Archive for November, 2010

DIY: Chinese Visa application

If you want to: visit Beijing’s Forbidden City and the Great Wall, see the terracotta warriors of Xi’an,  play with the pandas in Chengdu, visit Tibet, enjoy the scenery of Guilin, or do some shopping in Guangzhou just to name a few, then China is the country to visit for you. :)

Guilin's Li River viewed on top of a karst mountain


You may download the visa application form here:

Go to:

  • World Center (2nd Flr), 330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City. Megaworld Bldg. Located in front of Mapua – Makati.  ;)

Office hours:

  • 9am-12nn but they open the embassy at 8am. There’s already a long queue by 7:30am.

Applying for a Chinese Visa is easy if you have all the requirements.

Category L

L/Tourist Visa Requirement for First-Timers (Filipinos):

  1. Passport. A photocopy of the first (bio) and last (with details of contact person in case of emergency) page. Also, passport must have blank pages and be valid for at least 6 months before expiration.
  2. Roundtrip plane ticket. If not coming back to the Philippines, must present an onward flight ticket.
  3. Hotel booking or letter of invitation (from friend or relative living in China)
  4. NBI Clearance. Original copy, valid for travel abroad.
  5. SSS ID or E-1. Photocopy. OR a static information or contributions info. May be a print out from SSS online
  6. TIN ID or ITR. Photocopy.
  7. Bank certificate. Should have at least 50k and not more than a week old. Bring the original receipt for the bank cert. To be safe, bring your bankbook too.
  8. Certificate of Employment AND a photocopy of your company ID.
  9. Accomplished visa application form (to be provided at the embassy, may be downloaded too) affixed with one passport-sized photo. Photo should be against a light background.

After submitting all the requirements, you will be given a pink slip which means you’ll be getting your visa in 4 days if you will not opt to have it rushed. Also, a single entry visa is usually given to first timers; a payment of 1400php is made on the day you’ll claim your visa/passport.

For more info Chinese visa application information:

APPLICATION FOR VISAS FOR MAINLAND OF CHINA

Hope this help guys!

(updated on January 21, 2011)

Related Posts:

First time in Mainland China

To Guilin by Train

Cruising the Li River

The Quaint Town of Xingping

Trekking a Karst Mountain

Arrival in Yangshuo

DIY: Trek Pinatubo for a day

The largest volcanic eruption that occurred in living memory was that of Mt. Pinatubo in June 1991. Its effect was felt worldwide; bringing down the global temperature by about 0.5 °C and with ashfall reaching countries like Cambodia, Malaysia & Vietnam.

An early eruption picture of Mt. Pinatubo


The eruption blasted the volcano’s summit and it is now replaced with a caldera that’s 2.5kms wide. Of which, a crater lake was formed. Initially, the lake was small, hot and highly acidic, with a minimum pH of 2 and a temperature of about 40 °C. Abundant rainfall cooled and diluted the lake, lowering the temperature to 26 °C and raising the pH to 5.5 by 2003.


For those of the adventurous spirit who would like to go to this historic & beautiful place…

Ride a bus going to Pangasinan, Baguio or Ilocos Provinces (Five Star Bus, Fariñas Transit, Victory Liner) or catch a direct bus to Tarlac and ask  to be dropped off at Capas Public Market. Fare is more or less P200.00 and travel time is around 3 hours.

From the market, catch a jeepney or tricycle to bring you to Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana where the Tourism Office and the base camp of Capas Pinatubo Four Wheelers Club Association are situated. You need to pay the environmental fee in the Tourism Office and rent a 4×4 here, they can assign one for you or you may contact any 4×4 driver you know in advance.

Alternatively, you may want to rent a van for a day for a less-hassle travel though you will still have to ride that 4×4 once you arrive in Capas. :)

The lake formed after the volcano's eruption

TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES, LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS,

KILL NOTHING BUT TIME

Expenses:

  • 3750php for 4wheeldrive capacity is 4 – 5 persons (max)
  • 500php tourist guide per 4wheeldrive
  • 50php conservation fee per head
  • 500php skyway toll fee per 4wheeldrive
  • *rates will be slightly different for foreigners

To summarize:

If you’re a group of 5,  you will spend a total of 5000php or 1000php/person. There are also optional relaxing packages like boat riding at 350php per head; massage, volcanic ash, mudpack at 500php per category good for one person.

