APPLYING FOR A UK TOURIST VISA FROM THE PHILIPPINES

I created this blog in order to give guidance and share my experience on the processing of a UK tourist visa especially for those who are being sponsored by their UK resident or citizen partner or …

Source: APPLYING FOR A UK TOURIST VISA FROM THE PHILIPPINES

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Echanting Summer Weekend at Kalanggaman Island,Philippines

I’ts summertime once again in the Philippines. This summer is different, as we have been experiencing more than 35′ Celsius. It seems the hot weather we have now is dangerous to the skin and aside from that we are experiencing the El Nino Phenomenon, and its gonna be happening for a long time. But despite all of these, Filipinos are unstoppable in enjoying the summer, just like me,and this year was enchanting…

A month ago, my office mates were looking for a best deal to go to this very popular island, Kalanggaman Island, it was considered as one of the most beautiful Island in the Philippines located in the municipality of Palompon,Leyte, as advertised on different blogs, the pictures and the descriptions were so enticing. And it had already gained much popularity when a German luxury cruise ship made a stopover earlier this year.

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The sand bar, with my hottie and sexy friend on the picture

We were able to find the best deal, under Galore Tours, where we only have to pay Php1,100 inclusive of pump boat ride and entrance fee to the island. Since all of us are from Cebu we thought this deal was the best  considering that we just have to travel 20 to 30 minutes in going to the port area in Mactan or Cordova from Cebu City. Instead of going far north of Cebu by bus and ride a pumpboat somewhere in Bogo or travel to Palompon, Leyte. The trip took us almost 5 hours of pump boat ride. The moment you reserved with Galore Tours you have to pay for the full amount in order to have a secure slot at the pump boat.

The night before our scheduled trip, we were informed that we need to transfer to Roro/Parola Cordova port from the original port in Angasil and call time was 6 in the morning. There were 11 of us all in a group, eleven very excited souls who are very eager to see the clear blue waters of Kalanggaman Island. And at around 5.30 AM all eleven of us are already at Cordova port waiting for our turn to hop in our assigned pump boat.

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The beautiful “ball of fire” sunrise at Cordova 04.09.2016 5.41am

IMG_3923The lady in charge  kept on ensuring us that we just have to wait as the boat needs to dock properly, until around 7 a.m, we were already called to hop in to our assigned boat, since it was still low tide we still have to pass through another boat to get to our assigned boat, and mind you the struggle in going to our assigned boat was for real, I was bringing three heavy big bags with me and we have to pass into this very tiny and thick plywood and just one mistake you would slipped and fell into the deep waters, a little scary actually on my part I even had a quick shout when I was a little out of balance but good thing I regain back my balance in an instant. While all forty passengers were already inside the boat, a personnel in charge from Galore Tours made an announcement that we need to go down to the boat as the coast guard did not allow for the boat to sail, boat’s name was “Maricar”. We were instructed, that if anybody would ask where are we going, we just have to reply that we were already going home as our trip was cancelled and will just be rescheduled. He informed us that as Plan B we need to transfer to the original port “Angasil Port” and that the boat “Maricar” will just meet us all there. Galore tours will be the one to shoulder our transportation going to Angasil as it is also a 20 to 30 minute ride by jeepney. Out of curiosity, one of my companions secretly asked the coastguard the reason why the boat was not allowed to sail, and the reason was shocking, the boat was a “colorum” and unregistered. With this information all of us already started to doubt if this long time planned summer escapade would push through. But still we kept our calm and still was hopeful.

While at Angasil port, we have to wait almost an hour for “Maricar”, but we have learned that the boat was put on hold and was blocked to even sail or go away from the Cordova port, good thing a new boat arrived named “Atmosphere”. In going to ride the boat would be another challenge, since it was still a bit low tide we have to ride a box type “kayak-like” boat that will transport us to “Atmosphere”, it was funny because around almost 30 people was inside that box and just being pushed by one person. Finally, when everyone was on board, everyone was thankful that finally the long-awaited summer escapade is going to happen.

The trip was around 4 to five hours, and majority of the passengers were sleeping, good thing i got the best part of the boat where I was able to lie down and had a comfortable nap.

Upon arriving the port we were welcomed by a captivating clear blue water of the island, the long stretched sandbar was so inviting that everyone was so eager and excited to go down the boat and let our tired feet touched the serene waters.

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The clear blue waters of Kalanggaman Island

After hopping off the boat, we went directly to the camping area of the island and started to build our tents. After building our tents we eagerly changed to our swimming outfits put sunblock and proceeded to the sand bar. Of course before diving in to the waters we have to capture the beautiful scenery. let us just say pictorial for more than an hour before we enjoyed the waters.

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Look at those clear waters and the sand, it’s so refreshing

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If you look closer the sand is not really fine but is consist with these corals, and very therapeutic

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foot therapy =)

After the pictorial, we all went swimming and we were all really enjoying the waters and not minding the heat of the sun, we went swimming until 5 PM. And since we got hungry we went back to our tent and grab some food. Oh, by the way, since the island has no fresh water and you can’t buy food, you have to bring your own food, that is the reason I was carrying lots of bags as one bag was intended for my food, I had to bring three liters of water, 10 boiled egg, one loaf bread and one can of century tuna, this is already my meal for two days. You can actually bring some cooking equipment like butane, but we chose to carry each our own food we thought its a hassle to be bringing lot of things already.

