Friday, June 15, 2018

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Monday, October 9, 2017

What expat relocation stage are you in right now in your life in the Philippines?



I recently came across an article on the 4 stages of cultural adjustment when moving abroad. As an expat who has lived and worked in several different countries I couldn’t relate more! While each time can be slightly different, there is definitely a repeating pattern every time you make that move. 


Being aware of these emotional phases and learning how to overcome difficulties during expat relocation helps to take a step towards understanding the culture of your new expat home. Here’s how to immerse yourself in a new country:


Phase 1: The Honeymoon

You recently arrived at a new expat country and you most likely love the idea of living there! Euphoria and excitement about the unknown and its opportunities are quite common. 


Nothing is set, everything is open and you are motivated to get to know and shape your new life. Living at a superficial tourist level is mostly fun, until you find there’s a catch…


Enjoy this phase as much as you can and make the most of feeling “on holiday”. The more you know about the location beforehand the longer this phase will last 😉 it’s all about expectation and preparation.

Do your homework and prepare well in advance. Study the language before moving, research and explore the neighbourhoods to get your bearings and learn how to navigate. Which areas should you avoid? Which are not safe? Learn about local laws, dress code, women’s rights and health cover … even before setting foot in your new country of choice.

Phase 2: Culture shock

This is when frustration and cultural confrontation hits. Some local customs or behaviour may be rude to you, irritating or even distressing. Quite naturally we tend to reject what we don’t like or what we don’t know how to deal with. We’ll do anything to avoid it having an impact on our life. These are the moments when homesickness is at its worst or when we may refuse speaking the local language in our spare time.

Moving country can be very exhausting because you:

Learn a new language and might not be able to express yourself properly, or to find your way around a new town.

Every country and mentality handles things differently – from administration to school systems or even celebrating birthdays.

You may feel like a child who needs to check back how to do things ALL THE TIME.

Go through emotional ups and downs and maybe feel lonely

Subconsciously you are constantly learning and seeing new things, which takes a lot of energy and consequently will leave you with less energy and patience to cope with the stuff you dislike.

This is the stage when depression my rear its ugly head… Be patient with yourself and save your energy. We are animals of habit and moving country changes about everything in your life. Try to keep up a routine and continue with what you used to do at home like going for a run. Eat well and allow yourself to take a break from adjusting. Practice positive thinking; meet people. If your language skills aren’t up to speed yet other expats may be a lifesaver. Ask how and where they find the stuff you’re still searching for. Expat meetup or Facebook groups can be a great source of information.



Phase 3: Gradual adjustment


Gradually you will develop an understanding of how and why things are done differently and start to cope with it. Well done, this is the first step towards integration!



This often goes along with meeting likeminded people, making friends and feeling part of a local community. By now you’ll have figured out most of the organisational stuff of moving abroad. You’ll more or less know how and where to find what you need to get by. This will definitely free up energy to work around the day-to-day hurdles.

Be open and watch how the locals cope and do things a certain way. Can you learn something from them or their attitude towards life? Take a step towards them and actively mix and socialize with locals. Engage with them at work. Get out and about to build a social life. Look for natives that have lived in other countries as an expat before, they will be more understanding. Embrace the place and its people. Explore local festivals and celebrations.

Phase 4: Feeling at home





The goal of every expat should be to accept biculturalism without loosing your own identity. By now you’ll be completely independent and autonomous. You’ll have found your crowd and community and maybe even call it home. To get there will take time and some places will feel more home than others.

Needless to say: Live like a local. Eat local food. Keep that curiosity and an open mind to engage with your neighbours and your community. It’s a never-ending process to explore customs and tradition.

 Image result for clip art smiling seniorOf course, transition will be fluid and you may find yourself going back and forwards between culture shock and euphoric moments in that new life. A classic example is speaking a foreign language: there are moments when your brain is tired, you can’t express yourself and you start to hold a grudge against having to speak that language (and feel like a child babbling simple words)… A week or two later your brain suddenly made a connection and words flow more naturally. I believe there’s a lot of subconscious learning we do.

What expat relocation stage are you in right now in your life in the Philippines?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

UP-DATE ON "Drastic Rate Hike For Foreign citizens beginning July 1st, 2017" - PhilHealth


       


Things are changing for Expats in the Philippines.  For those of you who are living on a modest budget and providing for your family this will most likely impact you the most. However since healthcare impacts all of us, this new measure taken by PhilHealth ,in cooperation with the federal budget,  will affect all of us.

As of July 1st, 2017 all foreigners will experience a rate increase from 600p a quarter to 15,000 – 17,000p per year.

