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No visa? No problem! The journey to visa free coun...

No visa? No problem! The journey to visa free countries for Filipinos continues

“Let’s get married so you’ll have a US passport. You don’t have to pay me. It’s on the house.” a friend volunteered.

“No. That requires living with you. You’re too gay and you probably have more beauty products than I do. Plus, I don’t want to exchange awkward glances with the different men you bring home every night.”

“Go back to Spain. You can continue your residency. You have more edge now that you speak Spanish fluently,” Javier, my ex roommate in Barcelona said.

“That ship has sailed, Javi. I was rejected a Spanish visa last month, in case you forgot.”

My mother suggested: “Go to the Netherlands and study Dutch. You are good with languages. I am sure you will get a passport in 5-10 years.”

“Hmm… what do you expect me to do in those 5-10 years? Stay in one country to get a citizenship? You know I can’t be normal, mum. I will be bored as fuck. By the time I get the ‘golden’ passport, I will be 40. And then what? No, thanks.”

“What will you do then?” She asked.

“I will continue traveling to visa free countries for Filipinos.”

I’m used to getting crazy remarks from people who receive this. Djibouti? Iran? Georgia? Armenia? They look at me like they want to say “you don’t even know if human life exists there. Or the internet. Or macaroons.” Yes, I fucking love macaroons. But I’m sure I’ll get by a few years without it. Duh, it’s 2016. I am sure Internet is pretty decent every where. Not reliable but tolerable. My ‘work’ aka blog is Internet dependent so I will never think about going to a country where it doesn’t exist.

But those who get me and understand how my mind works agree. “You’ve been to exotic places. Places where Filipinos wouldn’t think about going. You will be fine, Trisha! I believe in you. Just skip Afghanistan, Syria and Pakitan. Please?”

For the past 6 years, I’ve been traveling to visa-free countries (not including my study abroad trip in Europe) because I never want to feel not welcomed. I don’t want to go through all these processes where people are looking at you like you are a dumb, moneyless, jobless cunt who will probably end up working in their ‘wealthy’ territory. Even if there is no way that is true, that’s how the whole world looks at Filipinos — they would go AWOL after being granted a visa.

I’ve enjoyed traveling visa free countries for Filipinos in Asia, Africa and South America. For 6 years, I stayed in these countries freely, without boundaries, without a tanning, without being asked to leave because the visa is expiring. This is what made me get to know a certain country better. I stayed longer. I stayed until my ‘feelings’ told me to do so. I can say I truly know a country, culture and food because I was there for an ample time to experience it. It sucks that people who travel Europe or the USA for 3 weeks, 10+ countries/states are the ones who tell me, “Don’t go to Iran. It’s not safe. Go see the Eiffel Tower. Oh, I’m sure you are going to love Trafalgar. Europe and the USA are safe.” Ha! Europe is safe.

To each his own. 

I’ve been to Europe but why I haven’t been to the USA is a question for many. I don’t have any reasons to go yet is how I always put it. Until two months ago, I found a reason. The Young Philanthropists invited me for a 3-month road trip (all expense paid) that will start from Los Angeles, CA and will end in Savannah, GA. That sounds exciting, right? Three months on the road? All expense paid? Why not! The reason of visiting USA finally came. But mainly, I was excited because I can go to the Caribbean ‘visaless.’ Some countries accept a used and valid US visa in that side of the world. It means I don’t have to apply for a visa to Mexico, El Salvador, Belize, Panama, etc. Having a US visa will definitely save me time, money and effort.

“You have no ties in the Philippines” is a phrase that stings. It annoys me just how Kyle is super irritated with the word “glitch” in Jodie Foster’s Money Maker. (You should see this movie. I watched it alone 2 days ago.)

I have no ties in the Philippines? My family and friends are here. All the people I love breath and exist here. But you know I can’t say that. You know I can’t prove my ties unless I bring every member of my family in all the visa interviews. And if it was allowed, it wouldn’t be sufficient. A single, childless, ‘houseless’, ‘propertyless’ woman like me still need to prove my financial capability. I don’t have papers for that either.

So there you go, folks. I was rejected a US visa. You can read the full story here.

Now, I have all the reasons to follow the Universe’s instruction. I am going to travel the visa free countries for Filipinos. I am born to do this. I now have all the enthusiasm to start over. Hence, I renewed my passport last week. I am starting fresh.

No visa? No problem! is a series I pitched in a well-known digital publication in the Philippines but has been put to trash. Meaning, the Editor rejected the idea. “This won’t click, Trisha. It’s not clickable. Filipinos want to read articles that involve the USA and Europe.” This, I feel, is belittling the capabilities and understanding of the many thriving citizens of this country. This mentality makes us limit ourselves to the greatness this world has to offer.

