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Showing posts with label Statements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Statements. Show all posts

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 ( 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?

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24 June 2015

Immigrant Life As An Assembler In Toronto Canada

Winter Time: It was after a freezing rain. The top layer of snow becomes brittle and shiny.
Someone emailed me about how I got my job as an assembler, so I made a post about it on How I Got a Job in 5 Days!"

But for most of us, having a job is not the end of it all.  You have to work hard to earn for food, shelter, clothing and communication.

Waking up early or getting to work late at night is a daily routine.  This is what life is all about for a working immigrant, like us.  Although I'm not working late at night, but my wife does, so I know how hard it is to be in that situation.

Life in a Factory as an Assembler?
Back in Singapore, I worked from Mondays to Fridays at 9am to 6:30pm.  I am off on weekends and public holidays.  It was an ideal job and I enjoyed it a lot, especially the travels.

When we immigrated to Canada, things had changed. Although I was working from 7am to 4pm, my job was repetitive, which I'm not used to because I'm a multitasker.

To give you an idea, let me tell you about my life as an Assembler in Toronto, Canada.

At Home
The cellphone alarmed at exactly 5:15 am, my drowsy eyes opened up and was looking for the source of the sound.   Then I found it, I was so sleepy to remember that I placed it on top of the table last night.  I pressed the button to snooze and slept for another 15 minutes.  Then again, ALARM!!!

I got up and prepared our breakfast, then went to the bathroom, which I hated because it's too cold to take a bath early in the morning during winter.  Even though the heater was on, the first few drops or mist chills my skin and seeps into my bones.  I really HATED that feeling!

After that chilly bath experience, I dress up and wakes up SAM to let him prepare for school.  I heated up the frozen foods from the microwave, which my wife prepared the previous day, put the plates on the table and prepared our lunch boxes.

As my son was dressed up and ready to eat, I will then say goodbye to him and let him stay at the room where his mom and little brother were still sleeping.  As you all know that my wife works from 4:00pm to 11:00 pm and arrives home at around 11:30 pm.  So, I don't bother to wake her up early in the morning.

I wore my regular clothing for work because we don't have a uniform.  Got my keys and wallets and headed to the door. My son gave me a hug, which he does every day before I go out of the door.

Then I headed to the elevator, down to the building lobby and out to the main road.

But before I arrive at the bus stop, I'll prepare my GTA Pass so I can show it immediately to the bus driver.  Then I usually sit at the back and have a nap before the first stop, and at the second bus I'll sleep all the way until to the work site.

Our factory is 500 meters away from the stop so I have to walk through the thick snow and shiver with the cold wind blowing my body and face.
The aftermath of a thick snow that was cleared by a snow sweeper.
At the Factory
As I reach the warehouse door, I rushed in to punch in my time.  I always sigh for a relief from the cold air as the warehouse temperature heats up my frozen body.  While I'm inside a warm room, it feels so good as if I was just working in a tropical country.  Never mind looking at the glass window with the pile of thick snow.

As my body temperature adjusts, I'll quickly remove my jackets and layers and place it inside the locker, then headed directly to my worktable.

This is the path to my worktable.
"Good Morning Joe!"  I greeted loudly at the 65 year old assembler at the far end of the line.   Then at my back was Davey, who greets me with a "What's shaken?", another term for "What's up?".

"I'm Good! Had few adventures yesterday!", I replied while putting on my working gloves.

Job orders were already prepared on my table by the Supervisor.  I scan through the orders and take all the parts that are necessary to build up the product.  Then I laid it all on my table and clears everything up for a wider space to get ready for the assembly.

The assembling of parts will take an hour, one after the other, and usually consumes my time from 7:30 am to 10:20 am, on our first break. Fifteen minutes were all it takes to take a rest, have a conversation with colleagues then back to work for another job order.

Lunch time was at 1:00 pm to 1:20 pm.  This time, the usual belly laugh echoes the cafeteria, from a group of Portugees and Italians. It's all about their golf games on the previous weeks or how the thick snow covered their houses.  It's a never ending chain of stories from them.

Seeking for a moment of silence, we go in the factory again until 3:00 pm and have the second break for 15 minutes.  I usually eat bread during the break or a small box of fruit which I pre-washed and packed in the morning.

