Preparation

Everything Travel, Malaysia, Preparation

Malaysia Airlines’ ASEAN Pass

One of the things that was presented during the press conference we attended in Malaysia was the ASEAN Pass. The ASEAN Pass is a set of four prepaid vouchers that would let you travel to up to four Southeast Asian cities served by Malaysia Airlines for as low as US$229 in economy class or US$729 in business class.

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Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A330 that we rode from KL to Manila. Forgot to take a photo before another plane parked right beside it. Pfft.

Of course, the big question is, what’s the asterisk?
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Preparation

How to renew your Philippine passport in 30 minutes

UPDATE (May 6, 2011): The Department of Foreign affairs issued an advisory dated May 4, 2011:

The DFA will extend up to one year the validity of the current expiring passports of applicants who have urgent travel. The extension will be free of charge while the applicants are waiting for the release of their new electronic passports (ePassports).

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and applicants who need their passports on emergency circumstances (e.g., medical concerns, death in the immediate family) are advised to go to the Passport Director’s Office, for assistance. The Passport Director’s Office is located at the ground floor of the DFA-OCA at the Aseana Business Park along Macapagal Avenue.

The DFA advises the public to file for their passport applications at least 12 weeks before their intended date of travel.

Read the complete advisory: English | Filipino

UPDATE (February 26, 2011): Anton of Our Awesome Planet recounts how he was able to get an extension to his passport’s validity. This is one option you can try if you need to travel within the next month.

UPDATE (November 30, 2010): Dyanie wrote about her Philippine passport renewal experience, which was pretty recent (at time of this posting). It’s a very easy to read recount of her experience peppered with pictures for every step. Her passport renewal took her an hour at the DFA. UPDATE (February 26, 2011): Dyanie has made her blog private

UPDATE (July 20, 2010): This post was written on September 14, 2009 for a renewal of a machine readable passport. There are several Pinoy blogs that recount their experiences with passport renewal that are more recent and more relevant given the changes with the process. I suggest you read the Pinay Travel Junkie’s guide to E-passport renewal, which was written on June 28, 2010.

UPDATE (March 4, 2010): The DFA has stopped issuing machine readable passports. All passport renewals are now for e-passports or the biometric passport. Please refer to Earl‘s guide to Phillippine E-passport renewal for details.

I just got back from the Department of Foreign Affairs office an hour ago. I have been out of the house since 6:30am, an ungodly hour for anyone working nights, just so I can be there in time for my 8:00am appointment. The entire process was quick, and I was out of the building by 8:30am.

So how was I able do this?
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Preparation

What do you bring on a one-month trip?

I am *slowly* getting better at packing light. I managed to keep my backpack under 6.5 kilos during my one-month backpacking trip in Southeast Asia, but of course, that doesn’t count my heavy messenger bag and extra bag with my Bangkok dollie shopping.

So how did I manage to pack relatively light? By not bringing so much stuff. Here are the contents of my bags:

Whats in my bag 01

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Preparation

Traveling in the midst of A(H1N1): Is it safe?

I’ve been back in Manila for exactly 8 days now, past the 7-day period to screen for flu-like symptoms. In those 8 days, I did not get a sore throat (even if my sister from Melbourne had a very sore throat and was coughing and spreading germs all over the place), nor did my temperature went past 38 degrees. After traveling through countries affected by the A(H1N1) flu virus in Southeast Asia for 38 days, I’m clean.

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Laos health questionnaire for incoming travelers

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Preparation, Wandering thoughts

Ways to save up for your dream holiday

Traveling is sadly, an expensive hobby. Unless you’re filthy rich, if you want to pursue this, you need to save up a lot of money to sustain this lifestyle. Though airfare has gone down dramatically over the years, and more budget-friendly transport and accommodation has sprung up, traveling can still take a chunk of your savings. Weekend trips can be as low as Php 2,000, but do it every weekend for a month, that adds up to Php 8,000 per month! The figure goes up dramatically if you plan on traveling overseas, and even more so if you plan to travel for a long time.

But as I, along with thousands of Filipinos who’s been bitten by the travel bug, it is possible, even on a third-world salary. Here’s some tips that I personally practiced to keep me traveling:
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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
Preparation

What’s in my bag?

The long weekend is upon us, and like most Filipinos, I am headed out of Manila. As much as I prefer to avoid traveling on a peak weekend, this is my last chance to hit the beach as summer ends. Inside Viktor: clothes, battery charger, SD card reader, sunblock, googles, toiletries, underwater case, medicine kit, hat, Envirosax bags.   I've…read more
Preparation

What’s in my bag?

Let's have another round of What's in My Bag, shall we?   I'm not taking Viktor today, but instead I'm breaking in the Columbia backpack I picked out last Wednesday. I'm looking forward to testing out the other Columbia items as well, like the hiking boots, the Omni-Dry shirt, the Titanium pants. Well, here's to hoping I actually make it…read more