Saturday, August 15, 2009

Jealousy & Filipino Women

Jealousy is an illness that starts deep within the psyche of a person and takes root of their heart causing untold number of emotional outbreaks and actions that are both real and sometimes violent. At its root, a jealous person is insecure about something and your mission is to find out what that something is.

If, jealousy is not treated through counseling and in the worst of cases, medicinal intervention, jealousy, like cancer can spread beyond the brain and the heart, leading to actions and reactions that are neither safe to the individual going through the episodes, but dangerous for the offending person of the jealous-enraged mind.

Jealousy if left untreated can overcome all in its path and like cancer, have detrimental effects to everyone around the person affected. You can best help someone who is only superficially jealous, that is, they murmur or backtalk about their displeasure about something that you are doing or saying that triggers their behaving seemingly irrational to what should be just a conversation.

If, you know that by saying a particular thing or mentioning a specific subject will trigger an emotional response from your fiancé or spouse, avoid talking about that particular subject or topic. Try to talk to your fiancé or spouse, as to what is it that makes them so mad and try to discover the why; it makes them so emotional or jealous.

In extreme cases, a jealous fiancé or spouse may not say anything, but react by withdrawing from you, something referred to as Tampo in the Philippines. Tampo is not unique to the Filipina, which is the act of sulking or pouting when your fiancé or spouse feels that you have hurt their feelings.

Tampo may last for a few hours, a few weeks or even a month or so, but when it lasts longer than that, there is something else going on and you should sit down with your fiancé or spouse and talk about what is it that is upsetting her.

If, she reacts in a jealous manner, try to find the cause of her feeling the way she does. The basis for the majority of jealous leanings have to do with a sense of some need not being met or a belief that there is someone else in your life, who is threatening the relationship that you two share. Find out what it is and talk about it.

If, communicating and I mean sitting down in a neutral place, that is, a place that your fiancé or spouse is comfortable with and you are comfortable with, to discuss what’s going on in her thinking or your thinking.

Being jealous, affects men as well as women, so even though this article mentions fiancé or spouse, bear in mind that men are just as jealous as women. Many men are very good at masking their jealousy, so it may seem harder to interpret. A sign that a man is jealous of his woman is that, a man will ask questions about elements of time and place. What did you do today? Where did you go today? Why did you go there? When did you go there? How long did you stay there? Who did you meet there?

A man will ask questions in order to ensure himself that he is the focus of your life and if you present yourself as being the only person that matters in the relationship, then you are going to have a problem. If, the man feels that he is the only person in the relationship and does things without consulting you, then your relationship is going to have a problem.

Let me give you an example.

When I first met my wife she was everything to me, my Alpha and my Omega. She was the reason my heart beated and the reason why I drew breathe into my lungs. I centered all of my attention around her, until 16 years later, she had grown up and decided that she did not want to be married to me anymore. She didn’t want to be married at all. She wanted to continue her affair of 4 years with a married personal injury lawyer, whom she met when she wreaked our car, four years earlier.

Throughout those 16 years, I watched her grow up from being a scared young woman, who upon her first time going to a drive-thru Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Philippines and jumping out of the taxi to run up to the drive-thru speaker to put in our order, to a woman with feminist leanings, who told me matter-of-factly, one day, that she could run up to the wall, where the two corners meet and then run into the bathroom with her cell phone and call 911 and when the police arrived, tell them that I assaulted her.

I was in awe, with my jaw gaping open, wondering where did that ideal come from, when I heard it. I couldn’t believe that the woman, who was my world, could come up with such nonsense and actually believe it. The scary part for me is, if she did run into the wall on purpose and called 911 and the police came, I would go to jail no matter how much I tried to explain the truth!

I tell this story to state this and that is, a jealous person manifest their insecurity, their rage and their actions in ways that can not always be explained in some psychological journal or themed blog, such as this. There is no way for you to know exactly what a person is going to do or when are they going to do it. You can only hope that through communication that the two of you will come to some understanding that both of you can live with, if not, then the two of you will find a way, to live with the memories, be them good or bad.

If, you have a fiancé or spouse who is jealous that may be okay, because a healthy dose of jealousy gives you two something to talk about and when you make up, it is generally quite intimate. If, the jealousy seems to you a bit overboard and you have discussed what is triggering the belief, then perhaps, marriage counseling is something that your relationship can benefit from.

