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Everything posted by strap

  1. But remember, whatever the correct number is, that number would be MUCH higher if we had not temporarily brought the world to a standstill. Even US President President claims that we saved millions of lives by shutting things down. And also I think we tend to forget that it's not the case that if you're not one of the relatively few that die, then you're "fine". There have been a lot of people who've almost died, but have survived after being very, very sick. And many are left with lifelong complications. And they're not all old people either.
  2. When we filed our taxes for 2018 (we haven't filed 2019 yet), we owed some money, so I provided our bank information for the IRS to direct DEBIT it from our our account...which they quite happily did. We all know they (supposedly) will use the direct DEPOSIT info from your tax forms to put the stimulus check in your bank account, but I had never actually seen in writing anywhere that they would use the direct DEBIT info from your tax forms. I certainly assumed they would, but from what I read yesterday that is not the case. So I'm kinda stuck for now. When either me or my wife log in to the IRS Get My Payment site and enter my info, it comes back with the infamous "Payment Status Not Available" page, and there's no option to input any bank info. Oh well.
  3. We regularly send loads from the U.S. directly to phones in the Philippines using Xoom.com (which is part of PayPal). I believe there is a $1.99 transaction fee, and I'm sure they make a little profit on the exchange rate. But it has always worked, and the load normally shows up almost instantly on the phone. Don't know if Xoom is available outside the US?
  4. And everything I've read, other than the PRA website of course, seems to indicate that the $1500 SRRV is available to not just military retirees, but also to military veterans (non-retired).
  5. When we make our move later this year I'll leave my suit and tie (and all the fixings) back here in the states with my son. That way I won't have to haul it back and forth with me if/when I have to come back for a funeral, etc. When we get to the Philippines, I'll just buy a barong. I'll avoid dress-up occasions as best I can, but I'm sure I'll eventually get tagged for one. When that happens, I'd much rather face it in a barong than an amerikana suit and tie. They look a hell of a lot more cooler and comfortable.
  6. Somewhere awhile back I read somewhere or heard someone say that the Philippines has three seasons: Summer, Summerer, and Summerest. I believe it!
  7. When a Filipino becomes an American citizen do they still lose their Filipino citizenship and have to apply to reacquire it? I thought now they automatically retained the Filipino citizenship with no action necessary? I assumed the reacquiring process was just meant for Filipinos who became citizens of a foreign country before the Philippines law was passed several years ago allowing dual citizenship.
  8. The main thing with antibiotics is that if you do start a course of antibiotics, you need to continue it til the end, even if you feel like you're cured before then. Otherwise you may leave behind a few stray bacteria, which are most likely to be the strongest, most drug-reisistant.
  9. It's true that the Philippines now recognizes divorces abroad from foreign spouses, but apparently there’s more to it than just submitting a copy of the divorce with your dual citizenship application and other paperwork. You still have to go through some court proceedings in the Philippines to get the divorce officially recognized. https://deborjalaw.com/recognition-of-foreign-divorce/ As part of my wife’s dual citizenship application we had to submit copies of her current US passport and most recent Philippine passport. If there’s any evidence in either of those that she might have been married previously (e.g. different last name) that will raise questions. It didn’t stop my wife’s dual citizenship from being approved, but the dual citizenship certificate does also list her former married name as one of the names she’s known by (AKA). Getting a Philippine passport with her current married name may be more problematic though. As part of the passport application we had to submit our US marriage certificate, as well as a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) from the Philippines. Since you said your wife’s first marriage took place in the Philippines, that will probably show up.
  10. This past Christmas I finally bought my wife a proper tabo, after 30 something years of using Burger King cups and such. I did it sort of as a joke gift. She seemed more delighted with the tabo than with the new iphone she also got. Most larger Asian supermarkets have a housewares section. You can usually find a selection of tabos for $2 or $3.
  11. I'm quite sure that's at Las Casas Filipinas del Acuzar in Bataan, sort of a resort/museum. I've never been there, I just remember reading about it awhile back. https://www.lascasasfilipinas.com/
  12. I'm still in the States, but planning a move to the Philippines in a few months. I installed ExpressVPN several days ago, and have been using it to make sure I understand how to use a VPN and see what issues I might run into. I've tried Netflix several times with different US server locations, and so far every time I start loading a show to watch I get the message from Netflix "You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again." I just now tried Amazon Prime Video with the VPN and got the same message you did, "This title isn't available in your location." So, I don't think they know that you're in the Philippines, or necessarily even know that you're not in the US. But they are detecting that you're trying to access their service via a VPN, and are blocking it just based on that. It's kind of worrisome if sites like Netflix and Amazon are getting better at detecting and blocking connections from VPNs. Because if they can do it, so can other more important sites, banks for example.
  13. May I ask approx how much that would cost? We're just starting to explore our options for getting our stuff to the Philippines.
  14. Yes, I was sad to hear that. I've been a Moody Blues fan since high school in the 70's, and have seen them in concert several times. This one hit me harder than most celebrity deaths I read about. It felt like somebody I knew.
  15. Let me try to get this thread back on topic. I'd hate to see it get closed, it's an important subject with potentially some really big financial implications. Here's my understanding and summary of a few of the facts being discussed. - Basically Part A is hospitalization insurance. Most all Americans who turn 65 get this free, there are no premiums. - Part B is medical insurance (think doctor's visits, lab tests, etc), things that happen while you're not hospitalized. - Part B is optional. You have to apply for it if you want it. I don't think you have to opt out when you turn 65. If you never apply, you never get it and they never charge you premiums. If you do enroll in Part B, you can un-enroll later. - The current Part B monthly premium for most new enrollees is $121.80 (not $200+). - There is a SIGNIFICANT lifetime penalty for not enrolling in Part B when you're first eligible or for un-enrolling, basically 10% per year of not being enrolled when eligible. For example, if you're 70 years old this year and decided to sign up for Part B, your premiums would be approx $180/month instead of $120/month. The penalty applies every month for the rest of your life. - I've never seen anything that indicates that the clock stops on the Part B premium penalty accumulating just because you're living outside the US. So I think if you're settled in the Philippines and have no intention of ever returning to the states (or Guam) to live or to have medical treatment, you may be OK without Part B. But if you're just testing the waters or want to leave your options open, you may want get out the calculator and do a little figuring before you decide to drop or delay enrolling in Part B.
