Saturday, September 30, 2017

Taiwan is now visa-free for Filipinos

Taiwan has always been my happy place and I could even be more happier to announce that they have approved the visa-free status which was just posted on several columns yesterday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan will further discuss full details in the next few days. This new rule will more likely take effect in October, the earliest.

Procedure will be similar to their electronic visa application (E-Visa) which is done online as per article.

Currently, you can still enter visa-free by presenting a Travel Authorization Certificate (TAC) which allows multiple-entries to Taiwan, valid for 90 days with every stay up to 30 days. This is applicable to Philippine Passport Holders who possess one (1) of the following documents issued by:

  1. ROC (Taiwan)

  2. Australia

  3. Canada

  4. Japan

  5. Korea

  6. New Zealand

  7. Any of the Schengen countries

  8. United Kingdom

  9. United States

Any of the following travel documents:

(1) a valid resident or permanent resident card

(2) a valid entry visa (electronic visa included)

(3) a resident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan.


Travel is on October 1, 2017. Visa expired last November 1, 2007 - OK √

To be eligible for an ROC Travel Authorization Certificate, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The applicant’s passport must have remaining validity of at least six months starting from the date of arrival in Taiwan.

  2. The applicant must possess an onward/return air or ferry ticket.

  3. The applicant has never been employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan.

⇒To apply a Travel Authorization Certificate (TAC), please click here

1st screen:

2nd screen:

3rd screen:

4th screen:

Once completed, you may download a copy of your Travel Authorization Certificate in pdf file on the next page.

Don't forget to fill out an online Arrival Card for immigration inspection each time before re-entry within the validity of the certificate at

1st screen:

Once you click on the "apply arrival card link", on the next screen, scroll down to view the form:


  1. Secure a print out of your Travel Authorization Certificate to be presented at the airport check-in counter.

  2. If the visa to be used is stamped on your old passport, make sure you bring it with you. I've heard some who left their documents by mistake at home and the airline refuse checking in the passengers as these are important travel documents required by the immigration.

Do you agree if I say, Taiwan will be the next shopping destination of your choice?

Send us your thoughts!

Friday, September 29, 2017

China Tourist Visa for Philippine Passport Holders

China being the 2nd largest country in Asia has garnered the 4th spot in the most visited country list due to its impressive number of tourist locations all over and no other than the Great Wall of China which represents one of the Seven Wonders of the World, of course. It may seem unusual to find anyone who will deny the fact that this awe-inspiring longest man-made structure is excluded from their ultimate travel bucket list! I guess the biggest Disney Resort ever built in Shanghai can definitely be a game changer. Even a number of its famous historical sites can take you to a whole new level of experience. Now, before we plan our next stop... first things first, a China Tourist Visa and a couple of useful tips below.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Getting around Fukuoka with just one click!

Gone are the days (almost!) when people try to look for directions using traditional maps, directories and compass! I was born in 1981, from Gen-Xers to Millenials, we are blessed with such amazing technologies, innovations and gadgets! So let me walk you through this simple tutorial on how "not" to get lost in Fukuoka:

The LED board situated upon the entrance consists of: Train Name and Number, Arrival Time, Final Destination, Track Number and Car Numbers (indicates whether it is Reserved or Not). It is translated both in Japanese and English.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Republic of Chocolate

In the early 70's, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory figuratively opened its doors to the public leaving our imaginations bewildered with sweet surprises. Not to mention, Willy Wonka's brightly purple coloured suit and the eerie vibe Gene Wilder portrays on the big screen as the plot thickens. On the other hand, the movie remake which stars Johnny Depp, let alone, give me the jeepers creepers! Such an oddball wearing white goggles while flashing his pearly whites. The role was indeed well-played!


宏亞食品_巧克力共和國建築紀錄影片 業主:三星營造 片長:8分09秒 年份:2012

From fiction to reality, except for the film's idiosyncrasies and Mr. Willy Wonka, Hunya - a Taiwanese Food Manufacturer founded "Republic of Chocolate" in the Spring of 2012, located in Bade, Taoyuan. The Asia's first chocolate museum represent "77 Chocolates", a renowned chocolate brand in Taiwan under Hunya's umbrella. The company came up with this concept not only to promote its existence by leaving a phenomenal impression of the company but to extend Hunya's best-kept secrets behind its continuing success. Moreover, they also conduct exciting DIY chocolate basic and advanced workshops wherein guests of all ages will definitely enjoy.

This 3-storey is like a contemporary museum of modern art. It allows each guest to fully understand its origin and methods of making each chocolate variety on the 2nd and 3rd floors where the chocolate factory is located, occupying some parts of each level. The outdoor is mostly focused on family fun. Particularly, the graffiti wall just for kids really does "draw" a lot of attention! The first floor comprises leisure and comfort. Apart from ROC Cafe (previously Chotty & Cotty Cafe) and Group Dining Restaurant on the 2nd floor, a special kid-friendly restaurant located on the first level will surely delight all families after touring this confectionery museum. Not to mention, a gift shop centrally located where you can find souvenirs and Hunya's line of products.

Quick tip: Admission ticket purchased at the ticket booth comes along with a special gift coupon. The voucher can be used as cash payment at any restaurant/cafe inside the museum. You can even redeem some items at the gift shop. Better yet, grab some "77 Nougat". It's familiar taste could pass as one of those American chocolate candy bars!

Good news is, 77 Noble (Chocolates) is now available in the Philippines at all 7-Eleven stores nationwide. The latest craze is, you can get a chance to go to Taiwan for Free!

