Today, I receive all God’s love for me. Today, I open myself to the unbounded, limitless, overflowing abundance of God’s Universe. Today, I open myself to your Blessings, healing and miracles.Today, I open myself to God’s Word so that I become more like Jesus Everyday. Today, I proclaim that I’m God’s Beloved, I’m God’s Servant, I’m God’s powerful champion, And because I am blessed, I will bless the world, In Jesus Name, Amen.

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RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain

RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain. A unique insight into the fragility of the extraordinary human brain. A true st...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Minute Maid Pulpy Goddess


http://www.facebook.com/MinuteMaid.ph

I just drank a bottle of Minute Maid Pulpy. They say it’s got ‘no preservatives added’. Aw, c’mon…It’s bottled juice. Is that even possible? So I thought maybe... a fresh Mango Orange were squeezed into the bottle because I swear I could taste its pulpy goodness!!! Oh so yummy!

I didn’t believe it the first time I heard it’s got no preservatives added.  So I read the ingredients (even the fine print) and everything checked out! It really has NO PRESERVATIVES ADDED!  That means it doesn’t have ingredients that may turn out to be allergens, or worse...carcinogens!  Whew! Now that’s healthy goodness that tastes so good, I... make sure I have my daily dose of Minute Maid wherever I am be it in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand , Brunei or traveling around the Philippines.

So okay, it’s got no preservatives added. That’s really good, right?  Not just because it doesn’t have those icky, harmful ingredients, but it also means... it is freshly squeezed and has the healthy goodness of fruits that makes one lives healthier and longer!

So far anyone who still has a hard time believing that Minute Maid has got no preservatives added - meaning it's THAT natural, it's almost like it's plucked straight from the tree, it's just as Mother Nature wanted your orange juice to be, it's got nothing but the good stuff yes, none of those potentially toxic stuff that can harm your brain, kidneys, heart; cause tumors aargh- the list of preservatives' bad effects just go on!!! Anyway, just to prove a point on just how good Minute Maid Pulpy is 'cause it's got NO PRESERVATIVES ADDED, I'm gonna drink my 3rd liter of Minute Maid Pulpy Mango Orange for the day! It is simply delicious!

I am so addicted to its refreshing pulpy goodness taste, that when I was in Bangkok, Thailand last week, the Thai attendant @ the supermarket gave me a Minute Maid the moment he saw me:-) not that he saw a signage on my forehead but because, he overheard me looking for a Minute Maid.

What are you waiting for? Go grab your Minute Maid fix!

Be healthy be merry, drink a Minute Maid today!

Feels good to know about the real pulpy deal, right? C’mon show me a smile on the comment box, and you might win yourself a Really Pulpy Deal! (That’s a chance to win a Minute Maid gift pack simply by commenting. Sweet! C'mon you just might be picked as the lucky 'commentor'!)

Love,

Traveller on a Shoestring
Minute Maid pulpy Goddess


Saturday, January 8, 2011

DO IT YOURSELF - HOW TO COMMUTE TO WAT PO VIA RIVER TAXI


newly opened River City Mall

From the newly opened River City mall, we walked towards the back of Shangri-la Bangkok.

We then turned right to the alley going to the Central Pier -  Si Phraya station.


We waited for the orange flag river taxi and paid 14 baht each then disembarked @Tha Thien.


We walked past a public market selling dried fish like those found in Tabuan in Cebu. 
Softdrinks and water is cheaper @ the small eatery in front of the gate of WAT PO. Coke cost only 20 baht against 25-30 baht selling price by the vendor near the pier.
After drinking Coke, ( my first after 6 months of abstinence) we crossed the road then entered the gate of WAT PO. 
That's when I realized I lost my LUMIX Original Battery ( sigh) I retraced my steps and found nothing, so I guessed I lost it somewhere between the pier and the gate. I moved on. And happily pose for pictures inside WAT PO. There is an entrance fee of 50 baht.


