Category: USA

How to apply for a US Tourist Visa

How to easily apply for a US Tourist Visa (plus some tips…)

Let me start this with a boring disclaimer. Before anything else, know that I am in no way a visa expert. The things I’ll be discussing here are purely based on my experiences of successfully applying for a 10-year multiple entry US tourist visa, and that’s it. I’ll try to update this if there are significant changes, however it is up to you to confirm the ever changing procedures and requirements with the official US Travel Docs Website. Whew now with all that out of the way, let’s do this!

A lot of my friends have been asking me lately on how to successfully apply for a tourist visa to the United States for my trips to the “land of the free” quite too many times already, so I think it’s about time that I write about my experiences and know-how when applying for a tourist visa at the US Embassy in the Philippines.

As with any other visa application to any other country, the requirements and procedures provided in the US Embassy website are very straightforward. But because of the hefty fees, lengthy procedures, and sometimes frustratingly confusing instructions (thank your ‘credible’ source for that), it’s just right and understandable for applicants to double check and consult with others on how the process really works, and the best practices to increase the chances of getting approved. Continue reading

How to Quickly Visit San Francisco via Market Street

How To Quickly Visit San Francisco Via Market Street

From its southwestern end where the LGBT movement is more evident to the northern tip that looks out to the San Francisco bay, taking a walk down San Francisco’s Market Street tells a story about this beautiful city’s history, its local culture, and how it came to be.

Market Street is downtown San Francisco’s major thoroughfare. This is the main road that easily connects the city together. This is also where a lot of the happenings are. Continue reading

Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge

Best Spots to Get the Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge

“Where the hell can I get the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge?” I bet this will be your question when you visit San Francisco for the first time. The view is abundant, and you can see it from almost everywhere when in the city. But when time and money isn’t on your side, it’s quite frustrating not knowing where it’s best to go to for that memorable and breathtaking photo of this iconic bridge.

There’s a lot going on in this wonderful city and obviously there’s a lot that need to be ticked off from your bucket list. But one thing is for sure – you have to have a mandatory photo of you taken with the Golden Gate Bridge behind you, or you didn’t go to San Francisco at all. And I mean it – you must have that photo by all means! Continue reading

what-to-do-in-hawaii

What To Do In Hawaii: Your Unassuming Guide to Oahu

“Aloha, welcome to Hawaii!”, the flight attendant greets us thrilled passengers over the PA system as we taxi after landing at Honolulu International Airport (HNL). For the FA, it was a routine. But for me, it was something else (more like everything).

It was my first time in Hawaii, a place that I could only dream of months before, and you could only imagine the excitement we had when my mom told us we were flying off to this breathtaking paradise for a wedding, and following that, a road trip around Oahu – the main, touristy island where the famed City of Honolulu and Waikiki beach are.

The wedding, well, it was hula-themed of course. I was more excited about dipping into the warm waters of Waikiki Beach and go on a road trip around the rest of the island, more than anything else.

Hawaii has a different vibe and culture of its own – it’s called the surf/aloha culture – very laid back and easy going, and non-locals (like me) tend to get absorbed into this kind of culture very easily.

The lush islands are strewn in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, and these green jagged mountains are actually the tips of underwater volcanoes, which make for Hawaii’s distinct and gorgeous landscape. If I have three words to describe this paradise, I’d say it’s majestic, magical, and awe-inspiring, and this was clearly evident during our road trip around Oahu. Continue reading

How to survive New York City without breaking the bank

How to Survive New York City without Breaking the Bank

We all know the Big Apple has been consistently ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world. Why not? Because as I’ve written before, it is an inspiring city to be in. It’s only a valid fact since more than 8 million people call it home, with even more outsiders wanting a piece of New York City life and reach for their dreams in this city of possibilities. Not to mention the 50 million annual tourists scouring for accommodation and touristy deals and ready to spend, it only safe to assume that visiting this city ain’t cheap. Continue reading

NYC Why so Inspiring

The 15 Ways New York City will Inspire You Real Bad

I know it’s cliché but I’ll say it for the nth time. New York City is amazingly inspiring that there’s a popular song written about it. “New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do… Now you’re in New York, these streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you” sings Alicia Keys in a hit song literally called “New York”. Even Jay-Z did a Minnelli and Sinatra, re-affirming this by adding, “And since I made it here, I can make it anywhere”.

