Applying for a US Tourist Visa

I decided to apply for a US tourist visa as I heard that most of the visas given recently are 10 years multiple entry which, before, is very rare for Filipinos.  This is by far, the most expensive tourist visa application I have had and the preparation needs time and extra effort.  Here’s what I did to prepare for the application all the way through the approval.

Disclaimer:  This post is only for US tourist visa application (B1/B2 Class).  If you have other type of visa application, you may refer to this site for further details.

  1. Pay the Visa Application Fee – Yes, you need to pay first before you can fill up the application form.  Payments are accepted via BPI over-the-counter or Bancnet online.  If you don’t mind the queue, I suggest paying via OTC so you can make clarification before payment because once you paid, it’s no longer refundable.  For B1/B2 class, I paid $160 each person.  I applied together with my son.  Before heading to the bank, you need to download and print this Deposit Slip form as the Receipt Number in the form is what you will need to enter in your deposit details at the counter.  Do not go to the bank without this slip.

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*There is a payment cut-off that the bank follows.  If you paid your fee before 3pm, you can wait for 4 hours before you can start filing your interview schedule.  If you paid past 3pm, you will need to wait the next day before you can file your interview schedule. (you can do this after you have filled up your D-160 form)

2.  Once paid, you are now ready to fill up your DS-160 form.  This form is online.  You need to fill in the details online.  You can only print the DS-160 form once you have digitally-signed it after you filled up all the information.  Click here for the DS-160 form page.

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a. From the SELECT ONE dropdown, select Philippines (or country applicable to you).  Enter the code shown (captcha).  Select the type of application.  In my case, it’s Start an Application.  Once you’re done, you will be directed to the next page which will eventually start the filling up of needed information.

b. When filling up your application, always be thruthful about what you enter.  Even before the date of your scheduled interview, there will be am investigation conducted by immigration officers about your profile and if this will not match with you put in your application, it may affect your visa approval.

c.  Information about where you will stay is required.  If you are planning a DIY trip, browse for hotel addresses from Booking.com or Agoda to get potential addresses for your stay.  You don’t need to book it yet.  You only need to get the address which will eventually be your home base when you get approved.  If you have relatives in the US to which you intend to stay with, get their address and phone numbers for the details to be inputted in your application.

d.  Picture needs to be attached to the application form.  The required size is 2×2.  It is important that you follow the correct size of the picture and specifications about its looks and angle.  I had several issues when I uploaded my picture that it took me a while to get the correct cropping size and angle.

e.  There is a section there regarding petitions.  When I applied, our family is under petition for immigrant visa which was filed sometime in 2010.  I declared it honestly as these types of information are being checked from the immigration database.  If your application declaration did not match, it might affect your visa approval.

f.  There are also sets of questionaires answerable by Y or N.  Just be truthful about each questions.

3.  Once you are done updating your DS-160 form, you will need to digitally sign it.  Digital signing simply means submitting the form online.  Once this is done, you will come across a page which says THIS IS NOT A VISA together with the picture you uploaded.  This is your completed DS-160 form.  Print this as you need to bring this during your interview.

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4.  Once you are done, every DS-160 form has a unique barcode generated when you started filling up your application.  Record this barcode for referrence.  You can start scheduling your interview to the embassy.  Scheduling your interview can be done via phone by calling the embassy hotline or you can create a profile here.  I took the online profile and scheduled my interview via the website.  Double or triple check the DS-160 form barcode versus your payment receipt to ensure that you have entered them correctly.  Incorrect information may affect your schedule online.

The Interview day….

My schedule was July 13, 2018 at 8:30am.  Since we are coming from Taguig, I left the house at around 5:45am and reached Roxas Blvd area by 6:30am.  I know we are too early for the schedule, but it’s better to let the time pass by staying nearby rather than compromising the schedule by being late due to traffic.  Once you are late for the interview, you may not be able secure a new interview again and your payment will go to waste.

IMPORTANT: All electronic gadgets (cellphones, laptops, chargers, batteries, earphones etc.) are not allowed inside the embassy.  If you happen to bring one, you will have to leave them to some ladies from the street (who apparently are doing it for business).  During the interview day, I left my phone at home but I didn’t notice that my son brought his phone and so I was left with no choice but to leave it to the lady at the street.  These baggers are not accredited by the embassy.  You will have to just trust them that they will not take your phone after you give it to them for safekeeping.  My son’s phone costs us P200 to be taken cared of by the ladies.  They charge it by per number of phones.  If you brought 3, then you pay P600.  If you brought laptop, they will charge you higher.  So, it’s best not to bring any gadgets.  If you have relatives with you during your interview, just leave your belongings to them.

