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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Travel Plans for 2013

Hey there! Guess what, I'm again on house arrest today. Well my own choice since I have a bad back pain and even if I want to do something worthwhile, it seems that I just can't! This weekend is again put to waste. But hey, I still managed to write something in my blog at least.

November is almost done and one more week we are approaching the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas. Although, I no longer have any serious travel plans until the end of the year, December will still be capped off with a trip to Cebu for my college classmate's wedding, we might as well drop by some nice beach in Mactan or my bucket list to get up to the Crowne Plaza hotel for the sky walk.
So the year is about to close and we're off to a new year - 2013. My main plans for 2013 is to go to India for the Holi Festival and see the Taj Mahal. It's probably one of the many wonders of the world that I really wanted to see.
And then if luck comes to me, I'll visit the Schengen countries as well. Still hoping that my budget would really fit in. If not, I will probably take the path to New Zealand late 2013.
I'm really looking forward to visiting more countries outside Asia this time. I'm really excited to push myself and indulge into some serious adventures and really get out of my comfort zone.

Anyway, please wish me luck as I need it! :-)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Off to the Sunshine State

After a week's time in Sydney, working...and enjoying the limited time to go friends...
Big Buddha! After a team dinner
Work! During my training

Bowling with my team
Breaded Pork Steak and Chips
Lemon Lime Bitters
Skyscrapers and the OZ Tower
Queen Victoria Building
Mornings are made perfect with Coffee! Here's at a coffee shop in North Sydney
Apple Store in Sydney CBD
I decided, I'll take the opportunity to head outside New South Wales!

Queensland, the Sunshine State, was my next destination.

I was very excited, not only because it's my first trip outside NSW, but it is also my first time after a long time, to meet my Godmother and her family.

I left my Chatswood apartment really early as I'm flying out of Sydney at around 6:30am. I took the first train from Chatswood to the Domestic Airport Terminal in Mascot. Would you believe that one of the train persons were also a Filipino and had a quick chat with him and wished me a great vacation in Brisbane.

Early morning at Chatswood Station
I reached the terminal on time. The check in counter is self serviced and really impressed at how quick it took me to check in and get my boarding tickets. I had a few minutes to spare while waiting for my flight.

And then finally is time to take-off. I flew with Jet StarAirlines. It was smallish but I didn't mind because my excitement is taking over. haha

And then, I'm in Brisbane! Woohoo! I met my ninang, my uncle and my cousin, Sharlyn. It was a lovely morning. We first dropped by McDonald's to get some breakfast and then head to their home to rest for a while.

The plan for the day is to go to South Bank and the city!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Applying for Taiwan Tourist Visa

This October, I'm set to visit another wonderful country. Taiwan, Formosa as it was formerly called, is my second overseas trip this year!

Photo Credits:
Of course, before anything else, the visa is an important document to prepare before going. So I wanted to share to you to the process of how I went through it.

It is highly advised that you consult the official Taiwan Embassy Page as this post is just to account my own experience in applying for the Visitor's Visa.

In my case, I have prepared the following:

1. An online Visa Application Form (please access to fill up the Form and print them out) *when you print it out you just need to sign it on the last page, no other hand written details are to be entered on the form
2. Two (2) passport size photos 1.5”x2” with white background (taken w/in the last three (3) months)
3. Passport valid for at least six months and old passport showing previous travels
4. Birth Certificate issued by NSO
5. Supporting documents related to the purpose of VISIT such as :
A. Confirmed round trip Air ticket or Booking Certificate
B. Certificate of Employment and Letter of permission to leave from the employer
C. Financial statements of the applicant such as:
(1) Income Tax Return
(2) Bank Book or Bank Statements

Make sure all documents submitted should be Original and with 1 photocopy. Don't forget to also photocopy the first page of your passport.

