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JJReyes last won the day on August 4

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About JJReyes

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    Traveling Somewhere in America
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    Photography. My wife and I love to travel and we intend to do so during our retirement years as independent seniors.

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  1. I have a close friend with an SRRV. He likes to travel through the islands taking photos for additional income. To prevent local employment issue problems, the photos are marketed through a stock photography company based in Hong Kong. I previously owned an advertising photography studio in the Philippines. Don't forget to bring lots to silica gel or a small dehumidifier for the closet where you plan to store your equipment. The humidity is incredible.
  2. I didn't see any premium economy for only a few hundred more. Usually 2-3 times the lowest economy fare. Searching for hotels and airline tickets online has become one of the craziest games. Unfortunately, the consumer is the usual loser. As a retiree with plenty of time, I sometimes try to play their game. It could potentially save me some money, but still a loser. Just like in a casino, you can't beat the odds. The first step is to remove all cookies from your computer. This is how the booking companies keep tabs of your preferences. Knowing that flights to Mexico City should cost between $200 to $400 roundtrip, I was shocked that everyone offered in the range of $400 to $600. Forgot to remove cookies. After I fixed the problem, prices returned to normal. The alternative Is to login "incognito" or use another computer. The next step is to visit different websites. They require such information as destination, travel dates and class of service. You are creating a new profile after removing cookies. For the next few weeks, your screen will have pop-up messages from Travelocity, Expedia, etc. making all kinds of offers. Most important step is to check airline websites. They have calendars showing which dates have cheaper fares. The reason is the bookings on those days are still low so they offer price incentives. Note that 3 or 4 weeks before the flight, the prices go up. Best window for me is 60 days before expected departure date. Others say it's 30 or 45 days before. Finally, there are the clubs. I have AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and AAA (American Automobile Association). Supposedly, the best is Costco Travel for their members. For some unknown reason, certain flights don't sell. The cost of operating the aircraft is approximately the same. Rather than flying with empty seats, it is better to dump them at a low price to wholesalers, consolidators and clubs with multi-million members. They won't advertise the prices through the online booking companies because it exposes prices to the public. Years ago we were able to purchase round trip tickets for the family from Honolulu to Vancouver for $99 each during Christmas. It was cheaper than going to a neighboring island. Our tickets to Manila were purchased from a consolidator.
  3. JJ, just to be clear the premium seats were with Cathay or with PAL? I'm only through my first half cup coffee. The premium economy seats are on Cathay Pacific Airlines. Philippine Airlines from Manila to San Francisco and Los Angeles, at this time, only offers economy and business class. The previous "game" on Philippine Airlines was to purchase the cheapest economy class ticket, then you placed a bid for a business class seat. There is a range of suggested amounts, but everyone offered the minimum because the business section is usually empty. Philippine Airlines got wise. So now the minimum bid is $850 for a one way ticket! That's on top of the economy class fare. Still cheaper than outright purchasing a business class ticket, but no longer cheap. I have a bad back. Any flight using economy class seats lasting more than three or four hours will result in back pains lasting several days.
  4. For next week's flight, our reservation are Las Vegas/San Francisco/Hong Kong/Manila on Cathay Pacific Airlines. Las Vegas/San Francisco is on Alaska Airlines. Approximately 23 hours including stops. Philippine Airlines, because they fly directly San Francisco/Manila and Los Angeles/Manila, is more expensive. It was more than $1,000 economy. The reason is the approaching holiday and the 2 to 4 million Phil-Am market desiring to spend the holidays with their relatives. Adding a few hundred dollars, we are flying premium economy. More comfortable seats and better service. I recommend Cathay Pacific although in all honesty, we haven't flown using this airline recently. By the way, Dragon is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific. We also researched and found cheap tickets from China and Taiwan carriers. But watch out for total flight time. Some were over 30 hours.
  5. JJReyes