Upon entry, our records were scanned at the gate and the barcode will be attached at the back of your passport.  This will serve as your tracker when you get inside.  The attendants will give you color-coded big cards and you need to follow where the colors are indicated.  Wait for your turn (color) to be called on for the initial screening.

Step 1 – Initial Screening – they will ask for minor details about your application.  They may require picture as well.  (Please note, these are done by Filipinos at the other side of the booth).

Step 2 – Finger Printing – The officer will scan the back of your passport for the barcode and will ask you to scan your 4 fingers (left and right) and your thumbmark.  Since my son was below 14 years old, he was exempted from performing the finger printing as the required age is not yet met. (14 years old and above is the requirement)

Step 3 – Interview – This is the time when you will be face to face with the consul.  They will ask you questions about yourself and related questions will emerge after your response is received.  Here are some of the questions I can still recalled being asked from me:

Question 1: Why are you going to the US?

Question 2: Why US?

Question 3:  Where is US do you plan to visit?

Question 4: How long do you plan to stay?

Question 5: Do you have relatives in the US?  Who are they?  How long have they been in the US?  Are you going to visit them?

Question 6: Who are you traveling with?  Why is your husband not joining?  Does your husband have a US visa?

Question 7: What do you do here?  Where do you work?

Question 8:  It says in your application that you are being petitioned, who filed the petition?  Do you plan to live in the US?

The consul also asked my son how old is he?  And my son answered smartly.  The consul then required to show me the Birth Certificate of my son.  After checking, the consul said “Thank you for that.  So you’re visa is approved, you may claim it after 1 week.  NEXT!”

Everything happened so fast, I barely had time to say thank you to the consul.  Still, I manage to say my thanks.  No other documents were required by the consul aside from the BC of my son.  I checked with the assistants at the embassy that the 1 week mentioned means 7 working days.

You may opt to have your passports with visa delivered to your house or you can pick it up at their designated locations.

So, there you go.  Here is my experience into applying for a US tourist visa.  Though the consul did not go into other details about my application, it maybe depending on how sensible you responses are to the consul’s questions.  But in relation to this application, here are the documents I prepared for the interview

a.  COE and Leave approval email (as I am currently employed)

b.  Bank Certificates and Bank Statements (There is no required balances set by the embassy on your Bank Statement.  You just make sure that if you will stay in the US for say 10 days, your bank balance has enough capacity to sustain your stay for 10 days if you will be doing your trip on your own).

c.  Property Documents (I prepared my car and condo documents)

d.  PSA documents (Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate)

e.  for my son – I prepared an excuse letter signed by his teachers and adviser.  I also secured the school calendar of activities for the school year.

Though the consul said wait for 1 week, after just about 2 days, I was notified by the courier and embassy via text and email that my visa is already out for release.  Only 2 days waiting time!

So here is our 10 years multiple entry tousit visa to the US!  We are excited for our upcoming trip!

Try your US tourist visa application too!  Good luck on your application soon!

The most powerful Songs and their lyrics in my Spotify

Music has been a way of expression and influence from new and old culture alike.  It has made powerful impact to the lives of people who likes it wether fast, slow, vulgar, classic and the likes.

I, myself also listens to music to inspire me.  It was almost like somebody is singing the story of my life.  It was like listening to the things that I have experienced or want to experience.  The songs that you can relate to as the events of your life unfolds through your ears.

I have selected my top 10 personal list of the most powerful Song Lyrics that impacted my life.

1.  Strongest –  Ina Wroldsen

Behind the lyrics – In an interview with Charlotte Sissener of Musikknyheter, Wroldsen said the song is about a good friend of hers, saying the situation is “hard and bitter, but also genuine and triumphant. (from wikipedia)

My Post (5)The song is about a family torn apart by the father falling out of love with the mother that he had to leave her and their toddler.  The mother had to carry the burden of raising her son on her own that she has to be strong in order to support the young one.  Broken families are common nowadays . It seems like it’s difficult to stay together considering the factors each family has to face – temptations, lack of time, change of attitude, financial etc. Whatever the circumstances surrounding a broken family, we don’t have the right to judge anyone who are in such situation.  What we can do is to understand their situation instead.

2.  Someday We’ll Know – New Radicals / Mandy Moore (cover)

Behind the Lyrics: The song is a midtempo ballad in which Alexander reflects on a past relationship and wonders why his girlfriend left him, eventually concluding that someday he’ll know the answer. Rolling Stone called the song “reflective, while Consequence of Sound commented that the song is “relatable to the ever-been-broken-hearted with lines like ‘I’m speeding by the place that I met you for the 97th time tonight’ and ‘If I could ask God just one question: Why aren’t you here with me tonight? (from wikipedia).

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Katzikat: Pretty powerful lyrics for those who did not end up with the people they love.  Sometimes we create a lot of questions to justify what happened with a failed relationship but the truth is, there is really nothing you can do if things are not meant to be yours. Just be thankful for the fact that you are able to experience that love even for just a moment as it adds up to your memories that makes up who you are.  If you’ve done your best for someone and yet they still leave, then make them happy by letting them go.

3.  Scared to be Lonely – Martin Garrix / Dua Lipa

Behind the Lyrics: The song was described by Garrix as a follow-up to his 2016 collaboration “In the Name of Love” with American singer Bebe Rexha.  Garrix described that the song gives the same euphoric feeling (as “In the Name of Love”) and has ‘deeper lyrics’, which he thought was important. (from wikipedia)

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Katzikat:  The typical bliss of a new relationship, new love that eventually became a strange companionship which questions your current state of mind “why am I still in this situation?”  As many say, it’s easy to start a relationship with someone.  The happy moments, the randomness, the spontaneity of it all takes you to the heavens.  As the relationship becomes old, the sweetness of the beginning is now turning sour. Petty things becomes big issues.  Attacking the personality of the the same person who made you smile genuinely from the start.  A relationship that started happy but went downhill along the way as we focus on the flaws and faults.  Being in a relationship is not all fairy tales.  It requires hard work too.  It requires all the elements of what you think will make you happy and then balance them all.  If you feel that you’ve become stagnant with the relationship, jumpstart it once again with new things to do.  As the inevitable thing happens to all of us….we are changing.  (there is no other suitable voice to sing this song than Dua Lipa.  She justified the meaning of the song with her powerful voice).

4.  Fix You – Coldplay

Behind the Lyrics: The message throughout the song, in which Martin sings, is words of encouragement: “Lights will guide you home / And ignite your bones / And I will try to fix you.  Michele Hatty of USA Weekend reported that Martin sings about recovering from grief in the song.  (from wikipedia)

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Katzikat: The most moving song I have ever heard from Coldplay.  Every words are meant to touch every lives.  As none of us became complacent in the lives that we lead, at the end of the day, we still need that someone who can understand what you are going through in life.  That someone who will make you feel like you’re home.  That someone who will make you realize that tomorrow is another day.

5.  Just Hold On – Steve Aoki / Louis Tomlinson

Behind the Song: Tomlinson’s debut performance of “Just Hold On” on The X Factor (UK) came just days after it was announced that his mother, Johannah Deakin, died at the age of 42 after a battle with leukemia.

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Katzikat: When life gives us choices, always go for the one that will make you happy.  Your choice from the start will define the road you are going to take.  If you come across a crossroads once again, make a choice.  These choices we make may not always be the same with the people we love but trust me when I say that the path you want to take is not dependent on them but on you.

6.  Find You – Zedd

Behind the Song: a song by RussianGerman musician and producer Zedd for the soundtrack for the film Divergent.

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Katzikat:  When you live your life according to your expectations, you tend to sometimes be astray and eventually become lost.  When that happens, it’s good to have someone who will remind you of who you were before.  Be it a friend, a lover, a parent or an inspiration, losing ourselves in the process of living life can sometimes be ecstatic and scary.

