Pitt Meadows, The best Day-Trip from Vancouver

Aside from being a gorgeous city, Vancouver is also a gateway to tons of stunning gems in British Columbia. One of the gems which I recently visited is the city of Pitt Meadows. Pitt Meadows is located just an hour’s drive away from Downtown Vancouver. And I can pretty much say that it is one of the best day trips to do when you are visiting Vancouver. 

READ ALSO: EXPLORING ALBERTA, THE ULTIMATE CANADIAN ROAD-TRIP

I never heard of Pitt Meadows before. I only found out about it through my friend Jeff who is also my photography mentee who’s workplace happens to be based in Pitt Meadows. Often times, during his free time, he goes to Pitt Lake -one of Pitt Meadow’s major attraction to practice and apply what we have discussed from our prior photography session.

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Here is a little fact about Pitt Lake according to Wikipedia:

Pitt Lake is the second-largest lake in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. About 53.5 square kilometres in area, it is about 25 km long and about 4.5 km wide at its widest. It is one of the world’s relatively few tidal lakes, and among the largest. In Pitt Lake, there is on average a three foot tide range; thus Pitt Lake is separated from sea level and tidal waters during most hours of each day during the 15 foot tide cycle of the Pitt River and Strait of Georgia estuary immediately downstream. The lake’s southern tip is 20 km upstream from The Pitt River confluence with the Fraser River and is 40 km east of DowntownVancouver.

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So one weekend, we decided to have our photography lesson at Pitt lake in Pitt Meadows. We did some portrait sessions, with ourselves as models taking turns being each other’s muse haha. 

READ ALSO: EXPLORING CANADA, THE BEST COUNTRY

Then we took some landscape photos from different areas of the lake. Of all the photos we took that day in Pitt Lake, ninety-nine percent of it is pretty much incredible! The lighting, the scene, and the vibe is just on point! You basically cannot take any bad photos here. 

Here are some more photos to convince you to add Pitt Lake in your bucket list when visiting British Columbia or should I say Canada. 

The best days to go to Pitt Lake is basically during the weekdays where you can have the whole place all for yourself. During the weekends, it’s just a bit crowded. 

Thanks for reading! Happy travels! 

Thanks for reading! New to the Blog? Click here to get to know me more!

Barcelona: A Vibrant and Gigantic Amusement Park

Barcelona is like a gigantic amusement park, a city where every locality has something different to offer. Barcelona has many different features which are facing the Mediterranean Sea.  It is filled with great and unique architectural buildings that are undeniably a work of art.  A mouth-watering dish like Paella is worth a try. 

I would say that this was our best trip so far because it didn’t only offer the preserved history of vibrant España but also their citizens, who are very accommodating and truly talented. We have visited Barcelona’s top attractions; however, our top 5 would be the Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, La Ramblas, Arc De Triomphe, and Mount Tibidabo. 

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Park Guell is one of the main tourist fascinations of Barcelona. It is very interesting for people like me who wants to know more about the unusual world of the works of Antoni Gaudi. However, you’ll have to pay an extra amount in order to enter the monumental zone to see the famous view of the park. I would describe Park Guell as an original masterpiece and an exotic architecture. 

The Sagrada Familia is still under construction up to this date, the construction has began in 1882 with Gaudi being the one behind the design of this religious architecture. The design is out of the ordinary and every details are well-thought of. Moreover, I was enormously impressed by the grandeur of its interior as well as the beauty of the church itself. 

La Ramblas of Barcelona is the pedestrian-like promenade that is lively with various stalls and vendors along it. Within the promenade, we passed by their ‘wet market’ or popularly known as La Boqueria that is definitely clean and well-maintained.

The Arc de Triomphe, similar to the Arc located in Paris, France is worth a visit as well. This arc served as gateway to the Word Fair in 1888.                   

Lastly, the Mount Tibidabo, which has many attractions and is best known for its funicular which was once considered an attraction. But what really amazed us was the oldest amusement park in Barcelona that is situated on top of the mountain and retains some of its oldest rides that are completely functional even up to this date. On top of the Ferris wheel ride, you can see the panoramic view of the whole city of Barcelona that is truly breathtaking. 

