I have been waiting for my new white LTO plates for the longest time, in hopes of somewhat freshening up the look of my pre-teen daily driver, and partly to get my 450 Pesos’ worth. The design just looks so much cleaner in my opinion, but that’s not to say I didn’t like the way Rizal plates looked. Upon catching wind of LTO’s launch of their replacement plate availability site 178, I immediately checked if mine was anywhere near stamping. Hell, I already paid for that s— years ago.
The process of getting my new and long overdue LTO license plates
If you want to get to the whole timeline, you can go to the TL;DR at the bottom of the article, but why would you want to do that, right?
So, now, the next step for me is to file a day’s leave from work to be able to claim my most awaited white plates, to avoid the penalty of unclaimed plates 10. KIDDING, they’re not burdening motorists with that. Leading up to today, I was subtly conditioning my psyche to extend patience as I was ready to waste most of my day in a queue.
10:00 AM. While prepping to leave, I receive a call from a shop; they’re calling in to tell me that the car parts I ordered months back arrived today, and they are ready for pickup. This immediately sends me into a whirlwind of elation, and annoyance. Happy that they’re here, kind of irked that I have to rearrange my schedule around.
You might think, “Priorities, dummy.”, but I really have to make the most out of this leave. If I spend the whole day at LTO, then I won’t be able to pick my parts up, but risking it by picking the parts up before I head to Pasig District Office seems more “feasible“.
This specific Tuesday’s traffic is surprisingly bad, for some odd reason. Upon pick up, I gave myself a “few” minutes to tinker with the parts while smiling like the idiot that I am, making sure everything was there and the sets are complete. Took almost an hour from home to the QC pick-up point, by the way. I am well into lunchtime at this point, and getting yourself stuck in a line hungry isn’t exactly a good idea. The breakfast I had just isn’t going to hold.
Fast forward to 12:45 PM, a full me charged with caffeine was ready to battle the traffic out. So I made my way to Pasig District Office, which also took a little under an hour.
Upon arrival at the LTO, I was greeted with a 30-Peso parking fee. I started asking people around how the process is gonna go while waiting for a spot to open up. The weather wasn’t particularly cooperative either, and it will be a pain in the butt to remove my old plates for presentation if the heavens decide to bawl their eyes out.
Around the 10-minute mark, a spot near the information booth opens up. Ah, convenience. Parked the car, pulled my OR/CR out of the glove box, took the spanner out of the toolbox, then put it back. The laziness won, and I decided to just remove my old plates when they ask for them.
Armed with just the OR/CR combo, I was told by the LTO personnel to head straight to window 18 or the Plate Section. I thought to myself, “Buti hindi pa hinahanap lumang plaka. [Good thing they didn’t look for the old pates.] YESSSSSS.”
Start of the process: 1:52 PM
Greeted the personnel, and forked my OR/CR over. They confirmed that my plates were indeed available, then I was asked if these documents are copies or the only ones I have in my vehicle. It turns out they need a copy, too. Good thing there’s a photocopying service just a stone’s throw away.
Got my papers photocopied, made my way back to the Plate Section, then… I almost jumped the line. Bad. I thought the woman ahead of me was lined up on the left window, so I made my way to the right window’s line as that is also the window I first handed my OR/CR in and told me “Xerox tapos balik mo sa akin [Xerox then give it back to me]“ where a couple was queued up too. As it turns out, almost everything was done through the right window. Good thing the LTO personnel took her papers first before they took mine in. To ate, I am so sorry, I didn’t intend to cut the line. That was my bad for not asking.
Anyway, a few minutes later, I heard my name from the window. They had me write down my name, sign beside it, and took my mugshot with the white plates at 2:01 PM. Done.
By 2:03 PM, I was already back in the car, ready to drive home and rest. The shame I felt made me forget that Window 18 didn’t even ask for my old plates.
The new white plates I received came with these tamper-proof screws, 2 sets. If you were to ask me, yes, they offer peace of mind as they are theft-deterrent, but I don’t like the idea of having the plates un-removable. I clean and detail my cars myself for the most part, and I usually remove the plates to be able to polish and protect the parts even if they are 99% of the time unseen. Details.
And here’s how it currently looks.
Pretty neat, huh? I just love how plain and legible my plates are now. Oh, and the whole claiming process only took less than 10 minutes. Not anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Quite a pleasant surprise that processes with government agencies can be this fast, not to mention they were really nice and helpful.
I sincerely hope that it won’t be just me who gets to have this experience in claiming their new white plates from LTO offices, but everyone who takes the time out of their busy days who need to do so. Since I rarely deal with LTO, I found it quite nice that they’re always ready to answer my questions on the steps of the process. I’ve also learned to consciously ask where the end of the line is from now on to avoid pissing other people off.
Now, you might ask what happens to our Rizal plates. We actually have the same question. Is it now a souvenir, or maybe a new ornament on a car guy’s garage wall? Can we still use it if we lose one of our white plates as a temporary plate? With it not being totally phased out, I recommend just keeping it somewhere safe for the time being.
- braved the traffic for an hour to LTO Pasig District Office
- brought my OR/CR with me for processing at 1:52 PM
- got those photocopied (photocopy beforehand for a faster experience)
- signed a receiving sheet + mugshot
- received the plates by 2:01 PM
- set off from LTO Pasig District Office by 2:03 PM