The Awesome Things

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

How to encash US Treasury checks in the Philippines

Getting my tax refund sent to the Philippines was such a headache for me. I was at the point of giving  up with my shoulders heaved while pulling out a sigh. I was certain I would not get my cash back. But I did. It took so much effort and time though. It took me 1 year of waiting before I got my tax return back from the time it was approved by the IRS.

I applied for my tax return that I got from my internship in the US  through turbotax.com in February 2016 and I requested for them to send it to my address in the Philippines through check. Bad choice. This is the hardest way of getting your money back. The easiest would be to keep your bank account in the US active until you get back your tax or if you have already closed your US bank account, you can have the money sent to a friend's US bank account and have them send it to you in the Philippines through remittance.

As for me, my bank account was closed and I didn't Know I can actually have the money sent to another person's account. I opted for the check instead. What happened was, I actually didn't get the cheque when it was first sent to me. I had to request it again 8 months after and mail them a form through DHL which cost me an additional 2000 pesos telling them that I didn't get my cheque. Good thing they sent me another one. I thought they wouldn't do that since the tax season for 2016 has already ended but a friend of mine told me to give ot a try anyway aince it was such a huge amount to lose just like that. Just do everything you can do to get what you want and if I wouldn't be able to get it then I have mo regrets because I did everything I can, I tried to console myself. I didn't know what happened to the first cheque though Maybe it was misplaced in the international air post or maybe some unknown person may have thought that he can take the cheque and encash it himself which is impossible. You cannot encash a cheque if it's not named after you and you just can't encash it in the Philippines. They just don't do that. I also had to ask around BPI, BDO, HSBC, CITIBANK in the Metro Manila area under the heat of the sun and the dusty air Only to get a reply that they won't accept my US treasury cheque. I was so dismayed and you can just imagine how heavy I felt when they rejected my cheque. What an exhausting experience. Luckily, another good friend of mine told me that I have the money transfered to my account only in a bank where you actually know someone really close. Most banks don't like to accept such a cheque because it's too much hassle on their part. They have to interview the owner of the check, have à background cheque as to where the cheque came from and how I was able to get it and they have to send a report to their bosses for that. Good thing my mom has a good friend working in BDO xavier in Cogon or else I wouldn't have gotten the money back. It took 2 months for the money to be successfully transfered. What surprised me was the fact that BDO ermita didn't accept my cheque and it was only accepted in my hometown branch which is crazy. 



Bdo xavier almost didn't accept this because BPI pedro Gil 
Stamped a cancelled remark at the back which is just so stupid of the teller. She told me they do accept the cheque. 3 minutes later as I was about to exit, She called me again after consulting her manager about it that they didn't accept that cheque after all. Crazy bitch. I had to send the cheque back to Manila from Cagayan de Oro just for them to have ot countersigned by the manager in order for BDO xavier can accept it. It was such a draining process and to add up, I had to do it fast as I was about to leave the country in a week time to work in Australia. It was crazy stressful and I was an inch close to losing such a big amount of money just because of someone's stupidity.  I just wanted to go and see her face to face and scold her.

US Treasury Check

Don't ever have your tax refund sent through a cheque to the Philippines to save you trouble. 
Just my advice. Most banks are not accepting this cheque anymore. Good luck on finding a branch that accepts it.
Been there done that. Don't want to do it again. I might not get lucky the next time around.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Scuba Diving in Sydney | Scuba Open Water Sydney

As a child, I have always loved the sea. When I got older, I still do. The only issue is that I hate getting my skin baked basking under the sun. Still, the ocean is such a pretty place. It's a whole new world down there with its mystic and wonder. There's just so much beauty especially when I first went snorkeling back in the pristine and beautiful waters of the Philippines. From snorkeling, I then found some interest in scuba diving but wasn't able to docit until now. It's so ironic because getting an open water certification in the Philippines is way more expensive than getting it in Pro Dive Sydney. After prices for this 3 day course is like 400 usd back in the Ph and it's only priced at 150 aud in Sydney. I just decided to have it a go out of my impulse. All the schedules were booked in Pro Dives branches except Cronulla since I had a last minute booking 3 days from the schedule but it's now or never. I'm pretty sure I would not have the time to get the certification a few months from now anyways since I reckon I would be busy with work and I really need to set aside three days for this course.

