Category Archives: How Tos

How to Extend a Visit Pass in Malaysia

My mom arrived in Malaysia last October. Prior to her coming here, we applied for a social visit pass from the Malaysian embassy in the Philippines. The plan was for her to spend Christmas and New Year with us, thus, we applied for 3 months. When she came here, the immigration officer only stamped her passport for 60 days, which leaves us 1 month short.

Since this was the case, we had to apply for her visa extension. This is to avoid any immigration problems, over staying to be specific. I did some research and to be honest, it was not easy as there were a lot of conflicting information on the Internet. Some directed me to apply in Putrajaya, some to Jalan Duta, all advised to come early to finish early as queues can be crazy.

I considered 2 things. First, we will have to go on a Monday, which was my day off. Based on feedback, the busiest was either Monday or Friday. Since it was my only weekday off, we went for Monday (no choice. lol!). Second, we brought Geoff with us. My mom could not go alone, and we had to leave early, thus we could not drop Geoff from school during that time. Plus we do not have any guaranty that we will finish in time for his school dismissal.

We left the house at around 6:30AM. I booked an Uber and arrived at the Kompleks Kementerian Dalam Negeri in Jalan Duta a little after 7AM. We were dropped off from the lobby and proceeded to the first floor. On the first floor is the passport renewal and application. We were told to go further, past the connecting hallway and joined a queue there. Just like in one of the blogs I read, there are hardly any english instructions. The room we waited for to open was the office that handles visas, social pass and extension. Having arrived early, there were less than 20 people on the queue.

The office opened at around 7:30AM, they called the seniors and those with children (below 2 years old) first then everybody queued up for Counter 24. Based on what was written on it, the said counter processes social visit visas and extension. The officer got my mom’s papers then directed us to the second floor. They were quite unclear where because there were several offices there. After a few minutes of asking and going into the offices, we got to the 1Serve office. We were asked to get a number, then the officer reviewed my mom’s requirements and were told to go back after an hour for the passport. That was 8AM then and we were able to finish by 9AM. We also paid RM 50 for an extension until January 9.

So to sum up:

  1. Ride a taxi/Book a car going to Kompleks Kementerian Dalam Negeri. The exact address is 69, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  2. From the lobby, go up one floor, straight through the glass door and the office will be on the  right side.
  3. Prepare the forms accordingly. We brought 2 copies of the Form IMM.55 (Link is here), information and pass copy from my mom’s passport, and her confirmed return flight details.
  4. After queuing from Kaunter 24, go back the connecting hallway and look for the 1Serve office. It will be the farthest office on the right side, near the escalators. It’s hard to miss as it has the 1Serve tarpauline everywhere.
  5. Get a number, wait for your number to be called, once the officer is done processing, ask how long, and come back.
  6. Pay the necessary fee and receive your passport with the extended visa.

Here are some helpful links:

Requirements for the social visit extension: Link

Address for the  Kompleks Kementerian Dalam Negeri: 69, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

Geoff Visits Perdana Botanical Garden

This is a very late post.

One day last month (or was it 2?), Babe and I decided to visit this botanical garden in Kuala Lumpur after we saw some posts done by a friend in Facebook. A few days prior, we were already prepping Geoff on what to expect so that he won’t be bored and will also look forward to the trip. Let me get the details on how to get there first, before I go on about the few pictures that we had.

Since we were coming from Petaling Jaya, we took an 88 bus and went off the Pasar Seni station. Both 99 or 88 or BET1 bus lines will get you to Kuala Lumpur, but only BET1 and 88 have routes to Pasar Seni. The 99 line usually drops off in Kota Raya, which is mainly a Filipino store community (if I got the term right). From Pasar Seni, you can grab a taxi and asked to be dropped off to the botanical garden. Make sure to mention the exact name because according to the driver, there are some other gardens available. There is no other means of getting there aside from a car ride or a taxi.

Side kwento: So anyway, from Pasar Seni, we wanted to get our chocolate fix first, so we walked all the way to the Haniffa store. In this supermarket/grocery store, we were able to score Cadbury chocolates at only 5RM each. After we bought some, off we went and grabbed a taxi.

