An update: Our first 3 weeks in PH

It’s been three weeks since we landed and settled in our new home. I thought it might be a good idea to give an update now than try to squeeze everything in one post which will take me forever to complete (and might not complete at all).

Let me try to put some order on how I’ll share info instead of just blabbering like a crazy, confused, doesn’t-know-what-she’s-doing kind of gal because, you know, I’m totally not like that.


We arrived on May 31 in a totally empty house. The only furniture available are the bed frames and we made sure that air conditions are at least installed.

May jetlag pa…

My gracious MIL who lives a few minutes drive away from lent us some mattresses, blankets, and pillows.

The first few days were spent buying stuff – fridge, microwave, mattresses, groceries, curtain rods – name it, I think we bought it. It’s a good thing that we expected these expenses and budgeted for them. If you haven’t read, we had an exit strategy for our going-home-for-good plan.

These past 21 days, we’ve probably opened 20 balikbayan boxes. Just when I thought we’re done, another batch of boxes will be delivered by the shipping company. It’s a never-ending unpacking, sorting, organizing, discarding. It’s tiring.

We will definitely have a garage sale of clothes, books, toys and a gamut of things which we have accumulated over the years. “Why haven’t you discarded them while you’re in UAE?”, you might ask. We’ve already donated and thrown a lot of things before we left but stuff that we just recently purchased or has memories attached to it were, you know, a lot harder to dispose.

But our new home signifies new life and I don’t really want to fill it with clutter, and from the looks of it, we brought home 5 mega jumbo boxes of things that don’t spark joy anymore so it has to go (very Marie Kondo, right?).


One of the things on our agenda when we arrived was to ensure that kids are enrolled in our chosen school. After they passed the entrance exams and interviews, we paid their tuition fee and books and the journey to find that Mongol number 2 started.

Seriously, why does it have to be Mongol number 2. You see, we had a stock of Staedtler pencils which we have accumulated over time. We buy those pencils whenever they’re on sale. I thought Biel will never run out of pencil for the next 3 years but I am sooooo wrong. It has to be a Mongol no. 2. Will it be Mongol no. 3 next year?

Then the notebooks. It has to be 100 leaves writing notebooks. “Well, that’s easy”, or so I thought. We went to at least 3 stores and can only find 80 leaves notebooks. I then asked my ever reliable sister for advice. Where the hell can I find them???

Instead of an answer, she made me more confused. “Ate, note that there are 2 kids of notebooks – writing and composition. Make sure you’re buying the correct one.” WTF are those!!!

While in the middle of National Bookstore, I called the school and asked the Registrar. “Uhmm, can you tell me which notebook should I buy. Writing or Composition?” Writing she said. “Should it be spiral or those things with ties?” It doesn’t matter she quickly replied. “Can I choose any design?” It’s up to you ma’am, she patiently said.

I wanted to prod her with more questions but I feel embarrassed asking her what’s a music notebook or how long should a long plastic envelope be. The kids will have a school orientation tomorrow and I am so ready with my long list of things to ask.

My children were enrolled in a UK-based curriculum in Dubai. We buy everything – books, uniforms, school supplies – directly from the school. Even bags can be ordered from them. I never have to deal with any of these back-to-school activities (hello covering of books and notebooks!) and it’s an experience for me.

I’m informed that if I just enrolled my kids early enough, we could have purchased everything from their new school and spare ourselves the task of sourcing them. Reminder: April 1, 2020 – Enroll the kids NOW.


One of the questions being asked by friends is how my kids are adjusting. I always say they’re almost crazy living in an internet-less house because I think it’s kinda true. Cole asks everyday when will PLDT come and when I say I don’t know, he will pull his hair and scream some unintelligible sounds.

Internet aside, they are actually doing pretty well.

It helped that they experienced 3 weeks of school break (classes start this Monday) so they had some time getting familiar with our new place, the area, nearby malls and restaurants. We even watched Godzilla last Tuesday.

Whenever it rains, they go outside with their umbrella and play. They also finally got a dog! Tibo is a rescued dog and he was there at home when we first arrived. He was picked from the dumpster by my father-in-law and decided to keep him to watch over the house while it was still in construction.

Our new pet gives Cole and Biel much needed diversion from boredom and maybe sadness being away from their Dubai friends.

We also created a Messenger account for Cole so he can chat with friends and his cousin Lance in Dubai.

One of the biggest adjustments for the kids especially for Cole is they need to help at household chores. We always had someone helping us out with everything but now that it’s just the four of us, I expect them to at least take care of their rooms and do light chores.

Bantay Bata 163

Oh, by the way, they experienced their first flying ipis. You should have heard the screams. I think the cockroach’s ears exploded and that’s the cause of its death.


My husband converted his UAE driving license to a local one on our first week. He just took an eye and blood test. Bring your original passport, original DL and around P1600 for all the fees. Expect to stay in LTO for half-day.

I don’t have plans to drive in the Metro traffic because I’m terrified but my husband said I need to have a driving license in case of emergency. And to have at least one ID that I can carry around because I don’t think my SM Advantage card will do.

I’m so happy to get this. Feeling ko, wais na nanay ako.

We’re paying everything in cash ‘coz we don’t have a credit card. Since SLIAN NAILS is not on our name and we haven’t registered any of our planned businesses yet, we basically don’t have any proof of income. Without any proof of income, obviously, we can’t apply for a credit card.

I therefore suggest (might not be an ethical advice) that if you want to get a card, ask for an employment certificate from your company before you resign and apply for a Philippine credit card. Otherwise, you will need to wait for a number of months until you’ve settled before getting one.


Now that we spent almost a month in the Philippines, I know that we need to start earning soon. Although we save for at least our 1 year budget and quite realistic that our business ventures won’t earn from Day 1, it doesn’t mean that we’re relax and doesn’t care about our spending.

I try not to convert our expenses to dirhams because otherwise I find everything cheap except for that shrimps, apples and lemons which are shockingly expensive here! Anyways, I always remind myself that I’m not earning yet so a daily milk tea indulgence can wait (although I bought that double soft Sari Roti bread yesterday).

Once we’re all settled with the school schedule in a week or two, Gibson and I will start the ball rolling. I’m very excited! Until then, I’ll keep you posted.

I haven’t met any friends yet but I’m keen to have some meet-ups for our TWP readers based in Manila. If you’re interested, just message me on Facebook.

Live The Life and Business You Have Imagined!

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