Your wives can be covered under your new plan and children providing they are legally yours.. You will be asked to provide proof of this.. 
Your spouse can also keep her own plan at 600p per quarter which will not change for them.. Her children, or your step children will remain covered under the normal  health plan for Filipinos.
If you are currently covered under a spouses plan your membership will be discontinued as of July 1st. You will need to reapply.. 
In a meeting at the PhilHealth offices in Tagum city I attempted to get clarification on certain points for us..

These would be points of coverage, exclusions, preexisting conditions, maximum benefits per visit. .per year, payment plans that are acceptable under the new plan... ie monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments..  All of these points listed were referred to the Manila office..

Tomorrow I will speak with the Manila office in an attempt to get more details and clarification on this horrible change in the system.
I will do a follow-up to this brief report based on that information. 
Forewarned is forearmed as they say.

Here is a link to Philhealth Circular # 2017-0003



FOLLOW-UP 
       

iN A Following -UP conversation between my wife Aida and  the PhilHealth Manila office we obtained the following information. 
After attempting to get through on several numbers we finally got through on this number.. 441-7442.

Info is as follows:

  1. On July 1st all foreign nationals will be taken from their spouses policies and they will be required to apply for a new policy to retain health coverage. 
  2. If you currently are covered by your spouse’s policy and your account is paid up you will not have a 6 month waiting period to receive benefit as would a new applicant.
  3. For this year you will pay ½ the year not the full year.
  4. The rate for foreigners will be 15,000 or 17,000 pesos annual benefit.
  5. You will be allowed to make quarterly payments

On or before July 1st go to your local branch and fill out your paperwork.. If you are on your wife’s policy be sure that she is with you  and brings her MDR (Member Data Record) to the office. This will have your name on it to prove that everything is legitimate. Also bring your I-Card  or other legal ID.
  
If you are single then bring your own MDR ( if you were given one) and your ID… If you are a new applicant bring your passport, I-card or original birth certificate… check with your local office to see if an NBI clearance for you is required..

You need to be prepared to make your first payment at the time you register.

Note: 
If you intend to retain your coverage do not let your present coverage lapse.. they will allow you transfer and wave the waiting period only if your account is in good standing... 





Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Expats Need To Protect Yourself Especially In These Times.. Heres How...by Tommy Osmeña

    



       The firefight happened in Bohol, but it's very likely the Abu Sayyaf would have come to YOUR city  as well.

Because of this, the Cebu City government will render assistance to the families of the four heroes who died protecting us. They say, “ It's the least we can do.”

The ASG have incurred significant losses; it is unlikely that they have the operational capability to do further damage now. 

However, other elements may exist, and as much as our police and military are trying, they cannot be everywhere all the time.
I urge all of our members where ever you live to take part in the security of your area.

It's very simple: just be wary of any houses in your area that is occupied exclusively by men who you don't recognize.

When a terror cell wants to infiltrate a new area, they need a place to stay. They usually pick a neighborhood where they can blend in. If you know a house that's for rent that is suddenly occupied by new people, especially if it's all men, please report it to your nearest police precinct commander. Know their number.. Be prepared...

I also encourage all legally armed citizens with Permits to Carry to exercise their responsibilities.  In terms of a firearms this would not be expats but it may be your wife.. In any case how ever you are armed Do NOT be gung-ho. Avoid any fight as much as possible, but always be aware of your surroundings. 

If on the small chance something does happen in your city, one of you will most likely be there when it starts and long before any police show up. Do ONLY what you must to protect your neighbors and family.

Remember, you can be  a deterrent more than anything else. A terrorist is much less likely to target an area where the victims can shoot back. Your police and military will do their best to make sure it doesn't come to that.

The first and best line of defense from any terrorist attack in your area can be your friends/neighbors who are Muslims. 10 years ago, during the ASEAN, it was precisely because of the vigilance and faithfulness of  Cebuano Muslims that an attack was successfully averted…


Always stay safe and have a great and safe Holy Week.





Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Remembering Our Brother "Ron Vandergriff" Who died Following A Long Illness-


Ron and Mae

    Today we received word that we have lost an expat brother, who was a valued friend to many, member of our Expat Community, Advisory Board Member and beloved husband to Rudy Mae Vandergriff .
"Ron Vandergriff"

Ron died in the hospital on March 16, 2017 at  10;05 am following a long illness and much suffering. 

The final cause of his death was "cardio pulmonary arrest probably secondary to acute infarction." according to Mae. 

Ron was born January 31, 1941 and was 76 years old when he passed. 

He can be remembered as a proud Texan and loving husband. Ron conveyed to many of us that , in spite of his health issues, there was no place in the world that he would rather be than at the side of the woman that he loved and married on February 24, 2010, Rudy Mae..

Ron loved his motorcycle and rode for a long as he was able.. 
He also loved a good project and always had an idea for developing something, especially if it would help someone or do some good for others.. 
Ron wanted to "Pay it  Forward" for as long as he could.

