How Winter Taught Me To Be Thankful

It took days for it to sink in that I’m already here in Canada and finally with my husband. My first day didn’t start very well. When I landed in Toronto airport, I started to have fever. I was already wearing a jacket but it was not enough to keep me warm. I was shivering. Fortunately, there was a shop in the airport that sells hooded shirts so I bought one because I still had another flight and my luggage was already checked in. When I finally reached the Halifax airport, there he was, my husband, with a huge smile on his face. That moment, the 26 hours of travel and all the nerves during the immigration interview felt all worth it. It was surreal. For a moment, I forgot I was not feeling well.
If you’re someone from a tropical country like me, I am certain that you have dreamed of snow and winter. It’s a beautiful dream, but little did I know that winter will break my spirit. The first time I walked a short distance to get to the library, I felt like I will die. It was freezing cold that it pierces through your winter jacket, gloves, and shoes. Your face and fingers feel numb, your eyes dry up and forces your tears to fall. This is not how I imagined winter will be like, it is supposed to be heaven just like how you see it in movies! My mind fast forwarded to the days I start working and facing the freezing cold everyday that it is so bad I would want to go back to the Philippines! The thought of it discouraged me. It would be terrible!

It was my third day and it was gloomy outside. I was lying in bed burning with fever and my mouth was so dry. It didn’t help that Lincoln had to work that day, I felt helpless and lonely. I asked myself, why do I feel so discouraged? Isn’t it what I have prayed for? I have been praying to God for more than a year and He answered my prayer! I’m already here with my husband!

I started to think of the Filipino brethren from the Christian Fellowship Church who picked me up from the airport, and some who gave me winter jackets and shoes. My mother-in-law who welcomed me with open arms and gave me winter clothes and slippers. My brother-in-law’s wife who made me hand warmers.

When I started to look at these things that God has provided for me since I came here, it changed my view and lifted my spirit. I began to appreciate the little things that gives me warmth like hot baths and showers, leg warmers, comforters, hot chocolate, and the warm embrace of my husband every night.

How could I got easily discouraged with fever and cold weather and felt like I will not be able to endure the coming days? Have you ever felt the same? Were there times you think the comings days will get worse and feel hopeless or helpless? Maybe what I am sharing now might not be as bad as you have experienced, but what I’m certain is that there are times our circumstances can block our vision that we don’t see and appreciate God’s provision and blessings. We dwell in our troubles and soak in the feeling of how unfortunate we are.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

I have read this verse numerous times but I have never fully understood what it meant until now!

To pray and to be thankful no matter what situation we are in, this is the will of God for us! God will see us through in everything we are facing, for in our troubles, God shows His works and his love. All these things we will enjoy and experience if we will learn how to be grateful.

It’s my third week here now in Canada. It is still cold but I now see and feel it’s beauty.

When I Am Full Of Myself

 

When I was 9 years old, I got molested by my own uncle. I felt so helpless. The years after that incident, I slowly learned how to fight and defend myself. When I went to college, I was ready to fight for my right against any professor who abuses his authority and I was always ready to win any argument. Whenever I hear that any member of my family got wronged and they didn’t do anything about it, I always feel frustrated and angry. Now that I am married, my husband is not an exception. Last week, when I asked my husband about his work, he told me that someone embarrassed him. Instead of encouraging and consoling my husband, I got upset with him because he didn’t do anything to defend himself. I even gave him an ultimatum that unless he promised to report the incident to his superior, we won’t be okay. These are my husband’s words,

“I thought when someone slaps you in the cheek, you should give the other side of your cheek? I don’t want that person to be in trouble because of me, I already forgave her. You only heard my side of story, let me decide for myself”.

When I heard those words, I calmed down and said sorry. I knew I was wrong. I needed to go to work so I was crying on my way. When I reached the office, my boss was already there and I couldn’t help myself but told him what happened and I cried even more. My boss said,

“When a person is so full of himself, he has less frustration tolerance for obstacles that stand in his way to get or achieve what he wants.”

