OSAKA, JAPAN: HEARTON HOTEL KITA UMEDA

We decided to stay in Hearton Hotel KitaUmeda, during our first time in Japan. And I can say, that if you are going to Osaka (and you don’t have much money like me, but is traveling with another person) then stay here. I highly recommend it!

hearton hotel kita umeda

I could say that from all the hotels I stayed during my first time in Japan, the Hearton Hotel Kita Umeda is the most spacious. It is still cramped but  is the most spacious (did I confuse you? lol). Well,  compared to the others that I have stayed at at least it still has space to bend over  (since most of the hotels in Japan is small, they are good at limiting, cramping spaces) It is really hard if you have a lot of luggage, because the space is good for only 2 people. (WTF I can’t properly describe it. lolz, anyway, let the pictures speak for themselves).

HEARTON HOTEL KITA UMEDA TWIN ROOMS

The price is right (cheap to mid-range hotel) however, this is good if you have a traveling companion because you will be able to split the cost. I paid 3,537 PHP for my one night stay. It also has a good location, it is 2 minutes walk from the nearest subway, so going around the city is a breeze. However, going to the main train station (to go to other main cities, such as Kyoto or Kobe) it is about 20 minutes walk or a 5 minute taxi ride. Also, one good thing about this hotel is that it is located 10 minutes walk from the bus stop of the Kansai Limousine Bus line (airport bus).

The front desk staff speaks good english, and the check-in was fast. Strictly no dilly-dallying. The breakfast is free, and is good even though there are only a few selections available. And also they have a nice well-lit lobby. I could say that this hotel, is mainly for business travelers, because it is like a no-nonsense hotel, meaning, it has no (in filipino term, pagarbo) luxurious decorations and such. It is simple and direct to the point. (WHUT? haha)

HEARTON HOTEL KITA UMEDA LOBBY

Since Osaka was our first stop, this hotel was the first hotel that I’ve stayed at in Japan, I was very surprised with the toilet. It is a bathroom where the shower, the toilet seat, the mirror (which is fog-free *yeah, i was so amazed haha) and the sink is one whole fixture, and they installed it at the space where the bathroom should be. It’s like it was a ready-made bathroom and you will just need to put in on the space where your bathroom will be, and voila, you have your bathroom without mounting separately the toilet, tub and sink. and also the flooring is made of plastic (not tiles). (I’m so confused on how to explain this. english skills lacking. lol


As for the room. As I’ve said, it was small but still spacious compared to other hotels in Japan (that I’ve stayed at during my first travel in JP). The beds are really comfortable. We ordered a twin room so we got two beds. The single beds are not really single beds per se, it is a tad bit smaller than what we call single beds in the western world and the Philippines. hehe. But, still it is very soft and comfortable.

HEARTON HOTEL KITA UMEDA BED IN TWIN ROOM

The room is also furnished with a television, an electric kettle, telephone, airconditioning and coffee and tea

HEARTON HOTEL KITA UMEDA AMENITIES 2HEARTON HOTEL KITA UMEDA AMENITIES

And also, I was so in love with their YUKATA’s (sleep wear) hehe

HEARTON HOTEL KITA UMEDA YUKATA

  • VALUE FOR MONEY: 4 STARS
  • LOCATION: 5 STARS
  • COMFORT: 5 STARS
  • AMBIANCE LOBBY: 3 STARS, ROOM: 5 STARS
  • SPACE: 4 STARS (BY JAPAN STANDARDS)

 

VISA DOCUMENTS: DSWD TRAVEL CLEARANCE FOR MINORS REQUIREMENTS

If the parents or the legal guardians of the child cannot join your travel abroad, but you still insist on bringing the child ( (your niece, nephew, grandchild, family friend); it is still possible to bring him but you need to get certain requirements. AND this applies too to those children who will travel abroad by himself (cases where the parents are already abroad).

Exceptions however applies, such as:

  1. A minor, who is a Filipino citizen with permanent residency card for another country (like the green card for the US)
  2. A minor, who is a Filipino, who holds a valid pass such as dependents visa/pass/identification or permanent resident visa/pass/identification card.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS IN SECURING A TRAVEL CLEARANCE?