So around 5.30pm to 6.30pm, we went to the other side of the island and explored it and waited for the sunset.

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The famous Kalanggaman statue…you should not miss having your picture taken here…

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The rocky side of the island…

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I call this the grand stand side of the island…

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The sunset…

After sunset, we have to go back to our tent for dinner, and refreshed ourselves. There were comfort rooms at the island, and since there were a lot of campers at that time there was a long queue who wanted to use it. Honestly, I never used the comfort room as it was very dirty and can’t be flushed. This is something that the tourism government in Palompon had to improve.

To make our night productive at the island, we had some games and chitchats, and some food, one of our companions were fishing for sea urchin that afternoon, and he was able to get lots of them, it’s actually a very yummy treat. We even had to buy a Red horse beer to go with the sea urchin.

At around 9pm we went to the sandbar, prepared our yoga mats and went on stargazing. Stargazing at the island is one of the astounding experience I had. I even saw some falling stars. A very good activity to just relax and forget about problems. So, at exactly 10pm we went back to our tents and bid goodnight.

I had to set my alarm clock at 4a.m., so I could do some walking around the sandbar and also prepare for the sunrise.

First I went to the rocky side of the island as it was nearer to the camp site where we set up our tents. And I was so enchanted of what I saw, glowing waters, I was not able to take a picture of it though. But my friends told me they are jelly fishes that glows in the dark. But I call it beach fireflies.

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The glowing waters at the island looked like this….

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waiting for the sunrise…

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Doing some stretching…Mr. Sun was actually shy on this day…

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Goofing around the beach…

We were at the beach until 9am, enjoying the last hours before we depart back to Cebu.

Below advisory was posted at the island, and we are so lucky to have at least planned our trip before it is effective.

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The sand bar, with my hottie and sexy friend on the picture

Life at the island was so simple, but with Kalanggaman I was able to Jump with Enchantment!!!

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My signature Jump!!!

Lastly, I hope everyone who visits the island must be responsible enough to keep this very wonderful creation clean. Bring home you garbage. And oh, always be vigilant as some boatmen tends to throw garbage at the ocean upon going back to mainland. It happened to us but good thing we were able to stop them from doing it.

 

 

 

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HOW TO APPLY FOR A UK TOURIST VISA IN THE PHILIPPINES

I created this blog in order to give guidance and share my experience on the processing of a UK tourist visa especially for those who are being sponsored by their UK resident or citizen partner or …

Source: HOW TO APPLY FOR A UK TOURIST VISA IN THE PHILIPPINES

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APPLYING FOR A UK TOURIST VISA FROM THE PHILIPPINES

I created this blog in order to give guidance and share my experience on the processing of a UK tourist visa especially for those who are being sponsored by their UK resident or citizen partner or boyfriend.

Prior to my application, I have already been searching,reading blogs and comments industriously in order to get information and guidance on how the application is done. While doing this I have noticed that most of the comments are pertaining to application whose partners or bf who are residents or citizens in UK are sponsoring their visit. But never I have found a detailed blog about it.

So hopefully this blog will be of help. Oh, I got my passport with 6 months C-visit multiple visa on it in a matter of 10 days. Thanks God all my hard work in research and planning my application paid off, thanks to my UK resident boyfriend who is very supportive of me.  =)

Before I started this very long process, yes very long I tell you, but if you are patient and knows what you are doing then you will be good.  I’m going to give you my profile background, this way it may help you assess yourself as well and help you on the proper  supporting documents that you will be gathering.

I am age 34 female as of time of Visa Application, I have a permanent resident boyfriend in UK who is fully sponsoring me in this application and visit.  I have traveled three times to the US both business and tourism and a five-day tour in Singapore . I have been working already for more than 7 years in a private company    and  I have a very minimal savings and some very minimal investments in a Cooperative and mutual funds.

Before I go and filled up the application online HERE, I made sure to make a thorough research, read the rules and regulations and my eligibility in applying for a STANDARD VISITOR VISA and the NEEDED DOCUMENTS TO PROVIDE for your visa application. And researched and  googled a sample invitation letter from a boyfriend. The moment I found some templates and sample, I send this to my boyfriend so he will have an idea on how an invitation letter will be done. Please see this SAMPLE INVITATION LETTER which my boyfriend used as guide in creating his invitation letter for me.

Below are all the supporting documents I submitted for my application, this is actually also the content of the cover letter I made. Making a cover letter somehow helps me especially in organizing my documents the moment I submitted them already to VAC( Visa application center), the VAC for UK Visa Application is  VFS GLOBAL, here you can find also important procedures once you are submitting already your application. In the Philippines there are two branches where you can submit your application which is in Manila and in Cebu. Addresses and opening times of these branches can be found HERE. These two branches follows the same procedure, they just take your documents and few questions as to the completeness of these documents, and your biometrics. As for me, I submitted my documents in Cebu branch as this is the one very accessible and convenient for me. Please take note that no consul or immigration will do the interview on you, thus their decision would rely on the documents you submitted. So again it is a must that the documents you submitted are complete and is matched with what you have answered on the online application. And the most important thing, be honest with your answers and your supporting documents are real, never submit a fake documents these people who will be reviewing your papers are well-trained and they can really detect fake documents. Sometimes, if the reviewer needs to clarify some things, they will call you directly or to the contacts indicated in the supporting documents they want clarification with.

