Weekend Getaway at Baguio City V.2

It was surely an unplanned Baguio visit with my team mates. Februrary 26, 2016 – we didn’t even know that it’s Panagbenga Festival! *chuckles*

We all agreed to meet in Victory Liner, Cubao at around 5AM. I told them that I’ll buy bus tickets for us since I’m the first one to get there. Sad to say, the earliest possible that we could get was at 10:30AM. Yes, I did buy the tickets because #YOLO, it’s now or never! Haha. So we had to wait for 5 more hours and was hoping to be a chance passenger in earlier trips, but still nah.

Chance Passenger

Arrived in Baguio City at 5PM then we checked-in Hotel Veniz. I have missed the Lomo Ribs of Canto so I dragged them at Ketchup: The Food Community to have our dinner.

Lomo Ribs

No definite plan afterwards, so we just had a night walk around Wright Park, Burnham Park and Session Road. After the long night walks, we finally decided to go back to hotel at around 11PM then watched The Conjuring on HBO!

Burnham Park
© Dominic Dawat

Burnham Park

On the next day, we went back to Burnham Park. The gorgeous scenery and the cool weather, oohh… the things that I always miss to see in Baguio City!

Mines View Park

Nothing much have changed since my last visit. Still a popular place to get cheap pasalubong, plants and to have a cliff overlooking the mountains.

The Mansion

We rode in jeepney from the Mines View Park going down to The Mansion –  the summer residence of the Philippine President. Only good for taking pictures because going inside the mansion is not allowed and other than that, there’s nothing else to do.

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Wright Park

Right in front of the Mansion. We often joke that the place and the vibe look like the same from what we see in Koreanovelas. 😛 We have enjoyed the sight of the people walking around, the horse back ride, the pine trees and all the other things that the Wright Park could offer!

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Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden is just 10 minutes walk from the Wright Park. A cool place with nice flowers, photo opportunities and interesting structures such as Chinese pagoda, Golden Gate Bridge, various other bridges and walkways with plenty of shade.

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Golden Bridge, OTWOL feels!

Laperal White House

Another famous spot along the Leonard Wood Rd. is the Laperal White House. A Victorian style house with a dark history but it was now transformed into a gallery of Filipino artworks based on bamboo and wood.

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Bagiuo Museum

It was my first time here. The Baguio Museum is a 4 storey building that proudly presents the history and the transformation of Baguio City. There are also displayed paintings that they sell.

IMG_0018 IMG_0011Panagbenga Festival

Just a few shots of the Panabenga Festival because it’s almost time for us to go back to Manila. 🙂

Long walks around Baguio City is so worth it!

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CD-R (CJ, Doms and Rika)

Weekend Getaway at Baguio City V.1

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U.S. Tourist Visa Application Experience

US Visa

Getting U.S. Tourist Visa is one of my goals for this year! It was January 15th when I set a schedule for my visa interview and the earliest possible date by that time was February 2nd; I chose February 5th at 8:00AM (Friday).

For Non-immigrant Visa application, these are the 3 steps:

  1. Go to www.ustraveldocs.com and answer the DS-160 online form (Note: You will need to upload your picture, preferably in a neutral facial expression).
  2. Pay the visa fee, which costs $160; keep the visa fee receipt because you will need it during the appointment.
  3. Schedule your visa interview thru their website or call center agent. Remember, gadgets are not allowed so better leave it at home.

I’m ecstatic about the interview, so I kept on Googling about U.S. Tourist Visa blogs and then I have noticed that these are the questions that the consular commonly ask:

  1. What is the purpose of your visit?
  2. Do you have any relatives or friends in the U.S.?
  3. How long will you be staying?
  4. Countries you have visited for the past 5 years?
  5. What is your work?
  6. How much is your monthly income?

U.S. Visa Appointment Day

My boyfriend (he only accompanied me) and I have arrived at the US Embassy around 6AM and I think I’m the 6th person in the line for the 8AM appointment. At 7:45AM, we were on our way inside the embassy.

Once inside the embassy, the first step would be a pre-interview (checking of printed DS-160/appointment form) this is also your last chance to change any answer in your form, the second step is a fingerprint scanning and lastly, the start of a waiting game for your number to be called for the interview.