SSS Members Housing Loans for OFW


 
For Overseas Filipino Workers


The following documents should be submitted upon application:
  • Mortgagor’s Application for Housing Loan with 1” x 1” ID pictures of Principal Applicant and Spouse (Original).
  • Certificate of Loan Eligibility (Original) – (P100 Service Fee).
  • Certification from POEA, DOLE, OWWA, SSS Foreign Representative Office or Philippine Embassy/Consular Office (Original).
  • Latest Contract of Employment (Photocopy).
  • Contract to Sell with statement of latest balance (Original).
  • Owner’s copy of the Original/Transfer Certificate of Title (Photocopy).
  • Latest Property Tax Declaration and Realty Tax receipt (Photocopy).
  • Lot Plan with vicinity map duly signed and sealed by Registered Surveyor or Geodetic Engineer (Blue Print).
  • Building plans/specifications/picture of the house (Blue Print).
  • Confirmation of Completion and Appraisal from Home Guaranty Corporation located at Jade Bldg., 335 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City with tel. no. 895-90-11 (Original).
  • A set of twelve (12) postdated checks covering twelve (12) monthly installments and shall be repeated every 12 months thereafter until the loan is fully paid.
  • Certificate of Acceptance and Occupancy duly signed by the borrower if house is 100% complete at the time of loan filing (original).
  • Special Power of Attorney (if filing is thru a representative) (original).
  • Certified True Copy of the Original Transfer Certificate Title issued by the Registry of Deeds.
Note:
  • Present original and submit one (1) photocopy for authentication purposes.
  • Applicant must be up-to-date in all existing loan accounts with SSS subject to verification by SSS-Real Estate Department.
  • SSS reserves the right to require additional documents if deemed necessary.
  • Application Fee – ½ of 1% of loan amount or P500 whichever is higher, for both socialized and low-cost housing.
  • Inspection Fee – P500 for both within and outside Metro Manila.


SSS Members Salary Loan Part 2








When can a member renew a salary loan with the SSS?
The loan may be renewed after the prescribed amortization period of two (2) years. Balance of P500 or less shall be deducted from the proceeds of the new loan.
How does a member pay back the loan?
For employed member-borrower (including participants of the fast track program), the first deduction from their salaries shall start on the second month following the date of loan. All remittances shall be made on or before the 10th day following the applicable month of deduction to the SSS or to any of its authorized banks.
The employee is obliged to report to the new employer his obligations with SSS and shall allow the new employer to deduct from his salary the corresponding amortizations due, plus any penalty for late remittance of amortizations.
For self-employed or voluntary paying member-borrowers, the first amortization shall be paid to the SSS or any of its authorized banks on or before the 10th day of the third month following the date of loan.
What are the obligations of the employer to the SSS?
The employer shall be responsible for the collection and remittance to the SSS of the amortization(s) due on the member-borrower’s salary loan through payroll deduction.
The employer shall require new employees to secure from the SSS an updated statement of account.
The new employer shall continue the deduction and shall be accountable for remittance to the SSS.
In case of transfer, separation, or resignation, how can a borrower pay back the loan?
In case a member-borrower is separated voluntarily, (e.g. retirement or resignation) or involuntarily, (e.g. termination of employment or cessation of operations of the company), the employer shall be required to deduct the total balance of the loan from any benefit(s) due to the employee and shall remit the same in full to SSS.
If the benefit(s) due the employee or the amount thereof legally available for offset of obligations of the employee is insufficient to fully repay the loan, the employer shall report the unpaid loan balance to SSS.
In case of member-borrower’s death, total disability or retirement, what happens to the unpaid loan?
In case of member’s’s death, total disability or retirement under the Social Security Act, the entire amount or any unpaid amount of the loan as well as the interest and penalty thereon, If any,shall be deducted from the corresponding benefit.
An employed member shall submitan accomplished SSS Form ISL-101 (Member Loan Application Revised March 2004) and present the digitized SSS ID cards or E-6 acknowledgement stub with 2 (2) IDs listed below one of which with recent photo and date of birth.
A self-employed, voluntary member, overseas worker, non-working spouse, farmer or fisherfolk and house hold-helper shall submit an accomplished SSS Form ISL-101 and present the digitized ID card or E-6 acknowledgement stub with any two (2) of the following valid IDs,one of which with recent photo and date of birth.
•    Unexpired Driver’s License •    Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID Card •    Passport •    Postal ID •    School or Company ID •    Tax Identification Number Card (TIN)
 
Where can a borrower file the salary loan application?
A borrower may file the salary loan application at the nearest SSS branch or representative office.
NOTE: The employer shall submit annually an updated SSS Form L-501 (Specimen Signature Card) to avoid delay in the processing of salary loan applications.


