If you live in the province, you probably know that there are certain things you can't access merely because they are only available in the capital. Stuff like bargain basement deals in Raon, the yearly Nazareno parade, Luneta, seeing Willy Revillame live in the studio and... you know what I mean.
Now that you want to join the millions of migrating Filipino workers, you probably need to have your school documents authenticated by CHED (Commission on Higher Education) and the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs). Although there are CHED offices to service all 12 regions (not sure about the number of DFA offices, though), authentication is performed exclusively by the DFA in Manila.
If you live far from the capital, having your docs authenticated can involve some considerable expense. If you're a resident of Davao, for example, you'll have to spend for plane fare and accommodation just to have your docs threaded with the DFA red ribbon in Manila.
If this is the situation that's stopping you, let me share my experience. I live in the province and recently, I had my sister's docs authenticated. My sis graduated from a school in Manila, which meant that her docs had to go through CHED-NCR and of course, the DFA.
My sis is out of the country and she had left her documents behind since they were not required by her employer. That meant only one thing: it was all left to me to have her docs authenticated. I really thought it was going to be tough. I was wrong.
The only problem was that I could not travel to Manila for the job and I was unwilling as well. My sis said she'd foot the bill for the travel expenses and whatnot but I wasn't too ecstatic about spending several weeks there just to wait out her papers, not to mention stand in long queues at CHED and the DFA.
She has friends in Manila but they had to work. Asking them to go through the process of authentication as a favor seemed too much, at least in my opinion. Besides, having a non-relative as a representative makes the process more complicated. I was pretty sure that person will be asked to produce an SPA (Special Power of Attorney).
So with the kind of information I gathered (online, of course – thanks by the way to all of you who posted in those forums I scoured for tips), I decided to do the right thing – ASK. The first thing I did was call up the registrar's office at my sis' school. I explained my predicament and the guy on the other end of the line listened patiently. He then suggested the steps I should take. (If you have the same problem I had, you might learn something from this.) He said that I should:
1. Have the documents photocopied (the docs in question were the transcript and diploma)
2. Attach a letter of request from my sis indicating her intentions and authorizing me as her representative
3. Send the documents to the school registrar for CAV through a courier
4. Deposit the payment for the school's authentication fees and fax the deposit slip (the payment included the standard fees plus the cost of postal mail)
5. Wait for the document to be processed by the school and have them certified, authenticated and verified by CHED.
6. Wait for the school to send me back the original copies of the documents (the photocopies go to CHED and later, to the DFA for red ribbon), along with the DFA claim stub
7. Use an authorized courier (in this case, DHL) to claim the docs with the red ribbon from the DFA
The letter of request came in lieu of the standard CAV request form that the school required. The form could be downloaded from the school's website. If your school requires you to submit one, they probably have it online. If not, ask if you could write a letter instead.
So anyways, I did as the guy suggested. I had a set of my sis' docs photocopied and then asked her to send a signed letter of request which also authorized me to request the authentication on her behalf. Once the documents were completed, I went to a DHL office, filled out the customer form and paid for the fees.
Then I waited… and waited… and waited. Finally, the docs came through the mail sent by the registrar's office. In the envelope, as promised, were my sis' diploma, TOR and the DFA claim stub.
I then visited the same DHL office again, bringing the claim stub with me. I filled out a form, surrendered the stub and the DHL guy did the rest. The process is supposed to take two
weeks – three weeks at most.
I'm still waiting for the DFA authenticated docs (this time with a red ribbon tied around them) but I can be content in knowing that it's in good hands. I am not, by the way, writing this to
endorse DHL, although if you are in the same ship as I was, you will probably work with them, too. They're the only courier authorized to process the authentication of documents on an individual's behalf, so there.
What I liked most about the above transactions is that I didn't have to travel, my sis didn't have to spend a lot and we saved money just by letting our fingers and the courier do the work for us. Cost? Here's a breakdown of what I spent:
CAV - P 200.00
Registered Mail - P 200.00
Bank deposit fee - P 100.00
DHL fees (CAV) - P 224.00
DHL fees (red ribbon) - P 357.60
Fax - P 25.00
Photocopies - P 15.00 (I kept a few extra copies)
Gas - P 200.00
Total = P1,321.60
That's just the cost of a one-way ticket to Manila on sale! And I didn't have to stand in line, not even for a minute.
By the way, I was informed that not every DHL office offers this service. You'll have to look for the WWWExpress sign/logo and then inquire. Also, I was lucky because as a representative, I was not required to submit an SPA or Special Power of Attorney. My sis' school only asked for an authorization letter so I could process the docs for her. If your school asks for an SPA, you'll have no choice but to produce one. Your neighborhood lawyer can help.
So in conclusion, my experience in having my sis' docs authenticated with me acting as her representative wasn't too hard. The toughest (if you can call it that) part was the waiting. But as long as you understand the process, talk to the right persons and have the resources where you need them, you shouldn't have a lot of problems.
Here are some useful links:
CAV Request Form
DFA Authentication Procedures
I sincerely hope this post will help someone out there who is in the same situation I was in. Remember: when in doubt, ask. Good luck!