A few weeks ago, I accompanied my mom and dad to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). My mom is having her old passport renewed (which she never used) and dad is getting a new one, his first in all his 61 years.
The purpose of the trip was to prepare for the impending visit to Hong Kong, hopefully early next year. This is the first overseas for the both of them and five months away, I am trying to wrack my brains thinking of how I can make the trip really possible and fun for two people who worked hard all their life.
But first, I’d like to give my props to DFA for organizing their passport services. When I applied for my first passport about five years ago, you have to battle long (disorganized) lines, fixers who fool people into paying 200 bucks for a sheet of paper plus the heat and grime of the street. This is eons away with the current Passport Processing Center located at the Macapagal Avenue in Pasay.
On the second floor of the nice building is a processing center for senior citizens and babies. Since my dad turned 61 this June, we headed upstairs leaving my mom to stay on the tented area for the 930AM passport applicants. Dad wanted me to accompany him since its his first time applying for a passport, and my father–being a timid and shy old man wanted his brash, pushy daughter do the asking and all the inquiring for him 🙂 Incidentally, even if we left mom on the first floor, she managed to complete the first step (document checking) ahead of dad. My father caught up with her during the payment and picture-taking part of the application. Suffice to say, my dad and mom finished the whole procedure quickly and efficiently — minus the former trauma and hassle present on the old center.
I had a kick watching my dad squirm on his seat as the numbers (pertaining to applicants) was flashed on the screen. I had to explain to dad that he doesn’t need to stress over the application since he will not be interviewed by any consular official anyway. It is only when he is assured that he does not need to speak (to defend his right to have a passport) that he managed to be more at ease.
Passport application cost both my parents nine hundred pesos each, for regular processing. The passports will be delivered by October 15, and we can finally get to schedule a vacation for the rest of the family.
My bank account right now is more drained than the neck of Bella Swan, but if I strike it big time you can bet that the first thing I’m gonna do is buy my family round trips to any of their desired destination.