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.

best-filipino-food

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Procedure:

  1. Add cornstarch, salt, pepper and seasoning in scrambled egg.
  2. Add tomatoes, spring onions and mushroom in your scrambled egg.best-filipino-food-tortang-talong
  3. In a plate, flatten the eggplant using a spoon forming it into an oval shape.best-filipino-food-tortang-talong
  4. Pour just enough scrambled egg mixture to cover the surface of the flattened eggplant. Sprinkle 1 tbsp flour.best-filipino-food-tortang-talong
  5.  Use a wide flat spatula to scoop the eggplant. Fry in the heated pan.best-filipino-food
  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 eggplant.best-filipino-food

 

 

i 94 homeland security

What is i94?

i-94-homeland-security

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.  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?

i-94-homeland-security-2

A non-immigrant can now get a copy of his/her I94 online at the Department of Homeland Security website  https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html. 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: cyberthevote.org

photo by: cyberthevote.org

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 efind.com

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 numbeo.com
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
photo by:designcontest.com

photo by:designcontest.com

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.

image: philnews.ph

image: philnews.ph

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.

 

moving-to-america-2

photo by: cnn.com

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

photo by:appszoom.com

photo by:appszoom.com

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.

10 Things you should consider before living in the philippines

10 Things you should consider before living in the philippines

A lot of foreigners decide to live in the Philippines.  The low cost of living combined with a laid back island life is a huge attraction for people all over the world.  There are some other benefits to living in the Philippines.  For example, if you are an English speaker, you will find that Filipinos have the best command of English in South East Asia. Also, Filipinos are very open to foreigners.  They have a beautiful culture that has fully embraced diversity over the centuries.

Although these are great benefits, you really should take time to educate yourself on the environment before you go, especially if you plan on making it your new home.

If you are coming from a “first world country” like the US, Canada or Europe, there are a few things you should know before you plan on living in the Philippines.

1. Overpopulation – The archipelago’s land mass of 300,000 Square Kilometers and population of 100 Million makes it one of the most densely populated countries in the world.  You can really feel this in the cities.  Manila is one of the 12 most populous metropolitan areas in the world (2010).   By comparison, the US State of Texas has about 300,000 Square Kilometers of land area with a population of 26 million.  Colorado has 200,000 Square Kilometers with 5 million people (as of about 2012).  The Philippines is overpopulated.  If you are not a fan of being extremely close to lots of people anytime you go out, then you better prepare yourself.

photo by :planetden.com

photo by :planetden.com

2. High crime rate – Widespread poverty and rapid population growth has create a completely unbalance socio-economic situation which has created a little more crime then some other South East Asian countries.  Some areas of the city are particularly bad for foreigners.  Some places in Southern Mindanao actively target foreigners.  The site NationMaster will give you some idea on how the Philippines crime rate stacks up against other countries in South East Asia.

3. Narrow roads – With over population, you would think that the roads would grow with the rate of transportation needs.  NOT in the Philippines.  The economy growth has not grown with the population.  As a result, the roads are not adequately sustained or expanded.  Most the roads are tight so there is constant slow moving traffic.  According to the Overseas Security Advisory Counsil (OSAC), Philippines 2013 Crime and Safety Report:  “Traffic is dense, chaotic, and unpredictable. The road system is crowded, and drivers are undisciplined. Driving off the national highways and paved roads is particularly dangerous, especially at night, and should be avoided.

4. High cost of electricity – The cost of electricity is equal to or greater than some states in the US!  No biggie, right? WRONG!  Most wages paid are barely enough to sustain the cost of living so utility prices are waaaaay overboard.

