The Quest for My (proof of) Existence

Who would have thought that procuring birth certificates could be an exercise of stewardship (of time and money) and faith?

I was (and still am) on a quest – to complete my requirements for teaching in UP this June. They asked for an NSO certified birth certificate, but I had only one copy left. So I decided to pay a visit to NSO East Avenue’s Serbilis (eng. “fast-service”) Center.

My previous certificate was obtained through their home delivery service, which means no lining up, but one had to pay 330 pesos for a copy. If you lined up, they will only charge you 125 per copy, plus a 15 peso document stamp, for a total of 140 pesos per copy. The difference was 190 pesos per copy, and I wanted to order three so that I wouldn’t have to come back there within the next 5 to 10 years (unless I get married, perhaps). I was therefore left with two options:

  1. Pay 990 pesos at the bank and wait for the certificates to be delivered
  2. Queue up and pay 420 pesos, and come back for the certificates later within the day.

Obviously, I had more time than money in my hands, and 570 pesos is a big thing! While just about every Filipino is dissatisfied with the Government, I decided to exercise faith. They wouldn’t be calling it Serbilis if it didn’t live up to its name, right?

The windows officially open at 7am, and I arrived just a few minutes before. Lo and behold, the queue already resembled that of a 1st generation Nokia snake high-scorer. It actually took me 3 minutes to be able to trace the line. The line started moving at around 7:20am, but I was shocked at their pace: we were moving at a rate of more than one foot per second! When we came to the desk where they gave us our number, I was shocked to see that mine was 643. They started from 001.

I already wanted to bail out and reconsider the door-to-door service, but convinced myself to wait a little more. Their system was fairly efficient, from the numbers, number batching, and checking. They had more than 40 payment counters operating simultaneously. I was already queued up to pay by 8:45am. By 10 minutes past 9am, I was walking out of the building with my claim stub for 12nn, so I decided to go and finish some errands first (doing the math: given they started a bit late, they could probably finish 400 persons per hour or 3600 persons in a 7am-4pm shift).

I came back past my time slot and was horrified to see the long queue in the claim area. Thankfully, I was able to ask the guard, who looked at my stub and let me in without having to line up (they practiced FIFO, I presume). All in all, I spent just 2 hours and 15 minutes, and saved 570 pesos.

Thumbs up, NSO!


  1. Don’t hesitate to ask the authorities, they know what they are saying.
  2. Obey the authorities, they know what they are doing
  3. Don’t rely on people on the line, they are equally clueless and sometimes are just pretending to be know-it-alls.
  4. If we can trust and exercise faith when it comes to earthly authorities, how much more can we trust the heavenly authority – God and his Word?
This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Government, Lessons, Money Matters and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s