The District

Washington, D.C is the capital of the United States of America. It is famous and most visited city in the country and probably in the world, too. It is located in the East Coast and is commonly referred to as Washington, D.C or ‘The District’. Per wiki, ‘The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.’ The District is made up of land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia and is the centre of all three branches of federal government of the United States, the President, Congress and Supreme Court.

One day, I’ve dreamed of visiting the District and never had I realise that it will come true. I have decided to go to the District to have my passport renewed. After I did what I needed to do, I was free to explore DC. I just wandered around and got to see a lot of very beautiful places.20151008_133827

The Treasury Department

The Treasury Department

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Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Executive Office Building

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World War I Memorial

World War I Memorial

Victory Statue in World War I Memorial

Victory Statue in World War I Memorial

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White House

White House

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Washington Monument

Washington Monument

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Enid A. Haupt Garden

Enid A. Haupt Garden

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National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

The Capitol

The Capitol

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

Washington Monument with the Capitol

Washington Monument with the Capitol

Abraham Lincoln Statue

Abraham Lincoln Statue

Jefferson Memorial in Tidal Basin

Jefferson Memorial in Tidal Basin

Ronald Reagan Building and International World Trade Centre

Ronald Reagan Building and International World Trade Centre

Farragut Square

Farragut Square

Dupont Circle Station

Dupont Circle Station

There are still more places to see in Washington, DC but since I got only 2 days so, I stick on following the tourist attraction path. There might be a big possibility of me going back to The District next year and if that happens, then, I’ll be exploring the capital.

To sum it up, my trip was really short. I never had the chance to really look up on all the details, history, and I just did take my camera and took some shots without knowing the story behind those buildings, memorial halls, and streets. Yet still, I love spending my time in The District.

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Passport Renewal in Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C.

One of the major requirements if you are traveling abroad is your passport. But what if your passport is about to expire and you are thousand miles away from your country. What are you going to do?

Well, that is not a problem since there are embassies or consulates of your country overseas. If you are a Filipino and you happened to be in the United States, not to worry since there are consulates scattered all over the states of the US and the embassy which is in the capital, Washington DC. Every consulate has a jurisdiction of what state the consular office is serving. Here are the list of the consulates and embassy and their respective consular jurisdictions.

Philippine Consular Map in the United States cr. philippineusa.org

Philippine Consular Map in the United States
cr. philippineusa.org

Embassy of the Philippines, Washington D.C.
1617 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20036 (Consular Section)
Tel # 202-467-9300

Consular Jurisdiction: United States of America: Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia; Outside USA: Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Islands (Bahamas, Bermuda, British West Indies, Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos), Commonwealth of Jamaica, Country of Curacao, Grenada, Guadaloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Republic of Haiti, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maartin, St. Martin, The Territorial Collectivity of St. Barthelemy, Trinidad and Tobago, and U.S. Virgin Islands

Philippine Consulate General in Agana, Guam
Suite 601 & 602 ITC Bldg Marine Drive, Tamuning, Guam 96931-5880
P.O. Box 9880 Tamuning Guam, 96931
Tel # 671-646-4620/30

Consular Jurisdiction: Caroline Islands, Guam, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Wake Islands

Philippine Consulate General in Chicago
30 North Michigan Ave., Suite 2100, Chicago, IL 60602
Tel # 312-332-6458 to 59

Consular Jurisdiction: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu
2433 Pali Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Tel # 808-595-6316 to 19

Consular Jurisdiction: Hawaii, American Samoa, French Polynesia

Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles
3435 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 550, Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel # 213-639-0980 to 85

Consular Jurisdiction: Arizona, Texas, Southern Nevada (Nye, Las Vegas, Clark, Lincoln), New Mexico, Southern California (Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern)

Philippine Consulate General in New York
556 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10036
Tel # 212-764-1330

