Monday, April 30, 2012

What's in a (Business) Name? Siete

Social networking hairdressing service
Spotted at Piazza Elesia, Talamban, Cebu City

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Random Things About Kimchiland

First off, if you want to know about South Korea's history, geography, etc, you are in the wrong place. I know nothing about that. Please consult Mr Google.

Here are some random things you might (or might not) want to know before flying off to the land of kimchi:

Korea has four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Spring is from March to May, followed by summer from June to August. The country turns orange, brown, and red from September to November, and then white and freezing from December to February. 

South Korea's currency is called won. One won is about .04 Philippine pesos, or 1000 won is about 40 Philippine pesos. There are money changers in the airport and even on the streets.
Currency exchange on the street (Photo by: Bee Chavez)

Korea, in the standard time zone, is at GMT +9 hours. The Philippines is at GMT +8 hours, thus Korea is an hour ahead. 

Staying connected
If you cannot live without your cellphone while away from your homeland, you can stay connected by setting your cellphone on roaming provided you have a 3G phone. Another option is to rent a mobile phone. I read in Korea Tourism Organization's website that there are mobile rentals at Incheon International Airport. If you must stay connected to the world wide web, not to worry, wifi is everywhere, even in the subway (I just have no idea how to connect to the subway wifi since I have no 3G phone nor laptop/notebook, yes, I am low tech hehehe). 

Public Phones
If you need to stay connected and can only do so the old fashioned way - by telephone - there are public telephone booths on streets where there are many pedestrians, near bus terminals, and subway stations. Some telephone booths can accept coins and credit cards.
For sure you will be bringing along things that you would need to recharge at one time or another. Your camera and laptop perhaps? Then I must tell you Korea uses the type C plug (see right photo from and their outlets supply 220~240V electricity . 

South Korea Series:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I poor for Ipar's

Purchased another discount voucher from Groupon. This time I grabbed the chance to try Ipar's. 

Welcome to Ipar's
This way please
Ipar's Restaurant and Appetizer Bar
Spanish themed interiors
Lots of photos of Matadors and Spanish dancers
A lonely customer enjoying his meal

What we ordered:

 Crema de ChampiƱones - Cream of mushroom
Mushroomy, subtly creamy, and can be served in two if requested.

Pollo al ajillo - Fillet of chicken in garlic sauce
Tender meat with a good sauce.

Solomillo ala Pobre - Pan Seared Tenderloin
It has very tender meat. Choose from medium rare or well done. Mild taste and needs herbs or a stronger flavor. Taste better with the mushroom soup.

Flan al Caramelo - Leche Flan
Very creamy. Small but packed serving. It reminds me of Yema.

Calamansi juice

Ipar's authentic Spanish cuisine, nice interior, good homey vibe, and classical Spanish guitar ambient music makes it a good place to hang around and relax. However, this restaurante isn't for the budget conscious. With Ipar's authenticity, also comes great prices.

Ipar's price range for each category on their menu:
Tapas (appetizer) Php 120 ~ 300
Ensalada (salad) Php 150 ~ 200
Sopa (soup) Php 70 ~ 120
Paella Php 600 ~ 950 (4 to 6 pax)
Pescados y mariscos (fish and shellfish) Php 250 ~ 650
Aves (fowl) Php 180 and Php 480 (whole roast chicken)
Carnes (pork/beef/lamb) Php 200 ~ 350
Bebidas (drink) Php 30 ~ 70
Postres (dessert) Php 70 ~ 100

157 F Ramos St.
Cebu City
(032) 410 7727 / (032) 255 4727 / 0917 626 6662
Lunch 10AM - 2PM, Tuesday - Sunday
Dinner 6PM - 10PM, Daily

How Ipar made Mustachio a poor hijo:
Creme de champiƱones Php 100
Pollo al ajillo Php 180
Solomillo alo pobre Php 280
Calamansi juice Php 30
Flan al caramelo Php 70
+5% service charge

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tourist Visa for South Korea

Holding an ordinary Philippine passport and going to South Korea? You need a visa!

