CEBU : Sinulog 2017

For many years, Cebu has been known for being the Queen City of the South. The white sand beaches, the food, the people and more has contributed to the popularity of Cebu. Not only that, Every new year marks another year of Festivity! In this blog post, allow me to share some basic info about this popular event back in my hometown!
Where/when the Sinulog Festival comes in! Above video is one of this year’s presenter – from the Municipality of Dumanjog!

 

What & How Sinulog started?

Sinulog started as a celebratory ritual for the locals of Zubu (Cebu’s old name). Upon the arrival of Spaniards in 1519 who brought Christianity in the country, the image of Sto. Niño was a gift to theKing Humabon and Reyna Juana and became the image of worship for the people of Cebu. The word SINULOG came from the word “sulog” which means like a water current movement – that’s why one of the major steps of the dance is the two-steps forward and a one step backward. Baladhay was the King’s right hand who became sick, so the he ordered his servants to bring Baladhay to the chapel where the image of St. Nino was in and in a few moment they saw Baladhay alive and well again. They asked him how it happened and Baladhay shared that he saw the image of the child Sto. Niño and thus he started dancing. Up to date, this dance has become an offering as a sacrifies to the child Jesus Christ. Year after year, Sinulog Festival has become known worldwide and has draw thousands of visitors foreign tourists and Filipinos alike.

Sinulog is a month-long festivity for everyone especially for all devotees, among the events that get people involved into are:

  • Sinulog Street Fair,
  • Sinulog Fun Run
  • Walk with Jesus
  • Sinulog sa Kabataan
  • Novena Mass
  • Ms. Cebu or Sinlog Festival Queen
  • Sinulog Idol
  • Walk with Mary
  • Fluvial Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Sto. Niño
  • Re-enactment of the Baptism of Queen Juana and Rajah Humabon
  • Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of Sto. Niño
  • Sinulog Fireworks Competition
  • Sinulog Grand Parade (The Big Event)
  • Awarding Ceremonies @ Cebu City Sports Center
  • “HUBO”

For this year, check out this link from the Cebu City government – Sinulog 2017 Activities.

Attending this year’s main event was special because a co-Piper has offered us a “Sponsor’s seat” for free and be able to watch the Sinulog festival inside Cebu City complex. Shout out to Joanne!!! Thank you! Got to mention thought that we got it from her cousin who has connections in one of the sponsors – Generica Pharmacy! For your info; Sinlog Festival can be both enjoyed for free (on the streets, for Street Dance) or by buying a ticket for the Main Presentation at Cebu City Complex (aka Abellana SC) for around 500 Pesos and above.

Jollibee and friends joined the crowd at Cebu City Sports Complex for Sinulog 2017!

Tips while attending the festival!

  1. Keep a bottle of water at all times – walking all around the city is a must when you want to see the festivities, major roads are closed because of the street dance. Of course stalls are around the corner, so as soon as you consume it you can just buy.
  1. Stay Close with your circle – This year, the city’s mayor order a “network shutdown” as the festivities are ongoing, this is for security purposes. So staying beside your buddies will save you time in searching your friend in a group of thousands of people.
  1. Be careful with Pick pockets – like many other cities, although Cebu City government spreads out the policemen around the city, it is still wise to be mindful of your bag and belongings. Due to the massive number of people both locals and visitors, it will be difficult to identify who is who.
  1. Enjoy the view, the street dance and the mardigra itself is a fun experience, people walking around the street and the all smiling people around the street gets you into the mood.
  1. Take Photos– all the way! Mobile cameras will do, but if you would like to take a better quality photos then something high-end is recommended, especially if you have an intention to join the Photo walk contest. Did I miss anything?

See more photos on my photo journal blog here.

Go ahead, feel free to drop me a comment.

God Bless!

  www.iamjmkayne.com 

What I Learned in our 2016 Sri Lanka Trip

A question, not many would probably ask… most of the time, people ask about “How’s the _____ (country/place) – asking how’s the view, the experience, the food, sightseeing spots, the people and more. On this blog, I would like to answer this in a different perspective. I would like to answer this with what I truly learned and realized when we were in Sri Lanka – September of 2016.

