baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

The Night Market

Posted in Travel, Observations and Notes by juned on the September 9th, 2007

If you have only a limited time in a city or a different country try the local stuff. A market would probably the best place to start. The local market or even the new trendy ones - similar to what we have here. It is a nice event to attend because in one spot you can get to sample food and drink items that would normally be available in different parts of the country. And more often a lot of its free - as in free tasting and sipping.

This is the Night Market but note that since its Summer the Sun sets at around Nine.

Getting the Visa

Posted in Travel, Observations and Notes by juned on the August 30th, 2007

From August 4 to August 19 I left the Philippines and went to the United Kingdom for some training. I wrote some random stuff and took notes along the way and its only now that I am getting back to it and reconstruct the trip and the experience.

Of course my trip was sponsored for the company I worked for and it was easier to get a business visa since I was vouched for by my company. It was interesting though to go the visa processing center. The UK Embassy had implemented biometric measures that required one to show up, before it was all by courier service. Still it was interesting visit … it was a varied sea of Filipinos. Sea men applying for a transit visa; an old couple applying for a tourists visas; Wives, mothers and children all eager to see their relatives in the UK. And one mother was offering the be matchmaker to one of the security personnel: She told him that he could find a wife for him.

There are actually two waiting room in Visa Center. One for those who made appointments online and those who walk in. You can actually see the digital divide between these two rooms. The first one is composed of plastic molded chairs while the other has those fiberglass benches. Eventually everyone progresses to the other room and the first room is certainly better than waiting outside.The contrast is at the least interesting and poignant.

Inside the second room things are more comfortable and security measures have geometrically increased. And aside from waiting the process is nearly painless - if your papers and photos are in order. And it would seem you could judge which visa one is applying for by the thickness of the document. The thicker it is the longer one wanted to stay in the United Kingdom. Wives and domestic partners bore the greatest amount of paper - almost one ream by the look of it.

I took nearly the whole day to submit all requirements, including the biometrics test. It helped that booking was made on-line. There were some minor problems with the wrong manager check. This was resolved in between exchanges and a series of trips to the center and the office. Luckily, we were able to finish everything and all that was left to do was wait.

Three days later the visa was released.