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CFO-GCP Seminar Review - June 2019 (Long Read)

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This is my CFO experience in Clark, Pampanga on June 26, 2019 scheduled at 2PM.

 

I am a K1 visa beneficiary with visa on hand.

 

I have scheduled my CFO seminar more than a month ahead. This takes careful planning for me because I don't want to do the seminar without my visa on hand. I want to avoid doing making multiple trips for one task as I am very busy person.

 

What I brought:

1.       Printed copy of the barcoded appointment confirmation

2.       Passport with visa

3.       Other valid IDs

4.       His divorce decree

5.       Proof of relationship

6.       CENOMAR

7.       Birth certificate

8.       Photocopy of passport data page

9.       Php 400 for the counseling and registration fee.

 

Note that in my case, they only took my appointment confirmation, passport with visa, photocopy of passport data page, proof of relationship (photos) and the registration fee. Some people had to give/show other documents depending on how their interview went, I guess.

 

How to get there:

Wherever you are coming from, you will have to find your way to get to Clark Main Gate. There are numerous jeepney routes and tricycle that can take you there. Clark Main Gate is close to SM Clark, Angeles City's Walking Street and Astro Park.

 

From Clark Maingate, take the jeepney route 2 and ask to be dropped off to One Stop Shop. I forgot how much the fare is but it can't be more than Php20.

 

Proceed to the first building that you will see when you get off the jeepney. You can also ask the guard where the CFO is. The rooms in the building has a sign by the door.

 

Pre-Seminar:

Seminar schedule is from 2 PM to 5 PM. I got there around 1:30 PM. The registration has started by then. I provided my appointment confirmation and my passport. They asked for another ID and a photocopy of my ID (I provided a copy of my passport).

 

The room was fully booked. Some people came in late but they were accepted anyway. Some people have their partners waiting outside as they are not allowed in. Someone tried to give some food to the seminar personnel but it was refused because of the government's No Gift Policy.

 

Filling out the forms will take some time. You might need to take some notes or refer to another document to get some information to put on here such as the partner's phone number and his mother's maiden name. It's weird because some of it are the same information provided when trying to register online for the seminar.

 

While some people are filling out forms, some are undergoing interview with GCP Facilitator, Maya Sanchez. She said, she also facilitates the seminars in Manila.

Once done with the forms and the interview, the Php 400 will be collected and a receipt will be given.

 

Interview Proper:

This one's brutal. Lol. For me, this is harder than the USEM interview, for sure. There was a lot of prejudice, trick questions and oral defense. Later on, I get to understand why she is being so strict.

 

One thing about the interviewer (who is also the facilitator) is, she don't hold back and will say what she think about the relationship and will try to put some 'ideas' in one's mind to trigger them to think critically. It was fun. I saw some people change their mood after talking to her probably because of the realization that she might be right or the realization that they do not want this change as much as they thought they do.

 

So when it was my turn to be interviewed, she asked the basic questions about ages, my family, his family, our relationship, our meeting, etc. The difference is, she really scrutinize each answer and really forces some ideas out of you. Lol. I found myself defending our situation more than once and was in the verge of being argumentative.

 

The first one was about how we met and how quick our relationship developed. I told her we met on a dating site and she asked, "why were you on a dating site?" as if I spend my days and nights looking for foreigners to date. So I had to elaborate the details of me being on a dating site by telling her that it was an ad that I accidentally clicked on years ago but have not been active for a long time. Told her that I got an email notification that he (my fiancé) sent me a message while I was working the nightshift and was encouraged to respond.

 

The second one was the circumstances of our meeting. She seemed to have hesitation about our relationship because we only met once and only been together for one week. So I told her that we are extremely busy with work and cannot easily get some time off of work. She proceeded to ask if I know him well enough all these time and asked for our photos together. I have some printed out but asked to see the ones on my phone. I then proceeded to tell her how much we talk everyday and how involved are we in our daily lives and with each other's family despite the distance. I also told her that I am already 35 years old and I have been on many relationships but didn't settle for anyone in the past (she asked why I am only settling down now) because I was establishing my career, building a house, only get to study and graduate from college now after sending my siblings to school first and traveling solo when I can. I also emphasized that I am a good judge of character so I did not settle for anyone whose character seems off to me and that's how I ended up choosing my fiancé now and how 100% sure with him. She then challenged my answer with "not even once?". I just said, "Nope. Never." while looking directly to her eyes asking her to challenge me some more so I can tell her the nitty-gritty, mushy-corny details of our relationship. Lol.

 

The last one was about his divorced. She asked, "why was he divorced?" and I went with the canned answer: irreconcilable difference. Of course, she is not having that answer. Lol. She asked for the details of it. Even questioned if I know about it or if we ever talked about it. I was not comfortable saying the ex-wife cheated on him but said it anyway. She then challenged it by asking, "how do you know if it were true?", "and if it were true, why do you think it happened?", "people always come here blaming the one who cheated but didn't you think that it was his fault that he was cheated on?", "he's probably working too much or doesn't give her enough time or maybe he cheated on her too.". At this point, I was getting tired with defending and was in the verge of having point-by-point response to her questions so I just concluded, "we've talked about it a lot of times and we both believe that cheating is behavioral, not circumstantial."

At the end of the interview, she said, "Wait for your name to be called later for photo capturing and data checking." The whole interview lasted about 20 minutes but it felt like an hour. I smiled and thanked for her time nicely and politely.

