Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Certificate of Not the Same Person

First of all, I'd like to clarify that the poor system has been brought upon by the previous governments. The lack of proper coordination among the agencies (trial courts, police, NBI, Bureau of Immigration) and lack of use of appropriate technology in the previous governments led to the entire hassle of securing the NTSP.  (Take note of the S after government meaning I'm not being specific and I meant previous governments as is. I intend for this post to help and not cause comment war. Hopefully, President Duterte can have this fixed as well. There already have been lots of positive changes that I have personally seen under the Duterte administration and I hope this becomes one of those soon.

Now to the main topic... if you're reading this then it means you have or someone you know has a namesake with criminal record. And you've been told by airport-immigration to secure a Certificate of Not the Same Person or next time you might not be allowed to leave the country.

And since you're here, you've probably also visited 
from which you can download the application form and a checklist. 

The site also tells you that:

You need to apply at the Bureau of Immigration's Main office. 
That it costs 500 pesos.
That you need the following:
1. Duly accomplished application for Certificate of Not the Same Person (BI Form No. CCS-A-NSTP- 2016)
2. Signed and Sealed Court Clearance duly issued by the concerned Court or Agency that issued the 
Order, Letter Request or Warrant of Arrest to include the person in the Bureau’s derogatory list. The
Court or Agency MUST CERTIFY WITH CERTAINTY that the applicant is NOT THE SAME PERSON as that of the Accused or Respondent based on their records of the case.
3. NBI Clearance

Now let me talk about what you probably don't know yet. Below are the things you need to make sure of and a list of other documents (not listed above) you need to secure before applying for a Certificate of Not the Same person or NTSP. Also, this is based on our experience and we're just sharing so you won't have to go through the same hassle that we did. 

1. You have to make sure that the Bureau of Immigration has given you the correct MTC (Municipal Trial Court) or RTC (Regional Trial Court) address. Call or go to the trial court in your area to get the information. Be ready to provide the criminal case number and the branch number. To double make sure: you may compare the information you got with the list here . Although, we're not sure how accurate that is either.

What happened to us was the BI officer at the airport gave us the wrong court address. So we ended up going to three cities in one day. That's not fun when you have other appointments.

2.  How to get the court clearance? We have been to 1 municipal trial court and two regional trial courts and they all have different requirements. So you may not need exactly all four but better bring them all just to be sure. Or just call concerned court about their requirements. Requirements are requirements so don't expect them to entertain you when you're lacking one.

Here's the list:
a. Affidavit of Denial - notarized and sealed (We paid 200 pesos and got four copies)
b. Cedula or Community Tax Certificate - original and photocopy
c. Police Clearance (from your place of residence) - original and photocopy
d. Valid ID/s and photocopy - Do not take the photocopies for granted. The second RTC that we went to didn't have a photocopying machine service and the nearest was about ten minutes walk-away. 

Example: In this particular RTC, the affidavit of denial is not enumerated on their list but the second RTC we went to asked for it. The second RTC however didn't ask for the cedula. Again, there's difference in the requirements.

Also, the courts have dress codes. Do NOT wear shorts, sleeveless tops, and slippers (← not indicated in this RTC but was so in the other RTC we went to.) They will not let you in even if you came from Mars or another universe. It doesn't matter if it's a scorching hot day either. For ladies, if you're wearing a sleeveless top, you might be able to get away by putting a shawl over just like I did. But now that you know about it, why risk it? 

We paid 50 pesos/page for the Certificate of Not the Same Person.

Please note the cashier closes at exactly 4 pm on their clock. Even if it's 3:59 pm on your watch but 4 p.m. on theirs, they will not accept your payment and you will have to go back the next working day even if you came from Neptune or hell. You need the O.R. attached or the O.R. number written on your court clearance otherwise it's still invalid even if it's signed and sealed.

It's possible to secure the court clearance in one day but sometimes the signing officer is not present (just like in the first RTC that we went to but it was the wrong RTC anyway). They won't allow anyone else to sign and they can't mail the document to you either. Again, better call the concerned court and ask if signing officer is present before actually going.

I don't how many times I mentioned "just to be sure" but that should give you an idea of the trouble we went through. Again, this is based on our experience. There's no need to compare it with yours. We just hope, you have it much easier and hope this post helps even in the littlest way.

That's all for now. Keep smiling!

p.s. We'd like to thank the ladies at the Clerk's office of San Mateo RTC for helping us out and pointing us to our correct RTC.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Bolinao Pangasinan

Although Pangasinan is more famous for its Hundred Islands in Alaminos, we drove past that and went straight to Bolinao two weeks ago. We wanted a more secluded location and we thought that it would be since it's an hour more away. We were right. Baguio to Bolinao is only around 4 hours away. Manila to Bolinao is 5 hours +++ depending on traffic.

