Frugal Expat’s Review Rating System

If you have been following my blog, you notice that I love to write reviews. I enjoy sharing our experiences in hotels, dining out and other activities like travels. 

It is nice to read reviews, honest reviews. I actually consider reviews when buying a product like gadgets and booking for a hotel.  

Sometimes it became my channel too to express disappointments and frustrations like this when I wrote about our experience with Sri Lankan Airlines when we traveled from Singapore to Abu Dhabi last time. 

Lately also, I have been receiving (though oftentimes I decline due to my hectic schedule) invitations to visit places, dine in to newly opened restaurants or try new product in exchange of writing a review for the product or experience. 

I decided that the next time I write any reviews, I will include my rating. 

This will be my rating system, a simple one. 

Rating System

 

 

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My first online purchase experience at ‘Souq.com’

Souq.com

I am not really a fan of online shopping. Though I love the convenience (because I hate malls), I am still having big doubts.

First, I am not really comfortable using my credit cards.

Second, photos are deceiving really. It is different when you see with our own eyes and feel the items that you will buy. Maybe for some things like books, this will not matter. However like clothes and gadgets, I have to feel and see it.

So when I wanted to buy an ebook reader, I searched in the internet. I wanted to have a basic ebook reader only. Basic functions will do for me.

I saw one from Jumbo Electronics and it was a Kobo brand. I read the reviews. Well, it was not that bad.

I searched more and found a cheaper Kobo Aura ebook reader in Souq.com. It was like 30% off than the price in Jumbo Electronics. I was skeptical – what if it’s a fake item?

I checked the return policy for Souq.com. 

It’s a 3 days free return. If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, you can return it for free and get a full refund.

Just make sure to contact them within 3 days from the day your order is delivered, and ensure that the item is in its original packaging, unworn and in the same condition you received it.

If the item you have received is damaged, defective or not as described on the website, you will receive a full refund along with any shipping fees incurred.

I was convinced with the return policy. And so, I placed the order.

Day 1, I didn’t heard anything from them. No phone calls.

Day 2, Someone called me from Souq.com to confirm my purchase.

Day 3, My Kobo Aura ebook reader was delivered.

Easy, breezy. I was happy with my experience actually.

Souq2

And the product, well I have no clue how to detect if it is fake or not but I am really happy with it.

I really didn’t have any expectations. I knew that Kobo Aura is not at the top end of the selection but I am happy to use. It’s handy and convenient. 

Notes:

  • The shipping fee is AED 12.
  • If you opt to pay COD (cash on delivery), there will be an extra charge of AED 4.

Frugal Expat’s thought:

I actually enjoy my first online purchase with Souq.com. As I bought a gadget, I loved the way they packed my item. It was really secured. 

I look forward to purchasing more items in Souq.com.

 

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OFWs in UAE: How to get your OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate)?

Editor’s Note: This is for Filipino readers only. 

We are gearing up for our vacation back home. One of the priority before departure is the Overseas employment Certificate, a.k.a. OEC.

No offense, but I detest going to the Embassy. Long queue. Chaos. Initially I planned to get my NOC in our province but then I was not sure about our Nanny’s OEC because it’s her first time to go for vacation.

So, I decided to obtain it from here together with her.

I registered both of us in https://www.bmonline.ph/. If you are registered already, just log-in.

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Then it will prompt you to complete your profile. Be sure that you have a photo available because you need to upload it.

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Flight schedule needs to be provided also. Take note of the important reminders about passport and visa validity to avoid any problems.

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After you complete the profile section, it will take you to the location selection. Just choose your region and the Embassy or Consulate nearest to you.

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Choose the schedule that suits you. It will show also the available slots for each time.

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After you chose the schedule, go to ‘My Transactions’ then ‘Appointments’.

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Print the info sheet. This is actually the form that they will give in the Embassy when you apply for OEC and you  don’t have an online appointment.

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The following has to be attached to the info sheet.

  • Passport copy with the visa page
  • Eticket copy
  • PAG-IBIG payment receipt
  • Contract copy
  • Bring your original passport

They also accept payment for those who doesn’t have PAG-IBIG payment receipt.

We spent only like half an hour to process our OEC. Unexpectedly, an easy breezy process. 

Notes:-

Just make sure you get the right direction when you are in the Embassy. There’s one Filipino guy who is standing in the gate entrance. He will guide you. The problem is he doesn’t provide the correct directions.

When I asked him where to go since we had an online appointment already, he told us to go where the crowd was (where they issue forms and accept PAG-IBIG payments).  

While completing the form, I noticed that it was the same with the info sheet from the online appointment. So I asked again the ladies in the counter and showed them online appointment. Then they advised to proceed directly to where the OEC was being issued.

Another thing. This room, where the OEC is processed, is closed. They will just open it when they call out the priority numbers from the forms that you get from this PAG-IBIG payment counters.

