MY NEW BLOG: The Ciudadista: Life in the City

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Cheaper fares from New Zealand to Manila+

I have done a little experiment in finding the best deal for Filipinos or travelers wanting to visit the Philippines from New Zealand.

The approach is simple. Instead of buying your ticket from travel agencies in New Zealand it can be bought from websites of airlines and Australian based online travel agencies. All you need is a credit card and an Australian transit or tourist visa (if required or if you want to stay longer in Sydney).

This is how it could be done (make sure the dates and flight times you choose connect to the NZ to Sydney and Sydney to Manila legs of your journey):

1. Buy an e-ticket from Air New Zealand, Qantas, Pacific Blue or Freedom Air from any New Zealand city to Sydney, Australia. It usually costs from NZD 400* for return tickets from say Auckland-Sydney-Auckland.

2. Buy an e-ticket from an Australian online travel agent like Yahoo! Travel A&NZ or from Sydney to Manila. As of today, a return ticket from Sydney to Manila is about AUD 831.00* or NZD 884.00** flying Royal Brunei Airlines.

3. Print and present your e-tickets when you depart.

*without taxes and charges
**NZD 1 = AUD 0.9405 exchange rate from the National Bank of New Zealand website as at 31 October 6:31 PM

+Disclaimer: This is only a tip for finding cheaper fares and is not guarenteed to work for anyone or any date. The author is not in anyway connected or receives income from the companies hyperlinked.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

they're not chosen on by how much money they'll send

"And do the New Zealand government really want NZ $ to be filtering out of the country to the bank accounts of poor Filipino realtives back home."


The quote comes from a person claiming to be a Filipina named "Mae" and is against Filipinos migrating into New Zealand with silly and illogical reasons. It was posted on a message board. The poster received quite a lot of "heated" replies.

In my opinion the New Zealand government does not care if their nationals, residents or foreign workers send their money overseas to any of their 'poor' relatives anywhere in the world. What workers in New Zealand send to their relatives is usually about a quarter of the amout they earn. The remaining 75 percent of what migrants earn here are spent on rent or mortgage, utility bills, food and many more, in short the monies they earn go back to the New Zealand economy.

New Zealand does not choose individuals for migrants on the basis of how much will they send to their "poor" overseas relatives. They are chosen by how their skills will benefit New Zealand as a whole.

To uninformed people like the one above I suggest that you study and verify your rationale first.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

new template and logo

I have changed the template of this blog including a new logo.

The spiral on the logo is based on the Maori "koru." The koru represents new life and growth.

New logo? Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 24, 2004

More On Saturday's Anti-Racism March

Scoop: A Backgrounder On Today's Anti-Racism March

from the report:

A Backgrounder On Today's Anti-Racism March
By Derek Cheng

When first-generation Chinese New Zealander Tze Ming Mok talked to a National Front member outside the Chinese Embassy in June, she was called a "peasant" and to return to her "third-world country". When she asked why he refused to look at her, he said the sight of her face was disgusting and ugly.

Images and video from the rallies:

Scoop Images: Multicultural Aotearoa In Wellington
Scoop Images: Fairies Against Fascism Vs National Front
Scoop Video: The Scary Fairies And The National Front

News articles relating to the rallies and parties involved:

Three arrests, police officer hurt after National Front march
Two groups poles apart to rally at Parliament
Hate speech laws could ban us, says National Front leader
Violence feared if rallies coincide
Skinheads chased off by anti-Nazi brigade
Group to march against facists
Front Critical Of Police

Press releases:
March Against Racism Forces Backdown
Alliance Supports Anti-Racism March

Related blog posts with links to other resources on the issue:
The controversial mailer

Violent clashes at anti-racism rally | NEWS | NATIONAL | Violent clashes at anti-racism rally

There were two rallies today in Wellington today. The first rally is for the New Zealand National Front (NF) a racist and extremist group. The second but bigger rally is for Multi-cultural Aotearoa a multi-racial group for cultural diversity.

I was offered to join the pro-diversity rally but declined to join as rallies can be violent and I was not wrong.

