After many, many, many months, or perhaps years, I finally got myself a student driver permit! I have been asking Ryan for a long, long, long time to teach me how to drive, I think before I even got pregnant, but we just could not find the time for it.
I remember asking my own father to teach me how to drive using his car, but he said back then, “I am surely not teaching you how to drive WHILE you are pregnant!” This inability to drive has been such a hindrance to my activities when I am in Camarines Sur. My parents have a car that I keep wanting to drive when I want to get a quick CWC fix or a little trip to Naga City, but alas, I have no license. Or more like, alas, I do not know how to drive!
So Ryan started teaching me last year, after I had the baby and every time we had some free time. At first it was just up and down the street, and then a little bit around the village, then he let me drive the car for maybe twenty kilometers on our way to Bicol from Manila last Christmas break down Almeda Highway and let me drive again for maybe almost an hour on our way back to Manila. I must say driving down that nice deserted highway was fun, only if I did not hold on to the steering wheel too tightly that it made my fingers sore! Hahaha.
Our lessons stopped in the aftermath of the great Ondoy as we did not have a car for almost three months! But after we got it back, I drove a little bit every now and then, in little increments at a time, like from the house halfway to the village gate, then up to the village gate, then up to Ortigas Avenue and then the farthest so far within Metro Manila, from Red Ribbon in Libis all the way to U.P. Yup, I have been driving around a stick-shift car without a license. *straight face goes here*
Actually, about a month or so ago, I went to the Land Transportation Office satellite in SM Hypermarket Pasig and was told I am supposed to go to the office next to the Ynares Sports Arena. I made it there two weeks ago, with my daughter in tow, and was told that the person in charge of permits and licenses only go to work in the morning. I was like, WTF?
So anyway, today I finally made it to the LTO office in the morning!! In less than an hour and P318 poorer (plus P25 for the plastic case) later, I had my student driver permit in hand! In a month, I intend to have my non-professional driver’s license in my hand, gleaming and proud!
This is the procedure for Student Driver Permit application as published on the LTO website:
1. Proceed to the Customer Service Counter to have your documents checked for completeness, and secure a Driver’s License Application Form. (This form is available for download here. You can accomplish this form prior to transacting your business at the LTO.) Get a queue number and wait for your number to be called.
2. When your number is called, proceed to the transaction counters to submit all required documents to the Evaluator.
3. Proceed to the Phototaking/Signature Area to have your picture and signature taken when your name is called.
4. Proceed to the Cashier when your name is called to pay the necessary fees and obtain an Official Receipt.
5. Proceed to the Releasing Counter, present the Official Receipt and claim the temporary student permit/license.
This is the procedure I went through:
1. Get an application form from the guy on the table outside and fill out. Attach photocopies of NSO-issued Birth Certificate and NSO-issued Marriage Certificate. Present all forms to guy on table outside, who looks at original copies of NSO, takes the photocopies and application form and staples them all together and stamps them with, I assume, something that says “Authenticity verified” or maybe just “Verified.” He does not give them back to me but instead hands it himself to person in glassed-in counter.
2. My name is called out on the loudspeakers telling me to go to “Photographer A”. I see a sign overhead that says “Photographer A and B” with an arrow, and so I walk over. Get my photo taken, wherein guy actually says “SMILE!” and thus the big smile on my permit, and walks over to (wow, so sosyal!) WACOM tablet to give them my signature. I then walk over to waiting area to wait for my name to be called.
3. Person on loudspeaker calls out a list of names, including mine, to go to Cashier: Window 7. I go over to Cashier and pay P318.00. I walk back to seats and wait for my name to be called.
4. A person calls out my name in Window 8, no loudspeaker this time. She gives me my printed out student driver permit, along with my receipt and asked me if I wanted to buy a plastic case for my paper permit for P25. An image of Lia crumpling my permit and/or munching it in her salivacious mouth flashed in my head and very quickly, I say yes.
That had me walking out of the gate into the hot street that is Shaw Boulevard in less than an hour. Wow, that was really quick! I loved it! If only all government office transactions were as quick as that.