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.
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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 🙂


 

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!
 

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!

2016 – Year-End Review

Another year is about to close and a New Year is about to unfold.

I struggled how to structure this year’s year-end review that it took me only 2 days before 2017 to complete it. Thanks to Arriane Serafico! – a new personality/mentor I have followed for a while who has inspired me in some ways. She has given this worksheet where I could easily use to complete my 2016 year-end review.

So, in this post, I will divide it into 4 major topics as I look back what this year has been according to the worksheet guide.

3 Things I’m Most Proud Of Accomplishing in 2016
This year, aside from completing all our documents for our migration plan… below 3 items are the things I am proud of. Needless to expound, but these three are the major accomplishments, links to the stories of each item is available.

  1. Purchasing my own domain and checked out that dream from 5 years
  2. Travelled to Sri Lanka
  3. TVM issues – The Vineyard Magazine has been running for 4 years now and I praise God for completing another year of 4 issues.

3 Things I Wish I had Done Better
I somehow become lax about these three important things in life this year, although not completely zero but I am aware that I didn’t focus much about them.

  1. Losing Weight / Exercise – yes, I know I have gained much… 🙁
  2. Learning something new – Haven’t invested in education/learning this year…
  3. Stronger Faith / Relationship with God – I have struggled for the new service that Kokobear and I have in the past 2 years, quite long isn’t it – but it was only during the 3rd quarter of this year, that I have fully accepted it.

Roadblocks that Prevented me in Doing Better:
Number one enemy/sin that has become a roadblock for me in not accomplishing the above “Could have done better” items is being lazy! Procrastinating much and being discouraged or shall I say somehow low-self esteem in some other moments. I guess I have limited myself in a way that I didn’t work harder in losing weight or learning something new – I feel I was stagnant. But now that I am doing this review and realize these, I would definitely try to be better, work harder and aim higher!


This 2017 I will devote most of my time for

To Learn
To Create


I don’t usually create a theme for a year but this year, thanks to Arriane, I am encouraged to do one! 

LEARN and Amplify CREATIVITY 2017

 
I also want to share this post from Positive Energy, posted by Ate Lou, inspired me . . .
May 2017 be a great you to you and your family.
God Bless!