How to Apply for “Home Leave” for your Filipino Maid (without an agency!)

Thought I’d share with you the steps I took in successfully applying for home leave on my own, without going through an agency in Singapore, bc we’ve just applied and received ours this week! I brought my dog Milk here from the US without one detailed in the post here (though it was a super frustrating and LONG process), so I figured I can do this too. It wasn’t easy (but way easier than going through AVA for Milk!) as the philippine embassy want to make it as confusing for you as possible so that you end up paying up and hiring the agency to do it for you. But trust me, it can be with a bit of patience and persistence! I’ve tried to best summarize the steps so that you can just follow the steps below and not think twice about it.

(For the readers of my blog, yes! we hired a wonderful live-in maid as soon as we got back to Singapore. We will expand on this in an another “Living in SIngapore” blog entry soon!)

Few things to note:

  • Start this 2~3 months prior her departure date.
  • If you go through a Lucky Plaza agency to do this for you, it’ll cost you anywhere from $280 to 400. You can have your maid go and compare the rates amongst the agencies. You do not and should not go through the agency in which you hired your maid (unless it’s one of the few that has this service in Lucky Plaza), as they will basically hire a third-party agency (yes, those in Lucky Plaza that you can find yourself) to do it for them and charge you another $50~100 on top for the referral fee.
  • If you do this on your own, it’ll cost you anywhere between $100~180, depending on the documents that you already have.
  • Despite what is generally known, you CAN apply without an agency even if your helper has not yet finished her contract. My helper has worked with me only for 3 months and we have successfully done this on our own.
  • The maid can, during a weekday (Philippine Embassy hours: Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.) go to embassy on her own and apply herself. You, the employer, do not need to be there.
  • Make sure to make copies of all the documents (at least three or more for each, as it seems to differ for each officer), the embassy otherwise charges $0.50 cents per.
  • Make sure your maid is dressed in pants BELOW her knees and closed sandals, or she won’t be allowed in the embassy.

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Back in Singapore as a Mommy!

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I’m back in Singapore! I’ve changed around the look of my site and bought an official domain, so hopefully this will get me into the habit of updating my blog more frequently. I get a lot of messages in regards to Korean weddings (not to worry, the older entries are continuously updated) and I hope to also expand this blog to Korean beauty blog and Korean-style-mixed-with-western motherhood blog as well. I am a total skin care fanatic, as many Korean girls are, and have tried thousand of masks, pore cleansers, sprays to maintain the radiant glow most Korean women in Korea seem to have.  On a visit to Korea, It’s definitely not so easy choosing from thousands of brands out there. So I hope to take the stress off and share one product at a time with you! Korean women believe once your skin glows, any type of makeup will suit you well. So before anything, work on your skin first!

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8 Simple Skin Care Habits to Steal from Korean Girls

Since it’s been awhile that I updated the blog, I thought I’d change the subject a bit and share with you ten simple ways you can improve your skin drastically- just by changing your daily habits! I am a skin care fanatic and had spent countless times trying out facials in Korea (and all over, but Korea by far is the best in beauty related services) and testing hundreds of different products. More so than makeup, I believe in looking flawless in your bare skin. While this can’t cure all, the simple steps below will definitely improve your skin within days. These are the things I wish my mother had told me growing up!

  1. Apply a lotion or toner IMMEDIATELY after you wash your face.

Yup, that’s right. Immediately means seconds after you wipe the water off of your face with a towel. Not a minute, or five minutes. or worst yet, 30 minutes after your wash because you were too busy changing into your night gown. You have just scraped off your skin raw by washing your face and trust me, your face is prone to all sorts of nasty stuff due to its dryness. The moral of the first rule: do not let your skin lose its moisture.

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Why I Chose Korea to give Birth- My Korean Postpartum Care Experience

 Three weeks after we brought Brevi home from the Korean postpartum centre, he’s put on a lot of weight and is thriving. He’s already doubled the size of his birthweight and now finally resembles something like a little human. Amazing how babies change so much! I can barely keep up with his ever-changing face and sometimes I have to do a double take to make sure I didn’t bring home the wrong baby. Despite still waking up every two hours each night to feed him, I feel more refreshed than ever (and much lighter), thanks to the amazing postpartum clinic I stayed in Korea. Though there were faults in the system that annoyed me a couple times, I believe it was worth the “investment.” And I say investment, because it was so absurdly expensive. Here’s my belated review on the Korean postpartum system and why I chose to give birth in Seoul, Korea, instead of Singapore (where I currently reside) or United States (our original home country)!

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Brevi’s Birth Story ♥

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Our beautiful bundle of joy is here!

Our little Brevi arrived earlier than we expected at 37 weeks and 1 day, weighing 2.62kgs on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014, at 10: 47am!

What an unforgettable *tear* :)

I still can’t believe I’m now a mommy! It feels so surreal. And I never thought I’d ever feel this way, but I am so thankful that I was born a female, for a different reason post this event. Yes, my pregnancy was hard- I had a severe case of morning sickness that lasted from week 6 to week 18 where I was throwing up every few hours every. single. day. I couldn’t stand the smell of basically everything. In the third trimester, my right rib cage went numb because my baby kicked in the same area repeatedly. My delivery- written below- was nothing I had imagined, and really really terrifying (yes, all you expecting mothers. it’s exactly as excruciatingly painful as everyone explained it’d be, and more), but I now have a newfound respect for all those that went through active labor. Yes, I feel so thankful that I’ve been born a female, so that I have the HONOR of experiencing a child kick and squirm inside me (growing from a little bean to a little human! I have grown a human!), and to have experienced giving BIRTH to an another being despite all that I went through for the past nine months.

So this is may be a bit personal, but I thought I’d write about my delivery to mark a truly blessed and humbling moment in my life so that I will forever remember every detail of my labor, which has been shared many many times with my family, friends, and oh, the other mommy’s at the confinement centre I got to know while brestfeeding in the last couple days. I will explain my confinement experience in the later post.

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