Urban Adventure: Going Through Clearances Again (6.2.10)

Last Friday, May 28, I picked up my medical results at Clinica Manila.
I had two recommendations, 1 was for UTI treatment that I thought was
long far gone since HS and then I was told to do an Apicolordotic
View. For a layman like me, anything that has huge words I'm not
familiar with can give me anxieties and panic modes especially when it
concerns my health.

I can't exactly say what that girl in Corporate Services said but they
put me on Class B, which I'm not telling what either (very sensitive
information haha) but in other words, I have a huge problem. Unless
those two are cleared, all my schedules are put on hold. So I went out
of Megamall depressed. I should also mention the timing of the heavy
downpour. It is obvious too that I had a hard time waiting for the bus
in damp clothing and I was half expecting for the cue of the
melancholic background music. There was none. Thank heavens. But
still, due to this clearance thing I have to put off my plans for a
different date (which I will tell later when it happens).

What happened in my narration was previously planned to be
accomplished in two days with two things in exception (again could not
mention what it was) that without the rest of these I could not do.
This account started at 3am and ended roughly at 5pm, June 1, 2010.

Owning Tutuban Mall ----------

My father can't leave his work so he instructed me to go to Tutuban
Mall ON MY OWN. It's the nearest from where I had my xray and checkup
and he professes, the quickest NBI clearance renewal station ever.
That is good really, I can't just be standing all day in queue so I
took his advice. What is wrong with that picture is that I am a
scaredy cat. I have never been there on my own.

There are four places that I fear the most of hearing and going to
alone without any apparent reason at all. That's Zapote, Buendia,
Tondo, and all places that are confusing-- which is practically any
place. And I know that I am that dumb in directions I even got myself
lost in our own subdivision back when I was in gradeschool.

My father's instruction was this:

"From here, hail a jeep route of Dagupan then get off just before it
turns a right."

He didn't say how long the trip was, or if there are any landmarks,
none. Contrary to what I usually do. When I give someone directions to
go to any place, no matter how simple it is I give out the details of
landmarks you see in sequence so as to not give you any indication
that you have far gone, or might have missed your stop because I know
how that feels. Once I was looking for a bind shop somewhere in Dasma
and I've exhausted all the coins in my bulgy purse going to and fro
via jeep because I have no idea where I was currently at. I gave up
and returned with a friend the next day.

But my dad wasn't like me and he has no idea that there are multiple
times I've got myself depressingly lost that I already have trauma in
that department. But then I can already sense he was getting irritated
in repeating the same thing over and over. Until after a millenia
passed and he said 'right after a bridge', some tiny light was shed in
my impending doom of getting lost in the streets of Tondo. Maybe I
don't need to practice being a street kid.

At the jeep I was trying to look nonchalant. I was near in asking the
student in front of me but she looks like a snob. The one who just got
in was someone likely off to shopping but being of the third sex 'she'
might give me a Manhattan look before 'she' answers me in a hoarse
voice. And then there's a mom and kid. Good candidate. In all my
commutes asking them maybe the best choice since they can be trusted
but she is most likely to chat with me the whole trip ranging from the
brand of diapers her kids use to how she met her husband in

I dismissed everything else when we passed a bridge. Someone got off
and I recognize that gate. I mimicked her hoping that this ordeal of
getting myself lost is over.

It was not too soon that I learned it wasn't yet. I have managed to
find that building cluster the guard said but I found myself more
lost inside the mall. I can't find the escalator to the third floor
and both left and right are just rows and rows of clothes I can feel
my compulsive behavior rising to my head wanting to buy that cute
blouse. My sister would die when she sees me in those and wear it when
I'm not looking. But anxiety seeps in to me being there all day, I
must find that NBI kiosk before the rest of the shoppers come in. It's
around 9am and surely hordes of people will be here any moment. And
alas. I found it atlast.

NBI hit on-----------

The site looks dubious. When I got to the payment line I was the 5th.
How weird is that knowing that a same line for NBI clearances in my
hometown can fill up an entire parking lot while this is just too
short. It was the same in the line for photo. And also, why are all of
them men? Maybe I'm in the wrong line...

Nope I'm not. I was even given a special treatment of sorts when the
guy who checks my records/took my picture/prints the clearance handed
my copy personally instead of me reaching out for it. He even have to
squeeze his 9 month old tummy between tables to do so.

What was creepy was the guy who was in charge of the payment. I needed
to go back to get my change and it was obvious he was hitting on me.
I gave him a realistically acted giggle when he started looking at the
details on where I live as diversion so he won't realize I'm avoiding
a chat. I can also see his eyes flickering like as if I'm prey. I know
I'm not that beautiful nor even close to being sexy but usually middle
age men find something in me I can't seem to see myself. But enough of
the charade! I gave another giggle and quickly said thanks then walked
briskly like as if I'm going somewhere important before he goes to the
part of asking for my number.

