Saturday, March 4, 2017

My Week in Review

At some point in 2016, I made an unspoken resolution that I would publish at least 366 blog post that year. That would, of course average one post a day and top my previous record from 2008 of 354 for the year. There were times during the year when I fell behind, but I would catch up by writing multiple posts on other days.

Today, March 4 is the 63rd day of 2017, and to maintain the 365 for the year I should have at least 62 posts by now. The count shows 57. I'm 5 posts behind where I'd like to be, but truth be told, even with the 5 posts deficit I'm in better shape for making the goal than I was this time last year.

Reviewing the blog yesterday, I noticed that I had gone a week without posting anything. Part of the reason for the failure to post was because my wife and I needed to travel to Cebu to pick up my I-card from the Philippine immigration office there. Traveling to Cebu from Negros island really takes a toll on me. Although it's only about 165 kilometers (about 102 miles) from Sibulan to Cebu city, it takes 41/2 to 5 hours to get there by bus. It's possible that, if I choose to have my car ferried over I could drive the distance in less time, but I doubt the time saved would be significant and I'd have to drive in Cebu city traffic - something I'd absolutely hate.

We left Sibulan by Ceres bus Tuesday at around 3:30 AM, ferried across to Cebu island, and continued on the bus into the city. We returned to Sibulan at around 5:30 PM. The trip had taken 14 hours with only about 15 minutes of that 14 hours spent at the immigration office. I was in and out with my I-card in no time at all.

Being a resident of Philippines, I have to do an annual report to immigration within the first 60 days of the calendar year. I became a probationary resident in 2015 (permanent now) and I thought I'd need to do the annual report in 2016. Failing to do the report by the deadline will result in a 1200 peso fine. Because my I-card had not been issued by the March 2nd deadline, I was told last year that a 2016 annual report was not required. However, when I went to the local immigration office in Dumaguete Wednesday to file the 2017 report, there was some question as to whether I would be penalized for not doing a report in 2016.

I had to meet with the head official of the Dumaguete immigration office to determine if I'd have to pay for 2016. My understanding was, that since my probationary I-card had not been issued until April of 2016 - well past the March 2nd deadline - I had not been required to file a 2016 annual report. The officer was insistent that, because my probationary visa had been granted in 2015, I had been required to file in 2016 (even without an I-card) and I'd have to pay for the 2016 report, plus late fee, as well as my 2017 report. While I was waiting to make the payment, the officer called a subordinate into his office and told her to call Manila to double-check. The phone call determined that I had been right and the head officer wrong. I was not required to file the 2016 report, so I only need to pay the 310 peso fee for the 2017 annual report.

I paid the 310 php, thanked the officer for following this through, and happily left the office.

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