A Quick Trip to Edindurgh, Scotland

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 as 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 really really cold (a lot colder than in London, actually).

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

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 had a 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.

After that – we just explored the city and didn’t have any itinerary in mind.

The trip was really short but I honestly think three days was enough – it was definitely one for the books.

 

 

 

South Korea (2014)

Yes, I know this was 3 years ago – but I just thought of posting this because it was such a memorable trip!

We went there in January – which was a bad idea because it was one of the coldest months in Korea. I think the temperature went as low as -15 degrees, and I got really sick on the last day. Nonetheless, I still had fun most especially because I got to spend it with my family.

We stayed in Duriworld, we really enjoyed our stay with them. We had free breakfast every day and during the evenings, we order food from different restaurants which were delivered to the hotel! The hotel staff were very accommodating as well.

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On our first day, we went to Seoul Tower, however, due to the fog, we decided to not just go inside the tower as we just thought we wouldn’t see any view anyway (and to save money as well). We just took pictures and enjoyed each other’s company.

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We also went to Lotte World (we arrived really late so we weren’t really able to experience any of the rides):

On our second day, we went to Hello Kitty Cafe + Cat Living Cafe and Gyeongbokgung Palace.

On the last day, we weren’t really able to go anywhere anymore because we were all really tired and most of us were sick (myself included). Though we all agreed that a quick trip to Bukchon Village wouldn’t hurt much (we were all koreanovelas fans so we couldn’t miss this) – and it was worth it.

I will surely be back – but definitely not during winter. Ha ha.

Stonehenge, Bath and Salisbury

We have booked the tour through Golden Tours and paid GBP 54 per person, which was inclusive of a trip to Stonehenge, Bath and Salisbury. We woke up super early as we had to be at the pick up point / meeting place by 8AM (Golden Tours Victoria Visitor Centre).

I was quite worried with the weather as it was raining really hard during the day – but there’s nothing else we can do and I don’t think it’s still possible to rebook the tickets.

We first went to Stonehenge. It was packed with people (literally), and we couldn’t take decent pictures because of the heavy rain. The stones were also surrounded with barriers so no one can really come close to them – which I totally understand.

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Can you see from the pictures how wet we were? It was raining really hard and it so cold. But that’s okay, at least we were lucky to have some pictures without anyone on the background!

We were only there for two hours as the bus needed to get going to the next destination which was the Salisbury Cathedral.

Our last destination was the Bath – we chose not to go inside as according to the boyfriend there was nothing really much to see inside. So we just roamed around the place and took a lot of pictures.

The tour ended at 5 PM and we got back in London City at around 7-8 pm. It was a very tiring trip but I surely had fun!

Harry Potter – Warner Bros Studio Tour

Harry Potter will always remind me of my childhood, I was only 10 years old when it released its first movie: The Sorcerer’s Stone – and almost all of my classmates got addicted to it (some even memorised the movie lines)! I may not have read all of its books, I actually don’t remember finishing even one book  – but I never missed a Harry Potter movie in cinemas, so yes, I consider myself a fan and I told myself I just have to visit this when I was in London.

We booked our tickets through Golden Tours for GBP 66 per person (this also includes round trip transportation going to the studio from Baker Street).

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I got giddy and excited as soon as we arrived. We didn’t waste any time and started our tour as soon as possible. I even saw a lot of kids wearing cloaks – and it was just the most adorable thing ever.

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We spent a little more than 4 hours to tour the place, it was a little bit tiring but it just felt so magical to be here.

 

London Vacation 2015 (Part 1)

Visiting London has always been on my bucket list – when my boyfriend told me he wanted me to visit him for the Christmas holidays, it felt so surreal – I was literally jumping in excitement when he told me the news. I never thought I’d see London a lot sooner than I expected.I had so much fun most especially because I got to see my boyfriend again – after months of being on LDR!

On my first day, we went to Big Ben, London Eye and Madame Tussauds! We took the Tube going to Westminster Station where the Big Ben was located. London Eye was just 10 to 15 minutes away from the station as well.

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We walked going to London Eye after we took some pictures with Big Ben – we decided to buy London Eye ticket with another attraction (which was Madame Tussauds) because it was more practical – we spent GBP 39 per person.

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I was in complete awe while I was on top, I never thought London was this beautiful, it made me more excited to explore the city!

After London Eye, we knew that the night was still young (and I honestly didn’t want to go home yet) so we went to Madame Tussaud (you can use your ticket within 90 days from date of purchase). It was just a tube station ride from Westminster to Baker Street Station (Jubilee Line).

I highly recommend Madame Tussauds in London – it’s really big (compared to Hong Kong’s) and you really get your money’s worth!

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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