Thursday, November 15, 2012

Getting a Maid from an Accredited Agency in Singapore November 15, 2012

For those pondering to get a Maid from an accredited agency here in Singapore, you can check out the information below after my conversation with one of the agencies in Lucky Plaza:

New Maid
Minimum 2 yrs contract
788SGD - Agency fee
53.50SGD - Security bond
267.5 - Medical Insurance
5 months advance worth of salary of maid to be paid to Agency then employer deducts in Maid's Salary.
450SGD starting salary of Maid coming from PH with no SG experience.
500SGD onwards starting salary for transfer maids currently working in SG.

Fyi, 2013 starting salary of maid coming from PH will increase to 500SGD.

If there's a need to replace existing maid
Agency provides 2 replacements within 1 year if replacement is coming from PH.
Need to pay the following
                - 5.5months Adv to be paid to Agency then employer deducts in Maid's Salary
                - 200sgd(singapore processing
                - insur+bond(prorated based on remaining months
                - 200sgd (PH embassy processing)

If maid is returned within 6 months and replacement maid is coming from SG, need to pay 1 month advance to agency only.

Disclaimer: As usual please do your own homework abd double check these information. This information is based on one particular agency only and current as of Nov. 15, 2012. You can get the list of accredited agencies in and check the expiration of their license.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Immigration execs implement new screening rules for intl travelers January 24, 2012

Our Bureau of Immigration just announced the new screening rules. Here's the link;

Unfortunately there's not much detail in the article. Upon visiting the website of BI it's not loading at all. If anyone of you knows the details of the guidelines specially for tourists young and old and the contacts for complaining abusive Immigration personnel please comment here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Racial Profiling or Simply Ignorance? July 2, 2011

I just like to share the post of this young professional woman who was harassed, humiliated and traumatized by some Officers in Denpasar Airport when they went for a vacation in Bali, Indonesia. I truly believe that this could have been handled in a totally professional way but from what i read those officers are no short of ignorant and unprofessional in all levels. They should have a code of conduct like how police officers in US handles suspects. They are respectful but emulates authority at the same time. Please do share with everyone you know. I'm sure this does not reflect all Indonesians. I just wish those officers are at least remanded and issue an apology to those they've victimized. Yes i say victimized because although they are doing their jobs, they did not execute it professionally.

Hit the link below:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pag-IBIG Membership Mandatory for OFWs, Required for OEC Issuance June 28, 2011

For all the OFW's out there see below link:

Housing Loan interest rates in the Philippines June 28, 2011

For those planning to buy a house or condo in the Philippines, some of the banks have promotional rates in loan interest rates. Make sure you study the Repricing Period.

Home Loan Interest Rates in the Philippines (as of June 2011)

Repricing Period Allied Bank BDO BPI FB* BPI FB** EastWest Bank HSBC Robinsons Bank* Security Bank
1 year 8.50% 7.88% 5.50% 8.75% 5.88% 5.75% 5.88% 8.75%
2 years 9.00%         7.49%   9.50%
3 years 9.50% 9.75% 7.75% 9.75%   7.69%   9.50%
5 years 9.75% 10.00% 8.75% 10.00%   8.99%   10.00%
10 years 11.50% 11.00% 10.00% 11.00%        
15 years 11.50% 11.25% 11.00% 11.25%        
16-25 years   11.50%   11.50%        


* BPI FB – promo rates of BPI Family Savings Bank, valid until June 30, 2011

** BPI FB – published interest rates of BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank, before the promo period

*** Promo rate of Robinsons Bank, valid until June 30, 2011; no other fixed interest rates published for longer years

See source blog for more details:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Filipinos Mindset on Investment or Savings? June 20, 2011

I want to share this blog that i read in Pulse. It's about how we Filipinos in general fall to the trap of zero savings lifestyle because of "Inggit" or simply ignorance.

As a Father I'd like to educate my self in managing Finances and investing so that i can pass it on to my children at an early age.

I have a vision that if all us OFW's start to inculcate and share our knowledge to our children at a very young age then we will reap the benefits of having financially independent and literate children. In turn it will benefit our country.

So i call to my fellow OFW's to start on our own families first and always share your knowledge to those who are willing to listen.

See link for the blog

Maharlika Band gig at FWC Idol 2011 Finals @ Firefly Bar, Singapore June 19, 2011

See our latest videos to the recently concluded FWC (Filipino Wednesday Club) Idol 2011 Finals held last night (19June2011) at Firefly Bar (previously known as Bar None) just below Marriott Hotel near Tangs.

Congratulations to the contestants and the organizers!

Go to Maharlika Band FB Page:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to apply for a Long Term Visit Pass for your Child (For PR Parents)

As long as your child has a Passport you can already apply for LTVSP. You can also apply for an extension of his/her short term visit pass while you wait for the processing.

When we applied last 2010 it took 40 business days before i got approved. You can call ICA anytime to double check.

You don't need to go to ICA. To apply online you can go to the below link and click on New Application. Read through Important Notes first:

The following info is gathered from below link:

Eligibility for New Applications

- Child of Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Residents
- Your Child's Travel Document has a validity of 6 months or more
- Your Child's Visit Pass (short term) has a validity of 10 days or more
- PR Parents has a SingPass and is at least 21 years of age

- All applications submitted through e-VP are required to have the processing fees paid before they can be processed. Approved applications under e-VP will also need to go through online payment before completing of formalities. Payment can be made by MasterCard and Visa issued by MasterCard or Visa Electron, or Internet Banking with a valid Internet Banking account with Citibank, DBS or UOB. Once the Payment transaction is successfully completed, applicant will be notified of his/her application status either by email (if provided) or via “Status Enquiry”
- Upon approval you need to pay immediately S$60/- Issuance Fee, S$30/- Visa fee

Application Status Enquiry
- You can go the the below link:
You can call ICA
For new application submitted via e-VP, the normal processing time is about 4-6 weeks

All requirements will be stated in the Approval Notice Letter that you will receive. You must bring Original and Photocopies of the docs from v) to x) in your formalities. Below are what stated on our Approval Notice:
i) A copy of the notice for scanning in ICA
ii) Child's passport. A copy of particulars page must be submitted to ICA.
iii) A duly signed printout of the form which you have submitted through the e-VP system
iv) One recent passport-sized colour photograph (takem against white background); My advice here is to go to ICA and have your child take the picture there instead to avoid the hassle of getting the picture rejected. They can take pictures of baby or toddlers.
v) Child's birth certificate
vi) Parents Marriage certificate
vii) Parent's Income tax for the last 3 years
viii) Parent's monthly CPF contribution histpry for the last 12 months
ix) Parent's latest letter of employment, date of commencement, designation and salary per month.
x) Parent's highest educational certificate
xi) Child's DE Card (DisEmbarkation Card if Child was born outside Singapore)
xii) Child's medical report in the prescribed format. This will be sent to you along with Approval Notice.