Culture, Food, Places, People and more!
These are the common “what I learned” many would probably share. Indeed I learned about those different aspects of this place that used to be called CEYLON. So I’m skipping this part as I believe, if you have been reading my past blog posts you’ll learn what, where, when how etc… 

This Sri Lanka itinerary would help! So! What I learn about this 2016 Sri Lanka trip with Kokobear and Ate Amie is an eye-opening encounter with God!

Yes, you read it right, it was an encounter with Him!

We stopped by in a church near our hotel, took a few minutes riding a tuktuk to reach St. Mary’s Church. After getting inside, our tuktuk driver guided us to a chapel beside the church and went down on the underground to their adoration chapel and on that room I have felt God.

I started saying my prayers – distracted a bit actually because I could still feel the dust around the place as it’s totally new. In a blink of a situation I have started feeling my tears slowly drenched into my face. I found myself crying. My mind is empty, I say prayers no more. Nothing is playing on my head, but the thought of BEING BLESSED. Being blessed for being able to travel. That I have reached another part of the world and able to enjoy His magnificient creations. Able and having fun with my husband and friend. That not many can actually do this. Some may be capable but just don’t get the chance because of the different circumstances they are in. A few has enough money to splurge but don’t have the guts or probably don’t have someone to share it with. I say, I’m truly blessed.

Thoughts about comparing myself to others, thoughts of why we were denied in our last visa application and the questions on why here and why not in other chic places… were erased.

How do I thank God for this opportunity?

I know right? I could actually realize that while I’m in Abu Dhabi or in the other places I’ve visited – but I felt it in Sri Lanka. When I thought this is just a 3rd option to us, but actually this is the chosen place God has bestowed for me who blessed I am.

Signing off all Sri Lanka stories with this blog post. Thank you Lord for such a lesson!

Read all my Sri Lanka series blog (and other places) on my Travel Log page!

God Bless!

JM Kayne | www.iamjmkayne.com

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LIEBSTER AWARD 2017 for #InMyHeartJMKaynesBlog ♥

Yayyy! Is this actually true? aha! J
I’ve seen this award for a while, never thought I’d get one because I didn’t know how it works. But recently, I got mine from Shernice Oli of Dreams of a Wanderess  thank you for nominating me Shenice! So kind of you! xoxo
It’s a great opportunity to get to know our fellow bloggers through this award. But before anything else . . . 
What is a Liebster Award?
The Liebster Award is an online award given to new bloggers by other bloggers. “Liebster” is a German word that means “the dearest”. The Liebster Award is a way for bloggers to recognize fellow bloggers for their work and excellence. The nominees/award winners should then pay it forward by nominating/awarding other bloggers they admire and follow. It’s a way to help newbie/not so newbie to build audience and meet fellow bloggers from around the world (or should I say from around the internet!) heheheh ^^
 
If you have been nominated for this award, and you CHOOSE to ACCEPT IT, then you have to write a blog about it and follow these steps:
QUESTION: How do I nominate bloggers?
ANSWER: You can nomiante the bloggers you admire or discover them in diffirent platforms, such as FB Pages, twitter, pinterest, bloglovin and more… In my case I did it via facebook group pages of bloggers, just like how I did it. 
* * * 
So, I’m all set to answer her questions below, check it out!
 
1. What inspired you to make your own blog?
A post shared by JM Kayne 💚 (@jm_kayne) on

I’m fond of writing diaries…So this blog actually started way back in college (2005/6) but I have done some changes, transferred some files and eventually kicked off in 2010. The reason I blog was at first by simply sharing my experiences online. Keeping it like a diary online. And then, late last year, I have this passion project to start a bit serious  about blogging. These days, I still write like journal but more likely of an inspiration/idea/tips about the different stories #InMyHeart.
 

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?

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HOME! I would still live in the Philippines (Cebu). I’ll keep it simple, it may sound cliche’ but indeed There is no place like home”

3. What valuable lessons did you get from your travels?
That the world is a big place, that there are so many beautiful and stunning creations God has created for us to appreciate. That culture of different nations are amazing and worth learning. That respect is due to anyone from any place. And most of al, that I as a person is blessed to be able to travel and see these places!

4. What is your favorite travel destination?

There is quiet a lot on my bucket-list, but probably Seoul Korea is on top of that! I used to be an ESL (English as Second Language) Teacher for Koreans so I am always fasciniated with the place & been hooked to some of the Korean dramas! So it’s really my fave destination even if I haven’t been there yet!

