Fongs Move to the Philippines

August 27, 2002, Alameda, CA - It's 9:00 AM and the doorbell rings at Ted's house. He opens the door and sees three people standing outside. "Good morning, Ted," says realtor Sherrie Pagones. "This is Martin and Angela Moshier, and they want to rent your house starting September 15."

A day later, Ted signs a one-year rental agreement with the couple. And now he is committed to giving up the house that his family lived in for seven years. And thus begins the official start of the Fong's journey to the Philippines.

"We've always talked about moving abroad to experience something new." says Marielle. "It was the perfect time, since Teddy left his job, and the kids are the right age to adjust to the living conditions quickly and learn a new language."

The Fong's made their yearly visit to the Philippines back in June. By mid-July, they decided to stay. They rented a two-bedroom apartment and a small office in the same building. By August the kids were enrolled in school.

Getting Maxwell in the school of their choice required some work. Applications for De La Salle school were due a year ago. Yet, Marielle wrote the principle a letter in her best and most compelling marketing English:

"We are moving to the Philippines to give Maxwell a valuable cultural upbringing. We want him to attend your school, because it offers the best educational opportunities in the Philippines. In return, he will make contributions to the livelihood of your school with his diverse interests, points-of-view and sense of humor."

It worked! Three days later Maxwell was granted an interview.

Marielle and Ted are the first to admit that living in the Philippines is no cakewalk, especially if you're coming in cold and trying to make a living. To make ends meet, they will sell marketing services to local and foreign companies. Their company is called Boma Corporation.

When will the family come back? "One to two years," says Ted. "If the economy in the US gets better and we can find the job of our dreams, then we'll come back earlier. But we want to stay here long enough for the kids to pick up something substantial."

Cris Valdez, Marielle's father, was happy to learn of the family's long-term stay in the Philippines, but had this to say, "You know, they're doing everything backwards. Everyone's trying to get to the US, and they're coming over here. The supreme irony is that Ted now has to apply for his Filipino green card. Now he's really like one of us."