Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'm Now a Lawful Permanent US Resident! :).

First and foremost is my big thanks to Him up there who continues to answers our prayers and constantly gives us more than enough blessings with our lives daily. Thank you Lord!

When I came here in the US to finally join my husband, I was granted a conditional permanent residence for 2 years. Of course, we still consider paper works as hassles since we keep on submitting the same documents, forms, etc...and yet the payments continue to increase! Plus, we can't just imagine long months of waits before we could finally get a result...well, in this case where you don't have any choice but to follow the law is a tough hurdle. But in the end of each final step of struggle, it is all worth it.

Dealing with the US immigration involves a lot of paperworks, not to mention some interviews...I consider this as a battle - just like fighting for my marriage and relationship with my husband, which is really the focus, anyway.

It took me 9 months to wait before I received a letter of approval last week (March 11) from the USCIS congratulating me about being a permanent US resident, and will be a green card holder for 10 years! But on the other hand, the wait is not yet over until I have the 10-yrs green card in hand. (letter says I have to wait within 60 days).

Of course, the approval is as well an automatic eligibility to take the US citizenship or Naturalization test. So, in this case, one more final step to get that test and I'm done. This means, it's one more step of doing the same routines..fingerprinting, submitting paperworks and forms, etc..., wait another several months, before getting the final result! {{sigh}}'s one more FINAL step of long waits but I wouldn't be minding it since it would be the final hurdle with USCIS! :).

By the way, I will be eligible for citizenship on August 30, 2009 onwards :). Isn't that cool?  (Yay).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Philippine Domestic Airlines Online?....My Goodness Gracious!!!

Thank God, after spending so many hours trying to book 5 people online, I finally managed to get our domestic airline tickets late last night (e-tickets). My special thanks for my husband's coming in to the rescue so these could all be done!

I hate name dropping, but this time, I thought it might be of good help to some who would be thinking of purchasing their tickets online from either of the Philippine domestic airlines online.  No offense meant to the airlines I would be mentioning, but I am just sharing an experience.

Since we will be travelling during the peak season, I and hubby just decided to get our domestic air tickets earlier, so we decided checking the airlines' air fares, schedules, etc. We were glad it says on their websites we can book and pay online, so that's super cool...much more convenient for us.

I first worked with Cebu Pacific (which has a good price by the way) for a Manila-Iloilo flight. The first attempt to book and pay failed because our credit card was declined. Here comes hubby to the rescue, called our credit card bank, which gave him an answer that the anti-fraud unit is now authorizing the transaction. I tried booking again 4 times, still failed 4 times, hubby called bank again 4 times, with 4 different answers...and hubby's face was turning red!!oh-oh..I said this is not good! There were bad argues on the phone and hubby was so pissed off, so that he decided to just give up using the card and close the account...(sorry Chase).
Second option....I tried calling on Cebu Pacific's phone (call center) so we could just book and pay via phone, and I was on stand by for more than an hour!!!where all I could hear are commercial ads of Smart and Globe played gazillion times! Where in the world are those people at? Sleeping? They just lost another sale of at least more than $200 for that...why? we gave up and decided to go for another airline.

This is our second story: I and hubby decided to just then shift to Air Philippines, another domestic airline. We remembered buying our tickets online last 2007 from them, and it was okay. Just a bit more expensive than Cebu Pacific, but if we could just buy tickets without any problems, we won't mind about the price.
So, I then started booking 2 round trip tickets (I and hubby) using credit card, (byt the way, this time we are using another credit card, not Chase!) and it was okay. The hassles came in when I started booking 3 one-way tickets for Iloilo when the fillable form asked that any of the 3 passengers should be one of the credit card holders which obviously would be impossible because these 3 passengers are my family and I am buying the tickets for them. Anyway, since I couldn't reach any live person on their phone, (as the Philippines, a hotline number NEVER works!) I put one of their names on the credit card so that the tickets could go through the booking system. They went through indeed and were confirmed! I know the consequences of what I did, so I asked for hubby's rescue again, LOL!

First, hubby had to call the credit card bank and explained to them that a transaction with a different name on it might appear on the billing, and the bank said it would be okay since hubby had called them earlier to notify them about this international transaction. Furthermore, at that time, the lady said they haven't receive the transaction yet, but we won't be worrying about it anymore since they were informed about it.

Second, we called the reservations of Air Philippines. Hubby volunteered to do the call and he was on standby for 30 minutes! Thank God, we had this earphone that you can just stick it into the phone so you could be hands-free! :). Finally, the operator answered. Of course we had to tell him about what happened on the credit card with the different name on it. The guy told hubby he still has to check about this with his superior and so hubby was put on hold for another 20 minutes. The guy returned, and this time I got the chance to speak to him:

Operator: Hi mam are you Mrs. ____?
Me: Yes.
Operator: How are you related to Mrs..Ms. and Mr?____?
Me:They are my family, and I am the credit card holder. I am buying the tickets for them.
Operator: Well, mam, putting one of your family's name on your credit card is not allowed since she is not a card holder.
Me: I know it wasn't. But since I can't reach anyone on the phone, and your website is not equipped with an option of  ordering tickets for people that are not card holders, I had to do that. Sorry for doing it, but I will be travelling together with them, so I'll be carrying my card with me just in case you wanna check. Are there any advices and recommendations you can give?
Operator: Mam, we should not be allowing it, but we would allow this case only for this time. But mam, pls. don't do it again? Then, you have to make a certification letter explaining that you are the credit card holder, to be presented on your check-in...blah,blah,blah!
Me: Thank You. I appreciate you giving me the information and warning. Thanks for the time and answering our queries. Bye.

Whew! Our phone transaction, including the stand by hours was 1 hour 20 minutes.

After more than an hour, I received the e-tickets on my email.

End of our ordeal! :)