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Returning to America

If you follow this site from the conception, I was only 54 years old when I moved here. I was a Project Manager in the residential architecture field. When the financial crisis started, the fist affected was the housing industry and then the home loan industry.

At that time, I had filed for Elena’s Fiancée Visa and we were waiting for its approval. Well one day, the developer I was working for laid off 97% of their employees and then declared bankruptcy. I was unable to find a decent paying job so Elena told me to come to the Philippines. We thought with my savings, annuity, and help from her family we would be able to survive decently here.

Therefore, to the disappointment of my family I packed up and moved here to Davao. Since I was not receiving any pension or Social Security, it was not as easy for us as for other expats. I worked for a short time here but for Filipino wages which just covered food expenses for 2 weeks.

As I have written about life here, there are many things I did not like here, but I had to accept them. That is what you need to do and keep your sanity. I thought there was no way ever to be able to return to the U.S. and bring Elena to be with me. With the unemployment at such high levels and limited work in the architecture field for me to go back to my profession, here is where I would live and die.

Recently a friend of mine decided to move back and then file for his wife’s spousal visa. He is much younger than I am and has a father who will allow them to live in their house until he has enough money to get their own place. He currently has seasonal employment for income and will get his wife a job there too. He hopes both of them will be able to locate full time jobs in the future.

This made me start to think, so I contacted my brother and my mother about the possibility of me moving back and then bringing Elena. One turned it into an argument about how it was not feasible and would not help with basic needs if I came. The other was political and said there was a plan to change from a two-bedroom apartment to a one-bedroom unit. This was the nice way to say there would be no room for us.

Well, they made me give up the thought until a few weeks ago. One of the readers emailed me and commented that it sounded like Elena and I could use a vacation and offered us a room in their house in Las Vegas, Nevada. I replied that is was very difficult to get Elena a Tourist Visa but thanked her for the kind offer. She emailed me again and mentioned her husband gave up his business because of the economy problems and they bought a house in Las Vegas. Her husband is a little older than I am and is working driving a taxi. With all the tourism in Vegas, a taxi driver can make enough to live comfortable. This reader offered us a room; rent-free in their home as long as we need to get on our feet and her husband will assist me in getting a job driving a taxi too.

Elena and I discussed this and we decided this is an offer of a lifetime. This lady and her husband are so kind with this offer and it will give us both a chance to work. In addition, after Elena has immigrant status and living in the States for six months, she will be able to receive survivor benefits when I pass away. Once Elena works for ten years, she will earn enough Social Security credits to collect her own benefits.

We have discussed, once we retire, in all probability will not be able to afford to live in the States, we will probably move back to the Philippines. Because of this, our nephew who married recently will live in our house and take care of it for us.  He will take care of his sisters who live here. His brother’s support will continue to assist them with the expense of this house.

So, with all said, I will be flying out of Davao on May 4 and from Manila on the fifth. The flight will be interesting; the first leg from Manila is on Korean Airlines, which I never have flown before. I will also land in Inchon Intl, Seoul, Korea. At first, I thought I had only a three ½-hour layover in Korea, which is not bad. Then I noticed I land 5:20am and do not leave until 8:50pm. I guess I will know the airport well in that time and have to make sure I have enough books to read while there. So what I thought would be 18 hours total travel time, it is now close to 30 hours.

As soon as I am settled in Las Vegas, I will file for Elena’s spousal visa to join me there. At first, I will need to live as cheaply as possible since I do not want to overstay my welcome and these kind peoples home. I will need to save for a vehicle, furniture, and deposits once we are able to move out on our own.

I hope to be able to keep this site alive with articles of how my life will change and interesting stories of Elena’s live living in America. I hope to find Expats and Filipinos to assist me with this site by writing articles of news and cultural items about Davao and the Philippines.

For those of my readers who have relied on me and this site for information about an Expats life in the Philippines, I hope with others help this site will continue. For those who stop visiting, I understand and thank you for your two plus years of my readership.

If my friends in Las Vegas read this, again Elena and I thank you and feel you both are gifts from God.

I will keep all informed of the process and any other newsworthy items and I always do until I leave.

246 Responses to “Returning to America”

  1. John in Austria says:

    Hello Bruce & Elena,

    Good luck on your new venture back home. I guess it sounds too good to be true! Hope all works out for you people. I will be sorry to miss you on my next trip down that way. My new gf really wants to visit the Philippines.

    If we don’t me meet again, it was really great meeting you and your family, and I wish you all the best. Never know, we might meet again, and I hope we do. Best wishes, John

    • Bruce says:

      John,
      Thank you on your good wishes. I really enjoyed meeting you and consider you a friend. I hope someday we can meet up again.

  2. Marcel says:

    I wish all the best to you both Bruce and Elena. I am planning to go to Davao this summer again and I was considering to try yo meet you in person since I enjoy reading your stories at this site so much…
    I am convinced that this will be a great opportunity for you both to become even closer because as Elena gets accustomed to American culture she will understand better your sense of humor. And one day when you come back to the Philippines with her perfect English by then you will have no trouble to maintain English speaking home if you decide to do so.
    Please, keep this website alive, I can not wait to read about your progress back home and also how Elena adjusts to a new way of life.

    • Bruce says:

      Marcel,
      Depending on the readership, I will continue as long as it is a valid site. I hope to get other writiers that visit here or live here to keep articles about the city and life here coming.

  3. Brussel says:

    That offer from a couple in Las Vegas sounds too good to be true..ijust keep my fingers crossed that everything will work out. Right now Las Vegas is one of the most affected states on a lot of things…no jobs, housing foreclosures, drop tourism, people don’t spend money on casinos anymore. The way i see it that it would be hard enough for this couple to support you (at the start) more so when Elena comes. Life here is very hard, in all aspects. My advice to you is not to discourage you of this new venture but if you could give it more hard thought and know more about this couple more. I hate to see you jumped so fast at an offer and see regrets ahead. I will follow you on this matter. I could be wrong.

    • Bruce says:

      Brussel,
      I know it does sound too new to be true, but I am confident that it is. I will give it my best short. If things do not work out, all I need is a plane ticket back.

  4. Sandy says:

    You will love Vegas. I have lived there for 15 years.

    • Bruce says:

      Sandy,
      I had been to Vegas many time in the past, but have not been there since 1993. Even with the decrease of economy there I hope with hard work and vigilance life can work out there.

      • ian says:

        There is nothing so much seduces reason from vigilance as the thought of passing life with an amiable woman in marriage.” – Samuel Johnson

      • Sandy says:

        Bruce,

        I live off Sahara. Perhaps when you arrive we can meet for coffee. I read in you blog that you had no support from family to return. Why is that and how much family do you have and are they in the States? Sorry not nosey just curious.

        • Bruce says:

          Sandy,
          I will be happy to meet you once I arrive.
          I only have my mother and brother as close relatives. My mom is on a fixed retirement income and my brother is only concerned with himself. Such is a description of many American family’s in a nutshell.

          • Sandy says:

            I am thankful I have my family who always have each other’s backs no matter what. They my not always agree but would never let any of us down.

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            I think we were the study family when they came up with the term “dysfunctional” family. I used to be jealous with families like yours.

          • Sandy says:

            You have a sense of humor I see. I like that. ( smile)

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            I love jokes because I like to make people smile and be happy. I should have been a professional clown except the makeup probably would have caused a skin rash.

  5. Kevin says:

    Bruce- Good luck on your move back home, at least the weather should be warm there. When I came back to the states after being in the Philippines for seven months, it was a mini culture shock.

    Are you taking Elena back with you? Not clear if you said if she has her visa or not. Took me about a year for our spousal visa. Keep in touch.

  6. ian says:

    Bruce- I fly Korean Air twice a year to Canada. The last time i got into the airport early they gave me a voucher for a free room at the Hyatt which is a fabulous hotel right at the airport- along with free shuttle. I had no idea they would be doing that so it was a comlete surprise. And i just buy the cheapest ticket available online
    Oh- I forgot- they also gave me a free voucher for the buffet at the Hyatt. Cant say enuf good things about korean air !! lol

    • Bruce says:

      Ian,
      Since I will have a 15 hour layover, I hope I will be treated as well. If not, I will catch up on my reading.

  7. don m. says:

    I wish you the best. I have been to that airport but not in recent times. They had some good chairs in one of the areas there. I went that way when United still flew to the pi. Good luck with all the paper work on getting your wife back to the us as I also went that route. If you need a frindly web friend you have my email keep in touch.

  8. I am happy for you and Elena and hope it all goes well in the states. At the same time it feels sad that you are not going to be in Davao and write here anymore about Davao.

    I am slowly planning to go the other direction myself. I feel it is time to try my wings and try to live there. I have some savings but wont have any income there in the Philippines. So I am sure it will be hard to get by. I need to find a way to get some sort of income while I am there. Also I am not even 40 yet so I have a long way to retirement!

    Good luck Bruce!

    • Bruce says:

      Stefan,
      Earning an income here, in an American term is “Slim to none”
      To move here and then scrape enough money to survive or to get back and restart your life can be difficult. Since your a programmer, maybe you can get work through the net, but try to set it up before you move here.

  9. Riza says:

    Hi Bruce, I never thought that things are having a different turn for you. I’m happy that you’re still doing well.
    I’m having a lot of lapses on my blogging as well, you see I just recently enrolled to college and I’m taking advance classes so that I won’t have to take them the coming semesters. My domains are expiring and I don’t have any interest in renewing them so I got me a .co.cc free domains where I will direct my readers (if I still have any, lol!).

    Godspeed, Bruce, you’re always blessed from the top of your head to the sole of your feet, everything your hand touches prospers!

    • Bruce says:

      Riza,
      I am glad your doing well and I thank you for your good wishes and blessings. Please keep in touch through here or email. And, if you ever make it to America I expect you to let me know so we can meet.

      • Riza says:

        Sure. I just meet-up with one of my high school classmate friend, and learned that another friend of ours is a head nurse in one of the hospitals in the US, we’re trying to cook up something LOL, so we can all go there. Basically, we just wanted to continue our friendship, that’s how close we are. ^___^x

        • Bruce says:

          Riza,
          Good luck, I hope you make it. After all this time of knowing each other online, it would be nice to meet you in person. I do land in Manila on May 4th at 8:30 pm and do not leave until 12:30 am on the 5th if you can drop by the airport. I will be the pongit American there.