People will avoid counseling sometimes because they don’t want to admit that there is a problem. No matter how much one partner tries to get the other to agree on counseling, the other partner resists or seems to sabotage the relationship. Even if only one of the partners is willing and goes to counseling, the relationship may benefit enough that the other partner may be convinced to join in. After all, it is the relationship that will suffer, but it is the people involved whose memories carry with them the times when everything was so lovely. Isn’t lovely worth fighting for?

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Exchanging Currency in the Philippines

The question that I get asked by those who are on the way to the Philippines and those who have just arrived in the Philippines is where is the best place to exchange dollars for Pesos?

The number of Pesos that you can get for your dollars varies widely and it is worth your while not to be in a hurry to exchange any quantity of your dollars to pesos until you bear some of these suggestions in mind.

Most banks in the major cities in the Philippines would be more than happy to take your dollars for Pesos, but you may not like the exchange rate, which are generally a few pesos lower than the exchange rate that you will receive at an accredited foreign currency kiosk located in one of the malls.

M. Lhuillier Pawn Shops which are quasi-financial institutions all over the Philippines. If, you find yourself a bit of a distance from any major city, there is a good chance that you can probably find a M. Lhuillier Pawn Shop within a short travel distance.

The exchange rates at M. Lhuillier Pawn Shops aren’t that fantastic and are maybe a few pesos better than the Western Unions located in the Philippines, but it may be your only choices, depending where you are in the Philippines, when you need to do an exchange.

For those who are relatively new or in-country for the first time, I generally tell them to go to accredited foreign currency desks within the shopping malls, such as Ayala Malls, SM Malls, Gasiano Malls or the Robinson Malls, the Greenhills Mall, to name a few.

Wherever you find a rather large population of Westerners, you will find more than a few folks looking to seek their reward, and you have to be aware that some of them make their living off of cheating foreigners out of their money, so heads up!

As a general rule, you will get better exchange rates if you are exchanging $100 bills than you would if you were doing $20, $10 or $5 bills.

Always count your money at the counter, sheltering what you received as best as you can in front of you—no matter, the urgency of the exchange teller asking you to step aside in order to take the next person behind you.

Once you leave the teller window and there is a problem with the amount and you step back up to the teller, be advised that even though you are in the Philippines, you are still in Asia and the concept of saving face applies, so don’t get into a personal and loud confrontation. You may not like the outcome.

Try to limit the number of times that you have to exchange dollars to pesos, because no matter what the exchange rate is, you are going to lose money over time, due to the foreign exchange service fees.

If, you are going to be in the Philippines for more than six months at a time, it probably would be a better deal to set up a dollar and/or pesos account with one of the banks in the Philippines. You’ll need an address and the appropriate visa from the immigration for this, but you’ll benefit in the long-term.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Are Filipinas Romantic By Nature?

There are those who believe that Filipinas are romantics at heart and then there are the detractors who say that it depends on the Filipina in question. Which is it and why should you care?

Some argue that in the Philippines culture that Filipinos (men from the Philippines) are pampered and some Filipinos are not as expressive as some men in other cultures.

It is common for the the Filipina to initiate the romance at the onset of a courtship. This puts a considerable burden on the woman in Philippines society, in that if she wants to be involved with a Filipino, she has to make the first move more than often.

Some preclude that this is the reason why so many Filipinas fall for men that are more expressive and societies where men tend to be more expressive generally exist outside of Asia. There are men who still love to open doors, pull out a chair and say what they feel without reservation, but not every man realizes how much the lady of their dreams yearns for more of their attention.

Having a relationship with someone outside of the country in which she was born can lead to financial stability, flowers and chocolates and a general sense of well-being that she is the only person in the world that matters to her sweetheart.

However, the reality that not all men from the West are romantics and a desiring Filipina needs to be reminded of that fact. This is predictably easy to forget when the Filipina is involved in a long-distance relationship and it’s not until she is up close and personal that she finds out.

Some would argue that men throughout the world have been left confused as to what women want in general and what Filipinas want in particular. Without communication that is understood, each sends the other the wrong signals and that is the beginning of future drama.

Many men prefer women from Asia, but not all for the right reasons. The reason you may prefer a women from Asia, may be totally different than another person’s reason for preferring an Asian mate. There are as many reasons as there are varieties of Asian women.

What many Western men have expressed is that they prefer women from Asia because they feel that many still possess the values of loyalty and faithfulness that is often sorely lacking among women of their own culture.