Since May this year when the NF gained some prominence on the news I felt unsafe in New Zealand. Whenever I walk alone or with other non-white people I distance myself from skin-heads, cars with open windows and all black attire wearing white people as they might be racists and might even say harsh racial slurs. I know this is pathetic and being paranoid but I am a target of these racist groups because I am simply not white and is a perceived threat.

It is very ironic for the NF to have a belief that New Zealand belongs to white Europeans only. New Zealand was never a white European nation in the first place. New Zealand or Aotearoa is the land of the Tangata Whenua (people of the land) or Maori who have accepted Pakeha (Europeans) with open arms. If anyone has a say on which people can stay it should be Maori but they have accepted all sorts people even at their loss.

The truth is since New Zealand was open for migration various cultural groups have enriched New Zealand society, economy, culture and way of life. Pioneer immigrants here have told me that in the early days there was no access to pizza, sushi, Chinese, Thai and other types of cuisine and food. New Zealand literaly became richer when the immigrants settled with their hundreds of thousands of dollars brought from their native lands. They have created new industries and jobs and have been quietly paying taxes and performing civic duties.

Even if the NF has a handful of members (how about the common people who silently support them?) it is quite alarming for a nation of about four million people. My discovery of a such a group has shattered my perception of New Zealand being a peaceful and diversity welcoming nation on the edge of the world. I feel slapped in the cheek and betrayed.

Still, life must go on.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Machine readable Philippine passports in 2005

Passport processing to double next year -

Passports will cost PHP 1,100 next year according to this report. This higher price is due to a shift to machine readable passports.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Electricity in New Zealand

  • Electricity retailing is deregulated in New Zealand. Homes and most businesses can choose between three to six electricity retailers.
  • A family can choose a company with the cheapest rates or uses renewable resources for generation.
  • Five to eight pricing plans are available from each retailer.
  • Power bills have two charges, the daily charge (NZD 0.60 to 1.00) and the usage charge (NZD 0.10 to 0.15).
  • Switching from one retailer to another takes four to six weeks.
  • Unlike the situation in the Greater Metropolitan Manila Area in the Philippines retailers here do not own the distribution network. A separate company like United Networks in Wellington are in-charge of the electricity distribution network from the substation to the to the house.
  • Meters are read every other month and if the meters are not read the retailers estimate your usage. Another company reads the electricity meters.
  • A home can have two meters, one for all appliances and the other for water heaters.

Some links:

Powerswitch (can be accessed alternatively by visiting
Meridian Energy
Genesis Energy
Contact Energy

Sunday, October 17, 2004

O Sonho Lyrics

O Sonho

O Sonho (The Dream) is one of my favourite songs from Portuguese band Madredeus.

The page above redirects you to the song's lyrics in Portuguese, English and Italian.

Take some time to read and appreciate it.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

A Warning for Filipinos Wanting to Migrating to New Zealand

There are reports circulating within the Filipino community that there is an immigration agency that victimise unsuspecting desperate Filipino would be migrants.

How they work:

  • The agent would seek Filipino clients wanting to migrate to New Zealand.
  • The client pays a hefty fee that would incur massive personal debt to the client and client's family.
  • The agent would arrange for tourist visas for the client to enter New Zealand.
  • The agent's associates in New Zealand will look for jobs for the clients and confiscate their passports. The agent does not give guarantees that clients will get jobs.
  • The agent would force the clients to buy cars inflated way beyond their market value (in some cases more than NZD 20,000) whether the client knows how to drive or not. The actual cars are entirely different from what is written on the receipt or deed of sale. The agent and an accomplice car dealer makes a huge profit from this forced sale. The client would have to shoulder the heavy weekly payments of the expensive car.
  • The agent would also force the clients to apply for various fees and licenses at inflated prices.
When the client/victim asks for their passport the criminal agent threatens the victim by saying that their relatives and family in the Philippines cannot migrate to New Zealand.

The truth is the agent has no power to say who can or cannot go to New Zealand, only the New Zealand Immigration Service. Only the Philippine Government has the power to issue, confiscate and cancel Philippine passports, no organisation or individual can do such things.

