How to apply for a Korean Visa in Manila

•October 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment


korea visa1


korea visa2



korea visa3


korea visa4


korea visa5


korea visa6


korea visa7


korea visa8


korea visa9


korea visa10

Tips from my personal experience:

– Personal appearance is not required. I applied for myself and my parents (we have valid US visas), and my friend (she didn’t have a visa from any OECD country and a first time international traveler). I was given 2 numbers (one for window 3 and another for window 1). Window 3 is for applicants with OECD visas, while windows 1 & 2 are for applicants without previous travels or valid visas to any OECD member countries.

– No appointment is needed. The embassy opens up at 9am. I came at around 10am. The commute going there was longer than the time I was inside. I was finished in less than 15 minutes. The same thing happened when I picked up our visas at around 3pm.

– While my parents’ requirements were identical, I considered their application as separate. So, I prepared two sets of the same requirements for them. Their documents were under the name of my father, hence, I also attached a photocopy of their marriage certificates.

– Since I was travelling with my parents, I also included a photocopy of our birth certificates. This was not included in the requirement, but the Korean officer didn’t appear to mind.

– My US visa was in my old passport. I just attached the old passport to my new passport with paperclips. Do not forget to remove passport jackets or covers.

– Only submit photo copies of all important documents. Nevertheless, I had the originals on hand in case they are asked.

– When filling up the fields in the application form, do not leave anything black. Write “N.A.” or “Not Applicable” where appropriate. For your address in Korea, there are a lot of hostels that allow reservations without necessarily asking for deposits. Make your reservations and use their address and contact numbers.

– Visa fee is free for those staying in Korea for 59 days (or less).

  • 60 to 90 days stay in Korea – Php 1,350
  • More than 90 days stay in Korea – not applicable for tourist visa
  • Single Entry – Php 2,250
  • Multiple Entry – Php 3,600

– Apply close to your travel dates. 1 month before is a safe period.


Republic of Korea Embassy in the Philippines
122 Upper McKinley Road
McKinley Town Center
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634
Telephone number: +632-856-9210

The infographic is courtesy of GMA Network:

Must-Have Apps for your trip to Seoul, South Korea

•August 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment



If you are planning to visit Seoul, these free apps will definitely make your trip hassle-free.


1. Jihachul


– Especially useful for us, when we visited Seoul. Lucky for us, most of the tourist spots are along the area of a subway station. The extensive Seoul subway system proved to be easy to navigate, thanks to this app! It also helps that it does not need internet connectivity to operate. Just make sure your phone battery is charged up before you leave your hotel or hostel!

iPhone: Download Jihachul
Android: Download Jihachul


2. Seoul Bus


– Never got to use this app, because we heavily relied on the subway system. But it is still handy in case you end up in an area that is far from a subway station. The downside with this one, is that you need internet connection to access it.

iPhone: Download Seoul Bus
Android: Download Seoul Bus


3. iTour Seoul

itour seoul

– A nice app to read and scan before your actual trip and get to know the different tourist attractions that Seoul has to offer.

iPhone: Download iTour Seoul
Android: Download iTour Seoul


There are other apps available on the internet, but those listed above are the ones that were very helpful all throughout our trip. Very very helpful! Kudos to their developers and enjoy your trip!


Check this out for more apps.


Seoul Accommodation: Hotel Palace Namdaemun

•August 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment










– 3min walk to Hoehyun Subway Station & 10min walk to Namdaemun Market Airport Limousine Bus Stop
– cross the street & you are at Namdaemun Market (left side) & Myeongdong Shopping St. (right side)
– right across the street is Shinsegae Main Department Store, while Lotte Mall is just a short walk away
– plenty of restaurants in the area
– safe even at night

– while there is no free toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, & lotion), it is not a problem because everything is close by (there is a 7-11 & cvs convenience store nearby)
– complimentary wifi was fast
– hotel staff spoke & understood english
– a website and a working email address would be nice for guests wishing to book directly

– there is no cabinet but is okay for people who travel light. room is spacious enough.
– clean room & bathroom
– there is free hot/cold water dispenser near the elevator


Hotel Palace Namdaemun
92-6, 1-Ka, Hoehyun-dong, Chung-ku,
Seoul, Korea
Tel: (02) 777-7731
Fax: (02) 776-8759

5 nights = $361 (year 2014 rate)


How to get there:

By subway, head to Hoehyun Station (Lines 1 & 2) and depart from exit 1. Walk just a few feet towards the right.

If coming from the airport, take the Airport Limousine Bus (Bus 6015) from Incheon International Airport for 10000KRW/pax and get off at Namdaemun Market. Then take a cab going to the hotel (3-5000KRW). Drop off is walking distance to the hotel, but may be difficult to navigate for first timers with heavy luggage.




