A very long road to Toronto

Manila is 13,206 km. away from Toronto, an 18-hour direct flight aboard the Philippine Airlines, with a 13-hour time difference and 40-degree Celsius apart. I cannot overemphasize that they are continents apart. But I’d say my journey to PULSE Day 1 has even been longer. 

Since 2014, I’ve been making it known to my line manager that I am very keen to join the program. It is only in 2016 that the stars finally aligned. I submitted my application in January, interviewed in February, got matched in April, and trained in May. As soon as I got the news about the match, I began making the announcements to family and friends that I’m going to Canada.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
The very energetic PULSE Asia volunteers during the 3-day training in Singapore, May 2016

Little did I know that the long wait is just about to begin. Cutting the long story short, my work permit application took some time to figure and get approved. Fast forward to October 2016, I was already in a new role in my home country (which I thoroughly enjoyed!) and my excitement about PULSE started to wane, being overshadowed with anxiety about the wait. I slowly began activating Plan B, psyching myself to immerse in my alternative reality, that my PULSE dream isn’t going to happen (at least in the short-term). Then, one unassuming day on a weekend, I got the news that I’ve long been wishing for–my visa is approved! It sparked mixed emotions and questions began flooding my mind, forcing me to reflect about Plans A and B. In a heartbeat, though, there was no doubt that I’m going for Plan A. There’s no way that I can let this chance pass me up.

Booked my flights to Toronto, packed my bags, and 2 months hence, never mind the peak of winter in Canada (another blog topic), I’m finally here! My PULSE adventure in the Canadian Cancer Society has already taken off.

Let me say a few thanks to people who supported my journey towards this day–EY Canada, the PULSE team, my managers back in PH, colleagues, friends, and family who gave me the push during the troughs.

Tried to capture my very giddy face (selfie) in front of the Society office, Day 1, Jan 2017

Looking back on my almost 12-month journey to Canada, I’d go back to the cliche that says,Nothing worth having comes easy.” 

And so I’ve started my adventure-of-a-lifetime, and I swear, I’m gonna squeeze life from every single minute of it.

Toronto City Hall at the background of the colorful city signage

Thanks for visiting my blog. ‘Til the next!


  1. Love your perseverance, Kristel! Really hope you enjoy the Canadian winter too!! 😜 Toronto is a great city. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun exploring it. looking forward to reading more after you’re all settled in. Until then, be well and have fun!!

    1. Hi, Lo! Thanks! I’m enjoying the chilly weather because it’s novelty for me who’s only had 22 degrees as already cold in PH. 🙂

  2. Kristel, I didn’t realise you’d made it to Canada, I thought yours and Denise’s visa applications were rejected. It’s wonderful to see you’ve arrived and I hope you have an amazing assignment!

    1. Yes, Tamsin, I gladly made it (though I just started when most 2016 volunteers have finished already). Thanks and hope you are doing well with the re-entry.

  3. So wonderful to read your blog, Kristel! Thanks for sharing! Hope that your Canadian adventures continue to go well — and that you’re not too cold in this corner of the world!!! Take care & stay warm 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s