Having arrived late (around 4PM, I think), we were only able to cover small ground as we were trapped by the baby who wanted to be nowhere but the Dinosaur park in front.

I took the description of the park from the website, http://www.klbotanicalgarden.gov.my/ :

The Perdana Botanical Garden, formerly known as Taman Tasik Perdana or Lake Gardens, is situated in the Heritage Park of Kuala Lumpur. It has always been a part of the green lung of the city and has a history of over a decade. Originally created as part of a recreational park but planted with collections of tropical plants, the garden have been rehabilitated and turned into a Botanical Garden. The garden have not only botanical collections but also house features that give the visitors the ambiance of being in a tropical rainforest, despite being in the middle of a bustling metropolis.

This is the map of the entire park. We were only able to visit 3 or 4 areas.

This is the map of the entire park. We were only able to visit 3 or 4 areas.

This is the dinosaur park. We were held up here for the longest time simply because the baby enjoyed it so much.

This is the dinosaur park. We were held up here for the longest time simply because the baby enjoyed it so much.

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Geoff had fun climbing and sliding 🙂

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He was not scared of the bridges and even found the trampoline fun 🙂

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Yep, he loves them slides!

Of course, since it was a botanical garden, there were lots of pretty blooms and the landscapes are just as gorgeous. There was a lake, a lagoon (?), and a man made waterfall.

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Not sure what this space was called, but it is very pretty up close. Perfect for making tambay. LOL!

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The waterfall wall. Very picturesque!

I am so sorry. This was the closest picture I have of the lagoon. I guess I forgot to take a picture after all. :(

I am so sorry. This was the closest picture I have of the lagoon. I guess I forgot to take a picture after all. 🙁

This was supposed to be a lake. Again, I apologize for the sorry excuse of a photo :(

This was supposed to be a lake. Again, I apologize for the sorry excuse of a photo 🙁

Based on observation, the place is best for spending an afternoon with the family. The place is  tranquil, perfect for joggers and bikers as there are no cars inside (the roads are big enough to accommodate them as far as I saw). We also saw a couple of groups playing football, a bride and groom having their prenuptial photos, a class having their photos, and a group celebrating a birthday. There were also a few who was watching the lake for ducks and birds, some were also feeding them.

Yep, a green place in the middle of a very busy city.

Yep, a green place in the middle of a very busy city.

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The sunken garden

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Walkway towards the lagoon

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An expansive lawn

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Unique trees collection

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Entrance to the sunken garden

Sunset fell upon us, so we had to leave.

Sunset fell upon us, so we had to leave.

We urged Geoff to lay down the grass in front of the lake. This silly boy found the idea yucky and decided to look for a better place to have his milk; a picnic table!

We urged Geoff to lay down the grass in front of the lake. This silly boy found the idea yucky and decided to look for a better place to have his milk; a picnic table!

For those planning to spend a day in Kuala Lumpur and stay within budget, I highly encourage visiting this place. You can even bring your running shoes if you want to (LOL!). The most you will be spending on is food (bring it with you, there are no stores inside), and fare. There is no entrance fee, but since the area is quite big, you have to be there early. Operating hours are Monday to Sunday, 8AM to 7PM.

One last tip, 7PM is quite “early” in terms of light in Malaysia. Meaning, it will start getting dark at around 8PM, so plan your trip accordingly as the hottest part of the day is longer.

Geoff’s Adventure in Snow World

Babe was able to get a leave from work today, thus we scheduled a trip to Genting Highland to visit Snow World.

We already visited Genting Highland last year but did not really entertained the thought of availing tickets to any attractions. We were there to see the sights, and basically just to be there.

With Geoff in tow this time, I wanted to be prepared and did some research. In the process of doing so, we stumbled upon Resorts World’s ticketing tool and discovered that the Snow World ticket was actually on sale. Since Geoff is already past the “free entrance” phase, discounted ticket rates were a welcome treat!

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Discounted rates if you book through their website!

In order to get to Snow World, you have to get to Genting Highland first. Getting to GH from the Petaling Jaya area is very easy; we just boarded a bus from 1Utama Mall, located in the new wing. Rates are as follows:

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This was taken last year but the rates were the same when we boarded the bus today.