Updated on January 2018

For those applying at the Cebu Consulate, these are the requirements for a tourist visa to Korea for employees:
  • Visa application form — printed on A4 size paper, completed in block letters, and signed.  Write "not applicable" if appropriate; do not leave blanks. It is important to fill out the contact number of your hotel in Korea.
  • 1 pc. passport sized colored photo — taken within the last 6 months. Attach photo on the application form,
  • Original passport — should be valid for at least 6 months
  • Photocopy of passport info page
  • Previous passports with valid and previous visas (within the past 5 years) to US, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and other OECD member countries
  • Photocopy of valid and previous visas (within the past 5 years) to above mentioned countries, including entry stamps
  • Original certificate of employment — should indicate job title, salary, date hired. Must include address, landline number, and email of the company.
  • Original personal bank certificate — should include account type, current balance, account opening date, and average daily balance (ADB)
  • Bank Statement — original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the past 3 months
  • Photocopy of ITR (Income Tax Return) — certified/stamped/signed by BIR as true copy
  • Photocopy of PRC of IBP Card (if applicable)
  • If personally invited by a Korean — invitation letter and photocopy of inviter's passport or identification card
For those other than employees, if you're a businessman, student, etc, you can find the list of requirements here.

For those applying at the embassy in Taguig, check the list of requirements here.

Visa fee for Philippine Passport holders:
Staying for 59 days or less in Korea - Free
Staying in Korea for 90 days - Php 2000
* In 2012 and in 2014, there was no embassy/consulate in Cebu; it was only in Taguig. I chose to apply thru a travel agency, rather than fly to and from Manila. Service fee will vary from Php 2000 to Php 2500, depending on the agency.
* In 2016, with the opening of the consulate in Cebu, I processed my visa by myself. The expenses I incurred was in the preparation of my documents: photo, bank certificate, bank statement, and certification of my ITR.

Application Procedure
  • Complete the required documents. Arrange accordingly: Passport, visa application with photo glued on the form, photocopy of passport, photocopy of visas and entry stamps to above mentioned countries, rest of supporting documents arranged according to the list above.
  • File your application at the Consular Office:
    • Taguig
      • Monday to Friday, 830AM to 11AM only
      • First time travelers and those who do not have visas from above mentioned countries and those who have confirmation of visa issuance number, submit documents to Window 1 or 2.
      • Frequent travelers, submit documents at Window 3.
    • Cebu
      • Monday to Friday, 9AM to 11AM only (arrive by 1030AM at the latest)
      • Log in with the guard and you will be given a priority number. Wait for your number to be called.
      • Once your number is called, submit your documents at the window that called your number. 
  • Do not forget to get your releasing slip/claim stub upon submission of documents.

Processing Time
  • Taguig
    • 5 working days. Could be more depending on the consul.
    • Releasing is from Monday to Friday, 130PM to 4PM only.
  • Cebu
    • 7 working days. Could be more depending on the consul.
    • Releasing is from Monday to Friday, 2PM to 4PM only.

* In 2012 and 2014, when I had to process the visa through an agency, it took more than a week for the agency since it had to ship my application to its Manila branch and back.
* In 2016, applying through the consulate in Cebu, it took 5 working days. (Note: By April 17, 2017, visa processing time in Cebu will be 7 working days.)

Application Status
You can check your visa application station in the Korea Visa Portal.

Embassy/Consulate Contact Details

Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center,
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
(02) 856 9210 visa local nos: 250 / 500

Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu
12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center,
Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5,
Cebu Business Park, Mabolo, Cebu City
(032) 231 1516 to 19

South Korea Series:
Tourist Visa to Korea (you're here!)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mr Kimbob

After the preservative-laden food we had at Mt Pulag, it was time for something fresh...fresh from the food court (too tired to look for restaurants, the obvious choice was SM Baguio's food court).

I got myself the chicken curry. It was mildly spicy and the chicken and potatoes (I do not care for carrots much) were just the right size.

Chicken Curry

And ze lady chose the bibimbap. Doesn't it look huge and delicious? It was indeed huge and delicious but the lady friend couldn't finish it. Guess having strawberry shortcake first was a bad idea.