5. What are your 5 favorite foods in that country you picked for Question #4?
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Never thought I’d be a kimchi fan! At first it was like iwwww! But OMG, this is such a good food. Then followed by Samgyupsal, tuppukki, Samgyatang, Bibimbap and more!!! 🙂

6. What is your greatest travel achievement so far?

Being able to travel is already an achievement for me and for my husband … I am (we are) just  #blessed and I am grateful for that.

7. What is your most important travel tip? 
> To read about basic info of the places your about to visit. 
> Respect their cuture.
> And most especially, live the moment! I know~ we could get so attached to our cameras/mobile phones for photos and updates but, “being there” and just feeling the moment is the most special thing.
8. What was one of the most unusual experiences you’ve encountered?
For now, I guess I have to leave this blank. Nothing so unsual yet. 😀

9. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten? 
None. Nothing so remarkable or stange —  but a I guess the one we ate in a Chinese restaurant in Maldives. 

Is this a fried chicken?!? 

10. Where is your next destination?

WHERE TO NEXT? We’re planning on either Korea or Italy, while in the Philippines – it would probably be Bataan, or El Nido/Coron Palawan and more of Cebu!

Above picture is a great experience in Cebu, check out my blog about it on CEBU: Canyoneering.

A post shared by JM Kayne 💚 (@jm_kayne) on

While this one is in Puerto Princesa Palawan.

 
                                     * * * 
Now, it’s my turn to pass it on and the new Liebster Award winners are…
The rules says: Nominate 5-10 blogs, but I’d say the more the merrier! 🙂 So I am adding 2 more amazing bloggers! So check out my 12 winners!

Drumroll please . . .

*HOWS MY LIFE – This blog is from Monika of Hungary! 

She started blogging to share her journey in life. After a life changing event she left Budapest for an adventure of a lifetime. In fact she calls this blog as her daily life on planet earth!
 
*LuLu4ever – It’s a joint blog account of Leiha and Su.
They thought that it sounded better to use LuLu than SuLeiha. They’re partners in taking an adventure together!
*RD Mathur – is a blog by Rajeshwar from India.
RD is short for Rajeswar Dayal , he is a retired banker turned traveller, photo enthusiast and a story teller.
 
*Chelfdom by Chelf of Greece
A blog of all things visually powerful, heavy metal sounds, glorious food and luxe minimalism.
*Daily Doses of Beauty by Neha Kumari of India.
She has this beautiful set of blog posts about fashion, beauty “How To” / DIY and more!
*Chirp Cheer n Chai by Pri and Aish.
It is a two girls (childhood friends) one blog about Thoughts, Art, Creativity, Cuisine, Dance, Parental Bonds, Travel, Life’s experiences!
*Sandra Myles by Mercyalice of Kenya.
It is her alter ego that writes the different stories of her life and the world through her eyes.
*Loosening the Chains by Krista of UK.
A blog about anxiety, depressions, personality disorder and all other lemons that life throws us. She’s one strong fighter of these disorders and I honor her for being open about it and being able to share her experiences and be an inspiration to others! You go girl! I’m praying for you!
*96 Milestones by Guenny of Portland (and Cebu as well).
The  blog is about discovering places around the globe and baking sweets! The reason why 96 milestones is such a sweet thing, wanna know why? –  you’d better check out her blog!
*Kristine’s Fashion& Lifestyle by Kristine of London.
A marketing manager who loves to explore her city and of other new places. She loves fashion & making youtube videos! Share me your youtube link Kristine! 
*50 Something YearsYoung by Bridget of London. 
She’s a 50 something Londoner who enjoys making the most of life. She’s observant and opinionated and she loves coffee like me! 😀
*Makes, Bakes & Décor by Lianne of Skegness UK!
She blogs about many mouthwatering cakes, cupcakes, some DIY & crafts. She has started blogging only for 4 months and yet her haven already rocks! She started the blog as a step to her business plan. You can make it Lianne!
These are my questions for you:
  1. Who inspires you to start a blog?
  2. How do you find blogging in general?
  3. Share something about your city that you’re proud of
  4. Does your family & friends know about your blogging life? How do they react?
  5. What’s your best travel experience so far?
  6. What’s your top 5 bucket-list places to visit
  7. What’s your theme for this year (Or do you have one?)
  8. When you feel blessed?
  9. If you could only bring 3 items while travelling, what are they? (Except for passports & tickets)
  10. What destinations have you visited and surprised you?
💚 Congratulations for receiving the Liebster Award! Don’t forget to send me a link to your posts. I’m thrilled to see all of your answers. 🙂 Thank you once again Shernice!
So glad to receive one! #InMyHeartJMKaynesBlog just got a Liebster blogging award!
Now it’s your turn!
 