When I got out of the mall I noticed it wasn't the same entrance I
came in. Nonetheless I thought of the task at hand. I still have to
get my police clearance back at home.

My Van Paranoia --------------------

After asking the guard where I should get my ride away from that maze
a.k.a Tutuban Mall, my eyes picked up the signage of Baclaran in an
FX. I went for it in that instant even if my personal alarm is running

Other than staying away from confined alleyways and those feared
places I have certain rules. I can't exactly elaborate it here, but
one of them concerns vehicles. What I'm writing here are FX/Vans in

"They are a big no no. Unless I have friends with me, I shouldn't, not
in any time, especially at night would try to ride in one. Exception
to this is if the van/fx has a fixed terminal.

Referring to that I just broke a rule. Even in broad daylight I can't
take chances. That was my initial reaction too when I was working in
Alabang. I had some time adjusting to riding vans to and fro because
it's either that or Zapote. The fact that this isn't Alabang I'm going
to, I started to turn my paranoid mode on again.

So there's the driver. Next to him in front are two guys, the one
further right I was trying to convince myself was a girl because of
the long hair he sports no matter how the voice gives him away. I am
doing that because I wanted to feel safe. And I did for awhile.
Besides if she's not a girl, I was seated in the middle next to a
girl nursing student anyway. No one was seating at the back yet and my
mood was well in level. This is easy.

Until 5 minutes later the student got off of her stop. One thing I
noticed was, the driver needed to open the door on the left for her.
Damn! That door isn't working! Okay so calm down, I told myself. No
one's going to...

Now the fx is filled with 9 guys including the driver. No, 8. The one
with the long hair should also be a 'girl'. She is! Just squint a
little and don't listen to him and she's a girl already. So the ratio
is 8:2 and not 9:1 as previously thought...

Oh sh*t. I can't convince myself that much now when 'she' started
laughing. What's worse is I'm stuck in the left side with the faulty
door. As much as I wanted not to scoot I couldn't because everyone was
coming from the right. Damn it. My mind began to float away to some
cheap tabloid having headlines saying I was found dead and... gulp. I
can't imagine that far or I might cry.

So I tried to look outside to contemplate on how I love cloudy days.
Nope not helping. I can hear my seatmate texting and another ringing
at the back like as if they are exchanging texts. Oh, oh wait. We have
another passenger yey! She's an old lady in pink and...

She's off after a few miles she could have just walked. I so hate her.
So I'm back with this paranoid business. The two guys in front got off
as well and I'm left with weird looking guys with one of them near the
door the hugest. I was saying to myself: Think Tina! You can't let
them get to you! And suddenly a brainstorm.

I checked my bag for a pen. Yes a pen, don't laugh! A friend of mine
who lives in Pasay told me this before. Whenever she feels threatened
at a public vehicle she brings out her pen. And when I saw mine in
clear view at my bag I knew I'm kind of safe. I even imagined quickly
stabbing it to my seatmate at the slightest provocation.

Provocation which at the end of the trip never really happened. I got
off unscathed for lunch at Kenny's Baclaran but oh well. At least I
was safe. Better be precautious I think. Besides if something really
happened I wouldn't have had the chance to write this don't you think?

Breather ----

I tried stopping by at the police station at Imus just to see what I
needed. I know I needed a Baranggay clearance but I thought I can get
away with it. I may even just bribe my way into getting my clearance.
But my plan backfired. Not only did I arrive at lunch time, I was told
by this guy with a messenger bag to really have the requirements. The
only time I ever thought of bribery and this is what I get. Hmpf.

I came back at our house finding my sister still idling her days away
again. I tried to convince her to come with but didn't. I even went as
far as to induce her with ice cream but she wasn't interested at the

After a few minutes rest I got out of the house at 1:15.

I'm sitting next to a... a... ----

Freshened up, I took the overpass like I always do and went for the
first jeep I got my eyes on. It was really full, now with all females.
I should be asking where were they when I had my fictional fx incident
but didn't bother. Besides, I can't understand the dialect of majority
of them in shawls.

I was seated between one of them and a girl in a purple fishnet
stockings with holes that are probably 3 inches in diameter. The
reason I'm including her here is because of her wise 'discreet' move
in making a comment. She said to her (presumably) bf

(Roughly Translated) 'Ate's pants are clinging to my stockings'

Take note she called me ate. The nerve. She looked older than I am.
And she looks like a bum. And her voice is annoying. And who in their
right mind would go to Robinson's in PURPLE FISHNET STOCKINGS?!