My parents and I were driving to Subic from Manila yesterday. We stopped in Petron in NLEX for food and toilet needs. There are shitloads of restaurants there but everything were full. We did not even have the chance to park. We had to go to the toilet one by one so that someone will watch the car.

“There are many establishments here but they miscalculated the need for more parking slots,” my father said.

“Darling, it’s because Filipinos are not used to success. They didn’t think people will come here. They don’t think big.” My mom responded.

And my mother was right. At that moment, we are still stuck in thinking small. This is how this society shapes its citizens — with limits.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Dear Editor, the offer is down the drain. I am now publishing this series on this blog and I am sure you will ask for exclusivity when this one pulls off. Well, I don’t really care if it doesn’t pull off. I just want to empower my countrymen with options. That maybe, just maybe, visa free countries for Filipinos (aside from Southeast Asia) will one day be socially acceptable and understandable.

I am leaving in a month! And here’s what I have so far (subject to change).

You know me, I can be all over the place without thinking. And sometimes, it’s a bad thing. However, it’s good enough for me, for now.

I will first stay for a week in Dubai to meet friends and bloggers alike. It’s also the cheapest route to my new Middle Eastern adventure: Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Israel and Jordan. Take note that Dubai, Azerbaijan and Turkey are not visa free countries for Filipinos but it’s easy to get one once I am there. Sure enough, it won’t be boring. I am going to give you a peak on what it’s like to travel to these strange countries through the No visa? No problem! series.

The last 7 months visiting friends and family back home has been a great ride. I was able to reconnect and recharge a little. But that charge is slowly short circuiting. I need to get out of here before the battery pack goes empty.

When I wrote about the harsh reality of home after years of traveling the world, I thought things will change but everything stayed the same. I was patient. I was kind. I gave love and light to everyone around me. Then I realised I’ve reached my limit. I can’t be the person who absorbs all the negative energy. I don’t understand this language anymore.

I need to recharge so I can be helpful, loving and good company to the people I love. I’m tired. I’m weak. I’m lonely. I’m drained. Therefore, I am leaving again.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Meet up in Dubai by the end of June!

To all readers, bloggers, friends who are currently based in Dubai, I am arranging a mini gathering by the end of June. If you are interested to have fun with us, please e-mail me at trishavelarmino[at]gmail[dot]com with subject “Dubai Meet Up” so I can put you in the loop!


Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha also loves extremely spicy food, pineapples, plants and symmetry. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Follow her life adventures on Instagram: @psimonmyway

  1. Zofia

    28 May

    Come to Armenia, we have macaroons, and internet, and mountains, and…:-)

  2. Sita

    28 May

    Great perspective on perceiving all this visa bureaucracy. Enjoyed reading this. Btw, those visaless countries sound exotic and exciting! Have a blast xo

  3. Chin

    28 May

    You go, girl! I myself have been to Georgia a couple of months ago and it was amazing and everybody was like, Georgia? You are in the US? I laughed more than I should have. Planning on a Europe trip early July but not that into it. I like the road less traveled if I may say so. Not a bunch of mainstream destinations but who knows, maybe i’d end up in Armenia and Baku, been eyeing that for a while. Or maybe even Kenya. I enjoyed this article! More power to you and your soaring spirit!

  4. Sheryl

    29 May

    I love how you see things Trisha…you make me want to realize a long time dream of travelling and discovering the world! Enjoy your visa-free trips!!

  5. Mike

    30 May

    The best is yet to come, Trisha! Just like you, I want to convert the negative things into positive so my life will be better. It takes time but for sure it will be exciting along the way.

  6. Princess

    30 May

    Read this already. In fact, read your blogs… was too shy to comment 🙈🙈🙈 one of my fave blogger. ❤

  7. Yrwin

    30 May

    I am glad you are not falling into the trap of marrying someone just for the sake of having a visa or better passport! You are really setting a name for yourself Trisha! And I hope to be able to go the less explored route and see more of places I have never been to! 🙂

  8. Mahmoud

    1 June

    That is really cool! I agree with you, no visa, should be no problem! Life is much easier.
    When I traveled to Egypt last year, I was able to get the visa upon arrival a the airport.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Good thing we met before you leave and I’m happy that I finally hear your voice. Seriously, while reading this article now I just can feel that your just telling this story to me. I can hear you speak. Isn’t it funny? Hahahah! Anyway The gay who offered you marriage in the USA was a funny story. Maybe we could click together? I can accept his offer ahahhaha. Anyway, keep safe on your new adventures and thank you for sharing to everyone that there is more to see than Europe and America. Our passpor might not be that powerful yet, but unless there are more countries to see and visit. Keep safe on the road 🙂

  10. Can I just say that I am excited for you? Right now I don’t have the means to follow suit but someday I promise, I will. For now I am going to be excited for you, wish you well, cheer you on, and follow your stories in your blog. I am so excited to know what would happen to you in Azerbaijan. Finally, I saw how it’s spelled! When you kept mentioning that when we were talking I swear all I could recall is the is Azer part hahaha…

    Sadly, you and your mom are right. We are living in a society that limits its people. I wish it isn’t so but it really is that way. But it can be changed, with the help of people like you who inspire. Goodluck on your upcoming travel Trisha!

