Journey to the Past: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

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Home, Love, Family… and loads of History would describe our experience in this short and sweet trip to Bataan with my relatives from the US (our godparents and my cousin Katrina) and my balikbayan cousin, Ate Len from Dubai. For … Continue reading

How to Apply for Japan tourist Visa in Manila

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Since the Ramen craze in the Philippines, it has been my husband’s dream to taste the real thing in the land of the rising sun (and ramen), Japan. Thankfully, Jason’s niece Steph goes to Japan every so often and we … Continue reading

Misibis Bay Review Part 3: The Activities | Legazpi, Albay

 For those who would like adventure and relaxation, then this place is for you.

Misibis Bay is a quiet place to stay and since it’s far from the city (around 45 minutes), you’re pretty much confined and limited to what the resort offers. :) Here’s a rundown of what we did at Misibis Bay

  1. ATV to the Amphitheater 

We rode the ATV going to the Eco Park and the vehicle was big around 500cc! I was kind of intimidated by it so I chose to back ride instead (well just to be closer to my husband too..ssshhh… ) hehe cheese. Anyway, it was a high quality and highly efficient ATV as compared to the ones we drove and rode before. This was the best we’ve ridden.

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Our first stop was the pit stop of Amazing Race Asia, The Amphitheater. :)

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The Amphitheater was a sight to behold. However, there isn’t much to do here but just take photos…

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and play around. We had a race on who can run down to the stage the fastest. Jason won. :p But of course…. he had longer strides. :p

2. ATV to the Church

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We also visited the church inside Eco Park, where some celebrities wed. We wanted to do a post nup however we weren’t dressed up for it. I guess this will have to do… :p

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3. ATV to the Hanging Bridge

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Finally! Some trekking. But the walk was just short. There was a pool in that area but it wasn’t maintained anymore. Also there used to be some activities here like the zip line but due to the storms which would often ruin it, that activity is postponed indefinitely.

4. Luge

This we absolutely enjoyed! Our first Luge experience was in Singapore and it was “bitin” because the road was too short. But here in Misibis Bay we had 700-800 meters. It lasted around 3 minutes. I really took my time so it would be worth it. Hehe.

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I missed playing! This was so much fun. Adults need to be kids sometimes. :)

5. Paddle Boarding

We first tried this in Boracay some years back. We enjoyed it back then so we wanted to do it again! I only paddled near the shore because I was a bit scared I might fall if I go farther. They lent us life vests though, but still. :)

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Jason was more daring, He paddle boarded almost near the border… all the way to China. haha.

We also did kayaking and we were supposed to do kite surfing. But apparently kite surfing is only doable if there is wind. Unfortunately during that time there wasn’t any breeze so we just settled with the other water activities.

6. Swimming

Of course… Swimming. We had 3 pools to choose from. 1 near the Premier Villa,

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the infinity pool,

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and the other near the Garden View which we discovered on our last day! It had a jacuzzi there.

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(This pool is near the Premier Villa)

Since the resort was pretty private, we had the pool to ourselves and we swam all we can. It wasn’t deep as well, I think around 4 feet. It was the ideal pool for me! and for kids. :p

So these were the activities in Misibis Bay. I am somewhat adventurous and somewhat steady or laid back so this suited us – we had moments of adventure and moments to unwind.

If you’re out for an adventure it would be best to try other activities like go to Donsol and go whale shark watching, or ride an ATV going to the Mayon Volcano.. (which I think isn’t advisable at the moment, as of October 2016). In any case we enjoyed the trip, it was a vacation and an anniversary well spent but it would be a 7 on a scale of 10. :)

Misibis Bay Part 1: The Room and Resort

Misibis Bay Part 2: The Food at Spice Market

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Misibis Bay Review Part 2: The Food at Spice Market | Legazpi, Albay

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We visited Misibis Bay last June and the experience was pretty much okay. It wasn’t as fantastic as I’d imagined it to be but it was still worth going to if you prefer a peaceful and a private place to … Continue reading

Misibis Bay Review Part 1: The Resort and the room | Legazpi, Albay

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For our late anniversary celebration, my husband and I decided to go to my grandfather’s hometown in Legazpi Albay. We were so happy that Misibis Bay had a promo! We’ve wanted to visit Misibis Bay but we wanted to wait … Continue reading

Review of SuperStar Virgo Star Cruise

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Last December we had the privilege of experiencing an Asian cruise via Star Cruise Virgo. Our itinerary was Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam-Hong Kong. This was actually Star Cruise’s first time to do a 48 day cruise that covered the Southern Hemisphere but we just … Continue reading

How to Apply for Schengen visa / Spanish visa with a Philippine passport (updated)

UPDATED as of March 2, 2017 *Thanks to the comment of a guest, the new Spanish visa can be applied thru Philippines BLS Spain: https://ph.blsspainvisa.com/ and NOT thru VFS anymore.

Submission Timings:

07:00- 11:00 am (Monday – Thursday)
07:00- 09:00 am (Friday)

Passport retrieval time:

14:00 – 16:00 (Monday – Friday)

Address:
First Maritime Place,
7458-60 Bagtikan St. San Antonio Village,
Makati City, Philippines

Phone: +632-841-55-60 / 61
Email: info.mnl@blshelpline.com

It was in 2011 that I first applied for a Spanish visa for the World Youth Day (WYD) held in Madrid.  During that time the process was a bit different since the church organizers applied for us delegates. It was also different since I was single and employed then. There wasn’t any appearance and we weren’t required to have our fingerprints scanned. It was pretty much smooth and easy. We just submitted documents and later on, voila! A Spanish visa.

Because of the WYD experience, it was my husband’s dream and mine to travel and visit Spain and reunite with my foster family. Last year December 2014, I have been receiving emails of discounted airfare, around 33% discount. We also received news early this year that my foster mom will be having a baby! It was so exciting!! :) Since the airfare was discounted, the value of euro is low compared to before, my papi Cefe and mami Juani are having a baby, though visiting Spain is a long term goal, we decided, maybe 2015 is the year.

We prayed about it but then between January and May 2015, the airfare went back to its original price which was too heavy for both of us. I was asking God and praying to Him for His will that if it is His will, the airfare will be more affordable and go back to its discounted price. We waited and God answered. Last June 2015, the airfare was discounted and back to the 33% discount! We instantly booked it by faith. By faith because the tickets cannot be refunded since it was a promo fare, and we didn’t have a visa yet! The visa must be applied 3 months before with no assurance that we will be approved.

They say that applying for Schengen visa is relatively easy compared to US visa but as I have been reading in blogs, some still get denied due to some unspecified reason. And this time I felt that there may be some difficulty since I wasn’t technically employed but I was working as a financial consultant and had my income. I am not technically considered a full time housewife either that my spouse can vouch for and support my trip. Later on and good thing that my husband and I have already adjusted our ITR based on our married status and our respective income.

We checked out the travel fair last July to see if a travel agency can assist us in applying for the visas. But as we asked around, we decided that we can do it on our own. We went to the VFS website which stipulated all the requirements we had to submit. I then booked an appointment in the website for September 3.

June – July 2015 – Pre-VFS Appointment

Travel Insurance. Prior to the appointment, we had to get a Blue Cross Travel Insurance (one of the accredited insurance by Schengen visa) which is a requirement in the visa application.

I called Blue Cross and they gave us an application form which I had to answer and fill out. I took a photo and sent it back to them. As they received our application form, they gave us a reference number which we will use to pay in their BDO/BPI/Metrobank account. We paid around 36 Euro each = Php 1,848.96 each that time for the Travel Insurance. We had a  bit of a challenge because they said we should receive it in 2-3 days. However it took 4 days! I called Blue Cross on the second and third day to follow up which I found out there were courier delivery problems and we received the Insurance finally on Day 4. It was a good thing that I called because I found out that they archived our insurance policy already due to their delivery problems.

Documents we prepared were the ff.

I prepared one for me and Jason plus one photocopy of each document:

  • Duly accomplished Schengen Application Form with 2 passport sized photos. (I didn’t leave any blank, for those that don’t apply I answered N/A). I submitted 1 Original and 2 Photocopies as required.
  • Cover Itinerary. It was recommended by our friend Vince. It was helpful to me personally since I can already plot our trip. He recommended the website, Rome2Rio. I used this format because I was OC. At the end of the page we also signed atop our printed names.

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  • Original & Valid Passport. I photocopied first and last page and all pages with stamps and visas.
  • Old Passports. I photocopied first and last page and all pages with stamps and visas. This included my Schengen Visa in 2011.
  • Original Bank Certificate. I got mine for Php 100 at BDO.
  • Other Investment Certificate. I submitted the original and a photocopy, they just got the photocopy. 
  • Investment Statement for the past 6 months. In support of my investment certificate that it was active.
  • Credit Card Photocopy. I photocopied the front and back of a visa / mastercard credit card.
  • Credit Card Statements for the past 6 months.
  • 2014 ITR Photocopy.
  • Travel Insurance. Travel Insurance with a coverage of 30,000 euros. Ours was named Royal Prestige plan in Blue Cross.
  • (Husband’s) Business permit, Business Registration photocopy. Since my husband was self-employed.
  • (Mine-Financial Consultant) Certificate of Creditable Tax Withheld at Source of 1 Year. I submitted this as proof that I was a financial consultant at Prulife UK. This is provided by the company quarterly.
  • Confirmed Airline Booking & Itinerary. Flight Reservation is acceptable but for us since we booked and paid a promo fare with Etihad, it was pretty much definite and final.
  • Confirmed Hotel Reservations. I booked with agoda.com and booking.com. I reserved and confirmed the booking using my credit card but it can be reversed. Make sure to book it in Peso! What I forgot to do was charged it in USD instead of PHP so the amount was still converted. When I had the amount reversed in my credit card, I lost a few pesos because of the currency conversion.
  • NSO Marriage Certificate. 

