Category Archives: Personal

DOT’s new campaign: It’s more fun in the Philippines

I think it’s clever.   Let’s “own” the DOT campaign, slogan and all and let’s actively participate in showing the world the many reasons why it’s more fun in the Philippines!

#ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines meme fever:

1. Select a photo showing the beauty of the Philippines

2.  Create a clever caption (witty, as Jayvee Fernandez suggests)

3. Use Harabara Font which can be downloaded for free.

4. Share. Share. SHARE!

So, here’s what I have done using my own photos.  Not commercial quality but hey…I had fun doing it!  It’s addicting actually 🙂

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Filed under #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines, Current Events, Personal, Philippines

Passport Renewal: The (new) DFA experience

It took me all of 41 minutes to renew my passport today.

My original passport was issued in 19999, applied for at the old DFA building in Pasay, by Roxas Boulevard.  We were there early, before office hours, because it was on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Once the cut-off was reached, those who couldn’t be accommodated had better try their luck another day.  The line was long and it was outside.  It got really hot specially near midday.  Since we were there early, falling in line and waiting to get through the first window alone took more or less 3 hours.  All-in-all, it took more than half-a-day.

I was in Texas when the expiration came up so I renewed it by mailing my requirements to the Philippine Consulate office in LA.  No sweat.

When I was due to renew again last year, memories of my first passport application came back.  I was not going out of the country anytime soon so I decided I wasn’t ready for another DFA experience.  But since the Singapore symposium came up, I was forced to.  Everybody kept telling me it was way easier and more pleasant now but I had my doubts.  I thought, well, they might have a new building and all, but who knows?

I learned soon enough that there was a new system to the passport application, renewal and replacement.

The DFA Passport Appointment System lets you schedule your appointment online so you go to their office only at the specific time of your appointment.   No more coming early in the hope of beating everyone else so you don’t get cut off, no more waiting in line together with other (whole day’s worth of ) applicants.

Also, you can now fill up your application form online.  For people with chicken-scratch handwriting like yours truly, this is a gift. All you need to do is print it up and sign.

After submitting your application form, you get an email from the DFA asking you to click to a link to confirm your appointment.  You should do this within 24 hours or else it’s as good as cancelled.

Here’s what happens when you get there.

Appointment counter– This table checks your appointment.  They advise to be at the DFA  30 minutes before schedule.  If you’re not there on time, you forfeit your appointment and you need to set another one. BIG hassle

Early comers will also not be entertained, so don’t bother.

Plan to be there 30 minutes before appointment time

Processing area – For document checking.  This is where the wait is longest. But because the line is inside the building, with working A/C and enough seats, it’s comfortable.  And because the number of applicants is carefully controlled by 30 minute increments in schedule, and there are about 20  windows to cater to the applicants, the line actually moves fast and smooth.  And no line cutting too!

Total wait time for my turn – I’d say about 15 minutes, give or take.

Total time at Window 18- more or less 3 minutes.

Next stop- the Cashier.

Regular Processing (15 working days): Php 950.00

Rush Processing (7 working days): Php 1,200.00

Total time at Cashier #1-about 3 minutes. Might have been less if I had  exact change.

Encoding section-Here, they process the application, take your picture (no teeth, no earrings, ears out and eyebrows visible).  This is also where you sign and get thumbprinted, both electronically.  No messyblue fingers 🙂

waiting for my number to be called.

  There were 4 numbers ahead of  me…that’s how short the line was!  Amazing, yeah?

Total wait time for #2749 to be called – 5 minutes, maybe less.

Total time at table 55 – hmmm…maybe about 7 minutes? Definitely less than 10.

This process, though, depends on how many takes you actually need to get the perfect picture 🙂  Me, I gave up at two. My passport and visa pics have always been ugly. Just takes getting used to. Haha!

Look Ma, no line!