Barcelona is a city where you have to see and experience it yourself. You might have a different perspective about it but all in all it truly amuses everyone by its wonder. 

This Travel Story is written by Rommel ‘Roms’ Ramirez. You can follow more of his adventure on his instagram @romsramirez or facebook Rommel Zubieta Ramirez
ALL PHOTOS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE FROM ROMMEL ‘ROMS’ RAMIREZ PERSONAL ARCHIVE.

A nurse by profession, but a traveler by heart. I love traveling to places that is rich in history and diversity. I am a professional dancer, that being said, I prefer being in places that is full of creativity, culture, and positive vibes. 

Traveling means a lot to me. It is a humbling experience of being able to see places for yourself and reminisce the journey and people that I’ve met. Having conversations with locals in any specific city adds up some learning about that specific place I’ve visited. Exploring the world is something that no one can take away from us. That makes us human, the eagerness to learn, to experience, and explore the world. 

ROMMEL’S TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

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Exploring Sofia Bulgaria, Top Things to See and Do in This Beautiful Capital

Recently, I’ve traveled across North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Serbia in Southeastern Europe. One of the cities I’ve visited was Sofia, Sofia is the capital as well as being the largest city of the Balkan nation of Bulgaria. 

I travelled to Sofia from Skopje in North Macedonia by bus. The bus ride took around four and a half hours, that’s already including the time it takes to get through security at the border. Getting from Skopje to Sofia and vice versa is pretty easy and the bus ticket only costs $19 for one way. The bus station in Sofia is located in the city center itself, just a walking distance to the major accommodation areas and attractions in Sofia so it’s pretty much convenient when you have booked your accommodation in the city center of Sofia itself.

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You can book your bus tickets in advance online through omio.com. You can then just show your booking confirmation to one of the staff at the ticketing booth of the bus company mentioned in the booking confirmation in Skopje for them to give you a printed pass for you to show to the bus driver.

In this article, I will be discussing some of the best attractions to see and things to do in this beautiful capital. 

So here are the Top Things to See and Do in Sofia which I highly recommend! 

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Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

In my opinion, I think this is one of the most beautiful churches I have seen in Europe, I mean the whole world rather. It boasts a Neo-Byzantine style architecture, hence the stunning details. Visit this church during sunrise or sunset for you to be able to take the best photos of it with a dramatic sky in the background. 

Vitosha Boulevard

My favorite place in Sofia, the Vitosha Boulevard or sometimes referred to as Vitosha Street is the main commercial street of Sofia. Here you can find countless bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants and posh shops. During late afternoons, you can witness several street performers here as well, so definitely it’s the best place to unwind for both locals and foreigners in Sofia.

Church of Saint George

The Church of Saint George is considered the oldest structure in Sofia. It one of the most unique churches I have ever seen because of its style and location. Go and see it for yourself to see what I mean. You can find it behind the Sheraton Hotel in the museum quarter in the center of Sofia.

National Palace of Culture

The National Palace of Culture is a large multifunctional conference and exhibition centre. If it is your first time in Sofia, then I highly suggest that you go and visit it. It’s situated just at the other end of Vitosha Boulevard. It’s a great place to do some physical activities and the view there doesn’t suck so it’s also a great place for some photos. 

Ivan Vazov National Theater

A great place where you can spend your free time. There are tons of buskers here so even if you don`t have anyone to go out with then you can still go and chill there without feeling alone. 

St Nedelya Church

St. Nedelya Church is an Eastern Orthodox church in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, a cathedral of the Sofia bishopric of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. Sveta Nedelya is a medieval church that has suffered destruction through the ages and has been reconstructed many times.

Reference- Wikipedia

Saint Sofia Church

Saint Sofia Church is a Byzantine style church which is located on the same compound as Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This church has an underground museum where you can explore and witness ancient tombs on display for a small entrance fee.

