Suite Life in Island Paradise

suite lifeChris can be quite a bunch of surprises and a fan of spontaneity.  I can still remember clearly how I panicked when he gave me a two-day notice on his first visit. Quite as organized as I want everything to be, of course, I was on my red alert mode for making plans, listing all the things to do and the places to visit. We had been very busy trying to fulfill everything on the list. It was full of “firsts” for both of us, but this was not really his thing.

So of course, speaking of surprises, he flew to me one week ahead of schedule for his second visit (for a month, yay!), making his own plans and booking us a week-long Christmas vacation in Boracay.  We were always surrounded by a lot of people on the first visit and he wanted to make this time exclusive for us, which is definitely a very good thing.

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He took the lead to plan the vacation, and only a week before he arrived, felt obliged to tell me where we were heading, ending a month-long guessing game he would always laugh about. He knows I can’t keep calm when things are not under control. I guess he loved to laugh at the way I try to fish for information. I can be a queen of spies, he said.

After our 6-hour bus ride on a rainy day, we reached our destination: Lingganay Hotel Resort in Boracay. It has its own private beach, and is absolutely a very nice place to stay away from the noisy and crowded white beach. The resort is owned by a German-Filipina couple. (Something we can relate to, he said. haha)

Here’s a glimpse of what awaited us:

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Our goals: find out how is it to live together on our own. What can be the best way to do that? Try suite life together. 🙂

We were starving when we arrived, and so after checking in, we can’t wait to get a bite. He was hunting for schnitzel,and on my part, anything delicious will do. 🙂

He was quite stunned to see this is how the schnitzel looked like:

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Anyhow, since eating in the resort’s restaurant isn’t a very lovely option, we took advantage of the free shuttle service to get to the the white beach (Stations 1, 2 and 3) to find some places to dine and buy some stuff. We would always go home quite late as the bars and the  performances by the beach is really a scene not to be missed. I guess that 90% of the time, we would drop by the convenience stores for our bag of groceries for breakfast and snacks in our suite. Yep, a trial on shopping for food and home stuff together. Our nice suite for the week made this possible (winks).

Here’s a glimpse of our lovely room.

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Our fave places to hang out when….

We are in the mood for a drink :

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strolling by the white beach:

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He wants me to try swimming (coz he said I must since I live in an archipelago haha):

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We just wanna have a great time sightseeing by midday:

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a little walk after lunch:

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we feel like having coffee and some snacks after the afternoon nap

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Just what we wished for a much-needed privacy, and we can’t wait to be back. 🙂

But until then, we wanted to say… “we’re here”. 🙂

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Thanks for dropping by…. 🙂

 

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Our First Meeting: Seeing Everything Clearly for the First Time in a Long Time

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It was like having a specific word on the tip of my tongue and finally remembering it the very moment I saw him at the arrival area. Something like my unspoken “Eureka!” Sounds strange for me too, but it is right. Ah. Perhaps, for quite a long time, I loved the melody of Savage Garden’s I Knew I Loved You. 

After months of talking for hours every day, there we were, smiling like we’ve missed each other a lot. A little flashback. I felt a little nervous thinking how it would be if he is actually not my type. I was already thinking of the ways to make him feel  okay just in case we don’t click. Then my phone rang. It was him, asking me where I am. He just got out of the arrival area and was a bit worried why he didn’t see me in the crowd. He was thinking of the worst too: that I am not going to show up and he is a plain stupid person who flew for 11 000 kilometers to see nobody.

I caught him looking at me…hmmm..on my shoes at first. haha. I am 5’5″ on my kitten heels and office uniform. At 5’10”, he was so neat in his white long-sleeved shirt. (He told me later in the day he likes the fact that he is taller than I am though I wear heels. haha) One of my bestfriends whom I tagged along to keep me calm nudged that I go meet him quick. He was smiling as he called my name. I gave him a quick hug and a cheek to cheek. He kissed me on the forehead. I never felt that great.

Since I was a teen, I always believe that a kiss on the forehead is the most romantic of all. It shows how much the guy respects you as a woman. That’s why I said it just felt right. In fact, it feels righter than the rightest right.

“Schmetterlinge im bauch” as we always jokingly say to each other. And we had indeed.

As we held hands all throughout the trip to his hotel, I knew his hands feel like it was made perfectly to fit mine.

