Every Filipino traveler has a horror story about a visa application gone wrong -- or at the very least, gone annoyingly time consuming in terms of documents to submit or the number of visits to an embassy. It's all about the four-hour waiting lines, the multitude of bank statements, and occasionally, the attitude of the visa applications staff themselves.
Most of the time, we just grin and bear it, telling ourselves this is the price to pay for travel, especially to the First World. But sometimes, the hassles and indignities of a visa application make us feel we should just give up the trip all together -- as in the case of a friend applying for a visa recently to a Northeast Asian country. He'd already been to that country several times, so he figured a visa for a third trip would be easy. He'd submitted everything required including an NSO-issued birth certificate...except it was issued in the latter half of 2008. The embassy refused to even review his application without the 2009 NSO birth certificate.
"This is a birth certificate, for goodness' sake," he said angrily, recalling the encounter at this unnamed embassy. "What would be different between a 2008 NSO and a 2009 NSO? The birth date? If they ask for one more ridiculous document, I'm canceling my trip and going to Hong Kong instead."
You'd think that with the global recession and all, more countries would be welcoming spending tourists rather than making things harder for them....
Well, a Facebook friend of Travelife Magazine recently sent us a comprehensive list of countries Filipinos can travel to without a visa. Thought'd we'd share this with all of you in case you wish to suddenly do a visa-free trip outside of ASEAN one of these days. Just the thought of being able to jump on a plane tomorrow and go someplace exotic like Brazil -- without having to collect bank statements, income statements and other documents to prove you are not going to TNT in their country, and then troop to an embassy -- is making us want to do exactly that! Recently, we've been to Morocco and Israel -- wonderful countries with mind-blowing cultures. We can't wait to visit the rest...especially Latin America!
VISA-FREE COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF ASEAN
8. Cook Islands
9. Costa Rica
12. Galapagos islands
14. Hong Kong
24. Saint Helena
27. Sri Lanka
28. South Korea - Visa required but no fee needed. Citizens of the following countries will not be charged an embassy fee for a South Korea visa: Italy, Japan, Philippines (up to 59 days stay), Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom.
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