how to get a new social security number

How to get a new social security number for US K-1 fiance 

After your arrival in the US, one of the most important things you need to do is get a social security number (SSN).  It is also one of the requirements for your i485 status application. Without it, your application will definitely go pending. Having a Social Security Number will enable you to get a job legally within the US.  Getting a SSN is also an important first step for getting things like bank accounts, credit, and ID cards.

Social Security Offices are found in each state.  It is an easy 1 day process. There is no fee just a simple application. There are only (2) requirements for getting social security card for fiance/fiancees (3 for married applicant):

getting social security number

getting social security number

1. Passport – bring you passport during the application. Photocopied passports are not accepted.

2. I-94 – download the form here, fill out the basic questions asked about your name, passport number and print it out in a short size bond paper.

3. Marriage Certificate - this will be given to you by the clerk if you get married in the Clerk and Recorders Office. You have to show the original copy.

Getting married before getting your SSN is a good idea because if you don’t, you will have to return to the Social Security Office to change your last name.  It’s very inconvenient since your fiance/husband may have to drive for you there twice.  If you get married first, your name is already changed when you get your social security number, so you only need to go once.20141103_145750

So I got married first then went there the same day to get it all done.  We arrived, got a priority number, filled out the 5 pages of SSN papers, prepared the requirements in my hands and waited for my number to be called.

When your number is called. The social security officer will ask you basic question and confirm your identity. You will also be informed that your social security number will be delivered to your home address within 7-10 working days.

Asian dishes – Tandoori Chicken + Dal +Basmati rice

From all over Asia you will find spicy exotic variety that any intrepid food adventurer will enjoy.  The meal that I am sharing today is an Indian dish that has a perfect blend of taste.  It is mildly spicy yet very healthy meal.  With a delicious serving of Lentil beans that are high in fiber and protein with Iron and Magnesium.

This chicken recipe is marinated with yogurt and spices and is perfect for dinner with basmati rice!

Asian dishes – Tandoori Chicken and Basmati Rice



  • 1 lb chicken drumstick, skinless
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chicken masala or 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground pepper


  • Basmati Rice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 C Basmati rice
  • 3& 1//2  water
  • 1 tbsp salt


  • 1 C lentil beans
  • 3 C water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 big tomato, sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp pepper



1. Marinate chicken with yogurt and the other listed ingredients.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Place the marinated chicken on a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.

*tip: you can use aluminum foil on baking pan to help with cleaning later


4. Wash basmati rice.  Add water, butter and salt .

5. Boil the lentil beans until it gets soft *3 C water.asian-dishes (2)

6. Saute onion, tomatoes, serrano peppers, and ginger. Add the remaining spices, salt and seasoning. Add the boiled lentils. Add a cup of water if texture is too sticky. You can also add a little bacon/pork belly to give it a richer taste. asian-dishes (3)

7. Check if your chicken is cook and serve with rice. This combination is perfect with Dal.




Questions on the topic of filipinas marrying foreign national

Marrying a foreign national

I know that people have plenty of questions regarding Filipinas marrying foreign nationals. There are many factors that Filipinas do not really care about in terms of marriage and relationships.

What I have found is that cultures differ drastically on each issue.  Some issues that really matter to foreigners may not matter much to Filipinos (and vice versa).  For example, to most American women under age 25, marrying a guy over 40 is a HUGE issue, but for filipinas what matters more is the guys background and stability not his age.

We have received a lot of questions about foreigners marrying Filipinas.  This post is a collection of those questions and their answers.

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Does age matter to filipinas? People say Filipinas marry guys of all ages.  Yes! that is true. Why?  Filipinas do not really make it an issue to marry a guy who is twice her age. Filipinas typically date a guy not for his age but for the potential of being with a man who can be a provider.  Generally, for a woman to give stability in her home, she needs a stable partner.  It may sound simple but this is a missing element in the Philippines.  A huge portion of men in the Philippines cannot (or will not) provide for their family.  That is the main reason why Filipinas started marrying foreigners.

