Sunday, October 23, 2016

2016 May: Japan: Nagasaki: Huis Ten Bosch

It was just so surprising to see this place that will never failed to let you to be in Amsterdam when you are actually in Nagasaki, a bombed site in Japan. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

3 Types of Travelers who deals with Foreign Exchange

When travelers go out of the country, after preparing their flight tickets, accommodation and visa, what comes next in question is the preparation for money.  Here comes the questions on like where to buy third currency or if is it good to have USD instead?

Preparation for Money

Type 1: Traveler who wants to have 3rd currency prior to landing

In Manila, you can get 3rd currency (i.e. JYP, KRW, HKD) from major banks and money changer (i.e. Czarina or Sanry's).

You need to find the rates under Selling column (which means the bank will sell their 3rd currency to you).
For example, if you need 500,000krw in hand, then you have to pay:
BDO (at 0.0429 rate) = 21450php
BPI (at 0.05 rate) = 25000php

Process for BDO:
1. You need to have an account at a Mall BDO branch 
2. Call the branch to post the request for reservation (it will be ready by 3-5 days, upon availability as they still need to verify with their main branch)
3. Call again on the agreed date to make sure that it is ready prior to your visit
4. Upon confirmation on the phone, prepare a copy of your flight ticket, passport, account number (should be on the same branch), TIN number, cash (or credit from your account)

Type 2: Traveler who wants to carry USD instead

Some says if you pass by USD, you will be double charged by the applicable tax charges.
BDO (at 48.1500 rate), you pay 21450php to get 445.482 USD

For example that you went to IBK to buy KRW upon arrival,
IBK (at 1,106.59 rate ), 445.482 will be 492,965.9263 KrW which is lower value compared to "Type 1" traveler.

That still depends on the rates on the airport exchange banks (i.e. Incheon Airport) which normally have low rates.

For Seoul, you can exchange few bucks in the airport for your transportation  to the city.  In the city, you can exchange in banks, malls, or convenience stores (7/11 in Myeongdong).  

For Japan, we normally transact in banks, they would need your passport as well. 

Type 3: Traveler who prefers cash less transaction
Make sure that your ATM or credit card has been activated to be used on international transaction.
Upon your arrival, you can just go to a partner ATM machine, and your PhP money will be automatically converted to local currency (i.e. KrW), ready for your withdrawal.

I personally started as Type 2, then I'm moving to be Type 1.  However, I have read this comment in Trip Advisor, "I don't understand the concept that people buy a currency for a country before they arrive? Are you worried they won't have any more when you land?" [Read further]

For me, I guess it is more of paranoia or just being ready that I have money to spend in that point in time.  I don't want to use credit card because HSBC rates are just too high when converting the charges.  If in case I'm too hungry upon arrival, I still have to line up for the money changer before buying the food.  Or if my flight was delayed and I need to catch the last train heading to the city, instead of having an instant cash to buy the ticket, I still have to line up for the money changer or ATM machine.  

It will all depend on what type of traveler you are when it comes to preparation upon arrival or spending money or if you have enough time to spend it at the airport to do the queues.  

Anyway, just enjoy the moment and seize the situation you'll be up to. 

Read more discussion on Trip Advisor Threads:
Exchange Rate in Incheon  

What to do with your left over money?
  • Make sure to spend your remaining coins in buying snacks at the airport or when playing with the telephone booth.  Money changers on your home country normally do not accept coins.
  • With your bills, you can opt to change it to your local currency at the airport before your departure.  Not all 3rd currency are accepted in the banks of the Philippines (BDO Mall money changer did not accept Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah last March 2016), so make sure to check first.
  • Sell your bills on other travelers you can find from forums like Pinoyexchange.
  • Add few of the bills to your collector's item. 
  • Keep it, save it, you'll never know when you will be back to that same country, but next time head out to the provinces (especially for  won in Korea as there are other destinations like Busan and Jeju apart from Seoul, and yen for Japan as there are other airports like in Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka apart from Tokyo).

