Bautista: Past passports

AS OF your reading I will be driving down, well up, North. La Union that is. The reason for this is for Joy to renew her passport which is expiring this year. A lot of scheduled trips is on for this year for me and Joy, as usual, and nothing new.

This year is somewhat special as it is also the 50th Anniversary of mom and dad. A lot slated for family this year. Previous before all this I had planned with Joy and my own family to travel to the West Coast upwards to Canada. This had to be cancelled just for mom and dad.

Instead we will all be traveling to celebrate 50 years of traveling, by traveling. The plan this time will be different from past. Past was when we would either travel by land as far as Sorsogon, Legazpi, Leyte. Past was for us to fly to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and even as far as Europe, the States and Canada.

Fast forward and we might have done it all. Past is past. The plan is to now take it from port to port. From the port of Manila a cruise ship will dock. A pass is given to dock here in PH. Off to the ports of Taiwan and Japan it will be. From port to port we will sail this time.

Just the 24 of us for this trip. Past was when Juan had to fly to Singapore or Hong Kong just to cruise and sail away from port to port.

Let's all pass from that. Pass from the past. For this we will pass all to just jump in the ship from Manila and pass all ports.

The passport application is a mess though. While Juan is asked to easily apply for an appointment online, it is never easy as it is. Always no availability or everything is full. Today it is full, later or in just a few hours it is all available. It is like buying a cheap ticket online. When about to book it is all gone. No passing marks for this one.

While Joy is still within the prescribed "before 6 months rule" she is required for this port pass to have a new passport. While we would have wanted to get an appointment here in Baguio DFA, we will opt to pass and go to the beach and the nearest DFA for it. La Union it is.

Friends have not given a passing mark for the new process. Every DFA seems full and no available slots are offered. Past was when Juan had to line up early in the morning, say at 4, then get a number for the day's quota.

Juan now learns that travel agencies corner all the available schedules, so as for us to pass through them, of course at a cost and not free, unlike when done online.

Past was when I knew the people in the DFA. The Secretary was then our godfather with Joy, Alberto Romulo, the former Senator and Executive Secretary, passed all past administrations, and continues to serve until today.

It was through him when Baguio opened its doors for passport processing. It was during my time when I had asked for a DFA of our own here and an Immigration Bureau be here. It was also through another good friend Mayor Al Fernandez of Dagupan. He was then the Immigration Commissioner. Now we enjoy the services of both here. My appeal realized.

I had just arrived from Singapore just this week and was fortunate to have landed in Terminal 4 of Changi Airport. It is the newest. There are less people manning the airport. Almost none. Juan is asked to press his passport, when passed, Juan will pass through another gate to verify fingerprint, then pass. That's it. That is the Immigration already. I am jealous.

I don't pass however. I am detained for the 4th time. I am not given any reason why. Only in Singapore. I think I don't pass for having the same name with that of my Dad. I don't pass for having a pass to South Africa.

I can't pass for having to pass by China many times. Why do I pass from port to port so many times? I don't know, I just love to pass. Every time they make me pass but with no apologies.

I just love the Changi Airport. But I never pass and get past their Immigration. Only after I present my past designation and all the ports I have been, I pass and get past this port.


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