[2019 Update] How I Got a Korean Tourist Visa as a Filipino Online Freelancer

Please read my other blog before you continue to read this. This is my second time to apply for a Korean tourist visa and I was so happy that my application was approved. The last time I went to Seoul was in November 2017 (autumn) for 5 days and this time it was spring (April 3-9, 2019).

I am an independent contractor who works as a home-based Virtual Assistant. I work by project and my clients are from Upwork. Other details about me:

  • Registered to BIR last October 2016 as Self-Employed Professional
  • Other countries I’ve been to:
    • Singapore – 2012
    • Indonesia – 2013
    • Indonesia – 2014
    • Indonesia – 2016
    • Hong Kong – 2016
    • Macau – 2016
    • Indonesia – 2017
    • South Korea – 2017
    • Taiwan – 2018
    • Vietnam – 2018
    • Cambodia – 2018
    • Thailand – 2018
    • Malaysia – 2018

I submitted the same documents except for the photocopy of my first Korean tourist visa and arrival stamp.

  • APPLICATION FORM
  • 1 PASSPORT SIZE COLORED PICTURE 35mm X 45mm (WHITE BACKGROUND)
  • PASSPORT
  • PHOTOCOPY OF PASSPORT
  • ORIGINAL & PHOTOCOPY OF VALID VISA AND ARRIVAL STAMPS TO OECD MEMBER COUNTRIES FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS
  • CERTIFIED TRUE COPY OF 2017 ITR FORM 1701 WITH BIR STAMP (My 2018 ITR is not yet available)
  • PHOTOCOPY OF BIR CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION
  • UPWORK CERTIFICATE OF EARNINGS
  • SCREENSHOTS OF ACTIVE CONTRACTS FROM UPWORK
  • BANK CERTIFICATE [ACCOUNT TYPE, CURRENT BALANCE, ACCOUNT OPENING DATE AND AVERAGE BALANCE (ADB)]
  • BANK STATEMENTS – 2 ACCOUNTS
  • EXPLANATION LETTER ABOUT MY JOB

Visa Fee when you apply at the Consulate in Cebu:

  • 59 days or less – Free
  • 60-90 days – Php 1,800

This time, I didn’t go to the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu City. My friend was the one who submitted our requirements last March 20, 2019.  I checked the status of my application online (https://www.visa.go.kr/openPage.do?MENU_ID=10301) and it was Application Received.

Photo 11-04-2019, 12 57 48 PM

On March 27, 2019 at 5:34PM, it changed to Approved. Even if it was just Single entry, I’m still happy that me and my 3 friends got approved.

Photo 11-04-2019, 12 58 06 PM

When I arrived at Incheon International airport, the IO just stamped my visa with 2 “USED” stamps and gave me a small Entry Confirmation paper.

Photo 11-04-2019, 10 42 50 AMPhoto 11-04-2019, 10 41 44 AM

How much did I spend?

Screenshot 2019-04-12 20.12.54*Food, drinks and pasalubong not included

Jeju Air

It was my first time flying with Jeju Air. If you want to add an additional baggage allowance for check in, do it online before your flight to Incheon. We had to purchase an additional 15 kilos for check in at the airport counter for 85,000 won. It could’ve been 50,000 won only if we purchase it before we left Cebu.

Accommodation

We stayed at 24 Guesthouse Myeongdong Avenue. The guesthouse reception is on the 6th Floor and our room is on the 4th Floor. We haven’t tried their free breakfast. There’s a fridge, TV and hair dryer in our room. I like the location coz it’s near Namdaemun Market, Myeongdong Shopping Street and some tourist spots are just walking distance. It’s also near the train station and bus stop. There are convenience stores and a lot of restaurants outside our place.

Photo 03-04-2019, 2 00 32 PMPhoto 03-04-2019, 2 00 39 PMPhoto 03-04-2019, 2 00 21 PMPhoto 03-04-2019, 1 56 05 PM

Internet

We rented our portable wifi from T mifi – SK Telecom (for 3 devices only) at the airport between Exit 5 and 6 or Exit 9 and 10. It’s cheaper compared to Flytpack. We had no problems with the internet connection and it was fast. They will ask for your passport and credit card. I think the deposit they took from my credit card was just 2,000 (91.05) but they will refund it after a few days once you return the portable wifi. We only paid 23,100 (1,052) for 7 days.