The course entails for us to have an online reading assignment and assessment prior to the course and we had to do a swim test on the first day. I thought we only had to do 1 lapse of swimming but our instructor made us swim for 4 lapses in an olympic size pool and we had to tread for 10 minutes. I was having a hard time catching my breath, it has been forever since I last swam. I think the first day was the most tiring part of the course. Our instructor taught us some skills underwater and how to use the equipment. It looks a bit complicated but it's actually not. We had such a fun instructor, very knowledgeable and patient with us. I was having trouble trying to understand his hand signals underwater and had to do a skill a 2nd or 3rd time but he was very helpful and understanding tho. 

We finally went diving in the open water on the 2nd and third day. The visibility wasn't so good that time. There were so many particles and the water was a bit murky but we still managed to see some fishies, a school of cat fish which was so cool and creepy looking at the same time and I happen to swam near a stone fish. I was just so close to touching it which would have been catastrophic if that would have happened.

It felt really weird to be underwater, I felt so cramped inside and it was so uncomfortable to breathe with the regulator. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise since being underwater is not the natural environment for man. I reckon it would be very challenging for people who are claustrophobic since it felt very confined down there with all the pressure and the equipment you have to carry with you and the tank was super heavy, I felt like carrying a sack of rice on my back plus we had to wear a weight belt.


It was so cool though that I got to have another new experience and I would definitely look forward to diving in the future especially where there's a vast variety of marine life, clear blue waters and beautiful coral reefs. 






It would be an understatement to say that I look horrible with the suit on. It's feels too tight and  cramped inside it.







Groupie with our instructor who made it memorable for all of us.


"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." - Jeacques Costeau

PRO DIVE Cronulla  


Shop 1 40-42 Kingsway 
Cronulla   NSW 
Australia  
2210  





Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Holy Land Tour | Israel

Last January 2016, the Lord gave me a vision through Pastor Bernie from Wind Watch Makati. The Lord told me that he had wonderful surprises in store for me and that he's preparing an exciting adventure. Guess what that adventure is? Free travel to different parts of the world!! Through working in a cruise ship. Aside from all the exciting revelations the Lord revealed, God also gave me a vision that it was not going to be an easy feat for me (How amazing it is to have an intimate relationship with God, He actually speaks to us in real time!). Pastor also saw a vision that I will be surrounded by enemy opposition as well as the work would be very challenging, but I'm up for the challenge as long as it's free travel!

So there I was, traveling around Western Europe, Africa and I was also given a chance to visit the Holy Land - Israel! I was able to step on the land where Jesus once lived! 

Israel seemed like a semi-dessert country, abundant in olive trees, and the chosen country of God where Jesus was born as well as where he died.

The Sirena crew traveled for two hours from the port of Haifa going to Bethlehem and our first stop was a souvenir shop where they were selling olive wood cross, nativity ornaments, rosaries, jewelries where the prices were jacked up. We were then told that we should buy now and that we can't buy from anywhere else. Who were they trying to fool when there were a lot of vendors near the church of nativity who were selling the exact same thing at 5x less the price. Oh well, I guess they're just trying to make a living but they should not try to manipulate us. We're not that gullible. 


When we arrived at Jerusalem, we had to change our guide as Arabs are not allowed to enter Jerusalem and this goes the same way for the Jews, there is a great division in their land where Arabs and Jews reside. Jews can't even enter Bethlehem anymore as Arabs have taken over that side of the country. Arabs also can't enter Jerusalem. Mind you, the people selling those Rosaries, holy water, holy soil among others are Arabs. 😏


The souvenirs here are way cheaper than the souvenir shop we visited. We were told that they had some commissions back at the souvenir shop that's why the prices are too high.


