OFW in Japan: How to get an OEC when you just moved to another company?

UPDATE: April 17, 2019

For some reason, I think they changed the rule again. The person who processed my papers said that “verification-only” are only applicable to those who weren’t regular employees to begin with (i.e. those who came as students, dependents, intracompany visa holders, etc.). Otherwise, since I was already registered in the bm online and only changed jobs, I was given the OEC here and don’t have to go to the POEA office in the Philippines.

Ish (from the comment section)

Source: https://thefilipinogaijin.com/2018/10/16/ofw-in-japan-how-to-get-an-oec-when-you-just-moved-to-another-company/comment-page-1/#comment-30

If you’re living far from the POLO Tokyo office, I recommend you call or email them first to check the latest OEC procedure. Here is the Tokyo POLO office’s contact page.

Original Post: October 16, 2018

Recently, the POEA just released a new resolution about changing the process of obtaining a OEC.

I went to the POLO office in Tokyo just to found out that they recently changed the procedure and now I need to go to the Philippines POEA office to get an OEC.

What are the changes?

  1. Tokyo POLO will now need to verify your employment contract
  2. There will be no issuance of OEC in Tokyo POLO. They will only verify your employment contract then you will need to present it to POEA in the Philippines to get an OEC.

Who are affected by this change?

  1. OFW who are not yet registered in the Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System (bmonline.ph).
  2. OFW returning to Japan the first time after you moved to a new company (i.e. change employer).

What do you need to do?

  1. You need to prepare the following documents
    • Copy of photo page of your passport (original to be presented; valid at least 6 months before your intended departure)
    • Copy of Residence Card (with valid visa)
    • Copy of Insurance Card (original to be presented)
    • Signed written statement (letter form) addressed to Labor Attaché Marie Rose Escalada (indicating all necessary details how you were able to enter Japan and manage to get a job/change employer)
    • Employment Contract (signed by you and your employer; in English or with a signed English Translation)
    • Employment Certificate or proof of existing employment such as payroll slip or valid company identification card (if you’re working for more than 6 months for the said employer)
    • Release letter or Employment Certificate issued by the previous employer
    • Company Registration “Tokibo Tohon” (with English translation; signed by translator)
  2. Go to Tokyo POLO and submit the documents
  3. After they verify your Employment Contract, schedule an appointment using bmonline.ph.
  4. Submit the verified Employment Contract in a POEA office and receive your OEC (Note: there are POEA satellite offices so you don’t need to go to the one in Mandaluyong)

Yeah, I know. That’s a lot of documents, right? Shoganai 🙂

You can read the actual resolution document in here.

PS: You might notice that the documents in the resolution document is not the same with the one I listed above, but those are the list of documents Tokyo POLO just asked me to submit when I did my last visit there. Feel free to contact them if you want to make sure.

How to Find Software Engineering Jobs in Japan for Foreigners with No Japanese Requirement

It goes without saying that looking for a job in Japan without Japanese language skill is very hard. Most of the job posting searchable through Google and GaijinPot Jobs are not really helpful in looking for tech companies hiring people that can’t speak Japanese.

Luckily, the number of companies and start ups in Tokyo which are willing to hire English-only speakers are increasing year by year.

Here is a website with a list of good companies (that don’t suck) hiring Software Engineer. Check out the ones with No Japanese requirement.

Here is another website with a curated list of jobs specifically for English speakers.

Rakuten, the Amazon of Japan, is also hiring software engineers for their different departments and teams. I know a lot of foreigner working there and they say the company is promoting the use of English.

Create a LinkedIn account, make a good profile and make yourself searchable for recruiters in Tokyo. They can help you find companies matching your skills.

Good luck!

How to Apply Chinese Tourist Visa in Tokyo (for a Filipino Citizen)?

This year, I was able to travel multiple times from Japan to China with little to no hassle at all.

As of this day (September 2, 2018), here are the details for the Chinese Visa application:

How much is the application fee?

The 30 day single entry tourist visa application fee for a Filipino is 9,400 yen. You will pay the fee when you collect your passport (with the visa) and you can pay with cash or credit card.

What are the required documents?

1) Passport
Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and with blank visa pages, a colored photocopy of the passport’s data page and the photo page if it is separate.

2) Visa Application Form and Photo
One completed Visa Application Form with a recent 6 months colored passport photo (bare-head, full face) against a white background (size: 48mm x 33mm) attached. If the accompanying children on the same passport are also on the tour, their photos should be stuck on the Application Form, and related illustration is required.
There are two ways to prepare your application form. You may complete an Online Application Form (where a Visa Centre provides such service),  print it out and sign it; or, you can download the application form from our website and fill it out manually and sign it.

