#RPintheRP: A Travelogue

DAY 1: TALE OF TWO DFA’S

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I arrived in NAIA around 9:30am on the Monday and I was greeted with most Pinoy thing possible. I was exiting Customs with a Travel Document and no one knew exactly how to process it (including an airport guard asking if I were deported. Please, kuya. Canada ain’t getting rid of me that easy.)

The airport officer had to do an exit interview as well as photocopy the document. Unfortunately — and this is true — she opened with this:

Ay, our scanner is not working pala, Call _______, to take a picture kasi she’s good with selfies.”

Honestly, there is no more better Filipino welcome than that. Well, I suppose, we can also count the duty free clerks yelling out their products, the multiple money exchangers sitting beside each other, and, of course, the heat. The goddamn fucking heat.

I was on my way to DFA Main, where my friend Barbie works. I was to leave my suitcase with her while I ran some errands in DFA Aseana. And, while in the cab, I thought I was going to die with the heat.

Kuya, can you turn the aircon up please po?”

A, sir, that’s the max na po.

***

I got to DFA Main (relatively unscathed) and quickly met Barbie to have her lug my suitcase to her office. I then left to find a notary public — not, however, without stopping by a nearby Jollibee because, well, SA JOLLIBEE BIDA ANG MASAYAAAA.

Nothing of interest happened while getting my papers notarized — well, I managed to finally get my first hit of Marlboro Black Menthol in years (so good — Montreal, why you have silly menthol ban?) and, I’m not really sure if there was a school nearby, but there were a lot of young boys in soldier- or sailor-type uniforms and they were hooot.

The place I went to get my documents notarized wasn’t just a notary public. It was also a photography studio, a copy centre, a sari-sari store, and, for good measure, a place where said students can have their belt buckles shined. Ah, watching hot boys unbuckle. (Editor’s Note: I think at this point, the heat has gotten to my head.)

After getting my notarized papers, I went back to DFA Main to kidnap Barbie for lunch. We flew all the way to SM Mall of Asia to eat at this Texas Barbecue and Ribs-type place. It was pretty good! We felt so guilty about our huge portions of meat that we got a small salad — and, of course, in typical Riley and Barbie style it was the salad plate that wasn’t empty at the end.

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I haven’t showered yet!

At this point, I’ve stolen her from work for too long so she went back and I went on to DFA Aseana to get my passport renewed. And, to keep up with the theme of this trip, it wasn’t as smooth as I thought.

I had brought with me all documents they required, however, when I was face-to-face with the passport officer, John, (he was hot!) he needed a copy of my grandmother’s death certificate. Even a scanned or printed copy would do. He said, that’s all that’s lacking, if I get it to him by 5pm, I’m good to go.

That’s pretty fair, I thought. Unfortunately, as I didn’t have one with me — nor did I have a Philippine sim card or access to WiFi, I had to take a cab all the way back to SM MoA. I went to a Krispy Kreme, bought a shake, and tipped the barista (to her surprise! Is tipping not a thing here?) and proceeded to bother my entire family in Naga to send over the death certificate.

Having no reliable means of communication is generally not a good thing so I had my iPhone unlocked and got myself a Globe sim card. Around this time, the document has been sent to me and I used a computer shop (OMG, I haven’t used a computer shop in yeeeears!) to print them.

(There’s a very annoying anecdote here about being behind two people who were trying to print, both of which were rather computer illiterate and had a lot of trouble to have the document do what they needed. It was clocking in close to 5pm and I was getting very nervous and started to wish I had Star Wars choking powers.)

And, yes, because Philippine bureaucracy, the moment I got back to DFA Aseana with the death certificate, I ended up speaking to a different passport officer (didn’t get his name — also hot!) who said that I also needed my birth certificate and it was this point I was pretty much done.

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Thank god for Marlboro Blacks.

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Pardon the fingernails.

I decided to fuck it and work on it when I’m back in Manila. It’s time to go to Naga!

On an interesting side-note, after going back to DFA Main to get my suitcase from Barbie, I ended up leaving Pasay around 6pm. I was talking to my friend Joshua on the phone and I was like, rush hour is 5pm right? So if I were to go to Cubao at 6pm, I should be there like….6:30pm right?

I arrived at the bus terminal 8:05, a few minutes before my bus was to leave.

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