Marigolds for the King

Today is the Royal Cremation of Thailand’s most beloved King. Thais all over the kingdom swarmed ceremonial places to show their love and bid King Bhumibol Adulyadej their final goodbyes. It is truly an emotional time, people may it be young or old queued and waited in line for hours amidst heat and rain. The Royal Cremation was meticulously prepared with huge support from Thai volunteers and support from establishments in the form of food, drinks, raincoats, or cutting business hours to give employees time to join the ceremony like Tesco Lotus, 7 11, and some gas stations, just to name a few.

Aside from the incomparable show of devotion and the lavish royal crematorium (yeah lavish US$ 90 million), another prominent feature is the use of countless Marigolds. In every corner of the kingdom may it be residences, business establishments, schools, offices, or images of the late king, Marigolds are displayed.

 

Let us take a closer look at this flower.

 

Marigold flower belongs to the genus Tagetes which are native to North and South America but which are now widely cultivated in Asia, including Thailand. Marigolds are used as decorations for weddings, garlands, or as offerings for rituals and religious events. It is regarded as the flower for the dead in pre-Hispanic Mexico.

In light of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s burial, this bright yellow flower is chosen as yellow is his official color. He was born on a Monday.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, forever you will stay in our hearts.

 

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Mother’s Day 2017

It’s Mother’s Day in Thailand.

In my 8 years as a Mom,  I had been greeted by so many friends,  colleagues,  and even acquaintances on Mother’s Day but never  from my own child.  This year’s Mother’s day is different and special.  For the first time I received a Mother’s day letter from my daughter.  Here.


She wrote this in school,  and wanted to surprise me.  I felt a lump building up in my throat as I was reading it.  It is simple but the gesture is just so sweet.  Earlier when we went grocery shopping she bought me a bolster and a towel (which I paid for,  Lol).  It’s OK.  It’s really the thought that counts.  I was so touched!

And then later on she secretly made me another card complete with Thai translation ^_^.

 

Oh so sweet!

 

Tira-Tira Candy


This grandpa pulls something sticky and stretchy from an elongated pouch. I have to admit it was intriguing in fact we stopped by and watched, together with many others who can’t help it as well. To our surprise,  this grandpa is selling what seems like a candy my husband and I know from our childhood days in the Philippines, the TIRA-TIRA!
The only difference is that this one is a bit on the softer and chewy side.  The TIRA-TIRA we had before were tough and sticky on the teeth,  you would have to chew on it so hard it would feel like your teeth would chip off.
We tried it,  and indeed it is TIRA-TIRA, Thai version.

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Cost of Living in the Land of Smile

Living in Thailand, generally speaking, is not pricey. Although prices have definitely gone up in the past ten years, it is still decent.

Prices may differ though from place to place depending on the density of foreign visitors the place have. The likes of Pattaya, Koh Samui, Koh Lipeh, Koh Phi Phi, and Phuket are expensive unless you know the right places that sell meals at a local rate. Major cities like Bangkok, ChiangMai, ChiangRai, and Hatyai have fairly minimal rate per meal. The province of Songkhla has surprisingly higher rate at about 10 baht more. For instance, a 50-55 baht meal in Hatyai is about 60-65 baht in Songkhla. Even items on sale in grocers and thrift shops are 10 baht more expensive than Hatyai. Well they say, the oil rig companies are to be blamed for this.

Speaking of oil, gasoline prices had been a roller coaster. It fluctuated greatly in the past seven years or at least since I got conscious of oil prices due to necessity. Sixteen baht was lowest so far and that was in 2008 to 2009, I just couldn’t be certain of the date but it was definitely within these years. It was a  great time but a short lived one. After that, it has gone up and down, with 27 baht as the priciest so far in 2016.

We have gone to several places, eaten at restaurants, and shopped at local market and grocers, one important thing we observed, once sellers know that you are a foreigner they would jack up the price. So friendly tips, it is best to buy at places where prices are displayed. It happened to us countless times and we saw it happened to “Phalangs” right before our eyes.

