All posts by YAPAK PINOY

2020: Refacing of Puerto Galera

We have visited Puerto Galera several times since 2004, and it has been changing since then. Surprisingly, our most recent trip to Puerto Galera this 2020 gave us an impression of new look and changing horizon. Is Puerto Galera on its refacing mode?

What have we noticed this 2020 so far?

  • The Ferry Boat no longer docks directly to White Beach, Puerto Galera. The ferry will dock either in Muelle or Balatero Pier. Modern ferries are available like Fastcraft and Ocean Jet. I don’t exactly know if the traditional boat is still available. I’ve heard from the locals that it has already been phased out and replaced by fastcrafts.

  • The tables and chairs are no longer extended to the beach itself on night parties and clubbing
  • By the beach newly renovated walkways and easement are widened
  • Side-trip activities are more organized
  • The beach looks cleaner
  • New modern hotels and facilities
  • Precautionary measures like Fever Screening at Puerto Galera Port to prevent the spread of COVIND19
  • Growing number of foreign investments on business establishments – Chinese and Europeans

As Puerto Galera refacing effort continues, all sorts of fees are increasing as well

  • Environmental Fee at Batangas Port – P50
  • Environmental Mental Fee at Puerto Galera – 120
  • Ferry Fare – P300
  • Hotel and Accommodation rages from P750 to P5000
  • Food Average is P170/meal but can go as high as P1000 a piece of grilled Squid
  • Island-Hopping boat rental ranges from P1500 to P1800 but be aware of the ADD-ON activities which is charged separately but optional

How to get to Puerto Galera is as easy as ABC

Getting there by Bus

  • Go to JAC, JAM, DLTB bus TerminalS either in Pasay or Cubao, take a bus ride bound to Batangas City Port. Ticket booths to Puerto Galera at the port.
  • Shuttle service to either Sabang or White Beach is already included in the ticket. You can also take a tricycle ride for P50 to White Beach if you do not want to avail of the shuttle service

Philippines lifts Taiwan Travel Ban

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases decided to lift the travel restrictions effective immediately because of strict measures being undertaken by Taiwan to contain the spread of the new coronavirus or COVID-19.

The new development on lifting the travel ban to Taiwan is a welcome development and a total relief for us. When the announcement about Travel ban to Taiwan was issued by the Philippine government a week ago, it was a total disaster for us who will be traveling to Taiwan this coming April 2020.  My travel companions will be coming from Europe and some parts of the country where they already booked their flights months ago.

We are planning to go back to Taiwan for the 3rd time in a short span of 18 months. I have never recalled any country that I kept on coming back.

Here are the few reasons why I keep coming back to TAIWAN

  • COST – It is not expensive to travel to Taiwan. The amount of money that you will spend in Taiwan is almost the same as traveling to local domestic destinations in the Philippines EXCEPT that you need to pay for travel tax from the airport.
  • FOOD – Night Markets in Taiwan are all over; wide variety of Taiwanese cuisines abound.
  • TRANSPORTATION -moving from one place to the other is very convenient. Taiwan’s transport system is one of the best in Asia.
  • WEATHER -Taiwan’s 4 seasons without the snow during winter season is a perfect weather for a tropical islander like me.
  • NO VISA POLICY FOR FILIPINOS – Taiwan has extended its VISA-FREE entry for Filipinos up until July of 2020.

 

Novel Corona Virus: Should we cancel our Scheduled Trips?

Everyone seems to be scared of the spread of the disease not only in the border of China but also in 24 countries around the globe. The governments of all the countries in the world are taking it seriously and as a result many of the countries issued Travel bans to contain the fast and expansive human-to-human transmission of the deadly ncoV2019 virus.

As of today, the Philippine government issued travel bans to mainland China and its SAR regions; Macau and Hong Kong. It may change as new development comes in from the epicenter of the ncoV2019 virus. Personally, we are a bit skeptical if we are going to push through with our planned trips abroad in the coming months. We have already booked our flights 6 months ago. We will keep on monitoring what are going to transpire in the days and months to come.

What do we know so far about the new Corona virus?

  • 2% Fatality rate, average age of fatality is 55 year old with preexisting medical conditions 
  • The new Corona Virus weakens on hot and humid tropical country like the Philippines 
  • Precautionary measures like frequent washing of hands with alcohol and soap and avoiding crowded events and gathering may prevent us from getting infected 
  • The new Corona Virus has no medication or vaccine as of this moment
  • New Corona Virus disrupts a bunch of scheduled trips around the world

P10,000 4-Day DIY Budget Travel to Taiwan

Because we love Taiwan, we returned back to Taiwan for the 2nd time around in the same year of 2019. We will actually return back in 2020. We find it cheaper to take some relaxation in Taipei, and probably the cheapest in East Asia on the ranks of city sophistication. Alright, you may argue that Tokyo and Seoul are the best in East Asia. We will get there, we are a big fan of KPOP! For now, let us enjoy the very affordable and relaxing city of F4. Where is Meteor Garden? 

