Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Format: Paperback

In a nutshell
It was the year 1986, the time when casette tapes and comic books were all the rage. It was also the year that red-haired Eleanor met Taekwondo-skilled Park — and vice versa — while riding the bus to school.

Both considered themselves “outcasts” but even so, their first impressions of each other didn’t go well. so it was a surprise how two odd bus mates slowly fell for each other; thus starting their “friendship-love story.”

My thoughts
Let’s get this done and over with: I DIDN’T ENJOY IT! I know, I know. A LOT of people loved this book, so maybe this is just me. Maybe I’m just not into the whole 80’s thing, or I just couldn’t really connect and relate with the main characters, both Eleanor and Park. The different issues they had individually made me uncomfortable, especially the last bit about Eleanor. The feels other people felt while reading this book? I didn’t catch ’em. The only two feelings I can associate with this book are “boring” and “dragging.” Sorry not sorry.

However, this is my first Rowell book. I’m still willing to give her a chance. Good thing her other books have different “themes.” Read this ONLY if you want to read all of the author’s books. But if you’re fine with not reading them all, skip this.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Do you or do you not agree with this review? (Haha!)
Share your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below!

How to Apply for a (Tourist) Visa for Ireland… if you’re in Manila!

How to Apply for an Ireland Visa in Manila

It has been a little more than a quarter since I arrived from my UK-Ireland trip, and I still have to write a lot about it! Including applying for a visa for Ireland — so here it is!!! Haha😛

Most people think that when it comes to traveling to Europe, acquiring a Schengen visa is the be-all and end-all of it. That may be true for some. BUT for someone like me who has been an Anglophile since I was seven, the Schengen visa wasn’t the answer to my dream Euro trip simply because the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the UK for short) and the Republic of Ireland (Ireland) are NOT covered by the said visa. So yes, my friends, my dream Euro trip involved applying (and paying) for two separate visas: one for the UK (which I already wrote about here) and one for Ireland. Yes, ganun ko ginustong pumunta sa Inglatera!!!🙂

Before you ask me why there are separate visas for the UK and Ireland (even if geographically, they’re like one country!), let me already tell you that it all dates back to their history. Now, I’m not going to tell you a history lesson here, so let’s just accept and respect the fact that they’re two separate countries. In short, if you want to go to Belfast (where the infamous Titanic was built), you will need a UK visa; if you want to go to Dublin (the capital of Ireland, and where my favorite boyband of all time — Westlife — was from), you will need an Ireland visa.

If that’s already clear, I can tell you that applying for an Ireland visa is somewhat similar to the process of applying for a UK visa (only with slight differences). In fact, having a UK visa prior to applying for an Ireland visa actually has its advantages! So what are the steps you need to do in order to be able to see the Cliffs of Moher or maybe even bump into one of the members of Westlife?!

FIRST, complete your documents (original and three photocopies of each — yes, this includes photocopying your passport pages three times!!!). I’ll divide this into two categories: the required and the others.

The required documents are only three actually:

  • application form (more on this later)
  • valid passport (for at least 6 months from date of travel to Ireland)
  • 2 photos (45mm high by 35mm wide or passport size, with white background)

The others, or what you call your supporting documents. ALL DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE THREE PHOTOCOPIES. As mentioned in my UK visa blog post, these documents will help you “convince” a consular officer that you have strong ties to the Philippines  (a.k.a. hindi ka magtatago sa Ireland dahil may babalikan ka sa Pilipinas!) and that you have enough funds for your trip. Since the Irish Consulate in Manila is document-dependent when it comes to their visa applications (unlike other embassies that require personal appearance/interview), I believe it’s crucial that you really don’t lack any of the following:

  • cover letter explaining your intent to travel to Ireland and itinerary
  • proof of previous travel (i.e., passport stamps)
  • bank certificate/statements or payslips (for the last 6 months)
  • certificate of employment (or proof of business/self-employment, whichever applies to you)
  • booking details/itinerary (it’s not really advisable to book your airfare/accommodation without having a visa first, so make sure that your bookings are not yet final to the point that you can’t refund them anymore)
  • others (any other document that you think might be helpful to your visa application)

More information about their accepted supporting documents can be found HERE.

SECOND, accomplish the application form. The Irish Consulate in Manila doesn’t really have an official website, so all Google searches will always redirect you to Ireland’s government site, Just click “Continue” and follow the instructions. Make sure to remember your application number because you will need it later on.

An important note to remember is when it comes to the Ireland visa, you have the option to choose if you want single entry or multiple entry. Of course, choosing the latter makes the visa fee more expensive. (I just chose the single entry because our itinerary involved going back to London after our Dublin trip. And besides, it was my sister’s decision to visit Ireland anyway, so why spend more?! Haha!)

THIRD, pay for the non-refundable visa fee. As of this writing, the single-entry visa is Php3,600 (but if you have a valid UK visa, it’s around Php4,600); the multiple-entry visa is Php6,000. If my memory serves me right, you can do this on cash basis at the Consulate itself. Which brings us to the next step…

FOURTH, book an appointment (by calling the Irish Consulate in Manila at +63 2 896-4668). Once your documents are ready, you need to set an appointment at the Irish Consulate in Manila for them to schedule you when you can submit your documents and pay for the visa. Upon calling them, you need to give your application number (the one generated in your application form) for easier reference. If you don’t want to go there directly, you may also send your documents via courier. Still, it’s better to call or e-mail them to ask about their preferred couriers.

The e-mail address of the Irish Consulate in Manila is, and their address is:

Consulate General of Ireland
3/F Max’s Bldg. 70 Jupiter St.
Bel-Air 1, Makati City
1209 Philippines

I suggest you call the Consulate a week before your preferred date. Also, make sure to submit your documents 8 weeks or earlier prior to your planned travel date because that’s how long it takes to process the Ireland visa. If you have a valid UK visa, it takes only 6 weeks — which is probably why the visa fee is more expensive if you already have a UK visa (consider it an expedited process). The reason why it takes long is because in general, consulates are only for citizens; embassies process visas. Since there’s no Irish Embassy in Manila, the Irish Consulate in Manila still needs to submit visa applications to the nearest Irish Embassy — which is in Singapore.

The step-by-step visa application process for Filipinos by the Embassy of Ireland in Singapore can be found HERE.

FIFTH, wait for your visa to be processed. Once you submitted everything, the waiting game starts. After 6 or 8 weeks, you need to call the Irish Consulate in Manila again to ask for your visa status. This is required because no status will be given if you don’t call. If they give you good news (meaning, your visa has been approved) and go signal, you can go back to the Consulate for visa stamping. If the Consulate gives you a go signal on your agreed date and time, the visa stamping can be done within the day — as in submit your passport in the morning, and get it back in the afternoon of the same day with your visa already! YAY!!!

SIXTH AND LAST (but definitely not the least), ENJOY YOUR IRELAND TRIP! And speaking of which, I still have to blog about my own trip!!! Wait for it and read it, please! Haha!😉

Have you tried applying for an Ireland visa in Manila or elsewhere? How was it?
Let me know what you think!🙂

Aluminum, Brass, and Copper: The “ABC” of Metals

The "ABC" of Metals

After dealing with metals for quite awhile now (thanks to my mini business, Metallic Gems & Crafts by MGC), I’m still amazed with the things I’m learning here and there about the stuff! Sometimes, I even think that I could pass as “Magneta” — you know, the female counterpart of X-Men‘s Magneto? Haha! All because I’ve started to fall in “like” with all kinds of metals!!!

So for the benefit of my past, present, and future clients, or for those who are simply interested to know, there are many kinds of metals — there are the BASE ones like brass and copper; the PRECIOUS (and expensive) ones like gold and silver; the REACTIVE ones like aluminum and titanium; and the WHITE ones like pewter and tin. [More information on metals can be found here.]

My ultimate goal is to be a legit alahera (think mikAlahera — there I said it! Mwahahahahaha!), in the sense that I finally add precious metals to my list of products. But while that’s still in the making, I found myself enjoying working with some base and reactive metals. It all started with brass (a base metal) when I attended a jewelry making workshop a few months back. Little did I know that I would also enjoy working with aluminum (a reactive metal) and copper (another base metal).

But before you think that that’s it, you haven’t even heard of gauges (g) yet! In a gist, gauges simply represent how thick the metal is. The lower the gauge, the thicker the metal. Since everything in my mini biz is handmade, handcut, and handstamped by ME, I prefer working with 20g on average. The thickest gauge I’ve worked on is 18g, and that really hurt my hands when I cut it! (But you know, business is business!). The thinnest I’ve worked on is 24g, and I realized that the hole punch pliers I used worked better with that gauge. If it’s a thicker metal, I prefer using a screw down hole punch to put holes on it.

Anywaaay, like I mentioned, I work with the ABCs for now. And here’s why:

Aluminum – I like aluminum because it’s light, it doesn’t tarnish, and it’s a cheaper alternative to silver. My aluminum products are made of 18g to 20g, depending on the type of jewelry.

Brass – It’s the first metal I’ve worked with, and I like that it’s a cheaper alternative to yellow gold. However, just like yellow gold is more expensive than silver, brass is also more expensive than aluminum. Also, it tarnishes — but wipe it with a metal cleaner/polisher, and it’ll look as if it’s new again! My brass products are made of 20g to 24g, depending on the type of jewelry.

Copper – For the rose gold addicts (just like me), copper is our best bet that won’t put a dent on our wallets. BUT that doesn’t mean that it’s cheap. It’s actually the most expensive in my line of products (compared to aluminum and brass), so I only produce it in limited quantities or for pre-order. And just like brass, it tarnishes — but again, nothing a metal cleaner/polisher can’t fix! My (limited) copper products are made of 18g to 24g, depending on the type of jewelry.

From top to bottom: thick aluminum cuff (20g), thin brass cuff (20g), thick copper cuff (18g) - all available and customizable at Metallic Gems & Crafts by MGC

From top to bottom: thick aluminum cuff (20g), thin brass cuff (20g), thick copper cuff (18g) – all available and customizable at Metallic Gems & Crafts by MGC

Now that you know about the types of metals I use, I think it would now be best for you to check out my order form. Wahahahaha! Seriously though, I hope you learned a thing or two about metals, especially the ABCs that I personally use — Aluminum, Brass, and Copper.🙂