SSS Members Salary Loan








What is a salary loan?
It is a loan intended to meet a member's short-termcredit needs.
Who may qualify for a salary loan?
  1. An employed, currently paying self-employed or voluntary member (SE/VM) who has 6 posted monthly contributions for the last 12 months prior to the month of filing of application.
    • For one-month loan, the member-borrower must have 36 posted monthly contributions prior to the month of  filing of application.
    • For a two-month loan, the member-borrower must have 72 posted monthly contributions prior to the month of filing of application.
  2. If the member-borrower is employed, the employer must be updated in contributions and loan remittances.
  3. The member-borrower must be updated-current in the payment of other member loans, which include educational, stock investment, MADE & housing loans granted under the Unified Housing Loan program (UHLP) or direct from SSS.
  4. The member-borrower has not been granted final benefit (total permanent disability, retirement and death).
  5. The member-borrower has not been disqualified due to fraud committed against the SSS.
How much is the loanable amount?
A one-month salary loan is equivalent to the average of the member’s latest 12 monthly credits posted.
A two-month salary loan is equivalent to twice the average of the member’s latest 12 monthly salary credits posted (rounded to the next higher monthly salary credit), but not to exceed P24,000.
How long will it take the member to pay back the loan?
The one-month or two-month salary loan shall be payable within two (2) years in 24 equal monthly installments.
How much is the interest charged on a salary loan?
The loan shall be charged a nominal interest of 10% per annum. First year’s interest shall be deducted in advance from the proceeds of the loan. Second year’s interest shall be included in the monthly amortizations.
In case a loan is not paid, how much is the delinquency interest?
Loan amortization not remitted on due date shall bear a penalty of 1% per month.
Is there a service fee?
Yes. A service fee of 1% of the loan amount shall be charged and deducted from the proceeds of the loan.

When can a member renew a salary loan with the SSS?
The loan may be renewed after the prescribed amortization period of two (2) years. Balance of P500 or less shall be deducted from the proceeds of the new loan.
How does a member pay back the loan?
For employed member-borrower (including participants of the fast track program), the first deduction from their salaries shall start on the second month following the date of loan. All remittances shall be made on or before the 10th day following the applicable month of deduction to the SSS or to any of its authorized banks.
The employee is obliged to report to the new employer his obligations with SSS and shall allow the new employer to deduct from his salary the corresponding amortizations due, plus any penalty for late remittance of amortizations.
For self-employed or voluntary paying member-borrowers, the first amortization shall be paid to the SSS or any of its authorized banks on or before the 10th day of the third month following the date of loan.
What are the obligations of the employer to the SSS?
The employer shall be responsible for the collection and remittance to the SSS of the amortization(s) due on the member-borrower’s salary loan through payroll deduction.
The employer shall require new employees to secure from the SSS an updated statement of account.
The new employer shall continue the deduction and shall be accountable for remittance to the SSS.
In case of transfer, separation, or resignation, how can a borrower pay back the loan?
In case a member-borrower is separated voluntarily, (e.g. retirement or resignation) or involuntarily, (e.g. termination of employment or cessation of operations of the company), the employer shall be required to deduct the total balance of the loan from any benefit(s) due to the employee and shall remit the same in full to SSS.
If the benefit(s) due the employee or the amount thereof legally available for offset of obligations of the employee is insufficient to fully repay the loan, the employer shall report the unpaid loan balance to SSS.
In case of member-borrower’s death, total disability or retirement, what happens to the unpaid loan?
In case of member’s’s death, total disability or retirement under the Social Security Act, the entire amount or any unpaid amount of the loan as well as the interest and penalty thereon, If any,shall be deducted from the corresponding benefit.
An employed member shall submitan accomplished SSS Form ISL-101 (Member Loan Application Revised March 2004) and present the digitized SSS ID cards or E-6 acknowledgement stub with 2 (2) IDs listed below one of which with recent photo and date of birth.
A self-employed, voluntary member, overseas worker, non-working spouse, farmer or fisherfolk and house hold-helper shall submit an accomplished SSS Form ISL-101 and present the digitized ID card or E-6 acknowledgement stub with any two (2) of the following valid IDs,one of which with recent photo and date of birth.
•    Unexpired Driver’s License •    Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID Card •    Passport •    Postal ID •    School or Company ID •    Tax Identification Number Card (TIN)
Where can a borrower file the salary loan application?
A borrower may file the salary loan application at the nearest SSS branch or representative office.
NOTE: The employer shall submit annually an updated SSS Form L-501 (Specimen Signature Card) to avoid delay in the processing of salary loan applications.