  10. *lynne* says:

    Wow Bruce, what a development! My heart swells at the generosity of your friends in Vegas. The temporary separation of you and Elena is sad, but it’s a short-term pain for a long-term benefit; I hope it all works out for you!

    btw, from the time my then-fiance filed the petition for a fiance visa, all the way to the time I entered the US on said visa, it took about 7 months: that was back in 2006.

    All the best to you!
    *lynne*

    • Bruce says:

      Lynne,
      Good hearing from you and thank you for the good wishes. I hope things have speeded up with immigration, but I doubt it.

  11. maria says:

    bruce
    what a difference a day makes.

    is the couple you will be moving in with filipina and american?
    how long do you think it will take to get elenas papers approved?
    it will be a shock to elena once she gets to america to see that people here are really on their own, no family support to “catch you”. the tables will be turned with all the experiences you have written about here happening to you.

    • Bruce says:

      Maria,
      The couple is a Filipina wife and American husband. I have heard anywhere from 2 months to almost a year. I hope I can find a way to get her over to the States as fast as possible.

  12. Michael says:

    Hello Bruce…I have followed your Blog among with others because I was thinking that to expand my business into the Philippines. While it is difficult at best, because of the maze of rules and taxes which quite frankly are stacked against the foreigner investor….I have enjoyed your your Blog….I have to agree with Brussel on this one….right now …going to be a Taxi driver in Las Vegas….. is a decision that is doomed to fail ? It is perhaps one of the worst impacted regions of the country …and I can speak of experiences…as a young man 10 years ago while at UCLA I drove a Taxi for two summers ….never quite making any real money …and I was just a student with no expenses . It is a job in which because of the structure of the Taxi lease that the driver has to pay daily …and the expenses of the car …….unless you are willing to put 16 – 20 hours per day in the car …sleeping in the car as you wait at the Taxi stand…it is a survival job at best ….and to be frank….what of your relationship with Elena….the day you leave her to go home….is the day that your relationship has a good chance to end…..I ask you what do you have here in the USA that you are coming back to …it seems that your family has chosen to forget you …regardless of the reasons…it seems to me your life is in the Philippines…..!
    And how long do you really think these strangers will allow a rent free guest with all of the extra expenses that you will cause them just be living in their home…do you really think that they will not some day require rent and utils and help with the food.
    Why don’t you go online or call a few of the Taxi companies…see how much the price to lease a car …instead of relay on your friends (?) do some independent research …you will find that most people who drive a car for a living own the car and the seal ..otherwise no money is to be made ….
    Just some thoughts for a nice guy !

    • Sandy says:

      Michael,
      I need to disagree with you regarding relationships. I believe that if you honestly love someone if you need to leave that person for a short amount of time they will still be there for you, regardless when you are able to reunite. No hard feelings I hope, just an opinion. S

    • Billy Escobar says:

      Bruce,

      I hope all works out with whatever you chose to do for your future and I just wanted to throw in my two cents. I was in Vegas last year for the Pac vs Cotto fight and Vegas was still bustling but mostly because of this big fight and some other events. There was no doubt however that the economy has been suffering and is still suffering in Las Vegas.

      Me being highly aware of America’s current economic condition, I had a good talk with a veteran Taxi driver of Persian descent. He actually is from LA but commutes regularly or seasonally to Vegas to work. The impression he gave me wasn’t good to say the least. You will definetly be working twice as hard and long as a Taxi driver would say before the recession hit in 08. Signs of improvment in the Vegas economy are marginal at best but they are being hit with great unemployment numbers and house foreclosures. A friend of mine actually lost his job over a year ago and his house after working as an IT specialist for Tropicana because of layoffs and downsizing.
      I guess little opportunity is still better than no opportunity in the PI.
      I didn’t want to burst anyone’s bubble but I believe good advice is the kind that doesn’t downplay issues or feelings. Whatever you decide, God bless you and your family. America may feel like a different and rougher place than when you last left it, if that’s even possible in your view.

      Below is a good segment on what has happened in Vegas recently and still is ongoing.

      http://www.hulu.com/watch/91549/vanguard-lost-vegas#s-p3-so-i0

      • Bruce says:

        Billy,

        Thank you for your comment, advice and concern. As I keep replying, it is something to try to take a chance on improving me and my wifes life.

      • sandy says:

        Billy,

        This type of stuff happens all over the world. Are you implying that you live in a palace like a king in the Phillipines? Rub noses with the Imeldia Marcos of the world? This is the problem with people they can’t mind their own business, instead of offering positive encourgemant to your so called “friend” I notice a lot on here are too willing to offer all the negative. S

        • Michael says:

          Sandy …Not negative but some truths…..! Will you be willing to support Bruce ?

          • Bruce says:

            Michael,
            Can we have some positive comments and stop the nasty comments to the other readers?

          • sandy says:

            Michael,

            No I will not be supporting Bruce but I can offer encouragement to him instead of basically telling him how stupid he is for wanting to improve his life. Thank you Bruce. Sometimes I am reluctant to make comments because I don’t want to get negative responses. By the way if you were putting down the lady from the Phillipines I think that was totally out of line. I have known people who have moved to the United States that have been here most of their lives who still do not speak or write 100% perfect. S

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            Thank you for your positive feelings to my move back. Also I do not mind your questions, there are many people in America, Canada and Europe who have no concept of life here.
            About the lady I “put down”, I deleted some of her comments since she was insulting, rude and nasty to Americans. I do not put her down for her writing ability. I do think she should know that the first word in a sentence and the letter I alone is capitalized.
            If she will comment on her feelings and not insult me, my readers and commenters, her comments will post.

        • Bruce says:

          Sandy,
          As I have written, there are a lot of things cheaper here so the cost of living is much less. Some who have pensions, savings, investments and such can have a better house than in the States. They can also afford imported items to keep their life as in the states for less. But, there are things here that are not as comfortable as we are used to having.

    • Bruce says:

      Michael,
      What I have in America is a chance to do something with my life. Here as you well say, you need a lot of investment and luck as a foreigner to open a successful and profitable business. I have no money to try and cannot afford to lose.
      When I lost my job 2 1/2 years ago, I was so depressed and comfortable with my past life I was not willing to start over at the bottom. I can here with the thought or Elena and a better chance at life. I have no pension and small savings. I am bored, watching our money for survival. At least I have a chance there. While driving a taxi, I will have time to look for opportunities in areas I am qualified. MAybe if housing picks up I can get back into computer drafting and studio management.

  13. Brussel says:

    It seems that Michael is in the same page with me. I agree that being a taxi driver is hard there’s no money in there considering the long hours that you need to be on the road plus it gets dangerous out there on the road. So many things can happen..i tried to be positive, however it’s hard to see a friend turned to a wrong direction. Bruce why don’t you just stick it out there in Philippines, i kinda agree with Michael that being away from Elena has a chance for that good going relationship to go wrong. It can happen both ways. You both are still in your honeymoon stage of your marriage. It hasn’t really stood the test of time and now you are leaving her. I hope she can follow you soon. Life here in the US has it’s worst turn since i can remember. I know you are updated with the news here in USA. Don’t forget that there is that chance of any fallout between you and the couple where you will move in. It’s not easy to say that if it doesn’t work, you need a ticket to fly back to Philippines. It’s still nice to live in the US if you have a job and a family support, but if none of these are present i rather take my chance living in the Philippines. Just my honest opinion. Good luck Bruce and take care.

    • Bruce says:

      Brussel,
      As I replied to Michael, it is a chance and even with the high unemployment, at least there is an oppertunity which there is none for me here.

  14. Leon says:

    Hello Bruce,

    Your leaving to return to a country where the unemployment rate is in excess of 10% and leaving the one person who gives you 100% support?

    Think about it.

    Good luck. Regards Leon…

  15. don m. says:

    My computer is not being hit the last few days as it was before.
    My wife and I were planning on going camping in August but now she wants to go to vesgas and see you. We have been there once before but only for two days. There are a lot of deals on hotels there. It takes time to do the visas but that is part of life. I am sure you will do well and find work that is down you alley. You have a lot of real life experiance which will serve you well in the future. We still own you a dinner!! It might not be in the pi but we will still hold to it. My wife waited for me and yours will wait for you. Lets have some positve energy.

    • Bruce says:

      Don,
      You and your wife are too kind. I will except the dinner and will enjoy meeting you. I also thank you for the kind wishes.

  16. Michael says:

    It would seem to me that we all owe Bruce, for all of his fine work on this Blog, more than one simple dinner and a wish for some positive energy! On the other hand…rereading Bruces posts…it is hard not to see signs that he is not happy happy living in Davao.This was just not my thoughts. I employ two pinays as draft persons in my office…they also have been reading his posts….and about two month ago one of them commented that he seemed unhappy in his living situation.

    I suspect that part or even most is the inability to make a living and his living arrangements…! But maybe when a person moves to a different local…a different living situation …one needs to adjust their demands…!I think part of the problem is expecting to make more than a Filipino wage in Davao.Why would anyone think that would be possible if the native born Pinoys themselves have to become an OFW and leave Davao for their family to prosper.

    There are ways…I met a man on another blog in Gensan ….who after seeing the large local Tuna market created a company and a job for himself buy shipping fresh flash frozen whole blue fin tuna to Japan and the USA …a small business…but something he can work at.And after two years has already 4 people working for him.

    I became interested in Bruces Blog because I was thinking of initial investment in a chain of franchisees…at a much cheaper rate of the cost of entering the market to lessen the risk that me and my company would never again be caught in this terrible economy at least for the real estate investment and development business.
    After extensive independent research …unless you are married to a Pinay it is almost impossible to make a profit as a foreigner investor…because of the 40% rule. Imagine….bringing all of the capital to invest and build a business in the Philippines but then be required to give away 60 % of the control of the business to others because you are a foreigner ????.

    But I really think that our friend Bruce needs to rethink the idea of surviving as a Taxi driver …there will be many 16 hour days when you will after paying all expenses….walk home with less than $20.00.

    And like the promise of a single free meal and a wish for positive energy…what happens when things don’t work out.
    And to be frank, I find that it is hard to believe the offer in todays world for free room and board for enough time for him to become independent…!So many things can happen …!

    I agree with the last posts of Billy ,Brussel’s and Leon …that in fact, Bruces life is now in the Philippines. If what most people here posts about how loving and supportative Pinays are as spouses are true…I am sure Elena and her family would support Bruce and help him find a place for himself.

    Yeah…I know I may be somewhat hard and unforgiving …it is just that life is real and hard and a offer for one free meal at a Vegas buffet and a prayer for positive energy may not be enough.