When you receive the Approval Notice and made the payment you will be automatically given a date and time of appointment to complete your formalities. If you want to change this you can go the below link:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New site for Investing in Singapore

There's an up an coming website to learn about different investing methods

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Guidelines and Reminders all for Filipinos in Singapore March 29, 2011

My friend forwarded an email containing this reminder coming from Philippine Embassy in Singapore. Kababayan, fyi.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Philippine Airport Process and Fees October 13, 2010

I just want to share the process that we went through in NAIA Terminal 3 when we recently came back from Philippines to Singapore. Our carrier is Cebu Pacific.

1. X-ray and metal detectors (All baggages including mobile phones, documents and wallets needs to go through).
2. Pay Travel tax located at the far right of the terminal
3. Check-in at the Cebu Pacific counter (Max for check-in is 15kg while hand carry is 7kg. You are allowed to bring extra hand bag or laptop).
4. Pay terminal fee,
5. Fill-up departure card (for all passengers)
6. Immigration
7. X-ray and metal detector (remove shoes, belts, blings and pocket contents)

Travel Tax
For PR's and Long term visit pass - 200php
Work Permit, SPASS and EPASS are exempted (Must have OEC)

Terminal Fee
For PR's and Long term visit pass - 750php
Babies, Work Permit, SPASS and EPASS are exempted (Must have OEC)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pinoy Singapore Life Facebook Page, October 1, 2010

Please go to Pinoy Singapore Life facebook page. You can see it on the right of this site. Just "Like" it.

Just post in the Wall questions related to the topics of this blog site. I can reply there much faster. I will still be updating this blog because it's easier to track.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Child born in Singapore to PR parents, September 24, 2010

If you're a Filipino, read on. If not some steps might apply and some might not.

I have a PR friend who recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl here in singapore. I asked her husband some of the things that they need to do to process their baby's travel documents and visa.

The hospital where the baby is delivered will give you some sort of temporary visit pass and Report of Birth. This gives you 42 days to apply for her passport which is a requirement for applying long term visit pass or Permanent Residency.

You will need to apply for passport in Philippine Embassy. Babies are prioritized in applying passport. Instead of thumbmark they will get his/her footprint. You will need to pay 187sgd. Processing takes 6 weeks and there's no rush processing. The only requirement is Report of Birth which you will apply together with the passport. Report of Birth requirements are:
- Download Report of Birth form from the website and print 5 copies
- Birth certificate from the hospital
- Passport of parents (original and 5 photocopies)
- Marriage certificate (original and 5 photocopies)

Now you're thinking 42 days is not enough if the passport takes 6 weeks to process. In the embassy they will give you a memorandum which you will need to bring in ICA to extend the visit pass.

I'm not sure if these applies to all regardless if you're a PR or not. Please call Philippine Embassy for clarifications.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Did you recently became a PR? April 7, 2010

For those new PR you need to update the following to change your personal details of your FIN to NRIC.
Company or Agency

Let me know if i missed something.

Change of Particulars like Address? April 7, 2010

For those who recently moved to a new location you need to update the following to change your address.
Company or Agency
E-Pass, S-Pass, Workpass or IC
Some takes a only a phone call or email to change address. Some takes time. So you have to decide for yourself when do you want to change the address else your letters might not be delivered to your new location.

If you're a PR then you can just bring any recent bill, bank statements, tenancy agreement or contract which states your new address to the nearest Police Station. It will just take them 10-15 minutes to update.

They scratch your old address at the back of your IC and replace with a sticker with your new address at no cost. They will also give you the list of Government agencies that will be automatically updated so that you don't need to inform them one by one. I must say they're very efficient.

How to renew Green Passport to Machine-Readable Passport April 7, 2010

If you're green passport is still valid for more than 6 months and you're in the Philippines for a vacation for more than 1 week you can renew your Passport in DFA and have it "RUSH" which takes 7 days. It will cost you 750Php. If you renew in the Philippine Embassy then you need to pay S$85.

Step 1
Get the form online to fill-up and prepare requirements listed in the application form or in .

Photocopy personal particulars of your passport and IC, E-Pass, S-Pass or Workpass front and back because the nearest Photocopying machine in Philippine Embassy is in Tanglin Mall.

If you plan to take an id picture in the embassy itself then prepare small bills like S$2 or coins. Inside there's a Self-Serve Photobooth. You don't need to cut the pictures. During submission they will do it for you.

Bring some reading materials, refreshments, fan, pen, paste and scissors just in case. If you came in late then you better prepare for a long wait. Make sure you get a queue number right away.

Step 2

In the claim stub it indicates the date and time for you to come back. Bring your old passport, IC, S$85 and claim stub. Give the claim stub in Window <> and wait for your name to be called. Once called double-check the details of your new passport and your done.

Step 3

If you are a PR then you need to login to using your Singpass to update your Re-Entry Permit (REP) of your new Passport Number. Once you updated it you can print your new REP already and wait for 14 days for the approval letter to be received.

Disclaimer: This may not be the latest procedures or requirements. Refer to related government agencies.

How to apply for a Foreign Domestic worker (Maid) April 7, 2010

For those who are planning to apply their own FDW a couple of things you need to consider:
Salary for a Filipino FDW ranges from S$300 - S$400 depending on your requirements.
Then there's a monthly levy, cost incurred during application including insurance and security bond, Medical Checkup every 6 months, airline ticket and basic necessities like food, bed and rent.
So if you have Parents or Parent-In-Laws willing to take care of your child while both of you are working then that would be ideal. You just need to apply them a Long Term Visit Pass which needs to be renewed yearly. If they can't then you have to do your computation to compare the cost of having one of you stay at home or hiring a FDW.
Other option would be Working from home.