So here are the list of the documents I prepared and submitted:

Personal Documents (all original copies, except for those that indicates as “copy”)

  1. Passport with USA Visa(10 years Multiple entry) including stamped travels to the US
  2. Old passport with stamped travel to Singapore
  3. Two (2) passport size colored photo (PHOTO SPECIFICS)
  4. Certificate of Employment (on letterhead, and sealed, indicating job position, years in the company and annual salary)
  5. Letter from my Direct Manager approving my paid Vacation Leave for this trip
  6. Copy of Company ID
  7. Unionbank Bank Certificate (Savings deposit)
  8. Fixed Deposit Investment certificate and savings from my Cooperative and Stocks
  9. 2015 Income Tax return
  10. 6 months payslip
  11. Tour Itinerary in UK (with estimated cost) – this took me many days to complete as i me and my boyfriend are really researching well especially on the cost, take note that there is a portion of the online application where you are to put up a cost, so what you indicated in this itinerary must be matched up with each other
  12. Copy of Cathay Pacific Round trip flight I wanted to book for this vacation(Actually just a screenshot and not yet a booking)
  13. Printed, signed and dated Application form
  14. Appointment Confirmation
  15. Application payment reference
  16. Cover Letter (only stating my purpose of visit in the UK and the list of the documents I’m submitting)

Documents from Sponsor (Scanned Copy)

  1. Invitation Letter
  2. Passport Copy with stamped travels in the Philippines
  3. Bank Statement for three (3) months
  4. Income Tax Returns

After gathering all the documents above, I then started filling up the online application (HERE), if this is your first time to apply then you need to REGISTER an account, please make sure to remember your email address and password as you will be needing this every time you log in to your application. It took me 15 days to complete my online application, I took this long, because I made sure not to miss anything, even after completing my application I have to read it many times and compare the information I filled in to the supporting documents I am submitting.

Oh, one more thing, as UK rules you can only apply a visa within three months before your departure date. So in my case, I am scheduled to arrived at UK on June 11, 2016, since I am too abiding, I submitted and confirmed my online application on March 11, 2016 exactly three months from my arrival in UK. And had my appointment on the second earliest schedule available the next working day which is March 14, 7.40 AM. Another reason why I applied exactly three months before my arrival in UK, actually just too early instead of applying in April or May, because I was also monitoring the airline cost, and the earlier you book a ticket the cheaper it is, imagine I was expecting GBP900 as cost of my airline ticket, but since there was a sale my ticket cost was only GBP745.

Once you have registered an account, you can now start logging in for an application, there is actually a choice for Apply for Myself or Apply for others. Either of the choice once you click any of it, below screen will appear, take note that they are really very particular about false documents.

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I will not be explaining here step by step on how to answer the online form, as most are personal information and understandable, however I will just point out several important questions in the form that really needs more attention and time. I’ll provide what I have answered in numerical questions based on how it appears in the online application. You may also check the PDF copy of the online application HERE, however, this is not actually how it appears on the actual online form, however, more or less the questions are similar, in my case I answered this PDF copy before registering an account online, at least I would know what to expect upon actual filling up and it would be easier already.

Most of these questions are the questions I have noted where most of the applicants are asking in blogs, and these questions also are very important and in my own opinion is significant to the decision of the UK Immigration VISA reviewer.

UK government frequently updates their application, so the line numbering may not be the same as how it appears on your form at the time you make your application.

PART 1 : PASSPORT AND TRAVEL INFORMATION

Line 15.  Is this your first passport?

*** This part is actually asking if you have other passport aside from the current one you have, whether this is expired, lost or stolen. Make sure to fill up this area, if this is in your possession the better as you will be able to give details and information as to the following: Nationality, Document Number, issuing Authority, Date of Issue,Date of Expiry .

***For lost or stolen passport, definitely it would be very difficult already to supply the needed information unless you retained a scanned copy of your passport. Even if the passport is no longer in your possession, you still need to declare it. In my opinion this is important especially to verify if the person applying for the visa is really the real person. If you can no longer supply the needed information, you need to state it in the additional information which is found in Line 85, Part 7.

Line 18. Date of planned arrival in the UK.

***You have to make sure to fill in this line, as this will be their  basis if you are applying within the three-month rule, this will be their basis also in issuing your visa and when the visa will be valid.

Line 19. How long do you intend to stay in the UK?

*** Fill in the number of days or months you are planning to stay, it will be good that the invitation letter coming from your sponsor indicates this as well. My boyfriend, indicated it in his invitation letter to me as well as the exact date of my arrival and departure in UK.In my opinion, this will somehow assure your intent of leaving UK after your intended trip is over. The supporting document I submitted for this is the screen shot copy of a Cathay Pacific available flight for my intended arrival and departure. Never ever pay a flight unless you have an approved VISA, the UK government even discourages you in buying a flight if no approved visa yet. I have learned also that there are some travel agencies who can make you a flight reservation only, you just have to pay around P100 to P500 for administration fee, but you may cancel this reservation without extra costs.

