Metro Manila · Notaries Public
Some notaries public of Metro Manila do not work in fancy offices but under the open sky. That might seem odd to foreigners, but it does have its advantages.
Little tables lined up along the streets, with make-shift signs announcing that the person behind is a Notary Public. They often announce other, more or less related services as well: customized rubber stamps, dry seals, and even key duplicates.
The whole setting may not seem too trustworthy at first glance. But these notaries did their Bar Exam, they are accredited and had their signatures, seals and stamps officially registered. They just set up their 'office' right where their clients are - in front of post offices, town halls and other public buildings where their services might be sought. If you have to send a notified copy somewhere or need a document certified for the Philippine bureaucracy (e.g. for your next Visa application), you can probably just do it along the way, no appointment, no long waiting.
Also, many of these tables are only 'outposts' of proper chanceries. The clerk takes your order, brings the document to the actual notary in a nearby office, and comes back 10 to 15 minutes later with the certificate or stamp.
But no matter if the notary sits in his own office or in the street, overcharging for these services is relatively common. The fees are actually strictly regulated by law and they are very low from an expat's point of view. Therefore you probably won't notice that you've been overcharged, unless you check the fees beforehand, as they are stated in 'Rule 141 on Legal Fees':
SEC.11. Notaries. - No notary public shall charge or receive for any service rendered by him any fee, remuneration or compensation in excess of those expressly prescribed in the following schedule:
(a) For protests of drafts, bills of exchange, or promissory notes for non-acceptance or non-payment, and for notice thereof, thirty-six (P36.00) pesos;
(b) For the registration of such protest and filing or safekeeping of the same, thirty-six (P36.00) pesos;
(c) For authenticating powers of attorney, thirty-six (P36.00) pesos;
(d) For sworn statement concerning correctness of any account or other document, thirty-six (P36.00) pesos;
(e) For each oath of affirmation, thirty-six (P36.00) pesos;
(f) For receiving evidence of indebtedness to be sent outside, thirty-six (P36.00) pesos;
(g) For issuing a certified copy of all or part of his notarial register or notarial records, for each page, thirty-six (P36.00) peso;
(h) For taking depositions, for each page, thirty-six (P36.00) pesos; and
(i) For acknowledging other documents not enumerated in this section, thirty-six (P36.00) pesos. (11a)
Source: Chanrobles.com, the virtual law library for the Philippines.