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The bus.

We originally purchased 2 tickets for a one way trip to GH. This includes the bus fare and the Skyway. When we got to the entrance to the cable cars (Skyway), we were told that we have to pay for Geoff. That was an additional RM6.40.

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Bus ticket was free for Geoff, but not the Skyway fare.

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The cable car

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Mandatory shot at the model car

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The ecstatic little boy during the cable car ride.

When you alight the cable car, it is a bit of a walk going to the location itself. Be aware of the signs and don’t forget to ask for directions. You will have to pass through the lobby of the Maxim’s and RW hotel and a few escalator rides. Snow world is located at the second level, 2A to be exact.

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No pictures allowed inside.

It was -5 degrees inside, thus, it is highly discouraged to bring in cameras or gadgets. It might be damaged by the cold.

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Dos and Don’ts

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Current temperature is flashed outside. It was -5 when we went in!

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Operating hours

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Regular rates.

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Picture taken from outside

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Some of the displays

Jacket, gloves, and boots were provided as part of the the entrance to the attraction. If you are the type who gets cold easily, I suggest you bring an extra coat, or and earmuff or a scarf to protect your ears and neck (some of the coats provided has no zipper nor velcro to close it).

As there is only a limited space to the attraction, what you are really paying for is the experience of extreme cold. There is no actual snow that you can form into a ball (as what Geoff really wanted) but there is Cresta Run and a few sleds that people can use in order to get the winter feel.

Photographers also roam inside Snow World, however, since I have read that the rates for the shots are more expensive than the actual entrance rate, we decided to skip it.

We picked the 3:30 PM – 4:10 PM schedule, so after that, it was mostly a waiting game as the buses going back to 1Utama mall was not due until 8:30 PM. Aside from Snow World, there is also an indoor theme park for kids. I was not able to get the rates, but you can visit the RW website for the rides and rates. Since we were just killing time, we bought 4 pay per ride ticktes, 2 for Geoff and 1 for Babe and I to accompany him. It costs RM8.50 each.

After we were done with the rides, we went back and spent a few minutes in the arcade. The arcade uses the swipe card, much like Timezone and the minimum you can buy is RM20. We just let Geoff roam the arcade and went outside to enjoy the cool afternoon fog. Geoff also enjoyed hamming it in front of the camera.

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Foggy

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He asked his Deedee to take his picture. The act earned him a chocolate bar because the lady beside us was amused at his antics 🙂

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With deedee

And after all the excitement, Geoff was able to see the sunset and said bye bye to the things he saw today. 🙂

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Geoff’s firsts today: cable car ride, snow world, fog, forest, and sunset.

Malaysia Diary – Day 0.5 (From airport to MY)

After months of planning and anticipating, THE DAY finally arrived.

When Babe resigned and got his last pay, we planned for me to come and visit him. This was back in June. We counted down the days, and finally, we finally saw each other for the first time in months (which is also the longest time we have been apart!).

To back track a bit, I had a very early flight, and I was required to be in the airport at 3am. I also had a bit of a difficulty with the immigration as 1)l didn’t have any hotel accomodation 2) I didn’t have a company ID with me (we had to surrender it during the company ID printing but the printer was unavailable, thus I don’t have it with me) and 3) they were asking for Babe’ details such as a copy of his oec, passport, and address. Luckily, I was able to move forward and was allowed to board the plane.

After 3 and a half hours in the air, I landed in KLIA2. One of the things I noticed is that the place is really big. There were a lot of passengers with me who chose to freshen up first. For some reason, after I got out, there was hardly anybody in sight, signs are all in Malay (?) and I was literally alone to find the exit. Aside from being a big place, the internet connection is a big convenience. Never was there a spot that I wasn’t able to get a connection. This was a big plus since I decided not to enable my roaming and relied on viber to contact Babe.

20 minutes later, I found my way out, saw Babe and made our way home. Travel time from the airport to Petaling Jaya is an hour and a half. More of our simple adventure in the next posts.