Before you can enter the place where Jesus was born, this is the entrance where you have to bow your  head. Seems right as Jesus is Lord after all.


Overlooking the mount of Olives


Sirena crew Photo op.

At the place where Jesus was crucified which is at Golgotha, now the Sepulcre church. People are laying their hands here which is believed where Jesus blood was shed when he was slain.




A bit amused by the way they dress. 


People praying at the wailing wall where people from different nations come together and be united in prayer. Hundreds of thousands of Christians go on a pilgrimage in the Holy Land and would usually spend at least 3000 USD for Filipinos but when cruise ship crew sign up for a tour here, it only costs 20 USD. 


The place was called Golgothat before where Jesus life died for His people. Even up to this day, Jesus continues to intercede for His people and we Christians are also called to become intercessors.

I feel so lucky being able to visit Israel while it's still possible, a few years from now it will probably be not as safe. Sometimes people think that Jesus is all about religion when in fact Jesus just wants to have a relationship with us. God just wants to lavish us with His love and be the perfect Father, friend, healer, comforter to all of us. Words are not enough to describe His awesomeness. Once you'll feel the Lord's overwhelming presence touching you, you will never be the same again. 


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Guernsey | The United Kingdom



Guernsey is that tiny island located off the coast of Normandy. It was around mid-Ausgust when we went there. It was such a lovely, quaint, small isle with its balmy weather. I just love how the people speak there with there cute british accent as thoughthe characters came out straight from a Nanny McPhee movie. 


Victorian-styled houses with flowers draped out of the windows.



We went shopping to its nearby shops and it was a bit pricey since everything was in Pounds. We just managed to buy us some chocolates with liqeur and went window shopping. Hahah. P.S. Those chocolate liqeurs are not so good. I ended spitting it out. Yuck.









Wednesday, February 8, 2017

IPL Hair Removal Review | Veet Infini'Silk IPL Hair Removal System Home Use



Being  hairy has been a major dilemma for me. The hairs from my legs started to grow really long and curly naturally when I was in puberty stage at age 12. I decided that I could not take it anymore as I can no longer wear shorts or skirts at age 13 without getting teased by my classmates. I then tried shaving but it only made matters worst. I also tried that veet shaving cream and Epilin waxing but that only kept me hair free for barely a month and I'd have to wax again which is so tiring, time-consuming and messy. Whenever I feel lazy from waxing, my hairs would grow to its normal horrendous self again. People took notice and they keep telling me maybe I was mistakenly made into a woman when I could have been a man instead. Whenever my legs would touch others legs, they say my hairs are like knives or sometimes they say it's like a sandpaper.

Deep inside, I can't help but feel offended, hurt by it at times and insecure about my abnormal hair growth which they call hirsutism. I think I got this trait from my late father who was also very hairy. Whenever I see men who have no hairs on their legs, I can't help but feel bad at my hairy legs. I can't wear shorts or dresses anytime I want. I still have to painstakingly wax it so that I can look more feminine as well as feel good about myself. Good thing I discovered Veet Infini'Silk IPL online as I was researching a solution for my condition. I bought this for 173 USD at Amazon and had it shipped internationally to the Philippines. It took 2 weeks before the product finally arrived. I was so happy and excited to use it when it finally came.

            





I read the instructions carefully and said that it's more effective if your hairs are dark and stubby just like mine. The manual says that I need to shave my legs before using it but I didn't like to shave my legs ever, so I waxed it instead. After 2 days I made sure that I didn't have any open cuts from waxing and that's when I started zaping my legs. I didn't want to shave it prior to zaping as maybe I would cut myself from it and maybe it would cause an infection if I use it immediately after shaving. 

uring my first treatment, I turned it to the highest level which is 5. I zap my hairs one section at a time and it took me 30 mins to complete zapping both my lower legs. I think I might have placed the machine too hard on my skin as I had a few burn patches on my skin. Oops! 

