If You Want It Done Right

I hate waiting.

Actually, check that — I hate unnecessary waiting. Stick me in bumper-to-bumper traffic with no one going anywhere anytime soon, and I zen out, maybe catch up on some podcasts; stick me behind a slow-moving driver straddling both lanes and impossible to get around, and I lose my goddamn mind.

This is why my natural tendency, when presented with a system or pattern, is to try and figure out how to make it better. It’s why I’m always looking for the Path of Optimal Efficiency—maximum result for minimum effort—to the point where I’ll gladly seek alternative solutions if it means a better return on my sweat equity.

(Those are fancy words for saying I like shortcuts, and if one doesn’t exist I’ll make it.)

I can’t help it, I like efficiency. And as easygoing as I try to be, if someone’s ignorance or laziness or inefficiency affects my life, it harshes my mellow. Be dumb on your own time; don’t waste mine. Likewise, if I can find a solution that cuts around the bullshit, you better believe I’m gonna go for it.

It’s no surprise, then, that I was none too happy to learn that it could take up to three or four months for my Callie’s registration papers to come through. So once my post-purchase pity party was over, I decided to seek out a second opinion from my good friend, The Internet.

It didn’t take much digging (thank god for the Motorcycle Philippines Forums, to whose deep archives and super-helpful members I owe everything) to find out that this was hardly a recent development. I had thought the backlog was due to Duterte shaking things up at the LTO. Nope. Turns out 3–4 months has been the average turnaround time on OR/CRs for years now. One guy had apparently waited eleven months for his papers.

The reason for the delay was simple — dealerships handled the registrations for the vehicles they sold. This may have started out as a convenience, but has become the status quo. It’s just how it’s done, anyone will tell you.

And because they don’t wanna do more work than they need to, dealerships will wait until they have a lot of buyers to register before submitting them all at once. So it could easily be a month or two before your paperwork is even sent out.

The stack then goes to the LTO, where it patiently waits its turn to be processed and sent back to the dealer where, as a stack, it is eventually gone through and the respective buyers are notified.

Now, I can’t fault the LTO for preferring this system. They’re understaffed and overbacklogged, so I get their wanting to streamline the process as much as possible.

But I sure as shit wasn’t waiting three months to work my way through the bowels of bureaucracy. Let everyone else participate in the slow-moving shitshow. I had places to be.

On MCP (seriously, love that place), Sixace directed me to a thread written by someone who’d filed his registration himself (gasps of shock fill the room). More incredible yet, he’d gotten it all done in one day. Granted this was back in 2012, which was a legal lifetime ago. Still, it inspired me to take matters into my own hands.

The very day after buying my bike, I returned to the dealer to suggest I would just file the paperwork myself. The lady who sold me my bike told me they had already fast-tracked it, and that there’s nothing I could do that would speed it up. I didn’t know enough about the situation to argue, so I accepted it and went home.

Then I did more research and realized I totally had a better shot. So long as I had all of the necessary papers (roughly five items), I should be able to file it myself.

The next day, I went back to them again and said I’m gonna do this, just give me the necessary papers.

“But that’s not how it’s done, sir.” came the reply.

I don’t care, I’m doing it anyway. It’s entirely my right. I gave her a signed handwritten letter absolving them from any responsibility and indicating that I would be handing my registration personally.

Twenty minutes of discussion and escalation to her manager later, I had the promise that I could pick up the papers from their main office on Friday.

I went home.

Two days later, I drove to their main office in Cebu and was stunned that the papers were complete and waiting for me. I was certain I’d have to fight someone for it, maybe complete a minor quest.

Papers in hand, I happily rode off to my local DMV.

Where I was told they weren’t equipped to handle new registrations. That’s not how it’s done, after all. People handle their own renewals, but the initial registration was handled by the dealer. I would have to go to the main LTO in Cebu if I wanted to file it myself.

So I did.

On Monday, exactly a week after buying my bike, I took a trip to the main LTO branch with my complete set of papers. Despite their best attempts to hide it from the main road, I was eventually able to find the office and headed over to the windows clearly marked “REGISTRATION”

—where I was promptly told they don’t process new registrations, because who even does that, and I would need to talk to That Guy (the one over there) to find out where to go.

That Guy directed me to The Other Guy, who sent me to the proper office. And an actual office it was, air-conditioned with a cluster of desks, each occupied by a busy worker.

I handed one of the busy workers my paperwork.

He handed it to his boss.

She was not happy.

In Cebuano, which she didn’t realize I understood, the boss grumbled to anyone who was listening how huge an imposition I had put upon here by was not letting my dealer handle my registration. Didn’t I realize that’s not how it’s done? Now she had to call the dealer and figure out the other thing and her day was just ruined.

I stood with a simple smile on my face, letting her vent if it meant getting my paperwork through.

Eventually I had to deal with her boss, who explained in slow, nigh-condescending English, that they would process my papers and contact me when it was ready (prior to that she had commented to a coworker—in Cebuano—that she couldn’t turn me away because I had all the necessary forms—they had to process it).

When I followed up three days later (read: Today), I was told my papers had been processed and I should be able to pick up my papers after 2:00.

I was there at 12:57.

I still can’t believe I’m writing this entry. Even though my findings had been promising, I was convinced it was gonna take months for me to get my registration. Instead it took days.

With that, my final dragon is slain. There will be new ones soon enough, but this was the last of my “Move Back to Cebu” boss battles. TV & Internet were done, bike had been purchased, all that was left was the registration.

The road trip is back on, of course. I hope to head out Monday or Tuesday morning. It’s still storming up north, flooding certain parts of town.

This should be fun.

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