Day Trip in Macau

Macau, just like Hong Kong, is a special administrative region of China. They were liberated from the Portuguese in 1999, after centuries of being a colony. The Portuguese/European influence is still very evident in Macau, from its architecture to its food. Portuguese is also widely spoken in Macau as compared to English. Just like Hong Kong, it is a 2-hour plane ride from Manila, but since we were coming from Hong Kong, it only took us an hour of ferry ride.

Macau is famous for its casinos, and has been dubbed as the Las Vegas of Asia. True enough, there were plenty of hotel casinos around, but aside from that Macau is a bit known for its yummy street foods.

Macau Day Trip- 06.11.17

We took the first ferry ride out of Hong Kong, to catch our tour in Macau. It was through Klook.com that I booked a round trip ticket via Cotai Water Jet. The trip departs at HK-Macau Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong, and arrives at Taipa Ferry Terminal in Macau. There are actually 2 ferry terminals in Macau, so just make sure that you take note which ferry terminal that you’ll be arriving at.

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TKW Sightseeing Tour

We needed to transfer to the other terminal to meet our tour group. Our first activity in Macau is to join the TKW tour, which covers places like the St. Paul Ruins, Fortaleza do Monte, A-Ma Temple, Instituto Cultural, Koi Kei Bakery, etc. and with an English speaking tour guide. The tour also includes a lunch buffet at a 4-star hotel. We also had an ample time to try out local pastries and food, after which we had bags of goodies from their local bakeries. This can be actually a DIY activity, but since it’s part of our pre-booked activities from iVenture, I just opted that we use it. There was actually a continuation of the tour after our lunch, but since we have the iVenture package, we needed to leave the group, and go to our next activity.

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Fortaleza do Monte

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Trying to view the city from the fort

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St. Paul Ruins

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Instituto Cultural

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Souvenirs

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A-Ma Temple

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Koi Kei Bakery

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It tastes really good

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Meat jerky

Macau Tower

The tour bus dropped us off outside the Macau Tower a little bit past 2pm. Our ticket includes the entrance to the observatory deck, which is at the 58th floor. You get to see a 360 degree view of Macau, and some parts of its neighboring China. Aside from the city view, you get to see people walking around the tower’s edges, and people who bungee jump from the 61st floor. The bungee jump would cost around PHP 20 000, which in my opinion, I’d rather spend on food, travel and shopping. My sister was game to do it, and I was too, but I was being my kuripot self, and of course, I was thinking, what if I didn’t make it down alive. Likewise, the boyfriend was not supportive of the idea. One, he’s not an adrenaline junkie. Second, it’s a one time big time shot and it’s like burning my money. (the only time that I would burn my money is when I do sky-diving.) We just watched and gladly cheered for those who dared to jump, and in fairness, it took them minutes before they could really jump. Reality has probably sunk in, or they haven’t anticipated how high they would be jumping from.

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The highest tower in Macau

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View from the tower

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This kid is a brave soul

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Preparing before jumping

World's highest commercial bungee jump at 233m. 🙊

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Viva La Broadway 

By 3pm, we left for the Broadway Show. I appreciate shows like this, because I know how demanding rehearsals can be. It was a short show, and my companions fell asleep too. I was laughing all by myself, so I told them that I will never bring them to watch a broadway show again. I will never pay for an expensive show and they’ll just end up sleeping. After watching the show, of course, they got hungry. I got a dinner set meal, which is part of the iVenture package. There were a couple of restaurants to choose from, and we chose the one that serves dumplings.

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We weren’t able to do casino/hotel hopping due to lack of time, because we needed to catch our trip back to Hong Kong. It would have been nice to see Macau at night. I could just imagine how alive the place is at night. I could go back to Macau for a beginner’s luck, and to try out different street foods again. Definitely love the egg tart!

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Ferry ride back to Hong Kong

For our itinerary, and total damage to our wallet, feel free to click the link: Itinerary- Hong Kong Macau 2017

Holiday in Hong Kong

All I ever wished for this year’s birthday is to spend it in Disneyland. Okay, how shallow for a 20-something year old woman. Isn’t it that Disneyland is fairly for kids of all ages? I just wanted to be a kid again on that special day, so I decided that we will be flying to Hong Kong and a side trip to Macau. Hong Kong is pretty much a city vibe where you can suffice your shopping addiction. Hong Kong has a touch of both Oriental and Western style (being a colony of UK for a long time, and was only returned to China and became a special administrative region of China in 1997). Hong Kong is a 2-hour flight from Manila, which makes it easily accessible among Filipinos, and most of the time it’s the destination of the first timers leaving the Philippines.

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Hong Kong-Macau in a glimpse of 4 days and 4 nights (06.10.17-06.14.17)

We took an afternoon flight to Hong Kong via Cebu Pacific 5J 118 because I came from Narita, Japan the day before, and lost all my energy to pack. Instead, I packed in the morning. We are meeting my sister half-way, and she’s coming from a 20-hour plus flight starting from Washington DC- Los Angeles- Hong Kong via Virgin America (US domestic) and Cathay Pacific (international). She arrived in Hong Kong at 6am, while we’re arriving in Hong Kong at 6pm. My sister needed to rest first to avoid getting jet-lagged.

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Hong Kong from above

My sister went back to the airport to fetch us, and ride altogether going to our hostel before heading to dinner. Before leaving the airport, i claimed at the A13 arrival hall all my purchases from Klook.com which includes an Octopus card and iVenture card. Octopus card is used for trains, buses and even purchases from 7Eleven. On the other hand, iVenture card has plenty of attractions both for Hong Kong and Macau, so you don’t have to pay anymore for the entrance fee of each attraction. It also includes a discounted Disneyland pass, local sim with 4G wifi, discounted ferry transfer to Macau.

We took a 30-minute bus ride from the airport, and dropped off at Nathan Road in Mongkok. We walked a few blocks before we found the building where our hostel is at. It could be a little confusing so it’s best to have a landmark. Our hostel was booked through Airbnb and all that was written in there was pretty accurate.

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Kung Hing Guesthouse, where we stayed

For dinner, we went to a nearby mall, just a few blocks at the back of the building of our hostel. We found ourselves eating at a Chinese restaurant in Langham Mall. We got a sumptuous dinner for an affordable price.

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Chee Kai Set Meal

It was still early, so we visited the Sneaker Street of Mongkok, I got myself a pair of Pink Stan Smith, which used to be only available in Paris. It was the lone store that sells the color pink, so I grabbed the opportunity to buy myself a new pair.

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Classic tennis shoes

06.11.17- Macau

I will be having a separate post on our Macau trip. Click the link to read about our Macau trip.

After Macau, we visited the Ladies Market, and Beauty area of Mongkok. Near the gadgets area, we grabbed some street food like calamares.

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Munching on street foods

For dinner, there is another Chinese restaurant near our hostel. We got ourselves a Haianese chicken and milk tea.

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Haianese Chicken and Milk Tea for dinner

06.12.17– Disneyland

The weather in Hong Kong was pretty bad that it reached Signal No. 8 in the afternoon, which means that everything will be closed including the MTR. Our original activity for this day is to take the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, and visit the Giant Buddha and Ngong Ping Village. Due to strong winds, the cable car was suspended, and I felt bad. We have the option to take the bus so we can still visit the other attractions, but I decided that this will include in my itinerary the next time I’m back in Hong Kong. The Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car is part of the attractions included in the iVenture card, so it had been paid already. We had our brunch at McDonalds at a nearby mall, before we took the train that will take us to Disneyland.

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Mickey Mouse designed train going to Disneyland

Mr. sunshine was showing up when we got into Disneyland. Before we finally went in, I claimed the vouchers for our meal, which was also paid online. It includes lunch and free ice cream or popcorn. It was worth it.

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Welcome to Disneyland

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The first and only area we visited was the Tomorrowland. We had the Iron Man Experience, and Hyperspace Mountain. I thought it was all for kids, but I was wrong! I enjoyed it because it wasn’t something that I expected. Afterwards, we felt hungry and decided to eat. We had a mix of Japanese and American food which were all heavy and worth every penny. After eating, we were thinking of the next rides that we will take, but unfortunately, Disneyland has to be closed because of Signal No. 8, and we were left by no choice but to leave. We hurriedly went back to our hostel as the MTRs will close soon too. It was raining hard in Mongkok, and we all opted to sleep instead.

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First and only area we explored

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House of Animation

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Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

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Main Street USA

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My Amerindian ancestor

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Ramen & tempura

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Bacon, beef and sausage with rice

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I thought my birthday will end soon in bed, but I wake them up to eat dinner. Just at the 2nd floor of our building, there’s a traditional Chinese restaurant, that serves exotic food as well. We had Yang Chow rice, chicken, and beef with beans and veggies along with beer.

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Asahi beer instead of cake on my birthday

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A traditional Chinese restaurant

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Yang Chow rice, fried chicken & beef with beans & veggie for dinner

06.13.17- Ocean Park, Peak Tram, Madame Tussauds

It was raining hard, yet there was no storm signal. We left our hostel to join our transfer ride going to Ocean Park. Our meeting place was at Holiday Inn Golden Mile. It was just few stations away from ours, but going to the hotel was risky. Some alleys that we passed by had waters already. We had no choice but to buy umbrellas and ponchos. Our pants and shoes got soaked in the water. Our meet-up is at 8am, but it was already past 8am, and our guide is not showing up yet. Perhaps, it was cancelled due to bad weather, but there was no storm signal, so it must push thru. After waiting for several minutes, our guide arrived.

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Raining, yet still plenty of tourists

It took 30 minutes to reach Ocean Park, and it was still early so most of the establishments were still closed. We’ve been walking around to find a place to eat, until we stumbled upon a fastfood place. This time, we had fries, soda, chicken rice, burger and ice cream. Yes, ice cream on a cold weather! Finally, after eating, we’re about to watch the dolphin show, but to our dismay it has been cancelled. Due to bad weather, all animals can’t leave their shelter. I’m starting to get disappointed, since my main reason why I went to Ocean Park is to see a panda. We just walked around and entered the shark aquarium, Amazon rainforest zoo, Australian conservation center (where we saw a kangaroo and a koala), and panda house. We got to meet the 31-year old panda. It was an item to tick-off in my bucket list. As for the rides, we only got to ride the express train going up and the cable car going down. At least, I was still able to ride a cable car even if the Ngong Ping 360 cable car wasn’t available the time we went there.

