The Awesome Things: August 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Manila Ocean Park

 After a short stint in Manila for my US Visa interview, me and my girlfriend decided to go to Ocean Park Manila! Their rates are a pit too high on their site but we managed to get a good deal through Metrodeal.com. We only paid P799 for 11 in 1 attractions instead of P2250 or something. Usually their 4 in 1 attractions already cost P550 in the Ocean Park website, so i guess P799 for 11 attractions is def a very good deal.



 
On our way to Manila Ocean Park, the country's  first world-class marine theme park!


 Can't believe how crook this guy is! We got deceived by him, don't ever ride his kalesa! WHat happened was that, we asked him how much is his rate if he would take us to Ocean Park then he said 50 pesos. By the time we arrived at Ocean Park, he then told us the priced has increased and it's not 250 pesos because he took pictures of us! Crazy assho##!! Remembering it really pisses me off. I was not happy at all! We refused to pay him 250 pesos because we agreed on 50. Then he told us that he can take us a tour to Intramuros and we didn't have to pay after. So we paid him 200 then give him 50 pesos later on. He then said that he would wait for us at 3pm but when we got back to where we first saw him. He was gone and ran off with our 200. What a rip-off. We only got to ride his kalesa for 2 mins and he made us pay 200pesos. May karma strike you bad for your crook ways!






The sea lion show was the first on our list and they were so smart and charming! It's as though they relish the attention! I didn't even feel pity that they are far from their natural habitat because I think they love being on stage and besides, I'm pretty sure they are very fell fed and taken cared of.







I wish I had something like this at home.. how cool is this gigantic aquarium!



 Weird looking fella!


 I love this part when the little fishes would bite the dead skins off my hands, my hands actually felt very soft afterwards!


 They look so funny as though they're watching a movie with stoned faces! LOL I wonder what they are thinking! Probably thinking how silly we humans are for being... well, humans!  haha




Pink jellyfish!
 Now, these guys look like red blood cells.. ewww..



It's really amazing how they play classical music on this room, it just fits the slow movements of the jellyfish giving this classy and graceful atmosphere.





Wearing slippers in Winter wonderland! My feet felt numb!
Overall, I had a fun time at Ocean Park except for the part where we got scammed by that kalesa driver! Sucks! I love Ocean Park, it's not like you'll have the experience of witnessing all kinds of marine animals right at your backyard. 

Manila Ocean Park

behind Quirino Grand Stand
Luneta Manila Philippines 1000

contact: +63 2 567 7777

Saturday, August 9, 2014

US J1 Visa requirements for Internship and Interview tips

When I was applying for my US J1 visa for my internship in the USA, it was a bit complicated for me because it was my first time to apply. With this post,Ii'll try to give you simple steps on applying for a J1 Visa (for Filipinos). It's of utmost important that you follow these steps because each step is a pre-requisite in order for you to proceed to the next one. Here goes..

STEP 1: go to https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. Select your location and start applying for your application. This is what you would call the DS160 form. You need this for your interview and you have to apply online. You would also need your SEVIS no. which usually starts with "N00XXXXXXX" it's a 10 digit code found in your DS2019, you would also need your program sponsor no. and your program no. with format that goes something like this "P-4-XXXXX". If you decided to take a break from filling up your form, you can go back to retrieve your application at a later time and continue from where you started, just remember your application no. "AAXXXXXXX" and the answer to your security question.

STEP 2: go to http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-niv-paymentinfo.asp. Click on "Deposit Slip -$160MRV Fee". It will transfer you to a link with your USA VISA FEE DEPOSIT SLIP. Bring this to the bank along with your passport. You should not go to the bank without this.

STEP 3: Follow instructions on your VISA FEE DEPOSIT SLIP. Wait for 4 hours before your payment would be activated.

STEP 4:  Once payment has been activated, you can schedule online or through their call center. Call their landline  02-9825555/02-9028930. You can also call them through SKYPE for free. Just add their Skype name ustraveldocs-philippines. You can call from Monday-Friday 8am-8pm. Except on PH and US holidays. When I called the embassy at Monday to schedule an appointment, they gave me an interview schedule 10 days from the day I called which fell on a Thursday the following week.

