Saturday, January 30, 2010

Travelocity is of NO HELP

I hate trashing anyone on-line... but it seems this plane-ticket provider has left us with no option but to trash them. Since we can't seem to get a decent response from them for our problem, we will now take the route of the less noble, but certainly fulfilling, the route of calling them for what they are.

As you very well know, my husband was supposed to be on his way to the Philippines on January 28, 2010. Unfortunately, the worse of the worst things happened and the itinerary was changed on the DAY of the flight itself!!!

I cannot understand how any decent juridical person can make a commitment, based on an exchange of currencies, to fly a natural person from one country to another, and renege on that commitment without as much as a bat of the eyelashes. Well, Travelocity and Asiana really got one over us. My husband's flight via Delta (Jan 28)(Flint-Minneapolis-Seattle) and Asiana (Jan 29)(Seattle-Seoul-Manila)was changed to:

Flight change for your 01/28/2010 tripFriday, 29 January, 2010 06:25a.m.
We have learned that the airline has changedthe flight schedulefor your trip on January 28, 2010 to Seattle/Tacoma. This is a significant change from your original itinerary.

Your immediate action is required.

Please call our Customer Support Center right away to review the available options provided by the airline and to confirm your flight schedule for this trip. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
CUSTOMER SUPPORT

THU 28 JAN
Delta Air Lines Flight 7996 operated by PINNACLE DBA DELTA CONNECTION (on Canadair Regional Jet)
Departs: Flint FNT at 07:05 AM
Arrives: Minneapolis International Airport MSP at 07:49 AM 28 JAN

1 Stop - change planes in Minneapolis, MN (MSP)
Connection Time: 1 hr 41 mins

Delta Air Lines Flight 3064 operated by NORTHWEST AIRLINES (on Boeing 757-300)
Departs: Minneapolis International Airport MSP at 09:30 AM
Arrives: Seattle/Tacoma International Airport SEA at 11:22 AM 28 JAN

THU 28 JAN
Asiana Airlines Flight 271 (on Boeing 777)
Departs: Seattle/Tacoma International Airport SEA at 01:20 PM
Arrives: Seoul Incheon International Airport ICN at 06:05 PM 29 JAN

1 Stop - change planes in Seoul, South Korea (ICN)
Connection Time: 89 hrs

55 mins

Asiana Airlines Flight 213 (on Boeing 777)
Departs: San Francisco International Airport SFO at 12:00 PM
Arrives: Seoul Incheon International Airport ICN at 05:50 PM 3 FEB

WED 3 FEB
Asiana Airlines Flight 703 (on Airbus A321-100/200)
Departs: Seoul Incheon International Airport ICN at 07:45 PM
Arrives: Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport MNL at 10:55 PM 3 FEB

THU 4 FEB
Asiana Airlines Flight 271 (on Boeing 777)
Departs: Seattle/Tacoma International Airport SEA at 01:20 PM
Arrives: Seoul Incheon International Airport ICN at 06:05 PM 5 FEB

FRI 5 FEB
Asiana Airlines Flight 703 (on Airbus A321-100/200)
Departs: Seoul Incheon International Airport ICN at 07:45 PM
Arrives: Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport MNL at 10:55 PM 5 FEB

I can't half understand it either. But from what I gather we can choose the option of either arriving on February 3 or February 5!!! A lay-over of almost 5 days! And what is worse is that this option was given on the day of the flight itself! I received the e-mail 6 A.M. January 29 Manila Time!!!

My husband didn't choose to take the flight, but in trying to rebook the best that Asiana gave us was a Minneapolis-Seattle-Seoul-Manila flight on February 2. The problem was we had to get a connecting flight via Delta that would coincide with Asiana's on that day! Travelocity was of NO HELP! And Asiana even had us pay for the difference of the new itinerary to the old one, which was $199.

On top of that, the hotel I booked could no longer be updated to a different date because it was less than 24 hours before check-in.

My husband cannot get any cooperation from either Travelocity or Asiana. They left us completely to our own defenses about a connecting flight. And Travelocity said in their website that they would do everything to work with their partners to find the best flight possible for its customers! We were left hanging at the last minute of the flight! Left with two choices which was no choice at all: 1) take the old itinerary and get a lay-over of 5 days or more; or 2) choose a new one.. but sleep over at the airport because it couldn't be avoided... there was no nearer connecting flight! Take note that in the last one they offered no help with Delta than just to turn us over to Delta!

Next time.. I will get an itinerary with one airline company and never again with Asiana! Also, never again will I deal with Travelocity.. they are incompetent and heartless people.. willing to sell over my husband and allow a man of advanced age to suffer the inconvenience of a long flight and sleeping over at an airport (that breaks my heart) when we had paid for a shorter itinerary.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Anxious Now

After so many years, we are finally going to be permanently together. I can't help but wonder if some catastrophe will happen to spoil all my happiness. It just doesn't seem ordinary to have the life I have always wanted. In 2 days I would have what I have deeply hoped for... with God's grace and mercy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cost of Moving

I am a firm believer of "Murphy's Law" - if anything wrong can happen, it usually will. Of course it doesn't mean that I am the eternal pessimist, but only that I always have a back-up plan if ever the worst happens. Now what does this have to do with moving. Well, I had for the weekend "move" budget allotted P4,000 - 2,000 for the movers and 2,000 for the cost of installing the aircondition. But although I could not think of how else I could be spending on extra, I thought to bring an extra P5,000 with me just "in case".

Well the move went quite well, although my things didn't fill half the truck. When I got to the unit, I learned I had to replace the lockset, as the keys were missing. Somehow I knew that would happen, as the second time I went to the place (the first time when I viewed two units; the second was when I made my choice)they couldn't open it with the keys they thought was for the unit. That didn't bother me too much, because I did feel that the original lockset looked unsafe. So I was asked what kind of lockset do I want -- I said the best looking one (did I tell you I am vain?); that set me back by P1,700 for the front door lockset. How about the back door? I went cheap on that one, anyway the former lockset was only a simple lock without a knob -- that one costed only P300. So my original P5,000 was reduced by P2,000. Then they had to install both. The installation for the front one costed P300 and the other at the back costed P200. The total cost for installation of the locksets? 500

Then we started installing the aircondition (the entire thing lasted from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). Since I had no idea when the aircondition and the rest of my new appliances (refrigerator and gas range) would arrive, I asked the appliance store what was the dimension for the aircon -- 15' height, 22' width and 26 DEPTH. At any rate, the aircondition arrived around after lunch (1:00 p.m.), he had already started drilling. Time came for installing the aircon, can you guess what happened? There was a YAWNING gap on the left side? Guess why? Because he heard 26'!!! Probably not understanding the word "depth" since I did not explain it in Tagalog! LOL! Honestly I was good natured about the yawning gap since they were willing to cement it (still at my expense), and also because I felt partly to blame for not explaining what was meant by "depth". Also at that point in time, my excitement over my husband's arrival just totally overshadowed any slight irritation I had over paying extra for the cost of the cement and paint. :P Anyway, the extra cement only costed P30.

So what else did I have to pay? Well P300 for installing the two curtain rods and P300 for the new breaker (the old one was broken) plus labor.

I ended up paying an extra P200 for nailing the feet on my bed. :P All I know is that over-all I paid an extra P1300 to the original P2000 I had allotted for them.

At any rate, Murphy was still right up to the very end. After they left, the bolt that connected the water closet to the water supply broke!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Not Leaving on a Jet Plane

If there is anyone sad about my leaving the house, it is certainly my mom. Having lived here for 16 years and spending 5 years of it sleeping next to my mom, I can understand why she feels such sadness. But she knew it was coming -- after 8 years of an internet relationship with my Asawa, 3 years of which we were already married. But inspite the amount of preparation, there is still this gloom in her countenance.

Still she should be happy. My husband and I will be visiting her at least once a month, if not more. And she will most certainly be staying at our place when she has to visit the doctor for her check-ups. At this moment my husband and I just need some time to settle down in our new home.

I guess constant visits to her in the future will remind her that we are not oceans apart... just the EDSA-stretch apart.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Older - Foreigner- Younger - Filipina Myth

A friend of mine once said if I didn't wear glasses (which I sometimes don't -- out of vanity), people would think me a prostitute with a foreigner. Perhaps because I like to dress sexy or I just am (LOL! Did I tell you humility was never one of my better assets?), I just do not look nerdy without glasses.

It is not uncommon (especially on weekends when I am wearing just jeans and a shirt) when I am with my Asawa that I get "THE LOOK". You know? The LOOK of disgust and indignation from people you hardly know. People who do not even know that you have two times the education they have; from people who do not know that you graduated from one of the best universities of the country. At that particular instance, I restrain myself from brandishing my Integrated Bar of the Philippines ID.