Line 20:  What is the main address and contact details of where you will be staying whilst in UK?

***I think for me this is very important that you fill this up correctly, this will give information that you have a place to stay in UK once you are there whether staying at your sponsor’s place or in a hotel. Since I will be staying at my boyfriend’s place he indicated his address and contact details in the invitation letter. He also added in his invitation letter, that I will be staying in his place for the entire duration of my trip/vacation. I did not have other supporting documents for this as my boyfriend does not own the place, he was just staying also in a place owned by his friend but on a separate room but big enough to accommodate me once I’m there already. This information was also indicated in the invitation letter. Since I don’t have other supporting documents, all the information regarding the place where I’m staying, I  indicated it also in the Additional Information part which is found in Line 85, Part 7.  I have read in other blogs that it is also better to provide tenancy/leasing agreement (actually it is also indicated in the checklist provided by VFS).

PART 2 : PERSONAL DETAILS AND TRAVEL HISTORY

Line 21: What is your permanent residential address and contact details?

***It is a must the you filled up this correctly, in cases there are needed information that the Visa application reviewer would want to verify they will go into this information and contact details.

Line 32: Have you ever travelled outside your country of residence excluding the UK, in the last 10 years?

***Since I have travelled four times outside Philippines I indicated all details in this Line. I have read in some blogs that if you have experienced travelling outside your country of residence it is already a plus factor, but does not guarantee approval.

Lines 35 to 40, refers to questions on criminal history, if you don’t have any criminal history, make sure to reply “NO”, in my case I have to double-check this many times just to make sure, as there are always instances that you thought you have answered “NO’ but you have clicked “YES. =)

Part 3: FAMILY DETAILS

These are questions related to your marital status, Father, Mother, and if you have dependent children.

Part 4: Employment and Income

This part of the application must be well supported, as this will be the basis if you are financially able and if you have ties in the Philippines, though you are being sponsored, I believe Visa application reviewer would want to know your socio-economic standing in the Philippines, what are you doing and are you earning in the Philippines? It is a must that you supply the correct information. You don’t have to make up information as surely reviewers will definitely detect it. The more you should not fake the supporting documents relative to this part.

Line 58: What is your current working status?

***Since I am employed, I chose Employed-Full time, in my opinion, being employed is a plus factor as well, this will be relevant to your ties in the Philippines. The supporting documents I provided for this questions are the following: Certificate of Employment (with information on my current position in the company, how long I have been working in the company, how much I am earning for the whole year or full year gross income), this is signed by our HR manager complete with her contact details and stamped with the company seal and written (computerized) in a short sized bondpaper with  company’s letter head), my 2015 Withholding tax certificate, 6 month’s worth of payslip, my company I.D. and a letter/certification from my direct manager that he is approving my expected vacation leave.

Line 59: What is total monthly income from all sources of employment or occupation after tax?

***To answer this question you have to provide simply your gross compensation for the whole month less the tax being withheld or paid.

Example:  Total Gross Monthly Income from work or business = Php100,000  Less Tax (Say 32%)   which is Php32,000, so the amount you are to fill in this Line would be Php68,000.

In my case, I submitted 6 months of my payslip, since in my payslip there are other deductions like government contributions (SSS,Philhealt,PAG-IBIG) and insurance, I did not deduct it from my gross salary instead I looked into the tax portion and its only the tax amount I deducted from gross , however in the   Additional Information part which is found in Line 85, Part 7 , I indicated there that aside from tax that has been deducted from my gross pay, I am also deducted by government contributions and insurance, and since monthly computation of my tax varies from month to month, I also mentioned that the amount I indicated in Line 59 is the 6 months average.

Line 66: Do you have any savings,properties, or other income, for example from stocks or shares?  

*** In this line I answered YES, because I have small savings coming from small portion I allocate from my salary. I submitted a bank certificate for this as supporting document, it indicated in the certificate the total balance amount as of date I requested for the certificate and the daily average balance within six months. Actually this is just my payroll account as I am not maintaining a separate savings. I also have some cooperative investments that I am putting up monthly, so I also submitted a certificate of shares ownership for this. So in order not to be confused on what amount to indicate in this line, all you need to answer really is the total amount you put up monthly into your savings then convert it to GBP, it does not have to be the income of the savings but the savings itself that you are putting up monthly, I have read a lot of comments on this in other blogs and they are confused. Another thing also, having a savings is very important especially in cases like this, where you have  to apply for a visa. I think it is not enough that you would be sponsored in your visa and vacation, it is also important that you have some savings in the bank, it does not actually matter how big or small is the amount at least you can prove that you are not entirely financially dependent on your sponsor. This will signify ties in the Philippines and is a plus factor.

Line 68: How much do you spend each month on living expenses?

***This is just actually the total amount you spend on food,transportation, water, electricity, etc each month in the Philippines, add this all up and convert to GBP.

Line 69: How much of your total monthly income is given to your family members and other dependants?     

***In this line all you need to add is the amount you provide to your family or dependents, if not then you put “0”. In my case I put up an amount since I am giving money to my mother every payday.

Line 70: What is the cost to you personally of your trip in GBP?

***I put up some amount in this portion, around 500GBP, even though my  boyfriend is fully paying for everything for me for the whole duration of my vacation, I still put up an amount because I don’t want to be totally dependent on him, I also indicated in the Additional Information the reason why I am bringing extra money, and its for emergency, souvenirs and gifts for my family. Though I know he would buy these for me, but still its better to be in a place you just have gone for the first time financially equipped as there might be uncontrollable situations that may happen, like delays in flight, of course you need to eat, so its better to have extra cash on hand.

Line 71: The total money that you have for this trip

***Since I will be bringing personal money of 500GBP, this is still the same amount I put up in this line.

Line 72: The cost of aeroplane,boat or train tickets?

***Before answering this question, I have checked Cathay Pacific and choose the flight I wanted to booked for this trip,I screenshot that flight details with the cost of the flight ,printed it and included it in my supporting documents, see, you don’t have to buy for tickets yet as you still don’t have a visa. My boyfriend also indicated in his invitation letter, that he will be the one as well to buy for my roundtrip ticket.

Line 73: The cost of my Accommodation

***I answered “0” here since I will be staying in my boyfriend’s place, so we don’t have to pay for anything, he also indicated in his invitation letter that I will be staying in his place (actually not his place but his sister’s boyfriend where he is just staying in a separate room), again he also mentioned this in his letter.

Line 74: The cost of living expenses

***This is simply the cost of your entire trip to UK, less the Aeroplane cost. What I did, is I created an itinerary of my day-to-day activity once I’m in UK already. I researched and googled on the tourist spots to visit and included the amounts, I have used this SITE as guide in making my itinerary. And I should it to my boyfriend, as I need to indicate as well the amounts for transportation and meals. I itemized all expected expenses while I’m in UK from meals, to tourist spots entrance fees, to train rides. For meals I estimated GBP30 per day and multiplied it to the number of days I’ll be staying in UK. You might ask, why do I have to put an amount in this line, to think I will be sponsored by my boyfriend? The answer is simple, how will the reviewer gauge your application and that if your sponsor is financially capable to support you while you are in the UK if you don’t have an estimated amount of expenses. 

In this line, I submitted my boyfriend’s various bank statements, showing that he is indeed capable of supporting me and my vacation with him.

Line 75: Is someone other than you paying for all or a part of your trip?

***Definitely I answered ‘YES” hehehe

Line 76: Please select what the relationship is of the person who is contributing for the payment of your trip?

***I chose “Other”, and I indicated BOYFRIEND. Just simple.

Line 78: How much will they be paying towards your trip?

***Since the answer to here will not accept words that means I cannot put in “ALL”, so what I did is add up Line 72 and Line 74. The cost of the Aeroplane plus the cost of my living expenses in UK.

Line 79: Please explain why they are paying towards the cost of your trip?

***My answer to this is, “My boyfriend knows that my savings and resources is not enough to pay for this vacation, so he opted to pay for everything so I can visit him and tour me around the famous tourist spots in UK”, though I have a savings but as I’ve said this is not enough, though the personal money I’ll be bringing will be taken from my savings.

Line 80: What is the total amount in GBP. including money given to you.

***The amount I indicated here is the total amount from Line 71, 72 and 74 (the personal money I am bringing,the aeroplane cost and my total living expenses in UK)

Part 5: FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN UK

Line 81: Please enter details of what you plan to do whilst in UK.

***Space in this line is limited, so I indicated that I have attached my itinerary, and summary of what I have indicated in my itinerary.

Line 82: Do you have friends or family in the UK?

***I answered “YES” here and indicated the details of my boyfriend. I have supported this by including my boyfriend’s passport copy.

PART 7: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Line 85: Is there any other information you wish to be considered as part of your application?

***For me this portion is very important, I’m not really sure if space is unlimited, but I got to  type in all the things I need to clarify in my application and supporting documents. My clue here is that, even before the reviewer could think of a question in your application you have supplied already with an answer. There will always be things that is not clear with the reviewer, example how come you are having this amount of savings, then you don’t have work? So, before they doubt you, indicate already the answer in the additional information. Always think outside of the box. But again always be truthful and honest in everything you will indicate in the application form as well as on the supporting documents you are submitting.

So that is it. Once you are done and 10000% sure with all your answers then you may confirm already your application. Once you confirm your application, you can go to the next step which is “Declaration signed”, you will have to just indicate your name in a blank, after which, you can proceed with ” View Appointment” where you will select the visa (VFS) hub convenient for you, whether in Manila or Cebu, and choose the date and time of your appointment appearance (this is just actually submission of documents and taking of your biometrics), after this step you can go to “payment”, you will be directed to a secured portal where you can pay through debit/credit card. I think you an also pay through manager’s check as I have seen people during my appointment day paying a Manager’s check. Finally, after paying online you may now print your application, in the printed application the payment reference and amount is indicated. There is actually two pages that you need to sign in the application. Sign it with your name and indicate the date of your appointment.

These are the details showing the amount I paid for this application:

Visa Fee: USD 123.60

Postage Fee: 0

User Pay Fee: USD75.40

Total: USD199  0r a rough estimate of Php9,452.50

I have to pay a user fee since Cebu is the best choice for me to submit my documents.

