Currently Philippine borders are still closed due to Covid-19 health safety. Philippines is not open for tourism. Foreigners with Filipino family ties, residency and special conditions can travel to the Philippines.

Who can travel to Philippines

Filipino nationals

  • Philippine Passport
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Pre-booked quarantine hotel accredited by Tourism and Health Agencies
  • RT-PCR Test (Swab Test) upon arrival in the Philippines (at traveler’s expense)

Non-Filipino/Foreign spouse3 and minor children3 or children with special needs3 of a Filipino national

  • Passport with Philippine entry visa or long-term visa1
  • For spouses: authentic marriage certificate and any other document as proof of nationality of Filipino spouse
  • For minor children (17 years old and below) and children with special needs (regardless of age): birth certificate and any other document as proof of nationality of Filipino parent
  • If unable to present a marriage certificate or proof filiation to the Filipino national, a letter from the PH Department of Foreign Affairs exempting passenger from the travel restrictions
  • May or may not travel with Filipino spouse/parent. If not traveling with Filipino spouse/parent, the Filipino spouse/parent should be alive and must be in the Philippines during the intended date of travel.
  • Must meet the four (4) conditions of the IATF-EID2

Non-Filipino/Foreign parent3 of a minor Filipino child (17 years old and below) or a child with special needs (regardless of age)

  • Passport with Philippine entry visa or long-term visa1
  • Proof of filiation to the minor Filipino child or child with special needs, or a letter from the PH Department of Foreign Affairs exempting passenger from the travel restrictions
  • Proof of citizenship of the minor Filipino child or child with special needs
  • May or may not travel with minor Filipino child or child with special needs. If not traveling with the minor Filipino child or child with special needs, the minor Filipino child or child with special needs should be alive and must be in the Philippines during the intended date of travel.
  • Must meet the four (4) conditions of the IATF-EID2
  • Accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents
  • Please check with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs or contact the Philippine Bureau of Immigration below.

Non-Filipino/Foreign seafarers with 9(c) visa

  • Passport /Seaman’s Book
  • Must meet the four (4) conditions of the IATF-EID2
  • Non-Filipino/Foreign nationals with an eligible long-term visa3

Eligible Visas:

  • Section 13 series visa (Sec. 13; Sec. 13(a); Sec. 13(b); Sec. 13(c); Sec. 13(d); Sec. 13(e); Sec. 13(g)) Immigrant visa
  • RA 7919 visa Renewal of their Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) I-Card under Republic Act 7919
  • EO 324 visa Foreign nationals who have acquired permanent residency under Executive Order No. 324
  • Native Born visa
  • Temporary Resident Visa relative to Section 13 of CA 613, as amended (based on Memorandum Order (MO) No. ADD-01-038/ ADD 02-015)
  • MCL-07-021 Permanent Resident Visa based on Section 13(a) of CA 613 under MO No. MCL-07-021 Permanent Resident Visa for Chinese nationals married to a Filipino citizen
  • 9E Accredited Official of Foreign Government
  • TRV Temporary Residence Visa
  • Must meet the four (4) conditions of the IATF-EID

Covid-19 Test Required for Travel to Philippines

PCR test is done upon arrival at Philippines. Check with your airline for any requirement before boarding airplane.

Travel Requirements for Philippines

For Non-Filipino (Overseas Worker) arriving at Manila Airport


  • Please note that this is a two-step registration process. Your registration is completed once you receive an e-mail containing a QR Code.
  • Ensure to have a confirmed booking at a hotel accredited by Tourism and Health Agencies while waiting for your COVID-19 test results and for at least 2 days. You must stay at your booked hotel until the test result is sent and BOQ medical certificate is issued. Please book a hotel in a city within Metro Manila only.

Please click here for the FULL list of DOH-Inspected in Manila.


  • Upon arrival, listen to the briefing conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard.
  • Undergo a temperature check upon deplaning and proceed to the designated waiting area. Fill out the Affidavit of Undertaking.
  • Proceed to the verification and barcoding booth. Present your passport and the QR code sent to you after accomplishing the e-CIF.
  • Pay for your RT-PCR Test. The test costs Php 4,500 and you may pay in cash (PHP or USD), card, GCash, PayPal™, WeChat Pay, or Alipay. ATMs are available inside the terminal. You will be given three (3) barcode stickers.
  • Proceed to the Swab Test booth and hand out the three barcode stickers.
  • Undergo the COVID-19 RT-PCR Test and receive a sticker indicating that you have completed the test. Place the sticker on the back of your passport.
  • Help Desks are available at the waiting area for passengers who do not have smart devices/phones. Charging stations are also available.
  • Clear with immigration. Present the QR code sent to your e-mail after accomplishing the Electronic Health Locator Form and Arrival Card.
  • Proceed to the hotel verification desk. Please refer to the hotel code indicated in the e-mail that was sent to you after registration to the PAL e-CIF. If your hotel code starts with H-001 and up, please proceed to the desk near carousel number seven (7). If your hotel code starts with D-001 and up or B-001 and up, please proceed to the desk near carousel number six (6).
  • For pre-arranged hotel transfers, a red sticker will be provided
  • For Shuttles/Vans, a blue sticker will be provided
  • For Metered Taxis, a yellow sticker will be provided
  • For Coupon Taxis, a green sticker will be provided
  • Claim your baggage at the designated carousel and clear with Customs Check.
  • Submit the Affidavit of Undertaking before exiting the terminal. Proceed to your booked hotel through your preferred mode of transportation.


  • Check in at your hotel and wait for the release of your test results, which are released in 24-48 hours. For those who tested negative, it will be sent to the e-mail address you have provided when you registered. If you filled out a Philippine mobile number during registration, you will also receive a text message (SMS) indicating that your test result is ready and has been sent to the e-mail address you have provided when you registered. The timings on release of test results are not definite and may be shortened or extended.
  • In case you have onward connecting flights and are required to extend your stay, please call +632 8855-8888 as soon as possible for the rebooking of your connecting flights (subject to terms and conditions).
  • Your accommodation and food during your stay including fees due to required extensions will be at your own expense. Delivery of food and other essentials to your room are subject to the rules and regulations of the hotel.


  • If you test positive, the BOQ shall transfer you to a designated hospital for further medical management. If you test negative, you may obtain your BOQ medical certificate via the DOH-BOQ certificate page for clearance at your quarantine hotel. For a hard copy of your certificate, printing services will be available at your hotel.
  • Once you are cleared, you may contact your relatives to pick you up and bring you home. Further transportation shall be at your own expense. If you have an onward flight, please ensure to pre-register and secure all travel and health documents required by your destination’s Local Government Unit (LGU). Click here for more information.
  • Once at home, please complete your 14-day quarantine/self-isolation.



Thailand is not open for tourism. Foreigners with residency, work permits, student permits and special permits are allowed to Thailand for travel. Several Covid-19 travel requirements are needed to enter Thailand.

Who can Travel to Thailand

  • Thai Nationals
  • Persons with exemption or being considered, permitted or invited
  • Persons on diplomatic or consular missions or under International organizations,
  • or representatives of foreign government , including their spouses , parents or children
  • Carriers of necessary goods
  • Crew members
  • Non-Thai nationals who are spouses, parents, or children of a Thai national
  • Alien who have a certificate of residence in the kingdom , including their spouses and children
  • Non-Thai nationals who have a work permit or have been granted permission
  • from government agencies to work in the Kingdom, including their spouses and children
  • Non-Thai nationals who are students of public, private,
  • International schools and the Border patrol police institutes
  • Non-Thai nationals who are students of public, private,
  • International schools and the Border patrol police institutes
  • Non-Thai nationals in need of medical treatment and their attendants not more than 3 person
  • Non-Thai nationals who are permitted to enter the Kingdom
  • under a special arrangement with a foreign country

Covid-19 Test Required for Thailand Travel

PCR (not more than 72 hours before travelling)

Other Requirements for Thailand Travel

  • Certificate of Entry (COE)
  • Fit to Fly Certificate
  • Precise and clear travel plan that can be traced
  • Exit Screening
  • Entry Screening
  • Download tracing application
  • Quarantine not less than 14 days and
    subject to COVID-19 test twice

Work Permit Requirement for Thailand Travel

  • Letter certifying that the person who will travel to Thailand has the
    employer certified by the Ministry of Labor
    Letter certifying that the employer is responsible for the health expenses or Covid-19
  • Letter certifying that the employer has the transportation at the
    exact time for the person to the quarantine accommodation
    Letter of approval on quarantine accommodation by Thai authorities


Morocco: China Town

There is no real China town in Morocco as the Asian community is small in the country. At Casablanca there is an area comparable to China town in the sense that there are low cost made in China items sold in shops and by the street at a small neighborhood. The vendors and shop owners are mostly Moroccans not like the real China town wherein most of the shop owners are Chinese immigrants.