Two incidents that come to mind with such clarity are: (1) when my Asawa and I took a cab to our hotel and (2) when we took the MRT one time.

In the first incident the taxi driver infuriated me with a comment to the effect that I should "share" the wealth with him by allowing him to overcharge the foreigner. I was so indignant I told him point blank and in English so that my husband can hear what he just insinuated, that I would have his license revoked by reporting him to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC)/Land Transportation Office (LTO)(incidentally I have a friend from lawschool who works at DOTC and my Auntie-Lawyer is a Regional Director at LTO).

The second incident was on an MRT ride to Makati from Quezon City, when an elderly woman gave me THE LOOK. It didn't bother me because I actually wasn't looking, but my husband was, and it got him so upset, he bugged the woman by saying "Jesus Loves You"! And he wasn't being nice about it... he was being sarcastic even. But I told him to let her go; we were in the portion of the MRT where both men and women occupied the train, I certainly didn't want him to get mobbed by the men.

At any rate, it doesn't bother me in the sense that no matter what they think, I know better who I am.

I certainly do not judge the other filipinas even if they were prostitutes or household helps in the past before they married foreigners. Their past in itself is not a measure of their character. We all have to make our own different choices based on the cards we are dealt. Also, only she knows what her intentions are and only time can tell how true her heart is for the man she married.

I just hope that someday people will stop judging other people based on unfounded generalizations and myths that are antiquated. Most filipina who marry foreigners are not even former prostitutes or household helps. A great majority of them are the educated filipina who through the advent of the internet have come to realize that "the market" is no longer limited to just filipinos, but to foreign men as well.

Someday maybe ... until that time I just have to remind myself that I do not belong to that myth.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why Quezon City?

I have lived in Metro Manila for 30 ++ years of my existence. I lived in Sta. Cruz, Manila (heart of Metro Manila) for about 16 years, Novaliches, Quezon City (during College) for about 5 years, and Pasay City for 16 years. When I lived in Sta. Cruz, Manila, I remember always suffering from respiratory disease as a child. Also, now that I presently live in Pasay City (near the airport, we are in the boundary of Pasay and Paranaque) I have suffered from severe asthma especially when I was studying in law school and I slept late nights. I think maybe it is the airplane fumes, I don't know for sure, but something is certainly irritating my throat.

However, for the 5 years I spent in College (went to school at U.P. Diliman -- plied the route of Katipunan all throughout College) I don't recall having suffered so badly with respiratory disease. I also recall my throat to be in a better condition during the 4 months I stayed on the campus during my bar review.

My husband visited the country 3 times, and in those 3 times (except the last) he always came home to the U.S. with some respiratory infection. In the last stay we stayed almost majority of the time in Boracay. When we were in Manila, he was wise enough to take Benadryl. In the first two visits we were mostly in Pasay City and Makati City.

If you are wondering about the state of air pollution in your locality of the Philippines, check out this article.

So in staying in Quezon City, I am hoping for the best for both of us -- that we will have better air quality. Of course, Quezon City has changed since the 16 years I took my undergraduate there,nonetheless, I am still hopeful that it would still be better for my Asawa and I.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Moving Out

Moving out in a couple of days.I just have a few boxes, just mostly my personal stuffs (clothes occupied the most containers -- Asawa says it is so woman of me to have many clothes). :p I brought some small appliances like a vacuum cleaner, DVD player, speaker system, and oven toaster.

The cost of moving from Pasay City to Quezon City? P2000

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Taking things slowly

I am trying to take things one step at a time. No point overloading myself with information. Anyway, in my experience with government regulations on websites, you don't really know for sure what is required, until you go there yourself.. and it is often a step-by-step process which may require a return trip to the same office in the future.