Are Filipinas gold diggers? marrying-a-foreign-nationalJust like any other nationality, there are are some bad apples.  Some foreigners have a bad perception of Filipinas because negative actions of a few. Decades ago, when Americans came to the Philippines they were meeting bar girls.  Many bar girls are gold diggers.  So getting married is more of a business transaction and love has nothing to do with it.


marrying-a-foreign-nationalHow can you tell if your Filipina is real? There are a few ways that you can tell if your Filipina is real.  For one thing, if she does not ask for money immediately upon meeting you! Lol I think this should be obvious.  This happens a LOT online due the unbelievable number of scammers.   Second, you know she is real if she makes her self available anytime you call, message, or email.  If your Filipina does not disappear for a day or two without contact that means it is real. Third, if your Filipina always asks “did you eat?” or “What did you eat?” I know it sounds strange, but in the Philippines it shows that someone really cares about you.  Filipinas who loves their partners will seldom miss that question every single day.

dollar to peso exchange rateIs providing money to your Filipina part of the culture?  No it is not. However, if your Filipina is very poor in the Philippines, then yes it may be necessary to provide for her so she won’t starve to death.  Unfortunately, poverty is rampant due to over population, corruption and calamities.  You can only understand the level of poverty if you have been there.

Do Filipinas like black guys? No. I am sorry to tell you this but they just don’t like dating black guys. They are not turned on by black guys.  Many would prefer white guys. It is just their preference of a guy.  It is not that Filipinas are racist.  Mainly the reason for this is many Filipinas are brown skin and they want to have lighter skin.  So they love to see people with white skin as it is rare.  In the Philippines, when a person has lighter skin, it is cool and it means they are from upper class since it used to be that laborers are always exposed to the sun.  It used to be an indicator that you are from the lower class.  BUT there is a few who are insanely into black guys exclusively.  So there are a few who date black guys and love black people’s skin color and appearance.  It’s funny that black music and style is popular in the Philippines but filipinas prefer their guys to be as white as possible.  It is like that in most of South East Asia.  We talk more about this here.

marrying-a-foreign-national”When you marry a Filipina, You marry her family too ”.  In many lower income families, “when you marry a filipina, you marry her family” becomes the truth.  This is bad because the family will expect the guy to help them out too which can jeopardize the relationship and give an extremely bad impression of the bride.  What complicates things is that family is a HUGE part of filipino culture.  Many fathers expect more from their daughters than their sons so when they get married their fathers are involved.  Which means that if the father won’t like the suitor then their is no future for that love affair.  And if they don’t like the groom a wedding might get canceled or dads won’t give their blessing to their daughters. For filipinas, it is very important because we respect our parents very much. We believe that a permission and blessing from parents will bring us luck and guidance in getting married.

marrying-a-foreign-nationalLast but not the least, ”FIlipinas marry all kinds of races”.  It is true.  Color of skin preferences aside, Filipino people are very open to other races and nationalities.  Unlike some other countries there is not huge underlying racist tones in the culture so you find a lot of racially mixed people overwhelmingly accepted in the Philippines.  If you look at the history of the the Philippines, it is clear how it became so mixed. You will see variations of Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Americans, Greeks, Europeans and more. Filipino are curious about  other cultures.

Traditions in Philippine Culture

Many traditions in the Philippines culture go back 100’s of years.  Filipino culture is a mixture of old Spanish Catholicism and indigenous filipino traditions.  The synergy of such diverse traditions coming together is a testament of the strength and adaptability of the filipino people.

