Traveling abroad sounds so much fun right? Nakaka-excite isipin all the places you’ll visit, the food and you look forward to the IG worthy photos you’re going to capture. And para naman sa katulad ko na isang working mom, naka-excite din isipin that finally you can enjoy a few weeks or days off from work. Pero while excited ka, you can’t stop thinking at the back of your mind about the horror stories of having denied entry to your destination country, being offloaded and worst case, yung nakikita mo sa TV na you’ll get arrested for bringing something illegal. So for this post, we’re going to give you some tips and reminders based on our experience and some stuff we read from various sources too.Read More »
Xavy just recently got his passport and as much as we’d like to travel internationally, we don’t have that much money. My mom recently applied for an Australian vistor visa and she was granted multiple entry valid for one (1) year and maximum duration of six (6) months. And all that was approved in a week, no medical exam and all that other stuff, all she had to do was submit the requirements online. But that was my Mom, who’s a retired government employee and a senior citizen. I don’t know if we’d get the same treatment as her.
For both of us, this is our first visa application and I was not feeling so confident because: 1) we don’t have have a lot in the bank, and 2) Xavy is an illegitimate child travelling with only one parent. Check out our blog post on things to remember for Filipino minors travelling abroad. But we persisted with the application, submitted all the requirements that were available and prayed a lot.
Anyways, for Filipinos who want to visit as tourist, to see family and friends or for purposes other than business or medical treatment, the applicable visa type is Visitor visa (subclass 600). Learn more about this visa at the Australian Immigration website. So basically this blog post is for this type of visa only. I don’t know how the application of the other visa types work.
So here’s what I prepped for the required documents (all scanned copies):
- Passport size photo – 45cm x 35cm, white background
- Passport – the page with the personal information (if you have the new passport, include the signature page)
- Evidence of previous travel – scanned all the passport pages with stamps and any visa documents that’s not in your passport should also be submitted
And for the supporting documents, the more the merrier. 😀 I mean, all documents you can provide to basically prove that you’re not going TNT over there and you’ll be financially okay during your stay. Here’s what we submitted:
- Evidence of current employment or self-employment
- Certificate of Employment
- Certificate of Leave of Absence – I requested our HR to create one for me saying that I will only be out for a month after which I’m expected to report to work
- Evidence of planned tourism activities in Australia – yes, I really made one just because! You can check it out here.
- Family register and composition form – birth certificate issued from NSO. Check out our blog post on How to get PSA (NSO) Birth Certificate online.
- Invitation from family, friends or organisations – fortunately, my sister is an Australian citizen, so we had an invitation and support letter.
- Evidence of the financial status and funding for visit
- Bank Statement – I got a copy of my bank’s statement of account. Like I mentioned, we’re not rich, my ADB was only around 30k for the past three (3) months.
- Mortgage Document – I submitted our chattel mortgage, you should submit if you any, I feel like this is a proof that you have responsibilities in the country so you’re definitely coming back
- Tax Document – my sister sent me their tax return
- Payslip – my sister and I submitted both our payslips for the past 3 months
- Certificate of Earnings – this is from my online job at Upwork
So once you got everything all set, create an account at their Immigration website and submit your application. I only created one account for both of us, it wouldn’t make sense that a six (6) year old would have his own account. When I submitted Xavy’s application, he was missing one required document (evidence of previous travel). There was a pop-up asking me to explain why he’s missing that, I just had to explain that this is his first travel. So for this visitor visa, we paid P5,364.80 each (AUD140.00). I submitted it on a Sunday and we got approved on Wednesday of the same week.
Although we got single entry visas, we could actually stay for as long as 3 months and valid for one year. Who knows maybe next time we’ll get multiple entries!
Choosing the right multivitamin for your toddlers can be exhausting. Oh well, it was for me anyways. Xavy is very picky when it comes to what he eats, like for real. To give you an idea, he does not like candies, sodas, juices, cakes and he will only have a little of the ice cream and chocolates. So yes, when it comes to vitamins, it was a difficult search.
The ones that stuck around for us were Kirkland Signature Children’s Complete Multivitamin Gummies and Herbs of the Earth Gummies Multivitamins for Kids.
So the Kirkland Signature Children’s Complete Multivitamin Gummies has 160 gummies and we bought this from a friend at P450 but I think it’s so much cheaper if you can have someone from the US buy it for you. And for Xavy’s age, he has to take 2 gummies daily. Check the image below for the supplement facts. Now personally I like this because it’s chewy and not very sweet. So the disadvantages to this one is that it’s quite hard to find in stores and it tends to get sticky if not refrigerated.
For Herbs of the Earth Gummies Multivitamins for Kids has 90 gummies and we got this at around P1200 online. The suggested dosage is 2 gummies daily. See below for the supplement facts. I find this one sweet but it’s not as chewy compared to the other one.
So Xavy’s choice of multivitamins is the Herbs of the Earth. Not my choice ’cause it’s too expensive! It’s more than twice the price of the other one with less than half of it’s content. The only nice thing about this one is it’s readily available and Xavy likes it. I actually have to force him to eat the other one daily.
Just another lazy afternoon at the Cliff House in Valencia. We’ve seen several Facebook posts featuring this place we decided to check it out. Cliff House is being hosted by Jenny at Airbnb (check the property in Airbnb here). It had great reviews in Airbnb and Facebook so we decided to check this out. This property is booked most of the time and luckily we were able to grab an available weekend. Xavy spent weeks checking Google maps surrounding the property that when we actually drove to this place, I didn’t have to check my phone for directions anymore, he became my guide.
Cliff House is actually a small apartment that’s perched dramatically near a cliff with stunning views of a jungle valley and clear stream. Not only you can stay overnight but you can also dine here. It’s a small place so not ideal for big groups. But you can arrange with Jenny ahead of time so she can make arrangements.
How to get there:
From Dumaguete, head to Valencia. From Valencia, take the road leading to the Forrest Camp and continue all the way to the junction of Casaroro Falls and Japanese Shrine. A few meters before the junction is green gate on the right side. Unfortunately there are no signs outside the property so you have to watch out for it. It’s about 10 minutes ride up from Forrest Camp, the road is well paved.
Things to do:
You can dine at the Cliff House. Their food is affordable and is actually good. Some of their servings is good for more than one person so you have to check before you order too much. If you’re staying overnight, the place is really cold since it’s all near the forest, sometimes it’s covered in fog so it’s amazing for photos if that’s what you’re into. It’s a place to unwind, away from the city life. You can enjoy a book and some coffee. You can also just enjoy a Netflix movie if you want (yes they have free wifi for guests staying overnight).
We’re actually going back a few months from now, to spend a quiet weekend. So yes, this is highly recommended if you’re looking to spend a quiet night.