SSS Members Business Loans Part 2


 
sulong icon (2052 bytes)


What are the acceptable collateral for the loan?
The following are the acceptable collaterals:
For short-term loans
  • Registered or unregistered REM/CHM
  • Assignment of LC or PO
  • Guarantee Cover
  • Corporate Guarantee (if franchisee)
  • Assignment of Lease Rights (if franchisee)
For long-term loans
  • Registered or unregistered REM/CHM
  • Corporate Guarantee (if franchisee)
  • Assignment of Lease Rights (if franchisee)
What fees must be paid for the processing of the loan?
Evaluation and service fees of P2,000 for every P1 million plus a front-end fee of ? of 1 per cent of the approved loan must be paid. In addition, a commitment fee of 0.125 per cent of the unavailed balance must be paid for long-term loans.
What are the participating government financial institutions under the program?
Interested entrepreneurs may approach the head office or branches of the following GFIs or conduit banks:      1.  Development Bank of the Philippines      2.  Land Bank of the Philippines      3.  National Livelihood Support Fund      4.  Philippine Export-Import Credit Agency      5.  Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corporation      6.  Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation      7.  SSS accredited rural and thrift banks
This list is subject to change. Please confirm the accreditation of these lending channels with the SSS Institutional Loans Department (ILD).
For more information contact the ILD in Quezon City at telephone numbers   926-1644, and 920-6401 local 5115 or 5114.


SSS Members Business Loans


 
sulong icon (2052 bytes)



What is the SULONG Program?
The SME Unified Lending Opportunities for National Growth (SULONG) Program by government financial institutions (GFIs) designed to give small and medium enterprises (SMEs) greater access to short and long term funds. The program has a total fund allocation of P100 Million. The program has a total fund allocation of P100 million.
How can an SSS member avail himself of the loan program?
The loan facility is available thru SSS-accredited participating financial institutions (PFIs)/banks which will on-lend the fund to eligible borrowers for financing.
For what purposes may the loan be used?
 
The loan may be used for the following purposes: For Short-term loans:
  • Export financing (Export Packing Credit)
  • Temporary Working Capital
For Long-term loans:
  • Purchase of equipment
  • Building construction
  • Purchase of lot
  • Permanent working capita
Eligible borrowers shall be existing private enterprises with the following qualifications:
  • enterprises in all industries except trading of imported goods, liquor, cigarettes, and extractive industries like mining or quarrying;
  • are at least 60 per cent Filipino owned;
  • enterprises with asset size of not more than P100 million, excluding land;
  • have positive income for the previous year. If the previous year's income is negative, the average income of the past 2 or 3 years should be positive;
  • have debt-to-equity ratio of not more than 80:20 after financing, or 70:30 if borrower is a franchisee;
  • are SSS member-employers of good standing.
How much is the loanable amount?
 
For short-term loans, the program can fund up to 70% of the value of the Letters of Credit or Purchase Order for export packing, or 70% of the working capital requirement up to P5.0 million.For long-term loans, the program can fund up to 80% of the incremental cost, up to a maximum of P5.0 million.
For short-term loans Rate to PFI : Fixed rate based on PDST-F (MART 1) Rate Rate to Borrower : at PFIs option For long-term loans  Rate to PFI : Fixed rate based on prevailing rate of similar tenor but not to exceed 10% Rate to Borrower : at PFIs option
What is the term of the loan?

For short-term loans, the maximum term shall be 1 year.

For long-term loans, the maximum term shall be 5 years, including a 1 year grace period on principal payment.


Friday, January 7, 2011

How to activate your GLOBE/ TOUCH MOBILE prepaid international text roaming?


How to activate your GLOBE/ TOUCH MOBILE prepaid international text roaming?
Globe Telecom Logo Sim Card Call International Roaming Prepaid Postpaid
Make the most of your Globe services whether you are traveling abroad or traveling in the Philippines!

Traveling Abroad?

With Globe’s Worldwidest Services you are guaranteed to enjoy affordable roaming rates and clear connections wherever you are in the world!

So for your added convenience while traveling, choose Globe as your roaming partner now.

Here's how:

Step 1: ACTIVATE your roaming while still in the Philippines. The ideal time is about three(3) days before you leave the Philippines. 

Or..

You could go to any Globe center and ask for a form. 

If you are already abroad ask a buddy to do it for you. Tell your buddy to go to a Globe branch to request for activation of your number. Your buddy only have to give the customer service your number and might advice to reload your number at least Php100 or more. 

The Globe Roaming Support Hotline number is (632) 730-1212. This is the number you can CALL COLLECT by using a landline** while roaming in other countries when you have concerns and inquiries. This way you will not be charged for international calls every time you have difficulty while roaming. You may call regarding network and other service concerns such as dialing procedures.

** Please do not place calls from hotels or from your Globe Handyphone as you may be charged service fees by either the hotel switchboard or the foreign carrier.

· Postpaid subscribers can call 211 (toll-free) via mobile.

· Prepaid clients can text GROAM ON and send to 2884. Free of Charge.

Example: GROAM ON 06/01/2008

Step 2: For HELP while roaming, you can call our 24/7 Customer Service Hotline

· Postpaid subscribers can call +632.7301212 from your mobile (toll-free)

· Prepaid clients can call *131*6327301212# from your mobile (toll-free)

How to MAKE CALLS while roaming:

· Postpaid subscribers

Simply dial “+” + country code + area code (or operator code) + phone number.

Example: +6327301000 if landline or +639178000000 if mobile and press SEND.

· Prepaid clients

Dial *131* + country code + area code (or operator code) + phone number + # sign.

e.g. *131*6327301000# if landline or *131*639178000000# if mobile and press SEND.

How to SEND MESSAGES while roaming:

Use the International Number format when sending a message to someone: "+" + country code + mobile access number + mobile number.

Example: +639xxxxxxxxxx, and press SEND.

Tips while Roaming:

· Bring the phone manual with you while roaming.

· Make sure that your phone’s charger can operate at the power voltage in the countries you are visiting.

· The Message Center Number to be used while roaming should be +639170000130.

· Make sure that your GPRS settings are correct to enjoy seamless data browsing in foreign countries where GPRS Roaming is available. You may call Globe Customer Service for more information.

· Most phones are set to Automatic Network Selection, which means that it will automatically pick up the network of your visited country. If you are unable to get a signal immediately, turn off your phone and on again so that it can refresh and pick up the signal of the available network.

· Ensure you press the “END” button on your mobile phone after every outgoing call conversation and after every incoming call conversation to avoid long duration charges.

· Please always activate your “KEYPAD LOCKED” when unit is not in use to avoid involuntary calls.

· Always check your dialing format before calling. For ease of calling back to the Philippines, you may wish to store “+63” for the Philippine Country code followed by your friends and family’s phone numbers. For Prepaid subscribers, please click here for the dialing procedures.

· As a member of the Bridge Mobile Alliance, you are entitled to special data rates when you roam within the member operators. For more info, check out www.bridgemobile.com.

· For more information on rates and available roaming partners in foreign countries, please contact Globe Telecom Customer Service.

QUICK and EASY Guide for Prepaid Roaming

To use commands: text (keyword) and send to 2884.

Command

Keyword 

To activate (Free of Charge)

GROAM ON

Ex. GROAM ON 06/01/2008

To extend*

GROAM EXTEND <# of days>

Ex.: GROAM EXTEND 180

To request status*

GROAM STATUS

To know if the country offers Prepaid International Roaming*

GLIST

Ex.: GLIST CANADA

To get more information*

GROAM HELP

To de-activate (Free of charge if sent while in the Philippines and P25 if sent outside the Philippines)

GROAM OFF

· These services have the following rates: P2.50 if sent while in the Philippines, P25 + P2.50 if sent outside the Philippines.

· A minimum balance of P80 is required to make and receive a call while roaming. A minimum balance of P25 is required to send a text message.

· As soon as you arrive in the Philippines, please be reminded to text GROAM OFF and send to 2884 so that the minimum balance as stated above for calling and texting will not apply.


How to deactivate your prepaid Smart/ Talk n Text international text roaming?


How to deactivate your prepaid Smart/ Talk n Text international text roaming?

Via SMS
Just type ROAM OFF and send it to 333.


Via WEB
Log-in to www.smart.com.ph/connect. For first time users, please register your account first. (Once logged-in, if asked what you would like to do, select "Browse Web Connect Services" from the options.)
Select SERVICES from the left sidebar menu.
Select International Roaming and deactivate this service option.


Via SIM SETTINGS MENU
Go to the SMART Menu.
Choose SIM Settings (or SIM Connect).
Select Roam to deactivate your international roaming service.

Prepaid international text roaming allows you to send and receive SMS messages and SMS VAS but disables your voice features. Original subscriber profile shall only be restored upon feature deactivation.


How to activate your SMART/ TALK N TEXT prepaid international text roaming?


How to activate your prepaid Smart/ Talk n Text international text roaming?

IMPORTANT: Please activate the feature at least 1 hour before the flight and maintain P100 balance to ensure smooth roaming service.


Via SMS
Just type ROAM ON and send it to 333.

Via WEB
Log-in to www.smart.com.ph/connect. For first time users, please register your account first. (Once logged-in, if asked what you would like to do, select "Browse Web Connect Services" from the options.)
Select SERVICES from the left sidebar menu.
Select International Roaming and Activate this service option.


