China, Destination, Reviews

Finding tranquility in Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou

Guangzhou, I find, is just like any booming city — busy, fast-paced, and teeming with people. Though I like the comforts of city living, I do enjoy discovering little pockets of tranquil space where you can relax, recharge, and get ready to delve back into the chaos.

Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou
The lobby of Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou

Shangri-La Hotel in Guangzhou is one of those places for me. It’s not in the middle of the bustling city — it’s far enough to feel like you’re away from everything, yet accessible via the subway and the hotel shuttle that takes you to key destinations around the city.
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China, Preparation

How to apply for a Chinese Tourist Visa in Australia

Do you pack a what-if item in your bag? You know, the ones that you put in your suitcase or backpack just in case? I’m one of those. My what-if items are photocopies of my passport, birth certificate, and business registration. I also keep a couple of passport-sized photos. You know, just in case.

Chinese tourist visa

My what-if packing finally paid off this week, when I had to apply for a Chinese tourist visa in Melbourne. A scheduled trip to Hong Kong in September was suddenly altered to include a side trip to Guangzhou, in the Guandong Province of China. While I can travel visa-free to Hong Kong, the Chinese government requires me to apply for a visa prior to crossing the border. Applying for a visa should be easy enough, as I already have most of the documents on hand, but with only 12 days in Manila, four of which are weekends, I am cutting it way too close if I’m going to wait to apply until I get home.
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China, Preparation

My US Visa Interview Experience

On the early morning of May 3, I found myself on the side walk outside the US Embassy in Manila, bewildered by the number of people waiting to enter the embassy. It’s not the number that shocked me actually (I know there’s always hundreds of people lined up outside the embassy), it’s the suits and business attire worn by the applicants, as if dressing to get that job they’ve always aspired for.

US Ambassador to the Philippines at the inauguration of NOX1. Photo by Jane Tenefrancia Uymatiao, used with permission.

The time in my confirmation says 7:15, but I was there an hour ahead, even if the instruction was to be there 30 minutes before my schedule. I walked away from the hoard and found a quiet spot facing the Manila Bay. Distracting myself from the unappealing aroma wafting from the water, my mind wandered back a month when I first learned that I need to apply for a US Visa.
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China, Destination, Myanmar, Preparation

How to apply for a Myanmar tourist visa

[UPDATE] Starting December 2013, Philippine passport holders, along with citizens of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, and Vietnam are exempt from requiring a visa to travel in Myanmar for a maximum of 14 days.

In May 2010, it was announced that visa on arrival (VOA) will be available at the Yangon and Mandalay airports. This meant that foreigners visiting Myanmar no longer have to apply for a visa prior to departure. However, in September 2010, the VOA was suspended, due to the (then) upcoming November elections. There’s no news yet whether the suspension has been lifted, but if you have plans on visiting Myanmar, it’s best that you apply for a tourist visa beforehand.

Myanmar Visa
Is there such a thing as a decent passport or visa picture?

Unlike the Australian tourist visa application, the Myanmar visa does not require as much documents. Along with your filled up application form, you need to submit the following:
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Australia, China, Preparation

Applying for an Australian tourist visa

[UPDATE October 13, 2015] Here's a guide on how you can easily, quickly, and cheaply apply for an Australian tourist visa online [Update: September 15, 2014] Philippine passport holders can now apply for an Australian tourist visa online through the IMMI website. Application fee must be paid via credit card. You can still apply in person through VFS. I am…read more