If you can find someone you can trust or at least recommended by a close friend to take care of your child then that would be best. If not you can always setup a basic surveillance system.

Below are the steps i did as of December 2009. Always double-check for the latest requirements.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4
Make sure you mention to the doctor that it's for first time application of FDW checkup. Bring a copy of form.
Step 5
You can go to for a sample of the written exam. Almost all are just common-sense.

Step 6
Bring your IC and Passport
Step 7

Umbrella not allowed from DMIA Clark to Singapore December 8, 2009

Take note when coming to Singapore from Philippines don't bring Umbrella in your Hand-carry. Put them in Check-in bags. Mine got confiscated. I didn't see the sign.

Invitation Letter for Singapore vacation December 8, 2009

One of my friends posted something in Facebook about his friend having been denied to go to Singapore in DMIA, Clark when he failed to produce an Invitation Letter with Seal from Philippine Embassy in Singapore in a closed envelope. Some commented that there's such a thing. Here's what i did to get one:

Philippine Embassy
Office Hours: SUN - THU 9am-12pm and 1:30pm-5pm

- Your Passport
- Pen
- Photocopy of Passport (the page with ID)
- Copy of Passport of visitor
- Age (this would be in handy in filling-up the form)

I went on Sunday around 1:30PM and there were a lot of people outside. They were controlling the people coming in already since it's jammed packed inside. Just inform the guard that your purpose is for notarization only. They only control the Passport application and renewals.

There's a guard house to the right where everyone needs to register however when i told them that i just came to get a notarized invitation letter he just pointed me towards Window 5 so if you want once you're in just go directly to Window 5.

They're just 5 of us in the line at first. When it's my turn i told the officer i want to get the notarized application form. He asked me for whom and i said for my Wife's cousin whose visiting. I guess they just want to make sure that it's really for vacation purposes.

He gave me an Affidavit form and pointed me to the long table at the back. There are sample forms posted in the table (For invitation letter, for affidavit of loss, etc.)

Once I'm done i went to Window 5 again. He checked then told me to go to Window 9 for payment. The amount is S$42.50. I brought the form with attached receipt back to Window 5 and waited for my name to be called. That's it. Just make sure the form has a red seal and it's really yours.

UPDATE 30Dec2011: A comment from jcam
hello! jcam here... just want to inform everyone na di pinapayagan kumuha ng AIL kung para sa kaibigan o para sa bf/gf dapat relatives mo na.. so ang ginawa ng iba nilagay "FIANCE" pero dpende kung papayagan parin sa Embassy.. ang iba nakiusap nalang pero may mga pumayag naman na officer ng Embassy ang ginawa di na fill-up yung part na kung sino yung iimbitahin ang ginawa ng iba sila na ang nagsulat.. Ang best advice bayaran nyo muna para ala ng magagawa yung officer.. karamihan ganun ang ginawa.. sana makatulong po ito.. Pagpunta ko dito nahold din ako pero naging smooth naman ang lahat..

Jel,,salamat sa mga infos.. merry xmas and happy new year to everyone..

Disclaimer: This is my own personal experience only. Do check the embassy for latest procedures.

Baby Carriers anyone? December 8, 2009

For me it's a must for people who travels. It's safer for the baby since both hands are free to support yourself in case you fell.

Imagine carrying your baby without carrier then you tripped, instinctively you'll let go of the baby to support your fall. If you carried your baby using the baby carrier you can support your fall without letting go of your baby.

Choose a trusted brand or do an online search to check on reviews. However it's not advisable to use this everytime.

Some don't recommend using the baby carrier 2 hrs straight. we bought the one with the Lying Position if we need to feed her.

Be warned though that some baby still prefers to be handcarried. Make sure to follow instructions and safety precautions.

Do also share your own experiences with your baby carrier.

Finally, certified "Tatay" December 8, 2009

My Wife and I are pretty much convinced that our first child is my New Year's gift to her. It was around February when i got home from work where i experienced the most pleasant surprise from Wife when she came out of the toilet saying "Jel,i'm pregnant...".

It's quite funny because i think she doesn't know what kind of emotion she's going to convey. I asked her if she's sure since i don't want to be disappointed. I'm so ready to be a Dad already.

Unlike in the movies 2 pregnancy test kit are accurate enough for us. It would make more sense to confirm it in an actual clinic.
Next day is saturday so we searched online and asked recommendations from friends for a Female Gynecologist however first lesson we learned...Call for appointment in advance. You can walk-in but you'll have to wait for a couple of hours and most of the doctors recommended to us are fully booked alreaady and won't accept walk-ins.

Finally we found a Male Gynecologist in Thomson Medical Center. We were so excited that we don't want to put off the check-up for any other day. Seeing the first ultrasound of my baby is indescribable even she's no bigger than a 5 pesos coin. I can't help smiling throughout the session.

Here in Singapore Male Gyne are not bad since they do Ultrasound almost everytime to check the baby.

Throughout the pregnancy sometimes i hoped the baby would grow faster like Renesme in the Twilight book minus the gore. Luckily the effects of pregnancy to my Wife is minimal physically and emotionally.

I think the most trouble that she experienced is constipation. She's already constipated before so she needs to up the ante on the fibre department. We also feared her clumsiness so from that time in the bathroom were she almost slipped i always make sure that we shower together.

Every checkup day is a happy day for me since i could take a glance again at my baby and see how she's developing. I think most first time parents would mutter to themselves "So...this is how it feels like".

My Wife went back to the Philippines on her 7th month. Airline limits the travelling of pregnant women to 30 weeks. However this might not be the case on some airlines.
You have to bring the medical certificate from your Gynecologist also.

Her due date is Oct. 10 so i booked a flight on Oct. 8. But it seems that my baby is ready to see the outside world and she came knocking around 6am of Oct. 3.

My Wife still managed to inform me that she's already on labor. They rushed her to the humble clinic of her Gynecologist where her sister and cousin delivered their own child.

It's past 3pm already and she still hasn't delivered my baby. I started to get nervous. Her mother called to inform me that dilation is still 5cm. My Wife is already asking for a ceasarian however the doctor told them that they will wait for another hour, if not they will rush her to the nearby hospital for ceasarian. They will just inform my parents once they hit the 10cm mark.

