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American expat in Philippines rescues report cards at Iloilo High School. I was on my way to Mandurriao Plaza​ again. Made an earlier trip to this educational institution to retrieve money stolen from my nephew Sharwin. Now I was on my way to obtain report cards that my niece and nephew needed in order to enroll at the high school in Guimaras.

Sharwin, Shaina and Melinda

Sharwin, Shaina and Melinda

I wasn't too happy. The report cards needed to be signed by the Iloilo high school's principal but the principal had called in sick. The administrative staff had refused to turn the documents over to my asawa and did not have any idea when the principal would return.  I was on a mission. I wouldn't be leaving the school without the report cards.

Walked into the building where the Kommandant's office was located. I had spoken to him before  regarding the teacher that had taken my nephew's money in my earlier visit. 

Camouflaged students, one playing the guitar, were seated outside of the Kommandant's headquarters. A student soldier knocked on their leader's door and informed him an American was here to see him. I was immediately ushered in. 


Photo Source: www.militaryphotos.net

Shook hands with the Kommandant and explained my situation. I expressed disbelief that no one in the high school other than the principal had the authority to release the report card for my niece and nephew. 

He escorted me to a Filipina lady who was a department head and who would be able to help me with my problem. Let's call her "Ma'am."

I related my story to "Ma'am." She asked me to please sit and wait and since the teacher's faculty room where I was located had good air con, I gladly complied.

After 10 or 15 minutes "Ma'am" returned. She advised me that the report cards could not be released without the principal's signature and that the principal had called in sick.

"Yes, I already know that Ma'am. Is there no else in charge that can sign the cards and release them to me?" I asked.

"No, sir," was the reply.

"Ma'am, can I have the cards without the principal's signature?" I inquired. "The principal at the high school in Guimaras knows us and will accept the report cards without the principal's signature"

"Let me check, sir, please wait," she answered.

I waited.

10 minutes passed. "Ma'am" returned. 

"I'm sorry, sir, we cannot release the report cards," she informed me.

"Ma'am, I am not leaving here without the cards. I will stay here all day if necessary but I'm not going anywhere without them. My niece and nephew are missing school in Guimaras because of this delay" I firmly responded as I stood up and walked out the door, back to the Kommandant's office. I had my fill of this bureaucratic bungling. 

As I took a seat in the Kommandant's waiting area, surrounded by the student soldiers, "Ma'am" quickly entered the Commander's office. A few words in the local Ilonggo language were exchanged and "Ma'am" approached me again. 

"Sir, would you accept a photocopy of the report cards?" she asked.

"No, Ma'am. I am not leaving without anything but the originals." I replied. 

"Ma'am" informed me she would text the principal. A flurry of text messages were exchanged.

Sir, would you sign a waiver stating you received the cards without the principal's signature?" she inquired. 

"Yes, Ma'am," I answered. " I would sign a deal with the devil if that's what it took to get those report cards."

Ma'am smiled. "Let me get the waiver prepared, sir. Come with me."

The waiver was prepared. It stated that I would "suffer the consequences" of taking the report cards without the principal's signature. 

"I'm prepared to 'suffer the consequences', Ma'am. Here's my signature," as I handed the waiver to her. 

I was handed the report cards. I thanked "Ma'am" and apologized if I was disrespectful in any way. 

"No, sir, you weren't. I understand you love your family and want to get the children enrolled in school," was her answer.

Hopped in the jeepney. Called my asawa. Cards were secured. Blood pressure was now going down. Life in the Philippines. 

Crowded jeepney in Guimaras

Update: Another trip to the high school had to be made to retrieve the "137 forms" that the high school in Guimaras needed. The principal was now hospitalized. The necessary documents were going to be released to us right away by a department head but we were told by the administrator of records that we could not get them that day. I went back to the Kommandant. We walked out of the high school an hour later with the 137 forms. 

13 thoughts on “American Expat in Philippines Rescues Report Cards at Iloilo High School: Part 2

  1. I do not understand why the in the Philippines, they can take something that should be so simple to accomplish and make it so complicated. They must be trying to copy the actions of our Congress, here. 

    I know its not just the Philippines, but they sure love to make paperwork there, when doing almost anything "official".  

    Glad you succeded though.

    1. I am an Ilonga born in Iloilo who has been living in San Francisco since 1982 where we own a business with 50 employees .  I thoroughly enjoy your news letter except when you make innuendos that money is needed to expedite some things.  We own mango land in Guimaras too and I am very happy that it  has finally snapped out of its doldrums. I am even considering buying more land there.  My memory of Guimaras is as a very backward place where you have to use a very bumpy tricycle.  .    Also the lack of clean toilets is very distressing to me.  But I am very glad that you expats will bring Guimaras to heights never experienced before by the Guimaras people.  My only fear is that you will drink yourselves to death without accomplishing this.

