2.26.2013

Getting Our NBI Clearances at Ever Gotesco Commonwealth


When I was still in corporate, (naks parang ang tagal na ah!) I heard horror stories about getting the NBI clearance. That you had to go to the NBI Clearance Centers at dawn and fall in line for hours! I thought it must be an exaggeration, but when I had some friends and family go and get their clearances, they said it was true! So when time came when our whole family needed one, we had no choice.

On that Monday, we woke up at 3:30am. We planned on going to Robinson’s Otis in Manila. It seemed out of the way and we thought it would be less crowded there compared to the Clearance Centers in Robinson’s Metro East or Galleria.  Luckily we chanced upon a blog that said that she got her NBI clearance from Ever Commonwealth Mall. That was much nearer our place, so we decided to just go there. The night before, we packed sandwiches, juices and other snacks. Berto brewed  coffee for both of us and we bundled a very sleepy Bea to our van and went on our way. We arrived at the Ever Commonwealth mall at around 4:30 am. The parking lot was still closed. Good thing there was a 24-hour Mcdonald’s nearby. We parked there and Berto went ahead to check if there was a line or if they were already giving out numbers. Us, girls stayed in the van, with Bea sleeping and me reading from my kindle.

According to Berto, the whole mall compound was still closed but there was already a line of more or less 20 people along the sidewalk. He has to stay there to keep his place in line since there was no numbers yet.


At around 5:30 am, the guards opened the mall compound and the line transferred inside at the left side  near the parking lot (when facing the mall). At around 6:30am, I joined Berto in line, he decided to take Bea home since the guards told him that children were not allowed inside the NBI clearance center. The wait was so long, good thing I brought my kindle along. I had no qualms about plopping down on the pavement as long as I’m sipping coffee and reading. Hehe

Berto and Kwala plopped down on the pavement during the long wait for the NBI Clearance  Center
I was able to talk to some other people in line, they shared that they’ve had to get this clearance every 6 months since they were contractuals. The NBI clearance system has changed. There are no more renewals. Every time you get a clearance, you have to go thru the whole process again. That must be really frustrating for them, not to mention time consuming.

At around 7:00 am, the guard reminded us that we need to have photocopies of our IDs. We didn’t have any so Berto rushed to the photocopier by the parking entrance. It was a bit far but thank goodness for Berto’s long strides, he got there before most of the others arrived.

After a while, the guard made his rounds again, this time reminding us of the proper attire for NBI applicants: Wearing of shorts, sandos, mini skirts, and slippers are strictly not allowed. Eeek! I was wearing my purple Havaianas flipflops because I wanted to be comfortable. Waaah! I was already starting to panic when I remembered that I had my camel slingbacks in the van. I wore it to a photo coverage a few weeks ago but on the way home I took it off because my feet hurt. I went inside the house barefoot. Good thing the shoes were still in the van! Woohoo!

At around 8:00 am, they let some people in. I didn’t even realize there were other people loitering by the entrance.  The ones in front of the line were outraged, saying they were there since 4:00 am then they let these people slink in?? The guards tried to appease them, apparently these people had “appointments”. I don’t know how or why.

Getting Our NBI Clearance
Finally inside the mall
We got inside the mall through a side entrance. They converted Cinema 1 into the NBI Clearance Center.  The guard made us fall in line again. After a few minutes they let us in the cinema. At the entrance, NBI employees gave out the application form with corresponding numbers, them they got the photocopies of our IDs. They wrote down the application form numbers on the photocopies, probably for file matching later on. We were led in the cinema and asked to sit down. It was early and everybody seemed to be in a good mood. The ushers were very pleasant and smiley. They assisted us in filling out our forms. It was a bit confusing especially for married women. Remember: Last Name (your father’s surname) Husband’s Surname for Married Woman (your husband’s surname), Given Name (your name),  and Middle Name (your mother’s maiden surname). Write in BLOCK CAPITAL letters. This will help the encoders to key in your information accurately. For purpose, if it’s for employment, put Local; if it’s travel, put travel; if it’s visa application purposes, write Visa-(country you’re going to) e.g. Visa-Canada, Visa-China etc.

