This one is for the books also, worth writing about just like my not so recent trip to LTO for my driver’s license renewal a few months ago. I now kinda enjoy doing business with these government agencies with all the amusing things I’ve been experiencing and all the different characters I’ve been meeting there…my real life drama this time, well okay okay, comedy, happened at the Department of Foreign Affairs a.k.a. DFA…and here are the wacky and horrendous characters I met there…
CHARACTER NO.1: THE LONE SHARK. When we got off from the cab, this lone shark together with the other piranas swarmed before us, shouting “ate! ate, dito o me form dito, ano pa kelangan mo? picture, halika dito ka, 2 minutes lang gaganda ka pa! (WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN!)”… grrr, of course my ego was hurt, but like what my husband instructed me to do, i didn’t mind them. And so this lone shark followed me, almost pushing me towards the photo shop and since we didn’t have any photos yet, we gave in. She didn’t stop tattling. She keeps on insisting that they have the best photos there coz you will come out beautiful in your picture (imagine at this point smoke coming out of my ears). When she saw my DFA appointment letter and my duly accomplished application form though, she blurted out to the other pirana, “Tsugi ko nato, wala naman pala ako kikitaan dito” (AS IF?!) and with that she left in a huff. (HELLO, ANO KO JUNK NA PAGKAKAKITAAN?!)
CHARACTER NO. 2: LOLA STRESS BALL. And so we were in line, waiting for our turn to go inside when she arrived. She was quite a spitfire, chatting with us and interviewing us. There’s just one problem, she had this word written all over her forehead S-T-R-E-S-S. When she saw me arranging my daughter’s copy of school ID, she blurted out in panic “School ID? school ID, kelangan ba nyan, wala ako nyan, naku, wala ako nyan?!” (HELLO MANANG, 50 GOING ON 60 KA NA HANAPAN KA PA BA NG SCHOOL ID?!). A few minutes after reassuring her that it is only required for minors like my daughter, she had again another panic attack when she saw my daughter reading her baptismal certificate. She shouted, “Baptismal, baptismal, meron ako nyan, teka papaphoto copy ko, teka, save nyo ko dyan” and off she ran to the copy center not even waiting for me to tell her that I just accidentally brought it with me and it wasn’t needed (SI MANANG TALAGA O, ADIK!). She never stopped chatting and panicking from processing all the way to encoding. She even bullied my husband into asking the guard and the man in charge if we need to staple the pictures and if we need to use glue or paste in attaching the pictures. She asked the same question to anybody she happened to make eye to eye contact with, “Ano ang requirements?!” (PRIVATE JOKE FOR MGs: I asked myself lots of times this afternoon when I was with her, “MRS. L_G_SPI, is that you?! the voice down to her brown hair were spookingly like her and of course the you know what..hahaha)
CHARACTER NO.3: MISS BAD TRIP. She was behind me, silently observing Lola Stress Ball. When Lola Stress Ball made eye to eye contact with her and asked her the question “ano requirements?”, she screamingly told her, “Tingnan mo kaya likod ng form mo, andyan o, basahin mo, baaasaaaahiiiiin moooo!”. We were all shocked. I was waiting for them to pull each other’s hair. I was so disappointed when it did not happen..hehehe…I later found out that she was duped by a fixer outside DFA. He asked her for three hundred pesos for the picture and the application from. She saw red when I told her, well because she asked me, that I downloaded mine from the internet for free and I paid 150 pesos only for the pictures. She was ready to kill that time and she almost killed Lola Stress Ball. (DI KO NAMAN ALAM, EDI SANA SINABI KO NA LANG SECRET?!hehehe)
CHARACTERS NO. 4: POWERPUFF GIRLS. These three girls are all set to follow their dreams that’s they were eagerly lining up outside DFA for days now like this afternoon. They were waiting to be blessed with the much coveted philippine passport. This is the third time they went back there. Patience and perseverance at its finest definitely. Bubbles is chasing her dream of becoming a domestic helper in Singapore, Buttercup plans to be a waiter in Dubai and as for Blossoms she is trying her luck in Japan together with her band. They told me the same thing when I commented that it’s a good thing they don’t get tired coming back there at DFA (they are twice rejected for lack of supporting documents/proof of identity). All of them answered me with “Para te sa pamilya ko to.” Talk about filial love at its greatest. They were all so excited and full of optimism. That is why when I got so impatient in line a couple of times, I restrained myself from having a tantrum fit because seeing them made me think that my discomforts were so little compared to what they’ve been through just to get there. My husband told when we got home, “Be, ang saya natin kanina nun magkasama tayo, di kasi naginit ulo mo!” If he only knew the self-control I was exerting that time.:)
Well, that’s about it. There are a lot more characters there, I’m sure, but I didn’t have the chance to meet all of them. I would love to meet some more but I had enough for the day I guess. The world is full of amusing people, you just have to go out of your way and meet them. Our parents always say when we were little kids, don’t talk to strangers. But you’re not a kid anymore. Sometimes you just have to smile in welcome to the stranger beside you and you will be surprised to see a different world from their eyes. For all you know, these strangers might make your day the way Lola Stress Ball, Miss Lone Shark, Miss Badtrip and the Powepuff Girls did to mine.
Some DFA tips: 1. Better have your picture taken there at the 2 minutes photo shop. Although nothing spectacular happened to my face like what Miss Lone Shark kept promising, their photos don’t get rejected at all. It’ll save you another trip back to DFA. Plus, they have a wide array of blazers to choose from if you’re not in your collared shirt, with a wide array of smells though–from patis to pawis kinda smell (ew!)–never mind that, focus on your goal instead–not to have your photos rejected 2. Bring also your original and photocopied local civil registry birth certificate. My assesor asked for a photocopy of my birth certificate from the local civil registry aside from the original NSO certified 3. Bring a fan with you, it’s hot in the auditorium where the encoding takes place but its more efficient now meaning fast unlike before 4. In the reviewing of documents, choose the line where the assesor is an old lady. They are more respectful and accomodating unlike the younger ones who are rude and haughty (you will think–UH, IMMIGRATION LINE BA’TO, AM I AN ILLEGAL ALIEN?!). This pimpled lady acted high and mighty thankfully not to me but to my husband when in fact she was the one who was wrong. I guess they don’t like their job at all 5. Better show your driver’s license, PRC, SSS and company IDs. If you don’t have any 3 of these, they will require you to get an NBI clearance which I think is horror of horrors. Thankfully, I didn’t have to get that or else I’ll have again another exciting trip to another government institution. If that happens, I won’t be writing about a comedy, it will most likely be an action or suspense drama! Thank God I wouldn’t have to go into that:)