Giving is a big part of the tradition of Philippines culture.  It’s a little different from other cultures. Filipinos are very attached to family.  Here are a few examples:

Aguinaldo sa Pasko (Christmas gift) – During Christmas, everyone in the family is expecting to receive a gift from the family member with the higher income.  Employers are expected to give bonuses to their employees.  God father and god mothers (Ninong at Ninang) are expected to give gifts to godchildren. Everyone is happy on Christmas since everyone gets to share it with family and friends. We also gather during Christmas Eve. We dress up, make plenty of food and greet each other at 12 midnight.

photo by:

photo by:

Pasalubong – Pasalubong are gifts that you bring to family, friends and relatives from travelling somewhere.  It can be food, souvenirs or clothes. They will always expect you to bring something when you arrive home.

philippine culture

philippine culture

Giving respect upon seeing or meeting elderly relatives - We are expected to show our greeting by bowing and placing the back of their hand on our forehead.. its called ”Mano”. It is to show respect to them. philippine culture

Sharing and Preparing food and drinks – Upon arrival of the guests, Filipinos always ask if they have eaten regardless of the time of the day.  For example, when the visitor arrives before lunch time, snacks are served.  They might offer soda, juice,coffee, tea, biscuits or bread.  While the guest is eating the snacks, the host is already preparing lunch.philippine-culture

New Year - When I was young we would wear polka dots to bring in the New Year.  I’m not sure if other people still do it, but in my family, my grandma used to make us wear polka dots shirts in New Year’s Eve. We used to buy 13 fruits that have a circle shape and place it in the center of the table. We also gathered coins.  We place the coins in pockets, in jars, in cups or whatever container will allow you to shake them and make noise.  The noise of the coins and fireworks are to scare away evil spirits and eliminate bad luck.  Some people turns their faucets on around the house a few minutes before New Year as it symbolizes wealth (it is originated by Chinese Feng Shui that filipinos believed in).  Filipinos commonly celebrates New Years Eve with family members. We also make lots of food to serve in the table as it symbolizes abundance.philippine-culture-traditions

Putting chicken blood on the forehead during birthdays - This tradition is more practiced in provincial areas where people raise chickens. During birthdays, my father used to put fresh chicken blood in our forehead with the same chicken we are cooking for the celebration.philippine-culture

Not eating pork on Black Friday, Saturday – The Philippines population is mostly Catholic so people are religious. In Catholicsm, it is tradition to fast and not eating pork.  Black Friday is the symbol day that Jesus died.  We  make sweet dishes to eat it with. Grilled food is also not encouraged on this day because people believed that it can cause some facial burns.  Eating dried fish is also not good on Black Friday.philippine-culture-trditions

Occasions, Gatherings and Celebrations - During special occasions such as celebrations and gatherings where there is lots of food, it is common for the host to pack you food to take home with you.  It is rude to refuse the offer so your only option is to take it when they hand you a bag of left over.  Also your Filipino family waiting at home, will expect you to bring packed food from the Celebration you went into.philippine-culture

elf beauty reviews

Since I arrived in the US I have been looking for a new and improved set of beauty products.  For a woman, looking good is very important so I don’t take this lightly.  Also, you have to be careful with what you apply to your face.  For example what a lot of women don’t know is that harsh brushes and tools can be harmful to the delicate skin of the face.

beauty-review (3)Choosing the right brush is also necessary to keep your beauty intact. A smooth soft brush can really make a difference in your daily make up wear. A gentle touch of your brush while applying your blush and face powder will help to not pack too much gunk in your pores.  You should also get in the habit of washing your brush to remove bacteria and not end up spreading it all over your face.


I have tried using sponges to apply powders but I have found that it stretches my face when applying it and its also harder to keep clean.  Bacteria loves sponges. So I transferred into using a brush. The first one I used was very rough and uncomfortable.  I also noticed that my pores were becoming bigger.

beauty-review (2)

Elf eye small brush

Way back in cebu,Philippines 2014,I went to mall and ask the saleslady if I should use a brush or sponge.  She recommend an imported product called “ELF” (eyes,lips,face) brush. She said the brush is very smooth that it feels like a cotton rubbing in your face.  I tried it the first time and was pleasantly surprised how smooth it is.  It does not feel like a brush but a feather that tickles a bit when applying my face powder.  It also applies the powder more evenly.