5. Gas is not cheap – Gas in the Philippines is a bit higher than with the average cost in the US.  As of 2014, the average cost is 52 pesos per LITER which is over 4USD per gallon!living-in-philippines-9

6. Poor infrastructure – There is no proper drainage in many of the places around the Philippines. In the cities, drainage is not maintained which cause the floods when it rains heavily. Most roads are only fixed during elections where politicians can make promises and look good. The phone lines, the roads and electricity are all in disrepair in many parts of the Philippines. Government offices such as BIR do not have enough facilities to cater to filipinos who are paying taxes.living-in-philippines-6

7. Poverty – By far the biggest issue that is likely the source of most other problems is poverty.  It’s the source of homeless people, street kids, beggars and the crime.living-in-philippines-5

8. Pollution – Air in the city is not fresh at all.  Local government has garbage trucks that collects trash once or twice a week.  But many filipinos throw their trash in the rivers and shores.  Many families do not have toilets so all their waste go directly to the Philippine oceans.  In the poor provinces the air is much cleaner. However, living in the province cannot guarantee you the comforts you may have become accustomed to.

living-in-the-philippines

9. Housing cost – You would think that a third world country would have much cheaper housing but you would be wrong. Due to overpopulation and lack of available land area, the housing market prices have drastically increased.  You may get a good deal but you cannot get a lot of space in your condo or a house with a big yard. It is too tight in the Philippines.living-in-philippines-2

10. Natural Disasters/Calamities – Many places in the Philippines get hit by typhoons annually without fail.  Areas such as Metro Manila, Leyte and other gets flooded during rainy season (May – October).  In 2013 there were two natural disaster that were so bad that it will affect the economy for years.  Typhoon Yolanda and the earth quake in Bohol.  Yolanda hit Tacloban and North Cebu causing 30 billion pesos in damage and killing over 5600 people.  The earthquake in Bohol destroyed the infrastructure critical to the popular tourist destination and almost a hundred people.living-in-the-philippines

What we did not mention was the level corruption in the Philippines.  Like the poverty, the corruption among people in power affects almost all aspects of the life in the Philippines.  Even with all of the issues in the Philippines, nothing can tarnish the beauty of the culture and its archipelago.  Hopefully, in the upcoming decades the Philippines will become all that it has potential to be.

marrying a foreign national

Marrying a foreign National

This article is a continuation of another article I wrote called, “how are filipino women”.  If you look carefully you will find some of the chapters of my life summarized in the articles I post here.  I write unfiltered accounts of real events that have happened to me, family and/or friends as well as honest opinions on controversial subjects.  Please remember that even though your life situation, opinion and culture may be different from mine, its ok to respect each others right to have different ideas and lifestyles.

 Before it happened to me, it was hard to relate to filipina wives who married other races.  When they talked about what they felt about being abroad and feeling homesick, I could not relate.marrying-a-foreign-national

 But now its different.  I am now living outside of my home, Cebu City, Philippines, and married in Colorado, USA.  I’ve always known that getting married would not be easy but it is definitely way harder when your partner is a different race, and from a different culture and you are living in a completely different environment than you are used to.  There is a challenge to marrying a foreign national.

 You have many adjustments to make.  So many arrangements to even live together.  You have to stretch to understand each other just to make your relationship work.  So you may ask yourself:

“Is this relationship worth so much effort?”

“Am I ready for such a commitment?”

“Have I made a huge mistake?”

 Everything is completely opposite and twisted from what your upbringing taught you.  Perhaps the biggest difference is family.  Family is very close in the Philippines, but in America it’s very different.  Family members are not obligated to help each other out (especially with money).  In the USA, parents that have to rely on their kids to live are either handicap, to old to care for themselves, incoherent or have fallen on some seriously bad times.  And it’s just a shame if a sibling has to depend on the rest of the family to survive.  For any family member relying on the rest of the family, it is usually temporary.  In the US no one feels sorry for deadbeats.  They feel sorry for the people who has decided to care for the dead beat.

 Among the lower class, in the Philippines, parents are cared for by their kids PERIOD.  And the sibling that is successful and/or has access to money is expected to carry the load of the rest of the family.  This huge difference of our culture is a subject of contention between filipinas and their western husbands from US, Canada, Europe, Australia etc.

