Department of Foreign Affairs has improved a lot since the time we applied for our passports way back 2008. Then, the very long queue of applicants is enough to dampen your desire to join the beleaguered faces. Time, patience and persistence are “musts” if you want your dream to visit Asian countries outside the Philippines. We did get our passports and we got to visit Hongkong, Zhenzhen, Macau and Singapore!
Fast forward and now renewal of passports, being 2015 as against 2008. This time the office has transferred to Centrio Mall, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. Also this time I have become a senior citizen so the task is not that ominous. My son and I were the only ones in the family who have not updated our passports. I availed of “special /express service” being a senior citizen. My number was 1011 while my son’s was 3167. In just a matter of 20 to 30 minutes I finished mine (finished the submission and photo session but the issuance will still be on September 3, 2015). My son had a long time to wait for 3167 to finally be called – so we decided to eat our lunch but he had to go out from time to time to check whether his number was forthcoming or still a long way off. Since time is always long in coming when you are waiting my son suggested I go ahead with what I want to do for the day, so I had to leave. So where is the improvement of DFA services?
Relatively, the employees are more amiable; the place is clean and cool; the announcements are all “high tech” so all you have to do is look at the screen for your number and follow what window you are supposed to go to; the progression of the “how to” go about the ordeal is well executed. Then the best service – senior citizens and elderly have the express lane! So what are the side news?
1) the young couple, the wife is Filipina while the husband is Swiss and their baby: it was nice to look at the husband who had to just stare at the wife who was talking to the DFA staffer. He could not understand the conversation that was going on! Then the wife had to let the husband take care of the baby while she had her picture taken. In the meantime we, the onlookers of the scene were smiling while the Swiss lovingly looked at his son and “danced” to keep the baby asleep. The teacher-mom in me surfaced when I decided to interview the wife who happened to be from Agusan, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Philippines. I told her how happy her husband was carrying their baby boy! I wished her good luck!!
2) Since there are guards who initially ask why you want to enter the vicinity, others then are advised to wait outside the office. The facial expressions of those who are waiting ranged from tired to boredom. Others decided to sit on the floor! Others had to go around and come back and then went around again until . . .
3) One realization – People are really meant to travel; our journey in this world goes on until we reach our last destination – back to the Maker who is giving us the time to do our mission . . .