Parenting in the Pandemic: Registration for the National ID

Over the past month, many people have been registering for the national ID. Over the holidays, many of our friends posted on social media about how easy the process was, how they were done in 15 minutes.

After the ordeal that was our passport renewal back in August, we weren’t quite sure about the national ID registration until we saw how painless it was for our friends. Some people went to registration centers in various malls around Metro Manila, with varying reports about lines, requirements and schedules. We decided that government IDs were always useful, especially for our son, so we gave it a try in late December 2021.

Though three SM malls near us had registration centers, we weren’t comfortable bringing our unvaccinated son to an SM mall. We tried booking an appointment online, but the PhilSys website always said no appointment slot was available, no matter which mall and which city I checked. We decided on One Bonifacio mall in BGC, which was usually not full even before the pandemic.

The mall was scheduled to open at 11:00 AM, so we arrived at 10:30. We brought our passports, copies of our birth certificates, and our marriage certificate. There were only four people ahead of us in the line, and soon there were more families lining up behind us. The staff arrived a bit late, and setup took a while. Still, once they got started, they were pretty quick.

They went along the line, checking what IDs people had brought, and giving out forms to fill up. Then they started calling people. Once they called us to the encoding station, they took our form and checked our IDs. They scanned the ID and entered our information. There was a screen so we could see what they were typing, and make corrections as needed. Then they took a picture, did a retina scan and a fingerprint scan, and printed a form with a QR code, which would be presented when the ID was delivered.

For Lucas, he was quite tickled because he had to sign his name on his passport and his form. I took my turn first, then called him to the same station. I checked that his information was correct, and helped him with the fingerprint scan. Unfortunately we had a problem with the retina scan. The PhilSys staff asked him to open his eyes wide, but his eyes kept drying and he kept blinking. I forgot how many times we tried, but the camera just couldn’t get a sufficient capture. The staff just marked his retina scan as an exception, saying he would need a new ID anyway when he turned 10. His photo was also funny, because we had to keep telling him not to giggle, but he just couldn’t help it!

We were done before noon, and we were able to have a nice leisurely lunch at Amici, where we were the only customers on the balcony!

So the question is, when will our IDs arrive? Let’s see.

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