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Finding Nemo in The Philippines, Christmas Markets in Europe... Winter Trips Between The Co-Hosts

Published 6 months agoΒ β€’Β 5 min read

New year, new news

Ticket 2 Anywhere crafted The Check-In newsletter to take you beyond the podcast and into infinite travel. Find your favorite gear, tools, tips, tricks, and updates all right here, every first Wednesday of the month.


πŸ«–β˜• What Are We Drinking This Month? β˜•πŸ«–
Trizzy's #TeaForTrizzy: Biko Pandan Milk Tea from
Neighborhood Cafe in Seattle, WA Leah's #LACaffeinated: Cafe La Llave from my local Target (Cuba)​
​**For some products, we receive commission when you click through and buy. This helps keep the podcast going!


Update on Leah's Philippine Visa Waiver Extension

If you remember our November newsletter I, Leah, wrote y'all a little story about forgetting that I accidentally booked a flight that overstays my automatic 30-day visa in the Philippines.

I was FREAKING out, because it sounded like my only options at the time were to pay the overstay fee (which other countries can reject your entry if they see this on your passport), or apply for an extended visa from the Philippines Consulate in LA, where they have to keep your passport for weeks - which I didn't have time for.

First things first, I LIED to Philippines immigration 🫣 they literally asked me when I landed on November 12, "When do you leave the Philippines?" and I responded "December 12". Boom, pass, whew. Clear for now. (Also, I recommend not lying to immigration, but I did not just fly 24 hours for nothing - this also could have been done differently, keep reading to find out how).

Around December 1, and about 2/3 of the way through my trip, I headed to Philippine Immigration: E-Services online to get the process started for my visa waiver (extension) for my extra time there.

I create an account, state that I need an extra 30 days (this is automatic, and I was only using 7 of those days), and then they prompt you to pay the fee, credit card accepted of course (3,030 PHP = ~$55 USD). If you can believe it, I was having all kinds of card trouble and wifi trouble, even though I tried all 5 cards I brought with me and was staying in a nice 4-star hotel, so I revisited the payment page for about 2 days after to keep trying. But, that payment eventually went through.

About 3 days later (while I was in Balabac, the untouched beautiful south of Palawan at the time), I get an email from Bureau of Immigration PH, stating my application for visa waiver has been APPROVED and attached are the files. I read through the email thoroughly, seeing the visa paper and receipt were attached at the bottom. BUT THAT WAS IT. No request to bring my passport in. No further action needed. Anything I had to show immigration was all in that email. IT WAS ALL DIGITAL. THE WHOLE PROCESS. The Philippines is growing up, y'all! (That is a massive difference I noticed between my 2 trips in Jan 2020 and November 2023: The Philippines became even more digital & online in ~4 years).

Note: The visa waiver (extension) will extend you 30 days once your original 30 days has expired, regardless of when you apply for it.

You wouldn't believe I let out the most massive sigh of RELIEF when I read this email. So on my last night in the Philippines, sent in Cebu City, I told a local friend this whole ordeal, and she married a foreigner who lives with her in the Philippines so she knows visas all too well, and she told me I can actually ASK for my visa waiver (extension) upon arrival in the country at immigration. I had no idea! She said I can literally ask, "Can I get the visa waiver since I am staying over 30 days?" Can someone fly to the Philippines soon and fact check this for me?!

And in fact, on Day 37, when I was departing the country, China Airlines asked about my overstay when I checked into their counter, and so did immigration when it was my turn. I handily showed them my visa waiver (extension) on my phone, and they were happy to let me pass. SUCCESS!

Lessons learned: It's actually easy to get your Philippines visa extended, especially since it's all online now, and try not to worry as much as I do :)

Luckily I had some great scenery at my hotel to keep me occupied. Check out Canvas Hotel in Puerto Princesa!​
​


Trizzy Chasing Christmas in Belgium

It's the most wonderful time of the year to visit Europe... around Christmas! My partner, Maui, and I spontaneously decided in late October to book our flights to Europe to catch the Christmas festivities in the UK (London & Bath) and Belgium (Ghent, Bruges, & Brussels). While we wished we flew direct to Belgium, we found flying into LHR (London Heathrow Airport) was more economical and it'll give us the experience of using the anti-climatic but efficient chunnel (Channel Tunnel) to get to Belgium.

I went to London earlier this year as my first solo international trip. I didn't think I would be back so soon - maybe because Maui kept talking about how much she wanted to go do the Harry Potter Studio Tour, so London was basically for the wizard, Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, and the city's decoration. We used London as a base where we stayed overnight three times. The first overnight was when we landed so we can hop on the chunnel to go to Belgium the next morning.

We spent three nights in Belgium, situating ourselves in Ghent, or Gent or Gand (depending which language you're using between Dutch and French) for all three nights. We made day trips to Bruges and Brussels, each within 30 minutes train ride from Ghent. BEAUTIFUL Christmas feel in all three cities. Our favorite part was walking thru the Castle Gravensteen in Ghent decked out with Christmas in each room - however, it was quite ironic learning how barbaric the history of some rooms were haha... nonetheless, we recommend checking out the Castle during the holidays because we can't imagine viewing it in any other way. In Bruge, we came across a fun Christmas parade, and had the best hot chocolate ever at the highly recommended Old Chocolate House (amazing Grandmother's Waffle too). Brussels was the most crowded but the Grand Place was truly grand to enter for the first time - my jaw just dropped typing that out and remembering how I felt on arrival. There was a light and sound show that started at 5pm, and played every hour - it illuminated the buildings at the Grand Place. Be careful of pickpocketers in Brussels though. Each city was great to visit but my ranking would be Ghent (top), Bruges, and Brussels.

My Gear of the Trip: The weather was cold, and the sun popped out for a few days. What kept us warm and comfortable were our Hot Hands Hand Warmers & Toe Warmers​

Happy 2024, yall!

-Trizzy @trizzinc


Hoping to travel more in the new year?
Our latest episode can help with that...

video preview​

πŸ”₯ Also, check out episode 77: "Traveling As A Lesbian Couple with Maui and Trizzy"
πŸ†• NEW episode: January 3, 2024
REINTRODUCTION of ourselves & the podcast ​
​
πŸ“…
SAVE THE DATES for our next IRL meetups:
β€’ January 24, 2024: Common Space Brewery in Hawthorne, California (
Register here!)
β€’ April 2024


βœ… Our Best Travel Tips Right Now βœ…

β€’ The Best Way To Do A Layover In TΓΌrkiye ‒​
​
β€’ Coolest Place to Bike In The USA per @thecyclingceo β€’
β€’ What a 4D/3N Island Hopping Tour in The Philippines Really Looks Like β€’
β€’ Ease Bali Belly or Any Stomach Problems With This β€’
β€’ Best Camera Settings to Get the Most Fire Photos & Video β€’
β€’ Should You Book Hotels, Cars, Activities in Advance? β€’
​


🎧 What Else Are We Listening To? 🎧
Leah recommends
Girls Gotta Eat, with Ashley & Reyna
Trizzy recommends
Marathon Running Podcast, by Letty & Ryan


Onward and upward,

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Ticket 2 Anywhere

Ticket 2 Anywhere crafted The Check-In newsletter to take you beyond the podcast and into infinite travel. Find your favorite gear, tools, tips, tricks, and updates all right here, every first Wednesday of the month.

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