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 →
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 →
Travelers always dream of visiting Rome when on an Italy holiday. This eternal ancient city has a history of beautiful monuments, restored ruins and churches that provide you glimpses of life during Roman Empire. Amongst the various places that grab the fancy of avid travelers, Colosseum ranks as the number 1 attraction in Italy. The amazingly ancient monument provides testimony to the architectural brilliance of Roman people and their amazing skills.
A magnificent arena that provides thrilling sights of the ancient City of Rome, the Colosseum is a destination that can never be kept out of your Italy tour list. Initially called Flavian Amphitheater, the vast arena was inaugurated way back during AD 80. The Colosseum has 50,000 seats and is travertine (a white, calcareous rock used to build ancient structures) clad, with a huge canvas covering it. It has a “Hypogeum” that is an underground complex that rests below the arena, where animals were kept in cages to fight gladiators during games inside the arena. Continue reading →
First off, I didn’t even know that this kind of promotion is possible (kudos to that, BDO!). For those who are wanting to finally go for that dream trip to South Korea and do repeat visits multiple times in a year (or 5 years), this is your opportunity to increase your chances of getting a multiple Korean tourist visa by applying with BDO credit cards. Continue reading →
For those of you who are planning on taking that long desired trip (not to mention very expensive) to Japan, trying to keep commuting expenses at a minimum by just obtaining a JR Pass can be a money saver and at the same time such a pain in the a**. There is a wealth of information found on the internet and it’s kinda hard at first to make sense of all the data slammed right at your face when doing research, including Japanese terms and all the complex train maps. It’s also hard to plan at first and you’ll be asking if you’ll really be saving lots money by getting a JR Pass, or if you’d be better off just commuting at a regular price (since some routes are not covered by JR Pass).
Trust me, I’ve been there. This is the reason why I wrote this article, to help you easily make sense of all these information (get only the relevant information, basically, and avoid information overload) and be confident that you will not get lost on your next trip to Japan, and save valuable time and money in the process.
First of all, what is a JR Pass?
The Japan Rail Pass (ジャパンレールパス japan rēru pasu?), also called the JR Pass, is a rail pass for overseas visitors sold by the Japan Railways Group, and is valid for travel on all major forms of transportation provided by the JR Group in Japan, with a few exceptions. The Rail Pass is designed to stimulate travel and tourism throughout the country, and attract foreigners since the really expensive train travel in Japan puts off budget conscious travellers. The Rail Pass is designed for tourist use, and therefore has conditions for its purchase and exchange Continue reading →
It was really great news when Japan announced last year that the Japanese Government will be relaxing the visa requirements for us Filipinos. Most of us are really excited in visiting Japan – so here are the simple requirements in getting a Japan Tourist Visa. Just complete below requirements, go to one of the accredited travel agencies by the Japan Embassy, pay the fee (approx. Php1200-2000, depending on which agency you choose), and wait for the results from the agency. Please note that I will only discuss Japan TOURIST visa application in this article, since I have experienced applying for this type only.
My tips and experiences when applying for a Japan Visa
Do not go to your chosen travel agency without having completed your requirements. If you have questions, just call the agency first.
To streamline the process and to avoid multiple travels to and from the agency, make sure you have every item in the checklist completed before going to the agency.
What caused the delay in my application is my Birth Certificate from NSO. Damn, I waited too long for my Birth Cert! I already had all my other requirements but I still was unable to submit my application due to this. I didn’t know that applying through the official e-census.com.ph website will take 3-5 days (excluding weekends and holidays) AFTER your payment. That is if you live in Metro Manila. In my case, I had my birth certificate delivered to my office in the Makati Central Business District and it had to take 5 working days for me to receive the much awaited letter. If I knew applying online through the official website would take that long, I would’ve just coursed my request through 3rd party provider NSOHelpline.com. Delivery with NSOHelpline.com takes only 1 to 2 working days. Take note that they have a phone number 737-1111 you can call (ehem, e-census.com.ph, they do not have a phone number so good luck just waiting). Click here for my guide on how to get your NSO Birth Certificate the soonest.
To save on costs, call the agencies from the list provided by Japan Embassy to inquire how much their processing fee is. Fees range from Php1200-2000 – it will be best if you can save at least Php800 by finding the right agency. As for me, I’ll be applying at Universal Holidays. Their office is at Dusit Thani Hotel, and they only charge Php1200 for the service.
