Sunday, 22 May 2011

Tagalog to English: Lost in translation

Cross cultural and cross linguistic communication, as my Fiancée and I are both from very different cultural backgrounds and have different “first languages” then these are an ongoing and likely permanent aspect of our relationship.

 There has been quite a steep learning curve and a few missteps in our interactions due to these differences.  What one of us might see as commonplace the other sees as strange, an innocuous word or phrase for one can cause confusion or even upset for the other.

Stumble it !

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Philippines Birth Certificates: Paperwork and a Pair of Very Small Feet

A letter arrived for me today, it contained some forms and a certificate. I’ve mentioned before how much more satisfying it is to receive actual mail rather than email, something to do with the physicality of it I suppose.
Well, this piece of mail was especially exciting. It contained the paperwork for our sons’ NSO birth certificate, several copies all requiring my signature….I’ll be posting it back to the my partner in the Philippines tomorrow.
But there was an extra special surprise attached, a hospital issued document recording some of the physical details of my son’s birth. Weight, length…that sort of thing….and right in the middle of the page there are a set of very small footprints.

Stumble it !

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Giving birth in the Philippines: Finding a Hospital in San Pedro Laguna

As you may remember from an earlier post my Fiancée’s pregnancy was a possible impediment to the granting of a visa and in addition we had some delays in getting a passport application accepted.
The upshot being that it was looking more and more likely that “we” would be having a baby in the Philippines.  Even if the visa were granted prior to the birth….as each day passed we drew closer to the point where flying would no longer be a possibility and if the visa were granted  once my Fiancée was no longer able to travel and then subsequently gave birth the baby would not be included on the visa. According to the DIAC (immigration department) this would mean a whole new visa application for the baby….
So, we needed to find a good (read as well staffed, well equipped, safe, full service hospital) near my fiancée’s family home in San Pedro.  It proved to be a little tougher than I expected….

Stumble it !

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Keeping in touch with loved ones in the Philippines: Skype, Netbooks, Mobile Phones and Snail Mail

Coming back to Australia and leaving my pregnant Fiancée on her own was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, though no doubt the time apart has been harder on my partner than on me (as I’ve not been growing another human being inside of me).

While I’d spend as much time in the Philippines as possible, work and family commitments back in Australia meant that I was going to have to return home.  Prior to my last trip over I’d known that it was likely that I’d be returning to Australia before my Fiancée’s visa was approved, but now it also looked like she’d be having the baby in Manila without me there…it was agonising.
Previously we’d been keeping in touch with mobile phones and occasionally email. While this worked well (relatively) the cost of calling to the Philippines each day for any meaningful length of time was starting to mount up…even using an economical carrier like “Crazy John’s” (17 cents a minute). And to be honest there’s no substitute for being able to see someone while talking with them.

Stumble it !

How to get your BIR ID: Solving Philippines passport ID issues.

As outlined in the previous post my Fiancée had some difficulties in meeting the ID requirements for her Philippines passport application.

The key issue was that she had no digitized government ID and she either wasn’t eligible for or it would simply take too long to get them.
We weren’t sure what to do until we stumbled across some information on the Bureau of Inland Revenue (BIR) website.

Stumble it !

Monday, 16 May 2011

Getting your Philippines Passport: Top 5 tips for dealing with the DFA

So with a doctor organised and everything good on the health front it was time to sort out a passport for my Fiancée.
We had booked an appointment via the DFA’s phone service, and had confirmed that my Fiancée’s current ID would be acceptable. 
To our horror, when the appointment finally rolled around, her application was rejected! She apparently didn’t have the right ID at all. She was advised that she needed an SS ID (social security ID with biometrics).
After working out what an SS ID is we dutifully attended the closest SSS office and attempted to apply for an ID only to be told “sorry you have to work for an employer who makes SSS contributions….you can’t have an ID”
We were at a loss. The DFA had advised my fiancé that she specifically needed an SS ID, the SSS advised that she wasn’t eligible for the ID. Net result, no passport!

Stumble it !

Finding an Obstetrician in Manila: Is there a doctor in the house?

So we now know there’s going to be a bit of a delay before we can get my girlfriend’s passport, let alone apply for the visa. That means we need an Obstetrician.
But where to start, my girlfriend isn’t sure…and given that I’m from out of town (about 6000 kms out) I’ve got no idea. One of the things that I’ll find most frustrating through this whole experience is simply not knowing who to call or talk to. Back home in Australia, I’d have no problems…but in Manila I’m at a loss.

Stumble it !