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September 26, 2008

Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak!!!

We're flying tonight for a short vacation in Europe. This blog will be quiet in the next two weeks. More posts and photos when I come back...

September 16, 2008

Calm...

Okay, okay, I was very upset yesterday and I wrote my previous entry at the height of my emotions. I am clam now but I'm not gonna remove my post :) Somehow, that blog provides good information for OFWs based in Qatar. Anyhow, I had a good day today! How about you?

September 15, 2008

Ridiculous Requirements at Philippine Embassy!

***Please be warned that this entry has a lot swearing and offensive words***

I'm fuming mad since this afternoon because of an incident at the Philippine Embassy in Doha, Qatar. Actually, I did not go there personally. Our liaison officer brought my diploma to the Philippine Embassy for authentication. However, the Philippine Embassy refused saying that my diploma needs a "red ribbon" before they can authenticate it.

What is that f*c*i*g "red ribbon"? When documents such as Birth Certificate (BC) , Marriage Certificate (MC), Diploma and Employment Certificates are brought to Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila for authentication, a red ribbon is attached to the document along with an authentication certificate. Most OFWs are required to produce DFA-authenticated documents as part of their application process - mostly for visa processing. Take note (I don't know if it's still required today) before bringing your document to DFA, you need to have it authenticated in Malacanang first - not to mention that BCs and MCs are already authenticated by NSO. Take note also that DFA authentication is valid for six (6) months only! I believe DFA also requires that BCs and MCs from NSO to be less than six months old! If I remember it right, authentication fee alone used to cost P100/document at DFA back in 2004. Imagine how much revenue they generate from this crappy authentication thing. With hundreds (perhaps thousands) of applicants everyday, how are they able to verify all those documents?...and diplomas? What is the authority of DFA to confirm a diploma is real? I doubt if they even verify from schools.

Now why I am fuming mad? Because my Filipina colleagues also had their diplomas authenticated sometime ago but the Philippine Embassy did not require the f*c*i*g red ribbon. I don't understand why DFA authentication certification is being required now. I also don't understand why they accepted my NBI Clearance and not my diploma even the original was shown to them? Why the inconsistency in their procedures? Do they realize how much trouble it is to get it done? and the cost? The Qatar Labor Department only needs an Embassy Stamp. The don't care about the f*ck*ng red ribbon so what is their f*c*i*g problem?

They are wasting my time. You see, the Philippine Embassy regular timings is 8AM to 4PM. The employees are (sometimes? always?) late because of traffic! Why am I not surprised? I wonder why I can be at the embassy before 8 AM and they can't come on time? Every time I need to go to the embassy I have to excuse myself from work. Actually, all OFWs had to excuse themselves from work because there's no other time. They close at 4 pm and because of Ramadan, they now close at 2 PM. WTF! They are not even fasting! I just submitted my Schengen Visa application at the French Embassy and they have regular schedule. Honestly, I am not the only one complaining here. I hear a lot of complaints regarding the rude behaviour of employees at the Philippine Embassy in Qatar but also in other countries. Why do they have to be rude to fellow Filipinos? They are supposed to be providing services - good services to Filipino citizens who deserves to be treated well. If their bad behavior is because of too much work and less pay, they should quit their job. They are government SERVANTS and they are supposed to SERVE period. I was once a government employee and I'm proud to say that I served my countrymen well.

Oh well, I'm too damn furious at the moment. The red ribbon thing is ridiculous! Now, I want to know how are Philippines Embassies and their employees in other countries. If you have any good or bad experience from the Philippine Embassy here in Qatar or in other countries, please share it here so that other people and the Philippine Government will know how the supposedly government servants are behaving!

September 10, 2008

Stressful Morning!

What could be worse than having flat tires in the middle of a highway early in the morning? I was clueless that I am already running on flat tires. While traversing the main road, the passenger of the car passing me made some circling signs. I did not understand it but I sensed that there is something wrong so I decided to stop at the shoulders. I felt so down and helpless when I saw my tire rim is almost touching the ground - that means I won't be able to move my car anymore. Grabe talaga, nakakaloka! I was stressed!

First, I don't know how to change tires and even if I can do it, I'd rather not! I also don't know of any company/agency whom I can call for assistance. I'm lucky that somebody was willing to help me. Actually, two people helped me.
Second, I found out I don't have a jack and the nearest tire shop will not open until 9:30 AM. I need to be at the French Embassy before 10:30 AM to submit our Schengen visa application. I can't waste 1 1/2 hours and wait for the tire shop to open. But I'm really lucky this morning. A Filipino guy passing by - lent me his jack. After 15 minutes or so, my car was already fixed. Yey!
Before I sped away, I gave QR 50 ($1 = QR3.65) to the two guys who fixed my tires. I don't have a smaller bill but I don't mind. My QR 50 will not inflate my tires and it will not give me a Schengen visa. It was a stressful morning but not enough to dampen my spirit and ruin my day!
Do you know how to change flat tires?

September 6, 2008

Waste of Money

We subscribed to TFC pay per view to watch Caregiver. But there's a problem with signal. The signal goes off for few seconds every few minutes. How irritating! We paid QR40 for a crappy service/movie showing. The main TFC channel doesn't have the same problem; therefore, the problem is only on the pay per view streaming. I believe we deserve a refund (which I don't think will happen). If we experience the same problem next week, we probably won't subscribe to TFC pay per view until I receive positive feedback from other subscribers. Grrrr....such a waste of money!

September 1, 2008

Ramadan Starts Today!

Ramadan Kareem!

For our Muslim brothers, Ramadan is the most awaited time of year. What to expect during Ramadan:

  • Restaurants and shops are closed during the day. This can be frustrating at times although they open in the evening til midnight or early morning. Expect horrible traffic in the evening.
  • Shortened workhours. This is good if the company is implementing the mandated 6-hour work day for both Muslims and non-Muslims.
  • New timing for rush hours. Since workhours is shorter, traffic between 12 noon to 2 pm and in the evening is horrible.
  • Banks and offices start late and close early although some bank branches are open in the evening.
  • Expect supermarkets to be full as people buy food to prepare sumptous meal to break the fast (Iftar).
  • Many promotions. It's a good time to buy a new car.
  • Most importantly, do not eat, drink and smoke in public.
To know more about the celebration of Ramadan, check my previous post here.