Print and present to taxi driver (in case you get lost):






Heart & Seoul

•June 29, 2014 • 2 Comments




We left Manila ready to get lost in the big city that is Seoul. Get lost, we did. But in the process of getting lost, we discovered something special – the kindness of its people, reaching out to help despite the language barrier.

On the tram at the airport when we arrived, a middle aged woman gave up her seat for one of my elderly parents. Outside the subway station on our first day, a man offered to take our photo. At the subway as I was checking the map before we head out, an old man talked to me. I didn‘t understand a word he said, but I recognized the sincerity in his smile and gesture.




The Korean War devastated most of Seoul, but the Koreans were fast to recover. They built modern skyscrapers, sleek highways, and developed advanced technology. It is mind-boggling to think that it wasn‘t 50 plus years ago that most of Seoul was flattened.






While technological innovation is an important part of their lifestyle, they also understand the significance of preserving their culture and tradition. It is a city where contemporary and ancient exists in harmonious balance. Often you see temples make an interesting contrast with the modern architecture that surrounds it.














We came for the temples, but we left with the kindness of its people and the faces of the cute little kids on our minds.






Suggested Itinerary for Seoul, South Korea (with DMZ)

•April 13, 2014 • 2 Comments


1. Cheonggyecheong Stream
Getting there:
– City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 4. Walk 250 m north to Cheonggye Plaza.

2. Deoksugung Palace
Getting there:
– City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 2.
– Go straight 100m to arrive at Daehanmun Gate on the right.
– 5 minutes walk from Cheongyecheon Stream

3. Sejong Center
Getting there:
– Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 1 or 8.
– City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1 or 2), Exit 3.
– Walk 10min towards Gwanghwamun Station.
– 10 minutes walk from Deoksugung

4. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Getting There:
– Gyeongbokgung Station (Subway Line 3), exit 5.
– Ganghwamun Station (Subway Line 5), exit 2 and walk 400 meters.
– Exit gwangwamun
– 5 minutes walk from Sejong Center

Admission Fee: Adults (ages 19-64) 3,000 won
Interpretation Services (1 hour):
* English: 11:00, 13:30, 15:30
Performance Times:
January 1-December 31 (Closed on Tuesdays)
10:00-15:00(6 times a day/on the hour)

5. Namdaemun Market
Getting There:
– Hoehyeon Station (Subway Line 4), Exit 5


1. Shinsegae Mall
Getting There:
– Hoehyeon Station (Subway Line 4), Exit 7.

– Mall opens at 1030am
– Food Garden at 10th Floor

2. Korean War Memorial
Getting There:
– Samgakji Station (Subway Lines 4, 6), Exit 12.
– It is 5min away from the station

Admission Fee:
– Free

– Closed on Mondays
– Opens at 9am

3. Bukchon Hanok Village
Getting There:
– Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2.
– Go straight for about 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village

Tip:- Drop by Tourist Information Center and get a copy of area map

4. Changdeokgung Palace
Getting there:
– Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 3.
– Go straight for 5min.
– Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3 or 5), Exit 7.
– Go straight along Donhwamun-ro Street for 10min.
– 10 minutes walk from Bukchon Hanok Village

5. Myeongdong Shopping Street
Gettting There:
– Myeong-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 5, 6, 7, or 8.
– Euljiro Il-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 5

Things to buy:
Cosmetics – watch out for freebies (note:30,000 up=tax refund)

Things to try:
a. Sausage
b. tteokboki roll
c. Dried squids
d. Egg muffin
e. Korean bread/pan cake


1. DMZ
– Book via a local tour agency

2. Lotte Mart
Getting there:
– Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2)
– Lotte Department Store (Main Branch) is directly connected to the station.

Things to buy:
a. scorched rice candy
b. tteokbokkic.
c. real brownie by orion
d. seaweed snacks
e. banana flavored milk by binggrae


1. Tapgol Park
Getting there:
– JJongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3, 5), Exit 1
– walk 5 minutes toward Jonggak.

2. Insa-dong / Ssamziegil mall
Getting there:
– Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
– Go 100m straight, then turn left
– Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 3.
– Go straight 300m, and turn left at the 4-way Intersection
– Go straight 100m, and take the left road towards Insadong-gil Road
– 5 minutes walk from Tapgol Park

– Starbucks is only branch in Korea where outside signage is written in hangul

3. Jogyesa Temple
Getting There:
– Jonggak Station (Subway Line 1), Exit 2.
– Go 70m forward, then cross the street.
– Go 100m more to arrive at a path to Jogyesa Temple.
– Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
– Go 50m forward, then cross the street in front of Dongduk Gallery.
– Go 50m more to arrive at a path to Jogyesa Temple.
– Gwanghwamun Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 2.
– Go 150m forward to arrive at a path to Jogyesa Temple between YTN Parking Tower and Hana Bank
– 5 minutes walk from Ssamziegil mall

