Should You Buy a Brand-New or Pre-Owned Home?

One of the things OFWs would want to buy is a house. After all, who doesn’t want to have a place they could call their own, right?

Here’s the next question: what type of house should you buy? Should you go for a brand-new house or pre-owned?

The truth is you can buy any. Before you do, you need to know the pros and cons of buying brand new or a pre-owned house to help you decide better.

Let’s Go for a Brand-New House

When we say brand new house, we mean houses or condominium units built by real estate developers. It’s a different case if you simply bought a property and have someone construct your dream home.

Below are the pros of buying a brand-new house:

  • The design of the house is modern and contemporary since it was built according to the latest trends.
  • You don’t need to worry about repairs since the house was newly-constructed. In fact, everything is new.
  • Minimal changes can be done, which you must address during the construction phase. Nonetheless, this is applicable if you will be buying a house constructed by a real estate company.
  • You can easily design and personalize the house according to your own preferences.

On the other hand, here are the downside of buying brand new:

  • The selling price is higher. Real estate tends to increase in value, so you need to consider the selling price first before you say yes.
  • If you will be buying in a subdivision, then the house will look the same as the rest. Still, you could make minor changes outside that will set your house apart from the rest.
  • Room for price negotiation is limited.
  • The space and interior of the house may be limited since developers follow a specific layout.

That being said, you still need to check on the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the developer. Inspection is also a must, so make sure you schedule an ocular visit to get to feel the neighborhood.

Pre-Owned Home is the Way to Go

Let’s say you decided to go for a pre-owned house. That’s fine.

Here are the good things about buying this type of house:

  • Price is lower compared to brand-new houses. Some are even willing to sell it market value just to sell the property.
  • Speaking of prices, there is more room for negotiation. This is why house inspection is important so that you could see the condition of the house and negotiate according to the present condition.
  • There are more options that could suit your preferences. In fact, you could see houses that hit all of the requirements in your checklist.

Consequently, there are downsides to buying a pre-owned house. This includes:

  • You need to consider repairs and/or renovation. Pre-owned house means someone lived there. You have to check every tiny detail and make repairs to make sure that the house is liveable. Make sure you address leaks and pests since this could compromise the integrity of the house. You might even be tempted to change locks, overhaul certain parts of the house, and do re-painting jobs.
  • There is semblance of the past. The pre-owned house was built years ago, which means there are portions of the house that reflect the trends from the past. If this doesn’t suit you, then you might want to include this in your renovation plans.
  • Whether you like it or not, someone lived in that house. You might not be comfortable with that idea, which means getting a brand-new house is more suitable for you.

Should you decide to buy a second-hand home, make sure you make thorough inspection. It’s hard to back out once you decide to say yes to a particular house.

Get to Know Your Obligations as a Homeowner

Congratulations. Finally, you have a place you can call your home. It’s not easy because you and your family have to give up several balikbayan boxes and travel plans for years to make sure that you can buy a place of your own. At least now, you can come home to a place that belongs to you and you don’t have to worry about where to live come retirement.

Apparently, owning a home comes with responsibilities – sometimes, a costly one. In fact, paying for the house is just a small chunk of being a homeowner. There are tons of responsibilities and obligations that come with it, which you need to prepare for.

Here are your obligations you need to prepare for as a homeowner:

Payment of Association Dues

This is applicable if you bought a condominium unit or a property inside a village with an existing homeowner’s association.

Association dues or monthly dues are fees collected by the homeowner’s association from its members. The amount usually depends on the size of the property, although some associations agree on a uniform and reasonable amount.

Payment of association dues allows you to enjoy benefits within the community such as the use of common areas and facilities and provision for security among others. In case of default, you may not be allowed to enjoy these benefits.

Monthly Amortizations

Just like majority of Filipinos, you decided to get a housing loan to finance the purchase of your dream home. You can apply for one from banks, government institutions like PAG-IBIG, or private lenders.

When you get a housing loan, this means every month, you will pay principal and interest amount for x number of years.

You need to prepare for this. Failure to pay your monthly amortization may lead to foreclosure of your property. This means the house you paid for might be taken away from you and you surely don’t want that to happen.

