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07 April 2015

First Flight Experience at NAIA 2 Airport as FSW Immigrant in Canada

"This is it! "I whispered to my wife while we were at the car on our way to the airport.  We asked the help of our relatives for our baggages and to send us to NAIA 2.  The sun was shining, warming up the air, indeed, it was a good day for us.

We had prepared our things few weeks back making it sure not to miss some of our important items. At the airport, we've doubled checked each box and bag.

Honestly, I thought that preparing things to bring to Canada is simple, but I was wrong.  I'll tell you why as I go on with my flight story.

Packing Our Things for Canada
Before our Visa approval, I thought that gathering our things for Canada was a piece of cake.  I prepared a list in excel and planned each item carefully as not to miss any of our belongings.  I listed down and categorized it according to types and persons.  Each item has a tick box so I can check if it's ready and packed.

After consuming four rolls of black duct tapes, compacted 3 luggage, and 5 balikbayan boxes with the dimensions of 20 x 20 x 20 inches, we weighed them in using our personal weighing scale before heading to the airport, making sure that it will not exceed the weight limit.

Philippine Airlines allows 2 pieces (7 kilos total) of hand-carried baggage and 2 pieces (23 kg each) of check-in baggage.  We brought a total of 8 pieces of hand-carried bags for me, my wife and my sons' personal and important items.  This, of course, includes the bag for our documents.
First Time Immigrant (Federal Skilled Worker): Our check-in baggage to Canada

Here's how it looks...

Money, Documents and How I Secured It?
The second most important thing in our trip aside from my family is the money. I divided it into two and gave the other half to my wife.

I put mine in a sling bag and I placed it under my shirt, specifically on my chest while my wife placed it at the very bottom of her bag. Though it looks like I have a big lump on my chest, but it doesn't matter, I just covered it up with a jacket.

It was very stressful carrying a huge amount of money. The fear of losing it made me paranoid, checking it and my wife's every now and then.

The next thing that I'd secured were our documents.   They were all placed in my hand-carried luggage. You can lose all the clothing but not this important luggage. I made sure that they were all accessible at any time once the authority asks for it.

Tip for all Visa holders, before you go to Canada, you scan all your documents and place it in a USB thumb-drive or best is in Google Drive and iCloud.  This way, you can access it anytime and anywhere you want.   It's your backup for any kind of emergencies.

Even if it's not the original copies anymore, at least, there were some kind of identification that you can show in case you lose them.  You don't want to be stranded in a different country without an identity, do you?

Our Experience at NAIA Terminal as a Federal Skilled Worker in Canada
We reached the airport 5 hours before our flight.  This is better than being there at the latest hour.

It's our lucky day as there were fewer passengers departing at that time.  Our flight was scheduled in the afternoon, an ideal hour of travel.

It's a mixed feeling at the airport because, for the next few hours, we were leaving our relatives in Philippines and be reunited with my sister in Canada.

We used 3 airport pushcarts and each of us has our own hand-carried luggage.  We weighed our things at the scales located at the entrance door of the airport to make sure that we will not go over the limit.

We got through the initial X-ray inspection smoothly without any questions from the authority.

There were two areas for passengers at the airport, on the left side is for foreigners and the opposite is for Filipino nationals.  We then approached the Travel Tax payment counter and showed our Pre-paid Travel Tax receipt.

After that, we headed to the check-in counter.  We were then confident that all our luggage are below the specified weight limit.  Got our boarding tickets for around 15 minutes.

As our luggage went through the conveyor machine, we checked our watch and noticed that we still have enough time to eat lunch with our relatives, who were still waiting outside the airport.

So, we presented our boarding pass at the airport Exit Gate and the guard got one of our pass in exchange for a number.

Our relatives were eagerly waiting for us.  I can see them wiping their teary eyes as we go near them. Then, we went looking for a fastfood within the vicinity of the airport. Good thing we found seats in the crowded place of Jollibee. The joy and laughter we've shared at that moment were truly treasured.

After eating, we exchange goodbyes again for the last time and gathered our carry-on baggage and proceeded to the main gate for the second time.

Experience at the Immigration and Boarding Gate
My 9-year old son was silent on our way to the airport until our lunch-time and started crying when I informed him that we're going in for the flight.  He began hugging his Yaya (Nanny for 9 years) goodbye and clinged on her until I convinced him that we'll gonna be late if he doesn't let go.

On the other hand, my 3-year old was calm.  He was clueless that at the next few hours, he is going to a new country that will change his life.

After bidding farewell to our relatives, we went in, paid our terminal fees, and have our documents cleared at the immigration.  By the way, this it the same immigration counter that I have been rejected and eventually cleared when I went to Singapore to find a job.

After being cleared by the immigration officer, we headed to the final x-ray wherein I assigned my eldest son as the second look-out for our carry-on bags and my wife, on the other hand, took care of our youngest.

As we're waiting in line at the boarding gate, we were surprised to see that one of the officers who checks the traveler's documents was our high school friend, who was surprised as well to see us bound for Canada.  We've chatted for a while and then took our seats near the boarding gate.

Federal Skilled Worker Canada: While we are at the boarding gate in NAIA Terminal 
The excitement level was getting higher and higher as the time passed by. I still can't believe that we're here waiting to board the plane. It's as if I just filled up the IMM008 application form yesterday.

Time flies so fast, in the next few minutes, we will be starting our journey to another land, CANADA.

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Rakelle Peralta said...

Hi Ben,

How many hours did it take in making your entry formalities? We have a connecting flight from Vancouver to Edmonton. I wanted to know how much time I should allow for our connecting flight. Thank you.

Lyka Villanueva said...

How much money (cash, bank certificate) did you bring in Canada? Will the immigration officer check it. Did you declare it in the embarkation card? Thank you

Ben Alagnam said...

Hi Lyka, I honestly can't remember if that was in Philippines or in Canada that I stated the amount of cash that I brought. But, I am sure that every document that requires about monetary information was filled up during the trip and complete with the details of the cash.

I brought around $22,000 and it's estimated 2 inches thick. I gave some to my wife ($10,000) for safe keeping.

Don't worry about declaring it because your status is an Immigrant.

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