  11. Ferna

    4 June

    I always admire your spirit. Yeah, NO VISA? certainly no problem. for sure in the future all will be possible.. not now but it will never be “never”. Can’t wait to hear your updates for Armenia, I feel there’s a lot of interesting stuff there.

  12. Emem

    5 June

    Good read, as always! Cannot wait for your entry about Georgia, I wanna go there, when budget permits! 😀

  13. Suzanne

    5 June

    I love your positive spirit when it comes to going with the flow. You remind me that life doesn’t have to be planned in order for it to work out. It will work itself out, if it doesn’t, then move on to the next open door.
    Thank you for the great blog.

  14. Wish I have enough courage to travel solo. I tried doing it here in PH. Would love to go to one of these destinations soon!

  15. Chasing A

    10 June

    Great idea! Go!I was on my 12 hrs shift and i stumbled in your page, I was hooked! I just had my 12 hrs shift of doing almost nothing just to read your blogs.. and you should really go to Georgia, the Kazbegi especially.. check out my site if you can I have posts there regarding my trip..

  16. ROBERT

    10 June

    Go, go, go and be happy and bring happiness to the people you meet wherever you find yourself. Meanwhile, continue writing so we could follow you on your journey to countries some may not even have heard of here.

  17. Ramee

    10 June

    Hahaha! I would say this story was worth the publication you applied for.

    I love the way you express your thoughts in writing, its my first time to comment in your blog and definitely will be bookmarking this for more fucking adventures! Thanks for this piece of kickass info.

  18. I wish I have time and budget to travel by my own. For now, I will support you and enjoy travelling!!

  19. Melissa

    10 June

    Really happy I stumbled upon your blog……… after numerous visits to the embassy and I still don’t have my Schengen visa (although I hope to have it by next week), I realized the struggle it gets to work on a visa. No wonder a lot of Filipinos don’t bother. Plus, the visa-less countries are also as beautiful and the worth the travel. If only I knew this earlier. Anyways, enjoy your travels and please keep writing. I love your blog. 🙂

  20. chhavi

    10 June

    Wow, I wasn’t too aware of such a thing. You have brought out the visa problems too well. I was hooked onto to the post. Keep travelling and continue writing – I love the way you write!

  21. That sounds like an amazing adventure! I am so sorry that you were denied a visa in the US. Our immigration rules are too strict, in my opinion. But you will have a wonderful time in the Middle East! I look forward to reading about it!

  22. Rachel

    11 June

    Shucks! Visa applications are a really stressful event for most Filipinos. I honestly think US embassies are a bit… hmmm racist and discriminating? I’m sorry to say that.. But I’ve heard a lot of stories from friends who have been denied a US embassy by staff who did not take a single look at the complete set of documents they brought! Most US visa applications rely on ‘face value’, which is unfortunate. I’ve never been denied a US visa, but it’s also because of pure luck and not anything else! I think UK and Schengen embassies are more fair as they look more into the documents you bring, in my opinion.

  23. Jessica

    11 June

    I was rejected from a Schengen Visa application because I am a freelancer and no ‘proper rootedness’ in the Philippines. All the curses I can give were voiced out from my mind on why the hell those ‘worthy’ countries always assumed that a citizen from a developing country will stay there forever and dig their treasures. I felt unwelcome and that’s one of the worst feeling a traveler could get, I guess. Anyway, I am excited for your journey, Trisha. Hope to meet you someday where ever! 🙂

  24. Truly, not getting a visa is not a barrier to see the world. I feel sorry for the digital publication for not knowing that each place has its own charm. I’ve been to the USA myself and I can say that our Asian countries can offer just as much interesting sights and activities to do. We also have a lot of culture that even the Westerners find attractive.

    Anyway, I’m excited for your next adventure. I hope I’ll be able to meet you in the future. You seem such an amazing gal!

  25. since I haven’t travel abroad I am clueless about this VISA thing and how the process works… If you got rejected for a US Visa.. does it mean you can no longer take it?
    Anyway, I’m glad that there are countries that you can still visit even without VISA… good luck on your next adventures!

  26. rashmikaur

    15 June

    chears trisha
    you have also presented to travel in visa free countries
    good work though

  27. Terence

    9 August

    i love this! I’ve got a paradigm shift! thank you miss trisha! hope to bump with you somewhere…

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