Before you decide to buy a house, make sure you have sufficient funds to cover for the amortization. This way, even if you are no longer working overseas, you could still pay your loan.

Real Property Tax

According to the Local Government Code, the local government unit may impose yearly fee on all types of real estate. This fee is a certain percentage of the property’s assessed value, which means the bigger the property, the higher the real property tax or RPT will be.

Each municipality has its own policies on the collection of RPT. The Quezon City government gives 20 percent discount until March 31 of every year for early payment of RPT. Some cities allow discount up to January 31 only.

Regardless, you can pay RPT in full or every quarter. It is best that you pay for the entire year so you don’t have to worry about taxes for the rest of the year. You can not only enjoy discount but also lessen the risk of being a delinquent taxpayer.

Don’t underestimate non-payment of real property tax since you could potentially lose your home.

Regular Maintenance

Apart from your financial obligations, you are also expected to perform certain tasks as a homeowner.

Just like any other things you own, wear and tear could be an issue that you need to address as soon as possible. There will be leaks in the roof, broken doors or cabinets, pipe issues, and the list goes on.

Always make sure you set aside a portion of your income to cover for these maintenance expenses. You need to prioritize this, otherwise, you could compromise the integrity of your home, which you don’t want to happen.

Being a homeowner is about responsibility. Take note of these obligations and surely, your home will reward you with safety, security, comfort, and peace of mind.

6 Tips Nobody Tells You when Buying a Second-Hand Home

In a previous post, we talked about tips on how to buy foreclosed properties. After all, this could be a feasible option since this is generally cheaper than buying a brand-new property.

What about second-hand or previously-owned home?

This could be a good option as well. Pre-owned house is also more affordable. In fact, you can get a pre-owned three-bedroom house in the same area at a cheaper price compared to similar brand new unit.

Don’t get excited yet. There are several factors you need to look into before you buy a previously-owned house.

Check out these tips as your guide before you say yes to a certain property:

Tip No. 1: Know where to look.

Fortunately for you, finding a property to buy is easier even if you are miles away from home. There are dedicated websites that allow you to browse various property listings in and out of Metro Manila. You can also join groups on Facebook where people regularly post properties for sale.

Take advantage of these online platforms. The good news is you can even ask details about their listing, thereby making it easier for you to make a shortlist of prospective properties.

Tip No. 2: Location is key.

When it comes to buying a house, whether or not it is brand-new or pre-owned, location is very important. You want a house that is accessible to school, malls, supermarket, church, and hospital. You also want to live in a place where you don’t have to worry during rainy season. Surely, you don’t want to your family to live in a house where the surrounding environment has high crime rate.

In other words, don’t compromise the location in exchange of cheaper price. Safety and comfort should be among your priorities, so make sure you choose a location that could provide you with these.

Another reason why location is important is because of the market value of the property. Make sure that the house you plan to buy is within the range.

Tip No. 3: Make sure you inspect the property.

Pictures can be deceiving. Before you say yes to a property, especially for a pre-owned house, you need to see its condition first.

Inspection is crucial because you need to check not just the overall structure of the house but also every corner of it. The house will potentially be your home, which means you need to see its present condition including but not limited to:

  • Structural integrity
  • Electrical system
  • Plumbing
  • Cracks and leaks
  • Roof, floor, and walls

Take these into account since the costs you might pay to make the house functional again may be equivalent to buying a brand-new unit. This could be a deal-breaker, so make sure you schedule that inspection.

Tip No. 4: Check the documents.

Aside from inspecting the property, you need to inspect the documents as well.

Are you buying the property from the owner as seen in the title? Are the real estate taxes paid and up to date? Is the owner selling the correct amount of land based on the title?

You need to make sure that the sale is legitimate, which is why checking the documents is a must.

Tip No. 5: Know your budget.

You found the perfect home for your family. You contacted the owner, had several exchanges online, and scheduled property viewing on your upcoming vacation.

As it turns out, the property you plan to buy is way out of your budget.

Before you go through the process of communication and inspection, you need to establish first how much you are willing to pay for your family home. Luckily, pre-owned houses are relatively cheaper than brand-new units, but still, it should be within your range.