DAY 1: August 29, 2019

  • Departure from NAIA Terminal III to Tayouan International Airport 11:15PM
  • Airfare cost P4000
  • Grab Makati to NAIA Terminal III P200

DAY 2: August 30, 2019

  • We arrived at Tayouan International 1:30 AM, we just stayed at the airport to catch the earliest Express Train from Tayouan International Airport to Taipei Main Station, Train Fare NT150
  • Arrived at Taipei Main Station at 8:AM, we also had our breakfast [Breeze Sandwich and Tea NT79] . We also roamed around the vicinity looking for other options to travel to Keelung City.
  • We decided to head directly to Keelung City via BUS. The Bus Station is situated right beside Taipei Main Station, Bus 1813 , it departs  every 15 mins. Bus Fare is  NT57.
  • Arrived at Keelung City at 10:00 AM, we decided to roam around the city and had our starbucks coffee first as we were discussing where we were going to go next. There were bunch of choices from the Blue Bus Station, each attraction has its corresponding Bus No. The blue bus station is right across Starbucks Keelung.
  • We decided to go to Heping Island, situated in the northernmost of Taiwan. It was summer in Taiwan so beach was a good choice. We took a Blue Bus No. 101 route. Advised the driver that drop us off to Heping Island Station, Bus fare  NT15. At Heping Island Station, be ready for a 5-minute walk to Heping Island Resort, entrance fee NT80.
  • We spent few hours in Heping Island, and then we headed back to Keelung City. We decided to head to Juifen Old town by Bus again. Keelung City to Juifen Old town Bus Faire NT37
  • Overnight in Juifen Old Town at Juifen Hui Ming Home Stay NT799  – overlooking view is stunning for a reasonable price

DAY 3: September 01, 2019

  • Early morning in Juifen Old Town.  After our lunch in Juifen, we headed to Taipei. Roam around Taipei 101. We just enjoyed MRT rides. Basically, chilling in the city. We also checked in at Neosoho Hostel in the afternoon. NT700 [If you are a 1st timer in Taipe, I would highly suggest to take advantage of Hop ON/Hop Off Bus Tour as it goes to Taipei’s Top attractions.] It was our 2nd time for this year so we just made everything a chill. We decided to end our Day 3 at Famous Shilin Night Market.

DAY 4: September 01, 2019

  • We just strolled around the vicinity – Food Trip left and right around the vicinity of Neosoho hotel which is just 2 blocks away from Taipei Main Station. Walking and Biking.
  • Departure from Tayouan International Airport to NAIA Terminal III – 02:35 AM. We just slept in the Ariport. 🙂

 Currency Conversion Rate: NT1 = PHP1.70

TRANSPORTATION COST
Airfare cost P4000
Grab RT P 400
Express Train RT P 510
Bust to Keelung City P 97
Keelung Downtown to Heping Island RT P 50
Heping Island Entrance Fee P 136
Keelung Downtown to Juifen Bus Fare P 63
Smart Card – Train P 500
Total P5756

ACCOMMODATION
Neosoho Hostel – P1190
Juifen Hui Ming Home Stay P1358
Total P2548

FOOD – P 2000

TOTAL COST
TRANSPORTATION COST – P5756
ACCOMMODARTION – P2540
FOOD -P2000
TOTAL PHP 10,304

JUIFEN OLD TOWN

KEELUNG CITY

KEELUNG MIAOKOU NIGHT MARKET

HEPING ISLAND

SB19: The rise of PPOP

The Korean-trained P-pop boy band had previously released two songs but their latest release “Alab” is their first official single under their new label, Sony Music Philippines.

The track, produced by Han Tae Soo, sings about finding true love and doing whatever it takes to win that person over.

“Here, we thought of fire as our burning desire, emphasizing that there’s no other way to confess your love but to tell the person directly, and that you shouldn’t waste time,” said the band’s leader, lead vocalist and rapper Sejun.

SB19 is composed of Sejun, Josh (lead rapper and dancer), Stell (vocalist and lead dancer), Ken (main dancer and vocalist), and Justin (vocalist and visual).

The fast-rising boyband debuted in 2018 with the song “Tilaluha,” and soon gained traction with the video release of their choreography-heavy “Go Up” in July 2019.

In November, the group gained international attention when they landed on Billboard’s Next Big Sound chart, which “tracks the fastest accelerating artists” weekly. They ended the year on a high when they topped Google Philippines’ list of most searched male personalities in December.

On a personal note, I am actually a silent TITO fan of this group. I have been observing them on social media for 5 months now.  I know that SB19 will soar high  in the coming days.  This group raised the bar of what really a total performer is. This is the real talent that our local entertainment industry is lacking nowadays.  I will not be surprised that one day,  SB19 will be performing on international stage.