No one has the right to force you to buy things and possession of cars or anything does not increase your chances of becoming a successful migrant in any countryl.

Please if you or someone you know are being victimised by this criminal group call the authorities immediately!!!

Official and authentic information can be obtained from the New Zealand Immigration Service and New Zealand Embassies only.

More updates on this illegal activity to follow.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Malaysia sends protest note to RP over Sabah claim

Malaysia sends protest note to RP over Sabah claim -

This is stupid. Sabah has been integrated to Malaysia for many years now. East Malaysians (Malaysians in Sabah) know that they are Malaysians.

Does the Malaysian government still think that Philippine claims to Sabah is still attainable or are they just paranoid?

The Philippines and its entire people have so many problems already and Sabah is not even on the top 500 ranking.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

my sister

My sister died while I was less than ten months in my mother's womb. She died from complications from her Blue Baby syndrome and cerebral palsy, at least that is what I know. I never asked my mother about the detail on how she died. Asking it would just make my mom sad.

This month is her 22nd death anniversary.

Someday I'll meet her after my life on Earth...

elections all over

It looks like John Howard (Liberal/Democrat) will get another term as Prime Minister of Australia. (Source: ABC) Too bad I expected the Australian Labour Party's Mark Latham to win and become the next Prime Minister.

According to political analysts since Australia is enjoying economic growth under John Howard it is imprudent to unseat a "boom time" PM.

Believe it or not TVNZ's TV One is having an Australian election special as I am writing this post.

As of writing this post (0043 NZST), Mark Latham is on TV conceding.

In related news...

Yesterday, local and district health board elections have ended in New Zealand.

Auckland has a new mayor, Dick Hubbard the owner of Hubbards Cereals. I'm glad he won against the Wellington hating John Banks.

As for Wellington, Kerry Prendergast won a second term as mayor against five other candidates. Voter turnout was only around 40% (Source: TVNZ)

Silvia Zonoobi, ONZM, the Filipina candidate for the Wellington City Council Southern Ward seat did not win. (Source: Wellington City Council)

Saturday, October 09, 2004

an attempt to write a poem

Below is my attempt to write a Tagalog poem.

Ngayon, nalaman ko kung gaano ka kasamá.
Kaibigan ka lang kung kailangan mo ng kasáma.
Ngunit sa pangangailangan ko natulungan mo ba ako?
May naririnig pa akong masamang salita pagtalikod ko.

Ngayon, wasto lang at nararapat ang pagkamuhi ko sa iyo.
Hindi na kailangang gumanti,
Sadyang kay sama namang tunay ang buhay mo!

Huwag kang aasa na aamuin kita para tayo magkasundo.
Aso lang ang inaamo wala kang matatamo!
Hindi na magbabago ang paningin ko sa iyo,
Isang dating kaibigang puro panloloko.

Luluhod ka ngayon sa lupa?
Hahalikan mo ang talampakan ko?
Manahimik ka inaaksaya mo ang panahon ko!
Huwag kang umasa, ‘di na tayo magkakasundo!

(Literal English Translation)
Now I know how really bad you are
You’re only a friend if you need a companion
But when I'm in need have you even helped me at all?
I also hear bad things from you behind my back

Now its right and just to dislike and hate you
There's no need for vendetta,
your miserable life is enough

Expecting me to initiate a gesture for us to be friends again.
(Very Literal) Only dogs get tamed, you won’t be receiving any.

How I feel about you will never change
A former friend, full of deceit.

Now you will kneel before me?
Kiss even my feet?
Shut, up you’re wasting my time.

Don’t expect we’ll be friends again.

Friday, October 08, 2004

good samaritans

Exactly a week ago two Samoan women were my "Good Samaritans." Having discovered I do not have the right stored value farecard to pay for the bus they without hesitation offered to pay for my bus fares.

Prior to helping me we had a small talk on God, Jesus Christ and the state of faith in New Zealand. They respected my being a Roman Catholic Christian and likewise their being members of the Assembly of God. They had no tinge of selfrighteousness which I often feel with a few Evangelicals and Protestans.

