It is another work day again so off to work I go. I arrived at the office on time, actually earlier, just like how any good employee should be. I am all fresh, spic and span, and my barong and pair of slacks neatly pressed. Of course, black shoes shiny and bright.  Our day officially starts with a prayer, then a flag ceremony, and followed by a pledge of service to the public. All of it happen in front of our office, right outside where everyone can see, right in front of our clients who eagerly wait to get their business with us done so that they can finish their other plans for the day. They are here to deal with their licenses, car registration, and the likes. Yes, I am an LTO employee.

Finally seated at my post, computer’s up and running, and about to start work then I heard the word passed around. It spread inside the office fast yet faster outside. In minutes everyone learned about the word.

Few more minutes and clients outside my window filled the blue adjoining steel seats. It didn’t take any longer before sarcastic remarks fly by. Remarks that, while from different faces and ages and walks of life and on a different day, are very similar in nature. But man, I have gotten used to these somehow. Over the years my superiors have told me that to survive I have to ignore unsolicited advice from senior citizens who don’t understand technology; from the young ones who are arrogant and seem to know better as if it’s a matter of pushing the reset button and everything goes back online. We consider these as trivial job ‘hazards’ and I have learned to let each pass through the other ear. All in a day’s work.

My name is posted outside, right in front of my stall, on the MV registration workflow. I am very aware of that. In fact, I told my family all about it the very first time our office placed the tarpaulin there and they were so very proud of me—my child especially. He has told his classmates about it as well. The workflow states that transaction time ends after 90 minutes. But does it? Sometimes yes, sometimes not. Blame it on the word.

The clock is ticking, didn’t realize that almost two hours have passed, and I looked out my window again. People are getting restless, more restless than the time they first heard the word. Some have returned with something to munch on just as if they’re on a DVD marathon.

Some have entertained themselves with something that is of no cost. I can see some staring purposely on the no noon break poster. The assurance of it doesn’t help I know. I imagine some planning something sinister if only they can get away with it—like a car jack smashed into the glass or a flash bang being tossed inside our office just to awaken our senses. If they do that I actually can’t blame them. I believed though that these people, however fidgety they start to get, are civil. Up to when, however, that I don’t know. For example, any moment from now and this one bald man in black shirt and faded camouflage cargo shorts could snap. Heaven forbid. His queue number shows 26 and half more behind him looks just as irritated.

He has actually started a discussion around just to take a break from what seems an ebook he was occupied with a while ago—back when he seems to show some patience. How inept this government agency is; why wonder how EDSA and other highways are full of reckless drivers when in the LTO compound alone are people who drives in and out with total disregard of the law—motorcycle riders without helmet, cars with tinted plates, drivers who do not know how to park. Everything happening right in front of our senior officials. Those were some of his ice breakers and others do agree with him. He may be a politician in the making. Someone please make him stop.

Wait, I heard a familiar voice on the public address system. There is an announcement, the queue numbers are being called, they are not offline anymore. Back in business. Back to being me, for I am just an ordinary citizen, never an LTO employee, just someone trying hard to understand what it feels to be like working in an organization that is almost synonymous to this one word. Come to think of it LTO must stand for Land Transportation Offline.

So when do I see you again LTO? Maybe after 45 days as promised on your memorandum on new plates? Or would I be too naive to expect that from you? By the way, I checked your list of newly released plates while waiting to pay at the cashier and I saw that these are from people who renewed their car registration in January. Yes, I know the answer.

My SMS with wifey during that day at the LTO.

Revision: Added this pic because as always my wife demands an image on my post.


Smile, there’s a light at the end of the LTO tunnel. Read this LTO chief: ‘We’re looking at processing licenses in 10-15 minutes by November’


 Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Eager to go back to the gym.)


Let’s embrace change


Isn’t it funny that change is such a short word but solicits hundreds, if not thousands, of reaction no matter what the subject matter is all about and no matter how trivial or significant the change will be? Think of one thing that went through change that wasn’t met with resistance or protest. A number of us protested when the mere P1 coin was reduced to a smaller size together with the introduction of the new P10 coin denomination because we said we might not distinguish the two among each other. In the offices, people complained when the payroll became automated because the thought of receiving an inaccurate salary made almost everyone uneasy as receiving a printed payslip is much preferred over its online version for proper accounting of each rendered overtimes and premiums. We doubted online transactions just because we fear that someone might hack the system or our account. Taxi drivers and operators hated the thought of using LPG-powered cars baka daw sumabog. Furthermore, they reasoned out when the DOTC/LTO required them to install in their taxis a printer so that each customer gets a copy of their trip’s expense. And so on and so forth. But guess what, all these eventually happened and unconsciously we got over with each of the transition – and the complaints. 


