I've always loved photoblogs. I feel like I'm more of a visual person than a writer. Sometimes though my brain loves to tell stories and thanks to Inquirer, one has been published already. So this blog will be a mix of both: things I see through my lens or letters I type down on my laptop. (: Best viewed using Google Chrome.
CFO Sticker and Less than 2 Weeks Left
Wednesday, January 5, 2011, 3:41 PM

Polka! With my sister-in-law & my niece :)

Happy New Year everybody! :) I had a simple but memorable holiday with my family and I hope you did too.

It seems like forever since the last time I was here. I feel like I’m juggling a lot of things all at the same time that busy is becoming an understatement. So many things have been accomplished. I have packed my balikbayan bayan box full of clothes to bring to Florida. Now I’m looking at the things I want to bring versus the size of my luggage. I know it’s impossible to fit my whole room inside a 25 kilogrammer, but miracles happen! :p I’ve also bought things that J asked for like Goldilocks’ Pinipig Pulvoron, Chocnut (he became obsessed when he first tried it last year) and tons of Happy Peanut for him (he lovesssss it!). Got my winter clothes ready too but lately Florida weather is coming back that I might not be able to wear the boots I bought when I get there. Tsk tsk, what a waste of money that will be. But nevertheless, my passport is all set to fly! (Just my passport, mind you. :p)

The other day I was able to attend the Guidance and Counseling at St. Mary’s in Aurora Boulevard for the mandatory Pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS). If you were able to read my old entry, it’s just 5 minutes away from my home. So it was a breeze to get there, no Manila traffic to beat and you can get the CFO sticker in the same place.

I thought I knew what to bring since I’ve read a lot of articles online but good thing I was ready with all they needed. So if you’re planning to attend the PDOS at St. Mary’s too, please check the requirements below.

For counselling (US Bound with Visa)*:
-          Passport and 3 photocopies
-          US Visa and 3 photocopies
-          1 ID picture (they would accept any size)
-          Php 250 for the counselling fee

After counselling/For CFO Sticker:
-          Guidance & Counseling Certificate of Attendance and a photocopy of it
-          Passport
-          Php 400 for the CFO sticker

So here is an overview of what happened and some tips:

Go inside the green gate of Good Sheppard Convent in Aurora. There are no signs outside. Don’t fear.      Once you’re inside the gate, you’ll see a huge sign of St. Mary’s Center for Overseas Workers (SMEF-COW) plus sign board leading you to the Commission on Filipino Workers Overseas (CFO) office.

The guard on duty was nice enough to lead me where to go. When you reach the blue door of St. Mary’s, you will be asked for your passport. Also, you’ll be asked to present 3 photocopies of the passport and the visa. Good thing I have them handy as photocopy service inside the building is Php14 each! I was asked for the counselling fee and was asked to write my details on a log book. After a few minutes of waiting, I was given 2 forms to fill out (1 for the counselling and 1 will be needed for the CFO office). They attached the photocopies of my passport and visa in the forms. They also took a digital photo for the counselling certificate.

I was asked to fill out the forms in the waiting area. I got there 10 minutes before 10 am as that was the schedule written on the CFO information that was sent to me when the visa was delivered. But they told me to join the 11 am counselling.

At this batch, there was only me and another girl who was bound for Qatar. From what I know, as per      other PDOS blog entries I’ve read, there will be a film that will be showed on the counselling. It wasn’t shown to us and I’m thinking of reasons why. Maybe the fact that I have a half-Filipino fiancé who grew up here and the other girl who attended has worked overseas already and has married an Irish national were considered. But the real reasons will be unknown; for all we know it might just be a lunch hour crunch. :p

After a talk about Metrobank’s OFW Bank accounts (which J and I are interested in) we were then off to one-on-one counselling. The other girl is pregnant and although I was there first, she was called to do the counselling first. As we all know, life is unfair! :p But my counselling was short. With the counsellor, we just reviewed policies on international airports and some horror stories about unlucky Filipinas and their fiancés. And we had a short talk about how I met J and our love story. It was short because I was hungry and I didn't want to talk that much. Yeah, maldita mode. :p

After signing the counselling sheet, I was told to wait until 1 pm for the CFO to open after their lunch break. So to finish off the SMEF experience, I was given a certificate of counselling and was told to have it photocopied as it is a requirement in getting the CFO sticker. 

I walked to the LRT station and bought my siopao for lunch since I only need to wait 30 minutes, I didn’t see the point in going home. I went back to St. Mary’s and sat down at the waiting area and ate away.

At exactly 1 pm, I got up went upstairs for my CFO sticker. I was only asked for my passport, the other form that I’ve filled out earlier, the fee and the rest was their job to do. I only sat there as the lady printed out things and finally I got another Counselling Certificate that was stapled to my passport and the CFO sticker.

Took me around 4 hours to finish everything, if it wasn’t for the lunch time and if I was interviewed first, might have taken less of my time. 

I’m only waiting for 12 days more before my flight to Florida. I’m excited amidst all the stress. I’ll be having some despedida parties soon. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit this blog more in the next days.

This, surely, will be a start of a happy happy happy new year for both J and I! :) xoxo

*I wasn’t able to get the details of what you need if you still don’t have a visa. So for that and other things not in this entry you may call and inquire at St. Mary’s at 913-6439 and 911-1814.

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