More than a few Western men are from divorced parents and know first-hand how that affected their relationship with women in their lives. There is the trust issue and there is the question in the back of their minds, will I have to go through a divorce one day?

Time reveals that more than a few do and are devastated when it happens.

In many countries, many women are liberated in that they wish to have all the benefits that men have and some even act like men, so why is it a surprise when some men treat these type of women like men? So, are Filipinas romantic by nature? Maybe, maybe not! It all depends on the Filipina. They may start off in a relationship as being romantic with you and then for reasons beyond your understanding begin a long period of not speaking or interacting with you and then one day or evening, just up and leaves you for reasons that make absolutely no sense.

My advice to any man or woman looking for someone equally as romantic as themselves is to take your time and just be yourself, all by yourself, until you meet someone who likes you back enough to disturb your balance, where you find it difficult thinking about anyone else, but them. No sense in going out leading others on, when your intention is to just have fun, because everyone eventually gets hurt when you do that. As best as I have observed, love waits for nobody and time passes us all by, when we let it. Live and let live and if you are lucky in love, be grateful and reciprocate that love!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Magic Jack & Long Distance Calling

If, you believe that saving money is the same as earning money, then you are in for a pleasant surprise with Magic Jack. Configured properly, Magic Jack gives you the potential to lower your long distance to calls to practically zero dollars, beyond purchasing the hardware and service.

If, you are in the Philippines, have someone you trust, purchase a Magic Jack for you at Walmart, BestBuy or RadioShack. When you purchase your Magic Jack in the States, at that time you will receive a U.S. area code and telephone number at that time. It really doesn’t really matter what area code you finally decide on, so long as the area code you pick is a U.S. or Canadian area code, that way your calls from the Philippines to the States or Canada will be free.

If, by chance you purchased your Magic Jack locally in the Philippines, such as off Sulit

Or some other local venue, you will have to send it to the United States or Canada to get it activated with the appropriate area code and phone number.

You want to take the time to activate your Magic Jack in the United States or Canada, so that you have a U.S. or Canadian, area code and phone number, then you will not have any problems when it gets to you in the Philippines with dialing the States or Canada.

The reality of course is that the Magic Jack will work anywhere in the world where you have access to a decent Internet speed and preferably, high-speed Internet. If, you are overseas and you are able to purchase a Magic Jack, there is a good chance that all you have to do is plug it into your computer and follow the on-screen instructions, pick your area code and you will be assigned a telephone number and in less than four minutes you are ready to start making phone calls.

One thing to remember is that your Magic Jack may not work at all if you activate it overseas, such as the Philippines and you are using your address in the Philippines. In order to activate your Magic Jack in the Philippines and actually get it to work, you will need to use an address and phone number for the United States or Canada.

Whether you choose to purchase and activate your Magic Jack in the States or Canada or the Philippines, you will probably appreciate having a cordless phone to use with it. That way, you can pace about the room while you are talking.

To begin using your Magic Jack, just plug it into your computer and follow the on-screen prompts and you will be ready to start calling others in less than four minutes. Magic Jack pretty much eliminates the excuses you once had about calling your home country, so give someone you know a call!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Green Card and the Rules of Possession

If, you have the driver’s license or State ID card, is there a need to carry the green card or passport?

An Immigration Control Officer can look up your immigration status from your State ID or driver’s license, so there is no need to carry your passport around on you. You must carry your Permanent Resident Card (also know as the “I-551” Card) around with them at all times as this is required under Federal Law. Click here for more information on US Code Title 8, Section 1304 (e).

If, you are caught by immigration officials, law enforcement or any authorized officer of the federal government without your Green Card, which is incidentally no longer Green in color, if convicted you can be fined up to $100 or spend up to 30 days in jail or both.

Avoid any possible hassles while in the United States and comply with federal laws and carry your Green Card with you at all times. You don’t want to have to go through the IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint System) run by the FBI that runs your fingerprints through its nationwide database to check your criminal history and all. If, you are subject to the IAFIS and the authorized agent thinks you’re a criminal of some sort, it could delay you for about two hours, but if they think you are a civilian with reason to get your fingerprints, you could be delayed up to twenty-fours. So, avoid the disturbance of your time and carry your Green Card with you at all times.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting Married In The Philippines

Anyone get married in the Philippines? Any special type of requirements, Blood Test, Marriage License?