Via SIM SETTINGS MENU
Go to the SMART Menu.
Choose SIM Settings (or SIM Connect).
Select Roam to activate  your international roaming service.



Prepaid international text roaming allows you to send and receive SMS messages and SMS VAS but disables your voice features. Original subscriber profile shall only be restored upon feature deactivation.


UNLITALK PLUS UNLITEXT




TIPID SULIT LOAD







NEW TXT 10



Promo runs until December, 31, 2010. Per DTI-NCR Permit No. 4116. Series of 2010.


UNLITXT PLUS



Promo runs until December, 20, 2010. Per DTI-NCR Permit No. 3292. Series of 2010.






TALK20 SEND TO 258

3 local calls to smart/tnt for 3 (three) minutes each


PISO MINUTO






FIFTEEN PESOS MO AY FIFTEEN MINUTES ANG KATUMBAS!
Promo is until June 30, 2010. Per DTI-NCR Permit No. 1440. Series of 2010


Talk n text





TEXT 100 send to 4548


Quan Ju De Peking Roast Duck Restaurant



Quan Ju De is a well known local restaurant chain that specializes in Peking duck.  We went to Quan Ju De Restaurant on November 24, 2010, Houhai location, for Gracie's birthday.

Address:Xicheng District, No. 57 Dianmen Street (Di An Men Da Jie)
Address (Chinese):西城区地安门大街57号 (荷花市场) 什刹海体校内
Phone:(010) 66171570

The bus driver dropped us off at Lotus Lane (He Hua Shi Chang) in Houhai. Walk north along the west side of the lake (the lake should be on your right).  The very nice guard/ soldier nearby ordered one of his men to accompany us there. We passed by many other bars and restaurants. Quanjude restaurant is near the end of the row, on your left.


We were delighted when we learned that this particular branch of Quan Ju De  throws in a complimentary cultural performance every evening at about 7 p.m. Arrive early to secure a table near the stage.

You can check out the surrounding Houhai lake area (plenty of bars and restaurants) before or after dinner too. 


RACIAL DISCRIMINATION BY MALAYSIAN IMMIGRATION OFFICERS IN CHANGLOON AGAINST PHILIPPINE PASSPORT HOLDERS


I don't know why MALAYSIAN Immigration Officers in Changloon, Malaysia, look down on Filipino passport holders. My brother ( a lawyer) and I flew from Manila to Bangkok, Thailand, on December 28, 2010 and celebrated New Year there.  After the celebration, we took the train to Hat Yai, Thailand and then rode a mini-bus (van) to Penang, Malaysia.

Exiting Thailand is smooth, though the Immigration Officer was bluntly asking for 1 Ringgit which I flatly declined, telling him I have no Ringgit yet. I don't want to consent corruption. Besides, I am just on a holiday! For God's sake!

When we reached the Immigration counters in Changloon, Malaysia, we had to carry our heavy luggages and present our passport @ the counter. While I was following my mini-bus co-passengers in line, we were asking each other if we need to fill up an immigration form (there was no form in sight).  


We had no one to ask since the room was in chaos because of so many inbound passengers. My co-passengers standing ahead of me in line were Caucasians. One is an American solo backpacker who will just make a U-turn from Thailand to Malaysia and back to Thailand ( she loves Thailand so much and she just wanted to re-enter Thailand with a fresh visa ) and a German girl. The immigration officer @ the counter gave them a 90-day visa without any question. Following me in line was a Thai girl with her Korean BF, and then a German guy, followed by my brother. ( All of them were given a 90-day visa except me and my brother.)

When my turn came, I presented my passport to the immigration officer.  I smiled and greeted her good afternoon. She said good afternoon as well and returned my smile. When she saw my Philippine Passport, she stopped smiling and asked me if I was going to enter Thailand.  I smiled and said, "No, I am going to Penang, Malaysia and I just came from Hat Yai, Thailand". (  Why the heck would I line up inside that cramped and hot immigration room going to Malaysia if I was going to Thailand? Geez! ).   She then turned to the immigration officer next to her and they began talking in their native language ( Malay ).
 
Sensing a problem, I then presented our return ticket from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Clark Field, Philippines.  She took our tickets and read it. She scanned my passport and then passed on the tickets to the other immigration officer, who then asked me if I was going to the Philippines on January 5, 2011, via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I said yes. ( Geez, she was just repeating what is stated on my ticket).  She asked me how long would I be staying in Malaysia, I said only for a few days since we were only on a holiday. She then asked me why I have so many stamps on my passport.  I told her that I love travelling and that I am a travel blogger.

