I was in the Philippine Embassy in Berlin recently, in order to apply for a new passport. It is the second time I am applying for a passport here in Berlin, which means that it's been almost 5 years I am here in town. Philippine passports have a 5-year validity, and my old one which was issued in November 2012 is about to expire later this year.
The process was rather easy. I just had to fill in an application form, provide photocopies of my old passport and my German residence permit, pay 54 EUR, and head to the embassy for data capture. After all, it's an electronic passport, so they need biometric photos and fingerprints.
There was a small wait. I was the only male. The other applicants were all female, and perhaps unsurprisingly, all little women married to Europeans. There's an interesting cultural trend I suppose, where you find the small woman from a rural area in a third-world country, married to a Westerner, and there might be a significant age difference. The woman from the third-world country probably speaks the Westerner's language, while the Westerner probably is monolingual. Any offspring produced would be speaking the father's language only.
I suppose I find it interesting that it is rare to find a Filipino man married to a European woman, while finding Filipino women married to a European man is rather easy.
Anyway, I also realized that this is the fourth passport in a row which I will be receiving outside the Philippines. I keep all of my passports with me, at least, everything from 1995. I still have my diplomatic passport from 1995, which was issued to me when we moved to Osaka, as well as regular passports from 2004, 2006, 2010, and my latest one, 2012. Sometimes, I sit down and flip the pages, seeing the various visas and entry stamps I have received. Unfortunately, I don't have my first regular passport, issued in 1985, when we moved to Denver, and my first diplomatic passport, issued in 1988, when we moved to Honolulu. I suppose there isn't a lot of stamps in there anyway, since we didn't travel much that time, so it's not really fascinating, nevertheless, it would have been nice to have a complete collection.
So I wonder, will this new passport be my final Philippine passport? Who knows. We shall see. We'll cross the bridge when we get there. In any case, I definitely want to fill the pages of this new passport, a clean passport is rather boring methinks.