Saturday, October 20, 2012

Travel Health

Are you serious? ( # me talking to imaginary readers of this blog, anybody out there?? haha ) You wanna know where/what I had been to these past weeks? Seriously? If you insist, below were the instructions that I had to follow when I entered the first location :


1). take off your clothes & bra, wear the gown 
2). take off your necklace 
3). tie your hair up/in a ponytail

Those numbers I followed after these men in the queue  Now I wonder if they too had to wear the gown? haha. I guess they got different instructions in the male room thu'.

You guessed it right, I had been in a diagnostic center for  a number of  laboratory procedures. It wasn't only me. My two daughters too. We went through  those tedious, infinite queues with empty stomachs. We did 10 hours fasting  before we got there_ we were so hungry we wanted to eat every little flesh we saw infront of us ;)))

My younger daughter who's only 13 years old, didn't have to do the fasting thu'. She didn't have to undergo the blood chem tests. It was only me and the older daughter. I'm not used to these lab procedures. I rarely got sick and hardly (only twice in my whole life, when I gave births) got hospitalized. So far, the only instances that I went through  similar lab tests were for prenatal sake and for few ( like thrice or maybe 4 times? forgot ;) pre-employment medical. I hate needles. I didn't look while being extracted with blood. I tried to distract myself and before I was able to create happy thoughts, it was all over. ThanksGod! I was surprise to see like 5-6 test tubes of  blood had already been extracted from me in that so short of time.

No worries about chest xray, physical exam, urine, but doubted the optical. For sure both of my teens have 20/20 visions but their old mother has gone to being far sighted this year. I would have had aced it too thu', I was only asked to read the small alphabets in a distance ( my problem is when reading near, everything gets blurry), but I guess the fasting that had gone overdue that day had blurred my vision in a distance. Only in the smallest part thu, like maybe there were only just two letters I failed to read right. 

If  you would have to undergo the same lab procedures, especially when pre-fasting is asked, I would suggest you throw in some food in your purse to snack on after the blood extraction  and in between transfers to/from various laboratories. You won't have time to run to the canteen during those procedures. You can eat thu' while in a queue. Also ofcourse, just like a good student, you don't just take an exam without preparation. You have to make sure, atleast you don't have even the simplest colds, runny/stuffed nose or cough by the time of the medical exams. For females, time it before or after your monthly menstruation, never during.  As for the result of our exams_ everything is well on us!!! I pray that we would be able to maintain the gift of good health for the longest time.


And you thought our "clinic trip" had ended there? Nope cos almost the whole last month we spent almost bi-weekly visiting a dental clinic.

Yup, this was not a beauty/derma clinic , although really looks like one cos of those celebrity clients photos on the walls. Seems like it's following the Belo's peg of having her derma empire risen up from showbiz ambassadors.

I'm not easy to get by marketing anyway. More often, I'm actually discouraged by it rather than encouraged.  By the way, I am a Public Relations major myself and have numerous marketing /sales job experiences.  I chose this dental clinic more on its accessibility. Definitely, quite heavy on the pocket, but in the end, the staff and the dentists didn't disappoint and were able to deliver the goods. Have to mention too that their facilities are fab and very comforting during supposedly painful dental procedures. 


And I was back again in a diagnostic clinic early week of this month. It wasn't me, it was my brother who needed to have his vitals checked  cos he was feeling stabbing pains in his chest, his blood pressure readings were fluctuating, he had serious headaches.. in short, he's unwell.

The doctor sent him to the laboratory to undergo almost the same lab tests I did but not in the same diagnostic center I went with my daughters which was quite far from our residence.

His_ was an emergency case and we ran to the nearest one. Hi-Precision Diagnostics.It was  just right across our  village.Yes, I'm mentioning the name of the laboratory clinic and this is not a paid post. It's because we really had a good experience with them. Hi-Precision has been there across the road for as long as I can remember and it hadn't occurred to me to go there during the times we needed one. Mostly because we always shy away from crowded places ( be it a restaurant, hotel,resorts, theater, whatnots) and I passed by it always seeing it full with clients/patients.

That day, brother needed the earliest laboratory for his blood chem (also with 10-13 hours fasting). I was surprise when brother found out that HP was already open as early at around 6am. The best thing was to find out too that they charged almost half the price of  lab testing fees against  the leading hospitals in our area. For instance 2D Echo is like almost P4000 in a hospital  and there at HP is like only P2000 plus. I was also wrong to think that service would be awfully slow cos of the huge number of clients. Infact it was the opposite. Their system was great and quick. The number of staff was sufficient and dependable. The queue was already mad huge that early when we arrived but  it was refreshing to not get annoyed by it cos it was moving quickly it didn't make us stay the whole day, the way we badly experienced it from other clinics.

