Saturday, October 25, 2014

How to Apply Online for NBI Clearance

At the start of the year 2014, we were greeted by news report about the long lines of people seeking clearance at the office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).  Apparently, NBI was migrating their system to a new one and NBI Officials explained that once the process of tranferring to the new computerized system was completed, the long lines would ease up.  I remember the time when I first applied for NBI clearance I spent the whole day waiting in line.  Although a computerized system was already in place at that time, the application process still took that long and there was no chance you would get your clearance on that same day.  After I went through several windows where I filled out the application, paid at the cashier and queued for picture and data capturing, I was informed to be back on another day, earliest would be three days for the release of clearance. That was, they needed to verify my records to see if I did not have offenses or if I have same name with another who had criminal record.  So the release of clearance still depend only if there would be no problem with my records otherwise I would need to go back possibly on another day again to provide proofs of my identity.

That was the tedious process of applying for NBI clearance at the NBI Main Office years ago. Eventually, the process improved when they opened satellite branches in malls and other offsite offices.  So it was really big news when long queue started to pile up again earlier this year.  Understandably,  it was the result of the Bureau's quest to improve the system and what a better way to do it than to make its services available thru the internet.  So today, I had the chance to finally use the Online NBI Clearance Application.  Here is the step by step guide to help you through the application process.
1.  From the NBI website, select from the menu Clearance Registration Application.  A new form will be displayed.
2. Fill out all pertinent information. Select NEW for first-time applicants and RENEWAL for those who have previously issued clearance.
3. Fill out Applicant information, Contact details, family background, and other information.
4. After filling out the application, click SUBMIT.  A reference code will be provided once the application is successfully submitted.  You can copy this reference code or print your system generated application form. If you do not have printer, just be sure to have the reference code when you go to NBI office.
5. You can then proceed to the NBI Office in Manila.  Pay the corresponding fee and proceed to picture  and biometrics capturing.
6.  If there is no significant findings in your record, you can get your clearance on the same day.

So there goes the easier process for applying NBI clearance. The process seem to have been significantly streamlined with the online application process.  Even the waiting time for the release of clearance has greatly reduced from days to just a matter of hours. Maybe next time they could come up with an online payment so that applicants no longer need to queue at the cashier. But, generally, the improved process is a real great feat!

Friday, October 17, 2014

How To Apply for Passport in the Philippines

Passport Application Then:
The first time I applied for a passport nine years ago, I found the process to be too complicated.  Passport application was done at the DFA Office in Pasay where I was greeted with numerous fixers and legitimate-looking passport processing offices just outside the gate. There were too many people outside the area that I had a hard time finding the main entrance. I actually had the experience with one person who was clad in an office uniform but I had no idea whether she was from DFA or not.  When I asked her where the entrance was, she told me to get in one of the kiosks to have my picture taken even if I said that I already had the requirements with me.  Geez...they screened my documents, led me into their booth, took my pictures then asked for payment.  :-)  After payment, only then I was told what gate to enter and it finally dawned on me that I was actually scammed. That was because I was clueless of the process that time.

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Passport Application Now;

Anyway, that was years ago.  Today, the passport application has dramatically improved. Thanks to new developments in information technology that we can now set an appointment at the DFA for passport application using the internet at the comfort of our own home.

Whether you are applying for new or renewal of passport, DFA now requires an online appointment. Applicants will not be admitted at the entrance gate without valid appointment and application forms. This online appointment is free of charge.  Here is a step by step guide to help you through it.

1.  First determine the nearest branch to you where you want to set an appointment, (you can choose whatever branch that is most convenient to you).
DFA Branches:
(a) DFA Aseana in Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay City
(b) DFA NCR West located at the 5th floor of SM City Manila, Arroceros St. (just across the Manila City Hall)
(c). DFA NCR Central at Robinsons Galleria in Pasig City
(d). DFA NCR East at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City
(e). DFA NCR South in Metro Alabang Town Center Muntinlupa City
(f). DFA NCR Northeast in Alimall Government Center Cubao Quezon City

2.  At the DFA Website Branch Selection page (, select your preferred branch.  You will be taken to the instructions/reminders page.  Go through it agnd read carefully.

3.  If you have already read the instructions, click the "Set an Appointment" link.  That will take you to a new page where you will again be reminded of important pointers in applying for passport.  If you intend to apply only for yourself or for one person, click the "Start Individual Appointment Process" button. If you are applying with your family, click the "Family Application Form" link.

3. You will be directed to the passport application form.  Fill in all required information, be sure that all information provided are true and that it can be sufficiently supported by your documents which you will attach with  your application such as birth certificate, identification cards etc.  If you are applying for renewal of passport, you need to provide your old passport number so be sure to have that with you.  Also, ensure that the email address you provide is your own working email since all communications related to your online appointment will be sent to this email address.

4.  Review all the information that you provide before you click the Submit button.  Any false information you supplied could be grounds for non-issuance of passport.

