Thursday, October 16, 2014

Getting a Voter's ID and a Postal ID in Manila

Boo!  :)   I know, long time no post!

Anyway, I was a stay-at-home Mom in need of a secondary ID to open a bank account. It behooves me, but just the passport will not suffice.

After much hemming and hawing and gnashing teeth because I don't like dealing with bureaucratic corruption and long lines, I gave in.

I went to the Comelec site and filled up the proper form. Oh, I called them to verify which form it was that I needed to fill up. See, I stopped voting after getting married and my voter's file (what do yo call that) was deactivated after missing 2 national elections. So, I did not know whether I was going to fill up the form for reactivation or the one for a change of name. Anyhoo, I was advised to just apply as a new voter instead. So, that is what I did.

I filled up the form electronically, printed them on long bond paper (3 copies) and then I photocopied all IDs I have (passport, expired postal ID and my homeschooler ID as parent-teacher). I then went to the Comelec Manila office at Arroceros Street (near LRT Central station).

I looked for the District my barangay belongs to, submitted the filled up forms and photocopy of IDs at the window bearing "Step 1" sign. Somebody affixes a reference number to it. Within 5 minutes, I was called to sit inside for the Biometrics part (step 2). Basically, you sit in front of the encoder as he types in your details before taking your picture and making you sign the digitizer and then getting your thumb and forefinger prints digitally. Step 3 is affixing thumb prints on your form in front of them, then they will give you a slip of paper before shooing you away.

And then you pray that Step 4 (claiming of Voter's ID) will happen within your lifetime. Haha. But really, they have no idea when an ID will be released because all the manufacturing of IDs happen at Comelec Central.

At least I get to vote again, no?

=========

Now, since getting my hands on a Voter's ID anytime soon seemed bleak... I walked to the Central Post Office (the PhilPost building across that old theater) to get a Postal ID.

I prayed there won't be corruption (because I have Googled my heart out and read mostly rants and complaints) and I was rewarded :)

I asked for a form (they will give you two to fill up) which I dutifully accomplished. I submitted it with the original copy of my barangay clearance (an NBI clearance will also do), three 2x2 pictures with a white background (2 for the forms and 1 for your actual ID)  and photocopies of my birth and marriage certificates (because I am married). There's a nearby rush photo nook and photocopying for these. I was told that there is no such thing as RENEWALS anymore so every time you get a Postal ID now, you have to submit those things.

I paid P533 for RUSH processing (meaning I got my laminated ID within 15 minutes after paying). I got a receipt for P508... P448 for the rush processing and P60 for authenticating the photocopies of my documents. The woman at the window patiently explains this to all applicants, that the only thing they do not give a receipt for is the lamination (P25). I greatly appreciated that (compared to the horror stories I have read).

Plus, the windows at PhilPost had  laminated pictures and names (reminiscent of name tags for young students) of whoever is serving the public, an attempt I believe in reducing corruption and creating transparency. I just didn't take a picture anymore but I greatly appreciated that too.

All in all, it took longer to commute to and from the house to these offices.

Hope this helps others trying to secure IDs (but please direct your questions to the respective agencies).

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dakak Park and Beach Resort, Dapitan

In a way, I am very thankful for the poor reviews I read of Dakak Park and Beach Resort in Dapitan because my expectations were very low... and we got pleasantly surprised in the end.

To put this review in perspective, we are a very middle class family who travel on a budget as much as possible. But since we have kids, some level of comfort is paramount. And may I just say that ending our Dipolog-Dapitan vacation in Dakak was the most brilliant thing we could have possibly done because we really spent very carefree days just lounging there and enjoying each other.

COORDINATION AND BOOKING
I absolutely love that they were an e-mail away, mainly because I hate having to have to use my cellphone anymore in coordinating trips. I would get replies to queries within 24 hours and was able to arrange for their people to fetch us instead in Dipolog. We were offered their Dakak 'Tabay Package and just paid for extra night so that amounted to P15,400 for 4D/3N stay there with the kids staying for free.

The driver who fetched us was also helpful enough to stop at a laundry shop so we can have the clothes we used in Dipolog laundered while we while away the rest of our week in Dakak. We just picked up the clothes on our way to the airport.

RECEPTION AND STAFF
I am not a jet setter by any standards BUT I can definitely say that Dakak's staff were sooo superbly trained, I just really loved them. They were friendly, not overly hovering, just rightly solicitous, very accommodating, warm, etc. We felt safe, welcome and in a way pampered, haha. They saw to our every need without invading our space.