Why did I get upset with my husband? Because I wanted him to defend himself but he didn’t want to. I tried to dominate to get what I want and when I didn’t, I felt frustrated. I was full of myself. I was reminded of my role as a wife, and that is, to support my husband with his decisions. It was another lesson for me. My husband is the head of the family, and God will lead our marriage through him. That’s the very reason I need to pray for my him everyday. If there are times that I don’t agree with his decisions, I should trust God and submit to my husband. God is good and faithful for bringing people who support and guide our marriage. I am very thankful.

Photobook Philippines Review

Hi guys! I just wanna share about the promo that I availed from metrodeal.com which was the 40-page 6-in x 6-in. Mini Square Softcover Photobook from Photobook Philippines for just 20 pesos. For those who don’t have credit cards, please see my post about BPI ePrepaid Mastercard.

Here are some of the pages of the photobook I customized from one of their ready templates.

You can choose from their ready templates. I chose the Wandering Lands template because it’s specifically made for travel photos.

I enhanced our photos using photoshop before I uploaded them in the photobook app so that the colors will be more vibrant and I’m happy of how it turned out. However, the Photobook Philippines’ photos get darker when printed, other than that, I am satisfied with what I got for the price I paid. I paid 20 pesos for the photobook and 280 for the delivery. They said delivery will take 7 days but I got mine in 5 days.

Oh just one reminder, you need to upload high-resolution photos. The photobook app will tell you when your photos have low resolution. Photos with low resolution will look pixelated when printed out.

If you will ask me if I would avail it again, yes, I will, but I will probably opt for the bigger one and the layflat. I now have something to give my husband for our anniversary because he treasures our captured moments so much.

For those who are in the US, you can go to Photobook America and for those who are in Canada, you can go to Photobook Canada.

I encourage you to try making one, it’s a fun project to do. 🙂

Old vs. New Philippine Passport

At last, after months of waiting, I finally got my new passport!

Getting a passport appointment from the DFA website was a long wait. I was waiting for a slot since September to renew my passport, but the schedule was full until December! I made it a habit to check the website for a slot, but there was no luck, every time, not until I saw a post from an FB group which I am a member of. In that post, it says that there was a site where you can access the DFA real time calendar. I click the link and lo and behold it shows a calendar that has a number of available slots. I immediately click the earliest available date in DFA Alabang which was December 5, a month away from the time I booked it. When I clicked the date, I was directed to the official DFA website and I was able to book my appointment. I couldn’t believe that I already had a passport appointment after waiting for months. I visited the site last week and checked if still works, I noticed that when I click some of the dates it doesn’t direct to the DFA website anymore. I also noticed that the dates were already synchronized to the DFA official website, which is good. As of today, there are no available slots anymore.

I was so excited to go to the DFA to renew my passport, but when I got there the personnel told me I needed to get a CFO (Commission of Filipino Overseas) certificate because my husband is a foreign national. They told me I had to get this before I can renew my passport. I panicked a bit because I thought I had to get another appointment but to my relief they extended my schedule for a month and I could come anytime within that time frame. Same goes to the people who didn’t have valid ID’s, so make sure you have the requirements needed to avoid delay. Check my post about requirements for updating your civil status and getting valid IDs with your married name.

I got my CFO certificate last December 12 but I decided to go back January 4 to take advantage of the 10-year passport validity. I advise you to come an hour before your appointment because the line is really long. The guard will check the time of your appointment so you can’t enter too early. My original appointment time was 3pm but I went there at 12 noon and the guard let me in because I got extension written on my application.

After all my requirements were confirmed complete, I was asked to pay the fee. You have two options, pay 950 for regular processing time (15 business days) or 1,200 for express processing (7 business days). I was not in a hurry so I paid 950. After that,  my information were encoded in the system and my photo was taken. The man who came before me was given a hair clip cause his bangs keep on falling, so gentlemen, make sure your hair is not covering your eyes and ears. Get a clean cut if you don’t want to wear hair clips. After my photo was taken I was directed to pay for the delivery. You have the option pick up your passport so you don’t pay or have it delivered to your door. You need to pay an extra 150 for LBC delivery. Mine was delivered on time.

