Featured Post

Registering for your child's school

JE turned 5 years old last February. I was hoping we could enroll her quickly so I could do some part-time work. However, I realized that th...

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Requesting for prescriptions as a newcomer

When we went here, we brought about four (4) months' supply of maintenance drugs for OWP. Eventually, our supply ran low and we have to check where we can get a new prescription filled so we can buy here. 

We were thinking that we have to get a laboratory test for him before they give a prescription. After asking around, we were informed that to obtain a lab test, a doctor's request needs to be secured. We googled on where we can secure that and these are the steps we did:

  1. Created an account at a virtual walk-in clinic.  https://www.walkinvirtualclinics.com
  2. Filled up the form which included medical history, surgical history, and current medications. They also inquired about our MSP number, birthdate, and other personal details. 
  3. The form also asked to nominate a pharmacy of choice including the actual branch/ location.
  4. Choose a schedule. 
  5. Choose whether the appointment is via phone or via video call. We chose via phone.
  6. We received a confirmation of our schedule almost immediately. 
The consultation is free but you must not miss it.

OWP scheduled his appointment for the following day. At the scheduled time,  the doctor called and talked to OWP. It was a quick talk and he did not request for any laboratory to be done. He instead asked OWP to monitor his blood pressure. He reconfirmed the medicines and told us that the prescription will be sent to our nominated drugstore. 

After about two (2) hours, the drugstore (in this case London drug) called OWP and mentioned that they are readying three (3) months' worth of medicines. It will be available for pick-up anytime. They also briefed him about his medications. 

OWP went the following day to pick up the maintenance meds and he paid about CAD 100. The pharmacist told him that the amount is reimbursable. We just need to find out how to do it. 😜

And that's it. Maintenance meds secured. 👍

Friday, April 15, 2022

Registering for your child's school

JE turned 5 years old last February. I was hoping we could enroll her quickly so I could do some part-time work. However, I realized that there were a lot of requirements. 

I am sure many of you know that when you come to Canada even on a temporary resident visa, your child may be eligible to study here. This all depends on the visa that you have though. Here are the steps that we did here in Victoria, BC. 

Visit the Greater Victoria School District. Under Victoria International Education and click Apply. It will open a secure portal window that includes links for Agents, Parents, and Homestay. Choose "Parent Start Here". 

Create an account. 

Once registered, fill up all the information. These were the documents that were asked to be uploaded:

  • Child's birth certificate
  • Child's proof of immunization. I uploaded the certification we got from our pediatrician. 
  • Scanned passport details of the parents and the child
  • Copies of permits for the parents and the child
  • Proof of employment of at least one parent. A parent has to be working for the child to be eligible. 
  • Proof of enrollment of the parent (since I am on a study visa)
  • Proof of residence address. We uploaded our tenancy agreement, our vehicle registration and a bank statement 
  • Other personal details
Once uploaded, please wait for the email that will say if your child is eligible or not. It will also state the catchment school where your child will be assigned. The email arrives in just a day or two so it was really quick. Once eligible, the email contains the link for the school and it will be another registration process. It will also contain other instructions for your child. 

It was spring break when I registered so I had to wait for one week and called the school for a follow-up. 
When I called, they quickly located my child's details and confirmed that my child is registered! She had to wait for September though because of her age. (Mandatory age for school is 6 years old). 

Currently, we are already receiving emails on the welcome for parents events and how to prepare JE for kindergarten. I am excited for her 😀

I heard that those who are older can start school in the middle of the school year so this will really depend on the age of your child. 

Note: Details as of today and based on our experience. Information may change depending on your situation. We are not experts but just sharing our experience.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

How do you get an apartment in Victoria BC - Part 2

I mentioned previously that we arrived last December 11. It took us more a month and half to get an apartment on our own. 

Finally, after all the frustrations, and several messages that were mostly ignored, we finally moved in last February 1.

What we got was a 3-bedroom basement suite. It has 1 bathroom and it was beyond our budget. But what is good is the current rate includes all utilities except the internet. This is good for us as we only need to think of one budget every month. 

After we rented the unit, we got around to talking to people, and below are the tips and advice that they have in their own house-hunting. These tips are not fool-proof but they can serve as your guide if you are a newcomer. 

Before reading below, bear in mind that Victoria has a housing crisis. A lot of people are looking for places to rent. 

1. Search and search often. We found these websites useful:

I am sure there are more but these were the sites we frequented and pored over almost every day. Aside from these, we joined a lot of facebook groups. 

2. It is important to connect and network. The usual requirements include character and landlord reference and current job. If you still do not have a job yet, reference is very important. Property managers usually call your reference to guarantee your rent. Please inform your reference about this, and make sure that they are willing to guarantee you.  You may have brought enough money to cover several months of rent, but it is usually not enough without the references. 

3. Have a Canadian bank account and make sure there is money. No need to explain this. 😛

4. If searching from facebook marketplace, it is important to inquire as soon as the listing is posted. Usually, if the listing is already a few days old,  a lot of people have already inquired, and you may not even be entertained. Seenzone anyone? 😛😛

5. Secure it once you get approval from the landlord. They usually do not wait. The approval you have is usually the best unit out there. Because of the housing crisis, people are scrambling to get units and if it takes you more than a day to decide, someone else might be waiting in line. When we got our unit, the landlord informed us that another group was already waiting in case we will not pursue it. 

