Featured

Perk for Non-Indian Wives

 

PIO-OCI

If you happened to be a wife of an Indian national, this good news is for you! You may now be entitled for multiple entries, with a lifelong visa to India by simply applying for an Overseas Citizenship of India or the OCI card. Isn’t this a blessing or what?! And not only that, this benefit is extended to your children, too!  In case you had already been issued with a Person of Indian Origin or the PIO card, then the process will even be much more minimal for you. I was issued with a PIO card more than a year ago and once the news came out on the wives’ eligibility for an OCI, we immediately applied. My PIO card was replaced with an OCI, with the waiting period of less than 45 days, however it might take a little longer for new application. Please visit the Indian Consulate near you for further details or you may check out their website at www.cgidubai.com in case you are residing in the UAE.

As a wife of an Indian national, I was initially issued a PIO card to travel to India and this card is valid for 15 years from the date of issue which has been working out well for us. So much more, t’was worth the amount we’ve paid for to process. Until recently, our ingress to India has been upgraded to OCI. I am really thankful to the Indian Government for considering the family status of their people, for which I can only hope for my Philippine Government to reciprocate with a similar gesture. It has been my sentiment for a while now as my husband can only be granted a maximum of one-year multiple visa entry to the Philippines even after being married for more than 20 years and regularly travelling to the Philippines. We were told that this could be extended but the information we gathered so far on how to was somewhat vague.

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration may have a procedure currently in place on the issuance of this type of visa, but I believe so that the process can still be improved. I may be naive but we sure didn’t experience so much trouble when applying for my OCI, aside from spending only around 300 US$ for a lifetime validity (this was including the processing of my PIO, then to OCI) compared to my husband’s only one-year of visa to the Philippines which normally costing us approx 152 US$ to obtain, each time we apply. There must be a better and cheaper alternative for the foreign spouse of a Philippine national to be given the same privilege. There should be….

In fairness, I somehow understood my country’s predicament on this matter. I have heard of the so many cases of frauds and abuse in using ‘marriage’ as a means to secure entry to the Philippines for personal gain and business reasons. This is indeed an act of disgrace and only pave the way in even corrupting the already weak system to identify the legit and the truly-deserving from the bogus. All I am saying is to seriously review the current process and maybe come up with a stricter, wiser, and a much organized policy to overcome such anomalies and consider a more solid yet similar possibility. I am hopeful that a country as multi-cultural and highly developed as the Philippines can come up with a way to ease up or enhance the existing process, in order to encourage the Filipinos with foreign spouses to consider spending their retirement in the Philippines. I pray that my plea will one day fall into attentive ears and will not remain just a ‘wishful thinking’ 🙂

I can only hope especially with the present administration in the Philippines where I have been reading proposals and apparently working on a more structured programs for the returning OFWs. That they may consider this matter as one important aspect to pay attention to – family status. If there’s something I will be asked for as an OFW to push forward in terms of a long-term plan, is the possibility of issuing a permanent residence visa to our foreign spouse (or at least something equally defined). After all, our ultimate goal as an OFW is to one day settle in a place (especially in our own country) where family is welcomed to stay together,  without the burden of having to renew a ‘temporary residence visa’.

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Reference link:

http://www.living-in-the-philippines.com/permanent-resident-visa-philippines.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_the_Philippines

image from google

Advertisements

Weather vs Provision

FeaturedWeather vs Provision

 

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 the sake of 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 and comforting; like ATM (at the moment) – visualizing a huge bowl of pomegranate-flavored ice cream!!

Happy Blogiversary, ExpatPinay!

FeaturedHappy Blogiversary, ExpatPinay!

