Category Archives: Jibber-jabber

Applying for a Schengen Tourist Visa: The DIY way (For Filipinos)

Dreaming of going to Italy, France, Greece or any of the Schengen States?  Here’s my guide for Filipinos who want to apply without passing through any travel agency (thus saving money).

What exactly are we applying for?  A brief definition of the Schengen Visa

The Schengen Visa has made traveling between its 25 member countries (22 European Union states and 3 non-EU members) much easier and less bureaucratic. Traveling on a Schengen Visa means that the visa holder can travel to any (or all) member countries using one single visa, thus avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining individual visas for each country. This is particularly beneficial for persons who wish to visit several European countries on the same trip. The Schengen visa is a “visitor visa”. It is issued to citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering Europe.

The purpose of the visit must be leisure, tourism, or business. Upon the issuance of the visa, the visa holder is allowed to enter all member countries and travel freely throughout the Schengen area. It is strongly recommended to plan your journey within the timeframe of the Schengen Visa as extensions can be very difficult to obtain, thus forcing you to leave to stay in compliance with the Schengen rules and regulations. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period.

The following 25 countries are Schengen Visa members:
Schengen Visa Countries
  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Denmark
  5. Estonia
  6. Finland
  7. France
  8. Germany
  9. Greece
  10. Hungary
  11. Iceland
  12. Italy
  13. Latvia
  14. Lithuania
  15. Luxembourg
  16. Malta
  17. Netherlands
  18. Norway
  19. Poland
  20. Portugal
  21. Slovakia
  22. Slovenia
  23. Spain
  24. Sweden
  25. Switzerland

Important: The Schengen Visa holders are not allowed to live permanently or work in Europe. Schengen Visa holder only have the right to travel as a temporary visitor to the member countries.

Now back to business.

The first thing to do is go to the Italian Embassy Philippines website www.ambmanila.esteri.it/

Download the Schengen Visa application form.  It would also be good to browse around the site for updates on the procedure and requirements.

http://www.ambmanila.esteri.it/Ambasciata_Manila/Menu/In_linea_con_utente/Modulistica/

Now its time to fill up the form and gather the supporting documents needed for the application.

REQUISITE DOCUMENTS FOR TOURIST VISA
 Application form duly filled in block capitals. Application must be signed and dated by applicant on submitting the application.
 Two recent colour passport-size photographs (white background)
 Passport valid for at least 3 months after the expiry date of the requested visa and containing at least 2 empty pages.
 Copy of the passport page containing holder’s data and those mentioning an extension of validity.
 Copies of any previous and current visa (if applicable).

A. DOCUMENTATION RELATING TO THE PURPOSE OF THE JOURNEY
 documents relating to the itinerary:

a) confirmation of the booking of an organised trip or any other appropriate document indicating the envisaged travel plans: flight booking (Please note that no ticket should be purchased);

(For this, I went to our local ticket agent and booked a round trip manila –  italy flight.  They gave me a booking certificate with the flight details and a note that i have a genuine booking with them)

b) in the case of transit: visa or other entry permit for the third country of destination; tickets for onward journey;

 hotel booking or

(I made bookings online and printed the booking confirmation)

 original letter of hospitality from a hosting person living in Italy. In this case, the following documents should be submitted: copy of the identity card or passport of the hosting person plus photocopy of Residence Permit (Permesso o Carta di Soggiorno) if the host person is a foreigner). The model of this letter of hospitality can be downloaded from this web site;

 proof of family ties with the host/inviting person (if applicable);

 Letter from the applicant’s employer stating:

a) Professional status of applicant;

b) period of leave;

(Being employed by Papa, I made a letter stating that i was an employee of my father’s business.  I also placed the date that i started working, my monthly salary, my position and that i would resume my duties when I return.  I placed the business name on the header and let my father sign on the bottom as my employer)

 Overseas Medical Insurance with minimum coverage of Euro 30,000 (including repatriation flight and hospital care) issued by a local insurance company (listed by the Schengen Diplomatic missions) or one based in Europe.

Here is a list of Accredited Travel Insurance Company in the Philippines.

