Weather vs Provision

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Just my wishful thinking (not really singing a Christmas song) hahaha!

Has been experiencing the heat from the time we’ve arrived in the Philippines and yes, it’s the peak of the summer! The mild breeze hasn’t been making any attempt to ease even a bit of the 40(+ or -) degrees temperature except during the night, where a tiny dose of air brings a slight comfort. When you’re actually stuck in this kind of weather, it might help to meditate on thoughts that will temporarily snatched you, even mentally, from this agonizing heat by being creative in your imagination. Like for example, visualize that you’re soak in a big bucket of ice; swimming in a pool of cold water; or you’re in the movie Frozen, accompanying Anna in the snow-covered mountain searching for her sister, Elsa; or you’re just simply made of snow just like Olaf! Vivid but it does help, at least for me :).

In the middle of this ‘fat melting’ climate is the perk of bathing in cold water which is an all-year-round provision in the Philippines.  The first drop of cold water from the shower already guarantees a refreshing feel and the sure elimination of discomfort. It’s a total yes factor! If only I could stay under the shower the whole day! Of course depending on the water provision and availability, you may either go for quick baths of up to three times a day for an instant relief or a long, rejuvenating bath before retiring for bed! Just an important public reminder – do conserve water. I will leave the ingenuity to you to do so :)!

I’m a firm believer of motivating oneself to find something to be grateful for even in the middle of the most challenging of situations because whether we acknowledge them or not, they do exist. So, we might as well recognize them for good vibes instead of being disheartened while tackling the inevitable. Cold water bath is not a consistent option in the UAE where I am mostly based with my family, and where the water temperature normally coincides with the local weather so for me, having a cold water bath any time of the day especially during the summer is already a treat!

And so, as much as we want to enjoy the beach and hit the pool to alleviate the heat, we may need to postpone it for some other visits.  One of the main reasons why we’re here in the Philippines is to monitor the refurbishment of our house in Bulacan. But you know what, take it from me, never plan a house repair during this time of the year because boy oh boy, it’s torture unless you enjoy being in a sauna! You may ask, “Is there something I should be grateful for in the middle of this sweat-dripping task”? Oh yeah there is; the cement dries faster! 🙂 🙂

In the meantime, I will continue with my ‘mental diversion’ to somewhere more rewarding. Like ATM (at the moment) – visualizing a huge bowl of pomegranate-flavored ice cream!!

Expat-Pinay is on No. 33!

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Thank you all good people for your love and support! ExpatPinay had made it to the Top 100 International Exchange & Expats Blogs 2016 and ranked No. 33! (not bad for our first attempt 🙂 ). Out of 300+ participants, the one hundred blogs were officially selected. Though I didn’t make it to the Top 10 to win a prize, I’m still thankful to be a part of this competition. It is refreshing to discover new great blogs and read some amazing stories of different expats all over the world!

Congratulations to all the winners and all the best to bab.la !

You may want to explore the list of the Top 100 blogs here and find out more on the result story!

Happy Day 🙂

Coffee Treat for Taxpayers!

One of the items in our to-do-list each time we visit the Philippines is to pay our property tax. Our option to pay it in advance or on time is based on the date of our visits, however, we tried not to pay late.  We have had an unpleasant experience in the past wherein we paid a big amount of penalty for delayed payment and so, we do not intend for that to happen ever again. This time we know better and we try to make it a habit to settle our dues in advance if not on time. Aside from availing the 20% discount for advance payment, it is also convenient to avoid the rush and the long queues during the payment season.

Do you know that part of the taxes we pay in the Philippines go to Special Education Fund, where it supports Public Schools and the schools for impaired children or with the disabilities? Call me naïve, but I have just known this few years ago, when I got personally involved in paying our taxes. This awareness gave us a bigger picture of where our contribution goes and, all the more reason to pray for wisdom and honesty for the people behind the distribution of these funds. Aside from the feeling-good factor for the ‘contribution however tiny’ that we give as taxpayers, you get to be a part of our country’s educational program for the under-privileged. If only the amount collected could genuinely reach the purpose it is intended to, then I am sure, we would all be motivated to pay our taxes. If only…. Nonetheless, let us not use this theory as an excuse not to comply 🙂 . Free coffee

Recently, I have been to Quezon City Hall to pay and it was one of those few hassle-free experiences I had in a government office. I considered it as my reward after walking in the heat before reaching their entrance from where the bus made the drop-off. Anyhow, the service and hospitality of the employees were commendable plus, I got to drink free coffee (from a vending machine, of course) while transacting. What an exclusive service for ‘taxpayers’! It would have been more appropriate though if this gesture is extended to other visitors, too.  Besides, aren’t we all taxpayers, whether in a manner of ‘voluntarily’ or ‘involuntarily’ contributing? (wink)!

Something to ponder upon: “Give to God what is due to God, and give to Caesar what is due to Caesar”!

Home Sweet Home

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Arrived in the Philippines few days ago for my less-than-a-month of vacation to visit my family and our home. Grateful to God for the opportunity and to my supportive hubby who allowed me to go for a quick visit. Started with a busy schedule of tidying up our house which I’m sure is quite common when it is not being regularly inhabited. Begun working on some errands as well while in the city, since the hot weather was starting to get into my pace. Month of May is not a very favorable time to travel to the Philippines due to extensive heat and humidity, which happens normally before the rainy season starts. However, I’ve decided to seized the moment and motivate my mind and body on the resisting-the-heat mode, spend as much quality time with my family as possible, and to finish what I came here for. Just need to think of ways to keep our bodies hydrated 🙂 !

Not much have changed from the last time I was here almost six months ago. Aside from some beloved relatives who started to walk slower than usual which is inevitable; God bless them. I also came to know of some friends who have already left the country to work abroad, and was speechless after seeing some nieces and nephews who have grown taller than I am (and wiser, too). I wonder what kids ‘eat’ these days! They shoot up so quickly like bamboos! I still remember how I used to bent down for an eye-level contact when talking to them. Wow, I couldn’t believed how much I have missed being away for only six months. Or maybe, I just hardly noticed the changes over the period of years that I have come and go…. Time really flies! This is a usual sentiment of contract workers who are missing out lots of details from home and couldn’t do so much about it, but to catch up.

Few days ago, I was happily reminiscing with my sister on how we used to spent our summer vacation in our grandma’s house in Bulacan. The house was pretty old and trite, but there’s no place we would rather be spending our summer holidays with our cousins. We built memories in there. Closeness we made that lasted till today. How we wished for our children to create similar memories with their cousins and enjoy each other’s company while they are still young. Before the ‘pressures of adulthood’ finally come into being, may they find time to fully enjoy their youth the way we used to!

I hate to admit but sadly, gone are the days when young people have shallow but meaningful definition of fun. How simple pleasures like fishballs and ‘gulaman’ made our snack-time complete; how the games of ‘piko’ and ‘sipa’ with friends were our after-school delights; and many other of our so-called perks and rewards that are now considered perhaps, ‘boring’ and ‘less interesting’! I know, I know… I need to move on and fast-forward to the 21st century, where gadgets and social media replaced the ‘fun’ I used to know!

Well, one thing that could never change, there’s really no place like home… Though nothing in this world is permanent, there are things worth preserving and keeping even only in my memories.

Let us not stop making memories; they last a lifetime 🙂

‘3 Idiots’ – All Is Well!

Mr. Webster defined the word’ idiot’ as a noun, an utterly foolish or senseless person or a person lacking the capacity to develop beyond the mental age of three or four years.

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3 Idiots is a Hindi movie released in 2009 and has become one of my all-time favorites. Only recently, got the chance to watched it again and my appreciation for the story increases each time. Well, just for you to know, I have been a fan of Indian films (minus those hyper-action-heavy stunt ones) from my early time in Bahrain, when The Filipino Channel was yet existed in that part of the Gulf, and the cost of installing a cable was way too expensive.  My flatmates and I were initially left with no option due to scarcity of programs to watch on TV, but surprisingly, watching Hindi films became a part of our weekend past-time favourites.  Thank God for the English sub-titles! As an expat, sometimes, you need to give up your right to be ‘so picky’ and try to adapt to your foreign environment; you’ll be surprised how comfortable you could become if only you’ll give ‘change a chance’!