Optional Expenses:

  • Shower fee – P20.00 at Baranggay Hall/P100.00 at Mt. Pinatubo Town Spa
  • Tent rental – P100.00 (if you’re planning on staying for the night)

Sample Itinerary:

03:00am – Departure for Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capaz, Tarlac

06:00am – Arrival at Tourism Office, Capaz, Tarlac for Registration

06:30am – 4×4 skyway ride to jump-off point

07:30am – Trek from jump-off point to crater

08:00am – Arrival at the crater, explore, photo ops

11:30nn – Lunch

01:30pm – Departure from crater to jump off point

02:00pm – Arrival at jump off point, 4 x 4 ride back to Tourism Office

03:00pm – Arrival at Tourism Office

05:00pm – Departure for Manila

Contact Info:

  • 4x4s: Wendell Mercado (president of the Wheeler’s Club) 0919 608 4313

Things to bring:

  • bring your own lunch (there are no restaurants on the crater)
  • camera (for souvenirs)
  • cap/ hat/ shades
  • sunblock
  • water/ drinks
  • swimwear
  • change of clothing (better to change at the Spa since you’ll just get covered by dust on the way back)

Have fun guys! Stay safe!!! :D

 

Related Post:

Trekking Pinatubo

Trekking Pinatubo

A friend suggested a grand entrance for my first blog entry. I asked him what he had in mind. He told me to post my first blog to coincide with my birthday so that it would be more dramatic. And here I am actually doing what he said!

Grand, dramatic, explosive… the one thing that comes to my mind is Mt. Pinatubo and the day trip I made there with 35 other people! :D


December 13, 2009

We had to be up and ready to leave very early in the morning (take that to mean as 3am). There were two assembly point for the group, one van’s in Southmall for those joining from the South (Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa) which will then proceed to the next stop, McDonald’s parking lot in Quezon Avenue, where 2 more vans were waiting. After some delays (waiting for some people/ last minute food shopping/ seating arrangement problems), the group then left for a 3-hour travel to Tarlac.

Before shot: people from all over (Philippines, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Taiwan) joining me in this trip

Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana is our first destination. This is the place where you will have to register at the Tourism Office and pay the required conservation/ environmental fee. The Capas Pinatubo Four Wheelers Association is also based here. The last part of your journey to reach the famed volcano is an hour long ride in rough terrain hence the need for the 4×4 wheels rental. One will be assigned to you on the spot or if you know any of the drivers, you may contact him in advance. We had to rent 7 of those coz there where 36 of us. They implement a strict-5 people per vehicle rule (we tried to convince them that we’d be needing only 6 coz to rent one more will add an additional 3750php to our expenses to no avail! hehe).

Are you guys having fun? :D

The ride will begin with at least 3 check point then it will take you over a vast land area that’s covered deep in lahar (lahar canyons), over streams, hills that were formed from the volcano’s eruption, and you will meet a small Aeta community along the way. It was a fun & scenic ride!

Traversing lahar canyons

At the jump off point is where the “trekking” will begin. I originally thought that it’s at least two hours of walking but since they want the volcano to be easily accessible to visitors, they’re creating paths to even shorten the current 20-minute trek! Where’s the fun in that guys?! ;)

What's your age? ;)

The most difficult part of that short walk for us “not active” people (yes, i’m avoiding the word sedentary here ^_^) was the climb up towards the volcano’s crater. The “fit” ones were still chatting away while the others were starting to catch their breaths. :D

Chris and Archie walking

Anyways, all the effort was worth it coz once you get to the top of that step, you’ll have your first glimpse of the Pinatubo Lake in all its rich aquamarine colors within the volcano’s caldera. The lake is huge! Mt. Pinatubo is within the borders of 3 province: Zamabales, Tarlac and Pampanga.

Pinatubo Crater Lake

The day was spent swimming (okay, so it was mostly wading in the waters for the non swimmers which is to say almost half of the group haha), cam whoring (!), eating (best to bring finger foods) and lazing around.You have to be careful if you’re not a good swimmer coz there’s a steep decline a few feet (5?) away from the edge of the water. Everyone’s reminded to be careful because the actual depth of the lake is yet to be measured.

Since we don't really swim, we'll take pictures instead!

Time passed quickly that soon it was time to pack up and leave. The ride back was the same but coz of the activities done, the roughness of the ride lulled a number of people to sleep which caused at least (I wasn’t sure how it was in the other cars) one to almost fall off the vehicle. hehehe

I can guarantee that you’ll arrive back at the Spa covered in dust (unless you wrapped yourself up in some shawl) that the best option after swimming in the lake and drying up is to just wait ’til you get to the spa before changing into your usual clothing coz you definitely need to shower after. ;)

After shot: CS Philippines Conquers Mt. Pinatubo

Related Post:

DIY: Trek Pinatubo for a day

testing the waters

Hi everyone! I’m Catherine, 24 years old (turning  a year older in a few days), a nurse and a definite travel enthusiast! I’m not much of a writer though but I’m giving blogging a shot. I guess it’s kinda inevitable for someone who has a passion like mine and who finds joy in sharing that love with others to not start something like this.  ;)

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