(Jeanalyn & Alan)

There are requirements set forth by the Philippine Government Depending on which barangay (village) or town you’re living in, you’ll probably get different interpretations about how to go about meeting the requirements for marriage. For example, there seems too widespread misunderstanding about the mandatory counseling requirement. Philippines House Bill 216 states that couples are supposed to undergo pre-marriage counseling about the rigors of marriage prior to being issued a marriage license.

You have to attend a pre-marriage counseling seminar.

If, you are not a Philippine Citizen, that is you were born in a country outside of the Philippines and are a citizen of another country you will need to do the following if you wish to marry a Philippine Citizen:

The Philippines Government requires that you obtain a Certificate of Legal Capacity from your country’s embassy, which may have an embassy in the Philippines. To see if your embassy is located in the Philippines, go here.

If, the prospective involves an American Citizen, he or she would have to go to the Consular Section of the American Embassy in Manila or Cebu. Here is the link for the American Embassy Section in Cebu.

Since the U.S. government doesn’t really maintain a national database on marriages and divorces in America, that task is left up to the individual states, so the American Embassy in the Philippines when you personally show up (a requirement) will issue “An affidavit in lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity.”

To get the “Affidavit in lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity,” you will need to personally show up in Manila or Cebu (American Embassy requirements) and bring with you:

U.S. Passport

The Consular Officer may ask for your divorce decree, if you were formerly married or death certificate of your former spouse or he or she, may outright refuse to issue you a Certificate of Legal Capacity, if there is a reason to believe you are attempting to commit fraud, such as marrying someone to get them into the States.

$30 or the equivalent in pesos (the Embassy accepts cash only).

Once you get your Certificate of Legal Capacity, you can then go and attend the pre-marriage counseling and get that certificate before going to the Civil Registrar in the town where you or your prospective mate lives to apply for a marriage license.

Your wife-to-be will need to provide a birth certificate authenticated by the NSO (National Statistics Office), not the birth certificate that is issued by the civil registrar of the place where she was born. Here is the link for the getting the NSO authenticated birth certificate.

Hint: It is advisable to get a minimum of three copies of your mate’s NSO authenticated birth certificate, even though you only need one copy in order to get married. You will need to submit an authenticated NSO birth certificate to the American Embassy for her immigration paperwork when the time comes. You will need to supply the Department of Foreign Affairs with an NSO-birth certificate for her Philippine Passport, if she doesn’t already have one and she will have one for back-up.

If, your prospective bride has children that are under 18, you may want to get them three copies of their NSO-authenticated passports also.

Get the Philippines Passport requirements by clicking here.

There is a ten day waiting period from the time you apply for the marriage license at your local civil registrar and the time you receive it.

The marriage license is good for 120 days and may be used throughout the Philippines no matter where it was issued.

There is no requirement for a Certificate of No Marriage or CENOMAR, which is issued by the NSO (National Statistics Office), but for those needing verification that the person they are marrying, have not been married and it may give you a bit of peace of mind.

Note that some Embassies require proof that the person you are marrying is indeed single and the CENOMAR serves as documentary evidence.

To obtain the CENOMAR, you will need the following documents:

The complete name of the person to be certified.

The complete name of the father.

The complete maiden name of the mother.

The date of the birth of the person to be certified.

The place of the birth of the person to be certified.

The complete name and address of the requesting party.

The number of copies needed (may incur a copy fee).

You will need to state the purpose of the certification.

You can get the CENOMAR online here for about PhP400 or $25, including the

delivery fee within the Philippines.

Hint: If, you pay with a credit card, you will be charged the foreign fee rate of $25, but if you pay in Pesos, the fee for a single copy CENOMAR is PhP400.

No Blood Tests are required.

As long as your prospective mate is over 18 years of age, they are free to marry, so long as they follow these additional requirements:

If, the person you intend to marry is between the ages of 18 and 21, you will need their parents or guardian’s written approval.

If, they are between the ages of 22 to 25, they have to have their parents or guardians advice, that is, there must be a written notification that the parents or guardians are aware of the pending marriage.

Hint: Be sure to check on the requirements of the church, if you are getting married within the faith of your spouse, because they may have quite a few additional requirements that may have to be met above and beyond the civil law matters.

You can get anyone authorized by the Philippines Government to perform the civil or church ceremony, such as a judge, minister, etc.

