Visa to the Republic of China (Taiwan)

Visa is a form of documentation issued by the nation’s government allowing the bearer to enter or leave that country.Photo Aug 09, 2 35 41 PM copy

Travel Authorization Certificate is issued to citizens of  India, the Philippines, VietNam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos to enter the country of Taiwan or Republic of China. Travel Authorization Certificate serves as visa to gain entry to the said country.

The residents of the Philippines have been given the freedom to apply for travel authorization certificate thru online or eVisa. It has been amended a lot of times. Before it used to be single entry visa but nationals of the countries mentioned on the certificate seen above can have multiple entry.

The basic requirements for a traveler to be eligible are:
1. the applicant’s passport must have at least 6 remaining months validity starting from the date of the arrival in Taiwan;
2. the applicant must possess an onward/return air ticket; and
3. the applicant has never been employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan.

Additional requirements are applicants must possess at least one of the following documents issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States such as valid resident or permanent resident card or status, valid entry visa, or resident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the arrival date in Taiwan, and the applicant possesses an entry visa or resident card issued by Taiwan at any point in the past 10 years and has no record of immigration irregularities or law violations in Taiwan.

The travel authorization certification is valid for 90 days making multiple entries allowed within those number of days. The holder of the certificate can stay in the country for 30 days starting from the arrival day. For online application of ROC travel authorization certificate, click this site here.

I got my travel authorization certificate in a jiffy. It took me about few minutes with my information at hand. I made sure to have my passport and permanent resident card ready. After I filled out the form and submitted it online, I automatically got the visa right at that moment. It was convenient and easy breezy. Now, it’s time for me to fly and discover Taiwan.

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Spring Has Sprung and Etc.

Spring is a season after winter and before summer. This season means rejuvenation, renewal or birth with most of the flowers, plants and animals on hibernation mode to become active again. Flowers bloom and animals back to hunting food in the wild, forest and even on streets. Upon seeing these and the sudden change of climate and increase of temperature, it is a good sign to be more active outdoors. Since this is a season where most people will say, spring has sprung, meaning spring is here and it is time for everyone to be more energetic and engaging to the outside world.

During winter, I was more of a homebody for most of the time and once I saw the trees having buds and the flowers about to bloom, I have decided then to come out and be more adventurous this time. When spring is mentioned, it always comes into my mind of a specific flower that blossoms during this season. It is widely popular and rare since there are only particular places in the world where it has this. It is very famous in Japan but is also indigenous in some Asian states such as Korea, China and India and they called it, Sakura in Nihongo or Cherry Blossoms.20160329_131349I really wanted to see this flowering tree blooms so, I have researched where I can find it here in the United States since I can’t just flew to Japan to see it. There were a lot of locations within the U.S where you can find them. The most popular cherry blossom destination is in Washington, D.C in Tidal Basin and they also celebrate it as National Cherry Blossom Festival. Second area would be in Northern Philadelphia. Yet both locations I can’t go to since it is more than 8 hours travel from my place. But, it didn’t stop me from doing more research. Then one day, a picture popped out when I typed in Ohio cherry blossom and it says the location is in the south part of the state. It is located specifically in a school campus in Athens, Ohio along the bike path with the view of the Hocking river. It will only take me an hour and half drive to get to Athens so, off I go. I got to Ohio University  at noon. It was a lil chilly but it didn’t bother me. The school campus was ginormous, they have their own golf course, stadium and lots of school buildings and apartments.

Golf Course

Golf Course

School Buildings

School Buildings

Bobcat Stadium

Bobcat Stadium

But I was not there to see the school. I was there to see ‘sakura‘. I walked the bike path for about 20 mins since I parked my car near the golf course. And finally, I saw these lovely trees.20160329_13080120160329_131047 20160329_131314 20160329_131329 20160329_131226After seeing it, my spring is complete.

While I was driving back home, I have thought of doing some side trips. I usually utilised the back roads passing thru McConnelsville. There is this one park in McConnelsville in State Route 78 that is considered a tourist attraction. They called it the Big Muskie’s Bucket. It is within Miner’s Memorial Park.

Miners Memorial Park Historical Marker

Miners Memorial Park Historical Marker

As what it says on the marker,

Miner’s Memorial Park
Agriculture dominated the economy of southestern Ohio’s Morgan County until the 1940s when harvests dwindled, the population declined, and land values dropped. Surface mining the area’s rich underground coal deposits replaced agriculture as the major industry and revitalised the declining local economy. As the nation’s demand for electricity grew over the next half-century, so did the demand for coal as fuel for nearby power generation plants. During mining’s heyday in the 1960s to the late 1980s, American Electric Power’s former Central Ohio Coal Company subsidiary employed nearly 1,000 people. Nearby communities — such as Cumberland, Caldwell and Chandlersville — thrived. As time passed, however, the robust coal industry was hit hard by environmental regulations that reduced the market for the area’s high sulfur coal. In turn, mine work forces shrank considerably and local businesses closed.

