Last week, my Philippine passport has finally arrived, just in time before my birthday!
For several months, I didn’t have any primary ID. My last Philippine passport expired June 2021. Because of the pandemic, I was having difficulty getting a DFA online passport appointment. Of course, there were DFA branches that had available schedules but the pandemic restrictions and requirements made it hard to just travel. What I did have were just a voter’s certificate from the COMELEC and a BIR ID which are all secondary IDs.
It was while traveling from Cebu to Dumaguete just before January 2022 that I was able to book an online passport appointment. Of all places, while inside the ferry crossing from Liloan port in Santander, Cebu to Sibulan Port in Negros Oriental. I just felt compelled to check the DFA online passport appointment page and, lo and behold, a few days in January opened up! In the last week of January, I came back and went to DFA Dumaguete.
Philippine passport renewal
I went to Robinsons Place where the DFA Dumaguete office was, arriving earlier than my online passport renewal time and just waited for the mall to open. I signed up some forms, including pandemic declarations once we were allowed entry. In a few minutes, I was inside the office and just waited for my turn.
My requirements were checked at the first counter. My photo was taken at the next counter then was told everything were done. Passport was to be delivered by February 11 the following month. It was so fast, even less than 30 minutes actually and I was back in the hotel after.
Early delivery of my Philippine passport
It was back home, February 8, that I received a text message from the courier asking for directions and got to talk to him. Within an hour, I had my Philippine passport with me after showing an ID. It was totally unexpected considering that I was also advised by DFA Dumaguete personnel that there were several instances that the courier won’t be able to deliver the passport and if that happened, I would need to go back to DFA Dumaguete to claim mine. Well, fortunately, I didn’t have to.
Beautiful Philippine passport design
I really love the new Philippine passport design! The 23 page spreads showcases various Philippine landmarks and tourist attractions. Other than that, each page spread has lines from Lupang Hinirang, the national anthem. And best of all? The passport is valid for ten years.
I can’t wait to use this as soon as its possible for me to travel abroad!
Some tips on scheduling and renewing of Philippine passport
- Head to the DFA online passport appointment website and check your preferred location
- At the time of checking, there was no availability at the DFA Cebu office, the one nearest me. So I checked out nearby DFA offices. In the Visayas, DFA Dumaguete is the closest nearby with both Bacolod and Tacloban offices as alternate options. If there were no available slots in the Visayas, I would have checked too the DFA offices in Mindanao like Butuan, CDO, Clarin in Misamis Occidental and to some extent, Zamboanga and Davao.
- Always check the pandemic requirements beforehand if you opt to go to another city or province.
- If you can’t find any available slots at your preferred time and location, always check from time to time. This was what I did for several MONTHS! Others told me that they usually check Fridays after midnight and I’m not just sure how true this is. So you might want to try too.
- You need to pay online for your appointment. It also depends on you if you want to have it delivered via courier (plus PHP250) or pick your passport at the DFA office. If you are at a location that is not in your home province/city, its better to include the courier option.
- Regarding the courier option, if you didn’t include it in the online payment, you can always pay at the DFA office after your renewal. If you paid for it online and decided to pick it up, you need to cancel the courier fee within 48 hours prior to your scheduled renewal.
- Check requirements from the DFA website. As this is a Philippine passport renewal only, the requirements are just the form and the expired passport plus photocopies of the form and the passport data page. I tried printing a photo of the data page but when I arrived at the DFA Dumaguete counter, the staff told me that the data page should be the same size of the passport so I was directed to the photocopier available at the office and paid PHP3.
- The filled up form that you get online should be printed on A4 sized paper. I had to buy this size and printed the form.
On the day of scheduled appointment
- Come presentable and ladies are advised not to wear too much makeup.
- Ready your expired passport as they will be cancelled on the spot (unless you opted for the passport pickup whereby, it will be cancelled by then) as well as print out and photo copies of the requirements.
- Come on time. I made the morning appointment as I want to get over it fast. Besides, the lines won’t be that long.
- Always bring your vaccination card and a valid ID. They won’t let you in without these two.
- Just follow the instructions of the guard at the entrance and by the staff receiving your documents then just wait for your number to be called.
- If you opted for the courier, you just need to wait for the delivery. DFA Dumaguete advised me via SMS that my passport was endorsed to Air21. They will also give you instructions on how to track your passport delivery. However, I tried tracking the parcel but it just showed me nothing.
- Someone told me that it’s possible to just walk in at the DFA Dumaguete office at around 3PM. They may be able to accommodate you if there are not many people that day. I can’t confirm this though.
There. The renewal is really fast and was a breeze. It’s just waiting for the appointment date as well as the delivery of the passport that you have to contend with.