Friday, November 17, 2006

Looking good...

One of the other things that happened while I was visiting Rizza was that she spent some time working on getting things together for the embassy interview requirements. She spent a day in Manila getting registered copies of some of the kids' birth certificates and spent the night with a friend. She just got the rest taken care of Friday her time (yesterday night). It looks like that's all straightened out.

I was catching up on things with some of the Fil-Am forums I follow while she was busy doing this. I noticed a post that mentioned its a good idea to follow up with the embassy about 8-weeks after the notice was received from them. We're on the 12th week, but all is still good. I got the good word from one of their representatives that the appointment for the medical exam is on the 28th of December, 2006 and the visa interview will be on the 9th of January, 2007. Everything is looking good at this point. Hopefully all goes well and things keep going forward.

Roller Coaster Ride

I just got back from my latest trip to the PI. The trip had its ups and downs, but all-in-all it was decent. I arrived there on Oct. 27 and found Rizza collapsed on the floor in the house. We rushed her to the hospital and she recovered shortly afterwards. It turns out her hemocrit level was low again. She knows what she needs to do to make sure that doesn't happen. Its just that she doesn't always do it. Rizza was feeling nauseous the next day in the morning, but started feeling better later that afternoon. I dunno why, but I ended up having problems keeping food down and my shorts up (loose bowel movements problems) shortly afterwards for about two days. Everything pretty much settled down after that in terms of being sick.

We had a pretty decent time together nonetheless. We went to Batangas to her ninong's (godfather's) house and to her Uncle Santi's house for a bit of a family reunion. Kaye's birthday was a few days afterwards. I've got pictures from the occasion at We also went to Baguio together with Kaye which was okay although a bit rainy and cold. We were there with some of her relatives to visit her cousin at the Philippine Military Academy. He's a sharp kid. He was able to get in on a scholarship and is majoring in civil engineering. He was taking part in a recognition ceremony for the freshmen who were moving up to being sophmores. I'll post pictures from that shortly.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Lights, Camera, Action II : On to the embassy

I recently received the 2nd Notice of Action from the USCIS for the visa being sent the NVC. Shortly afterwards, the NVC sent me a note with a MNL embassy designation from the US Embassy in Manila for the visa process. Rizza also received a note from the embassy as well. We're about 3-4 months away from the interview date and hopefully an approval for the visa for her and the kids to come to the US.

Moving right along

Rizza just signed the papers to our new home in the Philippines. Its a newly constructed Italian-style two-story home with three bedrooms a bath and a provisional bath. This is going to basically end up being a home for her mother, her sister, and her sister's family and a vacation home for us after she and the kids move here.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Lights, camera, ACTION!

Err...At least action sans lights and camera. The first Notice of Action (NOA1) just arrived in my mailbox Saturday (15-April-2006) from the USCIS. Its a notice that says that the paperwork that was submitted has been received and will be forwarded to the NVC (National Visa Center). This is the first step in a long journey forward for Rizza and the kids coming to the US. It kinda suprised me that that the notice arrived so quickly. The paperwork was just sent in on the 7th of April. Hopefully the rest of the process goes as quickly and smoothly as this part.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Slip, slide, and away...

Somebody in one of the forums I follow posted a series of photos using a site called slide ( Its kinda neat in that you can have it set up a slide ticker based off of any RSS feed. It will scroll whatever photos it finds across a browser with typical tape-deck controls. I did a little test with Flickr just to see how it worked. It looks like that pulls the newest 10 photos from the site. It can also store photos locally as well. However, the slide show feature Flickr offers directly has a few more bells and whistles that make it a bit nicer. One nifty feature that the Flickr variant has is that you can click on the current picture in order to stop the show and get details on a given photo which is kinda nice. I need to update quite a few photo descriptions to reflect the content of the pictures I've got posted, but other than that it looks good. I've added a link for the show over to the left.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Good news and good photos...

The paperwork for bringing Rizza and the kids to the US has been sent in. Ray got the last bits on Friday, 07-April-2006 and sent those to the USCIS. We should hear back from them in the next few weeks that they received the paperwork.

Rizza also sent me some pictures from ate Sam's graduation. I've got those online now. I am so proud of Sam.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

DoubleYou DoubleYou DoubleYouTube...

A good alternative to Google Video is YouTube ( One of the advantages is that they have a self-contained player which requires no local software. This comes in real handy when the PC that is being used doesn't allow for software to be installed. I've added a link to the left for the YouTube version of the kids' video.

A couple things to note about YouTube is that they allow for 100M worth of storage per video as opposed to Google's 80M. On the flip-side, Google Video's security is better and it doesn't have the same 10-minute per video limitation as YouTube. Another video site is vMix ( I haven't looked at them yet, but I'd venture to guess that they aren't much different than YouTube and GoogleVideo. I'll probably go look at a bunch of video sites and see which has the best fit for my needs.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Yehey Ate Kaye...

Rizza's youngest daughter, Kaye, was just awarded first honor in her school. She's is real intelligent for her age and is doing math problems that I would think are one grade level beyond where she is currently. I am so proud of her.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Only in the Philippines...

That's one phrase I heard quite a bit when I was there. It usually came up when I mentioned that something seemed unusual or different. One thing that was definitely different is how Filipinos take a bath. Typically a bucket and ladle are used in the process. Its kinda neat in that a bit less water is used than when taking a bath in the US.

I recently ran across a video showing how its done. The link for it is over to the left. This one gets a PG rating from me. No body parts are exposed that aren't normally seen in everyday life. There is one mention of a particular body part that might bump it up beyond a a G-rating for some though. Have a peek if you're interested.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Carlo!

