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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

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

 

EAST ASIA: VISA-FREE COUNTRIES FOR FILIPINOS

Majority of Filipinos are extremely passionate to either travel or work abroad. However, our Philippine Passport is always associated with struggles in acquiring a VISA. Some borders from other nations are extremely elusive to set foot to. The good news is most of the countries countries in East Asia do not require  a VISA for Filipinos to set foot to their borders, we can fly to these countries  as free as a falcon bird. All we have to do is book a ticket and we are all set to explore these East Asian countries.

Malaysia 

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It’s known for its beaches, rainforests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to colonial buildings, busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang and skyscrapers such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers.

Cambodia

Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation whose landscape spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains and Gulf of Thailand coastline. Phnom Penh, its capital, is home to the art deco Central Market, glittering Royal Palace and the National Museum’s historical and archaeological exhibits. In the country’s northwest are the ruins of Angkor Wat, a massive stone temple complex built during the Khmer Empire.


Indonesia

Indonesia, a Southeast Asian nation made up of thousands of volcanic islands, is home to hundreds of ethnic groups speaking many different languages. It’s known for beaches, volcanoes, Komodo dragons and jungles sheltering elephants, orangutans and tigers. On the island of Java lies Indonesia’s vibrant, sprawling capital, Jakarta, and the city of Yogyakarta, known for gamelan music and traditional puppetry.

East Timor

Timor-Leste, or East Timor, a Southeast Asian nation occupying half the island of Timor, is ringed by coral reefs teeming with marine life. Landmarks in the capital, Dili, speak to the country’s struggles for independence from Portugal in 1975 and then Indonesia in 2002. The iconic 27m-tall Cristo Rei de Dili statue sits on a hilltop high over the city, with sweeping views of the surrounding bay.

Laos

Laos is a Southeast Asian country traversed by the Mekong River and known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. Vientiane, the capital, is the site of the That Luang monument, where a reliquary reportedly houses the Buddha’s breastbone, plus the Patuxai war memorial and Talat Sao (Morning Market), a complex jammed with food, clothes and craft stalls.


Singapore

Singapore, an island city-state off southern Malaysia, is a global financial center with a tropical climate and multicultural population. Its colonial core centers on the Padang, a cricket field since the 1830s and now flanked by grand buildings such as City Hall, with its 18 Corinthian columns. In Singapore’s circa-1820 Chinatown stands the red-and-gold Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, said to house one of Buddha’s teeth.


Vietnam

Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country on the South China Sea known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Củ Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers.


Brunei

Brunei is a tiny nation on the island of Borneo, in 2 distinct sections surrounded by Malaysia and the South China Sea. It’s known for its beaches and biodiverse rainforest, much of it protected within reserves. The capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, is home to the opulent Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah mosque and its 29 golden domes. The capital’s massive Istana Nurul Iman palace is the residence of Brunei’s ruling sultan.


Burma

Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country’s largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century.


Thailand

Thailand is a Southeast Asian country. It’s known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canalside communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin.

 

CHINA SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION


Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, and former British colony, in southeastern China. Its vibrant, densely populated urban centre is a major port and global financial hub with a skyscraper-studded skyline. Central (the business district) features architectural landmarks like I.M. Pei’s Bank of China Tower. Hong Kong is also a major shopping destination, famed for bespoke tailors and Temple Street Night Market.


Macau

Macau is an autonomous region on the south coast of China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. A Portuguese territory until 1999, it reflects a mix of cultural influences. Its giant casinos and malls on the Cotai Strip, which joins the islands of Taipa and Coloane, have earned it the nickname, “Las Vegas of Asia.” One of its more striking landmarks is the tall Macau Tower, with sweeping city views.

GRAND LISBOA


Taiwan

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a state in East Asia. Neighbouring states include the People’s Republic of China to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south.

TIPS & TRICKS

  • Book your airfare in advance (6 months to 1 year) Airfare Promotions are normally offered by low-cost airlines when booking ahead of time
  • If possible, contact your classmates, friends, and relatives living and working abroad to accommodate you in their residence
  • Check for hostel online, it could save you a lot on accommodation expenses
  • Browse Travel Guides from bloggers personal experiences

HONGKONG

PHP7,299 4D/3N HONGKONG AND SHENZEN WITH FREE DISNEYLAND

HOTELS: SILKA FAREAST and FAD HOTEL

INCLUSIONS :

  • Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast .
  • Round Trip airport transfers
  • Half day compulsory Hong Kong city tour
  • Half day compulsory Shenzhen city tour
  • Tipping included
  • DISNEYLAND TOUR WITH ROUNDTRIP TRANSFERS

 

Itineraries :

DAY 1 – Meet & transfer to hotel.

DAY 2 – Breakfast outside / inside, compulsory Hong Kong city tour.

**VISIT: Stars Avenue, Aberdeen Fishing Village, Mid-levels of Victoria Peak (pass by), Factory Outlet & Jewellery Factory.

Afternoon Disneyland tour or Ocean park tour.

DAY 3 – Breakfast outside / inside, AM transfer to Shenzhen by train. Shenzhen city tour.

**VISIT: Window of the World ( picture raking only , entrance tickets not included ) Mineral Museum, Silk and Pearl Factory or local specialties store.

Accommodation at Gorgeous Fad Hotel or similar class.

DAY 4 – Breakfast inside, free time in the morning (Hotel check-out time is at 12:00noon)

Afternoon transfer to Hong Kong Airport by coach (evening flight, departure time must after 19:30)

P1800 Round Trip Ticket  we booked 1 year in advance

SILKA SEAVIEW HOTEL IN HONGKONG

FAD HOTEL SHENZHEN

 

TIPS & TRICKS

  • Do not get hooked on buying unnecessary stuff during the city tour
  • The foto memories from the Tour guides are incredibly expensive – unimaginable tourist price
  • Buy what you can only afford, keep your credit card locked
  • You are in no obligation to bring “gift” aka “pasalubong” to anyone, you are on travel holiday vacations, you are not an OFW – Overseas Filipino Worker
  • Most of the stuff in Hongkong are also in Divisoria, we are in a globalized world – no need to shop and carry heavy  bags on your way home

TAIWAN: VISA-FREE entry for Filipinos extended until July 2020

Are you an avid fan of F4 in the 90s? Do you love food-trips? Do you want to experience the High Speed Rail with top speed of 310 kmh?Taiwan is waiting for you!  VISA-FREE entry for Filipinos is extended until July 2020. Taiwan Embassy announced that the visa-free privilege for Filipinos will continue for another year from August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020. It is now about time to fly to Taiwan as free as a bird. 

Is it expensive to Travel to Taiwan?

  • NO, it is not as expensive as the 1st world country or OECD Member countries

Will we go back to Taiwan again?

  • Absolutely YES! Particularly in Taipei

What are the other places we’d like to visit if we are going to go back to Taiwan outside Taipei?

  • Sun Moon Lake and Orchid Island

When is the best time for us to travel to Taiwan?

  • WINTER, we are from oriental country, the Philippines. We do not have Winter season. We only have summer. It is hot all year round.

Let us get to our 7-Day Itinerary & Budget in Taiwan

DAY 1: Lost in TAIPEI

  • 02-24-19 Sunday: Arrived at Taipei International Airport aka Taoyuan International Airport
  • Changed PHP to NTD at Bank of Taiwan (inside the airport)
  • Rented Pocket Wifi via Klook (claimed inside the airport)
  • Express Train Ride from the Tayouan International Airport to Taipei Main Station
  • Headed to our accommodation (Neosoho Hostel), it is situated just 3 minutes away from Taipei Main Station. We were lost on our way to our hostel, it was raining cats and dogs, so we first ate at Mc Donalds and then took a taxi ride to Neosoho Hostel 
  • We took a rest at the hostel. While we were in the our hostel, we figured out our next activity for Day 2. We actually disregarded our planned itinerary for Day 1. The weather was not good and  cold, it was raining hard on  Day 1. We agreed to book Taipei Sightseeing Bus for our Day 2activities. We could not afford to DIY for each tourist destination if the weather was unfavorable.

DAY 2: TAIPEI SIGHTSEEING DOUBLE DECKER BUS-the weather is perfect!