At this point, I just want to see how accurate everything is (the information I have gotten off the internet). Let's wait and see. :)

What to Consider for Entry into the Philippines

1) Are you a national of the following countries:

Andorra
Angola
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Botswana
Brazil*
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
Colombia
Comoros
Congo
Costa Rica
Cote d’Ivoire
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia *new*
Ethiopia
Fiji
Finland
France
Gabon
Gambia
Germany
Ghana
Gibraltar
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel*
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Latvia *new*
Lithuania *new*
Lesotho
Liberia
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Monaco
Mongolia
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Norway
Oman
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Republic of Korea
Romania
Russia
Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
Spain
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Thailand
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Tuvalu
Uganda
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United Republic of Tanzania
United States of America
Uruguay
Venezuela
Vietnam
Zambia
Zimbabwe
If yes, you are allowed entry in the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding twenty (21) days, provided you hold a valid ticket for your return to the point of origin, or the next point of destination AND must hold passports valid for a period of not less than six (6) months beyond the contemplated period of stay. (In my husband's case, I just got an outbound ticket to Kota Kinabalu,Malaysia for a promo fare of P969, aside from his one-way ticket to the Philippines. Although I hear that immigration officials do not check the outbound ticket, I wouldn't risk it if I were you.)

*The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding fifty-nine (59) days:

The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding seven (7) days:

3. Holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative (SAR) passports
4. Holders of British National Overseas (BNO) passports
5. Holders of Portuguese Passports issued in Macao
6. Holders of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports

2) If not belonging to any of the above countries, you are required to secure proper visa from a Philippine Embassy/Consulate prior to your entry to the Philippines.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

13 (a) Visa

13 (a) visa applies to "(t)he wife or the husband or the unmarried child under twenty-one years of age of a Philippine citizen".

Checklist of Requirements for Non-Quota Immigrant by Marriage Under Section 13(a)

1.Duly notarized letter of application by the Filipino spouse;
2.General Application Form duly accomplished and notarized (BI Form No. MCL-07-01);
3.NSO authenticated copy of Birth certificate of Filipino spouse;
4.NSO authenticated copy of the Marriage Contract of alien and Filipino spouse or authenticated by the Philippine embassy/consulate nearest to or in the place where the marriage was solemnized;
5.Bureau of Immigration (BI) Clearance Certificate; and
6.Plain photocopy of passport of alien spouse showing dates of arrival and authorized stay.


Checklist of Requirements for Temporary Resident’s Visa Under Section 13(a), in relation to Law Instruction No. 33

1.Duly notarized letter of application by petitioning Filipino spouse;
2.General Application Form duly accomplished by the foreign spouse and notarized (BI Form No. MCL-07-01);
3.NSO authenticated copy of birth certificate of Filipino spouse;
4.NSO authenticated copy of the Marriage Contract of the alien and Filipino spouse, or if solemnized abroad, Marriage Contract authenticated by the Philippine embassy/consulate in or nearest the place where marriage was solemnized, with English translation if written in other foreign language;
5.Bureau of Immigration (BI) Clearance Certificate; and
6.Plain photocopy of passport/s of alien spouse and/or children showing dates of arrival and authorized stay.

To guide you on the applicable fees (in case you will do all the filing yourself):

13(A) VISA FEES
Fee for section 13(a) initial one year probationary period:
1.Upon filing

Application fee P1,010.00
*Express lane fee P 500.00


2.Upon implementation

ACR and form fee P1,050.00
Change of status fee P 600.00
Passport visa fee P 200.00
CRTV and form fee P1,450.00
Implementation fee P1,000.00
Legal research fee P10.00 / item
Head tax P 250.00



Fees for amendment of 13(a) visa from probationary to permanent resident:
1.Upon filing

Application fee P1,010.00
*Express lane fee P 500.00


2.Upon approval / implementation

Passport visa fee P 200.00
Amendment fee P 500.00
Immigration Certificate of Registration(ICR) and form
P1,450.00
Implementation fee P 500.00
Legal research fee P 40.00
Express lane fee P 500.00



Check the Bureau of Immigration website for more details.

Friday, January 8, 2010

SC Upholds Sale of Real Property by Alien to Filipino

(This was taken verbatim from "The Bar Tribune" [The Official Publication of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Vol. 5, No. 8, June 2009])

While the acquisition and the purchase of real properties in the country by a foreigner is void ab initio for being contrary to the Constitution, the subsequent acquisition of the said properties from the foreigner by a Filipino citizen has cured the flaw in the original transaction and the title of the transferee is valid.

Thus reiterated the Supreme Court in a 12-page decision penned by Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno reversing the Court of Appeals and affirming the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City. The RTC has declared petitioner Camilo F. Borromeo as owner in fee simple of the residential house of strong materials and three parcel of lands under litigation and ordered the issuance of new certificates of title in his name and the cancellation of the transfer certificates of titles in the name of respondent Antonietta O. Descallar. The RTC likewise directed Descallar to pay Borromeo Php25,000 as attorney's fees, Php10,000 as litigation expenses, and costs.