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Thai Teaching License

Do you need to get or renew your Thai teaching license?

Working expats in Thailand especially English teachers have to acquire a teaching license from the Teachers Council of Thailand (คุรุสภา), and regularly renew this every five years.  It is necessary to have a Thai teaching license as this is one of the requirements for non-B visa extension (working visa) which is done annually.  For first-time getters, attending a seminar on Thai culture is a must.  This Thai culture seminar is regularly scheduled by the teachers council.

Download these forms, comply all requirements,and follow the procedure.

KS 02 Professional License renewal application Form

KS 02.10 Qualification Declaration Form for License Renewal Applicant

Teaching license requirements

Pay to post payment form

Send these papers to
Mailing Address
Teaching License
Professional License and Registration Bureau
Professional License Services Unit
Secretariat Office of the Teachers’ Council of Thailand
128/1 Nakhon-Ratchasima Road,
Dusit Sub-District, Dusit District
Bangkok 10300

To get the teaching license card, you can either go there yourself or authorize someone to collect it for your.  You may need to send an authorization letter and a copy of the information page of your passport duly signed.

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Registering Your Thailand Born Child

Here are the steps you need to do before registering your child in your respective embassies.

Steps
1. Have pertinent documents like your child’s birth certificate translated  to English and passport of parent(s) translated to Thai by an English translator authorized  by MFA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2. Fill in necessary forms at MFA . At this moment there are no updates on the downloadable documents.
3. Bring these to the MFA office  at

Legalization Division , 3rd floor
Department of Consular Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
123 Chaeng Watthana Road
Bangkok 10210

or by mail

It would take 2 working days to process this.

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Maternity Preparation: Expat’s Concern

Being a working expat we have limited support system.  Technically we’re on our own. With a child on the way my husband and I needed to have all things covered.

Both my kids were born in a hospital. I wouldn’t probably have it any other way since there were possibilities of Caesarian Section specially with my second child. Luckily though I had normal delivery for both despite the risks.

Here are some preparations we did.

  • Days before the delivery schedule, we mapped out the route to take from the house to the hospital taking into consideration time and traffic conditions.
  • Necessary things were all placed in one big bag to prevent cases of things getting lost or forgotten.
  • Pack only the essentials like mom’s going home clothings, sanitary napkins and toiletries (although these are provided), enough new born necessities – clothes,  diapers, baby wipes.
  • It would also be great to have hot packs to warm your mammary glands,  otherwise milk won’t come out and breastfeeding is painful (my nipples were bruised). Government hospitals are strictly implementing breastfeeding program. So formula milk is not allowed. But we sneaked in some,  no milk was coming out and my daughter was bawling her eyes out of hunger.  What can we do we’re parents.
  • Secure pertinent documents like passports,  work permit, and insurance card (I’ve got Prakansangkom, government insurance). And also a copy of house registration  (สำเนาทะเบียนบ้าน) is needed . Secure this from the house owner.
  • Prepare your baby’s name written in Thai letters on a piece of paper. Birth certificates are in Thai which require name written in Thai. So you would have to have it translated to English or your countries language for registration. Here’s how.

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Bathe In The Sun At….

Summer in Samal

When we went home to the Philippines for a month long, very much needed vacay, my husband and I decided to book a weekend stay in the Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCOS, the Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort. This is our childhood favorite resort. Since we were kids this resort has been like a… well… a paradise. It seemed like the name Paradise Island was synonymous to GREAT FUN.

Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort is located at Barangay Caliclic, Babak district Samal Island. Please note that Samal Island used to be a part of Davao City before it was declared a city of its own on 30th January 1998; some websites though, still use the old address. This resort can be reached via a boat ride from a port in Sasa Wharf Davao City to the resort or via a Ferry if you so choose to bring your vehicles to the Island with you.