  • 02-25-19 Monday: Looked for our breakfast near Neosoho Hostel. We tried noodles on the sidewalk, we were shocked of the undesirable taste, we went to Family Mart and had some Japanese rice and coffee instead.
  • Headed to Taipei Main Station where the waiting area of Taipei Sightseeing Double Decker Bus stops. It is located outside Taipei Main Station M4
  • TAIPEI SIGHTSEEING DOUBLE DECKER BUS is highly recommended in visiting Taipei metropolitan’s top tourist destinations, you can get away from the hassle of finding each and every top destination of Taipei by yourself. For a more detailed information about TAIPEI SIGHTSEEING DOUBLE DECKER BUS, please visit TRAVEL GUIDE | Affordable Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus | Hop On-Hop Off

    Taipei Top Landmarks Lines

    • Blue Line – bus route heading to National Palace Museum, you can hop on and hop off to any attractions/landmarks, bus arrives every 40 mins
    • Red Line – bus route heading to Taipei101, you can hop on and hop off to any attractions/landmarks, bus arrives every 40 mins
  • We basically spent our day and night visiting Taipei Metropolitan’s Top destinations and landmarks. Do not forget to get inside Taipei 101 to dine.  You really don’t have to go all the way up on top of the building, just get inside. The building view from the outside is magnificent and stunning! 
  • You can also go to each landmark by Metro or MRT, you can DIY all you can, Taipei’s landmarks  are very accessible by Metro trains.

Taipei City’s Top Landmarks

Taipei 101
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
National Palace Museum
Presidential Office Building
Taipei Main Station
Taipei Old North Gate
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

DAY 3: Historical trip to SHIFEN OLD STREET

DAY 4: Be awed of GONDOLA RIDE & Finding Maria-The PANDA

  • 02-27-19 Wednesday: AM-Since we booked our Taipei Sightseeing Double Decker Bus with free Gondola ride, we took a Metro Train ride from Taipei Main Station to Taipei Zoo where Gondola Ride is located. The Gondola Lift/Cable Car Ride surprised us big time. We initially thought it was just an orrdinary cable car ride. Well, it was a 4.3 kms. long cable car ride with four stations all the way to Maokong Peak.  We also went inside Taipei Zoo. It is situated on the same site. We searched for Panda. We’ve found her but she was sleeping that day. 🙂 We spent our half day in this place. For a more detailed Travel Guide about Gondola Ride, please visit TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Maokong Gondola in Taipei, Taiwan
  • PM: We headed back to our Hostel in the afternoon. We chilled a bit, then we booked our Train ticket to Chiayi City, it is 261 kms down south of Taiwan. Interestingly, our intention was to take HSR (High Speed Rail) but we booked the train ticket at the wrong window and so we ended up on board on a regular train  “no seat“, we were almost standing for 3 long hours all the way to Chiayi City. We could only sit if someone left their seat. So make sure if you are going to buy a ticket, advise the ticket counter that you want to get a reserved sit. Also ask them if it is HSR or Regular Train. Regular train’s speed is fast but it is not as fast as the HSRBullet Train  has its own dedicated railways.
  • We arrived at night in Chiayi Main Station, we’ve met our friend,  we headed to our hotel first at Gene Long Att Hotelto leave our bags, and then our friend strolled us around at Chiayi Night Market.

DAY 5: CHIAYI TOWER, HIGH SPEED RAILWAY, SKIPPED ALISHAN

  • 02-28-29 Thursday: We were supposed to visit Alishan but we changed our itinerary in an instant for Day 5. Although Alishan is the main attraction in this region, we skipped visiting the place due to travel time. We realized that we had had enough of nature park adventures when we explored Shifen Old Street in the Northern region of Taipei.
  • AM: We decided to just go to CHIAYI TOWER in the morning instead. Chiyai Tower was just 5 mins away by taxi cab from our hotel (Gene Long Att Hotel). We went all the way up the tower for a 360 degree overlooking view of the city of Chiayi. We are based in Makati so nothing is spectacular as far as skyscrapers are concerned. 
  • PM: We decided to head to the Southernmost part of Taiwan to Kaoshiung City via High Speed Rail. I asserted to my friend that  one of the reasons why we visited Taiwan was to experience the High Speed Rail. We had luckily booked the correct HSR ticket this time. Always take note that High Speed Railway is different from Taiwan’s regular railway.Due to lack of research,  we never expected that Chiayi HSR Station was several miles way from Chiayi downtown, and as a result, we paid hefty taxi fare of NTD 480. If we did our homework and research, we should have taken a bus ride from Chiayi downtown to Chiayi HSR Station instead. HSRis a must-experience in visiting Taiwan, it has top speed of 310 kmh
  • HSR Train from Chiayi HSR Station to Zouying District HSR Station (25 mins travel time), then train transfer from Zouying Station to Kaoshihung Main Station
  • Took a taxi ride from Kaoshuing Main Station to our accommodation at Home Lane Busniess Hotel, left our bag anf strolled around the vicinity to Love River. We also had Starbucks Coffee along the love river in Carefour
  • Liuhe NIght Market, delight your eyes with all sorts of Taiwanese foods, full your stomach with the variety of Taiwanese cuisines. For a more detailed information about Liuhe NIght Market, please visit TRAVEL GUIDE | Night Markets in Taiwan: It is a way of Life!