Police police police ----

When I arrived I immediately went to the receptionless reception area
where any sucker, I mean, anyone who wanted to secure their clearances
must also accomplish. I filled up mine even to the last two fields of
Annual Income and Monthly Income.

I went to Window 14 but someone just got ahead of me. It's the guy who
was constantly wiping sweat off of his face while filling up forms
instead of just one. I wonder if he is aware this isn't a raffle draw?

He is. I overheard at Window 14 that he was sent by their company with
a request of sorts to have those cedulas. He doesn't sound like a
messenger but he sounds like a new employee given the task of doing
something embarrasing-- spending your day filing cedulas that aren't

As I was getting pissed at how long he is taking, I read on a posting
in the window that they do not allow any other person who isn't the
one filing up to have a cedula. I was like-- say that to the cashier.
Irritated, I switched lanes because this is unbearable. The cashier at
that time was taking her time like as if we have the whole day.

While waiting for my turn, I noticed that both cashiers are punching
numbers in calculators when the forms are given to them. I wonder if
they are computing how much I should pay...?

Oh no. What if.. what if... Sh*t. Why do I have to put my annual
income there?! Should I go leave the line to have another form filled?
What if they will ask me more than 12 pesos?! What if it's like a 100
pesos or a 1000 pesos? Dang it I only brought enough for this trip! I
even left my ATM card! Panicking, the window guy asked mine and
reluctantly gave it. The one next to me may have noticed how uneasy I
am when she suddenly asked how much was it. I nervously put out 12
pesos in hopes that I won't give more. Or if he asks more I would go
ballistic and would threaten a complaint. There another plan haha!

So he didn't ask me more than much. Actually that was weird. He put
onto my cedula it's 11.20 but asked me 12 pesos. I should have given
him exact of that amount! Where do they put my 80 cents? It's not in
my receipt is it?! Maybe they are using it to feed the 'one' next to
him but I didn't press it. If I've only known I would have given him
20 cents.

After the cedula, I've mimicked the guys who have been there earlier
on the second window to the right of where I came from to pay for a
police clearance O.R. Hmm 20 pesos? You mean the police clearance is
worth 20 pesos? Oh okay. I then went to the police station where I
came earlier and saw a lot of those getting clearances too.

An old guy handed me a form to write my particulars on and suddenly I
was grateful for taking that physical exam days earlier because there
is a part there where you have to put in height and weight which I
always forget. I passed it and waited to be called. It was still
cloudy so I'm not that irritated yet but those in line are. One of
them even said she still needs to go to Ortigas and it's almost 4
already. I smirked on my own thinking she should have anticipated
waiting for a long time in the first place.

When they were gone, one by one we are called for our man handled
webcam photo. There we were also asked for 90 pesos. I was surprised
by this because I really thought that that OR earlier was for the
police clearance. She, the woman who was in charge of
encoding/photo/print never issued me a receipt and even barked that I
give her a smaller bill because she didn't have any change for my 200.
How rude of her.

It didn't take 30 minutes later when I saw our clearances printed,
manually cut in half and have it signed each by a policeman by their
leisure hut. I walked out of the station happy seeing 'NO DEROGATORY
RECORD' in bold and caps even if I know I haven't done any killing yet
to receive otherwise. But still seeing those words in print makes me
feel like I'm a really good person. In that moment if not needed I
would have it framed or something.

As much as I wanted to walk back I decided to have a tricycle instead.
My driver is an obvious lesbian with a kid in front of her. I told her
to have me exactly at Robinson's for me to pay her 30 pesos. I almost
regretted this when I find that we are to travel on the highway on
that rickety vehicle of hers. Not only is this really dangerous, I
thought of the safety of her kid who sits in front of her. At the end
of the trip I gave her a 50 without asking for a change. Maybe next
time my clearance would show 'NO DEROGATORY RECORD and helps tricycle

So why am I in Robinson's? To buy a stamp pad of course! Both of my
clearances never had my thumb marks because both hasn't provided us
with one. Kind of weird that I have somehow paid for it yet here I am
in this long line of moms and kids who are buying their school stuff.
Ahh. Those were the days.

Today's Expenses (fares not included): (pesos)

161 -- Apicolordotic view
350 -- UTI antibiotics
200 -- lunch at Kenny's
120 -- NBI clearance renewal
20 -- Baranggay Clearance
12 -- cedula (should be 11.20 but they are wise enough to keep the change)
20 -- O.R. of Police Clearance
90 -- Police Clearance itself
42 -- Stamp Pad
1015 -- <sighs>

Image from: http://cuttingbacklearntosavemoney.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/clearance-sale-yellow.jpg