Sunday, November 14, 2010

2009 Oct: Taiwan: Planning and Requirements

2016 Update from Cebu PacificGood news for Philippine passport holders! There’s no need to apply for a Taiwanese visa if you have: 1) a valid entry visa issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries or the United States; or 2) a Taiwanese visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to your date of arrival in Taiwan. You just need to sign up and print out the Travel Authorization Certificate here. Best of all, it’s absolutely FREE! 

I just got back from my quirky trip in Taipei. And as a thank you to those who helped me, I’m sharing this journey with all of you.

Keep it cheap! Wait for a seat sale, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific now offers cheap flights going to Taiwan.

What are your available flights? At the beginning of my plan (March 2009), CP still offers flights going to Kaohsiung. Then I decided, that I’ll take MNL-KHH-TPE-MNL route. However, came July 2009, they already stop going to KHH. Thus, I have removed it from my plan as well. But if you insist in going to KHH, you can take a High Speed Rail Transit from Taipei for 2 hours at about 1260-1265NT, which depends on the ticket reservation and on the departure time. Just be careful, as some say that crime rate in KHH is high. I can’t say anything on this since I have not visited the place.

Know your purpose! Are you a certified addict of TW Series? If yes, then you must study where is the Car Restaurant that was used in Meteor Garden, the name of the Farm used in Lavender or the Mall in Why Why Love. How to get the featured places in Wish To See You Again like, Taipei 101 or National Museum, just to name a few.

Limit your target! How many days are you planning to spend on our trip? Can you cover all the main tourist spots from North (Taipei), East (Hualien), South (Kaoshiung), West (Sun Moon Lake) and Central (Alishan Mountains) areas?

Are you joining a guided tour? Clarify that you wanted an English guide and not the one speaking a local language. Do not schedule it on the first nor second day after your arrival, you might encounter flight schedule issues that might also affect your schedule with the tour agency.

And the most important, do you have a VISA? This would be my first trip which will require a VISA, and I’m happy cause the Consulate marked mine as APPROVED. Some travelers worked on VISA before buying a ticket. But in my case, I bought a ticket and booked a hostel before applying for a VISA -- yes, it is risky!

Applying for a Visa

Download the Visa Application form from the Bureau of Consulate Affairs (BOCA) site ( ). Fill-in the necessary details.

Prepare the Visitor Visa Requirements listed in Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) site ( ).

You can apply the NSO copy of your birth certificate online through these links: or .

When applying for Bank Certificate or Certificate of Employment, prepare the addressee which would be: THE COUNSULAR DIVISION, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, 41st Floor, Tower 1, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City.

When can you apply for a visa? It would be within a month before your departure date. In the morning, it is the application time, try to get in to their office early. I arrived at 8:45am, and I’m already client #66 and the counter is still serving customer #4. I was able to submit my application by 10:30am.

Afternoon is their releasing schedule, I got my single entry VISA after 3 processing days for 2400Php.

Since all is set, you are really flying to Taiwan!

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