Calling out of the number is randomized, as what the guy staff explained, it is random because the number that was first to enter into their system after the fingerprint scan will be called immediately, so don’t get mad if you saw the last person in your line to be called first. 🙂

I wasn’t wearing a watch on that day (because I thought it is also prohibited) so I assume that it took me an hour before being called. Maybe I’m just lucky that there were fewer people went for an interview on that day, other people waited for 2-3hrs. (Tip: Bring a book that you want to read while waiting because it might take hours before you’ll be called).

The consuls looks nice, approachable and good anyway, unlike the stories that I have heard. Before my turn, I could hear a lot of people being interviewed and most of them got approved.

The Interview

I was feeling nervous while waiting for my number to flash in the screen, but during the interview, my nervousness suddenly went away!

Consul: Hi, how are you?
Me: Good morning, I’m good. *smiles*
Consul: So, what’s the purpose of your visit?
Me: I will visit my relatives
Consul: What is your relationship with them?
Me: My aunt and my grandmother
Consul: How long do you plan to visit?
Me: For 2 weeks
Consul: So you work in *********?
Me: Yup
Consul: For how long?
Me: For ** years
Consul: From which department?
Me: From **** department
Consul: Oh, the **** store. What’s your work?
Me: *explaining my work*
Consul: Who will pay for your trip?
Me: Myself
Consul: Okay… So you’re saving up for yourself?
Me: Yes

And that’s how I got my U.S. Tourist Visa application approved! 😀 The excitement and the visa fee are all worth it! Haha. After 5 business days, my passport was delivered to our house… The US Embassy gave me 10 years! I think most of the questions were about my work because it will be the main reason why I’ll return here in the Philippines. Also, they didn’t ask for any supporting documents during the interview. My ultimate tip for the interview would be:

BE HONEST AND BE CONFIDENT

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Majestic Tinipak River and Mt. Mamara Day Hike

Hiking is now one of popular outdoor activities and a weekend getaway nowadays. So I’ll have to remind everybody, including myself, that do not hike in mainstream mountains a day before the holiday because there will be too many people!

We originally planned to hike in Mt. Daraitan but since there were too many people at that time, we were not lucky enough to be with the 300 people that were allowed to go up.

Good thing, we were still able to hike Mt. Marmara and Tinipak River which are also located in Barangay Daraitan, even though it’s crowded as well. Personally, I haven’t heard about the Mt. Mamara so I did not have any idea about its difficulty and what to expect at the summit.

Tinipak

Before you reach the starting point of Mt. Mamara, you’ll get to see and enjoy the Tinipak River first. The Tinipak River is characterized by cool clear waters, amazing rock formations and colorful stones by its banks; most of our time was spent taking photos near the river and on top of the rock formations. It was a 30mins walk from Brgy. Daraitan to the campsite and another 5mins walk going to the start point of Mt. Mamara; at the same time, it is the part of the river where you could swim around.

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Our hike from the starting point of Mt. Mamara up to the summit took us almost 2hrs and 30mins because we had to stop most of the time to give way for those hikers going down. The mountain is not yet developed and upon reaching the summit, I’m a bit disappointed about how crowded it was and there’s nothing much to see! You wouldn’t think of it as the summit. There wasn’t enough space to sit so most of us had our snacks while standing. I hate to say it, but the view doesn’t worth our climb at all… While going down took us only 1hr and 30mins.

There is also the Mamara cave, however, it was also crowded. We had to wait for the five groups to be finished (30mins for each group) before our turn so our group decided to skip the cave for us not to go home late and just go swim around Tinipak River.

Expenses: Tour guide – Php500 | Environmental Fee: Php25

© Allysa Pajarillo
© Allysa Pajarillo
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Make Your Dream Travel Come True with DLC Backpackers: Your Travel Expert

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Backpacking is definitely in! Not just as a popular mode of traveling, but also as a way of life.

Backpacking was often considered for hiking and camping but in many ways, it is now slowly transforming into an independent and low-cost international travel options for individuals or a group of people.

This trend started as an economical solution for the aspiring travelers who have major budget constraints and now became the most preferred option by many. No matter how well their budget is, the experience of backpacking is truly different.

