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!