She then turned to the immigration officer who had my passport and then she took my passport, looked at the pages one by one again for the nth time. And then she gave my passport back to the immigration officer who was manning the counter where I presented my passport. And they talked again in Malay and then she turned to me and said she will give me 7 days only.  I said no problem, since we were only booked for 2 nights in Penang, Malaysia and then we will be going to KL to take our flight back home. She then talked again to the other immigration officer in Malay. Then after like forever, she stamped my passport, asked the other immigration officer again, then wrote something and handed my passport back to me.

Hungry, tired and pissed off @ the shabby treatment that I got, I then proceeded to the exit and placed my heavy luggage @ the x-ray machine and waited for my brother @ the EXIT since we were not allowed to wait @ the immigration counter as everyone who travels frequently knows.

I did not bother to take a look at my passport.  I just took it from her and said thank you because I was so tired already after enduring the train ride from Bangkok to Hat Yai,Thailand for almost 18 hours. And add to that our walking tour around Hat Yai, Thailand for 3 hours and our 5-hour journey via a mini-bus from Hat Yai to Georgetown in Penang with heavy luggages in tow. Trust me, my usual OC self can't even check how I look. (  Enervon and 1,500 mg of vitamin C made me stand it all).

When we reached our hotel in 
Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, it was already around 7:00 p.m.   I was very tired, hungry and pissed off as I can't get over the shabby treatment that I got from the immigration officer @ Changloon.  I was asking my brother why did the Malaysian Immigration in Changloon, gave me a shabby treatment ( he was also given 7 days but unlike me, he was given a transit visa) in complete contrast to the Thailand immigration officers who were always polite, kind and soft spoken.

I then opened my passport and saw that the Changloon Immigration Officer had put two stamps on my passport: first (1) is the 7 days permit with a note SPTUM ( I don't know what that means!) then the second (2) stamp that says, TO REPORT TO IMMIGRATION OFFICE KUALA LUMPUR FOR VISA/ CLEARANCE. 

Geez! That immigration Officer is such a pain in the neck. Why did she put that? What was she thinking? Why did she never explain that entry to me? My mind began to wonder, what if they detain me? I didn't do anything wrong! Why do I have to report @ the imigration office in KL? My Penang vacation was ruined! I was doomed! I needed to report to the Immigration Office in Kuala Lumpur ASAP! I tried to convince myself to relax, my mind refused to listen. I wanted to scream with all my might and cried RACISM! 

I asked the receptionist if we could refund our payment for the 2nd night for we have to go to Kuala Lumpur earlier than scheduled. He said whether we use the room or not we still have to pay for it. No ifs no buts! Uhu! That is how many Ringgit! Sayang naman! Anak ng tinapang buhay ito, dapat mag e-enjoy kami sa Georgetown, Penang, bakit naman kailangan ko pang mag report at mag research sa internet kung saan lupalop sa Kuala Lumpur matatagpuan ang Immigration Office nila. Hay buhay! Di ko magawang mag relax, di ko magawang lumunok ng pagkain kaka worry kung ano ang kasalanan ko at bakit ko kinakailangan mag report sa KL immigration office nila. Tumaas talaga ang dugo ko, na high blood ako! 

Kahit pagod, puyat at walang pahinga, nag send ako ng message sa kaibigan kong Malaysian, baka sakaling may maitulong siya, at sa aking kaklase noon college na naka pag asawa ng Malaysian.

Nagyayang kumain ang aking kapatid sapagkat wala pa kaming kinain halos noon araw na yun at halos walang tulog dahil sa napakagalaw na train galing sa Bangkok, Thailand.

Hindi ako nakatulog gaano, kakaisip kung ano ang nagawa kong mali at bakit ko kailangan mag report. Nagigising ako kada ikalawang oras. Kinabukasan, maghahanap kami sa internet kung saan ang address ng KL immigration. Pinilit ko na iwaksi sa aking isipan ang tatak sa aking passport, pinilit kong e-enjoy ang pagkain at mga lugar sa Georgetown, ngunit kahit anong pilit ko na iwaksi sa aking isipan ang pangyayari, ito ay parang multong nakasunod sa aking isipan. It is just like a cloud over my head, making me feel restless, annoyed, angry and what have you!

Despite the rain the following day, we proceeded with our walking tour, we scouted for the best rate from US Dollars to Ringgit and Pesos to Ringgit and compared where we could get the best deal. We went around Penang, then cut short our trip to return to our hotel to research for the KL immigration address.