Note also the additional requirements that your embassy imposes on you if you are seeking to bring your wife back home to your country regarding filing immigrant spouses.

Disclaimer: Prices quoted are accurate at the time of publication and while every attempt to verify accuracy of the information contained within this post, prices are subject to change without notice by the represented organizations.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How To Overcome Culture Shock With Your Filipina

There is no way to avoid culture shock, but you can make the transition easier for your mate by understanding what culture shock is. First and foremost, culture shock is misunderstanding the environment that you find yourself in. You misunderstand the environment because it is not familiar to you and this unfamiliarity leads you to be at ease at best and anxious and disoriented, at its worse. Here’s is how to lessen the degree of culture shock that you or your mate is likely to experience.

Culture Shock is a lack of knowledge about a place that seems alien to you and to overcome feeling like an alien, you must be willing to learn as much as you can about the place you’re going or find yourself in. You commit to trying to understand the place you find yourself and the anxiety will pass with time, but it really helps if you have someone who is native to the location to help you with the transition.

Your friends, girlfriend, finance or wife can be a tremendous asset when it comes to helping you to understand the environment that seems to different to you. You will find that people are more than willing to assist you, when they see that you are genuinely trying to adjust and adapt to their culture. Don’t be afraid to discover a new language, customs and foods.

If, you have yet to arrive in the Philippines, reading books about the Philippines is a good start and if you can locate a language course in Tagalog in your home country, you’re off to a good start. Locating literature about the Philippines is generally not a problem, but oftentimes, I hear others stating that they have difficulty locating a language course in the local Philippines language.

One of the best publications out there that I recommend to everyone who is going to the Philippines is authored by Alfredo and Grace Roces called, “Culture Shock! Philippines: A Survival Guide To Customs and Etiquette.” This paperback book will help you to understand some of the things that may irritate you, but are deeply rooted in the culture. A source for learning Tagalog, the principle language of the Northern Philippines is Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone approach to language learning is highly-effective if you put the time in. Rosetta Stone courses are a bit pricey, so shop around for the best deal.

There is considerable “murmuring,” which is talk about the foreigner, when you are in the Philippines. The “murmuring” is not meant to hurt your feelings or anything like that, but you have to understand that many people in the Philippines are a curious bunch and some like to comment on the things they see. It could be talk in a language that you do or do not understand and often followed with subdued or boisterous laughing. Don’t take it personal. After some time in the Philippines, you will find yourself engaged in such “murmuring.”

There is another type of “murmuring” that you will come to know if you are serious about a Filipina and that is “tampo.” When you hurt your love one’s feelings, she will all likelihood stop talking to you for hours, days or weeks, depending how bad you hurt her feelings. She may too just get up and take off to her friends (barkadas) or relative’s house if they live close by.

Remember how confusing things get when you’re together or away from each other, communication is just one aspect of understanding each other. You two will need to sit down and discuss the things that each of you are misunderstanding, so that there will be less “tampo” on her part and less frustration on your part.

She is going to need the emotional support that she had back home in the Philippines and for those fellows who are living in the Philippines, life is got to be good. There is a good chance that when your fiancé or wife was in the Philippines, she was constantly in the realm of many family members and she felt safe. Well, when she comes to your home country, she is going to miss those family members and depression and home sickness could set in, so fellows, give her the emotional support that she expects from you

Understand that the although many people in the Philippines speak English and English is widely-used in the government and schools, Philippine English and the English that you speak, although pronounced almost the same, may have a wide and varying meaning than what you think. So, learn to adapt to your fiancé’s or spouse’s English and when you’re not sure of why she suddenly became silent, just ask her politely. The informal English, or slang that we speak when we are comfortable around others, can easily be misinterpreted and feelings hurt in the process.

You want to avoid any type of public confrontations of any sort. If, you and your lady are having a disagreement about something, it’s wise to find a private place to discuss it. You don’t want to raise your voice anywhere in Asia, as this is a sign of not being “composed,” or in “harmony” with the group. Asia, by and large is a “group-oriented” society and the Philippines is no less “group-oriented.” So, don’t be surprised if you invite the love of your life somewhere while you’re there and she shows up with an escort or a relative or two or three.

You’ll do well in the Philippines if you come to learn of the notion of “amor-propio.” Amor-propio is the sense of pride that every person of Philippines is taught to respect in themselves and others who are family. This sense of pride extends to the person in a way that protects the honor of the individual and choices are made regarding amor-propio, oftentimes based on whether the person’s actions will bring shame to themselves and dishonor their family and especially, the family name. Never underestimate the influence and power of amor-propio. Amor-propio is a bit like the expression “saving face,” but on steroids!