3) Residence Card
You will need to present your Residence Card and submit a copy of it. Please note that you may need to copy the back side of the Residence Card if your latest address is written in there.

4) Photocopy of previous Chinese Visa (if you previously had one).

5) Applicant’s round trip flight booking and hotel reservation.
Make sure that the flight dates and the hotel booking dates matches because the Visa Centre staff will check this information strictly.
If applicants can’t provide the hotel reservation, instead of staying at friend’s, relative’s place during holiday in china. Please provide the invitation letter and the inviter’s Chinese ID (front &back) copy or foreigner’s residence permit and passport copy .
The invitation letter should contain:
(1) Information of the applicant: Name, gender, date of birth, passport number and etc.
(2) Details of planned visit: arrival & departure date, tourism destination, expenditure arrangement and etc.
(3) Information of inviter: Inviter’s name, contact number, address, inviter’s signature and etc.

Where to apply for a Chinese Visa?

To apply for a Chinese Visa, you should go to the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre in Tokyo (not in the Chinese Embassy).
Address: 8th floor, Kamiyacho Prime Place, 4-1-17, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Please note that it’s closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.
Business Hours:
– Submission of applications: 9:00 to 15:00
– Payment and collection: 9:00 to 16:00

For more details about the Visa Centre, check this link.

When you go there to submit the application

  1. Make sure you have your passport, application form and all the required documents.
  2. Get a queue number from the staff in the front desk.
  3. Wait for your number to be called.
  4. When your number is called, submit the documents.
    The staff will give you a Pickup Form indicating the visa application fee and the day when your passport (with Chinese Visa) will be available for collection.

When you go there to collect your passport with Chinese Visa

  1. Make sure you have your Pickup Form with you. Also make sure you have the payment for the application fee.
  2. Get a queue number from the staff in the front desk.
  3. Wait for your number to be called.
  4. When your number is called, get your passport (hopefully with the Chinese Visa on it).

Additional Things to Know

  • The Visa Centre has a photo booth in case you need one for the passport photo. Last time I was there, it costs 800 yen.
  • The Visa Centre also has photocopying machines and personal computers connected to the internet which you can use to copy or print your hotel booking, flight itinerary and previous Chinese visa.

Japan: Shibuya Halloween Parade 2017

The Shibuya Halloween “Parade” is an unofficial event which occurs during the Halloween nights near Shibuya Crossing. This event showcase the gathering of people wearing Halloween costumes and cosplay outfits.

This year, since I work around Shibuya area, I decided to take some pictures of people in costumes before I go home.

There were a lot of people (both in costumes and not) but you can still feel that the whole place was safe because there were also a lot of police maintaining the peace and order.

Overall, the event was really nice and I will probably take pictures next year if I’m still here in Japan.

Japan Adventure: Climbing Mt. Fuji

Early this Summer 2017, me and some of my friends climbed Mt. Fuji. That was second time climbing Mt. Fuji and up until now, it’s still the most brutal thing I ever experienced.

I’m not really that fit when I did the climb. I was usually short of sleep and lung capacity is not really that good anymore. But luckily I was able to reach the top despite a couple of minor hiccups.

The Plan

  1. Ride the bus from Shibuya to Mt. Fuji 5th station
  2. Eat dinner in the 5th station
  3. Start the climb at around 8pm
  4. Reach the summit before the sunrise
  5. Eat and rest for a while on the summit
  6. Climb down back to the 5th station
  7. Ride the bus back to Tokyo

Things You’ll Need

  1. Good hiking shoes
  2. Gloves
  3. Good jacket for the cold night
  4. A rain coat
  5. Flashlight or Head lamp
  6. Energy bars and/or small snacks
  7. Water (in my case, 2 liters is enough)

The Climb

Our group had 6 members; 2 Filipinos, 3 Koreans and 1 Japanese.

We started our adventure on Shibuya. We met there and rode the bus which took us to Mt. Fuji 5th Station.

We then took a quick dinner in one of the restaurant in the 5th station.

We started the preparation for our climb. We bought some wooden walking sticks. Those wooden sticks helped us during the climb as a support for uneven land. There are also stamping area in every station where you pay ~500 yen and the staff would put a “station stamp” in your wooden stick.