Photo 08-04-2019, 10 08 57 PM

Photos From Our Trip

We went to the places where we weren’t able to go to last November 2017 except Myeongdong.

Photo 10-04-2019, 6 28 39 PM
N Seoul Tower

Photo 09-04-2019, 5 40 42 PMPhoto 08-04-2019, 9 19 48 AM

Photo 07-04-2019, 5 49 51 PM
Deoksugung Palace Ticket
Photo 06-04-2019, 6 58 42 PM
Starfield Library

Photo 05-04-2019, 3 45 13 PM

Photo 04-04-2019, 12 11 48 PM
Sungnyemun Gate

Photo 07-04-2019, 12 52 10 PM

Photo 06-04-2019, 2 19 34 PM
Starfield Library
Photo 05-04-2019, 12 27 13 PM
Yeouido Park
Photo 05-04-2019, 12 22 28 PM
Yeouido Park

Photo 05-04-2019, 12 05 18 PM

Photo 04-04-2019, 6 01 51 PM
Myeongdong Cathedral
Photo 04-04-2019, 4 07 53 PM
Love Locks at N Seoul Tower

Photo 03-04-2019, 7 54 54 PM

Disclaimer: Everything that is written here is based on my experience as an Online Freelancer. This post only serves as a guide and inspiration for your South Korean Tourist Visa application and does not guarantee approval since it’s still a case-to-case basis. You can check the Korean Embassy’s website or other blogs for the complete/other requirements.

Backpacking for 12 Days: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia

Another tick off my bucket list. I always wanted to go backpacking to these countries and finally it happened. We booked our plane tickets last January. I know 12 days is not enough but we only had 5 months to prepare and save. We’re lucky, me and Paul, work online. I brought my laptop and took turns in working on our free time.

 

ITINERARY

June 18, 2018 (Monday) Day 1: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

  • Flight to Ho Chi Minh 7:35PM

June 19, 2018 (Tuesday) Day 2: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

  • Huyen Si Catholic Church, War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace (Reunification Palace), Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Ben Thanh Market

June 20, 2018 (Wednesday) Day 3: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

  • Bus to Phnom Penh (approximately 6 to 7 hours)
  • Royal Palace Park

June 21, 2018 (Thursday) Day 4: Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • Bus to Siem Reap (approximately 5 to 6 hours)
  • Angkor Night Market, Pub Street

June 22, 2018 (Friday) Day 5: Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom

June 23, 2018 (Saturday) Day 6: Bangkok, Thailand

  • Bus to Bangkok (approximately 7 to 8 hours)

June 24, 2018 (Sunday) Day 7: Bangkok, Thailand

  • Chatuchak Weekend Market

June 25, 2018 (Monday) Day 8: Bangkok, Thailand

  • MBK Center

June 26, 2018 (Tuesday) Day 8: Phuket, Thailand

  • Morning Flight to Phuket
  • Patong Beach
  • Bangla Walking Street

June 27, 2018 (Wednesday) Day 8: Phuket Thailand

  • Phi Phi Islands Tour
  • Jungceylon Mall

June 28, 2018 (Thursday) Day 10 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • Morning Flight to Kuala Lumpur
  • Petronas Towers
  • Suria KLCC

June 29, 2018 (Friday) Day 11 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • Batu Caves
  • NU Sentral

June 30, 2018 (Saturday) Day 12

  • Flight to Manila 1:30 AM

 

HOW MUCH DID I SPEND?

1

 

ACCOMMODATION

Everything was booked on Booking.com. I know it’s cheaper if we stayed in a shared room (Dorm Type) but we opted to book a private room so that we can have our own bathroom.