There is another aspect of Philippines Culture that is sometimes overlooked and that is the concept of “Delicadeza.” Delicadeza concerns itself with the moral certainty of knowing what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. It is the unspoken “moral compass” that exists in everyone and when you have violated this moral righteousness, you are immoral and should take it upon yourself to correct your wrongs. For example, in the town that I lived in Davao del Norte, there was a certain politician whom the locals murmured about constantly, stating that the politician was invisible, because no one had seen him in quite some time, yet he collects his salary and miraculously, he’s always getting re-elected. According to delicadeza, the proper thing for the politician to do is either show up more in his province, to let the people see that he is concerned about their issues, or resign from office and let someone who is more attune to the needs of the people run for his office

Then there are the indigenous tribes of the Philippines who live in the mountains, remote villages and costal areas who have a set of traditions that may or may not be aligned or the same as the general population of the Philippines and you will have to learn their ways if you wish to coexist. If, you approach everything that you do while you’re in the Philippines with an open mind and don’t be too hurried to rush to judgment, you’re going to have a great time staying, living and/ or visiting the Philippines.

Know that you will be excited, surprised and emotionally overwhelmed at the sheer beauty of the Philippines, starting with its people. Don’t spend all your time indoors in some fancy hotel or in some air conditioned taxi or tour bus. Get out and enjoy the natural wonderment, the food, the customs and the habits that will become as acceptable as they were once foreign to you. When you’re comfortable, meet her family, her friends and if at all possible, go to the village where she grew up or once lived, it will go a long ways to you understanding her life and expectations.

Remember that as foreign as the Philippines may seem when you first get there, if you take the time to understand that the culture may be different than what you’re accustom to, your open mind makes the adjustment easier for you and you accept the fact that you have to be immensely flexible, because you will find that things happen without much notice sometimes. If, you like spontaneous happenings, you will love the Philippines, because the feeling of never really knowing what’s going on, adds to the excitement of it all. Relax and enjoy yourself, and as far as your fiancé or wife coming to your home country, just picture her as the person adjusting to a new place and show your support by letting her know everyday that you understand.

The thing that I probably hear most from many men who visit the Philippines and return home after three weeks or so, is how much people stared at them. Well, I can tell you from living all over Asia, that people are naturally curious everywhere and staring although not particularly polite in most Western Societies, is common just about everywhere else on the Planet. You’ll get use to the staring and if, you are outside as much as you should be, you’ll find yourself staring too!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Direct Deposit in the Philippines

Is there a reliable bank in the Philippines that will accept direct deposit of your funds from the United States?

Most of the banks in the Philippines will accept direct deposit of your funds once you get to the Philippines, but you need to specify in advance when you set your account up in the Philippines, if you are going to have a Peso Account or a Dollar Account or both.

Which account you decide to set up is your personal preference, but there is an advantage to having your account set-up as a Dollar Account, so that you can best take advantage of the exchange rates.

If, you do decide to open a Peso Account, you will twice as many banks to choose from because nearly all the banks in the Philippines will open an account for you.

Whatever account you decide to set-up be aware of the fees associated with each account.

If, you have questions or concerns about Social Security Direct Deposits and would like more information about it, you can contact the Social Security Attaché at U.S. Embassy in Manila by clicking here. You can also contact the Department of Veteran Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Manila by clicking here.

Philippines Banks that accept direct deposits are:

Banco de Oro

Bank of the Philippine Islands

Citibank Philippines

Equitable PCI

HSBC Philippines


Philippine National Bank

RCBC (Rizal Commercial Bank Corporation)

UCPB (United Coconut Planters Bank)

If, you are not yet in the Philippines and wish to set up a direct deposit and a veteran, you might want to have a look at Wells Fargo’s Military Banking Section. Here’s the link for Wells Fargo. One of the benefits of Wells Fargo’s Military Banking is that they allow you up to six free withdrawals from any ATM in the world. Just be sure to see if that is still in effect, as corporations change things without prior notice. If, you aren’t prior military, and you’re still in the States or your home country, just about any of the mega banks will be more than happy to set you up with a direct deposit arrangement until you get to the Philippines.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