Tsar Liberator Monument

An equestrian monument in the centre of Sofia, just a few meters away from Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The monument was a tribute to Alexander II, a Russian Emperor who liberated Bulgaria from Ottoman rule during the Russo-Turkish War in the year 1877-1878. 

Lions’ Bridge

Coming from Sofia’s Central Bus Station, this bridge is what welcomed us on our way to our airbnb accommodation. It’s a pretty nice bridge, so I had to stop for several minutes to take some photos of it. Definitely a must-see when in Sofia.

Statue of Sveta Sofia

The Statue of Sveta Sofia is a monumental sculpture in Sofia, Bulgaria.Sophia was considered too erotic and pagan to be referred to as a saint. 24 feet in height, the copper and bronze statue by the sculptor Georgi Chapkanov, stands on a 48 feet high pedestal. Adorned with the symbols of power (crown), fame (wreath) and wisdom (owl), the crown is also a reference to the Goddess of Fate, Tyche, inspired by the old emblem of Sofia dating back to 1900. 

reference: Wikipedia

Thanks for reading! Have you been to Sofia? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below!

New to the Blog, get to know me more here. 

Top Things to do in Skopje North Macedonia

Recently, I visited Skopje (pronounced as ‘skawp-ye’) in North Macedonia.  Skopje is part of my Balkan Road-trip Itinerary and basically it was my first stop. I flew directly to Skopje from Dubai with Flydubai. Flydubai flies to Skopje every three days, the flight took approximately around five hours. So if you’re based in the United Arab Emirates, try to consider Skopje as your next destination! 

Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia is located in the Balkan Peninsular. Some of the highlights of this capital are their countless giant statues, magnificent canyons, breathtaking mountains, deep caves and ancient towns with Ottoman and European architecture.

Filipino citizens and some other nationalities can visit North Macedonia without having to apply for a North Macedonian Tourist Visa if they are holding a valid unexpired multiple entry Schengen Visa, UK Visa, USA Visa, or Canadian Visa. 

Going back, so I arrived in Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, Skopje’s main International Airport. It’s a pretty compact airport, so I managed to get to the passport-control desk immediately after disembarking. For some reasons, the immigration officers are ‘very very very’ strict with visitors who are possessing a third-world passport-unfortunately, that’s including me, so they held me on the side together with some other people while they let other people(obviously people with strong passports) pass with ease. How humiliating ey’?

So after they’ve finished letting everyone through, some officer went back to interrogate us furthermore individually. They just asked the basic questions like what is the purpose of visit, the next destination after, etc. Thank goodness I was traveling with my very good friend, Tom, who is a Scottish Expat based in Dubai. The officer might have noticed that we were traveling together so he just asked to confirm if we we’re traveling together, and we said ‘yes’ and there goes the funny part- the officer faced Tom and started asking questions about me, right in front of me as if I wasn’t there. And when I tried to interrupt to answer some of the questions, the officer just ‘sssshhh!’ me with a hand gesture to literally tell me to shut the F*** up haha. After Tom answered some of his questions, then the officer was convinced that our sole-purpose was just for tourism, so the officer gave my passport back to me with an entry stamp. 

In my case, I used my valid Schengen Visa to gain entry, although I could’ve used my Canadian Visa, but still, despite having different visas from highly-industrialized countries, the decision will still be upon the immigration officer. Sometimes, I really cannot blame them for being so strict, especially with people who are holding a passport from countries with a very bad reputation of overstaying in another territory. 

The key is to keep your cool whenever you are going through passport-control and facing immigration officials. As long as you are brutally honest with your intention of visiting a place, then I think there is nothing to worry about. They might held you for some reason, but that is just for their own security.

Well, That wasn’t a warm welcome, but that definitely didn’t stop me from discovering some of the great things that this City has to offer. 

Well, in this article, I will be discussing some of the main highlights of Skopje. Places I’ve seen and activities which I have done in this beautiful city that I highly recommend.

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Top Things to See and Do in Skopje

Canyon Matka

Canyon Matka is basically one of the main highlights of Skopje. It is one of those places which you shouldn’t miss when you are visiting Skopje and it’s pretty much easy to get there from town. From the city center, you can take a taxi directly to Canyon Matka for less than 10 euros, the same is with going back from the canyon to the city center. I highly suggest people who intend to visit Canyon Matka to spend at least three hours exploring this gem to actually admire its beauty from every angle. 

