Friday, March 22, 2013

Passport Renewal & SSS Card Replacement Saga

Last year, my wallet was stolen in MRT along with my precious SSS ID I waited a year for its delivery plus my passport is expiring in 7 months so I really need to allot an entire day bye VL for this!

How to renew your passport
Unfortunately, Philippine passports expire every 5 years, so its a good thing that DFA has an efficient system. I had a good experience on passport application but kind of unlucky renewal experience.

1) Set an appointment online or through phone
Go to Passport.com.ph and choose your preferred branch (SM Manila, SM Megamall or Galleria) and date.

2) Prepare the requirements
I actually prepared A LOT - NSO certified birth certificate, ITR, etc, but it turned out that the only requirement that I needed to submit was my old brown passport along with the photocopy of the page with photo and last page. 

3) Fall in line
On my appointment date, I went to SM Manila 45 minutes before my scheduled time. There was a long but tolerable line. I really think that they are one of the most efficient government offices, once I got inside there's even a photocopy area for those who forgot about that requirement.  On the right side of the wall there's a poster of the step by step process along with the estimated time that will be spent on each. All in all, each applicant will spend 17 minutes but this doesn't include the time for falling in line. I think the 17 minutes time is correct BUT I spent an hour each for steps 1&3
Step1: Processing - The monitor is really helpful in keeping track of the progress. There were 80 applicants before me but it only took an hour for my turn. When your number shows up on screen, go to the corresponding counter and present your requirements. They'll assess if its approved or declined.
Step2: Cashier - Choose either Express for PHP1200, 7 working days processing or Standard for PHP900, 15 working days processing.
Step3: Encoding - I had to wait for an hour for my turn because they experienced a technical problem. Lucky mei! Make sure to double check your details while its being encoded to avoid hassles. Its also where my photo, signature and fingerprints were taken. 
Step4: Delivery -  You can opt to pick it up on the same branch but I chose to pay PHP120 for delivery fee!  Money can buy convenience hahaha

7 working days to go and I'll have my new passport, I cant wait to use it!!

How to apply for SSS replacement card:
1) Prepare the requirements
* Download the E6 form 
* Get the R6 form -  I downloaded the R6 form online but for some reason SSS Caloocan wont accept it. The online version is just 1 page and the form from SSS branch is 4 pieces.
* Affidavit of loss 
* Valid ID - voter's ID/passport or any government issued ID.

2) Pay for the replacement card 
The lady guard from SSS told me that I just need to present the R6 form and pay 300 pesos to ANY bank except BDO. I tried smaller banks like San Miguel Bank of Commerce, United Asia Bank and the one beside UnionBank Caloocan to no avail. It turned out that UnionBank accepts SSS payments even if you don't have an account with them.

3) Fall in line for E6 approval 
Based on experience, the key here is choosing the right branch and timing! I first attempted to go to an SSS branch near my office, I went there at around 8am and the place was packed! This time, I went to SSS Caloocan on a Friday afternoon. Lo and behold, I'm 2nd in line for E6 assessment! I just presented the R6-bank receipt, E6 form, affidavit of loss and my voter's ID. After encoding which took about at least  5 minutes, I'm ready for the last step!

4) ID Capture time
Surprisingly, there's no line for ID Capture section where I had my digital signature, fingerprints and photo taken. I also received my receipt and was informed that it will be mailed within 2-3 months!

I never imagined that I'll complete this SSS card replacement saga in 15 minutes! I guess that's why they say "expect the worse and hope for the best!"

Korean Drama: King 2 Hearts

In King 2 Hearts drama, South Korea has monarchy government and is in good terms with North Korea. The current SoKor king Lee Jae Kang wanted to strengthen their ties with NoKor by participating together in World Officer Championship (WOC) as one country.  He included his younger brother Lee Jae Ha (Le Seung Ki) to join the delegation who'll participate in tactical military games. Lee Jae Ha refused but he was threatened to be cut off from the monarchy and his luxurious lifestyle so he had no choice.

Meanwhile, Kim Hang Ah (Ha Ji Won) is a daughter of a NoKor general, she is trains assassins for a living. Her alpha female genes is screaming so loud that she cant find a man of her own! She was offered a slot on NoKor's WOC team, she was hesitant at first but she gave in when she knew about her reward--> marriage to anyone that she likes!

The Queen and King!
The prince met the alpha female but they don't easily live happily ever after. There's the WOC, death in the monarchy, billionaire slash crazy man John Mayer/Kim Bongu and the tension between NoKor and SoKor. I also enjoyed the stories between Hang Ah and the monarchs, the princess and Eun Shi Kyung, the father and son story and the friendship and victory of WOC team members!

