“Diagnosis: Dengue Fever & Pneumonia.” Critical times on the home front as my asawa is checked into our provincial hospital in Guimaras.
Ford Car Show Model (Photo Source: ABS-CBN News.com )
My asawa converted her Illinois Driver’s License to a Philippine Driver’s License about 18 months ago. My Illinois License, which I first acquired at the age of 16, had expired two years ago. I could have renewed it at the local Land Transportation Office like my spouse did, but since we only recently acquired a vehicle, felt no need to do so. In retrospect, it probably would have been smarter to renew before it did expire because once a foreign driver’s license is expired the owner of such license has to first obtain a student permit. Thus, the crusty old expat visits the Iloilo LTO and acquired said student permit.
Does BDO belong in the Philippines’ Top Ten Banks List? That’s a question I asked myself repeatedly this past Friday as I inquired on a transfer of funds we have been waiting on since late November. Our local SM Shopping Mall, where our Banco de Oro branch is located, was filled to the gills with Filipinos fishing for last minute Christmas bargains. I like Christmas but I hate the crowds it brings. Yes, even in the Philippines, which is over 80% Catholic and virtually shuts down on Christmas week for Baby Jesus’ birthday, is becoming increasingly commercialized. More and more people are buying gifts, much to the delight of SM and all other merchants, and potbellied Santa’s litter the landscape everywhere you go.
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.
If this were a website where more colorful language was allowed, the title for this post would certainly not have read “The Great Guimaras Ultrasound Gaffe.” But you can bet there were some phrases I uttered this past Saturday at a local laboratory that cannot be repeated on this site or in front of any nuns or preachers of the Gospel. Merchant marines? Yeah, no problem.
Only in the Philippines would one find a recycling bag, whose stated goal on the tote is to “…save the Marvels of the Earth,” decorated with images of Adolf Hitler in close proximity to Filipino national hero José Rizal. Thanks to my American expat friend, Tom, living in nearby Guimaras who alerted me to this. Since my asawa and I had to visit our local Robinsons in Iloilo City, I decided to check out this story personally.