Manila City Hall and Mall of Asia

The Manila City Hall saga started almost 19 years ago when I gave birth to my son and my husband filled up a form attesting to his birth. It was 1989 and I guess that explains why he wrote 1989 when he indicated the date we got married. Our son was born October 1989, he wrote our marriage date as December 8, 1989. It should have been 1988.

Though we had our son’s birth certificate on hand since, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I noticed the error. I told my husband who told his mom who said it should be corrected. So last year she launched her crusade. And what a crusade it turned out to be, one she left unfinished for reasons unclear to me. Among other things, she had to go to QC Hall to get a certificate of no marriage (CENOMAR) on the part of my husband and me to other parties on that date. She said that was the last crucial step before she would have completed her campaign in MCH. Unfortunately, she gave up and so, my husband and I thought of completing the process. We set the launch of our own version today. Here’s a picture of the monument near where we parked.

And we learned a few things the hard way. For one, government documents presented have to be current. Like a 2003 NSO issued birth certificate is no longer acceptable this year at the Local Civil Registry in Manila. Neither a local birth certificate issued by the same office years ago. Again, everything has to be current. Plus my NSO issued birth certificate should be current, plus our marriage certificate as well. I had some of the documents but not all. Plus we should have brought at least 2 documents showing my son’s date of birth like his Form 137 from school, etc. Plus get this, any other documents as may be required by the Civil Registrar. Wow, how vague can you get? So even if per the items in a, b and c of a leaflet on the matter one has complete documents, by virtue of letter d, the Civil Registrar can always say, “but you don’t have…” Growl.

So what to do? My husband has to resume teaching tomorrow (today, though a Tuesday, he was free because it’s QC day) so next week it’s Wheelmo time again. Except that the rates have gone up (P450 for the first hour and P350 for every succeeding hour) plus the hours I’ll have to pay for will be hours spent on something I have to do rather than something I want to do. A case of duty rather than pleasure. Arrgh.

And guess what? If I finish being interviewed next week, the long wait begins. the Civil Registrar will send the stuff to NSO in Sta. Mesa which will then approve it (anywhere from 15 days to two months). Then I’ll have to get a certificate of finality from Manila City Hall again and bring it to NSO in QC so I can get a certified original copy of the birth certificate of my son. I’ll have to do that each time (go to NSO QC) because certificates ordered through Teleserv aren’t corrected 90 percent of the time. Darnnn…

Moral of the story: when filling up birth, death and marriage certificates, go over what you wrote with a fine-toothed comb. THough it’s also not unlikely that the person who types in data is responsible for the mistake. Like guess what? Part of my family name is spelled with a “co” rather than a “ko” in my son’s birth certificate. Hopefully, that will be corrected along with the year of my marriage.

Asides: At one point I was thinking whether I should ask someone who knows someone in city hall to hasten things for us but I don’t know whether it’s old age, a masochistic tendency or what that made me want to try to do things the real way. Which we did, but which we didn’t in the sense that being in a wheelchair, I guess I caught the attention of a man who led me to a clerk named Joanna Musngi, who attended to us with utmost patience. As in — very pleasant, very calm. Then there was Loida who spared my husband from getting the local birth certificate of my son after he had paid for it himself. Both these ladies didn’t at all look like they wanted anything from us more than a smile and a thank you; they seemed happy to be of service.Yes, there are bright spots at the Manila City Hall really. Solicitous persons like Joanna and Loida. Plus when we were negotiating one of the pathways to go to the car, a man in uniform saw that we had to go up a step and he helped. Plus the security and traffic personnel at City Hall seemed very respectful and respectable. They didn’t make me feel fearful but secure. They looked very trustworthy.

I guess it helps that they have a mayor like Alfredo “Fred” Lim who gives me the impression that he won’t stand for shenanigans or sloth. I guess it helps that his picture is on almost every wall. Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984? Certainly not of PInoy Big Brother’s. Remember, I’m kapuso. But seriously, I guess it’s a good wake-up call for them to see his picture plastered on the walls, if nothing else.

So next week, hopefully, things will begin moving to a conclusion…

Meanwhile, hoping to kill two birds with one stone, I called SSS in Arroceros hoping I could go there to apply for my SSS card. (Per my scant knowledge, I have the impression that Arroceros is near City Hall). But I needn’t have pondered over my geographical skills. The SSS personnel who took my call apologetically said their machine (Like the Cubao branch’s) is out of order. They were instructed to advise those who inquire to go to the SSS Head Office in East Avenue. Oh my…


Mall of Asia. It was my first time there which I think is ironic considering that a friend who’s based in the States already had pictures taken of herself in MoA. It just seems to far from QC.

And indeed it was far, even from MCH. Or maybe it was the noonday heat that made me feel exhausted. The winds at the parking building were so strong that as I waited for my husband to unload the wheelchair from the trunk, I played with the car door. I’d open it as far as I could reach and then the wind would blow it close. This happened several times, leading me to  remark “Girls shouldn’t wear skirts here”. You get the drift.

We parked on the 4th floor and wondered where we could eat. At the elevator, the girl in charge said restos were on the ground floor. When I asked whether there were any on the second floor, she said the tagaytay Highlands Steak House and the Chinese Palace were there. Being famished, we went down on the second floor but as we searched for the two restos, we happened to see several other choices. Went to the steak house, looked at the prices and thought of doing Cafe Adriatico instead. The maitre’d of the steak house said “Ma’am next time dito ha” after I returned the menu which we looked at by the doorway. As expected, the THSH prices were rather steep, but one cannot blame them– beef is so expensive. (Okay so it’s owned by Chris tiu’s family. See the connection? I’m explaining for him. Seems like such a nice person kasi.)

As usual Cafe Adriatico served very good food: chicken a la kiev for me, salpicao rice for my husband. We also ordered Squid Tactics for appetizer and it was cooked just right. It was served with garlic and chili. And CA’s ambience is consistently CA with nice classical music that doesn’t intrude into the conversation but is just pleasantly there. Here’s a picture of CA at MoA. Wish I could share the music here as well

MoA is so huge that it has golf carts for the disabled and senior citizens to rent, with a chauffeur so clad to boot. The parking lot, in true SM fashion, is very considerate of the disabled, with 4 slots reserved for my ilk. And the elevator had signs that read “Always give priority to the disabled.”

On the downside, the elevators were as hot inside as they are in Podium. And since the corridors of the mall aren’t airconditioned, it’s a bit wearying to negotiate them.

There’s a portion of the mall near the bay that so reminded me of a scene in Wall-e. Looking down one sees rubber playground stuff. I’m sure that if you’ve watched Wall-e you’ll get what I mean.

So will we go back to MoA? Maybe yes, maybe no. It does have Audio Phile but the people there said they have more complete stuff in their bigger branches, namely the main branch, AliMall and hypermart along EDSA. But as always, the Audio Phile people were very nice. Music stores mostly have nice personnel. Remember which one I said was different?


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