The Pinoy Traveler

Ultimate Guide for Budget Traveler and Adventure Seeker

If you are planning to travel to Japan, a visa is one of the essential requirements you must prepare. Yes, it's necessary for Filipinos ...

If you are planning to travel to Japan, a visa is one of the essential requirements you must prepare. Yes, it's necessary for Filipinos if they'd like to travel to the "Land of the Rising Sun." The visa application process allows a nation's consular and immigration departments to verify your identity before arrival. 




In this blog, I'll share the visa application process and travel requirements you need to prepare to be granted a Japan visa. 


You first need to get a hard copy of the Japan visa application form and fill it out appropriately. You can download it HERE or get it from your chosen accredited travel agency. 




1. Print the form on A4-size paper. You can print it on your own or request it from the travel agency.

2. Complete the form either electronically or handwritten. If you fill up the paper with a pen, please ensure that you write in BLOCK LETTERS and that they are readable and have no erasures. If there are too many erasures, start over. Never ever use put a line on the wrong word, a correction tape, or liquid.

3. In fields that don't apply to you, write NA. Don't leave any field blank.

4. Paste a photo in the designated area. Paste it, and do not use staple. The image must have been taken within the past 6 months.

5. It's recommended to use a black pen or font. Do not use a pencil or one of those erasable pens.


Here's what I followed  from the website of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines





List of Japan Requirements:



1. Passport

   a. Must have at least 6 months validity. 

   b. Must have at least 2 blank pages. 

   c. Must have a signature. 

2. A duly accomplished visa application form with passport-size ID (White background and your name and birthdate on the back side)

3. Birth certificate from PSA

   a. Must be issued within the past year from PSA Main Office or Serbilis Outlet Center

   b. If the birth certificate is marked Late Registration, you must also submit a Baptismal certificate, School Record (Form 137), and School Yearbook (if applicable. If you're married, you need to submit also a marriage certificate from PSA.

4. Itinerary or Daily Schedule in Japan

5. A copy of your Income tax return (ITR Form 2316)

6. Bank certificate

   a. It must have been issued within the past 3 months (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, and ADB). I also recommend submitting a Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months.


The Original Certificate of Employment is not required, but I suggest submitting it together with other requirements. 

Additional Requirements if with Guarantor:


1. Guarantee Letter

2. Proof of relationship between applicant and guarantor.

3. Bank Certificate of the Guarantor

4. A copy of the Income Tax Return (ITR Form 2316) of the Guarantor


How to apply for Japan Visa


1. Complete the Japan Visa requirements

2. Find an accredited travel agency

3. Submit the documents. Print all the requirements on an A4-size paper

4. Pay the Processing Fee. The rates are from P900 to 1500, depending on the travel agency

5. Wait for your visa. Usually, it will take 3-5 days, sometimes up to 7 working days. 


Japan Visa Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ )


Do I need to book flights and hotels before applying?


It's not a requirement. However, the application form has questions about your chosen airlines and hotel. I recommended getting a visa first before booking a flight. You'll never know if your visa will be approved or not. Hoping everyone will be approved. 


How long is the validity of the visa?


The Single-entry tourist visas are valid for 90 days upon the issue and will allow you to stay up to 15 days. Multiple-entry visas will have 5-10 years of validity and can stay for up to 15 or 30 days. 


Where can I apply for Japan Visa? 


You can apply to any accredited travel agency. I applied for my Japan visa to Reli Tours and Travel. They are located on the 3rd floor of Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.


How long does it take to process a Japan visa application?


The travel agency will tell you 7-14 days. Usually, it will only take up to 7 days. I get mine 3 days after my submission. 


How early can I apply for a Japan visa?


Applying as early as 3 months before your travel date is recommended since a single-entry visa is valid for 90 days from the issue date.


Can I apply for a multiple-entry Japan visa?