    • Bruce says:

      Michael,

      I thank you for some of the understanding. I know life will be hard there but as long as I can eventually afford a small apartment, transportation and something to do to earn it will be OK. I have never been one of the people who need the big showy life. I do not need to go to restaurants and clubs all the time. I also have had many different types of jobs in my life and am willing to put my energy to survive. I was a HS dropout with a GED diploma and once I got into residential architecture I grew with my abilities and hard work to one day earn more that other licensed architects in the firm I was working.
      You say you have draftsmen, what type of business and where you located, maybe you will offer me a job, or even sidework drafting.

    • irenia says:

      Michael,

      what the matter with you men. you are stupid thinking we have good life in Philippines. we poor, not enouth food, no money we live in dirt with all family. i go to us to get out of this miserble way of livin never come back. stupid american men. stop coming here only to get young girl for wife. you too old for most of us and only want money from you.

      • Bruce says:

        Irenia,
        Thank you, it is nice seeing a comment from a honest Filipina telling what is in her head and heart. Just remember, Foreigners bring a lot of money to spend and help the local economy.

        • irenia says:

          but you no understand we marry you american man when we young for your money, when you dead we marry young man so we can have children with the money you left us, you send money to us and you not here, you buy us fancy jewlery o we are so happy, we sell when you died it mean nothing to us

          • Bruce says:

            Irenia,
            This is why I write these articles to warn Foreigners, not all are American, about women here. Some are honest, loving and caring and some use the internet and their selves here to sell their pride, soul and body for a few hundred pesos.
            I understand many here are poor and hungry and will do anything to eat and live. There are many parents that give their daughters money to use a cafe. If they make money being a cyber whore, the family gets to eat. If not you wasted money in the cafe. If you are willing to sell your pride, and body, I am sorry. Priorities are all out of whack here. Many Filipinos will spend their last few pesos for a cell phone load and not eat. I think OFW’s and sex for sale are the main incomes for many.

          • irenia says:

            how you meet yor wife? internet cafe. she or someone pay for her to advertve her on line and you buy, same thing you did you tell to be careful to others. did you send money, buy jewelry, i guess yes you did. you fat, ugly american man can no get american woman so you spend all money to come here to help some poor lady, you talk about american women only want money, what do you think piney is doing to you, stupid i love live in us never come back i live in dirt for 32 years no more happy with new life in states you dirty old mans can keep philippines

          • Bruce says:

            Ireneia,
            So you live in the America. I am surprised since you write like your still here in the Philippines. I met Elena on the internet, she had a good job and owned her own house. Since her ex-husband was a cheat she had an annulment and was not interested in a Filipino. To let you know, until you can write with respect, all future comments from you will not be posted.

          • irenia says:

            Yes i am in america i have good sponsor who is 33 not have to be write perfect to be here

          • Bruce says:

            Irenia,
            You are right, in America they accept people without insulting them. I do not know what type of sponsor you have. It is probably a work visa. Since your living well, stop insulting the people of your country and the visitors that come here.

          • Michael says:

            Time to take out the garbage! Three years in the USA and still cannot write basic good english sentences. I was wondering how did you get your Visa to the USA????

          • Bruce says:

            Michael,
            Sorry about last reply, I now realize you were commenting to Irenia. I have deleted her insulting comments and will not allow her to comment until she shows some respect.

          • jeff says:

            Irenia sounds like you made a bad choice with the partner you picked. Not all people are as miserable as you seem to be.

  17. Caesar says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I know how things are turning out for you here in Davao and I know how you feel dear friend. You are now venturing into another situation that is I think equally difficult as it is here.

    Personally speaking, I think you would fare here better because you have family (Ellena’s) and friends (Expats and pinoys) here. I think your wife’s family will help you (and your wife) get you (both) back to your feet as you continue to live here in Davao (……unless I am wrong).

    I do wish the best of everything for you Bruce when you do go back to the states (as you already have made up your mind and a decision was made while as some readers of your blog expressed otherwise …including me too).

    You know yourself pretty well than all of us, Bruce. I am sure you will do fine there. It ain’t easy and a walk in the park, but I know you will make it through. Good luck my friend.

    But hey, don’t you drop out from the Cebuano class, ok? I will email you the lessons even when you are there….

    • Bruce says:

      Caesar,
      Thank you for your friendship and concern. I also thank you for your effort in my selling of my car. All help is greatly appreciated.
      There are many factors that helped make my decision. I think I will post it in an article to describe.
      I will try to keep up with the Bisaya and maybe once Elena is with me in America we will have the time to site and work on it without her distractions taking care of the house.

      • Michael says:

        Bruce …Looking up your past posts …the the recents ones…it seems that you have been very kind yet somewhat evasive in you comments about your interpersonal relationships in your family…yet I sense a tension …that it is not a happy home for you. Their seems to be a lack of respect for you in your own house. Or maybe they women are were looking for you for leadership and support and have not seen it coming. And I have to agree with Gene…three grown girls in the house and Elena…together as a family unit…they can not manage to clean and cook for them selves…Really is spending hours with their brakadas so important to them. Sorry if it was me ..they would be doing those simple chores or looking fo another place to stay.Filipino household or not.

        • sandy says:

          Michael,

          I have to agree with you 100%. With all the posts I have read it seems that there is no respect also in this household. I am not trying to make anyone angry it is just what I have been reading, almost makes me feel sorry for you Bruce. S

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            One thing in the Philippines is the same as in the States. Ask your friends who have teenagers especially from divorced mothers and see how much respect they get from their children. I doubt Vegas is much different then I had seen in California and Florida.

          • sandy says:

            Bruce,

            True enough it is tough to get teens to do much of anything but eat. (smile)

        • Bruce says:

          Michael,
          I write about my family but am not here to open my life completely for inspection. I have explained why we have help in the house and do not have to reexplain or defend my life.

  18. Sandy says:

    Is your wife employed? What type of work does she do if she is?

    • Bruce says:

      Sandy,
      Here it is very difficult for a person over the age of 30 to find employment. Elena is 44 years old. She is a graduate of the University of Mindanao with a BA or Business Management. She worked 17 years for a lumber product exporter and an assistant of transportation and shipping. She is also a certified Caregiver and took care of an Elderly lady who had multiple strokes and dementia. Of her other past employment, she managed a ladies clothing boutique and was also a Front End Restaurant Manager for a small local upper end Restaurant.

      • Sandy says:

        Perhaps when she arrives in Vegas she could check out the Restaurant business. As you know there are plenty of them here in Vegas. What do the people over 30 do then if it is difficult to find employment where you are? That is a little frightening.

        • Bruce says:

          Sandy,
          Best income will be if she can get work as a caregiver, especially with all the retired in NW Vegas.
          As for women here. There is a saying, find your ideal job by the time your 27 and do not leave it. Most use connections to find work. Others go into their own business buying things like clothes wholesale and selling to friends. Others just get married and sit at home and open a sari sari store. I hope there will be comments to better advise.

          • Sandy says:

            She has a BA right? Maybe something in the management department.

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            She would probably need a job in the lower ranks to get used to the way businesses work there and then move up as the employer sees her abilities.

  19. don m. says:

    When things don’t work the first time you pick your self up and try somthing else. I’ve reinvented my work life quite a number of times and each time it worked out better. You have to start some where. Everyone has an easy path for you but not real idea of what is best for you. This is for you and your wife to decide. Which of you has lined up a better job for Bruce than the one he has found?

  20. Gene says:

    Bruce,

    I just read your post with great surprise! I truly understand your thinking and hope that all will work out ok for you. Just hope your not going due to frustration and taking any way out to try to make things better.

    When you apply for your wifes visa, they will be looking at your previous TWO YEARS INCOME for you to qualify for the visa. That means you will need to work there at least two years before the US will even consider your patition!
    My closest friend here in the Philippines just returned from Las Vegas. The unemployment rate for the state of Nevada is between 13 and 14% due to the lack of gaming revenue from Calif, Oregon, and Washington states. Seems to be no relief in sight.

    If you are in any way still interested in staying put here, there is work available in Clark Field at a company called You-Scribe.
    Also, Viol’s ex employeer, Rod Hegerty, owner of the Swagman Hotel in MNL and Angeles ownes a boating parts and repair business that is very large in Subic and elsewhere. If interested, I can give you the contact info.
    Also, there are many jobs available in Angeles City managing hotels etc. 12/30 Pizza on Fields Ave in Angeles is or atleast was looking for a full time manager.

    Bottom line is, there is work with pretty good wages available here without the risk and extreme expence and hardship.

    What you are attempting to do sounds like an unacceptable risk. At least it would be for me and I would never consider returing for any amount of income—even if the job was in the bag.

    (I removed your personal info since I feel it should not be displayed for all to see and use)

    Gene and Viol…

    • Bruce says:

      Gene,
      Thank you for the information and assistance. If I remain in the Philippines I have to stay in Davao for family ties. Once I am in the States I will meet with an immigration lawyer and find out the specifics. I looked at the filing requirnments and did not see you needed 2 years of employment. I will recheck the application instructions too.

  21. Gene says:

    Bruce,

    Thanks for removing the contact info.
    Things keep changing as far as requirements on visas. Hope you are right on the info.

    Was thinking, if you’re in Vegas it’s only a 3 hour drive north on I-15 to Cedar City, Utah. And from there just 30 minutes to Navajo Lake-above 10,000 feet in the mtns. Beautiful country and some of the best trout fishing to be found.
    I’d like to see some of that country again but guess I’ll just have to look at the pictures.

    Good luck there and hope it all works out the way you want it to…

  22. jeff says:

    I don’t think I was real surprised by this announcement of you coming back to the states. I could tell you were not as happy there as you should have been. I know lack of funding is a major problem in many people’s lives today. Maybe Elena or your nieces could help contribute postings to the web site and keep it alive from a Filipino point of view. How their lives are and how they see foreigners that come to the Philippines. That would be a different twist on things. If you keep up with the USA news what folks have already said to you is Las Vegas is top 5 in America for foreclosures, housing value drops and unemployment. You may want to consider writing a book about moving abroad you have a multitude of experience and stored data on your web site. That may be another option for income. Good luck in your new adventure and hope all works out well for you and your family.

    • Sandy says:

      I believe you can make it anywhere. You need to stay tough and keep on going. Life throws us blows and we can keep our heads in the sand or move on. Things are tough for everyone but there are jobs to be had and Vegas is not crumbling in the desert as a lot of people seem to think. Everyone seems to “know” an awful lot about my town but I live here and have for most of my life. I found work and if I need another form of income could find something quite easily.