2016-02-28-17.44.29.jpg.jpeg

Yay, congratulations, happy one year blogiversary! Seems like yesterday when you were just being conceived. I didn’t even know what to name you, or what to tell people about you. Not even a single clue on what your journey would be like. But one thing I’m sure of, is that you’re brave and I’m proud of you! ♥

Your first few months were tough. Just like a child on her first day at school; you were alone, confused, curious, fidgety, and unsure of what lies ahead. You gave it a shot anyway and you were in for a surprise. Through this blog you got to meet interesting people, new friends, expats just like you from different parts of the globe, and the most rewarding is getting acquainted with other homeschooling mums, who have certainly helped you a great deal in ‘filling in your homeschooling blanks’! Whew!

When you left the corporate world, you were suddenly a ‘full-timer’ of almost everything. Not that you are complaining of being such, but you long for a fresh challenge – like a new purpose for your being, something that will detach you from your daily norm, a space that you can call your corner, your ‘me-time’. And so, it’s blog time! Some people blog for the money (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – who doesn’t want an extra buck, I do!), but writing became therapeutic for you, an extension of your sanity. And you’re not even a writer! Hahaha! Regardless, I’m so glad you did!

My birthday wish for you? Just keep on writing, make more friends and acquaintances, enjoy your space, and most of all, have fun!

Did you know that your site had been so far visited by 37 different countries, as per your Flag Counter? And as a gesture of appreciation to all those wonderful people, who one way or the other viewed ExpatPinay for the past year, we extend our gratitude by saying THANK YOU in your own language. Some countries share a common or same languages/dialects, hence our thank you had just been combined. A special hug to a good friend, Ms S, who was a big help during the initiation of this blog – thanks for the love and.. , to my forbearing hubby who never complained even during those nights where light has to be on while he sleeps hahahha!

And so, ExpatPinay says thank you.

  • In Arabic              SHUKRAAN
  • In English             THANK YOU
  • In Filipino             SALAMAT
  • In Hindi                 DHANYAVAAD
  • In Urdu                  SHUKRIYA
  • In French             JE VOUS REMERCIE
  • In German          DANKE
  • In Russia              SPA-SEE-BA
  • In Afrikaans        DANKIE
  • In Chinese           XIE-XIE (Mandarin)
  • In Spanish           GRACIAS
  • In Dutch               DANK JE
  • In Taiwanese     TO-SIA / KAM-SIA
  • In Algerian          SAHA / TANEMIRT
  • In Icelandic         PAKKA PER
  • In Cantonese     DOJEH / MGHOI
  • In Irish                  GO RAIBH MAITH AGAT
  • In Italian               GRAZIE
  • In Khmer             ARKOUN
  • In Malay/Indo   TERIMA KASIH
  • In Mauritius        MERCI (BEAUCOUP)
  • In Swedish          TACK
  • In Burmese         KYAAYYUUTAINPARTAAL
  • In Congo              DE RIEN (Ethnic – Lingala)
  • In New Zealand WHAKAWHETAI KOE (Maori)
  • In Austria             MERCI VILMAL (Swiss-German)
  • In Turkish            TESEKKUR EDERIM

 

Let me leave you with a statement from one of my favorite authors, Rick Warren. I hope it will encourage you to pursue your goal, the same way it encouraged me. 🙂

God always operates in your life by faith. That’s why you need goals in your life, because a goal is a statement of faith. A goal says, “I believe God wants me to accomplish something by a certain date”. If you don’t have a date, it’s not a goal. It’s a wish. It’s a dream. It’s a desire. But wishes are a dime a dozen; they’re worthless. The only thing that will change your life is setting a goal. You’ve got to wake up from the dream and go to work!

Acknowledgement to: Google Dictionary for the translations and the image
Featured

The Screaming, the Sand, and the Camel

2016-02-12 20.45.17

Have you ever screamed so loud (and so long) that you couldn’t hear yourself screaming anymore? That your throat hurts so much but still wouldn’t stop screaming because that’s the only way you can substantiate the thrill and the excitement you were feeling at that time? Oh yes! Been there, done that during our recent experience in Dubai Desert Safari! As a ‘first-timer’, I didn’t exactly know what to expect and it was my ride of a lifetime. I am not a very brave adventurous type of person so you could imagine what dune bashing could do to me! The adrenaline rush was unbearable and gratifying at the same time. I don’t think I can describe the feeling without using enough adjectives! I went with my other ten super courageous girlfriends and though they weren’t so much helpful to alleviate my tension (as they were screaming equally loud as I was hahaha!), they were the best company to experienced this with! So, two thumbs-up to all of them especially to our sponsor, Madam Coordinator! :).