Then the go-home bell rings at 4:00 pm.  But, I stay late until 6:00 pm for an overtime, which gives me another $11/hr rate.

Before the clock ticks at 6:00 pm, I organize my table, prepare my things and heads to the locker where my 5-layer clothing were hidden.  There's another walk for 500 meters on a frozen road with knee-deep snow on the way.  If I can get on the bus on time, I'll shorten the agony of freezing.

Going Back Home
A walk for 500 meters was always like torture, for me. The cold air makes you shiver uncontrollably and it will take away all the heat inside your body.  Your fingers will freeze at around a minute of exposure to the cold air.  That is how a -20degC feels like.
Winter Nights: Taken after a day's work while walking to the bus stop.
If I missed the bus or it's late, another 15-minute agony awaits while the wind blows heavily inside the glass-covered bus stop.

When the bus arrives, I slowly get in and sit at the left side single seat.   I munch a bread on the way then take a nap until the first stop.

There were times that it was so exhaustive working in the factory, so I had slept so hard that I did not notice the first stop. So I have to transfer to another bus route to home.

Once I'm at our building, I will hurriedly head to my sister's apartment to get my two boys,  who were waiting for me.  At this time, it should be around 8:00 pm and I will be feeling hungry from work.

When my sister's door opens, two little guys rushes to me with arms wide open, shouting "DADDY!" and hugs me tightly with all the strength from their baby muscles.  At this point in time, the stress from the factory magically turns to happiness and body aches disappear in an instant.

Then the youngest will ask me to lift him up and kisses my cheeks with a smile, showing off his missing front teeth.  So, I bring my two boys to our apartment and help them dress up to go to sleep and teach my SAM on his assignments.

I was lucky to have a sister in Toronto, who temporarily took care of my kids while we're at work.

Then I prepare my dinner and wash the dishes and pans.  I have to sort all the toys that were scattered by my 3-year old with the help of his Kuya, prepare the milk for my 3-year-old and have them brush their teeth.

There will be a story-telling for both of them as they dropped their eyes to sleep.

If I have time, I'll watch few Television shows, do some blog posts, or sometimes I go to sleep with my little boys to get ready for another day in the factory.

That was my daily activity as an assembler in a factory.  It's a hard work at first, but as the time goes by, it becomes a routine and felt easier.

I was so optimist during that time cause I know that eventually a rainbow comes after the rain.

When I was assembling the parts, I wasn't thinking of the hardship.  It's the experience that I was interested in, which I needed to survive in Canada.

I was lucky to have a job in Canada and was proud to work in a factory.  But, because of my expertise on machines, I had to find a way to use it and contribute more in Canada's workforce and to be well-compensated in return.

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29 May 2015

How Do You Feel After Having the VISA

Spring Time: Photo taken when I was on my way home after sending SAM to school (
Federal Skilled Worker Program process is difficult, it burns out your time, money and effort.  Then all of these will turn out to be rewarding once you receive the much awaited VISA.

For the first few days of having the VISA in your hands, you feel like your in the state of nirvana.  When the excitement subsides, it will get you to a point of asking yourself, like what my readers emailed me.
Dear Ben, 
Glad to hear you are doing well :) I just received my visa, I want to write to you and ask if you think we should be leaving. You see, we are terribly afraid now, how did you do it?

You see, we are quite comfortable here, do you think we should be living. Appreciate it if you could give me your most honest opinions on whether we should stay or leave. We are Singaporeans without relatives there, are we really better off here? If i move, what should I expect? Can you share more about your wife's experience? Now, i am really scared @#$!%!
Ms. P. (let me know if you want to state your full name here)

Dear Ben
How are you? I hope you are doing great. Thanks for all the info in your web. It was informative and useful.

Btw, I just received my Passport request email from Singapore Visa Office today, I feel bless for that.

I'm planning to arrive at Toronto at around October 2015 from Jakarta.

How is life out there Ben? At the land of your dream.

Now that I got the passport request, how come I have such fears in my heart. Do you have that kind of feeling as well?

Can you share, how did you handle it?
Mr. D. (let me know if you want to state your full name here)
The fear of going out of your comfort zone now kicks in.  Going to a place and not knowing how your life will be, needs a lot of courage and a tough character.  This will be a life-changing journey, for better or for worse.