Important information:
Visa Fee: P2,400.00 (Single entry)/ P4,800.00 (Multiple entry)
(NON-REFUNDABLE) payable upon filing of application
Processing Time : 3 Working days * but you can expedite as well

Filing Time : Monday to Friday 8:45AM to 11:45 AM
Releasing Time : Monday to Friday 1: 45PM to 4:45PM

On the day of filing our visa, I went to their office in RCBC Plaza. The reception doesn't open before 8:30. So I waited until the reception accepted us. The lady had us sign the log and directed us to wait outside for our names to be called and then a number be given to us. I got number 15.

After getting the number, head back to the reception inside the Tower 1 building and leave your ID. If it's not the acceptable ID, you will need to deposit 1,000 pesos.

So I went up to 41st floor and waited for my number to be called. I was called but the lady informed me to photocopy the first page of my passport! And that wasn't even indicated in the requirements. I went downstairs to get it photocopied. As me and my other CS friends entered the office, the security guard noticed that one of my friends online form is not the updated form. Therefore we decided to go back the next day.

On the next day, I was really early as I had to get back to office immediately. This time I got number 7. Once my number is called the documents were checked. The lady returned some copies of my bank statements and Employment Certificate. She also asked me if it's regular or expedite. So I opted for the regular.

Next step is for the payment. I had to wait until may name is called and then paid 2,400 for the fee. After that I was given a receipt with the claim date 3 days after.

Claiming of Visa:
After three days of lodging, we finally got our passports back with the visa sticker on it! The process is almost the same, get number, surrender an ID and wait til number is called. Easy! However, there were too many people in the afternoon claiming their passports so it almost took as 2 hours waiting for our number to be called.

Anyway, all's good and we are now set to go to Taiwan for four days!

More Sydney Sidetrips

We headed to Darling Harbour after dropping by Circular Quay and met our colleague. We took another train from Circular Quay to Town Hall Station.

Town Hall station is only a walking distance from the Darling Harbour.

We met our friend and she gladly toured us at their office building found within the Darling Quarters. It's a new building if I may say.

The CommBank Place is a one of a kind, really spacious, hip and nothing I've have seen before in terms of the design and interiors. It really looks like a nice place to work in.

I really liked the very wide space within the building. There are spaces for hot desks where you can just sit and plug your laptop and voila work there.
We went up to one of the floors and saw more interesting sights within the building. I'm really enjoying it.

Loved the interiors and the mix of colours. Even I would think it doesn't look like an office!

There's a pool table too! How wonderful is that!

And this is me, enjoying a nice afternoon outside and with the view of Darling Harbour!

More dining area. Really funky seats!

I have to thank my good friend Nors, for taking time to tour us around. It was a really nice work place by the looks of it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sydney Sunday Treat

It was Sunday, our second day in Sydney. My colleague and myself decided we would first drop by our office in North Sydney so she could get used to the directions since it's her first time.

Travelling from Chatswood we took a morning train. It was a chilly morning and wasn't used to it so I had made sure I'm kept warm by my sweater.

We met another Filipina waiting on the train. It was nice to have some quick chat with your kababayan and we had a few photo ops with her.

When I was in Sydney the first time, I was in awe to find out about their train system. It quite looked complicated if you check out the train map. But I have familiarised myself well enough so on my 4th time in Sydney I still knew the way around. :)

Our office in North Sydney is a few minutes walk from the train station.

Here is a photo just in front of the building.

After that we head to the city to drop by Paddy's market and buy pasalubong. I know! It's just our second day and we are now buying stuff. Yeah, we realised since we will be spending the whole weekdays at work, there wouldn't be enough time to get pasalubong. The weekend is just about right to give us time to get those Koalas and keychains!

We spent until lunch time getting the stuff. And since we were hungry took lunch at the Market City, which is just above the Paddy's Market.

Here's a good meal from Paddy's. Believe me, I wasn't hungry that I finished this plate!

We went to have some sight-seeing again in Circular Quay. I was also meeting a college classmate.

