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5.23.2022

DFA Passport Renewal 2022 | How to Renew your Philippine Passport.

After more than a year since our passports have expired, Yue and I finally had the chance to have them renewed. It took me awhile to process our renewal because of the pandemic as consular offices were either closed, or there were limited slots available in the nearby consular office. Also, I had to wait until both Yue and I got our COVID vaccines for safety reasons since we're still in a pandemic. I certainly wouldn't want to bring my son outdoors or expose him to a crowd unless he's vaccinated.

Our 2016 e-Passports - well-loved, and frequently used before the pandemic.

Anyway, if you're planning to renew your passport or applying for a passport for the first time, here's what you need to do:

1. Schedule an appointment.
You can book a slot online using the Department of Foreign Affairs' Passport Appointment System. Passport applications and renewals are strictly by appointment basis only. Walk-ins are no longer entertained at the DFA Aseana office unless it's an emergency case.

DFA's official booking website.

When you schedule your appointment, you will first be asked whether it's an individual appointment or a group appointment. I chose group appointment, of course, since there will be two of us renewing our passports. 

Select group appointment for 2-5 applicants.

You may then select your preferred venue. Thankfully, we now have a consular office here at SM City San Pablo. No need to drive all the way to Alabang like when we renewed our passports six years ago.

Choose your preferred venue.

The next part is usually the toughest - choosing the date and time for your appointment. Keep in mind that slots run out of fast, and your preferred date and time might not be available. As of this writing, the earliest available appointment date for SM City San Pablo is August 01, 2022. If you don't want to wait that long or if you're in a rush to get or renew your passport, you need to go back to the menu, choose a different venue, and see if they have slots available for an earlier date. 

Choose your preferred date and time.


2. Input your personal information.
After securing your appointment schedule, you will then be asked to fill-out a form which includes your personal information, family information, and contact details. For passport renewal, you need to key in details of your old/expired passport such as the passport number, date of issue, and issuing office.

Personal information page.

Make sure that all the information you provided are correct - no typos, especially in the names and birthdays. Errors or discrepancies in your personal information can cause delay or rejection in your passport renewal or application.

3. Review your personal details and proceed to payment.
After keying in your personal information, you will be given a chance to review the form and check if there are any errors. The next step will be paying for your passport, which can be done online with your credit or debit card, or through authorized payment centers such as Bayad Center, Villarica, LBC, Western Union, and 7Eleven. 

I paid with my credit card because that's the most convenient for me. I had to pay an extra Php 100 as convenience fee, but that's okay since I don't want to go through all that hassle of leaving the house and waiting in line at a payment center.

Online payment via credit card.

For regular processing (14 working days), passport fee is Php 950 each while expedited processing (7 working days) costs Php 1200 each. I chose the regular processing since we don't have international travel plans just yet.

4. Wait for the confirmation email. 
After your payment has been confirmed, you will then receive an email confirming your DFA appointment. This usually takes up to 24 hours, so please be patient.

Confirmation email from DFA. Yay!

Once you have received the email, print it, and the PDF attachments that come with it. You need to bring this on the date of your appointment, as well as the following documents:

    Adults (Passport Renewal)
  • Current e-passport
  • Photocopy of passport's data page
  • Valid ID 
  • Photocopy of valid ID

    Minors (Passport Renewal)
  • Current e-passport
  • Photocopy of passport's data page
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if only one parent is accompanying the child)
  • School ID (if applicable)
For new passports, you may refer to the complete list of requirements here.

5. Go to the DFA Consular Office as scheduled.
According to DFA guidelines, you need to be at the DFA office 10 minutes ahead of your schedule. Proper attire is required - collared shirts are a must, and shorts and slippers are not allowed. Minors, seniors, pregnant women, and persons with disability are allowed to have one companion only. Face masks are required, and bring your vaccination cards just to be sure. Observing proper health protocols is also a must.

Although our appointment was at 2pm, Yue and I were already at the DFA SM San Pablo Consular Office by 1:30 pm. Despite being 30 minutes too early, the guard at the front door was kind enough to let us in since there were not too many people waiting in line anyway. Another guard ushered us in after checking our appointment schedule and the documents and requirements that we brought. 

