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My K1 Fiancee Visa Experience

This is not a typical travel post, but since many people are asking me about my US visa application experience, I’ve decided to finally share it. Because each stage in the K1 Fiancee Visa application is very critical, I will be posting a series of detailed guides to give you an idea of what to expect. To be quite honest, I have been toying with the idea of making a guide for months, but I wasn’t sure if I’m comfortable sharing this stage in my life. Only loved ones and cIose friends at the time knew that Chad and I are applying for a visa. It was an extremely nerve-wracking experience for us, due to the fact that it will ultimately dictate our future together.

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About 2 years ago, I shared that Chad and I got engaged, and a year after that we decided to begin the I129F, Petition for Alien Fiancee–also called the Fiancee Visa (K1)–application process, so we can finally get married and start our lives together. …

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Exploring Bangkok Part 1

When I was a child I used to let time pass by perusing photo books and travel diaries, and researching about the places that struck me. It was my way of escaping from my then-reality. I used to fantasize entering the ancient castles of England or the fairy-tale-like villages in Germany. I still dream of them today, but the main difference is back then I didn’t have the means to actually travel to those places. Europe is still unattainable at the moment, but as long as I get to pack my bags and hop on a bus or plane to a faraway place, I consider it a blessing already.

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So when Chad asked me to go to Thailand with him, I was more than excited. It won’t just be the normal out-of-town trip that we usually do when he’s in the Philippines–it would be my first time to fly outside the country, the first stamp on my passport. For someone who grew up surrounded by rice fields and hills, it was such a momentous time. I can finally tell people what it’s like to be unfairly treated by a NAIA immigration officer and how ugly our airports look when compared to another developing country’s. Haha! Nonetheless, I still love the Philippines no matter how crooked our government officials can be.

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Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Chad and I queued to the Immigration area. I was nervous as hell, having read so many horror stories about immigration officials. The officer who interviewed me, however, was nice and smiling. He welcomed and wished me a pleasant visit–that was when I was to able to breathe properly. We didn’t plan for this trip at all. When we got out of the gates, we were both clueless as to where we were gonna stay. I must say, though, it’s quite a fun experience. Thankfully I had this app called AirBnb on my phone, I managed to save there the address of this cute hostel in Bangkok, otherwise we would have to rely on suggestions from taxi drivers. So off we went!

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It took us a while to find the hostel. The cab driver dropped us off on an unfamiliar street. The maps we had were no use at all. The street names were spelled differently than what was written on the maps so we had to ask a number of people. What’s surprising was even the Thais were unable to decipher the spelling. After asking for directions from five people and walking a kilometer or two, we successfully found the hostel. At that point we were unsure if they accept walk-ins, but we asked anyway. The staff at Baan Nampetch were really pleasant and accommodating. Fortunately they still had one available room. Hurray! We booked the room with two beds for three days and two nights, which cost us around 1400 Baht (approx Php 1900). Not bad, I think, considering they offer free breakfast and WiFi. On that same day we explored Khaosan Road (I’ll show the pictures later).

Below are just some snapshots I took on our second day. Chad is a Buddhist, and one of the reasons he chose Thailand is he wanted to visit the temples. With the help of the staff at Baan Nampetch, we found our way to The Grand Palace on Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, where the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) is located.

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Beautiful, colorful things welcomed us before entering the temple. Prior to our trip I was on a portion control diet, but when we arrived in Thailand I could no longer control my appetite. Everything is delicious in that place, I can’t even!

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The Grand Palace was built in 1782 after King Rama I ascended to the throne. Currently, the whole 218,000 square meter-complex houses 35 temples, offices, shops, restaurants, throne halls, and the royal residence itself. I’ve seen some temples in the Philippines, but they’re not as crowded and big as this one.

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Outside the palace, tens of thousands of people were going in and out. We didn’t know this was a favorite tourist destination until……

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Mad Love

My friends and officemates often ask me: Do I ever feel sad? And I would answer with a resounding yes, but I try not to dwell on it. I always tell myself that no one else is responsible for my emotions but me. I can tell the whole world about my feelings but no other person can resolve it but me. While growing up, I have also discovered that negative emotions can be contagious. I want to be that person who’s a constant source of positive, happy energy. Each of us has our own struggles, and I don’t want to be that friend who always brings bad news. I do not want to inconvenience anyone by listening to rants and problems that (probably) do not concern them.

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My mom has taught me and my siblings to be independent. When we were kids, she would often talk to us about taking responsibility. As a child, I did not understand it then. I thought my mom was being too serious and ‘baduy’ by having those talks. I didn’t realize how much those talks have permeated my daily existence until today. Scoldings from parents do have a purpose after all. Sometimes I’d wonder if I can become an effective parent like my mother, especially now that I’m nearing that stage. 🙂

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A few weeks ago, Chad and I got engaged. YES WE’RE ENGAGED!!! 😀 😀 😀

I choose you @gypsealegs ????????