In general, we had a pleasant experience. My husband and I definitely had a great time at the beach. We love the powdery white sand, the blue clear water, and the fresh air. At that time there were only a few guests, so it felt like we had the beach to ourselves. It felt like paradise.

However, there were a few inconveniences.

For example, checking in was quite a hassle as the resort is quite strict with a lot of things. They do have a rule book that you need to familiarize with or else your stay will be ruined. Checking the bags to make sure you have no food, drinks and/or spirits brought with you, as one of the rules in the book says “NO FOOD AND DRINKS FROM OUTSIDE ARE ALLOWED”, was a bit annoying.

It was like we were being searched in a detention camp rather than a resort. Children under 12 years have additional fees. It was quite saddening especially when all the other resorts especially resorts in Thailand would consider them free.  The food and snacks in the resort are delicious but rather expensive. The drinks and spirits are downright overpriced.

And then there is this, no swimming pool. When we were kids it was OK because we never really had any idea about it, but now that we have gone to other resorts it seems like a pool is a given.  Our kids were extremely disappointed. They love hanging around the pool. In fact it is the very first thing they always look for whenever we check in on a hotel/resort.

I guess we sort of overlooked this. We were probably unconsciously expecting it after all these years. Anyway, the beach was irresistibly inviting, even to the kids.  They had so much fun that they didn’t want to get out of the water.  That reminded me of our childhood days. It was a blast.

If you are the kind of person who wants coffee in the morning just right after waking up… you’d be disappointed to know that there are no hotspots or whatsoever in the rooms. I know it’s not really a necessity for everyone but it’s kind of good to have just in case you need one. No refrigerator. Yup… you heard me right. There is no freakin fridge. So if you bought a large bottle of soda or bottled water from the bar or restaurant, drink it while it’s cold. It’s not a deal breaker but it is definitely disappointing since these are the kind of amenities even cheap hotels offer.

But then again when we got to our room that morning Lo and Behold… The room was really clean. The toilet was well maintained. We were able to breathe a sigh of relief as my husband and I are really particular about cleanliness. We have had very bad experiences with hotel rooms even with the pricey ones in Bangkok and in Penang Malaysia. The beddings, the mattress, the floor under the bed are well dusted. We are very particular about this since my husband and kids are all asthmatic.

We’ve been to quite a few resorts and hotels may it be for long vacay or just a weekend getaway, all these accommodations have their own good and bad points.  Nothing is perfect as they say.  But perfection is relative to one’s needs and preferences.

So, Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort despite its imperfection and the inconveniences we had, it was still a GREAT experience generally speaking.

Have you been to any of the beautiful beaches in the Philippines? How was it?

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You’ll Be Forever Remembered H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej

 

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The night of 13th October 2016 is the quietest in Thailand history.  The King so loved and revered not only by Thai people but also by foreigners, has died.  People are mourning, and those who have been praying outside the hospital where he was admitted, cried their hearts out upon knowing.  My family and I are one with our Thai friends, colleagues and the entire kingdom in this mournful time.  His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej will forever live in our hearts.  May he forever be remembered by his kindness, good deeds, and love for his people.

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How Do Majorettes Dress Like In Your Country?

Majorettes are dancers doing a choreographed movement, baton twirling.  They perform this during parades together with marching bands.  I remember as a grader I used to envy how great they look in their glossy, skimpy dresses and how awesome to see those tricky baton twirls.  All were always excited to see them. Young girls dreamed of becoming one but were told that only selected few could become one as there are qualifications to meet like one must be tall, slim, fair-skinned (oh so discriminating!) and must be pleasant looking.

Now living in Thailand, it’s amazing to know that anyone could be a majorette.  Qualifications? Nothing like what were mentioned above. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to join.

Amazing Thailand.

And totally amazing costume!

Majorettes here look like Moulin Rouge dancers.

FotorCreated

 

How do majorettes dress like in your country?

 

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