When in Canyon Matka, consider taking a boat tour to Vrelo Cave. Vrelo Cave offers different rock structures like stalagmites and stalactites and is believed to be the the deepest underwater cave in the whole world. Definitely a must visit place when in Canyon Matka. Other option to get to this cave is through kayaking, so if you are feeling adventurous, rent a kayak and paddle your way to Vrelo Cave. The boat ride only costs around 400 Macedonian Denar (around 5 Euros) per person while the kayak rent is around 200 Denar, so quite affordable. 


Macedonia Square 

Macedonia Square is North Macedonia’s main square. It is one of the famous spots in Skopje. A giant statue of Alexander the Great on a horse can be seen here. The square also has fountains which is usually filled with joyful children playing with the water. The music played that is heard from this monument complements the whole atmosphere of beauty in Macedonia. 

Stone Bridge

Located near Macedonia Square, this bridge can easily be reached by foot. This bridge connects the old and new part of the town. The bridge is also less frequently known as the Dušan Bridge after Stephen Dušan, Emperor of Serbia. Come and see it during dusk to admire its beauty with the colorful Macedonian sunset in the background. 

Museum of Macedonia

Stunning piece of architecture! That’s how I describe the Museum of Macedonia. It is situated on the other side of the Vardar River and it can easily be reached from the main square. Definitely a place to go if you wanna see some artifacts and different historical collections being exhibited or simply if you wanna know the in-depth history of North Macedonia. 

Vardar River

Vardar River is what separates the old and new part of Skopje. Along the banks are countless cafes and pubs that offers both local and international cuisines. Take a stroll at the Vardar River during sunset to admire its lively vibe and to appreciate its real beauty with the colorful sunset reflecting on its waters. 

Explore Skopje’s Old Town

One of my favorite things to do when visiting a city is to explore its old town.  Skopje’s old town didn’t disappoint, I pretty much just wandered around and admired its beauty. Here you can find countless souvenir shops, so a must-go place when you intend to take some souvenirs home. If you’re feeling hungry, the old town is home to several local restaurants where you can taste local cuisines. 

Go on a day-trip to Pristina in Kosovo from Skopje

I will be discussing my experience in Kosovo in a different blogpost though I just wanna highlight it here that you can pretty much go on a day-trip to Kosovo’s capital Pristina from Skopje as they are pretty much located quite near each other. The travel time from Skopje to Pristina takes around 2 hours, including the time it takes to get through passport control at the border. Buses from each city departs every hour, and one way ticket costs around 6 Euros.

The currency they use in Kosovo is Euro. So if you are not going for a day-trip and you’re leaving North Macedonia to Kosovo and not coming back, then I highly suggest that you change your remaining Macedonian Denar to Euros as most exchange centers in Kosovo doesn’t accept Macedonian Denar for some reasons. 

Have you been to Skopje? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below.

New to the Blog? Click here to get to know me more. 

Top Things To Do in Venice

Ever went to a place where it left you instantly breathless? -Well, recently, I visited Venice in Italy, and upon arriving there and seeing the place, it just took my breath away in the spur of a moment. A lot of people who has been to this place will always tell you that there is no place on earth like Venice, it is true, and I’m one witness to it. 

Venice is founded by mainland populations escaping from the barbarian invasions of the Huns led by Attila during circa 450AD- but I will not dwell into that. Going back, Venice is unique from most cities as it is built on waters, waters of the Adriatic Sea to be specific and since it is built on waters, this city has spectacular networks of picturesque canals, and basically, as a photographer and traveler, this is my main fascination with the city. 

In this article, I will be sharing the top things to do do in this spectacular city as well as my own share of photographs which I took from my last visit, just to give you a better idea as to how beautiful Venice is. 

