One step. Two steps. Three steps. Four. My feet go thump-thump-thump-thump as I weave around the neighbourhood. As I walk, twilight is planting its kiss on the pavement, on the streetlights, and on the houses that I encounter along the way. It paints a serene picture, calming me down, dispelling the anxious thoughts that have made their way into my mind during the day.
I missed doing this. Going out on a walkathon. I had wanted to do some runs on one of the condo’s treadmills but the lights were out – the gym was probably under maintenance – so here I am, walking, just going wherever my feet decides to take me. I am unconstrained by time, unhindered by walls. Simply unrestricted. I had left my wristwatch at home and I will only cease walking once my strength has given out.
Walking has always been therapeutic to me. As a child, I used to “make-dabog” across the wooden floors of our house when my parents didn’t let me have my way. As a teenager, I took it out on the concrete pavements of Los Banos when life didn’t.
“Okay lang ba kung mag-lakad-lakad nalang tayo?” “Okay lang. Saan?” “Kahit saan. Sa Sta Fe. Sa Agapita. Sa may EBC. Sa Umali. Hindi ako makapag-isip eh. Kelangan kong maglakad.” “Sige, tara.”
Walkathons are always so much better though when you’re walking it out while talking it out with someone. Or certain someones. I miss those people who took walks with me, you know, once upon a time. Like when I had my heart broken in high school. When I had tantrum attacks in college. When I faced crossroads after graduation.
I wish I had someone to walk it out with me right now.
But solitude is sweet. And though I walk these roads alone for now, I know I won’t be doing so for long. Twilight brings in darkness, but dawn will bring forth newness and light, soon enough.
Okay, I don’t usually write “how to” posts. But I promised myself that I would write this post out because of the frustration that I felt two days ago having found no substantial information in the Internet about getting emergency OECs. So. Bear with me. This might be useful for some OFW who might find himself or herself going back home to the motherland for a very quick visit. Specifically, a visit that lasts only five days or less. I thank my friend who provided useful information through SMS, but I want to save future “Balik-Manggagawas” from having to go through the same frustrating ordeal that I went through. (Okay, I am exaggerating).
I am tempted to turn this into a long elaborate post, but I’ll be merciful and just cut to the chase. If you are reading this post, I am assuming that:
1. You are an OFW;
2. You are already an OWWA member (i.e. you have already gone through the costly process of processing POEA papers, you’ve already attended the PDOS, etc.);
2. You’ll be going back to the Philippines as a “Balik-Manggagawa” (i.e. you are simply on leave and, after your vacation, you’ll still go back to the same job and to the same company written in your POEA papers);
3. You’ll be staying there for a mere FIVE DAYS or less;
4. You want to know how to get an OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) so that the immigration guards will let you go back to your country of employment in peace (oh, and so that you won’t have to pay the airport tax and the terminal fee anymore);
5. You don’t have time to go to the main POEA office in Ortigas;
6. You don’t have time to go to any other POEA regional office;
7. You didn’t have time to get an OEC from your country of employment’s Philippine Embassy (or the Philippine Embassy there doesn’t issue OECs);
8. You are going back to your country of employment from an airplane departing from NAIA 3. (This post is specifically for NAIA 3 users – NAIA 1 and NAIA 2 are all foreign entities to me, unfortunately); and
9. You don’t have friends who’ve gone through this process before so you’re resorting to good ol’ Google instead. That, or you don’t trust them. Hehe.
If my assumptions were correct and you are still reading this, here’s what you have to do:
1. Go to the cluster of POEA kiosks near that corner where everyone else is paying for their travel taxes. There should be a booth next to the OEC validation booth where you have to line up to get a form so that you can apply for an emergency OEC. To get this form, just present your passport and your ticket. They’ll ask you when your arrival date was. If the number of days add up to five or less, they’ll hand you the form, tell you to go to the OWWA booth once you’re done with the form, and then you’ll have to go back to that booth to claim your OEC.
2. DO AS YOU ARE TOLD. When you get to the OWWA booth, you should have proof of your OWWA membership with you. A previous OEC that reflects that you have paid your membership fee will do. Your OWWA membership is valid for 2 years, so I guess the oldest OEC/receipt that you can have with you is a two-year-old one. If your OWWA membership has already expired, then I guess you should be prepared to pay the $25 fee here. I am afraid that I am not sure with this one. But you should be safe, money-wise, if your membership is still far from expiring.
