Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Getting Turkey Tourist Visa in Dubai

I'll be spending my Christmas week in Turkey for a change. I don't want to be sad this holiday and one way to make it a happy one is to travel to a country where I have never been. It is a dual purpose, a business trip and an extended vacation. Filipinos are required to obtain visa before entering this country. So I have to process my visa by myself and it was actually an easy thing. I tried to search on the internet how to process it here in Dubai but couldn't find any concrete information. Well, I just want to share it to others especially those who are in Dubai and planning to tour Turkey. The first step is to prepare the following documents/requirements:
  • Passport (original & 1 copy)
  • Residence Visa (it's already in the passport but you would also need a copy)
  • Passport Photo
  • No Objection Certificate (a letter from your employer stating that they have no objection regarding your holiday)
  • Last 3 months bank statement
  • Salary Certificate
  • Confirmed roundtrip ticket
  • Confirmed hotel booking
Just to be sure that the visa will be granted, I also submitted additional requirements (latest credit card statement & travel insurance). Their office is in Dubai World Trade Center. It is a tall white building outside the World Trade Center Metro Station (about 5-7 minute walk). The visa processing in the Consulate of Turkey is from 9AM until 12PM (225 AED) and the collection will be after two working days between 1PM and 2PM.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Music Review: Unapologetic

Rihanna's new album, Unapologetic is the first album I bought and downloaded from iTunes. She is indeed consistent in her style of music. The beat of RnB, dance, pop and some electronic music are intact in this album. Her seventh studio album comprises of possible hits in the future. It was no surprise that she was able to top the Billboard Hot 100 (for the song 'Diamonds') and Billboard 200 (her first time) at the same time. Collaborations with Eminem, David Guetta, Future, Mikky Ekko and Chris Brown added some spice on this album. 

One commendable song from the album is "Stay" on which she sang by the piano, indeed a lovely song. On the song "Nobody's Business" with ex-flame Chris Brown, she showed her great expressions and reminder for all of us that she can't be dictated and pressured when it comes to love, so let's give it to her. Besides, the song isn't bad at all and it was kind of catchy. "Right Now", a song with David Guetta can be a huge dance hit and can be a hit single. My favorite tracks in the record are "Loveeee Song", "Love without Tragedy/Mother Mary" and "No Love Allowed". But I feel that there is something missing in the album. The dance tunes are lesser and there are some moments that her voice was vulnerable and not at its best. Nevertheless, the singer from Barbados stayed true to her music religion. Though some songs are not that really entertaining, some of them are still well defined and arranged.

It is still a fun and addictive album that once you started listening to it, you will still enjoy it even after 20 plays. Last time I heard, there is a plan of doing world tour (Diamonds World Tour) to promote and support the album which will start on March 2013 (hoping there will be a show here in Dubai).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Take on Pacquiao

Many things have happened these past few days after Filipino pride Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao lost to Marquez. Until today, I can't believe that some of fellow Filipinos are showing disgust and degrading words towards Pacquiao. The feeling of disappointment, I think is acceptable and okay but those damaging and lowering choice of words shouldn't be used in characterizing Pacquiao. Of course many Filipinos are still proud of him and we should all feel the same way. As I posted on my twitter account, let's turn up the love and turn down the hate. Success is not measured by money and triumphs but also the way on how to respond, handle and accept defeat and Pacman showed that gracefully. He even smiled after the bout, where can you see such kind of attitude?

Everybody is entitled to their own opinion and we should respect that but those engative words coming from fellow Filipinos is kind of sad. I saw a photo on my Facebook timeline saying: "Pacquiao raise our flags during his victories, it is now our time to raise him up!" True, very meaningful statement. Instead of posting those lambasting words, why can't we just be proud and remember all those accomplishments. It was like a big white circle with a dot on the middle on which we can only see the dot without minding the totality of the area. It is okay to lose; the most important thing is that he still stood up and accepted the result of the match. We should do all that, accept it and be still proud of him.

My take on this Justin Bieber opinion is that let him say those words. It is his opinion and he is entitled to it. His comments will not degrade the humanity of Pacman. Let's put it this way, when Pacman won on some of his fights, didn't we post some pictures of those boxers that he fought with? We even put some humiliating words towards those men and displayed their defeat as a funny thing. But did we hear any negative outburst of emotions from the Mexicans? Maybe they also had their opinions and for sure during those times we are using the statement "everybody is entitled to their own opinion". Now, let them use and apply that statement, nobody is perfect. Let's just respect them. What's the most important thing is to support Manny and look into those things that he did for our country. On the latest news that I have read, he even donated 10 million pesos to the victims of typhoon Pablo, now can you do that?

Philippines has been tagged as "the world's most emotional nation" and we have proved this many times. We are so expressive with our emotions. We are so sensitive in every situation that we are experiencing. I'm not saying it's a bad trait but we should still be careful in our actions. Let's just celebrate the victories and the honor that Manny brought to our country.