On my second treatment I pressed it lightly and I didn't get burned anymore. I do my IPL treatments at a 2 weeks interval for 5 months before reducing the treatment to every 3 weeks. I'm now on my 22nd treatment after 1 year of using it. 

Honestly I've seen considerable results on my lower lip and lower legs. Not so on my bikini and underarms maybe because of more hormones development on those areas.

Basically, my hair growth on my legs has reduced considerably and I've seen less hairs now and if there are still any it's growing so slowly. About 70-80% of the hairs has reduced. It has not completely disappeared though but it's less daunting now than before and my hairs would usually fall off a week after treatment or if it does not fall off, I just pull it really lightly and the hair is gone. No more waxing, shaving. No more hassle. I wish I would be completely hair free though. But it's an improvement so far.

As of now, I've used 7000 flashes so far. The device is good for 50,000 flashes so maybe it will last for a few more years before it would get burned out. I just do my treatment once a month now for maintenance and I'm really happy with the results. I don't do treatments though during period as my skin is very sensitive to bruising and scarring during those times. 





Sunday, February 5, 2017

MonteCarlo | Monaco Monaco

The world's second smallest state. This tiny country dotes on the super rich and famous for their glittering hotels, casinos and sports scenes. Only the super wealthy can afford the upscale cost of living in Monaco and its lavish lifestyle.

A yacht that's worth a mint!



One of the nooks and crannies in Monaco where some scenes were taken for the Iron Man movie.

And temember this? This was also the hotel where the movie Montecarlo was taken starting aselena Gomez.

I can't believe I got the opportunity to visit this place too.








Swimming pool by the busiest part of the city.

Yacht harbor in Montecarlo






Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Casablanca, Morocco | Follow me in Africa


I first heard about Morocco back in highschool. For all I know, Morocco was the country where the argan oil originated. I imagined Morocco with its orange and red themed interiors, it's Arabian style marketplace and dessert like weather.

Morrocco is also one of the countries where Filipinos don't need a visa to enter. Just prepare $1000 plane fare to get there from Manila though, yes I looked it up.

This small country is a part of the African continent just bordering the Mediterranean sea. Our cruise ship happen to have a stop in Casablanca which gave us the opportunity to explore Morocco, it's famous souks (marketplace) and Moorish design architecture. In case you don't know what Moorish is, like me. I also looked it up in google and it's a style inspired by the Muslims in North Africa. 

The city centre from the port where we docked in Casablanca was quite far. It was right at the far end of the port. We tried to haggle a taxi to take us to the center when he was trying to overprice us. We managed have the price lowered and we paid Euro 20 to get to their souks. Upon arriving at their marketplace, their stalls were so unorganized. Some locals were trying to lure us to their shops giving us good prices even though it was already pretty expensive for fake items. It's best that you go to their public spaces in groups as there are also a lot of tricksters around the area. I wasn't too big on shopping there as their designs are a bit outdated or plainly just not my taste. They had some dwarf like designed shoes, dresses that I could never wear in my country. The place was similar to a marketplace in Manila which we call Divisoria, but at least Divisoria has air con stalls and styling clothes.








Marketplace that reminds me of the movie Alladin.



Monday, January 23, 2017

Valletta, Malta


Valletta, the capital of Malta. A tiny country in the southern part of Europe geographically located in the Mediterranean. We visited Malta last July and it was as hot as can be. The weather was so humid. 
But it's a lovely place. Just outside the port, there's an elevator that will take you up to the center. It costs just 1 Euro to go up. 

A lovely garden in Valletta, with baroque style pillars and pavements.










They would blasts those cannons every now and then as part of their tourist attraction. 





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