Friday, July 28, 2017


Having set foot in the US was actually beyond my imagination. Many would say that getting a US tourist visa will be pain in everyone's ass, but by providing or complying to the requirements they ask, you can also get the visa that you have been dreaming for. Just be prepared for the interview as well because expect that the consular officer will ask a lot of questions, and at times, some are not related to the purpose of getting this type of visa. 
Once your visa has been granted, you have to plan your tour strategically to lessen your expenses. In my experience of staying in the west side of America, I never anticipated that the entire trip was way costly than I ever imagine it, so be sure to have enough budget for food, transportation, and of course the tour. Everything in the US seems very expensive especially if you come from Asia. I hope this itinerary could help you decide what sites to visit and prioritize.      

Day 1 (Oct. 20) – Honolulu, Hawaii
- travel to the airport
- ETD (estimated time of departure) NAIA Terminal 2 via PAL

Day 2 (Oct. 21) – Pearl Harbor Tour
09:55 am – ETA (estimated time of arrival) Honolulu Airport
11:00 am – start of Pearl Harbor Tour
1. Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
2. Battleship Missouri Memorial
3. WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument
04:30 pm – end of the tour
05:00 pm – late lunch but early dinner at Panya Bistro
06:00 pm – went at Ala Moana Hawaii’s Center
09:00 pm – came by Target Mall
10:00 pm – went home

Day 3 (Oct. 22) – Escape to Northshore
06:30 am – had our breakfast
07:00 am – travelled to Kualoa Ranch
09:00 am – start our tour with zipline activities
12:00 pm – end out the tour
12:30 pm – had our lunch at Giovanni’s shrimp truck lunch located along Kamehameha Highway
02:00 pm – had our ice shave at M. Matsumoto Shave
03:00 pm – dropped by Sunset Beach
03:30 pm – visited Dole Plantation
04:30 pm – a short visit in Aulani Hotel
05:00 pm – watch the show in Paradise Cove
09:00 pm – end of the show
09:15 pm – dropped by K-Mart and Foodland

Day 4 (Oct. 23) – Coast
07:00 am – breakfast at Hanauma Bay
08:00 am – headed for the weekend market
09:00 am – a short visit at the coast with big waves and rugged cliffs
12:00 pm – had lunch at Kona Brewing Company
01:00 pm – went to Waikele Premium Outlets, a few meters away from Waipahu

Day 5 (Oct. 24) – Disney Aulani (Disney Resort) & Star of Honolulu Cruise
08:00 am – headed for Aulani Hotel (Disney Resort) and had our breakfast there. We dis swimming and snorkeling there.
02:00 pm – we went back home to rest for a while.
04:00 pm – we went to Star of Honolulu for a dinner cruise that day.
05:00 pm – start of the dinner
09:00 pm – end of the dinner cruise
09:00 pm – back home

Day 06 (Oct. 26) – Flight to Los Angeles, California
08:00 am – had breakfast at home
12:00 pm – had lunch at home
01:00 pm – went to Military Mall
05:00 pm – traveled to Honolulu Airport
09:00 pm – ETD Honolulu Airport via Hawaiian Airlines

Day 07 (Oct 27) – Universal Studios Tour
07:00 am – Arrival at LAX
08:00 am – early check-in at Comfort Inn located in Inglewood
09:00 am – went to Universal Studios
12:00 pm – had lunch at Rocket’s
08:00 pm – end of the tour
09:00 pm – went back to Comfort Inn