To those of you who had already been to the Dessert Safari, I am sure you know exactly what I’m rambling about, so please excuse the little bit of exaggeration 🙂 . This blog is dedicated to the 11 wonderful women who just want to have some fun (and more)!

20160205_175230

After the ‘roller-coaster-felt-alike’ ride, our driver had dropped us to the Camp where the rest of the program would take place. Some of us had decided to first go on a camel ride and once again, another first time for me. My hubby once told me that my existence as an expat in the Middle East is somewhat validated once I experience a Camel ride. Some may not agree, but well, why not legitimize his point. It wasn’t one of my pleasant experiences either but surely one of my most unforgettable. Though the camel made a grunting sound as we rode on her back, but she carried us safely to our destinations. We were later told that she is a female which explained her forbearing dedication, however there was a need to expressed her tiredness through grunting (peace)!  And so finally, the hard-working camel sealed my fate as a valid expatriate of the UAE. Yey!

By the time we finished our short and sweet encounter with the desert mammal, the sun was beginning to set so we rushed to an elevated area where we hoped to at least catch a glimpse of it. We hiked vigorously onto the orange sand and raced like children till where our breath could take us. Though still panting, we took pictures after pictures not minding that most of our shots were dark and already shadowy. Well, it was worth all that. You see, most of us are mothers who rarely find time and the courage to leave our children behind so we might as well capture the moment and take some pictures of a place we might not consider to come back! Hahahah! That maybe was an over-statement. It will not be surprising if some of us consider to plan for another visit. None of us could deny the fun and the jaw-tearing laughter we all had. Maybe the next time, the screaming will decrease and the camel will be happier. The only time we were less noisy quiet was during dinner while enjoying the live performances. Or maybe the screaming and the sand climbing already consumed most of our energy.

And so after our meal, we’ve all set to go home. That ends our day with stories and memories that we’ll continue to be talking for a while. Though exhausted, we’re all grateful to God for keeping us safe. It was indeed a day to remember!

received_10153894734884183

Note to self: being adventurous can be fun, for as long as it is age appropriate 🙂 !

Featured

H2O Compliant

glasses of water

Yup, 2016 had finally sinked-in! The first month of the year is almost over and here comes February. How are we going along with our resolutions or faith goals? I am sure a lot of us have committed to a healthier lifestyle this year; the regular exercise, eating healthy meals, maintain proper diet, and probably to stay away from stress. As we begin our healthier habit this year (hopefully, and beyond), I’ve set myself to start with something basic, attainable, something necessary or mandatory: and that is to drink eight (or more) glasses of water every day! The truth is, I just simply forget to drink water! Consciously or sub-consciously? Well, I’ve told myself that if I can pull this through, then I’m good to go with my other planned healthy routines.

One of the reasons (or excuse) why I probably neglect to comply with this necessity is, because I immediately pee afterwards! Yes my good people, you’ve read it right! Sorry for being blatant, but that’s the truth! Especially when I know that we’re about to go out somewhere, I’ll start to restrain myself from taking any liquids at least half an hour prior. Then I resume taking liquids again if I know that there’ll be an immediate access to a loo! Otherwise I’ll be an absolute nuisance as a travel companion until I visit the toilet. Imagine if we’re going on a long drive (wink)! Hence, water is not always my best friend.

