Wednesday, April 04, 2012

An American's Observations of Cebu

One of the followers of my political blog, Government and Taxes, Micky Fernandez, made a comment to my posting today on  Expats View 3: Positive Views of the Philippines. Micky is an American businessman currently based in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. I like his blog post about his observations in Cebu where he stayed for a few months late last year.

I am posting it below. I removed his political commentaries here, will post those in my political blog.
Enjoy reading.

Observations & Experiences of the Ease of Cebu

by Micky Fernandez
October 07, 2011

Having lived in the U.S., and living in India, I have gotten used to even simple things like mailing things being hour-long ordeals. In Cebu and, presumably, all of the Philippines, doing and acquiring stressful events and things are actually quite easy to accomplish.


For awhile, I have known that I do not need a visa to enter the Philippines. For awhile, I have never stayed in the Philippines for more than 14 days. This time, as I mentioned in my previous blog, I needed to stay here for almost two months. For that, I do need a visa ( Getting my current visa to India was very easy because I knew the employees and diplomats at the Consulate General of India, San Francisco from having worked across the street from them for 13 years. (Visa processing is now done at Travisa Outsourcing, I did not know what to expect in trying to get a Visa to the Philippines.

Shortly after I purchased the airline tickets, I sent an email to the nearby Philippines Consulate in Kolkata ( asking them whether it would be simpler, quicker and more convenient for me to apply for the visa there, or in the Philippines. They wrote back saying that I should get it in the Philippines. After finding the location in the nearby city of Mandaue in Central Visayas (at and google maps), and after downloading the application (, I went to the Bureau of Immigation. I did not complete the application (which was remarkably simple and straightforward) because I was not certain that it was the correct form.

At the BoI, the lady at the front desk told me that it was indeed the correct form. I completed this amazingly simple and short application, and handed it back to her. She stamped and signed it, and told me to go to a certain window. I went there, and after about two minutes, was handed back the documents, along with a cover letter, and was told to go to the cashier. The cashier told me to pay 2,020 pesos which, from the little that I knew about the visa process, was for a one month extension. I told him that I wanted to stay until 4 November (actually November 4, as the Philippines is one of the few--if not the only--country that uses the same calendar as does the U.S.). He then told me that it would then be 3,030 pesos, which is about what I expected. I had hoped that the BoI would accept credit/debit cards, but they did not. Fortunately, I had enough cash (about $70 worth of Philippine Pesos) on me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Casa Corazon, Lemery, Batangas

Last weekend, I joined a workshop-planning for our club, the Rotary Club of Taguig Fort Bonifacio, March 31 to April 01. It was held at Casa Corazon, in Lemery, Batangas. It is actually near the border with Calaca town. I brought my family, my clubmates also brought theirs.

The place has 3 swimming pools, one for adult and two for toddlers and children. The one for adult has a net cover, protection against noontime Sun. There is a huge light in the middle of the cover, so one can swim with lights even in the evening.

The owner of the resort is a collector of vintage motorbikes and cars. The collection of BMW motorcycles, the huge ones especially, is stunning. Our group photo here, upper left. Entrance to the museum + aviary is P250 per head.

They have the original motorcycle with sidecar and a machine gun, like the ones used during WW2 in Europe.  The vintage cars are mostly American cars, though there are also a few European cars like Benz.

Outside the motorbike and car museum is an open area with trees. A peaceful place to vist. Or maybe it was peaceful only because they did not have other guests last weekend outside our group.

There is also another resthouse on a hill overlooking Balayan Bay. I didn't realize that the Bay has several small islands until I saw them.

Thanks to our club past President Niel Antonio for these photos, posted in our club's facebook group.