Screenshot 2018-07-02 11.32.20

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

  • Good location (walking distance to all the places we went to plus it’s near the Giant Ibis bus stop)
  • Fast internet
  • Clean room and bathroom
  • The receptionists are nice and friendly
  • Free breakfast

 

 

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

  • Good location. We just walked to all the places we went to.
  • Free pick up from the bus station
  • Fast internet
  • Clean room and bathroom
  • The receptionist is nice and friendly

 

 

Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • From all of the places that we stayed on this trip, this one is my favorite
  • Free pick up from the bus station
  • Fast internet
  • The owner and tuk tuk driver are so nice
  • There’s tv, fridge, pool, bath robes, free coffee, tea and bottled water
  • Spacious and clean room and bathroom

 

 

Bangkok, Thailand

  • Internet is sometimes slow
  • The receptionists are Filipinos and they’re nice and so helpful
  • They clean and give you bottled water, new towels and tissue paper everyday
  • Clean room and bathroom
  • You can also cook

 

 

Phuket, Thailand

  • Good location. It’s near Patong Beach and Jungceylon Mall where we bought pasalubong from Big C
  • Room is clean and free bottled water, coffee and tea
  • The worst internet connection from this trip

 

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • The owners are really nice and helpful
  • Internet is good
  • Free water, coffee and milktea

 

 

OVERALL TOTAL P28,393.31

1

 

TRANSPORTATION

At Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh, we took the Airport Bus 109 for VND 20,000 each coz our stop was at 23/9 Park. You can pay and get your tickets on the bus. For our bus rides from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and Siem Reap to Bangkok, we booked our tickets online (http://giantibis.com/). You’ll get a bottled water and bread for free but for Siem Reap to Bangkok,  there’s also free lunch because the travel time is longer. It has free wifi and you can also charge your gadgets. I recommend this bus because when crossing borders, they will assist you on what to do and where to go. It’s fast and hassle-free. If you have questions, you can chat with their help agents online. When we got to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, there was a free pick up from the hostel. In Bangkok, we took a tuk tuk to our hostel from the Giant Ibis bus stop in Khao San. To Don Mueang International Airport, we took a taxi for THB500 coz we had to leave early for our flight to Phuket. From Phuket International Airport to Patong Beach, we took the van for THB180 each. Tickets are available from the counter by the airport exit. Going back to the airport, we took a taxi again for THB800 coz we had to go the airport at 5AM. (Tip: Don’t book an early flight. If you’re not in a hurry, the vans are cheaper going to the airport) From Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) to KL Sentral and vise versa, we took the SkyBus for MYR10. You can book your tickets online (https://www.skybus.com.my/) or just look for the SkyBus ticket booths at the airport and the bus station near NU Sentral Mall.

 

 

SOME PHOTOS FROM OUR BACKPACKING TRIP

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

 

 

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 

 

Siem Reap, Cambodia

 

 

Bangkok, Thailand

 

 

 

Phuket, Thailand

 

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

5 Days in Taiwan: Itinerary and How Much Did I Spend

Ni hao! From November 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, Filipinos are granted visa free entry to travel to Taiwan for 14 days. Me and my 3 friends booked our plane tickets last January with AirAsia.

 

 

Itinerary

April 12, 2018 (Day 1) Thursday

– Food Republic

– Miramar

– Shilin Night Market

April 13, 2018 (Day 2) Friday

– Hinoki Village

– Spraying Water Chicken Rice Restaurant

– Wenhua Night Market

April 14, 2018 (Day 3) Saturday

– Alishan National Scenic Area

April 15, 2018 (Day 4) Sunday

– National Palace Museum

– Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

– Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

– Taipei 101

– Raohe Street Night Market

 April 16, 2018 (Day 5) Monday

– Day Tour (Jiufen, Yehliu and Shifen)

– Shopping at Carrefour

April 17, 2018 (Day 6) Tuesday

– To Cebu

How Much Did I Spend (Around P22,019)

I didn’t include my expenses on food, drinks, souvenirs and taxi fares.

