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It’s getting closer and closer to those magic days — the days when Baket ko (Asawa ko) [my Wife] and I pack our bags for the final time this year, make our way to and through a number of airports, and finally wend our merry way back to our piece of Paradise in the Philippines.

I’m truly looking forward to this trip.

Visa Assistance

Having successfully fended off many bouts of homesickness, I’m ready to return to our beloved Pasuquin.  As always, coming home is still quite a thrill for me.

It will be great seeing all of our relatives and friends once again.  We’ll be bringing our pasalubong and kindest greetings for them, and will have a little party to celebrate our reunion.

FINAL BOX IS READY TO SHIP

Of course, there is always a last Balikbayan box that needs to make the trip, too.  Our “buying for the box” days have finally come to an end.   We’re in “stuff the box” mode now.
The old pack and repack techniques have been finely honed, and I’m amazed at how much we are able to stuff inside.  This time around, we’ve included some new pots and pans, other kitchen gizmos and gadgets, and other “must have” items we believe we’ll use.

Once again, we’ll use Forex Cargo to forward our box “door to door.”  Pick up will be next week — something that I’m looking forward to with heightened joy.

After all, seeing that last box off, and on its way, puts us one step closer to home.

WILL WE MISS THE STATES?

What a question!  Sure, we will miss our Stateside relatives and friends, and I’m sure that there will be those little conveniences, we currently take for granted, on the short list of things we’ll miss.

Things like gazillion-channel cable TV.  Back home, we enjoy 32-channel satellite TV — mostly international programming.  Some of our favorite Stateside programs do find their way onto our television screen, but it’s adventure in finding them.

We are easily amused, however.  Local radio and television programming rule the day in our house.  So many shows and novella stories have continued in our absence.  We’ll have to catch up with all of them.

There will be Stateside programs that we’ll have to watch via the Internet, as that will be the only way to view them.

There will be many other things that we’ve become accustomed to that we’ll have to do without, but being in Paradise more than makes up for them.

NEW ADVENTURES AHEAD

Each new trip back home always provides us with opportunities to experience new adventures and relive previous ones.

There will be trips to the beach, both local and somewhat distant.  In Pasuquin, we visit Seksi (Sexy) Beach just a few kilometers down the National Highway.  That’s always fun, especially with family in tow.

Then, there’s the world-class beaches of Pagudpud, just a scant 50 or so kilometers further up the National Highway.  Known as the “Boracay of the North,” the beaches at the “Blue Lagoon” near Pagudpud are a favorite haunt.

There will be many more trips this time around.  We’re looking forward to return trips to Baguio, Bataan and the Subic Bay area.  We are also thinking of trips to Cavite, Cebu and, possibly, Davao.

The province of Ilocos Norte offers many more opportunities for adventure.  We haven’t seen all there is to see in the province — something we need to rectify.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include spending time with family and friends.  Of particular note are our Expat friends in Pasuquin and in Laoag, the provincial capitol.

We try to schedule up little get-togethers on a near monthly basis. Everyone brings a dish or two, pot-luck style, as well as the “adult beverages,” and we have a great time “chewing the fat” and solving the world’s problems.

The venue for these “happenings” rotates among our houses, so everyone gets to play host and guest.

On the family scene, we have plenty of get-togethers, too.  As seems to be custom, there is never a need for a reason to have a party.  All of the Lolas and Lolos, Aunties and Uncles, and hordes of cousins gather at whatever location serves the purpose to really “party hearty.”

ONE MONTH & ONE WEEK

That’s all that’s left on our Stateside calendar — one month and one week.  It’s been fun, but it’s time to move on.  There will be a few final visits to various doctors, to make sure we’re healthy enough for our next seven-month stay.

Other things will populate that short calendar, including some vacation ending day-trips to family members for a “see you next year” farewell.

When the final calendar page is turned, it’s off to the Philippines!..

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PaulK

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 40+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

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Gary
Gary
8 years ago

I just signed up for Cignal. Great picture and gobs and gobs of stations to watch. Love the High-Def…. 😛

BTW – Get close to 90 stations for the cost of 30 stations I got in the States…

Paul
Paul
8 years ago
Reply to  Gary

Hi Gary – Guess it’s time to go shopping for satellite TV deals. The one we currently have is an annual contract that runs our n January. Perhaps Cignal might replace the G-Sat system we currently have. 😉

Axel
8 years ago
Reply to  Gary

I have Comclark as TV (and Internet) provider at the moment, but our subscrition runs out in november. I have planned to change to Cignal, they should have a better “cignal/signal” and more HD channels – a clearer picture since it is digital. Comclark is a analog signal. So – are you happy with Cignal as provider? is there a difference from what ever you had before?

Gary
Gary
8 years ago
Reply to  Axel

So far I am very happy with Cignal. The HD channels are great. I had DISH back in Michigan but that was a long time ago. Only SD at the time.

We have two dealers for Cignal here in Tagum City. Funny thing is that on one can offer HD. I am getting the History Channel, Outdoor Channel and SyFy. Of course that is the Asia version. Even HBO is very different here than it is in the States.

Paul
Paul
8 years ago
Reply to  Axel

This all sounds great. Will have to check it out!

PapaDuck
PapaDuck
8 years ago

Paul,
Good luck and stay safe on your trip back. We are heading back to the Philippines tonight from Macau, can’t wait to get back from our very tiring trip.

Paul
Paul
8 years ago
Reply to  PapaDuck

Thanks, PD — Absence makes the heart grow fonder!

Russell kaufman
Russell kaufman
8 years ago

Hi Paul, I was wondering about those boxes,. I’m moving to a town bingowan outside of Iloilo. . I haven’t found if I can send a big box like that to Iloilo. I’m wanting to send lots of stuff for our house, my wife and soon to be child on the way. . Is there any way to be able to send a box or boxes like that to Iloilo. . Also if u don’t mind is there a certain size box to take on a plane. I’m gonna take one luggage and a box so as to not have… Read more »

Paul
Paul
8 years ago

Hi Russell — Most cargo forwarders who handle Balikbayan Boxes will ship to any location in the Philippines. Their fee schedules will reflect a higher fee for shipments further away from Manila. The process will include the use of local agents handling the delivery. Note: Cargo forwarders usually will state what sizes of boxes they will handle. Medium box: 18x18x16. Large box: 24x18x18. Extra Large box: 24x24x18. (All HxWxD) are normal sizes.

Most airlines will accept a BB as a piece of luggage provided that they meet weight restrictions and do not contain prohibited items (and pass x-Ray screening).

Cordillera Cowboy
8 years ago

Ahh Paul. We’re headed in opposite directions. Marlyn & I are flying back to the States in a couple days. We had a big picnic lunch on our hilltop ranch for the crew doing some work for us, and some of our new neighbors on Sunday. I hated to leave the place. Glad you’re headed back home. We’ll be back in about a year.

Take care,
Pete

Paul
Paul
8 years ago

Hi Pete — Rainy Season in Ilocos Norte should be finished by the time we arrive. For us, it’s all about the weather! You’ll have to stop by someday when we’re both “in residence” !!! Mountains to the North and East, seashore to the West — we’re on the flatland in between. Best of both worlds! 😀

John Reyes
8 years ago

Must you keep rubbing it in, Paul? 🙂 You know I ain’t leaving the States anytime soon. Everytime I hear of someone going to the Philippines especially at this time of the year when leaves turn gold in the autumn sun and football rolls around, California dreaming fills my mind.. Enjoy the trip back home!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-aK6JnyFmk

Paul
Paul
8 years ago
Reply to  John Reyes

Hi John – Just remember: Leaves golden in week #1 are leaves brown in week #2 and a burden to chase down with a rake. 😆 Also, I’ll be “taking another vacation to the USA” next May, so leaving this time won’t be such a bad thing! 😀

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