Releasing is also easy. We got the results after just few hours on the same day. Results are also available on line. We love the accessibility. Superb. I also have to add that they are easy to talk to. When brother ( per advised of his doctor) had to cancel a particular procedure which had already been prepaid via credit card, it was not an issue, They cancelled it and released the amount in cash to pay the credit card. How's that for a no headache resolution?

Let me end this post with this cute grandma I snapped a photo of, I saw her in the waiting area at HP,so cute she was busy tinkering on her mobile phone. A real lola (grandma) techie :)

"Health is not valued till sickness comes"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

NBI 2012

It's not everyday that we apply for Philippine  NBI (National Bureau of Investigation ) clearance, not even annually. Even though an NBI clearance expires after a year, I doubt if there's anybody here who applies for a visa or a job every year. According to my files, the last time I applied for it was in the year 2008. If it were for a visa or a job? The answer is for "both".
I bet many of you have also ( including myself ) been outdated about the NBI process in one time or another. Blame it to the long gap we frequent this agency. More often than not, every time we come back to this agency after years, chances are there would be new systems that alienate us .
So to those who are up for an NBI clearance, I hope this post will help you somehow. This is supersuper latest, as fresh as yesterday when finally it wasn't only that my clearance was released, I too was released from the longest queue of my life ( me#exaggerating! ).

So one day last month ( September 19, to be specific ), my daughter's nostrils and mine, were up early to join  hundreds of applicants for NBI clearance in a satellite office at the back of the main building of Las Pinas City Hall. It helped that I went with my husband when he got his, early on this year (February) that somehow familiarized me to the process. I knew then that the staffs were already giving away application forms & queue numbers even before their official office hours at 8:30am. I thought we were early at 7am, but when we reached the place, there were already 40 people ahead of us. We were nos. 41 & 42. Not bad.

All applications are being  treated as new and for now renewal is a thing of the past. It's because they said_ NBI is currently updating its system. I don't know up to when this will go on. Remember before, all we had to do was submit our old NBI to renew. This time everyone has to apply as "new". You have to bring two valid ID's ( any 2 of the following: passport/school ID/gov't ID'S/NSO bc/driver's license/old NBI ). These two ID's you have to show at the information table of the satellite office. After checking them you would be given an application form (#photo above) with corresponding queue number. Fill-up as needed. Then follow the staff there who is arranging the queue. And please don't forget to fill-in your wallet with P115 as payment later for this clearance and try to prepare exact amount as much as possible. You don't want to add burden to yourself enduring another queue just to get your change, right?

This particular satellite office is being held at the back of Las Pinas City hall building. Right beside the jail. So don't be surprise if you see eyes and head peeking out the little windows of the top level of the building beside the location. At the tail of this holding area  (see photo above), were longer queues without chairs. Only a number of applicants can be accommodated by these benches.

Don't let it upset you cos the first step of the application which is (1) payment (P115, local or travel abroad) is quick. So you won't stand or sit still for long, as the queue progresses easy. Also in here, male and female have separate queues.

I'm not sure about the usual government offices' policy of  "no shorts/no slippers" in the premises, but I had seen plenty in slippers /shorts allowed here. Maybe because this particular location looks not so decent itself. Although the woman infront of me in sleeveless blouse was asked to borrow/wear a jacket from her companion for picture taking part..

In the second phase which is  (2) encoding, males and females merged and the previous payment queue is disintegrated. Whoever comes first from the payment queue would now join the encoding queue, All standing-up here. Approaching the encoding window,  a staff would encode the personal infos you wrote in the application. Simultaneously, you could read what he is typing as there's a computer monitor that faces you. Right upon you could tell to the encoder if he's encoding the right things. You have to be very watchful here as this is the only chance you are given to alter the mistakes. Be keen on the spelling of your name. Like mine was spelled as Conception instead of Concepcion, so I had to shout through the small hole of the glass window to change the "t" to "c". Like three times before he managed to get it right.

