Today, I receive all God’s love for me. Today, I open myself to the unbounded, limitless, overflowing abundance of God’s Universe. Today, I open myself to your Blessings, healing and miracles.Today, I open myself to God’s Word so that I become more like Jesus Everyday. Today, I proclaim that I’m God’s Beloved, I’m God’s Servant, I’m God’s powerful champion, And because I am blessed, I will bless the world, In Jesus Name, Amen.

RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain

RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain. A unique insight into the fragility of the extraordinary human brain. A true st...

Friday, December 31, 2010

Chinese Visa Validity


Chinese Visa Validity
 
The validity of a Chinese visa can be anywhere from 3 (three)- 24 (twenty four) months depending on the type of visa you requested.

Normally this are the validity of Chinese Visa issued in the Philippines
  • a single entry visa which is valid for 3 months
     
  • a double entry visa which is valid for 6 months
     
  • a multiple entry visa which is valid for 6, 12 or 24 months. 
The validity of a visa starts from date of issue, and applicant needs to enter China before the expiration date listed on the visa.

If  you are going to China for example on April 1, and your visa expires on April 10, you can still enter China, as long as you enter China before the expiration date.  You can stay for 30 or more days as specified on your visa. The duration of stay starts from the day you enter China. 

The best time to apply for your Chinese visa is 1-2 months before your travel date. However, if you are running short on time, you can avail of the rush visa processing @ China Embassy.

Sawasdee Bi Mai!!!

Kiong hei wat chay!

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Happy New year!

Manigong Bagong Taon sa atin lahat!


TIPS AND TIDBITS OF CHINA VISA APPLICATION


TIPS AND TIDBITS- CHINA VISA APPLICATION

First and foremost, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months, from date of application, in order to receive a visa. 

If you are going to China as a tourist and you don't have an invitation or a relative in China.
 
You can write N/A or None at sections 4.7-4.10 of the visa application. Do not leave them blank.

Your bank certificate MUST HAVE AN OFFICIAL RECEIPT from your bank, don't have one? Then the embassy won't accept nor process your visa application.

Have a happy and safe trip everyone!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DO IT YOURSELF CHINA VISA


DO IT YOURSELF CHINA VISA

Yes, kamatis! It is doable! You, yourself and you, beautiful being, could do it by yourself, sans travel agency which charges from P 1,600 to rocket high P 2,500 per application per person basis. Yes, dude! Whether you get a visa or not, you still have to pay P2,500 everytime your visa application is denied. Ouch!

Peace, dear travel agents! I just wanted to share to my readers how they could save some moolah doing it by themselves, but of course, dear friends, you could still opt to get the services of these travel agents. Just choose well. I saw some list of banned travel agents at the Chinese embassy. So please be careful and choose well!

First and foremost, before going to the Chinese embassy you could download the visa application form from
 http://ph.china-embassy.org/eng/sgxx/lxfs/

Or you could get a FREE visa form directly at 



Chinese Embassy
2nd Floor World Center Building
330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City.

Office hours (for giving out queue numbers): 8:00 a.m.-11 a.m. 

The Chinese embassy is located just in front of Mapua Campus corner N. Garcia St., formerly Reposo St. in Makati City opens at 8 in the morning. There’s already a long queue by 7:00a.m. So be early! They usually stop giving out numbers at eleven o' clock in the morning. So better be early 'coz you will not be allowed to get inside the embassy without the ticket number.

Applying for a Chinese Visa is easy but would require you to have a lot of patience to wait for your turn!


Tourist/L Visa Requirement for China First-Timers (Filipino Citizen):
  1. Original Passport  - please take note that passport must have blank pages and be valid for at least six (6) months before expiration.
  2. A photocopy of your passport's first page -bio and last page -details of contact person in case of emergency. 
  3. Round-trip plane ticket. If not coming back to the Philippines, you must present an onward flight ticket. e.g China to Hongkong, etc.
  4. Hotel booking or letter of invitation from friend or relative living in China.
  5. NBI Clearance- Original copy, valid for travel abroad.
  6. SSS ID or E-1. Photocopy or a static information or contributions info. May be a print out from SSS online.
  7. Photocopy of your TIN ID and ITR .
  8. Bank certificate. Should have at least 50k  100k (new requirement*)- Should at least be three months old or much better if it is a year old account. Attach the original official receipt for the bank certificate. To be safe, bring your bankbook too.
  9. Certificate of Employment and a photocopy of your company ID.
  10. Accomplished visa application form ( provided at the embassy; may be downloaded too) 
  11. Affix with one passport-sized photo. Photo should be against a light background.
  12. If you have a Chinese name, better practice how to write it, because you could write it in your application form.
Armed with your documents, go to the Chinese embassy early then take a number from the person in charge, if your number is a zillion away, celebrate! Because you could go shopping at nearby Glorietta, and just estimate what time you should go back.  Don't worry if you miss your turn,  you will always be accommodated at around 5 p.m. after all the numbers are called. Just be there before 5 p.m. with your number.

You need to approach the particular window indicated at the LED signage. Then after submitting all the requirements at the designated window, the interviewer would then review your requirements. They will ask you a few questions, and  if you are qualified then they will tell you how many days you will be allowed to stay in China and give you a pink slip, which means you’ll be getting your visa in 4 days if you will not opt to have it rushed. But if your requirements are lacking , then they will ask you to submit more documents and other requirements they find suitable to ask from you.

A single entry visa is usually given to first timers. Length of stay being given ranges from 7 days, 15 days and 30 days.

Visa fee is Php 1,400 pesos to be paid on the day you claim your visa/passport.

Yes, dude, you have to come back to claim your visa/ passport after 4 days~! So if you don't have time, just ask your relatives or friends and let them do the lining up and pick up for you! Just make sure that he/she has the money and the pink slip!


You can Contact The Chinese Embassy regarding your Applications by s
ending your Inquiry by calling their landline: 0063-2-8482395 ( Work Day 09:00 --11:00, 14:00--16:00 )
Or by sendfing a fax:0063-2-8482386
Or via Email: phchinaembassy@hotmail.com


Monday, December 27, 2010

SLEx TOLL HIKE


 SLEx TOLL HIKE

Motorists plying the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) will have to pay significantly higher toll fees beginning next year after the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) gave the go signal for the increase.

The new rate of P3.02 per kilometer, over 300% more than the current rate of 78 centavos, will be implemented at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2011.

But SLEx operator South Luzon Tollways Corp. (SLTC) said it would give consumers discounts between January and March as it plans to implement the toll increase in staggered basis.

Instead of charging the whole P3.02, SLTC said it would only charge P2.68 per kilometer in January. By February, it will increase the rate to P2.80, then P2.90 by March.

This means motorists traveling from Alabang, Muntinlupa City to Calamba, Laguna will have to pay P76 in January from the current P22, and this would go up to P86 when the full rate increase takes effect in April.

For the Calamba to Sto. Tomas, Batangas stretch, motorists will be charged P23 next year.

According to SLTC,, the total discount for the 3 months to March was estimated at P75 million, an amount considered as foregone revenue on their part.

SLTC also announced that they will implement a "toll holiday" for the entire Alabang to Sto. Tomas stretch on Christmas eve (from 10 p.m. December 24 until 6 a.m. December 25) and on New Year's eve (from 10 p.m. December 31 until 6 a.m. January 1).

SLTC noted that while it volunteered to provide consumers relief in the early months of 2011, it was still in talks with the government for the recovery of P1.1 billion in foregone revenue arising from the delay in the implementation of the new rates from August to December.

The TRB, however, was insisting it would not compensate SLTC for the said lost revenue due to a recent Supreme Court decision.

Higher fares

Because of the impending toll hike at SLEx, the South Luzon Bus Operators' Association (SOLUBOA) said it has no other choice but to seek a fare hike.

SOLUBOA President Homer Mercado said they will file a petition for a P0.30 per kilometer increase in fares before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

If approved, the regular fare for the first 50 kilometers will increase from P65 to P80. - Reports from Zen Hernandez and Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News


SLEX TOLL HOLIDAY ON DECEMBER 31 to JANUARY 1


SLEX TOLL HOLIDAY ON DECEMBER 31 to JANUARY 1
 

As a treat to expressway users, the South Luzon Tollway Corporation (SLTC) will waive collection of the toll for the 36-kilometer expressway from Alabang in Muntinlupa to Sto. Tomas in Batangas from 10 p.m. of December 31 to 6 a.m. of January 1.

The STAR Tollway Corporation (STC) will observe the same toll holiday at the 42-kilometer highway from Sto. Tomas to Balagtas town in Batangas province.

Given the toll holiday, motorists are expected to save P86 at SLEx and P60 at STAR.
 

Meanwhile, Citra Metro Manila Tollway Corporation (CMMTC) will not implement a similar toll holiday for users of South Metro Manila Skyway, it is still letting motorists use the elevated portion of the expressway from Bicutan to Sucat toll free until the Alabang extension is finished by May 2011.
 

Last December 22, 2010, CMMTC reverted to its P85 toll rate for the use of the elevated Skyway.


SLEX TOLL HIKE ON JANUARY 1, 2011


SLEX TOLL HIKE ON JANUARY 1, 2011


Rates for Class 1 vehicles including jeepneys, pickups, vans and cars will go up to P3.03 per km from 76 centavos.


Because of this, motorists will have to pay P86 from the current P22 for the Alabang-Calamba stretch.


Rates for Class 2 vehicles such as buses will be P6.06/kilometer from P1.52, thus the Alabang to Calamba charge will rise to P172 from P42.86.


Class 3 rates for trucks will be P9.09 per kilometer from P2.28, which brings the toll for the stretch of highway to P258 from P64.30.


In a separate report, the
BusinessWorld said the discounted January rates translate to P76, P152 and P228 for Class 1, 2 and 3 vehicles, respectively, for the Alabang-Calamba portion of the highway.

The discount will go down to 30 centavos in February, and 13 centavos in March.


The South Luzon Tollway Corp. reportedly spent P12 billion for the rehabilitation and expansion of the Alabang to Calamba stretch.


Moreover, the BusinessWorld report said additional toll fee hikes can still be expected as the SC still has to rule on the imposition of the 12-percent value-added tax. — LBG, GMANews.TV


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Official List of 2011 Philippine Holidays


Official List of 2011 Philippine Holidays

A. Regular Holidays

January 1 - New Year's Day
April 9 - Day of Valour (Araw ng Kagitingan)
April 21 - Maundy Thursday
April 22 - Good Friday
May 1 - Labor Day
June 12 - Independence Day
August 29 - National Heroes Day
November 1 - All Saints' Day
November 30 - Bonifacio Day
December 25 - Christmas Day
December 30 - Rizal Day


B. Special Non-Working Holidays

August 21 - Ninoy Aquino Day
August 30 - Eidul Fitr
November 2 - All Souls Day
November 6 - Eidul Adha
December 24 - Christmas Eve
December 31 - New Year's Eve


C. Others

February 25 - 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary- Special Holidays for schools
July 27 - Founding Anniversary of Iglesia ni Cristo- Special National Working Holiday


    Monday, December 20, 2010

    How to commute from NAIA 3 to MRT/ LRT/ NAIA 1-2 AND OLD DOMESTIC AIRPORT


    How to commute from NAIA 3 to MRT/ LRT/ NAIA 1-2 AND OLD DOMESTIC AIRPORT
    FREE SHUTTLE, BUS, NAIA 1, NAIA 2, NAIA 3
    Did you know that the NAIA-1-2-3 loop bus is FREE?

    It comes every thirty minutes ( sometimes every one hour or if you're not that lucky it comes every three hours) 

    First trip starts at 5 o' clock in the morning according to the customer service at NAIA 3.

    From NAIA 3 it stops at the Domestic Airport then go straight to NAIA 1 and NAIA 2.

    The bus might be free but it is fully equipped with cctv camera and microphone to fully safeguard its passengers.

    The bus is free but it doesn't go to any MRT or LRT stations. If you want to go to the nearest MRT or LRT station try the airport shuttle that comes every twenty minutes for only twenty pesos.

    FREE SHUTTLE, BUS, NAIA 1, NAIA 2, NAIA 3

    NAIA 3 shuttle to MRT/ LRT will only cost you Php20.00 per person.


    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    DECEMBER 27, 2010 is a regular non-working holiday



    DR. JOSE RIZAL

    Idineklara ng Malakanyang na regular non-working holiday ang December 27, araw ng Lunes bilang kapalit ng holiday sa Disyembre 30 o Rizal Day.

    Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa said it was based on Presidential Proclamation No. 1841 o Holiday Economics ni dating Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo kung saan inililipat sa pinakamalapit na Lunes ang araw na walang pasok sakaling matapat ang holiday sa ordinaryong araw para magkaroon ng long weekend.

    Regular holiday ang Disyembre 25 araw ng Pasko habang non-working days ang Disyembre 24 at Disyembre 31.


    MRT SPECIAL HOLIDAY SCHEDULE DECEMBER 24, 25, 2010


    MRT SPECIAL HOLIDAY SCHEDULE DECEMBER 24, 25, 2010
     HOLIDAY SCHEDULE FOR DECEMBER 2011 HERE!


    MRT SPECIAL HOLIDAY SCHEDULE DECEMBER 27, 31 and JANUARY 1


    MRT SPECIAL HOLIDAY SCHEDULE DECEMBER 27, 31 and JANUARY 1


    MRT HOLIDAY SCHEDULE 2011 HERE!


    LRT LINE 2 LAST COMMERCIAL TRIP SCHEDULE ON DECEMBER 24, 31, 2010


    LAST COMMERCIAL TRIP SCHEDULE FOR LRT LINE 2 

    MRT HOLIDAY SCHEDULE FOR 2011 HERE!


    LRT LINE 1 LAST COMMERCIAL TRIP SCHEDULE ON DECEMBER 24, 31, 2010


    LAST COMMERCIAL TRIP SCHEDULE FOR LINE 1 ON DECEMBER 24, 31, 2010

    MRT HOLIDAY SCHEDULE 2011 HERE!


    1 million pesos to be raffled off on MANNY PACQUIAO'S 32nd Birthday Bash


    1 million pesos to be raffled off on  MANNY PACQUIAO'S 32nd Birthday Bash!
    photo source tv patrol


    Only the formally invited 1,500 guests of Manny would be able to win the 1 million pesos that he would raffle off in a while @ KCC CONVENTION CENTER. The formally invited guest invitations comes with a raffle coupon that they need to filled up and dropped in the drop box upon entering the venue.


    Other prizes to be won 

    photo source tv patrol
    • TOYOTA VIOS
    • TWO (2) MOTORCYCLES
    • THREE (3) FLAT SCREEN TELEVISION
    photo source tv patrol
    photo source tv patrol
    A CLASSIC 1962 LAMBRETTA MOTORCYCLE WITH THE LIFE STORY OF MANNY DRAWN ALL OVER IT, WERE ALSO DISPLAYED AT THE VENUE.

    The lavish party has a modern GRECO theme.


    Friday, December 17, 2010

    The new BSP logo




    The new BSP logo is a perfect round shape in blue that features three gold stars and a stylized Philippine Eagle rendered in white strokes. These main elements are framed on the left side with the text inscription “Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas” underscored by a gold line drawn in half circle. The right side remains open, signifying freedom, openness, and readiness of the BSP, as represented by the Philippine eagle, to soar and fly toward its goal. Putting all these elements together is a solid blue background to signify stability.

    Principal Elements:

    1. The Philippine Eagle, our national bird, is the world’s largest eagle and is a symbol of strength, clear vision and freedom, the qualities we aspire for as a central bank.

    2. The three stars represent the three pillars of central banking: price stability, stable banking system, and a safe and reliable payments system. It may also be interpreted as a geographical representation of BSP’s equal concern for the impact of its policies and programs on all Filipinos, whether they are in Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao.

    Colors

    1. The blue background signifies stability.
    2. The stars are rendered in gold to symbolize wisdom, wealth, idealism, and high quality.
    3. The white color of the eagle and the text for BSP represents purity, neutrality, and mental clarity.

    Font or Type Face
    Non-serif, bold for “BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS” to suggest solidity, strength, and stability. The use of non-serif fonts characterized by clean lines portrays the no-nonsense professional manner of doing business at the BSP.


    Shape
    Round shape to symbolize the continuing and unending quest to become an excellent monetary authority committed to improve the quality of life of Filipinos. This round shape is also evocative of our coins, the basic units of our currency.


    The all new P20 Peso Bill


    The all new P20 Peso Bill

    Front: Younger-looking Manuel L. Quezon at the front and pictures of the declaration of Filipino as a national language, and the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan.
    Back: Picture of the Banaue Rice Terraces can be found, alongside an animal related to that area, the Palm Civet or most commonly known as the Musang. Photo Source otepsblog


    All bank notes will have a color almost similar to the ones used on the current bank notes—orange for P20, red for P50, bluish violet for P100, green for P200, black/gold for P500 and blue for P1,000.


    The all new P50 Peso Bill


    The all new P50 Peso Bill

    Front: A younger-looking Sergio Osmeña and prints of the Leyte Landing and the First National Assembly on either side.

    Back: Taal Lake and the Maliputo fish are featured. Photo Source otepsblog


    All bank notes will have a color almost similar to the ones used on the current bank notes—orange for P20, red for P50, bluish violet for P100, green for P200, black/gold for P500 and blue for P1,000.


    The all new Philippine P100 peso bill


    The all new Philippine P100 peso bill


    Front: Features a young President ManuelRoxas with pictures of the old BSP building in Intramuros, Manila, and the inauguration of the Second Republic.
    Back: The world's perfect cone -Mayon Volcano in Albay and the whale shark (popularly known as butanding) can be found at the back of the new P100. source otepsblog


    All bank notes will have a color almost similar to the ones used on the current bank notes—orange for P20, red for P50, bluish violet for P100, green for P200, black/gold for P500 and blue for P1,000.


    The all new Philippine P200 peso bill


     The all new Philippine P200 peso bill
    Front: Younger Diosdado Macapagal with photos of the Edsa People Power 2001 that elected her daughter, former President and now Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga, and the Independence House (former President Emilio Aguinaldo’s museum) in Kawit, Cavite.

    Back: Sprawling Chocolate Hills in Bohol and the world's smallest primate the Philippine tarsier. Photo source otepsblog


    All bank notes will have a color almost similar to the ones used on the current bank notes—orange for P20, red for P50, bluish violet for P100, green for P200, black/gold for P500 and blue for P1,000.


    The all new Philippine P1,000 peso bill


    The all new Philippine P1,000 peso bill


    Front: A younger-looking picture of Jose Abad Santos, Vicente Lim and Josefa Llanes Escoda are printed, as well as photographs of the centennial celebration of Philippine independence and the Medal of Honor, which was awarded to each of the trio.
    Back: Pictures of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and the South Sea pearl. Photo source otepsblog


    All bank notes will have a color almost similar to the ones used on the current bank notes—orange for P20, red for P50, bluish violet for P100, green for P200, black/gold for P500 and blue for P1,000.


    The New P500 peso Bill


    This new face of P500 peso bill created a new record and history for Filipinos.

    It is because the new P500 Peso Bill features 3 Aquinos. The front of the new P500 bill features former President Corazon Aquino, whose photo is placed beside her husband, Ninoy. PNOY, as the current Philippine president, is the one who signed the official bank note.  

    The last time I checked, no other bank note all over the world has both parents and his son in the same bank note-PNOY



    The New P500 Peso Bill


    Front: Faces of the country’s two icons of democracy, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino and former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. It also feature pictures of the Edsa People Power 1 in 1986 and the Benigno Aquino monument on Ayala Avenue, Makati City. Photo source:otepsblogs

    Back: Picture of the Subterranean Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan and the Blue-Naped Parrot can be found.

    President Aquino is presented with the new 500-peso bank notes, featuring the images of both his parents and bearing his signature as President (overlaid). (Photo by RICHARD VIÑAS) Source: http://mb.com.ph/
    The design of the new P500 bill features the faces of President Cory Aquino and the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino. Jam Sisante Source: http://www.gmanews.tv

    All the new bank notes will have a color almost similar to the ones used on the current bank notes—orange for P20, red for P50, bluish violet for P100, green for P200, black/gold for P500 and blue for P1,000.


    NEW MONEY DESIGN FOR THE PHILIPPINES


    NEW MONEY DESIGN FOR THE PHILIPPINES
    President Aquino is presented with the new 500-peso bank notes, featuring the images of both his parents and bearing his signature as President (overlaid). (Photo by Richard ViÑas Source: http://mb.com.ph

    Advance Happy New Year to everyone!

    New Year means New Dear errr Money, for our beloved country! Yehey!

    We have a new set of design for our money,  unveiled yesterday by no less than Pres. Pnoy Aquino and the BSP.

    We have a total of six denominations; P20, P50, P100, P200, P500, and P1,000 bills which now have a new design. 

    They were especially designed, and have an upgraded security features so the public would easily detect if the money is real or fake.


    We still have 3 more years to use the old design before it would demonitized. So rock on!


    New Money Features:
    • embossed prints
    • serial numbers
    • security fibers
    • threads
    • watermark
    • signature of President Benigno Aquino III
    • signature of the BSP governor
    • the word “Pilipino” written in "Baybayin", a pre-Spanish writing system both at the front and the back, The alibata—the country’s native alphabet—meanwhile, was printed on the lower right of the bank notes, slightly below the watermark print of the heroes’ or past presidents’ photographs.
    • Republic of the Philippines seal
    •  "woven cloth" design, which is different for each denomination.
    • The quotation, believed to be approved by various religious sects, states: “Pinagpala ang bayan na ang Diyos ay ang Panginoon ( Blessed is the nation whose Lord is God).” printed on the mid-upper right part of the new bank notes, just above the logos of the Philippine republic and the BSP.
    • monochromatic color schemes in some parts of the bank notes.
    • hygienically treated, making them less prone to sweat and dirt.
    • a map showing the country’s islands


    The new P500 bill now features former President Corazon Aquino, whose photo is placed beside her husband, Ninoy.  It depicts a smiling Ninoy,  a far cry from his forlorn image in the current P500 bill. Photo source otepsblog


    At the back of the new P 500 Bill is the Seven Wonder of Nature for 2010 Puerto Princesa Palawan Underground river



    This makes 3 Aquinos in the new P500 Peso Bill because, PNOY, as the Philippine president, is the one who signed the official bank note. According to PNOY, "The last time I checked, no other bank note all over the world has both parents and his son in the same bank note." This new face of P500 peso bill created a new record and history for Filipinos.


    All the new bank notes will have a color almost similar to the ones used on the current bank notes—orange for P20, red for P50, bluish violet for P100, green for P200, black/gold for P500 and blue for P1,000.
    Photo source AAJAO of PEX


    The winning bidder information source http://www.manilatimes.net


    The winning bidder for the production of the bank notes was Oberthur Technologies. The contract cost 25.3 million euro, the BSP gives the firm until the middle of next year to deliver some 702 million pieces of new bank notes.

    According to the source of  the BSP is slating to launch the bank notes this month, and will start circulating them next year.

    Oberthur was also able to produce the bank notes only eight weeks after it received the new designs.

    The BSP was further pleased with the cheap production cost of the new bank notes.

    The P20 and P50 denominations will cost P1.50 each to produce; P100 at P2 each; and the P500 and P1,000 denominations at P3.50 each.


    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Tips to identify fake notes in China


    Before flying to China I heard that there are a lot of fake RMB 100 notes circulating in China. So I exchange my money only with the Bank of China to avoid getting counterfeit yuan notes.



    Here are several tips for you to identify fake notes:

    1. Paper quality

    Take the bill and ruffle it in your hands.The long way up, in your hands and kind of ruffle it in your hands. The sound should be clear and distinct. In the fake ones, the sound is muffled and the paper seems crisp.

    2. Water Mark

    There are two things to see in the light. If you hold the bill up you will see on the left side in the white space, there is a clear picture of Chairman Mao's face. On the fake bills, the outline of his face is blurred.

    3. Color Change

    Below the white space, there is a green 100 (or 50 on the 50 bill, 20 on the 20 bill etc.) sign in the left corner. When looking flat at this sign, it is green. When the bill is tilted upwards, and you are looking at the sign from the bottom up the 100 turns brown. This is a real bill. But if when you tilt the bill upwards the symbol is only dark green, then this is a fake bill.

    4. The Texture of the picture of Chairman Mao

    Hold the bill in your hand and rub your thumb gently against the collar on the big picture of Chairman Mao. You will notice a difference in texture on his collar. You will only feel it if you rub gently. If the paper is completely smooth, without any texture, you are holding a counterfeit!


    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Beijing Forbidden City


    Beijing Forbidden City
    Address: No.4 Jingshan Front Street,Dongcheng District 65132255
    Opening Hour: 8:30-17:00
    Time for the last ticket to be sold: 3:00 pm
    Travel Time: two hours
    Entrance Fee: RMB 60

    How to get there:
    By Bus
    No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 52, 57, 22, 54, 101, 103,109, 111, 120, 802, special No.1 bus and get off at Zhongshan Phongshan Park stop or Tian Am Men stop. 
    By Subway
    Subway line 1 & 2: get off at Tiananmen west station or Tiananmen east station.
    The Forbidden City is the No. 1 of top 10 Beijing must-to-see attractions. It is the most visited and the most popular sight in Beijing.

    The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

    Chinese name Zijin Cheng (Chinese: 紫禁城; pinyin: Zǐjinchéng; 
    literally "Purple Forbidden City"). 


    The Forbidden City is the world's largest palace complex, covering 720,000 square meters with 800 buildings and 9,000 rooms in total. It was the home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties, and is recognized as one of the most attractive five palaces in the world (the other four are: the palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in the UK, the White House in the US and the Kremlin in Russia).

    We entered the Forbidden City from the Tian'anmen Gate. Through the gate, across an expansive brick - paved square, we reached the main entrance to the palace, the Meridian Gate (Wumen in Chinese). The Meridian gate was the place where the Emperor announced the new lunar calendar on the winter solstice. 

    We then, entered the Meridian Gate, and went across the Golden Stream Bridge and we arrived at the outer court. The Forbidden City falls into two parts: the outer court and the inner palaces.

    The outer court is made up of three main buildings:
    1. The Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian)
    2. The Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghedian) 
    3. The Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohedian). 
    These halls were where the emperors attended the grand ceremonies and conducted state affairs. The first hall waiting for you is the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the most important and largest structure in the Forbidden City. The emperors' Dragon Throne (Longyi) is in this hall. Behind the Hall of Supreme Harmony is the Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghedian), the resting place of the emperor before presiding over grand events held in the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Emperors would rehearse their speeches and presentations here before departing to the Temple of Heaven for the sacrifice rites. The last hall is the Hall of the Preserving Harmony used for banquets and later for imperial examinations.

    Out from the Hall of the Preserving Harmony, you will notice a huge block of marble carved with cloud and dragon designs. Go straight, and you will see another gate, called Gate of Heavenly Peace(Qianqingmen). This is the main gateway to the inner living court.

    The inner court is composed of the three main structures at the rear of the Forbidden City, namely the
    1. Palace of Heavenly Peace (Qianqinggong), 
    2. the Palace of Union and Peace (Jiaotaidian)  
    3. Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility (Kunninggong). 
    Besides the three main buildings there are the six eastern palaces and six western palaces, where the emperor used to handle every day affairs and was the living quarters for the emperor, expresses and concubines. Those palaces have been converted into exhibition halls, where a spectacular set of imperial collections is displayed.

    The first structure inside the inner court is the Palace of Heavenly Peace, the emperors' sleeping quarters. Behind it is the Palace of Union and Peace, where the imperial seals were stored. The third hall is the Hall of Terrestrial Tranquility, the emperors' wedding room. Exiting and going further north, travelers will find the Imperial Garden. The garden offers an aesthetic change from the crimson and gray building complex to a colorful and luxuriant atmosphere. On the left side of the inner court, travelers will find the Mental Cultivation Hall(Yangxindian), the most important building except for the Hall of Supreme Harmony. From the time of the third emperor, Yongzhen, all the Qing emperors, 8 in total resided in this hall. The palaces on the eastern and western sides, the former residences of the concubines have been converted into exhibition halls.

    The main exit gate of the Forbidden City is the Gate of Divine Might, behind the Imperial Garden.

    For security the Forbidden City is enclosed by a 10 meter high city wall, which has a circumference of 3, 430 meters. At each corner of the Forbidden City, there stands a magnificent watchtower, which was heavily guarded in the past. Around the city there is a moat as the first line of defense.



    Weather/Best Time to Go
    The autumn months between September and November have the best weather and fewer tourists. Summer (June to August) is considered peak season, when hotels typically raise their rates and the Great Wall nearly collapses under the weight of marching tourists. Spring is less pleasant not many tourists but lots of wind and dust. In winter, you'll have Beijing to yourself and many hotels offer substantial discounts, just remember it's an ice box outside. Everything is chock block during the Chinese New Year (usually in January or February).

    The best tourist season to Forbidden City is from late March to early June and from late August to late November. During these periods, choose someday not on the weekdays and holidays to avoid the crowds of people.



    WEST LAKE ADMISSION FEE AND TRANSPO


    Travel Tips:
    1. West Lake is a large open lake area with some scenic spots around it charging admission fee. For example:
    SpotsAddr.Admission FeeBus Routes
    Leifeng Pagoda15 Nanshan RoadCNY40Y1, Y2, Y3, K4, J5, Y6, Y7, Y9, K291, K504, K808, 822/K822
    Three Pools Mirroring the Moonthe bigger islet in the southwest of the lakeCNY20----
    Chenghuang Pavilion3 Wushan RoadCNY3038/K38, Y7, Y8, 8/K8, J9, 25/K25, 34/K34, 35/K35, 40/K40, 59/K59、60/K60
    Lingyin1 Fayun Nong, Lingyin RoadCNY30 (Lingyin Temple)
    CNY45 (Fei Lai Feng)
    Y1, Y2, 7/K7, Y13, K807/K837

    2. To the West Lake, visitors can easily find bus routes at Hangzhou Railway Station, Huanglong Sports Center, Wulin Square or Hangzhou East Railway Station, and get off at Su Di, Ling Yin, Duan Qiao, Qu Yuan Feng He, Yue Miao, Shuang Feng, Long Jing Si, Yan'an Road, Hu Bin or Xihu Dadao Stations. 

    Available bus routes are 4/K4, 6/K6, 7/K7, 15/K15,16/K16,18/K18, 21/K21, 27/K27, 28/K28, 81/K81, K504, 527/K527, Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4, Y5, Y6, Y7, Y8, Y9.

    3. Round-the-lake battery car: CNY40 per person

    The battery car can stop at any place along the route and it takes about 70 minutes to round the lake.

    4. Sightseeing bus: Y9 is double-decker tourism bus running around the West Lake. Ticket is CNY 5 for the whole journey. The starting and end point is Huanglong Tourism Dispatch Center. 

    5. The free tourism bus line has been opened between the West Lake and Xixi Wetland. The bus starts from Leifeng Pagoda and departs every half an hour from 09:00 to 14:30, back from Xixi Wetland from 11:00 to 17:00. 

    6. Free shuttle bus from Leifeng Pagoda to Hangzhou Polar Ocean Park is also available. There are four buses a day from 09:30, not timely though. The last bus leaves at 15:00 and will be back from the ocean park at 16:00. 


    HANGZHOU WEST LAKE: Heaven on Earth


    HANGZHOU WEST LAKE: Heaven on Earth 

    I heard a lot of good things about Hangzhou in Eastern China. As an old Chinese saying declares, "There is heaven above, Suzhou and Hangzhou below." For the Chinese, Suzhou and neighboring Hangzhou are the closest things to Heaven on Earth.  

    I wanted a glimpse of the piece of Heaven on Earth! Human as I am, I tend to be super excited about a new place that I've never been to before. So, I flew from Beijing to Hangzhou via China Eastern Airlines.
    Marco Polo even called Hangzhou the most beautiful and magnificent in the world. 

    This is most evident in the West Lake area--the effective, if not the geographic, center of Hangzhou. Hills embrace the lake on three sides. The city proper lies to the east.
    Ancient Chinese people praised the West Lake area as a land of intoxicating beauty. 

    Su Shi, a poet from the Song Dynasty, likened the lake to Xizi, a Chinese Cleopatra, for its allure. 

    I gasped in awe when I first saw this scene while walking in Sudi, a 3 kilometer stretch that has the best view of the Famous West Lake.
    Intoxicating beauty indeed
    Ten (10) of the most beautiful sites include:
    1. Spring Dawn at Sudi Causeway
    2. Melting Snow at Broken Bridge
    3. Sunset Glow over Leifeng Hill
    4. Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard
    5. Autumn Moon on Calm Lake (a lakeside park at the west end of the Bai Causeway)
    6. Listening to Orioles Singing in the Willows
    7. Viewing Fish and Lotus Ponds at Flower Harbor
    8. Evening Bell at Nanping Hill
    9. Three Pools Mirroring the Moon
    10. Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds
    The West Lake is like a shining pearl inlaid on the vast land of China, reputed for beautiful scenery, a multitude of historical sites, brilliant cultural relics, and a profusion of native products. Legend has it that the West Lake was a heavenly jewel fallen to earth. Pragmatists insist that it is a mere lagoon on Hangzhou's western fringe. In any case, West Lake has inspired painters for centuries.
    Who would have thought that in ancient times, this place had been a shallow sea gulf before it evolved into a residual lake. The Baidi and Sudi causeways provide access to many parts of the lake. Most of the best known tourist sites lie around and within the lake. With a circumference of 15 kilometers , the lake area itself is easy for the visitor to negotiate.
    My Hangzhou adventure still lingers in my mind. Hangzhou does not only have an intoxicating appeal but also very kind people!  I met a lot of angels who, despite the language barrier, had help me find my way around and did not expect anything in return. They're complete strangers, not even a Filipino, but the kindness in their hearts shines brightly. 


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