7.  I won’t give up – Jason Mraz

Behind the song: “‘I Won’t Give Up’ was written selfishly. As many of my songs are, I write for the purpose of understanding what the hell’s going on in my life, my position in the world, processing that lesson and that miracle that I’m learning. Seeing it on the page, proving to myself that I understand the lesson, that I’m applying it to my life, and that I can move on. Ultimately it was about, you know, regardless of what happens in this relationship, I don’t have to give up on loving this person, or loving myself, or give up on whatever my dreams are. Even though it’s written through the filter of relationships, it’s not necessarily specific for relationships. For me, the true meaning exists in the bridge saying ‘I don’t want to be someone who walks away so easily, I’m here to stay and make a difference.’ That is for all of us. We all have something that we’re fighting for or that we’re striving for. Whether we want to coach our soccer team to victory or lose five pounds in a month, whatever it is, there’s nothing too small worth fighting for and there’s nothing too big worth going after. – Jason Mraz (from wikipedia)

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Katzikat: As we age, we start to search for our purpose in life.  Have we already made a difference?  Have we already touched lives of others.  Nobody’s asking you to save the world but a small act of kindness can make a difference.  No matter how small or big a situation is, the difference of us with others is how you handled it.

Broken – Seether / Amy Lee

Behind the song: is a song by South African post-grunge and alternative metal band Seether, featuring American singer Amy Lee, the lead singer of Evanescence and then-girlfriend of Seether vocalist Shaun Morgan. (from wikipedia)

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Katzikat: This song has a special place in my heart.  I have been down before and I almost have no one to help me get back up.  That feeling that someone loves you enough to take away your pain is best feeling of them all.  Being alone in this world can be scary at times.

Stuck in a Moment you can’t get out of – U2

Behind the song: U2’s lead singer Bono wrote the song about the suicide of his close friend Michael Hutchence, lead singer of the band INXS. The song is written in the form of an argument about suicide in which Bono tries to convince Hutchence of the act’s foolishness. Bono characterized the song as a fight between friends, which he felt guilty for never having with Hutchence. As Bono said in 2005, “It’s a row between mates. You’re kinda trying to wake them up out of an idea. In my case it’s a row I didn’t have while he was alive. I feel the biggest respect I could pay to him was not to write some stupid soppy song, so I wrote a really tough, nasty little number, slapping him around the head. And I’m sorry, but that’s how it came out of me. (from wikipedia)

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Katzikat: An excerpt from my journal entry everytime I hear this song.36599559_10156538222430421_5877086359964876800_n

Got ’til it’s Gone – Janet Jackson

Behind the song: “Got ’til It’s Gone” was released as the lead single from Jackson’s sixth album The Velvet Rope, which chronicled Jackson’s struggle with depression and intimacy.  click here.

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Katzikat: In life, when we lose someone, that’s the only time we realize their worth.  It’s the worst feeling of them all.  There is nothing that could justify the loss.  It’s just either you forgive yourself and move on or dwell from the situation.  Take the opportunity that if you are given second chances, make it worthwhile.

How about you?  What’s song lyrics inspires you in this life?

Follow my Spotify and listen to the songs I listen to. 🙂

To all the Dogs we’ve loved before…and now!

I am a proud fur mom of a Shih Tzu princess type breed. I have had 2 other dogs before but are no longer with me as the first one died (due to loneliness) and the third one was dognapped. Only the 2nd one is with me now and I can say this one is for keeps!

My first fur baby was named Shampu. I named her that because of the pricey shampoo I have to buy just to maintain her fur. When we moved to a different house, we took her to the province and had to be away from us. Last thing I knew, she already died as she refused to eat.

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I then adapted Kofi in 2015 as the original owner can only keep 2-3 dogs in their condo. I chose him among all the litter as he is the only one with a unique gray-mixed color. And pretty adorable too! Especially the eyes!


He was then pledged to my niece who is arriving to the Philippines from Qatar as she said she wanted to care for a dog. Unfortunately, Kofi and I were already smitten to each other that I couldn’t let him go anymore. And so he stayed.

In 2016, I once again adapted another Shih Tzu and I named him Xinamon. This one is also a unique litter because of her brownish red fur. Like a balayage one. Lol

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Kofi and Xinamon are perfect match. They always go together wherever one is. They never fought nor bite each other. They don’t get angry over food. When we go to the mall, I seldom use leash on them as they really walk beside you like a trained dog. There are no formal trainings for my babies. Just signs on when to stop, where to eat and when it’s time to go.

Five months with us, Xinamon was dognapped from our house. We’ve searched but to no avail. And so we just have to let her go. We just hope that whoever got her, is taking care of her real good.