Here were my replies...
Hi Mr. D., 
First of all, I'm glad to hear such a good news.  This is a life-changer for you. 
You're not alone who feels anxious after receiving the Visa.  I too had felt it after I got the Visa in my hand.  It gave me mixed emotions, leaving my relatives behind and bringing my family to Canada. 
Having my whole family with me to Canada made me worry more. I'm afraid if I don't get a job or my wife does, what will be the arrangement.  Another thing, my Proof of Fund was just enough for us to survive in months. 
Lucky enough, God helped and blessed us a lot.  Got a fine job here with good benefits.
Setting up your mind is what you'll need here.  If you've read my post about my life here in Canada, it emphasized my feelings and what I did. This is to give you and idea on how's life once you get here.  You have to accept the fact that you will start from scratch "0".  
Coming from a tropical country, seeing the zero degrees from National Geographics on your TV screen is peanuts. But, wait until you get here and experience the -22degC temperatures.  You will tell yourself, "What the H.... am I doing here in Canada?".  
You feel like you're tortured when the cold weather touches your skin and penetrates into your bones.
But, you see, with perseverance, discipline, and a proper mindset, we survived the harsh weather and learned that Canada is not bad at all.   
You feel the joy once the spring comes, seeing the real beauty of Canada.
Hi Ms. P, 
We really don't know how our lives will be once we got here.  As long as you're prepared and accepted the fact that you will start at level 1 or even "0", you'll be fine. Don't be discouraged for there will be blessings to come sooner than you think.
I also felt the same way as soon as I received my Visa. I then realized and asked myself, "This is it? Then what?".   
I prepared my mind before coming here... even the thought of having a janitorial job in a stablishment.  As soon as we arrived here, I opened all my options, saying yes to all the offers of my friends and the friends of my friend.   
Now, here I am, working with the same NOC, the same work I had in Singapore with higher salary and benefits. 
When people get out of their comfort zone, there's always the feeling of fear.  It's normal, you're not the only one having this kind of feeling.  But, once you get here and will get to know the place and environment, you'll begin to like it.  For me, this is the best place that I've ever been to.  
If you need help when you're here in Toronto, just give me a shout.  I'm willing to help and guide you to the best that I can.
This opportunity comes once in your lifetime, grab it! 
Don't be discouraged when you hear bad things about Canada.  We have different preferences, goals, and mindsets.  It's up to you to see and experience it yourself.

Our only common denominator is to have better lives for ourselves and our family.

Do you want more photos of Canada like the one on top?  Please tick the LIKE button below.

14 May 2015

Reasons Why I Left My Country and Live in Canada

In my heart, I am a proud Filipino.  Philippines is my mother country where I had planted my roots since I was young.   I was born with 100%-born Filipino parents and who are also happy to be one.

I grew up in Manila 80% of my lifetime and had visited provinces particularly from North to South of Philippines.  We made road trips from Ilocos to Manila, to Davao, Cagayan, and Zamboanga.

I've been in countries such as Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), and China.  I've seen the lifestyle of people in each country and the beautiful unique environment where they live in.

Why am I saying this and what's the relevance of these things on my post today?

Because of these travels, I had learned some of the people's lifestyles and the environment in these places.  Each had its own advantages and disadvantages.

We have our own priorities and perspective in life.  Our way of thinking and accepting the environment, people, politics and the likes are different from one another.

Despite everything, we all have a common goal and that is to be stable and make someone special in our life be contented.

For me, I need a stable source of income, a family that loves me unconditionally, and a supportive government.  These are my priorities.  It may be different from you or to other people.

We are here in Canada for more than 5 months now and I had achieved and experienced my goals.  I am not expecting that this will be forever but at least once in my life, I had experienced this type of feeling.

Reasons Why I Decided to Immigrate to Canada
Again, this is my own preference.  Some may want a nice customized car, 5-bedroom house, lots of jewelry, a collection of shoes and many other WANTS that we can think of.

Well, I am not that type. For me to be happy, I only need a loving family, a stable job to sustain our basic needs, and a safe environment well monitored and supported by the government.