UPDATE: My colleagues and I have this theory that having a South Korean tourist visa (single or multiple entry) allows you to be granted a multiple entry visa to Japan and vice versa even when applying for the first time. Okay there were a lot of us in the office (and friends of friends) who’ve applied for a Japan (JP) tourist visa just this year and those who have already had a South Korean (SK) tourist visa were all granted multiple entry visas even if it will be their first visit to Japan (some have US visa, some do not). My other colleague and I have multiple entry visas to the US but do not have SK visa (I’ve been to Seoul, SK for a 12-hour day tour but the visa requirement was waived since I was en route to the US at the time so I did not need to apply for one – I’ll tell you this exciting story in another article), and we were only granted a single entry visa. It seems like there’s a friendship thing going on between the two northern Asian nations, hence, our simple theory. Of course, this will be up to you but if you are with me in this tip#5, you could just directly apply for a free (yes, they do not charge a single fee) SK visa at their Taguig consulate office to try and see if you’ll be granted a multiple entry JP tourist visa just by doing so. Plus, the requirements are almost the same as with applying for a JP visa so it will be easier if you decide to try tip#5.
Always make sure to include these in your to do and to have checklists when traveling and laugh your way to a fun but cheap vacation! Don’t mind the jealous looks of your fellow passengers if they find out you’re traveling for waaay less than what they are paying. Sucks to be them. 🙂
1. Consider below tips for your trip
– Cheaper if you depart/return on Tuesdays/Wednesdays. Avoid weekends.
– Better to opt for credit cards which offer airline miles which you can use to pay for your airfare instead
– Ask the attendant at the gate: “Am I eligible for an upgrade today?”. Most of the time you will get “No” for an answer, but if those plush First Class seats are vacant and you have that sparkling smile flashed at the attendant, you might get that sought after response: “Why not?”.
– At the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, fuel prices have plummeted to almost 50%. What that means for us is cheaper airfares. You know what that means. Now is the right time to book your dream vacay.
2. Finding the cheapest possible fare can be quite tricky. You’ll need patience, time, and perseverance. Follow below steps to help you through the process.
– Go to Momondo.com and Skyscanner.com first. These sites scour through thousands and thousands of websites to return to you the cheapest possible flight on your given itinerary. Click here for the travel hacking sites I personally use & recommend.
– Once you have found out the cheapest possible flights, check out the website of the airline and see if they offer the same flight for less. Remember that most airlines guarantee that flights found on their website are guaranteed.
– Use proxie sites like Proxysite.com, TORProject.org, or other proxy sites on the net to hide which country you are accessing from (surf anonymously) or to fake that you are accessing from a specific country. Note that sometimes, flight is cheaper if you appear to be booking your trip on the same country the hub of the airline / destination is in, even if you aren’t, through the help of proxy sites. Here is a simple explanation of how proxy sites work to our advantage: http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Feature/390138,how-to-surf-the-web-from-a-fake-location.aspx
I was at it again, can’t help myself but look at the passports of the other passengers in line at the immigration counter. Who is from what country? What passport are they holding? Who can travel the world at a moment’s notice without even spending effort, time, and money (not to mention stress when gathering required documents) on a Visa? Them. Who is envious? Me.
It was about the last quarter of the trip to US when the flight attendants asked where I was from. I proudly said, ‘The Philippines’. Then they gave me a form and an embarkation card to be filled out and given to the immigration officer upon arrival to San Francisco. The attendant gave the other passengers their forms as well. There I was again. Like a spy, I again couldn’t help myself from peeping at the passports of the other passengers who are already filling out their forms. Who is from what country? What passport are they holding? Who can travel the world at a moment’s notice without even spending effort, time, and money (not to mention stress when gathering required documents) on a Visa? Them. Who is envious? Me. Continue reading →
Man, I was stopped with what I was doing one day when my boss asked if I have my passport ready – I was going to Singapore for 2 weeks! How cool was that? I have colleagues in the company I work at who have been sent to trips abroad for business reasons, and I was so glad that I also get to have a free trip (all expenses paid – including allowance and your own spacious hotel room with bathtub). To be honest, I couldn’t help but to think of the food I will plan to eat and the places I will visit more than the work I was sent there to do in the first place. LOL!
Much to my excitement, I completed the required documents (passport, travel form) the very same night even if I still had a week before the deadline. I was so glad, I did not think that it is actually possible for me to be sent abroad for a free trip. 3 days before my departure, I received my GENEROUS pocket money, travel insurance, flight details, and my hotel booking. Continue reading →