Holidays in Paris, France (2017)

Cliche as it sounds, Paris has always been one of my dream destinations eversince I was young and it feels so surreal that I was finally able to visit this lovely place.

After weeks of pestering my husband to bring me to Paris (for our honeymoon and my birthday celebration), he finally gave in and booked tickets from Eurostar – which was recommended by our friends as it was more convenient than taking a plane – and I totally vouch this!

When we arrived Paris – I knew exactly what I wanted to see. Even if we still haven’t checked in our baggage at the hotel, we went straight to Eiffel Tower! But can you blame me? My childhood dream was finally coming true and I couldn’t wait any longer to see it.

Since we were only in Paris for four days, I really made sure we’d make the most of this short trip. I listed down the places I wanted to visit, and ranked them so that it would be easier for me to know which places we can eliminate from the list should we not have enough time.

Tour Montparnesse – 

The Louvre –

Seine River Cruise –

Versailles – 

Sacre Couer –

…and other awesome places in Paris 

It was definitely one for the books! My favourite (aside from Eiffel Tower) was Versaille – even though we had to queue for 2 hours before we could get in (and we almost got lost going there), it was worth it. Everything there was just breathtaking. My eyes couldn’t believe something so beautiful can actually exist.

Merci Beaucoup, Paris!

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A Quick Trip to Edindurgh, Scotland (2016)

When I visited my boyfriend in London – I knew in my mind it would be a long time since I’ll be coming back again and I just had to make the most of my visit. I told my boyfriend I wanted to go to Edinburgh since it’s part of the UK and we didn’t have to apply for any other visas – and he said yes. We have booked through Easyjet and paid GBP 190 for our roundtrip ticket (already for the two of us) from Gatwick to Edinburgh. We stayed at Novotel Edinburgh Park Hotel and paid only GBP 110 for two nights (It was really cheap!!!) and the train was literally just outside the hotel and it was very easy to go to the city centre – this was the same train we took from the Airport going to the hotel.

When we arrived Edinburgh, it was raining again. And since it was winter when we visited Scotland, the weather was really really cold (a lot colder than London, actually).

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We arrived past 12 noon, so we checked in at the hotel first and had some rest then decided to go to the centre to explore the city a bit (just a really quick trip – as the rain just won’t stop pouring).

The next day, we went to Scotch Whiskey Experience (which my boyfriend totally enjoyed) – the tour costs GBP 15 per person. There wasn’t much queue buying the ticket so you don’t really have to purchase the tickets online.

We also availed the Edinburgh Bus Tour and paid GBP 22 per person for a 48 hour hop on – hop off. We basically just went around the city and decide which place we would like to visit and explore more.
We hopped off  at the Edinburgh castle but opted not to go inside anymore as there were a lot of people – also, the view from the outside was already good enough for us – we just enjoyed the scenery.

The trip was really short but I honestly think three days was enough – it was definitely one for the books. If I’ll have the opportunity to come back, I’ll definitely visit Loch Ness and the highlands!

 

 

UK Visa for Filipinos

This is not a step by step procedure on how to apply (as I think everything you need to know is already available in the website: VFS global, on the other hand, guidance on the documents to provide can be found in the UK’s website: UK gov), rather, this post is more about my own experience and some tips I think will be helpful for those who plan to apply for the Standard Visitor Visa.

The first time I applied for the UK Visa was already one and a half years ago, but the process really didn’t change much since then (I am currently helping my friend who will visit me next month to get her UK Visa as well – yes, I can confirm that applying for Visa is still basically the same).

I applied for the UK Visa because I wanted to visit my then boyfriend (now my husband) while he was on an assignment in London (he is also a Filipino and had a Tier 2 ICT Visa).