This song was set to re-play all over again in my playlist when I visited New York City by my own some months ago. I recommend that you try at least once to wear your headset and play this song while walking down the city streets or while on a subway. Why? Because the thumping of the bass, the relatable lyrics referring to the scenery just right in front of you, and the vibe and energy of its music just makes you want to feel New York City more, scream while standing at the center of Times Square where no one actually cares, and be inspired by the city that never sleeps and all the hustle and bustle all around you.  Why is New York City all that inspiring, anyway? Now I know some locals would argue, but the experience was totally different from a traveler’s point of view. Continue reading

I traveled to Niagara Falls, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania for P6000 $132

I Visited Niagara Falls, Washington DC, & Philly in 3 days for P6,000 ($132)

Last June I visited my mom who lives in the beautiful San Francisco bay area, and since I had lots of time to spare and lots of unused and constantly devaluing Delta miles, I decided to redeem my miles for a free round trip flight, pack up, and head to New York City and see the concrete jungle all by myself for 10 seriously adventure packed days (it was so much fun I was able to write about the 15 ways NYC will inspire you, a guide about celebrity spotting in NYC, and also on how to survive NYC without breaking the bank). I actually lost about 5 pounds in this trip due to my constant brisk walking hehe.

It was my first time in the east coast and, thinking I needed to maximize my 10 day tour and tick Niagara Falls and Washington DC off my bucket list, I called up my sis who previously went on a tour of these two incredible places (and other extra destinations) from NYC to know the details. Turned out, it was a really good deal so I had to get the contact details of the tour agency. I only realized I needed to take an extra tour of the east coast when I was already in New York so I had little time to prepare, it was really a good thing that i got myself a Cricket sim card with unlimited call and text plus 2GB of mobile data for only $45 (P2,000) for a month so I had the advantage of doing research and call people up when in New York. Continue reading

New York City Celebrity Spotting

How to Spot a Celebrity in New York City

I recently went to New York not to see celebrities but to actually see and experience New York for the first time. But I did see celebrities. Unexpectedly.

When you roam the city, do not be surprised if you see yourself suddenly in the middle of a teen girl mob chasing a black vehicle with Justin Bieber in it. It seems that New York is the new Hollywood. As I’ve written in another blog post, maybe because this is a truly inspiring city where you can dream to make it big. I have to admit, I felt the rush of celebrity sightseeing in the Big Apple. Hence, based on my experience, here’s a guide on how to spot a celebrity in New York City. Continue reading

Trying Out San Francisco’s Pub Crawl Event

I logged in to Couchsurfing.com to find out about local events in San Francisco and found a recurring event below:

San Francisco Pub Crawl Invite Couchsurfing

 

Of course, I decided to join the event, which really got me excited as it is a good opportunity to meet new people, locals and travelers/backpackers alike, in San Francisco, an international city and tech hub. I asked a friend to tag along as I am not really that confident when I go alone and meet lots of new people for the first time, so having a buddy with me boosts my confidence big time. 😉

We went last 8th July, 2015. It was a chilly night. We arrived at the first pub named The NorthStar at around 9PM only to be greeted by a packed street parking. The area was very close to Italian restaurants and bars and The NorthStar doesn’t have its own private parking space, hence the reason for this, so be sure to arrive early to avoid the hassle.

First Stop: The North Star Bar & Cafe at 1560 Powell St, San Francisco, CA.
First Stop: The North Star Bar & Cafe at 1560 Powell St, San Francisco, CA.

Parking issue solved (after about 30 minutes), we headed straight to The NorthStar’s entrance where we were greeted by an old hippie man letting us know of that night’s pub crawl and rock-paper-scissors tournament. Continue reading

Sta. Cruz, CA: The Beach Boardwalk & the Eerie Mystery Spot

Santa Cruz, CA is just about 1.5 to 2 hours from the great San Francisco, and if you are looking into visiting the SF Bay Area, I highly suggest dropping by into this truly unique, easy-going beach and surf town.

Sta. Cruz boasts of two main and one-of-a-kind attractions: the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk just by California’s Pacific coastline, and the weird, fun, and vomit inducing Mystery Spot about 15 minutes into the woods.

Beach Carnival at the Boardwalk

The Beach Boardwalk for me is an all-American experience, just like the ones you see in those American teen movies where they go on dates in the theme parks/carnival/beach. The hot summer sun, the equally hot chicks in bikinis strolling the boardwalk, a can of ice cold beer in hand, hearty garlic fries to munch on, thriller rides, carnival games, the beach. What more can you ask for?  Continue reading