Arlene Corupz Gregerson's Bio
My birth name was Arlene Baldovi Corpuz. I grew up in the farthest North of the Philippines, in the province of Ilocos Norte. There, in the town of Badoc, (known as the home of the Filipino painter Juan Luna), I was born in the barangay (village) of Las Ud.
Now, I've settling with the best, Chris Gregerson of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hang in there if you wanna know more about our story.
- In the Farm
- Farm Girl to Manila Girl
- Working Overseas
- Travelling around the world
- Long way for a date
- American in the heart of Manila
- American on a 8 hours bus ride
- Gregerson - Corpuz
- Filipino in America
In the Farm
My parents name are Hospicio Tabrilla Corpuz and Irene Gamatero Baldovi. (Please contact me if you think you are related to me). I was born on my parents farm, that's right, at home and not in hospital, with the help of a midwife. As a farmer's daughter, I learned how to make a living at young age. At age 10, during the early morning, I'd pick vegetables, and take them to the market and sell them, (of course I have to keep the money for my school allowance). I'd make at least 50pesos ($1). During harvest season, I had my own set of sacks to fill up with our seasonal crops like peanuts, garlic, beans and others. Then, when my parents sold them, I would get my share. This is a great motivation for a kid to make her own money and help the parents in the farm as well. I enjoyed doing it!
Farm Girl to Manila Girl
I left home at the age of 16, after I finished High School. My parents sent all four siblings (I'm the 5th among all six) to Manila to go to college. Manila was a big change if you are from the country side, but it has a lot to offer when it comes to personality growth.
Year 1996, I've finished my degree in computers at Adamson University. I had my first job at an insurance firm in Makati with a starting salary of Php 165/day ($3.30/day), Php120/day was the minimum salary at that time. I worked for 3 years in the Philippines, living from paycheck to paycheck (sometimes it's not even enough). I thought of my parents, and how can I repay them and give them a better life. They're getting old real fast and won't live long enough, so I decided to apply for a job abroad (outside PI).
Working overseas - Japan
I left Philippines to worked in an electronics manufacturing company in Toyama, Japan. Working full-time, like 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, wasn't an issue when you earn 10 times as much. I helped my family, and by taking the responsibilty of sending our youngest (the sixth siblings) to a school in Manila, I felt that I had repaid part of my parent's hardship.
Travelling - around the world
I love to travel and see new places. I've seen at least 6 countries, Hungary of Central Europe, Thailand, Japan, Australia, China, including my home country. It's just as well that I married a photographer (he claims he has a good eye because he married me:-). Of course, I will put down my roots here in the US together with my husband. I would say I'll settle with the best and on the best part of the world.
How did it started?
I had an American dream once and I never thought it would come true. I gave up this dream after the US Embassy in Manila denied me for a visa twice (even though I kept my travelling records NEAT). I was in the process of arranging my papers for going back to Australia on a student visa, when Chris finally visited and proposed marriage. Here's how we met...
I was working in the same Japanese firm (that I worked for in Japan), my boss told me to teach Windows and its applications to all the office staff. As I have no experience in teaching, I started to search "Mr.Google" and typed "computer tutorial handouts". Chris' website is very prominent. I downloaded his handouts and found a virus in one of his .doc files when I tried to open it. I wrote him an email that started with SIR and ends with GOD BLESS YOU (which he thought I'm an old lady). I asked for a clean file or one in PDF format. He didn't answer me for a day, which is not surprising as many webmasters who don't answer their emails. I thought I will never get my file and will not hear back from him. I was mistaken, so I thanked and gave him the link to my geocities website.
The above events happened late of October 2003. Chris and I started to exchanged emails talking about how to teach computers (he was teaching community ed in Minneapolis). I visited his website and it's mostly buildings and skylines. I didn't know how he looks like for quite a while until he attached his photo in an email. I worked with the company President and always approach me on my desk so I don't enlarge pictures from the net. Most of our company staff are restricted to browse the internet because of some issues. I am lucky that my boss gave me such access (which is very much helpful with my work too).
Our casual email continued for many months, just talking about many things -- mostly about computers, then work, and then families. After a while he helped me to prepare for my IELTS (International English Language Testing System), this is one of the requirements for my Australian student visa. He started phoning me up during this time (just to helped me with my speaking and listening skills). Chris never left US in his life so I assume he would not like to see or go to a third world country. I was mistaken again, because in July of 2004, Chris went to China with his Dad so I had the courage to say some personal questions. I invited him to visit The Philippines and told him that I will get 1 week off from work to tour him around. I was a little nervous that my boss won't give me some time off again because I just had my 1 month and 1 week vacation in Australia. I told Chris to visit anyway still.
American in the heart of Manila<
September 6, 2004, Chris finally came to the Philippines. Before he came to visit, he made a series of phone calls for at least a month (everyday). Which I've later see his huge bills from Quest. We will decide to be a couple after we meet in person. Philippines was a big shocked to Chris. On the side streets, he can see beggars, homeless people, children in dirty clothes begging for money, shirtless and creepy looking man.
In a way, it's my fault, I should gone easy on him and booked him in a 5 star hotel in Makati during his first few days, but it's too late for that. During his first 3 days, Chris was scared for his safety (especially he's carrying an expensive camera all the time). He's scared to ride on a jeep (no seat belts), on a tricycle, on a bus.
American on a 8 hours bus ride and "pamamanhikan"
Sept 9, 2004 (on Chris birthday), we got engaged. Another big shock to Chris was the bus ride going to my province. Chris wanted to express his good intentions to my family and so he's determined to ask blessings from my parents. In Ilocos, a man should have a dowry like a farm, cow and money (at least in my family, this was a practice from my first 4 siblings who got married) as a proof that he can support me. Chris offered his words, a photo of his family and our apartment in Minneapolis, and his application for my K1-fiancee visa to USA. Chris was surrounded by my parents, Aunt, Uncle, my siblings, neighbors and children. Yes, of course Chris needed a translator (that was me and our eldest - Josie). It is such a lovely feeling that Chris showed his true intentions to my family. As expected, they loved and accepted him immediately. It was such a wonderful feeling to my parents that they live long enough to meet my future husband, especially my father -- he died from Parkinsons disease nine months after he met Chris (he was 84 years old).
Gregerson - Corpuz
Finally, I got my visa and flew to the US on May 10, 2005. I landed in Hawaii for few days to visit my family in Honolulu and Hilo, and then to Minneapolis, Minnesota
Filipino in America
In September, 2005, we moved from Minneapolis to New Richmond, WI, where we found there are also other Filipinos. In March of 2008, our wonderful daughter Athena was born. I expect to finish a degree in nursing in December, 2010.
Update: Arlene graduated from nursing school, then got a BSN in nursing, and a nursing job in Hudson. She joined the US Army Nurse Corps and relocated to her permanent duty station in late 2014. She and Chris divorced in 2015. Arlene returned to New Richmond in 2019.
This page last modified 2023-04-28