How to Apply for a Korean Tourist Visa in the Philippines

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One thing I don’t like about traveling is the logistics involved. All that planning! Which hotel should I book? Which airline should I use? How much money should I bring? And dun dun dun dun, how do I friggin’ get a visa?! It’s such a daunting task that sometimes, I wish I could just magically transport myself to another country without having to go through all the hassle. But such is a traveler’s life, and if a girl wants to travel, a girl’s gotta get that visa.

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Raia Goes Places Globetrotter Giveaway

As a way of saying thank you for having reached 6K+ followers on Instagram, I am giving away this cool Globetrotter World Traveler Watch to one lucky follower. (Note: This giveaway is not sponsored by the watch manufacturer.)

When I saw this watch on my Facebook feed, I loved it and I know you guys would too! (I particularly like the airplane that serves as a second hand. It moves, you guys! So cool. ūüėć)

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Mindanao Road Trip Part 1: Dipolog City

My friends decided to pay me a visit in my hometown Zamboanga City. We’d been talking about this for a very long time but plans were never realized until one day, we all just sat down and booked a ticket. They scheduled a 12-day trip so I wrote an itinerary for us to explore a couple of¬†cities in Mindanao too.

First stop: Dipolog City.

Our main purpose was to go to Dakak, but since we told ourselves this was going to be a budget trip, we opted to book accommodations in Dipolog and just travel to Dapitan for Dakak. My friends arrived on April 4, and we hopped on a Rural Transit bus to Dipolog early the next day.

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I Miss Gami!

In October of last year, while I was in Melbourne, my friend who lives in Sydney swung by for a really short visit. I asked my sister where’s the best place to get dinner that’s not overly expensive, but has good food and she recommended Gami.

gamiGami is a Korean-style fried chicken and beer restaurant (sort of like Kyochon, but a million times yummier, IMHO). Their fried chicken comes in 4 flavor variations: Original, Sweet Chilli (my personal favorite!), Soy Garlic, and Spicy (second favorite!). You can order half & half flavors, but they tend to just put the sauce in dipping containers instead of directly onto the chicken. TIP: If you want more sauce, I suggest getting just one flavor so you can get your chicken swimming in yummy, saucy, goodness.

The restaurant also offers other food such as Tteok Bok Ki, Kimchi Pancake, Corn Cheese, Potato Heaven, and more! Here are pictures of my personal favorites!

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Tteok Bok Ki! Spicy but soooo good!
Yummy fried chicken! (I think this one was the spicy variation)
Yummy fried chicken! (I think this one was the spicy variation)
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Corn Cheese! A delicious combination of sweet corn kernels and gooey cheese!
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Corn Cheese and Potato Heaven, which is really heaven, by the way.

 

Gami is my most visited restaurant in Melbourne. I’m definitely going back when I visit my sister again. If you want to know what other things are¬†in their menu and where their locations are, head on over to their site at www.gamichicken.com.au. (Menus¬†vary by location).

2016 Itinerary

This post is a list of all the places I want to visit this year. Some of these are not confirmed yet, but a girl can dream, right?

Philippines

  • Dakak, Zamboanga del Norte (confirmed)
  • Cebu¬†(confirmed)
  • Siargao¬†(confirmed)
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Sagada

Overseas

  • Australia¬†(confirmed)
    • Melbourne¬†(confirmed)
    • Sydney¬†(confirmed)
  • South Korea (confirmed)
  • Fiji
  • Morocco

Spending Summer 2015 in Boracay

Boracay, Aklan
Boracay, Aklan

 

I¬†was lucky enough to have been able to go to the beach twice¬†last summer. Having different sets of friends who all love to travel, and being one who can’t say no to quick and cheap trips, I almost always end up saying yes whenever I get invited. This time, it was in Palawan and Boracay. (I’ll blog about my awesome Palawan trip next time)

Last year, I, together with my friends Kat and Reena, went to Boracay (I didn’t blog about it, but I posted our parasailing video). And after a year, Reena and I went back. It wasn’t a vacation really, because we didn’t take leaves from work. It was a 7-day trip of working from the island (can’t complain). We didn’t do any activities, except the Pub Crawl (which I’m gonna blog about separately).

Here are some of the pictures I took during the trip. There aren’t many as I didn’t bring a camera. All pictures were taken using my iPhone.

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Boracay Airport

 

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Food! I loved the gizzard and this Crispy Bulalo at Smoke.

 

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1. A stray cat. 2. Wanted to buy calamansi muffins, but they ran out!

 

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Boracay Sunset

 

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Restaurant interior

 

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Trying out the panorama trick shot on Reena

 

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Selfie and a sunset picture

 

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And another sunset picture

 

xoxo,

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PS
This post is mainly just a photo dump to document my trip. Will update with more meaningful posts soon.

My Birthday Trip Part 2 – Bali, Indonesia

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Indonesia is known for their batik designs.

I had wanted to go to Bali for a very long time. A lot of it had to do with the movie Eat, Pray. Love, which is still one of my favorite movies to date. So when a deal opened up in CashCashPinoy, I immediately poked my best friend and travel buddy Ellen and we both booked ourselves the trip. That was months before the trip. We initially wanted to go in time for her birthday (May), but we couldn’t find a schedule so we decided to book it in December, as a late birthday trip for me.

I imagined my Bali trip to be days of lazing around by the beach, but it didn’t quite go that way.¬†It was both our first time to go to Bali, so we decided to visit popular tourist spots.

This is the only beach picture I have.
This is the only beach picture I have and the sky is overexposed. ūüôĀ

We went white-water rafting. The rapids were not as strong and our boatman was really helpful and kind and called me “cantik” (beautiful) several times. *blush*

We also went to the Bali Safari and Marine Park where we rode an elephant. I really didn’t want to do it at first, but I forgot my hesitations as soon as I hopped on the back of the gentle giant.

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White Water Rafting and Elephant Ride

After our tiring white-water rafting activity, we were served with yummy lunch!

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After that heavy lunch, we had to climb back up to the main road. I almost fainted, was so totally out of shape. In the afternoon, we went to Tanah Lot Temple which was quite disappointing. It was a cloudy day so there was no amazing sunset and it was high tide, so we couldn’t get close. I was the one who wanted this to be part of the tour because of all the amazing pictures I saw on Google.

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Tanah Lot Temple

One of the tour stops was at the Bali Batik Factory.

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The designs were so amazing, and all were hand-painted

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We also visited a couple of temples. Unfortunately, I forgot what the names are.

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures during this trip because it rained a lot and I didn’t wanna get my camera wet.¬†I took some photos of our trip to the Coffee farm using my iPhone. We tried the Luwak coffee, because one does not go to Bali and not try the Luwak!

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1. Coffee and tea tasting. 2. The cat that poops coffee beans. 3. Coffee beans.

Some accusatory refreshment: (the word bintang, in Filipino, means to accuse)

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Local beer

Bali is also full of retail outlets! I bought a Billabong overnight bag and this super cute Airwalk floral kicks:

And the food! We found this place called MM Juice which was near our hotel. They have an amazing Nasi Goreng! I also ordered this fried beef ribs with chilli which was yummy and spicy!

Fried beef ribs with chili for dinner. #SweetBaliHigh #travel #wanderlust

A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

I will certainly go back to Bali, and maybe next time, I will get to visit more beaches and have a more laidback trip.

– RA

My Birthday Trip Part 1 – Singapore

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This post is several months late, I know. I wasn’t decided whether to push through with it as I’d been to Singapore many times, but I figured, I love this place so much, it needs¬†to be posted. So here it is.

Singapore is one of my favorite places. It represents a lot of things in my life: family, independence, photography, design, fangirling, and a lot more. It was there that I really bloomed as a person, where my creative self shone through. It was there that I made some life-changing decisions which is why the place holds so much memories.

It’s impossible to go to Singapore without being all nostalgic and this trip was no exception. And sometimes, I feel like I go there just to bring back the memories. In December of 2013, when I was there for my sister’s wedding, I told myself I would revisit all the places that used to have meaning in my life: previous workplaces, malls I used to shop in, restaurants I used to eat, and houses I’d lived in. I didn’t get to do all that so I said I was gonna do it in my next visit.

Fast-forward to November of last year. I had chosen Singapore for my birthday trip (and Bali too, which I will be writing about in another post). I didn’t get to visit everything I wanted to visit, but I still had a good walk down memory lane. (WARNING: This post is image-heavy)

Reconnecting with old friends

Because I worked and lived in Singapore years ago, I have managed to accumulate a few friends there and I still see some of them whenever I’m in town.

My dinner dates, Farina and Saeedah.

A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

I worked with Farina and Saeedah before in ABN-AMRO. And I also met up with old high school and college classmates who had gone to Singapore to work there too.