Helpful hints:

1. It is a standard to be in the airport 5 hours before your flight when travelling international. However, in my case, my flight was at 7:30am. In terminal 4, they will only allow you inside when immigration people arrive at 4:30am. As such, you can be at the airport during this time so as to save you the hassle of waiting (you only get to wait outside, FYI).
2. Exchange rate of pero to ringgit is 100=6.70 (Maybank KLIA). To give you an idea, my P2,500 only converted to RM167.
3. Bus tickets are available at the basement area of the airport (near the exit). Ticket prices vary by location and departs by schedule. Tickets to 1utama mall in Petaling Jaya costs RM15.
4. We mostly travelled by local commute (bus) and the usual fare is RM1. Again, they depart on a 15-20 minute interval and routes differ depending on the bus number.
5. Be prepared to walk o and from bus terminals. Taxis are a bit expensive especially when the price of the commodities sink in (haha!).
6. Chinese food are the most common. Indian dishes next.
7. Taxes are computed separately, so if you purchased a RM5 dish in a restaurant, it is usual that you have to pay more (government tax is 6%).
8. Language can be a challenge. Bring patience and listen well. It will also not hurt to keep an open mind in order to understand what is being asked.

How to Get a Student’s Permit from LTO

I have been itching since forever to learn how to drive, however, since I have Babe to drive me around when we need to, I did not have a chance. However, I think this is the perfect time for me to learn, even if just a short distance when I really  need to, like going to the supermarket or any errand that would require superhuman strength (LOL!).

So anyway, before someone would teach me, I was required to get a student’s permit from Land Transportation Office (LTO). As we all know, this is the first step before someone could be a full pledged driver. So, I reseached well (both online and through circle of friends) as to where it is easier to get this permit. I am from Cainta, thus, I have the following options: Antipolo, Robinson’s Metro East, and Robinson’s Cainta.

I opted to go to Antipolo since I wanted to avoid the crowd in malls. I left home at around 9:30 AM. The directions were easy enough and the traffic was bearable. I was also armed with the requirements needed, and of course, a few things to keep me occupied while waiting.

Here are the requirements:

  1. Birth certificate and a photo copy of it.
  2. TIN ID
  3. A government issued ID
  4. Completely filled up form (yes, including your weight in kilos and height in cms. Don’t forget the second page of the form where the checklist is)
  5. A pen, in case you need to fill up another form because you forgot the second page. LOL!
My view as I was waiting for my name to be called. You literally have to climb the stairs up the container van and go single file as the walkway is good for one person only!

My view as I was waiting for my name to be called. You literally have to climb the stairs up the container van and go single file as the walkway is good for one person only!

Directions: From Ortigas Avenue, ride a jeep going to Antipolo or Tanay. Ask the conductor or the driver to drop you off in Ynares stadium. The drop off point is quite far, so cross the street where the stadium is and walk back in the direction where the island is. Make a rght turn until you come to another intersection with an island (there is a gas station and you won’t miss it due to the construction works on going) Cross the street again and walk to the direction where the construction is. You will see a field with an emission testing center. Right beside it is a gated compound with a container van. Go inside and take a look at the surrounding. You have arrived. 🙂

As I entered the open premises, there are signs everywhere, so it’s not really an issue where to go first, however, here’s what I did:

  1. Look for the information center. Line up as the person manning the desk will need to check your requirements. There are 2 desks, one for the student’s permit and the other for vehicle registration.
  2. After lining up, the staff will return your birth certificate along with the photocopy. He will put together the photocopied government ID and your TIN ID along with the form and will stamp it.
  3. Proceed to the mobile trailer and provide the form. You will then be asked to wait for your name to be called.
  4. Once your name is called (they will also announce the window you should go to), be ready to have your photo taken as well as your signature. Again, you will be asked again to wait.
  5. Next step is to pay the fee. The total amount I paid was Php 317. The breakdown of cost is available on the LTO website. Once done, you will have to wait for the last time and you are good to go.
  6. Last step is for you to claim your student’s permit. You will be asked for Php 25 for the plastic cover with the LTO emblem and sign a tally sheet as proof that they already released the permit.