Getting Our NBI Clearance
Converted  cinema into a NBI Clearance Center
Next we fell in line for the payment, P115 only, then we got in another line for the receipt. Next they asked us to take our seats, while keeping our line, and wait our turn for the encoding. When we were only a few seats away from the encoders, the officer in charge stopped the processing. He said that there was a system error and everybody was getting a hit! You are only supposed to get a hit if you have a name-sake with a criminal record. And if you do get a hit, you only get your clearance after they further investigate your case, after a month. So we had to wait for the IT support to fix their system before they start the processing again.  This was actually a small blessing for us because it gave Berto enough time to fetch Bea from home again. He asked the NBI employees and they said we can also get a clearance for her as well. Argh! And to think we wasted time and fuel to bring her home only to fetch her again. 

After 30 minutes, the line started moving again.

The encoders just key in whatever you wrote in the application form, then they warn you to look closely at the info they just typed in, because if you gave your OK to the data on screen then realized that there was a mistake, you have to pay the P115 again for an amended clearance.  On that day they had a lot of trainees who act as encoders. They were not really that familiar with the system. I wrote Visa-Canada as purpose in my application form, but the encoder chose Travel-Canada from the drop down menu. When I asked the supervisor, he said it there was a Visa-Canada option down in the menu and he reprimanded my encoder. NBI clearance is an important document. It is needed for work here and abroad, travel, even migration. I mean people’s futures are on the line here and maybe they shouldn’t trust the trainees with such a critical job as encoding. Not everybody is as meticulous as me. This will set them back a month if the information on the clearance is not accurate!

Getting Our NBI Clearance
Berto helping Bea with the biometrics, pardon the blurred pic =)
After encoding, biometrics was next. They take a really dark picture of you thru a web cam. I asked if I could smile, the NBI guy said go ahead. I initially felt bad that I didn’t retouch my make-up but when I saw how bad the picture was, I realized it wouldn’t have made any difference. Fingerprinting came next. The biometrics process took less than a minute, then my receipt was handed back to me with a date stamped on the back, one month after. I was a hit? I looked at hubby and he was a hit too, so was our Bea. I thought it was another system error but when we approached the officer-in-charge to clarify the matter, he said that this was the SOP for applications for Visa purposes, auto-hit. Then he said that if we were in a hurry, we can request it to be rushed and we get the clearances within 30 minutes instead a month, for a small of P500 each. We had no choice. P1,500 went out our pocket and went into his.

Getting Our NBI Clearance
A snack after the tiring process
Here we are with happy smiles while waiting for our NBI Clearances being “rushed”.


Getting Our NBI Clearance
Almost done!
We were done at around 10:00 am, just in time for the mall opening. I must say, that was quite an experience, but I wouldn’t want to do that again. The problem is the long line since they only accommodate 500 applicants a day, but once inside the process is a breeze.

REMINDERS:

Proper attire for NBI applicants: 
Wearing of shorts, sandos, mini skirts, and slippers are strictly NOT ALLOWED.


They require two valid IDs. Don't forget to photocopy them. Any two of these will do:
   
Valid passport
School ID
Voter’s ID
TIN ID
Driver’s License
Philhealth ID
PRC License
Authenticated Birth Cert
SSS ID
Alien Cert of Registration
GSIS UMID
Senior Citizen
Postal ID
Previous Copy of NBI Clearance


Take care when filling out the application form, especially for married women. 

Remember: Last Name (your father’s surname) Husband’s Surname for Married Woman (your husband’s surname), Given Name (your name),  and Middle Name (your mother’s maiden surname).

Here is a sample:

NBI Clearance Application Form
Sample Application Form


Here are some NBI Clearance Centers from all over the Philippines:

Robinsons Place Ermita
(Basement 1) M. Adriatico Cor. Pedro Gil St. Ermita, Manila

Robinsons Otis
(Level 2) Dr. Paz Mendoza Guanzon St., Paco, Manila

Robinsons Galleria
(East Lane, Basement 1) Edsa Cor. Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City

Robinsons Metro East Pasig
(Level 4) Marcos Highway, Brgy. Dela Paz, Pasig City

Robinsons Cainta
(Level 2) Ortigas Avenue Extension, Junction Cainta, Rizal

Ever Gotesco Grand Central
(3rd Floor, Cinema 5) Rizal Avenue Extension (Monumento), Caloocan City

Ever Gotesco Manila Plaza
(3rd Floor, Cinema 3) C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila

Mandaluyong City Hall

Muntinlupa City Hall

Central Luzon Regional Office
Capitol Compound, San Fernando City, Pampanga

Calabarzon Regional Office
Capitol Site, Batangas City

Laguna District Office
City Of Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Central Visayas Regional Office
Capitol Site, Cebu Citry