 

Seminar Proper:

The seminar started with the showing of a video entitled, "9 seconds".  This one is heartbreaking to watch and even more so because it's true. This is an important topic about domestic violence and how statistics show that women worldwide suffer from abuse every 9 seconds. It prepares the audience to be aware of it, be proactive about it and to not be afraid. This issue is emphasized during the visa interview and on the CFO seminar so sadly, this is happening very frequently.

 

The facilitator has a slideshow of the seminar topic but she didn't go through it and focused to talk to the audience directly and initiate a dialogue. It is still important to pay attention to it because it has a lot of useful information such as branches of government offices and their purpose, consular offices abroad, etc.

 

She told a lot of horror stories of Filipinas abroad in bad situations. She even boldly mentioned that about 85% of Filipinas emigrating through marriage fails. The statistics doesn't limit to Filipinas marrying a foreigner but also Filipinos marrying former Filipinos. That was surprisingly high, I thought. She then said that failed marriage doesn't necessarily mean divorced or separation or annulled but when a Filipina is not happy with the relationship in general (I know that this can be subjective) and feels trapped; when she is abused verbally or physically but don't do anything about it; or when being married just means not being alone even if it's not a good marriage.

 

She then told the audience of recognizing a pattern for abusers. She asked them about the things that they fight about and started admitting arguments and fights that happen between couples. She then give tips on how to handle relationship issues and what to do during a spat.

 

She also reminded the Filipinas that even though our culture teaches us to be caring, loving and subservient, we should not see ourselves as a maid or a caregiver and that we are equal partners with equal responsibilities. She essentially pointed out to the young fiancés that they are not little girls that needs to be told everything and believe anything that they were told and that they should feel free to talk and be assertive at times and that their partner should not dictate everything in their life.

 

She also provided a rundown of immigration process once overseas such as AOS, working, traveling, living conditions, etc. She emphasized the importance of not being a TNT (undocumented foreigner hiding from authority).

In addition, she provided a quick information on being about being a dual citizenship  vs being naturalized.

 

She also provided a pamphlet about pre-departure (what can be brought, tickets, travel tax, etc), documents to bring (school and employment records when available, visa packet, etc.)

 

She then offered the floor for open Q&As to address any other concerns that they may have. She also provided her personal email address for direct contact about anything whether it is something bad or good about their experience.

Some of useful resources for your Filipina partner can be found here: https://www.cfo.gov.ph/publications/cfo-informational-materials.html

 

After that, we are given the certificate and the sticker on the passport (for the ones with visa on hand).

 

Conclusion:

I know some people are complaining about this government requirement for emigrating Filipinos but do not let your partners skip this and make sure they pay attention. This is extremely important for them to go through as it will help with the process and what to expect and what to do when something goes wrong. Living overseas permanently can be scary and frustrating as one cannot assume enough on what to expect but this seminar somehow prepares them for it. The Php 400 registration fee is sure worth it with all the information that one can get from seminar along with the confidence and the mental and emotional preparation that comes with it.

 

Sorry for the long post but I hope this helps.

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  CFO  -  Can't skip it.  .... can' leave home without it.   


Hank

"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

 

      HandArrow.gif.adeb854ba620933849ae921ca0b44a0c.gif  Link to the Visa Process for Manila Embassy  : Click Here

 

Contact Hank: HERE

K-1 visa approved 21 March 2012

...Citizenship... complete!

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Zach2015 said:

My fiancé thought the CFO was the easiest part and that is the part I thought we were going to have problems with. So who knows..lol

That's good. She probably think it's easy because it doesn't really affect the visa process or status. Whether one is bad at the interview or not, I do not think CFO will tell them that they cannot leave the country. They are mostly there to scrutinize and provide information for Filipinos going overseas.

 

I think the tough part for me is being judged, the feeling of being told what to think and having to elaborate on things that I consider personal. Talking to people in general gives me anxiety. Lol.

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If you don't satisfy CFO .. no sticker .. no travel.     And I know of one couple where that almost happened  ... the kano hired an attorney and threatened to take CFO to court .. CFO backed off.


Hank

"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

 

      HandArrow.gif.adeb854ba620933849ae921ca0b44a0c.gif  Link to the Visa Process for Manila Embassy  : Click Here

 

Contact Hank: HERE

K-1 visa approved 21 March 2012

...Citizenship... complete!

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hank_ said:

If you don't satisfy CFO .. no sticker .. no travel.     And I know of one couple where that almost happened  ... the kano hired an attorney and threatened to take CFO to court .. CFO backed off.

It's pretty invasive in what my wife said but when the interviewer started to get personal my wife just called me up via video chat so I got to be a part of it, but seems like my wife doing that backed off the interviewer into getting out of line. 

Anyways glad we got out of the way. 

Speaking of taking legal action. I've been trying to get my mother in law's birth certificate corrected so she can get a passport. I had to tell the registrar at the town she's from that if the paperwork isn't sent in to be corrected by the instructions of the feedback that they got from PSA that I will be finding a lawyer when I arrive there and there's going to be a scandal.   My wife picked up the paper yesterday. MIL's name is misspelled, and her parents lasts names are swapped as well the registry assigned the same record number to another person so a notation just had to be made in the books, a copy made, and sent back to Tacloban PSA. Simple but the registrar is inexperience and never had to do that so she was waiting for help from another neighboring registrar to pass by to help her. Despite the feedback they got gave them the instructions step by step.    It sucks that we couldn't' get this done before I arrive this weekend. I wanted to take her dad and mom out of the country to one of the nearby visa free countries, but too late now. 


01/28/2019 - Mailed Express Mail USCIS Lockbox Phoenix

01/29/2019 - Received by Phoenix Lockbox
02/04/2019 - Receipt Notice Via Text Message assigned to Nebraska Service Center 

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