 I am here to tell you today, that even with these and other cultural differences you can still make it work.marrying-a-foreign-national (2)

 Here are some tips based on my experiences as a filipino immigrant being in a real relationship, and long-term commitment with a foreign guy and making it work:

  1. Signs That Things Are Not Fine.  marrying-a-foreign-nationalWhen a woman says she is fine but not talking, it means she is really not fine.  Something has made her upset or she has a deeper problem in your relationship or her family.  Keep trying to talk to her.  Don’t force her to talk but its important to let her know that you are there for her.  Be supportive in every way you can.  Earn her trust by giving her yours.  Be open and receptive.
  2. Problems at Home, in the Philippines.  She is withdrawn.. staring far away and distant. It may mean she has problems at home and does not feel she can share the problems right away.  In the US, she does not have to want for anything, but back home, the problems have not stopped.  It can be hard for us to speak out and tell what we feel. Especially when its about our family. It is embarrassing as it is almost always to do with money (see “Signs That Things Are Not Fine”).
  3. How Do I Look?  Am I Fat?
    photo by:feministing.com

    image from:feministing.com

    Generally women from all over the world are conscious of how we look. Filipinas on top are most conscious with hair grooming, skin color (most filipinas aim to have a whiter skin) and get alarmed when we get a little belly fat. When these questions are asked, do yourself a favor and don’t be an idiot.  The trick is to always respect what originally attracted you to her.  That part of her that made you marry her, is the same part that will remain beautiful even if her choice of pants/suit is lime green with red belly bottoms.  The answer is this, “thats, ok. But you look better in THIS?”  Then follow up with, “wow! that is amazing” when she wears what you actually do like.  Be respectful, tactful, and habit forming OR If you don’t ever want sex again, just be brutally honest.  This goes for all relationships in general, its not just a “Filipina/Foreign guy” thing.

  4. Financial Security. Contrary to popular belief, filipinas are not gold diggers! Not all of us anyway.  But no woman wants a guy who is a dead beat.  A practical and smart filipina is going to be looking for a smart, practical, hard working man she can make her husband.  We also have our own personal needs and want to make something good for ourselves such as getting our own savings account or a job. Many of the filipinas have a tough poor life in the Philippines. There are always calamities there so saving for rainy day is very important. Wanting financial stability is not gold digging.  Having unstable finances can cause serious issues, try to work them out together.
  5. What the Hell does “UP TO YOU” MEAN?
    photo by: missosology.info

    photo by: missosology.info

    If you ask, “do you want to go out?” and her reply is NOT “Yes” but “up to you” what does that mean?  Honestly, it can mean anything. Either the filipina does not feel like going out, or feels ok with going out or undecided to go out. It is confusing right?  Many filipinas are very submissive when it comes to their significant other so mostly they just rely on their partner when its time to go out.

  6. Submissiveness Goes Against You.  Being overly submissive and obedient can backfire on us filipinas because it is used against us by our husbands or parents. Parents and families may guilt trip us to send more money because they have “emergencies”. Guilt tripping is bad!  For husbands, I heard of stories where the guy did not his wife eat best ! That is definitely a problem. Since food is a basic need of a human being.  Many filipinas are so used to eating rice and that they cannot survive without it. It can cause depression if a spouse in controlling even what is EATEN. It is not right. You should always meet your wife halfway. Rice is our life!
  7. Relationship Stability.
    photo by: http://matthewsanford.tumblr.com/

    photo by: http://matthewsanford.tumblr.com//caption

    Instability is probably the quickest and most common way to end a relationship.  In an everyday life, as my husband says “It is not always happy”.  Meaning, in a long term relationship, sometimes things are not all good.  There are arguments, disagreements, disappointments and bad days.. it rains in “Happily Ever After”.  If there is no thrill today, there might be tomorrow.  You should be excited about the prospect of making things great!  Both you and your wife or your lover are capable of making things exciting.  You can change a routine by going out to a movie, eating in a restaurant or realizing that in sex there are fifty shades of grey! lol. A relationship full of drama will just make it shaky and may end badly.

