MM2C Podcast by Ben Alagnam

SEARCH the Related FSW Canada Topics HERE!

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. :) 

    Is this Helpful? Please tick the LIKE below.


    Anonymous said...

    Hey Ben,

    First of all your blog is very informative, keep up the good work.

    Let me just ask, on Landing in Canada are you saying that I have to prove again that I have the settlement funds to the immigration personnel, because I have unfortunately had to use a large portion of my funds to settle some business. I was approved last month but due to unfinished work projects i don't intend on landing until next year. In your option would you think it would be best to come at the end of winter, say towards the end of march so i would have an longer warm spell to adjust, I'm accustomed to a warmer climate like yourself.

    Ben Alagnam said...

    If you can, go and land immediately to Canada to complete your FSW applicaton process. Then, if you'd like, go back and finish your project.

    The reason is that you don't know what happens between the given time frame. Completing the whole process will give you a peace of mind.

    It's good to be here when it's warm but the airfare is expensive. Consider this options.

    Anonymous said...

    In other words you are saying i will need to have the proof of fund on entry again and it maybe best to go up and finish the process just in case there are amendments to the regulations. Thanks in advance Ben. I am communications engineer. Not sure if you know but do i have to get any form or licensing in canada to do telecommunication support.

    Anonymous said...

    Additionally, I am suppose to go to Alberta. I have heard with the oil prices falling the job market has gone down, how difficult would it be in your option would it be to secure a job before I actually get there.

    Ben Alagnam said...

    I have visited my friends in Calgary and Edmonton and found that there were few who don't have jobs as of now. Luckily, Canada has an employment insurance which the Government will give the jobless a monthly allowance. My jobless friend is receiving this until now. He's from the IT industry.

    Ben Alagnam said...

    If you intend to work as an Engineer, then you need to get a license.

    Unknown said...

    Hi Ben,

    I saw your blog and it was very inspiring.

    I'm planning to study in Canada and was wondering about the situation in Ontario for the International
    Students. Is it difficult to get a permanent resident right now? or will the International Students also
    required LMIA after finishing their course or will also enter the Express Entry Pool upon finishing the allowed work
    permit after studies?

    The reason for this is I got accepted to Humber College and University of Manitoba. I'm still deciding
    between these two and where will have a better future for me, especially in getting a PR.

    As for my research, Manitoba seems easier but my heart really wants Ontario. I don't know the situation right now
    because the rules keep changing and getting strict.

    I was grateful that I saw your blog and I'm very inspired in your journey and the success you achieved in Canada.
    it given me another chance to dream again and to bring my family with me in this goal

    Thank you for Inspiring me.


    Ben Alagnam said...

    Hi Dana, thank you for visiting my site. For me, I prefer to stay in Ontario because of the weather and I think Toronto has more job opportunities. My nephew is studying at Humber college and it has a good reputation in Canada. I'm not familiar with University of Manitoba. Make a research about that before you decide. It depends on your goal. If you want to have a PR status after you graduate, either of the two fits. But, if you want to have a cheaper school, then college is preferred. If you want a higher quality education after you graduate, university is better. (Note: This is my opinion)

    Regarding your concern about studying then immigrating, you can follow these steps.
    1. After graduation, apply for a work permit under Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP).
    2. Use the Skilled Canadian work experience gained from PGWP (at least 1 year) to apply for permanent residence (PR) in Canada under Express Entry.

    More info visit:

    Hope this helps...

    Nidhi said...

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks so much for this informative post. We are an Indian couple living in Singapore for the past 2 years and very keen on shifting to Toronto. Your article has only firmed our decision :)

    Ben Alagnam said...

    Hi Nidhi, Thank you and good luck on your application!

    TMT Travelogue said...

    Your blogs are so informative and so true. I loved the part where you mentioned about people in Singapore asking are you a PR or work pass holder. I do get that question a lot & I never knew why they would ask that :)

    Immigrationmandg said...

    Great post. Thank you for sharing
    Best Canada Immigration Consultants

    Global Sydney Group said...

    Thank you for your great information. It will be very helpful for me .....
    Global Sydney Group is the Best IELTS Coaching in Chandigarh of India and is synonymous with quality IELTS training and it believes in transforming your world. We use official IELTS preparation material produced by Cambridge University Press and our trainers are also certified by Cambridge University Press.
    IELTS institute in Chandigarh

    Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada