6/29/2016

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CEBU PACIFIC takes young adventurers on an epic ride in JUAN FOR FUN 2016 #JuanForFun2016






Endless escapades, boundless discoveries and a whole lot of fun - this is what travelling around the Philippines is all about. Cebu Pacific showcased all these and more in the Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge, which recently concluded its fifth and biggest year.




For seven straight days, five teams from different universities nationwide traveled to exotic locales and conquered as many awesome adventures that the country has to offer within their given travel allowance worth Php 35,000.00. By the end of the challenge, #JFFJUANTeamPh was hailed as this year's Ultimate Backpacker and received the most epic price - a Travel-All-You-Can-Pass. This entitles each member to as many free flights to domestic and international short haul destinations as they want within one year. They also got to take home gift certificates from Cebu Pacific's partner brands: Tripologie travel store, Merrel Shoes, and Boreas Travel Bags.


Hailing from Bacolod, #JFFJuanTeamPH kicked things off in Ilo-Ilo, before making their way to Cagayan De Oro, Cebu, Surigao, and Butuan. For their final stop, they paid a visit to the majestic Mt. Mayon in Legazpi, Albay. Teammates Glenn Layola, Audrey Ramos, and John Ray Blance, students of La Salle Bacolod, were guided by their adventure coach, TV host and VJ Robi Domingo.


Brendan Tangan, Linus Pagulayan, and Cherson Bariuan of St. Paul University Philippines are #JFFTeamPablo. They were welcomed by the pristine waters of Coron and Camiguin, and were wowed by the natural beauty of Ilo-Ilo and Cebu. With their adventure coach Saab Magalona given them expert tips, the team was able to enjoy their adventures to the hilt. 


To say that Marie Tuason, Karlo Carranza, and Samantha Rice of #JFFTeamPura had fun would be an understatement, especially with their itinerary covering Bohol, Cebu, Dumaguete, Siargao, Ilo-Ilo, and Davao. Matching their boundless energy was their adventure coach, Bogart The Explorer.


#JFFTeamTag's Tricia Quintero, April Baldovino, and Gian Nicdao of University of the Philippines - Manila hit four of the country's top tourist spots: Boracay, Cebu, Ilo-Ilo, and Puerto Princesa, Palawannnnn. Helping them make the most out of their time in these destinations was their adventure coach, musician Champ Lui Pio. 


True to their team name, #JFFTeamWork, Serge Calumpong, April Nacion, and Jayson Presores leveraged on their years of friendship to conquer Laoag, Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao. Their adventure coach, travel writer Jude Bacalso, also made sure that the team succeeded and made unforgettable memories in each stop. 

The Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge 2016 has Boreas Gear as the official Travel Gear, Merrel as the official footwear, and GoPro as the official Camera. The challenge is also supported by Wenger and Dan's, and endorsed by the Department of Tourism and Commission on Higher Education. 

Get going and explore more of the Philippines with Cebu Pacific. Revisit the adventures of the Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge 2016 by visit www.JuanForFun.com

For bookings and information on a new and exciting programs, follow Cebu Pacific's official Facebook and Twitter ( @CebuPacificAir ) pages.

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6/27/2016

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New 555 Tuna Rice for delicious tuna and rice meals Ka-Eat saan, Ka-Eat kailan!






  
Do you always feel hungry when you're traveling? Always craving for rice and ulam meals with that delicious and filling home-cooked taste to give you the energy for all that walking, sight-seeing, and exploring  when you're on the go?


Now, you can bring your favorite rice meals anytime, anywhere as  Century Pacific Food, Inc., one of the leading food manufacturing companies in the country today,  introduces a deliciously innovative addition to its popular 555 Tuna product line: 555 Tuna Rice!

This exciting new 555 Tuna category was conceived for individuals who may not have the time to cook or prepare meals but would like to enjoy the goodness of lutong bahay dishes at home or on the go. As it already combines ulam and rice in one extra convenient foil pouch, the first of its kind in the market, consumers are sure to enjoy a true kumpleTUNA experience anytime and everywhere, living up to its promise of ‘Ka-Eat saan, Sarap!’

“The new 555 Tuna Rice remains true to what 555 Tuna is known for—delicious, home-cooked ulam at affordable prices. But this time, we are bringing more to the table—all your favorite dishes complete with rice in one convenient pack so you can have a delicious, filling rice meal anytime, anywhere!” says Greg Banzon, VP and General Manager of Century Pacific Food, Inc. “With the new 555 Tuna Rice,  everyone can now enjoy the healthfulness of tuna and rice, with the goodness of home cooking, all in an easy-to-open, easy-to-carry pack”.


555 Tuna comes in a unique, stand-up foil pouch designed in such a way to allow for space-saving storage in the pantry as well as for ease in bringing it with you wherever you go. While it is easy to open, it is also durable enough, allowing for better preservation of food and flavors.

Just picture yourself during your daily commute when you're in a rush but want to have a quick and satisfying meal while in transit. Or at lunch in school or at work, where you can eat straight from the pack or heat the contents in a bowl in the microwave.



And who better to show how flavorful and convenient 555 Tuna Rice than the sensational Bogart the Explorer, what with his many fun, hilarious, capers! Wherever his adventures take him, he’s sure to have a pack of 555 Tuna Rice ready when hunger strikes! Watch out as Bogart the Explorer shares his latest adventures online and in billboards and banners, bringing with him the different 555 Tuna Rice variants to make his exploits more fun, energetic, and deliciously interesting!






555 Tuna Rice comes in these delicious varieties: Tuna Rice Afritada, Tuna Rice Adobo, and Tuna Rice Sisig, each one capturing the essence and flavours of real home cooking. And with a suggested retail price of Php 27.50, you are assured of real value for money that’s easy on the budget.

555 Tuna Rice is available in all leading supermarkets and grocery stores in Luzon. 


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FETE DELA MUSIQUE 2016 - A Celebration of the Best that Philippine Music has to Offer

Fete Dela Musique - known as World Music Day is an annual music festival that is being held all over the world. This festival started in Paris in 1982 by the French Culture Minister, Jack Lang, and has now became a celebration of music world wide. 

On it's 22nd year here in Manila, the last day of the festival was held in a very historical location inside Intramuros which is called Puerta Real Gardens.  This is a very famous venue for outdoor weddings and other activities, just like Fete Dela Musique. 

Alliance Francaise de Manille, Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines, Embassy of France to the Philippines, in partnership with B-Side production organized a simultaneous 2 days ( June 18 and 23 ) music festival that highlights the Original Pilipino Music (OPM) in different pocket venues around Makati last June 18 and Intramuros last June 23. 


I was invited by the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines to attend the 2nd day of the Festival which was held at Puerta Real Gardens in Intramuros. It was an exciting moment for me as this was my first time to attend a music festival and first time to listen to live Filipino bands' performances. 



The program started from 4:00 pm onwards.  It had been overcast the whole day but luckily, weather got better later in the day. Since Intramuros is surrounded by different colleges, hotels, and offices;  students, tourists, and other people from all walks of life came in to support the event and cheer for their favorite local bands.



In addition,  I was very excited to see the performances of some of the finest and emerging Filipino bands such as Square One, Banna Harbera, Hoochie Coochie Mikkie, Absulte Play, Save Me Hollywood, Jensen & the Flips, Yolanda Moon, Giniling Festival and Up Dharma Down to cap the evening.

I saw these kids on Youtube and they were really good and I couldn't believe I would see them performing live. They were amazing and I see a great future for Square One!



Another emerging band performing was the Giniling Festival. I like their music and how they relate their songs to different social trends and issues of the country. Aside from that, it is no doubt that they are one of the most humorous bands I've seen. They are so cool and funny! 


Another band that really is getting a lot attention is Jensen and the Flips. His soulful voice and their genre of music really captivated the heart of the people. They are that good! I am a new fan! 



The whole ambiance was just chill during Fete Dele Musique. You can just see the people were just having having a great time. And most of all, you could feel that there was a great appreciation of the Original Pilipino Music (OPM). I am one of them!




Aside from listening to good Filipino music during the festival, Magners Irish Ciders was there to add more fun to the festival. Their ciders come in different flavors and berry flavor is my personal favorite. 

Together with the Tourism Promotion Board of the Philippines Joma and Abigail, I was also joined by fellow bloggers Sabu, Jerny, Ed who were having a ball at Fete Dela Musique. 



One of the most awaited bands to perform that evening was UP DHARMA DOWN. With their famous hit single TADHANA, they are now considered as one of the best bands in the Philippines. 

I was very privileged to be able to have a picture taken with them along with other bloggers back stage before their performance. 


People stood up from their seats and started cheering when they saw Up Dharma Down on stage. Even foreign tourists were seen dancing and loving their music. 


Up Dharma Down performed their famous songs and of course the "Tadhana" song which was my personal favorite (Because I can relate to it!). They really know how to put up a show with their great music. And they are just one of the many reasons why I always love Original Pilipino Music (OPM). Worth watching!


It was a fun filled evening with great music and great people.  I cannot wait for next year's event!


I would personally like to thank Alliance Francaise de Manille, Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines for the invitation, and Embassy of France to the Philippines for showcasing the talent of the Filipinos through music with French ideals of liberty, equality and brotherhood as the primary aim of the event. 

A good reminder of the rich culture of the Filipinos through music and why IT'S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES! 




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6/26/2016

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UK VISA - Requirments and Application Process for Filipino Passport Holders




Hi everyone! So we recently applied for a UK Visa and fortunately, we were able to receive it in 3 working days which I thought was amazing. I would like to share with you the process when applying for a UK Visa. It was not easy but once you have all the documents, there shouldn't be any problem. 

People may have their own way in processing their visa, but here's what we did and hope this could help or at least give you an idea about processing a UK Visa in the Philippines via VFS. 

Let me me make it clear that VFS is just for receiving documents. The granting of a VISA still depends on the decision of the British Embassy. So make sure to provide the complete  set of supporting documents. 


Step 1:  Visit this site and REGISTER an account. Complete the necessary information and once registered, it will take you to the APPLICATION FORM. Once done, it will direct you to make an APPOINTMENT. 

Visa4Uk will also direct you to VFS Manila for booking an appointment. You may use either, but for us, we decided to try VISA4UK.

https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/home/welcome

You may also visit    VFS GLOBAL UK  




Please check that the information you provided is correct as you cannot edit it again once submitted. 

Prepare to answer some questions in the application form such as these: 

>  PLEASE ENTER DETAILS OF WHAT YOU PLAN TO DO WHILST IN THE UK

> If you have sponsor:  PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY THEY ARE PAYING TOWARDS THE COST OF YOUR TRIP?

> IS THERE ANY OTHER INFORMATION YOU WISH TO BE CONSIDERED AS PART OF YOUR APPLICATION? 

Step 2: GATHER ALL THE SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS - With this, I would like to share with you our cover letter during our application. Hope this helps!

A.  Please print the application form and do not forget the photo requirements indicated in the form. 

B. You need to provide your flight bookings. In our case, we already bought the tickets through Qatar Airways.  

C. Provide bank certificates and statements for six months. I got mine at BPI which cost Php 100.00 and statements are free. Metrobank would take 1 day to get the bank certificate. This is very important! 

D. We indicated our total budget for our trip. So we included our payroll slips in the application and other sources of funds. 

E. You need to request for a CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT and LEAVE OF ABSENCE to prove that you are coming back to the Philippines. 

F. We also provided an itinerary in the UK and also provided the print-out of our booked accommodation.



G. Since we are travelling with our friends from the UK, it is also very important that you ask them for an invitation letter. If they are your sponsor, ask for their certified bank details as well to prove they can host you in the UK. 

H. If married, provide your marriage certificate.



STEP 3: SUBMISSION OF REQUIREMENTS AT VFS MANILA  

We booked very early and decided to use their premium lounge service at an extra cost. The Premium lounge service fee is PHP 2,625 for each visa. 

And since we wanted our application to be processed early for my passport renewal and Schengen visa, we decided to try the PRIORITY PROCESSING SERVICE which cost an additional PHP 10,800.00 for each applicant. But what is so good about this, is that your visa will be processed within 3-5 working days! VFS doesn't accept credit cards yet though.  

Once at the lounge, the staff were very friendly and accommodating. They would really make sure that you have the requirements ready. If you are missing any documents, there are printing and photocopy services in the main lobby. That was very convenient. 

UK VFS Application Centre

VFS Services Philippines Private Inc.

6th Floor Eco Plaza Building

Unit 606

Pasong Tamo Extension

Makati City, Manila

Philippines

Telephone: 1-909-885-VISA (8472) – (For PLDT and Smart Subscribers) / 1-903-VISAUK or 1-903-847285 – (For Bayantel)


STEP 4: WAIT 3-5 WORKING DAYS AND CHECK VFS NOTIFICATIONS!

WE handed in our application in the morning, and that afternoon on the same day, we received sms message from VFS that our application was forwarded and being processed. The very next day, we received a text that the THE PROCESSED VISA APPLICATION WAS RECIEVED ON ..



We had no idea what that meant, does this mean that we got the visa? It just made us more worried but we were claiming that we will receive that UK Visa since we provided all the necessary information.

 And after 3 days, we finally got our VISA! So I am definitely going to the UK! Again!









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6/24/2016

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SCHENGEN VISA - Requirements and Application Process via the French Embassy in Manila



For our European dream trip to happen this July 2016, we had to apply for a Schengen Visa.

The Schengen area includes the following European Union countries and other Schengen states. Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

So if you are planning to visit any of these countries or states, then you need to get a SCHENGEN VISA. 


How to know which country to apply for a SCHENGEN VISA? 


A. If the applicant wants to visit several Schengen countries, the application for visa should be submitted to the Embassy or Consulate of the country in which the longest staying period is planned or is proven to be the main destination for the whole journey.

B. If the applicant intends to visit several Schengen countries and stay everywhere more or less the same time, having no main destination, than the application for visa shall be submitted at the Embassy or Consulate of the Schengen country of first port of entry. 

Source: http://www.mfa.gov.hu/kulkepviselet/Pristina/en/en_konzuli_info/Basic+rules+for+schengen+visa.htm



Since we are staying for 8 days in France and  in other European countries for less than 8 days, we submitted our our application at the French Embassy via VFS Global Manila.

Here are the requirements that you need to provide when applying for a Schengen Visa: 



NOTES TO REMEMBER: 

1. You need to download and complete the application form. You can download a PDF file here. Just click this link:  APPLICATION FORM

2. Provide a passport with at least 3 MONTHS VALIDITY after your intended departure from the Schengen area and PHOTOCOPIES of valid and expired visas and pages with stamps. 

3. A COVER LETTER is very important and you should provide your day to day ITINERARY during your short stay in Europe. 

4. PROOF OF ACCOMODATION: What we did here was we printed all our online bookings and reservations and arranged them in order.

5. Just like applying for any other types of visas, a round trip ticket airline reservation is required. We basically bought ours ahead of time though. (Claiming things will go as planned!)

6. If you are being hosted or have a family in France, then they must provide an invitation letter and supporting documents like BANK CERTIFICATES AND STATEMENTS to prove that they are responsible for your financial requirements during your stay in France. (Whatever they can provide to prove that they can accommodate you financially, include them in your application)

7. CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT is a must and make sure to provide a LEAVE OF ABSENCE form or letter from your employer. (Thank God, I was given leave!)

8. Income Tax Return. I provided them with my 2015 income tax return. You can ask your employer for an original copy.  (I don’t know why they still ask for this, but I was too scared to get denied!)

9. BANK CERTIFICATE and BANK STATEMENTS for at least 3 months must also be provided. It normally takes an hour to get if you are going to BPI. Bank Certificate costs Php 100.00 and statements are free!

10. For minors and students, please refer to the image. (Sorry, this doesn’t apply in our application. Lol… )

11. If you are married or civil partners, you must provide a copy of your marriage certificate and a copy of your birth certificate.

12. This is also very important, INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL INSURANCE must be obtained and be part of your application. You can purchase this online at a fairly reasonable cost or you can purchase it at VFS Manila too!  Please ensure that the insurance company is Schengen approved.  

(Make sure that you have originals as well as a complete set of copies.)

13. And of course, lastly, do not forget to pay the VISA FEE of 60.00 Euros. In pesos that is around Php 3000.00 plus!

DAY OF OUR APPLICATION ( June 20, 2016): 

When you apply for your appointment, make sure to go to VFS Website: http://www.vfsglobal.com/france/philippines/index.html and book your appointment there.

But since we were in a rush, WALK-IN IS ALLOWED as long as you are going to avail of their PREMIUM LOUNGE.  That is an additional of Php 2000.00 per applicant but worth it to save a few days of anxious waiting.

We arrived as early as possible at VFS - Manila as their offices open at 7AM.

VFS Global Office Address:
France Visa Application Centre,
Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg.,
Don Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati City
1231 Philippines

Phone Number: +63 2 790 4903
 

We walked in and indicated at the front desk that we wanted to avail of the Premium Lounge. We were assisted by the very friendly staff at VFS Manila - France and she checked all our documents to make sure we had all the documents before they give it to the French Embassy. That was so nice and convenient actually!

When you avail of the Premium Lounge you will also be given snacks while waiting for your BIOMETRICS. This was the last part of our application, they will take a picture and finger prints during this process. Afterwards, they will give you your receipt and a copy of the Biometrics.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE VISA PROCESSING? 

 2 – 5 Working Days

CAN YOU CHECK THE STATUS OF YOUR APPLICATION?

YES, at the back of your receipt, there is a sticker with a tracking number.  You can check the progress  of your application here : http://www.vfsglobal.com/france/philippines/track_application.html

WHEN DID WE RECEIVE OUR VISA?

JUNE 23, 2016 Total of 3 working days!

HOW TO GET YOUR VISA? 

You either get it via courier which would take up to 48 hours or you can claim it personally at VFS Manila from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm.