John Mayer, Hang Ah, Lee Jae Ha, Princess & Eun Shi
I cant get over the history of NoKor and SoKor so this drama kept me hooked. There were a lot of scenes shot on "DMZ" which reminded me of the epic tour that I had there! Even if its just fiction, it was fun to see both countries communicate and work together. These days, we know that their relationship is volatile.  Koreas, please give peace a chance.

DMZ studio! I can tell the difference, naks!

Korean Drama Review: Faith

I'm forever fascinated by monarchy because of the traditions that go with it. I've recently finished and enjoyed watching 2 Korean dramas in a span of 3months with a theme of monarchy: Faith and King 2 Hearts!

Faith is a historical, romance series shown in 2012. It is a story of a Choi Young, a Goryeo period warrior and Eun Soo, a modern day plastic surgeon. You might think that something is wrong with that sentence but remember its a TV series and they can use time travel element for this to happen. To be honest, at first, Faith got my attention because Lee Min Ho drools is the lead actor but it turned out to be a nice drama for me to get hooked on 24 episodes. 

"Heaven's door"
Choi Young (Lee Min Ho) is a Woodalchi General who served the previous king. After the monarch leader's death, he needed to continue serving the new king from Yuan, King Gong Min. His first mission was to escort the new king and queen to the palace but along the way, Queen In Deok got into a life threatening situation. The king summoned Choi Young to go to the "Heaven's door" and bring the best doctor. Like a true warrior, he bravely entered the portal and ended up in modern day Gangnam style city! It was so funny when he was amazed by the tall buildings and he was even trying to fight the cars on the street using his sword=)) He kidnapped Eun Soo (Kim Hee Sun) I remember her from Smile Again, a plastic surgeon who's attending a conference in COEX but in a wrong place and wrong time.

The main conflicts of Faith are political problems because the new monarchy is unstable AND the heaven's doctor's existence, Choi Young was in the middle of all of these. He was the captain of the previous king who died and he has to serve the young king who is not deserving in his eyes. He was loyal to his responsibility and ends up saving the king on troublesome times.  Meanwhile. Eun Soo's status as the "heaven's doctor", who saved the queen, turned out to be the source of problem because the news about her spread like wildfire. Everyone wanted a piece of the "heaven's doctor" from Prince Gi Cheol to the Yuan rulers. Choi Young also promised Eun Soo that he will bring her back to "heaven", this became a major conflict on his status, the monarch's general. The heaven doctor's mere existence on a period where she doesn't belong is a source of conflict because she cannot change what had happened in the history. 

Where's Court lady Choi?

Time travel is a good twist for Faith but it also made me think that its impossible for a man who lived 700 years ago to end up with a modern day lady. But fortunately, this story delivered well, I wont spoil that part! Noteworthy: #1 I have to mention that the story of king & queen takes a backseat but its a nice subplot!
Noteworthy: #2 I love the OSTs Carry On and Because My Steps Are.


King and Queen of Goryeo

Faith was able to lay out the story in such a way that it made me root for the King Gong Min, Queen In Deok, Jang Bin, Lady Choi, Eun Soo and Choi Young,  I was annoyed with the villains, I enjoyed the kilig moments and  felt bad on painful events. I even had to read more about the real Choi Young (Choe Yeong) who was a great Korean general of Goryeo.  The drama's last scene was a meaningful smile between the two leads and I was like "Japanese drama ang peg!?" 


Cue Shin Yong Jae's Because My Steps Are =))


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Manila Clasico: Ginebra Harlem Shake

Finally, a Manila Clasico game where Ginebra ends up winning against SanMig Coffee/BMeg/Purefoods!

Finally, another win for the kings!

It was a laidback Sunday and while munching on pizza, my family and I watched Manila Clasico. With almost 17,000 people on Araneta, it really felt like a playoff or a championship game! Ginebra Kings started the game with an alley hoop from Tenorio to rookie Ellis. James Yap caught fire but Billy Mamaril was the surprise package with a 3/3 shooting in the first quarter. There were a lot of showtime dunks from Chris Ellis and the import Vernon Macklin. Ginebra ended the half with a 13 point lead, 48-35.

I've been a Ginebra fan since 1990s so Im not really comfortable when they are leading, it takes a Ginebra fan to know why! With 2 minutes remaining, Ginebra was up by 10 but the SMC mixers wont easily give up. The reigning PBA MVP Mark Caguioa, who has been consistent on the entire conference, shot 2 cold blooded three pointers during an end game shootout with former MVP James Yap! LA Tenorio who ended up as best player of the game, took care of the crucial freethrows, the final score was 96-88.

