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manofthecoldland

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Everything posted by manofthecoldland

  1. !9 hours ago, while the Boracay/Kalibo BI office for my 9a tourist visa ECC ( 2 year, 6 month stay duration), I had my fingerprints taken via electronic finger scanner device, and also was photographed for the computer entry system. First time, since I have always used a distant MNL travel agent for these last 19 years and never had to go into a BI office. I also had brought with me the required 3 photos (2x2, white background, etc.), which were attached to the two identical ECC documents. Then with a ink stamp pad, I applied my two thumb prints to the 2 forms where req.'d. Since the form requires these things, they still do it.... at least in my case. These is in addition to the aforementioned computer record she recorded several minutes before. I rec'd one form and she kept the other, along with photocopies of my passport bio, entry stamp page, my 3 ACR-I cards (both sides),..... all in color..... and after looking over all my original 2 month visa extension receipts..... she kept the photocopies I had made of each or her. I also provided a photocopy of my international air ticket. Regulations and forms are what they know and do, even when redundant or perhaps unnecessary and outdated by the advancing technology. They office personnel did provide excellent and swift service, which I admit I wasn't expecting. They answered my initial e-mail within a day, asking for my contact number and called me the next day. They answered all my listed questions, and then e-mailed me a list of what I needed to bring with me when I came in for my ECC, along with a link to the form so I could download it and pre-fill most of it out before hand. I apologized during my initial slow signature and name printing above, explaining that a month after arrival I was hit with a pinched nerve that affected my right hand flexibility (60% recovery since w/o visiting a doctor, yet.... will when I get back to the USA where my medicare & secondary will cover the costs....I had hoped for a natural recovery). So BI agent, Shiela, was kind enough to aid in finishing the form fill out with me providing the answers and her doing the printing in. Note that some of the information requested would be deemed unnecessarily intrusive and perhaps prohibited by the privacy laws of OECD countries, like the USA. But this is a sovereign country with its own laws and regs that have to be complied with if you want to live here. She then told me and the asawa to go eat lunch and then come back, and she would process the application so we would not have to make a second trip back. Which she did, bless her soul. All in all, it was a 2 hour L3 transport van ride each way (P 170@/1-way), lunch cost at the near-by Chow King, and the ECC permit cost was P500. I was very happy to get this done quickly and efficiently, all things and location considered. I also brought along print-outs of our e-mail exchange the days before, and she used the one to tick off the requirements that were listed, so I had made it relatively easier for her to do the processing. Which I recommend doing. I might also mention that in order to do the e-mail print-outs, the new SM mall had NO public cybercafe or even a photocopy service in their vast cyber section. I had to seek out one of the tiny, dingy remaining cyber cafes near one of the hospitals and colleges. I also had to go to a secondary market area where there was a pretty sophisticated photocopy service located in a tiny stall. Only in the Philippines !
  2. I have a tourist visa, which calls for an ECC-A, or 'regular ECC', according to the BI web site. https://immigration.gov.ph/faqs/emigration-clearance-certificate-ecc If I was only here for 6-12 months, I could use the airport office, but more than a year, I have to show up at a BI office for processing.
  3. FYI Hello Ray, I just sent you a private message, using the 'message' envelope icon at the top of the page on this web site. It contains the information, my good experiences, useful tips etc. I just received my passport, 3 ACR-I cards, and all of the BI transaction receipts my agent obtained for me over the last 32 months. She sent it out last Friday with LBC, and it arrived today. I have found out that the Kalibo/Boracay BI field office can do my ECC, after being here since Nov '19. I e-mailed them my situation and questions the other day, and they e-mailed back the next day asking for my contact phone. They called me back this morning, went through my questions with me, and then sent me another e-mail with the requirement list, application form link, etc. So now I do not have to make the longer and more costly trips to the Iloilo BI office, and can use this much closer and less busy office for my ECC. It will take two trips since there is a 3 day processing time for my particular situation. I am quite pleased at this point with the BI field office service received, as well as that of my travel agent's visa service. I just hope that my good luck continues and I can get home without any major travel snags.