What about financing? That is possible, but take note that lenders can only extend up to 60 or 70 percent of the purchase price. The balance will be shouldered by you, which means you need to withdraw money from your savings account to be able to buy that house.

Since you are buying a pre-owned property, consider the costs of repairs as well. You might have budget for your home but can your pocket handle thousands of pesos more for repairs?

Tip No. 6: Ask the neighborhood.

Sellers will always have their best foot forward. They want to sell the property so naturally, they will say only the best things.

If you’re unsure, then don’t be afraid the ask the neighborhood to verify. There may be incidents in the past that could be red flag for you, so make sure you ask.

5 Things to Remember when Buying a Foreclosed Property

Where do you plan to use your hard-earned money from working overseas? Surely, you would want to have sufficient savings for the rainy days, set aside money for your kids’ tuition fee, pay off existing debts, and buy a place you could call your home.

Yes, your home.

Apparently, buying a house, regardless of its type, requires money – big amount of money. Because of this, you might hear some people say you consider buying foreclosed property since it is cheaper and easier on the wallet.

Don’t get too excited. Here are several things you need to remember before you say to a foreclosed property:

Tip No. 1: Location, location, location.

This is one, if not the most important consideration when buying a property in general. Ideally, your future home must be near establishments like school, hospital, malls, or grocery stores. You also need to check whether or not the property is located in the fault line or in flood-prone area.

Don’t forget to check the surroundings because you surely don’t want to live near slaughterhouses, squatters, or garbage dump. Ask about the crime rate incidence because safety of your family is something you need to consider as well.

Tip No. 2: Check the current condition of the property.

You are looking for a place that you could potentially call your home. This is why it is imperative that you inspect the house before you pay. After all, foreclosed properties are often sold in “as is, where is” basis, which means expect that the house is not in tiptop condition.

Wear and tear is normal, especially when the house has been existing for years. If you see that the property needs extensive repairs because you saw cracks on the walls, termite infestation, or rotting wood among many others, then you might want to reconsider your choice. In fact, questionable structural integrity could be a red flag.

Paint job or changing the door knobs is fine, but if you need to shell a big amount for the repairs due to structural flaw, then the property may not be worth it.

Tip No. 3: Know the costs involved.

Buying a foreclosed property doesn’t end with paying the selling price. In fact, there are many other costs you need to pay for such as:

  • Capital Gains Tax, although this is usually shouldered by the seller
  • Documentary Stamp Tax
  • Transfer Tax
  • Real Property Tax
  • Association dues if the property is a condominium or a part of homeowner’s association
  • Repairs to be done on the property

In other words, you need to factor in these costs plus any other additional costs to check whether or not you are getting a good deal. This should be considered because you might be surprised to find out that buying a brand-new property is cheaper.

Tip No. 4: Establish your budget.

How much are you willing to pay for your dream home?

The price of your choice of property is dependent on its location. This means if you are eyeing for a house in Quezon City, then you need to prepare a big amount. If you are willing to spend up to P3 million only, then you need to look outside Quezon City where properties are more affordable.

What if you don’t have enough cash on hand? Then you might consider financing. Banks and private lenders offer financing options to help you buy your home at affordable interest rate.

Take note that even though financing is available, you still need to cash out a certain percentage of the selling price. Having a cash on hand is also important especially when you buy foreclosed properties during auctions.

Tip No. 5: Work with banks or accredited broker.

Scammers or people with bad intentions often look for people who could easily fall into their trap. Oftentimes, they take advantage of OFWs because you are easier to convince.

Well, don’t be a victim. When it comes to buying foreclosed properties, it is best to work with banks or accredited real estate brokers. They will help you every step of the way and guide you to ensure that the sale is as smooth-sailing as possible.

You wouldn’t want to end up with a problematic property, do you?

5 Practical Hotels in Metro Manila for Your Next Family Staycation

Finally, a much deserved vacation for you. You were allowed by your boss to go home for a week so you want to make sure that you make the most out of your stay. What’s the best way to spend time with them?

Well, there are tons of options but with limited time, you could try staycation.

“Mahal yan,” you might say.

