Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam: First Stop of A 10-Day Exploration

It was on March 1, 2012 when a memorable ten-day three-country tour kicked off. I was with college friends named Yanyan, Tintin and Felis, Yanyan's fiance. All four of us were based in different countries. Tintin was a consultant in Bangkok, Yanyan and Felis are engineers in Singapore and yours truly is an engineer in the Philippines. Having said that, we decided to meet at Saigon as this was the best point to start our exploration.

The Heat Is On In Saigon

I came in last as Cebu Pacific has only one flight to Ho Chi Minch daily at 2300H so Yanyan, Felis and Tintin already started shopping around Saigon. Saigon is the former name of Ho Chi Minh and couldnt agree more to the Miss Saigon opening song "The Heat Is On In Saigon". It's hotter here than in Manila or anywhere else in the Philippines.

I was fetched by Tintin and her friend and headed to her friend's condo unit where Felis and Yanyan at. A little chat and handing of my pasalubongs took place then we called it a night.

Ho Chi Minh is a developing city. Hence, the trace of yesteryears are still apparent giving it a charming look I myself couldn't resist to love. In the succeeding posts, I will share the highlights of our stay. For the mean time, be satisfied by the following photos.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

How To Apply for a Chinese Tourist Visa In The Philippines

Here's the step by step procedure on how Philippine passport holders apply for Chinese tourist visa otherwise known as L-visa.


First and foremost, you have to gather the following documents before you head to the Chinese embassy:

  • Visa application form duly accomplished and signed. Do not leave any box blank. Put N/A if not applicable.
  • Valid passport for at least 6 months from the date of  travel
  • 2 pieces colored passport-sized picture in plain white background
  • Employment certificate
  • Original and photocopy of bank certificate and latest bank statement recent for (6) six months from the date of application with at least PhP 100,000.00 monthly ending balance and sufficient average daily balance. 
  • Copy of company ID (if employed)
  • Original latest BIR issued income tax return with BIR stamp
  • Copy of SSS ID / or SSS contribution
  • Confirmed hotel voucher
  • Confirmed travel itinerary
  • Copy of passport information page - first and last page
  • If invited by friends or relatives, invitation letter with copy of passport information page, working visa, residence visa and working card from invitor/sponsor
  • Personal  appearance (if required by the embassy for those born from 1988 to 1993)


Now that you have already complied with the required documents and forms, you are more than ready to head at the embassy to file your application. Chinese embassy is located at:

2nd Floor, The World Centre

330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue,

Makati City Metro Manila

How to get there? 

From LRT Gil Puyat Station: Get on a jeepney en route to MRT Buendia or Guadalupe. Get off at The World Centre. It is fronting Mapua Institute.

From MRT Buendia Station: Get on a jeepney en route to Kartimar or LRT Buendia. Get off at the crossing before reaching Mapua Institute. World Centre is on the other side.

Should you need further details or have inquiries, you may contact the embassy visa hotline at:

0063-2-8482395 ( Work Day 09:00 --11:00, 14:00--16:00 )

Or email them at: 

Filing Procedure

This is it. You are now at the embassy. What to do?
  1. Have yourself and your belongings inspected by the embassy guard.
  2. Fall in line at the reception area. In here, your requirements will be compiled by the receptionist.
  3. After your documents have been compiled, you will be given a number.
  4. Walk inside and go to any of the 4 windows (left-side) where your number belongs. The numbers posted in each window are in range mode.
  5. Patiently wait until you reach the window. Hand down your documents to the officer.
  6. The officer will review your requirements. 
  7. If the officer finds your documents sufficient then you will be given a pink slip for claiming of your passport.
  8. If the officer finds your documents lacking then he will refuse your application. However, he will tell you which document/s you need to present/produce and you can still come back as soon as the required document/s is ready.
  9. If given a pink slip, wait for 4 working days excluding holidays before you can claim your passport with visa stamp, hopefully.
Claiming Procedure

This is the day. The moment of truth. You are itching to claim your passport and positive that it is stamped with an L-visa.
  1. Have yourself and your belongings inspected by the embassy guard.
  2. Fall in line at the reception area. You will be given a claiming stub.
  3. Walk inside and have a seat while waiting for your number to flash on the cashier window. It is the right most window.
  4. Once you see your number, proceed to the window and pay the visa fee of PhP 1400 if single entry, PhP 2100 if double, PhP 2800 if 6 months multiple and PhP 4200 if 12 months multiple entry.
  5. Then proceed to the window beside the cashier's to claim your passport (with stamp, fingers crossed).

I hope you find the above information helpful. I had a smooth visa application. Hence, I wanted to share exactly what I presented and experienced. Good luck, travelistas!

Friday, March 15, 2013

South Korea: 10 Facts

Annyeong haseyo! It's been quite a time since I blogged. I have not yet written about a few destinations I visited in the past but I'd like to go fast forward and talk about my not so recent trip to the land of boybands, girl groups, kimchi, BB creams and novelas - South Korea.

 Back Story

My Korean visa was released 2 days prior to my booked flight schedule. Thank heavens there was no further verifications or proofs asked of me. Had it happened, I might have given up this trip.

Came along with me were my good friends who happen to be travel junkies. Everything was set. Sweaters, jackets, trench coats, boots, socks, body heater and stuff. We were so ready to combat the winter temperature of South Korea. We thought.

For travelistas out there, ready yourselves if you're planning to come on winter because cold season in SoKor is no joke. Protect your body from cold. And be sure to be on your top body conditiion when you wander around this great destination.

South Korea is the 10th country I got to visit. Let the pictures speak and literally describe how awesome this place is. With great views, rich culture, excellent dishes, friendly people who would try their very best to communicate with you to the extent that they'll go with you, shopping finds and the fact that I was sick during this tour, I will definitely visit South Korea again! This time, during autumn. Meanwhile, enjoy the following facts and/or observations about this place.

Little Facts/Observations About Korea

1. Sad thing is SoKor got its independence on 1945 from Japanese occupation.

2. Funny thing is a lot of Japanese are touring this place. 

3. There's few Pinoy travelistas here.

4. Coffee shops distance from each other in Seoul is approximately 30 meters. LOL


5. Korean artistic designs are cute and practical. 

6. For first time Korean food taster, try bulgogi.

7. Its subway system has I think 18 lines. Whoah!

8. You must visit SPAO boutique. It's like the Zara of Korea.

9. Beauty creams are cheaper here. If you are a sucker of Skin Food, Face shop products then Korea is for you.

10. Taxi flat rate in Seoul is 2,300 won or 90 pesos.