Sol Erwin Diaz on January 19th, 2014

Enjoying the sites of Badaling Great Wall.

Enjoying the sites of Badaling Great Wall.

It is already more than one year that we travelled to Beijing, China. I thought of not writing anymore about my trip as it is no longer fresh in my mind. However, somebody asked me to write something about the trip. She said, she’s following my blog and she wants me to write often. Well, thank you for that. I am confused where to start. Anyways, I pressumed you know already that China requires us Filipinos to get a travel visa before you enter into the Chinese territory. What we did to get a visa, is we visited a travel agency and ask to process for us. Chinese embassy does not require for a personal appearance to get a visa. I paid for about Php3000 for each of my family members. It is better for that than to travel to Manila or Cebu just to get a visa. I think we’ve save fewer pesos as compared to get a visa personally. Try to google the requirements in getting a Chinese visa. As usual, I book our hotel through booking.com and I also asked assistance from a tour guide in China. We stayed at Beijing Aulympic Airport Hotel. Aside from it is near the airport, it is also affordable. They have also pick up service during the night.  My wife also told me to ask the assistance of a Tour Guide because she’s afraid we might get lost in the city because we couldn’t read Chinese Characters. We booked our tour through http://www.tours.bj.cn/ with a minimal payment of US$131 per person for 3 days and 2 nights. It includes nights because there are Chinese Entertainment Shows, The Kung Fu Show and the Chinese Acrobatic Show. The Shows were so entertaining aside from meeting some Filipinos who were also touring around the city.

The Historic Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

Temple of Heaven is a religious building in Beijing, China.

Temple of Heaven is a religious building in Beijing, China.

 

The grandeur of the Beijing Olympic Stadium

The grandeur of the Beijing Olympic Stadium

 

A pose to remember at Tiananmen Square

A pose to remember at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China.

If you want to visit Beijing be sure to do it during the month of October. If you want to catch up the Chinese Festival, come to Beijing during the first week but if you just love to see the beauty of Beijing, come during the last week of October. The climate is really good during autumn aside from the beautiful flowers and golden leaves. Wishing you the best of luck in coming to Beijing. Enjoy.

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Sol Erwin Diaz on January 11th, 2014

 Molds and moisture is the number one enemy of photographers and enthusiasts. Dots and dirt of your lenses could be quite disturbing to your pictures you have taken, aside from driving away clients and turn off audiences. I am writing this short blog to give some tips to beginners in photography. I know that when your lenses are affected with molds, it is very expensive to have it cleaned. Aside from that molds would repeatedly grow in your lens once your lenses get affected. We know that molds are from fungus. This will grow to your lenses especially when humidity is high. Before fungus or molds would grow we need to protect them from growing inside the lens. As the old saying goes “prevention is better than cure”.

Here are some tips to avoid fungal or molds to protect your lenses and camera:

  1. Buy silicon gel which is readily available from any camera store. It could only cost you a minimal amount but it will greatly protect your lenses and camera. Sometimes, you can find a small bag pack of silicon gel when you buy a pair of shoes or bag. The work of silicon gel is to absorb humidity. I always bring a silicon gel anywhere I go. I have to put it on my bag together with my camera.

    Photo Courtesy from www.desiccantpacks.net

     

  2. You can also buy a dry cabinet. I bought one dry cabinet when I went to Brunei. Although, the weight is quite disturbing for me to bring the same all the way from Brunei to the Philippines but it really worth it. I have not found one in the Philippines who are selling dry cabinet. If you are in the Philippines may be you can buy it in Manila or Cebu.

    Photo courtesy from www.harveynorman.com.sg

    I hope this short blog will help you protect your camera. As an enthusiast, I know how we value our camera and lenses.

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Sol Erwin Diaz on January 8th, 2014

I held on a Samsung WB150F more than 5 months now. I got so excited when my wife and I went to the mall and decided right to get the camera I got infatuated with. The WB150F really has the look and feel. You can feel the grip exactly nice to your hand and fingers. What really attracted me is its 24mm 18x zoom lens. Imagine the 40-720mm zoom aside from the 14.2 megapixels color details and with wifi connectivity. If you want to use the camera to its full manual use, you can do it. You can choose from aperture priority, shutter priority, or maybe full manual mode. Program mode could be useful as well if you are really fond of taking pictures. I also love its Live Panorama. You can also choose Magic Frame, Split shot, and Picture in Picture, Artistic Brush, Photo Filter, and Movie Filter and has Photo editor right from the camera. You can also have a lot of options in the scene mode.