That’s true. Still, there are hotels across the metro that are within your budget but don’t compromise quality of service. In case you’re interested, here are some options for you:

Privato Hotel, Ortigas

Privato Hotel is a business and lifestyle hotel located in Pasig. It is also located near Capitol Commons and Ortigas Center Business District, making malls like SM Megamall and Ayala Mall’s The 30th more accessible.

The hotel currently has 177 Italian-inspired with contemporary style rooms that will surely make you feel at home – without hurting your wallet. Your kids will love the pool area and if you’re thinking of having a relaxing view, eat dinner at the hotel’s Roofdeck.

Room rate starts at P1,907 per night.

Kabayan Hotel, Pasay

Staying overseas will surely make you miss not just your family but also the Philippines. If you want to experience that Filipino hospitality, then Kabayan Hotel in Pasay City should be part of your list.

Currently, the hotel has 276 rooms, each one offering a certain level of comfort. It also have Kapsule beds that will surely give you a glimpse of Japanese life. There’s also a free shuttle to and from SM Mall of Asia, which is perfect pasyalan for your family.

The best part is that the hotel has a dedicated OFW Center that is meant to provide you with a comfortable home.

Room rate starts at P3,481 per night

B Hotel, Quezon City and Alabang

In case you’re looking for Instagram-worthy hotel, then B Hotel might not fail you. Its sleek, modern, and industrial interiors set it apart from the other hotels in the metro.

If you’re staying in Quezon City branch, the hotel is walking distance to Tomas Morato area. On the other hand, the Alabang branch is strategically-located at Madrigal Business Park, thereby making “malling” easier for you.

Room rate starts at P3,268 per night. It also offers discounted rate if it’s your birthday month with free birthday cake.

The Legend Villas, Mandaluyong

If you insist on anything Filipino-related instead of the more modern venues, then you could try The Legend Villas in Mandaluyong. This 100 percent Filipino-owned hotel offers luxurious feel without hurting your budget. It also has its Old World charm – from Venetian glass-framed mirrors to curved staircase to Filipino design of rooms – in an urban setting. Amenities like swimming pool, gym, and restaurants are there as well.

We suggest that you get the Deluxe Room for your family, which is spacious enough to fit a family of four OR the Team Suite, which has dining and living areas.

Room rate starts at P3,300 per night. You might want to book in advance, at least 10 days before your scheduled arrival, to avail up to 20 percent discount on room rate.

KL Serviced Residences, Makati

Makati is the place to be because it has everything you need – food, places to see, malls, and the list goes on. If you want to explore the country’s premier business district with your family, then consider staying in KL Serviced Residences.

This apartment-style comes with amenities that will make you feel at home. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, opt for two-bedroom suite, which has fully functional kitchen and dining area. Internet is not a problem as well, so you could stay connected at work just in case.

Room rate starts at P2,440 per night. You could also get deals from coupon websites for discount on bigger rooms.

10 Rules to Remember when Riding an Airplane

There are several ways that could bring you from point A to point B. You could ride a bicycle, a car, a bus, or even a train. If you’re an OFW, whether first-timer or balik-manggagawa, the easiest way to go to your country destination is by plane.

Did you know that there are rules to follow when riding an airplane?

Before you leave, here are important airplane etiquette you should know as a form of courtesy and respect to other passengers:

Rule No. 1: Scent matters.

You’ll never know who among the passengers are allergic to particular scents that could lead to adverse effects. Before you ride a plane, avoid carrying anything that comes with strong scents.

This rule extends to the perfumes and skincare products you bought as pasalubong. There’s no need to spray it on the plane and these products are best kept in your bag.

Rule No. 2: Be mindful of your belongings.

There is a reason why a particular seat is designated to a particular person. Make sure you stay on that designated spot, including your belongings. The plane is spacious enough to position your hand carries so make sure you maximize on that without taking the space of the other passengers.

Rule No. 3: Be considerate when using the lavatory.

It’s annoying when someone at home takes a long time using the bathroom. Imagine that inside the plane where hundreds of passengers are limited to two lavatories.

Therefore, be considerate when using the lavatory. It is a common area shared by everyone. This means other people will use it, so make sure to keep it quick. Don’t take your time inside the bathroom since there is a line outside. Keep it clean after use as well. Leaving a mess is just outright inconsiderate.

