Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada

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Showing posts with label Moving To Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moving To Canada. Show all posts

Monday, January 7, 2019

Health Issues and Options for Overseas Foreign Workers in Singapore

From the streets of Jurong West 64 to the Pioneer Rd North, down to Boon Lay Way up to Jurong Point Mall, that was my route while walking to get out of sadness.

I did it almost everyday, for a year. My body weight dropped from 190lbs to ideal. My body structure was at the right statistics, but my mind was unhealthy.

That’s right, I felt lonely and sad for the two reasons, which I wanted to share in this post.

As an overseas foreign worker in Singapore, I know how it feels to be in this situation. Wherever we are in this planet, we feel the same way. Specially if we left our family behind in our country.

The scene of me hugging my 9 and 3 year-old son was dwelling on my mind while walking the kilometres. My wife, which I dearly missed, was always in my heart, longing for her physical care.

I miss them a lot!

Effects of Constant Stress 
Although I have those friends who invited me for DOTA, a computer game where players fight each other through medieval themed creatures, I still have issues sleeping after the game.

When going home after a good game, I prepare to sleep by looking at the ceiling for several hours until I shut my eyes at 3am. The daily routine and habit irritated my stomach, literally.

I started to feel a pain in my stomach regardless of when I'm hungry and full.

As soon as I swallow the food, I can feel it rubbing my esophagus and down to my stomach. Pain starts to trigger my nerves, giving me a head start to curl my body because of the unbearable pain. 

The Doctor said that my gallbladder releases significant amount of bile, which goes back to my stomach lining, thus irritating it. “Are you stressed?”, he calmly asked. He said that this kind of symptoms occur if so much production of bile is found in the stomach lining, is when you’re stressed.

Why Am I Stressed Out?
Then I realized that I was so stressed for years due to the constant anxiety regarding my permanent residence application to Canada and eagerness to be reunited with my family in the Philippines.

The constant communication through social media and Skype was not enough to pacify my sadness. I was given prescriptions from the doctor and even consulted with the Chinese herbal doctors in Jurong.

The medicines helped me for a while but my gastritis was getting worse. The constant checking of the flights to Philippines and looking at the reminders from the airline email notifications became my daily habit.

I was so eager to go back to Philippines. If only I could go back once a week, I will. I thought of starting a business there however it takes me, just to be physically present with my family. I was about to give up my perfect job in Singapore. My wife may have gone deaf by my constant rants and complaining about my lonely lifestyle.

The Great News!
This is who I am! I’m one of the persons who treat family as comfort regardless of location. I believe that most of us do. Without them, I will be weak and feeling worthless and sad.

I’ll be constantly anxious if my boss in Singapore plans a trip for me to visit our customers in Southeast Asia countries. For others, it’s a perfect assignment, for me, it’s another days of loneliness. 

One day, the pain that I’m going through was diminished by a one single email. I was at the airport, waiting to board my flight to Philippines, when I saw the email. It came from the office of the Canadian Embassy. It stated that our Canada Permanent Residence application were approved.

They requested to submit our passports for Visa stamping. It seemed that the whole world, for me, is rejoicing. After all the hardships, loneliness, anxiety, and etc.., will finally put to end. I can now hug my sons and wife everyday.

That was four years ago and seems like yesterday. Looking back at the memories make me grateful of what we have today. We know that working and living away from our loved ones is sad. Still, we do it for so many different reasons.

I get it! But, do we need to stay in that situation for a long time?

Other Options 
I was so glad that I applied for a permanent residency in Canada. If it’s not for this country, I will never be with my family and have the same lifestyle in a first world country.

While you are young and capable of doing other things than sacrificing the joy with your loved ones, start finding ways on how to be with them. There are other countries that offers residential stability.

Grab the opportunity! It’s time to change things to the better.

Did you experience the same or similar issue?

Ask questions on how to immigrate to Canada. There are many immigrants that can provide you information about their experiences.

Join forums and network with people like the community at

Monday, May 14, 2018

From OFW in Singapore to a Permanent Resident in Canada

Moving to Canada as a permanent resident is my long-time dream.  The thought of being in Canada with my family and become a citizen was always in my mind.

Working in the Philippines 
It was 15 years ago, when I was single and working in a manufacturing company in Laguna, Philippines.  Me and my colleague Mike, were busy printing the forms for Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) back then. We were eager to get out of the country to have a better place where there are greater options to grow.

I love my country, Philippines, but the opportunity for me to have a good life was not served on the table.  Lucky for those people who were given such luck that they don't need to move to another country just to find more financial freedom.

