Monday, May 22

Touring Around Cabanatuan City

Cabanatuan City is not really known as a tourism hub by many. It's more popular as a city in one of the leading rice-producing provinces in the country. Located in Region 3 in Nueva Ecija, in an area called Gitnang Kapatagan or Central Plains in English.

I thought that there was nothing to see here, but an unexpected vacation over Labor Day weekend proved me wrong. Aside from visiting a relative, I found myself walking around the city center and found these landmarks worth taking note of.

Freedom Park and Old Capitol Building
Freedom Park was about five minutes from my hotel. It was designed by an American architect named William E. Parsons who was also in charge of other government buildings during the American period in Cebu, Manila and Laguna.

Thursday, May 18

Visa Free Entry to Taiwan for Filipinos Moved to September 2017

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines has released this latest notice in their website.

Filipinos will finally be able to visit Taiwan without visa but there will be a slight delay in its implementation. Formerly announced to take place in June 2017, it will take effect on September 2017. We hope that there will be no more delays. :D

The implementation of VISA-FREE entry to the ROC (Taiwan) for Filipinos has been rescheduled to September 2017, and the exact date of the commencement of the implementation of the visa-free treatment will be further announced in September or at other appropriate date this year


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has recently announced that the implementation of visa-free entry to the ROC (Taiwan) for Filipinos has been postponed in order to complete relevant administrative procedures and inter-agency coordination. MOFA is expected to release the full details of the implementation of the said visa-free arrangements including the exact date of the commencement of implementing the visa-free treatment and its requirements either in September 2017 or at an appropriate date in due course.
Since 2016, the ROC (Taiwan) government has adopted a number of visa liberalization measures for the Philippine nationals to visit Taiwan as part of its “New Southbound Policy”. These measures are expected to enhance the bilateral relations, and expand the multi-faceted exchanges and cooperation between Taiwan and the Philippines.
Despite the postponement of the said visa-free policy, since as from October 2016, the Philippines has been included in Taiwan’s e-visa program list, for Filipinos who wish to visit Taiwan for tourism or a short visit, they are advised to continue to apply for either free Travel Authorization Certification (TAC), or payable e-visa (single entry:NTD1,632) or the payable appropriate proper visa stamped in the passport (single entry:P2,400, multiple entry:P4,800). Therefore, for the time being, prior to the full implementation of the visa-free arrangements, Filipinos should still follow the existing visa regulations and procedures to obtain visa(s) before travel to Taiwan.
In addition, MOFA has decided to further enlarge the eligibility criteria of the ROC (Taiwan) Travel Authorization Certificate (TAC) for qualified Philippine travellers starting from 1st June this year. Filipinos who have been issued with an ROC (Taiwan) visa (labor visas with remarks “FL” or “X” are excluded) over the recent 10 years may also apply for the said TAC, no need to pay any feeThe said TAC allows multiple-entries to Taiwan, valid for 90 days with every stay up to 30 days.
Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, Representative of the ROC (Taiwan) to the Philippines, wishes to emphasize that the granting of visa-free privilege to Filipinos is one of his priority work plans during his tenure in the Philippines, and that he and his colleagues in TECO will make strenuous efforts to make his dream of closer Taiwan-Philippines bilateral ties come true as soon as possible. It aims to enhance the mutually beneficial bilateral tourism, trade, investment, agricultural, technology, economic, cultural, educational and people-to-people cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and the Philippines.
Representative Lin further pointed out that the postponement is simply for smooth operations, more effective immigration procedure, and the safeguard of security for all passengers. The direction of the visa-free policy remains unchanged. As Taiwan is implementing “New Southbound Policy”, “the Philippines is considered as an important partner of Taiwan, so we are really making efforts to welcome more Filipino visitors to visit Taiwan, and the postponement of the visa-free arrangements is only intended to conduct seamless operations, facilitate the entry to Taiwan, and enhance security and safety for everyone”, as mentioned by Representative Lin.
For further visa information, you may check the website of TECO in the Philippines at http://www.roc-taiwan.org/ph
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines
May 16, 2017, Makati City, Metro Manila

Monday, May 15

A Laid-back Summering at Harvest Hotel

Summer this year was so hot and humid that even the thought of going to the beach to cool down didn't really entice me. But what is summer without at least one out of town escapade! I wanted a toned down travel. One over the weekend. And when I chose to explore Cabanatuan City, it turned out that I found the perfect hotel which perfectly suited all my needs.
The hotel at night