Friday, April 25, 2008

More opportunities for nurses

Here's another example where people can apply directly without going through recruiting agencies. Like I said before, it does not cost hundreds of thousands of pesos in order to go abroad. Don't rely on empty promises by many of these agencies; you might just be disappointed.

Just because many people are doing it doesn't mean you should too. A lot of people are not successful because they're doing the same things. We should learn from successful examples; even if they're out of the ordinary.

My wife and I came to NZ spending just a little over 30,000 pesos and our pocket money was around 20,000 pesos. 50,000 in total, yes, for both of us! For some recruiting agencies, this is just a processing fee so that your application will be accepted and considered.

I can only share what I know based on experience. I'm sure a lot of other people out there have other ways and I really want to encourage them, and you, to share and help each other.

In the news...

April 7, 2008 | 06:03 AM

Monday, April 21, 2008

Working in NZ

There are multiple ways of coming to NZ for work. There are some differences between categories and it's important that you know which category you most certainly fit.

I believe that the fastest way of coming here for work, is via the "Talent - accredited employer" category. This is the category I used in coming here. Basically, the hiring company has to be an NZIS (New Zealand Immigration Service) accredited for you to qualify in this category.

It works very simply and like I said, it's one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to come to NZ for work. You can find more information from the link below:


Be sure to check out the list of accredited employers. Visit the company website and see if there are job postings there that you can apply and submit your application through there. Most companies will have job listings in their websites and the information on how to apply for them.

The company will contact you, usually via email, to arrange an interview with you or they may ask for more information about you or some referrals. The interview will usually be a phone interview. Take note that all of these correspondence between you and the company are off the POEA and OWWA's radars. The company might even send you here for a final interview, like what they did with me. It's easy, you just need a visitor's visa, which is free and again, you don't need to go through POEA nor OWWA for this.

Once the company will decide to hire you, they should give you a contract and working conditions document for you to sign. This is important as this will be needed when applying for the work visa. I will post separately regarding how to go about this.

There are also some good job search websites. One particularly popular here in NZ is Try searching here as well. Don't worry if you'll go through an agency, most of them take little commissions only and you can get out of the agency later if you can find a company that will hire you directly.

Differences between driving in New Zealand and in the Philippines

Remember to stay at the right side of the road, which is the left.

It's great to explore New Zealand on the road. It's also a necessity here if you want to easily go to places as they can be quite far apart. Although there is a comprehensive bus service, it can sometimes be very time-consuming. Anyway, owning a vehicle here is not a luxury, you can even drive one with no money down. However, driving here is quite different from driving in the Philippines. Here are the major differences:

(1) Keep left. They follow the British way of driving, which is driving at the left side of the road. Meaning the vehicle you'll be driving is right-hand drive. Driving on the left is a bit strange in the beginning but as you get more experience, like after a few days of driving, you'll easily adopt. It's not as hard as you might think.

(2) Special give way rule. All the roads here are clearly marked with signs to hint drivers as they pass by. It is especially important that you pay attention to these signs as they follow them here strictly. Unlike in the Philippines, as long as you don't hit anything or anybody, you're good to go. In the case of the give-way rule, if an intersection doesn't have a give-way sign, one must give way to all traffic coming from the right.

(3) Roundabout. They have here something similar to our "rotonda" there in RP, just like in Fuente Osmena in Cebu City. However, it's totally different as you need to apply the give-way rule; which basically means give-way to all traffic coming from your right. Also, always use your signal lights when turning; that includes when you're leaving the roundabout.

(4) Motorway. There is also what's called a "motorway", similar to an inter-state highway in the US. It's a high-speed driving area; up to 100 km per hour. It's got an entry and an exit ramp. It's not as elaborate or wide-spread as in the US; some even stretches for just a few kilometers but the concept is very close to that of an interstate.

You can find more information and the details on the internet about driving here in NZ. You can check out the following websites: - the New Zealand Road Code - Automobile Association NZ

Can I drive in NZ with my Philippine license? Yes. As long as your driver's license is current, you can use it to drive here in NZ for up to 12 months only. After the 12 months is over, you should get a NZ license. In order to get a NZ license, you must sit on two exams:

(1) short written test - takes about 20 to 30 mins
(2) practical test - takes about 1 hour

I would advice that you get an International Driver's Permit (IDP), also known as "international license" there in RP. They would not have any questions when you'll be converting it to a NZ license. It's actually not "converting" it but that's how they term it here. Remember, however, an IDP is not valid without your Philippine license, the plastic one, they don't honor the receipt here. It'll save you a lot of hassles to have a current driver's license and an IDP.

Use the first few months to gain experience in driving here in NZ and read and study the NZ Road Code. You can buy this book from any bookstore here for about $40. It contains everything you need to know and will definitely help you pass the written and practical exams. If you don't want to purchase the book, you can also get access to it online. The contents of the book are completely available online for free.

I also advice to drive in all driving conditions to better prepare for the exam. Like driving through highways, busy streets and the slower area in the suburbs.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Get informed before taking off

New Zealanders, also known as "Kiwis", use the internet heavily. You will find that some of the sites ranked on top 10,000 by are actually in New Zealand. Most of the businesses here have their own websites which are up-to-date and are very informative; most of which feature online shopping.

Here are some interesting NZ websites:

For those wanting to come to visit, work or immigrate, you can always refer to the NZIS (New Zealand Immigration Service) website at: You can find guides, fees, forms and many other information there. It's very up-to-date and relatively easy to use; it's easy enough to find the information you need.

I would highly recommend that before you decide on what country to fly to, you must do a thorough research about it. Especially the people, environment, prices of goods, rent, electricity, etc. -- the usual stuff for your day-to-day living.