Waiting in line at the Processing Section.

After sitting in line for about ten minutes, our names were called at the Processing Section. The lady at Window 3 checked verified our application, checked our documents, and asked me to sign the application form. She also gave me a claim stub for our new passports, which will be released on June 8. 

At the Encoding Section.

We then proceeded to the Encoding Section where our biometrics were taken. Here, the encoder will take your photo, then your thumbprints, and then encode your data. He/she will then ask you to double check the data encoded, so watch out for typos and the like. If there are no errors in your data and you're satisfied with your passport photo, you will then be asked to sign a validation form.

If you choose to have your passports delivered, you will need to sign up and pay at the Courier section. Yue and I skipped this step since we'll be picking-up our passports at the DFA SM San Pablo Consular Office come June 8.

Yes, Yue is this tall already!

He's even taller than me!

And with that, we are done with our appointment! Now we just have to wait for our passports, and claim them on the scheduled date. Will update this post once our new passports are available! :)




5.21.2022

Sensitive Skin affects over half the population; studies say.

Approximately 70% of people worldwide identify as having sensitive skin, and sensitive skin continues to be a rising complaint that Dermatologists are registering from their patients. 

 Environmental factors, lifestyles, and genetics all play a part in developing sensitive skin, but patients generally present weakened skin barriers, dryness, roughness, irritations, and tightness. The commonness of sensitive skin has prompted research into the skin condition, resulting in breakthroughs in skincare.

“As a leader in sensitive skin for over 75 years, we are even more committed to delivering cutting-edge products to advance dermatological care for every skin story,” says Jade Silva-netto Ponoc, Galderma Philippines Business Unit Head.

Get ready for Skin Awareness Month 2022!

In the Philippines, Cetaphil is bringing to the country for the first time Skin Awareness Month—the culmination of Cetaphil’s research into the science of gentle skincare, offering a chance to discover the breakthroughs and acquire specifically formulated products to care for all types of sensitive skin. It is part of the brand’s unwaveringly passion for providing complete care for sensitive skin; the Skin Awareness Month offers first-hand access to experts and science-driven recommendations to educate consumers on how best to care for their sensitive skin with a unique routine tailored to them. The annual event started 2021, eventually expanding across the Japan-Asia Pacific region before reaching the Philippines this year.

The main highlight of this year’s Skin Awareness Month is the Skin Summit, where Dermatologists and skinthusiasts share knowledge and experience across three days of themed discussions:
  • May 25 – a board-certified Dermatologist and member of the Philippine Dermatological Society, Dr. Francesca Sy-Alvarado, discusses sensitive skin and acne, along with Bianca Gonzalez, Maggie Wilson, and Patricia Prieto, who will discuss routines for sensitive skin
  • May 26 – a board-certified Dermatologist and member of the Philippine Dermatological Society, Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang, discusses the healthy way to brighten skin, along with Bea Alonzo, Laura Lehmann, Anne Curtis, and AC Bonifacio, who will discuss lifestyle-centric skincare
  • May 27 – a board-certified Dermatopathologist and a member of the Philippine Dermatological Society, Dr. Mara Evangelista-Huber, discusses the right foundation for baby’s skin health, along with hands-on parents Solenn Heussaff & Nico Bolzico. Relevant topics on healthy food, play and sleep will also be tackled as Nikki Gil, Mariel Padilla, Patrick and Nikka Garcia share their experiences as they learn and choose the healthy start their babies deserve.
Lots of perks await you during Skin Awareness Month 2022!

Access to the Skin Summit is free—interested participants may register via this link https://www.booths.virnew.com/events/cetaphil-2022/register to reserve slots and avail of exclusive perks on Cetaphil products and other promotions during #SkinAwarenessMonth.

Every skin story deserves the best care—Skin Awareness Month 2022 is also packed with promos and other free on-ground activities for every type of skinthusiast. To learn more, follow @CetaphilPH on Instagram and Cetaphil Philippines on Facebook for more details.

Cetaphil products are available in Mercury Drug, Watsons, and leading drugstores and supermarkets nationwide. You may also check out the official Cetaphil Philippines stores in Lazada and Shopee.


5.14.2022

Unleash your inner athlete and try these ‘winning meals’ by SEA Games PH bet Ariana Evangelista.

The 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) is here and it has already sparked Filipino pride and awakened our inner athletes. Whether you know it or not, there’s an inner athlete in all of us. Some are just lucky enough to have found the right sports for them, while others are still looking. If getting in the sports industry has always been a dream, it’s important to note that everything starts with what and how you eat.

“Health and nutrition play a vital role in the performance of every athlete or any individual who is active. Having a balanced and healthy eating pattern not only provides all-day energy, but also helps build strength for optimal performance during training and competitions,” says Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation Executive - Science Communication Deborah Fajarda, RND.

Since 2003, building on its expertise in Amino Science, Ajinomoto Co, Inc (AJICO) has been working on the Victory Project® to support the conditioning of top-level athletes in Japan and conduct nutritional support activities by utilizing the power of amino acids. The project included the distribution of aminoVITAL® products and promotion of the Winning Meals Kachimeshi® program. Ajinomoto’s Kachimeshi® (“Winning Meals”) concept aims to support elite athletes in building winning physiques for optimum performance.

Since 2018, The Victory Project has been rolled out in 6 Ajinomoto Group Companies in ASEAN region, one of which is Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (APC) Group. APC Group imparted Winning Meals Kachimeshi® support to Philippines’ top Karate athlete Ms. Junna Tsukii who won gold medal in the women's kumite 50 kg event at the last 2019 SEA Games.

The goal of Kachimeshi® is to achieve proper nutrition with easy-to-cook delicious meals that are fit for your fitness goal, whether you need a high calorie-high protein diet, or low calorie-high protein diet. Partnered with aminoVITAL® Jelly Drink, a branched-chain amino acid supplement drink, which helps in muscle recovery and reduce fatigue among people who are engaged in strenuous physical activity.

Ariana Evangelista.

Ariana Evangelista’s Winning Meals
APC is proud to sponsor a Filipino athlete vying to bring glory to the country in the ongoing 31st SEA Games. This athlete is Ariana Evangelista, a four-time mountain bike national champion and two-time Asia MTB Overall champion. Evangelista’s prospects of winning looks promising, poised to bring home more medals for the country.

Here are some of the dishes in Ariana’s Kachimeshi®Winning Meal plan:

Tofu Mushroom Rice Bowl.

Tofu Mushroom Rice Bowl
Rich in protein, this dish is packed with health benefits, including the ability to help build muscles. Naturally rich in umami flavor, ingredients such as Shiitake Mushroom and SARSAYA® Oyster Sauce keeps this dish delightfully delicious, making it an ideal meal for any time of the day. View the full recipe here: Tofu Mushroom Rice Bowl Recipe

Beef and Vegetable Rice Bowl.

Beef and Vegetable Rice Bowl
An easy-to-cook meal, this dish featured flavored rice, mixed with seasoned beef and veggies all in one pot. Topped with a serving of boiled eggs, it’s another protein-rich meal that your lean muscle will thank you for. For the full recipe, click here: Beef and Vegetable Rice Bowl Recipe

Lean Beef Nilaga.

Lean Beef Nilaga
A Filipino favorite, this soup has all the nutrition you need (excellent source of protein!), thanks to the lean beef and the veggies. Perfect as a pre- or post-workout meal, it’s a filling and hearty dish that is also considered as a comfort food by many. To get the full recipe, click here: Lean Beef Nilaga Recipe

Fish Fillet in Sweet & Sour Sauce.

