There are many ways of getting money from your home country to the Philippines, and over these many years I’ve tried them all. Before electronics we sailors used to send money to the Philippines from the ship with a shipmate who had been paid off and was on his way home using a system referred to as the “Envelope”. LBC or other companies that would door to door your remittance was another way for sending money or one could find a bank that had an office in the Philippines and make your deposit wherever you were in the world.
After the envelopes’ carried by shipmates, I went to wire transfers from my Navy Federal Credit Union to a dollar account in a Philippine bank, it seemed the easiest way. Until I found that the bank I used here in the Philippines charged me $20.00 to accept my transfer. This went on for a few years as I’d never paid any attention to their rules. Then I found out that my Credit Union had a deal with Western Union and I could send myself or my wife cash for only $14.00 every transfer. If I transferred money every three months the yearly cost was only $56.00.
The way it works is I request the Credit Union to transfer the fund’s, they, do it through Western Union, or as Mayang says “Western Onion”. Or the Credit Onion and they will ask me a few secret questions to verify its Paul contacting them. Then I’m provided with a control number that must be presented to the Onion to release the monies. If it seems like a lot of steps remember it’s only done 4 times a year, if I need extra I’ll use the ATM. We do all our major-major shopping using a NFCU Visa debit card (No fee here or there) and I can refill that card online monthly.
As I said there is a myriad of other ways this can be accomplished and whatever works best for you, is the optimum way for you. But this is the way I do it and have for over 7 years and I’m not offering this as the way it should be done. (That was my disclaimer)
The Western Onion will give me the cash in dollars or Pesos (I never take dollars) I receive the pesos at the official exchange rate for that particular date and time of pick up.
Well now that I’ve explained all of that stuff I get on to my reason for writing this. I’ve found that when I call the Credit Onion, I could be connected with any of the fifty states (I know the president thinks there are 58 states, but I’m older and they taught geography when I was a school boy) plus, I’ll have a great chance of talking to a Filipino or Filipina on the other end of the line. The minute I say the Onion is sending the funds to the Philippines, their questions will start, and remember I’m paying for the call. Oh they’ll asked me the Credit Onion’s required questions then we go into where their family lives, what the weather is like and so on. I’ll gladly chat and answers any and all questions they might have, and for the most part we’ll also joke and kid each other as to where we live. One young lady lived in Montana and I asked if she got to speak Tagalog very often, she told me that 600 miles away she had a Filipina friend and that was the only person she knew about.
How long have I lived here, am I married to a Filipina, do we have kids, do I like it here. What’s the cost of living now (Kano standards), and other questions too many to mention. But I understand the reason it happens, a few minutes during the work day and they are connected to home. Someone albeit it’s a Hey Joe their talking to, but they all tell me how much they’ve enjoyed the call.
I called this week, and by the recording you’re informed that a supervisor could be listening in to check that you are being waited on with courtesy. The Filipina who answered was living in Florida, and satisfied my banking needs with professional decorum. When we were suddenly interrupted by a supervisor from Washington DC, whose mother lived in Olongapo and she was worried about the flooding and had not been able to reach her by phone. I explained to her, after asking the street her mother lived on that that section of the city was doing fine, only a few inches of water on the street. I knew this as I have a friend on that same street. So there I was in a three way chat with folks I’ve never met, nor would I likely ever. But for those few minutes our paths had crossed, and we shared a moment. The supervisor was quite pleased with the information I relayed to her, and I was happy to have been able to rest her fears.
It’s always amazed me that it’s the small kindnesses it life that seem to have the most value. As we travel though this life, it’s surprising how those little moments can seem so important to you, it makes me realize that if you have made someone feel good, and it was returned in kind (Or not), you’ve just had another very successful day. So even if I’m still stuck on the mountain, with a new storm, that had just moved into the area to deposit more rain on my roof I’m a happy camper living in the Philippines.
The power went out in my purok at 11:30 on Monday; it was restored at 16:30 on Friday. Friday I went to town and 95% of the city was back to normal. But I did encounter something I thought was odd, and it also explained to me the reason I was encountering internet problems. Mayang and I stopped into the (NEW) SM Mall in town to pay our Globe cell phone and dongle bill, but alas we could not, as Globe was offline. But if we went to the SM Dept. store’s customer service counter (in the same building) we could, it didn’t seem odd to anyone but me that the internet provider I used was offline but the SM store was not.
The rain has stopped, we are back to normal, all the dogs will have a bath today because they all smell a bit musty after all that rain. My man cave will be used today, as the generator has gone silent, the beer is still cold, and I deserve a break. During my generator duty for the past few weeks, I’ve curtailed my consumption of the golden elixir of life known as SMB, all stops are off now!
Paul Thompson; Resides in the Philippines, close to Subic Bay. He is married to the wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang). Our to daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen (AKA Ling-ling). Our youngest is living in Singapore, enjoying her life's adventure. I'm a retired Senior Chief from the U.S. Navy after 21 years. Post Navy he lived 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. After Hurricane Hugo told him to find a new line of work, he was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. Then after 30 years at sea he buried his anchor in the Philippines residing now in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt Bataan where he build his home. And last but not least, anything he writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek" if anybody is offended, He'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!