“What do you mean our registration ended in March?” My significant other was on the phone with an insurance agent. The agent, “NicNic” has just informed my wife that our Ford Ranger’s registration had already expired last March.
The Questioning American
I disagreed. My paperwork from the LTO, Land Transportation Office, appeared to indicate otherwise.
However, the insurance representative, recommended by a British expat, advised my wife that her assessment was based on the last number of our license plate number.
“NicNic” informed my spouse that since our license plate number ended in the number “five,” our registration had already expired.
Again, I disagreed. It was my understanding that the initial registration period for our Ford Ranger, purchased new, was valid for three years.
My Filipina wife, God bless her, rarely questions any authority. However, first of all, her husband, the crusty old expat, is an American. I question most everything and rarely take what any so-called expert has to say at face value.
In contrast to the above statement, however, I seldom question what my wife says. At least not to her face.
You married guys know what I’m talking about.
Therefore, while I had my doubts about the insurance expert, I decided we could meet with the lady the next morning. After all, we did require someone to handle the emissions testing and any subsequent paperwork that might be needed with LTO.
The dreaded “in a little while” axiom
After following the directions to the insurance rep’s home, we parked near the emissions center alluded to in the agent’s text message. The go-between’s hacienda was supposedly conveniently located near the testing facility.
Described as a “big house” near the emissions joint in her text, we didn’t see anything close by which fit that description. As a result, my spouse sent a text message, of course.
The reply swiftly came: “I will be there in a little while.”
Any one that has spent time in the Philippines knows that the dreaded phrase “in a little while” translates to anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours (or more.)
However, in a “little while,” only 15 minutes actually, a neatly dressed older Filipina pulled up along the “smoke test” center in a tricycle. If she lived near by, I wondered, why did she need a tricycle?
In the meantime, seven motorcyclists and a van had already parked in front of the facility.
Our Ford Ranger was parked across the road from the structure before anyone else had arrived. This, despite having instructed my wife, the pilot, to park in front of the emissions center when we arrived.
I sat in our Ford Ranger as my better half went to speak with the agent. After looking over our paperwork for a few minutes, my spouse and the agent walked over to the truck.
“Sir, your license is not in the computer yet,” the insurance rep advised me.
“What do you mean? We have had those plates for almost three years now,” I replied.
Philippines Vehicle Registration Ruckus Begins
“But sir, when you purchased your vehicle, a different number was used to process your registration. We will have to cover your license plate and use this old number,” NicNic” explained.
“What are you talking about? I’m not covering this license plate. Use our new plate number for the registration renewal,” I instructed her.
“But sir, that will make it more difficult and you will have to pay a 1,000 peso penalty” the insurance agent explained.
“Why do I have to pay a penalty?” I inquired.
“Because your registration renewal was due last March,” NicNic replied.
“Well, forget it,” I said agitated by this point, “we will just go to LTO and take care of it ourselves.”
That immediately prompted a quick discussion in the local Ilonggo language between “NicNic” and my wife.
“Dear, she will go to Iloilo and take care of this. All we have to do is pay her fare to Iloilo,” my significant other informed me.
(Since the registration was done in the Land Transportation Office in Iloilo City, where we purchased our truck, the initial renewal had to be done there. The insurance agent was only asking for the fare to Iloilo since she would receive a commission if we bought an insurance policy from her.)
“No, we will go to the LTO here in Guimaras and straighten this out ourselves,” I informed my mate.
My asawa spent a minute or two conversing with the insurance agent.
“Let’s go!” exclaimed the crusty old expat.
We took off to our local LTO without even a whiff of a “smoke test.”
To be continued