How to Support an OFW: Tips for Family, Loved Ones, and Churches

It’s never easy for anyone to pack up their bags and go to a different country. Yet more than ten million Filipinos (including me and my family) decide to do that because of necessity or choice. Whatever the motivation that drove them to go to a different country, they still need the support of family and friends.

My faith community and church is important to my life. That is true for a lot of Overseas Filipinos, too. Some churches and non-profit organizations have some ministries and services to overseas Filipinos in many countries and also in the Philippines. Here are some ideas on how to support an overseas Filipino.

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How to Use a Dishwasher (and not just as storage space)

For almost a year, we did not really use our dishwasher… we didn’t use it for washing our glasses, dishes, pots, pans, and utensils. In stereotypical Asian fashion, we used it as drying rack for dishes and other kitchen utensils.

Don’t know some Asian stereotypes? Read this article from Buzzfeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/daozers/27-signs-you-were-raised-by-asian-immigrant-parents

And watch this video, too:

 

I don’t remember our reasoning at home why we didn’t use it.

  • We probably wanted to conserve water and electricity.
  • We didn’t really know how to use it.
  • We’ve always washed dishes and kitchen utensils manually and old habits die hard, especially when you move from the Philippines to America.

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The best ways to send money to the Philippines from the USA: Xoom

Filipinos abroad need to know the best ways to send money to the Philippines. Same is true for Filipinos in the USA. We continue supporting our parents, siblings, and other family members in the Philippines.

The US dollars we earn can go a long way in the Philippines. A hundred US dollars can be converted anywhere between PhP 4,500 to 5,300. That would be helpful for a family in the Philippines.

That is why remittance services are important in America. You want fast and less expensive service. We live in Tennessee where there are fewer Filipinos. That is why we don’t have a lot of Filipino-oriented services compared to cities in California and Illinois.

I consider myself with a bit of tech savvy, so naturally I want online solutions that won’t require me to leave the comforts of home.

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Teaching Tagalog language to our son

Even before traveling to the USA, we started teaching and talking to our 1-year old son in English. We thought that doing so will help him adjust more easily to life in America. So by the time he was two, he can converse well in English, but he could also understand Tagalog.

We totally underestimated his ability to pick up languages and his capacity to adjust to life in the USA.

When he turned three, we thought of enrolling him to a Pre-K at the school of the church we go to. He didn’t need to go to school every day. Instead, we opted for the twice-a-week schedule for him. It was a great chance for him to socialize with other kids and give my wife some time off by herself. He also had a view of what it is like to go to school. Preschool in the USA is very different from preschool in the Philippines. It is less structured, there’s more time for play. But that’s an entirely different post altogether.

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Tips When Driving on the Freeway or Interstate Highways in the USA

It can be scary to drive in the freeway or interstate highways in America. Cars speed up like a torrent of flood, headed to places miles and miles away. In many parts of the USA, having a car is not a luxury, but a necessity if you are working or if you want to have the freedom to move around. I’ve written about how to buy a car here.

If you’re scared of the interstate, you will end up driving in the backroads where the maximum speed is between 25-45 miles per hour (mph), depending on where those streets are. If you go to the interstate, the minimum is 45 mph and the speed limit is usually 70 mph. Although I’ve found that in some interstate highways, cars can speed up to 80mph. One time, I had to drive from Nashville to Atlanta to apply for a Schengen visa. It was a 4-hour drive but man, all those cars were just zooming past me though I was driving at 72mph.

Here are some tips when driving on the freeway or interstate highways.

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How to Lower Your Comcast Xfinity Cable & Internet Rate

When we first arrived in the USA, we applied for Comcast Xfinity cable and internet package. We paid $66 per month initially. But after the initial 12 months promotional period, we ended up paying $111 per month! Too expensive! So when our 2-year contract was up, I called them up and managed to bring down our monthly rate to $48.66

Here’s a trick to lower your Comcast Xfinity cable and internet monthly rate.

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Dental Care is So Expensive in America!

In the Philippines, most families don’t really pay for health insurance and dental insurance. But in America, it’s very difficult if you don’t have one. The cost of healthcare without any insurance could be so high that you may end up paying thousands of dollars!

Our 4-year old son started complaining about his teeth. So we went to a dentist for a consultation. His dentist recommended that they put a crown on 6 molars – 2 on each side on the lower set of his teeth; and 2 on the upper right molars.

The next step was to ask for estimates from the dentist and our dental insurance plan how much it would cost. You see, even if you pay for a dental insurance, it would still cost a lot to avail dental services.

So we waited for a little bit. Then a letter came in the mail. To do a Pulpotomy and crown two of his lower left molars, it would cost a total of $831! I know I’ve said I should not convert from dollars to pesos, but man, that’s more than PhP41,000! I could have replaced all of my teeth and more!

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How to Apply for a University of the Philippines Transcript of Records Online

Last year I applied to a Master’s degree program. I applied and got accepted to the Master’s degree in Youth Development Program at Missouri University. It was quite the process.

I had to apply for admission. Then I had to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which is required for all foreigners who want to study in a university in the USA. I’m proud that I got a score of 117 out of 120! 🙂 I prepared for that test but not thoroughly. I can write another post about that soon.

To be admitted to a master’s degree program in the USA, though, you will need to send your official transcript of records (TOR) to the university. Your personal copy does not count, though. It should be sent directly from the college or university in the Philippines to the college or university in the USA.

Here’s how to apply for a UP Transcript of Records Online

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How to Subscribe to Netflix

Ever heard the term “Netflix and Chill?” Please don’t use this term unless you really know what it means.

Anyway, Netflix is a cool streaming service. It has original programming, and you get access to lots and lots of TV series such as Breaking Bad, Marvel’s SHIELD, Supergirl, Flash, Arrow, and a whole lot more.

Go to Netflix.com and sign up.

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How to Build Your Credit History When You are a Newly Arrived Immigrant (or Non-Resident Alien)

When you live in America, you definitely need a credit history, unless you are filthy rich or you can save for pretty much anything that you can pay for them in cash.

Most ordinary folks, though, will need a good credit history to avail of personal loans, credit cards, and other financial products that make life go round and round in the land of milk and honey.

So if you are a bagong salta, a newcomer, newly arrived immigrant or non-resident alien in America, you will need to build your credit history. Here’s a few tips and tricks to get you going.

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