Consular Jurisdiction: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

Philippine Consulate General in Saipan
5th Floor, Nauru Bldg. Susupe, P.O. Box 500731 CK, Saipan, MP 96950, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
Tel # 670-234-1848

Consular Jurisdiction: Island of Saipan, The Northern Islands, Tinian, Rota

Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco
447 Sutter St. 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108
Tel # 415-433-6666 to 68

Consular Jurisdiction: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Northern Nevada (Carson, Churchill, Douglas    Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storie, Washoe, White Pine, Reno), Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Northern California (San Jose, Oakland, Fresno, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Stocton, Napa, Union City, San Mateo, Vallejo, Pittsburg)

Honorary Philippine Consulate General in Atlanta, Georgia

Honorary Philippine Consulate General in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Honorary Philippine Consulate General in Livonia, Michigan

Honorary Philippine Consulate General in Portland, Oregon

Since I live in Ohio and I’m under the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois jurisdiction. So, I need to renew my passport there. But I have thought why go to Chicago when I can do it in Washington D.C. and I also have a planned trip going there. So, I called the embassy in Washington D.C. if I could do it there instead of doing it in Chicago and they said it is OK as long as I have all the requirements needed for passport renewal. Hence, I did my passport renewal in Philippine Embassy in Washington DC.

The list of requirements is in the Philippine embassy website, visit their site here.

REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Duly-accomplished passport application form, typed or printed legibly in black or blue ink. You can also download the forms and print it from their website.
  2. Latest passport
  3. One (1) photocopy of each of the data page/s of the passport; i.e. pages 1-3 for the brown passport or page 1 for the green passport
  4. Photocopy of any valid identification card where the middle name is fully spelled out, such as state ID, driver’s license, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, or Baptismal Certificate, if applicant’s last passport is the brown one.
  5. Proof that applicant has not applied for foreign citizenship, e.g. resident alien card (green card)
  6. Self-addressed return envelope, with appropriate stamps for express or priority mail with tracking numbers via US Postal Service, or with pre-paid mailing envelope from private courier of choice, if Passport is to be mailed back.
  7. Passport fee of $60.00 (non-refundable), payable in cash or money order made payable to “Embassy of the Philippines” (or “Philippine Consulate General”, if application is made at one of the Philippine Consulates General in the U.S.). Personal checks and credit cards are not accepted.

There is no need for appointment since applicants are served on a walk-in basis. I got there by 0700H and there were only two people on queue. The embassy was still close so, we were just waiting outside. The entire passport renewal procedure took about less than an hour. The only sad thing is the Philippine embassy in Washington D.C is having a big renovation, making the place a little bit messy. The counters were small, the waiting area looked cheap and doesn’t look appealing at all as an embassy, the employees, however, were friendly and accommodating except that employee who is taking the passport photo. She was rude, assuming and bossy, but I just ignored her.

Philippine Embassy in Washington DC

Philippine Embassy in Washington DC


When the door was opened, you need to get a number. The number is on the first counter.

When the door was opened, you need to get a number. The number is on the first counter.


After you have your number, just sit down in the waiting area. While waiting for your number to be called, you can write or fillout the form if you haven't done it yet or just watch TV.

After you have your number, just sit down in the waiting area. While waiting for your number to be called, you can write or fillout the form if you haven’t done it yet or just watch TV.


When your number is called or flashed on the monitor. Proceed to Window 1 which is for checking your requirements. Not to worry if you don't have a copy since they have a photocopier. Once you have all the requirements needed, they will processed it Window 2. Then, your application will go to the Cashier. Be ready with your money. After paying the fee, you wait for the employee to call you for your passport photo and biometrics such as fingerprinting and signature. Once you are done, she will hand out a copy of the receipt along with the steps for you to verify if your passport is ready or mailed.