Then I got a reply from both my friend and former classmate. My Malaysian friend said, "Oh my God!", she wondered what happened, and said maybe the immigration misunderstood me. My former classmate said, I have nothing to worry about, but still, both of them said that I still have to report to KL immigration.

The word from my friend & classmate made me feel a little bit alright. My brother then suggested that we go to Georgetown Immigration Office and asked them about the stamp on my passport. But based on the net, the immigration office closes at 5:30 p.m. So kailangan, ipagpabukas na ulit ang pagpunta. Kasi unang una, never pa namin narating yun before, so maghahanap pa kami, baka kapusin na sa oras, kaya ipagpabukas na lang para mas sigurado. My brother took note of the address and look for it in the map. I had another sleepless night, I hardly tasted the food in Penang. For God's sake who would feel okay while awaiting judgement day @ the immigration. I had no clue why do I had to endure all this because of my Philippine passport!

The following day we went to the immigration office in Penang. Upon seeing the stamp the immigration lady staff asked for my old passport.  I said I left it in the Philippines.  Then she asked me when did I arrived @ Penang. I said I arrived January 2, 2011 @ around 7:00 p.m. from Thailand. She then talk to another officer who then referred me to another immigration officer. The latter then escorted me to another room where my brother followed us fearing for my safety. The immigration officer got my passport and then asked me the same question the woman immigration staff asked in the other room. He then turned to another immigration officer. They talked in Malay while browsing my passport. After forever, he turned to me and laughed and then talked to another officer. He told me that he also find it weird that the Changloon Immigration Officer stamped my passport with only 7 days entry and with notation that I report to their KL office when in fact I should have been given a 30-day visit visa for tourist. He also suggested that I go to the immigration office in Kuala Lumpur and look for the boss and tell him there might have been a misunderstanding.

I felt a little bit relieved but despise the fact that I STILL HAVE TO REPORT IN KUALA LUMPUR IMMIGRATION AND CUT SHORT MY VACATION!!!

The Georgetown Immigration officer is kind and even pose for a photo as an evidence that I already reported to them. We then took the earliest possible bus from Georgetown to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. ( 5 hours trip is actually 7 hours trip it turned out.)

Fast forward to January 5, 2011, the immigration officer stamped my passport and cleared me for exit from Malaysia. But when he saw the stamp in my passport stating that I need to report to the Immigration Office in Kuala Lumpur, he asked me to go to his boss @ LCCT if I want to be assured that there will be no problem the next time I enter Malaysia. 

The immigration boss there looked at my passport and asked me questions which I readily answered. He browsed the pages of my passport one by one. He then said he will let me go. ( Aba dapat lang kasi wala akong violation!)

I asked the immigration Boss what did I do to deserve such treatment?  He said there were many Illegal Filipino Workers who just make a U-turn.  And since I have so many stamps on my passport, ( I travel a lot to different countries) the immigration officer in Changloon perceived me to be one of those tourist workers. 

He said Filipinos usually stay illegally in Malaysia. He offered no apology whatsoever and asked me to go straight to the gate. What was he thinking? That I am going to make a U-turn? IS THIS WHAT THEY CALL SELAMAT DATANG MALAYSIA? CALLING THE TOURISM MALAYSIA PEOPLE, IS THIS HOW YOU WELCOME LEGIT FILIPINO TOURIST? SHOULD I ADVISE MY FELLOW FILIPINO TOURISTS NOT TO GO TO MALAYSIA BECAUSE THE IMMIGRATION OFFICERS HAD ALREADY CLASSIFIED US, PHILIPPINE PASSPORT HOLDERS, AS TOURIST WORKERS? I FELT HELPLESS, I FELT HUMILIATED, I FELT VIOLATED. I hope somebody would admit that they are treating Philippine passport holders like shit and trying to use 'the rules' in their own twisted interpretation. So I guess it is not only the taxi drivers in Malaysia that shows third world mentality but also some Immigration officers who are racists.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

TAXI FARE HIKE STARTING JANUARY 14, 2011


TAXI FARE HIKE STARTING JANUARY 14, 2011

LTFRB approved a rate hike for taxis in the Philippines beginning next week, January 14, 2011. The flag-down rates will increase to P40 from the current P30, and every succeeding quarter of a kilometer or 250 meters will increase to P3.50 from P2.50.

Please take note that only those taxi with machine dispensing receipts could ask the passenger with the recent increase.


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