I started to fill up the application forms then I realized that MPNP is different from the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program.  The latter is more flexible because having that type of permanent resident visa has more options than MPNP.  In the FSW program, if provided by the type of visa, I can live anywhere in Canada except in the province of Quebec.  For the MPNP, I'm only allowed to stay in Manitoba for a certain period of years and not on other provinces.

I started exploring and gathering information about the FSW program and eventually found an agency to help me with the application.  While waiting for the agency to process my documents, I worked in a technical services company where we install and refurbish machines inside the factory.

The return was good but the stress level was so high that I consistently had headaches almost once a week and not feeling well throughout the day.

I began creating blogs, just to detach myself from the engineering type of work and ventured in the realm of blogging.  It is not difficult for me, learning the ins and outs of the new and different space.

Consistently thinking of my application to Canada, boredom hits me.  I decided to go and find a job in Abu Dhabi, where I was exposed in a different environment with a great story to tell.

Experiencing the Sand, Hot Weather, and a Different Culture
Convinced by my brother, I started applying the visa for Abu Dhabi. It was my first time to visit a place where the weather and culture are different from the Philippines.  Unlike Philippines, where Catholicism is the majority of population, Abu Dhabi is a Muslim country.

Growing up in the southern place in Mindanao, it was not difficult for me blending with people who practice Islam. I study and played with my Muslim friends and acquaintances too. I was more surprised on the way they dress in Abu Dhabi.  Most of the men wear Kandura and Abaya for women.  It's totally different in the place where I grew up because my Muslim friends wear a shirt and pair of pants as we used to.

The weather is hot and the air is dry, which is a total surprise for me wearing a long-sleeve shirt without even a drop of sweat in my armpits. I was, at that time, walking alone from a job interview on a long and wide road with sand covering the pavements.

That's me goofing around Corniche Bike Park, Abu Dhabi, UAE in spite of me having no job.
My motivation in finding a job was still high and I'm still hopeful to get one in due time. A call from an employer, one day, gave me hope that I will soon be working with them.  They requested  the necessary documents and informed me to wait for the approval.

Many days have passed, still bringing my hopes and faith, I was told to exit at the Kish Island to renew my tourist visa. I thought of not doing that and preferred to return to Philippines while waiting for the working visa.  So I did!

One day, while browsing my email, I received a message from the company's secretary and learned that my visa was not further processed.  That's one of the saddest day of my life.

The Venture in the Lion City
I stopped thinking about going out of my country for a year and just continued my life in Philippines until Singapore came.

While chatting with an old colleague of mine, who is now working in Singapore, he introduced me to the Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC).  The certificate will allow me to find a job in Singapore for a period of one year.  That gave me an idea to travel, again, to Singapore and gambling my money and time to get a job that can boost my experience.

I started packing, gathering the documents, and continuously chatting online, building networks in Singapore.

Then it was time for me to get out of the Philippines, leaving my son and wife behind for the second time. That's when I posted a story of  my experience with the Philippine Immigration Officer.  So, off I go to the Lion City, Singapore, where everything I did built a big part of the puzzle. 

Realization Point
On the third year working in Singapore, I realized that having a work permit in the country is temporary. Every year, I worry about the renewal of my permit. Like any other Overseas Foreign workers, I'm not sure if my work permit will be renewed either by the government or the company.  It's a guessing game for all of us. 
Again, goofing around in Singapore. This time with a job.
I tried applying for a Singapore Permanent Resident status but I was denied with no reasons, which is a normal response to most applicants.  I have to stop this kind of annual feeling, that's what I said to my thirty--plus-year-old self.

Then, I started following up the Canadian permanent visa application, this time I did it myself.  I started researching after work and gathering information from forums.  There was no Me Moving To Canada blog back then, and that's I started my timeline.

The Achievable Dream
Working in Singapore as a work-pass holder came to an end when the great news came to me one day.  I received the much awaited visa to move to Canada as a permanent resident. That means, there's no need to worry about my work permit annually.  I can stay in Canada as long as my health can achieve and eventually apply for citizenship.

Happy and excited, I came back to Philippines to get my wife with my two sons, this time.  It was the ultimate way for us to be together in one roof. Being separate for almost 5 years, it finally came to an end.

We prepared all that we could, from documents to the things to bring. Then we packed everything and boarded the airliner bound to my dream country, Canada.

We landed at night in Toronto Pearson Airport, Ontario Canada and was met by the falling flurries, a small flakes of snow.  Looking back at my past experiences brought me a smile to my face.

Working in Philippines, finding a job in Abu Dhabi, and working in Singapore were parts of the pieces that built the huge puzzle, to be in CANADA with my love ones and give them the opportunity to have more options in life.

My Canada Story: Me Moving to Canada by Ben Alagnam

Monday, October 9, 2017

How Did I Create the Authoritative Blog?

