Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Canadian Bureaucracy -- Let the waiting begin

Okay, I kind of appreciate chikka.com because they have allowed me to send texts to Rosi from Korea, but man they suck! It seems I need to use chikka if I want to send an email from my Filipino mobile phone but the text that they allow to come through for 2.5 pesos, US$0.05, is about 20 words long -- not worth it.

I'm really, really sorry I didn't bring my laptop to the Philippines this time. The computers in the internet cafes here really suck. I can't call any of my family or friends without spending an arm and a leg on cellphone cards and Skype alway comes through super choppy, or like the other day I had to call my mom at least 20 times to have a 25 minute phone call with her, because the substandard network kept on putting too much lag in for Skype's protocols.

Just managed to make an expensive call to the honorary Canadian consulate in Cebu, one Mr. Rober Lee, to find out what I need to register my daughter as a Canadian citizen. Last week I called but he was out and the secretary insisted that I must be married to the mother of my daughter in order to apply for my daughter's Canadian citizenship.

This week I waited to be transferred to Mr. Rober Lee only to be told by him that I should call back and talk to his secretary. Then he told me to just wait and that he'd transfer me to his secretary himself. So, finally the secretary told me that I need to:

  • download the Canadian citizenship form from the Canadian government website
  • provide my passport and 2 other forms of ID (at first she insisted that I needed my birth certificate then she said it wasn't necessary)
  • show my daughters NSO stamped certificate (don't ask me what NSO stands for I forget)
  • get photos of my daughter
  • BRING MY DAUGHTER TO CEBU TO MEET WITH HIM

I really don't know why he wants to see my daughter but I personally prefer the alternative of the Canadian Embassy in Manila where a nice Canadian woman named Timmy spoke to me in a very precise way, describing where I could find the form I need and clearly explaining how the most important document is my own birth certificate.

So folks there you have it. If you want to register your half Filipino child as a Canadian you will likely be better off checking out the consulate in Manila. I don't want to sound elitist but hey it just makes sense that if there are Canadians running the Manila consulate it is more likely to be a reliable source of information. And they didn't demand that I take my daughter on a 12 hour RoRo (boat bus) journey just so they could have some odd sense of curiosity satisfied -- what the heck was that all about anyway?

So, now I begin waiting to wait. Once I manage to procure my birth certificate from Canada -- hey, didn't think I'd need it, so I tucked it in the filing cabinet in ma's basement -- I get to wait 8 months for my daughters citizenship card to arrive and then probably 4 more months for her passport to arrive. And all this has to happen before I can take her out of the country.

Filipinos speak pretty good English, but good lord is it muddled when they are giving directions -- whether it be directions to the local internet cafe or procedures for applying for important documents, so far I've gotten nothing but really messed-up contradictory information and I'm getting pretty annoyed.

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