Et viola!  You’re done.  Just pick up your new passport when it’s due.  If you elect to have your passport delivered, you need to make one more stop – the delivery counter.  Delivery charge: Php120.

Some friendly reminders: Sleeveless tops, shorts, sandals and flip-flops are not allowed.

Food and drinks are not allowed inside the building.  Philhealth, BIR and voters ID are not accepted.  For renewal, no other documents needed, just your old passport and the application form.

The staff are very nice too.  They were all smiles and very friendly with their reminders and instructions.  So there you have it.  Thank you DFA for the pleasant experience.

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Filed under opinion, Personal, Philippines

12 Little Things

  1.  Follow traffic rules. Follow the law
  2. Always ask for an official receipt
  3.  Don’t buy smuggled goods. Buy Local. Buy Filipino
  4. Speak positively about us and our country
  5. Respect your traffic officer, policeman & other public servants
  6. Throw your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve
  7. Support your Church
  8.  During elections, do your solemn duty
  9. Pay your employees well
  10. Pay your taxes
  11. Adopt a scholar or a poor child
  12. Be a good parent. Teach your kids to love our country
« Love of neighbor, God’s Second Highest Commandment, is contained in each of these 12 Little Things. »

***Based on the Book 12 Little Things Filipinos Can Do To Help Our Countr by Alexander Lacson

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Filed under opinion, Personal, Philippines

Celebrating a hero’s death, celebrating freedom

the ultimate sacrifice

“It is not the setting aside of August 21 to commemorate the day of Ninoy’s assassination every year that makes him a hero…it is rather the sum of his selfless deeds that makes him so and gives meaning to August 21 as a celebratory occasion for the people to remind ourselves of the meaning of his life and especially of his epic death.”

Privilege Statement of Sen. Nene Pimentel at the Senate                                                                                                                                                                                      August 13, 2008

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Filed under heroes, Ninoy Aquino, opinion, Personal, Philippines, Politics

Ninoy Aquino: A Filipino, a HERO

28 years after his death

that spirit gave us our freedom back

Ninoy Aquino was relentless at claiming back the freedom that the Filipino has been robbed of, even if it took his life to do so.   He gave it up so freely… because “The Filipino, is WORTH DYING FOR”!

28 years after his death, which remains to be unsolved up to this day.

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Filed under Current Events, heroes, Ninoy Aquino, opinion, Personal, Philippines

What is life?

what is life? Is it just the state of being alive? Do you plant flowers and just leave them be? Is it better to bring a child into this world and subject them to abuse, physically, emotionally, psychologically?

A doctor noted that the child had many bruises on her body. He asked the mother if she beat her child and she said yes.Further medical examination showed the child died of shock due to massive cerebral hemorrhage, internal hemorrhage, multiple hematoma to strong traumatic force and external hemorrhage due to multiple wounds in the different parts of the body.

Do you like seeing children on the streets sniffing their rugby? Do you give to those who come up the jeepneys and wipe your shoes for a few centavos?

Before you say you are pro-life, think hard about what LIFE really is. Because children are being brought into this world day by day, only to suffer for their parents’ inadequacies to rear them and rear them well; who can’t even provide the basics..

clothes on their back,

food for their body and mind,

shelter to keep them safe and warm.

Would God be happy that their parents did not plan their family?  Would God be mad if they had the mind to prevent this from happening?  Not by abortion, but simply PLANNING.

I do not advocate abortion, CERTAINLY NOT!  What I want is for people to:

1. be aware that they have a CHOICE and be educated  enough to make an INFORMED CHOICE

2.  be aware of their rights to have access to family planning information and services

3. be aware that they OWE their child (among others):

a. a right to be born well

b. well-rounded development of his personality to the end that he may become a happy, useful and active member of society.

c.  a balanced diet, adequate clothing, sufficient shelter, proper medical attention, and all the basic physical requirements of a healthy and vigorous life.

d.  full opportunities for safe and wholesome recreation and activities, individual as well as social, for the wholesome use of his leisure hours.

