Travel News

Good news outgoing tourists – you can now pay your travel taxes online

 Local and international tourists need no longer endure long lines when it comes to paying their travel taxes – thanks to the efforts of TIEZA, the government arm tasked with the collection and allocation of travel taxes. The government agency has now rolled out the Travel Tax Online Payment System. No more falling in line at the airport just to pay your travel taxes, now all you need is to follow this simple procedure:

1. Go to the TIEZA website at

2. From the TIEZA home page click on “click here” at the Philippine Travel Tax Payment System screen:


If the Philippine Travel Tax Payment System is not the screen displayed on the TIEZA home page, click The Travel Tax Tab, and Select “Pay Travel Tax”

3. Click on “Don’t have an account? Click Here” (assuming you are a first timer).


4. Fill out the member registration form.

5. When done filling out the registration form, click “ok” to confirm information or “Cancel” to change information.

6. Open the email address you provided and confirm your registration via the confirmation link that TIEZA will send you. If the email does not appear right away, wait a few seconds to a minute and refresh your browser. Should the confirmation email never arrived, there is will be a confirmation link to click on the TIEZA site.

Travel Tax Payment:

7. Once confirmed, click “Click Here to fill up Travel Tax Payment Form!” to bring up Travel Tax Payment Form.

8. Fill up Travel Tax Payment form and click “Confirm Application”

9. The online payment form will appear, fill up Online Payment for and click “confirm payment”

10. Your travel tax payment transactions will appear on the next screen under “Recent Travel Tax Application”, when a transaction has been fully completed, a “Print” button will appear next to it. Wait for the button to read “Print” and click the print button. This may take a few minutes. Refresh your browser every 10 seconds until the print button appears.

11. From the final screen you will be able to print your Travel Tax Payment Receipt. Print the receipt, and bring the printout with you to the airport on the day of your flight, to be presented with your other travel documents

For more information, call the TIEZA office at (02) 551 – 9533 for more information.

Travel News

I Want Seats: Real-Time Online Bus Reservations – travel without the hassle 

One of the things I was considering when I first went to Japan is to enter the country via Osaka and then make way to Tokyo via overnight bus through Willer Bus Service. Willet offers online bus reservations and unlike here in Manila, when you have to buy your physical tickets in advance if you want to travel via bus. 

New online start up iWantSeats is an online bus booking platform in the Philippines which offers deluxe trips to Baguio and Baler to and from Manila via JoyBus.  More routes will be added to serve you the passengers. 
Booking your bus ticket has never been as easy as booking your hotels and airline tickets! With just a few clicks, you can reserve and confirm your seat and just go to the terminal on the day of your trip. 

Explore new places, or travel to and from your city without having to wait hours at the terminal as a chance passenger. Leave the booking to iWantSeats and enjoy more of your trip. 

Book to Baguio or Baler now at 

Philippines, Travel News

Here’s something to do in the Philippines: go to Bonbon Festival, a celebration of Art, Environment and Community!

 Looking forward to another adventure in the Philiipines, but already running out of ideas for a great summer adventure? 

Why don’t you try BONBON FESTIVAL held at Sitio Tagbakin, Brgy. Halang Lipa City, Batangas this coming May 21, 2016 from 6am onwards. 

Now on it’s second year, Bonbon Festival is back to celebrate Arts, Environment and Community in a one of a kind one-day event which will be participated by young professionals, students, different artists in Batangas Province, and invited guests from other places. Bonbon Festival is the first eco-green festival in the province which aims to support and sustain the environment by using arts and culture as one of the tools for preservation and development. The festival will be 


What to expect: 

Gala at Pasyal sa Lawa/ Knowledge Tour

Know the story of the lake region and eruption history of Taal Volcano via boat ride from Sitio Tagbakin, Lipa City to San Nicolas to Volcano Island and back. Enjoy the horse ride and trek with local tour guide and the rest of the team.

Savor a sumptuous lunch of Batangas fusion cuisine and local refreshments.


Huntahan sa Lawa/ Talkback

Join a series of meaningful talkback and discussions about Art and Environment with interactive community workshops that culminates the afternoon activities.