Elf eye C brush

Elf eye C brush

I have begun to use the brush for blush.  I am so pleased with the results that I have ordered more ELF products for my eyebrows, eyeliners and far, I am very satisfied with all of it and I highly recommend their product.  They deserve a beauty review to spread the word about ELF. Their products are cheaper online, very affordable and they have really good reviews from other women too.

Best filipino food- Tortang Talong

Best filipino food- Tortang Talong

Tortang Talong is a great dish for omnivores and vegetarians!  It is kind of like a Filipino style omelette.  It is created with char grilled eggplant that is dipped or smothered in beaten egg and then fried until it is golden brown. The texture and flavor of the tortang talong is actually like meat.  The dish packs in the flavor and gives a crisp, mouth watering bite when fresh off the grill.







2 pcs scrambled egg

1/8 C cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp seasoning

3/8 C tomatoes, minced

3/8 C onions, chopped

1/4 C mushroom pcs &stems, (optional)

2 pcs medium eggplant, char grilled, flattened

2 tbsp flour

1/2 C oil



  1. Add cornstarch, salt, pepper and seasoning in scrambled egg.
  2. Add tomatoes, spring onions and mushroom in your scrambled
  3. In a plate, flatten the eggplant using a spoon forming it into an oval
  4. Pour just enough scrambled egg mixture to cover the surface of the flattened eggplant. Sprinkle 1 tbsp
  5.  Use a wide flat spatula to scoop the eggplant. Fry in the heated
  6. Cover the pan. When it turns golden brown, flip and cook the other side.
  7. When it is cook, place a tissue in a plate to drain the remaining oil in the



i 94 homeland security

What is i94?


I94 is your arrival and departure record within the border of the United States. While on a flight to the United States, the flight attendant distributes a form stating the date, flight and the port of entry you are heading to in the US. During your Arrival to the US, this form is handed to immigration. The US homeland security keeps it and encode it in their database. The purpose of I94 is to keep a record of each person travelling in and out of the United States’ border.

What is the use of i94?

I94 is required for people who are not citizens in the United States specifically Non-Immigrants. I94 is needed during the submission of your i485 package Application to Register Permanent Residence. It is required while applying for a driver’s license and while applying for US citizenship. You will be asked for an updated I-94 when you apply for a State Id card. It is also a main requirement when getting your social security number. They use it to track a foreigner’s identity and arrival date in the US.

Where can you get your updated i94?


A non-immigrant can now get a copy of his/her I94 online at the Department of Homeland Security website From that link, you have to click yes and fill out your name, birthdate, passport number and country of issuance. And then a form with your date of arrival in the United States will appear and another form of your travel history within the border.i-94-homeland-security-3

These record will stay in their database for the period of 5 years while you a Non immigrant is processing your application of citizenship. The I-94 has an expiration date so you will have to return to the same website to request for another one when it is needed.


7 Things to consider when moving to america

I moved to the United States in October 2014.  Moving to America came with a shock on a few levels that I did not expect.  As I wrote about flight preparations for moving to America, I noticed that something needs to be said about what I should have considered when moving to America.

Things to consider when moving to america:

1. People.  Our impressions of Americans come from TV shows and movies.  Reality is way more complex.  You should expect a lot of different races.  If you are from a place where everyone pretty much looks the same, this may take some adjustment.  You may find it difficult to build new friends and relationships around you because people look so different.  But just remember most people have all the basic wants and needs that you do no matter what they look like.


photo by:

moving to america

moving to america

2. Culture. The culture and etiquette is totally different. You may have a culture shock if you cannot adapt quickly.  Things like people saying hello or suddenly starting a conversation with you is normal in some states.  Its not normal in the Philippines.  America has a culture of convenience created by the prosperity that corporate success brings.  On the positive side, you will not find better customer service in restaurants and stores in many other countries.  On the negative side, many Americans get complacent with their health.  So you see a lot of very obese people walking around.

