Browsing Tag

europe

WEEKONE
Germany, Netherlands, Personal, Travel

Week One in Europe

It’s been ten days since I arrived here and I think I am doing very good as a tourist. I planned to put “Week One in Germany” as the title but I’ve also been to Netherlands in less than two weeks of my trip. I feel so blessed, you have no idea! Never in my life have I imagined that I can live like this and I’m just this young. I know! I keep on rubbing it in my personal account how I feel proud of myself of achieving this.

Last night, I dreamt that my sister’s waking me up and I am crying asking her to stop shaking and waking me because I’m still dreaming that I was in Europe. I woke up today with tears in my eyes and I cried again because it’s not a dream. I am so happy here but of course, I have to accept the fact that I have to go back in the Philippines when my visa expired. I also have to accept that it will take a while for me to go back here again – I’m thinking maybe after 5 years? However, I don’t want to think about leaving too much and just enjoy every moment.

Anyway, I’m writing a recap of how my first week in Europe went.

March 31, 2016 – Day One

My flight from MNL-HKG is at 5:50 PM so my mom, dad, and brother drove me to the airport around 1:30 in the afternoon. I bid my goodbye and went to the immigration where a lady in front of me around my age went crying because I think she was offloaded. I’m not really sure but she was crying and the security escorted her. The immigration officers were really intimidating but because I’m me, I am always graceful under any circumstance LOL. We even laughed together because we both can’t pronounce a city in Germany I’m planning to go to. Anyway, I felt bad for the lady because we talked before all that fiasco happened. She told me she saved up for her Hong Kong trip and she was looking forward to it. I really hope she’s okay.

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I’m really glad that all of my flights weren’t delayed. I didn’t take pictures of what I ate in my MNL-HKG flight but it’s just some caldereta wrap which tasted like paper, a cookie which was okay, and an uber sweet juice.

My Lufthansa flights from HKG-FRA and FRA-DUS however were the best! I’ve been told that I boarded the largest aircraft in the world for my HKG-FRA flight. I didn’t get a chance to sleep because the Chinese couple besides me kept on peeing. LOL. The flight seemed like forever!!!12959515_1091088154276232_1537443540_o

For my snack, I had this really good nut and pretzel called “Cloud Hoppers.” I think I had 3 of this and I also got me some red wine.

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For our dinner, I really enjoyed this pasta dish with broccoli. My only concern is everything was so soggy! I need my crunchy vegetables, Lufthansa! However, the sauce was fantastic! I took the bread and the cookie to eat later but I ended up throwing it after I found it on my bag 2 days later. HAHA! The salad was okay and I felt too full for the pudding.

I had red wine, coke, and tea with this.

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Our breakfast was fantastic! It’s a lyonnaise potato dish with sausage, eggs, tomato, and broccoli. The potato was so delicious! I finished everything and I even asked for more bread. #noshame

I arrived 7:30 AM Germany time and my whole body was so sore because of my heavy luggage! I had the worst time in HKG layover because everything’s so fast and they had to ask me to remove my laptop from my hand carry while there were people waiting in line. I’m always anxious when there are people waiting so I did it so fast that I think I broke my hand!

I waited for my checked-in luggage for 30 minutes and when I stepped out of the airport, my first reaction was “Thanks God!” It was an exhausting trip! It was 6 degrees when I arrived and I immediately blurted “Totoo ba ‘to?!” (Is this real?!) It was so cold that it felt surreal!

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My first meal in Germany was this bread with shrimp, lime, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise and this salmon and dill combination. Heavenly! How come this is never a thing at home?

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The afternoon was spent in the downtown place. I had a taste of their famous German currywurst and beer!

Super blessed that Maastricht, Netherlands is just near my aunt’s place. I got to roam two countries in just a day!

That was it for my first day and I still couldn’t absorb that I’m already here! LOL.

April 1, 2016 – Day Two

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As a tourist, your obligation back home is to get them something. I kinda feel guilty the past few months that I haven’t gotten my family anything except for my monthly contribution. I’ve been saving a lot so the only person that I’ve been treating is my spoiled younger brother.