  1. Duly accomplished application form.

tc-application-form-12. Photocopy of the Birth Certificate OR the passport of the  minor

PHILIPPINE PASSPORTS

3. A written consent of both parents or the solo parent or the legal guardian permitting the minor to travel alone to a foreign country. JOINT AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAL CONSENT

JOINT AFFIDAVIT OF PARENTAL CONSENT-1
JOINT AFFIDAVIT OF CONSENT AS REQUIREMENT TO GET DSWD TRAVEL CLEARANCE
  1. As appropriate:
    1. a photocopy of the marriage certificate of the minor’s parents
    2. OR; a photocopy of the certificate of legal guardianship of the minor or in the case of solo parent
    3. In case of a Solo Parent:
      1. a photocopy of the solo parent identification card from the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office OR;
      2. a photocopy of a certification from the Local Social Welfare and Development Office of being a solo parent OR;
      3. Tallaq or Faskh certification from the Shariah court or any Muslim Barangay or religious leader
      4.  IN the case of an illegitimate minor, a certificate of no marriage (CENOMAR)* from the National Statistics Office (NSO)
      5.  In the case of a deceased parent, a photocopy of the death certificate

5.    Two colored passport size photos of the minor taken within the last 6 months.
6.    Photocopy of the first page of the passport(s) of the traveling companion(s), as the came maybe.

The processing fee for each travel clearance issued to minors traveling abroad under the following options:

  • Php 300.00 with validity of one (1) year.
  • Php 600.00 with validity of two (2) years.

– See more at: http://www.dswd.gov.ph/faqs/travel-clearance-for-minors/#sthash.qP1BTIx6.dpuf

DSWD TRAVEL CLEARANCE FOR MINORS

 

 

VISA DOCUMENTS: AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT

If you are not the one who will cover for the expenses of your travel, because you are a student, a minor, or a housewife and the country you will be visiting requires a visa, then you will need this document to support your application.

Here’s a copy of what I’ve been submitting to different embassies.🙂 Hope this helps!

AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT with SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY-1

Here’s a .doc file of the photo above without a watermark (you can easily edit it.

AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT with SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY

HAPPY WANDERING!

 

JAPAN VISA FOR FILIPINOS: SCHEDULE OF STAY

HELLO THERE WANDERERS!

This is a sample of my Schedule of Stay that I submitted to the Japan Embassy  last 2013 before they became lenient

Page1Page2Page3Page4

 

JAPAN VISA APPLICATION FOR FILIPINOS

JAPAN VISA APPLICATION

I’m one of the persons who love reading mangas or watching animes.. Well to tell you, I became addicted with this hobby, just 1-2 years ago. But hey, who won’t forget the nice story and well played roles of Hana Yori Dango? Anyway, I was, and is currently is, in love with Japan. I don’t know why, I feel like coming there instead of any countries in the world. It was my first list in my bucket list. Well, next is United States, and of course Europe.

Anyway, nuff said.

Before anyone, or any Filipino otakus like me  (though I don’t want to be called like one, not that really an otaku)🙂  can leave their footprints in the land of the rising sun, one should first have a Japanese visa.

Well, people say that Japan visa is a hard-to-get visa since most Filipinos look for job in Japan.🙂 Well, haven’t seen a soul of Filipinos when I went there, unlike Hong Kong. But, hey, they are strict because, just like US, Japan is a developed, or a first world country, and those living in the developing countries like us Filipinos, would like to test the waters and go there to work. HELL TO THOSE FILIPINOS WHO BECAME TNTs!! That’s why these countries won’t allow us, Filipinos, to go there without a visa– which is totally a headache.

Nuff said. I’m being carried away. So, you, yes you! Don’t be like them and be a good boy/girl!🙂 and use your visa just how you are supposed to use it.🙂 Anyway, here are my tips and how to’s in getting your Japan tourist visa.

1. Choose a travel agency

Japan Embassy does not allow in-person application, so you need to get an agency to submit your application.  I chose Reli Tours and Travel Agency in SM Mall of Asia, since they have the cheapest processing fee which is 1200.00. The people in Reli are very professional and will text you once your passport is ready for pick up or once they had already forwarded your application in the embassy.

Reli Tours and Travel Agency is located in SM Mall of Asia, near SMX. Telephone number: 556-1445 OR 632-556-1447  Cell No: 09065136777

map-e-moa1

Here are the lists of accredited travel agencies: Click here

2. Fill up the application form

I suggest that you submit your form in typewritten or computerized form to make it more formal, and so that the person reading your application would not be annoyed if ever your handwriting is akin of that of a chicken (bad handwriting). As I said above, computerized is better as it is more presentable.

You can fill up the application form here: click here

These are the documents which I submitted (I made this post right after I got the visa. i grabbed this from my pinoy exchange account)

I submitted the following in Reli Tours MOA last Monday through LBC, received a text from Reli that they received my documents last Tuesday 7pm, then my Passport was ready for pick up last Friday. Though I got it this Saturday lang.

Okay saakin ang Reli Tours MOA, super bait ni Miss Babes na nagassist saakin, I hope she stays there. wala naman akong horror stories na maishashare unlike sabi ng mga previous pexers about Reli tours Megamall. Sa MOA, approachable and mababait yung mga tao.. 

We are 4 persons traveling together, my mom, me, my sis-in-law, and my nephew. We were all granted a visa! yey! our travel will be this May, sana medyo malamig pa!

we bought airtickets already, sugal lang talaga! kakakaba nga eh! haha, so ito ang mga documents na sinubmit ko, ang iba dito hindi naman talaga kelangan, sinama ko lang kasi na-OC ako, ayoko madeny kasi nga masyado ng madaming gastos (airtickets, hotel bookings etc, sama mo pa ang visa fee na 1,200 each, diba if magpapass ka you’ll make sure na kahit papaano confident ka sa papers mo)

1. Completed Application form (I computerized mine and printed it on A4 paper back to back, although sabi naman ng mga travel agency, kahit long o short, back to back o hindi, okay lang, pwede ngang humingi nalang ng app form sa agency nyo e, although computerized is better since it looks more presentable) Our travel agency Reli Tours’ representative, the very kind and approachable Ms. Babes, told us to not leave blanks in the app forms, so don’t forget to put n/a if the question is not applicable to you

2. 4×5 x 4×5 cm picture, white background, strict sila sa picture na to, punta kayo picture city or any well known picture booths/shops, meron sila ng for japan visa. paste it in your application form. (My ears cannot be seen in the photo, masyado kasing maliit yung ears ko, so I think oks lang kung di kita yung ears, pero as much as possible ilabas nyo pa rin yung ears nyo, yung tipong makikita kahit tip lang. ) And also this should be pasted. I suggest using a double sided tape so that hindi makalat yung glue sa application form.

3. Passport, 6 months valid, so better check your passports expiry date.  And also make sure that there are at least 2 remaining pages and that the passport was properly signed in its back portion. Broken laminations of the first page (the information page, where your picture is located) will not be accepted, so better renew your passports if you have problems with such.

4.COPY OF  INCOME TAX RETURN and ORIGINAL BANK CERTIFICATE. Since my mom will be sponsoring all the expenses for this trip, we attached her bank certificate and ITR and we also put an Affidavit of Sponsorship on each of the applications which expenses will be handled by my mom.🙂

5. Daily Schedule (day to day itinerary). I submitted my daily schedule– Osaka–Kyoto–Tokyo. we are staying in Japan for 6 full days. Click here to see my Schedule of Stay or Daily Schedule.

6. Birth Certificates for the four of us, this needs to be original and is issued within one year of visa application. So if you will apply on April 30, 2016, then the Birth Certificate should be or was procured on or after April 30, 2015. (they are very strict with this, so please comply)

  1.    If Birth Certificate from NSO is unreadable, submit Birth Certificate from Local Civil     registar
  2. If there is no record in NSO
    In addition to “Certificate of non-Record” from NSO Headquarter.
    Attached together with the one from Local Civil Registrar.
  3. If Birth Certificate from NSO is “LATE REGISTRATION”
    Baptismal Certificate
    School Record (from 137)
    School Yearbook (if applicable)
    *Please indicate complete address and land line(telephone, if applicable) of the              church in the baptismal certificateand of the school record.

7. Marriage Certificate for married people, I got one for my mom and one for my sis-in-law. This should be an original copy from NSO. and like the Birth Certificate, it should be issued within one year of Visa application.

TAKE NOTE: If you’ve been to Japan before, and you were given a single entry visa, then you don’t need to submit your birth certificate and marriage certificate for your next application, however, you are required to submit your old passport where the used Japanese visa is attached. It’s better (though not really a requirement) to have it photocopied (together with the entry and exit stamps) and attach it in your application.

OTHER DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED: The following docs are not necessary, I just added them pampapogi. Pero promise, hindi ito kailangan.

1. Airline tickets. since meron na kami, sinama ko na, unlike south korea embassy they remove those documents not stated in the list of requirements, for japan embassy, you can add them. Sugal to, grabe, kung alam nyo lang kung paano ako ka-OC sa mga requirements dahil sobrang laki na ng ginastos sa airtickets, pinatulan ko kasi sale eh, pero humigit kumulang 12k pa rin per person (Clark-Osaka, Tokyo-Manila). Inuulit ko ang sinasabi ng ibang pexers dito, having confirmed tickets will not give you 100% chance of visa approval. It is up to your financial documents.

2. Hotel Reservations. Meron na kaming booked hotels paid through Agoda, expedia and Booking.com. Kung ano yung rineserve namin ay yun din ang linagay namin sa mga blanks sa application form

3. Certificate of Employment and Schedule of positions handled throughout the start of service. This is Not necessary, kaso sinama ko pa rin.

6. photocopy of Land Titles owned by my mom,

7. Sponsorship Letter. Since my mom would be the one handling all the expenses for this trip, we asked her to execute a sponsorship letter, and we made it a public document by having it notarized.

8. Bus Reservation (Kyoto to Tokyo) from Willerbus (willerexpress.com)

FOR STUDENTS LIKE ME: I added the following supporting documents, although no.1 and 2 will suffice, OC lang ako kaya dami ko sinama. sorry na. 
1. Photocopy of ID
2. Certificate of Enrollment
3. Certificate of Units Earned
4. Transcript of Records
5. Flowchart

FOR NSO BIRTH CERT WITH LATE REGISTRATION: I was late registered so I submitted the other docs:
1. Baptismal certificate
2. Transcript of Records
3. Form 138 (high school) FYI: nasa Law school na ako. sinubmit ko yung sa hs pa ako! haha!
4. Form 137-a (high school)

Upon submitting all the documents to the travel agency, everything is out of your control already, so before doing or wagering in your 1200 or the costs of your airplane ticket, make sure that you gave all the requirements needed, and also not to make you go back and forth in the travel agency just because you are missing one requirement. Save yourself a few bucks by being organized and also by making sure you have all the requirements.

It is not bad to give other paper documents that shows your capacity to finance your trip and shows your ties in the Philippines. So, I suggest if you have these things, why not include it in your application?

That’s all Hope this helped you. HAPPY WANDERING!🙂

I will post my Japan itinerary soon! Keep wandering!🙂

TONLE SAP, SIEM REAP CAMBODIA: INTERESTING PLACE MINUS THE SCAMS

Isn’t this beautiful and charming???

Sunset in Tonle Sap
Sunset in Tonle Sap
Sunset in Ton Le Sap
Sunset in Ton Le Sap

Yes. It is pretty… but, I would like to state that the pictures became that beautiful because of my lovely DSLR and of course, some editing…😀

The sunset I saw here is nothing compared to sunsets that I saw in my country.😀 The Manila Bay sunset is better and its free!

Although, I must admit that I was amazed on how people can live in a floating village like this:

Well, it is interesting to see these, but I will tell you in another post that the cons outweighs the pros
Well, it is interesting to see these

tonlesap.jpg

tonlesapvillage.jpg tonlesapvillagehouses.jpg

Aside from the houses, you can see a floating market, floating basketball court, floating tourist center (which houses the crocodiles (well it is in a cage, so you don’t need to be worry) and some kids posing with their pet snakes, — “yeah I said it right, pet snakes”) and kids using a wash basin to stay afloat. The tourist center is also where you will wait to see the “spectacular” sunset.

This is the floating complex, which can also be a basketball court.
This is the floating complex, which can also be a basketball court.
This is the "tourist center" where you will see the so called beautiful sunset
This is the “tourist center” where you will see the so called beautiful sunset
And of course the floating market.
And of course the floating market.

Well, every thing is going smoothly and we were having fun. But, the moment we went down to that quaint little floating market, every thing turned sour.

WHY?

Well, this is what it looks like inside that market:

ton le sap floating market
ton le sap floating market

It is where you will be told to buy stuff which will serve as a donation for the children living in the village. Wait, I just remembered, while we were inside the boat, we were being oriented by the tour guide (allocated to us, when we rode the boat) that the children were getting sick because they don’t have anything to eat… that they don’t have anything to drink.. and they don’t have anything to use in school and that they are orphans..blah..blah.. Well, they are trying to appeal to our pity. But, coming from a third world country myself, something like that is not “something new”.  But, it is not something that I can ignore either.

When we were forced. Yeah forced to get down the floating market. We were shoved to meet another “community” guide. Well, again, he was orienting us on how poor the villagers are, and that they need donation. So, we can choose anything from the things sold in the floating market to give to the children.

The things there are:

1. A pack of pencils, ballpens and notebooks.

2. A pack of Instant Noodles, some snacks and juices

3. a box of Bottled Water

4. Sack of Rice

Since the appeal to pity worked on us, we decided to donate. But because we were only students that time (and we don’t have that much money to afford the other things sold) we decided to donate at least the pack of pencils and notebooks.

Well, we are about to pay for it, when the “community guide” told us. “not that, the children needs food more than school supplies”. Well, my friends and I just looked at each other and well then, we decided to donate the pack of instant noodles with the snacks and all instead of the cheaper pens and notebooks. Then we are prepared to pay for it, when the community guide interrupted us again and said that “It is not nutritious, what we need is real food”. I asked how much the per kilogram of rice was, but he shrugged me off and said, “we sell it by sacks”. I forgot how much everything costs, but what I know for sure is that every thing was overpriced!

We ended up not buying anything why??

Although what he said is true or actually makes sense–that the priority is nutritious food, but, what the he**!!! we are the donors and we have the right to choose what to give, and why be so choosy?? Moreover, this trip is purely leisure, and we didn’t expect that we will face such thickheaded person, who only wants to suck the money out of tourists. Well, to tell you, not every tourist is made equal, there are rich tourists and there are budget tourists. My colleagues and I are in the latter. so scr*w it!😀  Well, it is good to help, as long as it is within my ability. I also help a lot of people in need, but what I don’t understand is that they became so aggressive and so pushy in telling us what to give! damn, I hate them. they ruined my happy disposition during that trip.

But, our dilemma did not end when we get off the floating market. Our guide was literally Pissed-off at us when he realized that we did not buy anything. He didn’t say anything throughout the time when we went inside the tourist complex but he was really talkative when we were just heading towards the floating market. And when we were able to go inside the tourist complex, we realized that he went off by himself, without even telling us his goodbyes. What the F???

Thank goodness our boatman stayed. :p that’s why we gave him a tip (which is actually mandatory). 5USD for the boatman.

Well, enough of the rantings.

BTW. inside the tourist complex. Well, I just named it that way, because I forgot how it is called :p You will see these:

This is the "tourist center" where you will see the so called beautiful sunset
This is the “tourist center” where you will see the so called beautiful sunset
ton le sap girl with snake
ton le sap girl with snake

tonlesapsnakes2.jpg

Crocodiles kept on Ton Le Sap
Crocodiles kept on Ton Le Sap

And from there, we waited for the sunset.

Sunset in Ton Le Sap
Sunset in Ton Le Sap
On our way back to Siem Reap after visiting the water village
On our way back to Siem Reap after visiting the water village

Worth it? Well, I will let you decide

1.  The road going here is unpaved. or is rocky. So going here using a Tuktuk is really not recommended, unless if you want to have your face filled with dust.  Moreover, it is quite far from Siem Reap, around 30 minutes to 1 hour van ride.

2. Sunset is nice, but I won’t pay a lot just because of it. You will pay 25-30 USD for the boat ride, a separate entrance fee of 3-5USD per person (I’m not sure, but this is as far as I can remember, because we were issued tickets), then a van ride which costs us 20-30USD per van.

3. Scams and rip offs. Well, since we were caught off-guard, we were really disappointed and angry of what happened. But, since you’ll be coming there equipped with knowledge about the modus then you will be well prepared of what’s gonna happen to you. And you won’t have any great expectations unlike us who were super swayed by our siem reap tour guide.😀

4. Mandatory Tipping of 5 USD each for the driver and guide. But since the guide went off by himself, he wasn’t able to receive it.

5. If you wanna save money, you should travel in groups, since the boat is usally rented by groups.

6. A tour guide that leaves his work after being pissed off at you

OBJECTIVELY THOUGH: It is somehow extraordinary to see floating villages like this. So, minus the scams, and if I am ready to pay a huge amount of money, why shouldn’t I give it a try?