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FlyAway last won the day on November 7 2021

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  1. Went through this last month as well. They also wanted a photo copy of every single page of my passport. Glad I didn’t have the extra page version. I had an appointment for November. We walked in early October to ask questions and they processed me that day since I had the NBI clearance. Anyone have a time estimate for approval?
  2. The bolt mechanism itself was jammed up. Could not twist it open. Screen door was latched on the inside. Had to take the inner screws off the latch then fight to release the deadbolt. Good reason to always carry a multi tool. Always comes in handy.
  3. This morning my wife could not get the deadbolt to unlock. She and her friends crawled out the window to go to the market and get someone to break the lock. It is my friends air b&b here in Angeles city. Many laughed at me for having a mini belt buckle multi tool.
  4. This is a brief write up of my experience with converting my valid California drivers license to Philippine license. First off, our local LTO office told us we had to go to the Main LTO office in Quezon City. We started out by thinking we would be proactive and get a medical clearance before going to LTO. Cost on that was P500 each. We arrive at LTO with our medical certificates, California drivers license, passports and copies of my passport bio and VISA stamp pages. We arrived in Philippines late February and I was given a 1 year Balikbayan VISA. Wife is dual citizen so we took both her passports. First window, the lady looks over our documents. Our medical was not LTO certified. I had inquired about this in the first place but of course was told it would be valid. So we need a new medical. We were given a location down the street to get a new LTO Certified medical. OK, another P500 for each. Less involved than the first exam. We go back to LTO and finish up filling out the applications. Wife's fee was P785 mine was P785 + P100 application fee. What ever, no big deal to me. Next you go back and forth between fingerprint and photo windows. We arrived at 9:30am and were out with our hard copy license by 11:30am. Thought we would be there all day. All in all, not a bad experience. License is good for 5 years.
  5. Being one who recently arrived, We were asked about return tickets. My wife said we plan on staying 6+ months. She asked about processing the 13a for me. Officer said check the website, then stamped my passport with 12 month Balikbayan. If you are not accompanied by a Filipino spouse, I would never risk not having a return flight.
  6. Wife and I are quarantine hotel as this is written. Several days prior to our scheduled flight, we checked out various Philippine Airlines recommended quarantine hotels. We chose one in Pasay in the Newport City area. I can see Villamor Airbase outside my window. We left San Francisco February 20. (Flight was rescheduled from original February 17 departure date) Ticket counter wanted to see our marriage certificate. All we have is a certified copy. Plus I had the 9a tourist visa from a few months ago when it was required. All in all, Philippine Airlines was no problem. We even brought two cats with us but that is for another topic. Yes, they arrived safe and sound. No issues or problems with their paperwork or customs. Before arrival, you are given several forms to fill out. Usual arrival card and customs declaration. Then health declaration and past travel history/employment forms. Upon arrival, Philippine Coast Guard will take your temperature while still on the plane and take the health declaration forms. You then depart the plane and are met by Department of Tourism representatives. They are there to coordinate with quarantine hotels and Covid test scheduling. I did not know it at the time but there is an additional online form that needs to be completed. They have QR codes there ready to help. Plus there are representatives through the whole process. I was very impressed. Worst part about the form fill out was trying to see the darn letters without my reading glasses. Face shield and mask do not go well with glasses. Fog up to fast! I had to resubmit the form a second time as my Microsoft email account never came through with the QR code response email (Didn't go to spam either, just never got it). Ended up using my gmail account. Once you finish this step, it is time to pay for your Covid test. They take credit cards. Unfortunately the processing system went down while processing ours. We were prepared with 8,000 Peso on hand. Easy process for the most part. Line to Immigration was shortest I had ever been in! It helped that we were pretty much the first ones off the plane throughout this process. Immigration asked for our marriage certificate. She asked if we had an original but didn't make any fuss about it. We were asked about return flight tickets. We didn't have any. Wife explained we were going to stay 6+ months and possibly process my 13a visa. My passport was stamped with the 12 month Balikbayan stamp, Have a good day and enjoy Philippines! Next step was Customs. Cats were waiting within a few steps of our luggage. A representative from the Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry was on the spot to inspect the cat's importation documentation. P410 import fee. Have a good day! Next we handed the customs declaration form to the representative. It went in a box stacked with many more. Have a good day, enjoy Philippines! We had the hotel provide transportation from Terminal 2 to our hotel. Driver called and text to let us know where he was. All went smooth. Our plan was to have relatives pick up the cats as there is no quarantine requirements for them. We got to the hotel at 6:30am. Sister in Law came and picked them up. Hotel had a no pet policy anyway. I may love the cats but spending 7 days with them in a hotel room would be torture! So now we await the next 6 days till the Covid test. One thing I highly recommend is having a Philippine SIM card and a load onhand. I kept our Globe SIM's active over the past year. Periodically loading them every other month or so. Upon our arrival I switched on the Globe and text 8080 then the message was GOTSAKTO120. Figured it was good enough to get us going. It did come in handy when filling out the online forms. The airport wifi is not the greatest. We did download the Traze app but so far no one has asked for it. Maybe once the Covid test is done it will then be used. All in all, it has not been a bad experience. We always hear horror stories. I wanted to let everyone know there are positives as well.
  7. I am going through these questions now. I have made arrangements so I can transfer money from Wells Fargo to BPI. Cost me $4.00 and a knock on the exchange rate but at least I can transfer $2,999 in a single transaction. I also have a Credit Union here in California I can transfer into the Wells Fargo account with no fee's. Also kept checking and credit cards open. My credit union doesn't seem to mind if I am considered an expat. As long as my retirement checks get direct deposited and I keep a minimum balance that is. My goal is to keep multiple avenues available as we never know what might happen. As previously mentioned above, talk to your bank directly. Manager would be preferable.
  8. My major concern is all the 2 factor authentication needed for banking. I need the ability to receive text messages. Looks like I will be going with Global Call Forwarding.
  9. Here in USA $10 doesn’t even cover the local, state and federal taxes on a basic phone plan.
  10. Looks like a good option. Plus I can possibly port my number to them. Thanks, I will look into them more and report back in a few weeks. We leave mid February. Provided nothing changes with restrictions that is.
  11. Thanks for the replies. Looks like I will be getting the lowest cost plan to keep my USA cell active. It’s the authentication texts that worries me the most.
  12. Wife and I are planning the move soon. Wondering how people there communicate with their banks and other agencies back in USA? periodically my bank and Signing into government agencies will want a reply to a text message. Do you just bit the cost of keeping your USA based cell number? I have an iPhone with the virtual sim for AT&T and a Globe as secondary. We have been keeping our Globe numbers active with periodic loads.
  13. I thought there has to be approval from the Philippine version of the Food and Drug Administration before they could even begin vaccinations? For some odd reason, in 10 years I can picture adds on TV. "Did you receive the Corona Virus vaccine? If so, you may be entitled to damages"
  14. Surprisingly I am impressed with the Wigo. For a little 3 banger it gets around decently. Borrowed my friends for a road trip. Took it to Vigan and then Baguio. Actually climbed the hills pretty good considering it is an automatic and had the AC on. The small size comes in handy for zipping in and out of traffic. When I drove it to Manila, it got into some pretty tight spaces.
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