Yes! Here are things that you need to consider before applying for a multiple-entry Japan visa: 


     a. You traveled to Japan as a temporary visitor within the last three years and have the sufficient financial capability to support your Japan trip.

     b. You traveled to Japan as a temporary visitor within the last three years and have traveled as a temporary visitor to G7 countries (excluding Japan) several times within the previous three years. The other G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (USA).

     c. You have a high financial capacity (but have not been to Japan in the past 3 years) or an Immediate family member (Spouse/Child) of a person with high financial capacity.


For the first-timer, I recommend applying for a SINGLE-ENTRY VISA for higher chances of approval.


I'm a freelancer. I don't have Income Tax Return (ITR). What can I do?


If you don't have a Income Tax Return ( ITR ), you can get a letter from your clients indicating how long you've worked for them, how much compensation you get, and your scope of work. You can also submit Certificate of Employment and Pay Slip. 


I also recommend submitting a letter explaining your freelance jobs, what you are doing, and how you are getting your salary. That way, the embassy will understand that you can afford to travel and you will go back to the country.


How much money should I have in the bank to get approved?


The Japanese embassy did not provide information on how much money you should have in the bank. Some applicants have P50,000 and got approved. If you only have this amount, staying in Japan for 3-5 days is recommended for higher chances of approval. If your intended travel stay will last for 8-10 days, it's recommended to have at least P100,000 or more in your bank account, depending on the days you want to visit Japan. That way, the embassy officer will think that you can afford to travel to Japan.


Again, even if you have a lot of money in your bank, there's no guarantee that your visa application will be approved. Some applicants got denied even though they had over P300,000 in their bank account. Make sure to submit all the requirements.


I also suggested to write a letter on why you want to visit Japan, scope of work and any information that will prove that you will return to the country.  Don't ever lie! 


I don't have a bank account. Can I still apply for a Japan visa?


For higher chances of approval, I highly recommend submitting a bank account certificate and statement. If not, you can find a guarantor. You can just submit your guarantor's bank documents. I suggest it should be an immediate relative. 


Can I submit a birth certificate issued more than a year ago?


No, PSA must have issued the birth certificate within a year.


What are the common reasons why Japan visa applications are denied?


1. You can't prove that you can financially support yourself to travel to Japan. You might have insufficient funds in your bank account. This is one of the essential things to consider to determine if you can afford to travel outside the country. 

2. You can't prove that you will return to the Philippines. You should have a regular or freelance job or business in the country. That way, they will not think you intend to travel and work in Japan.

3. Your reason for traveling to Japan is unclear. You can go to Japan for a leisure or business trip. It's recommended to provide the details of your journey or why you travel to Japan. 


Before applying for a Japan visa, remember these questions:


1. Can you provide the necessary requirements for a Japan Visa Application?

2. Do you have enough funds to support your Japan trip? 

3. Can you prove that you will return to the Philippines? 

4. Can you prove that your intention is only to travel for leisure or business?  


You may visit the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines' website for more details on applying for a Japan visa.


If you have any questions or inquiries, please comment down below. I will try my best to answer of all your questions. Happy traveling! 

Heads up, travelers! Cebu Pacific has ongoing seat sales to selected domestic destinations on November 28, 2022, until November 30, 2022. As...

Heads up, travelers! Cebu Pacific has ongoing seat sales to selected domestic destinations on November 28, 2022, until November 30, 2022.



As the Philippines' leading airline celebrates the holiday season, everyJuan gets to book their dream destinations across the airline’s most expansive domestic network on special, limited-time-only seat sale rates, starting at PHP 30 one-way base fare (exclusive of fees and surcharges). The travel period for this seat sale is from June 1, 2023, to September 30, 2023.



With the #CEBSuperSeatFest deal, you can travel to some of the traveler's favorite destinations including Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, Siargao, Palawan  Davao, General Santos, Zamboanga, and Tacloban.


If you have existing travel funds, you may use these to pay for flights and add-ons during CEB’s seat sales. Apart from Travel Fund, other payment options may also be used, such as payment centers, credit/debit cards, and e-wallets.