My imagination ran wild. 4:30pm, 5pm, 5:30pm still no call. I was going to call her mother on 6pm but then i she called first. I thought it was her was my father instead.

And at that very moment i stopped breathing. "You have a daughter!" he said. I asked him "How in the world you got there so fast?" From Antipolo to Muntinlupa it only took them 45 minutes and it's afternoon.

I guess my Mother-in-law forgot to inform me that around 5pm they already called my parents. At the very instant that my father and father-in-law arrived at the clinic my baby is delivered.

A healthy 7.11 pounds baby girl and her name is Jelene Margaux To-ong. Jel for Jelmarven, ene for Magdalene where my Wife's name, Madel, came from and Margaux from the character in the book Sunday's at Tiffany's by James Patterson. My wife nicknamed her Maije.

Things i learned so far...
- Be prepared. My Wife has a checklist of the necessary things to purchase in anticipation of the delivery. I'll post it separately
- How to properly carry a baby (support head and back). Her head is still very soft.
- 1st month to 2nd month her milk formula (Similac Advance 0 to 6 months) is for 3oz = 1.5 scoop, 2oz = 1 scoop, 1oz = .5 scoop
- How to properly clean and change diaper
- Using baby wipes, wipe from genitalia to buttocks so the grit will be away from her genitalia
- Apply Bottom butter to prevent rashes before replacing diaper
- Bottom butter works on neck rashes too!
- Stretch mark creams did not work on my Wife (it also doesn't mean it will not work on others)
- Use distilled water for the milk (not purified or mineral and specially not tap water)
- Help your Wife on everything (she just went through the most exhausting physical activity she ever experienced)
- Newborn babies are relatively easier to take care since they sleep most of the time. You just need to feed and change her diaper
- Her 1st week will be her first bath and massage
- Newborns cries when its time to change diapers, 2 months and above doesn't so you have to check and know the habits
- Habits don't last
- Ask for help if you need it
- Use alcohol on excess Umbilical cord. It falls of on it's own so don't forcefully remove it
- Don't change the diaper first specially if she just peed or pooped, wait for a couple of minutes for the aftershock (followup pee and poop) unless you want to get sprayed
- Changing mat is advisable
- Drypers are ok however it's noisy when you remove the belt, in EQ you can feel the pee and poop in outer skin. Huggies is our choice.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

PA PADDLE, Singapore 25Apr2009

Videos of Filipino Dragons Singapore race on PA PADDLE held at Bedok Reservoir last April 25, 2009. For future events please visit our website

MR500 Dragonboat Race, Singapore - 28Mar2009

Here are some videos of our race during the MR500 held in Bedok Reservoir, Singapore. Our team is called Filipino Dragons Singapore. For more details visit our website

Maharlika Band - Suntec Expo Hall Corporate Event, Singapore - 13Dec2008

Just want to share some of the videos of our Band here in Singapore...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Permanent Residency Application February 28, 2009

Some possible reasons for applying PR:
1. Possibility of taking roots in Singapore
2. Travel conveniences
3. Taxes is much lower
4. CPF (Central Provident Fund) which will be payed partly by the Employer and partly by you
5. More jobs available for PR since some companies prefer to hire PR's or Singapore Citizens

We applied last Nov. 15, 2009 which is our e-appointment. You get the forms from their website After filling it up you have to make an e-appointment online on when you're going to submit the forms. Weekends are allowed but due to large numbers of applications sometimes the next available slots are 2 months ahead so make sure to reserve your slot as early as possible. Personal appearance is required for the applicants. Just follow all requirements stated in the form.

I would suggest taking your passport id picture in ICA itself to avoid inconvenience. Right now it's just S$5 for 4 id's. Get 4 additional copies for your formalities so that you don't need to come back.

We didn't get our medical examination since another friend of ours advised us that if your last medical exam happened 2 years from your formalities appointment date then you don't need to undergo medical examination again. Just to make sure my Wife confirmed this on ICA hotline. Remember to ask where you can get the declaration form where you outline details like Pass-type (Q1, Q2, etc), Date of acquiring that pass and it's expiration, etc. This declaration pretty much says that during your PASS application you already had your medical exam which is within the 2 years time frame.

The submission is no hassle. It took us an hour.

Common application takes about 3 months so 2 weeks before the 3rd month i called ICA to verify my application since my Wife's S-PASS is going to expire on Mar. 10, 2009 so we needed to know if she'll going to renew her pass or not. The operator said our PR application has been approved and told us to wait for the letter of approval. We waited for another week but no letter arrived. We called again to the ICA if it's possible to retrieve the letter personally in ICA office. They asked for our contact nos. to get back to us regarding this.

1 day later someone from ICA called my Wife's mobile and informed us that the letter was sent on January 29, 2009. If they will resend the mail it will take additional 3 weeks so they gave us instructions on when and who should we approach in ICA to retrieve our approval letter. Sure enough the letter was handed over to me personally when i went there.

That same day during the evening we tried to schedule an appointment for the formalities however the reference no. of or approval letter doesn't work. I tried again the next morning and then i was able to go in and set our formalities on Feb. 27, 2009 (Fri.) at 11:45. For formalities only weekdays are allowed so we need to take day off on that day.

A very useful advice was given to us by my friend that we need to scan our approval letter in 5th floor of ICA to get the queue number when it is already 10 minutes of our appointment time. Meaning if our appointment is set to 11:45am then we should scan between 11:35am to 11:44am. If you scanned too early it will consider you as a walk-in and it will take the whole day for you to be accommodated. Even having an appointment it feels like your a walk-in. We arrived early to have our breakfast. We didn't found any fastfood around so we settled for their cafeteria. Not much to choose from in our opinion. We're not very fond of some of their traditional menu. We just bought egg sandwiches which costs S$1.80. Could be more cheaper. My wife had an orange juice and me a squash lime which we thought could use less water. They shouldn't dilute the drinks to much.

About approx. 30-45 mins. our number was called to a counter where we submitted the completed forms. After we informed of our medical examination the officer gave me the declaration form to fill-up and my wife filled-up hers on the form attached to our approval letter. It's a good thing i have my Cards with me because they only accept NETS for payment! They could have posted this in their website or something to inform the public. I'm not sure what would've happened if we don't have NETS. Sheesshh!! We paid S$150 per person.