Our appointment was 10am. So I insisted to the lady who was calling out the priority numbers for OEC that we have online appointment. She asked to wait. When it was 10am sharp, we asked her again. It was only that time that we were entertained.

We were allowed to go inside the room and process our OEC.

It was easy, but make sure you have the right directions otherwise you will be waiting for nothing. 

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Win a Tour Package for 2 Persons

Celebrating Frugal Expat’s Anniversary

 6th year anniv

I finally cave in to this idea of ‘blogiversary’. 

Frugal Expat is turning six (6) this August and to celebrate it, I will be giving away a tour package to Cambodia for two persons. 

A hint. The more FB likes and shares, the more chances of winning. **smiles**

So here’s the details for the prize and how to join. 

Prize: 3-days/2-nights Package Tour in Siem Reap,     Cambodia 

  • 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast 
  • One time dinner
  • Sightseeing tour with Tuk-tuk
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off

Package tour is for two persons, valid until 31 December 2015 and subject to availability at the time of booking. 

How to join?

Just follow this easy breezy simple steps.

  1. Sign up here
  2. Like our FB Page
  3. Share this anniversary blog post to your timeline.

Winner will be announced on 31 August 2015.

Many thanks in advance for joining and good luck!

 

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Review: Eye-Fi Mobi makes photo sharing a lot easier and more fun

 Eye-Fi Mobi

How many of us prefer to use our smart phone in taking photos simply because it is easier to upload the photos to our Facebook account? I am guilty of this for sure. I am too lazy to take out the cable and download the photos from the camera.

That’s why I got excited when I received this Eye-Fi Mobi card. It makes photo sharing a lot easier and more fun.

And what’s more, I am travelling soon. This Eye-Fi Mobi card just came on a right time.

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How much we love social media, right? From the food we are about to eat, places we visited, gifts we received, any celebrations – we all wanted these to be documented through photos and, of course, share it to our social media accounts.

This reminds me of my conversation with one hospital attendant when I delivered my son. I always had our camera so I could take photos anytime. This caught his attention and later he started to ask me questions about the camera details.

Then he said, ‘You know, photo albums are obsolete now because after we take photos, it goes directly to Facebook’.

And indeed he is right.

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Click here to see the brief presentation of Eye-Fi Mobi. Promise – it is just a short video. It’s 2 minutes  only. You will then understand why I super love this product.

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Guest Post: Keeping family close when they’re far away: creative ways to keep in touch (Kaitlin Krull)

Living far away from family and loved ones makes communication difficult, especially when there are children involved. Here are several creative ideas and DIY projects for making the distance seem smaller.

Share storybooks

Families bond over books, whether they’re much-loved heirlooms read time and time again, or special stories shared at bedtime. Involving far-flung loved ones with story time helps to strengthen bonds and create new memories. Try one of these ways to share your stories with grandparents and family:

● Have two copies of books, read together over Skype or over the phone.

● Make use of recordable books (especially at holidays) and share them as unique and treasured gifts.

● Make picture books for children using photographs of family members. Try this DIY family photo board book, or something similar:

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via A Beautiful Mess

Take lots of pictures

Photographs help families feel connected over a period of time. With the prevalence of a number of social media sites and apps dedicated to printing and displaying digital artwork, there is no shortage of creative ways to display family pictures around the house. Companies such as Sticky9 and Photobox specialize in creating high quality printouts from Instagram, Flickr, and other digital files. Why not try creating your own Instagram photo wall like this one from The Small Fry Blog:

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via Small Fry Blog

After you’ve made your own family photograph display, make sure to send all your best prints to your family and friends; they make excellent birthday and Christmas gifts!

Keep in touch

In this digital 21st century we often forget the “old-fashioned” ways of keeping in touch with loved ones. Don’t forget regular phone calls and the practically lost art of snail mail. By setting up your own letter writing station at home, sitting down to write a letter will seem less of a burden on your time and more like a special project you will want to repeat again and again.

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via House for Five

More convenient than letter writing, however, is the now ubiquitous means of communication: the Internet. By utilizing email, Skype, FaceTime, and other social media, you and your family and friends will feel as if there is no distance between you. Create a comfortable and inviting home office or study in your own home where you’ll want to spend time communicating with family and friends.

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via Modernize

Other creative ways

Staying close to those you love when you live far away means more than writing and calling regularly. In order to really feel as if your lives are intertwined, you must share more than a few words now and again. Send regular care packages back and forth filled with special items, including family recipes, gifts, and artwork. Soon your family’s house will look as if you’ve never been away.

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via The Imagination Tree

The best thing about being away from those you love is growing your communication skills. Talk often about other creative ways you can stay in touch and how best to include everyone in your lives. Nothing beats a family reunion, but if you follow these steps it will feel as if you were never gone in the first place.

For more design ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com.

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