moving to america weather

moving to america weather

3. Weather. Coming from a tropical country and moving to a cold, arid climate in the mountains has been really hard. You have to be tough to fight against the cold! I’m not kidding. It gets really cold here in Colorado and when the snow starts, its like sticking your face inside the freezer.  The weather in the US varies from state to state.  So you should read up on the climate of the place you are moving to.


moving to america hamburger

moving to america hamburger

4. Food.  The variety of fast food in America is unmatched. But what you might not expect is the variety of food from different cultures especially in places with a large mixture of people like LA where there is so much diversity. There are Asian markets here but you cannot expect to get all the items that you need in preparing your food if it’s specific to your country and culture. You have to explore new cuisine and try American food. The most noticeable here are that you get your food in can or frozen. You cannot get a fresh coconut milk here.

Indices Difference from
Consumer Prices in Colorado Springs, CO are 89.95% higher than in Cebu
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Colorado Springs, CO are 97.94% higher than in Cebu
Rent Prices in Colorado Springs, CO are 123.61% higher than in Cebu
Restaurant Prices in Colorado Springs, CO are 217.78% higher than in Cebu
Groceries Prices in Colorado Springs, CO are 110.11% higher than in Cebu
Local Purchasing Power in Colorado Springs, CO is 418.13% higher than in Cebu


5. Prices.  The cost of living in the US is different.  Honestly, somethings are cheaper in the US than in the Philippines.  Gas, for example, is cheaper in the US (as of 2014/2015).  Some foods that are specific to the Philippines are harder to get in the US so they will be more expensive.  Things like Dorian and jackfruit are pretty expensive.  Overall the cost of living in the US is 100% higer so cars, homes and clothes do have a higher price tag.  But since the average American has a higher local purchasing power is than the average Filipino it is much easier to live in the US even with higher prices.



6. Family.  One of the biggest issues for Filipino nationals moving to America has to be family.  If you are very attached to your family living in the Philippines, you should really think about how much you will miss them when you decide to move.  It is not easy to be away from the family you grew up with and it is not cheap to fly back and forth between the US and the Philippines.



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7. Transportation.  America is a huge place.  In many cities there is a lot of space between your home and all the places you must go such as the hospital, the grocery store and government facilities.  Most people here have cars to get where they need to go.  It is not practical to catch a taxi or bus to do things like get groceries.  Its too expensive to do it by taxi and the bus will not run often enough or close enough to your home.  Those who do get groceries or go to medical appointments via bus and taxi do so because they really don’t have any other choice.

So far, moving to America has been a challenging yet rewarding experience.  Americans totally take for granted the freedom of access they have to living a pretty comfortable life.  The level of opportunity given to you just by being in the boarders of the United States is amazing.




learn filipino languages

learn filipino

learn filipino

One thing some people visiting the Philippines don’t know is that there are many languages spoken there.  Not just English but Bisaya, Tagalog, Ilocano and Kapampangan to name a few.  There are literally hundreds of dialects and languages.  The national language is Tagalog also called Filipino.  It is important to learn Filipino if you plan on visiting the Philippines. Language is a big part of learning one’s culture.

There are a few very good Filipino words you should learn if you are visiting the Philippines.


                                                Salamat – Thank you



Walang Anuman – You are welcome.

Kumusta ka? – How are you?

Mabuti – Good

Po – sir/ma’am (usually used with someone your senior or as a sign of respect)

Magandang Umaga po – Good morning.

Magandang Tanghali po – Good Afternoon

Magandang gabi – Good Evening

Ano ang pangalan mo? – What is your name?

ilang taon ka na? – How old are you?

Saan ka nakatira? – Where do you live?

Magkano ito? – How much is this?

Makikiraan po – Excuse me (to pass by)

Makikisuyo po – Excuse me (to ask for something)

Magandang babae – Beautiful woman

Gwapong lalaki – handsome guy

Pwede mo ba akong samahan? – Could you please accompany me?