With Karen, a friend from college
Singaporean Food

One of things I love about Singapore is their food! (Here’s a post of me gushing over Wang’s Kopi-C) Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of food pictures during this trip, but here are a couple:

My yummy dinner. Badoque Ribs. The serving was so huge! ūüėĪ

A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

Coffee break turned early dinner. Laksa set at Heavenly Wang. #cantresist A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

I enjoyed the food at Badoque and it’s just a short bus ride away from my brother’s place. I will certainly go back there in my next visit.

Walking and Running

Two months prior to booking a ticket, I had registered myself to the Great Eastern Women’s Run. It was my first run outside of the Philippines, and I blogged about it here. It was a fun experience, even though I walked like half the time!
One of the many things I like about SG is that it’s safe to walk outside no matter what the time. I think I developed my love for walking there. I would walk to and from coffee shops (5 km away), malls, everywhere! (Also, I hate taking the MRT at rush hour. TT_TT)

Photo-walk

I did a mini photo-walk right before I left. It was my last minute attempt to revisit my past. I went to the first place I took pictures of when I first got my DSLR camera 7 years ago. Here are some of the pictures I took:

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All pictures taken with my Fujifilm XF-1. It was a very tiring, nostalgic night, but I went home happy.

Shopping

I don’t shop much whenever I’m travelling, but given that this was my birthday trip, I think I maybe have splurged a little. I bought a moisturizer and a facial peeling gel at Adore, bought two matte lipsticks at MAC, several tops and a jacket in H&M, and several penssssssss, notebooks, and sketchbooks in Art Friend and Popular. I just couldn’t help myself! Art Friend is pen hoarder heaven!

Incoherent

I’m sorry if this post does not makes sense much. But I think I’ll wrap it up. I will be blogging about my Bali trip next!

– RA

Great Eastern Women’s Run 2014

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Last Sunday, I took part in Great Eastern Women’s Run 2014. It was a couple of months ago when I decided I would go to Singapore for a visit and while I was contemplating that, I searched for runs to be held anytime near my birthday and I found GEWR. I registered right away (didn’t even have a plane ticket then!).

It was my first ever out-of-the-country run and I was psyched! I promised myself I was gonna run the entire 5K this time. I know, I know, it’s just a short distance and I’ve registered to dozens of 5K runs before… but I’ve never completed¬†the entire 5K without stopping to walk.. =_=. And as much as I would like to tell you that I did what I promised, I can’t because it didn’t happen.¬†I didn’t train like I was supposed to because I was sick the entire time since I got to¬†SG and didn’t want to risk running everyday in rainy weather for fear of aggravating it.

Race Day

I was so scared to get lost while trying to get to¬†the event location so I purchased a shuttle bus ticket. It was a mistake because even though my run would start at 8am, I was in the location as early as 4:30am! TT_TT… There were no seats and I didn’t want to sit down on the floor (germaphobe alert! LOL). So I was standing up the whole time. Not to mention, I had walked a good 20 minutes to get to Sengkang station where the pickup location was. So, you could¬†pretty much say I had a decent warmup before the run. LOL, but my legs were hurting by the time I finished the 1st kilometer. D:

Experience

I had a few tearful moments during the entire event. For one, I was alone and I had nobody to talk to. Everybody else had a friend with them and were taking selfies or wefies or whatever you called them. I just felt like events like these needed to be experienced with someone. Second, it was just a happy moment participating in something like this outside of the Philippines, and in a place close to my heart. I couldn’t help but get nostalgic. Singapore gave me a lot of memories and all of them came rushing back as I was walking / running past the familiar places.

Again?

I will definitely do this again. My best friend Ellen wants to go to the StanChart run next year. I may come with her. Who knows? I might be running a half-marathon by then!

A Short Visit to La Union

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I have been to La Union twice, and on both instances, I never tried surfing. The first time, I was unprepared, and the second time, I was scared. But that is not to say I didn’t enjoy both trips, because I did. Oh boy, I certainly did.

I mentioned before on this post about Manila Ocean Park that I have water anxiety. And anybody who knows me real well or travels with me to beaches would know how much I get really scared when I go swimming in the beach. Somehow, in La Union, that is never the case for me.

Last summer, my friends and I decided to go on a road trip. Mara drove us all the way from Manila to La Union in her Ford Ranger. They were a great bunch, but I was, as always, a sleepy traveler and slept for most part of the drive. Teehee.

It took us about 6 hours to get to Hacienda Peter, where we stayed. We were blessed with cloudy weather, which made swimming so much more fun. I played in the water until my legs and knees hurt from trying to fight the waves.  Unfortunately though, it was a rather short trip. I was tired from all the swimming that I slept early that night. We went back to Manila the next day.

This place warrants another visit. Maybe before the year ends. Yes? Yes.