Shops and street best buys:

  • kitchenware – casserole, pan, utensils, plates, glasses
  • bedding – duvet, bet cover, pillow
  • toilet equipment – shower curtain
  • organizers – portable cabinet, indoor clothes dryer
  • decorations – mirrors, painting
  • fabric

Chinese Grocery

At the same area there is a Chinese grocery that serves Asian condiments and food that are hard to find. It is also the only place I found that sells pork meat.

Some of the best finds at the Chinese grocery:

  • Pork
  • Maggi seasoning
  • Hot pot / Shabu Shabu balls
  • Sio mai / dimsum (beef)
  • Dried vegetable snacks
  • Noodles for stir fry and soup

Chinese Grocery map:

*Map may not be accurate. Landmark is Yammy restaurant along boulevard Rahal El Meskini 

Derb Omar 

Derb Omar is like the China town of Casablanca. This is best place to go to if  you are looking for cheap buys and do not want to go to the tourist-y medina and haggle.

Derb Omar map: 

Morocco: Top Shopping in Casablanca

Alpha 55

Alpha 55 mall is like a mini department store for home, personal, school and office supplies. I personally like the decorations and stationery area. There are imported items with average prices.

Best to shop for:

  • Home supplies such as kitchenware, dining ware, bath and garden supplies
  • Decorations such as candles, table top and wall decorations
  • Small furniture such as coffee tables, chairs, portable closet
  • Cheap accessories such as necklace, bracelet, earring
  • Personal hygiene products such as facial and body creams, soaps, shampoos, hair dye, even nail products
  • School and office supplies, such as papers, pens folders, books, stationary.

Pricing:  Low to Mid-range

Alpha 55 Mall address: *Near the French consulate

Morocco Mall

Morocco mall is the largest shopping mall in Casablanca with wide range to choose from. Shops range from cheap to luxury brands. The top floor is mainly for the the luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Fendi, and others.  At the ground floor there is a shop called Marjane which is a grocery-department store that offers lower priced items. Mid-priced brands include H&M, Zara, Pull&Bear, Marwa, LC Waikiki and others.

Main attraction at Morroco mall is the large cylindrical indoor aquarium at the center of the ground floor. Different sea animals can be seen such as shark, manta ray, eels, and various fishes.

Restaurants are lined outside the Morocco mall facing the sea. The outside area can be windy and chilly especially at night.

At one end of the top floor, opposite the luxury shops is a fast food area, with popular franchises such as  McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC. There are shops for ice cream, asian food, sandwich, tacos, pizza, and moroccan food.

In front of Morocco mall, at the right side, before the entrance you can find the only IMAX cinema in Casablanca. English movies (with original English audio) are shown every Tuesdays and Thursdays. Imax Casablanca Schedule


FNAC is a good shop for branded electronics such as phones, laptops, speakers, headsets. Most of electronic accessories can be found here. Second floor of FNAC is for books (mostly French and Arabic), there is a small section for classic English books. Stationery, notebooks, and writing supplies are also at the second floor of FNAC.


Yan&One is like a Sephora of Morocco, though I have only seen one shop in Casablanca. It is at the center of the ground floor of Morocco mall. Yan&One offers large selection of cosmetics and bath products. It has Yan&One products and imported brands from France, US, Korea, and UK.


There is a Marjane grocery.department store at Morocco mall. Marjane is a one stop shop for:

  • Grocery, fresh food, bread, pastries, alcohol
  • Home supplies, kitchenware and equipment
  • Electronics – tv, laptop, mouse, speakers, cellphone
  • Repair tools –  super glue, screw drivers
  • Stationery – papers, folders, pens, books, pins, stablers, rulers, glue
  • Clothe – underwear, pyjamas, shirts, shorts, shoes, slippers, socks,

In general Morocco mall is best to shop for:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Accessories
  • Jewelries
  • Home Supplies
  • Electronics
  • Grocery
  • Telecommunication
  • Cinema
  • Restaurants

View Morocco mall shops and restaurants here.