How about you? How did your first meeting go? ❤

Romance Meets Reality 1: Paperwork

paperwork passport.jpgTo be inlove means to feel like in seventh heaven. Everything becomes vibrant, inspiring, and, of course, happy. Right?

On the other side of the coin, people will tell you being in a long-distance relationship is like being in a suspended honeymoon where the energy is focused on the time spent together, forgetting the other essentials. 

For some, LDR means living in a fantasy world. That’s until they realize that we come crashing against reality, too. We are pressured to prioritize, commit, share, and plan in closing the distance sooner. 

Indeed, when romance meets reality… get ready for a head-on collision (or maybe not really). 

So lately Chris and I have been contemplating on how to start with the next step in our relationship. We’ve been reading a lot about the process of getting married, applying for a visa, and moving to EU together. It was just startling to know how tedious it is to get our papers ready for tying the knot in the Philippines. I personally known someone who just got married here and had our online research verified by my student’s account on how she and her husband (also a German) had spent 8 months to get their papers done for the wedding, and now having to wait again for the family reunion visa process to begin. (It is now on the second month and the marriage certificate from the NSO isn’t available yet.)  That’s beside the issue of having to spend about 10,000 euros for the entire duration of the process. It is not really about the money, but it sounds really impractical. 

While we were trying to figure out where to exchange our vows, I began to gather the papers we will be needing. You know, to avoid having to rush on things and not able to get everything ready ahead of time. (Add the never-ending queues in the government offices). I was lucky to be living in Iloilo City where many government offices are located. 

I started with my expired passport.

I went to the Department of Foreign Affairs inside Robinson’s Mall to apply for a new one and was surprised to have seen a long line by 8AM. Since I was expecting to be done quite fast like the last time I had my passport, I was a bit disappointed. I had to be in the office for a meeting with parents and I couldn’t stay long. I just asked for the form and left. I filled out the papers in the office and returned to DFA early the next day. Yep, I was there at 7 AM and was given a priority number, 106. They only cater 300 applicants a day and that should give you an idea how early you should be there. I suggest preparing your requirements before going there to avoid delays. 

Here are the requirements:

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Requirements for Passport Application and Renewal at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Regional Consular Office (Iloilo)

As of February 2, the day of my passport renewal, express processing is again available! I decided to avail of this. You just need to add P250.00 to get your passport ready in 10  working days. For a regular application, you need 20 working days to get your new passport. 

The application flow is very organized in DFA (as always, based on experience). The preliminary checking is fast and efficient and the office is comfortable too. The only part that takes so much time is for your biometrics. I spent about 3 hours waiting for my name to be called. By noon, the officers had advised us to eat our lunch first and return for the data encoding. I had to wait again for another 30 minutes after I get back from my 30-minute lunch in the mall. 

So far, the first process went well. However, you have to devote a day for this which is especially difficult if you have a job (it so happens that we had a school holiday on a weekday and I was able to get these done.) My passport is ready for pick up on February 18th! 🙂 

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Be sure to bring your old passport and your receipt when you claim the new one.

Next stop: NSO (Birth Certificate and CENOMAR)

Since I cannot leave my job anytime, I was determined to finish the processing of papers in a day as much as I can. It was 1:30 PM when I went out of DFA, so I proceeded to the National Statistics Office in front of Amigo Terrace Hotel. The tent they provided for those who came to transact business is full of people and there seemed to be no available chair for me. This is in an open area and it was a hot day, so you know how it smells, right? I looked at the screen for the priority number at it displayed 460. I looked around and saw about 400 more. 

I took some forms and went to SM Delgado to have my request there instead. They process NSO papers with an additional P20.00 processing fee for each document you request. You have to wait for a week to get this ready, though, so if you have a fulltime job and can’t really devote the whole day for this, this is the option for you. I paid P140.00 (plus P20.00 for the processing) for my birth certificate, and P195.00 (plus P20.00) for my CENOMAR. 

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Applying for NSO documents at SM also requires completion of forms. You need to fill out 2 copies so you better prepare to get it done quickly. You can get the forms from NSO and submit the same at SM.