After that the officer gave us the new counters that we need to wait for the queue number. These counters are for the thumb printing and scanning. We waited, i think, for about 2 hours and my pregnant wife is already hungry since the last food that we ate are just sandwiches. We keep seeing numbers higher than us being called but not ours. Just makes you wonder if it's by random or is their any pattern that I'm not seeing.

After the thumb printing and another round of payment (S$50 per person for the IC Card) we we're told to check the queue numbers being called at room 40. We were given the collection slip for our IC cards. The officer informed us that one of us can get the IC from 8am to 4pm on Mar. 6, 2009 (Fri.).

After about 30 mins. our number was called with a bunch of other numbers on the same room (rm 40). I think about 5 numbers were called. Inside another officer gave us our passport, Re-Entry permit and yellow cardboard which the officer told us to photocopy and give to our employers for the CPF contribution.

So we started at 11:45am and we finished at around 4pm. What a day. And we still need to go to Expo that day for the Baby Expo. But I'm glad we are now PR. Another milestone for my Family.

Disclaimer: Information contained in this blog are personal experiences and not to be used as factual information source. It may or may not apply to you so do your own research.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Our First Baby February 5, 2009

How did i found out? Well my Wife was suspicious enough to buy a pregnancy test but we'd had so much false alarms before that i didn't think anything of it. First reason of doubt that she might be pregnant because she was 10 days delayed already and she said the latest is only 1 week which happened a couple of times before. Secondly, during the 1st week of January she took an emergency leave since she's not feeling well and very nauseated so she vomited a few times but mostly it happened during the afternoon. Usually in the movies morning sickness happened during the morning thus the word "morning" but having asked several mothers in my office it seems that vomiting can happen also anytime of the day.

When i arrived from Fairprice Junction 8 5th of February (thu.) night in the house with her i didn't realize that she already went in to the toilet to use the pregnancy test. While i was washing the dishes she called out to me and said she was pregnant! Not that i doubt her but i need to see for myself so i went it to the toilet and saw the two stripes and checked the instructions. Yup! It was positive indeed. I expected fear because it's not really the ideal time to have babies, recession and all but instead i was elated! Excited even. So i thought
Wow, so this is the feeling. The feeling of first time fathers.
or so i assumed it would be. I felt no fear of the future. I was just so excited and it felt just right. My Wife didn't saw that. It figures. She thought i was not happy at all.

Anyways my first thought was we need to go to a Gynecologist in the weekends. I have dragonboat training at 3pm and clinic hours on Sat. are just until 1pm and no Sundays so she need to take the half-day leave since she has work on saturdays 'till 2pm. On Friday i took the chance to ask for referrals and advice from my Mother friends at work. One referred us to a Gynecologist in Mt. Alvernia and another one in Raffles Hospital but both are fully booked when i contacted them Saturday morning. It's a good thing we found one at Thomson Medical Centre. Now the moment of truth. The confirmation that we've been waiting for. My wife had an ultrasound and for the first time we saw a miracle. The doctor estimated the fetus to be 5 weeks old and it's just like as big as a 10 cents coin or bigger. We didn't asked for a print out yet and the doctor told us to come back Feb. 21. I'm so excited by i try not to show it. After the checkup they gave us a baby bag which contains some magazines and diapers. Total costs is S$117. Initial checkup is costlier. The next one will only cost S$60 and ultrasound is S$30.

FEB. 21 (7 weeks and 1 day)

Ultrasound scan

Above is the ultrasound scan of our baby. Yeah i shape yet. Printing costs additional S$10. It's a good thing the checkup is monthly.

Mar. 21 (11 weeks, 5 days old)

Ultrasound Scan

At last our baby is taking shape. Based on the measurement it's 4.87cm which according to my Wife's research is normal for 11 weeks pregnancy. No noticeable bump can be seen yet in my Wife.

By the way here in Singapore abortion is legal. I mentioned this because our doctor asked us if we want to do some tests while my Wife is pregnant. He asked us first what's our religion. It's some sort of an opening so that he can assess if he can bring up the question or not. At first i have no idea where he's going with the question. He mentioned that there's a test that measures the possibility of the baby having Down Syndrome while the baby is still in womb. Then i asked
If there's a test does it mean that it can be prevented?
He answered no. The reason for that testing is to have an option for abortion which we immediately declined.
(to be continued...)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

DFA Advisory - for Passport Renewal (NOT TRUE!!! See below...)

Advise for your passport ...
Department of Foreign Affairs

Travel Agency Section

Please be advised that effective January 2010, the green colored Philippine passport will no longer be accepted even if it is still valid. Below are the list of new requirement for the application and renewal of Philippine Passport.




PROCESSING TIME: 10 to12 WORKING DAYS for Overtime 15 to 20 working days for Regular Processing







PROCESSING TIME: 10 to 12 WORKING DAYS AFTER PERSONAL APPEARANCE for Overtime and 15 to 20 Working days for Regular

################The Above Post are false. Thanks to "Anonymous for highlighting". See this link for the correct DFA statement

Friday, October 31, 2008

Genting & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Oct. 17, 2008

It's a good thing that we prepared in advance. My Wife's High School friend which is based on Japan had her vacation here in Singapore. She wanted to go to Malaysia since she's in Singapore anyways. We opt to take the 3D2N package Genting/Kuala Lumpur. For weeks we've been searching for the best deal. Me i was pretty particular about the coach. I've heard stories from my friends when they went to Genting. It's 6 hours long drive from Singapore. The coach that they booked has an individual LCD screen where you can choose programs you want to watch. To get the best deal my officemate suggested we go directly to the Golden Mile Complex along Beach Road. These is where most of the coach companies are located (Grassland, Konsortium, Five Stars). Coach companies have their own travel agencies also. Grasslands' package was much more attractive and cheaper than other travel agencies offer but that's understandable.

Oct. 17
Our coach leaves at 7:30am so we must arrive at the Golden Mile Complex 30 mins. before to show our booking to get our tickets and hotel vouchers from the Grassland Travel and Tours. It was on time. Our coach is Royal VIP 21 seater. Seat can be reclined to almost flat. Seat and leg pads can be controlled also.

The LCD screen doesn't turn on until we past the Singapore Immigration. I was dying to watch the in-house movies however to my disappointment i already watched most of the english movies. One category is "Other Movies" where they showcase Malaysian, Thailand movies. No luck from there since there are no english subtitles. So i tried the "Chinese Movies" and thank God most of them have english subtitles. I even saw the movie of Alessandra de Rossi titled "The Maid" which is shot in Singapore.