DAY 6: Chillin at CIGIN  & Make a wish at LOTUS LAKE

DAY 7: Walking by the LOVE RIVER, Buy “Pasalbong ” & Souvernir Items, Kaoshiung International Airport

  • 03-02-19, Saturday: We just walk all morning to Love River and went to Carefour to buy “Pasalubong and Souvenir. For a more detailed information about LOVER RIVER, please visit TRAVEL GUIDE | Love River & Ta Kang Creek of Kaoshiung, Taiwan
  • In the afternoon, we headed to Kaoshiung International Airport, it was our exit point to the Philippines

DETAILS OF TOTAL EXPENSES

  • AIRFARE & PRE-DEPARTURE EXPENSES |  PHP 10322
    Airfare RT = P8500 (the aifare booked from Air Asia is low cost but not on promo, still considered as expensive, you can get it for as low as P2000 to P3500 RT if on Promotions)
    Travel Tax = P1620
    Grab from Makati to NAIA III = P90
    Grab NAIA III to Makati = P112
  • ACCOMMODATIONS | PHP 3750
    TAIPE CITY: Neosoho Hostel (3 Nights) = P1500
    CHIAYI CITY: Gene Long Att Hotel (1 Night )= P750
    KAOUSHIUNG CITY: Home Lane Busniess Hotel (2 NIGHTS) = P1500
    **We booked these hostels and hotels via agoda while we were still in the PH

  • TRANSPORTATION, TRAINS, & ENTRANCE FEES IN TAIWAN | PHP 5056
    Express Train from Tayouan International Aiport to Taipei Main Station = P250
    Pocket Wifi (7 Days) = P250
    Taipei Sightseeing Double Decker Bus booked via Klook (24 hrs) = P1015
    TMS Local Train to Chiayi City Station (The local train will pass city to city as you head south) = P1010
    Shinkansen BULLET TRAIN HSR with Top Speed of 281 Kmh from Chiayi to Kaoshiung = P693
    Total Taxi Expenses (Taipei, Chiyai, & Kaoshiung) = P1149
    PingXI Line DIY North of Taipei – Shifen Old Street Lantern Flying, Shifen Warerfall Xing PI, Jungtong 
    *Taipei Main Station to Ruifang (Regular Train) – P72
    *Transfer to PingXi Line (One Day Pass for PingXi Line & Sheniao Line) – P135+
    *Taruko Express Train from Ruifang to TMS = P128
    *Lantern Flying = P253
    GONDALA RIDE, CHERRY BLOSSOMS, & TAIPEE ZOO (Panda and Koahla Hunting) at Maokong Peak*Gondola (3 Mountains Ride RT) = Free from Klook 🙂 
    Walk-in for Gandola would cost you P405 RT 🙂
    *Taipei Zoo Entrance = P101

  • FOOD & DINING | PHP 7000
    Average of P 1000/day – you can cut it down, it depends on where you will eat & DINE 🙂

  • “PASALUBONG” & SOUVENIRS | PHP 2502
    Pistacio & Alician Tea = P 1014
    Souvenir = P 474
    Souvenir Bag for myself = P 1014

SUMMARY OF TOTAL EXPENSES
AIRFARE & PRE-DEPARTURE EXPENSES – P 10322
ACCOMMODATIONS – P 3750
TRANSPORTATION, TRAINS & ENTRANCE FEES IN TAIWAN – P 5056
FOOD & DINING – P 7000
PASALUBONG & SOUVENIRS – P 2502
TOTAL = P 28630