Fish Fillet in Sweet and Sour Sauce
The great thing about fish is that it is packed with protein, but not the calories. In this recipe, the fish is the centerpiece, brought to life by a dose of sweet and sour sauce, which adds a different level of yum to the dish. Check out this easy-to-do meal: Fish Fillet Recipe

“This Winning Meal nutrition support to Ariana will be provided even after the SEA Games to ensure her optimum performance for all her other competitions. And beyond helping athletes achieve victory in their games, we, at Ajinomoto, also believe that the concept of Kachimeshi® or Winning Meals is also helpful to any Filipino who would simply like to achieve success in their own health and nutrition,” says Fajarda.

The Winning Meals initiative is part of APC’s efforts to fulfill its brand promise- Eat Well, Live Well. By providing recipes that aim to help both athletes and Filipinos achieve their goals, the company hopes to promote a wellness-centered lifestyle. For those seeking easy-to-cook healthy foods that cater to your nutrition goals, visit Ajinomoto’s Cookmunity page.


5.10.2022

Renting A Camper In Germany – The Benefits.

Are you the type of person who can come up with a plan on the heat of the moment and decide to go across the world, particularly in a camper home?

In this case, we are, of course, talking about a recreational vehicle. For a number of reasons, many people make decisions to acquire a recreational vehicle. It is possible to rent a vehicle if you are unable to purchase a vehicle outright.

Taking your time driving about and seeing new regions is a good option because you will be able to return the automobile to its original spot. Click on the link for more details https://rvfavorites.com/camper-trailer-rental/.

Photo credit: The Noshery.

At some point in life, every person in the family may wish to accompany you on a journey. The only thing you have to do to avoid having to pay for flight tickets or bus expenses is to split the cost of gasoline and enable everyone to board the recreational vehicle. Actually, because it contains everything you might possibly need while traveling, vehicles like that are frequently referred to as "homes on wheels" or "mobile living quarters."

In addition to having a place to sleep, you also have a small kitchen in which to make meals, a bathroom in which to use and shower, as well as a range of cupboards in which to keep a variety of belongings.

Taking advantage of the many benefits of hiring a recreational vehicle is a wise decision. Here are a few illustrations of what I mean:

Inside a camper van.

Discover the flexibility that comes with living a nomadic lifestyle
Getting a sense for the RV lifestyle by renting is a fantastic alternative since it allows you to learn about all of the many parts of it, from driving to maintenance, without needing to make any financial commitments. As a result of the significant differences between RVing and tent camping, it is essential that you obtain some practical experience before starting on a long-distance journey. Read about all of the benefits here.

Kim Ji Won and Ji Chang Wook in Lovestruck in the City (2020).

Socialization
Having your complete family, as well as a few guests in attendance, is something you're planning on doing at the occasion. For a group of friends, being able to spend quality time together while camping in an RV is a terrific opportunity to reconnect. Even though it needs far less effort than setting up a huge number of tent campsites, it accomplishes so while still offering creature comforts for all of the participants. This also has the added benefit of being substantially less expensive than renting a vacation property during the summer. A recreational vehicle or a camper home is highly suggested for anyone who like stargazing at night, cooking over an open fire, and generally having new and interesting adventures with their friends or family.

J-Hope and a camper van. :)

Live life as a camper
If you decide to rent a camper in Germany for your camping vacation, you and your family will have the opportunity to explore an entirely new world of possibilities. This is something that everyone longs for. It is feasible to try with other sorts of campers, including a fifth wheel or a motorhome, in order to assess whether or not it works.

A great number of people like camping because it helps them to feel more adventurous and immersed in nature than they would otherwise be able to achieve. You, too, may take pleasure in the great outdoors!

Due to the fact that you will be able to sleep peacefully on the bed that comes with an RV, you will not need to acquire a tent. When traveling in an RV, you have the opportunity to learn as much as possible about yourself while also putting your camping skills to the test. Regardless of where you go, staying in a hotel room may quickly become monotonous and expensive due to the uniformity of the experience.

Renting an RV and discovering new regions is always the greatest option if you want to have a more amazing trip that you will remember for a lifetime of memories. As long as you have a camper van at your disposal, regardless of what anyone else tells you, you have everything you could ever want.


5.07.2022

Puerto Princesa: Paradise Regained.

Puerto Princesa is ready for you!