  8. Emotional Security.

    [caption id="attachment_1976" align="aligncenter" width="197"]image:wikihow.com image:wikihow.com

    The reason that many filipinas cheat is because they do not get a total security from their partner or had sensed that you are not 100% invested in the relationship.  Sometimes they cheat because they feel like it or they are completely unsatisfied with the guy but keep him anyway for her needs.  In these cases, you married the wrong girl and its best to move on.  Then there are those relationships that are in the Philippines.  I know that when guys arrive in the Philippines, their thought is, “Ohhh.. Disneyland!”  But hey! You can’t have all the caramelized vaginas in the country!  As a lover or a husband, you should always stay faithful, open and expressed that you are real and not fooling around.  It takes more than love, it takes loyalty.  Also, your words should match your actions.  That means no flirting with other women you see in the down the street, or in a restaurant or while drinking your coffee in BO’s or Starbucks, social media like FB, G+,  twitter and worst is getting caught in a dating site! Generally, women have an instinct. We are not fools.  We can see and can feel if you are playing around!  On the other hand, if it is hard to stick with one girl. Don’t pretend to be committed. Get your mind right.  Decide what you want.  If commitment is not for you then don’t commit.  There is nothing wrong with tasting the variety :-) .

It take more than Love to make it work!

I used to think that love can solve any problem.  Honestly, its just not that simple.  A relationship (LONG-TERM) takes more than just love.  You don’t hear people say that.  You see fairy tales where beautiful princesses find handsome princess and live “happily ever after”.  The truth is that sometimes it rains in “happily ever after”.  Sometimes there are grey skies. As much as you love your princess or prince charming sometimes they need you to guide them through the bad weather.  Sometimes they need your shoulder to cry on.  But they ALWAYS need to you listen.  Not just to their words.  But to their actions and that takes more than love.  It requires your attention.  The strange thing is that not all partners can do that one small thing.

 

 

i 485 status:K-1 application

i 485 status 

We are almost done! Whew. Finally. Now, lets process the i-485 Adjustment of Status (AOS). Hopefully, I will receive my permanent resident card in a month or two. I have listed everything that I have filed while preparing the papers.

1. Form I 485  Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is the main application form that must be submitted along with other documentation for your Adjustment of Status evidence. I 485 has instructions to help file it properly: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-485instr.pdf. You may also file the form G-1145, the e-Notification of Application that will allow you to receive a notification when USCIS starts to process the application. Complete your information and attach the form as the first page of your package to be notified via email or text message by USCIS as soon as they receive your application. The filing fee for I-485 is $985 and additional $85 for biometrics fee.(total of $ 1070, NOT cheap)i-485-status

Other documents that are required along with i485 this are:

  •  NBI Clearance.  This form shows the status of your criminal record (if any) back in your home country. You may also submit any documents like police clearance, court certified copy, court parole order, official statements to clarify your previous criminal history.
  • Birth Certificate. You might be asked for the original copy during your local USCIS interview .
  • Copy of Non-Immigrant visa page. If you have obtained a non immigrant visa from a US embassy abroad or consulate, make a copy of your passport page.(Include the US entry stamps.)
  • Copy of passport page. It is the front page that shows the biographical information.
  • 2 pcs colored Passport style photos. Your passport photo must be as recent as 30 days when filing the AOS. The photos must be in white background and not fabricated or retouched. You cannot have any head gear unless required by religious tradition. Print your name lightly and alien number if any at the back of the photos. Photos must be placed in a small plastic bag.i-485-status (3)
  • Vaccination supplement. The vaccination paper is given after you pass the medical examination at St Lukes’s Extension Clinic.
  • Form G-325 A Biographic Information. For fiancee/fiances, do not use the previous G 325 A copy you used when filing for I-129 F because when you marry your husband because your last name changes after marriage. Also, when you get to the United States your address changes.  All of this changes your G-325.
  • Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. This form must be filled out by your husband or wife with a signature.
  • Evidence of Eligibility. Submit a copy of petition of approval notice, marriage certificate and form I-94 . Form I-94 shows some personal info of you and your record of entry in the United States.
  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (optional). If you plan to apply a job in the near future, you will need to submit this form. It is optional and not necessarily needs to be sent with your AOS package. However, it can save your time to do it all at once. It is free and do not require additional payment if you are filing for I-485. See instruction here.
  • Form I-131 Application for Travel Document. This application is also called a re-entry permit that allows you to travel outside the United States without stopping your entry when you return. The re-entry permit is valid for 2 years from the date of issuance.See instruction here.