6. It is hard to get rent if you have a child simply because some of the landlords desire quiet, which will be a little difficult if you have a child. The same goes if you have a pet. For pets, you need to issue a pet deposit.

7. Go to viewings and inspect, inspect, inspect. Don't get tired of going to those viewings

Our unit has its pros and cons so these are some other information that you have to check:

1. Check inclusions. In our inquiries, there are some who charge 30% utilities or 40% or even 50%  depending on the number of people who will stay in the unit. 

As mentioned above, our unit is all-inclusive. But we later learned that our landlords do not always turn on the heat! What they did is provide us with portable heaters that we can use. It would have been easy to protest, but they also provided us with furnishing (3 beds, study tables, cookware, reclining chairs). So despite the heat, I think we got a pretty good deal. 

2. Check the rental agreement. Rent here can be monthly, or for one year. Important that these are clear. Payment is usually on the first of the month with a 1/2 month rent as a security deposit. Pet deposit is also separate. 

These are what I have learned in our experience. Other people may have a different experience so feel free to add comments below 😁

Saturday, January 22, 2022

How do you get an apartment in Victoria BC?

MAHIRAP PO! (It was hard!)

I am jumping right into this topic even before I build the blog up.

We arrived in Victoria last December 11. We got a Canadian phone plan and opened our bank account in the first week. We even got our SIN. But we failed to get our BC ID. Simply because we don’t have a permanent address.

It is now the third week of January and we still do not have a permanent rental. Paano nga ba?

When we arrived in December, we stayed in a 1 bedroom airbnb suite near the ocean. The place was nice but quite expensive as we had to pay USD 2300 when we booked (roughly Php 140k). That was one of the cheaper places when we booked 2 months before.

On the second week of our stay (December 20-24), we were searching and scheduling viewing. Only one viewing pushed through but we did not like the place.

Nobody informed us of the succeeding holidays here.

The unforeseen holidays

There was no office work from December 27 to 28.

December 29 to 30 were the only times we were able to call property managers and most of the people were still on leave. Most of the property managers resumed their work on January 4. 

That meant 2.5 weeks of not being able to view any property or talk to anyone.

We only had 5 viewings from the numerous inquiries. While we submitted applications and emailed, nobody got back to us except to say that the unit has been taken. 

We were in a dilemma. Our one month in our Airbnb was almost up (January 10) and we still don't have a rental. The Airbnb prices are also going up. And we do not have the option to renew our current place.

We had no choice but to move to an inn after our one-month reservation is up.

We reserved 24 days at Red Lion Inn. The cost is CAD 89 / night. 

For 24 days, it would reach CAD 2500 (or about Php106k) with taxes. The place was so much better than our 1 bedroom suite simply because Walmart and Uptown are just half a block away. The place we got was a studio with 2 queen beds and a kitchenette where we can cook. Pwede na. I even liked it better because the location is so convenient. 

So now, back to our dilemma.

We joined FB groups in the area. We sent private messages to landlords. We looked at Kijiji, craigslist, and used.ca, aside from property manager's home pages. We emailed more than 30 listings already. 

Two weeks now and we have had rejections. Most also do not reply. Or seenzone. We do not understand. We have more than enough money. We can even prepay several months. Pero ba't ganun?

The process

Here, the process is different.

Once you view a property, the adults in the household need to submit an application. Part of the submission includes landlord references and proof of income. We do not have both. Offering to submit a Philippine bank certificate was ignored. They want it in a Canadian bank. We are getting frustrated. 😣

We also do not have a credit score yet simply because we just got our credit card. 💳

Did I also mention that there is a housing crisis here in Victoria? 

So what do we do? Currently at a loss given the situation. So dasal lang. 🙏

Slowly too, we are transferring our money from the Philippines to our Canadian bank. I think we are losing but we have no choice.

Right now, we are on a wait-and-see.

It is our 12th day at the inn. While we are comfortable, I can’t wait to have our own place.

I will keep you posted as we look for our apartment.

Dasal-dasal lang be 🙏 cause the Lord will provide the best place for us to thrive. 🙏

Afterall, nandito na kami (we are already here). 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Other documents during the pandemic

We took advantage of the pandemic. I am saying this because if the situation was normal and we were not working from home, we would have found it difficult to file a leave of absence just to get our documents. 

While lining up for our passports, we realized that JE's passport will also expire in 2022. A long time away but we know that the visa that will be issued will depend on the validity of the passport. We don't want to take the risk. 

Fortunately, we got a slot and renewed her passport the following month. Her appointment fell before the Holy Week, a day before another lockdown was implemented. Whew! At least, all of us now got our 10-year passports except for JE who got five-years 

Another set of documents that we secured were PSA copies of our birth certificates, and civil status/marriage certificate. We opted to line up at the Starmall Alabang to be sure that we get it immediately. Also, it is cheaper than requesting online via the serbilis site. It was a long queue though. We lined up at 6 am and finished at lunchtime. The PSA serbilis was more convenient. We also availed of its service later on for my mom and it took a week for her documents to arrive. 

Lastly, we secured NBI clearances. We applied online and paid via gcash. We chose to have our appointment at Robinson's Galleria. Again the line was long. I had a hit because someone else had the same name as me but I went back after a week and was able to secure mine. 

Three sets of documents were secured during the first five months of the year. 

We had to be quick in securing all the schedules. So I suggest, even though the appointment will happen one or two months after, grab the earliest schedule you can get. That day will soon arrive. 

Just one step at a time. 

Follow Me On Instagram