Yesterday, I went to get my passport. I was able to get it. But not without a significant experience that taught me a lesson.
I had requirements checked at the checking booth outside when someone just approached me and told me 'go there'. Another guy, who seemed to be renewing his passport went with me and led me to the travel agency a few buildings away. Then he kept telling me about DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) having a new policy, that only travel agencies will be processing passports, not DFA anymore. That had me duped so I paid and let the agency, now I know was a fixer, get my papers.
Good thing I texted my friend who worked in DFA and she told me to try to get the papers and get back to DFA. I was able to and the agency/fixer just returned it without question. I got a refund, but P100 was reduced. I let them have that since they're desperate for money, but I got my papers anyway and off I went to DFA, spending only P750 for a rush passport. If I had let the fixer do it, I would've gotten my passport in January and would have spent P1700. Much too much.
Here's why I'm sharing the technique of the fixers. They really make it look like the official procedure will change and that only the fixers outside will do it, when in fact DFA will always directly process passports. They are also planting people pretending to be applying or renewing their passports to lead you to the fixers.
So here's the advice, once your requirements are complete, just go in the alley leading to the DFA processing. Ignore any people with IDs who tell you "Go there," they're fixers. Just go right in DFA without any mind. for them. Might as well say "may kilala ako sa DFA" so you'll stump their strategies.
And best go in the afternoon when the line is short. I did mine at around 3PM, and it was quick.
Be careful guys, be quick-thinking. Don't let duped, like I was.
(By the way, this post is directed mainly to my Filipino friends... but those I know from abroad can learn a few things)