Now the kings have 2wins-5loss record and with three remaining games against TNT, Meralco and Barako Bull. They need to maintain the same intensity on defense that they've shown tonight as well as the ball rotation, they had 29 assists and 12 came from LA. Ellis did a great job on defending Yap and did not give up useless fouls act of shooting 3 points foul. Caguioa had a lot of mismatch, he ended up guarding Pingris but he didnt get any help defense. In the last quarter, it was evident that Tenorio was exhausted, I think this is due to the 9 man rotation (Caguioa, Macklin, Mamaril, Tenorio, Ellis, Raymundo, Labagala, Baracael and Maerhoffer). But overall, I like coach Chua's timing, he called the timeout before they actually really need it.

It feels good to watch the classic Ginebra team, never say die lives on!


Cold Blooded 3. Ginebra Harlem Shake. Photo from Nuki Sabio


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Jeric Fortuna in ABL

Warning: This is a Jeric Fortuna fangirl post =))

Weeee! I just finished watching the game between San Miguel Beermen and Indonesia Warriors from ABL's Youtube accountGood job on the fast upload! I've heard about former Ginebra King Eric Menk and Meralco/TNT's Asi Taulava playing well as a Beermen but its my first time to watch a full ABL game.

I think, it really helped that Jeric Fotuna ended his college career with a bang, through a 2nd place finish at the UAAP, a championship at PCCL and even managed to be a part of the PCCL mythical first team. Like other graduating players, I expected him to go to the usual route of playing in the PBA D-League (...or PBL in the era of Baguio, Cortez, Yap) before applying for the PBA rookie draft. Last month, he even helped Blackwater Elite reach the final4 but I was really excited for him when I read from Twitter that the former UST Tigers captain was training with the beermen! Last night, he played his 1st game! 
animated gifs
Fortuna, for 3!!! ABL version
The good thing about Fortuna is that although he's not a flashy 5'7 guard, he's very efficient. Considering that his teammates are composed of ex-PBA pros and older players, he was given a lot of minutes for his 1st game.He managed to score 5 points. How is 5 points impressive, you ask? Well, he also grabbed a couple of rebounds, managed to dish out assists, got steals and overall a good defensive game! I hope Fortuna's ABL stint turns out really well so that I can watch him in the PBA soon!



Sunday, March 03, 2013

When in Seoul: Stay in Hostel Korea 10th


Back in January, I stumbled upon several blog posts about K Hostel while researching for our DIY Korea tour. I inquired about their rates and when I gave them my flight details we found out that they're already fully booked. K Hostel referred us to their sister company--> Hostel Korea 10th
Our home in Seoul
It was one month before our booked flight and we are not yet sure if our visa application will be approved so it was very convenient that we just need to reserve thru email AND we don't have to pay any reservation fee!
HOSTEL KOREA 10TH, 2F, 200-33 Sungin-Dong, Jongno-Gu, Seoul, Korea

Easy Access to Airport
The airport limousine bus dropped us of at Dongmyo train station. We had to check in at K Hostel, pay the full amount before the assigned staff, Andrea, assisted us to go to Hostel Korea 10th.

Gem arrived earlier in the morning, she received free coffee and cheesecake while Jess and I were given heatpacks!
Near Dongmyo Bus Station



Walking Distance to Dongmyo Train Station
Its a big help to our DIY tour that the guest house is located near a train station! Our itinerary is full of train rides to different places, using the Seoul Metro train is certainly a tourist and won saver!
Dongmyo Train Station

Value for Money
Staying on a guest house is a good option for budget travelers because its cheaper than hotel accommodations. If you are patient enough to go through several reviews, you can get the same amenities like own bathroom on your clean spacious room, free WiFi, heater (very helpful in Winter) and common areas like kitchen and recreation room. Check our their rates here.
The common area at K Hostel


Hanbok 
It is the traditional Korean dress which is worn for semi-formal or formal occasions. On our last day, the assigned staff Jess, willingly wore Hanbok with us!
Hanbok

Jajamyung!
Jajamyung is the black noodle that Go Eun Chan eagerly devoured on K-drama Coffee Prince. As big fans of the series we were really curious to try it. We looked for it from Gangnam to Hongdae to Insadong! Lo and behold, we found Jajamyung on a local restaurant near the guest house. =))
The search is over!



I'm a satisfied customer so Hostel Korea 10th Guest House really deserves a separate blog post! I recommend it to anyone who's looking for a nice, affordable place to stay at in Seoul. =)