How to get a Schengen Visa Do-It-Yourself?

We, Filipinos, as Philippine passport holders, are required to get a VISA first before we can enter the borders of most if not all European countries particalrly the Schengen member countries of Europe.

GERMANY


If you are planning to visit Europe, It is highly recommended to secure a Schengen VISA for you to be able to move freely, as free as a bird,  in 26 countries within the Schengen Zone.

Let us say you want to visit Eiffel tower of France, and you also want to visit Vatican of Italy, and all other beautiful cities in Europe, Schengen VISA is all you need to explore each and every country in Europe.

LOUVRE, FRANCE

What is a Schengen VISA?

A Schengen VISA is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area, per stays up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries.

Which countries in Europe are in Schengen Area?

These countries are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Where to apply for a Schengen VISA?

You should log your application to the embassy of the country where you will stay the longest. In my case, I submitted my application at German Embassy Manila because it was the country where I stayed the most. To log your application online, please visit German Emabassy Manila 

German Embassy Address:

Postal address
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, P.O. Box 2190, Makati CPO, 1261 Makati, Metro Manila, Philippinen.

Street
25/F Tower II, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Ave. 1200 Makati City, Metro Manila.

Office hours
Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 9.30 am.

Monday to Thursday from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm
Friday from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm

What are the requirements for Schengen VISA

  1. VISA Application Form
  2. Certificate of Employment
  3. Proof of Fund – Bank Statements
  4. Approved Vacation Leave from your employer
  5. Flight Reservation (not paid yet)
  6. Formal Obligation (“Verpflichtungserklärung”)  or Invitiation, if Visiting a Friend.  However,  You can still receive a visa even without a formal obligation. For this, you must submit proof that you are able to finance your travel yourself. 
  7. NSO issued Birth Certificate
  8. Travel Insurance

How long did it take to get the Schengen VISA approved?

  • 3 days from the date of interview, the passport with 30-day multiple entry Schengen VISA approval was returned to me via courier
  • The most recent update from German Embassy Manila as of 2019,  the average processing time now is 2 weeks

How long did I prepare for my Schengen VISA application?

  • 3 months or 90 days

What are the interview questions from German Embassy?

  • Generally, the questions are related to your submitted documents.

Let me share with you the interview I had with the consul of German Embassy in Makati.  Below were the questions that were thrown at me:

Q: How long have you been working?
A: 3 and a half years in my present company, 24 years for a number of companies of various capacities and positions. 
Q: Are you going to Germany alone?
A: NO, I am leaving with the other person being interviewed on the other window.
Q: Have you been to other countries? When and where was the most recent?
A: YES, Mainland China back in February 2014 – It also requires VISA to enter mainland China. 

The interview proper was completed in 3 to 5 minutes. It was the preparation of requirements  that took me like 3 months. 

My VISA application had been made easier though because I had a “Formal Obligation” from a German Citizen. In fact,  if you have a “Formal Obligation” or “Verpflichtungserklärung” from a German Citizen, Proof of Fund or Bank Statement is no longer required.

PARIS, FRANCE
PISA, ITALY
BRUGGES, BELGIUM
VATICAN, ROME, ITALY
LOURDES, FRANCE
FRANKFURT, GERMANY

 

Top 8 Ramen House in Metro Manila

First off, I am not a culinary expert and so I am not in authority to blog about the best of the best when it comes to Japanese culinary standards. It is on my top 8 list based only on my personal taste as a pure-blooded Filipino who love Filipino cuisine. I did not even like Japanese Ramen when I first tasted it only until I had my 2nd attempt at RYU RAMEN & CURRY house, that was the only time when I started to like and explore Ramen. “MASARAPA PALA”.  It is about time to visit Japan. I have already overcome my IGNORANCE to Japanese Ramen. 

They top  the list because I keep coming back.  RYU RAMEN CURRY is all my all-time favorite. All Ramen are reasonably priced from P200 to P500

 

RYU RAMEN & CURRY 
Nicanor Garcia Corner Jupiter Street Ground floor, SM Jazz Mall, Bel-Air, Makati, Luzon 1200 Philippines

Wabi-Sabi Noodle House and Vegetarian Grocery
UG-4 MCS Fernando, Makati Cinema Square, Fernando St, cor Chino Roces Ave, Makati, Metro Manila

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
UG Floor Ayala Mall, Circuit Makati

 

ORI Japanese House
GGround Floor, Ayala Mall Circuit Makati 

 

IKKORYU FUKUOKA RAMEN
2nd Level Century Mall Bel Air, Makati

 

UKOKKEI
Basement, Magamall B Manadaluyong City, Metro Manila

 

YAYOI
3rd level, Mega B, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila

Ramen Kuroda
3/F Podium 3 Tower 2 RCBC Plaza, Ayala Ave, Salcedo Village, Makati