It was all over the news, worldwide, the strongest Typhoon – “Yolanda” is coming to the Philippines. This is a country where this kind of storms come and go, as of matter of fact they treat this more of a nuisance than a calamity. But when they got hit by Typhoon Haiyan..the nature’s physical fury is not what they expected. Here in Canada many Pinoys thought it was just another terrible storm, but for Tacloban City it felt like the end of the world!!
This is a story of 2 people who have fought adversity, distance, even nature to be together. Lourdes came to my office on early Sept. 2013. She shared her story on a how she and her 2yr old daughter Xienna migrated just a few months before as dependents of her parents under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee umbrella. However, Lourdes’ longtime beau and the father of Xienna, Arvick, was left behind in Tacloban City, Philippines. Lourdes sadly stated that they did apply for visitor’s visa for Arvick a few weeks back but they have been rejected recently. Direct to the point Lourdes asked if I can help them re-apply for another Visitor’s Visa.
After thorough assessment of Lourdes and Arvick’s situation, I have advised them that it is best that we proceed to Spousal Sponsorhip, that they should get married immediately so we can proceed with the application rather than doing another visitor’s visa. However, after so much consideration the couple have opted to do another TRV (visitor’s visa) application instead. In their defence, TRV approval at that time will only take 14 days and they were quite convinced that it will be really easy to get approved on the 2nd time around.
Personally, I feel that it was a shot in the dark with slim chances of persuading the Visa officer to approve it. But, I know that the couple’s decision was mainly a gamble of love, the desire to be together again as family as quickly as possible. But I can only advocate so much. I have forwarded Arvick’s application for the 2nd TRV to CIC. As predicted, after several days Arvick’s application was again denied.
Unfortunately, it was another bump on the road for the couple which means another delay for them to be together as a family. Having to be disappointed once again, I was able to convince the couple to proceed with the Spousal Sponsorship application. However, while putting their case together, as if having been rejected twice by CIC is not enough, Typhoon Haiyan, nature physical fury have again contributed to the couples embattled immigration issue. Typhoon Haiyan was the mother of all destruction and Arvick was in the eye of the storm. Being in the middle of loosing his family and friends, loosing his home, loosing his job and having to be relocated from one place to another made it almost impossible to gather all his personal documents. It was supposedly an easy process but it became insurmountable task to begin with. I started to loose hope.
Until I read the letter that Arvick sent me detailing his experienced during the typhoon. In short, he was talking about how the typhoon set him back again, that he had nothing but his clothes on his back. But the tone of the letter for some odd reason sounded that he felt renewed and strengthened, that he found himself standing tall “ Typhoon Haiyan is not going to beat me, nature is not going to put me in my knees. The physical pain and suffering that I’m going through right now does not compare to the pain I felt of being separated from the loves of my life, Lourdes and Xienna!”
It was then that I knew that I was not about to let this one go easily. I have my last meeting with Lourdes and planned everything to the tee. I have scheduled her flights and her daughter to Tacloban. They were married on February 28, 2014. Although, by the time we completed all the required documents including the new married certificate, it wasn’t until late October of 2014., sponsor application was immediately approved after 30 days and the rest is history. Arvick was granted a PR Visa on July 31, 2015.
The story or Arvick and Lourdes symbolized any couples that have a relationship miles apart. They have shown so much resilience and faith to prove that love can do move mountains. Despite many difficulties this couple battled and accomplished against the odds; even Typhoon Haiyan!!
Thank you Arvick and Lourdes for allowing me to be part of your great story