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Explore Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is a channel in Venice, Italy. It forms one of the major water-traffic corridors in the city, that is according to wikipedia. But there is so much more about grand canal more than just being a channel, it is also a very picturesque place and a great place to see the sunset. So if you want a romantic place to take your other half, or if you simply just want to witness Venice’s signature sunset, then head over to the opening end of the grand canal, located just a few minutes walk from Piazza San Marco. 

Head to Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge is one of most picturesque bridges in Europe, it has became like a signature for Venice. I’m pretty sure everyone who has watched the movie: ’Spider-man Far From Home’ will recognize it as the setting of the scene where Spider-man and Mysterio first encountered each other while fighting the water element.

Rialto Bridge

Head to Accademia Bridge

This is my favorite bridge in the whole of Venice, it is one of the major bridges on the Grand Canal. Here you can witness magnificent sunsets. It is also a famous sites for photographers, so if you plan to do some long-exposure photography here, be sure to arrive a little early, as it easily gets filled with tripods from other photographers wanting to do the same. 

Gondola as seen from Accademia Bridge

Day-trip to Murano and Burano

Murano and Burano are two separate towns slash islands, but to get to Burano, you will have the option to pass through Murano. Murano is beautiful small town, a bit modern than Venice though, but its one beautiful town famous for its glass-blowing arts. Murano also has lots of Glass factory where you can watch different glass artists make their art. On the other hand, Burano is another town, you can reach it through riding a 45 minutes ferry-ride from Murano. Burano is a small island town famous for its brightly colored- fishermen’s houses. A must visit town when in Venice. 

Take a Gondola-ride

This is a little bit cliche’ but if you are traveling with family or your other half, then I suggest that you take  a gondola-ride. I haven’t taken the Gondola ride myself, but people who has experienced it are saying that it gives you a completely different perspective of the city. Well for sure, I bet the view from the Gondola will let you take amazing images as well. 

Visit Basilica San Marco

Venetian architecture at its finest. The basilica San Marco is a famous sight situated on one side of the Piazza San Marco. It is the most famous of the city’s churches and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture, which boasts an amazing exterior as well having a jaw-dropping interior. 

Basilica San Marco

Explore Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco  or commonly known as St. Marks Square is Venice’s main square. The Piazza San Marco is the most important and most famous square of the city of Venice. A great place to explore and take photographs. From here, you can pretty much access different attractions easily. 


Discover Venice’s Picturesque Canals

The most thing I get fascinated about Venice are its amazing picturesque canals. There is just no bad angle whichever angle you take your photos from. Venice is almost defined by its canals, with more than one hundred-fifty waterways veining through the city and traversed by over four-hundred bridges. Definitely a great place to get lost for travelers and a great playground for photographers. 

Have you been to Venice? How was your experience?! Share it with us through the comment section below.

Explore Paris, Experience The City of Love

Paris, the city of love, fashion, lights and great food has always been in my bucket list for quite some time. So around February last year, I was able to finally visit the French-Capital. Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to visit this city, because it’s in everyone’s bucket-list as well as being one of the top-rated cities when it comes to everything; from architecture to fashion. As a photographer, those are just some of the major factors which has made me decide to include it in one of the legs of my first-ever Northern-Europe itinerary. 

I arrived in Paris From Belgium on the fourteenth of February, -yeah, I know! It’s valentines day! Quite Ironic to be spending valentines day in the city of love ‘alone’. But it didn’t matter, I enjoyed my own company anyway.

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When my bus approached the city, I can say that there is some serious problems with trash on the outskirts and it has given me a bad impression towards the city, initially. ‘Maybe Paris is not only the city of love, but also the city of trash’, I told myself. Well, I cannot actually judge yet as I haven’t seen and explore the whole city yet. Well, at least it’s not as dirty as my home country’s capital. 

So, basically, I spent the next day exploring what the City has to offer. I visited some of their famous landmarks.  The Eiffel tower, The Louvre Museum and The Arc Of Triomphe are just some of the few. Honestly speaking, I was very impressed with these structures, they are truly a work of art! Also, since they’re pretty much situated near each other, you can pretty much access them conveniently through Paris’ metro lines.

