Being on the last leg of my maternity leave, I've been spending the remaining days going to various government offices to fix or file whatever needs to be done. Things that I would not have done any regular day unless I have no other choice.
I've been married for 10 years and though I have changed my name, I never did request for a change in plastic specifically for my SSS as I do not relish going to their office to have this done. Since I have nothing better to do, might as well request for the change in ID.
I first tried going to the SSS branch at SM Aura as being out of the way, I thought the line and the office won't be too cramped. When I went there a couple of weeks ago after having lunch with an officemate, I did a double take when I saw the room. People were sitting at the corridors and the room was so full! You could literally smell the sweat of the person beside you. I asked which number they were servicing and there were 200 people in front of me. I just shook my head and went home.
Good thing there's an SSS office near my house. So after having my car registered this morning, I parked my car at Alabang Town Center and rode a jeepney going to the Alabang-Zapote SSS branch. It's near Acacia Avenue with a Mini Stop, Yellow Cab and Mercury Drug at the ground floor. I could actually park there but the traffic was bad and I don't like leaving the car out under the sun (I don't like getting into a hot car).
Preparing myself for the worst, I climbed up to the second floor expecting to see long lines and a hot room. I was surprised when I entered the establishment to find the aircon actually works and the lines were not that long. Moreover, you could actually talk to someone from their information counter and they have a place where you can fill up forms. It was not cramped at all!
After detailing my request, I was given several forms and instruction to go to the nearby bank to pay the fee. I shrugged as the nearest BDO branch she mentioned was a few meters away. So I went back downstairs and walked to BDO. Entering the branch, I was surprised at the amount of people in the office. I asked assistance from the guard and he said that they are out of the Special Bank Receipt which they use for the SSS payment transactions.
Refusing to be defeated, I asked for alternatives. He pointed me to somewhere to the left and told me to inquire there. Unfortunately, the person who he directed me to was with a customer and there was a line. I waited for around 10 minutes hoping that someone would notice me but seeing that no one would be helping me soon, I excused myself and asked about my transaction. Thankfully, the teller directed me to the PSBank beside their branch.
So I stepped out again under the hot sun and walked to PSBank. Even before I entered the branch, I asked the guard and he said they're also out of forms. He then told me to go to Metrobank which was further away.
By then, my long patience was already wearing thin but I refused to give up. When I got to Metrobank, they fortunately have that special receipt. And what do you know, the lines were not that long! My only complaint was their aircon was too cold that for a person coming out from the sun, my asthma decided to act up.
That done, I heaved a sigh of relief and returned to the SSS office. Good thing the person at information gave me a number before I went bank hopping so my place in line was somewhat secured. When I arrived, number 42 was called and I was number 56. I then settled down to wait. However, since it was nearing lunch time and considering that it might take time before I'm called, I went back downstairs to have lunch at Mini Stop. I ordered their fried siomai with the rice and it was really good, especially the rice. Soft and pasty, just the way I like it. :)
I remember arriving at the SSS office at 1030 and my number was called exactly two hours later at 1230. Unfortunately, I had to wait for another 30 more minutes as the "no lunch break" policy does not cover the picture taking step. When the person in charge for the ID arrived, I was happily first in line. So I was done in 10 minutes and was home by 1:30PM. Three hours. Not bad.
Thankfully and hopefully, this will be my last government office visit for a long time. You really need to have a lot of patience when dealing with them. To be fair, they really are professional and nice. Just be prepared to wait.
Oh, and I'll be getting my SSS ID in 3 to 6 months! I guess it's better than my driver's license which they say will be available this July and my license plate which I have no idea when will arrive.