Photo captured from CNET video review

Obviously, this camera is saleable due to its wifi connectivity. This makes the camera just like your mobile device. You can easily share your photos to social media sites, email, or you can back up your photos to your desktop or you can link the viewer to other devices or to Samsung TV to make the images clearer to your eyes. You can also use your mobile device as a shutter while using this camera. Application is readily available at Google Play.

Probably, you are excited to ask about the performance of this camera. Well, undeniably, the camera really captures good photos. If you know how to manipulate the camera with the skill of projecting angles, you can always capture a lifetime memory through Samsung WB150F.

By the way, the video really adequate for you to keep as the camera has 30fps. However, you can’t push the ISO sensitivity to its high level compared to other camera.

This smart point-and-shoot camera can be yours for only US$200.

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Sol Erwin Diaz on August 24th, 2013

It’s been over a month now that I made my travel to Turkey.  In my previous article, the dilemma that I’ve mentioned was my ticket to Turkey allowed me to stay in Abu Dhabi for 22 hours. That long hours of waiting made me decide to go out the airport and do something worthwhile. I haven’t gone yet to the United Arab Emirates, so I decided to go site seeing.  The problem that I had was I could not go out the airport without a transit visa. A transit visa is required to legally stay in Abu Dhabi for a short period of time. I do the google again to look on how to apply for a transit visa. However, it popped on my mind to go back to Manila and visit the Embassy of the UAE which I could no longer afford to do it. Luckily, google told me that there is an online application for transit visa. Online application is a privilege given to Filipinos only those who travel via UEA with Etihad Airways ticket. Here’s the online step by step Visa application in UEA:

1. Prepare the following soft copy of the following documents (Scanned copy):

a. Passport showing your name and picture. Of course, the page which name indicate also include the date and name of your place of birth, passport number, and the place and date of issue and expiry. (Remember the general rule that a passport must be valid for at least six months.)

b. Passport size colored photo with white background (80% of your face must be visible)

c. Round trip ticket issued by Etihad Airways

2. Visit their website with the following address: https://www.ttsuaevisas.com/Home/Index.aspx?CountryID=5

3.  Click online Application Visa

4.  Click radio button (See Image)

 

 

 

5.  Then scroll down and click I confirm then select branch Manila. See Image below.

 

 

6. Then fill up Online Application Form.

7. Payment shall be made through Paypal at about US$68 or about Php3000. When I applied for a transit visa in UEA, there is no other online payment gateway except paypal.

Before I forget, the application for transit visa must go with a hotel reservation. Once you can do the above process you will just visit the site to track your application. Once, it will be approved you will be notified by email and you will be given a soft copy attached to the email. You have to print a copy of that transit visa and show it to the Etihad Airways Staff for proper instruction at the airport in Manila. Never forget to claim your original copy of the transit visa at the airport in Abu Dhabi for you to go out the airport. You can go to anywhere of the United Arab Emirates once you have the transit Visa. As for me, I went around Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Good luck and enjoy your tour in United Arab Emirates.

A pose to remember at Abu Dhabi Internation Airport.

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Sol Erwin Diaz on July 20th, 2013

 How to apply Turkish Visa in the Philippines?

 It was my first time to apply for a Visa to other country by my own. I was quite excited with my travel as it was also the first time I travelled alone outside Asia. Istanbul is actually partly Europe and Partly Asia. Accordingly, it is the only city that has two continents. Well, I have not verified it. I got my ticket from Etihad Airways. I booked the same with a travel agency in Manila, though; I am living in Iligan City, southern part of the Philippines. My ticket allowed me to stay at the Airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for 22 hours. I imagined staying at the airport doing nothing. So, I decided to get a transit visa in Abu Dhabi (I will write another blog for this.)

 This blog might be helpful to those Filipino who are dreaming of going to Turkey to see the lovely place.

 I have called the embassy of Turkey before I went to Manila. However, phone inquiries to the Embassy of Turkey are not the solution as they refused to give information by phone.

 I researched through the internet and got their Address:

The Embassy of Turkey in Manila

2268 PARAISO STREET DAS MARINAS VILLAGE

1222 MAKATI CITY/ METRO MANILA PHILIPPINES

Before you go to the Address written above you have to prepare your documents so that your visa may be approved. The following are the requirements for visit visa application. Sorry, for those who are planning to apply for Business Visa application, this might be supplementary only to your application but this might not be the main source of information in getting a Visa.

 The Requirements in getting the Turkish Visa:

1.      1.  Complete the application form which is downloadable in the website of the Turkish Embassy. However, when you arrive at the Embassy, forms are also available.

