-- Travel and Immigration 101

Thursday, February 15, 2018

How to Afford a Cruise If You Are on a Low Income

If you make enough money to put away an extra $500 or $600 a month into your savings account, you could be boarding a cruise ship in little more than a few months. Low wage earners on the other hand will need to pinch their pennies in order to afford even a basic weekend getaway. From Disney themed cruises to luxury cruises that take voyages all around the world, there’s a way for travelers to go on a trip no matter what their financial constraints are. Sure, budget savvy vacationers might be more interested in all-inclusive cruises than their more well-to-do peers, but if taking a vacation while out on the water appeals to you, it won’t really matter how you get there. Purchase a cruise travel insurance policy so that you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Next up are a few tips that will get you in the mood to go on a lavish cruise.

Compare Travel Deals
At any given time, there are likely dozens of cruise specials going on that will help you to stay within your budget. Think about saving for a cruise in the same way you go grocery shopping. If you see a brand name product on sale for a price that is 50% off it’s regularly suggested retail price, are you going to get upset? Of course not. In fact, you might stock up on that deal so that you can enjoy the savings even longer. Travel deals on cruises can be found via travel agents, on cruise websites, and even television commercials. You will probably need to act fast, put down a deposit and lock in your travel dates to get the deal so be sure you’re ready to go. 

Get Friends and Family to Chip In
People can crowdfund for their honeymoons, to help pay medical expenses, or help get money to buy a new car. Since donations are completely voluntary, you can create a campaign for any reason and then share the link with your closest family and friends. Consider how much faster you would be able to save up for your vacation cruise if you received a helping hand from your closest companions. 

Choose a Date Far in Advance
People who are on a lower income might take a little longer to save up for a cruise on average, which actually puts them in good position to plan ahead. If you won’t be going on your cruise for at least another year or two, there will be plenty of slots available on a number of cruise ships. Having your cruise booked for a date far in advance will be beneficial in case you need to change your itinerary, such as staying in a different cabin or departing from a different port. 

You aren’t required to max out your credit cards or sell all of your personal belongings to save up to go on a cruise. Just cut out some of the extras that you have been accustomed to, look for deals and plan your cruise a year or so in advance. You’ll get extra savings and get to sail around the world. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

3 Essential Tips for Finding Great Real Estate in Dubai

Dubai is one of the few nations in the Middle East where expats are allowed to buy real estate, whether a condo in one of the new developments popping up or land on which they may build a future home. While Dubai is an increasingly popular haven from Middle Eastern chaos and a new center of world trade and commerce, buying property here is not always simple. Here are three essential tips for finding great real estate in Dubai.

Decide Why You Want to Buy in Dubai
Are you an expat deciding to put down roots in Dubai? Buy a home that suits your long-term needs, such as a condo in a neighborhood you’d like to live in for the rest of your career or a house in the suburbs with enough space for your family. If you are considering an investment property for rental income, buy a one or two bedroom flat that many expats and locals would be willing to rent, not a villa that is prestigious to own but won’t provide a good return on the investment.

Do Due Diligence
Before you buy a property, do your due diligence. Research the reputation of the developer, since some developers use shoddy materials and have a poor quality of work. Others don’t complete on time, while a few are at risk of going bankrupt. You also want to review the currently completed projects by the developer if the unit you want to buy hasn’t been completed so that you have a realistic expectation of what the finished property will look like. If you are buying a pre-owned home, the property should be surveyed. Have a registered professional surveyor check the property for maintenance needs, required repairs, damage or shoddy workmanship. These issues become your responsibility when you buy it, and you want to know about them in advance so that you either lower the purchase price to take the repair costs into account or can find a property that is not a “fixer-upper”.
Another reason to have the property surveyed before you formally enter the buying process is to avoid surprises when you apply for financing. If the bank evaluator says the property is worth more than expected after you’ve already put down a deposit, you could be required to put up a much larger down payment immediately. And if you don’t have a well-written contract, you’d lose the deposit on the property, especially if you can’t secure financing for a home worth much more than initially expected.

Understand the Purchase Process for Dubai
Dubai is an attractive real estate market for people in the region because it is one of the few nations that allows foreigners to buy real estate instead of just rent. Property can be bought from the developer “off-plan” or a private seller. When buying from the developer, foreign buyers must submit a copy of their passports and put down a reservation fee of five to fifteen percent of the property value. This is similar to the down payment on a home, but if your contract doesn’t have a specific opt-out clause, you lose this money if you can’t come up with financing for the rest of the property. Then the Sale and Purchase Agreement is drawn up. If the property is still under construction, the SPA contains a completion date and payment to be made if the completion is delayed after that point.
When someone purchases the property from a private seller, a Memorandum of Understanding or MoU is used. The standard down payment for that type of real estate purchase is 10%. Once financing for homes or apartments for sale is secured, the deed for the property is transferred to the new owner. You can save yourself significant hassle if you secure pre-approval from a bank before you start shopping for a new home so you don’t have to worry about losing out on a deal for lack of funding. You want to understand the process of buying property in Dubai so you aren’t surprised by the 2% land registration fee or maintenance fees required of those who buy apartments for sale.
Foreigners are advised to have professional legal advice when buying property in Dubai. The best choice is a conveying company registered with the Dubai Land Department. This helps protect both the buyer and the seller. For example, legal experts know how to verify that the title is free of liabilities or debt.