This leads you to the next rule.

Rule No. 4: Stand up only when necessary.

Flights can be long, especially if you are heading outside Asia. You might want to walk around to stretch your legs, which is fine.

Still, make sure you get up only when it is convenient. Avoid standing if you see the cabin crew with their pushcarts coming your way. You might also want to time your bathroom breaks if you’re sitting on the window side. Otherwise, you’ll be disturbing your co-passengers if you stand up and move every 30 minutes.

Rule No. 5: Be respectful to the cabin crew.

Yes, cabin crew are there to assist you with your needs and make the flight comfortable for you. Still, they are not your servants who you can call and curse in case something didn’t go your way.

The point is be respectful. Treat them nicely and humanely, similar to the way you want to be treated. They’re humans too so treat them with respect.

Rule No. 6: Overhead bins are for sharing.

Carry-on luggages are placed on the overhead bin or that cabinet looking space above the passenger’s head. Sometimes, passengers place their bags under their chair, but if you have a bulkier carry-on luggage, you put it on the overhead bin, which is also a common space shared by everyone.

This is why do not abuse that shared space. If you see that there’s not enough space on the overhead bin for your bag, then look for other spaces near you. Never force your stuff in or else, you might damage the personal belongings of other passengers.

Rule No. 7: There is no battle of the armrest.

There is a never-ending debate on who gets what armrest, especially if you’re seated in the middle. To put things in perspective, here’s what you need to know about armrest:

  • The person seating on the window gets the armrest nearest the window.
  • The person seating on the aisle seat gets the armrest on the aisle area.
  • The person seating on the middle seat gets both the armrest in between him. This is a form of compensation for being squeezed between two passengers.

We hope this settles the issue.

Rule No. 8: To recline or not to recline the chair?

You want you ride to be as comfortable as possible. Can you imagine sleeping in an upright position? Therefore, you are tempted to recline your chair so you could sleep comfortably.

Well, easy on that. You still need to be mindful and conscious of other people’s space before you recline your chair. As much as possible, do not recline since it would make the person at your back uncomfortable. Certainly, the person in front of you reclining his seat will make you uncomfortable as well.

If you feel the urge to do so, then here’s what you need to do:

  • Check the person at the back and see if s/he is using the tray.
  • Inform the person at the back regarding your intention to recline the chair.
  • If he said that he’ll be using the tray first, then respect it. Don’t force.

Rule No. 9: Sleep considerately.

It’s normal to snooze on the plane, especially if your flight is at night. When you do, do it with consideration.

Avoid using the tray as your headrest. Be mindful of your space when you position yourself to sleep. If you can, bring a neck pillow so you’ll stay in your space as you hit the snooze button.

Rule No. 10: Know the proper way on how to disembark from the plane.

The pilot will inform you if you’re about to land. During that time, there will be reminders on what to do so make sure you listen carefully and follow them without question. It’s for your safety.

As the plane disembarks, stay on your seat with your seatbelt on. Remove the seatbelt only when the seatbelt sign is turned off. Once the plane landed, don’t immediately stand to get your things and go out of the plane. Front rows get out first and there is no contest with a prize waiting for that person who gets out of the plane first.

Keep these rules in mind.

POEA Online Services You Should Know About

Let’s face the truth: applying for a job overseas is not easy. Then, there are also tons of documents you need to comply with to make sure that you are properly documented and be able to enjoy the status of OFW.

Thankfully, the government, particularly the POEA, is taking steps to improve and promote efficiency in their services.

Did you know that POEA now has online services facility? This means booking appointments, registering, getting clearances, and requesting for documents among others can be done online. This also means you don’t have to line up and wait for hours waiting for a single document to be released, thereby making everything more convenient.

Here are the services you can avail of through POEA’s online facility:

OFW Record Online Appointment

This service is available in case you want to request for OFW Information Sheet or Record. Instead of going early to the POEA Office to get a number, you can simply log-in to their OFW Records System and schedule an appointment.

When scheduling for an appointment, make sure you have a previous Appointment Reference Number (ARN) to log-in. If you don’t have ARN yet, you may register and set an appointment through this link.