On the day of my appointment, I came to the office exactly 15 minutes before my sscheduled appointment. Please take note that if you are submitting your documents in Cebu, it is located in  the 9th floor, this building got lots of clients everyday, so expect traffic at the elevator, and it will take you around 5 to 10 minutes for you to set put on the elevator, and again it stops in every floor.

Once you are already at the VFS lobby, approach the guard on duty as he will let you sign a log book where your name is indicated, he will first ask your reference number and appointment time, if you are too early for your appointment you will not be allowed entry yet. Once you signed the log book, Mr. Guard will ask you the two copies of your passport photo and clip this one on your application form, then he gives you VFS checklist where you need to fill it up, this checklist will serve as your guide on the documents you need to submit, you will be ask as well to indicate if you will submit an original or copy of your documents. Once you are done filling up the checklist, Mr. guard will now give you a priority number and will allow you inside the submission area. Oh by the way, before he Mr. Guard allows you to get in, if you are bringing bags and cellphone he will ask you to leave it in there locker, I think there is a cost for the locker, but since I’m not bringing any bag or cellphone I did not bother to ask how much was the cost. Only wallet is allowed and the documents you will be submitting. I suggest you place already your documents in a clear envelope so it is organized. Only clear envelopes are allowed inside the submission area.

While inside the submission area, you will have to wait once your number is called. During my turn, since I have organized well already my documents, the lady just took them, checked it, and since do a little rearrangement, since I placed my boyfriend’s documents at the back she placed it already in the front of the other documents. No questions asked, except if do i still need to get original copies of my documents, since those are just original bank certificated and withholding tax, I said I don’t mind at all, I submitted all originals, since I submitted all originals she did not took my photocopies already. She then asked me if I wanted my documents be delivered via courier or picked up, since VFS office is very accessible to me I opted to picked it up, delivery cost is at Php300. She then asked me if I wanted to receive text message of the update of my application, so I said Yes and paid Php150. Though it’s actually not necessary as you will be receiving email messages exactly of the same time you are receiving the text message. Anyway, I did not know about it yet. heheheh

After paying the text fee, I have to wait again for my turn for biometrics.  During my turn, inside this small room the lady asked me my full name and birthdate. Then she asked me if I have travelled to outside the Philippines which I willingly answered with a smile. Oh by the way, once you are inside the small room already you have to smile and greet the lady inside, hehehe good thing I did it because there was a camera taking all the things going on inside that small room. So she took my picture (just happy with this picture as it was the one posted in my Visa, ahhahah), then another picture where the lady asked me to face up the ceiling where the other camera is located. After, she took my fingerprints and signature. Then its done. She then told me that I will have to wait within 15 days for the decision, and the 15 days counting starts on the next day of your application submission. Same day I received this text message, “The visa application for GWFxxxxxxx was forwarded to UKVI on x/x/xxxx (date).”

So fast forward, exactly 8 days, I got this email message from MANIVisaInfo@fco.gov.uk, with subject :Your Visa Application from UK Visas and Immigration,  and below message:

“Dear  XXXXXXX

Application Reference :  GWFXXXXX

A decision has been made on your application and your documents are being returned to the Visa Application Centre (VAC).  You will be contacted again by the VAC once these documents have been received and they are ready for you to collect. If you have chosen to have your documents couriered to you, these will be despatched by the VAC once they have been received.

Please do not attend the application centre until you have been contacted by the VAC.  UKVI contact details can be found athttps://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-outside-uk

UK Visas and Immigration
British Embassy Manila”

And then I freaked out, with the tone of the email suggesting that I’m denied, so the whole day after I received this email I can no longer concentrate, I googled that email and what it is and what does it means, good thing I found out that its a computer generated email and nothing to worry yet. I tell you, there will never be nay hint if you got a visa or not. You would only know the moment you get your passport back.

Since I’m in Cebu, I expected that I’ll get another message the next day that my documents are ready for pick up, and true is it, I got a text and email message:

text: “The processed visa application for GWFxxxxxx was received on x/x/xxxx(date).”

Email message: from CRMADMIN@vfsglobal.com, with subject “Application Recieved from the post CRM:000xxxxx(series number)”, with message below:

Dear xxxxxx,

The processed visa application for GWF reference number –  GWF038975781 was received at the UK Visa Application Centre on 3/30/2016 .

If a courier service was purchased from VFS Global, your processed application will be delivered to the chosen address.

If not, your documents can be collected during the designated passport collection times.

Please note this is an auto generated e-mail. Please do NOT reply to this email.

Since VFS only allows pick up starting at 2:00PM and I got the messages at 12.30 PM, form then on again I’m agitated and can’t wait for 2PM, so at exactly 5 minutes before 2PM I’m already at VFS office, infront of the guard asking me to log in, then after signing the log book, I was given a priority number. Since I’m the first person their I was entertained right away. The lady in charged asked for my receipt form, and government ID for verification. I was just looking at her, then she picked up something under her table and to be surprised it’s a mail packet, and it was big and you can tell there are a lot of papers inside, and so I told myself ” Oh No, am I denied? why is the packet looks heavy and thick and full of papers are all those the documents I submitted? Oh No”. Then she handed me the packet and told me to open it outside. I then went outside, Mr. Guard, lets me logged in again at there received log book. After, I went directly outside, while approaching the elevator my heart was really pumping so fast, then I opened the packet, the first thing I looked at are the documents, only to know that those are just the original copies of some of the documents I submitted. Then I looked at other papers if there are other paper that does not belong to me, I felt a little relief to found nothing, then I looked into my passport and voila, my hear jump with joy and I thank God Almighty upon seeing my visa pasted on my passport.