4. Gwangjang Market – dinner
Getting there:
– Jongno 5-ga station (subway line 1), exit 8
– Eujiro 5-ga station (subway line 2,4), exit 4

– Best place to buy silk, fabrics
– Shops close at 6pm then food stalls open up
– 12,000 per meal (can be shared)

Things to try
a. Bindaetteok
– pancake made from ground mung beans with various meats and vegetables
– 4000-5,000 each
b. makgeolli (traditional Korean rice wine)
c. mayak gimbap, literally “drug gimbap,” bite-sized rice and dried seaweedrolls
d. Sundae, or Korean-style black pudding (made of pig’s intestines stuffed with cellophane noodles, barley and pork blood)
– 5-6,000 per serving
e. Tteokboki (chewy rice cake) and fish paste in seaweed soup


1. Bank of Korea Museum
Getting There:
– Namdaemun Market

Admission Fee:
– Free

2. Shinsegae Mall
Getting there:
– Hoehyeon Station (Subway Line 4), Exit 7

Additional Places to See:

1. Dongdaemun – shopping/ street food tripping
Zone 2 – recommended for shopping/ best to go after 10pm
Regular top – 20-30,000
APM mall and Migliore mall – cheaper clothes

Things to Try:
a. Giant sausage coated with fries
b. Oksusu Cha (roasted corn kernel tea)

2. Nami Island
Getting There:
a. BUS – recommended*
Shuttle Bus Schedule:
– Insa-dong, Jamsil Station → Namiseom Island: 09:30
– Namiseom Island → Insa-dong, Jamsil Station: 16:00*

Bus Stop:
1) Insa-dong (Jonggak Station, Subway Line 1, Exit 3): Next to Tapgol Park
2) Jamsil Station (Subway Line 2, Exit 4): In front of Lotte Mart
Round Trip:- 23000 won for round trip ticket + entrance visa to Nami Island + ferry ticket.
– 50 minutes from port to Gapyeong wharf

b. SUBWAY – too many transfers
– go to Sangbong Station (line no.7) and take Gyeongchun Line. It takes about 45 minutes to reach Gapyeong Station (1800 won one way).
– Get off at Gapyeong Station, take a taxi to Namiseom parking lot (travel time: 10-15min, 3000 won).
– Take the ferry from Namiseom Dock to Namiseom Island. (travel time: 5-6min)

3. Tongin Market
Getting there:
– From Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3) take exit 2 and contniue straight for about 700m. The market will be on your left.

NOTA BENE: This itinerary has been scheduled this way to accommodate my elderly parents’ physical limitations and interests.

Expenses for Seoul, Korea (2014)

•March 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Individual Expense Group of 4
Day 1
travel tax 1620
terminal fee 550
airport limo 10000
taxi to hotel 1250 5000/4
Day 2
T card 2500
T card load 10000
bfast at pomato 2000 4000/2
snack (korean pancake) 1167 3500/3
gyeongbokgung entrance 3000
late lunch at korean resto 3000 6000/2
ref magnet 2000
winter jacket 6000
bingrae banana drink 1200
Day 3
brunch at korean resto 4000 8000/2
pasalubong (daiso) 4500
bb cream 8900
cardigan 9000
dinner at outback 8800 17600/2
Day 4
DMZ tour 46000
late lunch at shinsegae 3750 7500/2
grocery at Lotte Mart 22470
Day 5
bfast at pomato 2750 5500
souvenir 16000
snack (sweet custard bread) 1000
taxi to gwangjang market 1000 4000/4
dinner at gwangjang market 3000 12000/4
Day 6
bfast at Shinsegae 4940 9900/2
tea 5500
taxi to airport 750 3000/4
airport limo (bus) 10000
RT airfare (no baggage) 6588.37 19765.11/3
hotel accommodation (5 nights) 4058.72 16234.85/4
TOTAL PhP10647.09
TOTAL (without airfare & hotel)  PhP2170 + KRW195477 (PhP8171) =   PhP10341
TOTAL EXPENSES PhP20988  (KRW1=PhP0.0418)

Visual Adventure: Siem Reap

•May 18, 2013 • 4 Comments





Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat






Ta Phrom


Ta Phrom






Banteay Srey


Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat



Suggested Itinerary for Siem Reap, Cambodia

•March 24, 2013 • 3 Comments


Day 1


745pm – flight to Siem Reap (3 hours)
930pm – arrive Siem Reap (Siem Reap is 1 hour behind of Manila)
1045pm – check-in at hotel


Day 2 (Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom)


7am – bfast
8am – off to Angkor Wat
815am – buy Angkor Pass
825am – arrive at Angkor Wat
-Angkor Wat
11am – lunch


12nn – head to Angkor Thom
1215pm – arrive at Angkor Thom
– South Gate
– Bayon
– Baphoun
– Terrace of the Elephants
– Terrace of the Leper King
– Royal Palace/Phimeanakas
– Ta Phrom

430pm – head back to hotel
6pm – Dinner buffet & Apsara Show


Day 3 (City Tour)


715am – bfast
8am – off to Tonle Sap Lake
9am – arrive at Tonle Sap Dock
Chong Kneas Floating Village
11am – lunch at Pub St.