Republic of Chocolate:

Address: Ln. 490, Sec. 2, Jieshou Rd., Bade City, Taoyuan County 334, Taiwan

How to get there:

  • Taoyuan Bus No. 157 → Head towards the direction of Bade and get off at the Meihua Community Station on Section 2 of Jieshou Road.

  • Taoyuan Bus No. 5044 & 5053 → Head towards the direction of Longtan and get off at the Meihua Community Station on Section 2 of Jieshou Road.

  • Taoyuan Bus No. 5060 → Head towards the Retirement Homes for the Veterans, pass through Gengjiaoliao, and get off at the Meihua Community Station on Section 2 of Jieshou Road.
    (After getting off the bus, walk along the Chocolate Street for 15 minutes to reach Republic of Chocolate)

Opening Hours:

  • Tuesday to Friday from 09:30-17:00 (tickets until 15:30).

  • Saturday to Sunday from 09:30-18:00 (tickets until 16:30).

  • Closed every Monday.

  • Closing hours during the maintenance period will be announced separately.


  • Adult tickets: NTD 200 (including a coupon of NTD 100)

  • Concession tickets: NTD 100 (including a coupon of NTD 50)
    (Concession ticket is for children aged from 3 to 12 years old, senior above (including) 65 years old, and people with physical and mental difficulties. )

  • Free Entrance: For children below 3 years old

  • Citizens of Taoyuan Bade City will be offered with a 50% discounted admission for their entrance on Tuesday, Friday and non-public holidays.

  • No entrance for pets.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Los Angeles, California

Day 1: 

Endured a 17 hour long haul flight and an 8 hour lay over at Incheon Airport all for A380! Inspite of these, yes.. resting will never be possible. Much anticipated spring break starts now!

So little time, so much to do, see and explore! Upon our arrival at LAX airport, our uncle were able to tour us around Rodeo Drive where famous films were shot. I was hoping to bump someone from Hollywood while crossing the streets of Beverly Hills. High-end shops and luxury cars swarming around this posh drive. To maximize our first day in LA, we went out for an hour drive to Hollywood Blvd. We started walking around when I couldn't bear my tummy. Yes I was literally a can soda ready to burst! Tough luck.

And there goes IN-N-OUT..not even a thought to pass on! We had Double Double from the menu. Two (2) 100% pure beef patties plus two (2) slices of cheese and ordered non-greasy fries on the side. Ended the day on a happy note with some Gas-X :-)

Day 2: 

Jet lag hasn't kicked in yet but we know for sure it will knock us out for days. Live for the moment as it was time for us to get up and spin around Los Angeles on our 2nd day! It was a sunny Friday morning but windy at times. My relatives live on the breezy uplands where mostly anyone could spend most of the time there and glance not only on the perfectly-shaped landscape fronting the porch but even on the amazing mountain and city views in any direction you can find or just play backyard mini-golf. Mediterranean-inspired houses line up in this Southern part of California. Not to mention, I am very impressed with the Spanish-style interior the moment I entered their lovely home.

About less than an hour, we arrived at Buca di Beppo in Santa Monica, CA where my Aunt's sister celebrated her birthday. Shared this special day along with her godchildren who are on US tour as well. The parking building adjacent to the Italian restaurant provides electric vehicle charging stations customized for hybrids! Pardon the ignorance, I'm only used to normal car parks and conventional cars. Nevertheless, the restaurant is strategically located next to 3rd Street Promenade.

Buca di Beppo's wide variety of dishes showcase the flavors of Italy, served homestyle, meant to be shared by a family or a large group. I'm satisfied with Italian food, this cuisine is a huge comfort for my belly.

A landmark for over a 100 years in Santa Monica Pier - Pacific Park, which recently named as "California's Best Amusement Park", feature a solar-paneled ferris wheel - the world's first and only. We skipped the USD 8 per ride and just enjoyed the beaming sea view.

A few blocks away from Santa Monica Pier is the famous Third Street Promenade, known as a tourist shopping destination from designer brands to interior decorations. On top of that, Street Mime Artists do add some zesty vibe too in this east downtown part where statues come to life!

Half an hour passed before reaching Griffith Observatory, a popular tourist spot lying near the legendary Hollywood sign where people can have a perfect snapshot of the timeless view of Tinseltown's trademark. But of course, this facility is all about Science and Astronomy. It exhibits everything related outside the Earth's atmosphere, celestial bodies and activities, mainly space travel.

Capped-off our Day 2 at The Grove in Los Angeles. This park boasts its wide-array of well-known brands, restaurant chains, cinema complex, a tram that connects this outdoor shopping district to Farmers Market and the best part is, throughout the holiday season, they occasionally create artificial flurries every evening, as snow rarely occur in this southern part of California.

Day 3: Our last day won't be complete without a quick tour in the historic landmark located in Riverside, CA. It echoes the late 18th and early 19th Spanish missions which remains as "the principal colonial heritage of Spain in America". Mission Inn Hotel and Spa's Mediterranean Revival Style is considered as the largest in the US according to its architectural classification.

It was indeed very timely, for we were able to drop by at the Farmers Market located on the Main Street Riverside between 5th and 6th where fresh produce, delis and other specialty food items are being sold only on Saturdays from 8 AM to 1PM.

Before leaving for San Francisco, we had a quick lunch at Home Town Buffet just a few minutes away from UFC Gym in Corona where we had our finale by touring inside the MMA Training Ground.