A Hundred Peso Life Lesson

Recently, I encountered numerous problems in opening bank accounts, applying for internet service, and etcetera because I do not have any government issued primary IDs. I had then decided to apply for a passport (this being the easiest and fastest way of getting a government issued ID).

From the LRT libertad station, I hired a trycicle to take me to the DFA nearby. I saw a signboard which said that trycicle fare going to the DFA is only 7 pesos. That prompted me to just take a trycicle instead of asking strangers for directions until I arrive at my destination. That turned out to be a big mistake!

The trycicle driver dropped me off in front of a small stall which looked like a pawnshop. There was a guy who asked me if I had an application form already. I said no. He ushered me inside their office and gave me one. He then proceeded to question me about requirements. He inspected my pictures (which I had done in a mall) and told me that they do not comply to DFA standards. He asked me to get inside a booth and have my picture taken again. At that point, what I had in mind was to just get the form but these fixers were gifted with convincing powers and armed with acting prowess that they were able to make me get inside that booth. I was not even told regarding fees or the presence of one. They make you feel as if they want to help you that you'd feel bad and guilty about questioning their motives. Inside the booth, I was starting to get uncomfortable. The person taking pictures told me to button up my polo which was colored light blue. From research, i knew that passport photos should be taken with the subject using formal wear. I was then asked to pay 187 pesos. Of course at this point, you feel obliged to pay up that fee. I payed the said amount.

Next I was told that the spelling of my middle name (Cadungog) in my voters ID was wrong. Indeed it was. It had an L instead of a C. They told me that I had to make an affidavit which will cost me a whopping 250 pesos. At this point, I was getting filled with all kinds of emotions. Fear, confusion, and anger enveloped me that I felt glued to the floor, paralyzed. After a good few seconds, I was able to gather my wits. I demanded my requirements back and got out of that hell hole. Even after storming out of there, I was still being followed by these people.

What is amazing about these awesome people is their talent at manipulating people. Another thing that makes it difficult to avoid these fixers is the fact that they actually have real offices with computers and that they actually scrutinize your requirements (making you feel like they are the real deal). I honestly would pay a million if anyone can turn me into one of those people.

My nightmare with these group of people is a worthy experience. I have learned my lesson and would take extra precaution next time. I have also learned to never let my guard down and to be on to people's tricks all the time.

Inside the DFA, I have learned that there were many others who were victimized by these band of fixers. Some even lost as much as 500 pesos! I also learned that the photos which I had were compliant to DFA standards after all. I also discovered that I do not need an afidavit anymore.

With the passport jacket (worth around 40 pesos I believe), and the set of 6 2x2 pictures, I technically lost only around a hundred pesos, a good price for a very invaluable lesson.