Today was Carlo's special day. He just turned ten. He and Rizza kept the tradition of going to Quiapo to worship in the church where the Black Nazarene is housed. They have done this every year since Carlo was very sick when he was younger. Carlo also got his wish of having a bicycle. Rizza mentioned that he smiled from ear to ear when he got that. :)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I want my M[Backspace]Google*TV...

Google video is relatively neat for being free. I can't think of anywhere else I can post 80M worth of video footage without having to worry about paying for bandwidth or storage. It can also be locked down to only be accessible from certain sites which is really nice. There's a link over to the left in the "Our Links" section pointing to a video capture of a performance Carlo and Marlene gave for Carlo's school. Carlo got an award that stands almost as tall as he is for that one. Way to go, Carlo.

Monday, March 06, 2006

One step back, two steps forwards...

Okay. So maybe I have the idiom slightly backwards. :)
I sent the paperwork in for the fiancee visa last week. It looks like there were one or two minor flaws from what Ray mentioned. He sent updated copies to me. I'll sign those and send them back as soon as I see them.

Rizza took the biggest step forward though. She sent her paperwork, passport photos, and copies of birth certificates for her and the kids in today. Sending the paperwork in was the easy part for her. The hard part was tracking down copies of birth certificates. This especially held true for finding one for her oldest daughter, Marlene. The NSO (National Statistics Office) didn't have one on file for her. It took Rizza a few trips to Manila to obtain a birth certificate from the doctor that delivered Marlene.

Moving right along, I hope Ray will be able to have the paperwork submitted to the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) in Nevada by the end of the week. Rizza and I are both really excited about this.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

New photos online

I've got some photos from the February 2006 trip online now in the New Photos set. These are from different places including Tagaytay (very scenic), the baptism of the kids, Rizza's daycare center, and some shots from around Trece Martires.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Moving right along...

I've just sent some paperwork to Ray from MAG-ANAK ( for review. Once he's got that along with some paperwork that Rizza will be completing shortly, he'll forward everything to the USCIS.

MAG-ANAK is the Filipino term for family. Ray has the web site along with both a Yahoo group and a web forum related to Fil-Am families. All of them are definitely good resources for information when comes to Fil-Am relationships. Hopefully all goes well with the paperwork and we see a NOA (notice of action) from the USCIS in about a month or so after he submits everything.

A gift from the dog (ugh)

Some gifts are good, some aren't so good. Especially, the unexpected ones that end up being people problems when they were initially pet problems. It looks like the dog Rizza and the kids adopted had ringworm. Now she and I both have it. Ringworm causes quite an itchy rash and is fairly contagious. The doc here gave me some cream to put on it. Hopefully the rash will be gone for good after about two weeks. I told Rizza to take herself and the dog to get looked at their as well. Hopefully it hasn't found its way to the kids yet.

Another trip to the Philippines

I just got back from the trip to the islands. The first day there, Rizza's son Carlo was in a contest for his school. He and Marlene, Rizza's oldest daughter, put on one heck of a nice act. Carlo took the runner up spot a week later at the coronation ceremony. Way to go, Carlo!

We also spent some time visiting some of Rizza's friends which made it a bit easier for me to associate faces with the people she speaks about in our conversations.

I got a chance to see the new house or at least the rudimentary bits that were already in place at the time. Trails were dug in the ground to set up the walls and the frame was in place. I was told by the development folks that the place was 50% done shortly before leaving for the US. Rizza took a trip up to General Trias later on. She was really pleased. Hopefully, she and the kids will be able to move into the new place in a few months.

We also got the kids all baptized. Rizza spent quite a bit of time getting all the preparations done. She took care of finding folks willing to be sponsors/godparents, making arrangements for a party after the ceremony and all that fun stuff. It was quite an undertaking for her. She did quite well though. Everybody looked like they had a good time.

One other thing I tried to do while there was to meet with one of the city councilors from the the local Mayor's office in Trece Martires. I'd like to try to clean up their web site a bit more to see if it might help their commerce a bit. I have a few good pictures of one of the local schools as well as a government building and a statue to use for an example site. My plan is to put something small together as an example. I was able to spend a few minutes with the councilor, but wasn't really able to spend any quality time meeting with him due to the short trip. Hopefully I can spend a bit more time and give a presentation the next time I'm there. The current web site for Trece Martires is at

Monday, January 30, 2006

Rizza's special gift

I told Rizza I was going to bring her a special gift when I go to the Philippines in a few weeks. I mentioned to her I would give her one clue a day as to what it was. Its been rather interesting to come up with the clues and see how she'd speculate as to what it was. She finally figured it out after a week's worth of clues. She cried tears of joy when she realized it was an engagement ring. It was definitely a happy day for her. The last couple of clues are probably what gave it away:

"It has an inside, and outside, but no sides"
"When part of it is put in water, you cannot see it"

Our new home

Rizza and I are in the process of building a home in General Trias, Cavite, Philippines. We got a note earlier that they were going to start building it last week. Although, there were heavy rains last week. We'll see what happens this week. The name of the developer is Earth+Style. They seem like they do good work. I went a visited a model of the house we're having built the last time I was there. The floor plans, specs and a picture of a model of the home is at:

For the short-term Rizza and I talked about letting her sister's family stay there. The long term plan for it is that it will eventaully end up being a retirement home for the two of us.

Welcome to our new home

We've got new drapes, new carpeting. Err, wait. That's a different home. Its in the process of being built in General Trias, Cavite, Philippines. More on that later.

In the meantime, we've switched blog hosts to be a bit more portable and a little less dependent on any given ISP. This means that we can switch between Comcast, SBC, or whichever ISP without the headache of migrating anything which is kind of nice. I wish I would have thought of that earlier. Although, I think blog*spot was closed to hosting new blogs at the time I initially set things up. Anyhow, I hope to keep this one a bit more up to date and at least semi-interesting.