  1. ACE Insurance Philippines
  2. Chartis Philippines Insurance, Inc.
  3. Assist-Card
  4. Blue Cross
  5. BPI – MS Insurance Corporation
  6. Fortune General Ins. Corp
  7. MAA Insurance
  8. Malayan Inssurance Company, Inc.
  9. MAPFRE Insular Insurance Corporation
  10. Paramount Life and General Insurance Co
  11. PNB General Insurers Co., Inc.
  12. Standard Insurance Co.
  13. UCPB General Insurance Co. Inc.
  14. WorldWide Travel Insurance Plans
  15. Everest International Group Administrators Inc.
  16. Federal Phoenix Assurance Co., Inc.

(We got our isurance from Chartis, its P4, 300 for 45 days.  The general rule of thumb is the number of days you will be staying plus 15 days allowance.  We had a harder time looking for isurance for my dad who is over 70, we got rates ranging from P12,000 to P15,000.  We finally went for Blue Cross had it for P6,800 for 45 days.)

B. PERSONAL DOCUMENTATION PERTAINING TO THE APPLICANT’S PERSONAL FINANCIAL MEANS
 proof of financial means in the country of residence:
a) personal bank statement covering the last six months

(I got this from the bank statements sent to me, BPI sends statements that spans 6 months.  If you dont have those, ask your bank or if youre enrolled in online banking it can be printed from there)

 b) documentation pertaining to financial investments (if applicable)

(Photocopies of Time Deposit certificate and SDA’s will do.  The bank can also be asked to give your certificates that lists all your investments)

 c) certificate of payment of tax on personal income (ITR)

(Photocopy of your current ITR)

 proof of employment:

a) letter of employment stating duration of employment and financial terms

 b) pay-slips covering the last six months (if applicable)

 in case the applicant is the owner of a company or an individual tradera) Certificate of Incorporation + Memorandum and Articles of Association or Certificate of Business Name Registration

 b) Form C.O. 7 or equivalent (listings of the Company’s Directors)

 proof of real estate property (if applicable);
 proof of integration into the country: documents attesting the applicant’s professional status
 In the case the applicant cannot provide evidence of personal income, a bank guarantee (“fidejussione bancaria”) established by the host person in Italy should be submitted. The amount of this bank guarantee has to be established in accordance with the relevant decree of the Italian Ministry of Interior;

C. DOCUMENTATION IN RELATION TO THE APPLICANT’S FAMILY SITUATION
 marriage certificate (if applicable)

IN CASE OF A CHILD APPLYING FOR A TOURIST VISA
 the visa application form has to be signed by both parents.

The following documents should be provided:

 marriage certificate of the parents or Sworn Affidavit;
 birth certificate of the child and also any other document providing proof of the identity of the child’s parent;
 letter from the school stating the class attended and giving permission of absence;
If the child is travelling with one of the two parents
 The parent who is not travelling with the child should give a written consent in the form of a Sworn Affidavit issued by a High Court including the parent’s identity photograph and copy of his/her passport

APPLICANTS SHOULD NOTE THE FOLLOWING : Additional documents may be required in certain cases. All the documents should be provided in original and copy. Original documents (except bank statements) will be returned to applicants while copies will be kept with the visa application. Any forged/fake document or passport submitted will not be returned to the applicant who might be prosecuted in both the Italian and the Nigerian Court.

You may also call their toll-free number for inquiries on Visa Requirements:

•  (0063-2) 845 9200

At this point, do not get the managers check for the visa payment yet, wait after you called their hotline.

When you have all the requirements, its now time to call the PIASI call center.  Have your Passport Number, Birthday, Phone Number, Email, Number of days stay, address, purpose of trip written down for easy reference.  The call would be about P32 per minute.

You may get in touch with the PIASI Call Center that will take care of collecting the necessary documents from your residence.
You may contact the PIASI Call Center through the following numbers:

• 1909-101-2200 using PLDT and NDD;
• 1903-101-2200 using BAYANTEL;
• 1900-101-2200 using GLOBE.

