First Stage of Wedding Planning

Sure, the unexpected proposal brought me to paradise for days and clothed me in a glow for while. While I savor the moment, the reality of wedding preparation is starting to sink in. Before I get too overwhelmed with all the dream wedding ideas I am seeing on Pinterest, I realized I have to slow down and take the planning step by step.


A couple of weeks after our engagement, Andrew and I already thought about finalizing our wedding date. Our initial plan was to have it on the same date as our Anniversary which is October 8 however, it falls on a weekday so we already crossed that out of the options. We do not want to have conflicting schedules with our close friends and relatives on our big day and as much as possible, we wanted to avoid traffic. Based on these considerations we both agreed to have our wedding on October 12, 2019, Saturday.

I drafted a list of the guests I wished to be present on our wedding day and I asked Andrew to do the same. We merged our lists and came up with 140 – 150 guests.

We have finalized the wedding date and target no. of guests, now, how much are we willing to spend for the wedding? My practical self makes me think of not splurging too much for the wedding. As people say, It is just a one day event and we need to focus on what is more important, marriage. The other side of me is convincing me to do what makes me happy because this is just once in a lifetime. As long as it is within our means, it should be fine. Times like this when I am confused and can’t decide on my own, I rely on Andrew’s decision (hehe!).  He set the budget and I think it was fair.


Now that we have the date, number of guests and target wedding budget, we are ready for the next step: the hunt for the venue.

I am a Christian and I dreamed of having a church wedding. With that, I know we only have very few churches to choose from. Actually, I was only thinking of Ellinwood Church in Malate and Church of the Risen Lord in UP.

Church of the Risen Lord (UP Diliman)

This is my first choice and we ended up booking it without a second thought. Here are the reasons why we think this is the perfect church for us:

  • It has a unique architecture and its size is perfect for a simple and solemn wedding.
  • We love that it is located in QC which is accessible from our place, and it is within the vicinity of UP Diliman with not so busy roads.
  • There are plenty of parking spaces in the area so guests who will be bringing cars will not have a problem.
  • They allowed us to choose our preferred time for the ceremony.  I am not sure though if they accept 1 wedding per day only. Just keep in mind that their operating hours is from 8AM to 5PM.
  • They cater Christian-Non Christian weddings. This is the main factor for us because my husband-to-be is a Catholic.
  • They allowed us to bring our own pastors/ministers who will solemnize our wedding.
  • Employees are accommodating and very easy to talk to.

We can only think of three cons for this church venue:

  • Cost – It is quite pricey compared to other churches.
  • Payment – They only accept cash settled in their office. It is fine for us but not convenient for overseas couples.
  • No Aircon – It could get really hot especially during summer so better think of ways to make you and your guests feel comfortable. Maybe, add some electric fans or air coolers if possible or provide fans for the guests as a giveaway.

We went to their office on Friday around 2PM and we were accommodated by Ann. A reservation fee of Php5,000 is required to secure the date. For inquiries, please see contact details below:

U.P. Church of the Risen Lord

JP Laurel Ave., UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City / Tel. No: 9287674 / 9204502

Ellinwood on the other hand, is indeed a beautiful church which has almost similar look as that of the Catholic churches. It has a longer aisle as well. Why didn’t we book it? No special reason other than the location. Church of the Risen Lord is way closer to us compared to Ellinwood. Plus, we do not want to experience the horrible traffic in Manila during rush hours.

If you just got engaged, it is better to start researching and booking the church and reception venues early so that you can secure your date and lock in the rates before it’s too late.

Happy Preps! 🙂




Philippine Passport Renewal: Useful Guide and Tips

Making sure your passport is valid and updated is just one very important thing to take care of if you are planning for your next international travel. This golden ticket to see the world must be renewed at least six months before its expiration date. Unfortunately, the issuance of your new passport could not get done immediately. You definitely have to plan and go through the process which could take up to 2 weeks or sometimes, even months.

I got my passport renewed just recently and based on my experience I will be sharing with you the steps and tips that will guide you through the passport renewal process.