Manpower Registry (e-Registration)

Aside from licensed recruitment agencies, POEA, from time to time, releases job openings for Filipinos aspiring to work overseas. You can set up your profile through POEA’s e-Registration facility. The said facility also allows OFWs to get access to online services such as applying for OEC and paying processing fees.

Take note that this service is also particularly important for direct hires. This is also necessary for all seafarers.

In case you don’t have an account yet, you may register through this link.

Balik Manggagawa Online Processing System

One of the most important requirements you need to secure as an OFW is the Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC. This will serve as proof that you are a properly documented OFW and exempted from travel taxes and airport fees among others.

You can set up an appointment through this link.

Online Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar

This is another important requirement you need to comply with as OFW. The Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar or PEOS is a service of POEA that provides you with necessary information you need to know about overseas application, the fees involves, and safeguards against illegal recruitment among others.

Don’t worry because this service is free. You simply need to log-in and make an account, take the learning modules, and print your PEOS certificate. Take note that the PEOS Certificate is an important requirement when applying for a job overseas, so make sure you take this seriously.

Verification of Status of Recruitment Agencies

This is important. Illegal recruitment is something the government is seriously working on to avoid compromising the lives of Filipinos. Before you apply, make sure you check this facility because it lists the names of legitimate recruitment agencies as well as those whose licenses were suspended.

If the name of the agency you applied for is not on the list of agencies with valid license, then don’t push through and look for a new one to avoid being a victim of illegal recruitment.

Verification of Agency’s Job Orders

It’s easy to say that a particular job is needed overseas, but how sure are you?

This is why POEA launched this online service to check that the agency has approved job order/s as submitted by licensed recruitment agencies.

SRA / LOA Online Application System

This is the Online Recruitment Authority Application System. As of this writing, there is limited information as to how this system works.

Adjudication Cases Monitor

Unfortunately, not all is well for OFWs. In case you filed a case against your foreign employer due to employment issues, then this system will give you an update as to the status of your case.

As of this writing, this site is still under maintenance.

The POEA Online System is still a working progress, but it is a good step to provide thousands of OFWs a convenient access to various services. Take advantage of it.

4 Passport Appointment Scams You Need to Avoid

One of the basic requirements of working overseas is passport. In fact, our passport should not be less than six months prior to expiration; otherwise, you will be asked to renew it. Many countries overseas are also strict about this six-months validity rule and won’t issue you Entry Visa or Work Permit if your passport is about to expire in six months.

Here’s the thing: applying for a passport is not that easy. In fact, some would take months before they can even book for an appointment. Because of this and the immediate need to fulfill requirements to be able to work abroad, some Filipinos turn to fixers, hoping to expedite the process and get their passports earlier than usual. Some are even pure scam and meant to extort money from you.

Save yourself from that by knowing these appointment scams you need to avoid:

Scam No. 1: The False Bar Code 

When you schedule an appointment online to either apply or renew a passport, you will notice the bar code on the top right of the application form. This is automatically generated from the DFA system.

Apparently, scammers would go the extra mile by printing false bar code on your application to make it appear that your passport application was submitted and accepted by the DFA system.

Scam No. 2: Applying on the Applicant’s Behalf

This is how it works: you approached a fixer because you need to get your passport pronto. The fixer will apply on your behalf and tell you that you can use the courtesy lane.

Don’t get too excited. Before you can proceed to the submission of your passport application, DFA representatives will check your application form and documents to see if you are qualified for the exemption. If you’re not, then you wasted money for nothing.

Scam No. 3: The Fixer’s Fee

The truth is DFA accepts endorsements from other government agencies as a form of courtesy or by way of accommodation.

Sadly, there are fixers who would go as far as falsifying or giving you fake endorsements from government agencies or officials just so you could process your passport. There are also some who got authentic endorsements from government agencies and sell this to passport applicants.

We understand the urgency of applying and getting your passport, but you don’t need to shell out thousands to be able to get one in an illegal manner.

Scam No. 4: Slot Not Under Your Name

Some fixers apply for a passport and get a reservation slot. Apparently, they won’t be renewing or applying for their own passport, rather said reservation slot will be sold to another person who is in need of a schedule.