STEP 5: Go to the US Embassy for your scheduled interview. DO NOT BRING GADGETS or PHONE or food if you don't want to have any trouble at the embassy (some scam artists outside the US embassy in the PH are lurking for your to "store" your gadgets with them). Wear professional attire. Be prepared (run possible answers for the Interview in your head over and over again). Be articulate. Pray for God's grace and favor, if I didn't pray for His guidance, I'd would have been denied for sure. I just kept saying in my mind that God knows best and that I should not give up because His plans are full of love. With His favor and grace, I know He would touch the heart and the mind of the consul that he/she would find favor in my application and approve my visa! and God answered my prayers and my visa was approved! I just did the best that I can and a little bit more and have my trust and full confidence to place the rest of the impossible things that I have no control of in the hands of the Lord. Why should I fear about my future or about the consul or any man when God made the heavens and placed the stars in the sky, I did not lose hope because I know How big my God is and that there is nothing too BIG for Him! My friends who had their visa interview before also advised for me to die my hair black or just leave it at its natural color after that I arrived at the embassy at around 8 and I was finished by 11:15 am and I finished really early for my 2:50pm flight back to my hometown. Failing was definitely not an option for me, I probably would not be able to face my mother if my visa got denied. I just don't want to let her down and to put her money to waste where she invested thousands of dollars just to help give me a brighter future. I wanted to make her proud of me.

 Some questions that the consul may ask would be:
  • Where are you going?
  • What's your purpose for travel to the US?
  • How much is your rate?
  • How much is your overtime rate? (usually it's higher than your normal rate)
  • Tell me about your training plan? (read your training plan thoroughly ,where you'll be assigned, describe the difference of each department where you'll be trained, describe your duties and tasks)
  • What are your rights? (read this pamphlet!!)
  • Who will pay for your program?
  • What does your parents do?
  • What are doing now in school?
  • If you've been to the US before using a J1 visa, you need to describe the difference between your upcoming training and your previous training in the US. (Some were denied because they weren't articulate enough with their information and answers which, the consul probably saw them as potential TNT or illegal immigrants in the US)



 also Bring these documents with you. 

In a short plastic Envelope:
  • A Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application DS160 Form. 
  • A valid passport for travel to the USA with a validity of 6 months from intended stay in the US (unless country -specific agreements provide exemption). As long as your passport is valid for the whole duration in the USA then that would be fine.
  • One (1) 2x2 (5cmx5cm) photograph. I suggest you use a photo that shows no teeth so you won't have any trouble on your application. You can go to this site  for the specifications.
  • DS 7002 (Training Plan)
  • Receipt of your payment of the $160 MRV.
  • An approved DS2019 (original) from your US Program Sponsor.
  •  Form I-901 SEVIS fee receipt. Visit this site for more details.
  • your interview appointment letter. You'll receive this after scheduling for your interview.
Supporting Documents in a long brown envelope:

  • Bring documents that will demonstrate strong financial, social and family ties to your home country that will compel you to return to your country after your program ends. ex. (Passbooks, Bank statements, ITR, business permits, land titles, pictures of your properties and your family -the more the merrier)
  • If you are financially dependent, bring an affidavit of financial support, copies of your parents business permit. Copies of your documents will not be surely accepted without showing the original copies.
  • Academic documents: original TOR, School certification, Diplomas and such.
Once approved by the US Consulate, you will receive your passport after a week.
USA J1 Visa

I rreceived mine 5 days after, Tuesday the following week.

 

Don't give up on your dreams. Dream Big. Chase it. Live life to the fullest. No regrets.

"When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are,
Anything your heart desires will come to you.

If your heart is in your dreams,
No request is too extreme,
When you wish upon a star as dreamers do."


I understand that this is a lot of information and steps for you, however, following each step will help ensure your arrival and start in America will be a great one. Your specific agency or program sponsor will help you have a wonderful training in the US but it is still in your hands in order for you to be successful at it. Good Luck!
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