Wanna be nominated? Send me an email on jmhbacus@gmail.com or message me on my blog’s Facebook page – In My Heart – JM Kayne’s Blog and I’ll gladly nominate you! 🙂
 
God Bless!
 
JM Kayne www.iamjmkayne.com

SHOPBACK PH: SHOP & GET A CASH BACK!

Shopback main pic
      Shop and get a Cashback!

For a “kuripot” person (stingy) like me, it was only early last year (2016) that I learned to purchase some stuff online. Online shopping isn’t really my thing but I have started to enjoy it though. I have this feeling of being not so sure if it does work and to my surprise, it brought me convenience!  Just when I thought that online shopping brings convenience, it has become better and found it more alluring when I learned about getting a few bucks back!

How would you feel if you get a “cash back” on your purchases online!?! Made me wanna shop all day long! 🙂 hehehe
It’s exciting to know that you get a certain percentage from the purchase you do via online shopping! Have you heard of ShopBack!? 
Yes, you’re right! Singapore’s popular cash back website is now in the Philippines! Popular not only in SG, but it has also started its waves to the other parts of Asia such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan etc.
Few of the most popular shops includes Forever21, Sephoraand some Korean beauty products (Althea) for those make-up fanatics!, Booking.com, Expedia and more – for travel related purchases, Lazada, Zalora, Gap, AliExpress, EBay, FoodPanda and the list goes on . . .
Here are few of the shops you can enjoy with their corresponding % of cash back.
So how does this online shopping-cash back system works?
Easy!
For Example you want to purchase a certain product:
  • Let’s say something that costs 1000/- Pesos.
  • The online shop where you will purchase this product has a certain percentage  to give out as a “cash back” – so for example Hotels.com gives 5% cash back.
  • That means you will be getting back 5% of 1000 pesos to your ShopBack Account.
  • That is 50 pesos!!!
 A good start to save, isn’t it?

Not clear yet? Well, this video may help!
 
Sounds tempting right? 
In fact here are some of the major shops that offers pretty cool cash back percentage!
To make sure that you get your cash back, do not go directly to the shop’s website, instead log in to your Shopback.ph app or visit www.Shopback.ph website and click the shop/product from there. You will  then be redirected to the site of your chosen shop. Do the normal shopping and pay directly there.
When your order is completed, ShopBack “cash back %” will appear on your account within 48 hours. You can get a payout once you reach a certain amount (will be tagged as Redeemable) and cash it out through PayPal, BPI, BDO or Metrobank account and more.
  
How do we start?
1.     Start by checking this step by step “How it Works” guide.
2.   Register for an account and enjoy online shopping –  Sign Up Here. 
           *You can either download an app or visit the website www.shopback.ph
3.    Start Shopping and start enjoying your cash back!
4.  Refer friends, get more bonus such as P100 on your successful referral once they complete a purchase.
As an OFW, I see this online shopping – cash back system helpful and very tempting in a way that we could use it to send out “gifts” to families and friends back home.

What do you think? Wanna give it a try?  Go ahead give it a try and share your experience with ShopBack Philippines. I’d be happy to hear from you!

God Bless!
JM Kayne @ #InMyHeart

Travel Guide : Simala Church Cebu

Cebu is one of the first seat of Christianity in the Philippines, it is full of churches that represents the countries long  history of Catholicism – accompanied with various festivals in honor of Jesus, Mary and all the different saints. A municipality in southern Cebu named Sibonga has become a tourist/devotee destination because of the #EuropeFeels / #ItalyFeels  – SIMALA Church has. It is a façade in honor of Mama Mary.  

This January, I went on a vacation and took a trip down south to visit the church and paid homage to the Blessed Virgin for all of her blessings she and her son have showered to me and to my family! Here I’m sharing you a travel guide.How to get there:
1 – Go to Cebu South Bus Terminal.
Various of bus going South is available, known to pass by Sibonga is Ceres. Take it and ask the driver or his assistant (known as konduktor) to drop you in Simala. Travel takes about 2 hours. Fare varies as per bus company but it should be between 80 to 100 Php. Your best land mark will be that 7-11 shop on the right side built as the ground floor of an old house.