To date, CEB flies to a total of 34 domestic and 18 international destinations. The airline continues to implement a multi-layered approach to safety while it operates with a 100% fully vaccinated crew, 95% of whom have been boosted - all to ensure everyJuan flies safely and conveniently on Cebu Pacific. 

 

What are you waiting for? Book your trips now at http://bit.ly/CEBbonusSSF2022cc 



StrEAT Market in Mckinley Hill is one of the biggest night markets in Metro Manila that you should visit this holiday season. It features a ...

StrEAT Market in Mckinley Hill is one of the biggest night markets in Metro Manila that you should visit this holiday season. It features a wide selection of flavors from all over the world. From Middle Eastern favorites and tasty food from Korean to Filipino delicacies, this place is heaven for foodies.



This night market is a few steps from the famous Venice Grand Canal. The place is Italian-inspired architectural design inspired by the Grand Canal in the classical city of Venice, Italy. One of the best things to do is the gondola ride. The cost is from 400 to 500 pesos per head during the weekend.



Pinoy street food like isaw, grilled hotdogs, squid, and barbecue is always blockbusters. Korean food like fish cake, Korean corndog and cheese yopokki, is also enjoyed by most foodies.




How to get to StrEAT Market 


1. Take the carousel bus or MRT to Guadalupe Station. Walk to the main entrance of Guadalupe Mall. Then, take a jeepney to Market Market FTI Gate 3 and get out at McKinley Hill. From there, it's just a few minutes' walks to StrEAT Market and Venice Grand Canal Mall.


2. Another option is to take a habal habal or grab bike/car or taxi and tell the driver to drop you off at Venice Grand Canal Mall


From Makati 


1. At Ayala MRT station, look for jeepneys going to Fort Bonifacio and get off at 5th Avenue corner McKinley Road.


2. At the 5th Ave corner McKinley Road, there are jeepneys bound for Gate 3. You can get off the jeepney at McKinley Hill.


StrEAT Market is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2PM to 10PM. Admission is FREE!


Gift-giving makes people happy. It gives us greater happiness when we see our loved ones gleam with joy as they open our gifts. It's one...

Gift-giving makes people happy. It gives us greater happiness when we see our loved ones gleam with joy as they open our gifts. It's one of our ways to show our thoughtfulness, love, and affection.



Speaking of gift giving, if you plan to send gifts to someone far away, there's 2GO Express that will help you. It delivers your gifts with hassle-free shipping. You just bring the item to the selected 2GO Express store. Then they will handle the rest — boxing and shipping each parcel. They'll ensure the safe delivery of your package and will reach you on time.




To date, 2GO Express serves 95% of the online population nationwide. The company is looking to widen its coverage in support of social sellers, which increased exponentially during the pandemic.




To even liven up the holidays, 2GO Express launched its Pasko, Delivery, Panalo raffle promo. Customers need to head to a participating 2GO outlet to book a delivery. Each transaction garners a raffle entry.



Lucky customers get a chance to win either a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7, Samsung Galaxy A03 Smartphone, a Sail and Stay package to Cebu and Boracay from 2GO Travel, or an SM Gift Pass worth Php5,000.


The promo runs until January 24, 2023.


In addition, those who book deliveries in 2GO outlets at SM Mall of Asia, SM Manila, and SM Fairview can have their gift items wrapped free for every transaction made until January 5, 2023


With 2GO Express, your parcel is safe throughout the delivery. Your loved ones will receive your gifts on time. 


Great news, commuters! DOTr recently announced the extended operation of the Libreng Sakay program at the EDSA Bus Carousel, which will run ...

Great news, commuters! DOTr recently announced the extended operation of the Libreng Sakay program at the EDSA Bus Carousel, which will run 24/7 this Christmas season.



The 24/7 free rides at the EDSA Bus Carousel will run from December 1 to 31. An additional 100 buses will be deployed to accommodate the 24-hour service, which runs from Caloocan City to Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange. The current free rides program runs from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Mondays to Sundays).