So here’s the comparison of the old and new Philippine passport.

The covers have the same color but there’s a little difference with the seal.

Passport 1

In the first few pages, you will immediately notice the difference in color. The new passport has more of a bluish color. The Philippine flag is replaced by the Philippine eagle.

Passport 3

The signature is now signed on a separate page. When you scan the pages of the new passport, they are not plain anymore. You will see the different famous landmarks of the Philippines and the lyrics of the National anthem.

Passport 4

Here is the famous Mayon Volcano in Page 20 & 21.

Passport 5

At the back of the new passport, you will see a Pawikan,

Passport 6

So overall, the new passport is better not only because it has a 10-year validity but it’s also way better aesthetically. Good job to DFA with this one. I hope they will also make the passport appointment system better.

What can you say about the new Philippine passport? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Updating Your Civil Status In Government IDs And Changing Your Last Name

Before updating your civil status, decide first if you’re going to change your last name. This is something that you and your husband should discuss. Changing your last name is not mandatory in the Philippines, so have a talk with your husband why you prefer or not prefer to take his last name. Bear in mind that once you use your married name, you can’t revert to your maiden name unless your marriage got annulled or your husband died.

I asked how my husband feels if I decide not to take his last name. He said it’s fine with him if I choose to retain my last name but he would really be happy if I take his. I took his last name as a symbol of our oneness and in my experience, it makes a difference in our marriage. He was very happy when he saw my IDs with his last name and likewise, I feel proud to be identified with my husband’s name.

The first document that you need to change your civil status is your Marriage Certificate. It has to be authenticated by PSA formerly known as NSO. I got my copy by ordering it online. You can order it through PSAHelpline.ph. You can pay it online using your credit card and debit card. If you don’t have them you have the option to pay through any Bayad Center or 711 ECPay. If you choose to pay through Bayad Center, allow one to two days for payment confirmation. I paid mine using my credit card so it was confirmed within the day and I received the copy my marriage certificate the next day.

Plan your day of going to the government offices. Here are the list of requirements for each agency.

I opted to go to PHILHEALTH first because they give IDs right away. I had my 1×1 ID picture with me so I had it laminated.

philhealth.jpg

If you’re getting a UMID ID the first time, it’s free. If not then you need to pay 300 pesos. You will get your ID after three months.

SSS.jpg

The next day I went to PAG-IBIG and pay 100 for the LOYALTY card. You should get it after a week or two but until now I haven’t received mine. I availed it in November and until now I haven’t received it. I haven’t made a follow-up yet because I have enough valid IDs now for making transactions.

pag ibig.jpg

I went to my bank within the day because I already have PHILHEALTH card which bears my husband’s last name. You need to present an ID which bears your new last name to get your status updated. Don’t forget to get a new ATM card.

bank.jpg

If you’re renewing your NBI clearance, go to the website https://clearance.nbi.gov.ph/ and register. You can pay the fee online using your credit card or debit card or through GCash. I advise that you do this to save time. You don’t have to print your application form, just jot down the code and present it to the guard.

NBI.jpg

When I got my passport renewed the personnel told me that I need a Commission On Filipino Overseas Certificate because my husband is a foreign national. They extended my appointment schedule for a month to secure this certificate. I booked an appointment through the website cfo.gov.ph and attended the seminar. I paid 400 pesos and got my certificate after the seminar.

passport.jpg

I hope this helps. These information are from my experience. Please check the websites for updated requirements.

It felt good to finally update my civil status and get the Valid IDs with my married name. It was not so bad after all. What are you waiting for? Get it done now. 🙂

When other women flirt with your man

aid5868-v4-728px-flirt-step-17.jpg
Image from WikiHow

How do you react when other women flirt with your man?

For my new followers, I’m in a long distance relationship with my husband. I live here in the Philippines while my husband lives in Canada. We dated online for a year and we’ve been married for 6 months now. We’ve been in a long distance relationship since Day 1 and continued it after we got married. We’re working on my visa now so we can finally be together.