Create a journal on your notebook as it's so easy to forget these stuff. It's also a nice way of doing a comparison among the countries you've researched so far.

Once you have a good idea of what you're getting in to, try and paint a picture of what your finances would be like depending on your circumstances. Like if you have a child or two, how much would you be spending for childcare, education; all that kind of stuff.

Based on your research, you can then better negotiate how much your salary would be in a prospect company. It's also an added bonus for you if you know some bits about the country you're going during the job interview as you might be asked what do you know about their country; it will show how interested you are.

So go ahead, do some web searching, read books and magazines. Also do ask around with your friends and relatives. Beware, however, people's impressions about the country they've been to are a result of their own experiences. Do not take it as if it's the reality. I've heard a lot of different stories about NZ when we were coming here; very diverse stories from good to bad to worse. The reality is, people see the same thing differently. One person may hate snow but one may party with it. One may hate to give-way to pedestrians but one may have no problem giving-way to anybody anytime even to cows, sheeps and ducks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's more expensive there, is it really?

I've met a lot of people saying "Mas mahal man dinha kay dako ang tax." ("It's more expensive there as tax is more expensive.") Is it really???

If I tell them, well maternity here is free. Still they'd say, but you pay more on taxes than in the Philippines. I also tell them that water here is also free and amongst the purest in the world. They'd tell me, "nah, it's all been paid for in your taxes; still it's expensive."

Also others will just convert the dollars to pesos straight off, which is even worse. They would say, for example, "1.5L bottle of Coke in NZ is 1.40 NZD = 44.8 pesos, oh that's just expensive." (1 NZD = about 32 PHP)

I think a better way of computing it, if we really want to look at the numbers, is to compare how much we earn and how much we can afford to buy with it. I'm talking about normal circumstances only; average decent living. From my own experience, here's what I can see:

My work here is exactly the same as my work when I was in the Philippines; although I'm working on a different product-set. In the Philippines, I'd be lucky if I can save about 10,000 pesos in one month. Over here, I can easily save up to 30,000 pesos in one month. You might say, "well, things there are more expensive so you need more money." Not quite...

What I think is a better measure goes like this: with how much you earn in the Philippines, per month, how many times can you eat your favorite meal? How many times can you watch a movie? How much grocery can you buy? How much percentage of what you earn you save?

I'd like to show you my numbers but I can't. Nobody wants anybody to know how much he's making, just ask anyone especially those who work in the government. ;-) You're gonna have to trust me on this one.

When I was in the Philippines, with what I was earning, I can eat my favorite meal at McDonalds for almost 420 times in one month. Over here, I can eat that same meal at McDonalds for about 520 times in one month. Take note, computation is based on take-home pay, meaning all deductions has already been taken. Also take note, this computation assumes that the money is used 100% for just eating this meal at McDonalds. In other words, if my take-home pay was to be 10,000 pesos and my favorite meal costs 100 pesos, then 10,000 / 100 = 100.

I can go to a movie theater for almost 210 times in a month there in the Philippines, over here, I can do about 260. And trust me, I'm being very generous in my computations here.

I strongly believe that part of our problems in RP is the wide gap between income and expenses. It's not because people are spending more than they're earning, it's because the prices of the goods are just way high and the salary of the workers are so low. If only this gap can be narrowed, I think life there will be a bit better than it is today. And maybe, not many people will have to sacrifice and go abroad to work and/or live.

Coming to NZ

I just wanna share an article I wrote in one of my wikis online. It's in "Bisaya", sorry for those who can't understand it. I'll try and find time to translate it in English and post it here later. Hopefully it'll be useful to anyone.

To summarize, anyway, all that I'm trying to convey in that article is that going abroad does not necessarily mean hundreds of thousands of pesos as what most people would think. Indeed, I've met a lot of OFWs who really spent large amounts of money in order to get on a plane and go abroad only to find that when they arrive, some of them still have to find work and others are working on something they are not expecting.

Most people go to agencies and attend seminars and trainings in order to prepare themselves to go abroad. Spending lots of money in the process even though the hope of a good working environment and good pay is still hazy. Well, I'm here to tell you, you don't have to! I am a living proof of this testimonial.

Ever since I got out of Pinas and started working and living here in NZ, I've had lots of realizations about our country, our people, values - good and bad, what we've done and what we can do, etc. I am now boldly exposing myself and putting my foot forward to try and make better the lives of other Pinoys out there.

I encourage you comment on my posts here and share your experiences if you think others might benefit from it. If you want to post in this blog, send me a note, by commenting any post in this blog, and I'll be glad to have you aboard as an author. There's only one rule here: help genuinely - if you're not here to help and just bloat out your heartaches and pains and disappointments and attack other people then it's no place for you. I'm looking for people who have gone past the whining stage, who have grown and matured and ready to move forward and make things happen for the betterment of everybody.


Greetings mga kababayan! Kumusta!

For those who don't know me, I'm Dennis, an OFW currently working and living in New Zealand. I'm a software engineer by trade. A full-time father, husband and embedded software design engineer. You might think, how can I be full time in all those roles??? Go figure...

Anyways, I'm creating this blog in the hope of helping out other OFW's or OFW-wanna-be's out there or any other Pinoys living or working abroad or thinking about it. I'm all about helping -- genuine help. Feel free to share, comment and be heard. Let's help each other, that's the only way to beat the odds of poverty and mis-opportunity we have in the Philippines. As what I've heard from someone a long time ago,
"I can only do much, you can do more, but together we can do a lot."
Kudos mga kapatid!