Visiting our East Asian neighbors have been a lot easier for Filipinos in the recent years with the relaxation on visa applications.
Sure, Japan and South Korea are now lenient, but Taiwan even made it easy as pie under certain conditions.
Citizens of India, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos possessing a resident card, valid entry visa, or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to arrival to Taiwan from any of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, UK, or the United States are eligible for an (ROC) Taiwan Travel Authorization Certificate. The visas mentioned does not include work permits.
I just got back from a 3-week Eurotrip/birthday trip. The minute I posted on social media that I was in Europe, several people messaged me asking how I got a Schengen visa.
If you’re a non-Philippine passport holder, you might be wondering why getting a visa is such a big deal for Filipinos. Let’s just say traveling to a first world country with a Philippine passport is akin to being a contestant in American Ninja Warrior. We have to go through so many obstacles just to prove to embassies and even our own immigration officers that we’re not going overseas to seek greener pastures.
But wait, there’s more! It gets even harder when you’re female.
My single-entry Schengen Visa from The Czech Embassy Manila
I received a call from a BPI sales rep back in May saying that I am pre-qualified for a BPI Gold card. I immediately declined the offer because credit card = debt. She gave me an email address where I can reach them in case I change my mind, but I wasn’t paying attention and did not bother writing it down.
For some strange reason, I had an urge to check out the card’s features as soon as we ended the call, and I saw their Imagine Your Korea promo. It says that BPI Gold cardholders will be entitled to a 3-year multiple entry Korean visa while BPI Platinum and Gold Express Teller Debit cardholders may be issued 3- or 5-year multiple entry visas. Additionally, said cardholders will be exempted from submitting financial documents (ITR and bank certificate).
So I did what any travel junkie would and frantically searched online for BPI sales’ email address. LOL Thanks to their responsive Twitter account handler, I got hold of the email address and was able to request a call back. I think my card arrived within a week from our correspondence.
Now, I could have applied a month after receiving my first statement of account, but I was so swamped with work.
When my schedule finally cleared up earlier this month, I decided to lodge our Korean visa application. I made a last-minute decision to include my mom in the application because why not? It’s free anyway, and you’re not even required to book tickets and accommodation. Totally risk-free!
Just to give you a brief background of our profile:
Me: 31 years old, single, self-employed, no OECD visa but traveled to 12 countries in the last 5 years
My mom: 61 years old, widow, unemployed, no OECD visa but traveled to 4 countries in the last 5 years Please take note that the requirements I’m going to list here only apply to self-employed individuals and, specifically, to BPI Gold cardholders.