  4. I would think that anyone with any critical thinking skills, takes promotional travel and retirement articles like this with more than a few grains of salt. Most professional writers can knock off a puff piece with a bit of easy research, and a few cherry picked or fabricated personal stories to make it appear that they and the article have some insightful assessments. Who hasn't dreamed of escaping from modern life to a place that seems to tick all the boxes ? Its just leisure reading for most and perhaps a starting point for the few. Retirement dream marketing is a big business nowadays. Perhaps you might take a few minutes to point out a few of the inaccuracies you found of note or interest, since you are a very good writer who is willing to often post and share thoughts on PI living. I wouldn't put much stock in the value of what the interviewees said. Its almost a list of the more common expat traps.....start a business for the wife's family, buy or build a house for a girlfriend or newly acquired wife, pay $1000/mo. and think its a great deal without checking out other locations to see what the norms are elsewhere, bounce from country to country looking for the Utopian retirement destination. I hope the writer got at least some of the facts straight. I have no idea since I am only familiar with Panay, Mindoro and Negros.... and only spent small time in La Union, Baguio, Batangas and Palawan. Anyway,
  5. Thank you so very much, Skippscage. Your advice will be most helpful. I will need the tourist ECC-A, having been trapped here since March 2020, I have had my travel agent in MNL keep up with my visa extensions/ACR-I all this time and this morn she will LBC it to me. Have my international air ticket, 5 regulation photos.... so all I need to do is get on a morning bus, arriving around noon, and get it done. One more chore checked off I hope. You are a kind man.
  6. I sure as hell hope not. Haven't seen anything, when I poked around a bit. I think it only for arrivals.... and I'm leaving here in 3 weeks. All I could discover for my return to the USA is : a negative covid test ( I believe no more than 1 day before departure... not 24 hours), proof of your vaccinations, and there is a form to fill out that they are supposed to give you on your USA arrival flight, but you can fill it out on your smart phone as well ..... some BS that I read and saw the form displayed when I purchased my air ticket several hours ago. Oh yeah.... your passport. The ticket has lots of reading for you..... with plenty of drop down sections. These are complex travel times.
  7. I pulled the trigger today and bought an air ticket out of country. Now the easy life is over for awhile, I guess, until I return come winter in the Alaskan Interior. Since I failed to find the thread and posting I saw a short time ago, re getting an ECC at the Iloilo Bureau of Immigration, I am asking for help. I think that one of the guys here mentioned getting an ECC at the Iloilo office and would like to know if it can be done relatively quickly, or if I need to make two trips from Roxas City on the north side of the island. My asawa wants to overnight in a hotel since we haven't left home in two and half years now. At first frugal me wanted to make it a day trip, but I guess I should indulge her and try to find a place (any suggestions ?) since we haven't stayed in a pensionne or hotel there since maybe 15+ years ago.... and it was,,,a fan room/monastery cell. I'm having my passport and ACR-I card sent through LBC from my travel agent/visa renewal service in MNL where it has been since Nov.2019 and I hope she has been faithful, like she had been over the last 10-12 years we have done business together. Then I will take them and my ticket to BI. I already have had the pictures taken at the mall according to listed regs on their site/form, and if I need thumbprints, OK. But I think one of the guys said they stopped doing it when he was last there 3 years ago, but my travel agent said, that she never knows what they want sometimes, since things have been changing quite a bit. In twenty years, I always timed my trips here to be a week less than 6 months at a time, until the plague hit. So this is a first for me. I also think that now I will not have to go to my regular hotels/pensions in Mabini/Malate where my travel agent's office was....when I fly out of MNL this time. So I'm looking for suggestions re an economy hotel near the airport ( e.g. less than P 2.2K/night) so I can avoid the traffic. Not sure if I can get my covid PCR test right at the airport or not. Someone wrote that there were places close by.... walking distance... one mentioned over an airport footbridge.... but I can't find the post. I'll have to start an info search on the web tomorrow. I have 3 weeks. It used to be so EASY coming and going here, but times have changed.... for God only knows how long. Guess I'll have to dump my simple cell phone and get a smart phone before I return and since I am leaving here without one, or without a laptop or notebook or smart pad this time....... I hope I don't end up in dire straits. Tough growing old these days. The ECC has to be done no less than 47 hours before departure according to the BI web site, but i think SNowy recommended at least a week early. My travel agent said it was better for me to do it here, since sometimes it takes a week or more there in MNL, and I have no desire to sit around in a hotel there for that long. So it goes.