Getting through Singapore immigration is a breeze. Don't need to bring your bags.

Next stop was the Malaysian Immigration where you need to bring all your stuff since you will go through standard security checks like x-rays and metal detectors. Not as fast in Singapore but not bad also.

3rd stop is like a Food Centre with small shopping mart. My Wife and Jo had a waffle and bought 6pcs donuts.

4th stop is a short one just enough to go to the toilet. It's near the checkpoint which is already in Malaysia.

We arrived at around 2pm at the First World Bus Terminal. You can already feel the cool breeze and mist. I think it's like a counterpart of Baguio in the Philippines minus the Theme Park and Rides.

The first thing to do is to check-in. People are packed during these hours. There's a queue ticket for those who wants to check in. I found some seats and wait for the girls to get the lunch while i wait for our queue number to turn up. We ate our lunch (Kenny Roger's) while we wait. We checked-in at around 3:30pm already. We quickly went to our room so that we can fully enjoy the outdoor and indoor rides. It's drizzling a little bit outside since the rain poured at around 3pm. We started off with the Outdoor rides first. It closes at around 7pm so we thought we still have enough time to complete all the thrill rides before that.

Bali, Indonesia Getaway Sept. 19, 2008

It's been over a month since we've been there so I'll try my best to recall the events that took place. I'd like to start of unconventionally by relaying the lessons I've learned when planning your trip to Bali.

1. Plan ahead
- Ours is pretty much those spur of the moment kinda thing. If you can go on leave for an off-peak month then that would be the best. You can find a lot of travel agencies online that is based on Singapore to get the best price and inquire when is their off-peak season. Also try to avoid rainy seasons.

2. Have a budget
- You cannot really truly enjoy the vacation if you have tight budget so try save some for this.

3. Beachfront hotel
- If you're like me who likes to feel the breeze of the ocean early in the morning then do not settle for anything else but a beachfront regardless of the price. Make sure to double-check with the hotel itself if they are located near the beach or search online. Don't go for Kuta area unless you're in to Surfing. I've heard that surfing areas have uneven sea floor and strong undercurrent (not sure about the term). Search online for the best shoreline in Bali. Our guide said Nusa Dua is great also.

- I've got the best deal in Chinatown inside People's Park Centre. Ask all Money Changers. That time i got 1sgd=6500rupiah. Too bad he ran short of rupiah's. When we arrived in Bali the exchange rate was 1sgd=6450rupiah. In the airport it was 1sgd=6400rupiah. Although make sure that if you change your money in Bali don't go to those make shift counters along the streets. Safest is inside Kodak or Banks. If it's to good to be true then it probably is.

5. Souvenirs
- For shirts heed our advice and buy quality shirts. We bought ours at Pasar Sukowati. Shirts for women and men. When we washed them they shrank and the colors faded like they were old. You can buy them very cheap at around 2sgd per shirt but it's still a rift off. I've never experienced that when i bought my souvenir shirts in Boracay and Puerto Galera. Although i've got some best buys like the 6 different native musical instruments that i bought and my Wife bought a painting of the face of Buddha which she said is expensive in Dubai. Keychains and magnets never gets old too.

6. Activities
- If you took my advice and got a beachfront hotel in the best beach of Bali then good for you. Just don't forget to experience it. White-water rafting was great.

Elephant ride is cool also if you've never tried it. There are a lot of things to do in Bali which to me, a 3D2N, doesn't cut it because some of these activities are 1 hour or more drive. If you try to fit all then you'd be pretty exhausted and you won't be able to enjoy.

7. Transportation
- If you've got any Balinese or Indonesian friend that can refer you to a trusted rental car driver then that would be the best. Your travel agency should've provided you with a transport from airport to the hotel and back. The driver would definitely offer you a tour package. Try to negotiate the price. Make sure to bargain 50% off everytime they make an offer. If they won't agree then just ask for their number. They will definitely lower the price. However you must insist that you just take their number but be polite. Just tell them that you need to discuss it first with whoever's with you. Never go on a vacation alone. There are some scrupulous taxi drivers in Bali. There was this time during our last day when we went back to the hotel around after lunch with my Wife. The meter was 5k rupiah (it was a very short ride)> I don't have the exact amount so i gave him 20k rupiah. I was waiting for the change but he just stared at me. So i ask him where's the change. That's the only time that he gave me 10k rupiah. I stared back at him because i supposed to get 15k. He said it's 5k for me and 5k for my Wife. I was like
Are you kidding me?
My Wife already unboarded but not me. I was still waiting for the 5k. The amount is nothing really. It's just the feeling of being ripped off that pissed me off. Finally he gave me the 5k. So i was thinking he has no intention of giving any change in the first place. I think if you're in a group then they wouldn't try to rip you off.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

First Hawker Dinner Update

I got some nasty comments from my post titled "First Hawker Dinner" regarding the HOT20 mistake that i made. There is no such thing as HOT20. To the Auntie i'm sorry for the sarcastic comment in the post. Also i'm very sorry for those who i offended. I should have checked first before posting. Lesson learned for me. I'll try my best from now on to double check details of my post. I must admit i had that coming. Although i would have accepted the comments if there's a name or even just a nickname or alias along with it. Thanks anyway for the correction.

Monday, April 7, 2008

In Re-applying Denied EPEC April 7, 2008

For those of you whose not familiar with EPEC it is a long term social visit pass for foreigners who wants to look for a job in Singapore. You can stay for 2 years. The cousin of my Wife applied for EPEC last December and got denied at the same
month. She re-applied in January and the EPEC was approved. Now i asked her what changes she made in her application that made the difference. She told me she changed her job title to something much simpler and commonly used here in Singapore.
Her first application she indicated here job title as "Senior supervisor assistant in purchasing" which at first glance doesn't look too bad. The 2nd application she changed it to "Buyer" and got approved. I asked her again why did she chose the
word "Buyer". She said she got it from job sites and this title are more commonly used here in Singapore. As simple as that can change the outcome of your EPEC application. Certainly knowing the market and its details will improve your chances in landing a job here in Singapore. Almost everything can be found online anyways so there's no excuse for doing your homework.