Day 08 (Oct. 28) – Hollywood & LA & Beaches
07:00 am – had my breakfast, early check-out, and leave things at the reception area
08:30 am – start our tour
1. Downtown L.A.
            a. Coliseum
            b. Cathedral
            c. Disney Concert Hall
            d. Olvera Street
2. Hollywood Sign & Hollywood Boulevard
            a. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre & Hollywood Walk of Fame
            b. Hollywood Theatre (home of the Academy Awards)
            c. Hollywood Rossevelt Hotel (birthplace of the Academy Awards)
            d. Disney’s El Capitan Theatre, Hollywood /Highland Center
3. Sunset Strip
            a. Spot stars trendy shops, boutiques, and clubs
            b. See Laugh Factory, House of Blues, Comedy Store, Viper Room
            c. Lunch at LegendaryMel’s Diner on Sunset Plaza
4. Star Homes
            a. See where the rich and famous live and play
5. Rodeo Drive
            a. One of the most glamorous streets in the US.
6. Santa Monica
            a. Scenic Old Town, Pacific Vista and lively Santa Monica Pier
7. Venice Beach
            a. Muscle Beach
            b. the Boardwalk
            c. Street entertainers and crafts
8. Twin Ports of Long Beach & Los Angeles
            a. World’s 2nd largest man-made ports
04:30 pm – end of the tour
06:00 pm – Back to the hotel. Then travel to the airport
06:30 pm – Check-in at the airport
09:00 pm – ETD LAX for Hawaii via Hawaiian Airlines

Day 09 (Oct. 29) – Back to Honolulu
08:00 am – Arrival in Honolulu Int’l Airport
09:00 am – went back home to rest
05:00 pm – Travel to the airport for Manila
07:00 pm – ETD Honolulu International Airport

Day 10 (Oct. 30) – Manila
08:00 am – ETA NAIA Terminal 2


A visa does not guarantee entry into the US. It permits a foreign citizen coming from abroad to travel to the US port-of-entry and request permission to enter the US. Furthermore, a permission to enter can only be given by a Department  Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official. Remember, you cannot enter with an expired visa. It must be valid at the time you enter the US.
Here are the basic steps in applying for your tourist visa in the US.
1. Pay the application fee
2. Fill-in the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form (available online)
3. Make a schedule of your interview. Please provide the following:
a. Your passport number
b. Your application fee or MRV fee payment receipt number
c. The ten (10) digit barcode number found in your DS-160 confirmation page
4. Make a physical appearance at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. Remember to bring the printed copy of the following:
a. Appointment letter
b. Your DS-160 confirmation page
c. One (1) recent photograph
d. Your current passport including all old passports if your still have.
Reminder: Applications without of these important requirements will not be accepted. Please be on at the embassy 1 hour before your scheduled time. Be familiar with the location before you have a physical appearance to avoid being late or marked as no show. The embassy is very strict at the schedule. 

Here are important requirements you have to provide before you undergo an interview at the Embassy/Consulate.
1. Philippine Passport
The passport should be valid at least 6 months. You may include all of your old passports showing your previous travels. Remember that your passport must be signed. To apply for your passport, please click DFA Philippine Passport Application

2. Personal e-mail
It’s always suggested that you must have a personal e-mail. For this reason, most of the transactions online these days require an e-mail for verification purposes. In case of US visa application for tourists, you need to provide the barcode of your DS-160 confirmation page which will be sent to your e-mail.

3. Visa Application fee (also known as MRV fee)
Visa applicants, including children, are required to pay the visa application fee before you can obtain the date and time of your visa interview. Remember that it is non-refundable, non-transferable whether the visa is issued (granted) or not. The amount of application fee varies depending on the type of visa, but for tourist visa application fee costs USD 160 (P8,000 +). Even though the fees are listed in U.S. dollars, payment can be made using the local currency. Remember that the fee varies in peso depending on the current exchange rate. You can pay your fee at any BPI branches. Please click Deposit Slip Page for bank deposit slip to be presented when paying for your MRV fee. Then click Deposit Slip - $160 MRV fee and print it. Make sure that the printout is clear. 
- Don’t forget to bring the document sent to your e-mail. You have to provide this upon payment and you will receive a receipt after payment. This receipt is valid for one (1) year from the date of payment and allows you to make a schedule of your interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. If you fail to make one within one year of paying of your fee, and your receipt will expire, you will not be able to schedule an interview, and you have to pay the fee again and start a new application once more. Applicants can reschedule their appointments but with a limited number of times; thus, plan appropriately so you are not required to pay another visa application fee.

4. Photo
Your photo must appear alone and face forward. It should have a standard size of 2 inches x  2 inches with white background without any border, designs, objects, and shading. The applicant wearing headbands, caps, eyeglasses, etc. are not accepted. Your facial expressions in photos must have general expressions not exaggerated and don’t let your hair obscure your facial features. Have a soft copy of your photo because will need to upload it after filling in DS-160 form. Some photo centers provide the soft copy of your photo especially when they heard it’s for US Embassy; hence, bring your USB or any external memory where you can save your photo.  

5. Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form
DS-160 form is available in the US Embassy website. Please click Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) Form
- The interview post you choose at the start of the DS-160 form must be similar with the post in the interview appointment schedule.
- All answers must be in English using English-language characters only, except your full name in your native alphabet.
- You have to upload your photo as a part of the DS-160 process.
- The alphanumeric barcode confirmation page is made once you have the completed DS-160 form. You have to present the printout of the confirmation page during the interview at the Embassy/Consulate.
- Once you have printed the barcode confirmation page, hit the “Back” button on your web browser and then email yourself a backup copy of the DS-160. The file is in PDF format.
Reminder: A new DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form and associated barcode must be submitted with each and every new visa application. A DS-160 and barcode from a prior visa interview or drop-off service will be rejected and result in a delay of your visa application.
- Handwritten or typed applications are not accepted and you are not allowed to attend your interview without DS-160 confirmation page.
- It is very important to double-check the accuracy and completeness of your entries and the answers in every question respectively. Signing the form electronically certifies that all the information are true and correct. Remember that misrepresenting any facts could render you ineligible to enter the United States.

6. Schedule of Interview
To make a schedule of your visa interview and enter your visa delivery address, you have to register and make a profile online. If you already have this, you don’t need to create one. You can always modify your existing profile by logging in using your user ID and password.
Once again, before making a visa interview, you have to provide the following:
a. Your passport number
b. Your application fee or MRV fee payment receipt number
c. The ten(10) digit barcode number found in your DS-160 confirmation page
 To create your schedule, refer to Interview Schedule

7. Supporting Documents
These are only one of many factors a consular officer will consider during your interview. Each application is seen individually by consular officers considering professional, social, cultural, and other factors during adjudication (process). In addition, they look at your specific intentions, family situation, and your long-range plans prospects within your country of residence. Every case is examined individually and is treated every consideration under the law.
The following are the documents you may present.
           a. Travel itinerary
           b. Dates of your last visits or trips in the US and/or your international travel history for the last 5 years
           c. Resume- you may be asked about your current and previous education and work history
For further information regarding the additional document, pls click DS-160 Frequently Asked

* Each traveler must obtain his or her own required documents discussed above.
* Please prepare your travel plan or itinerary in the US for it is needed in your visa interview.
* Once the required application is completed, you have to check your email and download the file and print it. You are required to present this at the embassy/consulate.
* You are only allowed certain period of time  to complete filling in the application form. If the applicant is not able to save the draft after 20 minutes, the filling-in process will stop automatically, then you have to start the process once more.
* The office reserves the right to withhold the reason for the disapproval of any visa application.
* If in case the application was declined after the review, the fees charged are NOT REFUNDABLE.
* DO NOT PRESENT FALSE DOCUMENTS. Remember that fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. The Embassy will not make the applicant’s information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of the information.

Visa Fee
Visa Types                           Application Fee    
Visitor (Single Entry)             USD 160.00            

Note: For expedited appointment, please refer to this link 

Contact Information
Embassy Manila’s Visa Information and Appointment Service
Call Center
Monday - Friday,
8:00 am - 8:00 pm (Manila time), except on Philippine and U.S. holidays
Callers in the U.S
(703) 520-2235 (n its Eastern Standard Time equivalent of operation hours) 

Monday, July 24, 2017


A lot of Filipinos these days are getting blissful about traveling overseas specially the chance of obtaining visa is getting bigger and bigger and add the promo fares, inexpensive accommodation, and affordable tour packages. For you convenience, I listed down the countries that Filipino travelers can visit without worrying about the hassle of applying for a visa or visitor’s permit. This is a total of 76 nations around the world including the duration or validity of stay according to region and listed in alphabetical order.