Pricing: low to high-range

Morocco mall address:

Anfaplace Mall

Anfaplace mall is smaller than Morocco mall, with mid-range priced shops.

The advantage of Anfa mall is that it has a better sea view with direct access to the beach. It is 5 minutes walking distance to the corniche which is a long walkway by the sea with several restaurants with sea view.

There is a fastfood area at the top floor of Anfaplacce mall with a sea view.

Anfaplace is best to shop for:

  • Virgin – It has more choices of electronics brands than FNAC (Morocco mall)
  • Clothes, shoes, bags, accessories
  • Carrefour – grocery

View Anfaplace mall shops and restaurants here.

Pricing: Mid-range

Anfaplace mall address:

Boulevard Al Massira / Maarif


Near twin center along boulevard Al Massira is a row of branded mid-high priced shops such as LC Waikiki, Addidas, Zara, Stradivarius, Pull&Bear, Aldo, and Parfois. There is Massimo Dutti which is more pricey. More shops can be found at the small streets adjacent to boulevard Al Massira.

Boulevard Al Massira Khadra – Branded shops location:


If you take the Maarif exit from inside the Twin Center there is an area of more local shops with low-priced (non–branded) items. Walking around the area you can find shops for shoes, clothes, accessories and jewelry.

Maarif local shopping location:

Bookstore – Maarif

At the back of Mcdonalds, Maarif there is a bookstore with large selection. Mostly in French and Arabic and few English books.

 Maarif Bookstore location:

Morocco: Electronics Repair, Buy and Sell

CASABLANCA: Where to go for a one stop place for electronics such phones, television, laptop, computers, camera, and supplies.

Phone / Sim Unlock. Moving to a new country may require to unlock your mobile phone sim card for a local one. If you want to keep your cellphone from home and unlock your phone / sim, this is the best place to go. I personally did this and it worked well. Cost: 600 Dirham.

Repair. Backpacking, enjoying the countryside means roughening your equipment as well. Accidents cannot be avoided such as dropping electronics that result to screen cracks that need replacement. Or having your phone fall down in water and need some new parts. This is the place to to go for the most common and uncommon electronic gadget repairs.  

Trade-ins. There will be some men who will offer a deal to buy your phone/laptop/camera in exchange for another model. Be careful with this as the authenticity of the trade-in device may not be guaranteed.

Television Cable Box / Satellite / Connection. If you are an English speaker and do not know Darija, Arabic or French, finding your favorite English shows at the local television connection is close to impossible. Unless you discover where to buy the cable box connections that almost has all the languages.

I tried the Dreamsat, all you need is a stable internet connection, HDMI cable (included) for television connection. And you can follow most of your favorite English shows. You will need to ask the vendor to connect you to English channels and a code will be downloaded. Connection is good for a year, ask the number of the vendor for the annual renewal of code. Cost: 700 dirham.

Mobile phones, Televisions, Laptops. Can be bought at a lower price than in shopping malls and commercial shops such as FNAC and Virgin.

Electronics Supplies. Parts, chargers, cables, screws, special batteries. You can be lucky to see difficult to find parts and supplies here.

Electronic Repair Tools. If you want a DIY repair, you can also find screws, screwdrivers, repair and and cleaning equipment.

Software and Applications.  Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Adobe. Educational, professional and personal applications and software can be found here a a very low cost.

So where is this place in Casablanca? 

Derb Ghallef. 

How to go there: Just tell the taxi driver – Derb Ghalef electronic (electronique)

Tip: Download the app Jumia and compare prices if the vendor is giving you a good offer.




Ethiopia: Networking

Useful Expat Online Networking in Addis Ababa Ethiopia


  • Useful for networking with fellow expats seeking and sharing advice
  • Good to find accommodation for rent
  • Job section is mostly used for freelancers seeking job or for families seeking house help
  • Network can be specific for Addis Ababa

  • Useful for networking with fellow expats seeking and sharing advice
  • Good to find accommodation for rent
  • Job section is mostly used for freelancers seeking job or for families seeking house help
  • Network is for the whole country of Ethiopia and cannot be specified by city

Facebook Groups