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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Visiting Brisbane Autralia


They say travel is good for the soul... especially when it's free! Working as a remote employee for an Australian company, I was given an opportunity to visit Brisbane in October 2018. I have stayed there for a couple of weeks to attend a series of training for upskilling purposes. In two weeks, I am certain that I fell in love with the city!

Quiet, peaceful, unpopulated, clean air, amazing people and the most disciplined city I've ever experienced...Brisbane, Australia, the capital city of Queensland state.

Papers and documentation

This is my first out of the country travel and I must say, it was not that easy. first, I had to apply for a Philippine passport. As a first timer, I had to research to use Google to gather ideas on how to obtain a Philippine passport, click here to see the step by step procedure for new applicants. 

After a week, I have claimed my passport in Aseana branch in ATC Alabang and I started applying for my visit visa (subclass 600). I have lodged my application here  and submitted the following documents:

Birth certificate
1 valid ID 
letter of invitation from my employer
Proof of income
Bank statement
passport sized photo with name and signature at the back
Copy of my passport
Certificate of employment
140 USD (7000 pesos) for the processing fee 
I might have missed some but those are the most important ones.

I waited for19 days before I finally received the result of my application. The Australian immigration sent the result to me via email. It was the most thrilling part and thanks God that I was able to make it. There was no requirement for medical documents and no face to face or online interview, I just had to fill out a 12 pages application form I'm all good!

Booking a Flight


I chose Cathay Pacific as I hear a lot of good things about this airline. I payed USD 629.21 for back and forth ticket. It was a 12 hour journey for me. Manila to Hongkong took 2 hours and 10 hours from Hongkong to Brisbane airport. I can't forget how pampered I was on my way to Brisbane, kudos to Cathay Pacific crews and pilots. The foods served are great, the service was so amazing!

    

Arriving at the city

I arrived at Brisbane airport at midnight. First thing I looked for was a money changer where I can exchange my US currency that I have converted in the Philippines days before my flight. Inside the airport, there was a money exchanger named 'Travelex'. It was a bit frustrating because I bought 1 USD for 54 pesos and when I exchanged it for the Australian dollar, I only got 27 AUD for each dollar. In the Philippines, the current exchange that time was 1 AUD = 38 pesos, a quick 10 peso downrate setting aside that I bought those dollars for 54 pesos :(. But it's ok, I just charged it to my experience. Next time I would buy the AUD currency instead.

After converting my money, I walked a few steps ahead and looked for a sim card store and there goes Optus. I am not sure if there are other network providers in Austalia like we have in the country but Optus was the first store I saw. I paid 30 AUD for 20-gigabyte data which is good for 1 month, free call and text. Not bad at all.

Heading to the apartment
I took Uber on my way to the house provided for me by the company. I was very fortunate that the uber driver was a Filipino so the journey was filled with kwentuhan. Hardworking Filipinos are everywhere! I learned that most of our fellowmen who own a car do uber during their off, that's our trademark anyway! I paid 92.27 AUD for 31.19 km ride. That's 3, 506  pesos :( but I don't have to worry about the company reimbursed it to me including my other expenses.

Exploring Brisbane!

Transportation  - In order for me to ride on a public train or bus, I had to buy a Go card. Go card costs 10 AUD as I remember and you also have to buy load for it in card booth you'll see in stations. You will need to tap this card everytime you'll get into a train or a bus and upon exit as well. 
Weather - Brisbane is a subtropical paradise. November is the hottest month in Brisbane and that's when I arrived there. Although they say it's the hottest, I still feel the cold wind, especially in the morning. I can still walk under the sun even without an umbrella though it was 40 degrees C that time, it was not hot as I experience summer in the Philippines. 


Brisbane markets - Coles, Woolworths, Big W, Farmer's market and Yuen's farmer's market are some of the shops I have visited. Among these,  my most favorite is Yuen's farmer's market because I love fruits and veggies so much! What I like about Brisbane is they sell fruits and vegetables for a very low cost compare to Philippine markets. For example, big lettuce costs 1.20 AUD per piece which is only about 45 pesos each. In addition to that, fruits in Brisbane are very sweet and are large in size as well.

Tourist Spots in Brisbane - when you're visiting Brisbane, don't forget to visit their amazing places or you'll regret it for the rest of your life.


1. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
2. South Bank
3. Story Bridge
4. street beach
5. Brisbane City Hall
6 Wheel of Brisbane


A whole article could not express enough how I fell in love with Brisbane. How I wish I could go back there and explore the city more...maybe soon!

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