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Members
1. Brunei Darussalam – 14 days
2. Cambodia – 21 days
3. Indonesia – 30 days
4. Laos – 30 days
5. Malaysia – 30 days
6. Singapore – 30 days
7. Thailand – 30 days
8. Vietnam – 21 days

Non-ASEAN Members
1. Armenia – 120 days
2. China, Shenzhen – 7 days from Hong Kong (valid only in Shenzhen)
3. Hong Kong – 14 days
4. India – 30 days (eTourist visa is required, available online). For more details about visa information, you may visit India Embassy
5. Iran -15 days (e-visa pre-approval code is required available in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
6. Israel – 90 days 
7. Kyrgyzstan – 30 days
8. Laos – 21 days
9. Macau – 30 days
10. Maldives – 30 days
11. Myanmar – 21 days
12. Mongolia – 21 days
13. Nepal – 21 days
14. South Korea – 30 days if only arriving in Jeju Island or after visiting South Korea 4 times with visa.
15. Sri Lanka – 30 days (electronic visa authorization is required before arrival), for more details about the visa, you may visit Sri Lanka Embassy
16. Taiwan – 30 days if one has permanent residence certificate or an visa from United States, United Kingdom, Schengen countries, New Zealand, Japan, Canada,and Australia, but it should not be expired. For more information about Taiwan visa application, read this article How to Apply for Taiwan Tourist Visa
17. Tajikstan – 45 days
18. Timor Leste (popularly known as East Timor) – 30 days

1. Cape Verde Islands – 21 days
2. Comoros – 21 days
3. Djibouti – 30 days
4. Gambia – the visa will be issued upon arrival but needs a clearance from the immigration beforehand.
5. Guinea-Bissau – 90 days
6. Kenya – 90 days
7. Madagascar – 30 days
8. Mauritania – visa is issued upon arrival
9. Morocco – 90 days
10. Mozambique – 30 days
11. Rwanda – 90 days
12. Saint Helena – visa issued upon arrival
13. Senegal – 30 days and the visa is available online. An invitation letter is required.
14. Seychelles – 30 days. Bring your proof of accommodation and enough funds.
15. Somalia – 30 days. An invitation letter is required and must be submitted several days before arriving.
16. Tanzania -visa is issued upon arrival.
17. Togo (also known as Togolese Republic) – 7 days. Yellow fever vaccination is required.
18. Uganda – 90 days
19. Zambia – 90 days

1. Costa Rica – 30 days
2. Guatemala – 90 days
3. Nicaragua – 90 days

1. Anguilla – 21 days
2. Dominica – 21 days
3. Haiti – 21 days
4. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – 30 days
5. Turks and Caicos Islands – 21 days

1. Georgia – visa is issued upon arrival. An invitation is required.
2. Kosovo – 90 days
3. Liechtestein – 30 days
4. Turkey – 30 days (single entry). eVisa is required.

1. Cook Islands – 31 days
2. Fiji – 120 days
3. Marshall Islands – 90 days
4. Micronesia – 30 days
5. Nauru – 30 days
6. Niue – 30 days
7. Northern Marianas – visa is issued upon arrival.
8. Palau – 30 days
9. Papua New Guinea – 60 days
10. Pitcairn Islands – 14 days
11. Samoa – 60 days
12. Tuvalu – 30 days
13. Vanuatu – 30 days

1. Bolivia – 90 days
2. Brazil – 90 days
3. Colombia- 90 days
4. Ecuador -90 days
5. Peru – 183 days
6. Suriname – 90 days

* If you plan to visit one of these countries, it is advisable to visit their website to double-check other requirements such as providing an itinerary or travel plan, a copy of your bank statement, hotel booking or your accommodation, and flight details.
* Visa application in some countries listed above requires the traveler to apply online and print the copy once supplemental requirements are submitted and approved by the ministry.
* Remember, your passport must have more than 6 months of validity. To apply for your passport, refer to this article How to Apply for Philippine Passport

Thursday, July 20, 2017


If you are a Filipino who’s planning to visit People’s Republic of China (PRC) for travel or tour, there are important documents you must prepare to obtain a tourist visa commonly known as Visa L.
1. Philippine Passport
The passport should be valid at least 6 months. It should have at least one blank visa page including the photocopy of the passport’s information or photo page, and emergency contact page. Please submit your old passport if you have one. On the other hand, if the applicant doesn’t have any passport before, take note of this in the item 3.7 found in the visa application form. To apply for Philippine passport, visit DFA Passport Application

