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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

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Mondays – gym
Tuesdays – FDS pool training
Wednesdays – gym
Thursdays – FDS land training
Fridays – Rest / Date with my boyfriend :p
Saturdays – FDS water training in Kallang (boat)
Sundays – FDS water training in Kallang (boat)

Wheeeew.

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Live active. NOW or never.

It’s that time of the year again when ACR I-Card Holders in the Philippines have to troop to the Bureau of Immigration and file their annual report.

Since I’m working in Singapore, I have to extend my holiday leave to cover at least one or two working days of 2015. I went to the bureau on 5th January, the first working day of 2015.

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I was anticipating crowds who were rushing to file their annual report. We have to physically file within the first 60 days of the year or face penalties.

The annual report fee is PHP 310.00. The same as in previous years.

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While the setup may change as crowds thin out over the next few weeks, here were the four steps during the crowded first working day.

Step 1 – Evalutation. You show the officer your ACR I-Card. The officer will input data on his/her computer.

Step 2 – Queuing. Once you are cleared by the evaluator. He/she will issue you a queue stub number.

Step 3 – Assessor. Show them your ACR I-Card and then he/she will issue you the invoice stating how much you need to pay (PHP 310.00).

Step 4 – Payment. Pay the cashier the amount in the invoice. And then you are done.

It took me 3 and a half hours to complete the four steps above during my visit on January 5, 2015.

“Improvements” would be the queueing system and the large signs saying where you should go. The immigration staff I encountered were courteous. Even if you are exhausted while waiting for your turn, it pays to smile at them as well because in fairness it felt like they were dealing with hundreds of people that day. Improvement is the senior citizen/PWD lane. I saw many in wheelchairs and I saw so many elderly clutching their brown folders… Surrounded by hundreds of people.

There can be ways to streamline the process of the annual report.

– Payment available thru electronic means (e.g. Credit card, debit card)
– Annual report that is staggered according to your last filing (e.g. July 2014 was last filing, must file before July 2015 and not within the crunch time of first 60 days of the year; useful for ACR I-Card holders who are working abroad).
– Space. The building is overcrowded.
– Sign that says how much is the standard annual report (PHP 310.00) so people can prepare before they reach the cashier. Instead of causing a delay.
– More windows for Step 3 Assessor. It was a bottleneck there when some card holders were stuck due to some reason.

A photo recap of the past ten days. This is my longest holiday back home since I started working in Singapore.

I flew to Manila on Christmas day onboard PR508. The flight was packed. I got to “surf the web” for the first time while up in the sky. As usual, the ice cream was great! But I skipped the alcohol. No beer or wine this time. When we arrived in Manila, people started jumping up from their seats. Grabe wait lang.

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Reminder to self: Don’t travel on Christmas day again! I had to wait longer at the luggage carousels. We shared our belt with another PR flight from Macau. So many TV sets on the belt.

First order of business while in Manila? Celebrating Christmas dinner with my family. We went to Yellow Cab at D. Macapagal Boulevard. Cheese pizza, Charlie Chan, and soda. Sodas should be fine, it’s the holidays!

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On the 26th I met up with my former colleagues T and R for a Cavite road trip to Balay Indang. We stayed overnight and ate almost every 3 hours. The place remains peaceful and serene. The food was great. 😀 Oh and I must comment, ang laki na ng arms ni R. And I miss T so much.

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Went to MOA which was crowded! The holiday shoppers were busy. I did my own shopping. It has been months since I last shopped. I noticed some things like a new “Tap and Pay” system at the parking lot (finally! similar to Malaysia and Singapore and other SE countries). Picked up gifts for some people. Dinner at Tokyo Cafe to escape the crowds. And picking up Paul’s friend J. Oh, and a FROZEN tree.

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On the 29th it was time to catch up with my college friends. We planned this months back. We stayed overnight at La Luz in Laiya, Batangas. I brought my family along to enjoy the beaches of San Juan. More food, more fun. 😀

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The 1 night in Laiya was honestly bitin. But we made the most of it I guess. Playing cards late at night. Playing charades underneath the palm trees. Sands on our toes. Doing an unofficial prenup for my friends K and CJ, recently engaged. Asking for more mango sago.

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The following day was a bit cloudy (Typhoon Seniang was in the southern Philippines). The wind was a little chilly so I didn’t want to get in the water. We headed back to Manila but had two pitstops along the way. Lunch at this cute local cafe called Cafeno in San Juan. Followed by a visit to Starbucks at Shell SLEX Binan. That’s where we parted ways.

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New Year’s Eve was at home in Cavite. The best place to welcome the New Year is with your family. I did some last minute chores like clearing my closet of old clothes I don’t need. I counted about 80+ t-shirts and polos that I gave away. That’s 12+ years of clothes. My selection of clothing is also quite eclectic. My parents prepared our traditional spaghetti and barbecue.

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My brother got to use his new GoPro which was fantastic at capturing this moment:

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2014 ended on a high note. My boyfriend has a job and an employment pass. I am doing reasonably well at work (I guess so? Hope my manager thinks so haha). We are truly lucky and I am very grateful.

I got to drop by my old stomping grounds in Cavite. SM City Bacoor is as bustling as ever with more “contemporary” offerings like Cotton On. There are some others. They stand next to renovated favourites like Kenny Rogers, Wendy’s, and National Bookstore. This mall is approaching 20 years old if I’m not mistaken.

I got to meet my high school friend C and her husband and three kids. 😀

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On the 3rd of January I was invited by my housemate in Singapore (who gave birth to her 2nd kid here in Manila) to be her son’s ninong. What an honor. Both my boyfriend and I are ninongs to baby Z. I went to the baptism ceremony at Malate Church and the reception at Tramway Buffet along Roxas Boulevard.

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That same afternoon I met up again with college friends at MOA. My mom and dad invited me to experience the “SM Prestige Lounge” hehe. The toilet paper though. 😀

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Yesterday, the 4th of January, relatives came over to our house so we could all have a post-New Year potluck. Great to catch up with relatives on my dad’s side. Some of which work in countries like Qatar and the United Kingdom.

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My 2014 holidays in the Philippines concludes with a trip to the bureau of immigration later this morning and my brother’s birthday lunch at MOA. 😀

Updated: BI Annual Report 2015, Paul’s Birthday at Vikings MOA, and my departure from Manila

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Sorry if the words are so straightforward. I’ve been repairing my WordPress install for hours. Naubos oras ko dun. Happy New Year!

Got my blog up and running again. It was down over the new year because I screwed up with the WordPress installation. Strange. I’m still on holiday in the Philippines. Here’s a video recap of how we celebrated the first moments of 2015.

Happy New Year! Cheers to all of us in 2015. 🙂