Think about why you want to buy real estate in Dubai before you start shopping for a new home or piece of land. Do your due diligence with a surveyor and research the developer, and work with a reputable legal expert to avoid problems with the contract. Learn about the purchasing process in Dubai before you draw up a contract and put down a reservation fee. And secure pre-approval for the mortgage before you enter the contract to avoid problems.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ozamiz City to host Dine Philippines 2017

Dine Philippines is a seminar series organized by Courage Asia that brings together the expert advice, trending concepts, and inspiring ideas that promote a healthier business atmosphere for the food industry. Set in key provincial venues, it is the largest gathering of its kind, reaching an audience of close to 10,000 stakeholders by each year. 
This year, Dine Philippines will be held at Ozamiz City since it is also inline with the current foot traffic and tourism initiative of Ozamiz City. Also, the culinary flavors of Ozamiz has already been featured in national TV and magazine making more people in the food industry more curious about what the city can offer to the business atmosphere. That makes Ozamiz City ready for Dine Philippines.
Johann’s Cuisine 3.0 The Promenade located in Barangay Lam-An Hi-way is a proud host of the first and ever Dine Ozamiz from March 2-3, 2017 and you are invited to support a strong educational component with several seminars, cooking expedition and networking dinner. This 2 day celebration will feature a travel fair, hotel and restaurants, a job fair and a launch of the ultimate food fair, The OZAMIZLICIOUS. 

Trade Fair
Food Fair

When it comes to a packed lunch, the bento box is one of the most entertaining ways to send kids off to school. It may seems like  it’s all kinds of crazy to spend so much time on a lunch, but as you can see from the following photos, the result is a work of art! At Dine Ozamiz, we will invite different stakeholders to create their own lunchbox masterpiece using San Miguel – Purefoods products & it’ll be super fun!

Open to all culinary and or HRM students

Open to all Moms 


  • With a minimum purchase of 500 worth of receipt from any  San Miguel- Purefoods products, anyone can be a contestant
  • Members can be only up to 3 
  • Dine Ozamiz will provide ingredients as well as additional tools that can be used for doing the decorations
  • Theme: Let your imagination fly :). Can be anything really, it doesn't have to be Japanese either, rational, modern or whatever kind of style is fine as long as it's a meal in a box/container.


  • Food Balance: We'll not only look at how cute or pretty your bento is, but also if your bento is well balanced. Let's say, a bit of carb, meat, veggies, fruit, etc. instead of just rice with a cute nori face.
  • Colour Balance: People would be more attracted to your bento (including us, judges) if your bento doesn't look too dull.
  • Creativity: Impress us with your creativity 


  • Trade Fair
  • Food Fair

CHEF SHOWDOWN – using local ingredients

  • Chef Bruce Lim
  • Chef Dino Datu
  • Chef Datu Pendatun
  • Chef Jam Melchor
  • Johann Dagandara


  • Trade Fair
  • Food Fair
  • Business to business 
  • The Promenade Open House
  • Chef’s consultation

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

7 Ways Students Can Enjoy the Holidays on a Budget

The holidays may be a stressful time for any student with a tight budget. You’ll need to spend money buying gifts for your loved ones, travelling, attending and hosting parties among other things. All these activities are likely to leave your pockets dry. How about looking for ways to spend less and even earn some extra cash during the holidays? The following tips should help you get started.

  • Set A Budget And Stick To It: Know how much you can spend during the holidays even before you set out to shop. Allocate a budget for gifts, travelling, parties and any other expense that is common at this time of the year. When setting your budget, don’t just pick random numbers, go over every aspect to make sure you are setting realistic figures. Compare what you spent last year to this year and make an informed decision. You may even want to cut back on expenses in the long term by looking for cheaper housing for YorkU students.
  • Bake Something Special: Your friends and family are likely to enjoy your amazing homemade treats. Spend one evening preparing some cookies or bites for your visitors. No need to spend money visiting pricey restaurants when you can try out the cool recipe you saw online.
  • Take Advantage Of Holiday Sales: If you really have to shop for Christmas gifts for your relatives or friends, holiday sales can help you save a lot of money. Shop online for discounted items. Make sure you compare the cost of the item offered by different retailers. Some retailers will only put the “sale” sign to lure customers even though the item is not truly discounted. You can also use coupon codes to save more money on your holiday shopping.
  • Make Christmas Crafts And Handmade Gifts:  Perhaps you may want to try making some cool necklaces using different materials that are readily available. The gift recipient will appreciate the fact that you took time to create something special rather than just rushing to the stores to get a present. One cool idea is to give your loved one a deck of cards with 52 reasons why you love or like him/her. The other idea that would work perfectly for couples is 12 letters which represent each month. Each letter can have some fun things to enjoy together within that month.
  • Opt For Indoor Activities: One of the easiest ways to save money during the holidays is to minimize on outings. You can still enjoy bonding with your friends at the student residence near York University by looking for fun things to do. Consider watching a movie, baking together or making Christmas crafts. It’s easy to get into the trap of spending more than you could afford during the holidays. While you are in the Christmas spirit, remember that your wallet is at risk. Know how much you can stretch your budget at this time of the year and focus on having more fun without spending a lot.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

PHL Embassy in Riyadh to issue machine readable visa stickers starting July 8

Starting July 8, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will start issuing Machine Readable Visa (MRV) stickers to modernize consular processes.

In a post on its website, the embassy said this is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs' efforts to modernize Philippine consular processes.

"The new Philippine visa stickers will mark the departure from a pre-printed label production with varying design layouts to a blank sheet production that complies with International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) standards for a 'machine-readable visa format-B' specification," it said.

New stickers will have a modern background design on a soft color scheme, with several security features, it added.

However, the embassy added those issued Philippine visas in the old format can still enter the Philippines provided their visas remain valid.

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