What fascinates me about Paris is that it is home to the most beautiful avenue I’ve ever seen in my entire life, the Champ De Elysses. The Champ De Elysses is an avenue stretching from the Arc of Triomphe roundabout to the Louvre museum. A walk on this avenue is a must whenever you visit Paris. Aside from the beautiful Avenue of Champ De Elysses, you can pretty much discover stunning streets wherever you go in Paris.

Arc De Triomphe

Before visiting Paris, I was told by people who has visited the city that it’s one of the most expensive cities to visit. I totally disagree to that! In fact, you can pretty much save a lot when you try to make the most out of public transportations like the metros and buses. Trust me, Paris has one of the most organized metro lines in all of the cities I’ve visited. One great saving tip, try not to eat in restaurants near touristic areas such as restaurants near the Eiffel tower. They are pretty much more expensive compare to like eating in a restaurant located at least two train stops away from these areas. If you’re staying in a hostel, try to buy some stuff to cook or some ready made stuff to eat from the supermarket, it’s pretty much economical rather than eating in restaurants or cafes. The key to not be spending so much in every city you visit is to avoid popular places. 

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Also, some people warned me that some residents in Paris can be quite rude. Well, for this, I have to agree. But don’t stereotype, cause there are also some residents which are very hospitable and kind. One proof to this is that I stayed with a very hospitable Parisian Host, and he is one of the most wonderful people I’ve met in my entire life. Basically, I think every country or a city has a share of rude and unfriendly people. You just need to learn to spot and avoid them as much as possible.

To summarize my Paris experience, I was disappointed with the scene which has welcomed me when I was entering the city. But after exploring deeper into the city, I’ve discovered that there are lots of really nice places to appreciate. You know what they say, we need to dig deeper to see all the great stuff. Now, it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. 

Basically this experience has made me realized that we should always try to look and appreciate the beautiful things about something, somewhere or someone and not instantly judge and jump into conclusions because of what we saw initially. That basically is the same with every places we go to and people we meet in this journey called life.

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.” – Thomas Jefferson.”

Update: I’ve been to Paris for like around 4 times now, and I still feel as if it’s my first time visiting this city. The vibe, the atmosphere, and the excitement are still the same! Looking forward to my fifth visit! 

Have you been to Paris? How was your experience in the city of love? Share with us through the comment section below. 

Exploring Brussels, one of my favorite European Cities

Brussels, Belgium was the second European Country which I visited during my first travel across Northern Europe. I arrived from Amsterdam. The train ride took approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. One of the most comfortable train journey I had from all my travels.

Top travel tip: When you book your train tickets across Europe, try to book it in advance to get cheaper rates.  Unfortunately, I needed to book my ticket on the same day, as I had missed my confirmed train during that day due to oversleeping. Well, my excuse is that I partied too hard the night prior to my departure, and therefore the ticket cost me an instant hundred Euros! Three times more expensive, compared to the price of my original booking (completed 2 weeks prior), which was just 30 Euros. Lesson learnt! Don’t party too hard, especially if you have an early trip the next day. As unfortunate as it was, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the rest of my adventure.

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The moment I arrived in Brussels, I took a stroll and instantly felt a strong connection with the place. The photographer in me just couldn’t stop giggling! Ever had that feeling, when visiting somewhere for the first time, that you’ve been there before? That every street and old building in the city looked familiar? Not because you had seen it in photos and videos, but because you had been there or possibly even lived there? That’s how I felt! Weird, but of all the places and cities I’ve visited in my life, I felt this familiarity the strongest in Brussels. Well, maybe I was Belgian in my past life, who knows.   

My favorite place in Brussels is the La Grand Place, Brussel’s main square. It’s one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. It is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices: the city’s Town Hall, and the King’s House or Breadhouse. I spent each morning having coffee and breakfast at one of the coffee shops in the square and just watched pedestrians pass by. The best way to start your day in Brussels!

Grand Palace, Brussels

Five minutes walk from the Grand Place, at the junction of the Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat and the pedestrian Rue de l’Étuve/Stoofstraat, you will find the ‘Mannekin Pis’. A statue of a small boy peeing, which is considered to be one of the most symbolic in Brussels. A must-see when you visit the first time.