1. Obvious Corruption in Private Sectors 
I've been handling a Sales team back in the Philippines.  In this type of field, we have to be in contact with corrupt people.  They usually ask 10% or more than we profit for every project.  I don't like this kind of business wherein the customer and supplier relationship is only about bad money.  Most of my clients want to be part of this system, which I politely declined.

If you've been working as a supplier, you know what I mean.

2. Lack of Implementation of the Government's Law
Let's face it, there are lots of rules in our country, but the problem is how it's being implemented. From the simple "No littering" sign to the voting procedures (e.g. No flying voters, No buying of votes, etc.)

I started listening to news and commentaries from the AM radio and grew fond of it since I was 12 years old. Back then, it's unusual for someone my age to listen to AM radio. Other children my age would normally listen to music on FM.

Ever since then, topic of news anchors and commentators about corruptions  hasn't changed for decades. Different laws had been approved but because of corrupt and lack of discipline from the officials themselves, it's just there as a law with poor implementation. 

At least PNOY (President Noynoy) is cleaning a bit of it as of the time being. But 6 years of being a president is not enough to clean a country that's been corrupted thrice his presidential term. It's like cleaning a house for 30 mins after having a week long celebration of your child's party... or cleaning a whole arena after having a huge concert...I think you all get my point. 

3. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
It was 1967 when my Aunt left the Philippines and even asked my mother to go with her in Canada to work as an OFW. But my mother declined, she cannot bear leaving her loving husband and children behind.

After 4 decades, history repeats itself... but this time, I need to sacrifice my own emotions for the sake of the future of my kids. Our joint finances (me and my wife's salary) couldn't match the growing expenses we had back then. So off to Singapore where I worked for 5 years.

When I was there, I recalled what happened to my mother and I asked myself, "Do we really need to do this in every generation? I don't want to have my son working, as an OFW like me, in the future leaving his family behind in the Philippines.

It's very difficult being an OFW. It pains me a lot every time I step at the entrance of the airport, say goodbyes to my wife and sons, after a few days visit in Philippines.

4. To be with my Family 
It's a good thing that nowadays we have means to communicate with our loved ones through Skype and Facebook. In this way, I could talk to them and see my sons grow up. But it's not much of a fulfillment as a father. Why settle for a virtual image, if you can hold them very close to you every time you came from work?

Fathers and Fathers-To-Be, should I explain more? You know what I mean.

Why not Live in Singapore?
It's easier said than done.  I attempted to apply for a Permanent Residence in Singapore and was declined without giving me reasons.  They said that I can apply again if I want to. But, how can I improve my application if I don't know where my mistakes are?

Let's say that I've been approved, will I be a citizen for the next five years or so?  I have lots of Filipino friends who stayed PR's for more than 5 years and still have that status until now.  What happens if they don't renew the PR status?

I understand that this is how the government balances the number of PR and citizens.  But, waiting to be included in the bell curve was something that I can't do.

I love Singapore, it's cleanliness and discipline is way better than in my country. It's a Fine City as what some call it. They even have printed shirts that indicate the penalties if you did the following:

Spitting in public places
Bringing Durian inside the MRT
Chewing gums
Urinating in lifts

They made it from 3rd world to first, the perfect place to live in Southeast Asia.

Well, it's been a blessing in disguise when they haven't approved my PR, it's because Canada wanted me here.

Now, I'm in Toronto, Did I Get What I Wanted?
I'm writing this today, May 11, 2015, so I have the record of what I'm thinking right now.

We've been here for more than 5 months now and we had survived the harsh Winter.  I looked at our window, looking at the beautiful and colorful blossoms at far, still asking this questions.

"Am I really in Canada?" 

To tell you the truth, I can't believe that I'm already here in Canada.  Sometimes, when I go to my sister and/or at gatherings where all came from my homeland, I thought that I'm still in the Philippines.

But, when I'm driving alone, I just smile as wide as I could, cause nobody looks at me while driving, and I say to myself...


When I'm with my wife, and kids in the backseat.  I hold my wife's hand and glance at her, saying...

"We're really here!!!"

These are the feelings that no Proof of Fund can pay.  One of the priceless moment that I felt in my life.