When your number is called or flashed on the monitor. Proceed to Window 1 which is for checking your requirements. Not to worry if you don’t have a copy since they have a photocopier.
Once you have all the requirements needed, they will processed it in Window 2.
Then, your application will go to the Cashier. Be ready with your money.
After paying the fee, you wait for the employee to call you for your passport photo and biometrics such as fingerprinting and signature. Once you are done, she will hand out a copy of the receipt along with the steps for you to verify if your passport is ready or mailed.

The embassy and consulates offer these services;

1. Issuance of passports, travel documents and visas;
2. Conduct of consular outreach programs;
3. Consularization (authentication/acknowledgment) of documents, such as SPAs, Deeds, school and medical records, Trademarks, oaths and appointments, etc.;
4. Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths of Filipino nationals;
5. Processing of applications for dual citizenship; and
6. Assistance with the following:
a. Transport of pets to the Philippines;
b. Applying for NBI clearances;
c. Renewal of Philippine driver’s license;
d. Medical Missions to the Philippines
e. Securing of J-1 waivers

In the end, it is not a big concern if you ran out of time to renew your passport and you are still traveling because in every nation, there is a big possibility that your country has an embassy or consulate. All you have to do is research with the help of the worldwide web and ask people. Through those ways, you get to meet friends online and locals and travelers alike while touring. That is how my experience went when I had my passport renewal in The District. Hope you will have an easy-breezy application.

Dining Experience in Washington, D.C.

New to the place? If your answer is ‘Yes’ and you are a frequent traveler who wants to have a memorable experience. It is a deadly sin not to try the food the place offers. So when I was in The District, I made sure to have a dining experience in Washington, DC.

At first, I tried the cuisine which I missed a lot. That is of course, the Filipino food since I find Filipino cuisine comfort. I was craving for Pinoy foods for quite some time since we don’t have any Filipino restaurants in Southeastern Ohio. My friend who lives in Washington, DC for years told me to try this restaurant few minutes taxi trip from Embassy row. Then, we got to this restaurant. The place was warm and welcoming. My friend and I went upstairs to check and we got a table for 2. The name of the restaurant is Purple Patch, check their site here. When I was about to sit down, I saw this lady sitting and eating her food just at the other side of our table and when I saw her face, I found her face familiar. My friend told me she is one of the owners of the restaurant and her mother is a Filipino. When I checked the walls of the restaurant, I found that she has been featured on a local paper and I figured it out that she was also featured in one of the major newspapers back in the Philippines that somehow I have read. So, I got starstruck.

Purple Patch 3155 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington, DC 20010 (202) 299-0022

Purple Patch
3155 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington, DC 20010
(202) 299-0022

Purple Patch offers appetizers and small dishes, sides, entrees, drinks, and even brunch with a touch of mixed Filipino American dishes. Then, the waiter handed to us the dinner menus. For me, it took me about 10 seconds to decide what to order upon opening the menu. I chose for my appetizer, the Lechon Kawali for US$8 which is a crispy fried braised pork with Mang Tomas sauce and for my main dish, I picked out pork sinigang since that night was a lil bit chilly so I needed a soup to counteract what I felt. Pork Sinigang cost US$14 which is a traditional Filipino soup comprised of braised pork, lemon broth, potato, long beans & spinach served with jasmine rice. My friend, on the other hand, had selected Mama Alices’ Lumpia which is fried beef and pork spring rolls with banana ketchup dipping sauce for appetizer (US$7) and Pancit Bihon which is thin rice noodles, carrot, celery, sugar snap peas, cabbage & long beans choice of shrimp, pork, chicken, bok choy and shiitake mushrooms for entree (US$17).

Lechon Kawali

Lechon Kawali


Pork Sinigang

Pork Sinigang


Mama Alice's Lumpia

Mama Alice’s Lumpia


Pancit Bihon

Pancit Bihon

Now, let’s review the food. Both appetizers were perfect and I can taste a touch of home. While for the main dishes, I was a little bit disappointed with the pork sinigang because way back when my family used to cook it, it should taste sour but it didn’t. It might be due to the use of lemon instead of tamarind. For pancit bihon, it was fine, nothing special to it. Overall dining experience in Purple Patch is a 4/5.