Hurray!!! In a couple of months I’ll be seeing London!!!! =)

 

This is very lengthy, but I hope this will be able to help future UK Visa Applicants, all I can say that if you are very well prepared plus constant prayers you will definitely succeed.

So goodluck on your application, and feel free to comment or drop me a message I would be glad to help you.

“To God be the Glory…..”

***Deehum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in UK, Uncategorized, Visa Application | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

It’s not too Late for Summer!!! My MALAPASCUA ISLAND ADVENTURE…….

After I arrived at Cebu last March 24, 2014 from Lexington, Kentucky…after experiencing a very cold weather it is just right to have a grandeous summer vacation…but for me it did not happen so soon, my supposedly Dapitan trip got cancelled last May 17, 2014 since it was our fiesta celebration, and as a tradition/beliefs Iam not allowed to go somewhere else at this time of the year to avoid accidents. Well, as an obedient daughter I had to cancel my trip.  However this did not stop me to beat summer, so I planned out to push through with my plan B, going to Malapascua Island, I asked my colleague and seatmate, so we planned for this trip and even invited four other friends, but due to some personal excuses only two of us made it.  And I am just right of pushing through the plan, I have met an old time friend and gain two more.After a 5 hour island hopping and snorkeling with 2 of my gay friends and 2 new ones...

After a 5 hour island hopping and snorkeling with 2 of my old time friends and 2 new ones…

So, On May 24, 2014 I have to wake at 5:00 AM to prepare for myself and be ready with the 6AM meet up with my colleague at Cebu North Bus Terminal, a 15 minute travel from my place without traffic by taxi (paid Php80.00).

From the North Bus Terminal we rode  a 6:30 AM schedule on a Non-aircon Bus at Php163.00 fare for a 4-hour trip going to Maya port. (You have to make sure that you are riding a bus with signage Maya via Kawit or via  Bagay.  Aircon bus would costs Php180.  There is an alternative which is the V-hire that would cost also Php180 and would only take you 3 hours since it won’t make any stop overs or pick ups.  (Well, I just knew about this when my new friends informed me about it). Anyway, after a long ride we arrived at the Maya port at around 10:30 AM, good thing 50% of the Bus passengers were going to Malapascua, so we need not wait for the pump boat to be full, so we arrived at the island at around 11:00 AM (its more of a 30 minute pumpboat ride from Maya port to Malapascua Island), and fare is at Php80.00, when we arrived at the island it was low tide so the pumpboat can’t dock on the shoreline, a motorized boat will have to pick us up from the pumpboat and drive us all the way to the shoreline( another Php20.00 fare).

Prior to this trip, I was able to book an airconditioned room good for two, and with a common bathroom, not that fancy but it was comfortable, Im already fine with the airconditioning considering that day was extremely hot. Not so worried about the common bathroom since there were plenty in that floor, and if I were to estimate there were only two rooms occupied.  By the way we stayed at Malapascua Legend, they have have this budget rooms and the cozy ones. I love the big swimming pool though, that is why I choose this resort. And free breakfast is available too. Since we are on a budget we opted to walk from the shoreline to out resort, i thought it was just a few meters away, but it was far, say one km away, considering the sand was really hot and it was also very difficult walking on the sand, but walking was worth it just passing by the very inviting sea water, can’t wait to settle in my resort room, change outfit and deep into the blue waters of Malapascua. Another thing, you need not book in any resort prior if it is not a peak season, as there were a lot of availalable rooms cheaper than what we have.  You just ahve to ask locals who are willing to show you the choices and ofcourse some packages on what to do around the island.

Malapascua’s huge swimming pool

Budget rooms at Malapascua Legend…

Malapascua Legend’s facade…

After a short rest and change outfit, we roamed around the island to look for a restaurant, but most of the restaurants are the expensive ones, good thing I was able to recognize an old friend who was also in the island for a vacation together with two other friends of his invited us to join them on the snorkel and island hopping tour, and ofcourse recoommended as a restaurant just fit for out budget. Well, it was fit on our budget, but the food was not that great and the service was really poor, I spent around Php125 for this with Coke, ice, water, sweet and sour fish, chicken wings and rice) , I consumed 1 liter of coke, just imagine how hot that day was.

So after eating, we went to the motorized boat that was waiting for us on our next adventure the island hopping and snorkel, this was the peak of my vacation to Malapascua, I was able to sea the wonderful school of fish, well not really went deep into the waters becasue my snorkel was not cooperating with me plus the fact I don’t know how to use it, but swimming around the waters with my life vest on was fun, we went also to this island where the Old Japan Ship reck can be found its like a history under water, we went also to the diving site, but upon looking how high the place to jump, we said NO to our boatmen, we still love our lives. lol….By the way the package just cost us Php350 each and snorkling gear already included.