The Child is one of the most important assets of the nation. Every effort should be exerted to promote his welfare and enhance his opportunities for a useful and happy life.

4. be aware that they are criminally liable if they (among others):

a. abandon the child under such circumstances as to deprive him of the love, care and protection he needs.

b. neglect the child by not giving him the education which the family’s station in life and financial conditions permit.

c. improperly exploit the child by using him, directly or indirectly, such as for purposes of begging and other acts which are inimical to his interest and welfare

d. inflict cruel and unusual punishment upon the child or deliberately subjects him to indignation and other excessive chastisement that embarrass or humiliate him.

 

I am pro-life – the LIFE that let’s children be children, and allows them to flourish and achieve their full potential by providing them with their needs, supporting their endeavors, sheltering them from harm, and protecting their rights.

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Filed under Current Events, opinion, Personal, R.H. Bill

Reflecting on the years past

repost from facebook notes June 23, 2011

There is a story that I like to tell….my first day in grad school.

So there I was, sitting in my “Theories in Nursing” class, the instructor going trough the syllabus.  I must have tuned out because the next thing I heard was the deadline for our first paper for the term, a 5-page concept paper.  I looked at the sea of eager students and I sensed that they were all in the same page with the instructor.  I, on the other hand, was on the verge of a panic attack.  “Concept paper?  WTH?!”

You see, this was ten years after I did anything remotely academic in nature.  After graduation, passing my RN boards and a short stint in the hospital, I refused to use my brain any longer.  For 7 years, my work was routine, from day-to-day, I delivered a spiel.  And if my boss thought I did any thinking and planning at all on how to achieve my quota, he was mistaken.  I was lazily going through life, mentally, that is.  My ultimate goal was to get a job that required no thinking at all.  I stopped writing altogether, not an essay, nor a short story, nor a poem.  Not even one line of a quote. I wasn’t even reading anything.

When the international doors opened anew for nurses, and the people in my circle started leaving one by one, I got apprehensive.  I didn’t want to go back to nursing.  By God, how could I?  I could still do vital signs, but most of my nursing knowledge were either forgotten or had gone obsolete.  But I also could not stay where I was, knowing that there’s something better out there.  It was a struggle.  I scanned through every ad, looking for the perfect way to ease back into nursing, one that will not give me a splash of cold water.  And then it came, a US work-study program.

From the moment I saw the ad, I knew it was perfect.  But it was also too good to be true, I had my doubts.  I went for it anyway.  Long story short, I flew to San Antonio Texas, with $70 in my pocket, a credit card that had minimal credit limit, a contact number that has been changed, and a pretend optimism.  I figured I could just wing it, the way I winged my undergrad, get an MSN degree, earn a little and go from there.  Boy was I so wrong!

So that fateful day in August, when I sat in class almost biting away all my fingernails, the “verge” became a full-blown panic attack.  I didn’t talk at all on the way home, and as soon as we got into the apartment, I hid in my room and scolded myself.  “WTF did you get yourself into?”  I cried myself to sleep that night, thinking about how I can not allow myself go home a failure.

The next day though, I found a friend that would help me conquer the uncertainty – the internet.  Before that day, the internet and I were only acquaintances.  Save for email, I have never come to really appreciate its power.  All day I searched for examples of a concept paper, and when I was satisfied about my newly gained knowledge, I started to write.  I never stopped writing since.

Through this experience, I befriended yet another that would make my life in graduate school easier – the library.  My whole academic life before this, I have entered the library one time, and it was not even for studying or researching.  It just happened to be a meeting place.  But, oh, how we bonded through grad school.

I was happy to be writing again, and was ecstatic at having valuable resources at my fingertips.  I probably called in at least ten times, favoring writing over earning some $$$$.  If I could write instead of go to work, I was a happy girl.

LaraThinks: to be continued

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Filed under Nursing, Personal