April 1 was spent in Roermond, Netherlands with my aunt. There was a designer sale of almost any brand you could ever think of. I spent my whole salary for a month buying my family gifts. I loved it! It felt nice and I didn’t even buy myself anything. I really like to give when there is something to give. I’m so excited to bring my gifts home and see the look in their faces.

Oh, I also had this McWrap from McDonalds, some fish, and chips. It was sunny but it was still cold.

April 2, 2016 – Third day

There is a Filipino community in Netherlands! Isn’t it nice? One of them had a birthday party so being a Filipino, we had a boodle fight!

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I admit that I felt left out as all of them are older than me and they have already been in Europe for quite a few years now. I just played with their kids and ate some good food then went home around 10PM.

April 3, 2016 – Fourth day

This day was so much fun!

It was Sunday and the first thing I did was prepare and go to the church. The church community is composed of different race but mostly Filipinos. The Catholic priest is a Filipino, too and he’s the best! He’s a very chill and cool priest and I love that!

After the mass, I was shocked that they have this reception after. Free food and no matter where I’ll go and where I’ll be, FREE FOOD always sounds good to me!

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Yum!

Sunday is a good day to to a fair so next stop would be in Aachen!

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Their fair food are the bomb!

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I’m not a fan of sweets and I find these nuts and fruits so darn expensive so I didn’t try it.

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I tried this mushroom/champignon instead and it blew my mind! Freaking delicious! It costs 4.50 euro but ehh whatever, it’s good!

I also rode this super crazy ride called “Ghost Rider” and damn! Never again! I almost faint!

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After that wonderful day at the fair, it ended with a great meal at an Italian restaurant downtown called “Casa Leonardo.” I loved that restaurant and tried it twice but never again. Will share why on my next post.

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I ordered this medium-rare steak whatever that I cannot pronounce. It was good but I had better. I also had tiramisu which was so good! I love bitter-tasting desserts!

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Restaurants like this requires you to have a budget of around 20 euro per meal. Not bad, I think?

schengen
Blog, Germany, Personal, Travel, Visa

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa in the Philippines

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa in the Philippines?

I’m using a speech to text program because I know that any post that discusses how to apply for a Schengen visa would be long. I wanted to be as detailed as possible because like you, I had no idea before how to apply for Schengen visa if you’re from Philippines. All I know is that it was super hard especially for a citizen from a developing country like me. Let me tell you now, it’s hard but it’s not impossible. I really hope that by end of this post, you will learn a lot on how to get your own visa.

Author’s profile

Just a background about my profile: I’m a 21-year-old Content Writer and Marketer – Digital Marketing for Bolton International since July 2015. I graduated a year ago and I landed my first job as a Search Engine Optimization Writer for Lazada Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore where I worked from March-July, 2015. I have no kids/dependent and I’m not married.

Ask me six months ago and I would tell you how it’s my dream to go see the world and travel. Ask me six months ago and I’ll also tell you how I think it’d be impossible for me to do so because I know it’s hard. Sure, I know that I will eventually get my dreams of traveling around the world but I would have never guessed that I will be able to accomplish it at the age of 21 years old and without the help of anyone financially.

This might not be a big deal to some but let me tell you, I didn’t come from a well-to-do family and to top that, there was an error in my birth certificate. It took me 3 years to finally correct my gender from male to female (but I’m a legit female, okay lol) and those 3 years, you have no idea how many buckets I cried. I can’t get my passport and travel because of that stupid error which I have no idea why it took so long. I missed the opportunities in New York City last year, Dubai, and New Zealand this year because of this gender error.

Long story short, God knows the right timing and weeks after I had my birth certificate error corrected and after I hit my financial goal, I received my multiple-entry Schengen visa.

My Schengen visa in its full glory:

Apply for a Schengen Visa Germany Mania Philippines

Everybody wants to go to Europe. Germany, France, Netherlands, Greece, and Spain are just some of the countries you’ll find in there. Everything in Europe speaks of class, culture, and art! However, not just because you have a money and can afford the plane ticket doesn’t mean you can visit those places. You will need a visa to do so and today, I will teach you how you can obtain one.