Five years of my Overseas Foreign Worker (OFW) life, I realized that I had been posting several articles. That was more than 300 in all and counting.

I still read some old ones to see how I was doing back then. Some are badly written, sometimes misspelled, and nonsense.  Even today, I still have those imperfections.  But, it didn't stop me from doing what I love.

My First Blogging Experience?
On 2009, while browsing the internet, I saw a post from a friend in Facebook. The post was about him blogging and earning few dollars.  He showed a photo of the check and I was amazed. I didn't think that it was possible to earn using the internet.  I was clueless!

Little that I know, I was already a stalker on his Facebook profile trying to figure out what he was doing and how he did it. I was shy to ask him, for some reason.  While lurking on his site, he mentioned a blogger's name that caught my interest, so I started following that blogger.

The blogger's name is Macuha.  His site introduced me about monetizing websites and how to attract readers. He served as the medium for me to learn more about the blogging world.  As I browsed his site, I was introduced to other bloggers as well and it propagated.  But sad to say, he pivoted on selling MLM products and wasn't active for some time.

My First Ever Website!
Macuha then mentioned another blogger, who happened to be my classmate. That made me more interested! Fired up to do blogging more, I was inspired to create my own website, just like my classmate.

This time, I created my very own blog  The thought of having one is overwhelming. The blog was not intended for a certain topic, it was totally random.  If you read my posts, you'll notice that it has a different style of writing. That's what I get when reading Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books, inspired by JK Rowling and JRR Tolkein.
My very first blog. That's my hand shown on the photo.

The blog didn't work out well. It was probably because of the domain name that people can't relate to it.  I left it as is to remind me of my first ever blog!

Blogging Seriously!
The biggest decision of my life is to work in another country. One of the reasons is to be in a first world country and apply to move to Canada.  That's Me Moving To Canada...Stop!  That's a different topic, be patient and read more about it below...

The land of sands, UAE, was my first attempt.  It didn't work out well, went back home in Manila and started all over again. Second attempt was in Singapore and that was the start of my "blogging career".

Longing of having my own serious blog, I decided to create  It was hosted in Blogger but I bought my own domain name.

While working in Singapore, I told stories of my journey to the land of the Lion!  From preparing my flight and issues in the airport to things on how to go around the country and have some fun.

I soon noticed that I had more readers when I write procedures on certain processes, like going to the Philippine Embassy and how to get public documents.  Learning those things helped me create more authoritative posts.  Readers are now actively asking about my experiences and advices.

The Creation of an Authoritative Blog
Working in Singapore is temporary, that is true when you're away from your family.  It won't last, it's either the love or career will.  I needed to choose, and I opt in to LOVE and career will follow.

  • I was thinking if should I stay in Singapore, get a PR and be a citizen, but the former is difficult. I need to have a salary grade of over SGD6,000 to sponsor my family, probably achievable in a managerial position, and that is near impossible!
  • Should I go back home in the Philippines and do business? I'll be starting from scratch and will deplete my resources in a few months without customers.
  • Move to another country, CANADA! I will start from scratch, but, at least hospitalization is free.
Well, obviously, I chose the latter.

While I was applying to immigrate to Canada, I started the blog, It was hosted in a free hosting site, Blogger.  Although it's free, it has limited features to create a more dynamic blog.  Since it was just a start of another blog, I decided to take it.

Readers started to flood my posts with comments and questions regarding the steps on how to apply for immigration.  It inspired me to blog more and that grew to a healthy blog, should I say.

The Membership Site Was Born!
As my "healthy blog" was growing, I started thinking on how to monetize it more than just Google Adsense. So I created my youngest baby,, named it MM2C for short. This time, it's hosted in a premium site, where I have a yearly fee.  Given that the name is what I wanted, I liked it a lot but it comes with a premium.

Some of its posts are protected by a membership tier.  There are three tiers, LITE, GOLD and DIAMOND.   If readers want to access the site, a membership is required.  To learn more about the site. Visit the link here...

Today, I'm maintaining 3 blog sites and enjoying it a lot.

Tips on Making Authoritative Blog
If you want to create an authoritative blog, you need the following tips:
  • Tell your story - People love stories, even as young kids, you're always excited to listen to stories.
  • Be honest on what you advice - Let them know if you're not sure of your answer and get back to them once you have it.
  • Get their attention - Don't just tell your a story. Give them key informations around the story, like giving them tips and how to's.
That's all for now, if you want to learn more about blogging, monetizing website and membership sites, leave your comment below.

Here is the membership site. 

Me Moving To Canada MM2C Community
MM2C in Canada
Join the MM2C Community and have these benefits:
  • MM2C Subscription
  • More Editable Sample Documents (Resources)
  • Access to Forums and meet fellow members online
  • Blogs
  • Update on our Citizenship

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