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03 November 2016

What Is It Like Living With Changing Temperatures in Canada

Wintertime in Toronto, took this photo while waiting for my wife at Esso gas station.
Let me tell you about what it’s like living in Canada, a country that has 4 seasons, which is spring, summer, fall and winter. 

In my entire life, I haven’t had a chance to experience winter. Although I’ve been to Japan but it was the last few weeks of summer. In Philippines, I had visited Baguio, a place with temperatures that can go down 18oC to 10 oC.

But for negative temperatures, I’ve never been to that place at all until Canada.

For newcomers, living in tropical countries in their entire lives, this post will be helpful for you.  It's my way to teach you how to cope up with cold climates.

It's starts with a proper clothing.

Layering of Winter Clothing
Upper Clothing
Layering of clothing is essential during winter. On my first experience of the season, I wore four layers of upper clothing.  

  • 1st layer - Tropical shirt (cotton)
  • 2nd layer - Thick sweater
  • 3rd layer - Sweater with hood
  • 4th layer - Thick winter coat
The sweater with hood was added as the third layer because the winter coat that I used has no hood.

  • If winter coat has no head cover, the cold wind will penetrate our scalp and will easily bring down our body temperature.
Lower Clothing
I wore fleece pants under my corduroy pants.  Corduroy insulates my lower body better than denim jeans.  Denim jeans is my next choice, but it is not a good insulator.  Once it gets cold, it seems like it'll trap the cold air in it's fibers.  So I prefer corduroy than denim.

I got an underpants from SM Bicutan Department Store thinking that it can insulate me well.  It's labelled "Warm Pants".  When I tried it in Canada, it failed.  I still can feel the cold, so wearing it is useless.

Tip: Only buy your body insulators in Canada. Body insulation experts were born here, you know!

Footwear
For the footwear, I wore one thick socks under my waterproof shoes.  It is essential to have a water-proof shoes to avoid melted snow soaking your feet.  That will be freezing.

This Merrell waterproof shoes helped me a lot.  I invested $150 for this shoes and still using it.
Thick gloves is also important.  If you wear nothing, your hands will numb with cold.  Sometimes, you'll get a cut from somewhere and you'll never notice.

Tip: Invest in good footwear and gloves.

At this getup, I can now go out and feel the cold winter season of Toronto.  My tropical body wasn't get used to having this temperature so I shiver all the time even with these layers.  

Temperatures in Toronto can reach up to minus -20 oC.  It can last up to 2 to 3 days and it goes back to minus -10 oC.

At the start of the winter, the temperature will gradually drop from 8 oC to 3 oC . In December, it start to have flurries and temperature may be at around 1 oC to minus -3degC. 

January will start to have snowfalls and cold 100km/hr wind.  

I remembered waiting for a bus and a 100km/hr++ wind was trying to blow me off while holding the bus stop pole.   If that situation was in the Philippines, it would probably be a signal #2 storm.

What You Will See On the Roads?
Cars will travel slower and you can see steam on the mufflers.  You've seen this on TV...

Snow plowing trucks will be around.  They come in different sizes, small ones are like the size of golf carts and large ones similar to bulldozers.  In wide roads like expressways, they plow side by side with each other running 90km/hr.

This little guy is totally insulated with a cute Siberian Husky head gear. :D
How it feels like Winter?
If I were to go back in the days when I was preparing for our move to Canada, I should have practiced my brain on how to cope up with winter.

You're lucky you found this post because I'll teach you how to practice your mind and body to feel the winter while you're in a tropical place.

After reading this blog, do the following to teach your mind about cold.

  • Go to your refrigerator or to a store.  
  • Get a pack of ice and pour it all in a pail. 
  • Add a small amount of water to it until the ice floats.
  • If you have an air-conditioned room, set it at the lowest temperature possible and only wear thin t-shirt and shorts. Wait for 5 to 10 minutes.  
  • Then, soak your hands in the pail of ice and water until you can’t feel anything.  All fingers will feel numb at that moment.
That's what it feels like at sub zero temperatures.

Tip: Do this regularly to prepare yourself for the cold especially if you’re immigrating in winter.


That’s how cold a minus one (-1) oC temperature is.  Just imagine the temperatures lower than that.

If you need other information about the weather in Canada and how and what to wear, send me an email at benalagnam@yahoo.com or samtimerrun@gmail.com.

27 October 2016

How US Election And Duterte Effect Affected My Blog?

For the past few months, I was checking the statistics of my website visitors.  I was surprised to know that the number of readers in a specific country has tripled.  There were normal spikes that occurred some time in a month, but this time is different.  It's consistent and now reached the peak.

I tried to investigate where it's coming from and what posts are they reading.  It turned out to be in the United States of America. One of the top post that is often visited is the Credential Assessment for Canadian FSW at WES, which is one of the first stages of the Canadian immigration application process.

What is the Reason of the Sudden Burst of Readership?
Wondering about the sudden peak of readership, I tried to check the other stats and relate it with the current events. I believe that the cause of it is due to the upcoming elections in USA and/or the Duterte Effect.

I know for the fact that some Philippine internet servers are located in the U.S.A, so Google (Blogger.com) will record it as if it's from there.   That means when a visitor visits my website from the Philippines and his/her server is in the U.S.A. It will be recorded as a U.S.A visitor.

I noticed it when I had a small blog, my first actually, and asked my niece to view it, then it recorded as U.S.A.  I'm not the expert in the internet protocols and this is just my observation.

What is a Duterte Effect?
Since the pronouncement of the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on the war against illegal drugs, most people were in panic mode, especially those who are in the dangerous drugs supply business.  They were trying to eliminate by killing each other to break the networks.  Most Filipinos knew that these incidents were brought to the eyes and ears of both the local and international news media.


For less than 100 days of war, the reality starts to sink in that the government is almost winning.  But the killings are still rampant.   Some of Filipino citizens are scared to be in this state of government and so they started considering immigrating to other countries like Canada.

This, in my opinion, Duterte Effect is one reason that brought my readership to peak.

Election in the United States?
Is it Hillary or Trump? Who do you think will win on November 8, 2016?  That's the question many of Americans now are asking between themselves.  But I'm pretty much sure that there are few who are still undecided or maybe have no candidate to vote for.

These few people might be considering the option of relocating to other places, like their neighbour Canada.  In my opinion, it's the reason why many of my readers are coming from the United States.   I'm not sure on the specific demographic, but I think it is most likely those who have unstable status in the country and citizens who dislike the previous government services of Hillary and the electoral reforms of Trump.

This is my opinion, I may be wrong, but, in any ways, it will be beneficial to my website and hopefully the numbers will maintain for the next few months and years to come.

If I may ask you, what do you think are the reasons of the visitor spike?
Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada