I never thought of getting a passport until the opportunity to travel came along and I didn't have one. To my dismay, we were able to secure a personal appearance appointment 2 months too late for our trip to Bangkok. I have then decided to secure that passport anyway for any future sudden trips to abroad.
Our schedule fell on July 5, 2011, Tuesday. I had a 10am appointment while Yab has 11am. On the day itself, Yab and I left the house almost 8am and we arrived at the DFA in Macapagal at 9:03am.I was more than hour early and Yab was more than 2 hours early, too but we were allowed to get in the building together.
We both presented our printed application form at the Appointment Counter and upon verification, we fell in line outside along with other applicants for our requirements to be processed at the Processing Area. As opposed to the one stated in the DFA website, you don't have to get a Queue Number anymore at the Information Counter. Be reminded that they don't allow food and drinks inside their building. Your bags will be thoroughly searched and if they find any, they will ask you to leave your food and drinks outside.
The time waiting for your turn in the Processing Area will be the longest one but based on my experience, it was pretty fast and organized. During my turn, I presented all the required documents (with photocopies, too) and I was taken aback when the person behind it asked me where I got my top. I had to ask the question again. I told him I got it from Forever 21 and he asked where. Thinking it was a random question, I replied, "Megamall". He then told me that every applicant should wear decent clothes like mine when going to a personal appearance in DFA. I stammered an embarrassed "Thank You" and went on my way.
After which, Yab and I went up to the 2nd floor to the Passport Enrolment Section and paid for the processing fees. Since we wanted to expedite the process, Yab and I paid Php1200 each and after that we got ourselves a queue number for the encoding section and waited. We also found out that you can get one queue number for your family for faster transactions.
While waiting, we were approached by a lady and asked if we wanted to have our passports delivered to our house and upon saying, "yes" she asked us to pay Php120 each for the courier fees. She instructed us to go to the Delivery Counter to have our shipping information encoded. We opted to have this done after the Encoding Section fearing we might miss our turn for the encoding.
At the encoding section, the lady who handled us was very polite and well-mannered. Upon data capturing, you will be asked to remove your earrings and tuck your hair behind your ears so that they'll be visible. For ladies: if you have bangs, they will ask you to lift it from your face, too. I have a very short bangs and I had a very hard time concealing it. I ended up with a passport photo wherein I showed most of my jawline. Hehehehe.
The last trip was to the Delivery Counter. We verified our shipping information and the trip to the DFA was concluded. It took us an hour and 21 minutes to finish everything. It was a refreshing experience considering how hassle and unorganized it can be when securing documents from our government agencies. My trip to the DFA was the most pleasant one and a comfortable one at that. I have read some horror stories regarding their trip to the DFA and I was thankful that my visit to the DFA was a fortunate one.
For more information, you can visit http://www.passport.com.ph for the needed requirements and guidelines for both New and Renewal Passport application. Here are some notes to take based on my personal experience:
1.) Be early and show up on time.
2.) Always have extra legal documents ready. NBI, baptismal certificate and etc. (For new applicants)3.) Photocopy everything and I mean everything. I saw the queue at the photocopy section and the queue's really long and you have to pay for it. You waste a lot of time and coming in prepared will really save you a lot of time and headache.
4.) Wear a decent attire. A collared shirt/polo is a safe bet.
5.) Have your stomach full before coming in. They don't allow food and drinks inside the building.
6.) Like any soldier, be fully armed when going to the battle. Bring a pen, a stapler or glue. You'll never know when you'll be needing these.
7.) For ladies, if you have bangs like me, tuck it in or conceal it. They don't allow bangs to fall on your face upon data capturing.