    • Bruce says:

      Jeff,
      My nieces would not bother with the time to write for me and Elena has never helped. I do not want to get into that more than what I said.
      I understand the problems with Vegas but it is still the place for all the conventions and shows. With this, you can make a living driving a taxi.
      As for a book, my writing skills are pretty much to writing a blog and do not know if I could write a book without assistance.

  23. Seth says:

    Bruce,

    I can understand you wanting to become useful again. I also know that anyone who puts forth an honest effort can find work here. Some regions were harder hit then others. Where I live in South Louisiana the housing market slowed a little but construction is moving right along. There are many houses being built and purchased. Elena will wait for you. When Ginalyn and I applied for her Fiancee Visa it took about 10 months to get it all squared away. I have read that it takes a little longer for a spousal Visa. They have also reduced the number of offices that process applications so chances of it going faster dont look good. I look forward to reading your new posts of the work it takes for you to move back and relocate. Good luck to you both and may GOD keep you in his hands.

    Seth

    • Bruce says:

      Seth,
      Thanks for the positive support. Maybe one day I can get back in y profession doing Residential Architecture Drafting, studio management and/or project management.

  24. m60man says:

    Bruce we have not met, but I have read your blogs and enjoyed your outlook on life here. I live in Davao as well and hope to finish building my house soon. I share your feelings from time to time. I find my thoughts drifting back to bass fishing, hunting and just enjoying watching the abundant wildlife that surrounded me there. I think how I would like to share these moments with my filipina wife. I’m sure she would be in awe. But the reality of it is, our government makes it very difficult to share these things with our wives. I know that you must meet minumum income requirements to get your wife there. I believe they are about $26,000 per year at this time. This leaves people like you and I between a rock and a hard place. I’m a veteran drawing 60% disability. My income does not meet their requirements. Therefore it leaves it damn near impossible to get her there. The only way around it that I have found, is to find a willing sponsor that meets the income requirement. Then you may have a chance…..but, do you have someone willing to do that? I’m not one to rain on someones elses dreams and hopes. But I think you need to do somemore research on that matter before leaving here. There is nothing more depressing then being apart from your loved one and finding it near impossible to reunite with her in the states. I think living here is a better deal then the states at the present time.

    I came here with a clear plan….to marry my filipina, buy some land, build us a American style home, (of wood) and to write a few articles and a book. I did marry my filipina, I bought 1000 sq. meters in Tugbok Ula, I have worked 6 days a week the past 7 months on the house, now only a few weeks from being finished. I have wrote several articles. A tribute to 4 of my fallen commrades in Vietnam will be published soon in the Aviator Quarterly Magazine. Soon I hope to start the book. If you would like to read some of my writing about my interactions and observations of the Philippines and the people, let me know. I will email them to you and you can judge if they might be suitable to post on your site and help you keep it up and running in your absence. Good luck with you future endeavor and may good things be bestowed upon you. Rob (m60man)

    • Sandy says:

      Are you able to buy land being an American?

      • jeff says:

        Sandy, my understanding is only Filipinos can actually purchase land. IE. Rob(m60man)’s wife. Even tho she is married to an American. Americans are allowed to lease land up to 99 years and build on but only Filipinos can purchase.

        • Sandy says:

          Thanks Jeff that’s what I thought I read in one of the posts. haha I have read so many it is hard to remember it all. I am not sure I care for that though. If I relocate somewhere I would want to own some land.

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            This is what upsets some expats here. There have been stories where an expat buys a house and lot in the Philippines and puts it in his wifes or girlfriends name and then they kick him out and have a nice place.

        • Bruce says:

          Jeff,
          From my understanding, the maximum lease on land is 25 years.

          • jeff says:

            One of the groups I belong to a guy has a
            50 year lease on some property. (So he says).
            I did read if you were a corporation you can do
            a business lease for up to 99 years. Also you
            don’t have to be Spielberg, Hemmingway or
            Einstein to write a book. Good luck.

          • Bruce says:

            Jeff,
            The 25 year lease is something I heard, have not researched.
            I will tell the publishers you said I can write a book. Want to be my editor? 🙂

      • Bruce says:

        Sandy,
        In the Philippines only citizens can buy land. The only way a foreigner can own land is by inheritance.

    • Bruce says:

      M60man,
      I have read all the sites, and information concerning a spousal visa. Since it is the same form to bring family over, you might have thought you needed an affidavit of support. If you look, for a wife/husband there is not affidavit required to file and no place asking for income or employment.

  25. passerby says:

    good luck and have a safe trip, thanks for all the insights

  26. Marcel says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I have to second what Gene and m60manNo mentioned in their posts, even though I am in Canada and requirements are little different, all governments want you to have minimum income in order to be able to sponsor your wife. Since you are starting from 0 (as I did few times myself) you will have a hard time to make enough to qualify for minimum income requirements as it sounds based on what other posters mention about situation in USA. Also, at least in Canada, you cannot have any criminal record, unpaid tickets or debts, good credit and stable employment. If you were previously married, make sure there are no issues with you ex, child support, etc. Don’t be surprised if it takes you 2-3 years of hard work before you can even apply to sponsor your wife. In my case I was going crazy during 6 months it took to process my wife’s application. (Embassy messed up and it took 2-3 months longer then it should) I don’t think I would be going for it if I knew that we will be separated for years before we can be permamntly together…

    • sandy says:

      Anything worth having is worth waiting for. Sorry I have to disagree I would wait forever for my husband if need be. I could never love him less and if I got a wandering eye that would be my mistake to lose the love of my life. I am reading too many negative things regarding the decision he has made. It may be difficult at first but all will work out in the end. If neither party could wait for the other, then sadly it was not love in the first place. How long did you wait for your wife? All went well right? Just an opinion.

      • Bruce says:

        Sandy,
        I actually knew Elena for about 2-3 years before I moved here. I visited her and the Philippines 3 times before relocating here.

        • Sandy says:

          Maybe this is out of line but I wanted to ask you, does your wife speak English? Please don’t think me too forward, just curious I suppose.

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            Yes, my wife speaks English. She does have some problems with slang or regional uses. Most Filipinos that completed high school and college speak English to varying degrees. Some who never went to school or older Filipinos who have not used it do not speak English. Also English is one of the official languages of the Philippines.

          • sandy says:

            I see. Just wasn’t sure. Thank you.

    • Bruce says:

      Marcel,
      Look at my reply to M60man. I hope it does not take so long.

  27. Lito says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I just want you to know that my wife and I went through the same process and I guess I can give you an unsolicited advice. The spouse visa normally takes, at minimum, 18 months to process because that is really an immigrant visa. However, US immigration law now (if they haven’t changed it yet) allows the US citizen to file a fiance(e) visa for his spouse after filing the spouse visa. You can start filing the fiance(e) visa as soon as you receive the receipt of payment of spouse visa from the US-Immigration. The fiance(e) visa is just so so that your wife can join you sooner in the States and she can stay there while the spouse visa is on process. I’ve heard of people got their fiance(e) visas processed in 4 to 6 months. And, If her immigrant visa is approved more than two years from the date when I guess you filed the petition, she will automatically become a permanent legal resident (green card holder) and no status adjustment needed, that is what happened to me. Otherwise, both of you have to file a joint petition prior to two years from the time of her arriving in the States to adjust her status. I wish the two of you the best in your new endeavor.

    • Bruce says:

      Lito,
      Thanks for your information. They have a k-3 visa to get your wife over as non-immigrant as she waits for her immigrant status to finish processing.

  28. Marcel says:

    Yes Sandy, correct if love is strong it will survive years of separation. What I’ve meant is that Bruce has an option to stay where he is and avoid putting his relationship under so much strain. However his situation is a bit different, because he had a chance to fortify his relationship with Elena for couple of years already. In my case, if I knew that I would have to wait for my wife for 2-3 years, I would not even consider looking for a potential partner in Philippines in a first place to avoid this. Since we are talking about preexisting relationship, it’s a little bit different now, nevertheless I would avoid putting myself in such situation at all costs. I actually admire all Filipinos working abroad being separated from their spouses and kids. Unfortunately, I also see that many relationship don’t survive these years of separation intact.

  29. m60man says:

    The land is titled, deeded and recorded in both mine and my wifes name. Another American here also has his and wifes name on their deed as well.

    • Bruce says:

      M60man,
      The title is in your wife’s name and not you as husband of owner. If your wife passes away, it is yours unless her next of kin get a good lawyer and see how long you stay there. If she passes, and you keep it, you can even sell it, but cannot buy something else.

  30. Sandy says:

    Bruce, has your mother or brother ever come to visit you and your family? How did your mother react when you told her you wanted to move so far away? My mother would have tied me up and locked me in a closet. hahaha

    • Bruce says:

      Sandy,
      No one in my family ever visited me here. My mom knew Elena from letters and video chatting from my computer when I was still there. She did not like the idea of me moving but since she would not let me, then us live in her condo, loan me her car or cover expenses until I could find a job, she had no power over my decision.

      • sandy says:

        Oh were you living with your Mother is Florida? If I seem to ask questions you may have answered before I do apologize, with my work schedule it is hard to keep up with your blogs. I am trying my best though. S

        • Bruce says:

          Sandy,
          I only lived with my mom in Florida for a few weeks, then got an apartment. Two years later I bought a townhouse, but staied in the same town since I liked it there. Now the bank owns my townhouse.

          • sandy says:

            The bank, not forclosure? Hey you posted that your Mother knew your wife from the computer right? Why did she not want you two to stay with her? Does your Mother have a place big enouth for three of you? Did she not like her? I just can’t imagine a parent not helping out their children. By the way you say you have a brother, is your Mom the same with him or does he come to see her either? Sorry for the 20 questions. S

  31. Ed says:

    Hi Bruce
    Gosh, I’ve never heard so many Negitives!!! You know I know what your in for! And I know all your family members. I know you know how to read the job offers in the Newspaper. *80*% of all those that do read, Don’t appy for jobs because they want more money than job offers! “I’m better than that” syndrom. I’m older than most here, and have never ever lacked the knowledge to find a job! Your an Enterpenier! In the States one can do anything they set there mind on!!Keep all option open and Idea’s..
    Michael,Brussel, and Ceasar are wrong they don’t know YOU !! Get on line before you leave an check out “MONSTER.Com” get your resume out there…Check out the Newspaper ads before you leave. Last time I looked All the Fastfoods are still Hiring!! Try at “IN-OUT” they start out at $12.00 full time with Benifits. Sandy is RIGHT-ON…and Don m. is also positive.. Yes you might have to Re-Invent your self, so what, you are a world traveler, very knowledgeable of the world and how bad others have it. Don’t forget Uncle Sam’s unemployment, for a few bucks. Poverty in the US also has its benifits..Foodbanks, many cities have free medical under Federal programs and more check them out… Keep a clear head most of all. You know how to contact me if no more than moral suport. By the way Sacramento was hit 2sd. to non and todays paper had 72 jobs in it! Just stay positive Buddy!! Good Book to read ..The Majic of thicking Big.. Chat with ya later, Your Bud, Ed

  32. Marvin says:

    Forgive me Bruce, but since your given up the pinoy life because of money, maybe you won’t mind telling us all why you guys needed the extra expense of a car or why hired help in a house with enough warm bodies already. I only ask because money is always an issue and I never considered owning any sort of vehicle, with all the public transport. And I only hired a helper for my little business, not for my home, I do my own laundry, sweep my own floors and 9 times out of 10 cook my own “healthy” meals. I think Gene says he does too. Anyway, those two things seem like a money drain.
    Good luck Bruce, and if it was God who put you one this path brother then you go for it.