But we were too anxious and we couldn’t wait any longer so we decided to claim ours at VFS and in GOD’S GLORY, there is a SCHENGEN VISA sticker in our passports!







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6/15/2016

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Layag-Layag Beach - An Ideal Beach Camp Destination 4 Hours Away from Manila!


During my previous hike to Mt. Pico De Loro, I was able to speak to a guide that helped us climb up to the summit of that mountain. He told me that there is a beautiful beach called Layag-Layag that is free and very accessible from Manila. I immediately searched for that beach and when I saw how pretty it looked on the internet, I immediately scheduled a beach camp with my friends. 

From Buendia, it took them over 3 hours to get to the town of Nasugbu. If you have a private vehicle, you can try a faster route via Ternate - Kaybiang Tunnel - Barangay Papaya. 

We decided to stop at a fast food outlet for breakfast and bought some more food to take to the beach as Layag-Layag is an uninhabited beach so we had to carry all the essentials with us to the beach. 

From there, we hired a tricycle to Barangay Papaya which took us around 30 minutes from Nasugbu Town. 


From there, we met our guide or should I say my contact person to Layag-Layag beach. Kuya Casiano is a resident of Barangay Papaya and organized everything and provided us with cooler, drinking water, ice, and much more. 

His boat took us to Layag Layag beach for Php 150.00 both ways. For those who are driving, there is also a secure parking lot for 100.00 / night. It was an exciting 15 minute journey to the beach and we were blessed with a great weather. 




Layag-Layag Beach is located in Barangay, Papaya in Nasugbu, Batangas. It is a beach cove where tourists can visit for a day or even camp out for a night. As we were getting closer and closer to Layag-Layag beach, we were getting more and more excited for our beach camp. 

Since this was my first time to camp, I was expecting this to be a challenging yet very fun camp with friends. Layag-Layag Beach doesn't have any toilets nor any drinking water. So as mentioned a while ago, we brought everything with us to the beach. 


After pitching our tent, we decided to walk around the beach and just appreciate the beautiful landscape of Layag-Layag. Since the beach is FREE of charge, expect a lot of visitors during weekends. That is why it's better to get in touch with Kuya Casiano, so he could prepare everything for you ahead of time. 



You can swim anywhere around Layag-Layag. Just make sure you wear your slippers or any type of wet shoes when swimming to protect you from rocks and sea urchins. The water was clear and warm which was so nice. 



This side of Layag-Layag was so picturesque and my favorite spot to sun bathe. 


Out of interest, we invited some of our Instagram friends whom we know are adventurous enough to join our craziness. We all introduced ourselves and got to know each other more. And as time goes by, we became more closer and more comfortable with each other. 

From Left - Right ( IG ID) :
@iamjamescandelaria , @i.am.pusangkalye , @verunner16 , @michaelfranks , @jubatz, @simplymeglenn


Later in the afternoon, it was time for us to prepare for our dinner. We basically just bought fish, pork, rice, and other seasoning for dinner. For breakfast, we had coffee, bread, eggs, sausages, luncheon meats, and rice. 



Sunset was fast approaching so we decided to swim and catch the afternoon sun and later chill on the beach while waiting for the sun to go down. I found that very special! 




There is no electricity on the beach, so make sure you bring your LED lamps or torches with you. I brought candles and mosquito coils too to repel any insects bugging us that night. 


The next morning, I decided to walk around specially on the edge of the beach where you could take nice photos of Layag-Layag beach and the nearby beaches and resorts like Hamilo Coast. 



On the other side of this rock, you will find a nice private cove that is crystal clear and less rocky. I love this part of Layag- Layag! 


If you feel more adventurous, you can even try cliff jumping. A fun way to end your Layag-Layag adventure! 


Our beach camp at Layag-Layag Beach was really fun and memorable. I also couldn't believe that this was only 4 hours away from Manila. And the most important thing was the beach was FREE! What else could you ask for! 

Note: Though not visible on the pictures, one thing we observed when we arrived was the amount of trash on the beach coast which we believed was left behind by the campers. I talked to Kuya Casiano and they said that they clean the beach themselves and with the locals during weekdays. More measures need to be put in place and I hope they do it soon. It's a beautiful beach but the amount of trash can be off putting to other tourists. 


Layag- Layag Beach is going to be a famous beach. With the little amount of money needed for this adventure, I see backpackers and beach goers would definitely schedule their visit in the coming weeks to explore this beach. Let us always remember to be responsible specially with the trash and don't forget to have fun! 


Our Contact Person: Kuya CASIANO 
Mobile Number: 09398638839

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