Monday, July 10, 2017

[VISA] Belarus (Single Entry)


Belarus has no consular representation in the Philippines. Their embassy that has jurisdiction over Filipinos citizens is the one in Jakarta. The good thing about this embassy is that they have a VERY detailed website regarding visa application. They even have separate pages explaining how to send your documents, how much you are going to pay and how, as well as the requirements necessary for almost every type of visit you can imagine. As such, it’s not really that hard to get that visa!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

[VISA] Armenia (eVisa)


I wasn’t really planning on applying for an eVisa for Armenia. I mean, Philippine passport holders can go there and get a visa on arrival at the airport. But I’ve had my fair share of these visa-on-arrival nightmares before. Remember India and Cuba? The good thing about Armenia is they give you the option to apply for an eVisa instead. They also allow you to choose between a 120-day visa which costs USD30 (~PHP1,500) and a shorter one valid for 21 days which is way cheaper at just USD6 (~PHP300). Second option for me!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

[VISA] Russia (Single Entry)


There are two venues for Russian visa applications in Manila. The first one is at the embassy itself inside Dasmariñas Village. Rumor has it that you can apply there ONLY by invitation, and there are a lot of anecdotes on how strict that village is granting entry to outsiders. For us ordinary mortals, we have to go to their office at Rada near Greenbelt. Applications can be lodged MWF from 10 AM to 12 PM. You don’t need to schedule an appointment. Just walk in with your requirements.

Friday, June 30, 2017

[BISHKEK] Budget and Itinerary

http://wikitravel.org/en/Bishkek

ESTIMATES
Student Visa (1 Month) - 5,000.00
Avia (Dushanbe - Bishkek) - 14,850.00
London School (Registration Fee) - 1,650.00
London School (Russian Course x 75 hours) - 34,500.00
London School (Single Room/1 Month) - 16,900.00
Food Allowance (750 x 27 days) - 20,250.00
KGS93,150.00

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

[BISHKEK] Ala-Too Square


Bishkek has been on my radar for quite some time now not because I wanted to see the place, but rather because I find the Russian language learning opportunities to be quite attractive. A quick research of affordable intensive courses will lead you to London School, a reputable Russian-teaching institute in Kyrgyzstan whose claim to fame is its one-on-one classes. It has its pros and cons, but the school has been a popular choice for many Russian language learners around the world. So I thought hey why not?

Monday, June 5, 2017

[VISA] Kyrgyzstan (On Arrival)


I must confess that I’ve been a jerk to that lady at the visa-on-arrival counter, but then again the only way to assure that someone will help you is to make sure that your problem becomes hers. Kyrgyzstan offers visa-on-arrival for Philippine passport holders, and we are one of the several countries that can just fly there without even having a letter of invitation. The thing is, you need to have some cash at hand. I did not have cash. I know they don’t accept credit cards, but I took a chance.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

[DUSHANBE] Budget and Itinerary

http://wikitravel.org/en/Dushanbe

FRIDAY: 2 June 2017
E-Visa (Tajikistan) - 440.00
FlyDubai (Dubai - Dushanbe) - 1,780.00
Airbnb (2 Nights) - 240.00
TJS2,460.00

Saturday, June 3, 2017

[DUSHANBE] The Big Dushe


I could have saved money if I just flew directly from Dubai to Bishkek. But where’s the fun in that? Besides, do you really think I’d let this chance to up my country count pass me by when the opportunity is already there? In any case, to those who are wondering how you can reach Central Asia WITHOUT transiting in Russia or the Chinese far west, you can always hop on a FlyDubai plane to many cities in the tan-tans. I think only Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are not covered by their flight network.

[VISA] Tajikistan (eVisa)


Philippine passport holders can apply for an eVisa for Tajikistan via their website at http://evisa.tj. Just click on START and fill in all the necessary information. The ones highlighted with a red asterisk can’t be left blank. A GBAO permit is necessary if you are visiting some restricted areas. Just click on YES if you plan on doing so. I don’t remember uploading a copy of my passport, but you will have to provide some basic passport information anyway so make sure you have it while filling out the form.