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September 3, Thursday – VFS Appointment 

VFS Address: Spain Visa Application Centre Manila, Mezzanine Flr, Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave. Extension Makati City.

Our schedule was at 7:45AM, we arrived at 6:30AM. There was already a line at that time for those who had an appointment and the walk-ins. The far left was for walk-ins, the 2nd line was for those applying for Spanish visa, the rest I can’t remember but the security guard was the one assigning and fixing the lines.

A few minutes past 7, we were ushered in. We left our phones in the car, but we forgot to bring a pen! Bring a pen, you’ll need it to answer the feedback survey and details of address where the visa will be sent.  At the reception, the officer checked our documents then returned it to us along with a number to bring into the other room.

When our number was cued, though they provided a seat while submitting the documents, I couldn’t sit down as the docs to be turned over were really a lot. I also organized and  them into Original-photocopy, original-photocopy, original-photocopy labeled by a post it.

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.I should have organized them into 2 only – a compilation of the original and a compilation of the photocopies because that’s how the officer separated my docs.

After, I paid the following fees:

Visa Fee: Php 2910

Logistic Fee: Php 970

SMS Fee: Php 120

Courier Fee: Php 370

We could have saved in the SMS fee because we received an email anyway which is exactly what we received via SMS. The email even arrived earlier than SMS, and the status can be checked in the VFS website. But anyway…

After which, we had our fingerprints scanned. It took me several minutes, Jason thought there was an officer interviewing me! It turned out that the lines in my finger were too light it can’t be read by the scanner.

I asked the officer if I will be required to have an interview. She said that usually the consul requires interviews for first timers but it is still their discretion to require an interview for 2nd timers. But she also said that if I don’t receive my passport in 2-3 days and if I don’t receive any notice, I automatically need to be interviewed.

September 3, Thursday – VFS Appointment 

On that same day, I received an SMS and and email from VFS stating,

Visa application has been dispatched to the Spain Consulate – General, Makati City on September 3 for processing and assessment. 

Jason received a notice that he was required for interview and that he may go to the Spanish Embassy from Mon-Thurs 8AM

September 8, Tuesday

I received an SMS –

Processed visa application has been couriered to you via 2GO. You will receive your passport in 24-48 hours. 

September 9, Wednesday

I received my passport and stamped on it was the Schengen Visa! :)

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September 10, Thursday – Spanish Embassy for Interview

Spanish Embassy Address: 5th Floor ACT Tower
135 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue
1227 Makati City
Metro Manila, Philippines

We arrived early maybe around 7AM and parked in Starbucks, we had to eat there of course. Jason fell in line at around 7:30AM and along with others they had to write their names on a sheet of paper which will determine their line number.

Jason had to wait until 9AM I think and he was asked the ff questions:

How long will he be staying? What was his business? etc.

He returned to Starbucks where I waited at around 10:30AM.

September 14, Monday –  Post Interview

Jason received an SMS –

Processed visa application has been couriered to you via 2GO. You will receive your passport in 24-48 hours. 

September 15, Tuesday

Jason received his passport and the Schengen visa looked back at us as if to say, Hola Espanya!

For us both, the process took around 2 weeks.

I can only thank God that He answered our prayer on discounted flights, visas approved plus everything in between and gave us the opportunity to visit my foster family again! The last time I flew to Spain on my birthday August 8, 2011, I had jitters and I had the stomach flu but I pushed thru. So now we’re praying that we stay healthy and we enjoy our honeymoon and reunion in Spain. Click here for our Spain trip.

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*Kindly note that I am not a representative of VFS or BLS and not an employee of the spanish embassy. Please refer to the official websites for the official documents needed. This blog is based on experience only.

Post VFS Application at ChopStop

Post VFS Application at ChopStop

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Coral Beach Club in Batangas Review

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“Why don’t I learn my lesson?” This was the thought running on my mind as we went swimming in Coral Beach Club in Batangas just last January. At about the same time last year, we went swimming in Canyon Cove … Continue reading