gotten out because so was everyone else. Many of them also were clutching the same official receipt. Times have changed, and the line was orderly. When my turn came, the lady smiled again. I returned the smile, and with a flourish, presented my “accomplished” form and stack of photocopies. She sorted and stapled them. Then, an official-looking fellow asked me “Senior citizen po?” I confirmed that I was indeed over 60 years old. He took my stack of papers and asked me to have a seat until my name was called. The waiting area was packed with people, but my name was called after only a few minutes. Sometimes getting old ain’t half bad. Once again, I was photographed and fingerprinted. And for no additional fees, I was presented with my genuine plastic, fits in my wallet, got my picture on it, good for the next 4 years, Philippine driver’s license.

And for what it’s worth, there is no copy machine in the city park. I looked.

Posted in

Pete McKee

Pete McKee grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. After a 20 year career in the US Army, he worked as a museum professional, and in the transportation industry. Marlyn, his wife of 29 years, was raised on a rice farm in Nueva Vizcaya. She has worked in Europe and the US in hotel and restaurant management, and as an IT professional. Their dream of retiring to a small farm in the mountains is coming true in the foothills of the Cordillera Mountains of central Luzon.

Most Shared Posts

23
Leave a Reply

avatar
11 Comment threads
12 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
14 Comment authors
John ReyessamJayRobert CaldwellCordillera Cowboy Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Bob Hausen
Guest
Bob Hausen

Ahhh something to look forward too.

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

Hello Bob Hausen,
Simplifies a few things to have an official ID with my Philippine address on it. Not to mention keeping me legal on the road for the long term.
Take care,
Pete

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Bob;
Consider it a rite of passage, and you won’t worry about it, I moved here in 1994 and it took me 6 years to ever get a hard plastic license, but “The Receipt” is welcome all over the world, even to rent cars in the USA.

Michael Heavrin
Guest

Accomplish? so the test is filling it up?

Bob Martin
Guest

That is the word they use here

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

Hello Michael,

As Bob pointed out, “accomplish” is the word they use here to mean complete the form. As John Reyes mentioned, it could be a holdover from th way American bureaucrats spoke in the early 29th century.

No test is required if you are converting a valid foreign license. If your license is expired, or you don’t have one, then there is testing, and more fees, involved.

Take care,
Pete

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

Wow! That should read early 20th century. Twentieth! LOL.

Take care,
Pete

Jay
Guest
Jay

Hi Pete,

No worries…our ancestors will probably still be accomplishing forms in the 29th Century! Nice article!

Peace

Jay

BC57
Guest
BC57

That gave me a headache, lol. Something to look forward once I retire over there which will be soon. Why even send someone to have their BP checked. If they give you medication for BP that doesn’t mean someone is actually taking it. Never heard of that for just a DL.

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

Hello BC,, No need for a headache. Their country, their rules. I just roll with it. It actually wasn’t a big deal to me, since my US license is a class A commercial one. To keep it current I have to periodically submit to a Dept. of Transportation medical exam. If you’re in relatively good health, your DOT physical is good for 2 years. Less so, you get a 1 year card. Your blood pressure, blood sugar, or other tests are over the limits, you don’t get the card, and your license is reduced to regular passenger car status. Take… Read more »

BC57
Guest
BC57

Got it.

Greg Brawley
Guest
Greg Brawley

Hmmm… I attempted to get a Phil Drivers license last year….I went through all the lines, the medical, the forms and copies of all my documents!!! I was doing good until I got to “the last” bureaucrat….at which juncture, it was pointed out to me that as a foreigner, in order to obtain a Driver’s License I had to have a visa status that was good for a minimum of 1 year. I was on a 9-g visa at that time and only had 353 days remaining until expiration!!! No license was issued!!! 🙂 I’ve been here for a long… Read more »

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

Yes, Greg. That’s one reason the drivers license was one of the first things I wanted to get done. I’m on a balikbayan visa, which is one year. Counting by months, I still had one year remaining. But it was a shade under 365 days.
But, agreed, we have to do thorough research on these things. And also, be mentally prepared for when they don’t go as expected.
Take care,
Pete

William Bevis
Guest

Nice post…funny too.

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

Thanks William,

Glad you liked it.

Take care,
Pete

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

Yes John. Mission “accomplished”! I’m inclined to agree with you on the origin of those odd (to us) phrases. I do know that mid to late 19th century Americans were fond of grandiloquent words and phrases. First one that comes to mind is the P.T. Barnum trick of having a barker shout “This way to the egress!” When he needed to clear the audience from a tent after a performance. I admit that I was too befuddled to notice whether or not the lady pointed with her lips. Afterwards I realized that she probably wasn’t indicating the park itself. The… Read more »

PapaDuck
Guest
PapaDuck

I got my Philippine license in December. I was in and out in 3 hours with plastic license in hand. Was very surprised.

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

That is somewhat surprising Papa Duck. The times they are a changin’ it seems.
Take care,
Pete

Robert Caldwell
Guest
Robert Caldwell

For me, in Nov 2015 I attempted the PH DL-US conversion, only to be told I needed the 1 yr visa. Married my Filipina asawa in Jul ’15, emigrated in Sep ’15, intending all along to get the 13a visa. The law was changed just weeks before I attempted to convert my US license, sigh. So, after a long haul trials I got the 13a probationary, then the 13a permanent, and was able to get a PH DL, tho’ the office boss could not accept that I had a PERMANENT 13a visa until I yelled at her to look at… Read more »

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

Hello Robert,

2014 was my last visit before moving here in 2017. In that brief span, I’ve noticed lots of changes. From the orderly lines I mentioned in the article, to policies of not closing government and banking offices during lunch.

Take care,
Pete

sam
Guest
sam

I just did my Conversion from AU to PH, it was very simple procedure, all need they medical which was blood pressure and some color charts reading and weight, they took a photo, i payed some money got my receipt, and been tolled to come back in 14th Bef for my Licence and good for 5 years, I am on tourist Visa, the law says our Licence is good for 90 days, then you must get Philippine License which I did, will pick it up in two days time. but because I am not permanent here I can not get… Read more »

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest
Cordillera Cowboy

Hello Sam,

Congratulations on your new license! Yours is another story showing that the process may have become more streamlined. Even though my US license is a class A commercial license, my Philippine license, like yours, is non-professional. I don’t think foreigners are allowed a professional license here, no matter the type of visa we have.

Take care,
Pete

SIGN UP TO JOIN OUR GIVEAWAYS & INFO NEWSLETTER

Make sure you've signed up to our newsletter to get exclusive newsletter only content! Also be updated about all our important events and other important info that our readers rely on.

SIGNUP FORM


Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.