For bus schedule visit this link of Cebu Gov’t Bus Schedule.
2 – Upon Arrival in Brgy. Simala– Look for motorcycles (habal-habal) going up to the sanctuary. 
Habal-habal (or motorcycle) is the most common transportation going up to the church. Fare is around 20-30 Php per person, each motorcycle can accommodate at least 2 passengers.

3 – Going Home. 
Motorcycle drivers are just around the corner, you can choose and they will drop you right in the highway! In the highway, all you have to do is wait for the bus going back to the city  and you’ll be home. Fare will be almost the same as to going  back and forth.

What can you do:

  • Pray! – Among the many reasons why we visit Simala is to simply pray. Thanking God/Mama Mary for their blessings and this should be the primary reason.
  • Visit the Miraculous Statue of Mary – At the back of the church altar , there is a way where you could offer your flowers and prayers.
  • Write An Intention – Along the way to the statue are writing stations where you could write a letter to Mary. And if your generous enough – feel free to share your blessings!
  • Light a candle – Color-coded candles are available for a specific intention, pick what fits your prayers.
  • Buy – Memorabilias, small statue, prayer guides, rosaries and more are visible on the right side of the church. 
  • Finally, Take a Picture!  – Of course every Filipino won’t miss that chance to take a photo of this beautiful, stunning and amazing structure.
And at all times, be mindful of your noise, stay calm and avoid disrupting the other people who are praying. Please be respectful as well on the way you dress up. Avoid shorts and sleeveless blouse. 
* * * 

I prefer not to get into more details of how was our visit. I’d like you to experience it yourself. All I can say is that it’s my 4th visit and every time I set forth my feet into this amazing place, I’d say it is an encounter with Mama Mary and of our Creator.  

Take a look at some of the photos I took. 

 

“This crown structure is memorial of the victorious and powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother thru the Penitential Rosary Walk in 1998, against the killer epidemic hat struck the place, where several lives of poor children and infants had died. Built to honor Mary on the 8th year anniversary of the Monks arrival in Lindogon. Blessed on the 27th day of February, 2004.”

On Facebook I posted: In awe of His creations! Mama Mary, thank you for giving us your son. Amen. 
Lord, I am confident of your love, mercy & grace! Excited na ko sa imong gift nako!
#ThankYouLord #Sibonga #Cebu #cebu2017 #Simala 
DOME. This is the dome of the church. I took this photo on our way going to the back of the altar where you will have a closer encounter of the miraculous statue of Mary. 
See more photos of this amazing & stunning place on
* * * 
 
Also known as  as the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist (for locals, it is known as “Birhen sa Simala”) is located at the Marian Hills of Lindogon Simala, Sibonga Cebu.  It started with a miracle that Mother Mary cried  with a blood and was witnessed by some of the devotees and believers.  Furthermore, the Monks of Mary (Mga Monghe ni Maria) lives and started the cause of building this palace-like church. Devotees, faithful and just merely the curious people started to flock in this location, thus the support and donation of the faithful has made this #EuropeFeels – instagram worthy photos facade is built (and still on the process of making it better).

Believed to have fulfilled many prayers, a row of “aparador” / cabinet of testimonials of various stories on passing of the board exams, miraculously cured cancer, baby prayers and more will inspire you. An array colorful of candles can also be seen in some areas; color-coded depending on the prayers & intentions you would like to lift up. Red, blue, green, pink, violet etc. –  stands for a specific purpose – wanna know what are they? Go ahead and visit this place! 🙂

Most importantly, attend a mass! 

Here is a guide to the regular mass schedule of the church. 


I would also suggest to avoid Fridays, Saturday & Sundays if you wouldn’t want a crowded place. Pick a weekday and enjoy the peaceful ambiance that Simala Church has! May your prayers be granted!

God bless!


| www.iamjmkayne.com 

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Blog post by : JM Kayne

Hello Cebu! Surprise!

Surprise!!!

 

As of writing, it is 5:15 am, Manila time – 6 Jan 2017. I am currently in the boarding area for my connecting flight to Cebu.

This is an unplanned vacation which will surely bring a surprise to my family. I have kept this secret for a month now, and only a few of my friends know about this. I hope no one spilled the beans 🙂 . Yes, it’s connected to the blog I recently published about losing a job, read the story here.
 