When we called, we were asked if it is a travel agency calling for us.  They are not allowed to call for you, it must be personal or made by a relative.  Our call lasted 22 minutes for the three of us.  Our pick up date was scheduled one month later, we asked if it could be sooner and they gave us an earlier date.  The Documents should be placed in a brown envelope to picked up by 2go.  We were told to prepare two checklists of the contents of the envelope and at the bottom should be a disclaimer stating that “Incomplete requirements maybe grounds for the refusal of my application then sign it. The pictures should also be signed at the back.

The visa fee was P4,475  (July 4, 2012).  It should be a manager’s cheque payable to PIASI.  The name of the applicant and Reference Number (given upon calling for the pick up) should be written at the back.

When everything is complete, seal the envelope with clear tape.  We were told to label the envelope:

1st line:  ITALIAN EMBASSY VISA APPLICATION

2nd line:  Tourist Visa for

3rd line: Name of applicant

4th line Passport Number

5th line: Reference Number

Our documents were picked up on July 12, 2012 by 2go.  The waiting time should be about 3 weeks or 15 working days as stated by PIASI.  We got our passports back on July 25, 2012 with approved visas.  We just got our passports and they didnt send back all the documents we sent.

Hope this helps,but please check the embassy for requirements.  If you want a personal interview, you can request it with PIASI.

Total cost per applicant: P10,000 to P12,000 (includes visa fee, insurance, bank certificate fee, call to the embassy and photocopy fees)

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My year as an RNheals Nurse

January 17, 2011

My year started when a friend called me to apply online for the RNheals program. I entered my name, prc id number and answered a few questions, the rest was history.

February 8, 2011

While looking through my spam mail, I found a forwarded message asking me to report for an interview and to bring my registration letter, credentials, resume and a medical certificate given by a government doctor.

February 10, 2011

I came to the DOLE office really early, I signed the attendance sheet for my designated town and waited. After a few minutes my name was called and I was interviewed. I was asked if I was willing to be assigned to
far and poor communities. Of course I said yes! The interviewer told me to report for briefing on February 14.

February 14-15, 2011

I went to the hotel where we were told what the program was about, how much we were going to be paid and what are the requirements. We were told we were to receive P8,000 from the national government and P2,000 from the local govenment. We were issued a Landbank Cash Card, Philhealth and GSIS insurance. We were also issued an official RNheals Resourcebook. We were also told where we were assigned, I was assigned in the hospital for the first 6 months of the program along with 4 other nurses.

February 16, 2011

There were 11 of us who were assigned to the hospital. We came really early and went to the chief nurse’s office. We brought our appointment letter. The assistant chief nurse was confused that we came. They were not aware that nurses will be deployed in their hospital. We were directed to the conference room for our orientation.

February 16 – August 15, 2011

The Hospital.

We were assigned to four different areas in accordance to the MNCHN Program. The OPD, Ob-Gyne Ward, Pedia Ward and the Operating Room.
I was thankful that I was assigned in the hospital first. It was better to get the hard part over with first. The last time I had my duty in the hospital was 5 years ago. My nursing skills were really rusty and I had to ask a lot of questions from my co-workers. I became re-acquainted with my nursing skills and I was doing ok after a few weeks. I sometimes had problems with other nurses because our status was
in between the staff nurses and the volunteer nurses because we had our allowance. Some problems also arose when we first passed our monthly journal and monitoring tool. We found it very difficult to have our documents signed because of the chief nurse’s busy schedule. This caused the delay of our monthly alllowance. We also had to adjust to our superiors and be very careful with out medications. We also learned to take care of patients with common and some rare clinical conditions. In our 6 months of clinical experience, we have learned to give safe and quality nursing carr with focus on medication, infection control, emergency/first aid/basic life support and IV therapy.

August 16 2011 – February 14, 2012

The Rural Health Unit.

On the first day if duty in the RHU, the five of us wore white. We then were introduced to our Municipal Health Officer and she advised us to wear scrub suits because the children were afraid of our white uniform. We were oriented to our duties and we started right away. We participated in the giving of MMR vaccines to far off communities in our town as well as the local schools. We participate in the monitoring of the 4P’s by weighing them every month as well as BP monitoring of the mothers. Everyday we conduct health teachings to parents and children to correct their misconceptions about health practices. We give out Tetanus Toxoid immunizations to dogbite patients and those with open wounds. We help in the monitoring of diseases for the FHSIS. We also refer our patients for further management to their hospital of choice.

