It was Friday 05:45 am, the alarm clock on my iPad was on its third snooze. The battle between getting up and staying in bed was evident. I thought to myself: “Who decides to wake up at 05:45 am on a Friday anyways?”
With the sun rising over Manila and the hazy dawn dodging blue skies, I got up and ready for my immigration hearing. The immigration officer expected us at 8:00 am in the old town of Manila. With all the Friday morning traffic, I knew it would take me at least one hour of travel time. So, why would someone wake up so early? Unfortunately, I was clever enough to leave all my identification documents in the office. Thus, I had to revisit Google before heading into Manila old town.
Upon my arrival at the immigration office, I was supposed to get in touch with my lawyer. Easier said than done if your mobile carrier decides not to participate in your plans. Unable to reach my lawyer, I positioned myself in the entrance of the building. The determination to find my lawyer without the functionality of my smartphone was strong. Considering, it took me 1 hour to get here and a loss of 2 hours sleep, I did not want to repeat the process. Each person that looked like a lawyer, I stared deep into their eyes, hoping they would recognize me as their appointment. Finally, 20 minutes later, I had a match and we continued to the immigration hearing. The overall process went fine, it was very similar to the visa hearing in the United States.
Having marked the first important item of the list, I continued back to work, only to leave again in the afternoon to mark the second item of the list as done: opening a bank account. Little did I know, that in order to get paid I would need a Philippine bank account. “No problem, I just quickly open an account”, I thought. It turns out, the simplicity of opening an account is dependent on your location in Manila. If you live in Bonifacio, but opened your account in Makati, you will always have to go back to your branch for any in-person business transactions. As a sane human being, I don’t like to deal with the traffic as much and thus, I rescheduled my bank appointment in a different branch.
At 5:00 pm, I called it a day and proceeded into the weekend. I fought myself through 50 minutes of traffic and met some fellow Germans for some nachos & beer on a rooftop terrace at the Tipsy Pig. As always, one beer turns into four, a short dinner into a feast, and a chill Friday evening into a 6 hour party marathon. Good thing I had to wake up at 8:00 am the next day for my apartment viewings.