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Showing posts from September, 2015

Travel to Japan: Visa and Other Considerations

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I count Japan as one of my favorite travel destinations. There are lots of places to visit and discover - from modern and cosmopolitan cities like Tokyo and Osaka, to ones that are very rich in culture and heritage, like Kyoto, to small Alpine villages where you can do winter sports.
Visa  Citizens from certain countries, including the Philippines, need a visa to enter Japan. The application (in case of the Philippines) is done through a travel agency. I picked Friendship Tours, which has a office in Dusit Hotel in Makati, to do the application for me. The fee is PhP 1200 for a single entry visa. I went to their office to submit the requirements, which include the passport, visa application, a photo, itinerary, birth certificate (the new (yellow) one), income tax return, proof of funds and bank deposits, and marriage certificate if application. You may need to submit additional documents if you have a sponsor in Japan. You may check the whole procedure here.
For the proof of funds I subm…

Exploring Isla Gigantes Group of Islands

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This weekend I flew to Iloilo with exploring a place that's just starting to bubble up in the traveler's radars - the Isla Gigantes group of islands. 
Located in the Visayan Sea, the Isla Gigantes group of islands is composed of ten islands, the main two being called Gigantes Sur and Gigantes Norte. It is part of the municipality of Carles in Iloilo province.

I started my journey to the islands on Saturday morning (I arrived in Iloilo the day before and spent the night there), taking a bus directly to Carles. The trip took about four hours. I took a motorcycle ride to Bangcal Fishing Port, the nearest jumpoff point to Gigantes. There I rented a motorized banca, with just me and the two boatmen - a father and son tandem - as passengers. We set out to sea as soon as I was able to buy some provisions - water and some snacks - and after I chowed down a bowl of ramen bought from a sari-sari store near the port. I haven't had a proper breakfast since leaving my hotel in Iloilo  at…