What is a Schengen Visa?

This is basically a pass or a permission that allows you to travel to the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Unlike first world countries, citizens from our country need to apply for this visa in order to travel Europe. They say that it’s harder to get a Schengen visa than a US visa because a single visa will allow you to travel to 24 freaking countries in a maximum span of 90 days / 3 months.

Is the process the same for work/marriage/study visa?

This post on how to apply for a Schengen visa is only applicable for tourism. There’s a different type for work/marriage/study.

I only know how to get one for tourism.

When can I apply?

You can start planning for your trip, completing the requirements, and booking your interview 3 months before your trip. I planned for my trip the first week of November 2015, asked for my employer’s approval for my leave around the first week of January 2016, booked my visa interview by the 30th of January, and completed the requirements by the 26th of February.

For the full timeline on my visa progress, refer to this post.

Is it hard to apply for a Schengen visa?

Obtaining 150 pages of document is hard but the effort was so worth it.

Apply for a Schengen Visa Philippines

Do I need to be super rich to be granted a Schengen visa?

Nope. Don’t believe the Internet and the naysayers telling you that your chances are low because you’re not rich. I am not rich! I live near a highway and vulcanizing shop, my parents are teacher and driver, I studied at a public school, I don’t have a car, nor do I have a rich boyfriend to finance me. So, no! As long as you can prove that you won’t stay there illegally, then you’re safe. Just be sure to have a job and a decent savings on your account. My sister applied for a visa last 2013 and unfortunately, she was denied. We think it’s because she didn’t have a job back then when she applied. To secure your chance, look for a job, save some money, and then apply for your visa. Don’t rush because Europe will wait for you. Do it slowly but surely.

Do I need to have a boyfriend/friend/relative in Europe to be granted a Schengen visa?

Nope. If you can do it yourself, it’s nice to do it yourself. I do have a relative in Europe but the embassy didn’t even ask me to submit a document showing that I do have one. It still depends, though. If you think you lack the money needed for your Europe tour, you can declare that you have a boyfriend/friend/relative in Europe who will support you. As for my case, I am really blessed to have an aunt in Europe who is so supportive and willing to make their home my home base while I travel (I love her so much!) but even if family is family, I still don’t want to cause inconvenience  to anyone  and ask for money just for my dream.

I’m glad to say that I financed this whole trip 100% using my own money from hard work but I won’t judge you if you need help from someone. Whatever floats your boat just as long as you’re not hurting anyone and you’re happy.

apply for a schengen visa how to

How much money do I need to show the embassy?

It depends upon the embassy. France is an expensive country to live in and they require 56.20 euro per day. The German embassy requires that you’ll have 45 euros or PHP 2,385 per day exclusive of your flight ticket. So for example, I’m planning to stay for 30 days, I need to have PHP 2,385 x 30 = PHP 71,550 + the flight ticket of let’s say, PHP 52,000 = PHP 123,550. Of course, you need to have more than that because the embassy might think you’ll have nothing left when you return from your trip. In my opinion, you need to have at least PHP 200,000 for a 30-day stay in Europe as PHP 123,550 excludes accommodation and activities.

Can you tell me the step-by-step process on how to get my Schengen visa?

Of course!

  1. Plan your trip.

Where in Europe would you want to go first and for how long? This is important because you have to apply in the embassy of the country you’ll stay at the longest.

What if I want to go to Germany for 10 days and then Netherlands for 10 days?

 If you’ll stay at different countries at an equal time, you should apply at the country you’ll go to first. In this scenario, apply in German embassy.

  1. Google, Google, and Google

…or Yahoo. Whatever floats your boat but research and read travel blogs to answer your questions. My favorite Schengen visa blog post is by Dream Euro Trip. DJ Yabis is an amazing person and he is very helpful answering people’s questions through the comment section. His post on how to get the visa is actually my homepage for 3 months. It’s so detailed and you will learn a lot from the firsthand experience of the commenters.