Hapunan/ Dinner by the Lake, Art Installations and Performance Art

Experience Batangas Art and Culture through performances. Listen to the old time Kundiman music plus musical performances dedicated to Taal led by independent Batangueno musicians including LAC Music Department. Cocktails are available with a party capping the night with all-out-fun and dancing.


Participants may choose from 2 packages:

 For inquiries and ticket purchase you may contact: Mr. Carlo Aguila at 043-740-7112 or 0917 877-9144. 

Travel News

Thailand bolsters exhibition ties with the Philippines 

It’s time for Filipino businesses to showcase in Thailand and take advantage of the exceptional standards and attendance in Thailand trade shows. 

This was the premise of the recently-launched “Thailand Extra Exhibition”, a trade show mounted by the Thailand Convention and Exhubition Bureau (TCEB) in cooperation with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands (CPPI). The trade show promoted Thaikand’s seven leading professional exhibition organizers in automotive & logistics, food & agriculture, energy and health & wellness. 

TCEB exhibitions and events director Ms. Jaruwan Suwannasat (middle) joined by former DOT secretary Mina Gabor and representatives from the top exhibiiton organizers in Thailand

 The new global marketing initiative, dubbed “Thailand Extra Exhibition” is being launched to offer the Philippine businesses with extra benefits and better connections with Thailand’s wide spectrum of services. The initiative underlines the country’s strengths and privileges through a number of core initiatives that will be implemented in 2016 to emphasize Thailand’s value in the next stage of the ASEAN connectivity and show Thailand’s huge potential as a marketplace for exhibitions and with that, unrivaled business opportunities. 

The Philippines and Thailand enjoy a close and win-win partnership when it comes to commerce and trade. To expand trade value between the two countries, TCEB together with international trade show organizers from Thailand banded together to step up its efforts in marketing and enhancing cooperation in the exhibition industry. 

In her message to attendees during the press one, Suwannasat highlights the growing trade potential between the two countries, “Thailand Extra Exhibition is the latest initiative to come from the team of the Thailand Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), showcasing three key attributes of doing business in Thailand. These factors, combined with the TCEB’s world-class’s support and service infrastructure, position Thailabd as a marketplace with outstanding potential for the exhibition industry, and by extension for companies looking to access markets in the ASEAN and Greater Mekong Sub-region.”

Currently, the Philippines is considered one of the priority countries for Thailand due to the long-established trade relations and growing trade volume between the two countries, at $8.4 billion in 2014. Thailand was the Philippines’ eight largest trading partner while the Philippines is Thailand’s 6th largest trading partner in ASEAN and 18th biggest in the world. 

Present during the presentation of the Thailand Extra Exhibition are representatives from seven of Thailand’s biggest exhibition organizers including UBM Asia (Thailand), Impact Exhibition Services, NEO Exhibition Organizers, Nishio, Bangkok Exhibition Services, VNU Asia-Pacific Exhibitions and VICTAM. 

Impact, for example, also manages what is currently the biggest exhibition area and venue in SouthEast Asia – slated to be a venue to some of the most successful series of trade shows.

TECB highlighted one of the growing exhibition markets for the beauty and cosmetics industries, as well as the agriculture sector. For the beauty sector alone – one organizer Impact has already organized for two major exhibitions, with usual attendance of 11,000 exhibitors and guests from across 50 countries. 

Exhibitions in Thailand reached a milestone with a record 103 trade shows in 2015. This year, the country expects to welcome 190,400 international exhibition delegates generating a total of 17 billion baht. 

The continuing emergence of Thailand as an exhibition destination also poised questions when it comes to safety of delegates. TECB assures the media of their continued diligence and coordination with the police for any threat that might poise risk for tourists and attendees. TECB underscores the importance of constant communication with the authorities as well as constant sharing of info to delegates and exhibitors alike as key to ensuring peace of mind of the many attendees of the numerous exhibitions in Thailand. 

For more information or to get a complete list of trade shows, visit

press release, Travel News

The 26th Philippine Travel Mart: Up to 50% Discount in all travel deals courtesy of Shroff Travel!