5.  You will be asked for the date and time that you preferred when to visit your selected branch for the personal appearance.  All passport applicants of 0 age above are required to have a personal appearance since biometrics information such as photo will be taken.

6. Check you email from DFA Consular Office.  It contains your passport application reference number and a link to print your passport.

7.  Print your system-generated application form on a Legal Size paper and complete all the required documents stated in the email. Do not sign on the passport application just yet, you will sign on the document personally before a DFA Officer once you visit the branch.

8.  Photocopy all the necessary documents before proceeding to DFA Office because applications will not be processed if you do not have complete set of photocopies of your documents (at least two or three sets of photocopies will be fine plus your original papers).

8.  At the date of your appointment, be at your selected branch at least thirty minutes prior to your appointed time.  Be sure to have the required amount for the passport processing fee and delivery fee if you opt to have your passport delivered to you.  The processing fee for rush/passport is slightly higher than for regular passport (at the time of this writing 950.00 for regular processing).

9.  Once inside the DFA Office, you will be directed by their friendly staff on the step by step process such as the following:
      a. Get your queue number at the Information Counter and sit on the waiting section of the Processing Area.
      b. Wait for your queue number to appear on the monitor indicating what processing window you will go to.
     c. After processing, proceed to the Cashier's area. Pay the applicable passport processing fee
    d. After payment, proceed to the Encoding Section for data capturing.
    e. After your photo is captured, personal details and biometrics are encoded
    f. If you opted for delivery, proceed to delivery counter to pay for delivery fees, the expected date delivery will be recorded on your receipt so you only need to wait for your passport to be delivered to your designated address.
    g. If you opted to pick up the passport at the claim counter, just present the claim stub on the date indicated at the same branch where you made your application.

There goes the very easy process of passport application.  You now have less worries of being scammed or annoyed by fixers as what I experienced before.

Teaching Kids to Nurture Nature the Fun Way

Beep….. wake up call....

Way back in August 2005, I wrote about the plans that I wished to do and one of those is to go back to those places I’ve been to and relive the good memories (if God permits). NiN Nine Nine long years have passed and luckily I had the chance to revisit those places at random times though I was not able to write about them. It was because I lost interest in writing so all I did was just to immerse myself in each moment, lock them inside my head then later on reminisce them all for myself.  But then my memory sometimes fails me that I tend to forget some details of those happy moments. So when I read again about my other plans to "get back at those activities I want to indulge in (if my time allows it)" I really felt the eagerness to resume my passion for writing and photography, so that’s what I did this year. That serves me three purposes, one is to indulge in my favorite pastime , the other is to take into account each special place that I revisited and of course to teach my kids how to be more appreciative of nature.

Also, it has been too long since I last had the chance to go out with my closest kin, it is always a great time to spend time with them. We all took advantage of the long weekend to break free from city life and pay a visit to dad. “Mommy, we want to visit the riverside.” asked my daughter. She was referring to the river I once told them that my cousins, my siblings and I enjoyed when we were kids. It has been more than two decades since I last swam in that river and I was really shocked how different it has been from twenty years ago. It was stripped of its natural beauty that it can be likened to a dirty canal than a river.
I remember that in the later part of the 80s and early 90s, quarrying was prevalent in the area that explains why clay loam was established in all directions thus the water has that brownish texture since there were no more sand, rock and limestone to purify the water. Soil erosion is very much evident as there were no more natural barriers to protect the river bank.
We used to catch fish and shrimp here... :-(

The kids went home a bit heartbroken since there was no chance they will be allowed to swim in murky waters. I too felt saddened for one precious moment that my children missed.

It seems to be a luxury for city-grown dwellers to enjoy the natural beauty of this earth. It always seem like my kids’ “megaminds” are so preoccupied with Facebook’s Farmville, or that online gaming of Counterstrike and the like. Their waking hours if not in school is spent mostly on the internet where they socialize with either real or fictional people and get involved in activities where only their brain, eyes and fingers were working. I wanted my children to live through the same enriching experience I had and treat themselves on a different adventure and at the same time teach them to nurture nature in a fun and inspiring way. So with prodding from the kids and the rest of the family, we all agreed to visit Daranak Falls. 
Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal is only about fifty kilometres from Manila. This is the nearest place north of Manila to visit when you want to experience the countryside (though of course a bit altered due to human activity but still relaxing and beautiful).

Did the kids enjoy their visit there? I am very certain about that. It was an experience that Farmville, Farmtown and the likes can never replicate and provide. Did the children learn anything from that experience? Definitely! We were like playing 'spot the difference' with the shots we took from the river back at the barrio and the one we took in Daranak Falls. After seeing one river destructed by human activity and learning how difficult it is for life forms to survive in there and the one that they experienced in Daranak Falls, they now know that people need to live in harmony with all the living and non-living beings in this earth. And, that it is very essential that we conserve and protect our precious planet so that the generation next to them will also enjoy what they experience now.