Friday, June 2, 2017

[ABU DHABI] Budget and Itinerary

http://wikitravel.org/en/Abu_Dhabi

THURSDAY: 1 June 2017
Rayna Tours (7-Day Visa) - 330.00
Singapore Airlines (Manila - Singapore - Dubai) - 805.00
Airbnb (1 Night) - 45.00
Metro Red (Terminal 1 - Ibn Battuta) - 10.50
Nol Card (Card + Top-up) - 35.00
Taxi (Main Bus Station - Al Khalidiya) - 30.00
AED1,255.50

[ABU DHABI] No Food, No Ferrari


I've always considered the UAE as a good transit point from Asia to Europe. This time around, though, it was also a good candidate as a stopover before flying to Central Asia. FlyDubai flies to several Central Asian capitals. The thing is, they do so from Dubai International’s Terminal 2, which is always a hassle because you have to take a cab to go there from either Terminal 1 or 3. Still, the savings you get from the cheapo fare is worth it in my opinion. Having been to Dubai the last time, I decided that I’m visiting Abu Dhabi now.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Wonder Woman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Woman_(2017_film)
♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

THE LOUVRE, Paris. Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) receives a package. Inside she finds the original photo of her World War I squad, along with a note from the caped crusader hoping that one day she will finally reveal her story. She recalls her sheltered existence as a young girl on the island of Themyscira where her mother, Amazon queen Hyppolita (Connie Nielsen), would simply not allow her to train hard with her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright). Her destiny awaits, however. When American spy Steve Trevor’s (Chris Pine) plane breaks the island’s magic barrier and plunges into the sea, he brings along not just curiosity about another race and gender Diana has never encountered before, but also the threat of a war that is not really hers to fight. Believing that it is her duty to prevent Ares, the God of War, from influencing mankind to be warlike and brutal, she sails away with Steve towards the battlefield. But does the human race really deserve someone like her?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sleepless

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5657428/
♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Gem (Glaiza de Castro) works as an outbound call center agent. Her repetitive daily routine consists of waking up to her alarm at 7 AM, taking the dreaded cold shower, commuting to work, selling broadband plans to irate customers, and taking the MRT back home before she settles on her bed alone to end her day. One morning she is introduced to Barry (Dominic Roco), a newbie agent who will shadow her for a week or so in order to get to know the demands of the job. They later realize that they reside at the same condominium. Both agree to meet at the rooftop and share boring anecdotes and random stories to battle their insomnia. As they get to know each other better, an unexpected friendship is formed. Could it develop into something more?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Невеста (The Bride)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bride_(2017_film)
♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

In the 1800’s a Russian scientist gave a talk on how photography could capture the soul of a dead individual. Although such claim was met with ridicule by the academic community, it sparked a strange practice of taking a picture of a deceased loved one and keeping the negative safe in order to preserve their spirit. When a professional photographer engaged in such practice is caught unawares by the sudden death of his young bride, he kidnaps a small-town virgin and buries the two together, in hopes of transferring her soul to her body. Many decades later, Olga’s (Мария Арнаут) great grandson Ivan (Вячеслав Чепурченко) takes his wife Nastya (Виктория Агалакова) home to meet the family. Little do the newlyweds know that they will soon be entangled in a century-old practice that will spell doom not just for their marriage, but also for their very existence.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bliss

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bliss_(2017_film)
♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Jane Ciego (Iza Calzado) always knew that she wanted to be a star. Treading the typical child actress path, she ends up burned-out and drowning in dreams she’s not even sure are hers. Producing an indie horror flick in hopes of earning respect from her peers, she figures in an accident while shooting a crucial scene, falling 20 feet and landing head first on a wooden headboard. She wakes up on a wheelchair in an unfamiliar house accompanied by her bum husband Carlo (TJ Trinidad) and placed under the care of a deranged nurse named Lilibeth (Adrienne Vergara). She soon finds herself caught in a vicious time loop, starting the day with the sight of the smoke alarm on her ceiling followed by her husband preparing breakfast before asking her to sign a cheque to fund his “restaurant equipment”. It doesn’t take long before she begins responding to the name Abigail and seeing her husband replaced by her co-star Joshua (Ian Veneracion), who insists that she must be hallucinating. It dawns on her that she is not just stuck at Abigail’s haunted house, but rather she’s also forced to live the life of the character she is portraying onscreen, over and over again.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dear Other Self