Eastern Visayas Regional Office
Sto. Nino Extension, Tacloban City

Western Visayas Regional Office
Fort San Pedro, Iloilo City

Southeastern Mindanao Regional Office
J.P. Laurel Avenue, Bajada, Davao City

Northeastern Mindanao Regional Office
Provincial Capitol Compound, Cagayan De Oro City

Dagupan District Office
A.B. Fernandez West, Dagupan City, Pangasinan

Cordillera Administrative Regional Office
125 Upper Session Road Baguio City

Cagayan Valley Regional Office
Carig Regional Center, Tuguegarao City

Caraga Regional Office
2nd Flr, Fcb Building, J. Rosales Ave., Butuan City

Legazpi District Office
Quezon Avenue, Legazpi City

Sarangani District Office
San Pedro St., Lagao, General Santos City

Tuburan Municipal Office
Tuburan, Cebu

For further concerns, click the link to the NBI frequently asked questions.


UPDATE: FYI, a reader informed me that when he/she went to Ever Gotesco Commonwealth last September 9, 2013 and sadly, the NBI Clearance Center there is no longer open. You should probably just drop by the NBI website to check out the updated list of Clearance Centers before heading to one. Thanks!

2.20.2013

Good Meow-ning!

Meow

Just sharing a picture of one of our pets at home, our cat Princess Mulan or Myuli for short. We have two cats, Mulan and Snow White, and they have different personalities. They are actually half sisters but just like people, they can be as different as can be. Myuli is not as malambing or affectionate as her sister. She is a bit more aloof. She is content on lying on the couch quietly, you wouldn't even notice her if she doesn't announce her presence with loud meows. Her weakness however are belly rubs. Start rubbing her belly and she lets her guard down and goes into a trance of happiness! Haha..

In this series of pictures, she was initially wary of my taking her picture, but when hubby (not in picture) started to give her a belly rub, she just closed her eyes, stretched belly up and gave up to the happy sensations!

2.13.2013

Early Valentine’s Day Sweets…and Craziness



The night before Valentine’s Day I suddenly felt a craving for Goldilock’s Choco Rumble. I’ve had this long standing relationship with this delicious pastry. It dates back to when my mom used to buy these goodies for me after we did the weekly marketing. As in I used to eat them every week, but that was back when I was thinner, hehe..  But then I stopped buying them, maybe because I stopped being thin. :p Then one day as I was strolling in the mall with Berto, I chanced upon them again and bought a single piece and from then on, I was hooked again.

choco rumble
Choco Rumble

So last night, I bugged Berto into bringing me to the nearby Goldilock’s shop to get my fix. Sadly, everybody seemed to be thinking of the same thing and the Choco Rumbles were all sold out. So we bought these cute cinnamon rolls called Cinnamon Hugs (P100), Pinipig Polvoron Pack (P50) and Classic Brownies (P21) instead. 

Cinnamon Hugs (2)
Berto's Fave, perfect with coffee! Yum!
Polvoron
Kwala's Fave!
 
Chocolate Brownies
One of Berto and Kwala's all-time comfort food!


By the way, just a short kwento: 

Outside the Goldilock’s shop, there was this lady who was selling roses. I was ribbing Berto about how he never buys me flowers anymore (actually that’s not true, he bought a beautiful bouquet for my last birthday). So guess what he did, he bought me flowers…. from the sampaguita vendor standing next to the rose lady. Crazy man! Then he wanted to put the lei around my neck while shrieking, parang That’s Entertainment lang! Hahaha! 

So here’s a pic of my Valentine’s Sampaguita Lei with the Rose Lady in the background. 

sampaguita
Sampaguita for me...
Sorry for the crappy photo, taken by my  phone camera


Happy Valentine's Day to my crazy husband! Thanks for being my constant Valentine's Day Date for the past twenty years! I love you!

Berto and Kwala
Berto and Kwala on our wedding day

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

2.06.2013

Blatant Self Promotion


Hello everyone! How is your February treating you so far? Us, not so good, but that will have to be another blog post soon. In the mean time let me blatantly promote our twitter account: https://twitter.com/bertoandkwala   Follow, follow, follow us!


Also, hop on over to our facebook account and LIKE us!  http://www.facebook.com/bertoandkwala


While you're at it, add us up as a contact on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bertoandkwala/


Come on guys, let's interact! =) We hope to hear from you!

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