#RPintheRP: A Travelogue
DAY 1: TALE OF TWO DFA’S
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.
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.
Thank god for Marlboro Blacks.
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.