  • I planned on visiting him from December 19, 2015 to January 9, 2016. You have to keep in mind that the earliest time you can apply for UK Visa three months before your the travel dates (therefore, if I am traveling on December 19, I can’t apply earlier than Sept 19). You should also take into consideration the Visa processing time – according to them, it can take up to 15 working days before you could get your visa back.
  • I wanted to make sure that I had all the necessary documents before I apply and fill out the application form, as early as third week of August, I already started gathering all the documents (it actually took me almost one month before I got all the required documents from the bank and my company).
  • On September 18, I finally decided it was the right time to register online. It took me four days to fill out the form and submit my application. I was very OC, so I ensured all the information I provided were correct. I submitted my application on the 22nd and had my appointment on the 29th.
  • On my appointment date, I came 2 hours earlier. However, you can only enter the building 15 minutes before the schedule. I came early and just stayed at the nearest restaurant where I can double check the documents I will be providing.
  • It took me an hour to submit the documents and had my biometrics taken. I also availed of their text message services for 100 pesos (but I think I only got 2 texts from them, which didn’t really help much as I also received notifications via email which is free of charge)
  • On October 7, 2015, I have received a text message and email notifying me that a decision has already been made about my application and that I can get my passport on the next day (total processing time for my application was 7 working days – but it usually differs depending on the volume of the applicants, when we applied in October 2016, we got our Tier 2 Visa after 12 working days).
  • On October 8, 2015, I went to VFS Global at 2 PM. It took me 30 minutes before I could get my passport back. I was seriously shaking while opening the sealed bag where they placed my passport!
  • I got my UK Visa which had multiple entries valid from October 7, 2015 to April 7, 2016.

Documents Submitted:

  1. Application Form
  2. Current and Old Passports
  3. Certificate of Employment (which includes my start date, position, salary, and that my leaves were approved)
  4. Bank Certificate
  5. Payslips for 6 months
  6. My Boyfriend’s Letter of Invite
  7. A photocopy of my Boyfriend’s UK Visa and Passport
  8. My Boyfriend’s Bank Certificate
  9. My Boyfriend’s Proof of Accommodation
  10. My Boyfriend’s Certificate of Employment
  11. My Mom’s Sponsorship Letter
  12. My Mom’s Certificate of Employment
  13. My Mom’s Bank Certificate

I also made sure I had two sets of the documents (original and copies), however, when I submitted the documents, they only asked for the originals (but just to avoid any hassles, I suggest you bring another set, just in case they ask for it).

I honestly think that getting a Visa was not that difficult and stressful! The most gruelling part for me was when I had to wait at most 15 working days before I got the result – but the preparation part could be a little bit exciting.

Just be honest with your application and make sure that the reason of visiting UK is consistent with the documents you provided – you also have to show that you are coming back to the Philippines (a good evidence is if you are currently working or if you have a business. But if you don’t have either, do not worry, as long as you can prove other evidence there’s still a chance of getting a visa), they are very sensible. I also think its plus points if you’ve travelled to different countries in the past (part of the form asks you which countries you’ve visited in the past).

Also, my friend who just recently applied for the UK Visa told me TLS in now accepting walk in applicants for an additional fee of PHP 2,000. So just in case you’re really in a hurry – you have another option.

Good luck!

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Ngong Ping 360 Hong Kong (2013)

I badly miss Hong Kong!! And because of that, I finally decided to upload our first day in Hong Kong last March 2013. Pardon me for the lack of posts as I was just really very busy with school, work and other stuff, I’ll try to update this blog more often, but I really can’t promise.

We purchased our roundtrip ticket from Cebu Pacific Air 4 months in advance, and we only paid around P4,500 for the roundtrip fare.

We left Manila at 5:40 am and arrived Hong Kong International Airport around 7:30 am. I was really very excited with this trip because it was actually my first out of e country trip with my family. From the airport, we rode A21 bus that would bring us to Taisan Guesthouse in Burlington Branch (the guesthouse is located on the 13th stop). The fare was around HKD29 per person, I suggest you purchase octopus tickets in the airport for convenience, since you could use it in MTRs and BUS rides.

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Upon checking in our baggages, we decided to have our breakfast first in Yoshinoya before we go to Ngong Ping 360.

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After the sumptuous meal, we were all so energized and we all decided that it was finally time to go to Ngong Ping Village and ride the Cable Car. We rode the MTR going to the Tung Chung station where the Cable Car was located. Aside from the Cable Car, the River City Outlet was also located in this area.