Anyhow, along with this shameless revelation is the fact that there is no excuse for not drinking the right amount of water daily. I may faithfully do sometimes but not really on a consistent basis. I’ve read lots of articles on how most of our common sicknesses are due to lack of water in our body, and that could somehow be true. Getting dehydrated is a serious offense to holistic approach of healthy living, so say some health experts.

So in order for me to ensure I meet my daily quota, I need to outsmart my system. I may not use the eight glasses as my standard of measurement, but what if I can somehow consume the equivalent using other means (or tricks)? And so, I tried to outwit the equilibrium by switching the size of my drinking glass to a taller glass! At least drinking few glasses here and there before any sudden going-out plans assures me that I had almost enough until I am once again stationed to drink water. Unorthodox perhaps, but so far I think it’s working on me. And if I continue to persevere, my quota of eight glasses of H2O a day, or its equivalent, is almost near my reach :). All the best to me!

What about you? Faced any difficulty to continue what you’ve started this year? Don’t give up, pull yourselves together and remind yourself that, If there’s a will, there’s a way 🙂

images from Google

Friendship of ‘Three’

FeaturedFriendship of ‘Three’

 

We have attended the 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary celebration of two of our good friends, Fred and Odette, which was held in Fairmont Hotel in Ajman, UAE last Satuday. The ceremony was beautifully arranged in the garden facing the beach, complimented by a pleasant cold breeze while the celebration took place in the hotel’s grand ballroom. We were blessed to witness their renewal of ‘I dos’ and corroborate it to each other once again after 25 years with the same response of, “Yes, I still do”!

The couple, along with their children, have been residing in the UAE for almost 15 years. Their decision of celebrating their silver wedding anniversary away from home was not a very easy choice for the whole family, as most of their loved ones are back home in the Philippines. However, it is also equally important for them to celebrate it in here since being in this country that long, they had already built a close-knitted ’empire’ of good friends that had become a part of their family. So in order to make this special occasion truly unforgettable, the couple had decided to bring some of their closest family members to UAE to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime celebration. Their presence had brought so much joy and emotions to the bride and groom, who were a picture of contentment and pure happiness.

I always say that weddings make me cry; including mine… I still remember one of the pictures taken during my wedding wherein some black tears were rolling down my cheeks. I thought it was a bad print, then later on I realized it was actually the color of my mascara (hahaha – classic!). Anyhow, my sentiment is not due to sadness or anything related but it’s the idea of two strangers beholding each other with a promise of ‘till death do us part’. It is that unexplained joy and unforeseen adventure of two imperfect individuals attempting to create a life together as one…isn’t that an exciting journey?! Fred and Odette have exemplified that in reality during their 25 years of marriage. Their secret revealed during their wedding vows, acknowledging the ‘one thing’ that stood as a pillar in their marriage and the source of their strength while battling all the tests and trials; it’s their relationship with God. Yes, they faced challenges of many kinds but it is their friendship with the Lord that serves as their constant aid and companion. It was the highlight of the event. Fred confidently read his vows with so much love and respect to the mother of his three children. While Odette’s pledge (though her voice was shaking in deep emotions, which by the way brought most of the guests in tears, including some of the tough men I know 🙂 ), was full of gratitude and admiration to the man who remains true to protect and provide.

Love, love, love was truly in the air that day! Couples who have attended were inspired, renewed, and rekindled while in reminiscing and definitely looking forward to their own silver wedding celebration one day! Fred and Odette’s testimony is both an encouragement and a reminder to us, who have committed to the promise of ‘till death do us part’, that keeping our marriage healthy and triumphant is not a work of two married people alone; it’s the Friendship of Three: husband, wife, and a faithful God.

2016-01-25 01.59.23

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.