    Hong Kong Disneyland Trip

    Nice photos. The children look like they are having lots of fun. It's the parents you worry about. Can they survive the trip and all the excitement while preparing for it. Worse, the incessant question after, "When are we going back?"
  6. You should have three separate bank accounts - joint, your name and her name. They should be linked allowing electronic money transfers from one account to the other PER YOUR INSTRUCTIONS. Either one of you has access to funds in the event of someone's demise. Additionally, keep some cash at home for emergencies. Your overseas accounts are a separate matter. The car belongs to the person named in the registration.
  7. Caveat. When you return to the Philippines, your wife has to be with you. The balikbayan privilege is given to her and the courtesy is extended to you as an accompanying spouse. As a 13a visa holder, you pay the departure tax. With a BB visa, the departure tax does not apply.
  8. Yes. You are correct. The Philippines permits former Philippine citizens regain their citizenship through an application process. The US government policy won't recognize the dual citizenship, but they are cognizant that this is permitted by other governments. In other words, having dual citizenship is not a violation of US law. As a returning Filipino without dual citizenship you can own land, but it is limited. It is enough land to build a home in an urban area and, I believe, three hectares of agricultural land. The limit is lifted for dual citizens. I actually had faced a similar problem. My land ownership exceeded what was permitted by law. One suggestion was dual citizenship although the family lawyer's opinion is I was grandfathered because the ownership was before changing my citizenship. To avoid any possible legal problems, I decided to sell. We know of a family whose children have four passports. One of them, a university professor, went on a one year sabbatical to Barcelona, Spain. The local British International School would not accept their daughter's US citizenship because they were already overrun by Americans. The same with Australians. So they registered their daughter as Finnish even if she couldn't speak the language.
  9. The SRRV is through the Philippine Retirement Authority and it's a lifetime residency permit. There are all kinds of privileges including bringing household appliances and even a car from the United States duty free. The 13a is a spousal visa when you marry a Filipino/Filipina citizen. Your wife's status is a bit more complicated because the United States does not recognize dual citizenship. Technically, her application for US citizenship means she renounces allegiance to a foreign government. She, with other immigrants, go before a Federal judge, raises her right arm, and recites, "I pledge allegiance.... " The Philippine recognizes dual citizenship provided your wife never gave up her original citizenship (i.e., continues to pay taxes and pays for an annual cedula [resident certificate].) An attorney practicing immigration law should be consulted. Again, entering as a balikbayan gives you time to study various options most suitable for your situation.
  10. Added Note: You wife has to request "Balikbayan" when she presents the passports to the immigration officer at the airport.
  11. My assumption is your wife now has an American passport. It will include information as to her place of birth which is the Philippines. To be safe, bring her old Philippine passport if she still has it. Her entry status is Balikbayan (returning former national) and the visa is good for one year. It can also be extended. If you and any children are traveling with her, Philippine immigration will likewise grant spouse and children Balikbayan status. Before the visa expires, you can do a visa run by going to a nearby country. Many forum members are familiar with the nuances of doing a visa run. The advantage of Balikbayan is you are exempt from paying the departure tax when traveling overseas. Research the SRRV program. If my recollection is correct, a returning former national (Balikbayan) is exempt from the investment deposit.
  12. To be blacklisted by Philippine Immigration requires that you did something wrong and there is a complaint or warrant. It can't be for something minor like public intoxication. The offense must be something similar to a felony in the United States. The main problem is errors in local databases. In my case, my name is the equivalent of John Smith and there must be thousands with an identical name. For several years, every time I exited the Philippines, they would call airport security for a Level II verification. Someone with the same name was wanted for multiple murders. Then it stopped. I assume the guy was either caught or killed.
  13. JJReyes

    knife crime in England

    They work during the week. Sunday is a day of rest. Most of the stabbings between rival groups occur on Friday and Saturday. The Yakuza use the short samurai swords for their fights. It's usually fatal.
  14. JJReyes

    knife crime in England

    The United Kingdom has very strict gun laws. Weapon of choice is a knife. The situation is very similar in Japan although knifing incidents are kept out of newspapers. A friend who is an emergency room nurse in a Tokyo hospital told us they have 5 to 6 stabbing cases every Friday and Saturday. In the United States, easy access and ready availability means the weapon of choice is a gun or rifle.
  15. Any nearby country will do. The reasoning for an onward ticket is, in the event the Philippine government requires you to leave, for any reason, the government won't have to pay for your ticket.