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The line to the Cable Car that would take us to Ngong Ping Village was very long. I think it took us almost an hour of waiting, however the wait was worth it, the view from the cable car was very breathtaking!!

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After touring around the village we all decided it was time to leave and eat. We were all very tired and we did not even have much sleep the night before. We all wanted to take some rest since we all needed energy for the next three days. We had dinner at Food Republic located in the River City Gate Outlets.

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That’s all for day 1. I’ll try to upload another post from this trip anytime soon. 😉

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Singapore (2013)

Aside from Legoland and Universal Studios, part of our itinerary was to go to Singapore Flyer, go on a River City Cruise, go to Orchard Road and Bugis Street to shop!

We tried the Singapore Flyer on our first night, the view was breathtaking! The only thing that made us disappointed was the fact that we could not find the Merlion from the flyer. We always thought the Merlion was big, we were wrong. Ha ha ha!

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We also went to a River City Cruise which was just located at Central Mall in Clark Quay! The experience was awesome! I fell in love with Singapore during this 40 minute cruise, I was begging for more. 🙂 The river cruise opens at 4 pm, i suggest you try it during sunset!

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We also went to Orchard Road!

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We wanted to buy souvenirs and decided to go to Bugis Street! The place was jam packed with people, but can you blame them? The items sold there were really cheap! Here were some of the items I purchased from Bugis!

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On our last night, we planned to go at any Hawker Food Center, we went to Lau Pa Sat.

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These were the other things we did in Singapore, I hope you enjoyed my blog! I will be blogging about my recent trip to Hong Kong, so stay tuned!

Universal Studios Singapore (2013)

Our second day in Singapore was spent in Universal Studios. We woke up at 7 am and left River City Inn at 9:30 am. We used the MRT to go to Harbourfront MRT station where Vivo City Mall was located. There were three ways to go to Universal Studios from Vivo City: by Sentosa Express MTR (which was an MRT located inside the mall), by Cable Car or by Bus. We opted to ride the Sentosa Express MRT which was priced at SGD3.50 per person per day, the price was inclusive of unlimited ride going to the three different stations of Sentosa:

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20130227-222111.jpgUniversal Studios was located in Waterfront Station. Aside from Universal Studios, Resorts World was also located here.

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20130227-223202.jpgThe price of one day admission in Universal Studios was SGD74 per person, there was an additional fee if your want to avail the express. Fortunately, we got our tickets at a lower rate from River City Inn. The famous Universal Studios globe was located just before the entrance, we spent about an hour taking pictures of the Globe… It was love.

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20130227-223843.jpg The Park was actually divided into 7 parts: Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar. the Hollywood was the first part to be seen inside USS. Souvenir Stores and Restaurants were located in this area, this was where we saw Pou of Kung Fu Panda, he was too cute and cuddly, we just had to take a picture with him.
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20130227-230208.jpgBefore we roam around the other 6 parts of USS, we had our lunch first at Hollywood China Bistro located near the entrance, we ordered a set meal which was priced at around SGD20.

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The first thing we wanted to do was to watch the Monster Rock in Hollywood Theatre, located in New York. It was very entertaining, I was actually smiling while watching the whole show. As much as I wanted to take pictures of the monsters singing Pop and Rock songs, cameras were not allowed inside the theatre; as a remembrance, we just took pictures right after the show.

20130228-223618.jpgWhile we were walking along New York, we got surprised by these group of boys singing in front of us. New York was definitely a place to stroll around and take pictures of different sights. It was also where Lights Camera Action by Steven Spielberg was located, you would be entering a small studio designed like a boat house, special effects will be used to make you feel like an actual typhoon was happening; it was awesome!

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Our next stop was the Sci-Fi City where the Transformer 4D ride and the Roller Coasters (human and cylone) were located. I definitely recommend the Transformer 4D!

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From the Sci-Fi City, we went to Ancient Egypt. We rode Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster ride, it was an indoor roller coaster and the lights were turned off, basically you would not be seeing how high the roller coaster was. It was definitely fun. The queue was long but definitely worth waiting for. However, if you could not wait longer, you could always go to the single journey line.