Our original vacation schedule is supposed to be April 2017, in time for my in-law’s wedding. But as I have shared on that post, “Trust in the Timing” – I believe, this is an answer to my prayer. To cut the story short, here I am waiting for my 9:00 am flight to the Queen city of the South and in 5 hours more I’ll be seeing Mamo, Dado and Dandan shortly! #ExcitedMe ^^
 
While waiting, let me share my thoughts about Philippine Airlines. Actually, over the past 8 years –  it is my first time to fly with this carrier. Kokobear was able to purchase for me a two-way ticket for around 1800/- AED (490/- USD or 23,400 Php) . For me, this is a cheap price already compared to 4K during the holiday season and just for one way! Allow me to share that:
  • I have heard many who seemed to be disappointed with this airline, but my 7 and half experience (almost 8 hours) was quite okay. Although we depart late from Abu Dhabi, but we arrive almost on time in Manila. 
  • Food was okay, there were chicken and fish fillet choices for dinner – I took the fish
  • In between snacks of chocolates, biscuits, juices, cola, chocolate cake etc and a turkey ham/cheese sandwich too!
  •  There were pillow and blanket
  • No TV though
  • Playing cards, Globe sim card, toothbrush/paste were distributed separately, something I am not so cool but bearable. I just thought they could put it in one pack and prepare it in each seat – save them the time and rounds. Also, getting a free sim makes me think – this is the reason it’s easy to fake identity… that’s personal view because in UAE we register our sims with IDs/ passports.
  • The crew was friendly, nice and pleasant.
  • Upon arrival at NAIA Terminal 2,  I was a bit confused whether to take my check in luggage or keep it… Gotta ask the Customs desk to know what has to be done. So what happened is that there are 3-4 personnel in one side of the baggage claim area that puts on a yellow sticker that says “domestic transfer”, got mine and had it stuck on. Then I went out and enter once again to the dometic area.
So, far, that’s it.
.
.
.

Time Check : 6:05 am – I’ll be sharing what will happen after that encounter shortly.
 
 
So what happened during my arrival . . . 
 
Hahaha! I wish I could actually capture their faces! 😀

So, the universe connive with me, when I get off the taxi no one is on the street. So I got off as quick as I could, put on my hats, drag my luggage and put it in front of our sari-sari store. 

Right on time Papa was about to go back inside the house, so I said “Ayo!!! Pwede magpa-load“,  (hello, can I have a load?) widely smile and look at him. His face and eyes blank . . . took few more seconds before saying “Hala! – – – Ikaw na day?” (oh! Is that you?)

Mama on the other hand, was about to go upstairs and stopped, saw me, but on her mind “Is it JM, she is, but it’s impossible” 
 
And I blurt it loud, Surprise!!!! 

They all smiled, laughed and said Hoy! Nganu naa man ka! Wa lagi ka nagsulti! (Hey! Why are you here, why didn’t you inform us . . .)
 
Then more laughter, hug and kisses follow. 

What a great feeling to actually be at home and meet my family again. My brother was on duty, so when he arrived I also surprised him, but although he wasn’t aware, he took the other door and got me surprised too! 

Sharing you my daily musing, instant reunion, eat outs, meeting friends and more adventures! So just keep on track 🙂

God Bless!

OEC 2.0 (2016 Version)

So, last year I have created a blog post entitled Exit-OEC. This was about how to create your online OFW data and the process of logging in to bmonline.com where you have to register your details as an OFW and be able to request for an appointment in getting OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate).
This year as a prep for my January 2016 (unplanned) vacation, I have gone through the same process but with a little bit of improvements. On this post, I am sharing you my experience during my 27 Dec 2016 – OEC Appointment schedule.

I have logged in to my account, schedule the appointment and after completing it, I have received this Email Confirmation.

After deciding of when to go home as a result of the blog post The Fear of Losing Job, I have purchased my ticket and did the steps below for OEC 2.0.

Note: I have highlighted the Official Steps (in yellow) as the Steps you take when you are onsite during your appointment date. The steps below are “My Steps” according to how I did this process.

My Step 1 – Log in to Balik Manggagawa online (make sure you keep your details) 
Log in and find that green box where you are able to know if you are exempted to get a new OEC or you need to do another appointment/schedule. In my case I was redirected to make another appointment. I didn’t really totally understand why I am redirected to it when in fact majority of those who travelled last year has an exemption… but according to this article, some reasons are stated. Check out Question no. 8.

