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Guest Post: My Barcelona Nightlife Experience

28 Jul

It was our first time in Barcelona. We didn’t know anyone there. We just decided to get on a plane and let the city surprise us. But I would be lying if I tell that no single research was done prior. Somehow we had to acquaint ourselves with the things we can expect to see and do in the city. Although our itinerary wasn’t set in stone, from all my years of traveling, I have to say it really helps to at least know what a destination has to offer. That way, we wouldn’t be missing out on the musts and the only-in-(insert destination here) stuff. Through my research I found out that Barcelona is actually one of the few cities dubbed as “the city that never sleeps”. So my friend and I were excited! We can stay out as long as we want.

And that’s exactly what we did. We went out almost every night of our stay in Barcelona to check out different bars. But there was one particular night that made our trip unforgettable. It was our second to last night. We were taking our usual stroll in search for a place where we could have some tapas and drinks when someone came up to us. The guy asked if we would like to join Pub Crawl Barcelona. I remember I had to ask him to repeat himself as I’ve never heard of it before. So he began to explain how it works. He mentioned “free drinks” and “meet new friends” and we were sold. Neither I nor my friend has done it before so we thought it would be a good experience.

Pub Crawl Barcelona

As it turned out, the place where we met the guy was right outside the Gaelic BCN which happened to be the meeting point of the joiners of Pub Crawl Barcelona. There we got to talk to some really cool people. Some of them we even met again over lunch the next day. I can’t remember the names of the bars now or how much I drank but I can remember that I had so much fun that night. We were a big group. We drank, sang, and danced without a care in the world. I have never been so drunk in my life. It was crazy! It was nowhere near my idea of a night out. But it was totally worth my money.

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How I Entered Taiwan without a Visa

15 Jun

Taiwan

So I got the chance to visit Japan again last spring. And it was as beautiful as ever. But I digress. Still, Japan is important in this article. Because I went there and my Japan visa (the process to acquire one is still the same as in here) was still a few weeks valid after the end of my trip, I decided to pay Taiwan a visit before finally returning home.

As it turned out, if you’re a Filipino who has a valid Japan visa, you don’t need to apply for a visa to enter Taiwan. All you have to do is get a Travel Authorization Certificate online.

I was surprised at how easy it was. But here are some things you have to remember should you wish to get one:

1. Mine was a single-entry visa to Japan. So it was considered invalid after I used it. However, I was still able to get the certificate because:

a. I used my Japan visa prior to visiting Taiwan; and

b. I arrived in Taiwan before the expiration date indicated on my Japan visa.

2. Accordiing to the official website, the basic requirements include:

a. The applicant’s passport is valid for at least six months. (This means that the passport is valid for at least six months when its holder arrives in Taiwan and not when the application is filed online.)

b. The applicant should possess a return plane or ferry ticket.– I did not purchase my return ticket prior to acquiring a travel certificate. There’s no part in the application where you will be asked to provide your ticket details.

c. The applicant is never employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan.

3. You can print out the certificate right after getting approved. Have it at the ready when you present your passport at the check-in counter.

*If you made any mistakes while filling in the form, don’t fret. You can just re-apply.

Taiwan Travel Certificate

How I Got a Visit Friends Japan Visa

15 Oct

I haven’t updated this blog in years, but I just thought it would be nice to document and share how I managed to get a visa for one of my dream travel destinations- Japan.

First off, I have a Japanese guarantor/sponsor so I applied for a Visit Friends Visa. The requirements are different from the regular Tourist Visa. Here is the list of documents me and my guarantor prepared months ahead of my target departure date.

Japanese visa granted!

From me:

1. Passport that is more than 6 months valid

I had mine renewed just a few months ago so I also included a photocopy of the stamped pages of my old passport. This is just to show that I usually travel out of the country for more than 10 days.

2. Visa application form

I conveniently filled it up online and printed it out. If you are too confused on how to go about it, here’s an official sample.

3. Photo

The place I went to is very familiar with the required photo for Japanese visa applications so luckily I didn’t have to explain anything.

4. NSO Birth Certificate with receipt

The validity of this certificate is only for a year. I got mine from the NSO office in my city. And no, I didn’t go there early in the morning. I went there around lunch time, filled up a form and got a number for the cashier. As soon as I paid (I forgot how much it was but definitely less than 200 PHP), I left to eat lunch. When I came back, my document was ready. I just showed them an ID and I got my birth certificate. The process was a breeze. Or maybe, I was just lucky. You also have the option to get yours online but it’s more expensive.

From my guarantor:

1. Invitation letter which clearly states the reason for the invitation

2. Letter of Guarantee

3. Residence Certificate

4. Income Certificate and Bank Certificate

*I couldn’t say much about 1, 2, 3, and 4 because they were all in Japanese.

5. Documents and photos to prove relationship

This included excerpts from our conversations on Facebook, emails, some letters my guarantor sent me, and photos of us together. Photocopies and print outs are okay.

6. Itinerary

There is a sample of how to make this here. Ours contained what we plan to do on every single day of my stay in Japan, the contact person (my guarantor), and where I will be staying (my guarantor’s house). On some days, it was visiting tourist attractions. On others, it was just staying at home to spend time with my guarantor’s family.

Next, when I got the documents from my guarantor, I sent all our documents to FRIENDSHIP TOURS AND RESORTS CORPORATION in Manila. We decided to go with them as my guarantor felt comfortable dealing with their Japanese staff. Their processing fee is higher than that of the other accredited agencies at 2000 PHP. I also had to pay an extra 200 PHP for them to ship me back my passport after processing the documents. Then all we did was wait.

The schedule went like this:

Tuesday: Sent the documents to the agency via LBC

Wednesday: The agency received the documents

Thursday: Holiday

Friday: The agency filed my application at the Japanese embassy

Saturday and Sunday: Dreaded waiting period

Monday: Got a call of good news from the agency and that I can pick up my passport the next day

Tuesday: I got my passport with my visa

The Japanese government allowed me to stay up to 30 days. 🙂

Cebu Pacific’s Labor Day Sale

30 Apr

Seat Sale

To all of you out there who has been wanting to give in to your itchy feet, now is your chance.

Cebu Pacific is again having a major seat sale for all domestic destinations.

Here’s the content of the email I got today:

CEB salutes workers with P382 seat sale on all domestic destinations!

More than 38,200 seats up for grabs

We’re taking our cue from the current minimum wage in the Philippines, and offering a P382 seat sale to all CEB domestic destinations. In the Philippines, the minimum wage has been pegged at P382 since June 2008.

The seat sale starts now until May 2, 2010, for travel from September 1 to 30, 2010.

For the ‘Go Lite’ seat sale fare of P382, you can travel from Manila to Cebu, Boracay (Caticlan), Coron (Busuanga), Palawan (Puerto Princesa), Bacolod, Butuan, Cotabato, Cauayan, Dipolog, Laoag, San Jose, Zamboanga, among many others in CEB’s extensive domestic network.

You can also avail of P382 inter-island flights from Cebu to 19 domestic destinations, including Clark, Bacolod, Boracay (Caticlan), Dumaguete and the airline’s newest destination, Pagadian. From Davao, CEB also flies to Iloilo, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Manila and Cebu.

There are more than 38,200 ‘Go Lite’ seats up for grabs in this special Labor Day seat sale!

Hurry, book your well deserved labor day seats at www.cebupacificair.com now! Fun Tours and hotel packages are also available at funtours.cebupacificair.com.

Have fun planning your next trip, guys! 😉