The SC explained the rationale for the ruling it first enunciated in United Church Board for World Ministries v. Sebastian, thus, "(S)ince the ban on aliens is intended to preserve the nation's land for future generations of Filipinos, that aim is achieved by making lawful the acquisitions of real estate by aliens who became Filipino citizens by naturalization or those transfers made by aliens to Filipino citizens. As the property in dispute is already in the hands of a qualified person, a Filipino citizen, there would be no more public policy to be protected. The objective of the constitutional provision to keep our lands in Filipino hands has been achieved."

The SC adopted the findings of the trial court that the true buyer of the subject properties in 1985-1986 was the Austrian Wilhelm Jambrich albeit the properties were registered in the name of respondent Descallar, with whom he was then having an adulterous relationship. On July 11, 1991 Jambrich transferred all his rights, interests, and participation over the subject properties to petitioner Borromeo. By then, Descallar's relationship with Jambrich was over.

On August 2, 1991, petitioner filed a complaint against respondent for recovery of real property before the RTC of Mandaue City (GR. No. 159310, Borromeo v. Descallar, February 24, 2009)

Caveat Emptor (Reader Beware)

Actually, the real usage of the word is "buyer beware"... but I thought it is an apt warning to all readers (if I have one) to take everything I say with a critical eye. I say this not only with regards to what I write, but also with regards to other things they might read on the internet.

I learned this in the past few days as I took an effort to find information from various websites, and found although some were on the dot (as to factualness of their information), others were based on hearsay, or just sheer speculation.

I for one am trying to elevate this blog site to being just a site for my opinions or stories on my humdrum life. More than that, I want to be able to provide some insightful observations based on well-researched facts. I will endeavor to cite the material when I can, or the link if there is one.

Also, I will make some legal analysis on some matters, partly because I have the excuse -- I am a lawyer. :P But never take what I say at face value... I don't work for the Bureau of Immigration or the Department of Foreign Affairs or anything. :p So just take it for what it is ... the musings of a lawyer who believes that there is no one lawyer who has the monopoly of the law. However, if you want expert opinion on a legal matter, I suggest you hire a lawyer who is an expert on the field. :p

Just the same... remember you were warned.

Opening a Dollar Deposit in the Philippines

I have begun to cull available information on the internet on where my husband and I can open a dollar account. Several restrictions such as the amount of available dollars I expect for us to have on the first month, the location of the bank, bank schedule (whether they have after-office hour transactions), its credibility and ease of transactions such as transfers from one account to another, are some of my considerations.

I have been trying to get the information from the websites of the various banks I can recall to memory. So here are some of the more reputable banks you can open a dollar account in, the type of deposit, minimum initial deposit, minimum deposit to earn interest, and interest per annum:


AsiaTrust Bank $100 $100 .25%

DBP $100 $500 .25%

Banco De Oro
Club 60 Dollar
>=60 years $200 $500 .25%
Dollar Savings
Account $200 $500 .25%

Bank of the
Philippine Islands
Express Dollar
Savings $500 $500 .25%
Dollar Savings
with Passbook $500 $500 .25%

BPI Family Savings Bank
Get Started Savings
Account with
Life Insurance $1000 $1000 .125%
Dollar Savings
with Passbook $500 $500 .25%

Union Bank $1000 $1000 .25%

Metrobank
Metro Dollar
Savings $500 $500 .25%
US Pensioner $100 $500 .25%

Security Bank $500 $500 .5%

Landbank of
the Philippines $100 $500 .25%

Citibank
Citi Dollar
Everyday Banking Below $1000 0%
$1000 and up** 0%
Citi Dollar Saver Less than $1000 0%
$1000 and up** .1%

** Minimum opening and maintaining balance requirement is for Citibanking clients only. For Citigold clients, no minimum opening balance is required for as long as Total Relationship Balance (TRB) of P 4,000,000 is maintained.


I also asked the bank how long before an international checque can be cleared. The majority answer was from 30 to 45 BANKING DAYS.

Also, they said that they need the Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR), in order for a foreigner to open an account. Unfortunately, my husband won't have that on the first week. So he agreed to have the dollar account under my name.