The free rides extension addresses the anticipated increase in passengers going to Metro Manila during the holiday season. Malls have adjusted their operating hours from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. This also addresses the need for BPO workers and mall employees to have means of transportation beyond the usual hours. 



The route traverses from Caloocan City to PITX in Paranaque City, with 18 bus stops in between.


1. MCU Median Stop, EDSA, Monumento

2. Bagong Barrio, Caloocan Median Stop

3. Balintawak LRT 1, EDSA, Quezon City

4. Kaingin Road Bus Stop, EDSA, Quezon City

5. EDSA Munoz Median Stop 

6. North Avenue Median Stop

7. EDSA Quezon Ave. Median Stop 

8. EDSA Nepa Q-Mart Median Stop 

9. Main Ave. Median Stop 

10. MRT Santolan-Annapolis Median Stop 

11. EDSA Ortigas Median Stop 

12. EDSA Guadalupe Median Stop 

13. EDSA Carousel Buendia Median Stop 

14. MRT-3 Ayala Station, EDSA (SB)

15. Taft Ave. cor. EDSA (SB)

16. Roxas Blvd., EDSA (SB)

17. SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City

18. PITX


The Libreng Sakay program will last only until the end of the year because the national government has no funds allocated for the program in 2023. 


If you are traveling along EDSA Guadalupe or Rockwell bridge, you will immediately notice these towering buildings full of lights. They are ...

If you are traveling along EDSA Guadalupe or Rockwell bridge, you will immediately notice these towering buildings full of lights. They are eye-catching at night, especially if you drive to Makati City or Mandaluyong City. No wonder it's always viral on social media during the holiday season.



Every year, Rockwell lights up its communities for the festive holiday season. It has become a tradition for the property to decorate each building with brilliant electric lights. It's magical and stunning at night. 



If you want the best view of these vibrant buildings, I recommend going to Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge. It's the best spot to take photos and videos. This bridge connects Makati City to Mandaluyong City. Please avoid taking pictures and videos in the middle of the street to avoid accidents and traffic. 




How to get to Rockwell Center


The Estrella–Pantaleon Bridge, also known as the Rockwell Bridge, connects Estrella Street in Makati on the south bank of the Pasig River (near the Rockwell Center) to Pantaleon Street via Barangka Drive in Mandaluyong on the north bank, near the site of the Acqua Private Residences.


1. From Monumento or Pasay, ride a carousel or MRT via EDSA and get off at Guadalupe MRT Station.


2. Walk towards Bernardino, the street beside Loyola Memorial Chapel.  It will only take 10-15 to reach the Rockwell Center.


3. Another option is to drop off at Guadalupe MRT Station, then take a jeepney bound for "Paco Taft Herran" or "Paco Taft Bukid" sign. Pay minimum and ask the driver to drop you off at Rockwell. Landmake is the Pasig river


Meanwhile, you may also visit Ayala Triangle Garden to witness the iconic Festival of Lights


Ninh Binh is a lovely town in the north of Vietnam, just to 2-hour drive from Hanoi . It is called the Inland Halong Bay featuring limestone...

Ninh Binh is a lovely town in the north of Vietnam, just to 2-hour drive from Hanoi. It is called the Inland Halong Bay featuring limestone mountains and caves, ancient temples, and endless green rice fields. No wonder why a lot of travelers choose to stay in Ninh Binh. It's a serene destination with many beautiful attractions. 



On my second day in Hanoi, Vietnam, I booked a Ninh Binh Day Tour via Klook. I only got this tour for less than P2000 or 845.000 VND. If you want to do it DIY ( Do It Yourself) way, you can rent a motorbike or take a bus to reach the town. I still recommend booking the tour online since it's hassle-free. You can book a private/exclusive tour or joiners tour package. Yes, even if you are a solo traveler, you can travel to Ninh Binh and save more money by joining a joiner package tour. 



The tour package includes shared-ride door-to-door transportation, entrance fee to all destinations, a Vietnamese tour guide and a buffet lunch. Book it via Klook .


