I did not really expect to visit another foreign country last year as I have already gone to Bangkok last July 2017 (I still need to blog this). Our Office has this project on setting up Fabrication Laboratories or Fablabs and to be able to implement this well, those in-charge of the project were given the opportunity to join the visit to Taiwan. Our region, NIR do not have this project yet, but we were given a slot and our Regional Director recommended me to attend. I was not so excited about the visit as the schedule is towards the end of the year and it still did not sink in that I am part of the group.
Anyway, several weeks before the schedule we were already advised to prepare our documents for application of Visa. I was so confident that I already have a copy of my SECPA birth certificate but I did not realize that it has only a validity of six months! It was a good thing I have a staff who was a former NSO employee so he facilitated that I can get the SECPA birth certificate within the day. The following day I was able to send all the documents to the Regional Operations Group for group application of the Visa. We were also advised to fill out the on-line application form. I had problems with this as the form that I keep on filling out seem not saved in the system. it was a good thing, the lady at the Taiwan Economic Office was able to help me by sending the filled our form so I can complete it.
Since I am also busy with other activities at the Office, I was not really able to prepare much for the trip. I was able to search on line for a few information but this was not really enough to help us maximize our trip. It was a stressfull (as always) day before we have to fly to Manila for the trip as our Travel Authority was not yet signed! We were informed to get our domestic and international tickets as it is sure that the TAs will be signed. Got my tickets at home at around past 9, able to get email from staff at ROG aroung 10pm and another one from the coordinator at past 12 midnight! Non stop working???
We arrived in manila in the afternoon, our flight is early morning at 7AM via Philippine Airlines. We got our documents from Head Office and there was an advisory that the weather in Taipei will be a bit cold. I have several coats and clothes for cold weather but since we were not informed earlier, I was not able to bring it…thus off we went to Glorietta to look for reasonably priced coats or cardigan. it was a good thing cardigan are on sale at H & M..a piece at only P449!
We have to leave our hotel at 5am so that we will not be stressed during check-in and immigration procedures.
Pre-Departure Area NAIA 2 International Airport
Meal is very ordinary, beefsteak with rice, pandesal with butter and I asked for orange juice. But I was hungry so I ate this meal.
Baggage claim area is so clean and not crowded. We waited for everybody here before we headed to the immigration area. Most of the group decided to change their dollars to NTD (New Taiwan Dollar). I decided not to change my dollars but rather changed only P3,000, enough fow a few meals.
We were booked in a upscale area, Howard Hotel Taipei. It took quite sometime for us to be checked in..as we have to pay individually for our hotel accommodations. We were settled into our rooms and my roomate and other girls decided to look for food. I am not really hungry so I decided to stay in the room, ate the pandesal and butter (from the plane) with the welcome fruits.
We started our official trips at 2pm in the afternoon.
Futureward..a coworking space inside Tatung Univeristywith fablabs for different products.
Fablab Taipei located in an old area of a Stadium. We were shown their on line video connections with Fablabs in other parts of the world
In the evening we went to a famous Taiwanese Restaurant (Shin Yeh Taiwanese Cuisine restaurant) to try local cuisine. The food a bit bland for my taste..it needs more condiment maybe I should have added more of the condiments given us. We started with appetizers, peanuts, tofu then followed by a huge plate of steamed octopus. the Servers were really fast as we have not yet finished they are already getting our small plates plus that big plate of octopus. I think this was followed by the noodles with the crabs.
Noodles with crabs! The crabs are so fat but taste seem bland.
Sea cucumbers with brocolli. then we had shrimps, braised tofu and the final dish was chicken soup with black mushrooms (I cant remember all the food as I was not able to take pictures of all). Finally dessert of mochi with rolled in powdered peanuts and bean & sago (like ginatan but with a bland taste)
Chicken soup with black mushrooms
Beans and sago
After dinner, we browsed in the nearest Sogo Department Store. It is a high end dept store though I was able to try very good pairs of shoes. I really wanted one but was thinking of the price equivalent to more than P4,000. But it was really of good quality and pure leather. I really regretted not buying it as we did not have any more time the following day. There was also a branch the the famous Taiwan nougant..sugar and spice. We did not buy as I thought we can still find branches that will be selling at lower price. How I wish again I bought the nougats. I was forced to buy at the airport as I have no pasalubongs.