Now here comes several things being presented to us anew. For one there’s the pressing poll automation issue. Then just this week, I saw the emergence of LTO’s campaign for the RFID (radio frequency ID tag). Once again, most people are clamoring for explanations, and worse others just want to rant irrationally maybe out of ignorance or maybe just due to plain stubborness to come out of their comfort zones or false beliefs – baka malabag ang karapatang pantao (the most overused & most irritating), baka madaya, baka di alam kung paano gamitin, etc.


I see all these resistance to change as counterproductive and alarming. While other countries are moving forward by utilizing whatever modern technology is available, we on the other hand are still trying to cling on to our traditional ways. Most of us have become so fixated with our conservative practices that we always try to find reasons to doubt upfront the benefits that come with the technological advancements that will make our life easier. Actually, much easier.


Although, it is a fact that we cannot deny histories of unethical practices committed by several people, we should not dwell on these alone and instead open our minds that it is not the process (i.e., traditional or new technology) where irregularities happen and that it is rather caused by the people behind it. BUT this is not the reason for us not to move forward. I can see that the information campaign for the RFID implementation and poll automation is on-going. They will implement it soon whether we like it or not. Our role here is to listen intently and attentively instead of immediately shutting our ears and minds to such new ideas. Let’s be informed and support all of it because continuing to be too pragmatic and pessimistic about change will lead us nowhere but at the very tail end (the last time I checked we are almost there) of the rest of our Asian neighbors where we will surely become the laughing stock at the very least.


It is really high time we prove that we appreciate the effort of the people in the government are doing to improve the way we do things: RFID to improve the traffic system and poll automation to speed up the election process.It is high time we accept change. Let’s choose to show optimistism even if it’s more easy to go the other way. After all, didn’t we demand change? Didn’t we demand action from our public officials (whether we elected them or not)? If yes, these things are now presented right in front of us. All we need is to do is embrace it and trust that something positive will come out of it. Dahil kung lagi tayong tamang duda, wala tayong mapapala.






Mood: 4/10 Honks! (mukhang mapipilitan ako mag-drive mamaya)

Filipino cliches

“If you can’t beat them…make fun of them.” – me


Today I went to a nearby LTO office to have my motorcycle registered for the first time (it will turn just a year-old this August) and as usual I heard another not so surprising one-liner that it should have been made as this government office’s motto: “paumanhin sa lahat, meron lang tayong system slow down (our apologies but we have a system slow down).”

I’ve been hearing a lot of it for years since I started dealing (i.e., driver’s license, vehicle registration renewal) with them that such statement has become as predictable as sunrise (also a cliche). So instead of getting frustrated about the whole thing while standing still and staring blankly at the “efficiency” of LTO’s personnel, I tried to keep myself calm and composed and instead recall other amusing one-liners from different people. Here are some of them:

Sorry for the inconvenience” – DPWH, Maynilad, MWSS (usually seen on the same area but different time of the year due to poor planning and coordination)

P 1 – ihi, P 5 – dumi” – supposedly free public toilets.

Para sa kapakanan ng masa (for the poor people)” – Presidentiables and other politicians.

Paano yan sir?…” – Kotong cops after pulling over a motorist.

Mani, mani…mainit-init pa, bagong luto” – Peanut vendors (whose peanuts are obviously burnt after countless times of re-heat).

Nakainom ako, pero konti lang.” – Drunk drivers after a road mishap.

Hindi naman masagwa ang kuha.” – Wholesome-turned-sexy actresses justifying their adult magazine pictorials.

And the last but my all-time favorite:

Kumabyos ang preno, di umabot (brakes slipped, didn’t stopped on time)” – Public utility vehicle driver involved in a car crash.

How about you, any favorite one-liners? I’d love to read them.


I’ll be back this afternoon to claim my motorcycle registration renewal. I hope the LTO’s system is already up and running.


Mood: 3/10 Honks!