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Dolphin show has been cancelled

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Dare to try!

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Kangaroo feeding

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Didn’t know that white kangaroos exist, or perhaps the albino type

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Meet An-An the 31-year old panda

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Hibernating koala

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Cable car at Ocean Park

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Old Chinatown be-like

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After our Ocean Park adventure, we took a train ride going to Peak Tram station. We were in fact lost, so we took another bus ride and alighted a few meters away. When I saw the Peak Tram station, there was really a long line, but thanks to our pass, we need not to line up. We arrived at the Peak Tower where we had our yummy snacks at Kala Snackbar. We had strawberry soda & banana walnut crepe. We went around after eating, and we ended up in this place that I thought it was the Trick Eye Museum. It is something similar to that but it is for free. Then we headed to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, where the wax figures looks real.

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Peak tram ride

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My afternoon snack

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I really don’t know who she is, but my sister said that she’s an artist with autism & famous in Washington DC

It’s time to eat once again, so we had dinner at Bubba Gump. We had a 10% discount, thanks to our iVenture cards. We got ourselves a heavy meal since it’s been a long and tiring day.  I wasn’t feeling well that time. It feels like that anytime, my head will just burst. I’m not sure if it was a migraine attack or I was just hungry. After eating, we found a Korean store, and once again it has been proven that retail therapy can cure any ailment.

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Dinner in big servings

We’re suppose to go to the viewing deck to see the nice view of Hong Kong, but unfortunately, it was so foggy and it will not be worth going up.

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Foggy view of Hong Kong

Now, we left the Hong Kong Island and returned to our hostel to rest.

06.14.17- Mongkok

It was our last day in Hong Kong and we didn’t have a pretty decent shopping activity, except that I got myself a pair of pink Stan Smith. We woke up early, and had brunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant before we headed for shopping. We loaded ourselves with Korean products and sneakers that are either too expensive in Manila or we don’t have it here. We got ourselves a polo shirt in a super sale at Giordano, and of course, something to munch on! I can actually dedicate a whole day to shopping, but my card will be at risk.

For our itinerary and total damage to our wallet, feel free to click Itinerary- Hong Kong Macau 2017

Korean Tourist Visa Requirements for Philippine-based Filipinos

DISCLAIMER

Everything that you will read below were based from my experience. As of this time of writing, all procedures & requirements are accurate; unless otherwise stated. It’s still best to contact the embassy for current information & to answer all your inquiries.

PLAN AHEAD

After bidding for my service incentive leave, I have decided that I’ll spend my vacation in Seoul. I bid back in October 2015, and when we got our final date for SIL a month after, I started to prepare the requirements for my Korean tourist visa.

November 2015

Aside from my payroll account, I opened my savings account with BDO because it’s the nearest bank to my house, and their ATMs are almost everywhere.

June 2016

1. Bank Certificate & Bank Statement

After 7 months from opening my savings account, I went to the branch where I opened my account and asked for a bank certificate & bank statement for the last 3 months. Good thing with BDO is that they are very much familiar with the required format of the Korean embassy. Aside from bank statement, you may prefer to use your passbook. I have a passbook, but I opted for the printed bank statement. You just have to pay Php 100 for bank certificate & Php 100 for bank statement. You may claim it a day after you made a request.

2. Certificate of Employment & ITR

I got these from our HR. The certificate of employment must have the ff: position in the company, date hired, monthly or annual salary, active contact details of the HR person who will sign your COE. As for the ITR it must be the latest issued to you. I got those after 3 working days from the day I requested.

3. Application form & Passport-size picture

You may print the form available at the website of the Korean embassy. Type or hand-written is acceptable. Don’t leave blanks, just type N.A. or not applicable. Attach the passport-size picture with white background on the application form.

4. Passport

Your passport must have a validity of 6 months or more on the planned days of your vacation.

5. Photocopy of passport bio page

APPLYING FOR TOURIST VISA

June 13, 2016

I went to the Korean Embassy in McKinley Hill at 9am. I waited for my queue for half an hour and when it was my turn I just submitted it on the window counter. They got all my documents and passport & gave me a claim receipt. I must return on June 20, 2016, or after 5 working days, to get my passport. No questons were asked to me.

June 20, 2016

I returned to the embassy to claim our passports at 1pm, and it’s stamped with tourist visa valid for 3 months from June 20 till Sept 20, 2016. It’s free and you’re allowed to stay for 59 days.

FYI

All documents must be original.

No specific amount was mentioned on how much your bank account should have on the time of the application. As long as your account is active & could support the whole duration of your stay in Korea, then it’s acceptable, I guess.

You can submit someone else’s application form & documents. No need for personal appearance.

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Korean Tourist Visa

We both got our tourist visas after 5 working days & hassle free!

For updated information, you may visit http://embassy_philippines.mofa.go.kr/english/as/embassy_philippines/main/index.jsp