Hello #hive, Yesterday we had to do one of the things we enjoy the least here in the #Philippines, visit immigration. Since the current situation started the government had put a stop on travel around the island, this meant that we could not get to the city to renew our visas, not a problem as we were informed there would be no penalties for late renewal, so far so good.
At that time Cebu only had 3 cases of covid19 but in an attempt to contain it these measures were put in place. Moving forward 3 months and it seems that didn't work so well, Cebu city is now the most affected place in the whole of the Philippines, not to worry I said we live in the provinces where there is little or no infection and there is no need to go to the city.
Well that's what you would think but in a inexplicable turnaround we have now been told to return to the city and update our visas or face financial penalties. With zero income over the last few months any extra expense is out of the question so reluctantly we decided to go. Reluctant because the trip defies logic, for people to be traveling from a safe area, in to a city on lockdown then returning the same day feel like the perfect recipe for disaster.
After obtaining special passes and booking a private driver we set off at 5am, as per usual the driver thought he was Lewis Hamilton and drove like a lunatic, made worse by limited traffic on the roads which he saw as a opportunity to drive even faster. Shaken, stirred and feeling a little nauseous we arrived in the city in record time.
Bureau of immigration.
Arriving at immigration we are pleased to see it is virtually empty, usually there are dozens of people and steps in place to keep social distancing, so after having out temperature checked, hands sprayed and walking through a foot bath we enter.
Clean them hands.
Here's where things got a bit silly, normally we would fill out a form say how long we want to extend (up to 6 months at a time) submit form, pay and receive our passport back but today for some strange reason they said they would only update and extend for 1 week? I argued that this was a ridiculous idea and that we had traveled many miles into a infected area to be told to leave and return 7 days later only served to increase the potential spread of Covid. Not impressed we went through the process all the while more people turning up.
More people more risk.
Once completed we collected our passports but before leaving I spoke to the guy in charge and asked why they had come up with a new system that was putting people at higher risk, he had no firm answer which was annoying. Then as we were about to leave he said "sir if you want you can re apply now" I was baffled, they let us submit forms and go through the whole process again which kept us in a public place for a further 2 hours. For the life of me I can't understand why they did this, it doubled their workload and extended our exposure time. While waiting for our second visa to be processed others were having the same issue and going through the process twice?
It's bureaucracy gone mad, nothing official here in the Philippines is easy but this really takes the biscuit and none of the staff seemed to get my point that they had changed a working system for the worse at totally the wrong time. Papers finished for the second time and more cash gone from our pockets (yes they charged twice for a job that should be done once) we grabbed our passports and high tailed outta there.
Koz my wife getting passport back 2nd time today.
I do wish that when those in charge decide to change things that they would look at the bigger picture, all they have achieved is to draw out a process keeping people in contact for longer putting themselves and others at a greater risk, total craziness.
Back in the cocoon of "safety" our van we headed back south destination #moalboal taking in the scenery and calming down from a very frustrating morning, taking photos from a speeding van piloted by a F1 driver is not a easy task but I did snap a couple of pics along the way and this one made me laugh, "The leaning hotel of Shamrock", complete with fire truck and 3 random Camels outside, why and how 3 full sized Camel models found themselves outside a #Irish sounding guest house is anyone's guess! Oh well as the phrase goes #it'smorefuninthephilippines but today i'm not feeling it.
The Philippines famous for it's camels.
Well that was a little cathartic and I feel a bit better for getting it off my chest, until next time stay safe folks!