Price wasn't so bad either. Good sized servings for less than a hundred!

Mr Kimbob
SM foodcourt
SM City Baguio
Luneta Hill, Upper Session Road,
Baguio City

How Mr. Kimbob emptied Mustachio's pocket:
Chicken curry Php 89
Bibimbap Php 99

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake in the Philippines' Strawberryland

Oh what is Baguio without its strawberries? Visit Vizco's when you're in Baguio and try their strawberry shortcake. If you happen to be a strawberry fan like me, you will definitely be more than satisfied with its sizable slice and the ample strawberries on top.

The Store Front
The Store Interior
Vizco's bestseller - Strawberry Shortcake
Wrong angle. It's not as small as you think.
All I can say is "Deliciouso!"

Vizco's Restaurant and Cake Shop
5C Puso ng Baguio Bldg.
Upper Session Road, Baguio City
(074) 446 7082

How this hefty Strawberry Shortcake bore a happy hole in Mustachio's Pocket:
Slice of strawberry shortcake Php 80

Friday, April 20, 2012

Everything Yummy Ltd.

Everything Yummy has been around for about 6 months and this post will probably be old news to you. My fault. My sister has been bugging me to visit Everything Yummy at Piazza Elisea in Talamban but I only got to bring myself over there a month ago.

It was such a tiny place (can only accommodate three rows of 4 people elbow to elbow) and it would be rude to stand behind the seated customers to somehow hint that they should hurry up coz we were hungry.

 Click to enlarge

The Singaporean Pepper Prawn sounded absolutely tempting but we didn't have enough money. We settled instead for the rib quarter with rice and spanish chorizo meal.

Rib quarter with salsa rice

We requested for the rib quarter's rice to be changed to salsa rice (add Php 25) and boy, did it go well together.  The rib was tender and sweet. I am no cook but from what we could figure out, the salsa rice had tomato, tomato sauce, basil, and oregano. It was so good, we ordered another cup of salsa rice.

You may also request for your plain rice to be changed to garlic rice (add Php 15).

Spanish chorizo meal

I was a bit disappointed that my Spanish chorizo meal looked so small. But, hey, I did feel full after that spicy meal (and no, not because I ate my companion's quarter rib with salsa rice, I did not). If you are very hungry or are a growing boy, one Spanish chorizo meal would probably not be enough.

Why is the title Everything Yummy Ltd? Ltd = limited. Limited space (them). Limited budget (me).

And the final question: Was Everything Yummy? So far... since we have only tried 3 items on the menu. I will have to try the 5 other main courses before I could say indeed Everything Yummy.

Everything Yummy
Piazza Elesia, Talamban, Cebu City
0917 899 8669 / 032 406 5678
facebook page

Tuesdays to Sundays
1030AM to 2PM
530PM to 9PM

How this yummy meal took almost everything from Mustachio's pocket:
Rib Quarter with Salsa Rice Php 185 + Php 25 (add on for changing plain rice to salsa rice)
Spanish Chorizo Meal Php 95
Extra Salsa Rice Php 35

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

I have always wanted to go to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City to find my grandpa's grave... just kidding. There is not a drop of me that's American (though I found some Filipino names on the Hemicycle). I just wanted to take photos of the crosses, really.

According to the American Battle Monuments Commission website, the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial contains more than 17,000 graves, the largest number of graves of military dead of the Second World War. You can find more information by downloading the booklet here.

Quick info in numbers:
  • 17,097 headstones consisting of 16,933 crosses and 164 Stars of David.
  • 36,286 missing in action
  • 29 medal of honor recipients

The graves

The Memorial

Wall of Missing

The Maps
There are 25 maps portraying important campaigns in the Pacific during WWII.

The Chapel
The sculpture represents St George with the ideals for which he fought
(liberty, justice, country) and a child symbolizing the future.

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
McKinley Road,
Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila

Open daily 9AM to 5PM
Except January 1 and December 25

If you plan to visit, please come in decent clothes. No jogging/exercise attire. According to a friend, although not in the rules, better not wear slippers especially if you're coming in on foot.