So, I logged in and arrived at my profile. Under this profile are 3 items : 
1. Personal Data, 
2. Contract Particulars and 
3. Legal Beneficiaries / Qualified Dependents

You can freely change details if you have changed to another employer or if other information has been changed. I clicked the upper right green box and I was redirected to the appointment schedule. I entered my flight dates and the calendar pops up where I could choose a specific date for the appointment.

This is my main profile page and on the upper right, you’ll see the green box to either acquire or be exempted for OEC.
For those who are exempted, this one will show up:
Photo from:  poea.gov.ph/files 
My Step 2 – On the Day – Go to the Appointment on time
My schedule was at 9:00 am – 27 November 2016.
First schedule was my 2015 appointment .. Don’t know what happened that it shows “cancelled” when I have completed it. maybe that’s why I was not able to get my exemption this year.


Then under that is my schedule this year – it says “approved”

My Step 3 – Struggle where to go
Yep! I am adding that step simply because when I arrived in the embassy, I struggle to find someone (or a visible guide) who could actually guide me properly on where to go. So get inside the office  look around, trying to ask questions to fellow OFWs (whose answers are also “I don’t know” because they too are on the same ground as me), and then I found this A4 paper posted on the wall for the process and although I wasn’t sure if I understood it correctly but I proceeded to the OWWA line – as step 4.

Step 3.1 (Official Step 1)
Extra Step before Step 4 (if you’re registering the first time, or if you’ve changed your company). Outside the office is an area where (Official) Step 1 starts, it’s where you as first timer/ if changed company starts the process. You need to bring the following:
  • Original and copy of your contract
  • Original and copy of your passport font page (main info) and the back page 
  • Original and copy of your visa

Above documents has to be submitted to the assigned personnel including a form that they give you onsite. Once completed, you proceed to Step 2

My Step 4 – Queue for OWWA (Official Step 2)
OWWA payments are collected every 2 years, that means your 92 AED (around 1,196 Php : if 1 AED is 13 pesos) will be your membership fee for the next 2 years, let’s say for example in my case I paid that amount in 2015 Nov and so mine is still valid until 2017 Nov.
As I reached my turn, the officer told me, it’s still valid (saved my 92 AED this time 🙂 ) then I flew right away to the next line. – Step 5 OEC.

Step 5 – Queue for OEC (Official Step 3)
I was the 8th or 9th person in line. This day is not that busy though, so it was a bit of smooth, in fact I have completed the process in 25-30 minutes.

OEC Fee is 10 AED (Around 130 pesos)

Process Complete!

* * * 


MY REVIEW:
This day’s appointment is somehow 3.5*. (5* if I am totally satisfied). Let me explain… I gave 3.5 out of 5 because I think, the Embassy missed to assign a proper reception to receive the applicants. 

I would suggest:
First, that they prepare a small table right in the entrance to POLO/OWWA Office before entering to the main villa. One who could guide if the person should proceed directly to which step and at the same time issue the forms required.

Second, that all staff “still” needs to be friendly. Wonder why I say so? Because few years back, I vented out my frustration about how some of the officers attended me and other people.. Wanna know what I wrote? Read that on this Facebook review PH Embassy on 2013 page.

Out of the 3 staffs I met on this day, 2 of them are pleasant, but one is not. I won’t say if he/she but that person somehow made me and other OFWs disrespected, but I just let it go. 

The fact that I have completed this process in half an hour or less is already a good thing. I just hope that it is going to be faster and more efficient than ever. Still giving a thumbs up though!

Hope this blog helped! tell me your experiences too!

God Bless!

Blog post by : JM Kayne

The Fear of Losing Jobs

As many of you know, I am an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) – one of the so called “Bagong Bayani”. I am in Abu Dhabi UAE for the past 8 years and 2 months (never thought I’d go this far…) Like many OFW I have gone through the ups and downs of this life which many of the people in the Philippines especially those who haven’t been abroad don’t know, understand and realize. 
 