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Long Layover in Incheon Airport: Quick Seoulful Escape

Inspired by recent questions in Trip Advisor, here is a sample itinerary for those having almost 12 hours layover in Incheon Airport.  I also suggest to not take a risk in skipping your flight, so make sure to remove and reduce a place in your Seoul experience to have enough time on your way back to the airport.

Luggage Storage & Lockers
You are not going to the city with your luggage!  Just in case you have it with you, there are lockers in the airport. 

These are located in the public area of the Passenger Terminal (on the 3rd & 1st floor). 
Rate: approx. $5 - $9 USD per day. 
Hours: 0600-2200
  • Arrivals - Korean Express Parcel Service  - Level 1F, near Exit F/3F.  
  • Arrivals - Hanjin Express - Level 1F, near Exit A.
  • Departures -  Korean Express Parcel Service - Level 3F, near Check-in M.  
  • Departures - Hanjin Express - Level 3F, near Check-in A.

Expense and Schedule
You can exchange some money that is possibly less than 100USD.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Philippines: Palawan: Coron: 6D 5N Itinerary

Sharing our 6D 5N (Feb 23-28, 2016) itinerary for Coron, Philippines.

Coron Underwater Garden - They do provide airport shuttle and banca service to their place.  They have limited choice of breakfast (due to remotely located on an island). Although, there is too short shore line, you got to enjoy their manual water activities like canoe, paddle boat and stand-up paddle.  
Tip: For better island stay experience try to contact small huts in Banana Island. 

Seahorse Hotel - This is a good spot in the city, surrounded by small tour shops, decent shakes or cafes, and there is small bbq stand in front.  There are nearby massage area as well. Close to convenience shops.  They can also prepare airport transfer. 

Highly recommended for group of 4s, the room that we got has stable bed, you will not feel the movement from the person above you (or below).  Inside the room, they have separated the sections from shower room, toilet, and open area wash room (at least 3 persons can already be accommodated in parallel time).

Best Time to Visit
Experience the shining water and sky during the early summer to heat wave summer of the country (February - April).  Refrain from visiting the typhoon season on July - November.

Prepare your airport-to-city transfer with your hotel/accommodation.  While moving around the city, you can take tricycle anywhere.  When it comes to island tours, try to haggle from different guides, better to take the service from same company to have higher chances of getting discounts or bargain the price. (Better to pay as tips to the bangkero directly on what you have taken as a discount from the company.  Specially if you are a group who has been posting demands or requests to the kuyas in pulling you and keeping you safe while on the water - you better pay their effort and don't forget that smile of 'thank you'.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Tip: Financial Commandments for Travelers

I just bought a book, No Filter,  last weekend being intrigue why millennials are so fascinated about traveling.  An eye opener, a realization - yes it is a fad, you were influenced by celebrities, friends, relatives and regular nomads to wonder the world, to be one of them, to show off?

But true apart from these negative influences why you keep on soul searching, it made you hunger for more - about the culture, the place, to know more about the people.  To open our mind on how G20 countries keep on progressing and why 3rd world are still struggling.  To learn more about our environment and to be one with nature.

The same week, I bump to an article shared in social media about - the financial commandments for travelers, from Jerome Herrera of All I Can Handle Lifestyle Blog.

Here's a snippet of the list of what will make you wonder to follow before planning for your next wandering adventure:

1. Thou shall not travel if you are in debt
2. Thou shall not travel if you don’t have an emergency fund
3. Thou shall not travel if you’re not contributing to your retirement fund
4. Thou shall not travel just to keep up with the Jones's (don't feel envious of our friends)
5. Thou shall not travel just because you feel like you’re going to miss out on life if you don’t
6. Thou shall not travel when you need to borrow money to do so
7. Thou shall not travel just to widen your horizon
8. Thou shall not travel just because the fare is cheap
9. Thou shall not travel without a budget (stay within your planned budget)
10. Thou shall not travel without proper planning

For full context, please drop by his blog entry.