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Since backpacking is now considered as one of the trendiest travel options by many people from different countries, DLC Backpackers: Your Travel Expert brings the trend in the Philippines! Your travel expert will help you get the best travel packages that will give the worth of your money and an adventure like never before.

DLC Backpackers: Your Travel Expert will make you experience a life changing travel – an adventure that will touch people’s lives. Our travel packages are way more different than the other agencies could offer as we are focused on having a travel adventure with an impact: connecting people, learning other country’s culture and letting you appreciate life in a deeper manner. We are DLC Backpackers: Your Travel Expert.” Says the CEO, Trishie dela Cruz

DLC Backpackers is under the Dream Lead Create or simply DLC Enterprise a company that DREAM about a better society, LEAD a team of highly-motivated young individuals and CREATE innovative and sustainable products and services. DLC promises to deliver state-of-the-art merchandise while restoring humanity through #WeTouchPeople Charity that will receive 5% of the total income to feed hundreds of kids. Know more about their company at dlc-enterprise.com.

WETOUCH

Why choose this newest and trendiest travel option, DLC Backpackers?
Because not only that you can help the society by contributing on the “We Touch People Charity”, you will also be able to save as much as Php10,000 compared with regular travel options!

No minimum travel persons required. Solo Backpackers are very much welcome!

Travel Asia for as low as Php6,300/person and experience the adventure of backpacking! Save money while traveling, explore and learn more instead of having a travel agency that will double your travel expenses.

Countries/Cities Available:
Batam Indonesia, Hongkong, Macau China, Shenzen China, Kota Kinabalu Malaysia, Genting Highlands Malaysia, Johor Bahru Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Siem Reap Cambodia, Vietnam.

Here are some of the sample packages that they offer:
They offer FLEXIBLE INSTALLMENT PAYMENT OPTIONS starting for as low as Php2500/month is also available just to help you make your dream travel come true!

You will also get a chance to make new friends from all over the world because DLC Backpackers offers hostel accommodations where you could meet like-minded people – The “Travelers at Heart” kind of people.

Traveling alone? No need to be afraid!
Because you will be able to sleep safely on an 8 to 12-bed dorm-type of room together with other solo travelers!

Hotels are so last year! Hostel is the new in!

Want your privacy?
Private Rooms are also available upon request!

And wait! There’s more! DLC Backpackers also offers LOCAL DESTINATIONS!

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DLC Backpackers offers UNIQUE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE and so they want you to reach places that are a lot of people haven’t been yet! Indeed Secret Places and Hidden Paradises!

The destinations on the photos below are just some of their offers starting for as low as Php2,500 per head!

Check out one of their local packages below:

TRAVEL INCLUSIONS TEMPLATE

Still confused about the difference of their offer than a regular tour?
Check out this article here: Are you a Tourist or a Traveler?
Take note that what they offer you is to become a TRAVELER.

So, what more could you ask for?
DLC Backpackers even include freebies from their product brands such as the Terrestrimin First Aid Travel Essential and the Terrestrimin ALL-IN-ONE organic spray to protect you during your travel adventure! A perfect travel companion!

TERRESTRIMIN BENEFITS

What are you waiting for? BOOK NOW!
DLC Backpackers will make traveling easier! And will also help you make your dream travel come true!

Use the discount code AURIKAMATIAS that is specially made for my readers to get 10% OFF when you book a travel deal with them!

No budget yet? Don’t worry!

ONE OF MY READERS WILL GET A CHANCE TO WIN A SOLO BACKPACKER TRAVEL DEAL FROM DLC BACKPACKERS ANYWHERE AROUND ASIA!

HOW TO WIN?

1.) Like Gumala with Aurika Facebook page.
2.) Like the DLC Backapckers Facebook page, the DLC Enterprise Facebook page and their partner brand Terrestrimin.
3.) Share this blog post on your Facebook wall with the caption “TRAVEL AROUND ASIA FOR FREE! DLC Backpackers will give you an adventure that touch people’s lives” to be followed with your answer on why you deserve to win this giveaway. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #WeTouchPeople and #DLCbackpackers to make your entry eligible.
4.) Tag 7 of your friends on the comments section of your post.

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We will closely monitor your participation so best of luck!
Winners will be drawn randomly on April 24, 2016.

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