Good luck and God bless!

First time filling your tax? Read on...

April 7, 2008

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website contains some useful information.

They say filling of tax lands mostly on April. This year (2008) for tax filling for the year 2007 the due date is April 15.

Some say it's very easy to file your tax here since you can do it online. If you are eligible to file IRAS will send you a letter or your company/agency will send you the FORM IR8A which will contain the salary they have given you in 2007 to remind you that you need to file.

Now i got this from their website when i was asking myself "Who is eligible to file?". Browsing to their website i found out my category which is Individuals (For foreigners) > If you work in Singapore > If you are in Singapore for less than 183
days. (URL:

Do I have to file tax? (URL:

You will need to file if you have received a paper form (Form B1/B/M) or a letter from IRAS inviting you to e-File.

Did not receive anything?
Even if you have not received any notification from IRAS to e-File, you need to file if:
=>your income for the previous year is $22,000 or more; and/or
=>you wish to claim tax deducted at source in respect of Singapore dividends that you received last year.

Please log in to myTax Portal to e-File your tax return by 15 Apr if you have not received any notification to file your return by 15 Mar.

If you are a new taxpayer who has not submitted any income tax form in the past, and you have not received any notification from us by 15 Mar , please complete and submit the registration form for new taxpayer (43KB) . We will activate your tax
account and send the paper form to you.

Tips to Avoid Penalty Being Imposed (URL:

Income Less Than $22,000
Where an IRAS PIN Mailer / SingPass invitation letter / Income Tax Return has been issued to you, even if you are not liable to tax, you must file by the filing due date. If you have no income, you should declare ‘0’ in the respective income sections of the e-Filing template or Income Tax Return.

I also tried to call their helpline and had a pleasant experience. The "call agent" was very helpful and knowledgeable. For more details, other inquiries or confirmations call 6123-0000 if you're already in Singapore.

It wouldn't hurt to apply for Singpass ID in advance since it's very easy. Just make sure you have your Passport and EPASS Card if you're an EPASS holder or your SPASS card only if your an SPASS holder. The reason for this is because for EPASS
holders the Date of Issue is indicated in the Passport and not in the card. However in SPASS Card it's already indicated there. After the application you will receive your Singpass ID via Mail within 4 working days. You will use this ID for IRAS
transactions which e-filling tax is one of them. For more details go to

Thursday, April 3, 2008

First Wedding Anniversary Marche' Mar. 30, 2008

Actually it should be Mar. 31 but since it lies on Monday we opt to celebrate it on the Sunday. I was planning on a setting

up our room for a romantic dinner but that would not be possible since my Wife's cousing and her friend stayed on our room

temporarily until the other room vacated. So i decided to bring her to Marche' in Vivo City. We arrived at about 8pm and i

was surprise that there was a line already but not that long. After 15 minutes we were able to be seated. At the front desk

we were given a card each. This card is used to purchase anything inside. It's like a market inside with different

categories. One part are for drinks (hot and cold), a pastry or bakery, Seafoods, Grill, Salads, Soups, Vegetables and

Desserts. My Wife had Fried Calamari, rice, salad and Freshly squeezed green apple juice. I had Australian Porkloin steak,

rice and lemonade. It was a nice simple dinner, eating while reminiscing. After dinner we stayed outside for a while

overlooking Singapore night lights. There are a lot of lovers around. We went home at about 10pm. What happens next is, of

course, confidential in nature...hehe.

Ministry of Sound Feb. 29, 2008

We planned to go to MOS as early as Feb. 24, 2008. My friends suggested to go to MOS on Friday night. This was my first

disco/bar gimik in Singapore so this has to be a blog-post. After office i went to my Wife's office then we went to Central

Mall in Clarke Quay to have dinner in Burger King. After that we met our friends near the Turkish Ice Cream stand. We waited

for a couple of minutes then we went in at about 10pm. Security checked our bags then we bought ticket inside worth S$17.00

per person. My other friend told me that MOS is pretty pouplar since it has different branches all around the world. He said

it originated in Europe or something. Anyway when we went in there was a huge disco ball lowered in the middle of the dance

floor. We toured the different levels and rooms. Each room caters to different genre. Main dance hall witht he big disco

ball is for techno and house, the other room is Hip-hop and R&B, one room is for 80's music. They have other rooms too for

Smoking. Although you might need a jacket if you're planning to stay inside it longer as they said it was freakingly cold.

Some of the things i learned are the following:

1. If you want to be seated throughout your stay reserve in advance. I don't know how their reservation works but i bet you

need money for that. We tried to get a table around the disco ball but the staff said we need to buy some drinks but not

just any drink. It will cost you around S$40+ but this will not guarantee your seat. If someone already reserved those seats

and once they arrive you need to give it up.

2. Don't bring anything that doesn't fit your pocket if you plan on dancing. No one's going to keep an eye on your stuff

since you and your friends would want to dance together right?

3. Obviously don't bring weapons of any sort.

4. Don't bring foods and drinks from the outside.

5. On regular days (no events) people will only start to come in at about 10pm onwards and usually the party starts at about


It doesn't hurt to be prepared so that you can fully enjoy this experience.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Arena, Clarke Quay Mar. 23, 2008 First Gig as a Drummer

How it started...

While me and my officemate were having a conversation after eating our lunch in Food Republic in Vivo City i mentioned that

i was a part of a band back in High School as a Guitarist and learned other musical instruments as well during those times

such as the Bass Guitar and Drums. I told him i learned the drums after our drummer taught me while in class just tapping in

the desk. Then my officemate told me that his housemate is looking for a drummer for replacement and it's just "jamming". So

i obliged since i really enjoy playing the drums although the only time that i got to play drums was way back in High School

and my "Despedida" last Nov. 5, 2007 in Roland's house studio. Then his housemate contacted me on Mar. 20 and we will be

performing in THe Arena on Mar. 23. MY instant reaction was "Say, what?!". I told him that i'm just a beginner and if they

don't like my performance they can just tell me directly and wouldn't feel bad about it. He assured me that there's no

pressure since this will be just like a jamming session. He e-mailed the final song line up so that i can listen to it. It

was all Beatles songs. I added those songs in my Ipod and from there listened to it everytime.

The practice...