I am neither a movie critic nor writing this as a movie review; but the story was very compelling not to share. Let me warn you though; to those of you who have already seen this film or you’re just about to, you may find this write up too brief and trivial. The film was enormous on its entirety to wrapped-up in such a limited space (and of course, I will run out of words to depict it :)!  But surely it’s emotional, entertaining, enlightening, and for some maybe just a feel-good factor.  Note that this film has already been released in Philippine TV with Tagalog sub-title. Hah!

Well, the story was about three college engineering students who, were meant to cross each other’s path inside a campus dormitory with one goal in life; to attain degree in Engineering. Their passion to achieve their dream maybe unconventional to others, but for at least the ‘2 Idiots’, it’s a matter of love and commitment to families. Just like the most of us who would sacrifice our want for the sake of our family’s need.  However, the ‘3rd idiot’ probably has the most valid of reasons to graduate.  Though his existence was a façade and bounded by agreement, he was committed to pursue what he started with no regards to recognition nor credit.  His character was perhaps unorthodox with a belief that one should pursue excellence, not always success, and everything else will just follow.  I particularly enjoyed his ‘all is well’ version of story and how he came up with its conclusion. Their journey together was tested by faith, love, courage, and sacrifice. Like most films, ‘3 Idiots’ had a customary happy-ending. They all did well in life despite the ‘hullabaloos’ and eventually, they enjoyed the fruits of their labour.  I am sure one way or the other, each one can relate to this film.

You might wonder, but why were they tagged as the ‘3 Idiots”? Do their persona matches with what Mr. Webster defines?  I absolutely didn’t think so.  Perhaps it is only due to the simplicity of their philosophy in life that made them misunderstood, misjudged, and misinterpreted by the people around them, in short, they were different! Nothing personal, only an intellectual point of view…

This film can be seen by a teenager, however, I suggest a need for a parental guidance while watching, as some scenes could be better understood and explained with the presence of an adult. Call me ‘conservative’ but you’ll thank me later 🙂

Note to self: do not judge, as to each his own…

The Essential OFW Guide to UAE

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Came across this interesting information from one of Filipino newspapers circulated locally; The Essential OFW Guide to UAE.  Authored by Atty. Barney Almazar, holder of UAE legal consultancy licence and highly endorsed by Ambassador Grace Princesa, it is the first and only guidebook dedicated to the Filipino Community in the UAE.  This 150-page book contains all the info every OFW needs to know while in the country.  Some of the practical guides featured in this book are:

  • restructuring loans
  • property investments/other investments
  • dealing with the banks
  • getting child support
  • resolving employment disputes
  • setting up your own business
  • formalities in marrying a foreigner
  • defending police or civil case
  • registering marriage and birth
  • sponsoring family visa
  • online renewal of passport
  • filing for divorce and annulment

The guidebook will be launched initially during this year’s Philippines Independence Day Celebration in Abu Dhabi, and will be accordingly distributed to those OFWs who have reserved their copies.  To RESERVE your FREE copy, email your request to gulflaw@gulflaw.info . I have already sent them an email to reserve mine; they’ve acknowledged and sent me a reply.

According to Gulf Law office, copies are limited, so reserve your copy now.  You may also visit their website, www.gulflaw.info for updates.

acknowledgement: KabayanWeekly, Gulf Law

Money By The Book

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Felt motivated after attending a brief seminar conducted by a gifted and brilliant Personal Finance Coach, Mr. Randell Tiongson from the Philippines.  He not only encouraged us on how to wisely handle our finances but, also shared to us a step-by-step approach on good stewardship of our hard-earned income.  His light and humorous arguments on money matters made us once again realized that God cares for our future and our view on money reflects on how much is our obedience to Him. He also emphasized on discipline, generosity, prudence, and diligence in doing what is right towards wealth or possessions.

Mr. Randell Tiongson and four other financial gurus will be conducting a seminar on educating financial awareness to OFWs this Friday, 20th March 2015 in Dubai at the Emirates Aviation College. I believe this is worth attending to…

One important reminder to us OFWs is to start setting aside ‘some portion’ for ourselves.  Our employment contract has expiration and our stay in this country is temporary.

Note to selves:  Budget well.