    • Bruce says:

      Marvin,
      I purchased the car when I first arrived. Looking back, I probably would not have bought it, but it is nice being able to go where and whenever I need and not stand on the street for a jeepney or taxi.
      About the helper, The cost is minor and with our Nieces busy with college and studying for boards they are too busy. Elena does some, but many times we are out so it makes life easier.

      • sandy says:

        Bruce,

        I have to side with Marvin on this issue. It seems you do have a lot of people in your family who could help out. You must have a pretty large place. Are you working somewhere now? Sorry I have not read anything about that yet, I am sure it is here somewhere. (smile)

        • Bruce says:

          Sandy,
          My nieces help out a little, but not a lot. One just passed her licensing board for nursing and is out a lot trying to get a job. It is not like in the states with agencies and paper and online classifieds. Here you go door to door submitting resumes. Plus the competition is huge. The middle girl is in review school for her to take boards for nursing and the youngest is in 3rd year of nursing which is a heavy load.
          Our house is 3 bedroom, 2 bath and about 1400 sq ft.
          I worked for about 7 months when I first got here in an architectural and engineering office. I made high Filipino wages which just covered food cost for 2 weeks of the month. Most jobs pay so little it is not worth working.

          • sandy says:

            Bruce, Even with the schooling there is time to help around the house. I went to grad school full time, worked and still took care of my home. It seems like an excuse to me, but that is my American way of thinking I suppose. When I grew up there were 4 of us and believe you me no outside help was ever needed. Families do what they can for each other. I never understand people hiring gardners either as I love to working in my yard. S

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            Many families hire helpers, even Filipino families. The cost is only about $30 USD a month. Also with open windows the house needs to be swept and dusted every day. In most homes laundry is down by hand. Then Filipinos eat small meals but eat 5 or more times a day so there is the cooking and dish washing. It is hard to understand, that is why I write this site. Life and culture here is 180 degrees opposite America in many ways.

          • sandy says:

            Open windows? What is that, you mean no glass or screens?

          • sandy says:

            Well I wish everyone well and thank you for all your help in understanding things I was not clear on. I will hopefully talk to you again, unless the boss takes my computer. S

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,

            Good luck, I would hate coming to Vegas and having to support you too since you lost your job because of me. 🙂

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            We have glass windows, but we do not have screens. Even with screens, the dust and dirt comes in until the screen clogs up. A friend here has screens and they have to be washed twice a week.

      • Marvin says:

        Bruce, it seems to me you just didn’t try hard enough to be a Filipino. You came here to survive with your new wife and family, but you were still trying to live like an American. In our situation with no retirement or pension for a few more years, we can’t have our cake and eat it too.

        • Bruce says:

          Marvin,
          Sorry, I guess I was too stuck in my ways to sleep on the floor and live on rice and dried fish.

          • sandy says:

            Bruce, You sleep on the floor? That doesn’t sound good. Can’t be good for the body either I would imagine. S

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            Where you get that I sleep on the floor, I do not know. Our house is furnished as well as a house anywhere. Beds, furniture and all.

  33. Joe says:

    Hi, Bruce I hope all goes well for you ? I will have to visit you in vegas. I hope we can still meet in April. I was looking forward to it.

    Best Wishes
    Joe

    • Bruce says:

      Joe,
      I am looking forward to meeting you and being your driver. I set May as my departure because of your scheduled visit here. I hope you will visit me in Vegas, and being a taxi driver, I can drive for you again. 🙂
      See you in a few weeks.

  34. sandy says:

    I think they make stuff that you could use that would not cause a rash. I have great make up you can borrow. haha Does your wife ever post on here?

    • Bruce says:

      Sandy,
      My wife has never helped me with this site except to offer ideas for articles and to proof read some. I think it is because we are from different outlooks on the subject of life here and she is shy with her written English.

      • sandy says:

        I don’t think most people here would care if she made mistakes in her writing. It seems people just want to keep information flowing. Why such different outlooks? Yours is what exactaly, and what about hers. Has she always lived there?

        • Bruce says:

          Sandy,
          I write with the view of an Expat experiences and views living in a foreign country. Her vies is, this is the way life is here. She has always lived here and only left the country once to attend a friends wedding in Abu Dhabi.

          • sandy says:

            Oh I thought she had come to the States to visit you and your family, sorry my mistake.

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            It is almost impossible for a Foreign lady to get a tourist visa to come to the states. They need to prove to the American Embassy they have too much to lose if they did not come back. And that is based on American dollar amounts. I know of a girl in America who was getting married. She wanted her mom to come to the wedding. Her mom owned 4 houses and 3 businesses and could not get a visa.

  35. Bruce, whatever your descision I want to wish you good luck! To me it seems, at least here in Sweden that the economy has started a slow recovery. But the recovery in jobs will still take some time. I think this applies to the whole western hemisphere.
    I have to think about my future too. I dislike the climate and the attitudes here more than there also. Maybe opportunities for me is better here, but I am not sure that will make me happier here. I will miss you and your website. You seem to be a nice man. Hope we will meet one day!

    • Bruce says:

      Stefan,
      I wish you the best what ever you decide. If you keep traveling here or move here, maybe you will write articles for me to keep this site going.

  36. irenia says:

    why you no print tru things here afrad people learn about america men we piney women think you discusting only want money when you dead

    • Bruce says:

      Irenia,
      I think I have written well on both sides of the subject. I als try to write about Americans and Filipinos with truth and respect.

  37. Sintea says:

    Hi, Bruce.:-) I would just like to wish you the best as you go back to the US. I’m sure that it will go well in the end and that your wife Elena will be able to join you too. I do hope that you can keep your website running…what about a new title, “A Davaoeño-American in Vegas”? God bless you in all you do. Keep us posted!

    • Bruce says:

      Sintea,
      I hope to keep this site going as long as it is valid and people are visiting. I need help from others to write current information from here when I am gone and in Vegas.

  38. Lonnie Carreau says:

    Wow, this is quite a development for sure. On the one hand, I have to agree with what others have said, that the odds seem a bit long that you can meet the requirements to bring your wife here in a reasonable amount of time, but the backout plan is really not that expensive at all. I have little doubt that you could make enough to buy a plane ticket back. If you live spartan, you should able to support yourself and even be able to send money back home. If you are able to make it all work, that would be a win/win. Since the risk is relatively small, but the reward is potentially big, I think you should go for it. Good luck!

    -Lonnie

    • Bruce says:

      Lonnie,
      We will have to see, I am going to do my best to get Elena to America and us both work hard to live a decent life there.

      • Michael says:

        Hi Bruce..I just got off a phone call with one of my fishing buddies here in LA …He is a immigration lawyer and does a lot of marriage Visa’s ….The INS “DOES ” require the past two years of Tax returns to see that you meet the financial requirement to bring someone over here. So that maybe you need to be honest with Elena that it will be at least that long.
        Going to an attorney can not get that waived.

        • Bruce says:

          Michael,
          Elena and I have disused this and we will do what ever it takes and as long. I just cannot understand this, by looking at the instructions and applications, there is no Affidavit of Support required for spousal visa.

  39. sandy says:

    hahaha thanks Bruce.

  40. Gene says:

    Marcel,

    I have to agree with all you said about requirements on getting someone to the states. On top of that, those requirements keep changing all the time.

    I am no smarter than others in the world. But somehow I managed to see the end of the financial road in America. That is the main reason I moved here (from Nebraska) seven years ago.

    I have learned to live on and be happy with a lot less by staying here. My wife, child, and I live here in the Philippines on under $140.00 (by choice)per month. We keep a very tight budget. But we eat very well, travel as we like, and lack for nothing.

    No way in hell would I ever even consider returing to the states to live–with or without my wife and family. Soing so, in my opinoin, would not be an acceptable risk.

    In the states, if things get really bad, even family usuall will not help. At least for very long. Strangers will step over you on any sidewalk and would do nothing to help.

    At least here in the Philippines, if ever faced with the worst of conditions, family is ALWAYS there to help each other.
    To me, that beats any eventual risk of being homeless in some alley in the states.

    No matter what, I’ll stay here…

    • Bruce says:

      Gene,

      You are amazing. I do not think I could ever live on the amount you do, and I do not think many others could do it either. I am not putting you down or me either, but we all have our needs and level of comfort we need. In some ways I think you are a better person than I am being about to live frugally and with less than I need. Bless you and your family.

    • Michael says:

      Been in the United States for three years already and still have not taken the time nor the effort to learn how to write correct simple English.In the United States there are many places for a foreign immigrant to learn such skills for almost free.In the evening or the weekend, if of course you have work.
      Time to take out the garbage!

    • jeff says:

      Gene, I have read a lot of posts about the Philippines but no one has ever said they have gotten by well on so little.. 140.00 a month. Most say 600.00 or more just to be comfortable. How do you get by on so little?

  41. Gene says:

    Hi Marvin,

    I ususlly get up early in the mornings and cook breakfast for our 8 year old daughter. Mostly because I’m always up early and its fun father-daughter time before she goes to school. But truth be told, I like Viol to do the cooking when I’m the one that has to eat-Hahaha. She’s a great cook and I enjoy the food.

    But laundry is another story. I do most all our laundry so that Viol does not have to. I feel she does enough just putting up with me and I do enjoy trying to help.

    Sure has been fun living here all these years though. Never a dull moment and a learning experience every day…

    • Bruce says:

      Gene,
      Too bad you live so far away from Davao, we could have hired you for our domestic helper and added to your monthly coffer.

