For the most part living in the Philippines is very laid back with zero obligations. However there will be times where you just have to get something done, and those times can be quite frustrating because of my new least favorite word: ‘requirements‘.
Any time you hear the word requirements in the Philippines expect to walk out of whatever establishment you are in, shaking your head knowing you will need to return soon.
5 Pictures wasn’t Enough
If you have been in the country for a while you must get an exit clearance when you leave. Immigration isn’t that bad here compared to other countries like Thailand, but it still is a nuisance that you just have to deal with.
I headed to immigration right as it was about to open with everything I thought I would need – my passport, ACR card, and five 2×2 photos. When you go in for visits to immigration you only need one (some places ask for two) 2×2 photos. I brought extra just in case.
When I arrive the guy asks for my passport, my ACR card, and my six pictures. In my mind I know this is not going to end well.
There is no way I am getting any progress made on this visit but I have to try. I explain that I have my 5 pictures (plus there is a photo on my passport and a photo on my ACR) but I get the response I know is coming: Sorry Sir you don’t have the requirements of 6 photos.
There is no photo place at this mall and I am quite far from another one. I ask them if they can copy the 6th and they say no. I ask them if I can bring them the 6th when I come pick up the passport and they say they can’t start the process without all the requirements.
Situations like this are one of the more frustrating parts of living here. You should always do your research before you try and do anything that may have some requirements. Silly me for assuming that 5 photos would be enough, well actually 7 photos if you count the others on my passport and ACR.
End result was I had to go to immigration 3 straight days instead of two, in the city I was in at the time immigration was kinda far away and it was a hassle, but one you just have to live with.
Everything Must be Perfect
I booked a flight on Cebu Pacific airlines and headed to BDO (bank) to pay. For those that don’t know you can get really cheap flights all over Asia with Cebu Pacific Airlines and sometimes you can get them extremely cheap when you catch the right promo.
Anyway I save the confirmation number and the price of 1048 pesos in my phone and go to the nearest BDO.
When I get to BDO I fill out a little form with my name, confirmation number, and the price. The lady says she needs the full price, and I tell her that I put it on there. She says no she also needs the centavos (fractions of a peso)… they are part of the requirements.
Again silly me for thinking they could find my flight based on the confirmation number, my name, and the price down to the peso. I ask can I just round it up and pay 1049 pesos, but obviously that was just a ridiculous suggestion that would never work.
At these times all you can do is shake your head, walk out, and go get the rest of your requirements. Think happy thoughts about how good things are here. And file these small losses of your time away so that you will remember to cover EVERY base before you try again the next time.
tilts me just thinking about it
There was one priority I discovered on my first visit to a Philippine Government office. I was not warned about this priority and found out about it the hard way. Unless this has changed dramatically, I believe you may have forgotten to include the first priority “requirement” of any Philippine government office visit …
You must take your own blue or black ink based writing implement with you.
I was accustomed to having ball pens provided in government offices in Australia and naively assumed Philippine Government offices would provide a ball pen for completing the required documentation. Hell no! “You must provide your own ball pen sir”. From memory, I think it was the CPO (Commission on Philippinos Overseas) and do you think I could find anywhere nearby that would sell me a ball point pen? I made sure to take one when I went to Immigration, which was just as well. They did not provide writing implents either. Number 1 priority before attending any government office – take a blue or black ball point pen. Or is this now different? Somehow, I just cannot see this ever changing in the Philippines.
P.S. I hope you do not mind me shortening my Nom-de-Plume to make fun of myself.
Yeah things have definitely changed in the last 20 years lol
I forgot to say I concur with the phtos issue. If you have been told to provide five, always take ten. Always be prepared to provide twice the number “officially” required. I came to the conclusion they enjoyed messin’ with me.