Hang Mua viewpoint and cave



Our first stop was in Mua Cave. You can find here the impressive Lying Dragon Mountain with a breathtaking view of the massive rock formations, green rice fields and the famous Ngo Dong River. If you avail of a joiner package tour,  it's recommended to immediately head straight up the mountain to the Hang Mua viewpoint since you have limited time per destination. But if you are on a private tour, take your time to go up to the peak.  The view from the top is breathtaking. The hike only takes around 15-20 minutes depending on your endurance and stamina. There are around 500 stairs in total that ascend very steeply up the mountainside.





Apart from the Hang Mua viewpoint and cave, you can also enjoy some amenities and facilities of the place. I saw a lovely pool with a gorgeous view of the mountains. If you want to stay overnight, you can stay at Mua Caves Ecolodge (Hang Múa). It's an Insta-worthy accommodation that sits nearby the Lying Dragon Mountain area. Several restaurants are also available in the area offering meals, snacks and refreshing beverages. 


Trang An Boat Tour 



The Trang An boat tour is included in the tour. It is one of the most famous things to do in Ninh Binh. Declared a UNESCO site in 2014, you will be amazed by its beautiful river nestled between the stunning limestone mountains. 





You can visit Trang An and get a ticket right at the pier if you want to don't want to avail of a package tour. The ticket is around P600 or 250.000 VND/ pax. For no hassle, it's recommended to join an organized tour which should handle all the logistics as well as take you to other interesting places in Ninh Binh.



The boat ride in Trang An comprises three different routes.  You can choose depending on the length and the destinations you want to see. I enjoyed the Trang An boat tour. It's one of the best nature experiences in Vietnam. I discovered beautiful mountains, temples, caves and many more. Kudos to the Vietnamese old woman who's paddling the boat for two hours. I guess her age is around 55 to 60-year old and she's still strong. 

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital



Our last destination was Hoa Lu, Vietnam's capital in the 10th and 11th centuries. It's a significant architectural and historical complex of Vietnam and was recognized as one of the 4 cores forming the UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will find here beautiful temples like King Dinh temple (worship the King Dinh Tien Hoang) and King Le temple.




It's necessary for you to dress properly when you want to enter a temple.  This is to respect the place o of worship. Some temples in tourist destinations may be more lenient, but your modesty will be appreciated. Some, but not all temples, may provide a sarong or other cover-up for a small fee if the gatekeeper thinks you're not covered up enough. 



The Ninh Binh Tour is definitely a try to do while in Vietnam. The tour was fun, educational and entertaining. Our local guide was very patient in sharing information on every destination. Imagine, his guests were of different nationalities. He needs to speak Vietnamese at some points since there're also Vietnamese on the bus.


If you have a question, please comment below, or you may contact me on Facebook, and Instagram. Enjoy traveling!


Halong Bay is the most popular and stunning destination in Vietnam. It is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and Natural Wo...

Halong Bay is the most popular and stunning destination in Vietnam. It is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and Natural Wonders of the World. It is well known because of its majestic limestone mountains raising up from emerald waters that formed from thousand years ago. This lovely spot is located in the area of the Gulf of Tangkia with an area of 1,500 square kilometers and has a coastline about 120 kilometers away from Hanoi.



How to get to Halong Bay, Vietnam 


Cebu Pacific offers several flights to Hanoi, which may be reached via key hubs such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, Seoul and Singapore, among others. It flies four (4) times weekly from Manila to Hanoi and vice versa. I took the earliest flight that leaves at 5:15AM. The travel time is over 3 hours. It's recommended to book the red-eye flight. That way you will arrive early at your destination and enjoy one full day at the beginning of the trip.


The fastest and easiest way to reach Halong Bay is by a private car or taxi from Noi Bai International Airport which is located 45 kilometers from central Hanoi.


Most tourists to Ha Long Bay opt for a packaged tour, including transport to and from Hanoi. If you want to do it a DIY ( Do It Yourself) way, you can take a bus to Ha Long City or Hai Phong and a taxi to the port. It's also possible to charter a seaplane for a 45-minute ride direct from Noi Bai International Airport.





