METRO MANILA

Metropolitan Manila is the seat of government and one of the three defined metropolitan areas of the Philippines. It is officially known as the National Capital Region, and is commonly known as Metro Manila or simply Manila. It is made up of 16 cities namely: the City of Manila (the Philippine capital), Quezon City (the country’s most populous city and former capital, Caloocan, Las Pinas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Paranaque, Pasay, Pasig, San Juan, Taguig and Valenzuela as well as the City of Pateros.

Although Metro Manila is not considered a province, it is included in the 81 provinces of the Philippines.

Since it is very near to my hometown, I guess I have traveled almost everywhere here since as a child. It is just strange that I couldn’t find a nice photo of mine anywhere else in the area or maybe I couldn’t think of snapping one when I’m around Metro Manila, haha.

 

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Science Discovery Center

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White Moon Bar, MOA

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Manila Ocean Park

 

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US Visa Applications- How to nail down your Interview

I know it’s kinda intimidating to apply for the US Visa, especially for the first-timers. When I planned to apply for the US Visa, I started reading forums like what are the requirements I have to provide, what are the usual questions to be asked by the Consul and the best I shall answer and the likes. Reading a lot about these including the long list of the mentioned requirements like bank statements, credit card statements, salary slips, and stories of failed interviews from people unable to establish their ties in their Countries made me wonder, what are my chances to be approved?

But wherever you are, my advise is as simple as-  when you come for the interview, just be confident as possible, remain calm and answer the questions straight to the point without elaborating much giving them the chance to ask another question based on your answer.

When I went for the interview, the first thing I noticed is that everyone in the hall could actually hear the Consul’s questions as well as the answers on the microphones. Although it made me a  little bit nervous, it helped me think in advance of the best answers when asked the same question.

Ik, Interview may vary depending on which Country you are living, and also from the Individual personal circumstance, so don’t be surprised if you see others pass while some others failed even without the Consul looking at their supporting documents. Sometimes, it also depends on the Consul whims. To be honest, they never asked me to show any supporting documents and if they happen to check my bank statement that time, they will find only BD50 left in my account, (something like  PHP6k)- haha! Seriously, so, it really doesn’t matter anywayI guess they will rely on the consistency of your salary and not the amount of money.

To help you prepare for the interview when you are a Filipino Citizen living overseas, here are the few questions usually asked by the Consul and your best answer.

Note:  When your number is called, always greet the Consul with a smile and “Good morning”. Remember to smile always and try to hide your nervousness as much as possible, Otherwise, they might take it against you thinking you are not stating the truth.

1. How long have you been here?

Give them the exact figure.

2. What do you do for a living here?

Just answer your Job Description and the name of the Company you are working with only. Do not mention your salary if not asked.

More often, the Consul won’t ask you to provide hard copies of your documents and they will mainly base to what you have stated in your DS-160 form but then you must have to make them ready in case.

a. Employment Certificate and Contract

b. Salary Certificate/ Salary slip for the last three months

c. Bank statement

3. Have you been to the US before?

If not, answer truthfully. They will know it anyways.

4. Have you traveled outside the Country?

Say yes if you did and if they asked you where, enumerate all the Countries you’ve been to. Again, answer truthfully and do not lie.

5. Why do you want to go to the US?

Since you applied for a tourist visa, just say “for tourism purpose”– and that’s it, simple as that. Be specific and do not answer what is not asked.

6. Where are you going to the US?

If you are going to visit a friend or a family, tell them the exact address of your contact in the US. Remember to memorize their names, your relationship with them, their exact address and mobile numbers and their occupation in case they asked you.

7. Are you traveling alone?

Say yes if you’re alone and if traveling with anyone, say with a Company.

These are the actual questions asked to me when I went for the interview, (along with some other side comments, like you don’t look like your age, how old are you and etc.) But overall, these are the most important questions you must prepare to answer. It didn’t even take me 5 minutes to stand there on the booth and he smiled to me and gave me the stab with the date when to collect my passport with Visa on it.

Please note, I don’t have a huge amount in the bank at the time of my interview and I never bother to put any amount just to show that I have money, I guess the Consul knows the bank scheme and all. More so, although I have Relatives in the US which I mentioned in my application form, I don’t have an invitation letter from them.

 But I did it and so are you hopefully!

I got 10 years multiple entries to the United States of America!

Here are some other possible questions from the Consul and try to prepare for the best answer.

WHICH PLACES ARE YOU PLANNING TO VISIT?– Not bad to start searching online for the places to go to the state you are visiting.

HOW LONG DO YOU PLAN TO STAY IN THE USA?– You can depend on your answer to your itinerary.

HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK WILL IT COST YOU TO STAY IN THE USA?– You have to prepare your answer accordingly. Better have a proof of your Salary Certificate, Salary Slips, Bank Statements, Credit Card statement and the likes. If you are going to stay with a relative, better say:  I will not spend much as I would be staying with my relative during my vacation and I would only go on short solo day trips within the area if they are not available.

DO YOU HAVE PLANS OF WORKING IN THE USA– Definitely a NO-NO! Never ever give them the idea even if they asked you confusing questions like “What if anyone offers you a job in the USA or what if anyone offers you marriage in the USA or what if you win a jackpot in the casino or anything like that to intimidate you or expect your VISA rejected.

HOW CAN YOU ASSURE THAT YOU WILL COME BACK HOME?– With this question, you can say that you don’t wanna spoil your travel records as you plan on visiting other countries in the near future.

I hope this helps! See you USA in a few months!

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BAYOMBONG & STA FE

Nueva Vizcaya is a province of the Philippines located in Cagayan Valley region in Luzon, though it is geographically and culturally part of the Cordilleras. Its capital is Bayombong. It is bordered by Benguet to the west, Ifugao to the north, Isabela to the northeast, Quirino to the east, Aurora to the southeast, Nueva Ecija to the south, and Pangasinan to the southwest. The province is cultural, linguistically, and geographically part of the Cordilleras, but was put in the Cagayan Valley region by American occupiers in the early 20th century. Quirino province, later on, broke away from the province as it was more related to Isabela province in the north.

This is my husband hometown and we went there during our trip to the Philippines in August 2017.


Surrounded by North Luzon’s three large mountain ranges, Nueva Vizcaya is generally mountainous, varying from steep mountains to rolling hills, with some valleys and plains.

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THE ULTIMATE BUCKET LIST

As RJ and I will start ticking off one of our Bucket List starting this year – that is to explore the 81 Province of the Philippines to start with during our Phil vacations at any time with no particular order and no particular duration, then I’ll move forward to other International destination starting in Asia and eventually will move further to other Countries, given the chance.

But my goal as of now is to step my foot on all the 81 provinces of my Country. As I’ve visited some places in the past alone, with family and with RJ, I’ll just continue the journey and document each of the places I’ve been in my blog until we completed them all.

The fun race to complete the 81 provinces of the Philippines is becoming the ultimate travel goal for backpackers. Ik, finishing the list shall be a great achievement for everyone but can only be attained by a few… hopefully, we will!

 

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