He always kept his great sense of humor .. He was quick witted and had little patience for "bullshit."
I counted him as a personal friend and I will miss his conversation and company.

To Mae we all express our deepest sympathy and wish peace and healing in the days to come..  

If you would like to speak with Mae or assist her in any way just contact her by Facebook message at :
Rudy Mae Vandergriff ..

Monday, March 27, 2017

Proven Natural Treatment For Dengue Fever.. Contributed by Simon Straub






My friend Cristina Salas Gallo sent the ingredients for getting rid of dengue fever using Tawa Tawa and Papaya leaves. She said "Welcome Simon. Just advise your friend that the latest effective medicine for dengue that proven here in the Philippines now is the papaya juice from its leaves.
If you can not look for tawa tawa just look a papaya....

The juice from Papaya leaves is a natural remedy for healing dengue fever. It has a bitter taste, but according to Traditional Chinese Herbology, the bitter taste has the effect of clearing heat. This remedy works because the juice of the papaya leaves contains a wide spectrum of anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

The Adult Dosage of Papaya Leaf Juice For Dengue Fever
• Squeeze the juice from the papaya leaves.
• To start with, take a tablespoon of the papaya leaves juice 3-4 times a day.
• Once you have introduced the juice to your system and not experienced any adverse symptoms (some people find they have an allergic reaction to papaya) increase the dosage to two tablespoons 3-4 times daily.
• Often people find the taste too bitter so it can be mixed with a little Raw Honey or fruit juice.

Many people worry too much about high fevers. A fever is one of the immune responses to infection. Our body temperature rises to create an environment that helps our immune system destroy the infection as most infections are heat sensitive, but the temperature will drop once the immune system is winning the war against the infection. If we try to reduce the fever prematurely, we are in fact working against the immune system, hampering its ability to overcome the infection.

Papaya is also a proven cure for Malaria, the same papaya leaf juice formula is used for treating malaria. In fact, whenever there is an infection (bacteria or viral infection) it can be used.
Some people advise to combine it with the juice of neem leaves, it is suggested it then becomes even more potent

To prepare the juice either squeeze the leaves to remove the juice, place them in a juicer or blender. If blending, add a little fresh fruit juice to make the blending easier and to reduce the bitter taste.
The juice can be taken raw which is best as you retain the beneficial enzymes or if you prefer, it can be simmered for about 15 minutes. His means you should use twice the amount of leaves and drink a cup full about 3-4 times a day.

Rosemary has been shown to repel the mosquitoes that carry both dengue and malaria,
Make your own insect repellent using apple cider vinegar, raw coconut oil, essential oil of rosemary, fresh ginger and garlic. If you cannot get the oil of rosemary use dried rosemary, seep several tablespoons of rosemary in 50/50 mix of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar and allow it to it in the sun for several days

The juice from Papaya leaves is a natural remedy for healing dengue fever. It has a bitter taste, but according to Traditional Chinese Herbology, the bitter taste has the effect of clearing heat. This remedy works because the juice of the papaya leaves contains a wide spectrum of anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

The Adult Dosage of Papaya Leaf Juice For Dengue Fever
• Squeeze the juice from the papaya leaves.
• To start with take a tablespoon of the papaya leaves juice 3-4 times a day.
• Once you have introduced the juice to your system and not experienced any adverse symptoms (some people find they have an allergic reaction to papaya) increase the dosage to two tablespoons 3-4 times daily.
• Often people find the taste too bitter so it can be mixed with a little Raw Honey or fruit juice.

Many people worry too much about high fevers. A fever is one of the immune responses to infection. Our body temperature rises to create an environment that helps our immune system destroy the infection as most infections are heat sensitive, but the temperature will drop once the immune system is winning the war against the infection. If we try to reduce the fever prematurely, we are in fact working against the immune system, hampering its ability to overcome the infection.

Papaya is also a proven cure for Malaria, the same papaya leaf juice formula is used for treating malaria. In fact, whenever there is an infection (bacteria or viral infection) it can be used.
Some people advise to combine it with the juice of neem leaves, it is suggested it then becomes even more potent

To prepare the juice either squeeze the leaves to remove the juice, place them in a juicer or blender. If blending, add a little fresh fruit juice to make the blending easier and to reduce the bitter taste.
The juice can be taken raw which is best as you retain the beneficial enzymes or if you prefer, it can be simmered for about 15 minutes. His means you should use twice the amount of leaves and drink a cup full about 3-4 times a day.

Rosemary has been shown to repel the mosquito's that carry both dengue and malaria,
Make your own insect repellent using apple cider vinegar, raw coconut oil, essential oil of rosemary, fresh ginger and garlic. If you cannot get the oil of rosemary, use dried rosemary, seep several tablespoons of rosemary in 50/50 mix of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar and allow it to sit in the sun for several days.