Transportation

Price

Airasia (Cebu-Taiwan) P7,120
Travel Tax P1,620
Terminal Fee P750
Airport to Airbnb NT$1,200/4= NT$300 (P532)
Taipei Main Station to Chiayi (High Speed Rail)

Chiayi to Taipei Main Station (High Speed Rail)

NT$1,080 (P1,915)

NT$1,080 (P1,915)

Chiayi to Alishan (Direct Bus)

Alishan to Chiayi (Direct Bus)

NT$240 (P426)

NT$240 (P426)

Bus from Entrance to Alishan National Scenic Area

Train from Alishan National Scenic Area to Entrance

NT$50 (P89)

NT$100 (P178)

Taipei Fun Pass 1 Day Transportation NT$350 (P621)
Airbnb to Airport NT$1,000/4= NT$250 (P444)
TOTAL P16,036

 

Accomodation and Entrance Fees

Price

AirBnb (5 days) P1,842.41
Flytpack (5 days) P1,610/4 = P403
Hinoki Village Free
Overnight at Chiayi Crown Hotel P630.25
Alishan Entrance Fee (50% off if you travel via public transport) NT$150 (P266)
National Palace Museum Free
CKS Memorial Hall Free
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall Free
Taipei 101 NT$600 (P1,064)
Day Tour (Jiufen, Yehliu, Shifen) KKday with free bottled water P1,777
TOTAL  P5,982.66

It’s cheaper if you book your Taiwan High Speed Rail Tickets to or from Taipei and Taipei 101 Observatory Tickets with Klook or KKday.

What I Packed?

I used the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 backpack. I also have 2 packing cubes, toiletries bag and a daypack backpack. The weather in Taiwan is unpredictable. It was hot the first two days but on our third day, the temperature went down to 16 to 18 degrees until on our last day.

What I Packed

 

Here are some photos. Enjoy!

Day 1

Photo 12-04-2018, 10 37 55 AM
Taoyuan International Airport
Photo 15-04-2018, 6 16 18 PM
I recommend getting a Flytpack Travel pocket WiFi
Photo 12-04-2018, 1 08 34 PM
Miramar Ferris Wheel
Photo 12-04-2018, 1 33 50 PM
Food Republic
Photo 12-04-2018, 7 24 44 PM
Shilin Night Market
Photo 12-04-2018, 7 12 15 PM
Shilin Night Market
Photo 12-04-2018, 6 28 31 PM
Shilin Night Market
Photo 12-04-2018, 7 04 11 PM
Stinky Tofu

Day 2

Photo 13-04-2018, 3 59 36 PM
Hinoki Village
Photo 13-04-2018, 4 11 16 PM
Hinoki Village
Photo 13-04-2018, 4 06 31 PM
Hinoki Village
Photo 13-04-2018, 4 34 55 PM
Hinoki Village
Photo 13-04-2018, 5 42 23 PM
Spraying Water Chicken Rice Restaurant
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Chicken Rice and Bamboo Shoots

Day 3

Photo 14-04-2018, 9 48 59 AM
Buses drop off passengers here. You can also buy your bus tickets going back to Chiayi at 7 Eleven.
Photo 14-04-2018, 9 47 30 AM
Cherry Blossoms
Photo 14-04-2018, 9 48 53 AM
You pay the entrance fee here
Photo 14-04-2018, 9 54 52 AM
Cherry Blossoms
Photo 14-04-2018, 10 15 48 AM
Cherry Blossoms
DCIM103GOPRO
Alishan Forest
Photo 14-04-2018, 10 59 21 PM
Alishan Forest
Photo 14-04-2018, 1 03 33 PM
Alishan Shouzhen Temple
Photo 14-04-2018, 1 46 27 PM
Cherry Blossoms
Photo 14-04-2018, 2 33 08 PM
Waiting for the train

Day 4

Photo 15-04-2018, 1 51 27 PM
National Palace Museum
DCIM103GOPRO
National Theater
Photo 15-04-2018, 4 33 43 PM
The Archway
Photo 15-04-2018, 4 42 02 PM
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Photo 15-04-2018, 4 56 35 PM
Chiang Kai-shek
Photo 15-04-2018, 6 02 12 PM
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Photo 15-04-2018, 6 05 01 PM
Sun Yat Sen
Photo 15-04-2018, 6 34 58 PM
Taipei 101
Photo 15-04-2018, 7 50 37 PM
Din Tai Fung at Taipei 101
Photo 15-04-2018, 8 43 19 PM
This is how they make the dumplings

 

 