You can always trim down your expenses as short as your military haircut, it is all up to you, whether you are in Taiwan or Manila 🙂  However, you have to take note that you are on Holiday Vacations, I just learned that from an American friend that If you are on Holiday, try to live like it is your retirement already. My travels though in the past 10 years were mostly budget meals 🙂

Cost of Living in Makati as of 2019

Cost of living is one of the hottest topics in living in Makati, the financial capital of the Philippines.  There are many considerations that we need to consider before moving to Makati as our workplace, and consequently our place of residence, which we call our second home.  Understanding the cost of living in Makati will give you an idea how your life would look like if you decide to live and work in Makati.

Just like any other International cities, most of the young professionals are aspiring to move to big cities like Makati where opportunities abound. Makati as one of the 16 cities in National Capital Region, it is a magnet to many yuppies all over the Philippines and even from the young workers from mainland China. The influx of international workers are pushing the real estate valuation as high as the polluted sky.

I have been living in Metro Manila since my college years in 1992, and for 27 years, I have witnessed the unimpeded changes of Makati as the years pass by  to what Makati as it is today.  The burgeoning city landscape of Makati that changed dramatically like a snowball from fewer medium-rise buildings to stunning skyscrapers city is astounding!

This blog is not to brag my living expenses but to give you an idea how much is the cost of living in Makati as an “ordinary employee”. As I always reiterate, If I were one of the privileged few, I am not an employee but the owner and the President of the company here in Makati. I work incredibly hard just like many of you. Bed of roses can only be seen on Facebook and Instagram. I can sing it though, I am an avid fan of Bon Jovi. 🙂

I do blog about cost of living because I have lived from different cities  in NCR in the past 27 years. As a matter of fact, I didn’t spend any single centavo on house rental  for several years in Quezon city only until I moved to Makati 8 years ago. 

Details Of My Living Expenses

Housing

  • Condominium Rental – 14,000/monthly
  • Electric Bill Meralco – 3,000
  • Water Bill – 350/monthly
  • Internet/Cable – 999/monthly

Total = 18,349/2 = P 9,174.5

Food

  • Food – Average Daily – 200, P6,000/monthly

Transportation

  • Transportation, Grab Daily Average P90, Tricycle – 40, P3,900/monthly
  • Car Loan – 12,261

Others

  • Cigarette – 80, 2,400/month

TOTAL EXPENSES = (9,174.5 + 24,661) = P 33,735.5

NOTE: Travel & other Miscellaneous NOT included.

While Makati is a great city, our second home, if we are not wise in our finances, we may end up break even. Thus, saving and investing is important. We cannot stop inflation and valuation. It is part of our lives.  We can choose to be paying bills all our lives or make money work for us. 🙂 At the end of the day, It is not how much we earn but how much we save and invest. The pursuit to financial independence can be achieved through financial education, however this blog is not all about financial education, it is all about Cost Of Living. 

Do not book a HOSTEL!

Do not book a Hostel if you are traveling as a family. Booking a hostel is the most impractical decision you will ever make when traveling with you family. No doubt! Hostel accommodation is the most cost-effective accommodation but it is not going to work if you are with kids. In hostel, almost everything is common; kitchen/pantry,toilets, and laundry. You will surely be sharing most of the stuff  from toothpaste to comb. It will be very hard for you and your kids to move with this kind of accommodation. 

Hostel is highly recommended for backpackers or if you are traveling with your friends. You will get to meet travelers from all colors and all languages all over the world.

Hostel accommodation is affordable but small. Do not expect for an spacious and roomy feel with an overlooking view of skyscrapers or breathtaking views. In some cases, the window is even artificial.

We, ourselves, tried Hostel accommodation and it was amazingly way way cheaper than a regular 3 to 4 star hotel. If you want to have a big saving on accommodation. Hostel accommodation is waiting for you!

If you are visiting Taipei and you want an affordable hostel accommodation, we would like to recommend Neosoho Hostel, it has 5 star ratings from Agoda. In addition, the hostel’s location is just 3 mins. away from Taipei Main Station. 

From our personal experience, if we are going to go back to Taipei in the future, we may book the same hostel – Neosoho.

I will surely go back! I’ve missed the toilet. 🙂