Monday, August 28, 2017

New job part 2: Pag-ibig, Philhealth, and NBI Clearance

Here's the continuation of my previous post, this time about Pag-IBIG, Philhealth, and NBI Clearance.

Pag-IBIG
http://www.pagibigfund.gov.ph

My first problem was that I didn't know what my Pag-IBIG number was. I actually had all my other government account and ID numbers except Pag-IBIG. My HR friend suggested that I call their hotline 724-4244 (more contact info about Pag-IBIG: http://www.pagibigfund.gov.ph/contacthdmf.aspx) which I did.

During the call, I was asked a few questions and they were able to pull up my Pag-IBIG ID and share it with me. Cool! However, a second problem: I was told that apparently, my Pag-IBIG account was also temporary and not permanent. It was the same issue I had with my SSS ID. Ugh. To fix it, I apparently had to go to a Pag-IBIG office and submit a Member's Change of Information Form (MCIF, which can be found under the Provident-related forms of their website http://www.pagibigfund.gov.ph/dlforms.aspx).

I went to the Pag-IBIG office along Jupiter and I did this on the same day that I went to SSS because they were pretty close to each other (about a 10-15 minute walk). When I arrived, it wasn't very clear where I had to go so so I asked help from someone who then instructed me to fall in line to get a number. It was a really long line - more than 50 people - and when I made my way to the front, I was told that I had to go the 2nd floor instead. Ugh again. Thankfully, there was no line to get a number on the 2nd floor.

When my number was called and I was being served, I was told that I actually had to fill out another form (I think it was the Member's Data Form or MDF). Once I filled out that form, I submitted it to the guy at the counter again and my Pag-IBIG account was set to permanent status then and there. Perfect.

NBI Clearance

To secure your NBI Clearance, you need to go to the NBI Clearance website to complete your online registration. There is an option to enter your old NBI Clearance data to speed up your online application, but since my old clearance was secured more than a decade ago, it didn't work when I tried it. :) As such, I had to follow the normal process.

I found the process to be a bit counterintuitive and lengthy. I first had to create an online account and during the account creation, I already needed to indicate if I was applying for new clearance or just renewal. Since my old clearance wasn't working, I had to select "New". (Personally, this isn't  the most sensible approach for me because account creation should be independent of the clearance request process.) After I created my account, I filled out the online NBI Clearance Application form. I then selected the location for my appointment. The earliest schedule I could find that was close enough to me was at the Mandaluyong branch located on the 3rd floor of Shaw Center Mall so I booked an appointment there. I then selected the appointment schedule. This completed the first part of my online appointment. I then got a screen that shared some pretty important details on how to proceed with payment, including your reference number. If you are applying for NBI Clearance, I suggest you save this screen since you will be needing the information on it later on.

There are a few options for payment and I decided to just pay via bank deposit. I selected Metrobank because the other banks include a minimal additional processing fee in Metro Manila while Metrobank did not. The NBI Clearance fee is P140. Here are the steps for payment:

  1. Fill out a regular deposit slip (use the details provided in that screen I mentioned; it will differ per bank) and pay the exact amount in CASH or ON-US Check (check issued by this same bank). Note that some banks may charge a handling fee for deposits in their provincial branches.
  2. When deposit is completed, click the link provided in the screen I was talking about (in my case, I got this link because I chose Metrobank - https://gw.dragonpay.ph/Bank/ConfirmDeposit.aspx?refno=WR7F9L94&procid=MBTX&wlm=1) and fill out the details within the same day of your deposit to validate your payment. You have to enter the branch code, date, time, and amount deposited, all of which are provided in the deposit slip (there is a sample deposit slip in the link provided which should help you know how to fill out the required fields).

Payments are processed at end of the day. NBI will send a confirmation email to you once your payment is validated. If you do not receive an email by noon the next day, you may call NBI at (02) 655-6820, email help@dragonpay.ph, or chat with their Customer Support. (Thankfully, I received an email later that day confirming my payment.)

On the day of my appointment, I brought a print-out of the payment confirmation e-mail and my deposit slip to the NBI office in Shaw Center Mall, which opens daily at 9am. (You can park in the basement.) There was a long queue when I got there but it moves pretty quickly. When I got to the front of the line, my photo and my fingerprints were taken but unfortunately, there was a hit. What?? And here I thought my name was relatively unique. I was told to return two weeks later to get my clearance. Thankfully, when I returned, it was pretty straightforward. I just handed my deposit slip which had a stamp that indicated the date I was supposed to return. Within minutes, I had my clearance. Would have been nicer if I got all this sorted out on my first visit but at least the second visit went pretty quickly.

Philhealth
https://www.philhealth.gov.ph/

Finally, Philhealth. I got a Member Data Record (MDR) from my previous company which I then submitted to my new company but a few days after I started work, I was told by HR that I needed to fill out two forms - I can't remember what they were - and then go to the nearest Philhealth office to submit them myself. I decided that I would just do this on the same day that I would get my clearance and thankfully, there was a Philhealth office along Shaw Boulevard (I think it might actually be the head office), making it easy for me to do both on the same morning.