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6899050/
♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Rebecca (Jodi Sta. Maria) is a source of inspiration for aspiring travelers, what with her famous travel blog and 10k followers on Instagram. She traces her success story back to her decision to resign from her 9-5 job and fly to Thailand to fulfill her dream of travelling solo. There she meets Henry (Xian Lim), a Filipino-Canadian backpacker who becomes her companion as she braves her new world. An alternate reality unfolds where she does not quit her job and becomes successful career wise, even developing a romantic relationship with her co-worker Chris (Joseph Marco). However, she is constantly hounded by her family’s dire financial situation as well as the what-if scenario of leaving every responsibility behind to follow her dreams. The two Rebeccas experience their respective ups and downs, lending two distinct perspectives on living the same life, but through a different lens.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

[PORT MORESBY] Budget and Itinerary

http://wikitravel.org/en/Port_Moresby

FRIDAY: 12 May 2017
Qantas (Brisbane - Port Moresby) - 795.00
Airbnb (2 Nights) - 345.00
Digicell (Sim Card + Top-up) - 50.00
Taxi (Airport - Airvos) - 30.00
Yellow Captain (Carbonara w/Coke & Chicken Popcorn) - 45.60
City Pharmacy (Water x4) - 6.00
PGK1,271.60

Saturday, May 13, 2017

[PORT MORESBY] A Papua Kinda Staycation


The thought of visiting Papua New Guinea was highly hypothetical at first. I knew I needed a way to get back to Manila from Australia, and a cheap Cebu Pacific flight via Sydney seemed to be the perfect idea and the cheapest alternative. Nevertheless, I toyed with the idea for a while despite the lack of prospects. The Wikitravel page already warned me that the flight tickets alone would already be expensive on their own, and that I wouldn’t be seeing a lot if I opt to just stay in Port Moresby.

Friday, May 12, 2017

[QUEENSLAND] Budget and Itinerary

http://wikitravel.org/en/Queensland

TUESDAY: 9 May 2017
Virgin Australia (Auckland - Brisbane) - 195.50
Airbnb (3 Nights) - 120.00
Conxion (Airport - West End - Airport) - 36.72
AUD352.22

Thursday, May 11, 2017

[BRISBANE] Breezy in Brissy


Queensland was intentionally left out of the itinerary when I made my debut down under last year. It’s just that, all the cheap Air Asia X flights land in Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney back then. This made Brisbane or Gold Coast a bit too inaccessible for me because I’m such a cheapo. But that is no longer a problem now. With Air Asia X now serving the state via Gold Coast, coming back is an issue of when rather than if. And now the dilemma, which city should I choose given the limited time frame?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

[AUCKLAND] Budget and Itinerary

http://wikitravel.org/en/Auckland

FRIDAY: 6 May 2017
Air Asia X (Kuala Lumpur - Gold Coast - Auckland) - 305.00
NZD305.00

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

[AUCKLAND] The Devonport Detour


Patrick opened the door. I woke up startled and wondered what the fuck my Airbnb landlord was doing in my room. Coming to my senses after five seconds or so, that question was quickly converted to what the fuck was I doing in that room. I grabbed my phone involuntarily and checked the time. It was 10:10 AM. I should be on an Intercity bus that left Sky City two hours ago. And then I immediately had to pass on the blame because that’s what I do. “What time do you leave?” asked Patrick.

Monday, May 8, 2017

[AUCKLAND] CBD + One Tree Hill


Waking up at 3 PM, this is probably my most appropriate anecdote for the woke-up-like-this crowd. After rushing to brush my teeth, wash my face, and fix my hair, I then went out wearing the same clothes I slept in. It was a jogging pants/waffle shirt combo, which I guess was the reason why I got some weird stares that translated to “But why is he in his pyjamas?” But then again, this is Auckland. To the mixed crowd that I encountered on Queen Street, I was probably just the hobo with the good hair.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

[AUCKLAND] The Interrogation


There are no direct flights to New Zealand if you are coming from Manila. PAL flies to Auckland, but they have a technical stop in Cairns and the fare is expensive AF. The cheapest way from Southeast Asia is via Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia X, with an hour and fifteen minutes of transit in Gold Coast. A New Zealand visa is free for Philippine passport holders and you can apply, submit your documents, and receive the visa copy online. But you still have to go to the embassy to show your passport, which kinda sucks.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

[VISA] New Zealand (Multiple Entry)


If you hold a Philippine passport, you can apply for a visa for New Zealand online. You submit the documents online. You don’t have to pay because the visa fee is waived if you are staying for 2 months or less. The caveat is that you still have to go to the embassy to present your actual passport for verification before they give you the visa grant letter. The good thing about this is you can already apply even if you’re out of the country. Just make sure that you’ll be back when they are done processing.

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