Where to book Halong Bay Tour? 


If you are traveling to Hanoi, it's a must to book a Halong Bay tour. I booked the Halong Bay, Surprising Cave, and Titop Island Tour via  Klook. Book it HERE. The cost of the tour is Php1900 or 824133.15VND. It's recommended to book the tour via Klook since it's cheaper compared with the local travel agencies. They offer the Ha Long bay tour for 1200000VND to 1500000VND or Php2500 to Php3000.



Most tourists prefer to spend 2 or 3 days on an overnight cruise tour, whereas many decide on a day trip. If you have a busy schedule in Vietnam, a Halong Bay Day Tour must be an ideal choice. The day trip will last around 7-8 hours. It starts at 9AM and until 5PM. 




If you prefer to stay for an overnight cruise and have flexible time, you can take advantage of the 2-day and 1-night Halong cruise itinerary that will last for 24 hours to visit 2 – 3 attractions. On the other hand, the 3-day and 2-night Halong cruise itinerary will take 48 hours for you to discover all the must-sees and must-dos in Halong Bay. This kind of tour will give you more time to enjoy each destination.  The cost is around Php4500 or 2000000VND or Book it via Klook.


Tour Inclusions: 


  • Local Tour Guide
  • Shared Shuttle Service
  • Cruise Tour
  • Bottled Water
  • Buffet Lunch 
  • Entrance fees


What to expect


1. The vessel's crew will prepare and serve a buffet lunch plus host a sunset-viewing party. They also offer free wine.

2. There will be a lot of activities waiting for you on this voyage, so get ready to have a lot of fun!

2. Enjoy a relaxing day away from the bustling city streets on this memorable day tour of Halong Bay.

3. Enjoy the Surprising Cave by wandering around its majestic paths illuminated by bright lights.



Sung Sot Cave 


The Sung Sot cave is the largest and most popular cave in Hanoi. Located on Bo Hon Island, Sung Sot cave covers a staggering 10,000 square meters featuring thousands of amazing stalactites and stalagmites. Our local guide shared that this cave was allegedly first discovered by the French, who took it upon themselves to name it “Grotte des Surprises”, or Surprising Cave, because of its ‘surprising’ beauty. The cave is huge and can accommodate from 500 pax to 1000 pax.



Sung Sot Cave Travel Tips


1. You can leave your stuff on the boat while you visit the cave.

2. Stay close to your guide, some of the local guides provide information about the cave

3. Wear decent shoes or slippers and bring your water.

4. Don't forget to take pictures of Halong Bay at the mouth of the cave.



Tip Top Island


Part of the Halong Bay Tour is Tip Top Island. It's located about 14 kilometers east of Bai Chay tourist harbor featuring a white sand beach and blue waters. It has a summit height of 110 meters (360 ft) which can be reached by taking about 450 steps. Because of the immaculate white sand and the calm waters, the island is perfect for outdoor activities like beach volleyball,  swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports. There is a bar on the island where you can rent all kinds of swim gear, and buy refreshing drinks and some snacks.





Tip Top Island Travel Tips


1. You can leave your stuff on the boat while you visit the island

2. Bring your own food and water since goodies on the island are expensive

3. Don't forget to bring  your swimming essentials 

4. It's recommended to hike up to the peak to see the breathtaking view of Halong Bay



Sunset in Halong Bay


The best sunsets (and sunrises) in Vietnam are waiting for you in Halong Bay. Yes, you read it right! You can find here the best Vietnam sunset and sunrise. For this very reason, I recommend never visiting Halong Bay without your phone and camera. You will surely enjoy the magical hour while cruising in Halong Bay. 


Make sure to include on your itinerary the Halong Bay tour. This fun tour will surely give you an unforgettable Vietnam Tour! 


If you have a question, please comment below or you may contact me on Facebook, and Instagram. Enjoy traveling!