Photo 15-04-2018, 8 14 11 PM
Din Tai Fung’s Xiao Long bao
Photo 15-04-2018, 10 20 05 PM
Raohe St. Night Market

Day 5

Photo 16-04-2018, 10 55 52 AM
Yehliu Geopark
Photo 16-04-2018, 12 18 13 PM
Shifen Waterfall
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Shifen Old Street
Photo 16-04-2018, 1 12 11 PM
Shifen Old Street
Photo 16-04-2018, 3 05 41 PM
Jiufen

How I Got a Korean Tourist Visa as a Filipino Online Freelancer

I am an independent contractor who works as a home-based Virtual Assistant. I work by project and most of my clients are from Upwork. Other details about me:

  • Registered to BIR last October 2016 as Self-Employed Professional
  • Other countries I’ve been to:
    • Singapore – 2012
    • Indonesia – 2013
    • Indonesia – 2014
    • Indonesia – 2016
    • Hong Kong – 2016
    • Macau – 2016
    • Indonesia – 2017

I submitted the following documents:

  • Application form with photo (34mm x 45mm).
  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport (the one with the bio and photo)
  • ITR (BIR form 1701 for Self-Employed and Individuals, Estates and Trusts) with BIR Stamp
  • Certified True Copy of Certificate of Registration from BIR
  • Screenshots of active contracts from Upwork
  • Upwork Certificate of Earnings
  • 1 Bank Certificate for my two bank accounts with account type, current balance, account opening date and Average Daily Balance (ADB) for the last 6 months
  • 2 Bank Statements for the last 3 months (1 certified true copy from my first account and the other one, I downloaded from Express Online for my BPI Direct Savings account)
    • Tip: I downloaded my BPI Direct Savings account bank statement online but just to be sure, get the original or certified true copy. You need to call +632-8910000 to request for a copy of your bank statement. It will take 15 working days to get it.
  • Letter of Explanation about my job

I applied at the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu City. Bring two IDs. You’ll be asked to leave one ID when you enter the building and another one when you enter the Consulate. But if you’re with a friend or friends, you can just leave one ID for the group and the security guard will give you your number. Applications will be accepted from 9:00-11:00AM only, Monday to Friday.

Here’s the address:

Consulate of the Republic of Korea

12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center
Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. 5
Cebu Business Park, Mabolo, Cebu City

Visa Fee:

  • 59 days or less – Free
  • 60-90 days – Php 1,800

 

Processing time

I applied on October 25, 2017 and my tentative releasing date is November 6, 2017.

File 08-11-2017, 11 51 42 AM
Claim stub

I always checked the status of my application everyday since October 26. It was Application Received for 11 days until on November 6, 2017 at 10:33AM, it changed to Under Review. You can check the status of your application here: https://www.visa.go.kr/openPage.do?MENU_ID=10301.

File 08-11-2017, 12 00 11 PM
The day after I submitted my documents, this is the status of my application
Photo 08-11-2017, 11 30 35 AM
On November 6, 2017 at 10:33AM, the status changed to Under Review

At 11:21AM, it changed to Approved.

Photo 08-11-2017, 11 30 12 AM

Releasing time is 2:00-4:00PM, Monday to Friday. I went to the Consulate on November 9, 2017, around 3:15PM and it only took less than 5 minutes to get my passport. I was asked to sign on a piece of paper that I got it.

IMG-6763

IMG-7400
My visa with the arrival stamp.  Since November 2016, South Korea does not give exit stamps anymore.

Disclaimer: Everything that is written here is based on my experience as an Online Freelancer. This post only serves as a guide and inspiration for your South Korean Tourist Visa application and does not guarantee approval since it’s still a case-to-case basis. You can check the Korean Embassy’s website or other blogs for the complete/other requirements.

Here are some photos from my 5-day South Korea trip.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
Outside our AirBnb in Mapo-daero
IMG-6985
Everland
IMG-7348
Everland
IMG-7024
Heungnyemun Gate is the second inner gate into Gyeongbokgung Palace
IMG-7271
Nami Island
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Is this a maple tree?
IMG-7184
Nami Island
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Ginkgo leaves
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At Seoul Station with high school friends. It snowed on our last day in Korea. (First snow in Seoul, November 20, 2017)