So, I am left with Kofi to care of. This fur baby has a real odd behavior which makes him an adorable love.  He likes sleeping at our feet at night and snuggles behind your back.  When he eats, he does not grab the food instantly.  He will smell it first then bite it gently out of your hands.  Runs away and eat alone.  He does not like other people when I am around but hangs out with them when I am gone.  He does not run when the door opens.  While walking, he walks with us even without leash.  If he leads the way, he make sure that we are following by checking us out.  If he sees other dogs, we is just snobbish.  He is allowed to hang out with us at Coffee Bean shops.

I am eager to adopt one more buddy soon!

To be a fur mom:

  1. Be patient when he starts to get messy.  From poops/weewees, baths and fur drying, feeding, vaccines, costly shopping for maintenance.  He is going to be your nth son/daughter so treat them well.
  2. Prepare to take him to walks so he gets exercise too.
  3. He needs cuddle and care.  If he is playful, then be playful too.
  4. Teach him the basics.  You don’t have to be a dog whisperer like Caesar Millan.  Teach him things he can easily understand the first time.
  5. Take lots of pictures for memories!
  6. Adopt.  Don’t shop.  As they say at CARA Welfare Philippines.

Let me know if you want to adopt and be a fur mom too!

 

6 Reasons why keeping a journal never goes out of style!

Keeping a journal is a fun and good alternative to blogging/vlogging.  This used to be the way of recording important data or events and this can be passed on to your next generation.  It’s also a way of expressing your thoughts and feelings.  Thoughts and feelings that you wanted to stay private.

I do keep a journal.  Unlike a diary, I only write about the events that I think has made a significance in my day.  You don’t have to record everything. Even if blogging is already the way to go, here are the reasons why I still keep a journal.

 1.  My journal reminds me that it’s alright to make mistakes.  One of the things that opens up our maturity is that we are able to accept the fact that we can make mistakes and it’s up to us to correct it.  We may have corrected our mistakes but it will always leave a mark.  This mark will serve as a reminder that though you make mistakes, your attitude towards it will what makes the difference.

2.  My journal serves as my best friend.  I can write all the thoughts I can’t say out loud.  Accepts whatever you want to say.  Secrets will stay secrets.  Remember, everyone has the right to keep a piece of secret deep down their hearts that will remain a mystery.

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Kitty keeps my secret…

3.  My journal helps me practice my handwriting.  Literally.  Instead of typing you fingers away, work fingers away with you pen and pages.  Sometimes, we are so used to using keyboards that writing becomes tedious already.

4.  My journal allows me to make crazy doodles coming straight from my imagination.  It’s funny to sometimes be able to draw something, even though they are not perfect, projects what’s exactly on your mind in that current state of mind.

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The best doodles I can ever make.

5.  My journal allows me to paste tiny pieces of souvenirs.  A receipt from a restaurant from a meal you shared with someone you love can be a good memory to keep.  Or a picture from your instax camera with your best friend so as to remember the wonderful day you shared together.

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The 3 white roses…

6.  My journal will not be corrupted.  The issue with online journals is that when your storage crashes, you might not be able to retrieve it.  There will be online solution of course, but the stress that you feel thinking that you may or may not retrieve it anymore is frustrating.

I hope these reasons will convince you to start making journals.  Try it too!  and if you do decide to start making one, make sure you get the leather one.  Make it personalized.  Choose something that will last, just like the memories you wanted to keep.

And one more thing, once you go back to the writings you made in the past, you will be amazed about the things you have written, may it be ridiculous or heartfelt.  Trust me.  Here is an excerpt from one of my writings and it took me back to that day when I wrote it and the feeling is unbelievable!

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Suggestion on where to buy/order:

Alunsina Handbound Books – the smell of leather is the best smell whenever you start working on your thoughts.  Nothing makes you excited to start writing your journal especially if these are designed by Alunsina.  Check out their FB page for availability of journals, designs and colors.  Make it personalized!

Surat Journals – They have this leather pouch where you can put your other trinkets.  Surat means Write in Ilocano dialect.  Fitting!

Papersandtschai – they have these colorful journals and planners you can choose from.  Aren’t those drawings gorgeous?

