Friday, January 27, 2012

On waiting, and things you should know when getting your NBI Clearance

There were many moments in my academic life when I felt that waiting was all I did --- waiting at Computer Labs for my turn to cram a paper I forgot about the night before, waiting in ridiculously long lines to pay tuition, waiting for class to end, waiting for the sloth-like elevator to arrive so I could make it to class less late, waiting for grades to come up on MyLasalle so I can see if I failed or made the dean's list, and most of all, waiting for my life to begin.

Read on to see what I look like after waiting
for my NBI Clearance for an entire day at Mandaluyong City hall

I always thought that once I graduated and entered the "Real World" (which now that I supposedly have entered it makes me think it doesn't actually exist but that's another story), all the waiting would end. I was wrong, of course. So wrong, in fact, that I wonder where I got the strange idea that life in the "Real World" would be "waitless" and terribly exciting 24/7.

The truth is, and students take note, you end up waiting more in the "Real World" than you ever did in college.

First, you wait for the right job opportunity to come up on Jobstreet, or the classifieds. And when finally you find a job that sounds like you could wake up everyday and stomach the job description, then you apply.

Then you wait again, for your prospective employer to notice your resume and give you a call. This sometimes never happens,  unless you are an insane overachiever, incredibly well-connected, or just lead a charmed life in general (in which case, go away and leave me to my semi-charmed existence).

Then when they call you for an interview, you wait at the lobby or reception area and amuse yourself by sizing up your fellow applicants. Then they interview you, and you can't wait 'til it's over and you can forget about all the stupid things you said. When they're done, your potential employers usually tell you they will call you. You wait for this call. Again, this sometimes never happens.

When it does happen though, and you do get hired, you're typically given a long list of pre-employment requirements that entail a lot of waiting to procure: Transcript, Diploma, TIN, SSS, PhilHealth, medical clearance, police clearance...all of these are difficult to get in their own ways. For instance, getting medical clearance requires you to collect your own poop and put it in a container, talk about losing all human dignity.

For me though, getting these requirements is nothing compared to the excruciating process of procuring my NBI Clearance.

I got mine a couple of months ago at the Mandaluyong City Hall after having been rejected at the NBI office in Robinson's Galleria twice in the previous days. I had been advised that it would be a long process so it would be best to go early, and so I did.

I got there at around 8:30, but it didn't really help much because by the time I arrived, a looooong line had already formed and chaos had ensued. People were irritated, it was hot and rather stinky, and the "officers" who were supposed to be facilitating the process just ended up confusing everybody.

I ended up spending the ENTIRE day there, just waiting in line, and waiting in line again, and ohh, having a senior citizen go before me because that's the rule, and then waiting in line some more. It was a waste of a day, and the worst part was, it was only to get a piece of paper that confirmed that I am what I am -- that is, not a criminal.

Unfortunately, the NBI Clearance is a common requirement for most companies, so I've taken it upon myself to do a little public service and give back to those who bother to read my blog (what, like 5 people?). Presenting...

The Things You Should Know When Getting Your NBI Clearance 

1. You will most likely spend the entire day there, so it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to bring the ff:

  • Food --- unless you can stomach the very questionable mystery meat from the vendors nearby
  • Water --- again, unless you can stomach softdrinks the entire day or very questionable gulaman from the vendors nearby
  • Cellphone --- to let your family know that you are still alive
Apart from these, I also suggest bringing these other things, which aren't entirely necessary, but will really ease the experience a bit:
  • a fan --- because it's really, really, really hot
  • sunblock --- see above
  • a bikini, beach towel, shades, and tanning oil --- only if you want to get the most of all the direct sunlight you'll be getting
  • Boredom busters --- this will vary depending on the type of person you are. If you're solitary, a book will do. Or an iPod loaded with all the best songs and apps, though if you're gonna end up singing out loud, make sure you don't annoy your seatmates...unless that is a tactic to drive them away, in which case, pat yourself on the back you genius you.
  • A pen and paper --- perhaps you could finish that novel you've always wanted to write
  • someone to talk to, for when you have an existential crisis in the middle of the day
  • sleeping bag, pillow --- put the wait to good use by catching up on lost sleep!
  • Come to think of it, rent an RV and drive it there so you can wait in comfort while staring out the window and evil-laughing at the rest of the people in line before you who are roughing it in the heat
2. If you have someone with the same name as you, it's gonna take much longer for them to process your clearance and you'll have to come back for it another day. 

If you do have a common name, I suggest you change it immediately. Or reject the job offer and find another one that does not require an NBI Clearance. I've actually decided to name my future child "Pambihira" with this in mind.

3. Senior citizens, preggos, and people with small children or infants in tow get to go first. 

They don't even to fall in line or come early. They just get to cut wherever is most convenient, and get processed then and there. This rule is understandable, but it doesn't mean that it isn't annoying when finally its your turn and suddenly a wild lolo appears in front of you and takes a million years to remember his address. 

My suggestion, if you really don't want to wait in line and can live with the sheer immorality of what I'm about to say, is to buy a pregnancy pad and pretend to be knocked up. The risk is that karma could bite you back real bad and get you actually knocked up, so really, it's your call. And of course, this will only really work if you're a girl. 

You could also borrow your baby cousin or sibling, and bring them along, that should work too. Or prosthetics, to make you look old, though on a bad day if the line is long enough, you might not need it anymore.

4. Be ready for Scumbags 

The waiting and the heat and the hunger and the sweaty smell at the City Hall breeds scumbags. And you won't be able to tell who is until that penultimate moment when they let their scumbagness manifest.

The cute guy who looks like JM de Guzman may appear to be a sweet boy who will love you right and never hurt you but oh yes he will when he uses those goddamned dimples to cut the line in front of you.

In this case, confrontation could be fatal -- the two googly-eyed, giggling girls who let him cut apparently have fresh tacky manicures that look like they're capable of scratching your eyes right out if you even so much as throw an irap in the general direction of their new seatmate. The best you can do is to breathe deeply and feel your anger abate as you send copious amounts of bad vibes his way.

5. Your photo will be taken without any warning, so practice your smile reflexes, lest you end up looking like this:

I look like a fool, I know. 

But then again, after an entire day of standing, sitting, waiting, watching people cut in front of me, and being victimized by Scumbag Dimples, this really isn't bad at all.

So that's all. For what its worth, good luck!


  1. wait, why were you rejected at nbi galleria? and you can get new clearances (as opposed to renewals) at nbi branches now? (as opposed to going to the nbi main office and waiting there)

    and yes, getting all those legal requirements suck. i'm still procrastinating about getting my sss id and it's been almost 13 years since i started working.

    oh, oh. and wait til you get married and need to have your last name changed, that's also fun.

    1. Ate Jona, kasi daw they didnt have forms anymore. And wala na daw renewal :-s As in you really have to get a new clearance na daw.

      Wow, I wonder when I'll get my SSS ID pa!! Hassle! Hmmmm maybe I really should be a nun nalang hahaha

  2. These would be very helpful to those who haven't applied for an NBI clearance. The entire process was sure grueling, but at least you finally got your clearance.;)

    But you look alright in your picture, Mandy! I look like a criminal (who, ironically, has a clean record) in my NBI picture.

    1. Pats! It looks worse in person!! :)) Awww, pakita nga ng iyo!! haha

  3. Wakeks natawa ako. :)) Dapat dinala mo si Raya or si Lance or si Zoey wakeks.

    1. Oonga eh! :)) If I had only known :)))