Just a sec- sandali lang


What you need to have while you are living in the Philippines?

We talked about 10 things you should consider before living in the Philippines.  Now, here are a few things you should get when you decide to come to the Philippines. As a foreigner coming from a first world country, it can get frustrating as things in the Philippines are more manual and much slower. We have gathered all the things a foreigner must prepare to make your life easier once you start living in the archipelago.

What you need to have while you are there?

  •  Prepaid SIM cardliving-in-the-philippinesAs soon as you arrive in the Philippines buy a SIM card with a data plan so you can browse the Internet, use gps and find what you need while getting settled.  While a SIM card is more expensive in the Airport, it will be worth it while you are figuring things out.  Prepay for about a month of service, then get a cheaper one once you get established.


  •  Broadband Stick - living-in-philippinesOnce you have some idea of the area you will be staying, get a broadband USB.  SmartBro is a popular brand of broadband USB.  Broadband in the Philippines speeds range from super slow to decent depending on the area you are in. You should get decent speeds in the city little to no access in some provinces.  This will be your permanent solution and get you off of the Prepaid data on your phone.  If you can afford it, I would recommend both.  Internet in the Philippines is pretty unreliable.  It goes down sporadically for no apparent reason so it’s nice to have a back up.  Just like prepaid SIM cards, you can get broadband in the airport or in the malls.


  • Mosquito lotion -living-in-philippines-2 Living in the Philippines means dealing with mosquitoes especially if you are going to live in or near the jungle or provincial areas where there are lots of stagnant pools of water. Arm yourself with mosquito repellent.


  • Have Cashdollar to peso exchange rateHave Filipino pesos but don’t carry too much cash.  Certain places do not have ATM machines.  Also many places do not take card to pay for items.  If you are in the middle of Manila or Cebu City, then of course you can use your debit card.  But cash is king in the Philippines.  Cash is safer since you are not giving out your credit card information to random people.

Phone -living-in-the-philippines (2) If your phone is unlocked, it may be restricted to one provider in your country of origin.  You should look into getting the phone unlocked before you get to the Philippines or plan on buying a phone there.  You can get a very cheap phone for 30 USD.  You will meet expats, friends and important contacts so you will need a mobile phone.  There are some mobile phone repair shops in the Philippines that unlock phones for cheap.



  Flip flops (sandals) – living-in-philippines-4Why? What is wrong with my shoes?  There will be times when you don’t want to wear shoes.  You will notice that 98% of the people there wear sandals.  When you experience the rain you will know why.  It always rains in the Philippines and the weather is unpredictable.  Flooding is an everyday occurrence during the rainy season.  Sandals prepare you for ankle high floods.  Its also extremely humid which can reek havoc on your feet if you constantly where close toe shoes.

  •  Soaps – If you are using a specific types of body soap bring enough that will allow you to choose a local brand in the Philippines. Soap ingredients may differ from what you use to have in your country.
living in philippines adapter plug types

living in philippines adapter plug types

  •   AdapterThe Philippines voltage is 220. If your appliance and electronic charger only take 110, you may end up destroying it.  With some small electronic devices you are better off getting only items that don’t need to be plugged into the wall.  Get items that take batteries.  Or can be charged via USB.  You may even consider buying small electronic items (such as electric shavers) when you get there.  For computers, tablets and monitors you will may need an adapter.

Power sockets:

type A / B / C

Voltage: 220 V

Frequency: 60 Hz

  •    Toilet paper -living-in-the-philippines-3 This one sounds funny until you go to the province (what is the Philippines’ province?) and you have no toilet paper.  If you are in the city, you will be fine so there is no need to pack it in your luggage.  But if you are in a city in the Philippines and going to the Province, you might want to grab a roll.


  • living-in-the-philippines  Face towels – If you are not used to a hot and humid climate, it is a necessary to carry a face and back towel while hanging out around town. You can get very sweaty and sticky immediately.

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