We had a studio practice in Sembawang on Mar. 22 from 5pm to 8pm and there i met the band for the first time. We had a

keyboardist, bassist, 2 guitars and 3 singers. I made a lot of mistakes but i'm not alone. After the practice we requested

for another practice on Sunday before going to Arena. I didn't pay for anything. Sunday practice was a lot smoother but

we're still having difficulties in Here Comes the Sun.

The sound check...

This is my first time also to experience a real sound check. The sound engineer of The Arena asked each one of use to do

this and do that to check and adjust the sound accordingly. On my case he told me to hit the bass drum, then the tumtums,

the snare, the cymbals. On the guitar he would ask to play a high and low note, regular and with distortion effects.

The Arena...

Every sunday is PINOY SUNDAY in The Arena where Filipino gathers. I think it is organized by different Filipino Communities

here in Singapore. The place is great. I think it is one of the best looking bars i've ever been to. Sounds and lighting

makes you think you're in a mini-concert. The theme for that sunday is Beatles night that's why we only played Beatles

repertoire. Two of my friends came to support me and i'm very thankful for them for easing the pressure. Programs consists

of a Videoke singing. You can either choose the songs in the music sheet in fromt of you where you can find the lyrics also

or you can read off the lyrics in their laptop. Also when the band is playing anyone can freely jam and the best jammer of

the night will receive a price. The Arenam also welcomes other talents like dancing. It's like a stage for Filipinos to show

off their talents for free. Like an open mic or something. I'm not sure though about the procedure. The first performer is a

one man acoustic player. Very skillfull dude who admits to be a Beatlemania so he can play most of the Beatles songs with

his eyes closed. After that we thought it was our turn, but a band from Mauritius requested to play. Our singer said they

are mainstays of the bar. They didn't play beatles songs. They played 3 fast-paced songs. Their drummer is a showman so our

Singer keeps assuring me that they are professionals and telling me that i should not be pressured and just do what i have

to do.

The moment...

Our name was called, The Maharlika Band. The host ask our names and then i started signalling the guys to start with the

stick. At first my hands are shaking a little bit and quite stiff. Then i started breathing and relaxed myself while i

played. You can't see the audience while on stage because of the lights so it seems that no one is watching. After a while i

got used to it and hitting harder. After each songs the Singer would joke around and that relieved some of the pressure. I'm

amazed on how they handle the crowd. After the performance it was a good feeling. Although i made a lot of mistakes it

didn't matter to me. I said to myself "'s finally over". My friends congratulated me when i arrived at the their

table and teased me a little.

I just wished my other friends and my Wife could have been there but unfortunately she was in the Philippines for a

vacation. See our videos below. More to follow. I can't wait to hear myself (because i am hidden behind the drums).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Among OFWs, we need more ‘TNTs’

Migration is a natural phenomenon. As the song goes, birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it.

Practical steps on how to stretch your dollar or dinar

By Pat Sto. Tomas

Chairman, Development Bank of the Philippines

Migration is a natural phenomenon. As the song goes, birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it.

The non-migrant is the oddity. If you do not live where you were born, you are a migrant.

So enough already. Let’s stop the national flagellation and defeatist mantra that we leave the Philippines because there are no opportunities here. The human race and the not-so-human race leave for perceived better opportunities. Why else do you see all those foreign-looking nationals in Ortigas, Makati and my native Mindoro?

But this is not about migration. This is about how migration can be made to work for the OFW himself or herself. This is how that hard-earned dollar (or euro, dinar or dirham) can go a longer way so that it benefits not just the family that is left behind but the one who leaves as well.

Save, Save, Save!

I have a few suggestions.

First, we need to have more TNTs. That is correct. We need more people who can do Tago ng Tago (TNT), hindi Gastos ng Gastos.

If you make $400 a month (that is minimum wage for domestic helpers), open an account for yourself. Deposit at least 25% of your income to that account. Let that be an account which you cannot withdraw from for a specific period of time, usually your contract duration. Ask the bank to put it in a higher yielding account other than savings. If you have a 12-month contract, you would have saved $1,200 or P48,000 for one year.

The assumption is that an OFW leaves only if what he gets abroad is at least double what he makes in Manila. You may send $200 to your family but you may want to impose a number of conditions to that remittance.

Start a business

One is that they may avail themselves of a loan from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration or OWWA (up to P40,000) that allows them to start up a little business. This can be done even before the OFW leaves and after his contract is processed.

For that amount, one telephone company will give you an Internet Service Package where OFW beneficiaries can derive some income through rental time. The Internet package may also be done in conjunction with cell phone loading operations. This should allow repayment of the loan anytime from 6 months to one year.

I also know of one company that allows small investors to distribute their products such as soft drinks, hot dogs, tocinos and assorted household necessities for a minimum investment of P20,000. This can be sold in your neighborhood.

Keep a book of accounts

The second condition for the regular remittance is to keep a book of accounts for expenses sourced out of remittance. This allows all concerned to monitor costs every month and to be mindful of what is necessary and what isn’t.

The OFW is not a milking cow. Separation should be a reason for undertaking fiscal discipline and engaging in activities that keep the family together. Within the family, there should be a designated treasurer, an auditor who verifies the expenses and renders a report to the chief financial officer—the OFW.

The OWWA organizes family circles for people left behind. Ask them to put you in touch with family circles in your area. The family circle is supposed to facilitate support. They should be able to tell you where to access services for things like counseling for rebelling children or tutoring for those who do not quite make good in their academic studies.

Join family circles

At the same time, family circles are supposed to facilitate bulk-buying of basic necessities like rice, cooking oil, pork, fish, chicken or even school supplies. This should also be a source of savings for families who wish for their remittances to go a longer way.

It is tempting to view having an OFW as an opportunity to splurge. If income from the home-based business exceeds payment for business-related expense, the remaining $100 can be shared between OFW and the family so that there may be room for a little luxury.

I am a penny pincher myself, so what about putting that money towards an education fund for the children or a housing fund for the family. My sense is, after five years of a regime like this, we would have learned not only financial discipline but a better appreciation of the kind of hard work and loneliness that affects an OFW and his/her family. The OFW experience can thus be a self-limiting exercise if everybody cooperates.

After Tago ng Tago, we might be Tuwang Tuwa because all that sacrifice would have made possible better opportunities for the OFW and his /her family.

The author is chair of the Development Bank of the Philippines and former labor secretary.