  1. Read the embassy’s requirements

Different countries included in the Schengen zone have a lot of similarities with their requirements but there are still some that differs. I applied in the German embassy and I’m glad that the website is very detailed and it answers a lot of questions.

jack goes to
Personal, Travel

Jack Goes to Europe

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By the time that this post had been published, I’m sure I’m already in Germany. I’m not kidding you but I am writing this post today which is JANUARY 30, 2016. 

Yup, more than 2 months before I’m actually going to be here. I had to write this for me to be positive and actually claim that I will be in fact going to Germany. Warning: this post might seem so dramatic and I might turn into a crazy woman throughout this post because I will not write this in one go thus, the mood change. This post will be some sort of an update thing on my progress and this will stay in my draft folder until I actually landed in Germany.

So far, I’ve just scheduled my visa interview and my heart sank when I saw that the whole month of February is already booked. I was supposed to have it scheduled on the 15th of February then fly in Germany around March 15-ish but anyway, maybe it’s God’s way to show not to rush things and prepare, prepare, prepare. I have more than a month now instead of 2 weeks to prepare my requirements.

Yes, this is a big deal for me.

I know some of you might think that I’m overly dramatic for someone who’s just going to Europe but fuck it THIS IS MY DREAM. A lot of people want to be this and that but this is one of my major ambitions – to go to Europe without depending on anyone. Trust me, it’s not easy especially when you’re a poor person like me from the Philippines because you need to get a visa and show proof that you’re actually coming back and won’t stay there illegally and those proof are FUCKING HARD TO OBTAIN. I had to show them I have a certain amount of money, that I have a job to come back to here in the PH (PH companies don’t honor month-long leaves), health insurance, flight reservation, etc etc and it’s driving me bananas. It’s especially harder because:

  • I’m not rich nor is my family
  • I don’t have a European boyfriend or husband to take me there
  • I don’t have any assets/ registered businesses here
  • I haven’t been anywhere abroad
  • I’m young and I’ve only been in my current job for 7 months
  • It’s hard/impossible to ask my client and then the company to grant me a month-long leave
  • It’s hard to convince the consul that a young Pinay will come back and not be a TNT

Basically, all odds are against my favor and I will believe in miracles (and my hard work, of course) if I ever get there. I am planning to just go to nearby cities then maybe do Airbnb or rent a hostel to travel around? I still don’t know yet. I’m just glad I’m halfway there. I know family is family but I don’t want to inconvenience anyone just to fulfil my dreams.

I haven’t told anyone my plans of leaving. My family knows about it because I need their advice and encouragement and my mom jokingly told me that my plans to go is basically a gamble or a game with a level; Level 1 is asking for my client’s permission, level 2 is asking for the company’s permission, and level 3 is the consul itself.

I started planning around the 1st week of November and not telling a single soul about it. It was in December when I told about my colleague, Tala, my plans about asking our client for his permission to take a leave. (I’d like to take this moment to thank Ate Tala for everything. You’ve been my rock during these rough times, you encouraged me to believe in Him and trust His plans for us. Without you, I wouldn’t be here happy. Thank you so much.) It was the 11th of January, 2016 when I mustered the courage and ask my client for this leave. Imagine asking your boss “Hey, I wanna take a month off. Will you wait for me to come back from my vacation and give me back my job when I’m already broke from this vacation?” LOL. It wasn’t easy! Besides, my client has a contract with the company I’m employed at so whatever his decision is will not be final and the company’s executive will still have to deliberate on it. Long story short and after many, many, many tears, anxiety, and heartbreaks later, they both agreed to sign my leave and support me on my endeavour. I’ve yet to receive the leave of absence I will present to the embassy next week. You’ve no idea how it was a roller coaster ride and I always ask myself if this will all be worth the stress. There came a point when I just want to give up and continue my life here in the PH. Besides, I’m happy here and I’m earning so good for my age, I can buy whatever the fuck I want, eat and go wherever I want so why complicate my life and spend almost all of my life savings for a month-long Euro trip? Ate Tala reminded me how much I wanted this and it’s worth the risk.