Monday, September 5, 2016

South Korea: 2 weeks Itinerary for Southern Provinces

MANILA – BUSAN (and southern provinces) – MANILA
MNL to BUSAN: 5J 184 04:00pm-08:50pm 
BUSAN to MNL: 5J 185 09:40pm-12:25am
Travel Date: July 01-16, 2016

I'm sharing with you my two weeks travel in southern provinces of South Korea.  Seoul and Jeju were excluded from this plan.  

But if you are looking for these 2 cities, you can go to:

Hope these can help you plan your next trip.

Nights of Stay
Map Reference


2,3F, 408-3 Chorang-dong, Jung-gu, Busan

119-4 Noseo-dong, Gyeongju City Center, Gyeongju-si;

86 Myeongnyun-ro, Daegu Central Area, Daegu

14-13 Gyeryong-ro 636beon-gil, Seo-gu, Daejeon

15, Yeokjeongwang-jang-2-gil, Yeonhyang dong, Suncheon-si

Friday, September 2, 2016

2016 Sept: 27th Philippine Travel Mart

The fun continues at the Philippine Travel Mart in SMX Convention Center.  Visit the place until September 4 8pm to get the best deals from major airlines, travel tours and hotels. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

2016 July: South Korea: Suncheon Open Film Set

This open film set is located in Jorye-dong, Suncheon. It consists of three villages each representing a different era from the 1950s to the 1970s. It has approximately 200 houses and is the largest film set in Korea. The realistic sets bring about memories of people’s youth, while younger visitors can learn about Korea’s history. [Reference]

Sunday, August 28, 2016

2016 July: South Korea: Busan: Oryukdo Skywalk

Oryukdo Skywalk was constructed at the Seungdumal area (Sept 2012), a 35-meter-high coastal cliff, which is regarded as the dividing point between the East Sea and the South Sea, and started operating on October 2013, with the theme of "Walking over the sky.” [Reference]

This is a good spot to see nearby islands on a sunny day.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2016 July: South Korea: Jeollanam-do: Boseong: Beolgyo: Literature Museum

I never heard about this place, Beolgyo, not until I had a talked with my overnight dorm mate in Suncheon. She was reading the novel that was blocked by the government for a time.  She said it depicts about politics, leftists, those that are against the administration and sufferings from Japanese invasion, minor and major incidents that locals from Beolgyo experienced.  Given that the place is the location of a 10 volume novel that she was about to read, she was still in the 2nd volume but that already inspired her to see the place.

"Taebaek Mountain Range tells the story of Korea’s partition into North and South after its liberation from the Japanese occupation at the end of the Forties. This period of tremendous social and political upheaval has defined Korea’s destiny as a divided country. For Jo Jung Rae, understanding Korea’s past holds the key to the future – to resolving the ongoing confrontation between North and South Korea." [Reference]

Sunday, August 21, 2016

2016 July: South Korea: Yeosu

This day was planned to be an outskirt from Suncheon.  Instead of moving for another different accommodation for an overnight stay, I have decided to simply have a day trip to Yeosu.  

Yeosu Guide Map

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2016 July: South Korea: Suncheon: Ppurigipeunnamu Museum

Ppurigipeunnamu Museum (순천시립 뿌리깊은나무 박물관)

Founded by Suncheon City, Ppurigipeunnamu Museum displays the collections of Han Chang-gi, the founder of two renowned magazines in Korea. The collections range from the relics of the Bronze Age to those of modern times. Through the museum, visitors can catch a glimpse of the lifestyle and culture of Korea’s ancestors. [Reference]

Monday, August 15, 2016

2016 July: South Korea: Suncheon Bay and National Garden

I have started the day by visiting Suncheon Bay Nation Garden West side. Roam around the flora and fauna.

2016 July: South Korea: 6 places to see while in Suncheon

6 places to see while in Suncheon

  • Drama Film Location
  • Suncheon Bay
  • Deep Rooted Tree
  • Cultural Street
  • Escape to Yeosu
  • Escape to Beolgyo