The next day, thunderstorm hit The District and I was stuck in 17th Street. My friend came and was soaked. Since we can’t get out of the rain, so, we ended up eating in Noodles & Company.

Noodles and Company 1667 K St NW (202) 296-3111

Noodles and Company
1667 K St NW
(202) 296-3111

My friend said he used to eat there but it has been long time that he hasn’t dined in Noodles and Company. The place and set-up appeared like a fastfood. There is no one waiting for tables and diners just go directly to the cashier to pay their orders. Location though is very accessible. It is in downtown DC and near to shopping centres, bus stations, and tourist attractions. Check their site here. Noodles and Company offers noodles&pasta, soups, salads, sandwiches, drinks, desserts and extras. I ordered Pork BBQ sandwich which is a toasted ciabatta roll loaded with slow-braised pork, colorful coleslaw and barbecue drizzle but instead of coleslaw, I changed it for a chicken noodle soup.

Pork BBQ sandwich with Chicken Noodle Soup

Pork BBQ sandwich with Chicken Noodle Soup

The sandwich was perfect. It was delicious and juicy and oozed with flavor. While the soup was good for a kind of weather outside that night. We stayed in the restaurant enjoying our meal until the storm stopped. Overall dining experience in Noodles and Company is 4/5.

After we finished our dinner, my friend told me that there is this one place that he enjoyed eating desserts. It was in a posh neighborhood in Washington, DC. The ice cream shop is in Georgetown where most notable and famous icons such as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Graham Bell, John F. Kennedy, and Elizabeth Taylor used to live. The ice cream station is also a well-known dessert shop. That is the Thomas Sweet. Even the current president of the United States, Pres. Barrack Obama, eats here.

Thomas Sweet 3214 P St NW, Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-0616

Thomas Sweet
3214 P St NW, Washington, DC 20007
(202) 337-0616

If you want to check what flavors of ice cream they have, you can check their site here. When we got there, the shop was half full, so we got the chance to grab a seat and table to enjoy our ice cream. I got cookies and cream. Few minutes when we got settled, the queue for customers stretched until outside. We got lucky we came early.

Thomas Sweet

Thomas Sweet


Cakes

Cakes


Cookies and Cream

Cookies and Cream

The cookies and cream flavor was OK. The same taste as what I used to get from cookies and cream from other ice cream shops. I haven’t tried other flavors yet but they looked mmmdelicious. Location is perfect for travelers or customers doing some shopping, dining in restaurants or having fun in bars in Georgetown. The price was reasonable for such location. Overall dining experience in Thomas Sweet was 5/5.

On my third day in The District, I woke up late around 1000H. I was craving for noodles, the Asian style. Since I stayed in Hostelling International DC which is near Chinatown. I have decided to have an Asian cuisine noodles and ramen was on the top of my taste bud. I walked from where I stayed to Chinatown and I found a popular ramen restaurant. Daikaya is a famous and one of the top 8 ramen restaurants in the DC area. So, I was a bit excited.

Daikaya 705 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (202) 589-1600

Daikaya (cr: bkarmstrong.blogspot.com)
705 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
(202)  589-1600

When I got into the location, the place was jam-packed. But  I was welcomed with a waitress and got me a seat where I can see the staff on how they prepare the food. Then, the waitress handed me the menu and I chose the shio ramen. Daikaya offers four types of ramen: shio, shoyu, miso, and vegetarian shio. Check their site here.

Daikaya

Daikaya

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Shio Ramen

Shio Ramen

As I got my order, the shio ramen looked perfectly mouth-watering that I just want to dip in my soup spoon. When I tasted it, it was so good even though I found something missing from it but I still find it perfect. I enjoyed my lunch and got to communicate with other customers. The restaurant was better with regard to customer service, food quality and almost everything.The waitresses were friendly and accommodating. When I finished eating, I saw the queue just outside the door of the restaurant. It only means that a lot of people love the food they serve. Overall dining experience in Daikaya was 5/5.

