Second trip to Mega Manila to finish off the re-stamping of my passport (see last week story) While there last week,I had no time to enjoy the trip as the bureaucracy at the Bureau of Immigration had me dancing to their drummer and not mine.
Owing to the fact that I still held my “Double Express Premium Plan” I knew I was guaranteed to have the finial stamp within 2 to 4 hours (I still recommend on the planning on the 4 hours side of the plan) and the owing to the fact that John M. had written “One Hour in Intramuros” last week here on LiP and his article inspired me to take action and follow his plan. And a great plan it was!
I arrived at the Bureau of Immigration at opening time, 0730 by their clock. I proceeded to Window 2 where Randy (The helpful guy) informed me that my paperworks had cleared 15 minutes after I’d departed last week, I smiled and said; “Randy, that’s just the way life is sometimes!” Then he sent me to window 1, where there works a girl who is the complete opposite of our new friend Randy. I handed in my paperworks and was informed to return at 1130 exactly 4 hours later. When she saw me smile as I thanked her, I know in my heart I had just ruined her day. I then informed her that I was going to spend the next four hours exploring Intramuros with my lovely wife and enjoy the four hour wait she had given me.
Article continues below pictures. Click the picture for a larger view.
We proceed over to the Customs Building that was sitting in the middle of the block and read the history of that and took some pictures. We next went to the wall and took the ramp to the top and started walking around the entire walled city. The day was overcastted and quite cool and the walk was relaxing and very comfortable, plus informative. There were signs along the way that gave you an overview of where you were and the history behind it.
Many times we would leave the wall and explore a park we had seen or other items of interest, but always returning to the wall and trekking onward. I saw the very first 7-11 brought be the Spaniards circa the early 1500’s from my vantage point on the wall and snapped a photo of that for our readers.
Later in the morning while at the Manila Cathedral (Which by the way is now a Minor Basilica according to the sign) where we encountered the place to hire a Calisa. Using information gleaned from John’s post I was forearmed with knowledge of the cost per hour.
Okay, John was 100% correct, taking the time you have and adding in a good attitude one can enjoy a trip to the BOI in Manila. I will now thank John for his article and his inspiration. I really had a great four hours that morning.
Back to the BOI, the paperworks are done with ten minutes to spare, off to room 312 to verify that all my information is true and correct and receive a copy of my original 13A card from many years back.
Remember my wonderful morning? It’s well in the past, it’s now 1150 at the window of room 312 and I’m told that there will be a delay until 1400 as they were out of ink for their printer (Yes singular, meaning the entire staff of 15 human beings are using one out of ink unit)
The very pleasant lady suggested we go to lunch, and return at 1345 when the ink supply should be replenished. Still smiling and still in a great mood we went to lunch.
Yes Mars I did enjoy lunch! Upon my return the ink was restocked, yet I was back to square one with my request as no action had been taken while we were at lunch. Twenty minutes later I’m off and running to window 35, after waiting in line behind 16 people, I’m informed that my application (Which was given to me by that same office one week prior) was no longer valid and would I fill out the new one? What am I going to say; “Hell NO!” Of course not so I dutifully filled it out and back in line and when it was my turn all she said was; “Go to Window 32.”
Please Wait behind 10 people and agents attempting to front the line, now I’m there and the lady looks at me as if I had an extra nose and stated loudly; “Sir you must go to Window 33 to get the payment paperwork, before you can pay.”
To see if I understood I said; “So you’re telling me that first I go to window 35, to be sent to Window 32, and then to be informed that it should be at Window 33 prior to window 32?
There were people around me that heard my retaliation to her comment and they just started laughing and quite a few people behind the window also. Please remember that my vocal level was at the same tone as hers was and that I was smiling pleasantly the entire time. I thanked her and left. I could have received a round of applause, but those people still had to deal with that lady and choose not to anger her further.
I turned to my most wonderful wife and she looked at me with her adoring eyes and I said; “I think we’re done for the day. Since I had (And as she well knew) reached my Popeye Factor: Which is; “That’s all’s I’s can’s stands and I won’t stand’s no more!” I knew I’d be coming back to Manila again in a week or two to continue my quest of the elusive ACR I-Card!
Now for the plus side: I had a wonderful morning, my passport was done and correct, I did have a nice lunch, and I had four weeks before the card really expired! All was good in my world, and by the time Efrin (My driver) and the van got to the front of the building to pick us up, I was joking and in a good mood once more and encountered no Euro-Gnomes.
This re-adjusted attitude was important for one reason and one reason only! One should never consume adult beverages when angry, and I was the proud owner of a cooler full of well iced SMB’s for my trip home. It’s a wonderful life in the Philippines!