We are about to end our year of deployment and we have learned so much. I am now ready to face the next hurdle which is finding a stable job with a sustainable income. I hope that my nursing experience will be an asset in looking for a new job.

Iphone 4S

I decided to get the Iphone 4s from smart after going to and from globe to see which plan is better.  I decided to stick with smart because most of my family members are on the smart network.  

Key features

  • iOS 5 with iCloud integration
  • Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G support with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • Dual-band CDMA and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO support
  • 3.5″ 16M-color LED-backlit IPS TFT capacitive touchscreen of 640 x 960 px resolution
  • Scratch-resistant glass front and rear, with fingerprint-resistant coating
  • 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, Apple A5 SoC
  • 512MB of RAM
  • Voice recognition, Siri virtual assistant
  • 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and touch focus
  • 1080p video recording at 30fps
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotpsot
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; digital compass
  • 16/32/64GB storage options
  • Accelerometer, proximity sensor and a three-axis gyro sensor
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated secondary microphone
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack, stereo Bluetooth v4.0
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Slim waistline at only 9.3mm
  • Secondary front-facing VGA camera
  • Built-in Picture and Video editors
  • Rich AppStore
  • New antenna design and improved signal reception in poor signal areas

Cons:

Facetime only works through wifi

Inconsistent 3G signal from smart

 

The screen is nice and crisp.  I wished it were bigger though.  The design is the same as the iphone 4.  The real difference comes from its innards. Better camera, faster brain.   waaah!

To protect the phone from occasional drops, I got a nice Incipio Feather Ultralight Hard Shell case.  It really cushions the impact and its matte material gives me that non sticky feel.

Its a great phone but my battery only last half the day due to nonstop tinkering.  The solution was to turn off the wifi, the screen brightness, bluetooth, location services and  the gps.  It really helped a lot.

Paranoid-Stupid-Lame Old Freaks

Going through my old things, I saw my old project from high school, it is from my Filipino class, we were supposed to write a diary and have it checked everyday. Well, I called my diary “diary for us rejects”. Naturally it was covered with black paint and silverchair pictures in front. Well, when I read my entries, I can’t believe that I was so retarded back then. No wonder I flunked Filipino and barely passed high school…hehe.

Here are some entries from the said diary: (originally in tagalog)

Legend: Ben = Ben Gillies from silverchair

Daniel = Daniel johns from silverchair

Roger = from the defunct boy band Code Red

July 9, 1997

Dear Diary,

I saw the real Ben and im soo happy. I was so shocked that he shaved his head and gave me his hair. I love that jerk. Im happily helping out here at home and studying hard. Im happy with my friends but they don’t know that im meeting with ben.

July 10, 1997

Dear Diary

I have a lot of tests today but I did not study last night. My friends still don’t know that im meeting ben. They think I’m with Roger. I don’t like roger anymore and I don’t see him at all. Im happy with ben.

July 11, 1997

Its been a few days since Muriel hasn’t been talking to me. I think she knows about us and ben. I better avoid ben. She was told by Daniel that I was seeing ben

July 12, 1997

I don’t want trouble. I avoid ben but he keeps following me. Muriel must not know about this. She might get angry. Im now studying and ben helps me with my math. He is my tutor.

July 13, 1997

Im happy because my friends and I don’t fight. I got high grades in school. The acquaintance party is near and I don’t have a dress yet. Ben is soo cute. Another world, another time, another place don’t you worry my benny. Muriel is happy with her “bestfriend” Daniel. I wonder what the real score is between them. I hope Muriel is not angry with me.

_end_

Maybe I was making those thing up to entertain my Filipino teacher. Naturally my diary is covered with silverchair pictures and xmen drawing. What was I thinking back then!! Ugh! But that book is good for a laugh. Maybe I was champagne supernova-ing somewhere when I wrote that. “someday you will find me caught up in a landslide in a champagne supernova in the sky” I miss my old friends, Frances, Muriel, Lesly, June Ann, Reysild…..but you and I will never die the world still spins around I don’t know why…

PARANOID – STUPID – LAME OLD FREAKS