The problem with this is that the slot is NOT reserved under your name. This could be problematic since even if you have a slot, the person in the given schedule is different from you and has different details. This will prompt DFA representatives not to allow you to enter and proceed with the passport application.

These forms of scam are frowned upon by the DFA and encouraged Filipinos to go legal. Yes, they admitted that it could take time before you’re able to get a slot but be patient. It is better to wait legitimately than process and get your passport fast but with accompanying dangers like fake passport.

Still, don’t worry. Per DFA website, Overseas Filipino Workers (both land- and sea-based) do not need passport appointment. You may avail of the Courtesy Lane anytime from Monday to Friday, which means no appointment needed. This will make application or renewal easier and more convenient for you.

You just need to bring the following documents or proof of your OFW status such as:

  • Valid iDOLE card
  • Valid employment contract
  • Valid Work Visa
  • Seaman’s book (for sea-based applicants) stamped at international border less than 365 days from date of application

You may also choose between regular or expedite processing, depending on how soon you need it.

Red Ribbon: Authenticating Documents at the Department of Foreign Affairs

Working overseas means earning in dollars, which also means bigger earning. This will allow you to secure a better life and future for your family because you get to earn more than usual. Apparently, the path towards greener pastures is not easy.

To begin with, applying for a job does not automatically equate to employment. You have to go through a rigid screening process to ensure that you are qualified for the job. Also, you need to submit tons of documents that will show not just who you are but also your capabilities.

Don’t take this lightly. There are employers who prefer documents that are authenticated by the country’s Foreign Affairs department, also known as red ribbon. This is to ensure that the documents submitted are authentic and zgenuine.

The question now is how does this work? 

Documents that can be Authenticated

1. Birth, Marriage, Death certificate, or Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) and/or Negative Records

– Take note that the document/s must be printed in the security paper issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority, (PSA, formerly NSO). In case the document on hand is registered with the Local Civil Registrar (LCR) within six months from date of registration, it must be authenticated by the PSA.

2. Transcript of Records (TOR) or Diploma

– If from state college or university, submit Certified True Copy from the school AND Certification, Authentication, and Verification (CAV) from the school and signed by School / University Registrar and/or the school’s authorized signatory

– If from private school, college, or university, Certified True Copy from the school AND CAV from Commission on Higher Education (CHED) where the school is located

– If for technical or vocational course, Certified True Copy from the school AND CAV from TESDS where the school is located.

– Form 137 and Diploma for Elementary and High School Level, Certified True Copy from the school AND CAV from DepEd Regional Office where the school is located

3. Medical / AIDS-Free Certificate

– Document must be certified / authenticated by the Department of Health

4. Driver’s License

– Must come with accompanying certification from LTO (Main branch only)

5. Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) issued licenses

– Must be certified / authenticated by CAAP

6. Professional License / Board Certificate or Ratings / Certifications

– Document must be certified / authenticated by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC)

7. NBI Clearance

– The clearance issued must be in green and issued by the NBI

8. Certificate of Employment, Seminar, Training / Baptismal Certificate / Other documents issued by a private entity

– Notarized affidavit, which states factual circumstances and that the documents are considered as attachment/s

– Certificate of Authority for a Notarial Act (CANA) signed by Executive / Vice Executive Judge from the Regional Trial Court that issued the commission of the Notary Public

We only listed documents that are relevant when applying for a job overseas. For a complete list of documents that can be authenticated, please check this link

How to Process Authentication of Documents

1. Go to Authentication Services at the DFA Main Consular Services between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Aside from the Main Branch, the following DFA Consular Services can also process authentication:

  • DFA NCR-Northeast (Alimall, Cubao, Quezon City)
  • DFA NCR-East (SM Megamall)
  • DFA NCR-West (SM Manila)
  • DFA NCR-South (Alabang Town Center)

2. Fill out the application form from sections A to C. You can get a copy of the application here.

3. Proceed to the Processing Window and submit your application form and the document/s that need/s to be authenticated.

4. Pay for the corresponding fees at the cashier. Authentication fee is P100 per document, which will be released after four working days. If you want it expedited, pay P200 per document and you can get it the next working day.