2. Visa Application Form
You must type your answers using capital English letters in the visa application form available in the embassy. Type N/A if the item does not apply and never leave any filed blank. The application form for minors should be signed by their parents or legal guardians. Remember, it is important to submit truthfully completed and signed application form. To download the application form, click Visa Application Form (Mainland China only)

3. Photo
Please provide 2 pieces of photos. They must appear alone and face forward and should have a standard size of 48mm x 33mm with white background without any border, designs, objects, and shading. The applicant wearing headbands, caps, eyeglasses, etc. is not accepted. Your facial expressions in photos must have general expressions not exaggerated and don’t let your hair obscure your facial features. Do not staple, tape, clip, or detach your photo.

4. Travel Itinerary
Additional requirement such as travel itinerary should be provided by the applicant.

5. Airline Ticket and Hotel
The embassy requires the applicant to provide his/her round-trip airline ticket and hotel.

6. Invitation Letter from China
An invitation letter from China must include the photocopy of the ff:
a. Inviter’s Chinese ID
b. Passport with Chinese Residence Permit
Please take note of the important information that an invitation letter must have.
1. Applicant’s information: full name, gender, date of birth, etc.
2. Information of the planned visit: purpose, arrival and departure dates, places to be visited, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for travel, etc.
3. Invitor’s information: name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the invitor.
Remember that the invitation letter can be in the form of:
- fax,
- photocopy or
- computer printout, or
- just the original copy required by the consular officer
The proof of kinship can be:
- marriage certificate,
- birth certificate,
- certification of kinship issued by Chinese Public Security Bureau or notarized certification of kinship

If you are a first time Chinese visa applicant, you are required to provide the following additional document.
7. Bank Certificate
Your bank certificate or bank statement should indicate the deposit balance for the past 6 months and the receipt for the payment of this certificate.

8. Income Tax Return (ITR) Form
Your ITR should be stamped by BIR.

9. Certificate of Employment
Your certificate of employment should indicate the salary and the length of the employment)

10. Business Registration Certificate
If you are a business owner, you can submit this requirement.

11. Professional ID / Student’s ID
For professional, you may submit a copy of your PRC ID, while for students, you can submit a photocopy of your school ID. You may bring the original ID when submitting your these requirements.To apply for PRC ID renewal, you may visit PRC Online

12. Other Relevant Documents
The applicant is required to submit a few relevant documents that will provide the applicant’s economic condition, employment/study, or support the applicant’s travel to China, or explain the purpose of the applicant’s travel (if applicable).

* Please provide complete and authentic application materials. Forged and incomplete applications will be denied.
* The consular officer will decide on whether he or she will issue the visa and its validity, duration of stay and number of entries in light of specific conditions of the applicant. And according to the relevant Chinese rules and regulations, the consular officer is not mandatory to give reasons for the refusal of visa issuance.
* The applicant should submit his or her visa application in person or authorized person (immediate family member/household staff/co-worker) or an accredited travel agency to submit on his/her behalf.
* No appointment is required.
* Mailing the application is not accepted.
* It’s case to case basis, the consular officer may require the applicant to provide other proof documents or additional materials, or an interview with the applicant.
* You have to check the visa after receiving it and if there are some discrepancies, please contact the Visa Office immediately.

Visa Fee
Visa Types                  Application Fee         
Regular Processing
Single Entry                 P 1,400                       
Double Entry               P 2,100                       
6 months (multiple)    P 2,800
Over 6 months            P 4,200
Express Processing     P 1,100 per visa (additional)
Rush Processing          P 1,700 per visa (additional)
Note: These special services are not available for the first time Chinese visa applicant/ X1 and Z visa applicant.

Processing Timeframe:
Regular Processing                 4 working days
Express Processing                  3 working days
Rush Processing                      2 working days

* The office reserves the right to withhold the reason for the disapproval of any visa application.
* If in case the application was declined after the review, the fees charged are NOT REFUNDABLE.
* Please pay visa fees when collecting passport. Visa fees should be paid in cash. 

Contact Information
For the complete contact information of the consular office, you may click Chinese Embassy Office

For more information about other types of visa in China, pls click Chinese Embassy in the Philippines