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Almost Missed Guam

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Rev. Fr. Rey Villanoy

 

 

By Rev. Fr. Rey Villanoy

 

 

The moment my cousin Wing arrived from the States on January 12, she surprised me saying: “Maadto ta sa Guam!” Of course, I have been longing to visit this place, an isolated island in the Pacific and depending on the type of aircraft one is taking; it is just a few hours or so from Manila. After all, we have a number of first cousins over there.


This invitation came just when I was preparing my Schengen visa application together with some other ten priests from Capiz. Now, the schedule for Guam was February 3 to 7. We were given the date January 23 to submit our application, together with our passports, in person. My passport which also contains my U.S. visa would then be with the Italian embassy from January 23 until such a time that they are going to approve and release it.


I was told that it normally takes 10 to 15 days for the passport and visa to be released. Would I be able to make it to Guam considering that from January 23 to February 3 would only be about 12 days including the weekend and Chinese New Year, a holiday?


I always believe that if something is for you, you will really have it. But then, not in the fatalistic sense, because if ever I made it to Guam, I really have done my part.


The moment I filed my application for a Schengen visa through the Italian embassy’s processing office, I already informed two of the personnel that I have a forthcoming trip and I was making a request to expedite the processing of my visa application.


The first employee suggested that I insert in my application letter a note that I have a trip to Guam to Guam on February 3. I then attached a ticket reservation for this trip. Good thing that I have secured this beforehand.


The second employee placed a note in the folder containing my papers with the request to expedite the processing of my papers. She then gave me a number where to track down the update of my application. A very important number, indeed.


What followed later was a series of phone calls to follow up the status of my request. But it was not until Friday, January 31 that my passport was ready for pick up. That was noontime and I had only the rest of the afternoon to do it.


But wait, I was still in Roxas City, and that would be impossible for me to be in Manila before five. So I was given another chance to get it the following day, Saturday before noon, in another office other than the Italian embassy. So I rushed to Iloilo after hurriedly packing up my luggage to catch the last evening flight to Manila.


The next day, I got my passport and was ticketed for Guam. Early Monday morning of Feb. 7, I was already at the airport to catch my flight.


By the way, I am writing this article at Harmoon Loop Hotel where I am billeted together with my cousin Wing, her sister Pamy and daughter Ashley. “All’s well that ends well,” isn’t it?

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