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Back in the USA. The Return of the American Expat

las vegas

I hadn’t stepped foot in the United States of American for over five years since retiring to the Philippines. But this past late September, I was back in the USA. It was the return of the American expat. My only reason for my visit was to see my 82-year-old Father who had retired to Las Vegas several years ago.

from my hotel window in Las Vegas

The view from my hotel window in Las Vegas.

 

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I Breeze Through NAIA Terminal 1 with my 13a Permanent Visa

bullets to hong kong naia

I had concerns. Having not left the Philippines since my arrival over five years ago, I was worried that even though I was in possession of a 13a Permanent Visa, I would not be able to get my Emmigration Exit Clearance, ECC, at the airport. Though I had been assured by my local Bureau of Immigration Office in Iloilo that I could obtain my ECC at NAIA, I still had my worries. I felt better after contacting Randy Landis who reaffirmed what my local BI Office told me, but you never know about Immigration officials at the Manila Airport. There are too many online horror stories about foreigners being “shaken down” and having to pay extra fees to leave the country. To my knowledge, if you have a Tourist Visa and have not left the Philippines in over six months, you will need to process your ECC at a local Bureau of Immigration Office that can handle that process. It cannot be done at the airport anymore per a directive from Bureau of Immigration Director Mison.

Don't bring bullets to Hong KongSign posted at NAIA Terminal 1

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NAIA Terminal 3 on the Cheap, Cheap, Cheap

NAIA terminal  manila

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money  when I left the Philippines to visit my Dad back in the States. NAIA Terminal 3 on the cheap. That was my plan. And I executed it fairly well, I thought. No hotel bill. I spent the night at Terminal 3. No taxis. I used the free shuttle service to get from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1, where my Korean Air flight would depart from. And I discovered a 7 Eleven store which had extremely reasonable prices for an airport venue.

cute filipina at terminal 3, NAIA

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My Visit to Muslim Prayer Room at Terminal 3 NAIA

my new muslim friend

I’ve never visited a Muslim Prayer Room before. In fact, I don’t recall speaking to any Muslims when I lived back in the States and have only engaged a few of them in conversation since moving to the Philippines over five years ago. My knowledge of Islam is only what I get from my American news programs on our Cignal satellite system, the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and Fox News. With all the talk about ISIS filling the airwaves and other Muslim terrorist organizations, I have been akin to adhere to the adage that while all Muslims are not terrorists all terrorist are Muslims. So what in the world possessed me to actually enter a Muslim Prayer Room at Terminal  3 at NAIA and have a thoughtful dialog with them?

my new muslim friend

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Survey on Guimaras Property Finally Yields Sketch Plan

survey in the philippines

After an initial setback, in which I believed a new survey could spark a turf war with one of our new neighbors, the survey on our Guimaras property finally yields a sketch plan. But it wasn’t easy as the crew from Iloilo had to work under rainy conditions for most of the day and convince the owners of the lot to the east of us, that the initial survey which revealed we owned 7,020 square meters, was, indeed, correct.

banana umbrella

 

We didn’t have enough umbrellas to go around, so my resourceful asawa cut down a banana leaf to provide me with some cover from the nasty weather. I’m wearing a fashionable tank top that my spouse bought for me at the SM Hypermarket in Iloilo for 129 pesos, 2.89 US Dollars.

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Survey on New Property Could Spark Turf War

meeting the new neighbors in the philippines

A recent new survey on our Guimaras property could spark a turf war. My asawa and I are set to start building our new domicile on the mango island province this November and had hired a survey firm from nearby Iloilo City to do provide us with a sketch plan. We could start working on our final design plans that we could submit to Peter, a local architect and trusted relative, who could transform our rough sketches into a blueprint our construction crew could work with.

 

meeting our new neighbors in guimaras

My asawa chats with a neighbor who had dropped by to check out all the activity

 

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Scammers and Would-Be Thieves in Bacolod City

bacolod sincere drug store

During a recent shopping sojourn to Bacolod City, the “City of Smiles,” my asawa and I were impressed by several things. The friendly people and the stores that actually hired more mature workers, impressed me. The public transportation system was cheap and easy to use. The cab drivers were honest. The Check Inn Pension House where we stayed was affordable and centrally located and had a decent restaurant where we had a couple of meals. But two incidents during our three day stay are worth noting, especially to any expats that might be planning to visit Bacolod. masskara festival in bacolod city

 

The City of Smiles is known for its annual MassKara Festival held every October

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Best Shopping Malls in Bacolod City, A Visit to Robinsons Place

robinsons place in bacolod city

robinsons place in bacolod city

 

My asawa and I had visited Bacolod City as I treated my wife to a shopping trip in the “City of Smiles.” We had already visited SM City, and the new Ayala Mall and were headed on a jeepney to Robinsons Place. That’s my sparkling spouse posing in front of the shopping mall before we entered to hunt for more bargains. I was ready to find some lunch but the mall was crowded that Sunday afternoon. It seems that people on Bacolod like to shop just like the residents of Iloilo City, whose major shopping venues are also jam-packed on the weekends.

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Best Shopping Malls in Bacolod City, A Visit to Ayala Mall

the district northpoint ayala mall bacolod

After visiting SM City Bacolod, my wife and I headed out via jeepney to the North Terminal in our quest to find the best shopping malls in Bacolod City. After making inquiries at the local McDonald’s, we decided a visit to the Ayala Mall was in order. Once at the North Terminal we would be able to catch a ride to “The District” where the new Ayala Mall was located. My wife and I had been using the cheaper jeepney services available in the “City of Smiles” rather than taking a taxi. We did use a cab upon our arrival in Bacolod and our driver informed us that most taxis were charging 300 pesos, almost seven US Dollars,  to the Ayala Mall located outside of the city. And that’s for a one way trip.

the district northpoint ayala mall bacolod

Read moreBest Shopping Malls in Bacolod City, A Visit to Ayala Mall