Things to Remember when Claiming Authenticated Documents

  • Keep the Official Receipt. Said OR will be surrendered at the Releasing Drop Box. 
  • Present a valid ID at the Releasing Window. Check out this list of acceptable IDs by the DFA.
  • Check the document/s released to ensure that you got the right one.

What if you cannot personally process and/or claim the authentication of documents? 

That’s fine. Below is the procedure on how to process / claim authentication of documents on someone else’s behalf:

1. Present the original copy of the Special Power of Attorney from the owner of the document/s clearly indicating the name of the representative. If the owner is out the country, the SPA must be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate.

2. Present a photocopy of the applicant’s valid ID with signature.

3. Submit a photocopy of the representative’s valid ID with signature.

OFW Guide to Living and Working in New Zealand

Perhaps, it was that scene in Lord of the Rings that makes you want to visit New Zealand and if possible, to even work there. More than the scenery, New Zealand is a favorite among expats, not just Filipinos but also citizens from other countries – and it’s not surprising why.

For starters, New Zealand is the safest country in the world. Second, the people are among the friendliest and most open-minded ones. Third, you will never run out of beautiful sceneries to see.

If you plan to work in New Zealand, then here are some of the things you need to know first about this country:

General Facts

New Zealand is a sovereign island country located in the southwest of Pacific Ocean. With Wellington as its capital city, the country has Australia, Fiji, and Tonga as its neighbors. Because of its remoteness, New Zealand was one of the last lands occupied by early humans. This isolation allowed the inhabitants to develop a distinct biodiversity of biological life.

Its form of government is unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. This means legislative authority is vested on a unicameral Parliament, executive authority on the Cabinet led by a Prime Minister, and Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State.

At present, New Zealand is among the countries that offer the best health care, education, highest economic freedom, and overall quality of life; hence making the country one of the top expat destinations. In case you plan to migrate with your family for good, then you’ll be happy to see that New Zealand is among, if not the top country to raise a family around the world.

Language

Since it was under British rule until 1947, English is widely spoken in New Zealand. This means you won’t have a hard time conversing with the people. Aside from English, Maori is also one of the two official languages, but this one is seldom used.

Since 2006, the government also recognized New Zealand Sign Language as among their modes of communication.

Cost of Living 

New Zealand among the developed countries with highest cost of living standards, especially if you will live in major cities like Auckland and Wellington. This is due to stronger economy and increase in accommodation cost / rental property and demand.

Still, living in rural areas would mean lower cost of living compared to living in the city.

Public Transportation

Despite New Zealand being a developed country, it’s public transport system is not at par with that of Japan or even Hong Kong.

If you work in New Zealand, you will notice that most people bring their own cars since it is the most convenient way to go from A to B. Surprisingly, only Wellington and Auckland have suburban rail system, but if you will live and work outside the big cities, then public transportation is limited. There are buses that connect the cities, but having your own car is the best way to go around.

In case you will cross the island, ferry system is available at your disposal.

Of course, it is impractical for you to buy a car when you are only limited to two years contract. Big cities have buses, but make sure you ask your employer regarding transportation benefits.

Weather

You will enjoy the climate in New Zealand. Climate is mild and adjusting to it won’t be much of an issue. Still, rains and snowfall can be prominent, especially on mountainous areas so don’t forget to pack your thermal jacket in case you will work nearby.

Working in New Zealand

Don’t get too excited yet. Working in New Zealand is not as simple as submitting your resume. Before you apply, you need to check if your skills are among those posted by Immigration authorities in the Essential Skills in Demand List. The list shows jobs wherein even New Zealanders cannot fulfill the job or there are no locals available to take the job.

If your skills and qualifications match what were indicated in the list, then you can apply for Essential Skills Work Visa. When you apply for this type of visa, you should have a confirmed job offer and signed employment contract. The duration of the visa varies, although some have a maximum of three years. In case your work visa is good for more than two years, then you may qualify for the government’s healthcare benefits in case something happens.

Aside from the Essential Skills list, you may also be asked to undergo Labor Market Test before the work visa will be issued to you.

Looking for a job in New Zealand – or any other countries in and out of the Philippines – is not easy. Make use of your spare time honing your skills, attending trainings, and taking advantage of (free) seminars to improve your skills. Employers would love to see your willingness to learn.