Yes, I’ve yet to have my interview a month from now and if the German Embassy rejected my visa application, I flushed around PHP 15,000.00 (non-refundable visa payment, insurance, reservation, etc etc) down the drain and I could never get that amount back and of course, the extreme pain from the rejection. It has only been 6 months since I started planning for this but it has been more than decades since I wanted to go in Europe and I can’t believe it’s kinda coming true. I don’t want to tell anyone about this because I’m afraid it would be jinxed. My plan is to tell my friends about this a week before my departure and yup, I know it’s bad but I need to make sure before I make claims. I will post on social media and tell my friends about this when I’m already there. I don’t know what to feel but I need to be positive and claim that I will be there before April of 2016.

I will start compiling documents now and I will write my progress here. See ya, folks!

LOL, just realized how silly it will be when my visa gets denied. This post will basically be useless and I’ve to delete this with a broken heart. 🙁 Okay, stop and be positive!

February 26, 2016 – I got every documents completed! Will have to sign and photocopy it later then I’m good to go!

150 pages of documents!!! It’s hard to be a citizen of a 3rd world country but it’s exciting!

March 2, 2016 – Ready for my interview!

It went quite well, I guess? The consul is a 27-30 year old woman and she’s kind of snarky but I think I did well in showing her that I’m not intimidated or scared because why would I? I don’t have plans to be an illegal immigrant. I will write a post on How to Get a Schengen Visa from German Embassy Manila when I have the time.

March 2-6, 2016 – Waiting game. I’m going crazy, you have no idea!

Getting a US Visa is 10000x easier! At least they’ll tell you right away whether you’re denied or approved. That way, after the interview, you can sleep. Getting a Schengen visa, the hardest part is the waiting game! Torture!!! This is why I decided to go Baguio with my sisters and my college friends. I have to get my mind off of the visa so I left the tracking number from 2Go to make sure I won’t be tracking it every 5 minutes when I’m in Baguio. LOL.

March 5, 2016 – WHERE THE F IS MY SCHENGEN VISA?!

It’s Sunday 11PM and we’ve just arrived back in our home in Makati. I tracked my visa and it said that they tried delivering it yesterday (3 days after my interview) but they can’t find our home???? Why not freaking contact me????? I’m so maaaadddd…

March 6, 2016 – 8am – Called 2Go

I woke up 4 in the morning because I’m so excited to call 2go at 8am and ask my visa status. I know, I’m crazy about this trip. They said that they will deliver it today. I can’t wait…. I’m feeling all sorts of feeling… I don’t want to overthink. 2go said they will surely deliver it before 5pm today.

March 6, 2016 – 3pm – Called 2Go again

The agents must be so pissed at me for calling 3x today. It’s already 3:30 PM but I still don’t have my visa. They reassured me that I’ll receive it before 5pm.

March 6, 2016 – 4:30pm – MY VISA IS HERE!

I AM CRYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY MOM IS SUPER HAPPY FOR ME WHEN WE FOUND OUT I GOT MY VISA APPROVED!!!!! I’M CRYING AND SHAKING WHILE TYPING THIS!!!!!!!! THEY GAVE ME MULTIPLE ENTRY + ADDED FEW WEEKS TO MY VISA….!!!!!!! THANK YOU GERMAN EMBASSY!!!!!!!

March 7, 2016 – Booked a flight!

I booked a flight via mytrip.com! I paid almost 45,000 pesos for my flight. Not bad! MNL-HKG-FRA-DUS. Kind of a long flight but it’s the cheapest. I’m super excited!

March 25, 2016 – Time to pack

It’s only 5 days before my flight and I still haven’t packed. I borrowed my sister’s luggage but I don’t have a cute carry-on. My mom told me to just buy a new one but nope, not in my options. I am running out of money and I am just laughing at that fact. LOL #YOLO.

March 30, 2016 – I’m going to Europe!!!