  8. That's good. Her channel has been part of my video entertainment for a year or two. Glad you enjoyed it as well.
  9. If interested in Namibia, I watched several of these solo motorcycling episodes throughout that country last year that had a lot of spectacular drone footage embedded.
  10. Future Headline Item: Fearing a replay of the 1848 Irish potato famine, 20,000,000 Pinoy are now applying for asylum and relocation to the American spud growing belt.
  11. This popped up on my listings and I discovered my ignorance, but my wife informed me after I started researching it a bit. Apparently it is as common as kang kong, etc. It is a common food and medicinal tree here in the PI that I was ignorant of..... however when I did a forum 'search' I see that 6-8 years ago there were several interesting posting re it as a foodstuff. When I texted a fellow local expat friend, he told me he eats it all the time. Just wondering if any other forum members use and enjoy it in any of its many forms and uses.
  12. I am so sorry. Your father's advice on an issue here that was critical for me, made a huge stress relieving difference at one point, and his name will remain in my memory for his generous advice and willingness to help others. I can only hope the best for you and your future.
  13. I just watched this new posting on Youtube and I find it rather... well, its another hurtle for those coming here it seems.
  14. Things are a bit slow these days, so I thought I'd share this for those who enjoy watching quite old TV and films that entertained the earlier generations. Bit a nostalgia. I have to embed one of the vids I just watched, since the channel itself won't embed here. They do seem to be digging up and resurrecting quite a few things from the earlier part of the 20th century now on various YT channels. I enjoy seeing the older cultural ways portrayed.
  15. Most of these suggested remedial after thoughts and proposals are the typical reactive responses we have come to almost expect.... proposed solutions that either will not work or will only add to what ever the current problem is. The real problem facing Filipinos now is how to survive and deal with the rapidly increased cost of local transportation in the face of their static income levels.
  16. The sugar cane field railways do connect small settlements with roadways in some places still. On Negros Island.... the sugar basket of the nation producing 50%+ of its cane sugar.... the asawa and I went to see a cane processing plant north of Bacolod near Silay. Enroute we came to a place on the highway where an unused track was now being used to service the area's scattered people needs. This was 15 years ago and at the time I still strongly resisted 'foreigner price' situations, but with humor and bargaining we avoided a "special trip" price and rode with the locals down the rails where it ended at a small settlement on the banks of a river where a suspended pedestrian bridge went across to other homes. Many people rode the small platform rail cart. It had a bench down the middle, and at one end was a bicycle frame that pedal-chain powered one of the two axles. With 8-12 paying customers aboard, we trolleyed long across the fields, stopping at houses, and to occasionally get off to lift it off the rails when we met another on-coming cart. I don't know their system for who had to give way and get off track momentarily, but it was no big deal. We all helped lift it off track a few times. It was terribly hot and humid and I kept thinking that we should have brought umbrellas for shade. The rail run was only a few kilometers. Asawa says we paid P50 @ for the round trip. Despite securing a reasonable price, I did tip at the end after realizing the hardships and local living conditions. Maybe 4-10 guys made a living transporting people this way. The bicycle chain drive set-up was pretty sketchy with the chain jumping off once or twice I think, but it worked. The only reason I knew it existed was due to my guidebook. I don't know it its tourist knowledge these days.