A photo posted by Daphne Benosa (@dafnyduck) on

Although having kids is not one of our current priorities, just thinking about it can be overwhelming. Seeing a little Chad and Daphne playing some day would be great, but we still have a lot of things to work on as a couple. Chad and I have had many talks about this in the past, even before announcing our official engagement, and I’m glad to have a partner who possesses the same line of thinking as I do.

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Many people think that when you get married, you can no longer have time for your own dreams. I disagree. That may be true for couples with kids but not for married couples. Chad and I still have lots of things to fulfill. More than a year ago we collaborated for several creative projects and realized how compatible we are, not just as boyfriend-girlfriend but as partners. We accomplish so much when we’re together and manage to weed through the challenges of long-distance relationship—these and many other things convince me that Chad and I will make it.

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Not that I need any convincing. I’ve loved Chad since meeting him more than a decade ago and nothing will ever dissuade me from marrying him. When he left for the States when I was in college, I totally gave up hope that I’d still see him. But he came back in 2011–and it was the right time. I’m not one to believe in ‘The One’ (oh boy, here we go), but that moment, our first conversation after so many years, I knew then he’s the person I’d marry. He’s my ideal man and my best friend, and it makes me so happy that I will be spending the rest of my life with this wonderful being. 🙂

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Top from SM GTW | Cotton On Trousers | Thrifted Parisian Sandals | MANGO Quilted Bag | Casio Watch
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Just thinking about Chad and our future makes all my worries go away. My officemates have remarked about my blooming aura since becoming engaged and I have to say it’s all because of the love I constantly receive from Chad, my family, and friends.

When you focus on how much you are loved instead of how unfortunate you are, it will show. It’s all about perspective. 🙂

Photos by Chad Verzosa <3

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Travel Post: Vigan

Two months ago, Chad and I traveled to north of the Philippines to check out Vigan. Chad had been to the place but I haven’t before. I only knew about Vigan in textbooks in school and as my family could not afford to travel anywhere, except my parents’ hometowns which are just an hour away from Naga, I promised myself that I will visit Vigan when I’m capable of traveling.

I have a certain fascination for ancient things, and Vigan suits that interest of mine. Although I was a bit disappointed that only one street, Calle Crisologo, preserved the Spanish colonial houses and architecture, the whole experience was still amazing. I am after all with the love of my life, everywhere with him is paradise. CHOS! [On an unrelated note, I think I should shift to love + personal blogging because I keep talking about my boyfriend. I hope it doesn’t annoy you (heh). I can’t help it, so please bear with me. 😛 ]

After a 9-hour ride to Vigan via Viron Transit, we checked in RF Aniceto Mansion.

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Aside from offering the best accommodation package (1500php per night = breakfast + airconditioned room + private hot/cold bath + cable tv + clean and comfortable room), the place has a gorgeous interior. And if you’re a vintage junkie like me, you’d absolutely love Aniceto.

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 Chad photobombing. He always does that when I take photos. 🙂

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Our room. Nice right?

Aside from checking out Calle Crisologo and the restaurants along it (pictures of which can be found here), we also went to Baluarte, a large park owned by Ilocos Sur’s incumbent governor, Chavit Singson.

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The place has a lot of animals–from donkeys, parrots, deers, to tigers. I don’t really know what to feel when we got there. I don’t like it when animals are used for humans’ amusement. I feel so sorry for the donkey that carried us quite honestly, I kept on talking to the poor thing after he gave us a tour of the field. 🙁

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Had some photos taken with this gorgeous parrot, too. The owners won’t ask for payment but they will certainly ask for a small donation after they’ve let the bird rest on your shoulders.

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Chad decided to climb this big rock while on our way to see the famous pets of the governor.

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I saw about six of these cuties. I kept calling them kitty in this video because they look so cuddly and cute, like domestic cats. They must be extremely bored and sad; these animals should be in the wild with their own kind, not in cages.

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We also went to see Playa de Oro beach, which is only 10 minutes away from the city. Our travels are incomplete without the beach, you see. The place is very underdeveloped, which is good in my opinion. I saw some trash lying around near the shore though. 🙁 And I think promoting it for tourism will only hurt it.

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Tropapips. Little kids watching the waves, taken by Chad

Chad in Playa de Oro beach photo by me

Chad left for the States a couple of days ago. I’m sad to be honest with you, which kind of explains why I’ve not been posting anything for the past weeks. I’ve been with him almost everyday during his 8-month stay in the country, but I guess every good thing has an end. It’s just temporary in our case, though. We’ll see each other in a year or two. We’ve done this long-distance relationship thing before. We survived it, and I see no reason for it not to work this time.

Photos taken by me using a Canon AE-1 film camera and Solid Gold ISO 200

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