This year, because we have some first time Mt. Fuji climbers in our group, we decided to climb the Yoshida Trail again. This, as far as we know, is the easiest of the trails going up the summit. There are 4 trails to the summit; Yoshida, Subashiri, Gotemba and Fujinomiya.

We started our climb at around 6pm and it started relatively easy. The weather was very nice compared to my first climb the previous year. The climb from the 5th to the 8th station was very smooth. I didn’t even had to wear my jacket yet.

By the way, after the 7th station you will notice that there are a lot of 8th stations. Another fun fact, there are mini stores and vending machines in each stations where you can buy drinks and food. The prices are more expensive but that’s the cost of convenience.

By the time we reached the 8th station, it’s already very dark and cold. We started to wear our down jackets and turned on our head lamps.

The climb between 8.5th station and the summit was very difficult for me. The wind was becoming stronger and colder as we climb up. I only brought three Snickers bars with me that day and as pointed out by some of my friends, my jacket wasn’t really think enough for the cold winds of Mt. Fuji. This was around 2AM to 3PM.

So after 10 hours worth of climbing and two incident of public puking near the summit. Me and my buddy were able to reach the summit at 4AM just in time for the sunrise.

There were a lot of people climbing in queue starting the 9th station and there are more people waiting for the sunrise in the summit.

In the summit, we ate some food inside a ramen restaurant and stayed there maybe for two good hours to rest our bodies before we climbed down.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s a great experience. I am not really a fan of climbing mountains but I enjoyed physical and challenging activities. However, now that I climbed Mt. Fuji twice, I am not really sure if I still want to climb it next year.

Again, it’s definitely the worst feeling I ever experienced in my life physically; the cold and strong wind, the fatigue, the dizziness and the headache.

Let’s see next summer if I’ll climb it again. 🙂

Travel Japan: Hokkaido during Summer

Hokkaido is one of the more famous places in Japan aside from Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
It is the topmost island of Japan where the cold wind still blows even when the summer breeze is already in Tokyo.

Usually when people talk about Hokkaido, it’s about the snow festival and the cold weather. Being the topmost island of Japan, the temperature can go below zero degrees Celsius during winter days.

So last August, me and two friends decided to spend our summer break in Hokkaido; splitting our 6 days (5 nights) adventure between 3 nights in Furano & Biei and the remaining 2 nights in Sapporo.

The summary of our plan:

  1. Fly from Tokyo to Asahikawa Airport
  2. Stay in a Furano hotel / airbnb
  3. Roam around Furano and Biei
  4. Travel to Sapporo area with bus or train
  5. Stay in a Sapporo hotel / airbnb
  6. Roam around Sapporo area
  7. Fly from New Chitose Airport back to Tokyo


We kinda wasted a lot of time before doing our hotel booking so most of the cheap and good ones are already booked. If I remember it correctly, we’re almost a month away from the trip before we did the booking. Luckily, we were still able to find some good deals.

B&B Furano

First, B&B Furano. This pension house might not be a luxury hotel but the rooms are good enough for travelers like us. The house is near bus stations and it’s walking distance from some restaurants and 7eleven. The breakfast meals are also great.

For 2 rooms, we paid 75,000 yen for 3 nights.


Next, Mystays Premier Hotel in Sapporo. This one is a really nice hotel. Complete with amenities like restaurants and hot spring bath inside the building. The hotel is within walking distance from the city center.

For 2 rooms, we paid 57,000 yen for 2 nights.

The Tourist Spots:

Me and my friends didn’t really stick on a fixed itinerary and schedule. Here is the list of the places we checked out during our trip.

Farm Tomita (Furano)

Flower Land Kamifurano (Furano)

Zerebu Hill (Biei)

Furano Cheese Factory (Furano)

Patchwork no Michi (Biei)

Shirogane Blue Pond (Biei)

Otaru (near Sapporo)

Shiroi Koibito Park (Sapporo)

Sapporo Beer Museum (Sapporo)

Soup Curry GARAKU (Sapporo)

Genghis Khan Restaurant (Sapporo)

This restaurant serves lamb meat for Yakinuku. We waited over 2 hours just to be seated in this famous restaurant and maybe that’s the reason I was too hungry to take pictures. 🙂

Final Thoughts

Our Hokkaido trip last Summer will definitely be on the list of my favorite trips even though we were kind of relax in our itinerary and weren’t able to go to other tourist spots.

Hopefully in the future, I’ll get visit this place again and enjoy the food and places we weren’t able to try. Maybe during winter for a change. 🙂