  17. Makes me wonder how they come up with these sort of policy ideas. Looks like they don't use a 'think tank' to consider either the short term practicalities nor the long term effect it will have on their desire to revive the much needed economic boost that the tourism industry provides. Its not clear to me what their motivation and goal is here, since most hospitals don't allow entry and treatment without either a Philhealth card and/or cash up front, as stated in prior posts here. Seldom does flashing a policy get you inside.... although I could be wrong on that. Perhaps Philhealth should offer the needed coverage for the inexpensive premium they think will be available to tourists who wish come to the PI. Barring that, I fail to see how this will do anything other than discourage more people from visiting here until travel is made easier and less expensive.
  18. This is going to be a very interesting social and economic event that will unfold. Vloggers have been sensationalizing the eventual re-opening for quite some time with predictions of something amounting to a 'Gold Rush' scenario. They may be basing that on all the comments from their subscribers' laments and desires to : resume personal relationships, to escape the co-vid induced social stresses of their home countries, to escape this year's harsher northern hemisphere's winter weather, etc. My hope is that there will not be an occurrence of price gouging to make up for lost revenues during the plague like seems to be happening in some countries according to economists like Richard Wolf. Reasons other than greed are usually offered to the public. Of particular interest will be air travel prices and of course accommodation prices in the foreign travel market. You would think that people would be content to have things return to the old status quo, but I doubt that it will play out that way. Any speculative thoughts? I think by now we are all wary of putting on rose colored lenses.
  19. Over the years I have used my ACR-I cards mostly as an ID card. Like when I got my vaccinations, etc. Since my passport is kept by my visa renewal service in MNL while I am in-country, where they also obtain and keep my current ACR-I card, I usually use a previous year's one in my possession and have never had anyone question it or had a problem with that over the many years that they have been in existence and required. I do not drive here. A photocopy of my passport and an outdated ACR-I card seemed to satisfy all requirements to date while moving about in-country up till now.... but who knows if and when things will change when things get moving again.
  20. What island/province/language (s) area (s) do most of the Pinoy kinfolk live in ? Maybe that is not a factor, but it might help since there may be expat members living there who can provide you with more targeted and specific information it that is a relevant concern.
  21. "...having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would...." [Herman Melville's 'Moby Dick'] I thought I would.... watch the very many recent videos of Philippine Youtube vloggers who were unfortunate to be in typhoon Odette's path of destruction, now that they are showing up. Looks like a repeat of super typhoon Ursula's December 2019 trail of carnage here in Roxas City and other track sites, although the affected population numbers may have been smaller then... I believe. Any way, there are a lot of videographers documenting in detail and from many locations with differing points of view this time with intend to provide long term follow up coverage. I was wondering how much this will affect the trend for the many hopeful future PI expats who are souring on their home country retirement situations and would like to come here to join us. The old saying re 'all publicity is good, even when negative' might not be of much value anymore. Vloggers are usually quasi-promoters, but this isn't their usual fare for a holiday or retirement destination.
  22. 24 months ago the eye of Yolanda passed over my city (Roxas). What happens to you often depends upon your house type and location. If in the eye, you can expect horizontal rain from one direction, a dead lull (ours was about 60 minutes) and then a resumption of the same wind force from the opposite direction. Even though we are north of the eye this time, everything will go into plastic bags, and the bedding fully protected since the house is not fully typhoon proof designed. Anything left unsecured outside will 'fly away' and disappear. Last time we had no power for only 10 days, but the time before (2012 or 2013) in the eye again, it took 2 months before we had electricity again. Hoping for the best.
  23. I found these video programs had certain aspects of interest, given that pending ex-pats often are trying to compare the Philippines to other SE Asian countries for possible retirement options. They provide some areas of interest in the bigger picture. I included Bangladesh for a down-stream comparison. Feel free to compare particular aspects and comment if interested.
  24. Yes. Quite common and ordinary practice here with those living in poverty without what properly private bathing facilities. I remember quite well the first time I witnessed young women and children bathing openly at an outside pump with clothes on outside their minimal living shelters. Having a sheltered bathing area is unfortunately still a luxury for far too many.
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