3. Go back to the OEC processing booth with your accomplished form. Be prepared to show proof of your employment (your contract, payslip, or ID). They didn’t ask me for any proof, but it is always good to be prepared. They’ll ask you to pay Php 100 for the processing fee when they’re satisfied.
4. You’ll get an OEC that has a 24 hour validity (meaning you should only attempt to get this OEC if your flight is already on that day). Proceed to the check-in counter. There’s no need to validate this OEC, it’s already good to go.
The whole thing takes less than 30 minutes if there’s no queue. If it’s the peak season and every one is making emergency visits, then I should expect the processing time to be longer.
Update (since lots of people are asking whether the booth is open 24 hours or during weekends/holidays):
A reader gave this comment last 2013:
Joseph | June 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm
To share my piece of the cake, this morning when i was [travelling] back to hongkong from the philippines I passed by the OEC counter to get mine validated. I confirmed with them that you can request an OEC from them anytime of the day as long as [you’re] within the 5days travel. Happy trip! :)
So there. I hope you (whoever you are) found this post helpful.
P.S. Did you find this entry useful? A bit out of date? Let me know. Leave some love in the comments section. I won’t bite.
Feel free to subscribe to this blog as well (follow through WordPress, subscribe through email, or RSS). I mostly write whimsical and literary entries but if you can find more entries like this in my travel blog: Stories from Distant Shores (www.marishores.com).
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(Day 17- Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs.)
So I don’t have an iPod. I do have an external hard drive named Buffy (The Vampire Slayer)* though and, to comply with the “30 day” writing challenge, I decided to put her on shuffle this morning. She’s still shuffling as of the time of writing, generating random songs, giving music to this very random Wednesday.
So. First ten songs. You’ll laugh at the randomness – but hopefully smile at the mari-ness – of them all.
1. Simon Says (1910 Fruitgum Company – why does it say 1920 in my files???)
I had no idea I had this song in my hard drive. I probably got it from one of Ate Mian’s old CDs. Okay. Let’s go retro.
2. Miss Invisible (Marié Digby)
Napangiti naman daw ako noong narinig ko ‘to. Someone sent me a copy of this song back in 2008 but I didn’t have much of an idea who Marié Digby was back then. Listened to the song, got hooked, and now I’m pretty much what you would call a Digbyholic. Miss Digby is Miss Invisible no more.
3. Sure Looks Good to Me (Alicia Keys)
Yes, I do have Miss Keys in my playlist. :D
4. Love Shack (The B-52s)
Oh groovy! This one made me laugh. I seem to have many old school songs in my HD.
5. Eagle’s Wings (Hillsong)
This one is old school too – old school worship. Oh, but oldies are goodies. Truly.
6. Ordinary World (Duran Duran)
May Duran Duran pala ako??? Anong song ito??? <– My reaction when Buffy played this song out.
7. Call to Worship (Mercy Me)
Contemporary Christian. I love this genre. You know. Switchfoot, Mercy Me, Jars of Clay. David Crowder. Those bands.
8. Change (Taylor Swift)
And Miss T Swizzle makes it to the list. Hey, I like Taylor Swift. I like John Mayer too, but I don’t think they’re in particularly good terms right now.
9. Bless Me Lord (Bishop John Francis)
From the “This is Gospel 2” album. Old school gospel music. Oh yeah. I like gospel.
(But I can’t find a youtube vid. Tsk.)
10. We Win! (David Crowder* Band)
I. Love. David Crowder. And I love this song: We’re gonna shout loud, loud/ Until the walls come down/ Shout loud, loud until the walls come down/ Loud, until the walls come down / Cause we’ve already won and you don’t have a chance/ Yeah we’ve already won and no, you don’t have a chance/ Yeah it’s already done and you don’t have a chance/ Because we’ve already won/ We have already won!
O-ha. So. There’s my music. My musical taste is very diverse. And judging from the rest of the folders in Buffy’s directory, it gets even more assorted still.
I hope you enjoyed the music. And I hope this random Wednesday found you well.
*Her name’s Buffy because her box says she was manufactured by Buffalo Technologies. :D