IMG_2284

With new friends onboard for the island hopping and snorling…

Showing off my back…Aw….the view I mean….

On the waters……for snorkling….

A lovely sunset, through rough waters summarizing our island hopping for the afternoon….

After the fun tour, the group decided to just set back and enjoy the afternoon at the seafront, taking pictures, eating, drinking and exchanged funny stories…

Since the sun was already down and cold night started to scatter all over the place, the group decided go to our resort rooms, took a bath, changed outfit and rested for a while… then we met at a barbecue station just by the beachline were we had our dinner, it cost me Php105 for a pork and chicken barbecue with two hanging rice “puso” and an 8 ounces Pepsi, and water was for free. After dinner, we went to Amihan, a bar and restaurant just right in front of the Island, we just chilled, talked, took pictures and ofcourse enjoyed the free wifi… waiters served as unlimited ice cold water….it was a nice tambayan just to chill out and let time pass. Since the restaurant closes at 10:00PM, we then decided to call it a night and went to our individual hotel rooms and rested.

The next morning, we enjoyed the beach and get ourselves tanned or say dark? hehehhe

Anyways, by 3pm, there was already a boat just infront our hotel resort waiting for passengers going back to Maya port.

And oh before I end this post, here is my famous jump shot!!! hehehe

Malapascua Island 05.24.2014

 

Expenses: Taxi (Home to North Bus Terminal)  – Php90 Bus (North Bus Terminal to Maya Port) – 163 Motorboat (Maya Port to Malapascua Island) – 80 Small boat (transports from the middle of the island to the shoreline) -20 Accommodation (Malapascua Legend-budget roomw/aircon (common T&B) – 900 Lunch – 125(Coke, sweet and sour fish,chicken wings,water, ice) Snorkeling (with boat and snorkels)- Island hopping – 350 Dinner – 105 (barbecue, pepsi,rice) Lunch – 80 Boat (Malapascua to Maya Port) 100 small boat (middle of see to port) 20 Bus ride (maya to Cebu)  163 Total – 2196

 

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A Dream Come True…

No kidding, but when I was a kid I had always believed that continents around the world were located in different planets, after I get my education and learned everything about the world…and then I started dreaming, dreaming that one day I’ll travel around it and had been eyeing for long the land as they called it “The land of Milk and Honey”, the United States of America. And finally after my 31 years of existence into this world I was given a chance…well, thanks to my current employer who believed that I am right for the job…and everything just went into its right place….. But you can’t just simply be in the US without passing through the hassles of getting your Visa…the good thing all the processing had been taken cared of by our local travel agent in the company, but of course you must be present during the interview…and so I was scheduled to fly to Manila for my  Visa interview…believe it or not from the time I received my schedule its like I have been thinking about it, will the consul believe in all I say, will he grant me my Visa…all these things bothered me until the time I stepped on the US Embassy in Manila. The good thing I had a very relaxing night prior to my interview, and I was accompanied by a very good friend… Below is a view I had from my hotel room at Trader’s Hotel and a quick pose with my friend who stayed with me during the night (oh, can’t find the pic for this pose, anyway just the view will do) , admittingly I always needed company, can’t sleep in a room alone… =( 1174844_10202109630366066_788795339_nSo, On September 4, 2013, I headed to the US Embassy, can’t believed of how clear the outside of the embassy is opposite on what you see inside, full packed with people, some were sitting but many were already standing as the chairs provided by the Embassy could not accommodate everybody…so, it this the crowd everyday? So these are a great number of dreamers ok….I arrived at the embassy exactly 8.30 AM, and believed it or not I was out by 11.30AM already, the interview only took 5 minutes but the stressful waiting period was not a joke, plus the fear that you might be denied, plus hearing some denied people crying, shouting, it adds to the fear and nervousness…But thanks God, He answered my prayers…it was a YES!!! not just a big YES, but a 10 year multiple entry…Hurray!!! And because I was overjoyed, after checking out at the hotel I headed to Baclaran at Our Mother of Perpetual Help church and offered my prayers….. US of A!!! Here I come!!!!!  =) Will be drafting my journey to the land of milk and honey….hope I’ll give justice to the great experiences I had…. =)

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Let’s Get Started!!! =)

So, what triggers me to start writing my thoughts? Blame it on boredome and being loveless… lol… ( got to change this, I’m no longer loveless, I finally meet the man of my life… )

Anyway, the moment I decided to see the world, it has always been my desire to write about it, the places I went, the people I’ve meet, the food that I’ve tasted, just everything I have experienced, and I want to share this to my families, friends and people who might bump in my site and read about it….

It was 2009, when I started my journey and until this time I have not stop and maybe when I have my own family I will continue this journey with them, and to finally see the whole world…wishful thinking yeah, but who knows… *wink*

And by the way, in every places I go and when the right situation permits I always have this happiness pose….the overrated jumpshot!!! Yeah, just like the one below…..

Paoay 10.15.2012

 

Hopefully I’ll sustain this writing thing, and continue to share all my jumping stints!!! Happy reading!!! =)

 

 

 

 

 

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