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Japan, Travel, Visa

5D4N Japan Itinerary – Tokyo, Gunma, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara

Japan is such a beautiful country. If I would give an advice on where to go for your first trip abroad or your next trip abroad as a traveller, it would be either Thailand/Japan. I love Thailand because it’s cheap and the food are amazing. It would be a nice country to go to if you love adventure. If you are on the chill side and want to relax plus eat good food, it’s Japan.

At first, I didn’t think much of going there because I thought you can only get a visa if you have a family there or if you’re filthy rich. When I saw how my ex-boyfriend wanted to go to Japan to meet his mom, I did a lot of research on how to go there. Even if he had a family in Japan, of course, I had to apply individually for a tourist visa. I will blog how to get a Japan tourist visa soon but here’s my itinerary and expenses for a 5D4N trip to Tokyo and Gunma + 5D4N trip to Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara.

5 Days and 4 Nights Trip to Tokyo and Gunma, Japan

The first time that I went to Japan was last November 2016. Because I’m me, this blog is already one year late. However, I have photos and notes so I will try my best to remember where I went and all my expenses.

Pre-departure expenses:

Airfare via Jetstar – (MNL-NRT) P10,374.78 with 20kg luggage

Accommodation – P5,000 for Tokyo accommodation, P0.00 for Gunma accommodation (thanks to my ex’s mom! :D)

Pocket money – P20,000 for 5 days

5 Days and 4 Nights Trip to Tokyo and Gunma, Japan Itinerary

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NOTE: This was the itinerary that I presented to the Japan Embassy as a requirement. However, as a last minute decision, we decided to ditch Tokyo and spend the last 3 days in Gunma instead. Gunma is hands-down the most peaceful place in Japan. I wanted to live there! In Gunma, I went fruit-picking and also went to the nearby Nikko. It was surreal!

I also had the best yakitori and karaage in one of the hidden gems there.

Check out this amazing restaurant if ever you’ll find yourself in Gunma:
Yakitori Taikoban-Gunma
Address: 群馬県邑楽郡大泉町西小泉5-13-3
Ota-shi, Gunma 370-0517
Tel: +81 276-61-0077

All-in-all, I spent P30,000 for this 5D4N trip to Tokyo and Gunma. This also includes the pre-departure expenses + shopping + pasalubong. Not bad for a first-timer, huh?

Click next for my recent Japan trip itinerary!

Netherlands, Travel, Visa

Jack Goes to The Netherlands

Netherlands was the second country I’ve ever visited in my life aside from my home country which is the Philippines. The moment I arrived in Germany, I enjoyed some beer and currywurst then went to visit The Netherlands. It was drizzling and super cold but I cannot resist not to go there. First place in The Netherlands that I visited was in Maastricht. Very beautiful and calm.

Maastricht

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Roermond

A day after, I went on a shopping spree in Roermond, The Netherlands. Any designer brand that you could ever think of is there! Aside from that, almost everything’s on sale. You can get a decent Prada wallet for only PHP 5,000 – 10,000! I spent my whole month salary buying my family pasalubong. I love Roermond but it was dang cold!

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Keukenhof (Lisse)

Days after, I went to the Tulip Garden or the Garden of Europe. I’ve been looking forward to go here and finally, one of my dreams come true. The ticket costs 16EUR or almost 900 pesos to see the entire garden. Worth it but I wish, I visited this weeks later as the flowers have not yet come to its full bloom yet.

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Opinion, Personal, Travel, Visa

How to Make Visa Application and Traveling Cheaper

Traveling has been a very hot topic on social media. Everyone wants to go somewhere and travel. I can’t blame you – it’s addictive! Sometimes, I feel a lot of guilt with the money I’ve been spending on travel. My expense for my Eurotrip could be a downpayment for a car or a house and lot. However, those can wait. I’m not getting any younger and in the blink of an eye, I might already have my own family which will make traveling hard. So yup, travel, travel, and travel until I’m able.

