The Philippine Embassy – First Impressions

It was my first time to visit the building that represented my home country. A surge of pride rushed through me, upon walking through the gates. Wow, it looks sosyal!

But as soon as I opened the brown doors that led me inside, my dignity shrunk like a prune. It was like walking into a marketplace. How can I complain when an embassy is clearly defined as the ”presence” of a home country abroad. I guess we’re just following protocol.

My husband went to this same building 4 months ago to apply for a visa to the Philippines. He got a taste of our system. He had to go back twice because of lack of requirements that could have been easily advised and explained the first time he called for inquiry.

I imagine him standing in that never-ending line. I imagine him looking at all those signs, taped to the walls like a kindergarten classroom. I imagine him walking up the counter to a very stern-looking worker who just finished a loud argument with a frustrated cursing OFW.

”Your embassy is so dirty. Yucky!”

That’s what he reported of his experience. I didn’t talk to him for a day as I protested such strong statement. But after today, seeing it with my own eyes, I am embarrassed and humiliated.

I want to be proud of us. I really do. But where do I get my self-esteem when the institution handling my diplomatic issues and preserving my rights does not give me the glorious confidence and dignified backbone to walk in this Arab world with head held high.

I am shamed because I can see further than the physical dirt my husband pointed out. Our embassy is a reflection of our country and sadly, Filipinos in the UAE are becoming walking-photocopies of our embassy.

*photo taken from this site.

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12 thoughts on “The Philippine Embassy – First Impressions

  1. Airports and Embassies- these are the places where tourists/investors get a whiff of how the Philippines is. Furthermore, it seems like budget does not allocate enough to even make it halfway decent. It does not have to look luxurious, but at least for OFWs who pay tons of taxes on top of the fees for every signature or seal to make life possible– would feel comfortable, relaxed and “at home” and less humiliated. 😉

    The way I see it, Airports and embassies are probably the BEST way to MARKET and Represent the Philippines to investors, tourists, etc. Two birds in one kill.

    The Philippine Embassy here is the same way. It looks like a regular billing department in a college institution with uncomfortable, hard benches. No copy machines, no photo booth and it’s bad enough that the service does not compensate with the shortcoming of the structure itself. A copier does not cost hundreds and thousands of monies. It does not cost a lot to do some touch up paints or affiliate with other organizations for nice and neat posters for the walls, maybe.

    And it does not cost anything to render service and guarantee customer satisfaction.

    I could go on lol

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    1. exactly! kahit dun manlang we make a good impression. But no. An insider told me, someone donated a copy machine (out of frustration not of goodwill) but the office people placed it inside for office use only. Oha. Pinoy na pinoy!

      Yes, you can a sub-blog in here. haha! 🙂

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  2. improper budget allocation siguro. I understand the sentiment. But do we allocate budget to beautify the embassies, (im sure di lang sa abu dhabi ganyan) and lessen the budget of the others, which maybe more important?. Id rather have market-place-like embassies than cutting the budget for education. about the photocopying machine, i think the embassy should really provide one.

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    1. if we wait for proper budgeting, we won’t go far kasi matagal ng problema ng bansa natin yan. I think if the people within the specific embassy itself would do something, it could change. Kahit dito lang sa abu dhabi, madami namang high-earning pinoys 🙂 someone in there should start a ”beautification” project.

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  3. probably better if you could put into writing your concerns as well as your recommendations on how to address the problems (if you have any), then send it to the government agency concerned. If the government agency fails to respond to your concerns within 15 days, you can write the Office of the President-Presidential Management Staff and request for Presidential intervention or something to that effect 🙂

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    1. a lot did that before me 🙂 I met someone who wrote to all the concerned departments/bureaus. She just received answers like ”we’ll look into it.” ek ek…

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