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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.


  • 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.


  • 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


    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
    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

    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 🙂

    Pistacio & Alician Tea = P 1014
    Souvenir = P 474
    Souvenir Bag for myself = P 1014

FOOD & DINING – P 7000
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 🙂

What are the 10 easiest investments in the Philippines

The term “easy” does mean easy to liquidate or convert to cash. 

1. STOCKS – High Returns, Easy to liquidate but highly volatile.  If you want to learn Stock Market Investing you can visit COL FINANCIAL . You can also attend free seminars directly from their offices nationwide.

2. GOVERNMENT BONDS – Interest rate is way above time deposits however with maturity period. If you want to invest in Government Bonds, you can visit the website of commercial banks or visit commercial banks near you and ask them if they are offering Government Bonds.

3. PAG-IBIG FUND 1 & 2 – High dividend rates, also with maturity period of 20 years and 5 years respectively for us to withdraw all the contributions. If you are employed, PAG-IBIG monthly contribution is part of the mandatory deduction from your payroll. If you want of find out your total contributions, you may request it online by sending email to or you may visit the nearest PAG-IBIG satellite offices in your area.

4. MUTUAL FUNDS – above Time Deposit yield, however with Fund Management Fees and Maturity Period as well. It is also Highly Volatile. If you are interested investing in Mutual Funds, you may visit commercial banks near you. You can also join online if you already have an existing online bank account or COL Financial Account.

5. SSS/GSIS – Primarily works as Retirement Fund when we reach retirement age of either 60 or 65, nonetheless there are also other benefits associated with it like Sickness, Maternity, and Funeral. If you are formally employed either from Private Companies or Government Institutions, SSS and GSIS are mandatory deductions, your monthly deductions is dependent on your salary or income. Non-Formally employed can also be a member as “Voluntary”.

6. REAL ESTATE – very high return but a bit challenging  to liquidate as it requires piling up legal documentations to sell or dispose for CASH. Make sure to seek legal advise prior to buying and selling real estate. 

7. APARTMENTS – Popularly known as a “GREAT” investment if we have overflowing cashflow.  In other words, we have funds more than what we need in the next 10 to 20 years. An investment that can be passed down from generation to generation.

8.FINANCIAL EDUCATION -it makes us Financially FREE, it protects our wealth

9. EDUCATION AND SKILLS – IT gives us livelihood. It can give us high paying job to increase our cash flow locally and abroad. SKILLS can also make us a good BUSINESSMEN. 

10: HEALTH – WE cannot execute all of the above if we have POOR HEALTH CONDITION 


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


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


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


  • 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. 🙂

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Historical Malagunglong Bridge in Tayabas City. Wait! There is more!

Why visit Malagunlong Bridge?

The Malagunlong Bridge aka “Puente De Malagunlong” is a 445 ft  long bridge with five-span stone arch which was built during the Spanish colonial period in Tayabas, Quezon, Philippines. The bridge is known as one of the oldest bridges as well as the longest bridge made during the Spanish era. 

Why visit Quezon Province?

Unlike other provinces in CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), Quezon Province is not yet, at this point, consumed by industrialization. The province still has the rural ambiance, the balance of ecological system is still present. It is not as crowded as the outlying provinces of National Capital Region. Most of all, it is just 2 to 3 hours away from Metro Manila.

Quezon has many attractions to offer but on top of it is the Quezonian’s culinary. It is one of the best in Southern Tagalog Region, there are variety of delicacies uniquely Quezonian. Absolutely, Food Trip is at its best! Nonetheless, the friendliness and hospitality of the people!

Commuting by Bus

  • Go to Jac Liner/Jam Liner/DLTB Bus Station either Araneta Center in Cubao or LRT Buendia in Pasay, Bus Fare to Lucena as of 2019 is P250
  • Take a bus ride to LUCENA – signboard must be LUCENA, advise the driver to drop you off at Jollibee Lucena diversion
  • Right beside Jollibee Lucena Diversion is Jeepney Terminal going to Tayabas, advise the driver to drop you off at Tayabas Public Market
  • Take a tricycle ride right in front of Tayabas Public Market right across Primark Town Center Tayabas, advise the trike driver to take you to Malagunlong Bridge, Tricycle fare should not be more than P50

Driving your own Car

  • Drive all the way to SLEX and g all the way south to Calamba exit, it has a signboard from your right to Lucena, the easiest way is to use google map and wayze You will not surely get lost using these apps. Travelling has been very easy nowadays with the aid of technology 😊

How to get to Kwebang Lampas in Pagbilao, Quezon
How to get to Air Summit Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Tayabas City, Quezon
How to get to Nawawalang Paraiso in Tayabas City, Quezon
How to get to Kamay ni Hesus in Lucban, Quezon
How to get to Mainit Hot Springs in Tayabas City, Quezon
How to get to Graceland Estates & Country Club in Tayabas City, Quezon
How to get to Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon