7 Steps for a #GUAM-azing (and Affordable) Vacation!

This is a long overdue post, so forgive me! In fact, it’s so long overdue, it’s even 30 lbs. ago — at least for me! Haha! Yaasss, friends! Meet my tamsy version — a.k.a. nung ako’y isa pang matabang sexy! Wahahahaha! But now you know that even if a lot of changes have occurred in my life in the past year, one of the things that remains consistent is my quest for adventure! Traveling will always be something I’ll do as much as I can, and I don’t need to explain myself to anyone about that. If someone couldn’t accept that, then #kthxbye! I’d rather be in the company of people who respects and understands the value of traveling (and my other values) than be surrounded by negatrons! Okay, dami ko na namang sinabiKaya nga WORDY eh! Mwahahahahaha!

ANYWAY, let’s get down to business.

When I first found out that Philippine budget airline, Cebu Pacific Air (CebPac), would be flying to Guam, United States of America (USA), I won’t deny that I got really excited! Haha! And guess what? When CebPac released their promo fares for MNL-GUM and back, I didn’t think twice and immediately scored round-trip tickets for less than Php8,000 (or around US$150 only!). Of course I was confident with that because I already had a US visa prior to booking my plane tickets, but as a rule of thumb, it’s best to NOT purchase plane tickets if you don’t have any visa yet — and this applies to ALL countries that require Filipinos to have visas, not just the US.

Now that we’ve got that covered, here are some steps I suggest you do to make #GUAMazing not just a hashtag, but actually a reality! Hahaha! 😛


First, get a US visa.

Again, I’ll repeat, Guam is a territory of the USA. And for Filipinos, it’s not a surprise anymore that going to any US territory requires acquiring a US visa! So yes, if you want to go to Guam, you must first have a US visa — no exceptions! Please don’t believe any fake news concerning US visa applications. Trust me, if you don’t see it on any of the official pages/websites endorsed by the US Embassy, then it’s probably best to NOT treat any “news” as legit.

The complete step-by-step process on how to apply for a nonimmigrant tourist visa at US Embassy Manila can be found here! And NO, I WON’T ENTERTAIN FURTHER QUESTIONS CONCERNING US VISAS! My only answer would be, “GO TO THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE!” 😉

Second, book your flight/s.

As mentioned earlier, I booked via CebPac. I’m in no way affiliated with the aforementioned airline, but I really like flying CebPac despite its sometimes “infamous” reputation for delayed flights, etc. PEACE! Besides, it’s a Filipino-owned company, and I’m all for supporting Philippine businesses!!!

There are other airlines that fly to Guam, but of course that choice will be up to you already. I call this “different flights for different folks.” Basta, book your flight/s! Wahahahaha!


Third, stay at a budget hotel.

Since we’re talking about budget travel here, I’ll suggest staying at a three-star hotel or even a hostel. I haven’t tried couchsurfing or Airbnb-ing yet because I have trust issues (HA HA HA), so next to a luxury hotel, my fallback would be an affordable hotel!


My friends and I stayed at Oceanview Hotel and Residences (which is half-hotel, half condo! haha!), and I can say it wasn’t that bad. After all, we only used it to sleep, take a shower, the usual. And the shopping malls are just a stone’s throw away! Speaking of which…


Fourth, shop ’til you drop (or not!).

Guam is known as a shopping haven (or even heaven! haha) for shopaholics everywhere — whether you prefer designer brands or outlets! Of course if you’re on a budget, you’ll stick with the latter, and that’s what me and my friends did!

GPO was one of my favorite places when I was in Guam. I was able to buy a pair of brand-new Nine West boots for just a little over a thousand pesos! I was also able to score a Michael Kors sweater for less than a thousand pesos, too!!!

Before going to Guam, I was eyeing the Tory Burch fragrance for women but found it too expensive in Manila (around Php6,000 for a small bottle). When I went to Micronesia Mall in Guam, there was a Macy’s store, and you guessed it — I was able to buy the fragrance for a cheaper price!

one of the signs inside Micronesia Mall

one of the signs inside Micronesia Mall

This mall isn’t really for budget travelers (even if it’s supposed to be “duty free shopping”), but it was the closest to our hotel — and that’s where I was able to buy a Guam-exclusive Pandora charm! Heehee!

a Guam-exclusive Pandora charm with the traditional greeting "Hafa Adai!" (pronounced as "half a day")

a Guam-exclusive Pandora charm with the traditional greeting “Hafa Adai!” (pronounced as “half a day”)

Fifth, EAT.

Because CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM!!!

Because of the interiors (haha) and their platters (chicken, ribs, etc.)!!!

Because it’s a diner-style restaurant chain that’s not yet in the Philippines! HA HA HA

  • McDonald’s

Because of their McWrap! (That I wish will be available in Manila, too! huhu)

Sixth, explore…

If you were to choose only three destinations that could fit your limited itinerary, then I’d suggest you explore three out of the four following places:

It was raining when we went to the most popular tourist spot in Guam (hence the umbrella), but we still went because like I said, it’s a “must” when in Guam. Haha! There’s a legend behind Two Lovers Point (mala Romeo and Juliet ang peg!), and you can also have a great view of Guam’s waters (for a fee, though).


And yes, you won’t be able to miss these love locks, which have become a famous “tourist spot” in different parts of the world! ❤

  • Ritidian Beach

Next to El Nido, Palawan, Ritidian Beach probably has one of the clearest waters I’ve seen in my life so far!

Guam has a lot of World War II history, and this park is proof of that. There was an event when we visited, which explains the mini flags planted on the ground.

  • Chammoro Village

The Chammoro people are the natives of Guam, and visiting their village will give you a chance to learn about their culture and even buy some of their traditional products. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit it because of time constraints, but I heard that it’s an interesting thing to do when in Guam so I still included it here. Maybe I’ll visit it next time!

(Optional) Seventh, meet with and make new friends!

My travel buddies and I were fortunate enough to have some friends based in Guam, and this is the part where I’d like to express my gratitude to them for being amazing “hosts” while we were there!

To Kuya Nonie and Ate Nette, THANK YOU for bringing us to places in Guam that we wouldn’t have been able to go to if it weren’t for the two of you! Hanggang sa next #GUAMazing trip namin! Hehe!

To my long-time-no-see girl friend, Jian, kaloka! It took us almost half a decade to be reunited! And this post is so long overdue that you’re already based in Chicago, mainland USA! Hahaha! But yes, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to eat, drink, and be merry with me while in Guam! Alam naaa ‘pag nagpunta rin akong Chicago! Hahaha!

And after meeting with your long-time friends, you might even make a new one on the road! Jian and I were walking the streets of Guam when we met Alejandro! That “meeting” was a really funny story to tell, but then again, that’ll be just among us three. Haha! After all, one of the good things about traveling is the priceless memories you make, which no amount of money can ever buy. Pak! Ganern!!

with our new-found friend, Alejandro

with our new-found friend, Alejandro


Have you been to Guam?
Share your #GUAMazing story, too! 🙂

How to Apply for a Japan (Tourist) Visa in Manila

So you’ve watched (or at least heard of) the hit Filipino indie movie Kita Kita, and you can’t help but notice how picturesque their location is? Well, it’s no secret that the entire movie was shot on location in Sapporo, JAPAN! And guess what? Traveling to Japan isn’t that impossible now, thanks to airline promo fares and the Japanese government for granting Filipino citizens free tourist visas! Yes, you’ve read that right! FREE! As in GRATIS!! But… there’s a BUT!!! Haha!

This post will mostly focus on how to apply for a tourist visa to Japan when you’re in Manila, Philippines. And just like my other visa-related posts, I don’t know much anything about other types of visas because most of the time, when I apply for a visa, it’s because I’m going to that country as a TOURIST. So as early as now, if you have questions about other types of visas, I SUGGEST YOU CONTACT THE CONSULATE/EMBASSY DIRECTLY. Okay? Okay!

Based on my experience, here are the steps I did to acquire my Japan tourist visa:

FIRST, choose an accredited travel agency by the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.

This is the “but” part I’ve mentioned earlier. Even if the Japanese government doesn’t collect any fees from tourist visa applications, you can apply for a tourist visa only to one of their accredited travel agencies! And lo and behold, of course these travel agencies charge fees to process tourist visa applications. It’s all up to you to choose the travel agency that’s most convenient for you because each agency has different prices.

The list of accredited travel agencies can be found here: http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_ja/00_000253.html

Personally, I chose RELI Tours & Travel agency because it was the most convenient for me at that time. For a Japan tourist visa (with no guarantor), they charge Php950 per application. My trip was in June 2017, but as early as April 2017, I already applied for a visa. I chose RELI because they have a branch at SM Mall of Asia (MOA), which means they’re open on weekends! They also accept walk-ins, and that’s what I did. I just made sure that I was at the mall when it opened, so I was the second in line when I went to RELI. Even before I entered RELI’s office, one of their representatives already pre-checked if I had the complete requirements, which brings us to…

SECOND, complete your documents.