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Then we went to The Lost World where we rode the Jurassic Park Rapids, the line was so long, we had to wait for more than an hour before it was our turn. I think there was nothing that extraordinary about the ride. Since we got really tired, we decided to ditch the other attractions in that part.

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The Far Far Away Land was so amazing, I actually felt like I was in the Shrek film. Attractions in this area include Donkey Live Show and Shrek 4D Movie.

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The last part of USS was Madagascar. Since we were already tired, we just decided to try one ride in this area before we leave the park, which was the Crate Adventure.

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By the time we finished going around the whole park, it was already past 7pm, and before we leave USS, we decided to take last look of the Globe.

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Universal Studios Singapore was definitely the best park I have been to…yet. I hope I’ll get the chance to go to other Universal Studios around the world, someday! 🙂

Legoland Malaysia (2013)

The first place we went to during our vacation was Legoland Malaysia. We really planned to visit Malaysia because we wanted to visit two countries during our vacation. When we found out that Legoland Malaysia just opened and was only located in Johor, we immediately included it in our itinerary.

How to get there:
We went to Jurong East MTR station
From there, we went to Jurong Bus Interchange (which is just outside the MTR)
We rode the bus that would take us to Johor Malaysia (Bus Number CW3/CW4)
After about 10 minutes, we were asked to alight the Bus to go through Singapore’s Immigration.
You do not have to do anything, you just have to present your passport and departure card.
Then after the immigration, we rode the same bus, this would take us to Malaysia’s Immigration.
From the immigration, we rode Bus JPO2 which would bring us to Legoland. The whole trip was around 1-2 hours long.

For more info, visit this link:
Causeway Interchange Link

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Make sure you take note of the bus schedules for JPO2, i think they were only available every two hours. (If ever you did not make it to the scheduled time, don’t worry, there were still alternatives, just ask people working for the bus company about the other options).

Legoland gave discounts to people who purchased their tickets online (take note: it has to be booked at least 7 days in advanced), their online price is at RM112 (adult). However, if you buy your tickets at Legoland, its priced at RM140.

Buy your tickets here: Legoland Tickets

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The Park was so cute, I felt like being a kid all over again.

Before we started the whole tour, we first decided to have our lunch at The Market Restaurant at Lego City.

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The Legoland was divided into 6 parts: Lego City, Land of Adventure, Imagination, Lego Kingdoms, Lego Technic and Miniland.

We first went to Lego City. It was where the Lego City Airport, Lego City Stage and Boating School were located. There were also some games in the area, but I think most of the games were for kids.

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Then we went to the Land of Adventure. Unfortunately, we did not try any rides, we were all too busy taking pictures and being amazed by all the lego figures.

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At the Imagination land, we watched a 4D film (located at Lego Studios) and rode the observation Tower (the Observation Tower would give you the view of the whole Park).

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For people who want to ride a roller coaster (but with no loop), Lego Kingdoms is the best place for you. They had a ride named The Dragon which was located inside the castle. We were tricked! We went inside the castle thinking there was a show inside it, then we found out it was actually the entrance to the Dragon roller coaster, the coward that we were, we hurriedly made our exit. It’s such a shame, I know. Instead of riding the Dragon, we opted to the ride the Dragon’s Apprentice. It was almost the same as the Dragon, except it was smaller and was supposed to be for kids.

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By the time we were at Lego Technic, we were already tired, instead of going around the area, we just decided to sit down and have a rest (we were not even ale to take pictures of the area).

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The last part was the Miniland (which was my favourite), it featured popular destinations for different countries around Asia. The Miniland was actually located in the Middle of the Park.

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The Park was just small, I think we got to tour the whole area for about 4 hours only. Kids and Kids at Heart would definitely enjoy this place, we did!

Before we left the park, we bought souvenir items at the Big Shop located near the Entrance (and BTW, the prices were a bit expensive..)

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I hope you enjoyed my post! I’ll be blogging about Universal Studios next, so stay tuned! 🙂