(Press Release)

It’s time one again for the Philippine Travel Mart, one of the country’s biggest travel fair, happening from September 4-6 at the SMX Convention Center.

One of the participants is making this year’s travel mart sweeter for travel aficionados by coming up with a tempting offer of up to 50% discounts on selected travel destinations.

Backed with more than  21 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, Shroff Travel guarantees its customers with professional services in providing overall solutions to their travel needs. This year, as participants of PHILTOAs 26th Philippine Travel Mart, Shroff is offering international and domestic exclusive travel deals that will surely make everyone excited to take their next holiday!

Below are just some of their exciting offerings:

SHROFF TRAVEL Domestic & International Tour Promos for PTM 2015 (FINAL)


3D 2N – SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA with Tours – USD 173

3D 2N – BEIJING, CHINA with compulsory Tours – USD 64

3D 2N – HO CHI MINH Free & Easy Only – USD 72

3D 2N – HANOI Free & Easy – USD 75

3D 2N – BALI INDONESIA Free & Easy Only – USD 62

3D 2N – KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA with Half Day City Tour – USD 76

3D 2N – BANGKOK, THAILAND with Tour – USD 92



3D 2N – SEOUL, KOREA with Complimentary City Tour – USD 170

3D 2N – MYANMAR with Tours – USD 196

4D 3N – OSAKA, JAPAN Free & Easy Only – USD 720

4D 3N – TOKYO, JAPAN Free & Easy Only – USD 812


Puerto Princesa – Php 1,948

Cebu – Php 1,959

Coron – Php 1,969

Boracay – Php 1,990

Batanes – Php 2,736

Davao – Php 2,754

Bohol – Php 2,756

Ilocos – Php 3,782

El Nido – Php 3,932

For  more details about these travel deals and other tour packages, please check the NOTES on Shroff Travel Facebook Page.

Experience Life with Shroff Travel!

SHROFF TRAVEL aims to give everyone memorable travel experiences especially those who have great passion for exploration. That’s one of the reasons why they make it easier and affordable for tourists to discover the Philippines and the rest of world by offering these special travel deals. They also offer flight promos and issues ticket on all airlines so booking your tour with them is hassle free.

For more information about Shroff Travel exclusive travel deals, please visit their BOOTH # F1037 & F1042 during the 26th Philippine Travel Mart at SMX Convention Center (SM MoA) on September 4-6, 2015.

For complete information about their available services and packages, please contact  (+63 2) 524 2222 / (+63 2) 524 3636 or text 0917 890 3637. You may also visit their website to search for available tours, flights, hotels, transfers and other travel needs. Book competitive offers with great value for your money!

Stay connected with Shroff Travel! Like them on Facebook  for a chance to win a 3day 3 nights stay in Boracay! Follow their Instagram / Twitter @ShroffTravel and don’t forget to them your travel photos and use their hashtag for a chance to win surprise gift from them. #ExperienceLife #ShroffTravel #WeCare

Travel News

Can a torn passport get you deported?

A friend of a friend recently had a traumatizing experience of being deported after his passport was rejected by the Immigration at NAIA. The reason was simple? A torn area, about the size of half a centavo coin, on page 2 of the document where the traveler profile is located.

The incident made me think — can we get deported or refused entry if our passport is damaged? And what constitutes a damaged passport?

This concern wasn’t new. In fact, a year ago, ruckus was raised after a very ill young boy due for treatment in Vietnam was not accepted in a Cebu Pacific flight due to a damaged passport. After an intense back and forth between the family of the boy and Cebu Pacific, and through the intervention of the DFA, a replacement passport was issued to the boy and he was able to get his treatment in Vietnam.

First things first — how do you know if your passport is damaged?
A passport is considered damaged if it contains any of the following:
1. Torn pages, or if the main pages were dislodged from the hard cover. There were many incidents of these when the DFA first introduced the Machine Readable passport, specifically those issued in 2010. Due to more than 500 cases of passports detaching from their cover, the DFA had to announce a recall and free replacement (SOURCE).
2. Worn edges or tear on its pages (punit), specifically the very important Page 2 where our information is indicated. Definitely, your passport is considered “mutilated” and needs to be replaced.
3. Water damage or you forgot it was in your jean pocket/suit pocket and got washed in the washing machine.
4. Obvious puncture marks and holes.
5. Stains on the inside pages

Of course, a passport displaying obvious wear and tear, i.e. a bit bent due to being kept at your back pocket most of the time, or displaying signs of fading on the cover due to constant use is not considered damaged. As long as you keep the inside pages pristine, then you are on the safe side.

I think my passport is damaged, what do I do?
If your passport shows any of the items mentioned above, aside from the superficial wear and tear, make sure to head to the Department of Foreign Affairs office in order to get a replacement.

Here’s a step-by-step process based on the DFA website:
1. Submit Notarized Affidavit of Mutilation (with detailed explanation on when, where and how passport got mutilated or damaged)
2. Original and photocopy of first and last page of mutilated or damaged passport


Bottom line, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Let’s keep our passport protected at all times. I actually read of someone whose passport was chewed on by his dog. Rather than face the inconvenience of having to go for a replacement passport, make sure that we keep our travel documents, like all important document should, safely hidden away.

In the rare chance that it gets damaged due to fault of others (like a very zealous immigration agent), never attempt to mend any of it. Do not use scotch tape or paste or anything that would invalidate your passport right then and there. Note that our immigration laws does not look kindly on tampered passports and the people who do them. When we try to fix our damaged passports on our own, we are essentially tampering with a government document.

(SIDE NOTE: I managed to research photos and videos on how to identify damaged passport and the step-by-step process of getting a replacement at the DFA. However, WordPress’ uploader is not cooperating. I will update this post once the uploader is back to normal).

South Korea, Travel News

South Korean Embassy announces new Tourist Visa requirements

The South Korean Embassy announced recently its new documentary requirements for those who would like to get Tourist Visas to South Korea.

I have written about the Requirements for Tourist Visa before during my first visit last 2012. But last February 17, the embassy announced new requirements which will take effect starting 01 March 2015. This means that all applications which will be received by the embassy from March 01, moving forward should have the following requirements.

Below is the screen shot I took of the announcement posted at the South Korean embassy website.

new visa requirements_SK_2015

It’s unfortunate that the embassy has become more strict and more thorough when it comes to their requirements. In a hindsight, they are actually asking for the same requirements like before, the difference is that they are more thorough and specific with the information that should be included in the posting.

For the Bank Certificate requirements, these information can be requested from the bank itself once you asked for the certificate. In my opinion, what is a bit tricky is for those whose bank account does not usually show a regular flow of savings or input of money. For those who maintain a regular savings account and regularly deposit in their account, any of the changes indicated by the embassy is not a big deal. My impression is that the embassy wants to make sure that there is a regular input of money or savings in the bank account, and not a one-time, big-time kind of thing.

For those who have regular savings account, you must now collate the account statements usually sent by our banks once a month. For BPI account holders, you can actually print this on your own if you have a BPI Express Online account. Again, my impression is that the embassy wants to see the regular input-output of your finances.

Lastly, a bit of a reminder for the submission of ITR. Sometimes, we have to verify with our respective HRs if the TIN numbers reflected in our ITRs are correct. For example, my good friend (who was with me during my last Korea trip) discovered that there is a discrepancy in her TIN number when she submitted her ITR certificate during her visa application. While it is not of her own doing, she had to personally verify with our HR (and yes, only to confirm that there was a problem in the inputting of her TIN) and sort the problem herself at the BIR office. Of course, in the end she was given a visa — but the bottom line is that this proves that the embassy thoroughly checks every document we submit.

On a related note, another announcement included in the SK Embassy’s Visa Announcement page explicitly indicates that a passport should be at least six months valid at the time of the Visa application. So, if you have plans applying for a tourist visa for South Korea and your passport has already barely a year left in its validity, might I recommend that you also take the opportunity to have it renewed prior to going to the embassy? This will save you time and save you from a series of “what if’s…”

Good luck on your Visa Application and just remember that after all the hassle of making sure your documents are in order — it’ll be all worth it as soon as you land in South Korea and you see just how beautiful and wonderful your experience will be.

The Embassy of the Republic of South Korea – Manila