I was uneasy, fidgety and my heart was pounding. If not for the airconditioned room inside the Ambassade du France, the French Embassy at the Pacific Star in Makati City, I would have bathed in sweat. Names were called at Window 1, I think for those who were denied and I was told to wait for my name to be called at that window!
I’ve been through a lot into this Schengen Visa application thing. When my photography work, The New Cathedrals was selected for exhibition in the Photoquai 2013, a major international photography festival in Paris opening this 16 September, I was told that I will also be invited, all expense paid, to be there at the Paris opening day. I was just so elated.
But I dilly dallied when it came to the Visa appointment. I had to prepare some documents that took me a while. When I first called the French Embassy hotline for appointment, I was just fortunate that I was able to get a 20 August schedule. On the 19th of August, I was still completing my documents when typhoon Maring swept in with her floods. On the 20th, I can’t even go out of our apartment in Makati since it was flooded outside.
But because of the bad weather condition, the embassy was also closed. When I did called, I was told that the next open schedule is 18 September. I was panicking! What if I won’t make it? I wrote an email to the embassy explaining my situation and the critical time. Fortunately, they replied that I can walk in to the embassy the following week, for those affected by the embassy closure due to the weather.
Interview time was smooth but since I lacked one important document and the question went to that missing document, I was afraid that I will be denied. At their website and at the waiting area, there was a prominent note: Incomplete documents have a high probability of getting denied.. And I was afraid that it will happen to me.
But except for that one, the rest were complete, including the official letter of invitation from the musee du quai Branly, the hotel accommodation and plane ticket reservations, the bank certification. I’ve included my BIR registration of my business, LangyawMedia, just to be sure.
When I went for the interview, 28 August, it was the 6th anniversary of my travel blog. When I was told to come back to get my passport, 4 September, it was my deceased father’s birthday. I was just hoping and praying, that, even if these dates are somewhat are of significance to me, perhaps, it will rub off on the visa application?
Stanley Cabigas. My name was called. Window 2. I walked to the designated window. We’re giving you a business visa. You should come back here at the embassy to sign on… His words trailed off, I was much relieved…
Paris, the city of love, the city of light, I will finally visit you on the 15th of this month. And I will make love with you.