The required documents are the following:

  • valid passport (for at least 6 months from date of travel to Japan)
  • application form printed on A4-sized paper — the Embassy’s strict with this size (you can download the form here or get from your preferred travel agency)
  • one 2×2 photo pasted on your application form (taken within the last six months, with white background)
  • original birth certificate (ONLY IF you’re a first-time applicant!)
  • original marriage certificate (ONLY IF applicable to you — well, it’s not applicable to me… at least not yet! HA HA HA)
  • daily schedule in Japan (you can download the form here)
  • original bank certificate
  • copy of Income Tax Return (ITR)
please excuse my "resting b*tch face" pose! LOL!

please excuse my “resting b*tch face” pose! LOL!

Other optional documents you may submit (just make sure you’re willing to give them away because the Embassy won’t return them anymore):

  • letter of intent (a.k.a. explanation why you want to go to Japan)
  • original Certificate of Employment (COE) or other proof of income
  • other proof/statements of your eligibility to travel/ties to the Philippines (e.g., investments, properties, stocks, etc.)

For RELI’s complete list of requirements for a tourist visa (with no guarantor), you can go here.

THIRD, pay for the non-refundable handling fee of the travel agency.

As mentioned, the fee will depend on your travel agency. RELI charged me Php950, which I paid in cash when I was at their MOA branch.

FOURTH, wait for your visa to be processed.

Once you submitted everything, the waiting game starts. After about a week, I received a text message from RELI informing me that I can already pick up my passport at their branch. They haven’t told me then whether or not I was granted a visa. When I arrived at their branch, that’s the only time they told me that I had the visa. YAY!

Something you should know about a Japan tourist visa: If it’s your first time to apply, the Embassy usually grants only a single-entry visa. If you want it to be a multiple-entry one, you may try to submit a letter of request (you can ask your travel agency for the correct format) OR just apply and apply for a visa (as in use it, go to Japan, back to Manila, go to Japan, back to Manila, and the cycle goes on! Haha!). Then again, you have to understand that the Embassy always, always has the last say when it comes to deciding whether a visa applicant will be granted a single entry or multiple one. K?!

FIFTH AND LAST (but definitely not the least), ENJOY YOUR #JAFUN TRIP!

I’ll write about my Tokyo trip SOON! Even before leaving Japan, I already promised myself that I’ll go back and include Osaka in my itinerary — and thanks to Kita Kita, I’mma include Sapporo, too, next time!!! 😉 Now, where’s my “Empoy,” huh?! Wahahahaha!

beside the statue of Hachiko at Shibuya station, Tokyo

beside the statue of Hachiko at Shibuya station, Tokyo

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

Euro Trip 2017: Imperial Highlights

Time to take a break from all the #hugot posts you’ve seen and read on my blog! I’M BACK, FRIENDS!!! Back to my beloved Manila. Back to reality. Back to my travel-loving single self (MWAHAHAHAHAHA!). And most especially, back to my own kaloka and unapologetic blog writing style! That was evident in my posts from early 2012 and before! Love it, then thank you! Hate it, I. don’t. care! 😛

So what’s the topic for this one? If it wasn’t obvious enough, well, I’ll spell it out to you: E-U-R-O-P-E. Yes! Two years in a row! Even I was amazed at God’s provisions in my life despite the setback I’ve encountered later last year/earlier this year. After my UK-Ireland trip last year, I thought I’d be seeing Europe again in, say, five years? But no, obviously, God’s plans are always better and THIS TRIP was just another testament to that! I’m claiming, though, that my third Euro trip will already be my honeymoon! So future husband, you better be reading! I want to go to France and Italy for that! Don’t worry, I don’t expect it to be next year (but who knows?! haha). I won’t even expect it the following year. In that year though, I’m claiming that I’ll be in Panama for World Youth Day 2019! Maybe you can come along? Haha! 😉 After that, then I think I can start to think about settling down. “Start” being the operative word! Char!

Rambling aside (serious muna ulit!), I went to Central/Eastern Europe — the “heart” of Europe they say because this region used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Not just a kingdom, but an EMPIRE!!! Did you know that the last “empire” remaining now is Japan? I went there, too, in June, and I’ve yet to write about it! Hehe! Anyway, this entry will serve as a “teaser” of what you can expect to read and see on this blog in the next few months. Since pictures paint a thousand words, I’ll let them do the “talking” for me for now until I can finally write separate blog entries for each country. In summary, I traveled with two of my sisters in a tour group to the following countries: Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria.

GERMANY

Munich

Regensburg

Bavarian Alps /
(Adolf Hitler’s) Eagle’s Nest

Berchtesgaden

CZECH REPUBLIC

Prague

SLOVAKIA

Bratislava

HUNGARY

Budapest /
The Danube River

Szentendre

Gyor

AUSTRIA

Vienna

Salzburg

To be honest, my pictures don’t really do justice to the actual beauty of each place we visited. And that’s what I’ll try to capture through my words in the coming blog entries. Until then! ❤