2.      2. You have to attach a passport size photo in the completed application form.

3.      3.  Photocopy of the first two pages of your passport bearing your personal information.

4.       4.  Certificate of employment

5.      5. Your latest Income Tax Return

6.     6.   Bank Certificate. There is no amount requirement but I estimated my cost of going to Turkey and I deposited it to my account.

7.     7.    Letter of invitation. In my case I attended a Global Peace Workshop. So, the organizer sent me letter of invitation for Visa application.

8.     8.  Hotel Accommodation. In my case again, the organizer of the workshop indicated in my letter of invitation that my accommodation and meals are all shouldered by them.

9.       9.    The round trip ticket.

 When you have all the documentary requirements, you must bring them to the Turkish Embassy in Manila. The location of the embassy is inside Dasmarinas Village. You are not allowed to go inside walking or bringing your own car. You have to ride the village shuttle. The cost of the shuttle is Php150. The shuttle will deliver you in front of the gate of the embassy. I intended to apply for a multiple entry visa as the workshop finale would be sightseeing in Batumi, Georgia; however, I was only allowed to get a single entry visa. It costs Php2500. Take note also that the Embassy is open only during Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. No visa application during Wednesday. Visa will be released after 10 days from the date of submission of your documents.

 Good luck on your journey to Turkey.

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Sol Erwin Diaz on November 7th, 2012

One of the best pictures I’ve shot in Beijing, China. I took the shot when I am from behind of my family who walked through this beautiful place. The background seems very relaxing to see as the leaves of the trees are yellowish and reddish. We call it the autumn leaves.

I am planning to write a blog about China after my busy schedule. I will write all the details of how worthwhile to visit the country who has full of history and culture. I hope I can give the details of visiting the Badaling Great Wall, Forbidden City, Panda Zoo, Summer Palace, Beijing Olympic Stadium, Ming’s Tomb, Temple of Heaven, and many others.

 

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Sol Erwin Diaz on May 22nd, 2012
Mimbalut Falls in Iligan City

Mimbalut Falls in Iligan City

Iligan is a city that you’ll never forget once you will visit the place. I wrote this blog to feature the beauty of Iligan City. The city is being tag by the locales as the City of Waterfalls. When I have a visitor from other places I would always bring them to the three waterfalls that are readily accessible all the time. I refer to the renowned Maria Cristina Falls, the Mimbalut Falls, and the hush-hush Tinago Falls. Your visitors will never forget their visit to Iligan once you will bring them to these places. I remember how grateful my two classmates in the seminary that I brought them to these places. They said to me that we could easily attract tourists just by these three waterfalls. I told them there are still a lot of waterfalls in Iligan but these three waterfalls are easily accessed. You can finish visiting these three waterfalls in just 4 hours but if you want to relish the moment while you are in these three waterfalls you can stay at least a day.

The Maria Cristina Falls is one of the grandest among the waterfalls in the Philippines. This waterfall is much known because aside from being majestic, this is also called the mother of all industries. More than 80% of the electricity in Mindanao is being generated by Maria Cristina Falls. Tinago falls as well is very known not only because of its splendor but also film makers feature this as one of their shooting places.

You have two options when you want to go to Iligan. If you take by plane from Manila, your arrival must be the airport of Lumbia in Cagayang de Oro then take a taxi to the bus terminal and take a bus to Iligan. If your option is to take a travel by ferry boat then get a ticket to disembark direct to Iligan. Share my blog if this would help your travel. Welcome to Iligan.

The Hush-hush Tinago Falls in Iligan City

The Hush-hush Tinago Falls in Iligan City shot during the morning. The mist produced by the falls made the picture foggy.

The Majectic Maria Cristina Falls

The Maria Cristina Falls is one of the grandest among the waterfalls in the Philippines. This waterfall is much known because aside from being majestic, this is also called the mother of all industries. More than 80% of the electricity in Mindanao is being generated by Maria Cristina Falls.

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Sol Erwin Diaz on May 21st, 2012

ManoboBukidnon is known for being the place abundant of fruits especially pineapple. I have been to this province several times as this is the location of my small farm that I bought a year ago. The place is not only abundant to fruits and vegetables but also abundant of culture and heritage. The place is being known of the home of the Manobo and other tribes. The good thing that happen to Bukidnon is that the local people even if they are not native to the place they are going to celebrate annually their festival. In fact, I have been to one of the Kaamulan Festival during my college days. My teacher in our school is a native to the place that is why he helps promote bukidnon. The picture that I posted here is one of the sceneries when you want to visit Bukidnon. This is the costume of the native of the place. Let the picture speaks for itself.