Here are the things I got as an FSW Immigrant in Canada:
  • Free Education for my Kids
  • Free Hospitalization
  • Free Vaccination for my Kids
  • Free transportation for my Kids (12 years old and under - free fare
  • Safer Place to raise my family
  • More Disciplined Drivers
  • We are here as an ideal family, because Canada is a Family-Oriented country.
  • Prices of commodities are way lower than in Philipines in terms of salary to prices-of-goods ratio.
  • My salary now (new job) is higher than in Singapore and with the same benefits.
  • Most of my friends says that there are three most protected individuals here in Canada.  They are women, animals, and children.  Their rights are well respected here as compared to some other countries.
  • Nobody asks about my status here.  Well, in Singapore, while working with clients, they'll always ask me if I'm a PR or a Work Pass holder and I never knew why they ask me that.
    To get the idea about Toronto, Canada from My personal view, let me give you the recipe...

    1. Get the beauty and cleanliness of Singapore.  Include the Expressways in Singapore and mix a bit of the bumpy roads of Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia.  

    2. Sautee the nice Spring weather in China, Baguio in Philippines, and Japan.  Gather the food in Singapore and take out a small portion of Halal and Chinese food but add the great service from the Philippines.   

    3. Get the transportation system in Singapore.

    4. Bring in the internet connection speed of Singapore but higher the price by 50%.  Include the banking system in Singapore but reduce the convenience (transacting) by grade level 2.

    5. Include the safety of Singapore but garnish with a very small amount of killings by guns from the Philippines.

    6. Gather and sprinkle the beautiful faces of women and men from Dubai or Abu Dhabi with a slice of pretty ladies and gentlemen from Southeast Asia.

    7. Top it all up with a huge serving of freebies from the Toronto Public Health and Toronto Public Education. Even the Toronto Public Library have free movies, arts and crafts, and other fun filled activities for both young and young at heart. :) 

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    01 May 2015

    Top 5 Problems We Encountered As an Immigrant in Toronto Canada

    Some of our relatives and friends that were in Canada may hide the negative aspects of their lives in the country, which they don't want us to know the real situation.

    As always, my style was to give my readers all the positive aspects of a country where I reside in and true when I was in Singapore.

    Like My Singapore Story, it's always focused on the positive side because I thought that showing those were easy than focusing on the darker regions.

    This time, I had to lay down the "negative" cards in Canada because one of my readers (Anna) emailed me and asked about the problems that I had encountered here.

    Here's her message...
    "We just received the ITA from CIC yesterday so we will have to hand in the documents in 60 days and after 6 months should get the visa. 
    I just read your wife, Net's writing on your blog that she just resigned from her job. How is your family situation now? Is it difficult to adapt there?...
    ....Please do share with us about your problems. We hope that we can see you soon in Toronto."
    After reading her email, it made me realize that I should be starting to post about my problems that I've encountered here.  This is for the benefit of all FSW applicants and new immigrants.

    Problems We'd Encountered In Canada
    Like you, I was clueless about how Canada look like and how's life inside the country.  I got the information only from my relatives, friends and online forums.  

    Although there are government sites that provide us information to settle, but it's not personal.  This time, you will have it straight from me in Toronto, Canada.

    I will start from the month before we landed until the present.

    1. Budgeting For The Airline Tickets
    As we know the fact that the distance between Philippines and Canada is 6,921miles.  This means that the airline ticket is not expensive, but VERY expensive.

    The price of our ticket on 2014 was PHP110,000.00 (USD2,500) for 2 adults and 2 kids, terminal fees and travel taxes are exclusive.  Instead of using the amount for my Proof Of Fund, it was diverted to my expenses.

    Imagine if we are going for a vacation in Philippines, 4 of us, we might need to save money in 2 or more straight years just for the ticket and I wonder how much would it be then.

    2. Permanent Residence Card
    As soon as we arrived in Canada, the immigration officer at the airport informed us that we will receive our PR cards 8 to 10 weeks upon landing.

    We waited for over that timeframe until I decided to call the CIC customer hotline to follow up our PR cards.  I was informed that they had sent a letter 2 months ago to my address and that it was returned to them due to a wrong address.

    I can't remember how I mistakenly stated the address, but maybe I did.  They added that the reason for the delay in the issuance of our PR cards was because of our photos, which the Case Processing Center (CPC) was requiring us to submit a new set.