20160404_123607The centerpiece of Miners Memorial Park is the Big Muskie’s Bucket. The story behind it is ‘Big Muskie’ was once the world’s largest earth moving machine. It was built in 1969 and could move 39 million pounds of earth and rock every hour, revealing rich coals in southeastern Ohio. The Big Muskie could swing its boom for 600 feet and weighed 13,500 tons. In 1990s, when power demands and other factors convinced the owners to shut it down and was then salvaged for metal scraps by mid-1999. What remains today is a monstrous metal bucket. The bucket sits on a rise, overlooking the valley that it once mined.

Big Muskie

Big Muskie: Turning Coal to Power

What is left, the Big Muskie's Bucket

What is left, the Big Muskie’s Bucket

Big Muskie's Bucket

Big Muskie’s Bucket

Since we mentioned power, the next destination after I visited Big Muskie’s Bucket was just around my town, Caldwell . It is located in Highway 78 East of town at the junction of Hwy 564, you will find a small park on the southeast corner paralleling Hwy 78. It is named as the Thorla-McKee Well.

Thorla-McKee Well Historical Marker

Thorla-McKee Well Historical Marker

As what the marker says,

Salt was an important commodity to early settlers because of its use in daily living. In 814, Silas Thorla and Robert McKee dug a well in search of salt brine. They discovered salt and by accident, discovered oil. Oil’s value was unknown to them so they had to separate the oil from the salt water by soaking the oil up from the surface with blankets. The oil was wrung from the blankets, bottled as ‘Seneca Oil’ and sold as a ‘cure all’. The remaining brine was boiled down to extract the salt.

To expound the story, it was then said both Silas Thorla and Robert McKee noticed a deer was licking a spot on the ground and figured that it might lead to an underground pool of salt brine. They, then, drilled a well, lined with hollowed-out logs looking for salt. Salt was important in preserving meat during long winter months and also livestock needed salt. They did find salt brine but it was fouled with oil. They tried to separate the oil from the salt brine thru blankets wringing out the oil as nuisance since oil wasn’t of much use in 1810s. The oil was put into bottles and sold as a digestive elixir, Seneca Oil.

Thorla-McKee Well

Thorla-McKee Well

By the time that oil became really valuable in America, Thorla and McKee were long dead. This well by accident is what the local chamber of commerce calls the ‘first oil well in America’ nowadays.

The First Oil Well in America

The First Oil Well in America

Visitors can still visit this place in a small park in Caldwell with a wheel less caboose near the parking area and the historical marker. But unlike the chamber of commerce, it only ventures to call it the ‘Thorla-McKee Well’.

Ohio Historical Marker

Ohio Historical Marker

Wheel-Less Caboose

Wheel-Less Caboose

Articles Way Back Then

Articles Way Back Then

Indeed, spring is here. The sun is shining but since I am in Ohio, sometimes snow just falls from the sky which is not unusual. So far for my spring travels, I’ve got to see these places whether it snows, rains or the sun shines. As long as a traveler enjoys his travels, then, that is acceptable, may it be spring has sprung and etc.

IATA Code: CEB – Mactan Cebu International Airport

International Air Transport Association (IATALocation Identifier uses a 3-letter code to identify locations of airports throughout the world.419674_10150619212324667_908690600_n (1)

CEB or known as Mactan-Cebu International Airport is one of the main gateways in the Philippines. It is stationed in the Queen City of the South. Located in the Visayas Region, Mactan-Cebu International Airport has been serving a lot of travelers going from and to other countries and parts of the Philippines.

For the international terminal, most flights were to Northeastern part of Asia such as Japan and Korea. It has airline offices for Air Busan, Jeju Air, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines. Not only that, local carriers such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia also utilise CEB for flights to other parts of Asia. As I had my starting point in CEB, I noticed that some parts were under construction. Thus, giving a lot of negative feedback on my part as an airport terminal guest. Issues that left me complaining were:

1. There were no seats for passengers or sendoff significant others on the waiting area.

2. ACs didn’t work that well. It was indeed hot.

3. Some gates were barricaded with yellow lines signifying that they were under construction.

4. It was small for an international airport.

Even though there were negative criticisms for CEB, there were also positive points I noticed. First is it was neat and clean. Second, it was in order. Third, it may have been a small airport terminal but it was still spacious, maybe because the passengers were moving in and out. There were only less delay flights or problems on the airport grounds that made it a good thing about how MCIAA/ Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority efficient.

