Monthly Archives: January 2016

Maria v. Ma., How I Had My Name Rectified

What's in a Name

I am writing this not to discredit anyone but to learn from the experience. Read on and learn!

Let me ask you this quesion first. When you see Ma.,what do you think it stands for? It stands for Maria, right?

But in my world, I have to prove that it is so. There begins my Change Name saga.

My birth certificate bears the name Merdekah. Then I don’t know why, but I have been using the name Ma. Merdekah in all my school, banks, HMO and insurance records. My old passport only had Merdekah, following the birth certificate. So, when I finally had to apply for a passport with my married name, my records don’t match. My marriage certificate bears the name Ma. Merdekah. Which is which?

I had no choice but to go through the process and have it rectified. My friends say it was going to be quick and easy. I wish they were right.

First, I had to get the advice of a lawyer who will do all the paperwork.

Second, I filed a petition at the Local Registrar. Since my birthplace is in Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor, and I am in Manila, it was impossible for me to be traveling to and fro. Good thing my father is already retired and can do the legwork for me. So, I had to ask the lawyer to make a Letter of Authority appointing my father to be my legal representative in all matters pertaining to this case.

Third, publish my petition in three local newspapers for three to four weeks straight. This does not come cheap, ha!

When the publication requirement was almost over, I got feedback that there was something wrong in the process. The publication of the petition was done before the petition was filed. How did that happen? Any sane person would know that that should not be the case. But I was told that they got confused and didn’t know how to do it because it was their first time to handle a case like mine. Whut? Change name is a popular issue. Besides no, SOPs/guidebook in this office?

I remember telling the lawyer and the local registrar that I wanted this resolved quickly as I needed the passport for official business. Perhaps, that triggered their confusion and they wanted to meet the deadline I set. But then I didn’t say anything about doing it the wrong way just to get my way!

So, we had to do it all over again. And because it was their fault, they had to shoulder the cost this time, which led to the delay as they had to rely on their own resources this time.

I was so frustrated but I was SO busy with work, that I didn’t have time to do anything to improve the process. I had to wait… for one year and a half!

Finally, the whole process was done. Now the problem is the Local Registrar himself. He got sick and eventually passed on. May his soul rest in peace.

The local government now needed to find a new Local Registrar. Perhaps because of the requirements and qualifications, they couldn’t find a replacement right away, so they had to put an Officer-in-Charge (OIC). Fine.

Now came another hitch. The OIC cannot sign my final petition because it should only be the Local Registrar. What? Isn’t that the role of the OIC to act as the official that he is representing? The innocent (and perhaps stupid me) believed them and waited again…for half a year!

Then a eureka moment came to me. I went to NSO main office in Quezon City and inquire from them once and for all. Before I would only call because I admit, I am scared to go to government offices because of the sad stories I hear and read.

Right from the horse’s mouth, the officer in NSO Main said that the OIC can sign. I called the E.V. Local Registrar and told them to let the OIC sign my documents and send it to NSO Main. Don’t worry, I will explain to the NSO Main Office here myself, I said. Ok, they said. But maám since, this is not the SOP here, we have to shoulder the courier fees, they added. Fine, I’ll handle it. I will send money for that, I countered.

My goodness! More than being frustrated, I pity them.

So after a long process and three years later, I finally got my name rectified. As they say, all’s well that ends well.

I wish we could improve our processes, and I hope everyone learned from my case so that others who find themselves in the same situation won’t wait that long to have their names changed.

Since, misspelled names is a popular issue in birth/marriage certificates, I suggest that NSO comes up with a SOP/guidebook and distributes it to all local registrars, if there isn’t any yet, and make sure the guidebook is being followed. And it shouldn’t take years to resolve an issue like this!

So, for new (and old) parents, make sure your children’s names are spelled correctly in their birth certificates and other pertinent documents.

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Five Best Runner-Friendly Places in the Philippines

5 Best Runner-Friendly Places in PH

Happy New Year! :)

Let’s start the year right by paving the way to fit and wellness. To begin, let me share with you five best runner-friendly places in the Philippines.

Running is one of the best and easiest ways to exercise while enjoying the outdoors. The interest of Filipinos in running paved the way for different groups to organize running events in various cities in the country. And with the creation of newbie-friendly categories and rules in races, even people who don’t run for fitness are being enticed to join running events for fun and to bond with family and friends.

Truth is, you can run anywhere, anytime, but there are certain places in the Metro that seem to be made for running, from ideal layouts to great views. Here are some of the top places have gathered:

1. Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City

Bonifacio Global City is one of the most high-end neighborhoods around the Metro, and it is here that you can spot different events day in or day out. But aside from restos, clubs, and big events, BGC is also top of mind when it comes to running. The place is often a venue for different marathons and other running events. The entire BGC is so runner-friendly, you can actually run anywhere, but there are certain tracks that are created for the comfort and convenience of avid runners.

1a. Terra 28th
Location: 28th St. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Terra 28th is more of a kid-friendly playground with running tracks. Located in the 28th St., there are different things that kids can enjoy here like seesaws, swings and some of the favorite Pinoy outdoor games like patintero, luksong baka and piko.

1b. Track 30th
Location: 30th St. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

This is by far the most popular go-to place for adult runners. A park designed for fitness buffs, it has a jogging path, yoga and exercise lawn, fitness art, and a meditation garden with interactive art installations made of recycled materials.

2. Marikina City

From food selections such as a meatloaf dish called everlasting to retail favorites like shoes, the city of Marikina has a lot to offer. But now, it is also gaining popularity as a fitness center for its citizens.

2a. River Park, Marikina
Location: Sta. Elena, Marikina, Luzon, Philippines

Marikina River Park offers jogging and bike paths available for use by health-conscious residents. There are actually groups of people that get together for regular exercise activities in the area.

2b. Marikina Sports Center
Location: Corner of Shoe Avenue and Sumulong Highway Sto. Nino, Marikina

With an entrance fee of only 10 pesos, you can run on a 400-meter track that is open for 24 hours (granted there are no other events happening in the center). Marikina Sports Center also[j1]  known as Marikina Sports Complex, Rodriguez Sports Center or Marikina Sports Park is[j2]  one of the most complete sports facilities in the country, with areas like a soccer field, basketball court, table tennis area, badminton court, volleyball court, lawn tennis court, Boxing Ring, and more.

3. Quezon City
Location: University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Metro Manila, Philippines

Located in University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City, the Academic Oval (or Acad Oval) connects the rest of the colleges of the university from the main University Avenue. With a total circumference of about 2.2 kilometers, it is hub for many athletic activities including running and biking.

4. Pasig City
Location: PhilSports Arena, Pasig City

4a. PhilSports Arena
Location: PhilSports Arena, Pasig City

The PhilSports Arena is known as ULTRA (University of Life Theater and Recreational Arena) back in the days. The complex features a 400-meter oval clay surface track and has lockers and showers.

4b. Capitol Commons
Location: Capitol Commons, Pasig City

Not really the most expansive running spot in the metro but it makes up for the location. You can run leisurely in the vicinity anytime. There are paths for pedestrian that ensures the safety of pedestrians, runners and bikers.

5. Manila
Location: Roxas Boulevard, Manila

Roxas Boulevard is an ideal running path for beginners. Professional runners recommend going to this place as you can do different activities like running and jogging in short and long distance. It spans 7.6 kilometers and is easily accessible via major thoroughfares like UN Avenue and EDSA.

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