Why I'm for government bureaus conducting office inside malls and other things

December 01, 2013

I have done two NBI clearance applications in this lifetime and both were from that NBI office near Carriedo. It was a nightmare. No wonder when suspects are being flashed on the television, they really look criminal-ish. It's because by the time you get your photo taken at the end of the process and the long queues, you'll tend to look at your worst. (I dare you show me a decent NBI photo!) 

The same stressfull stage by stage queueing was what I experienced when I initially applied for my passport in DFA Manila. As soon as I got out of the cab, fixers were everywhere, trying to squeeze money out of me. I didn't fall into their tricks though.

It's only now that I got to renew my passport. Confession: my passport has been expired for a year but I still got away with using it as my only valid ID. I didn't want to undergo the stressful process again, but I have to since I have an out of the country flight on the last week of December. What is last minute!

So on Tuesday, I tried to scour near mall-based DFA branches for available renewal slots. Everything I could see were for the 1st and 2nd week of December. I could not take the chance of not receiving my passport on time just because I applied late. Sayang yung Singapore Air tickets!! 

Anyway, I decided to try my luck in DFA Alabang located in Alabang Town Center (ATC) and saw slots for Friday morning. Hence, that I chose. 

First, I like that there is airconditioning and chairs for everyone! No more sweaty queuing! Second, the appointment basis really made the application process more efficient. Imagine *arriving at DFA and getting started on time! 
*I commuted from Ususan (Taguig) all the way to ATC and only spent 35 pesos in total jeepney fare instead of the usual 450 to 500-peso cab fare. For your reference, from Petron C5 to ATC, it only took 45 minutes via 3 jeepneys.  
1.) C5-Tenement
2.) Tenement-Alabang
3.) Alabang South Station Terminal-Alabang Town Center

I regret not being able to pick an earlier timeslot but I guess I also wouldn't be able to wake up that early anyway.

According to some people on the queue, the local advertisement for passport applications says it will only take 30 minutes. They say it was misleading. I, however, really didn't mind that it took me an hour overall to finish the whole process. It was a far cry from my first passport application experience. This was way more comfortable!

Also, I got to write this blog entry using my phone's notepad in between queues. 

One thing I hated though were the guys "na nagkukuyakoy". We were all seated in adjoined airport-terminal-like seats and 2-3 guys in our row would do that simultaneously. I haven't personally/consciously experienced an earthquake, but with the dizzying feeling that I got, that must be what it feels like. How does one even try to talk guys out of doing that in public. 

For those planning to apply/renew, take note that your basic MRT rules apply here: The elderly, the pregnant and the parents with a kid do not have to queue. They get processed as soon as they arrive. 

All in all, here are the current passport renewal costs.

Php 1200 - rush processing (it only costs 950 for the regular processing)
Php 120   - courier delivery (LBC)

I forgot how much the application costs six years ago. But I do know that at least now, whatever we're paying is at least getting us better service. Much better than queuing around in a snake-like line inside a hot basketball court.

Here are the three stations you'd see inside a mall-based DFA.

1. Processing
2. Cashier
3. Encoding

There are also copier and courier desks for your convenience. A photocopy costs 3 pesos per page.

To know more, please visit their website.

P.S. I'll probably cry if I don't get my passport in time for the flight.

P.P.S. I forgot to take a photo of the guard overseeing the queue outside DFA because of the good job he has been doing. He made it impossible for those who wanted to cut the line. He also made sure the queue is organized. Seriously, he was a guard, whose main job is supposedly to make sure the premises are safe. I commend you for taking the extra mile.

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  1. Hi I am about to renew my passport as well. Just like you my passport is my only valid ID. What supporting identification documents did you have to present? Thanks for the help.

  2. Hello! Sorry for the late reply. I just brought with me my NSO birth certificate, a certified true copy of my original birth certificate (different from NSO) and my Certificate of Employment. They accepted it. :)

  3. Thanks for the reply :)