When I arrived at Philhealth, I can't recall on which floor I was told to go - I think it may have been the 10th - but when I got there, there was no line. I was served immediately so I submitted the two forms I got from our HR. I was then given a new MDR along with the other form that I submitted (I think they just stamped certification on it or something). I was also given a Philhealth ID.

And there you go. It was a whole lot of effort trying to understand the processes, filling out forms, traveling to and from the different government offices, and falling in line. Thankfully, all of my government accounts are pretty much in order now.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

New job and sorting out my SSS records

One of the biggest changes in my life over the last decade just happened this August: I moved to a new company. It was such a huge change for me because I had been working in my previous company for more than a decade. Now, I continue working in the same field but in a different industry and my current role is pretty different from what I used to do. I am quite excited about this change and I am looking forward to growing a lot more as a professional.

That said, it also involved a lot - and I do mean a LOT - of paperwork. I realized that there was a ton of stuff I needed to do to sort out my SSS, Pag-IBIG, and Philhealth accounts. I also needed to get NBI Clearance. It was a whole lot of work but I am happy that I got everything sorted out.

SSS
https://www.sss.gov.ph/

First, I didn't have my SSS Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID). I supposedly had an SSS ID given to me a very long time ago, but either I lost it or it was marked as having been given to me even if it wasn't. Still, that SSS ID wouldn't be valid anymore since it should already have been replaced by the UMID. I did a bit of research and saw that I needed to have the following:

  1. SSS Form E-6, or a UMID Card Application Form
  2. Three copies of SSS Form R-6, or Miscellaneous Payment Form. UMID Card replacement costs P300.
  3. Affidavit of Loss

I downloaded Forms E-6 and R-6 online and filled them out. I also prepared an affidavit of loss for my UMID card. I then went to the corner of Makati Avenue and Jupiter to have my UMID cards notarized. I think it costs P100 to notarize a document in the small stall there. (You can easily spot it because there are signs that say "NOTARY" and "XEROX".

At the SSS Office along Buendia (Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue), I was instructed go to Counter 9 to process my UMID Card replacement request. Upon arriving at counter 9, I was told that my SSS ID was only temporary and not permanent and that this was most likely because my records were not fully updated when SSS upgraded their systems and processes. As such, I first had to go to Counter 12 to request my SSS account to be updated. For that, I needed to give give them the following:

  1. Two copies of SSS Form E-4, or Member Data Change Request, to update member record status from temporary to permanent.
  2. A copy of my Birth Certificate (thankfully I had it with me)

The problem was that the system was down when I was there. Also, the payment counter was already closed (it was past 4pm when I arrived). As such, I had to go back the next working day. Thankfully, the system was up when I returned. I first went to Counter 12 to have my member record status updated. Then I fell in line at the cashier to pay the UMID replacement cost. I then fell in line again at Counter 9 to submit my requirements. It was around 12:15pm when I was served and by then I was told I had to go to the third floor for UMID photo taking. Unfortunately, the talking of ID photos was closed between 12pm and 1pm so I had to return after lunch break. After getting my photo taken, I was told that my UMID would be delivered to my place of residence within 3 to 6 months. So I'm not quite done but at least I am done with all the requirements and now it's just a matter of waiting for my ID to arrive.

I will write about how how I sorted out my Pag-IBIG, Philhealth, and NBI Clearance in my next post.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Skeletor's Best Insults

People who are familiar with the 1980s animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe will get a kick out of this. I never realized it at as a kid but apparently, Skeletor is the master of insults. Major props have to be given to voice actor Alan Oppenheimer.


video uploaded in youtube by DreamWorksTV

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

West Side Story in Manila

I finally got to see another one of the most well-known and significant musicals in history - West Side Story. The show made its way to Manila for a few weeks this month and I made sure I got to see it. I knew it was like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet so I sort of knew how the story would go but I had never actually seen it in its entirety. As such, seeing the whole story unfold was a really good experience.


What I never realized was how magnificent and beautiful the soundtrack of West Side Story is. Almost every song has made its way into pop culture, whether or not people know that these songs are from the musical. Somewhere, America, I feel pretty, Tonight, and Maria are all iconic in their own right. Two of my favorite songs from the musical aren't quite as popular - I have a love and One hand, one heart. (I think it is because of the beautiful medley of these two songs that was recorded by Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis.) It was such a treat to see and hear all these incredible songs performed live. I've always known they were all from West Side Story but it wasn't until now that I got to hear them all sung as part of a story.


The cast was also remarkable. The best of them in my opinion was definitely Kevin Hack, who portrayed the lead character Tony. I thought his voice is absolutely incredible. His tone, clarity, range, projection, and control were all topnotch. Another standout was Keely Beirne, who portrayed Anita. I also really liked the guy who played Doc, even if it was only a speaking role (or well I am guessing he also sang, but just as part of the ensemble, with no solo parts).

All in all, it was a wonderful show with glorious music, brilliant singing, great choreography. and a timeless story about love against all odds. I am happy that West Side Story made its way to Manila and I am pleased that I got to see it during its limited run here at the Theatre at Solaire.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Macandili is 2nd best libero at the Asian Women's Volleyball Championship!

