I had just gotten back from a weeklong trip from the Land Down Under, going around one of its beautiful cities — Sydney. I was having a fabulous time but two days before my flight back to Manila, my passport got soaked (along with the rest of the contents of my day bag).
Upon getting out of the Uber, my aunt asked me why my bag was dripping. It took me a second to realize that I had a bottle of water (as I always do whenever I go around) before I removed all the contents of my bag. The first thing I tried to save was my passport (which was inside a pocket at the back of my bag) but it was too late as it was already dripping. I then took the envelope that contained my money and decided to deal with the rest of my stuff later, since they weren’t as important.
As soon as I got my passport out, I separated all the pages that were stuck together and placed tissue paper in between them. I didn’t know what else to do at that point but to wait, get myself together, and look past the situation. It honestly took me a while.
When I finally had wifi, I immediately googled the location and the office hours of the Philippine Embassy in Sydney and decided to go there first thing in the morning the very next day. At times like this, heading to the embassy as soon as possible is always a smart idea!
On the way to the Philippine Consulate, I was basically overthinking everything and I’ve even started accepting the fact that it’s possible for me to miss my flight and stay longer. (I actually would’ve been happy to. Haha!) Once I got there, I went straight to the guard who was also the receptionist, told him what happened, and he gave me a form and told me to go upstairs, talk to the officer in there, and prepare cash.
I did what I was told. I explained my situation and the first thing the officer told me was that I would have to wait and stay in Sydney for 8 weeks (my eyes actually widened upon hearing that) before letting me know I had another option. I honestly felt like he just wanted to freak me out… it worked yo. So he told me I could get a Travel Document that would only work if I was flying with PAL or Qantas, but as per usual, I was traveling with PAL so not a problem mista officer!
He then told me to fill an application form, an affidavit, have two passport photos, photocopy my passport, visa, and flight itinerary, and pay a fee of AUD 99 (USD 72.63; PHP 3607.35). Not to mention I had to pay AUS 15 for FOUR passport photos. 600 freakin’ pesos for four photos that I could’ve gotten for 100 pesos back home!!! GAH. Pricey af but desperate times do call for desperate measures. Quite frankly though, it’s not so bad considering the circumstances and the fact that the document was prepared after 2 hours.
Because of this, I’ve now started carrying passport photos in my wallet while traveling.
After three hours in the consulate, I was done and worryfree! I felt pretty cool traveling with that document, I mean it’s not everyday you get to do that. The document was only useful ONCE, when they were issuing my boarding pass at the airport. After that though, at the immigration in BOTH Sydney and Manila, my passport was easily read by the machines and didn’t experience any hassle at all. :—) unbelievable. I had to keep telling myself that a time like this, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
There goes my experience with my soaked passport! I’m now on the road to renewing my passport and visas for next month’s adventure <3.
Just wanna note how extremely accommodating the officers were in the PHL Consulate General in Sydney!