I went back to SM yesterday to get my documents. I was pleased that they are ready as promised but I was a bit disappointed coz there was a mistake on my CENOMAR. It was a good thing I checked the details of the paper before I left the counter, so I immediately returned it to the costumer service employee. They took it back, and said they will have it replaced with the correct information. She took my phone number to communicate with me easily as to when the replacement is available. Good job, SM Costumer Service Counter. 🙂 I hope I can get it on time too. 🙂 

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The next step will be to get other documents. We anticipate additional requirements from the embassy when we apply for our family reunion visa as we are planning to skip the tedious process of marrying in the Philippines and doing it abroad instead. 

We better be ready and armed before we start with the next steps. Based on what we’ve read and what others have advised us, the following are to be prepared: 

  1. My baptismal certificate
  2. Record on the National Index of Marriages (after the wedding, approximately 2-3 months)
  3. Form 137 from my elementary school, duly authenticated (red-ribboned)
  4. 2 passport sized pictures
  5. 1 whole body picture (5R)
  6. 2 passport sized picture of my mom
  7. Signed Waiver for Document Review
  8. Copy of my passport’s information page and last page
  9. Handwritten account about the place where I was born and live until the age of 15, and from 15 until the present
  10. My parents’ marriage certificate
  11. Birth certificate of my siblings (3) from NSO
  12. My father’s Death Certificate

*** School records (Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree) for future references and assessments.  

The list could go on but for now, this is what we know. We will see what’s waiting ahead. 

 

How My Online Experiment Helped Me Find Love

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Love really has its own way of getting on your way when you least expect it. I bet you are now on this page as you may be in love with a German or is interested in one, romantically. I am so happy I am not alone in this.

As my title goes, it started with a little online experiment on a dating site. It was inspired by a course requirement in the graduate school that aims to set a foundation on possible topics for linguistic studies. To make it brief, I opted for a more unconventional topic which is the analysis of language use by foreign men when writing to a Filipina on a free dating site. (Curious enough? Here’s the link to the findings) Little did I know this will pave way to finding the love of my life, mein Deutsch mann.

Now you may actually  be wondering what he was doing on a dating site, right? My boyfriend knows another German guy whose wife happens to be a Pinay. They used to be neighbors and with what he had seen and heard from the guy, became quite curious about what really is going on in the country (of course, with its women too). My boyfriend used to have a lot of stereotypical views on Pinays.  As his neighbor had suggested, he created an account on the dating site (and I am thankful he did, anyway) and got some sort of “the feel” on how many would talk to him there.

On my end, the trouble brought about by a handful of crazy things that happened in my personal life and career on that period has opted me to open my dating site profile again. I was looking for some funny things to divert my attention to. I was eager to answer some mails from quite decent guys, too. But there was just no spark. One day, I found myself looking at a profile of a guy who looks quite serious. As I have an inclination for men who look strict, I clicked on the link and found out he was offline for some time. I saw his picture on my page again the next week, and when I visited his profile he just got offline again. I said I should try again the next day, and I did. He was online, but he didn’t view my profile back. I told myself there was nothing to lose, so I wrote to him and said the basic niceties which he eagerly replied to. And so we talked for the next three hours. This continued for quite some time, too.

The next thing I know, we talked on the phone for about two to six hours everyday (yep, even if we’re both at work), exchanged pictures of our random days and laughed about how we agree on many things.

Then came the bouquet of roses and some small stuff.

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Truly, nothing captures a woman’s heart the way roses do, ❤

I sent him a handmade card on his birthday, and the next thing I know, we are both quite clueless about where exactly do we stand on each other’s life.

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A simple present you pour enormous efforts in can make a difference. 🙂

Then came the notice to visit me just two days before his flight. I stood at the arrival area trying to calm myself down with a cup of coffee. He got off the plane quite nervous about whether I will pick him up or he flew in for a bogus individual (just like what he had read on the blogs and forums back home).

There he was, standing neatly  in his white long-sleeved shirt, exceeding the image of what I have imagined him to be, looking right at me (he said he looked at how high my shoes are) with a full smile. I know from then on that I have found the one for me. He kissed me on the forehead, held my hands all throughout the trip to the hotel, and I never felt so secured in my life.

I brought him home to introduce to my family, had a tour around (some of this in a jeepney), brought him to the office, and shocked him with some food, too.

This wasn’t his only flight to me.  In  fact, I went home from work one day and found him drinking a bottle of beer with my brother!

We try to make the best of whatever the time allow us to do when we are together. But, this isn’t all a bed of roses. We have our challenges too (this I will be writing about very soon).  We both can’t wait to see what life has offer us, together. ❤