The very first thing we agreed when we started dating was to be honest with each other. We remained committed to that agreement and it even got stronger when we got married. I’m always honest with my husband when someone asks me out. When I was still single, when someone asks me out, I blatantly say “I can’t” because I’m already in a relationship. Some of these guys told me that my boyfriend doesn’t have to know if I go out with them. How can these guys assume that I would go out with them without my husband’s knowledge? I find it disrespectful and low. I feel sorry for women who will end up with these type of men. Clearly, these type of men have the 99% tendency to cheat in their relationships.

There was this instance that my husband’s friend added me on FB. This guy was his usual acquaintance and I couldn’t believe that he told lies about my husband and tried to hit on me. I talked to my husband and told him about what his friend was doing. I even questioned him why he hangs out with this kind of person. We both agreed that we’re going to block him on FB and that he would stop hanging out with this guy. It was crazy.

Likewise my husband tells me when women express interest in him. I can still remember when an ex-girlfriend of his kept on asking him to go back to her when obviously and publicly she knew my husband is in a relationship with me already. My husband told her nicely that he is happy with me and wished her happiness too. My husband is a nice person and sometimes other women misinterpret his kindness to being interested in them. Just a month ago, two women expressed interest in him. I was even surprised that one of them knew he was already married and she didn’t care. She kept on messaging my husband even if he was constantly ignoring her messages until later on she gave up. While the other woman asked him out and my husband said he doesn’t hang out with other women alone in respect of me.

My husband joked that he should place his hand on his chin while talking to women so they would instantly notice the wedding ring and see that he’s already married! I told my husband “You’re too nice that you’re sending the wrong signal to these women. You wouldn’t want me to be too nice to other men that I send the wrong signal.” And he thought, he wouldn’t like that. We talked about how to avoid giving wrong signals and agreed that when talking to other people who express interest in us, we will mention “my wife” and “my husband” phrases in the conversation. But the problem is, these women already knew my husband is married and yet still want him!

We agreed we wouldn’t go out with the opposite sex alone except for some instances when it’s really needed and that we both agreed on it. When we got married, we are already intertwined with each other. Whatever my husband does reflects and affects me and likewise, whatever I do reflects and affects my husband. In a small town in Nova Scotia where my husband lives, news spreads easily and people love to gossip. We are not going to give other people reason to talk unpleasant things about us.

We trust each other but we also believe that we should not place ourselves in a situation that could lead to temptation. We agreed on these things and we’re happy about it. I know this is not applicable to other couples because everyone is different. For me, the most important thing is that you both agree on it, you’re both happy, and it works for the both of you.

My husband and I always put ourselves in each other’s shoes when we try to come up with an agreement. In this way, we understand each other’s point of view. I appreciate how cooperative, understanding, and committed my husband is in our marriage and that’s what I’m always thankful for. Although we both live on opposite sides of the world, he never gave me the reason to doubt or feel insecure and I do the same. I give the credit to my husband because I learn to be more kind and understanding because it’s who he is and it’s very contagious.

So how would you react when someone flirts with your man?

I say, try to be calm and start a healthy conversation. Try to reach an agreement on how to handle this kind of situation and as much as possible drop judgement and assumptions. To deal with it is worth it, after all, you’re going to spend your lifetime together.

How about you? What do you do when someone flirts with your man?

Oh Canada

My husband is Canadian and likes to teach me about Canada. I learned about smarties, donair, poutine, beaver’s tail, child benefits, health care, Tommy Douglas, Terry Fox, and even the Bluenose. He would educate me about Canada’s geography and even give me quizzes about the provinces. I always tell him he should be a History […]

Pamamanhikan (Supplication)

The Philippines has a rich tradition with regards to courtship. In old days, men court their maidens through songs, poems, and letters. Women are not allowed to entertain men outside the house. They must court the women inside the house. Women cannot go to a date without a chaperone. I have a lot of first-hand […]