    Usually, when CIC requires me to submit something, they'll send me an email in conjunction with a physical letter.  But, I was wondering, for this time, they haven't sent me an email correspondence.

    We've been here for more than 5 months without the PR cards.   The proof of our status was only our COPR copies and passports.  So, we sent a new set of photos to CPC.

    Few days ago, the PR cards came at last, but the bad news is, my card wasn't there.  Well, I need to inform them again.   The postman may have accidentally dropped it on his way to our mailbox.  We'll see how it goes.

    3.  Effects of Winter in Our Tropical Skin
    This is our first time to experience winter with temperatures that reaches -22degC and feels like -30degC.  You will know how it feels with these numbers and units once you get here.

    The first few weeks and months were a total adjustment for us.  We are clueless on the changes, which the cold weather affected our tropical body and skin.  We had experienced nose bleeding, super dry skin, skin pigmentation, clogged nose, and cracked skin that develops into a wound.

    4. Time and Schedules
    My wife and I were both working days after we've landed.   That was a good start and we're working enthusiastically on the first days and months in our job-site.

    Our finances were good, we can buy the groceries we want and need for our daily necessities.  Bills are paid on time and the kids can have their weekend delight and surprises.

    Then we realized that TIME was the culprit of us being unhappy with our job and setup.

    To give you an idea, agencies hire people who were eager to work anytime and anywhere.  The schedules that they provide were the following:

    Morning shift - 7:00am to 4:00pm
    Afternoon shift - 4:00pm to 11:00pm
    Night shift - 11:00pm to 7:00am
    Normal shift - 8:00 to 5:00pm

    For me, I was working on a normal shift.  On the other hand, my wife was given an afternoon shift. This is a good setup if we don't have children.  But, it's not the case.

    My eldest son, SAM, should be in school at 8:30am to 3:00pm and my youngest stays home the whole day, playing.

    I made a chart here to give you a better view of our situation.

    The Yellow color is represented as the time when each of us is away from home. On the other hand, Green represents the time that we're at home.

    The color that we need to focus our attention is at the Red line.  That means, at this period, me and my wife were both away from home and SAM and TOM's schedules were Green.  It was a big issue for us as to where to leave them with while we're away.

    I was lucky to have a sister near our place who had an evening shift.  We send them both to her during our Yellow time.

    5. Doing the Chores
    When I arrive home from work, I had to fetch the two at my sister's house.  Coming from work, tired and hungry was the worst thing that I don't want to experience at the end of the day.  My wife was out to work and the problems were:

    * Who prepares our dinner?
    * Who prepares the milk and taking our kids to sleep?
    * Who cooks our breakfast and prepares lunch?
    * Who cleans the house?

    So, my wife cleans the house, cooks dinner and breakfast when she's at home.  For me, I prepare the milk, clean the house, heat the food in the microwave, wash the dishes and put my kids to bed while I'm craving for food and sleep.  *sigh*

    It was difficult having this type of setup.  Since we are new, we've closed our one eye and moved on with the uneasy setup for a few months...

    If you've noticed, the problem of clothing and furniture were not included in the list, it's because I have my sister who happened to have a network of generous friends who provided us most of our winter, spring clothing and furniture.

    If you don't have networks yet, you can buy second-hand clothing or buy at cheap factory outlets here in Toronto and this will be discussed on my future posts.

    Do you think this post is helpful?  Please tick the LIKE below.

    Do you have any questions in mind?  Leave a comment below.

    16 April 2015

    MM2C NEWS: MM2C Subscriber Got A Very Good News!

    Helping someone achieve his dream is the best feeling money can't buy.  Few days ago, one MM2C subscriber emailed me to share his good news.

    Before I start sharing,  I want to let you know that few months ago, when I was in Singapore, I met him and made a post about it.

    Meeting with an FSW Applicant and MM2C Subscriber

    What is the Good News?
    He sent me an email...
    "Hi Ben,
    Just want to share with you, I got my PPR.
    I have sent my passport using VFS to Visa office and now I am waiting for the passport to return to me with the visa on it hopefully. 
    Now, I am worried about finding accommodation in Canada. One of my facebook friends who is living in Vancouver told me that he has room to rent in his house. But I am not sure Vancouver is the right place for new immigrant who is looking for job.
    If you have time, please share what is the best option of accommodation for single new immigrant like me. 
    How is your life in Canada so far? "
    If you are still not familiar with the FSW abbreviations, like PPR, it's a PassPort Request.  When you get this request, that means you had passed the Medical Exam and Police Clearances.  