  42. ian says:

    Bruce- i have to wonder why you keep posting the racist ignorant comments from the person who calls herself IRENIA ?? I say calls herself that coz i dont for one second thing the guy is who he pretends to be ! I have no idea what his problem is, nor do i care, but I do wonder why you support him in his crusade of racism, sexism,and just plain ignorance, continually attacking you – and all other male foreigners ??? does free speech mean you are free to be as big an a**hole as you want ??

  43. sandy says:

    Bruce, No disrespect I read this post on April 1st at 8:15. S

    This is why I asked about the floor.

    Marvin,
    Sorry, I guess I was too stuck in my ways to sleep on the floor and live on rice and dried fish.

  44. Ralph M. says:

    I am sorry to find out that you are going back to the US. Not having a monthly pension check to survive can not be easly. I wish you the very best in moving back to the US and save for your retirement in the philippines.

    Onces your wife is with you in the US and you 2 need a holiday, please come and visit me in Vancouver B.C.

    • Bruce says:

      Ralph,
      Thank you for the good wishes. I have always wanted to visit Vancouver and will hold you to your offer.

  45. ian says:

    Bruce- I posted that I thought it obvious that the person who calls herself IRENIA is in fact just an ignorant racist GUY – a comment which you posted. I notice that in the 2 days since I posted that comment Irenia has decided NOT to argue with my post! lol I think the response says volumes about this guy. I think you are a good hearted person Bruce, but way too naive at times !!! hehe If you want to survive in Lost Wages you will need to recalibrate your bullshit detector! Just my opinion of course.

    • Bruce says:

      Ian,
      I am not sure who the real Irenia is. Also I try to allow all to comment here with their views. When the comments get out of hand, or disrespectful I put a stop to it. As for my BS detector, I am open but not stupid. I know a con when I hear one and am cautious with my self and funds.

  46. Lui says:

    Hmm, an interesting article and interesting comments from your readers too, Bruce! It’s been awhile since I’ve commented but I dropped by from time to time (as usual I’m always pressed for time)..

    Making the move is tough but well all thing in life are. I wish you and Elena the best of luck. And thank you for those wonderful, insightful articles about my country. Hope you keep the site alive, I agree with the previous commenter about getting contributors and also I’d love to hear and get updated about your move and more adventures.

    Best of luck,
    Lui

    • Bruce says:

      Lui,
      Thank you for visiting and commenting. Also thank you for your enjoyment of my writing and insights. I hope to get some readers, either Filipinos, Mixed couples and Foreigners from Davao or living in Davao to help me continue articles about news of the city, cultural differences and/or experiences here.

  47. irenia says:

    i not insult just say truth not racist just tell like i see things all my life as a piney woman

    • Bruce says:

      Irenia,
      Telling the truth is one thing, calling people stupid is not. Yes, there are many Filipinas that use older foreigners as a source of income and others that are honestly looking for such a relationship.

    • jeff says:

      Irenia, So what if a fat old American man hooks up with a young piney. She gets some of his money and he gets a young firm girl to enjoy in his older age. Most older men would say it is worth the risk. Yes, most older American men cannot get a pretty young girl at home in the USA, unless you are Donald Trump. He does because he is a billionare. If love develops great if not, who cares. Cheaper in the long run than a prosti back home. My 2 pesos.

      • Bruce says:

        Jeff,
        It sounds like you look at a young Filipina as nothing but an inexpensive prostitute. Attitudes like that is what Irenia and others are complaining about. Yes it is true many young Filipinas offer their bodies to older foreigner men, but this is because of the poverty here and many do this so they, their families and their children will survive and not starve. What would you do if you had no way to get a job and income to eat?

        • jeff says:

          Bruce, Not at all. I know it is common there to have older men married to younger women. Not real common in the USA. Some of the guys I speak with who live in the Philippines have wives 30 years younger than them. If it works for them GREAT. Just did not want Irenia to think this was a one way street and every American was a dirty old man. You had commented to me once that most men come there because of meeting the young women.

          • Bruce says:

            Jeff,

            You are right that many men come here to marry younger ladies. If was the tenor of your comment which I was a little upset with.

  48. irenia says:

    you and frends insult my writing i work hard and try to learn too

    • Bruce says:

      Irenia,
      I appologize if I insulted you, but that is because you and I got into a defensive posture with your comments.

  49. sandy says:

    Thank goodness it is Friday. Good or Not. Bruce I guess some people just say what they are feeling, not thinking about using proper grammar. If I had a nickle for everyone I have come in contact with who wrote or spoke improperly I would be a millionaire. 🙂 I say live and let live. I have noticed people pretty upset, is what she is saying true, causing the hatred? Oh well life does go on, right?

    • Bruce says:

      Sandy,
      In some ways she is write. There are many Filipinas who live online and try to get foreigner men to send money saying “my mom is sick” “my child needs meds” and some who can find a private internet room will get naked on camera for money. Some are so poor, this is an easy way to make some money.

      • sandy says:

        Bruce,

        Do you not know anyone in the States who can lend you a hand when you move back? I am sure you had some relationships at some time that would be willing to help you out for a while. I think you said you are in your 50’s right? I am sure there is someone if you think hard enough. You don’t seem like the type that people would dislike. Since you lived in Florida why didn’t you get into the taxi driving there, that is a pretty place that people like to visit.

        • Bruce says:

          Sandy,
          I explained about my assistance in Vegas on the article. More than that, I do not want to go further here to protect the anonymity of my friends.
          Vegas is, to me, the best place to drive a taxi, with all the tourists and convention attendees taxis are busy. The only other place is probably NYC.
          In Florida I had a decent career and the only places a driver has a chance is Miami Beach and Orlando. I lived too far from both to even think of it.

  50. macky says:

    i just read this article after a brief hiatus from reading blogs. i just want to wish you good luck & hope things work out for you.

    i actually saw you in gmall about a month ago. your were a few feet ahead of me walking down the stairs. i didn’t want to inconvenience you especially in a crowded mall.

    anyway, best of luck with these new changes. there may be stressful moments, but know that you are making an adventure out of life these past few years. enjoy the best of it & make it all count.

    • Bruce says:

      Macky,
      I wish you would have stopped me, I would have loved to meet you in person.
      Thank you for you good wishes and if your ever in Vegas, look me up, and as long as your here, maybe we can meet for coffee sometime.

  51. BrSpiritus says:

    “The current income requirement for a household of two is $15,612 annually”

    I found this on an immigration attourney website. If they want this number for the last 2 years I can’t meet it, only 1 year but there are other options.

    Like Bruce, I know going back to the states will be no walk in the park but if you have no money life is hard everywhere. At least in the US I have the option of finding a job, not so in the Philippines. I am also not so proud like a lot of Americans to scoff at a job because it’s beneath their dignity or too little money.

    I read an article recently about a guy on Unemployment. He was complaining how little it was since they had no money to buy school clothes and supplies for their children after paying the Cable bill, the cellphone bill, etc. Whoa… Cable bill? Cellphone bill? Sorry but these are frivolities and if you opt to pay them before worrying about your kids then you have a screw loose.

    My point is in 3 years in the Philippines I have learned to live with less and do for myself. Both of which will serve me well in a US gripped by another Great Depression. I have a stable job although it is seasonal only 4 months of the year so I will have to find other work but those 4 months I make good money… most of which gets flushed down the drain by living in the PI for 6 months a year. Plane tickets, ever increasing visa extension costs, high inflation all cut into my money and I don’t live a grand lifestyle here by any means. Also is the spector of ever shifting exchange rates.

    Hypothetically speaking if your $100 buys P5,000 today and that’s what you need to live on how are you going to react when you $100 buys only P4,500, or P4,000? And in the meantime with inflation it now costs you P6,000 to live. I will not cut my costs further and be reduced to living in a nipa hut eating rice and bagoong. Life is no picnic over here… unless you have money. If you want to live like a Filipino more power to you!

    Unless you grew up next to a West Virgina coal mine you won’t like their life. Most foreigners I talk to might tell you how happy they are to be here but unless they are chasing 18 to 25 year old’s they’re crying inside missing the things they had in the US. Sometimes it’s the little things that you miss. Making a cheeseburger on the grill…. Ground beef is dry here, the tomatoes are small, the cheese is expensive and the buns are too sweet. Little differences add up until one day you wake up and realize you are miserable. Also how healthy are you? Really that healthy? Think again… it’s dirty over here… really dirty. Bacteria, mold, fungus, rats, disease, mosquitoes. Are you ready for all that?

    In the US I caught a cold 2 times a year and it had been 20 years since I last had the flu. In 3 years in the PI I have had Dengue Fever, Rubella, Respiratory infections and 2 cellulitis infections, once in each ankle. How about language? Yep English is official over here but it’s a second language, you always think in your home language so Filipinos are not comfortable with speaking English. They’re always thinking in Bisaya, Tagalog, Cebuano etc. Even when they do speak English often times it can bear little resemblance to what we speak because of word usage and accent. Are you one of those people who find different accents challenging to understand? You’re not going to like it over here. How about social life? Are you going to hang with expats or Filipinos? I find the Expat social set in Davao to be boorish and droll. Most of the men are here to pursue fornication with the locals. Filipinos… I have a few I know and like but at the risk of sounding big headed, they rarely match my intellect and conversational level. They prefer to sit and drink red horse or tanduay until they fall over.

    Speaking of alcohol do you like wine? good beer? A nice sip of Cordial, cognac or brandy? Cocktails? Mixed Drinks? Forget it, all of it. The local check cashier in my town in Maryland had a better selection of alcohol than the best supermarket over here.

    How about clothes? Are you a big guy like me? Forget getting clothing off the rack over here, it’s off to the tailor. Are you planning on buying a car? How frustrated were you in the US when you encountered a rude driver? They’re all rude over here, driving is a free for all and the only rule is whomever is biggest has right of way.

    How angry do you get? If the answer is very then don’t even think of coming here. Every day you will encounter little things that will drive you insane and if you are unable to shrug it off you could be in trouble. My point is you have to ask yourself many many questions before simply declaring “the Philippines is better!”

    • Bruce says:

      BrSpiritus,

      I have looked at the instructions for a spousal visa and different attorney sites and they are all different. As per the instructions from the government site, all you need is the I-130 form and a Biographical Information form. I know things are changing and I will see once I get there.

      I spoke to Elena and if I need two years of employment to apply, she understands and will wait.

      As I have written, when I thought I would have to live here forever, I tried to accept life here and go with the flow. I have a little more to live on than you, but I am not rich with a pension either.