Moleskin – have you heard of this notebook?  If you did, try getting one of their notebooks.  The leaves of the notebooks can withstand liquid spills so you don’t need to worry about blotted inks in case of accidents.  Prepare to shell out a bit more though.

Japan Tourist Visa Application for Filipinos – from Single Entry to Multiple Entry

We first applied for a Japanese Visa in 2015 when my son and I went to Tokyo. It was a gift for my son’s 7th birthday. We were not able to go there during his exact birthday but it’s never too late to celebrate it anyways.

Japan Visa for Filipinos needs to be applied via listed accredited Travel Agencies only. Japan embassy does not accept walk-in or personal application. You can chose from the list of accredited Travel agencies here.

For our application, we applied thru the agency Discovery Tours, located in Makati City. Our application costs us P800.00 only. By far this the cheapest application I have inquired to among all other travel agencies from the Japan list. They were also able to have our visa approved in 3 days only. We were approved for Single Entry only, with 15 days stay. The visa is valid only for 3 months.

So, here’s what you need to do to apply for Japan Visa:
1. Select your travel agency near you – From the agency’s website, you can find the steps on how to apply for the visa. You can also refer to their list of requirements here.

2. Prepare your documentations – I am a private employee when I applied so I prepared my COE, ITR, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Bank Certificate. Of course do not forget your passport valid for 6 months during your travel dates.

*for Birth and Marriage Certificate – make sure that they are recent copies obtained from PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority).  It will not be accepted if the certificates are more than 1 year old.

*for Bank Certificate and Bank Statements – there is no required amount set by the embassy.  Make sure that you bank has enough balance to prove you can sustain your trip to Japan.  My advise is to always keep it realistic.

3. Fill up the application form along with a photo with specifications set by the embassy. It is important that you follow the guidelines for the photo requirements.

4. Create an itinerary – the form can be obtained from the agency itself. You need to fill your day to day activities and the location of your activities.

5. If you are being sponsored by a Japanese national, you need to comply with additional requirements like Guarantee letter, Proof of relationship, Bank Certificate and ITR of guarantor.  Your guarantor can also be someone from the Philippines but that guarantor will have to provide Bank Certificate, Proof of Relationship and other proof of income.  Your guarantor does not need to be traveling with you.  Your guarantor can be your friend, but you have to provide proof of relationship.  Pictures will do.

6. You need to apply directly. The agents from the agency are very helpful with your needs. They will also answer questions you might have in order for you to fill in your details correctly.

7. The agency also offers tour options you may want to check rather than doing your Japan trip a DIY. You can also purchase passes that you can use in Japan rails.

When our visa was already released, we were notified by the agency to pick it up personally. You need to bring identification and the acknowledgement receipt with you when you claim your passport. This receipt is given to you by the agency after your application process.

Japan Visa for the second time….

So, basically, my son and I went back to Japan but this time, we went to Osaka and Nagoya. We applied for the multiple visa as we already were previously approved with the single entry. The requirements will still be the same, except that there is an additional form you need to fill up stating the reason why you wanted to apply for a Multiple entry visa. When I answered the question, I said that I would like to explore more of Japan in the next 1-2 years. That I am targeting to visit Sapporo during the winter etc. I guess you can provide other reasons as long as they are legally acceptable. Your application could even be more successful if you were previously approved with a Japan visa provided that you have no immigration issues with them in the past.

So, there you go!  That’s what I went through to obtain a Japan visa. Let me know you if have questions so I may somehow assist you before you start your application.  No fees required.  🙂

My Taytay Haul – ditching Divi for it!

As you check clothes for sale from online sellers, you can’t help but notice that some of these dresses are becoming cheaper for their design. And if you are these online sellers, you must be getting the supplies so cheap that you can sell them at competitive prices.

That’s when I learned about Taytay Garments and Korean Clothes – located in Taytay Rizal, which is rivaling that of Divisoria or any tiangges around the metro.

It was my birthday in 2018 when instead of splurging my money on mall-priced items, I decided to try my budget in Taytay to which I only set P2,000 as my budget and find out how many garments I can buy with it. At such price, I can only get a pair of shoes from either Payless or the Department store and maybe a blouse from uniqlo or H&M. And yes! I buy my clothes at tiangges or in Divisoria. I would always prefer to buy my clothes here rather than malls (unless it’s a special occasion I am preparing for).

