What’s going in my bag

A sort of spin-off my usual What’s in my Bag post because I haven’t packed yet. I’m leaving on Friday, for a trip that I’ve been looking forward to since the start of the year. I really don’t know how to pack for this destination, so I’m sticking with some tried and tested stuff, as well as a new addition to my packing list.


Sha and Winston sort-of modeling the Headware for me

It’s one of those stretchy, tubes of fabric that you wear mostly on your head, but if you’re built like Olive Oyl, you can probably wear it as a tube top or a mini skirt. The wonderful people at Headware sent me a couple to try out, and I’ve taken a liking to it. It keeps sweat from dripping to my eyes and camera when I’m taking pictures and it keeps my hair from flying around the place when it’s very windy (or when I’m on a boat). There are different ways to wear it, but if you’re creative enough, you can use it as a makeshift burka for your doll.
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Money matters on the road

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Money is one of the biggest concerns when traveling. Aside from saving enough for your trip, the other pressing concern is how much to bring and how to bring it. When I travel, I usually bring cash (peso and US dollar, when overseas), my ATM and my credit cards. I developed this terrible habit of relying on my credit cards for more expensive items, specially when the establishment accept credit card payments. This of course, results to me going beyond my budget.

On the other hand, having a credit card proved useful when I found myself unable to find an open money changer upon arriving late in Kota Kinabalu and specially when I found out that the US dollar bills I bought were practically useless as the money changer wouldn’t accept it for exchange. It also helped a lot when I ran out of cash on the last leg of my Southeast Asian backpacking trip in 2009.
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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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Everything Travel, Preparation

What’s in my bag?

Here’s a different take on my What’s in my bag posts. These are some of my travel essentials — the mainstays inside my bags whenever I go on a trip.

Quick drying, super absorbent microfibre towel

Microfibre towels
Sea to Summit and Aquazorb microfibre towels

When I was just starting to travel, I passed on buying a microfibre towel because of its price. To compromise, I bought a small towel and a sarong. I figured the towel would be absorbent enough, yet it wouldn’t take up as much space, won’t weigh as much as a regular bath-sized towel and dry (relatively) faster. I finally gave in and bought a Sea to Summit Drylite towel in 2009 and quickly saw the difference: it dries so much faster, absorbs much more and it’s a whole lot lighter. It was pretty expensive though: Php 599 for a small towel.
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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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Travel finds in unlikely places

When traveling, it’s not only the tickets and reservations that matter; what’s in your bag matters too! Several travel goods store have popped up around the metro, but you’ll be surprised that you can find travel stuff in shops you wouldn’t normally associate with traveling. Best of all, the prices aren’t too bad either!

My travel haul from Robinsons Galleria

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Everything Travel, Preparation

Tips for getting super cheap airline tickets

There’s another on-going seat sale right now, and despite my vow not to use my credit card this month, I ended up abusing it. My last tally of 7 tickets have now risen to 13 tickets. Total damage to my credit card: Php 2,335.80 for 6 one-way tickets to different destinations. Next year is going to be totally crazy. Fare thee well, Japan.

NAIA Centennial Airport 04
Random photo of an airplane just so this entry has a photo.

So how do I end up with these cheap fares? Here are some of the things that help me score tickets at rock-bottom prices:
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