If you ask me which one I would recommend, if money was not the consideration, it would certainly be the Bank of the Philippine Islands. For one, it has been in operation for as far as I can recall. Also, my peso account is with them and I have made remittances from my peso account to the U.S. with ease, in the same manner that I have received money from the U.S. also with ease. Aside from that I have several of my bills enrolled with my account, such that I make payments through the ATM. One of the biggest PLUS factor for me also is that they have Express Deposit ATMs, which allows me to make cash and cheque deposits even after office hours. Although I haven't yet made am international cheque deposit on an ATM. They said it wasn't allowed. I don't know though if it was because I had a peso account.

Also they have branches ALL OVER the country and even ATMs in the mall. They are linked with Expressnet which covers almost ALL the banks, unlike Megalink.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Excited and anxious all at the same time

We are finally going to live together as husband and wife. I won't give away how long we had been married already, lest readers totally think me a saint for staying too long in a marriage that was spent mostly apart, but let's just say ours is truly an epic love affair.

But finally we are nearing the end of our long moment of separation, and my husband and I will be living together in one roof, just he and I day in and day out. My mother and brother lives a good 1.5 hour drive south of Metro Manila, and an Aunt lives north of where we live by a 10 minute drive, so certainly you can see how unlike other American-Filipino couples, we don't live with an extended family under the same roof.

I initially wanted us to live with my mother, in a house with an extra room with its own lanai. I take care of my mother who has a heart ailment and I felt it was the easiest way to hit two birds with one stone (so to speak), to have both my Asawa and mother under one roof to take care of. But my mother valued her privacy too much (so unfilipino, huh?) that she suggested that we just find our own place. At first I was a little offended, but a few days after I realized it was actually the better option. Of course I still had to support my mother and brother. So when I added up my estimate of my husband's pension and my own salary, I realized we can certainly make it. The first few months would be difficult because I had to buy so many things for our "start-up" like a refrigerator, aircondition and gas range, luckily I had enough bonuses from 2009 to sustain a bit of our start-up. So I said... go go go!

When I think of what really makes me anxious somewhat, it is probably the fear of the unknown. Like my husband suddenly getting sick, or my losing my job. But certainly I cannot live my life in fear. All marriages must have its ups and down sometimes, and whether those things happen here (in the Philippines) or there in the US, the capacity to endure and be resilient doesn't change. In a lot of ways, especially on the short-term, the choice of living in the Philippines and my husband retiring here certainly is the path of least resistance.

For someone who has a job that is almost always country-based, starting all over again in the US means starting over at great expense. It would mean taking the bar there and preparing for the bar there, while over here I already have 7 years of practice.

On the other hand, they say a lowly employee there certainly gets paid much more than a government lawyer over here. It may be true that I may have to start as a "lowly" employee over there, but even as a paralegal (which I suppose is what I would qualify) I could still earn so much more there than if I stay as a government lawyer over here.

But I have to say, my life here, even as a lawyer is so laid back. I work 9 to 5 and on rare occasions have to work late to rush a pleading. Other than that the quality of the relationship I could have with my husband would be so much better here.

As I said my only real source of anxiety is my husband getting sick. But right now, except for a high blood pressure which is maintained and his ADD, he is a perfectly healthy man for a senior person. At any rate, we still have that exit plan open to us if we choose to take the other route. Everyday I just lay my concerns to God and pray that He keeps my husband healthy to spend so many more years with me.

Reflecting on the Move

I've been browsing through some of the sites of foreigners who have come to retire in the Philippines. I haven't yet seen one living in Manila, and I wonder if their $1000++ pension goes a long way in Manila. I am sure the cost of living in the rural areas of the Philippines is nothing like in Manila.

But I have done a bit of the math...After all, I have lived in Manila all my life and I know the cost of living here. So here it goes $180 for rent; around $200 for food; $100 for utilities; around $400 for his medicines, which brings us to a grand total of $880. Of course, at this point everything is just an estimate, and I allotted a big chunk of the money from his pension for his medicines, because after all, the money is generated by him.

On the other hand, we are a two-income household. I work so I contribute a portion of our expenses. I also clear a portion of my Credit Card for any emergency expense like a plane ticket to the US for him.

I also want to prioritize his health in our expenses, because I feel the quality of our life together will be determined largely by his health condition. He isn't in his mid 60s yet and he retired below the retirement age, but at an age where he can retire already (62). He could have waited until he turned 65, but things have made it such that it is certainly more practical to live here now than it is to live over there... at least for the moment.