Pure laziness. That’s what has kept me from updating this blog more consistently. It’s been about a month since I’ve added anything to this blog. It didn’t seem that long, but when I looked, there it was. I’ve got a few things I could write about and I think I will start with our FPO.
For those not familiar with an FPO, it’s basically a military post office. It stands for Fleet (or Field) Post Office. To be eligible for one we need to have a minimum of 10 military retirees in our area sign up for it. We have more than that but we need to contact them to get them to sign up. We had a scheduled meeting for signups, but everyone that wanted to do it wasn’t in the area or they didn’t know about the meeting. I advertised it the best I could on our local expat website, but everyone is not a member. Some by choice, some because they don’t have or want a Facebook account (where our group is) and some because they do not know about the group. We only had 5 people sign up at the meeting, but we’ve gotten a copy of the signup form out to others and I think we’ve gotten enough now. I’m not the coordinator on it, but I do believe we are just about ready to submit our information. I’ve already gotten my PO Box number.
Now, in addition to our PO Box, which has a limit of 1 pound of mail, we can get an additional PO Box address that has an 11 pound limit. This box can be used by ALL expats that live in this area. To get it though, we have to have the first PO Box for the retirees. The cost for retirees is P1200 ($24) per year. That’s for both boxes. The non-retirees get the 2nd box, also with an 11 pound limit, for P1800 ($36) per year.
Now you may be wondering why we even need an FPO when we have the Philippine Postal Service. Well, the Philippine Postal Service is slow and there are times when your mail takes up to 2 months to get to us from the US. Sometimes it doesn’t get here at all. Sometimes, IF it arrives, it’s been opened. The FPO would take care of that problem.
Also, with that additional box we get, we can have any medication shipped to us. We just need to give our new address to a military hospital pharmacy and we can get it all shipped to us. No more having to pay local prices for medications, if you can find the medication here at all. Sometimes they are out of what you need and you just have to wait until when/if they get in another shipment.
It seems the way our FPO will work is that the mail will be sent to the Embassy and a courier will bring the mail to us, once per week. We can give any outgoing mail to them at that time. It’s not a ‘perfect’ solution, but it’s better than what we have now.
Yeah, if things go as we plan, it will be just a little bit easier around here for all us expats. The next thing we are going to looking into is getting an American Legion here. Actually, we’ve already started checking out the requirements. I’ll let you know what’s up with that as the information becomes available.