      1. Serious guy? No, really. Serious? I can sense the sarcasm in your writing…a blind person could. Are you in anyway defending the school and what happened here? Serious, are you?

        Maybe this type of thinking is why the Philippines is so far beyond where they really should be. This whole deal with the reports cards has been a joke. When are filipinos going to stand up and say "ENOUGH."

        This type of thing goes in EVERYWHERE in the Philippines!! And you filipinos need to start saying "enough is enough." I can GUARANTEE that most filipinos would have let this slide and let the school handle this as badly as they did without saying a single word.

        Dave did the right thing…he took charge and let "them" know that this type of "service" was not good enough. Not even close.

        As for you being offended that greasing palms and paying a little "extra fee" to get things done doesn't happen? Have you been to the same Philippines as the rest of us? It happens on a regular basis…DAILY!!!!!!

        My goodness.

  2. As you pointed out, it makes me wonder if someone was expecting a little "donation" to make things a little faster without all the red tape. Glad you got everything settled.

    1. Dave,

      The Asst Principal should also have power if the Principal is not there.  I guess everything just stops when the principal is not there.  You should trust your staff enough so they can handle day to day activities in his absence like now

  3. Dave,

             Great Job !!


                                  Fearless Frank from Florida

  4. I was only joking when I made that comment about "drinking yourselves to death".   it is true that the Ilongos or Filipinos, especially in low government positions, always ask for "breakfast" or "merienda"  money.  But it is also true here although in a much smaller and limited scale.  We were about to put up a small building (very small) in San Francisco but our architect (not local) kept coming back for funds when he applied for a permit.  I do not know if it was the architect's idea or the city employee's request but we finally got tired and withdrew the application.

  5. I lived in Subic for eight years and many times would wonder why they do some thing that way,a friend of mine told me once dont ask why just remember you are in the Philippines,

    1. Dave,

      I have to support you also as far as bribe money being common in the Philippines.  I know a few times when we have been with friends we have paid security a few pesos to park our friends vehicle where it was not supposed to be parked. Looking forward to getting down there for Thanksgiving, should be a great time.

      1. In many places in the world probably all except for Japan, giving tips not bribes, will smooth your way.  You can get better seats in restaurants, better parking, etc. We give our tips before the start of service and you will see how well treated you will be.  In our recent cruise we started giving $100 tips and the waiters were falling over their feet to serve us.  We got double servings, double of everything.

  6. So this article is about grease now? Heheheh..I have one theory regarding the attitude of the officer-in-charge. Maybe it has something to do with power of authority. Probably, the principal (or he/she can also be the owner of the school as well) did not really delegated her powers to anyone at that time. Remember the principal called in sick, even if she will be like absent for weeks if there's no delegation, no one will DARE to act even for someone like an officer-in-charge or an assistant principal.  As Filipinos, we have the tendency to wait for someone in authority/power to decide on some things for us. This is highly shown in our local politics (e.g. PHL covering behind US against China, Drillon covering behind the Ombudsman's opinion re pork barrel queen Napoles, Pnoy covering behind some fine lady's ass and enjoying it (lol). The last one is a joke but I don't find it funny.

  7. TG, there is a big difference between tipping and having to pay money to go down a certain street or not get a ticket for some really foolish thing.

    Geez, just this past winter a friend of mine and his filipino wife had to pay "extra" so they could get their vehicle licensed. No one else there had to pay "extra", but the white guy and his filipino wife did. I have talked to so many cab drivers that basically pay extortion fees so they can drive down certain streets. This type of thing is very common in the Philippines.

    Anyway, I love the Philippines…always will….but some of the things that bother me the most are things that can EASILY be fixed. Like filipinos demanding their principal sign the darn report cards.

    My fiance and I are helping her younger sister get through school. They got their first report cards a month or so ago. Well they were supposed to get them then. They were told to show up at school on a Saturday morning. So all the parents did. In this case it was the teacher that was to hand out the report cards. Sure enough, the teacher decides NOT to show up on time. Hours late.

    Then when she did show up….she only stayed for about 10 minutes. So most of the kids could not get their report cards. Why? Because this teacher did not care about anyone but herself. She probably overslept and decided everyone could wait for her.

    So after the 10 minutes she was there, she leaves even though most of the parents had not had time to get back to the school!! So now the kids were supposed to pick up the cards at a designated time on Monday. And guess what? The teacher doesn't show up on Monday….so the kids cannot get the report cards that day! I am guessing some of the kids might have been happy about that! LOL.

    My fiance told me she was happy I was not there because she knows I would have said something. Damn right I would have. My goodness! If you do not say something it just stays the same or gets worse! Stop it with the bahala na attitude. Hold your teachers, police, and officials to higher standards!! Geez.

    As much as I love the Philippines and the filipino people….I am amazed at what they "allow".

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