    Then, Canada will give you the most important sticker in the world, the VISA!  Here's my experience with it...

     My Answer to His E-mail
    "Hi Friend,
    WOW! Congratulations!
    I'm so happy to know that you have your Passport request and soon to receive your Visa.
    My suggestion for you, since you have a friend in Vancouver, that you stay there first and try to find a job.  Your friend can help you settle there in every step of the way.  
    The good thing also is that you can have a room to rent with him.
    Compared to living in Toronto, it's difficult for you to settle here if you don't have someone to stay with.  
    Although there are lots of apartments and basement houses here that you can rent, but you will be with a complete stranger.  It will cost you around C$500-$1000/per month to have a 1-bedroom flat here. It might cost you around C$300-500 for a bedroom or in a basement.  This is only my estimate. 
    I am not familiar with the employment in Vancouver. But in Toronto, there are lots of survival jobs here especially when you land during school time.  You can work in factories while applying for the perfect job. 
    For now, I'm working in my field, not an assembler anymore. My job is the same in Singapore, my NOC, which is Instrument Technician and mechanic.  My salary is higher than in Singapore.   
    If you have read my wife's post in my blog, she is now a full-time housewife.  We can still have our savings with this setup with the help of the Free education for my kids and allowance from the government.  For now, we are good and happy! 
    It's up to you to decide and let me know where you want to land."
    Federal Skilled Worker application was the most difficult program that I've been through.  A lot of time and money I'd sacrificed.  All I can say for now is that...


    Please tick LIKE below if you agree!

    18 March 2015

    Consequences of Being an OFW and FSW: Is it Better or Worse?

    Every two months, as a foreign worker in Singapore,  I made sure to have a quick vacation in the Philippines.  It's a quick one because I only stayed there for 4 to 5 days.

    The good thing about my job in Singapore was the flexibility of my time.  Filing a leave was never been a problem 'cause each one has already been planned 6 months ahead of time.  So, I made sure that my leave of absence were filed 3 months before my next Philippine visit.

    Everytime I reached the NAIA Terminals, my two boys were there to greet me all the time.  They're so excited from the moment they see me from the glass-covered waiting areas.  They'll be jumping for joy.

    As I move closer to them, two sets of small arms, widely spread, reaches up towards me, with their small cute lips touching my cheeks.   The loneliness and depression that I got from Singapore vanishes as their soft baby cheeks touches my lips.

    I am not alone... many of my fellow Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Fathers are experiencing this burden, I'm sure.  This is true specially when a father and his child had a great relationship before the separation.

    Effects of Being an OFW on My 10-Year Old
    My toddler, now 10, was very close to me when I was working in the Philippines.  I always cry secretly when I remember our playful times together inside our house.

    He always sings in front of many people.  My wife and I also made sure that he speaks with other people with confidence.

    I left him when he was a confident little boy.  My excitement working in Singapore had isolated my thinking about the future effect of it on him.

    Skype or Facebook were our ways of communication. He was typing odd words and jumbled letters at the message window back then, until the time that he can create full sentences.  That's how time flies.

    We had video chats, almost everyday, but the loneliness deep inside was there all the time.   It'll get worse when we say our goodbyes.

    Years passed by until I learned that he was no longer singing in front of people and was so shy speaking to someone.  His voice was getting unconfident, dragging his self-esteem down.

    His teacher explained to my wife that he is experiencing a "separation anxiety".  This is the effect when two closely related individuals separate from each other.

    My son is not the only one with this type of issues, this is common on children that are away from their father or mother for quite a long time.

    Separated From my Baby Boy
    During my stay in Singapore, my wife and my 10-year old visits me every summer.  It's one of  my happiest moments in the Lion City.  We've visited a lot of places and food centres in every corner of the country.

    This is also the time when we decided to add a new member of the family.  A new baby boy was made in Singapore and born in Philippines. :D

    Back then, with the same setup, I thought that it won't have any effect on my little boy as he was born  without me.  He will have no separation anxiety and he will get used to it sooner.