It pains me to hear and see family, friends and relatives (or even Facebook friends who are not that close) thinking that someone who is abroad is “rich”, that money is effortlessly gained. That if “naka-abroad ka datu na ka!!!” I think it is because of what most of the OFWs image shows on social media: pictures of the luxurious “kuno” lifestyle, posting food (like feast), beautiful buildings, and gatherings – all smiles and as if life is a bed of roses! Not known to others (or actually knows – but people just play is cool and somehow stays into that illusion that OFWs are = to lots of money) – life outside the country is never easy.

 
*   I remember a friend who wholeheartedly wears her heart on Facebook expressing her disappointments to the people who think that way, especially in her case when she married a foreigner. I feel for her! A sad reality every Juan/Juana abroad has to face.  

 

*      Another colleague gets pressured by her family of buying the latest plasma TV and never even bothers to say thank you for the 32 inches she sent home!  

 

*      A friend whose family thinks he is a bank… asking money after money, week after week.

Want hear more? If you have an OFW family member/friend it’s your time to show some concerns. Ask how he/she is… Of course most of us would just say we’re okay, we don’t want to burden the people in our life and worry about us.
 

Dear Fellow OFWs,

This open letter is to encourage you to tell the truth and be open to your family with your struggles. Let them understand what life is.

 

Dear Friends and Family (of OFWs),

Don’t just think about money – be human enough to care and love those people, who are away from you, you don’t know what they’ve been through. (If you’re not one of them, ignore this letter. If you are guilty – please try to be kind)

 
*  *  *

This year the Emirates are hit with another crisis after 2008 recession.  The bread and butter of this country – the major field is affected which means the Oil & Gas industry. 2016 is indeed a shaky year for Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other Emirates, news of laying off, termination here and there are the major talks. My own company is not exempted, there has been numerous of expats affected with this crisis and with the threat of Emiritazation of the government companies.  

List after list comes and as an expat, I have that premonition that my time will come.
 
Month after month, names after names, position after position, friends after friends – have received their “love letter”.   

Somehow I was at peace. Inside me is the thought that God determines when my time will come. Hearsays heard that my name was on the list earlier this June but haven’t received the letter yet. So I conditioned my mind that one day I will have it. 

So, NDC celebrated the 45h UAE National Day on 29th November and in the midst of this celebration, I received a call from the Employee Relations – HR, never thought IT was the line! There is really that time in our life that even when you conditioned your mind that something’s gonna happen – – –  but when the situation is really at hand, there is that hunch in your heart that says “opppps!”  

No! Don’t get me wrong – It was not shocked… I was something like “uh! – hmm – ok .. moment” . . . my thoughts are battling whether to be happy or sad!


To some of you who know my “NDC work life” – you would understand that I will be happy because of not being able to go through the “Loving thy Neighbor” episodes at work – which actually makes me sin… and if I stay longer I might do the un-doable (MUST NOT – do as a Christian) 

To anyone, the FEAR of LOSING a JOB is something not to be happy with. Of course, financially, it would disable me from doing whatever activity that requires money – simply because our adult life tagged it as a “NEED”! 

But why? Why am I not sad? Actually, I even got excited! Let me tell you some of the reasons:

1.    2016 closes a door (last working day is on 29th Dec), which makes me excited what 2017 has in store for me.
2.    I will now stop the Loving Thy Neighbor episodes (Basically this should go first! )
3.    It gives me a month to go back home and spend time with family (although I’ll be apart with Koko for a while) – which is the reason I have kept this post until now because I’d like to surprise them!!!
4.     Finally, #InMyHeart is PEACE. A peace that makes me trusts God that nothing happens without a reason. In fact, the moment I received my letter – if I could write on Facebook’s “What’s on your mind” status – I’d say “Answered Prayer”

So, why am I writing this?


 
Sorry, my introduction (about OFWs) was quite longer than my main body on this blog. What I want to say is that OFW (and even others who are working) has this “FEAR OF LOSING OUR JOBS” special mention to OFWs because of the visa woes, going through immigration problems, processing documents, to do this and that, flight tickets, exit moments, monetary back-up – – – etc. etc. . .  but I say: 
*Think of it as a door closed by God because he has better and bigger doors to open including windows even 🙂 .* 
Psalms 9:10 says “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” 

As of today, I am JOBLESS, but I”ll never gonna feel down –  I claim that God has right timing and plans. I keep holding on.


I will keep you track what happens next . . . 

This is my last blog post from NDC computer.  
Thank you NDC, it has been a great 4 years+!

JM signing off for 2016. Ciao!
God bless!