Schedule your appointment

First off,  DFA has a passport courtesy lane for the following applicants:

  • Senior Citizen with Senior Citizen ID
  • Children 7 years old and below
  • Person with Disability with PWD ID or visible disability
  • Solo Parent with Valid Solo Parent ID
  • Pregnant Women
  • Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) with proof of status such as iDOLE card, valid employment contract (authenticated by POEA) and work visa

These applicants don’t need an appointment for their personal appearance at any DFA Office whether it is for passport renewal or new application.

For inquiries on this matter, the Courtesy Lane may be contacted at 02-834-4000 local 2423 and the Office of the Passport Director’s local 2852 and 2386

For those who cannot be accommodated at the DFA courtesy lane, you have to schedule your appointment online. To get started, you may go to this link.

Step 1: Read the Terms and Condition and confirm that you agree by ticking the check box. Then click “Start Individual Appointment” or “Start Group Appointment” button as applicable.

Step 2: Select the site where you wish to set an appointment then click Next

Step 3: Select the date and time of your appointment.  You are only allowed to select the dates and times in Green, which means slots are still available. Dates in Red are already full.

Step 4: Fill out the form with your personal information and contact details. Review the details and make sure they are complete and accurate. Any wrong information may cause delays on the process.

Tips on Scheduling Passport Appointment

TIP#1: Make sure you have the following details ready so can you can save time filling out the appointment form. You wouldn’t want to be kicked out of the session and lose the slot just because you forgot a required information.

  1. Active Yahoo or Gmail Email Address (This is where the printable form and reference number will be sent). As of the momentEmail address from Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook will not receive email confirmation due to technical incompatibilities.
  2. Old Passport Details

TIP#2: If you see all the slots are taken for your preferred date and location, don’t lose hope. Sometimes ‘Refresh’ button does wonders. In my experience, I had to refresh the page and enter the site again twice hoping some slots would be released. I did not fail. Slots are temporarily reserved for 15 minutes once selected so it can be available again after 15 minutes or when other person decides to choose another date . Patience, is indeed a virtue.

TIP#3: If there’s still no luck on your preferred location, you can try other DFA Sites too. There are around 27 DFA Satellite Offices you can choose from and 6 of them are located in Manila which are open during weekdays and Saturdays.

DFA – NCR West (SM Manila)

Address: 5/F SM Manila, Concepcion St. cor. Arroceros and Sn. Marcelino, Manila
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday
Telephone: 02-536-9994 or 02-536-9995

DFA – NCR Central (Robinsons Galleria)
Address: Level 1 West Lane, Lingkod Pinoy Center, Robinsons Galleria, Edsa cor. Ortigas Ave., Pasig City
Operating Hours: 10:00 – 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday
Telephone: 02-631-0806 or 02-631-0700

DFA – NCR East (SM Megamall)

Address: 7/F SM Megamall Bldg. C, Edsa cor. J. Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong City
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday
Telephone: 02-570-3230

DFA – NCR South (Alabang)

Address: 4/F Metro Alabang Town Center, Alabang-Zapote Road, Muntinlupa City
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday
Telephone: 02-551-1051 or 02-403-6093

DFA — NCR North (Robinsons Novaliches)

Address: Quirino Highway, Novaliches, Quezon City
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday
Telephone: 02-834-4000

DFA — NCR Northeast (Ali Mall)

Address: Ali Mall Government Center, Level 2, Ali Mall, Cubao, Quezon City
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday
Telephone: 02-293-0105, 02-293-0748

Prepare the requirements

Congratulations on having a passport renewal schedule! Now, It’s time to prepare the required documents.

For passport renewal you will be needing the following requirements:

  • Confirmed Online Appointment (Not applicable for Senior citizens, infants and minors seven years old and below, PWDs, Solo Parent, Pregnant Women and OFWs bearing sufficient proof)
  • Duly accomplished application form
  • Most recent expiring or expired passport
  • Valid IDs

Here are the list of Acceptable IDs:

  • Social Security System (SSS)/ Government Service Insurance System(GSIS) Unified Multi-Purpose Identification (UMID)Card
  • Land Transportation Office (LTO) Driver’s License
  • Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) ID
  • Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) / Integrated Department of Labor and Employment (iDOLE) card
  • Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Voter’s ID or Voter’s Certificate or Voter’s Registration Record from COMELEC Head or Regional Office
  • Philippine National Police (PNP) Firearms License
  • Senior Citizen ID
  • Persons with Disabilities (PWD) ID
  • School ID (for students)
  • Current Valid ePassport (For Renewal of ePassport)
  • For applicants based overseas, they may use their host government issued ID’s showing their Philippine citizenship. (Example: Residence Card)

Important Reminder: The Department may require additional supporting documents as may be necessary.

