Friday, 23 January 2015

Life Experience: My First Philippine License Renewal

Have you ever felt the excitement of the first time you were about to renew your license? Have you ever dreaded the unpreparedness in you when dealing with stuff like that? Well, I have. Yesterday, I was both excited and fearful of what I was about to do. I was excited because it is my first time, but I also feared the fact that I was about to reenter the Professional Regulation Commission of the Philippines or also called as PRC. I feared it because the last time I was at PRC, it felt like hell on earth, Everything was chaotic and everything was unorganized. I referred to it in the past tense because when my dad renewed his license, he said everything went smoothly and he even got his license the same day he had it renewed. Apparently, he just got lucky. When I got there, I haven't even been inside the premises and there was already a line. a very long and very slow moving line.

This happened last January 23, 2014.

I was on my way to PRC and I've been texting my friend and colleague that we should meet at a fast food chain near the premises of PRC. Unfortunately, the matters she was attending to got out of hand and she took longer than expected. I told her that I would go in and wait for her inside the premises.

I got to PRC I was actually surprised that there was a line outside the building. This has never happened before. I have already been here twice and chaos usually only stays on the inside of the premises. I asked what was going on and someone told me that it was filing day for the teachers' board exam and they needed to submit their papers. I assumed that this was the end of the line for the teachers' filing so I walked to the front door. I was surprised by what I saw. Everyone, including those who were there for renewals and other stuff were being told to move to the back of the line. I hurried back and what surprised me more was the line had doubled in the past five minutes. I had no choice but to go and wait in line like everybody else.

It was a good thing that the weather that day was not as scorching as the other days that have passed. I thanked Global Warming only for that single day. When I reached the gate, I was pissed because what I saw was that there were 2 guards and only one was checking the bags for dangerous materials, and he was doing it in the worst slow motion ever made. I was thinking "I waited 20 minutes in line for this?". What was even more frustrating was that some people who weren't in line were trying to enter the premises. Screw you bitches. Wait in line like the rest of us.

I was guided by a tarpaulin that says steps on what to do and where to go during the renewal. Unfortunately, looking for the specific places was not an easy task. There were no signages and no proper guidelines. If you are not used to assessing situations like this, you wouldn't survive this hell hole. I had to move fast because bodies were piling up by the second and it doesn't seem to be dissipating as fast. I found the window that I was looking for and the man inside the booth gave me the form that I needed and didn't give further directions. I mean what the fuck was that? Do you expect everyone to have the capacity to understand every single thing in the tarpaulins? It's not as user friendly as you think. I read the form, filled it out, had my picture taken all in just five minutes. The next problem was looking for the window I had to go to next.

I was able to find the next window but I couldn't submit my form, not without my picture pasted on it. I had to look for glue and yes, PRC does provide the glue, especially because they don't really tell you on their website how to renew your license and what to bring during that time. I found a glue canister but it was like a barren wasteland. The leftover glue has even dried up on the bottom. So the only thing I can do now is wait for my friend, who by the way was almost there, and told her to buy some glue. I stood there, only because there were no seats left, and waited like the rest of the people standing there. A few minutes later, I saw a guy beside me and he was getting glue from the empty canister. If he can do it, why can't I? i looked for signs of non dried up glue, and bingo! there they were sticking on the sides. I was able to glue my picture and submit it to the window. I was surprised because she just looked at it and told me to wait for my name to be called. Again, what the fuck? So I asked around what to do next and apparently, they were scanning the photo and printing receipts. So I just stood there and waited.

After a few minutes of me standing there without anything happening, drama started cooking up on the other corner of the room. A lady was shouting about something that I can't understand. Apparently, she was screaming at a PRC officer and scolding them because something went wrong. I saw a guy video taping the whole thing. I was really laughing on the inside but the heat in the room was preventing me to actually laugh. After the commotion, the people from that area walked out, passing me on their way out. I heard someone shout "Naubusan daw ng cards (They ran out of cards). That's complete bullshit!" I feel sorry for the people that went out. I think they have been there earlier than me and were already at the peak of their frustration because of the unfriendly grouches and rude pointless answers these PRC officers give.

The room was air conditioned but it was freaking hot. It was even hotter inside than the outside. I have been waiting for almost an hour and my name hasn't been called. Suddenly, someone was beside me and my friend had arrived. She had submitted her form and she gave me a drink that she bought outside. She asked me how long I've been waiting and I told her almost an hour. She asked the girl behind the glass window how long the processing would take and the girl told her that it would take at least 2 hours. I was shocked by what she said. Both of us haven't even had our lunch yet and here we are about to wait for another 2 hours. She asked the girl if we could just go back later and the girl politely said yes. I was screaming inside. I waited in this hell hole for an hour and now she tells us we can go back later? Screw everyone that works here, polite or not.

Me and my friend, we took our time eating because she told me that she has feeling that when we get back there, our forms would not be done yet. And that was what happened. When we got there, we searched for our names on the finished pile of forms and ours where nowhere to be found. Still, people keep going in like it was the water that was sinking the Titanic ship slowly. I started feeling suffocated that time. My friend said we had to find a seat and I said to her good luck finding one in this crowd. People are standing while waiting for their forms or whatever they were waiting for. I was starting to get restless by that time. I didn't know how I could take it any longer.

I found a seat after going to the comfort room. Luckily, it was big enough for the two of us. We sat and waited while the heat slowly kills us, or so I presumed. We were surprised because one of our colleagues were waiting in line, too. We called him over and chatted a bit until he said he needed to get back to his girlfriend. He said that it was his girlfriend renewing her license and he was just accompanying her. I looked over and I think I saw the girl completely jealous over my friend. I was laughing inside and apparently, my friend was already making remarks about the lady. We had to talk about that later after this shit show.

Finally my name was called. I said to my friend that I am going to go over the cashier line because there was another blockbuster brewing and I dreaded a slow and painful line again. She said that she'd follow as soon as she gets her form.

My friend joined me in the line (well, I let her cut in), and we waited again. Good thing the line was dissipating and I was really surprised that it was happening faster than anything in this godforsaken place. We were able to pay Php 630 for our license. And we started asking each other, where the hell does all those money go? I mean, the license looks cheaper than a regular school ID. It's also changed only every four years. So what the fuck are they doing with the money and why does PRC still look like hell even after those hundreds of thousands of Pesos that come in everyday. I estimate it to be a good Php 800K to a Php 1M. Anyway, whatever it is, every corruption is coming to light in the Philippines everday thanks to our president. I really hope this PRC scam gets sorted out soon. Another thing, we waited for almost 5 hours and yet we had to return to PRC to pick up our license. You see how fucked up this place is?

In the end, my excitement turned into anger and my fear turned into frustration. Renewing license shouldn't be a chore. It shouldn't be this hard just to be able to keep using your title. May this be a lesson to my readers. Make sure to go into PRC as early as 5am. This ensures that whatever you are about to do in PRC, it will be done rapidly. No waiting in lines, no waiting for names to be called and no picking up of the license. Just don't let it get to you. You'll still enjoy it. Somehow, I did.


Shake It Off - taylor Swift