After submission of papers, USCIS will send a mail regarding Biometric services. People between the ages of 14-79 must be fingerprinted. USCIS will notify you via mail for the time and location for your fingerprinting. Failure to do so may cause denial of your application.

How to pay your AOS package?

i-485-status

check sample

1. Write a money order or personal check which is payable in US currency only. The check must be only from banks, or financial institutions within the United States.

2. The check is payable to –  U.S. Department of Homeland Security . Do not use initials.

Where to file your AOS package for K-1 Fiancé(e) (and K-2 dependents) whose Form I-485 is based on an approved Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) ?

i-485-status (2)

USCIS Chicago Lockbox

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries:

USCIS
PO Box 805887
Chicago, IL 60680-4120

For Express mail and courier deliveries:

USCIS
Attn: FBAS
131 South Dearborn – 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

In case you change your address, you have to inform USCIS. http://www.uscis.gov/addresschange  or call USCIS National Customer Service Center      1-800-375-5283

to be continued for i 485 status process

Moving to America flight preparation I

Moving to America Flight Preparation I

So, you are moving to America and need to make flight preparations!  First of all congratulations and welcome to the USA.  I am currently in the US. I came from Cebu City, Philippines.

Moving to America Flight Preparation:

  • Ticket.  When booking the ticket, make sure you have about 3-4 hours layover between a connecting flight and your port of entry.  If there are any issues with immigration, three hours should be enough to work things out unless there are serious issues.moving-to-america
  • Passport/Visa and gate passes. Make sure your visa documentation/paperwork is ready, it will DEFINITELY be checked.  Always have your tickets and your passport readily available in your carry-on, in your pocket, in your purse.  Where ever you keep it should be where you can quickly grab it and display it. It is always checked in every airport for you connecting flights.moving-to-america (3)
  • Comfortable clothes and shoes.  Be aware of the weather of your final destination.  America has areas as hot as Saudi Arabia and places as cold as parts of Europe.  You should carry the appropriate clothes with you.  In a connecting flight, you won’t be able to claim your luggage (with your clothes in it) until you reach your port of entry in the United States.  If you are from a warm environment moving to a cold area, bring the thickest jacket that you have from your closet and wear a closed toe shoe. The weather is totally different in most states in the US. I understand that women including me wants to look good by wearing high heels shoes. However, wearing high heels stilettos and wedge won’t help during your travel. You will do a lot of walking through the airport so forget it.moving-to-america (2)
  • Gadgets.  You can bring your mobile, laptop, tablets in your hand carry.  Well for me it is very important. Time will pass by quickly if you are busy playing Candy Crush while waiting for your next flight :-) Some gadgets will have to be taken out during security checks (usually just laptops). moving-to-america5
  • Toiletries. For women who are travelling, a long flight is so uncomfortable and inconvenient. In your hand carry, bring a small pouch for your perfume/cologne, make up kit, tissue/baby wipes, hand sanitizer and other stuff that you can’t live without :-) . Ensure each bottle you are bringing should contain 100 ml or less. Bigger bottles are not allowed even if they are containing less than its size.moving-to-america-7
  • Prescription. If you have an important prescription medication, make sure you have enough to last the entire flight.
  • Food. A small pack of snack will really help while waiting for your next flight. After passing through the security, buy a small bottle of water. You also want to buy a packed meal to bring with you just in case you don’t like the food that they serve in the plane.
  • Cash. Bring some cash.  Remember some airports may not have conveniently located ATM machines, some ATMs may not take your card so you may need cash.  Calculate how much you will need and adjust for the cost of the exchange rate.  Also, consider certain terminal fees, for example, if you are coming out of the Philippines, you have to pay P1600.00 for your travel tax.  All Filipinos who leave the country have to pay travel tax. No exceptions.  You may have different fees for your country.moving-to-america-5