1pm – explore Angkor National Museum
4pm – checkout local supermarket
430pm – ice cream break at Swensen
530pm – souvenir & pasalubong (gifts) shopping at Old Market


Day 4 (Rolous Group)


715am – bfast
8am – tour Rolous Group
– Lo Lei
– Bakong
– Preah Ko
– Banteay Samre


1230pm – lunch
130pm – continue with temple hopping
Banteay Srey
330pm – drop by Landmine Museum
4pm – head to Pre Rup for sunset
420pm – wait for sunset
530pm – sunset
7pm – dinner
9pm – souvenir shopping at Old Market


Day 5 (Grand Circuit)


5am – off to Angkor Wat for sunrise
520am – wait for sunrise
6am – sunrise
730am – more temples!
– Preak Khan
– Neak Phean
– Tasom
– Bantay Kdei
11am – head back to Siem Reap
1122am – stop by hotel
12nn – lunch


2pm – rest at hotel/late checkout
7pm – head to airport
10pm – flight to Manila


Day 6


2am – arrive at Manila (Manila is 1 hour ahead of Siem Reap)


NOTA BENE: This itinerary has been scheduled this way to accommodate my elderly parents’ physical limitations and to minimize temple fatigue.




Expenses for Siem Reap, Cambodia (2012)

•March 16, 2013 • Leave a Comment
    Individual Expense Group of 3
Day 1      
  taxi to airport 160  
  dinner 132.53 397.59
  travel tax 1620  
  terminal fee 550  
  TOTAL P2462.53  
Day 2      
  Angkor Pass 40 120
  lunch 6 16.75
  apsara dinner buffet 12  
  tuktuk 4 13
  tuktuk tip 0.33 1
  TOTAL $62.33  
Day 3      
  Tonle Sap boat 20  
  boat driver tip 1.67 5
  guide tip 1.67 5
  lunch 10.42 31.25
  Angkor National Musuem Entrance Fee 12  
  scarf (2 pcs) 3  
  keychains for pasalubong (18 pcs) 9  
  swensen ice cream 1.5  
  tuktuk 4.33 13
  TOTAL $63.59  
Day 4      
  lunch 8.17 24.5
  dinner 8.33 25
  magnet (5 pcs) 3  
  Landmine Museum Entrance Fee 3  
  tuktuk 8.67 26
  tuktuk tip 0.33 1
  tuktuk tip to night market 0.33 1
  TOTAL $31.83  
Day 5      
  tuktuk 6 18
  lunch 6.84 20.5
  hotel (4 nights) 30 120
  tuktuk tip to airport 0.33 1
  TOTAL $43.17  
  RT Airfare (no baggage) P3504.55 P10513.65
  TOTAL (without airfare) P2462.53 + $200.92  
  TOTAL EXPENSE P5967.08 + $200.92 =   P14,204.08 ($1=P41)

Suggested Itinerary for Jakarta, Indonesia

•July 19, 2012 • 3 Comments


Day 1

755pm – flight to Jakarta (4 hours)


Day 2 (Jakarta)

1155am – arrive at Jakarta (Jakarta is 1 hour behind of Manila)
115am – taxi to hotel
155am – arrive at hotel
7am – bfast
8am – busway to Monumen Selamat Datang
845am – photo op at Monumen Selamat Datang
850am – taxi to Sarinah Shopping Mall
9am – exchange peso for rupiah, souvenir shopping, buy lunch
11am – taxi to Monas
1110am – buy admission ticket/s, lunch, wait in line

1252pm – start tour
220pm – walk toward the direction of Musueum Nasional
235pm – tour of Musueum Nasional
405pm – walk toward the direction of
418pm – photo op in front of  Istana Merdeka (Presidential Palace)
430pm – taxi to Old Town
445pm – arrive Old Town
450pm – street food trip
5pm – dinner
645pm – bargain shopping
720pm – taxi to Komplek Rasuna Epicentrum
810pm – malling
845pm – back to the hotel


Day 3 (Taman Mini)

8am – bfast
9am – busway to Taman Mini
930am – arrive Taman Mini
1140am – lunch

310pm – Mini Nonumen Selamat Datang
420pm – busway back to downtown
6pm – dinner
642pm – walk back to the hotel
8pm – freshen up
9pm – taxi to airport
945pm – arrive at airport


Day 4

1225am – flight to Manila (4 hours)
525am – arrive at Manila (Manila is 1 hour ahead of Jakarta)



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