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Insert Plate LTO – What the heck does this mean?

Insert Plate LTO – What the heck does this mean?

Short Story: From what I can gather, insert plate, means that your vehicle is not registered in the national database of LTO. Instead your record is still in a district office (usually the district office where the vehicle was first registered) and it has to be that district office which manually uploads the file to the national database. I use manually as you have to physically go to that district office and tell them to insert plate.

Long Story:

The car in question

In Dec 2013 I bought a new car from the Honda dealership at Shaw Blvd. The dealership had already registered the car at the LTO district office in Marikina. The license plate of the car ends in 1.

Skip forward to January 2017 and I needed to renew the registration of my car for the first time (a new car is considered registered for 3 years from date of purchase). As I live in Makati I figured I could register the car at LTO Makati. Information around the internet suggested it would be no problem renewing in Makati even though the car was originally registered in Marikina. That link I shared specifically says you can renew at any LTO office, just subject to a PHP100 “transfer fee.”

So I get my emissions test (“smoke” is the slang term) and insurance done, both in Makati. Unfortunately both smoke and insurance were unable to find the file of my car online. (Both the emissions testers and insurance providers have access to the LTO database as they are required to upload/attach their findings and insurance policy to the file of the motor vehicle in question). Both assured me though I just needed to go to Window C (Records) at LTO Makati and ask records to “insert plate”.

LTO Motor Vehicle reg form

Dutifully I head off to Window C where they inform me that they are unable to insert plate from there and I have to go to LTO Marikina.

At this point no one can explain to me what this magical “insert plate” even means.

I ask the Motor Vehicle Inspector (the guy usually at the front of every LTO office who handles renewal of vehicle registration) why I can’t can’t renew my registration in Makati. He says they just can’t do it but I can pay a 2 year penalty if I renew at Makati.

More on this “penalty”. It’s not really a penalty. Since I got my car in Dec 2013 I have to pay a 1/4 year fee for 2013 and the subsequent 3 years, 2014, 2015 and 2016 are free (since new cars are considered registered for 3 years). According to the guy at Window C (LTO Makati) I only needed to pay a 1/4 penalty at LTO Marikina. MV Inspector Makati says that’s true but if I want it done in Makati I would have to pay a penalty worth 2 years.

To top it all off the Makati Inspector was not even clear if after all that expense I would be able to register my car in Makati or if I would run into the same insert plate problem with Records.

Makati looked like a bust so I had no choice to go to LTO Marikina, Window 7 (Records). Window 7 was able to insert plate but the whole process, including getting my 2017 registration took me to the inside of the LTO office where I had to ask the IT guy to update my vehicle records. Further I had to pay twice, the 1/4 fee for 2013 and then the full fee for 2017, both times the lines for the cashier were long.

View from inside the office of LTO Marikina

Basically I spent 2 mornings (1 at Makati and 1 in Marikina) running around LTO for something as simple as registering a car.

I have no idea why:

  1. The record of my vehicle had not been uploaded to the LTO database in the first place (and was “stuck” in the LTO Marikina database)
  2. Why LTO Makati couldn’t just call LTO Marikina and tell the latter to upload/update the vehicle file
Are M Lhuilier and Cebuana Lhuillier the same

Are M Lhuilier and Cebuana Lhuillier the same

Are M Lhuilier and Cebuana Lhuillier the same? Short answer: No, they are not. If you are trying to collect money from one be sure you go to the correct Lhulier.

Long story: I had to find an M Lhulier near Alcoves as a guest who was staying 6 weeks had pera padala‘d to himself the amount which was supposed to be our payment. There seems to be more branches of Cebuana Lhuillier though so finding an M Lhuilier was a bit tricky.

The closest M Lhuilier branch I could find near Greenbelt was a bit of a walk – it’s in the Ayala MRT station. (So pass through Greenbelt, then Landmark, then Glorietta then SM.) Exiting SM you can’t miss the branch, it’s right in front of you as you exit the mall (on your left will be the rest of the station with the ticket booths, etc.)

Payment went smoothly but it took a little time (20 minutes or so) for M Lhuilier to cough up the money.

M Lhuillier branch at Makati Ayala Station.
Top 5 Ignored (But Deserving) Posts from Smalltime’s First Year

Top 5 Ignored (But Deserving) Posts from Smalltime’s First Year

So it’s been about a year since I first posted on Small Time on June 29, 2015. On the right is the first image posted on Smalltime; red tape which everyone, especially small business owners like myself, hate.

Red tape - the bane of everyone.
Red tape – the bane of everyone.

That’s not a bad length of time to be blogging regularly, especially considering the average life span of a web page (note page, not site) is 100 days.

Of course some posts are more popular than others. While I’m gratified that some people have found some of the things I’ve posted useful, even asking for advise in the comments, there were some posts that I thought should garner more readers than they have so far.

So, for all the fan’s of Smalltime (that’s me, my fiancee and our dog), here are the Top 5 Ignored (But Deserving) Posts from Smalltime’s First Year:

1. Epigraph for Sarajevo – I used to teach writing at university and there was one class I just couldn’t connect with. The unlikely bridge which finally allowed me, just for a day, to inspire them was Sarajevo.