Then again, we did stay during the week... sometimes it felt like there were only probably less than 10 guests in the resort (our brood of 4 included).

the reception area where you register for your rooms as well as wait for the shuttle to ferry you to Gloria Fantasyland

ACCOMMODATIONS

typical front porch of the cottages

room was clean, the A/C took its time cooling the room however but there was also an electric fan... and it did get cold enough that we had to adjust the thermostat

My son loved this sofa and slept there for two nights... don't expect much from the cable TV though, we only got 3 channels when we were there (not that we really needed the TV)

we had to request for a pail and dipper to be used in the CR because there was no bidet attached to the toilet... but both rooms (shower and toiler) were very spacious

DINING

Il Patio Ristorante (depending on what you order and how many you guys are, and how much you eat... this will set you back an easy P500/person)... servings are a little bigger than usual

Interior of Il Patio Ristorante Italiano... I think the most expensive restaurant in the resort and one that served a lot of great food

I could eat this salad forever! Cannot remember anymore if this was a regular Caesar or what.

Super great pizza too, haha. We bagged our leftovers and stored them in the ref and would just ask whieer resto in the property we're eating in to reheat it for us. Saved us some money.

Sorry, since it has been months...I really cannot remember anymore the names of the dishes we ordered. Anyhoo, we asked them to sweeten up this one (angel hair pasta) for our kiddos and it tasted sooo great. 

This one, we didn't like so much. And weirdly enough, pesto pasta seems to be unheard of in both Dipolog and Dapitan. 

I hope this is creme brulee, haha... and yes, it was great. 

Inside Bamboo Cafe

This fountain enthralled my kids

Gotta love this view every morning where our free breakfast was served  :)

miscellaneous Filipino breakfast options

Continental breakfast options

Free breakfast is a choice between continental OR Filipino breakfast, fruit plate, coffee/tea/chocolate AND fruit juice (yes, you get two drinks)... funny thing about the fruit plate, we thought the calamansi was just for decoration until our last day there when we tried squeezing it onto the fruits, and were bowled over by the freshness it infuses the other sweet fruits (Bamboo Cafe never served us any fruit that wasn't perfectly ripe and sweet)

 
that last one is fried chicken... regular dining at Bamboo cafe cost us between P800-1200 per meal


loved this shellfish

couldn't get enough of the styro-looking noodles



 
The leche flan was a  FAIL from Bamboo Cafe (and a slice cost P100, I think... the one sold by Mang Inasal is much, much better!)... this other cake was good enough (I think it was white chocolate something)

Bamboo Cafe will serve you at the beach, should you want it :)  These were great!!

On weeknights, you get an extra dining treat with a rondalla and cultural dancers

the CR at Bamboo Cafe... mentioned especially here because it was the only one I saw/used with a bidet, haha

SWIMMING
The pool with the slides, off limits to kids my sons' ages (6 and 3). 

Pool nearest Bamboo Cafe and the beach

Pool on the right (near Il Patio) is the only kiddie pool in the resort

Kiddie pool up close (all pools can get super cold so we really preferred the beach... no need to bring towels though because attendants will provide you with huge ones)

beach view near the Aqua Sports bar (rightmost of the property)


view of the beach from a lounge chair

Dakak beach is a small cove... I think it is just about 200 meters long so it gives this very private, intimate feel... this is the left part of the cove. High tide and low tide is just a matter of ten or so feet difference in the water level at the beach.

view of the right curve of the cove

lounge chairs

MISCELLANEOUS

they say this one will be a grand Chinese restaurant

convenience/souvenir shop

 


I seem to not have gotten great pictures of the well-manicured lawns but everything is just really clean and pristine, from the gate a hundred miles away (haha, I exaggerate, but really the entire resort is well-maintained) to the beach front. Staff kept the place clean all day... someone was always just sweeping fallen leaves.

Overall, Dakak Park and Beach Resort has become our most favorite resort. We literally spent all our days on the beach, with our kids napping on the chairs or hammocks. We decided not to enjoy the adventurous offerings of the resort (like the Zipline thing) because we didn't have anyone to leave the kids behind with. Plus, it was really pure heaven to just watch them dig and swim all day. We really intend to be back regularly (maybe every 2-3 years or so).

And yes, I really have no idea why the resort got poor reviews because it was jut heavenly while we were there.

Note: Travelled as a family, last week of August 2013 during weekdays... so it was really quiet there, and there were no buffet options  (coz that is offered on weekends only).
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