One of my favourite spots in Sydney. You can see the buildings, the ferries, water taxis, Opera House on this side and the Harbor Bridge on the other side. I enjoy the sights in Circular Quay and just walking around.

And here is a photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. It is a well-known structure. During new year, the bridge is the highlight and center stage of the fireworks. I have yet to see that!

It was such a lovely day at the Opera House. Although, there were some constructions during the time we were there. It was also packed with tourists and people hanging out on a weekend.

I was quite tired and thought I'd take a rest at the Royal Botanical Garden. Really nice to have a picnic here!

The Royal Botanical Garden is a nice place to relax and unwind. A lot of families with their kids are there playing and just enjoying the weather and scenery.

Such a lovely day isn't it. After meeting my friend, we head next to Darling Harbour to meet another colleague. Oh yeah, this day has a lot of meet-ups and catching-ups... :D

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sydney Sidetrips 2012

I'm on a roll. I have just finished three blog posts about Ilocos and now I'm excited to start another new post. I'm again writing about my trip to Australia. This is my fourth time to be in the land down under.

My trips last May to Sydney was mostly for work but on the weekend I was able to visit again the Opera House, see the Harbour Bridge, walk along Circular Quay, shopping at Paddy's Market and lots more. Weather is a bit cold as winter is about to start. Everything still seems the same and it was great to be back and see my other friends and colleagues.

After the work week, I was also glad to have been able to drop by and spend some time Brisbane to visit my ninang and her family.

I arrived in Sydney on a Saturday night via Philippine Airlines. Hmm, PAL didn't have a personal video on board so I mostly spent the flight sleeping. Boo! Anyhow, the fight was okay and I didn't feel dizzy at all, maybe because I made sure have taken Bonamine. :-)

The flight took 8 hours.

Happy eating. Airline food c/o PAL.This is steamed fish with rice. Some salad, bread and gelatin for dessert.

I flew with my colleague. The person beside me who is a Filipino living in Australia offered to take our photo.

We arrived in Chatswood and haven't had dinner so here's a nice place near the mall.

Our first meal in Sydney. Ham and mushroom in white sause penne and chips. The chips where nicely cooked and crispy. I also liked the penne, very tasty! Yum!

It was lovely late dinner. It was such a chilly night and since most shops have already closed, we already decided to head back to our apartment and rest. The following day we plan to go around the city.

Ilocandia Series: Marcos Museum and Vigan

On our third day in Ilocos we went to have lunch in Fort Ilocandia again and off to Marcos Museum. It is my second time to be in the museum.

As usual, memorabilia of the late President are on display. One of the attractions is the museleum where the preserved body of the president lies.

Heading back to Manila on our last day we also went to Vigan. It was a beautiful site. Loved the feel of the old Spanish houses.

That was it for the Ilocandia series. I don't think I'll be able to make a write up of the costs as this is a family trip and I haven't taken down the expenses at all. :) Anyway, I hope to go back if given the chance so hopefully by that time I'll be able to jot down the details.

Ilocos is such a lovely historical place. It can even look romantic too, especially Vigan. So if you haven't gone there, make sure you find your way soon!

Ilocandia Series: Sand Dunes, Paoay Church and others sights

After our lunch at Fort Ilocandia, we decided to take the trip further to the Sand Dunes. There is a beach when you drive a bit further. We should have brought our swimming gears!

I actually wanted to experience sand boarding in the sand dunes, but it was such a hot day so we only took some photos and went on to our next stop.

I never imagined the Paoay Church to be that huge! It's very lovely in the pictures.

Taking the famous jump shot!

On my background are the massive buttresses of the church.

Picture perfect. I really liked the facade of this church.

We had more time to kill and decided to check out Pangil beach in Currimao with lots of coral formations.

We didn't stop there, on our way back, we also dropped by the Mariano Marcos University. Lovely sunflowers lined infront of us.

As the day ended, we took some time to have merienda at Robinsons. It is located in Valdez Center.

It was a fruitful day we went to so many places. Yay!