      Now that I am leaving soon, some of the things I thought I had to accept are bothering me more. I agree with your comments but not as harsh as you state. Yes, many here are here because they cannot afford to live comfortable back home. Some like to be able to buy imports, play as much golf as they want, live in a decent home and some like chasing the available young ladies.

      Not all men chase or cheat on their wives if they are married just as not all Filipinos are alcoholics. I do find many who do not speak English well or at all, but many who do.

      You are right about clothes, I need to get sneakers sent to me because there are none in my width.

      Well, soon we both will be back in the States and after a while our wives will be with us. I wish you the best as I know you wish for me. Hope our friendship continues and we will be in contact via phone and internet and get to see each other when we can.

      • sandy says:

        Bruce,

        So what happens if an when your wife arrives in the States and she doesn’t like it? Her family will be far away. Are your plans to return with her and the life you are trying to leave now? This sounds like a no win situation.

        • BrSpiritus says:

          I wonder how many people really realize how many laws the Democrats in the states are passing right now that will make it very difficult for expats to live in the Philippines… or anywhere else I daresay.

          Sandy I know Bruce has many plans for any eventuality, they are all well thought out but I don’t think he wants to share them with the world.

          • sandy says:

            BrSpiritus,

            He seems pretty open to answer questions.

          • Bruce says:

            Sandy,
            I am pretty open, more then most, but there are things I will not tell since it is nobodys business but mine and my families.

          • Bruce says:

            BrSpiritus,

            Maybe in your great writing style, you can expound on what the laws are doing?

            Also, as you know, I share a lot about my family and friends here, but I do not tell all. Some things are not needed to tell.

        • Bruce says:

          Sandy,
          We will see once she is there. From most of the Filipinas I have known who lived in America and then came back here with their American husbands, they would prefer to be back in the States. I know two men who say that they know as soon as they die, their wives will return to the states.
          I think with the ability for her to work and the advantages there she will be happy. If not, we will cross that bridge once we come to it.

      • Tom says:

        Bruce be advised that while you will file the I130 when your wife goes to her interview in Manila she will need an affidavit of support from you. Sometimes they call it proof of support. There are minimum income requirements for this you can check the latest requirements on the USCIS website.

        I just went through myself a short time ago. I am in Phoenix. When you get settled you can e-mail me if you like. You have it on my comments.

        Sorry it came to that best of luck to you and your wife. The six months residency to be eligable for SS benifit played a part in my petitioning my fiance. When she has been here long enough for that we will probably move back.

        • Bruce says:

          Tom,
          Thanks for your comment and information. Since old information on the internet does not go away, there are so much conflicting information. Before I file I will get all the information I need and try to have all my I’s dotted and T’s crossed.

          • Tom says:

            The Affidavit form is the I864. The form that lists the poverty guidelines is the I864P The link to the form is: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=73c63591ec04d010VgnVCM10000048f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextchannel=db029c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

            The link to the USCIS website is: http://www.usics.gov

            Also know that the Spouse Visa takes longer than the fiance to process so they will let you file a fiance petition along with the spouse petition so she can wait in the US.

            Good luck guys.

          • Bruce says:

            Tom,
            Thanks for the info and link. I read that you can have a co-sponsor for the Affidavit of Support so my mom is willing to file the forms as sponsor since I have had no income for 2 years.

          • Tom says:

            No problem. If your mom can help that will speed things up. The US Embassy also has a website that explains your wife’s part of the process and the steps she will need to take for the visa application. Just google US Embassy Manila.

            The links are the official US government websites so they will have the latest updates. Also be advised they are in the process of raising the fees again. (Always good news)

            I’ve just been through a lot of this recently that is why I am such a font of info. 🙂

          • Bruce says:

            Tom,
            What I need to do, what ever help I can get will be done once there. I just hope and pray my relocation, my working and getting Elena to America will go as easily and fast as possible.

          • Tom says:

            I hope so as well.

            Just read the instructions and be sure to provide everything they ask for and things will go smoother. If you have to go back and forth providing their requirements it slows things down a lot.

            When you get a chance look through those websites they really do provide the information you need. Just not always in one place.

          • Bruce says:

            Tom,
            I have been reading but now with the new CR1 Visa, there is a lot of conflicting information.

    • roy says:

      Excellent thesis Bruce. The title should read: Is Life in the Philippines any better?

  52. ian says:

    Questions People Ask Las Vegas Cabbies

    THE AUTHORITY ON NEVADA

    TAXI CAB DRIVERS IN LAS VEGAS

    DO YOU OWN YOUR OWN CAB?

    No. All taxi drivers in Las Vegas are employees. There are nine taxi companies in Las Vegas that own all the taxis. All the drivers are employees of one of those companies. The rates and rules for taxicabs are regulated by the Nevada Taxicab Authority which is a Nevada State law enforcement agency. The Nevada Taxicab Authority has marked and unmarked squad cars that are constantly monitoring taxis to make certain they are not breaking the rules.

    http://blog.vegastaxidriver.com/2007/07/17/questions-people-ask-las-vegas-cabbies.aspx

  53. ian says:

    Bruce- it seems you have to be careful which company you drive for in Las Vegas
    Some Las Vegas Taxicab Companies

    Pressure Cabbies to Rip Off Tourists

    by Vegas Taxi Driver
    February 6, 2009

    Several years ago I went to work as a Las Vegas cabbie for a very high pressure cab company. It had been quite a few years since I had been a cabbie in Las Vegas. I had worked for other cab companies in Las Vegas and I was confident about my ability to do a good job at any company. But no matter how hard I worked or tried to keep up with the drivers of this particular company I was working for, the average amount of money booked by other drivers on my shift was much higher than my book. At the end of my shifts, when I was counting my money, I would listen to the drivers tell horrible stories about how they ripped off customers and long hauled people. Then when I came to work the next day I would be called to the office to get chewed out by a supervisor for not booking enough. When good conventions were in town, I was not allowed to work because I had not been booking enough. I was required to come to work seven days a week and at least one half hour before the cabs started come in from the previous shift and sit there until they called my name, if I was lucky enough to have my name called at all. Then I would be assigned to one of the oldest junkers they had in their fleet, because I was not a high booker, and most of the time I was given a restricted medallion so I could not pick up passengers on the Las Vegas strip and McCarran Airport and Downtown Las Vegas, which is where 95% of the business is in Las Vegas.

    It did not take long for me to realize that the only way to succeed at this company was to start booking as much as the other drivers, and the only way to do that was to be a crook and a thief and a liar. But I think more highly of myself than that. I hadn’t been a crook for other kinds of businesses where I could have made a lot more money than driving taxi, so I wasn’t going to be a crook for them. Fortunately, they did have a lot of radio calls and a few good dispatchers. Since I had owned a taxi in a different city 20 years ago where drivers only take radio calls, I knew how to take radio calls. So I just drove restricted cabs and went out and took as many radio calls as I could and went to local casinos on the outskirts of Las Vegas and picked up passengers at their cab stands.

    Every day the company printed out a sheet with all the drivers names and the amount of money they booked so that drivers could compare how well they did. When I was driving restricted cabs, I always was one of the highest booking restricted drivers. However, when I was driving an unrestricted cab for them, I was always one of the lowest bookers. But the amount of trips I did was more than the average. The only reason I was a low booker when I was driving unrestricted cabs was because my trips cost less because I just took people the direct way instead of jerking them around and going in circles.

    One Saturday night I remember I booked about $120 less than the average amount booked by the other drivers on that night. It had been a busy night at the airport and there were some late flights that came in, so there were lots of opportunities for drivers to long haul passengers through the airport tunnel. I also had more trips than the average amount of trips of other drivers. The only thing I did not do is jerk people around. The next day I was chewed out by one of the supervisors for not booking enough. That was the last time I worked for that company.

    Because of my experiences working for some Las Vegas cab companies, I wrote several blog articles years ago about the bad policies and unscrupulous practices of taxicab companies in Las Vegas. But what I failed to say is that not all Las Vegas cab companies are the same. After working for the worst, now I work for a company that is owned and operated by decent people who have never punished me for not being a crook and have never tried to force me or coerce me to be a crook or break laws or be unethical, and have allowed me to drive good vehicles and work good shifts and not be restricted even though I am not a high booker. I don’t want to give the impression that all Las Vegas taxi companies are run the same way.

    I just started writing on this blog again after taking a two year break. My point of view has changed and my situation is different now. Two years ago I would have guaranteed you that there was no way I would still be driving a taxi in 2009. But things happen. During those two years the company I currently work for has treated me way better than I ever expected, and if I knew then what I know now about the owners of my current employer, I would have been more careful in the past to make certain that readers understand that not all owners run their companies the same way. Just because some Las Vegas cab companies have practices and policies that are unethical and abusive does not mean that it is true of all taxi companies in Las Vegas.

    Why should I care if some Las Vegas taxi companies have bad policies and unethical practices? Two years ago the Nevada Taxicab Authority was going crazy flooding Las Vegas with more taxis and two of the reasons they gave were: (1) Not having enough taxis at the Las Vegas Convention Center during times when it is impossible for taxis to get to the dysfunctional poorly designed Las Vegas Convention Center, and (2) The amount of money booked by drivers was high. > Some Las Vegas taxi companies force and/or encourage drivers to long-haul customers and drive crazy and steal from other cabbies and even run their meter with no passengers in order to satisfy their bosses and be able to continue to drive a decent vehicle or work a decent shift or not have a restricted medallion.

    The Nevada Taxicab Board should take into account that the amount of money booked by drivers who are pressured to book high amounts and that should not be the basis for punishing the honest drivers by adding more medallions and creating long lines of empty cabs at the airport and in front of hotels. As far as the Nevada Taxicab Board relying on a report from a Nevada Taxicab Authority administrator who stands at the Las Vegas Convention Center and says, “See, we need more cabs,” without doing studies on traffic congestion and feasibility and capacity, anybody can do that. The Nevada Taxicab Board should have better information than that before just putting more and more cabs in Las Vegas without finding out the real reasons and working to fix the real problems.

    The Nevada Taxicab Authority, which is responsible for enforcing laws regarding taxicabs in Las Vegas, routinely says that they are cracking down on long hauling by drivers, and sometimes they do take action in that regard. But even if a Las Vegas cabbie gets caught long hauling, it does not do anything to hinder cab companies from having policies that force, encourage, and pressure drivers to long haul. The driver pays the fine, the driver also has to reimburse the money collected from passengers, and still has to pay the company for the meter, and the company still makes money from the long haul. If the driver gets caught enough times, the company fires the driver and hires new drivers who learn from other drivers how to long haul and not get caught. There needs to be a law in Nevada that specifically prohibits taxi companies from coercing and pressuring drivers to long haul. The company I work for now does not reward drivers for being crooks and thieves, but some Las Vegas cab companies do.

