With the announcement of the upcoming visa-free entry to Taiwan for Filipinos last May, there’s no question that more of our Kababayans are now finally itching to visit this beautiful neighbouring country. For two nations that are literally about two hours by air from each other, it only makes sense that better travel opportunities are finally opened up. And the visa-free news is only one of them.
At the 2017 Taiwan Tourism Workshop hosted by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines, held last 5 July 2017 at the New World Manila Bay Hotel, Taiwanese travel agencies, airline partners, and representatives from the Taiwan local government shared a number of exciting opportunities that will make every Filipino traveller have a fresh appreciation of Taiwan.
Having reached a record-breaking 10.69 million incoming visitors from the Philippines in 2016, Taiwan’s standing as one of the smaller countries in the world hasn’t affected the fact that the island truly has tremendous things to offer for all types of tourists.
Stunning natural attractions
For one, it is home to several rare species that thrive in its marine tropical, subtropical and temperate climate, such as the Formosan landlocked salmon, Formosan rock monkey, Formosan black bear and Swinhoe’s pheasant.
Outdoors, the island is bristling with natural scenic spots best viewed from its national parks and forest recreation areas. You have the cliffs of Tarogo Gorge, the Sun Moon Lake, East Rift Valley, the outlying islands of Kinmen and Pengchu, and Northeast Asia’s highest peak, Yushan (Jade Mountain).
Leisure farm tours
An incredibly agricultural country like the Philippines, Taiwan gives paramount priority to its 300 registered local farms that are mostly functional and tourist-friendly at the same time. These farms, generally managed by the Taiwan Leisure Farm Association, have been transformed into valuable recreational and learning centres wherein visitors can explore making crafts, picking fruits, preparing ice cream, milking cows (like in the Flowing Cow Ranch) and enjoying organic delicacies. At the end of it all, you can even spend the night in their on-site accommodations overlooking lush greenery and fields.
Endless shopping & eating
Taiwan’s “culinary kingdom” offers a colourful array of local and exotic food highlighted by traditional Taiwanese dishes. They also have cuisines with Hakka, Hunan, Sichuan and even Japanese and Korean touches giving Taiwan the title as one of the best places for a hearty food crawl. Simply getting out on the streets, particularly into Taipei’s Shilin and Raohe Night Market, is enough to have a taste and grasp of all affordable yet decent gastronomic and everyday items.
Free half-day tour for transit passengers
Transit passengers with 7-to 24-hour layovers can join Taiwan’s Free Half-Day Tour given that they have valid R.O.C. visas or they come from countries eligible for visa-exempt entry. Eligible tourists will visit the Sanxia Zushi Temple, Sanxia Old Street, Yingge Ceramics Old Street and Tai Hwa Pottery in the morning, and the Taipei 101, Longshan Temple and Ching Kai Shek Memorial Hall in the afternoon, all for FREE! For more details on eligibility and tour schedule, click here.
Group visa simplification
Tourist groups carrying no less than 5 people and organised by the designated travel agencies and corporate incentive groups from India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos are qualified to apply for an entry visa to R.O.C (Taiwan) with no need for proof of occupation and supporting financial documents. The application fee for this visa is also waived. Applications can be submitted via Taiwan Tourism Bureau Kuala Lumpur Office. Click here for more details.
Next step: VISA-FREE for Filipinos!
While we don’t know exactly when this will take effect, the Taiwan government assured that there is not a word of bluff in the news, and Filipinos WILL have their turn on entering Taiwan completely stripped of visa restrictions.
In his welcome speech, Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, Representative of the ROC (Taiwan) to the Philippines, emphasised that the Philippines has long been a friend of Taiwan, and if preparations go smoothly, it is expected that the visa-free policy will be announced in September or at an appropriate date this 2017.
This is definitely something worth celebrating! So, Kababayans, prepare your passports and plan your trip to Taiwan as early as now!