    As usual, my frequent visit in Philippines gives me a chance to carry my baby boy and kiss him anytime I want.

    I remembered that he was so small back then that he fits in-between my elbow and wrist as I carried him to sleep.

    Time flies, and he grew up faster and heavier and spoke his first words of Daddy and Mommy.  He became aware that going to the airport is saying goodbye to me as I go back to Singapore.  This is what he was used to back then.

    He became strict with his mother, making it sure that I cannot hug her or kiss her with his presence.  The thought of me not having a chance to hug my spouse in front of our kid is surprising and unusual. It was not the case when our 10-yr old was at the same age.

    The worst thing was that he doesn't like my presence when he was going to sleep.  Seeing me beside him makes him irritable and eventually transfer to his nanny.  He also hated when I'm sleeping beside his mom.

    My 10 and 3 year-old After the FSW Immigration in Canada
    Low self-esteem and overprotective sons were the results of me working in Singapore for a couple of years.

    It seems that God saw my situation and blessed me with our FSW Visa.  But, it didn't stop there, He provided us jobs that will change the relationship between me and my sons.

    This is how it changed our lives...

    My wife was working as an operator in a manufacturing industry, also a minimum wage earner.  By the way, she is a licensed teacher with more than 10 years experience in a private school in the Philippines.

    She works in the afternoon until night and goes to bed at 2:00 in the morning.

    Well, for me, I worked for an 8 to 5 job from Monday to Friday.  My wife and I are having a hard time to talk or see each other on weekdays.  She goes home while I'm fast asleep and off I go for work while she was still sleeping.

    This situation didn't bother me at all because it gives me the opportunity to bond with my children. When my wife is out for work, I had another full time job.  Here's the job description...
    - Taking care of my two sons
    - Become a single "Mom/Dad"
    - House cleaning
    - Dishwasher
    - Garbage collector
    - Putting my kids to bed
    These duties made me closer to my kids.  My 10-year old's self-confidence is getting better.   On the other hand, my 3-year old doesn't want to go to sleep without my stories of "Thomas and Friends" and requests me to sleep beside him every bedtime.

    Having the chance to be with them and seeing them grow for at least at their toddler and teenage years was the best reward of being a Federal Skilled Worker Immigrant in Canada!

    Do you Agree?  Please tick the LIKE button below this post.

    18 September 2014

    You're Invited to MMC Meet Up 2014 Singapore

    My last few days in Singapore is approaching, and when you're busy with work, the clock ticks faster than usual. 

    It would be a heart breaking scene when I'm at the Changi Airport for the last time.  I had booked my ticket back to Philippines, but it's for one way this time.  Typing this made me feel sad and miserable.

    So, thinking a way on how to cope up with you, I got an idea of a meet up before I leave this country.  It's been a wonderful journey that I came across with this beautiful place and I want to thank all of those who supported me during my stay here.  People from all walks of life, totally strangers and had soon became my friends and even closer, are my guide and one of the sources of my inspiration.

    I would like to ask for your spare time to have a small meet up together with the Me Moving to Canada (MMC) readers, followers and lurkers.  

    If it happens that you are free and in Singapore on the next Saturday, 27 September 2014 at around 3:00pm, I'm inviting you to attend this special day for me.
    Me Moving to Canada (MMC) Meet Up 2014
    Singapore Official Logo 

    MMC Meet Up 2014 Singapore
    27 September 2014
    3:00pm, Saturday
    (email me for the exact location)

    What to expect:
    - meet with me and other FSW applicants
    - can chat and share information with those who had sent their full application
    - networking with soon to be immigrants

    If you have any suggestions on what fun activities that we can do during our meet up and the location, please help me to organize.  Honestly, I'm not a good event organizer.  I hope that you have this talent that you can share by sending me an email.

    If you're interested in attending the event, please email me and put at the Subject of your email as:

    Subject: MMC Meet Up 2014 Singapore (Joining)

    Hopefully, I can have your confirmation as soon as Friday, 26 September 2014 as I will only inform those interested about the location through email.

    I'll be happy to see you on that day.  Hopefully it would be a fun and unforgettable moment.

    If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at

    Enter your email address:

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    Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada