Note: There’s a November 2017 announcement of visa-free entry in South Korea for Filipinos (as well as Indonesia and Vietnam nationals) for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Details at the end of this post.
After four years, Mon and I will be visiting South Korea again! Just like in 2012, we will be there during winter. It is not without its roadblocks, though.
First of all, Mon had a problem with his passport. I was too afraid that he would be held up at the immigration in the Philippines when he followed me to Bangkok last October after my training. Our flight back to the country was on the 31st of October. Two days after that, his passport would have been less than 6 months. Provided that it was still within the validity period during his stay with me, it nevertheless made me quite nervous.
(Need a copy of the South Korean visa application form? You can download from the Embassy’s website, or click these forms to download: South Korean Visa Application Form – Word Document or South Korean Visa Application Form – PDF Document . Don’t forget to print it on an A4 paper i.e. 210mm x 297 mm.)
The earliest schedule for his passport renewal was on November 18. Counting the days for an expedite processing, his passport should have been released on the 29th. But, alas, it was not the case. We had quite a scare and his passport was due to be available on December 9. We still have to process our visa and we were already stretched thin. Good thing he took a chance the other day and got his passport 3 days ahead of the already-delayed schedule.
Word of advice: please make sure your passport’s validity is well more than 6 months your travel date. It is very stressful, given that the release date set by DFA is getting too unreliable for comfort.
As I write, his visa is on process, while I already got word that my visa was approved. How? I checked it online.
Waiting for my turn at Window 3
I got word yesterday from my friend Raisa (who is working in the South Korean Embassy in the Philippines) that Mon’s tourist visa has been already approved. We submitted our application last October 2 and it only took him three working days to have his visa processed because he had a US visa (albeit expired). However, even if I was already granted one last year, my application still takes five working days to process. Tomorrow will be my judgment day.
I’m so eager to get my passport tomorrow and see the result for myself. Frankly, I’ve been trying to contain myself from planning what I will be wearing for five days because what if I were not granted one? *knocks on wood* Anyway, at the back of my mind, I’ve been seriously planning on what clothes to bring. We don’t have winter here in the Philippines and I’m very curious on how I will handle winter fashion-wise, so this December trip will be very interesting. Heck I even stated point-blank in my visa application the ‘Purpose of Entry’ as “TOURISM – TO EXPERIENCE WINTER IN SOUTH KOREA”!
Just last week, we even bought two pairs of gloves from Saizen for Php 85.00 a pair and I love the one with the ‘grips’. Well, we will most probably NOT be going skiing but I love the ‘grips’ anyway. Don’t get me started with the jackets because I’m already planning to go out of my ‘neutral zone’ and be more playful. I’ve been eyeing this leopard print jacket online, which is probably women’s but I don’t care. A good bunch of scarves will do the trick.
But then again, before I even go full throttle over this trip IF EVER I will be issued a visa , I have to first deal with the results of my comprehensive examinations. As it is already the second week of October, it will only be two weeks more before I find out how I fared last August. I’ve been keeping the subject of the exam results out of my head because the mere thought of them makes my stomach turn. Again, you can offer to pay me money but I will never want to have another go with the whole preparation process. The anticipation is killing me.
August was stressful. September was testing. October, on the other hand, is the month of anticipation. I just hope that things will turn out well this month for a change.