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Japan eases visa requirements for Filipino business travelers, cultural or intellectual figures

MANILA, Philippines — Japan has eased the visa requirements for Filipinos traveling for business, cultural or intellectual purposes to promote people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

The Japanese Embassy in Manila, in a statement, said the number of applicants eligible for multiple entry visas for short term stay has been expanded. Filipinos who will visit Japan for business and those who are cultural and intellectual figures are covered by the relaxed policy.

The validity period of the visas has been also extended to 10 years from the previous five years.


Paris Break-ins and Robberies

The Philippine embassy in France issued a travel advisory reminding Filipinos traveling to Paris to be vigilant of break-ins, robberies and pickpocketing incidence in the city.

Filipinos are requested to follow the list of safety guidelines when traveling to France:

1. Always secure personal belongings such as bags, wallets, phones and other personal items when visiting tourist spots, walking around, and riding public transportation.

2. Be wary of pickpockets. They are rampant at metro stations, trains, and even in shopping areas.

3. Keep passport and identity card in separate areas of your bag, so as to lessen the risk of losing both identity documents.

4. Theft may also occur in hotels and apartments. Make sure that your briefcases, bags and other valuables are secure. Be wary of the so-called “hotel rats,” scam artists who pretend to be hotel guests or tourists and who can swipe baggage in hotel lobbies, or book rooms with fake names and break-in rooms to steal valuables.

5. Do not carry a lot of cash. Most stores accept cards. Should you use your card, cover your hand discreetly when typing the pin.

6. Keep your bags out of sight when inside the vehicles. Robberies may sometimes occur during traffic jams.

7. Be alert and vigilant when visiting different areas in France. Make sure to follow the instructions of police and military personnel in case of any incident.

8. Be updated with the news. Refrain from going to areas that are declared to be unsafe or that have terrorism threat.

In case an urgent assistance is needed, Filipinos may call the embassy via their 24/7 emergency hotline at +33 6 20 59 25 15.

Filipinos seeking help may also visit the embassy at 45 Rue de Ranelagh, 4 Hameau de Boulainvilliers, 75016 Paris, France or send them a message at +33 1 44 14 57 00 or via their email address (PNA)


Boracay still named among best islands in Asia despite closure

MANILA – Despite of its closure since April, Boracay has maintained a spot in Travel + Leisure magazine’s list of Top 10 islands in Asia.

It landed the No. 8 spot this year, getting a score of 86.14.

Two other Philippine destinations made the cut – Cebu made it to sixth place with a score of 89.10, while Palawan, after two years of winning the No. 1 spot, finished at No. 5 with 90.04.

At the top spot is Java in Indonesia, which also dominated Travel + Leisure magazine’s world’s best islands list.

Here are the Top 10 islands in Asia, as voted by readers of Travel + Leisure:

1. Java, Indonesia (95.28)
2. Bali, Indonesia (94.06)
3. Lombok, Indonesia (93.88)
4. Maldives (90.48)
5. Palawan, Philippines (90.04)
6. Cebu, Philippines (89.10)
7. Phuket, Thailand (86.14)
8. Boracay, Philippines (86.14)
9. Koh Samui, Thailand (85.07)
10. Koh Lanta, Thailand (82.50)