New PassPort Rules Take Effect June 1st, 2009

For those of you who procrastinated and expect to travel over the summer months be sure that your passports and/or passport cards are in your possessions to ease your crossing at the borders back in the United States. You can read more about it here. In the meanwhile have fun and stay safe!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Passport Day In The USA

The Department of State will hold "Passport Day in the USA" on Saturday, March 28, 2009 will hold a national outreach celebration about the upcoming changes to U.S. Travel Document Requirements. During "Passport Day in the USA," the Department of State will be giving out passport information and accepting passport applications. "Passport Day in the USA" will involve all Department of State Passport Agencies and many Passport Acceptance Facilities throughout the United States. The event is meant to encourage more U.S. citizens without a valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card to apply for one during "Passport Day in the USA."

Any U.S. Citizen who does not have a valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card and expect to travel sometime in the near future should take this opportunity to get a valid U.S. Travel Document because the Department of State will be waiving having to make an appointment and you can save money, due to the waiving of expedite fees, which is generally $60.00. So, at the minimum, those who can take advantage of attending "Passport Day in the USA," will save at least $60.00, if they need their U.S. Passport or Passport Card right away. However, you will still have to pay for $100.00 for your new U.S. Passport if you are older than 16 years of age and $85.00 if you are under 16 years of age. The U.S. Passport Card is $45.00, if you are older than 16 years of age and $35.00, if you are under 16 years of age.

Expect about four weeks to receive your U.S. Passport or Passport Card if you apply for it at the event and if you asked for the free expedited service at the event, you can expect your U.S. Passport or Passport Card in about two to three weeks. The hours for "Passport Day in the USA" varies by location and you can for the times and locations near you by visiting the Department of State Travel website here. You can also get the cost, fees and other information from the Department of State Travel Office here also. You can also get information by phone by calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.

The new U.S. Travel Document Requirements take effect on June 1st, 2009 and all U.S. Citizens will need to present a U.S. Passport or Passport Card when entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Caribbean, any land border of the U.S. or seaport entry point. Since January 23rd, 2007, any U.S. Citizen traveling by air and entering the U.S. has needed a valid U.S. Passport for entry, so that requirement remains unchanged. You can read more about U.S. Travel Document Requirements here. The "Passport Day in the USA" is a combined effort of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Postal Service, non-Postal Acceptance Facilities, so get out and get your passport questions answered and while you're at it, enjoy your becoming travel to wherever you're imagination takes you!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sending Money, Receiving Money To The Philippines

Sending money to the Philippines is just as easy as receiving money in the Philippines, if you keep a few tips in mind. First and foremost, besides the obvious of having money to send to the Philippines, you need to make sure that you the exact name of your friend or relative's name exactly as they have it on whatever identification they will be using to claim the money. If, you are sending money and your friend or relative doesn't have a valid identification card of some sort, then you'll need to advise them to copy the transaction number that you will be giving them, so that they may pick up the funds right away.

There are many choices for sending money abroad, if your friends and family are like mine, they prefer that I send money online by credit card, because it is generally the fastest, but also the most expensive option to send money. Over the last 30 plus years or so, I have used Western Union the most, but in recent years, I have elected to use a money transfer service many of you will be familiar with called, Xoom. Xoom is fast and reliable and costs on average about $6.00 to $7.00 less than sending a comparable amount by Western Union. It doesn't sound like much of a savings at first, but if you are sending money as often to the Philippines as most of my friends, then the savings are rather dramatic after a short period of sending money home.

Once your receiving party gets the transaction numbers that you will send to them or tell them by telephone, the money is ready to pick up just about anytime. You can go directly to any Banco de Oro (BDO) & Equitable PCI Bank anywhere in the Philippines and pick up your funds. Sending money to the Philippines have become even easier if you use a PayPal Card to send money by way of Xoom. Using Xoom, you can generally pick up your money in less than 45 minutes in the Metro Manila area.

Check your location, because Xoom has many 24 hours locations in the Philippines by forming a partnership with M. Lhuillier Shops. Not all M. Lhuillier Shops are twenty-four hour locations, but I'm sure that you can find one close enough to where you live, work or shop. I know that no matter if, I were in Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Norte, Negros Oriental, Pampanga, or wherever in the Philippines. I was always within walking distance of a M. Lhuillier Shop, so in essence, I was always within getting money from Xoom. If, you don't feel like walking, you can even send money by Xoom from your home, using your checking account.