  16. Yep...I got the same email today. It starts Aug 1 and will not be optional. Here's a quote from the email: If you do not have a text-enabled cell phone or you do not wish to provide your cell phone number, you will not be able to access your my Social Security account.
  17. We live in the US and I have most of our on-line banking, credit card, PayPal accounts, etc. set up for "two-factor authentication". This means when I log into one of the on-line accounts, I have to give a username and password as normal. But then there's another step. The website will send a text to my mobile phone with a 6-digit code that I then have to enter into the website to proceed any further. This works great here in the US and (I think) greatly reduces the chances of getting the accounts hacked. We're going to be visiting the Philippines for a couple weeks real soon, and I was wondering how well the two-factor authentication will work there. My T-Mobile phone plan allows free international texting, so hopefully if I do need to get into one of the accounts, the text would arrive and arrive fairly quickly. One option would be for me to temporarily disable the two-factor thing for the time we're there. The I'd just need my username/password. I'd rather not do that if I don't have to. And actually I hope I don't need to access any of my accounts at all during the time we're there, but you never know... Does anyone have any experience with any of this kind of thing?
  18. Nephi I admire your sense of adventure but I have to say, if I had to check my bedroom three times a day for cobras...well actually I don't know what to say.
  19. I don't know, I've never been to Dumaguete, but that seems like an overly broad conclusion to come to based just on this particular incident. I'm not so sure that any city or country is a good place to be acting belligerently at 4 am in a bar...especially as a foreigner. And the fact that he was a foreigner may or may not have even been the main factor. How many times do things like this happen to locals all over the Philippines, and you just never hear about it. In any case, he certainly didn't deserve this no matter what, but I'm not sure this incident says anything about the overall safety situation of foreigners in Dumaguete.
  20. I've asked about this and searched around about this, and to me the risk seems quite high. The basic law is that foreigners can't own land. So even if you buy the land in the Filipina spouse's name, things get real murky if she happens to die before you. The inheritance laws are anything but clear. Someone may be able to quote some subsection of some that law that seems to clearly state that you (the foreigner) continue to have at least some rights to the property after she is gone. But there is probably some other subsection somewhere that says something different. So if things got nasty with the spouse's family, it could come down to some local judge rendering his wise, unbiased, uncorruptable opinion on the matter. That could, and probably would, end badly for the foreigner.
  21. We're planning a move to the Philippines sometime within the next year or two. My wife's extended family is in Angeles City, Luzon. So it's pretty much a given that we'll end up on Luzon somewhere, and probably north of Manila. My one firm non-negotiable requirement (at least that I haven't cracked on yet) is that we have to be at least an hour from Angeles. I know that's probably not far enough, but it's better than being right next door to the family. My wife was over in the Philippines a few months ago, and took a day trip to Subic to check that area out. For some reason she didn't care that much for it. I think she thought it was maybe too touristy or resort-y. One city that's recently appeared on our radar as one to check out is Balanga, Bataan. I keep seeing references to Balanga being a "progressive" city with a young, progressive mayor. It has about 90,000 residents which seems like a good size. Not too big, but has a mall, a Robinson's, a PureGold, all the normal city stuff. It sits on Manila Bay, and...it's about an hour from Angeles. My wife will be back in the Philippines next month, and she's going to make trip to Balanga to take a look. Does anyone know anything, good or bad, about Balanga?
  22. Mark, Just wanted to let you know that I downloaded and used your Video Downloader a few days ago. It worked perfectly for what I needed. I installed another YouTube downloader about a year ago that I got from CNET or somewhere. That one really messed my laptop up with malware and other assorted crap. It took a lot of work to get it un-crapped. So it's nice to have one now that I can trust. Thank you very much!
  23. We've got T-Mobile in the States. My wife was just over to the Philippines a couple weeks ago. Surprising to us, her T-Mobile number still worked when she got there. I looked at our account info on the T-Mobile website and sure enough our plan included free texting, (supposedly) free data, and $.20/min calls while in the Philippines. Texting and calls worked fine, but the data never did work as far as we could tell. I think it might just be slow 2G data anyway. It may be dependent on what plan you have with T-Mobile, but our plan isn't anything special and we hadn't specifically asked for international service.
  24. Shouldn't be a problem unless you are "an individual who is a member of, affiliated with, or is otherwise helping a foreign terrorist organization." ...which I doubt you are. :) Why is it really concerning to you?
  25. In preparation for our move to Philippines next year, I thought I'd go ahead and order some certified copies of my US birth certificate, our US marriage certificate, and my DD 214. And we'll order some copies of my wife's NSO birth certificate from the Phiippines. I don't know specifically what we'll need these documents for once we get there, but how many copies of each do you think we should order? Is 5 copies enough? too many? When you do have to submit documents for whatever in the Philippines, do they normally return them? I'd like to get enough copies now to last...a long time, rather than try to deal with the hassle and delays of ordering more copies from the states once we're over there. Also, I understand you need to get documents like these certified or validated at a Philippine consulate here in the states. Is that a simple matter of showing up at the front desk of the consulate with a stack of certified birth certificates, etc and having them stamp them, or is it a little more inolved than that? (I suspect it's a little more involved. :))
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