Then, moving on to the next phase which is (3) fingerprint & picture taking, this had taken us the longest in queue like 70%  out of the whole application process. Unlike the old school of taking your fingerprint by wet ink stamp, this time it's now automated and inkless.
Now, right here I have to insert a personal anecdote. There were two interns ( by the look of their uniforms, they seemed to be students with school ID's hanging on their necks) particularly attending these twin process. One was collecting our fingers, guiding each of them to press an automated device and the other one was at  the computer screen. This one in finger printing was also the one who would take the photos afterwards which apparently would be download by the one at the monitor. So anyway, my turn came. The guy held my first hand and guided each finger to press the automated device. Right fingers, done. He then held my left hand, guided my thumb for pressing, then very sudden let go of my hand. Huh!?? A box of question marks were in my head. Why only my thumb??? I asked aloud and only then I had the interest to look up to his face, all the while I was looking at my hand , his hand assisting me. He was totally spaced out with eyes staring blankly. He was also swaying from side to side.  Not vigorously but slowly. At this point, his colleague had already took notice of his unbecoming condition, and he tried to awaken him by shaking and calling his name. It was like he was possessed by something. The possessed young man shooed his colleague and in a matter of 2-3 minutes he was back to himself. As if nothing happened, he got my left hand again. Pressed each finger, proceeded to taking my photo. Done. Whatwasthat????

Anyway the last part is the (4) releasing. So right after the picture taking, the staff would let you know then if yours could be released on the same day/hour or you have to come back after two weeks. If you're in for the same day released, it means you don't have "hits" like a name sake with or without records. Like my daughter got hers few minutes after the last part. No record on file. 

It's her first NBI ever. She just turned 18 last April of this year. As for me, I had to come back after two weeks. It was my first time to have "hits".
Fast forward to after 2 weeks (Oct. 1), I came back to that satellite office only to be told that I had to go to the main NBI office at UN Avenue for interview ( not everyone was sent to the main NBI though. I saw others got their NBI's right there and then. My husband case was like that. He was asked to return after two weeks and was able to claim his at this satellite office).  Awhaaaattt???? Pardon my OAness but this is NBI!! I was upset and worried. So many whatif's ran over my head. What if my namesake had committed a serious crime like murder!!! Where would that send me then? I was nth times nege now that husband wasn't by my side. Skypeskypeskype. Just like the delete button of this keyboard, my husband soothing words had magically deleted all my worries and gave me strength to combat my fears and the following day I was at the NBI main. All by myself  but brave :)))

NBI's Quality Control, anyone???

My receipt was stamped with "for quality control". The office was easy to locate. I just followed the arrowed signage-s, all over  NBI . Infront of this door was a holding area (with chairs) overflowed with people. Some were standing already. I asked someone from the ones waiting "what's the system here?".

I was told to put my receipt, with my full name handwritten at the back of it, in the box on top of the chair by the door of Quality Control office, then wait to be called.
Yesterday it was all raining and traffic was at worst, as usual. I was kindah arrived late nearing lunch time. My wish was that they don't close for lunch break here. My name was called after an hour and joined a group of suspicious looking men ( haha! that's my opinion! haha). It was 12 highnoon and there were only three officers in the room  to interview us. I reckon, others were taking their lunch . We were asked to have a seat and wait for our name to be called.
While waiting for my turn, I entertained myself by watching the ones ahead of me being interviewed. It was interesting to listen to the "supposedly crimes that were committed by our namesakes".
 Like one man  was asked if he was the person who had a rape case. Take note_ the man was in uniform. He was a police officer in Paranaque. He denied to be the same person and justified himself  that he was a different person.
Then my attention was stolen by the other table. This man at the other table accepted that he was indeed the same man who committed the crime ( they kindah lowered their voices at this point which made me missed to find out what was the crime really. ) and that yes he was imprisoned but now free and the case was dismissed by the court. The NBI lady now asked for the court clearance. The man presented it. The NBI lady cleared him and asked him to go to the releasing section to get his NBI clearance. That was easy!
Now my turn. I was asked for my full name, age,occupation. The NBI lady was holding what  seemed to be pages of papers. Flipping them over while asking me. Maybe, comparing my replies against the ones written there. She then asked if I had ever been involved with a business. No. Before employee.Now plain housewife. Been resided or work at Caloocan? Never!
My namesake case??? Issued bounced check.
Am I the same person??? Definitely not!!! First-est of all, I never had a checking account and still don't have yet at the present.

In fairness, the NBI lady was kind and quite jolly. Immediately she advised me to comeback at 1 pm that day (it was 12nn) for the notary public. She handed me an affidavit of denial. The Notary Public officer was taking his lunch break.
At 1pm, those like me with affidavit of denial went back to the Quality Control room and each one of us was called to swear-in , to deny namesake allegations, to sign and to thumbmark the affidavit infront of the Notary Public Officer.
Afterwards, I came back to my lady who interviewed me. She then cleared me. Advised me to claim my NBI clearance after an hour.

Finally!!!! I claimed my NBI at 2pm.

This was 10 minutes to 2 pm at NBI main. When I arrived here 3 hours ago of the same day, this area was full packed with applicants. I think this is the first step area. It goes to say that if you're planning to apply your NBI clearance here at the NBI main, go after lunch when it's easy breezy already. This was a Tuesday.