There are few things you need to remember when you go to Taytay for clothes hunting.

1. Taytay is a supplier’s haven. You can buy clothes at wholesale price or you can mix and match items to get the wholesale price.
2. The tiangge area is not a mall. It’s an enclosed area where there are different stalls from different sellers. Each of these enclosures are given a name – Bagpi, Municipal Tiangge, MySeoul, Freedom Bazaar, CME, IGPAI etc. You don’t have to worry as these tiangges are connected to each other. Some, you need to cross the street to transfer.
3. If you are bringing your car, there are no parking slots available from near the tiangges. You can secure a parking spot near the market or park in one of the fastfood restaurant and just pay the guard (haha). What I did before is that we parked at Chowking, ate at the resto and went to the tiangge. Left our car at the parking lot of Chowking.
4. Bring your shopping bags. Most of the sellers will put your item in plastics. Since I planned to use all my 2K, i know that I will be buying a lot of items. So, to avoid using plastics, please bring your shopping bags/ecobags.
5. Wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking into a lot tiangges and the last thing you want is your shoes killing your feet!
6. Use a sling bag for your valuables. The place is always crowded. Chances of getting pickpocketed is always high.
7. If you are going there during the daytime, use light clothing. This area is not airconditioned.  It can really get hot during the daytime.
8.  If you are going for the night market, not all the tiangges are open.

When we got there, I browsed thru aisle after aisle of clothes!  So overwhelming!  Prices are amazing and the design are also up-to-date.  These are RTW clothes and not second hand clothes.

Here are my first buy!

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P60 pesos each at wholesale price

This square pants is worth P150 each.  I saw a similar pants when I was in Bangkok costing around Bht120 so almost the same.  Same pants in greenhills will cost around P400.

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Next, I hunted for leggings that I can use as sweat pants in the gym with matching t-shirts.  The leggings costs P180 for 3 pcs and the tshirts costs P60 pesos each.

I now move on to the dresses I scored for this venture!

The white floral costs me P200

The Blue semi-maong-texture dress is P250

The Red floral is P120

The Black tight dress is P100

I also scored this floral blazer for semi-casual occasions for only P100.

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And for some summer blouses, these are easy to spot in the tiangge but difficult to select the right design as they are all good!  All these are for P60 each at whole sale price (minimum of 3 items).

And for my final buy, I got these really comfy shorts I can wear for sleeping.  These shorts really has smooth texture and maybe you can wear them as they are lol.

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So my total for the day is around P1, 940!  The change is for water while walking and some small bites as the tiangge have area for food too!

These items also grabbed my attention but did not buy them anymore as I need to stick to my budget.

So, start saving up a few pieces of your bucks and head to taytay to get good deals on your clothes.  By the way, I wasn’t able to go to all the tiangges as there’s just too many!

Enjoy your shopping!

Matteo’s 10th

Each year, my son and I schedules an annual photo shoot in preparation for his Birthday. As i browse thru the net for an amateur photographer, we decided for a “Life in the City” kind of theme and that means involving city sights and locations.

Below are our top 10 snaps for this stint.

  1.  Along McKinley West, as the place is morphing into the next business hub, capture the place before its transformation. At McKinley West Park32699921_10156414304600421_6375970914751741952_n

The shoot in McKinley west was so hot and dry.  We have to stop by a closed road so as not to disturb traffic.  There are guards in the area so we had to ask for permission as long as it’s not disrupting the traffic flow.

2.  What is mine is yours too! This car is going to be our next project, yes? At McKinley West Park.

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We bought our first car in 2017 and I was lucky enough to close this deal.  Since then on, every place I visit, I can comfortably tag along my son.  He serves as my navigator too!

3.  In the middle of the clearing in High Street, along with his favorite suitcase, ready to explore and travel in his white shirt. 🙂 at Bonifacio High Street.

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My son looks like a grown up already.  Tagging along his favorite suitcase, I still can’t believe I am able to bear such an adorable boy.

4.  You may think this is a wall, but it’s actually a giant wooden gummy bear! Cute!

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This location is actually one of the busiest area in High Street.  And he’s game!

5.  While crossing the street towards High Street, He makes his own path, and so is Kofi!

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Kofi has been with us since 2015.  A very loyal love and so clingy too.  We take him with us all the time.  We can even ditch the air-conditioned part of the restaurant (since dogs are not allowed in the area) for the sake of him dining with us.