    There have always been crooks driving cabs. That does not bother me personally as a cabbie. I don’t care what the other drivers are doing, as long as it does not hurt me. I feel sorry for people who have such low esteem that they feel that have to stoop to ripping people off in order to make money, but I don’t have anything against them. That is up to the individual drivers and the authorities in charge of the taxicab business. I am fine with the fact that I make less money than crooks, whether it is in the taxi business or any other business. Many people who are not crooks go to work at certain Las Vegas cab companies, and then they have to become thieves in order to drive a decent vehicle or work a decent shift or not be restricted from picking up tourists on the Las Vegas strip or McCarran Airport or Downtown Las Vegas, and that is a problem for Las Vegas.

    All of the cab companies tell their cabbies to follow the laws and all Las Vegas taxi companies punish drivers that get caught long hauling or breaking any other laws, but if drivers of certain companies know that they have to be high bookers in order to have the opportunity to drive nice cars and not be restricted, and if the amount of money they book on their meter is compared to drivers who are long hauling and stealing rides from cabbies who follow the rules and the laws, then drivers are actually being coerced into being crooks. This is bad for Las Vegas.

    Fortunately, I do not work for a company that forces me to be a crook. There are many decent and honest cabbies working for the company I am employed for now, and they do not have to be crooks and thieves in order to drive nice cabs and work good shifts and not be restricted. I am not saying that all the drivers at my company are honest and do not long haul, but they are not rewarded by the company for being crooks, and they are not pressured to be crooks.

    • Bruce says:

      Ian,
      Thanks for your research. I have seen this and other writings too. I am they type of person that does not break laws or rules because I feel I am not willing to pay the penalty.
      I will also keep my eyes open for other and better forms of employment. This is a new chance of survival and I will work my hardest to make it successful.

  54. sandy says:

    Since you are not employed at the present time what on Earth do you do with your time all day? I am sure I would go a bit crazy. S

    • Bruce says:

      Sandy.
      At first it was difficult here when I arrived. I was a work-a-haulic and never could imagine retirement. After here a few months I was employed here for about 7 months. That kept me involved since here they work 6 days a week.
      Now my routine is that of a retired person. I spend time each day on the internet keeping up with comments and articles on my sites. Many days we are out at the mall or running around. Twice a month is meetings with expat groups and seeing friends. I meet some for lunches, dinners or even just coffee.
      Sundays is food shopping, in the morning Elena goes to Church, I pick her up there at 8-8:30 and we head to the public market. After we have breakfast at McDonald’s we come home and relax a while then go to the mall for lunch and the rest of our food marketing.
      When home, since I have become addicted to playing Bridge, I spend time in Yahoo games playing bridge.

  55. ian says:

    Bruce- I mentioned this before but dont think i got an answer. Why dont you post comments chronologically ? As of now you have to scroll thru several days posts to see if there are any new ones, and sometimes i have found ones that i missed that were posted weeks ago

    • Bruce says:

      Ian,
      The comments are from oldest to newest as you scroll down. The only difference is if someone replies to a comment that reply goes under the comment they are replying to. I feel this is better since at times some readers will leave a comment to one of the readers comments. If done properly it will be groups together.

  56. sandy says:

    Bruce,

    Are you excited to begin you new adventure? Did you say you were leaving in May? Have you been looking at the cab companies? A few to try are Checker Cab, Desert Cab, Lucky Cab. S Good luck.

    • Bruce says:

      Sandy,
      Excited and stressed together. Much to do here and then much to think about once I am there. I will wait until I am there to look for the job since I need to get my drivers license in NV with a classification to drive taxis.

  57. Evelyn says:

    bruce, i have a question, why can’t you bring elena with you as your spouse right away?

    • Bruce says:

      Evelyn,
      I have to file for a spousal visa. If this all did not happen so fast, I could have filed in Manila at the U.S. Embassy but really do not have the time. Also I need to file an Affidavit of Support and show past earnings from previous years tax returns. Since I have not earned in the U.S. for 2 years, my mother is going to co-sponsor.

  58. sandy says:

    Some posts are so long it is like trying to read a novel. I try to read them and about half way through I quit. I know people want to comment but really. S

    • Bruce says:

      Sandy,
      I try to keep my articles to 1000 word max. Also with all the comments and replies on this article, it is becoming huge. Thei breaks the record for comments to a single article.

  59. ian says:

    Bruce- I’m sitting in Korea at the Inchon airport. Been here for 9 hours so far- just 3 more to go !! When you get here next week the most comfortable places to wait are one floor up by the Korean Air help desk. . I’m using the Hub Lounge where for 5 hours you have unlimited food and drinks and a computer with internet and lots of big screen tvs. Regular price is $35 usd but with your boarding pass from Korean Air you get it discounted to $21.

    • Bruce says:

      Ian,
      Thanks, I will keep that in mind. Since I have a 15 hour layover, how much they charge for that?

      • ian says:

        Bruce- I dont know for sure but I assume 3x the amount. My layover was 12 hours but i didnt come here right away. They have padded benches [ flat ! lol] that are about 10 feet long that you can lie on in the hallway near the lounge.
        The only thing is the ongoing flight announcements right over your head . As I lay there listening to the announcements while i was trying to sleep i thought about the Korean war when , in an effort to break down pows they subjected them to things like sleep deprivation etc, and thought how little things have changed !!! hehe
        My appologies to any Korean readers ! lol

  60. Kevin says:

    Bruce,

    Good luck on your return to the states. When I was in Digos, I filed both the fiancee and spousal visa. The spousal visa came through first and I went with that.

    I remember back in 2004 I left my pregnant wife there and I couldn’t get back to see her till Christmas same year. It was very difficult to do. I’m in Pennsylvania, if you need some help, give me a call or I’ll call you. I’ll pm you my number.

    • Bruce says:

      Kevin,
      Thank you. With the short time of my departure and the need to be employed and to have my mother as a co-sponsor, I will wait until I arrive in Las Vegas. I will contact state Senators and Congressmen sice that helped speed things up in the past. I will contact you if I need any assistance and I appreciate the offer.

  61. Hi Bruce- I have just recently read of your decision to return to the US.I would just like to wish you all the very best in whatever you do for the future.
    Best wishes.
    Jim.

    • Bruce says:

      Jim,
      Thanks for the good wishes. Sorry we never got to meet in person. Best of luck to you and your life here in the Philippines.

  62. SteveinDavao says:

    If in doubt, provide extra info and let them sort it out. Always give more than they need and be very cooperative if you have to phone them. They’re bureacrats and they will need to be stroked and reminded that you know THEY are in charge. BUREACRATS!!!!

  63. sandy says:

    Bruce,

    Will you be able to keep in touch with your wife or have to wait until you find employment? It must be pretty expensive to call to the Phillipines from Nevada. I read that you have not worked in 2 years so I hope you have some savings for the calls or the internet chat since you will have to set that up also. S

    • Bruce says:

      Sandy,
      Where I will be living they have internet. I will also leave my MagicJack here for Elena to call me for free.

  64. Mel says:

    Bruce,

    Whatever you decide to do, I believe you will do it with all the best intentions in the world, for you and your wife’s best interests, and for your own personal desire to be as productive as you possibly can.

    I am working with a U.S. based partner to develop medical tourism here in Davao City. Reading your blog has, in a way, helped me better assess the kind of service we are going to deliver to our prospective clients who are mostly Americans.

    Also, with your insights, comments, reflections, I have a better “feel” of how a foreigner sees the Philippines through their eyes. This is particularly important to the kind of business we are venturing in. We shall be dealing with people who shall be exposed to the nuances, idiosyncrasies and eccentricities of a different culture – one that majority of them have not encountered before. For those insights, for those thoughts, I thank you.

    We hope that this business venture of ours shall see fruition in the future. Davao City, and in general the Philippines, with all its warts and pimples, can still compete and deliver what it sets its mind and its heart to do. We are a relatively young country, and, even though it is over-long, we are still experiencing birth pains.

    Good Luck and GodSpeed on your journey back home.

    • Bruce says:

      Mel,
      I thank you for the vote of confidence and also the value you see with my site.
      I wish you well with your venture. You do need to improve the connection with the hospital and hotels. Also something where meds are included and do not need a watcher to make runs to the pharmacy.
      If you ever want to advertise here, I would welcome an ad.

      • Mel says:

        Hey, we could do that. We are finalyzing our sales materials and brochures – the whole works. We are also ironing out our remuneration plan to everybody who can refer clients to us. As you know, cosmetics surgery procedures are elective procedures in the US. Costs would be 75% less here in the Philippines. And with the troubles in Thailand, a lot of medical tourists are looking for alternative destinations. Hopefully, they would look at the Philippines.

        Anyway, I hope we could help each other out – for our mutual benefit. We DO need people to pass on the word regarding medical tourism here. With your pragmatic look at Davao (realistic, nitty gritty details, no sugar-coating) you could make for a credible salesman.

  65. mila says:

    Bruce , i wish you all the best…

  66. Bill Bedient says:

    Did you think it was a good decision to move back to the States. I’m thinking about moving over there. I live on a $1400.00 month pension. I have been looking at your website at trying to decide what would be a good thing for me, i’m a 50yr old single man not looking for a wife just somebody for companionship maybe. I been talking to Rusty Fergeason and Matt Wikki these two gentleman live over there. I would appericate any Help or Correspendance with this.

    Thank You in Advance
    Bill

    • Bruce says:

      Bill Bedient,
      First I advise you to go visit there for a minimum of 3 months. Live in a rented place and see how you deal with life there. I think you can live conservatively on your pension. Also you need to remember, without a marraige to a Filipina, you either have to renew your visa every other month and leave the country every 16 months. The only other option is tie up a bunch of your savings in a retirement visa.

  67. Joe says:

    Hi Bruce, I really like your honest evaluations and topics. I am curious from reading some of your posts if you think it is possible for a man to enjoy living there if he has maybe $1,200 a month to live on. I know you cannot speak for all, as we have different likes etc., but it looks as though you were not content to be there. What if you had more money per month, would you have liked it or just longed for the states. Thanks again and hope things work out for you and your wife. Joe

    • Bruce says:

      Joe,
      I am glad you found my site and enjoying it. Living on $1,200 a month will be difficult depending on your needs. It also depends on where you live. Which city, or province.

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