Flying Jet Star – you get what you paid for… unfortunately.

June 3, 2017

Well, we get what we paid for.

I think this is my fourth time flying jet star – but first for international.

I understand why the seats are extremely cramped. I understand that there are no food nor drinks. What I don’t understand is why they had to spray aerosol an hour before landing across the entire aisle (over the cabin, straight, continuous pray from the front to the back, both sides). Not once, twice! Are they trying to save time for landing? Are they trying to cover up some bad smell?

#whyjetstar

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The NAIA Pain

June 4, 2017 (technically 11:56pm, June 3 in Manila)

One thing with the Philippines – you get used to waiting. Long lines are the norm, and be prepared to pay for each and every benefit. (We do try to imitate the capitalistic US)

Unlimited Fees

So, going to NAIA requires a fee on the expressway (if you wanna have a faster route). It’s a bit cheap, at only around PHP50 (rate changes regularly). Using the airport is also charged at PHP1,620, unless you are an OFW or a kid, in which case you get a discount.

Long Lines

When they say be there two hours before, be there two hours BEFORE. Lines are long, and you should prepare well.

Blackmail – Laglag bala

It has lied low in the past couple of years, but it may still be there. How does it work? Once you pass through the security check, they (the employees), will put illegal stuff in your bag (before, it was a bullet which was illegal before, but was amended by the President) and require you to bribe them to let you go. So watch your bags, never let anyone else touch it, and if flagged, don’t touch anything and don’t let anyone touch anything.

Korean Visa in Tokyo

May 22, 2017

My first trip to Korea was through the visa free transit to US (AU, JP and some other countries qualify too, I think). My next one is a week long stay, and not for transit. So I had to apply for a visa. (I’m from the Philippines. I almost always have to get a visa everywhere. *what-can-I-do-countries-are-afraid-of-us sigh*)

Unfortunately, there’s not much information about Korean  Visa application in Japan. (the Japanese don’t need a visa. can i be Japanese, pls?) Even the Korean Embassy’s website is not really useful considering it’s either in Japanese or Korean. Thanks to google translate, I managed!

How to Prepare

  1. Online application – your picture will be uploaded there. I think it functions as a manually written application that is legible and saved them typing time.
  2. Resident’s ID copy
  3. Bank account copy (I’m a student so I don’t have a tax return)
  4. Original certificate of enrolment
  5. Student ID copy
  6. Invitation letter
  7. Passport, of course
  8. Photocopy of valid visa for OECD countries visited. I think you should give  copy even for those invalid visas, if they are on a different passport.
  9. Copy of birth certificate

 

How to get there

1. Go to Azabujuban station, Oedo line. Take exit 2.

2. There is a separate office for the visa application. So with google maps, I suggest you just search for Olympic Inn in Azabu. The Korean Embassy’s consular office is right there.

Since nobody told me that piece of information, I went to google map’s Korean Embassy and they gave me this. Really, just go to Olympic Inn.

In the Embassy

It’s in the third floor. Once you get in, go to the reception guy and take a number by pressing the icon with visa written on it . He will ask you if you have filled up an application form – just show him all your papers (even before he says anything) and that should settle the language issue. If you speak Korean or Japanese, go ahead and chat him up.

In case you need the services of a photocopying machine, they have one inside for JPY10 a page. (I had to photocopy my resident’s ID. Given the lack of information, I used the Korean Embassy’s requirements in the Philippines, and of course a resident ID is not on the list)

Once they called my number, I just submitted my papers. She simply asked where I’m staying (the address in my application form), and I showed her the invitation letter.

They then gave me a slip of paper saying I can pick up my passport in two days. I didn’t pay anything. Hmm. Is it because I’m a student (with an invitation letter) or is it because it’s single entry that it is gratis?

Application time is from 9 to 11:30am. Claiming is from 2 to 4pm (you’ll have it in your slip). Unfortunately, they will not mail your passport so you actually have to go back and claim it.

Offloaded.

May 6, 2017

Okay, so this just happened.

For whatever reason, the Philippines was added to the list of countries not allowed to transit through China without a visa. Here’s what happened as I could recall.

Around 12:30pm.

We got into our boarding gate. The staff was checking people’s passports, and when I showed mine, she led me to the desk where I was turned over to the desk lady.

Desk lady: Do you have a transit visa?

Me: No, because I don’t need one.

Desk lady: You need a transit visa to go through China.

Me: Oh, I don’t. I was just there a week ago (shows the stamp in my passport)

We then went to the entire You-need-a-visa/No-I-don’t repetitive discourse. The Desk Guy passes through, and they talk in Dutch.

Desk lady: Unfortunately, you need a transit visa. My senior says you are required to. So we cannot allow you to board this flight unless you have your visa.

Me: I don’t have a visa though. What can I do?

Desk lady: You can apply for a Chinese transit visa. I think it only takes a couple of days.

Me: I can’t leave the airport though, my Schengen visa is valid only for today.

Desk lady: Oh, then I guess you have to stay in the airport.

Me: …………

Me: Can I google the visa requirements?

Desk lady: Sure.

Me: (after googling, shows her my phone) See, in the embassy site, it is says that I don’t need a visa for 24 hour transits. This is the Philippine Chinese embassy site. Here’s the travel china immigration site. They all say I don’t need one.

Desk lady: I’m sorry, but we follow the communications we’re given.

Me: Can I talk to the senior guy?

Desk lady: Sure, we can wait for him.

The senior guy comes in, and shows me a list of countries that are not allowed to travel without visa. It’s a printed paper (no embassy logo whatsover) with “Philippines” manually written in blank ink at the bottom. The top countries are middle eastern, the bottom  Asian (I distinctly remember Malaysia). I told the guy everything  I told the desk lady, including the fact that I just passed through China a week ago.

Senior guy: I’m sorry, we follow the regulations given to us by the immigration. Immigration rules change by the day.

The desk lady and the senior guy then talk in Dutch, and based on the key words, it seems that the desk lady was telling him that based on immigration rules per embassy, I am allowed to transit. The Senior guy answers that their list is the official one, directly communicated by the immigration office of Xiamen. Again, they are talking in Dutch and I don’t speak Dutch. This is based on body language and key English words.

Me: Ok, so what do I do now?

Senior guy: I’m offloading you the flight now. But don’t worry, I’ll take care of you. Even if I have to book you a transit through KL.

Me: What about my luggage?

Senior guy: We’re offloading it too. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you, but after I’ve finished boarding this flight. Go to the boarding area and wait for me.

Me: Ok, thank you.

I was in a panic. My friend called our flight organizer (abroad!) to tell them that I’ll need a new ticket. I don’t know what I should do – do I book a new one? All the tickets are expensive, and they go through countries where I would need a visa. AND I’m gonna miss my class. Haha. After AN HOUR of all these concerns going in my head at which I have googled the closest direct flight to Tokyo or flights passing through ASEAN countries, I was approached by the Senior guy.

Senior guy: Here’s your flight, direct to Narita in an hour. I apologize but I have to follow the regulations otherwise we will be fined.

Me: Thank you! (I was just glad I have a flight!) I understand.

Then I went off and got on the plane.

Then I arrived in Narita.

My luggage didn’t.

Flight to Haneda

Philippine Airlines flies directly to Haneda Airport, which is better than Narita as the former is a lot closer to Central Tokyo (30mins ish as opposed to at least an hour of Narita).

Baggage

There’s a limit of two baggages, 23 kgs max each. Can you split this to multiple baggages within the same limit? Nope. I had to buy a new one to maximize the 23 kgs limit.

You also have a hand carry limit of two pcs. Prepare wisely.

Seats

When you check in online, selecting seats costs at least PHP150. So don’t.

Once you get there, you can request at check in to transfer you to your preferred seat – but be there early or your choices will diminish!

Look at the beautiful view from the window seat I requested. I seem to always end up with the wing for a view. 

It’s too bright.

Free Internet

15mb free up in the air! Thanks PAL. This post was uploaded using the free internet. 😀

Free movies

Watched Me Before You and Deadpool for free. Cried too. Tsk tsk.

Complimentary food

As opposed to other airlines, food at PAL doesn’t seem to be optional. 

If you want to drink more, don’t be shy. Request for another cup of water or juice. It’s free. 

Baluuuuut

Trigger alert – some might find this food disturbing

I miss the manongs who walk through the night shouting with their smooth baritone voice.

I miss the cloth covered baskets where the nightly “easter eggs” are nestled.

I miss the challenge of guessing which side to break first (was it the round one? No it’s the pointed one. Or the round one?)

I miss the good old Balut.



Nomnomnom. I missed this! The key to eating balut is knowing the seller so we can be assured that the smallest chick (duckling?) is inside.