This trip was sudden so we weren't able to book a hotel room in advance. I did check the night before the trip but we were left with the expensive ones so we decided to just look for a hotel once we got there. And that didn't become a problem at all because there were new hotels that didn't have a website or that weren't on booking sites yet. Also it was a sunny weekend but it was December so there weren't that many tourists. We even had the whole resort to ourselves. We stayed at Sea View. We personally checked out several resorts there but we chose to stay here because the check-in time was 24/7. That means if you checked in at 5 pm, you can check out at 5 pm the next day unlike in most resorts where check-out time is definite (usually 12 pm) no matter what. Also, they allowed us to extend our stay for twelve hours more and we only paid half as well. In most resorts, you'll have to pay full already.

Sorry, we were having too much fun that we forgot to take a photo of the resort during daytime. This was taken after checking out. The man in the photo is the caretaker seeing us off. Rate of the room we got was PhP3000/day.

And before you complain about the room prices, please consider that most of the rooms there are designed to accommodate a large group. The room we got, which was already the smallest at the resort, had two double size beds. Perhaps that's one thing that makes Bolinao more of a local family or group destination. 

Please make sure to bring cash with you. As of the first weekend of December 2016, there's only one ATM at the town proper and some hotels don't accept credit or debit cards. Also, there's no 24-hour anything, not even a gas station, in Bolinao.

This is the closest to a convenience store you'll get. Some resorts like the one we stayed at don't have minibars or restaurant so make sure you check such information ahead. Naldo and I always bring food during road trips so that wasn't a problem either.

Most of the online hotel brochures boast of white sand beaches but actually Patar beach sand is mocha-colored which we also love. The color of sand just like skin color doesn't really matter to us. I don't even have a favorite color. I think it's torture to choose just one. So yeah, what's important is that the beach is clean. Thankfully, the stretch was impressively clean and we hope that's also how it is during peak season. What's sad about it though is that the beach that you see in the photo was once a coral reef. The destruction seems recent. :-(

We went to Bolinao just for the beach but we got extra surprises too. Below are other places that you can visit in Bolinao.

The Enchanted Cave is around 5 minutes away from the resort. If you're after the cave pool, the best time to go would be in the morning. The cave pool is natural but it's small - fifteen people is enough to make it crowded. 

 Here are the fees:

This was at the garden within the Enchanted Cave vicinity.

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is around ten minutes away from the resort we stayed at. We've only been to two light houses in the country and so far this is our favorite. 

Bolinao Falls 1 is about an hour away from the resort we stayed at. Despite the rough road, we really enjoyed going here the most because we saw different kinds of birds we've never seen before. Our favorite was the blue-tailed bee eater. Please check my instagram @mashiloa for the bird photos. I got a cool sunset photo there too. :-)

Also based on our experience, the signs didn't really indicate the way to Bolinao Falls. If it's still the same in your case, please take note of this. Once you reach this fork  (let this building and several hotels signs to its right be your landmark), road on the right goes to Patar Beach and Cape Bolinao Light House. Road on the left goes to Bolinao Falls 1. There won't be any signs on the way either so ask a local if you must. 

If you're looking for a very rural escapade, Bolinao might just be the place for you. We'll definitely go back to check out Bangrin Marine Protected Area. Next time, we'll go and spend a day exclusively for bird watching. And we missed the chance to buy "Tupeg", a local delicacy, so we'll come back for that too. 

That's it for now! Keep smiling!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Holiday Party Games 2016

I was game master at our company year-end party this year. I'm sharing the party game ideas for those looking. I simply modified already-known party games. I chose these games because they don't require much materials and they're easy to play. And just to make sure everyone gets the chance to play, including the shy ones, we draw lots for the participants. 

The first game I named "Dancing Caterpillar." Its game play is a combined Musical Statue Parlor Game and Lozano Balloon Game. If you're not familiar with these two party games, musical statue is a game where players dance when music plays and they freeze when the same music stops. The Lozano balloon game (that's the search name in youtube) is a relay race where one member passes a balloon to the second member who in turn places the balloon in between them right at the tummy area. Then together they walk while making sure they keep the balloon in place without touching it at all. They walk to get the second balloon which they pass to the third member and this goes on until all members finish the task.

Special Rule:
The team who drops a balloon gets penalty freeze time.

Materials needed:
Dance music - to be paused and played anytime during the game

WARNING: Audio might be too loud so please adjust your audio settings before playing video file.

The second game is another relay race and I named it "Santa D'rag Race". The game play is a modified Minute to Win It: Magic Carpet Ride.

Special Rule: 
While riding the rag, player must ring a bell while singing "Jingle Bells".

Materials needed:
Foot rags
Santa Hats
Santa Beards
*** You may add Santa Costumes for more fun if your budget permits.


I'm including screenshots in case videos above don't play. And sorry for the video quality; had to reduce file size to its lowest.

Oh and checkout my blinking hair clip! It is actually a ring. I was going to put more but I was short in time.

By the way, our party's theme was Black and White and Wig. The wig was optional just to have color. I was the one who suggested black and white and Naldo suggested the wig idea. I specifically proposed the idea because I wanted to make it easy for everyone. I didn't like the idea of someone not being able to attend just because he/she doesn't have anything to wear. Thankfully, the rest of the party committee approved. 

That's all for now. Happy Holidays!