 

 

Featured

The Expat Syndrome – 5 Ways to Cope Up

homesick1

If you are an expat, you must have likely experienced the expat syndrome called, loneliness a.k.a. homesickness.  And yes, it doesn’t matter how long you have been an expat, one way or the other, you will go through this phase. Good news is you should not be hard on yourself when it happens because there is nothing strange nor insane about feeling nostalgic once in a while particularly to those based abroad, just like us. Do not feel guilty about it. Nearly all people miss something about home when they are away, making homesickness a universal experience. For someone like me who’s been an expat for more than 10 years, I have already identified some ‘healthy ways’ on dealing with it. Here are some of my ‘coping-up’ strategies.

  1. Do not be in denial – You cannot forecast the day you will be homesick. It is an emotion inevitable to those of us living thousands of miles away from our country, therefore we are entitled to sometimes long for the ‘warmth hug of home’. Cry if you need to, to give way to your humanity but don’t pity yourself. It’s not your fault to be the one nominated to work abroad, unless you personally volunteered. Remember, homesickness is a temporary phase and should eventually disappear. You can be slightly dramatic about it (if you were me), but try your very best not to prolong the process. It may lead to depression and we do not want that to happen, ever! 🙂 If your budget permits, treat yourself for a movie or go out on a dinner with a good friend. I’m sure that would atleast help uplift your spirit.
  2. It should not be self-inflicted – As what I have said, we cannot forecast the day we feel homesick, but if it doesn’t come, do not inflict it. You are normal if you do not experience homesickness at all! Maybe, you are just a happy, positive person. The world will benefit more from people like you. Self-inflicting it like, if your day didn’t start out well at work, or you didn’t like the extra job your boss has given you,  you will then start the ‘homesickness saga’ of being depressed and lonely, then blame it on being an overseas worker and how you wished you were back home, in the comfort of your family and your country. Don’t do it to yourself, it will only be a waste of your energy – trust me. Let’s save it for something more important and rewarding, shall we? 😊
  3. Surround yourself with good people – I was fortunate enough to meet real good people during my first time to work abroad in Bahrain, where the heaviest attack of homesickness was expected during those initial period. I was so thankful that I’ve met real sincere friends who were transparent, easy to talk to, and really understood my predicament. Be wise in associating yourself with friends especially during your most vulnerable state, wherein you could be desperate for a company to cheer you up. Sometimes, intense homesickness can be painful and debilitating that even a thousand milligrams of analgesic won’t help. And so in your search for a friend to lean on, you might end up being trapped with a wrong company who’ll just take advantage of you. Help yourself when you reach this point. Be with real good, genuine friends. 🙂
  4. Motivate yourself – The last time I felt the syndrome, I was caught off-guard. It invaded my peace. The one thing that I misses the most from home were those days well-spent with my mum. Her cooking, her laughter, and those many special reasons to missed her presence. She went home with the Lord in January 2012. Though I was so thankful that God allowed me to personally be there when she was hospitalized till the time we said our goodbyes, but I suddenly felt like I was cheated by time. I resigned from work and went back home six months before she passed away, without knowing we only had those six months. I was away for so long and six months for me was not enough to pay back our lost time. It just saddened me. Got me back on my feet by the thought that God at least gave me those last six-wonderful-months with her especially the time when she needed me the most; those thoughts comforted me. I terribly missed her but she was not ours to keep. Motivate yourself. There will always be something to thank God for.
  5.  Pray – I’ll bet my life on this! Prayers work wonders! More than ever, this is the best time to be positive and remind yourself that the God of the universe loves you. Be of good courage. That regardless of the depth of the homesickness we experience, life must go on. The actuality of the matter still remains, that we made a decision to be where we chose to be, and we should be at peace with that choice. In case you are unhappy and sometimes feeling guilty for leaving your loved ones back home, be courageous and look at the bright side. That’s the reason why you are called the modern day hero because of your sacrifices. But yes, I admit that it occasionally crossed my mind that it doesn’t seem fair and just at times. So, pray for God’s direction and plans for you and your family. He knows better.

Ending with a quote from a book by Joyce Meyer entitled, Battlefield of the Mind. She wrote – “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.. right thinking is vital to victorious living”.

 

image from google