In our last post, we wrote a short guide on how to register for your PDOS at the Commission for Filipinos Overseas (CFO). In this post, we’ll share our actual experience and thoughts about the seminar after attending it last Friday, March 10, 2017.
What to Bring
- PDOS Registration Form (per person, required)
- Landing Papers (per person, required)
- Valid Government ID (per person, required)
- P400 (per person, required)
- Pen (will be used to fill out forms)
- Water and snacks (optional, have to be consumed discreetly)
Please do not forget to bring the required items since you will not be able to attend the seminar if you do not have all of them. The pen will be needed for the forms that you will fill out for Comelec and Pathways to Canada. As for snacks and drinks, I wasn’t allowed to bring my Jollibee coffee inside, but was able to discreetly drink water and nibble on stuff that were inside our bags… so I guess as long as the food/drink is not out in the open, it should be okay.
Also, dependents that are younger than 13 years old are not required to attend the PDOS. I am not sure if they are given the option to attend a different (counseling) session instead. If you have young dependents, it would be wise to call the CFO office and clarify this information to be 100% sure.
Getting There (On Time)
The CFO building is located at the Citigold Center, located near the intersections of Quirino Avenue and Osmena Highway in Manila.
The building should be pretty easy to spot if you’re around the area since it’s almost right on the intersection and its height and reddish color helps it stand out from the surrounding establishments.
I’m assuming that the schedule that you have for your PDOS is 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM and if you read your registration form, you will see there that they recommend getting there at least two hours before the start of the session so they can process your papers. While there is nothing wrong with being on the safe side and getting there two hours before at 7:00 AM, you still shouldn’t have a problem if you arrive at the venue an hour later at 8:00 AM since their process is actually pretty smooth and efficient (in Philippine Government standards, more on that later). For us, we actually arrived at the venue at 7:30 AM and completed the registration process by 8:30 AM, giving us some time to wait for the seminar to start (it actually started at 9:30 AM). So relax! And get that additional 30 minutes of sleep! 🙂
If you are bringing your own car, please do note that parking may be difficult if you don’t arrive early. There are a few slots (3-5 cars) available right outside the building and the establishments beside it. Of course, be prepared to be charged P50 by the locals for the parking. There are also some parking slots along the side streets before and after the building, but the locals only give these slots to cars that have drivers just in case a tow-truck passes thru the area and decided to tow the vehicle. If all else fails, you can also park at the relatively nearby Jollibee along Osmena highway. It’s a bit of a walk, but you will probably need the extra exercise after having to eat a Jollibee breakfast anyway. 😛
After entering the building, the first step would be to present your PDOS registration form and your valid ID to the people manning the registration table. They will check your form and if everything is in order, exchange your government issued ID for a CFO ID and a ticket number for your turn at the processing counter.
Encoding and Payment
After getting your CFO ID and number, you’ll proceed into the other room and wait until your number is called. Once your number is flashed on the screen, proceed to your assigned counter where you will be asked to submit your PDOS form, passports and landing papers for inspection and encoding into their system. They will now keep your passports and will return them to you after the seminar. Once finished, proceed to the counter and pay the P400 fee. Make sure you keep the receipt after paying since you will need to present it to claim your passport.
When you get your receipt, you will either be instructed to wait (if it’s still early), or proceed to the 2nd floor to the seminar room.
Once you get to the 2nd floor, proceed to the room labelled Canada and take a seat. It would probably be better to choose a seat towards the front since you probably will not be able to see the projected screen clearly if you sit more than five rows from the front.But there’s nothing to worry about if you don’t catch a seat by the front, as the presenters should do a good job of mentioning all the important details you need to know.
Your PDOS is actually divided into two parts. The first part, given by CFO will focus on the things that will be a concern for an emigrant before leaving the country. While, the second part, given by Pathways to Canada (CFO’s partner agency), will talk to you about topics that will be relevant to you when you land in Canada.
Pathways to Canada will also distribute registration forms. Make sure you fill these up and submit them after the seminar because it will allow them to send you some more information and it will also allow you to register for their other helpful seminars that will be more suited to your individual situation (orientations specifically for certain provinces/cities, employment assistance etc.)
After the seminar, they will givve you back your passports with the official CFO sticker on one of the pages. Again, be sure to have kept the receipt for your payment of P400 because your passports will only be released after you show them that you’ve paid. After getting your passport, you’ll be free to leave. Just don’t forget to claim your ID at the registration desk downstairs before you go.
All in all, I will have to say that the PDOS was pretty helpful. Even if you feel like some of the information may be obvious or basic, I will guarantee that you will pick up some important information during the PDOS that will help you. We hope that your PDOS experience will be as smooth and good as ours. As always, if there’s anything you want to ask, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Alternatively, we’ve also set up a Twitter account @tropics2rockies, so we can also talk there.