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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tips on Surviving Taiwan

My friends and I flew to Taiwan a few weeks ago. Honestly, travelling to Taipei is probably one of the most challenging trips I had, as I wasn't able to research well given a very hectic schedule at work. Also, I haven't read a lot of extensive posts about Taiwan so I'll try my best to make my posts 5-Day Taiwan trip as detailed as possible. Kindly note that I don't speak any Chinese language so my tips may not be applicable to those who can speak Chinese. 

Here's a few things you need to remember when you visit Taiwan:

1. Purchase an EasyCard

EasyCard is Taiwan's all-around reloadable card that you can use to pay for all types of transportation (MRT, buses, Maokong Gondola, U-Bikes), for convenience store purchases (7-Eleven, FamilyMart, etc), Starbucks Coffee, other fastfood establishments and many more. Note that you get 20% discount on fares when you use an EasyCard for transportation. 

You can get an EasyCard for a deposit on 100 NT (Php 146), which is refundable when you return your EasyCard. 

2. If you're between 15 to 30 years old, get a Youth Travel Card.

Taiwan Youth Travel Card is a membership/discount card to different establishments around Taiwan. You can get yours at any Visitor Center or Tourist Center, just don't forget to show your passport. Here's a list of establishments where you can get discount using your Youth Travel Card.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Manang's Chicken Pops n' Chips!

Here's a new delicious snack from Manang's Chicken: Pops n' Chips!

Pops n' Chips are crunchy and cripsy chicken poppers with Manang's signature potato chips, available in 3 locally-inspired flavors: Beef Steak, Cheese Pimiento and Chili Vinegar.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nanbantei of Tokyo

My friend and I had a lovely dinner at Nanbantei of Tokyo a few weeks ago. I always pass by this yakitori place whenever I'm in Greenbelt by I haven't visited this place before. 

We were seated near the grilling station, where you can watch your food being prepared. 

While waiting for our skewers, we were served complimentary veggie sticks, to be dipped in miso sauce. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Steak-Off Grill, Marikina

You know you're in the right place when the restaurant is packed way before dinner time. 

Steak-Off Grill is an open-air grilled steak place located across SDS Hospital. More than a month old, Steak-Off Grill is drawing large crowds until late night. 

The menu is straightforward with 3 types of steak: T-Bone Steak (Php 149), Porterhouse (Php 189) and Tenderloin Steak (Php 249). Each steak is served with rice and gravy. The choices for sides are limited as well. 


Friday, April 24, 2015

How to Apply for a Japanese Tourist Visa

I have just obtained my first visa: a Japan Tourist Visa. :)

Applying for a Japan Visa (specifically 1-B Tourist Visa with no guarantor) isn't difficult, as long as you secure all the necessary documents. 

All Japan tourist visa applications must go through accredited tour agencies. See the list of accredited agencies here. I applied through Reli Tours & Travel Agency in SM Megamall while my friends applied through Discovery Tour Inc in Makati. 

Here are the documents I submitted:

1. Philippine Passport

This at least 2 blank pages and should be in good condition (no damage on the lamination, pages, etc).

2. Visa Application Form

You may fill out this form and print this out once accomplished. Put NA on blanks not applicable to you.

3. Photo

2" x 2" (4.5cm x 4.5cm), white background. Paste this on your Visa Application Form.

4. NSO Birth Certificate

I got a copy of my birth certificate from SM Business Services for Php 160. It takes 5-7 business days before you can claim it.

5. NSO Marriage Contract

Not applicable to me, but required for married applicants. 

6. Daily Schedule in Japan.

You may download the form here. Also known as TAIZAI YOTEIHYO. It's a detailed itinerary of the activities you plan on doing in Japan. Make sure the dates indicated in your Daily Schedule is as same as the dates in your Visa Application Form.

7. Bank Certificate (original)

I requested a Bank Certificate from BPI for Php 100 (debited from my account). My bank certificate was printed as I wait, but I'm not sure about the process time in other banks. 

8. Income Tax Return (Form 2316), original and photocopy

I requested for a copy from my company's HR Department for this. However, Reli just got the photocopy and returned the original copy to me. 

9. Additional Document: Certificate of Employment (COE)

It wasn't in the list of requirements but Reli accepted it when I presented my COE to them. 

10. Visa Fee

I paid Reli Php 1200 for the visa processing while my friends paid Discovery Tour Php 800.

The expected processing time is 7 to 10 business days but I got my Japan visa approved in 4 business days. 

I got approved for a single-entry tourist visa, which is valid for 3 months from the date of issue. I spent a total of Php 1520 for all the documents (excluding the passport). 

So where am I heading next? Find out soon. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 Cocktail Festival with Matthias Giroud at Buddha-Bar Manila

Last Friday, my friends and I witnessed the amazing one-night only Cocktail Festival with Matthias Giroud at the Buddha-Bar Manila.

Matthias Giroud, the Chief Bar Manager of Buddha-Bar Worldwide, demonstrated 8 cocktails he created himself. A few guests were lucky enough to be served the cocktails personally prepared by Mr. Giroud. 

Here are the cocktails he prepared that evening:

BB World Fusion Concoction. When Japan Meets The world.

1. Japan Mexico
Tequila-infused Japanese tea-flavoured cherry blossom, yuzu juice and Japanese sake syrup

2. Japan Brazil
Cachaca-infused Jasmine green tea, plum mix, lime juice, agave syrup and sparkling Japanese sake

3. Japan France
Cognac from France, yuzu juice, honey and homemade Japanese smoked tea soda

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lunch at Sumo Sam Legacy

Our cravings for Japanese food brought us to SumoSam Legacy at The Podium. 

Based from my research, the "Legacy" brand is exclusive to SM Premier Malls. There must also be a difference with the menu. Also, The Podium is the first SumoSam Legacy location. 

I wasn't feeling quite well so I quickly requested for the complimentary hot tea. The stone container looks beautiful. 

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