My wait time in total was more or less and hour. I started the process at around 10:30 AM (I no longer included the time I spent for photocopying my IDs and filling up the form again) and was out by 11:15 AM or something. I was there on a Wednesday so I’m not sure if there is such a thing as peak or non peak hours.

LTO website: www.lto.gov.ph

Link to requirements

Recipe: Beef in Hoisin Sauce

So it was pacham Monday in our home the other day because we only have are the beef strips and potato. You see, one of the many challenges of being the CEO of the household is to decide what to cook and serve each and every single day. I have this cook book from Mama Sita’s for reference as well as some Yummy magazines, however, with limitations such as missing ingredients and fear of buying it from the market when it is scorching hot outside, I had to improvise. Presenting, pacham ulam: beef in hoisin sauce!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kl beef strips
  • 3 small potatoes (cut in strips)
  • 1 small bell pepper (cut in strips)
  • ginger (cut in strips but could be minced if you don’t want to mistake it for potatoes), onion and garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • A few sprinkle of worcestershire sauce

Procedure:

  1. Mix the beef, cornstarch, and salt on a bowl until blended well.
  2. Heat pan with oil and saute garlic, onion and ginger until the onion is light in color.
  3. Add the beef mixture and mix. Add soy sauce and put the cover on for 10 minutes.
  4. Once the beef is half cooked, add the bell pepper and hoisin sauce and cover again for 5 minutes.
  5. Add potatoes and add water if you find the dish too thick (because of the cornstarch) and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the potatoes have cooked.
  7. Serve with a smile 🙂

NSO Serbilis Outlets

When Geoff and I applied for passports, I had to ensure that our requirements are complete and in order. I was going for a renewal while it was a new application for Geoff. I researched online and found out that one of the basic that we should bring are our birth certificate and my marriage certificate since I was still single when I first applied for one.

Initially, I was worried because the way I planned our appointment with DFA only left me with a week to organize the requirements (cramming, anyone?). So, I researched some more, and found out that I don’t really need to go to NSO’s main branch which is in East Ave. According to their website, they have what we call Serbilis outlets which can practically provide the same request, without the hassle of going to the main branch. Upon checking, the nearest Serbilis Outlet for my location is the one in Pasig Municipal Office. I was glad since it was only a few short rides from where we live.

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Click to enlarge, or you can also visit http://www.census.gov.ph/old/data/civilreg/serbilis_centers.html for more details

Getting a birth and marriage certificate is quite easy and does not need too many requirements, however, some localities might be requiring you to get a cedula, just like in my case. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a pen as well. Here are the steps that I did when getting the documents:

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Photo courtesy of sunnyaraw.blogspot.com

  1. Secure a form from the serbilis outlet. White – Birth, Pink – Marriage, Yellow – Death, Green – Certificate of No Marriage Record. So make sure you fill up the correct color coded form. In addition, there is also another form where you have to indicate the number of copies needed.
  2. Go to the second floor of the building beside where the Serbilis Outlet is. This is where you will secure a cedula. Being the good taxpayer that I am, I did not indicate that I am employed (LOL!), so they only charged me P41.
  3. Go back to the Serbilis area and get in line at window 1 or 2, depending on what is open. They will be charging an additional P60 for each document. Since I was requesting for Geoff’s birth certificate and my marriage certificate, I paid P120.
  4. Proceed to Window 3 or 4 for the actual NSO payment. Fee is P140 per document. They will provide the receipt and instruct you to walk at the back of the building. Take note that if there is a specific date on the receipt, that means that it will be release date for your document. Otherwise, the document will be released on the same date.
  5. Once at the back of the building, there are several seats. I only stayed there for about 10 minutes tops, as there were very few people on the queue. What they do is call out the names on the documents and that is it.

In total, I left the house at around 9 AM, arrived at the Pasig City Hall at around 9:45 AM, and was done by past 10 AM. By the way, this was how to get to the Pasig Serbilis Outlet:

  1. From our subdivision in Cainta, Ortigas Avenue, ride a jeepney or fx going to Big R (Robinson Mall in Junction).
  2. Alight a jeepney going to Pasig Palengke and ask the driver to drop you in City Hall. All jeepneys pass by, so no worries there.
  3. After getting down from the jeepney, cross the road and enter the city hall premises. The Serbilis Outlet is the building at the end of the road, and will have a big banner/tarpaulin. If all else fails, you can always ask the people in uniform (police, enforcers, government employees), as they are everywhere!