Image taken from inquirer.net

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Airline Review Part 3

1. Vietnam Airlines – Obviously, it is the national flag carrier of Vietnam. Currently, it holds three star ranking in Skytrax. It was a journey from Vietnam to Laos that time and the weather was great. The overall experience was okay. It was very comfortable and spacious enough. There was no food provided that time because it was a short trip. The uniform of the flight attendants was simple and no extravagant accessories compare to other airlines. I know it is not important but many airlines are also investing in the fashion sense of their staffs. In fairness, the staffs were quite helpful and a stewardess even guided me personally to locate my seat, such a sweet gesture. Also, we departed on time which is basically the single most important thing in travelling especially if you have scheduled appointments to attend. The airline offers simplicity in nature but tremendous in providing quality service to its passengers.

2. Lao Airlines – It was during my backpack trip the first time I ride this airline. At first, I was kind of worried when I saw the plane that we will be riding in. It was a small and there were only around 4 flight attendants that time. I'm sure it wasn't Airbus, there were four sets per row and each side has two columns. The plane wasn't full that time, I think we were around more than 10 passengers that time. It is the national flag carrier of Laos and during that time, there were logos and advertisement for the upcoming Southeast Asian games. Well, the plane was new but there was no entertainment thing. The food wasn't that bad and staffs were quite friendly. But the propellers of the plane were quite noisy compared to other airplane and it was kind of scary. According to Skytrax website, there is no star ranking awarded yet for this airline. 

3. Kingfisher Airlines – This airline is being tagged as India's only five star airline.  It is indeed a five star airline since they have a big jet and wide space inside. The entertainment package was quite alright and the foods were okay. The only thing I didn't like was the process on how they handled the passengers. I'm not sure if they were short of staff but when I entered, it was like so crowded and many were standing and no one was helping to arrange the bags of the passengers. Also, we left the Suvarnabhumi Airport more than 30 minutes late. As of checking, SKYTRAX suspended the star ranking of product and service quality of Kingfisher. I tried to look for articles describing the reasons for such action but I couldn't find anything. 

4. Emirates – The moment that I knew that I'll be transferring to Dubai, I immediately decided that I'll be booking with Emirates Airlines. It is one the best airlines in the world and I heard many things about this jetliner, mostly positive. Emirates is very generous for a check in baggage, 30 kg for economy and up to 50 kg for business class. When I checked in, I had 42 kg of baggage and even if I was only on economy class, the staff gladly accepted it without paying any additional charges. Not sure how did it happen but I just knew that I'm blessed. Oh, the flight attendants are multi-cultured and the seats were spacious enough. The entertainment is superb and they even provide new movies and latest music albums. There is also a section for Filipino movies which is commendable. I just didn't like how they handled the foods, I was aiming for fish meal but when it was my turn to ask for, the stewardess stated that only vegetarian food is available, such a shame. Nevertheless, food isn't the most important thing but the safety and comfort. It was comfortable enough. Emirates is on 8th place in this year's World's Top 10 Airlines.

Nepal Trip Part 4

After that visit in Bhaktapur City, Pradeep lead me to this small pond, a 5 minute drive on which I also saw some tourists and locals. There is no entrance fee, Pradeep bought something and it was actually some crackers or foods for fish. So we seated in an area and threw some of it and the fishes came to us and it was fun seeing those things fighting for foods. It was actually a short rest then we headed directly to a small restaurant where we had our lunch.

Our next destination was the Durbar Square. It was mostly like a sightseeing tour where its old temples and palaces epitomize the religious and cultural life of the people. It is situated in front of the old royal palace and also a UNESCO World Heritage site. I was talking to Pradeep when someone approached us and asked for tourist ID. She heard us speaking in English (a big mistake) so it meant that I'm a tourist and entrance fee with ID is a must. I insisted that I won't pay and besides I already took some pictures so we just left the place. We then roamed the area and found some souvenir shops where I bought some miniature temples. It is actually a big area. We left the place after almost an hour.

Swayambhunath Stupa was our last stop and is one of the most popular and instantly recognizable symbols of Nepal. It is perched atop a hill on the western edge of the Kathmandu valley. It is also known as the Monkey Temple since there are holy monkeys living in the northwest parts of the temple. It is again an uphill climb and must take the stairs to reach the top. It was kind of the same of Boudhanath, only smaller. The central buildings and decorations of Swayambhunath are rich with Buddhist symbolism. The white washed dome of the main stupa represents the womb of creation. From that place, you can see almost the entire Kathmandu, it was a picturesque scene. 

Overall, though the trip was brief, I still enjoyed it and for me, experiencing other cultures is the most important thing. Next thing is probably the spots and its history. Nepal is a beautiful country but it still needs to improve itself and provide better living to its residents. Pradeep told me that their country is "devlack" (I thought it was deadlock) meaning they are lacking of developments since the government isn't doing its best to prosper the country. Souvenirs that I bought will remind me the simple life they have in Nepal and its rich history and the religion that covers them enriching their faith. I will definitely come back to this country.

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