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 (https://niaspeedy.immigration.gov.tw/nia_southeast) 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:
Shengping Theater and the Old Street of Jiufen
JInguashi (Gold Museum and Benshan Fifth Tunnel)
Danshui and Fisherman's Wharf
Mass in Taoyuan
Cihu Mausoleum and the Changing of the Guards
Night Market in Taoyuan
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Currency exchange: NT$ 1 = Php 1.40
|With Benjie Young, our guide (guy in the middle), |
and his daughter Lian in red sweater.