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.
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.