She spent the last couple of years impressing Filipinos with her incredible and buwis-buhay saves. Now she is also impressing the rest of Asia. Dawn Macandili, the multi-awarded libero from De La Salle University, competed as part of the Philippine team in the 2017 Asian Women's Volleyball Championships held in the Philippines. On the final day of the event last August 17, she was awarded 2nd best libero. What an amazing achievement!




This was the first time that Dawn was part of the national team and her nerves were evident in the first two matches, against Hong Kong and Kazakhstan. She finally found her rhythm against Vietnam, where she had 19 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions. She continued to showcase her skills against Thailand, amazing everyone with her speed and her commitment and willingness to throw her body however which way she could just to save the ball. Her efforts not only helped the Philippines achieve a top 8 finish, an improvement from our 12th place finish two years ago, they also got her her first international award. It is unprecedented as well since normally, events do not award a 2nd best libero (there is only a best libero) and all the individual awardees are usually from the top 4 teams. I am very happy for Dawn and proud of the honor she has brought to herself and to the country.

Interestingly enough, August 17 has now become a significant date for Macandili in the last two years. In 2016, she made history by becoming the first libero to be awarded MVP in the Philippines (this was at the PSL All Filipino Conference). Exactly a year later, she gets an individual award in her first international competition. While she isn't the first Filipino to win in an international event, I think most of our past awards have been at the SEA Games and I don't recall the last time we had a Filipino awardee beyond the Philippines and the SEA Games.

Speaking of which, Dawn will be competing with the rest of the National Team in the women's volleyball event at the 2017 SEA Games. The Philippines will play starting on the 24th. Good luck to the Philippine National Team and congratulations again to Dawn Macandili!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Nadal is back at #1

Congratulations to Rafa Nadal for becoming the ATP World #1 player. He takes over the top ranking from Andy Murray who was #1 for 41 weeks. While his ascent to the pinnacle of men's tennis was assured earlier in the week when Roger Federer pulled out of Cincinnati - either Roger or Rafa were sure to supplant Andy - it ended up being a bit anticlimactic as Rafa was ousted in the quarterfinals by Nick Kyrgios (who eventually lost in the finals to Grigor Dimitrov). Nevertheless, the number 1 ranking reminds us how incredible Rafa's year has been, including a 10th title at the French Open and in Barcelona and Monte Carlo.

This stint atop the world rankings could be quite short-lived since Roger Federer is expected to overtake him after the US Open, where Roger is the favorite to win (or at the very least, to get further in the tournament than Rafa since it's a court that favors the Swiss over the Spaniard). Nevertheless, this is still a major accomplishment for Nadal. After being plagued by several injuries over the last three years, many had wondered if his best days were past him. Thankfully, they aren't. While we might not see peak Nadal as often as we did several years ago, it is still amazing how he continues to show us why he is one of the greatest tennis players in history.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Movie-watching in August

For the first time this year, I watched two movies on two consecutive days. That they both involved cars and fast driving is an interesting coincidence.

Baby Driver


I saw the trailer of Baby Driver while watching another movie recently and it piqued my interest so I decided to watch it. Thankfully I did because I enjoyed it tremendously. The movie revolves around Baby (portrayed by Ansel Elgort) who drives getaway cars for criminals. There's a lot more to the story than that of course but I will just leave it at that. Baby Driver is edgy and thrilling, moving along at a solid pace but still allowing the audience to understand who the characters are and what motivates them. As noted critic Roger Ebert said, "the survival of the heroes here becomes something we actively root for instead of just know is likely to happen." I actually gasped at least a few times while watching and I even muttered a somewhat audible "oh no" at one point. Everyone in the cast put in great performances, including Ansel, Lily James (who also starred as Cinderella in the 2015 live action Disney film), Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, and John Hamm. I later realized that this film was directed by Edgar Wright, who also directed two of my favorite comedies Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. No wonder I enjoyed this movie. I've seen only 7 movies this year but this is my favorite so far. I will certainly get the DVD when it comes out.

Cars 3


I wasn't sure what to expect in this Pixar film, considering that I was a bit underwhelmed by Finding Dory and I absolutely didn't like The Good Dinosaur (these were Pixar's last two full-length feature films). As it turned out, I actually really enjoyed Cars 3. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. Please stop reading if you don't want to find out anything about the movie. What I absolutely loved about this movie was how it didn't force upon the audience the highly inaccurate notion that old-school "heart-and-soul" training beats out more modern and scientifically-designed training techniques and methods. It also showed us that great champions of the past, no matter how legendary they are, will at some point be overtaken by younger, stronger athletes. For a moment, I actually thought that Lightning McQueen would somehow miraculously beat the record-breaking up-and-coming rookie Jackson Storm. Thankfully, the story didn't go down that path. Cars 3 is not quite at the level of Up, Wall-E, or Toy Story 3 but it's a very good Pixar movie  that is definitely worth watching. It has heart, realism, and a feel-good ending.