Few things to keep in mind before your schedule

  • Be there atleast 30 minutes prior to your appointment
  • Bring a photocopy of your IDs and old passport data page
  • Credit or Debit Cards are not acceptable for Passport and Delivery Payments, so prepare cash.
    • Php 950 for regular processing (15 working days). Not applicable for Saturday appointments.
    • Php 1200 for express processing (7 working days).
    • Php 120 for shipping fee (optional)
  • Chaperones are only allowed for children, senior citizens and persons with disabilities
  • Dress-up properly. Do not wear sleeveless or any revealing attire. You are not allowed to wear a hat, sunglasses or other head covering unless it  is worn for religious beliefs. You may also opt to put light make up on, or tie your long hair up, whatever you want to do to make your 10-year identification look nicer. Yes, you read it right! – Passport is now valid for 10 years 😊


Personal Appearance

So now you are ready for your appointment and if it is you first time to renew your passport you might be wondering what the process is when you get there. To give you some idea, let me walk you through how I renewed my passport in DFA Novaliches.

The DFA NCR-North office is situated at the 3rd floor of Robinsons Mall Novaliches, Quezon City. Go straight to the center where food carts are located. The DFA Office is across the Fun House and beside the skin clinics. I am pretty sure you will not miss it – the office name is large and clear enough not to catch your attention 😊

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I showed up a littler over 30 minutes ahead my schedule (11:30 AM). Before entering the office, the guard on duty will validate your appointment. Present your printed appointment confirmation.

Once you passed the security, proceed to the Information Section. The officer will hand you the passport delay waiver.

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Step 1: Information


Next, proceed to Window 8 for verification. The renewal request will be given to you.

Processing area is at window 1-7. Here you will be asked to give the required documents for validation. Your old passport will be marked cancelled by having holes punched in and will be returned to you.

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Step 2 & 3: Verification and Processing


Proceed to Window 9-10 to pay for the passport renewal fee (Php 950 for regular processing; Php 1,200 for express)

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Step 4: Payments


Encoding area is at Windows 11-18. Here, the officer will capture your bio metrics including your photo and signature.

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Step 5: Encoding


If you opt to pick up the passport, this is the last step of the process. Wait for 1-2 weeks and you will receive a notification that your passport is ready for pick-up. The releasing area is beside the entrance of the office.

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Releasing Area


Otherwise, if you want your passport to be delivered to your doorsteps, prepare Php 120 cash for delivery fee and proceed to Step 6. Get the courier pouch available at the Delivery counter and fill out the shipment details. Do this while you are waiting on the line to save time.

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Step 6: Delivery


You are done! Wait for 1-2 weeks for your passport to be delivered.

Did you notice something on the pictures I took in each steps? … Good Catch!  Surprisingly, there was no long line of people. It took me only 20 minutes to complete the whole process (could be shorter if you choose to pick-up the passport). It was far better than my experience with passport application in DFA East – Megamall which took me about 2 hours. Well, that was 5 years ago!

So, even though It was a bit of a struggle reserving a slot for the passport renewal, if the process when you get to the office is as smooth and fast as this, I wouldn’t mind. I appreciate the advantage of having an appointment system. It was indeed an easy breezy process. I hope this is the case for all other DFA Offices too 😊

Disclaimer: This does not guarantee that all appointment schedules will have the faster processing time. It is still recommended to reserve at least 2-3 hours for your renewal.

Did you find this article helpful? Did we miss out any valuable tip? We are interested to know how your passport renewal went. Please share them with us by leaving a comment below. It would be greatly appreciated!

For new passport application and any other inquiries please visit DFA website:

Thanks for dropping by!