2. The most disappointing job applicants – Filipinos are always blaming the government for the failure of economic growth to trickle down to the masses. In turn politicians trip over themselves to promise that economic gains will be felt by the majority. As a small business owner though I routinely comes across people who simply do not want to work. Sure they have a whole host of excuses, usually a variation of laziness (I can’t be bothered to show up for a job interview I already said yes to) or ego (that job is beneath me, I won’t do it). No work no pay. No pay, no betterment in one’s economic situation.

3. Most overlooked customer service person in your business – It’s not who you think.

4. Security Theater at NAIA Terminal 2 – Security theater actually taps into many popular Filipino cultural traits. There’s the aspect of the moro-moro, a staged fight where everyone know the outcome well in advance. There’s our habit of looking busy without actually accomplishing anything. Finally there’s our love of once we gain the slightest modicum of power we lord it over everyone else. Heck, security theater could be considered our national art form.

5. How to compute Vat – It’s not as simple as you think.

Map and directions to Cote Resort Dipaculao Aurora

Map and directions to Cote Resort Dipaculao Aurora

I stayed at Cote Resort Aurora last week and had a great time. I’ll post more about it some other time but there is one thing you should know about Cote Resort – and that’s how to get there.

The waze link they have on their site is not correct (believe me, I followed it all the way to a dirt road in the middle of nowhere) and the directions are quite vague.

So, here are the directions to get to Cote Resort Aurora.

1. Follow the waze link all the way to Dipaculao. You’ll eventually reach a Shell gas station, that’s the blue point on the map below. Note too that the map below is what happens if you follow the the waze link provided by Cote.


2. At the Shell station Waze will tell you to turn left. Don’t! Turn right instead.

3. Keep going straight and you’ll find the barangay hall of Barangay Lipit. Immediately in front of the barangay hall will be a left turn, turn left. The road will narrow and is clearly an interior road to service the properties away from the high way.

4. Keep going for around 5-10 minutes and you’ll find the coast on your right with a guard station. Cote Resort will be the place on the left. See the map below for the proper location of Cote Resort Aurora.


Enjoy the beach, have fun!


Knocking/Jarring Sound from Samsung Washing Machine During Spin Cycle

Knocking/Jarring Sound from Samsung Washing Machine During Spin Cycle

Samsung_Logo.svgI had my Samsung top loaded washing machine (Model WA12F7S7) for about a year when a problem cropped up.

When the washing machine reached its spin cycle (where the water has been drained and the clothes are spun around to wring excess water from them) the drum would start spinning rapidly but then a jarring/knocking sound would get louder and louder until the machine disengaged automatically.

At that point either of two things would happen.

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Review: Globe Platinum Broadband (Fiber)

Review: Globe Platinum Broadband (Fiber)

How fast is Globe’s Platinum Broadband?

This is a follow up to my initial post where I explained I was with PLDT Fibr but I switched because Globe’s plans were cheaper and faster.

I’ve been on the Globe 200Mbps Fiber plan for 6 months or so and overall the speed is impressive. Videos load, for the most part, instantly.

More important to me than the streaming performance is the download speed.

While measuring download speed is always tricky, here are some numbers from a variety of sources.

With Steam I had a download speed of 23Mbps which translates into downloading a 25GB game in around 15-20 minutes.

steam download

While downloading torrents I’ve seen speeds of 8Mbps. To illustrate, that translates into the downloading of a 30 minute episode at 720p in less than 5 minutes.

globe speed testAnd of course the requisite speed test shows a download rate of around 180Mbps.

These are insanely ridiculous speeds, for the Philippines at any rate. I grew up in the age of dial up, where I had to schedule my downloads for the late night and early morning hours to get around network congestion.

The 200Mbps plan is a bit pricey, currently the monthly rate is PHP4499. Still, I chose to save on other things and splurge for fast internet.


Buying a condo unit in Metro Manila is a bad investment

Buying a condo unit in Metro Manila is a bad investment

You can’t throw a stone right now in Metro Manila without hitting some new condo development. From New Manila to Taguig, Makati to Quezon City, there are new condo buildings going up left and right.

If only investing in property was as easy as playing Monopoly.
If only investing in property was as easy as playing Monopoly.

Following the rise of these buildings is an army of sales agents, hanging out at malls or sidewalks, bombarding passers by with flyers and information on great rates and easy to pay options.

One commonly heard refrain is that buying a condo is a good investment. That’s just plain wrong. See why after the jump.

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MTRCB – Our befuddled guardians who protect us from sex, violence and anything interesting in movies and TV

MTRCB – Our befuddled guardians who protect us from sex, violence and anything interesting in movies and TV

I’ve complained about the MTRCB before.

Shit MTRCB Permits Say really brings home the point though that one wonders what goes through the minds of our censors.

Read it, have a laugh. And then ponder if you want these guys thinking for you.


Photo Credit: it´s a sin [censored] via Photopin and a Creative Commons License

Sample Probationary Contract

Sample Probationary Contract

Inevitably as your business grows you’ll have to hire employees to help with the additional work. This can be daunting for many entrepreneurs as the Philippines has a lot of requirements regarding labor. In general, doubt is resolved in favor of the employee and many of the laws in the Philippines make it difficult to fire or retrench an employee.

(One may argue that all of these protections for the employee have resulted in a complacent, rigid workforce and I think there would be some merit to that argument.)

For this post let’s just start at the beginning, hiring someone. As the employer you usually want the prospective employee to sign a contract. There’s nothing special about an employment contract. You don’t need to be a lawyer to draft one. Indeed, it would be a good exercise for any employer to draft his own contract first and then have a lawyer go over it.

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