6.  Can I come with you little man? At Bonifacio Global City

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From most of our out-of-the-country travels, we usually take photos while walking the streets.  This one is a classic!  Perfect timing as not people are crossing the street when this one was taken.  Actually, I was just behind crossing the street too!

7.  So, you love that loud red thingy more than Baskin Robbins? Haha at TGIFriday’s Philippines.

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When MK was young, and whenever I took him to High Street, he would usually ran off and go to these red, loud things near TGIF.  Trying to push them so they make a loud sound (annoying really) and it still makes me wonder why the hell did they create these things?  What’s it for? haha.

8. I was at the back while asking him to fix his collar while his picture is being taken. Cool! At Bonifacio High Street.

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I just love the rawness of this pic.  No emotions, just the kind of reactions you would get off camera.

9.  I know how much you love reading books that you thought Fully Booked was a library!

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MK loves books.  He reads and reads.  Browse and browse thru the many books that are up for reading at Fully Booked.  If he could live in a bookstore, I think he will tagging along his pillow.

10.  In one of the stairs often overlooked by people as they moved towards their destination, a good spot to watch people from a little above. at BoConcept.

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A staged pose but still quite the best shot from the lot.

If you would like to have the same concept as a pre-birthday preparation for your child, please do.  it does not have to be a professional photographer, not expensive camera, not grand locations.  Just simple props, familiar locations and acquaintances who had to eye for beauty to capture the snaps will do!  I didn’t even spend so much for this activity to be honest.  And believe me, it’s all fun and memorable!

Don’t forget to have a printed one for the wall!  Send me a message if you need help!

Photographer: JC Dela Cruz

Location: Bonifacio High Street

An Engaging Summer Camp

As SY 2018 came to a close in April, i went searching for a summer activity that my son could join and believe me, I came across so many options but one thing caught my attention as I was browsing in LinkedIn….yes, LinkedIn! Not Facebook or Instagram.

Sports camp, cooking, music and arts…all in the page of potential summer camp.  Of course I wanted him to enjoy summer and be away from anything related to school, But i don’t know why i got attracted with the summer activity offered by  OneCore Success Center, Inc. posted from Ms. Pia’s profile.

The program is entitled TORCH SUMMER LEADERSHIP PROGRAM held in May at Ateneo De Manila UniversityTorch 2018-1Torch 2018-2.jpg

It’s a leadership workshop open for kids 8-16 years old that aims to develop social interactions, character growth, leadership and responsibility.  It reminded of the days when I have to undergo management training when I became a manager some time back.  I felt the benefits of these trainings and I figured it would be good for my son to experience this appropriately to his age.

And I wasn’t disappointed! In that 5 days of workshop, my son interacted with his batch (different age bracket) and shown his natural ability to socialize and overcome his shyness and timidity.  Amazing program indeed!

After the program, coaches will provide an assessment about your child’s potential and what can be focused on by the parents.  This gives the parent the opportunity to know their child and help them to work on enhancement.  And it doesn’t just stop there.  There will be a quarterly catch-up with the coaches to monitor progress and sustenance of learning by the participants.  Just like how they do it in the corporate world, I am happy to know that the coaches will still be your guiding partner for your child’s development.

Katzikat’s Thoughts: If you ask me why i chose this program my answer is simple.  Developing a child’s character is my priority.  Making him discover what he’s good at by exposing him to different things, no matter how costly or cheap it is, that’s what opens his awareness.  Once his character is already developed, he can take it from there on.  He can make smart choices, decisions, life-changing revelations on his own.  He can decide if being intellectual and sporty at the same time can be achieved or not.  I just wanted him to experience how to lead and be led.  As most of us have undergone before.

Here are some of the pictures from the program:

During the last day, parents are invited to attend and watch the kids showcase their learning and it was a delight to watch the kids make presentations, speeches like their skills are inborn from the beginning.  During my son’s impromptu speech about Talent, Honesty and how to avoid being a judgmental person (appropriate nowadays), I became aware that there is an opportunity to improve his speech and gestures further and we are willing to work on it.  Speaking in public can be dreadful sometimes and I am proud to see my son doing it at such a young age.

Thank you OneCore for this opportunity.  No regrets for letting my son join the program.  See you on the next assessment!