As a summary, I know that I haven’t done justice for my dining experience in Washington, DC since there are still a lot of good and amazing restaurants. When I come back, I’ll make sure I’ll get to taste other restos yet for now, I’ll leave it to 4 restaurants. See you soon Washington, DC.

Affordable Place to Stay in Washington, D.C.

Washington DC is one of the most expensive cities in the United States of America. It happened also that this is the capital of the country and where the President resides. Most of the big government offices are here as well as embassies of different nations. There are more in Washington DC that meets the eye. You can find amazing old and great architectural design buildings, famous tourist attractions and memorial halls, popular and delectable restaurants serving international food cuisine, long avenues and streets of embassies, shopping centres and churches, and many more. With all those mentioned, those might be the reasons why Washington DC is on the top list of expensive cities in the US. Looking for an affordable place to stay is like looking for a needle on a haystack but with the help of Booking.com, I found one.

I found this group hostel which has networks of hostels all over the world. The group of hostels is called Hostelling International and it happened to have a branch in Washington DC. I booked for 2 nights and 3 days. It was unbelievable when I got the quote because most of the hotels, apartments, hostels and inns gave me prices which range from US$150 to US$250 and up. On the other hand, Hostelling International – Washington DC offered me a whooping US$66 for 2 nights. So without second thoughts, I clicked the ‘Book Now’ button.img44114-USA-NA-logo

Hostelling International Washington DC 1009 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (202) 737-2333

Hostelling International Washington DC
1009 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
(202) 737-2333

Hostelling International – Washington DC is located in the heart of Washington DC and it offers free wi-fi access. The hostel has dormitory style and is equipped with locker, lamp and a shared bathroom. A stay-in guest can access the hostel’s common room, TV room, game room, computers, laundry, library, and self-service kitchen.

Common Room

Common Room

Computers For Use

Computers For Use

TV Room

TV Room

They also offer free breakfast and they have a weekly schedule of activities such as night tours, museum tours, and  other social events. A guest only needs to write his name to take advantage of it. The list is just pinned on the wall infront of the reception table.

Reception

Reception

Backdoor alfresco

Backdoor alfresco

Hostelling International DC has different type of rooms but most of those are dormitory style like 4-, 8- and 10-bed either mixed/co-ed, male or female dormitories. They also have double rooms. All rooms are air-conditioned, with pillows, blanket, overhead lamp, lockers and towel.

10-bed Dormitory

10-bed Dormitory

Every floor has a shared toilet and is accessible by one elevator. On second floor, every visitor can have their free continental breakfast and have time to play billiards.

Shared bathroom and toilet

Shared bathroom and toilet with soap and shampoo

Hallway

Hallway

With Hostelling International DC, the guest can have fun and make friends with other guests. There is this map to show where most of the travelers came from.

The Map

The Map

As a summary, location wise, it is perfect. With price, it is also perfect. With facilities, it is way more perfect. With services, it is great in hostel level. That means that Hostelling International Washington DC is one of the best hostels I’ve stayed. If you want to contact them, just call the number posted above.

Infront of the hostel

Infront of the hostel

Out-of-State Travel

Traveling interstate for me is difficult for many reasons:
1st, I just got into driving recently and I’m not that confident to drive to other state;
2nd, Routes and unfamiliar roads make me more nervous;
and lastly, Different type of drivers gather in one road and I’m one of the reckless category.

So, I ended up getting into a bus for my trip from Cambridge, OH to Washington DC. I’ve searched thru the net on what buses have routes going to the capital of the country. I found the Greyhound Line, Inc and purchased a round trip ticket. The ticket costs about $166 but if I have purchased it more earlier, it would have cost lesser. Check their site, here. Continue reading