My personal experience moving to America:

Port of entry : Takoma, Seattle

Arrival Date: September 27, 2014

Article date: Oct 2014

On my travel day, I had 3 connecting flights to Colorado. It was tiring. I’ve learned my lesson. You have to thoroughly scan everything from your ticket, pdos sticker (philippines), passport, important files and some cash while travelling. Everything is new, every airport in each state is different, currency changes per country, and people you meet are in a huge variety of races. Everything was a rush in the airport. You have to be physically and mentally prepared during your day of travel or it can  get very exhausting. You have to be flexible and adaptable to be in a totally different environment so you won’t get stressed out. The travel took 24 hours for me because I missed my flight after the port of entry. It was hard and my butt was hurting from the very long travel.

 

Prepare your expectations:

Some people come to the US with the idea of finding the “American Dream”.  Though it was never my personal goal to move to America (I come here only to be with my husband), I can definitely see why many people move here.  There is a level of opportunity, convenience, comfort and freedom that many American citizens take completely for granted.  I hear many American complaining about “first world problems.”  Not everyone has it good here, but most have no idea what real poverty and real corruption is.  From the outside looking in I would say there is still an American dream, but its only for those who work hard, dream big, and don’t give up.

What many outside the US do not realize is how each state is very different: Different laws, different weather, different attitudes, different lifestyles.  Your experience in Hawaii, for example, will be very different than your experience in New York.

To people who are also moving to america, goodluck guyzzz :-) and have a safe trip!

 

Women rights in the Philippines II RH bill

Women rights in the Philippines II RH bill

‘’The RH bill (also known as “RH Law” or “Reproductive Health Law”) is the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10354) is a law passed in the Philippines.  This law ensures access to contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care’’. see more on wikipedia

I believe that women and generally people of the Philippines have a right to family planning.  Since the Philippines is overpopulated, the RH bill is long over due.  It is the individual’s right to use contraceptives or not.  It is the government’s duty to empower and educate its people by providing options.35144

Unfortunately, most (young) parents in the Philippines are not aware of the importance of contraception, fertility control and other basic concepts of sexual education since it has been outlawed in the pasted for religious reasons.  For this reason, young couples recklessly engaged in unprotected sexual activities that lead to accidental pregnancies at a very early age with no knowledge of parenthood and a lack of financial capability to support a child.  This cycle of teen pregnancy became rampant a decade ago and has continued.

holding-hands-girl-boy-eachother-love-affect-4980

Overpopulation became a top problem of the country along with corruption as the government can no longer afford to support its citizens for health care, financial assistance and education. The rampant poverty of the Philippines might have a direct correlation with decades of lack of family planning.  Public schools lack the study materials such as books and computers to provide effective teaching of students.  The breakdown of the education system due to overpopulation and poverty may have other far reaching generational effects that cause many other problems that seem unrelated.  Problems like a dramatic increase in crime.3348

More children are living on the streets. They are pushed to rob and snatch women’s purses so they can have food to eat. Minors are selling and using drugs when they are supposed to be in school.  The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is not capable of adopting all street children as there is not enough funds to supply all their needs.Philippines Poverty

When I heard that the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 got approved, I felt relieved. I felt that I am not alone in this battle. I feel that someone helped me to make a change for the better.  And I felt the positive impact of being in a democratic country with the freedom of allowing people the opportunity to choose their own path.

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