Well, let me give you a tour. Upon entering the gates, you can get a trolley just near the door gates. You can walk from the door gate to your right side and see stalls for coffee, money changers, and airline offices.

Food stalls, money changers, and airline offices

Food stalls, money changers, and airline offices


Airport Chapel

Airport Chapel

Then, there is a ramp going to the check-in counter area. Here, passengers were the only persons allowed. Once you get in, you will go to an X-ray inspection for you luggage.

X-ray

X-ray inspection for luggage

Once cleared, can proceed directly to the check-in counter if they are open already.

Check-in Counters

Check-in Counters

As soon as you have your boarding pass, you will see this table at the middle. This is the travel tax counter.

Travel Tax Counter

Travel Tax Counter

After finishing paying the travel tax, you can head to the terminal fee counter to pay for it.

Terminal Fee Counter

Terminal Fee Counter

When the terminal ticket has been stapled or placed in your passport, you can go inside the boarding gates passing through passport control for exit stamp.

Going to Boarding Gates

Going to Boarding Gates


Near Boarding Gates

Near Boarding Gates

There in boarding gates, you wait for announcement if your plane has arrived and ready for boarding.

Boarding gates with TV to entertain passengers waiting for their flight

Boarding gates with TV to entertain passengers waiting for their flight

While for domestic area, it has been 10 years when I last used CEB hub. I haven’t tried flying from/ to there. But as far as I could remember, my experience using CEB was good.

Easy access to both international and local gates

Easy access to both international and local gates

In general, even though CEB has hit and miss some points but it was a good airport terminal. Maybe soon when I fly back to the Philippines, CEB would be one of the best options to land with due to the proximity to my home province.

Diverted Frustrations

Before I left for the Middle East, I was planning to go somewhere up northeast in Asia. If you can still remember my bucket list, one of those is to visit a UNESCO world heritage site. I’ve been doing research and I found out there are a lot of those attractions somewhere in Northeastern Asia. Thus, I planned to visit South Korea and it’s ever famous palaces and temples. I’ve been reading reviews on hotels, hostels, inns and lodges. I’ve been checking on airline rates and quotes on different airline sites. I’ve been ‘googling’ on maps on what route to take going from here to there in SK. I even studied ‘hangeul’, their language and how to write it and also planned my trip in getting my tourist visa in Cebu. Then, one day it was a bit tiring due to traveling too early from my place to another province which lasted for 4 hours.

Upon arriving in the Consulate Office of South Korea which is located in UC Banilad Mezzanine, I directly went inside and greeted them in hangeul and to my surprise, there were all Filipinos, of course they should be Filipinos ;). I asked them and about to hand my visa application when my smile just disappeared upon hearing the words the front desk uttered. I can remember she said, ‘I am sorry but we don’t process visa application here in the Consular Office. You need to apply thru our embassy in Manila or seek aid with our accredited travel agencies.’  I just smirked at her and told her, ‘that is OK.’ I stepped out of the office and thought about the things I’ve been doing for this trip. All of those efforts had gone to waste and my frustrations grew bigger and bigger.

With my frustrations, I diverted it and continued watching Korean Drama series after that incident until I arrived here in the Middle East. I am still planning to visit South Korea one of these days but it will appear that I won’t be able to put a check mark on one of my things-to-do on my bucket list this year. That is sad.

Anyway, I just drowned myself with Korean TV series and I just finished and added three series on my watched list.

First. The romantic teen tandem of Park Shin-Hye and Jung Yong Hwa. It was televised last 2011 but my friends told me to try it, so, I watched it.Heartstrings_Promotional_Poster

It was good, talking about one-sided love but kinda too childish for  me. Maybe I’m too old for this 😉

Second. I’m addicted to Gugak series now due to two recent tv series being shown in Korea recently. I’ve watched Jang Ok Jung: Live for Love.Jang_Ok-jung,_Live_for_Love-poster

It was heartbreaking and definitely one of the best Korean drama series for this year. Two thumbs up for coming up with a great performance and everything that comes along with.

Lastly. The second Gugak series is Gu Family Book starred by Lee Seung-Gi and Suzy. It is a historical action packed fantasy series.Gu_Family_Book-poster

It was better but not to an extent of getting glued to it.

So, those were the series I’ve been watching to divert my frustrations of not getting the plan done. I just keep my fingers crossed so that next time I will be able to keep my planned  trip, bucket list come to reality.