Almost a month ago I wandered through Taiwan with three good old folks from college. It would’ve been my second overseas trip this year had I been granted a Japan visa last July. Getting rejected on my very first visa application turned out traumatizing that I had to read multiple blogs and consolidate all the requirements the authors stated for this trip. My pessimism even worsened when my friends started getting Australian, US, and Schengen visas. Fortunately, in the end, I was granted with my first (of many, hopefully). Listed below are the requirements I prepared. You can only guess which ones made the cut.
One of us has an Australian visa (let’s call him Aussie) while another has a US, making them exempts. They only needed to present a printout. Having said that, the remaining two of us decided to have Aussie process our applications in the hopes that filing as a group would increase our chances and simply because he’s the only one available on mornings. As it turned out, there wasn’t any need for such a letter at all.
Two recent 1.5″x2″ photos with white background (signed at the back)
Passport valid for at least six months
I included my old passport and photocopies of the bio page and all stamped pages of both passports but they were—you guessed that right—not deemed necessary.
PSA (NSO) birth certificate
Like the requirement for the Japan visa, it was stated that it should be a copy issued within the year. You can easily request one at e-Census. (Honestly, though, I didn’t find any indication on the copies that they were newly issued.)
And it’s the dreaded show money. As a rule of thumb, the amount should be good enough to keep you going throughout your stay overseas. I’d say it doesn’t necessarily have to reach six digits.
Certificate of employment
I had my income (hourly rate, in my case) and purpose indicated on it.
Payslips/invoices for the last six months
BIR Form 2316
Since I’m on a consultancy setup and not a “regular” employee, the forms I submitted were my 2307’s (Certificate of Creditable Tax Withheld at Source) for the last four quarters. I even included my 1901 (Application for Registration) and 2303 (Certificate of Registration) forms. All of them happily stayed in my brown envelope.
There are places you can book and cancel up to a particular date in Booking.com absolutely for free.
Photocopy of company ID
Proof of leave approval
We don’t have any HRIS to log and track leaves at work so what I submitted was a simple e-mail approval.
All original documents have their corresponding photocopies but only that of the PSA birth certificate was received, making a total of nine requirements submitted. It may have been a bit of an overkill with the documents but screw it, I was too terrified of another rejection. After all, requirements can vary from one applicant to another and it never hurts to come with more than just your war paint.
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines
41F, Tower 1, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, 1200 Metro Manila
Filing time: 08:45–11:45
Processing in 3 working days for the amount of 2,400 peyses (they also expedite for only a day)
Releasing time: 13:45–16:30
Updated on March 3, 2017: I have disabled commenting for this post as I have replicated it in Itinerant.
I was 26 when I started prefixing my number with an adjective, to describe what that year would be like. I find sense in it. Last year it was “wallowing”. Nasty-sounding, I know, but after reading its definition after being suggested by a friend, well, “I choose you!” happened. And that’s way before Pokémon GO. Since then, I’ve gone to places and did things month after month but never a single update in this good old hub of mine. About time.
April 2015: Celebrated my 27th by going out with different sets of friends and officemates on different nights. On the final night I was surprised to see all of them gathered at a Jollibee Kiddie Party for me. That. Was massive. 😯 And for that I owe you a lot! Capped off the night at The Butcher and Walkyrie.
May: Summer outing of my then company where on our way we were already drinking lambanog to our hearts’ content in the bus. During the socials there were two groups by the pool and one in the cabana. That was wild over there. ¶ Camped in Cagbalete with folks from my first workplace where at night while swimming we were invited by another group to join them. And that’s after we made a scandal of ourselves by singing 90’s boybands’ songs on top of our lungs.
June:Frolicked in Fortune Island. ¶ Revisited Enchanted River, Tinuy-an Falls, and Britania Islands with two good friends from college and one from high school. Couldn’t have been more chaotic.
July: Flew to Cebu to be with high school classmates (a first out-of-town involving flights for us) for the whale sharks, Tumalog Falls, and canyoneering. ¶ Flew to Iloilo the weekend right after Cebu for Siquijor, Apo Island, and Dumaguete with college friends. On short notice while serving a 30-day notice.
August: Iwahig Firefly Watching, El Nido, San Vicente Long Beach, Underground River, Honda Bay, and Puerto Princesa City tour in Palawan with college friends. The most jam-packed trip to date. Seven days DIY for ~10,000 PHP each!
September: First bottomless experience at Tides. Sulit na sulit. Some night for everyone that was.
October: Attended the overnight birthday celebration (and Batangas tour the following day) of one of our tourmates in Fortune Island, became a godfather and spent a ghastly night in Pangasinan, and wallowed at Walkyrie (with my Fortune Island mates) and Chaos. Did you notice the use of Oxford comma somewhere there?
November: Almost shouted “Itigil ang kasal!” at the wedding of a college classmate in Bacolod and experienced Prism in Smallville by flying in, once again, via Iloilo. Side tripped to Campuestohan Highland Resort and Mambukal Mountain Resort afterwards. ¶ Moalboal and canyoneering happened (yet again!) with the boys from my first workplace and ran amok at Liv in Cebu. :laugh:
December: Materialized in Guimaras, with the same boys less than a month prior, the morning after my current workplace’s Christmas party (which didn’t bring out the fun in me). And did I mention that a college friend tagged along? ¶ The Christmas party of our college batch didn’t just conclude after dinner but at Club Haze. ¶ Dropped by General Santos to meet a college friend working for ABS-CBN and scrambled nights at V, Pahayahay, and Xplore before going home for the holidays.
January: Found solitude in Puerto Galera after a planned trip to Borawan went astray only two days before the schedule. Dark times.
March: Hopped on the RORO to Caticlan and visited Malumpati Cold Spring and Malalison Island in Antique with a college classmate. Headed to Boracay thereafter (where we met up with another classmate) and joined PubCrawl for the second time.
And then I needed to select another adjective. But before that, there was the lovely Calaguas with my very first workmates for our annual summer getaway. Given its distance from the metro, it’s just not right to spend just a night there, which we didn’t do. As one of us also gets a year older on the same month, we did a double celebration a week later with other friends at Walkyrie. Such a long night. I’d consider attaching a GoPro to my head next time for me to watch everything and laugh at myself first thing in the morning. Two days before finally flipping another digit, I skydived in Bantayan and spent a memorable time in Cebu. 😎
July: First international trip of the year it would’ve been if I were granted a Japan visa. So I resorted to Tatlong Pulo in Guimaras and Anawangin in Zambales with college friends instead. It’s so cool they were around. 🙂
Like most people with itchy feet, most of my wanderings are born out of seat sales, so I guess I’m saved from being labeled as a spendthrift wanderlust. As of writing I’m currently in Palawan. My tickets, bought last year, only cost 485.62 PHP. Who could resist that, right? Well, my company last year. But not me. And I look forward to blogging about this trip.
I wouldn’t say I’m getting tired of going to places, and here are the cents I’ve picked up along the way up to this very day:
Plans can go haywire, with most of the group suddenly being unable to make it and then the entire trip crumbles. When planning, it could help to have a group chat with only those people who have something to say in it. Ditch those who just read and send thumbs-up signs. (Yes, there’s a bit bitterness there.)
Even just once, travel alone. Just you and your own two feet. It’s liberating.
Priorities change so eventually all your travel buddies will no longer be able to always go with you. Learn to accept that.
Your priorities will eventually change as well so be prepared for it, because what-ifs and if-onlys are such inglorious bastards.