Friday, May 16, 2014

Taiwan On My Mind

Just north of the Philippines and close to Batanes is the beautiful island of Formosa, now know as Taiwan. I remember a trivia back in high school that the crow of a rooster at dawn in Batanes can be heard in Taiwan. Given the proximity, there might be probably some truth to it.

I remember receiving a call from my brother as I was boarding a plane during one of my travels. He told me that we will be celebrating our birthdays in Taiwan. Instead of preparing a D-I-Y itinerary which I normally do, I contacted a Filipino (Benjie Young) who's been in Taiwan for around twenty-five years now. He was recommended to us by a friend who also had him as their guide during their trip to Taiwan. After several exchanges of email, Benjie booked our hotel and arranged our itinerary. Plus having a Filipino guide who speaks Mandarin fluently made our travel easier around Taiwan.

Entering Taiwan would require a visa. Good thing, it offers visa-free entry to Philippine passport holders who never worked in Taiwan as blue-collar workers and have valid U.S.A., Schengen, Canada, Japan, Australia or New Zealand visa. Since we have U.S. visas, we just applied for the approval of our visa-free entry online ( and in a few minutes, voila, I was already printing our Authorization Certificate for Visit (multiple-entry for thirty days).

Here's our itinerary for the Taiwan trip:

Day 1
Shengping Theater and the Old Street of Jiufen
JInguashi (Gold Museum and Benshan Fifth Tunnel)
Danshui and Fisherman's Wharf

Day 2
Mass in Taoyuan
Cihu Mausoleum and the Changing of the Guards
Shihmen Reservoir
Longtan Temple
Night Market in Taoyuan

Day 3
Yehliu Geopark

Hotel: Kai Fu Business Hotel located at No. 84 Long An Street, Taoyuan City. The room rate for three persons is at NT$ 1,380.00/night.
Tour rate: 3 full days including airport transfers is at NT$ 9,000.00 (The vehicle we used was a spacious VW van and the rate included gas, toll fees and parking fees).
Tour guide: Benjie Young (
Currency exchange: NT$ 1 = Php 1.40

With Benjie Young, our guide (guy in the middle),
and his daughter Lian in red sweater.

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