I PROTEST! I told my father that I will never get a driver's license as sign of "protest." I find it senseless for him to ask me to get a driver's license and yet not allow me to drive. If he doesn't trust my driving, there's no need to get a license. But yesterday was different, I finally found the courage to get my driver's license and abandon my "protest." Thanks to Sweet Pea who had been very patient with me. She was the one who convinced me that getting a driver's license is really to my advantage.
I filled up an application form at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) East Avenue, Diliman Licensing Branch. I attached my student's license, drug test, medical exam results and paid the fees. While waiting for the written exam, I was instructed to go to the Lecture Room which ironically was a misnomer -- no lectures are conducted there.
There are exam reviewers inside. You can choose whether to take the exam in English or Filipino. I chose Filipino having read here sometime ago that "Filipino is the language of the streets." but I changed my mind when I opened the Filipino exam reviewer. It seemed taking an exam in Filipino would be a hard nut to crack, so I reverted to choose the English reviewer again.
Overhead the room was a TV screen showing something about driving. I couldn't understand what was shown because the TV was muted. There were signs to "keep silence" at every corner of the room. Ironically, the only source of noise and distraction in the room was LTO's own annoying amplifier on top of the door. It made reviewing difficult because you had to divide your attention between what you're studying and listening to announcements.
My name was the last to be called in our batch, and because of that, I was left with only fifteen (15) minutes to review for the written exam. The exam was scheduled at 1:00 p.m. it was 12:45 on my watch. I panicked! How can I study (100) one hundred questions, familiarize my self with (300) three hundred choices and countless road signs in fifteen minutes?! I wasted no time and started cramming. "The mind works best under pressure." - I told myself.
Come one o'clock, a good forty of us applicants were called to the examination room. The examiner treated us all like pesky kids. Ang sunget niya! She asked each of us to choose whether we wanted to take the exam in Filipino or English. She entered our names in the computer. The computer generated a questionnaire consisting of forty randomly selected questions. She printed it out and distributed it accordingly.
I browsed the questionnaire's three pages after receiving it and noticed that some road signs to be identified were so small it can easily be mistaken for a "biological stain." I also thought some items were unfair because it used unfamiliar idiomatic expressions. Question #20 went like...
20. "It is normal to sound off in driving but a driver must keep in mind the performance of his car, his distance, and his skill in driving, except ________.
a) in multi-lane highways
b) in a curve
c) in a curb."
Come on! What does "Sound off" mean? Does it mean...
a) to rev and accelerate one's car and make a sound?
b) play loud music while inside the car?
c) beep the horn?
d) speak angrily?
Can't they just use simple standard written English? And what does curb mean anyway? If you know what a "curb" means without google-ing it, ikaw na ang best in English 'teh! :D
No time limit. Someone in the room asked if there was a time limit, the examiner said "as long as we don't go beyond five p.m." Wow! was that a joke? It was just one p.m. You mean to say we can take a forty item multiple choice exam for four hours? Cool!
VIP treatment. A popular "kapamilya" who has a regular tv and radio show was also getting her license the same time. She didn't have go through the lines and wait, an LTO staff was walking her through the whole process. She may not be demanding to be treated like a VIP, but she's not refusing it as well. For us who patiently waited for our turn, I don't think that was fair.
After a long while, the results of the exam were out. My golly! I can still remember the sound of the FAILED stamped on application papers of those who didn't make it. There were a lot of them! Nalagas ang batch namin. I had faith in our batch kahit marami sa kanila mukhang jejemon. The examiner was literally banging the FAILED stamp on the application papers with so much gusto! Those who failed were told that they may re-apply after one month.
I told myself, "What a waste!" I felt sorry for most of my batch mates. Waiting for one month doesn't make sense. The exam was easy: 1) if only the examinees were given enough time to study; 2) if only a lecture were conducted to brief the examinees; and 3) if only sufficient instructions were given before the exam, a lot will surely pass.
Tips. I realized, in this branch of LTO, "You are on your own." If you are planning to apply for a driver's license in this notorious East Avenue Main Branch in the near future, consider my advice - TAKE THE WRITTEN EXAM SERIOUSLY. (45) Forty-five minutes of review should be enough. It's OK to tell the examiner that you want more time to study. A lot of road signs look alike. If you were asked to identify a road sign in the exam and you are not sure, don't be afraid to stand up and look it up in the wall where road signs are posted. It is not prohibited. Don't guess if you are not sure of your answer, just get back on it later. There's plenty of time.
After the written exam, the few of us who passed the written exam were instructed to go to the actual driving test area where we were made to wait for another hour again.
After the passing actual driving test, we were made to wait (again) as they print our driver's license.
How much. I was ready to go home and spread the good news specially to my father when I remembered I don't have money left to commute back home. I just brought with me 1000 Php thinking it would be enough. I was wrong. Good thing I had with me my ATM. For your non-pro driver's license application, expect to spend the following (as of November 2011):
100+ personal fare
300 drug test
100 application fee
67.63 computer fee (kailangan talaga may 63 centavos??) haha
350 license fee
67.63 another ridiculous computer fee (at kailangan talaga may 63 centavos ulit) haha
250 test car rent fee
Sagad na talaga pera ko pati coins. Sana hindi nalang ako bumili ng gulaman at siopao para nakauwi pa ako. hehe. Be sure to bring around 1,500 Php para may pang Jollibee ka pa pagkatapos ng napakatagal at nakakapagod na process na to. It took me seven hours from the time I went to LTO until the time I actually got my license.
|Basta driver, sweet lover.|
|After so many years, I finally found the courage to abandon my "protest" and get my driver's license.|
|LTO Licensing Center Diliman Branch. Brace yourself, there's a lot of cold hearts here.|
|Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. Thank God I have extreme patience.|
|The "Lecture Room" I was talking about.|
Ignore the word "lecture," that's only a room.
No lectures are conducted there.
What will I drive? Wala naman kasi akong coche! hehe
Tomorrow Chevrolet- New Balance Power Run na!! Yehey! Finishers get a chance to win a brand new Chevrolet Cruze. I hope I win. If I win, of course, papasakayin ko kayo lahat. That's a promise.
Entry narin po ito para sa pacontest ng Gilboard Grows Up link --- > http://gillboard.blogspot.com/2011/12/repost-pacontest-extension.html