A few reminders though, when claiming in behalf of the individual, always bring an authorization letter and a photocopy of their ID. Also, should you forget to bring a pen, there are peddlers selling these for P10. The market is also nearby in case you have the urge to buy ingredients for your ulam just like me (LOL!). Good luck!

How To Secure A Passport With A Toddler In Tow (Updated)

On our way to DFA!

On our way to DFA!

Monday was really tiring for me. I took a leave from work in order to renew my passport and at the same time, get Geoff his own as well. It some planning on my part due to the following reasons: 1) Finances and 2) Readiness on my part as I will be bringing a toddler to a government agency, and you know how government agencies are, right? Let me back up a bit. After some research, here are the steps that I did:

First, set up an online appointment. Promise. This would make your life easy rather than doing a walk in. I booked ours as a family appointment through http://www.passport.com.ph. I was able to select the date and time, as well as the location that you find that is more convenient.

One warning though, I selected DFA Manila thinking that it was the one near MOA. Turned out that the said branch is called Aseana, and the Manila branch is the one found in SM Manila, which is quite far from MOA. So read through the addresses carefully and check Google Maps if you are not familiar.

I found it a blessing and (somehow?) a curse to have a baby in tow. You see, Geoff is only a year old, thus, there was no need for me to queue in any of the windows. They usually have a dedicated window for those who have babies and senior citizens. Come picture taking time, Geoff kept on smiling and moving for the camera and it took quite a while for us to finish.

Second, make sure that you have the proper documents with you. What we did was passport renewal for me, and new application for Geoff. The requirements are: NSO birth certificates, Marriage Certificate (I’m married), valid IDs such as SSS, my old passport, the appointment paper, and the forms that comes with it. I have yet to check what copies of the document I photocopied were taken by the DFA, but I think he took most of the originals. Make sure it is organized, keep all the photocopies and the originals together. It really helped especially since I have a toddler in tow. All I needed to do when I got to the window is to open the envelop and hand in the sets of paper.

Third, bring pica food for the baby, or an abubot that he/she will find interesting. Since applying for a passport requires the picture to be taken, it was quite a challenge for Geoff to stay still, much less refrain from smiling, for the camera. The lady guard had to help us in making the baby look and stay still. I placed the abubot on top of the camera so that he will look that way, and the food to help me have him stay in place.

Fourth, be nice. With people lining up on queue, it won’t hurt to be nice. Since I have a baby with me, there was no need for me to fall in line, thus, some people might find it unfair. So, instead of being a bitch and feeling high and mighty that you won’t have to queue, be nice na lang.

Anyway, people who does not have an application (read: alalay, kasama, yaya, friend, etc) are not allowed inside. So, in my case, I left Jona (our yaya), outside. It was quite a blessing that our appointment turned out to be in SM Manila, as the mall itself is airconditioned, compared to the waiting area in DFA Aseana. As usual, they also require the following for the photo op:

  • No earrings and/or glasses.
  • Hair should be tucked at the back of the ears.
  • No smiling with your teeth showing.
  • You have to be wearing a collared shirt.

Regular processing (15 working days) costs P950, while Express processing (7 working days) costs P1,200. If you want it delivered, you have to pay an additional P120 per passport. I did not avail of the delivery service because I already spent the money on taxi fare. Besides, I think I have other reasons for going back aside from the passport. SM Manila is situated near Lawton, this means, I have the option to scour Sta. Cruz for my beads or Divisoria for my craft fix.

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Update: I went back to SM Manila to claim our passports. All I did was to present the receipt at Window 4, waited for less than 2 minutes, and was given the documents. I just had to sign electronically and was done! The amount of time I consumed during the commute was waaaay longer than the time I spent there.

BTW, DFA Manila releasing is located on the 5th floor of SM Manila, in front of Medical City.