Aside from the scenery, Bukidnon is quite cool compare to other places in the Philippines. This is the reason why people want to visit there because they want to relax from the hot climate in their places. The place also is very progressive. In actuality, the province now has two cities created. They have Valencia City and Malaybalay City. Aside from the fact that the province also created two big state universities – Bukidnon State University and Central Mindanao University. I have not mentioned yet the recreation in Bukidnon especially the Dahilayan Adventure Park. Probably, I am going to write another blog for Dahilayan as it is good to highlight the place and its recreational activities.

When you want to visit Bukidnon, it is very easy to get there. From Manila, you can take a plane down to Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro. After which, take a taxi to the terminal and take a bus to Bukidnon. If this blog helps, then enjoy visiting the province of Bukidnon.

impasugong

Picture taken during the 4th Kalalagan Festival in Impasugong, Bukidnon

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Sol Erwin Diaz on May 16th, 2012
Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces

I have posted this picture in the website www.1millionreasonstolikeph.com I got tempted to repost this in my own website because I have not written yet a blog about the Philippines. I travelled to Banaue last summer together with my wife and kids (I really love to travel with my family). It was not a plan for me to go there but because my wife went home to her native Province in Isabela to accompany her grandmother who was going to visit the other family members, I told my wife to go to Banaue Rice Terraces. I am pretty sure that most us Filipinos knew already about Banaue Rice Terraces. This wonder of the world, made our ancestors known for being great engineers. I want to tell you on how to go there via Isabela. I am sorry to say that I cannot tell you how to travel direct to Banaue as this is my experience in going there. If you are going to travel from Manila you can take a bus to Santiago, Isabela and take another bus or a minivan to Banaue. That how easy it is. The other picture below is another breath-taking scenery along the road to Banaue. I really asked the driver of our service van to stop so that I can take the picture. The landscape really invited my eyes to put this in picture.

Lagawe, Ifugao

Approaching Lagawe, Ifugao

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Sol Erwin Diaz on May 13th, 2012
my travel bag

This is my travel back pack with my lenses and D5000 body. I shoot this with my D90 18-105mm lens.

When you travel nowadays you need to bring your digital gadgets. With the advent of the digital world we are very dependent with these devices anywhere we go. We will bring our gadgets because we wanted to be updated with our account in the social networking sites. Here are few tips in caring your digital gadgets when you travel. This is a personal experience so if you have some additional tips you can add it through the comment box.

  1. Organize your gadgets. Usually when we travel we will bring our laptop, tablet, camera and lenses, mobile phones, and iPod. In all my travel I have to organize these things. I bought a bag which has a compartment with my laptop and lenses. You could also easily retrieve your gadget when you need them.
  2. Chargers must be in place. One of my travel experiences, my gadget bag was opened by the security after it has passed through the x-ray. I wondered why the guard has to inspect my gadget bag despite the fact that it has already pass through the x-ray machine, so I asked him.  The guard told me that the wires of the chargers are everywhere in the bag. I should put it in place so that it will not cause doubts of being a threat to the security of the airport. It is somewhat like something else. You should put it in one single compartment of the bag and the wires must be rolled.
  3. Have a rain cover or dry bag. When we travel, rain is not expected to come. If it will rain and you’re in a hurry you will be trapped anywhere else because you are protecting your gadgets of being wet. So, be ready to protect your gadget from being wet. Be ready with the rain cover or dry bag.
  4. Entrust your gadget bag to yourself. When I travel, I will not travel alone. I often times travel with my wife and kids. I won’t entrust my gadget bag to them to ensure no one could be blamed when untoward incident will happen to my bag. We should remember that the inside of our gadget bag cost a lot. I could no longer buy those gadgets again whenever these will be misplaced. Whenever you will travel through a vessel, your travel is longer compared to plane so better take good care of your belongings, more so if you travel alone.
  5. Bring an extra memory card. I was so confident that I have 16 gigabytes memory card when I had a travel in Hongkong and Macau. Unfortunately, the card could no longer store after so many photos and videos that I have taken. I have no choice except to buy one. However, buying a new one is not a problem. The problem is the moment that you have been through a very nice instance but you failed to document because your card is full or failed to store pictures. So, to avoid this thing to happen, better bring an extra one.

I presumed that you have charged your batteries to continuously shoot every memorable moments of your travel. I hope these 5 simple tips when you travel with your gadget could be of help. I will be happy if you will add some more tips. Just put your comments in this blog.

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