The Royal Treatment at Puerto Princesa
With safety protocols firmly enforced, Puerto Princesa is poised to again welcome tourists with open arms. In recent years, the highly urbanized city and tourist haven has been paralyzed by the Covid-19 pandemic, then pummeled by Typhoon Odette. But it is now on the road to recovery---as spectacularly as its scenic, romantic and gastronomic attractions.

“The tourism industry is the lifeblood of Puerto Princesa, along with agriculture. Almost 15,000 people directly or indirectly benefit from tourism. In varying degrees, most of the recent construction and development projects are related to tourism: hotel-building, parks, cruise-ship ports, street lights, roads and many more. Unfortunately, some of these have been on hold since the onset of the pandemic,” discloses Demetrio “Toto” Alvior Jr., the city tourism officer.

The Royal Connection
Puerto Princesa, the capital of postcard-perfect Palawan, sprawls across 253,982 hectares of captivating coastlines stretched over 106 kilometers. Due to its strategic geographical location, it has sufficient depth to allow ships of all sizes to anchor, earning a reputation as a “Princess of Ports,” or in Spanish, “Puerto Princesa.”

There’s no contention that Puerto Princesa is one of the country’s greatest pleasures. A holiday destination universally beloved by travelers, beach-combers and trekkers; a bustling business center with a rural allure; a provincial vibe with modern amenities; and a clean and green city recognized for its lush forests, fresh air and frontier character.

One of the many exciting activities in the island.

Rising Above Covid-19
The city of Puerto Princesa has been struggling to get to its feet since the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020. The lack of tourists, which is the main industry, has forced hundreds of tourism-related businesses to close, leaving thousands of tourism workers unemployed.

“The public-health crisis forced them to find alternative sources of income, which was made more difficult because of the restrictions of movement due to several lockdowns,” Mr. Alvior reveals. “One factor of low tourist arrivals is the fluctuating number of Covid cases, which in turn affects the determination of quarantine requirements and national government intervention policies.”

Today, Puerto Princesa is experiencing record lows in terms of economic losses, losing around P5 billion a year for the past two years from potential tourist receipts.

Tourists are now welcome at Puerto Princesa!

“The City Tourism Department has been strengthening its social media campaigns to encourage local tourists to visit local attractions, in a bid to boost much-needed revenues to the ailing tourism sector,” a cautiously optimistic Mr. Alvior says. “We have one important wish in the City Tourism Department, and that is to prioritize the aids for the Typhoon Odette-affected tourism industry here.”

The goal is to regain the city’s glory as an eco-tourism capital. “Our 2022 goals are full restoration of all the tourist attractions affected by Typhoon Odette such as the completion of the construction of the cruise-ship port and other man-made tourist attractions. There will be wide, extensive and aggressive promotions of Puerto Princesa to the local and international market.”

A trip to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a must!

The Last Frontier
Puerto Princesa has a plethora of tourist spots. But many tourists who visit the city put the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, on top of their list. As the jump-off point for exploring the world-famous Tubbataha Reef, the city also hosts a fair share of adventurers.

“Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have never ceased to hope that the future will be better. This year 2022 is no different. And while what we want is a full recovery, we cannot afford to be careless when taking big steps. As we begin to truly understand the gravity of the situation, we also come to realize that our moves must be consistent with the bigger picture such as the national situation,” Mr. Alvior says.

The wonders of nature awaits you at Puerto Princesa.

Since February 10, the city has been happily welcoming more visitors once again, hoping that the arrival numbers will soon be back to pre-pandemic levels. In this initiative, the tourism department shares the privilege on with the private sector.

“While the government is the administrator of the State, the private sector is the bloodline. The government and the private sector are two inseparable factors for Puerto Princesa to prosper, and more importantly, to recover,” Mr. Alvior says. “The key to recovery is to enable and support the private sector to keep or resume their business operations. When it comes to the city’s biggest partners, apart from government agencies, it is the collective impact of small-business operations.”

Puerto Princesa may be “The Last Frontier,” but the City Tourism Department is confident that it will always be the first choice of every traveler.