Thank you and God bless Ms P. and Ms M. someday I will repay your kindness.


Must I send my birthday greetings to someone I dislike (one notch below hate)?

I think not. I must be true to myself. Sending a greeting which in the first place I do not feel like doing is a wrong.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Foreign land grabs?

Last year it was big news when Canadian singer Shania Twain was said to be planning to buy a big plot of land in the South Island. Recently it was reported in the (19 September 2004 issue) New Zealand Herald that she has been given approval by the New Zealand government to purchase 27,000 hectares of land in Wanaka for an estimated value NZD 21.4 million.

There is no land ownership restriction in New Zealand. Almost anyone who has money like Shania can buy Aotearoa real and estate. Unlike the Philippines non-Filipinos cannot in theory buy any piece of land and the best that they can do is buy a renewable 50 year lease.

The controversy in this sale and similar transaction is that some politicians and some “cause oriented” groups are calling such sale to “foreigners” as a land grab. The say that most prime New Zealand land is now owned by non-New Zealanders may not give enough public access which poses a threat to kiwis. Detractors also claim that overseas landowners are just making the country a playground.

I think any sale of land is beneficial if they create jobs and makes it more productive than its pre-sale condition besides providing needed public access.

Equal distribution of wealth

Mahathir: Share wealth first before growing business -

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohamad visited the Philippines. In his latest speaking engagement during the 30th Philippine Business Conference he proclaimed that there must be "equal distribution of wealth before business growth."

He said that poor people's taxes must be small or must not even be taxed. He also believes that the rich must be taxed more. He has suggestions of maintaining low prices of basic commodities for the poor.

To me Dr. Mahatir's beliefs are socialist which I do not have a problem. I commend his efforts to improve Malaysia's economy.

I do have some questions with his "doctrine." Would lesser or almost zero taxes for the poor discourage them to create and have more wealth? Why must the rich have to be taxed heavily if they big spending power which drives the economy? Why must the rich be taxed heavily of they are also businessmen who generate jobs?

Disclaimer: I am not a pro-business centre-left (eg. New Zealand National Party, British Conservative party) just looking for answers.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

White Power Bands

Beware, the band that you are a fan of may be racist and funding racist groups. These bands are present in places like Australia, North America and even in Ukraine.

White Power Bands list found at

Racism is just as evil as supporting Al Qaida and other terrorist groups.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


I was bidding for this CD on Ebay selling from USD 3.99 My maximum bid was USD 5.00 I expected that I would win and would soon receive confirmation of purchase within five hours. Such as CD has been a laggard on and Barnes and Noble.

After checking my email a few minutes ago I was surprised that my bid was exceeded and I did not win the auction.

I checked the item again on Ebay and found out that there were two bidders with doubtful reputations. Those ebayers have just registered last October 2 of this year and from the same country as the seller with no feedback. From that it was obvious that the seller had fake Ebay accounts to jack-up the price of his item.

To you unscrupulous Ebay seller, hope you lose all your money you earned with your scheme.

Friday, October 01, 2004

What if you're not invited?

How would you react if people who you thought and who you treated as friends don't invite you at their birthday dinner parties?

This happened to me just now. I actually know what to feel about this. I don't know if I should feel surprised, sad or angry but somehow I feel it is not right.

My "friend's" true colour is finally revealed.

moving house

Since Monday until last Wednesday I have been moving. It has been a very taxing experience to the mind and body. I can tell you that I would not want to move again.

I had so much things in my room that I had to organise in boxes of plastic bags and also had to throw in the trash. I think all my things excluding my clothes in suitcases and furniture would require six boxes the ones used for 17-inch computer monitors and that was just my room.

Wednesday night was the first night in the new house. My room still has some paint fumes that night.

To date I had moved my room furniture three times to get a good view of the TV and close enough to the windownot to mention be close to power points and the phone line without much cabling.

My body in still in pain. This is the second time I took two Ibuprofen pills. My body aches from the my head to my toes because of too much carrying.