Anyone can travel just as long as they have money. I don’t consider myself a special snowflake because I know that with enough budget, anyone can do it. It’s just that I’m blessed with a good job, an entrepreneurial mind, and guts which allowed me to earn money and to see the world.

I used to feel so uncomfortable disclosing how much I spent on my travel and visa application because I didn’t want to be judged. I know not everyone has the same traveling style so some might think that I spent an excessive amount or some might think that that’s too cheap and something sounds fishy. When people ask me how much I spent on my Eurotrip, I do not answer them with “I spent blah blah blah,” I would say “Prepare 350,000 to be on the safer side.” I didn’t want to share how much I spent because I didn’t want you to base how much you’ll bring based on my experience because unless you’re me, our expenses will be different.

However, please respect because my money is my money. I have worked hard for this and I can choose whatever way I’d want to spend it.

Anyway, to answer your question, here it is!

This year’s travel and visa application expenses

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Please note that all of these are just estimates. Especially with my Eurotrip, I estimated PHP 350,000 because that was the difference on my bank account before and after the trip. I’m just estimating how much I spent for this and that.

I don’t know about you but that’s cheap! I’ve been asked by a lot of people how I can afford to travel. Some even asked if I loaned in a bank or if I have a credit card. Fortunately, I only spend money that I have. I have PHP 0.00 debt in my life and that’s something that I am proud of.

I know a lot of people who spent a million on Europe for a month and PHP 60,000 on Thailand just for a few days!

So, how did I keep my traveling expenses and visa application at a minimum?

Click next!

U.S. EMBASSY MANILA TOURIST VISA INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE
Personal, Travel, Visa

US Tourist Visa Interview Experience Manila

My US Tourist Visa Interview Experience Manila

Once upon a time, it was my ultimate dream to go to New York City. All those high buildings, fancy streets, and that overall vibe. However, life happened; I matured and realized that there was more to life than NYC and what it is portrayed on the movies. I prioritized my European dream and worked hard to achieve it. Needless to say, my Eurotrip was the highlight of my whole existence. My USA fantasy went into the backburner but of course, I still want to have the option to visit it.

With all the horror stories I’ve heard from friends, families, and even on the Internet, I kept on delaying my plan to schedule an interview. They said that you need show money, land titles, cars, properties, businesses, and whatnots. The fact that I have just graduated a year ago, with less than 2 years in my current employer, single, no kids, and no properties, it was a risk to apply. Imagine PHP 7680 going down the drain in case I got denied? 

Because I’m me, I didn’t care; I just did it!

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You wouldn’t believe how many people told me that it’s super hard to get a US Visa and they also said that I should wait for a few years just to be sure. I don’t know but I’m that kind of person that I jump when it’s the scariest to jump. What’s to lose? I mean, yeah, the PHP 7680 but I can still earn that. I can reapply if ever I get denied so I have to do it.

The plot twist is: I have no ties there. I have my distant relatives but they’re first and second cousins of my mother and I doubt the consul will acknowledge that. All I have with me is my closest college friend and she’s the one I want to visit first. I asked for her permission to use her information in filling out the DS-160 form and she happily agreed. I LOVE YOU, ANNE!

US Visa Application Requirements

When I saw that they have an available interview on my preferred date, I immediately paid the visa fee via BPI Fund Transfer and waited 4 hours to activate the payment and confirm the interview date. I have less than a week from scheduling it to the actual interview and I didn’t do anything but secured the ff.:

  • Passport
  • DS-160 form
  • Appointment confirmation
  • Payment confirmation
  • Certificate of employment
  • Income tax return

That’s it! Remember what I told in my previous post that I have 150 pages of documents that I presented to the German Embassy? In US Embassy, it’s just that! The last two are not required but I brought it anyway just to be sure.

However, from the U.S. Embassy website, here are the things you should consider bringing:

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You can do the whole application yourself that’s why I am still wondering why there are people who pay for visa assistance. They do not guarantee approval, they’ll just do what you can do which is assisting you on what you should answer in the form – all of which you know yourself. It’s useless and a waste of money. If you can read and you’re not dumb, there’s no use of getting their service.

Now, on to my experience! Click next!