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Mannekin Piss

Within the city center, the discovery of unique Belgium culture and traditions never ends. But one thing that really captivated me was the statue of Everard t’Serclaes. Legend has it that rubbing her arm will ensure one’s return to Brussels. So without hesitation, I rubbed the statue’s arm vigorously. Let’s hope this ensures my return.

Everard t’Serclaes

I spent most of my days in Brussels exploring the city, getting to know new friends and taking photos of anything that caught my attention. Funny thing is, everything in Brussels caught my attention! From It’s edifices of stunning architecture, to it’s different cobbled streets! I felt like an animal which had lived in captivity and was finally released into it’s natural habitat. I had never felt such joy! When time comes for me to relocate and settle, without hesitation… it has to be Brussels.

How to apply for a UK Visa for Philippine Passport Holders

Recently, I have applied for a Short-term UK Visa in Abu Dhabi upon my intention to visit my friend who lives in the UK. Before my application, I have read tons of websites and blogs. Upon checking, I just let a big sigh upon seeing all the list of requirements that you need to acquire and submit. I know it’s hard to be Filipino sometimes!

So one month before my application, I started to collect all the documents needed. I started with requesting a Certificate of Employment from my employer then requesting a Bank Statement from my Bank. Upon completing all my documents, I went to the UKVI website to book an appointment and paid 141.00USD online and received a confirmation booking for their office in Khalidiya. You need to print the confirmation letter before going to the application center, otherwise they won’t let you in the Visa Application Center without it.

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Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

So on my appointment day, I went to the VFS Global Office which is located on the 25th floor of Shining Towers in Khalidiya, went for security checks then submitted all my documents to the agent. Upon verifying all of it I paid an extra 10aed for SMS and Email Tracking, he then asked me to proceed to the biometrics room for my photograph and fingerprints collection. The whole process only took about 14-minutes or less, so quick! They then informed me that the visa processing time will take up to 3 weeks.

To be honest, I was so nervous that my visa might get denied because I’ve read some blog posts from applicants who have been denied because they only have stayed here in the UAE for not so long, and since I’m only 20 years old and has only been staying here in the UAE for a year, the fear of getting denied is real! But after 8 working days, I received my passport anxiously praying and hoping to see a UK Visa stamped on it while browsing all my passport pages, Thank God! They gave me a multiple visa valid for six months! One of the happiest days of my freaking life! See you next year UK!

You should not worry about your application as long as you’ve provided all the required documents and that you’re completely honest with your intention of visiting the UK.  In my scenario, I got a letter of invitation from my friend who lives in the UK. It’s stated in the letter that I will be staying at his place most of the time and that he will make sure that I will exit from the UK before the Visa expires. And I also stated in my cover letter that I will only go there purely for tourism purposes and that I have no intention of looking for a job in the UK.

I hope this experience will help a lot of you, especially Filipino expats here in the UAE who are applying for a UK Visa for the first time.

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Documents required

Letter of sponsorship from sponsor/s

Cover Letter Addressed to the Embassy of UK in Abu Dhabi

Passport copy of sponsor/s

Statement of Account of sponsor/s

Six month pay slip of sponsor/s

Itinerary plans with Budget

Your Passport Copy

Residence Visa Copy

Employment Certificate showing your annual income and Approved Leave dates

Bank Statements For The Last Six Months

Application form, duly dated and signed 

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Frequently asked questions:

I’m in the UAE as a tourist, can I apply for a UK visa in any of the emirate?

-No, unfortunately most of the UK Visa application center only accepts applicant with a visa enabling the applicant to stay in a country/ territory for more than six months and in this case, UAE tourist visa is only valid for 3 months max.

Will the UKVI Accepts Scanned copy of the documents of my sponsor/s?

-Yes! They do, so you don’t need to ask your sponsor to courier all the original documents.

Should I have a confirmed return flight tickets before applying?

-No, not necessarily.

Thanks for reading!