Japan 2019 (Part 4: Hiroshima + Osaka)

We’re finally at the last part of my Japan 2019 adventure! (Click here to read part 1, part 2, and part 3.) It was so much fun writing and editing all the photos (all 140+ photos)—it’s as if I’m traveling back there again through my writing. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it!

Day 9: Hiroshima + Miyajima Island

Out of all the places we’ve visited so far, I admit that I was most excited about Hiroshima. It was an entirely new place for me, and I’ve been wanting to visit the area for a long time. So after nine hours on the night bus, we finally arrived at Hiroshima Station:

The bus conveniently announcing our arrival.

It was another cold morning when we got down the bus; it was like an instant wake-up call for us! We walked to Hiroshima Station’s streetcar platform and headed for our hostel, J-Hoppers Hiroshima. We freshened up quickly and had a light kombini breakfast before heading for the Motoyasu Pier to board the ferry going to Miyajima Island. (While it wasn’t the cheapest way to get there, it was the most convenient way for us as our hostel was within walking distance to the Hiroshima Peace Park.)

We got seats on the ferry that face the windows!

What a peaceful sight.

What’s cool about this ferry is that it cruises slowly on the river, letting us enjoy the calm views, before speeding into the sea!

The Atomic Bomb Dome.

Forty-five minutes later, we reached the gorgeous Miyajima Island. We didn’t have any specific plans except to eat, take lots of nice photos, and walk around enjoying the sights. We were welcomed by a few deer friends:

Oh, deer!

Trying hard to blend in?

After saying hello to the deer, we spotted our first eat of the afternoon: curry oyster buns! Man, I love oysters and curry, and to see the two of them combined into one heavenly pouch made me really excited. I immediately bought one with no hesitation.

The verdict? I would gladly go all the way back to Miyajima just to eat another one of these. Delicious!

Continue reading “Japan 2019 (Part 4: Hiroshima + Osaka)”

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Japan 2019 (Part 3: Kyoto)

Part three of my Japan exploration trip is here! (Click here to read part 1 and part 2!)

Last I left from the previous blog post, my friends and I were in Osaka getting ready to go to Kyoto.

Day 6: Kyoto Exploration + Kichi Kichi

We woke up to a slow morning and eventually made our way to Kyoto from Osaka via the express train. Luckily, our hostel, Kyoto Hana Hostel, was within walking distance from Kyoto Station, so (after a quick stop at the Kyoto main post office) we dropped off our luggage right away and headed to Nishiki Market for a late lunch/street-food-food-trip.

Immediately, as soon as we arrived at Nishiki Market, I found my first bite:

I got this large unagi sushi for ¥300! Yum.

After practically inhaling the unagi, we walked for about twenty steps when I found the next thing to eat: tofu doughnuts!

Six tofu doughnuts for ¥300!

After barely even entering the market and eating unagi sushi AND mini tofu doughnuts, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t last until we reach the end of the market, haha! Also, we had dinner reservations around 5PM and I didn’t want to feel too full for that later, so I exercised a little bit of self-control after the doughnuts. My friends and I decided to split the next thing we all wanted to try:

I can’t recall what this is exactly, but it’s like a pork pancake?

Moving on in the market, we unexpectedly found a Snoopy Chaya branch! I’m not a big fan of matcha (oops) but I AM a big Peanuts/Snoopy fan, so I went in and looked around.

Happy kid! I also bought a few souvenirs here, hehe.

Look at that Snoopy mochi! So cute!

We went on shopping and eating once every so often (at this point, I forgot to take photos of the fresh sashimi I’ve eaten and others–oops) before heading for Kichi Kichi for our reservations! A little backstory—I literally checked the website every Sunday at 3PM (that was the date and time when the restaurant will open reservations for a specific time when I was reserving) until reservations opened; so I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time, you could say! (I actually got the reservations for this on my birthday, Feb. 10! It was a nice birthday gift hehe.)

Anyways, back to Kyoto! We waited outside the restaurant early and was able to get the counter seats (we were the second group to be seated), which is a big deal for me as the restaurant alone could only seat eight people at a time.

So honored and happy to sit right across from Chef Motokichi Yukimura!

Continue reading “Japan 2019 (Part 3: Kyoto)”

Japan 2019 (Part 2: Osaka)

Part two of my Japan trip is here! (Click here to read part one!)

One night bus later, we arrived at Osaka! This marked my third time to visit Osaka, and every time I go back, it brings me warm memories. It’s the place where I visited Japan for the first time, after all! Every time I go back, I feel bubbly and excited—there’s just so much to do and see!

Day 4: Osaka Exploration

After a comfortable and smooth 7-hour ride on the night bus, we were welcomed by the cool Osaka morning as we got down the bus. We made our way to our hostel, Osaka Hana Hostel, where we dropped off our luggage and went to a nearby Mo’s Burgers for some breakfast:

The hot milk tea and warm cheeseburger definitely hit the spot!

After breakfast, we walked back to the hostel and freshened up for the day. This day was a free day dedicated to shopping and exploring; we didn’t have a fixed schedule, so it was nice to just take the city in. We walked to Dotonburi and enjoyed exploring the shops in the area. Eventually, with all the walking we did, our stomachs went empty once more and we decided that lunch would be a little “treat yo’ self” meal and headed to Daimaru.

So. Good. Everything was cooked to perfection—almost like a melt-in-your-mouth experience!

After lunch, we went to Tokyu Hands and Kawachi for some shopping (yes, my wallet felt particularly light after visiting these two places—HAHA!) Just outside the building, we were lucky to find such delicious ichigo daifuku for sale. Naturally, we bought one each:

Armed with bags of Tokyu Hands goods, Kawachi goods, and strawberry daifuku, we headed back to the hostel and checked in our room:

Futon beds are the best! Continue reading “Japan 2019 (Part 2: Osaka)”

Japan 2019 (Part 1: Nagoya)

After months of planning, researching, and booking, my friends and I finally went to Japan for our graduation trip!
I’m splitting up this 11-day trip into four posts, each focusing on one specific area of Japan—so come along on our trip as I look back and retell the story from my memories!

Six months ago (or even more), I told Nicole—one of my best friends—that I was itching to go back to Japan and explore different areas. Originally, my whole group of friends and I were supposed to go to Japan together. Unfortunately, not everyone was free to go, so we decided to push on with the trip with promises of future travel with everyone else instead. In the end, only Nicole, Alecca, and I were free to go.

After deciding on who could go, we talked about what areas of Japan we’d like to explore. Nicole, seeing that it would be her first time to visit Japan, voted for Osaka since she’s been dreaming of going to Universal Studios for the Wizarding World. Alecca, who’s visited Japan once in the past, was willing to go wherever we’ll go, and I wanted to explore Nagoya and Hiroshima. Searching up nearby places to visit, I came up with this route: Nagoya-Osaka-Kyoto-Hiroshima-Osaka.

Now that we had a clear route, we decided on a budget and the activities we’d want to do in each area. Since most of the funds (if not all) for the trip would be coming out of our own savings, we were on a budget for sure. I made an Excel sheet and worked on the budget for flights, accommodation, night buses, entrance fees, and more. Once the budget seemed reasonable, we bought our plane tickets. We booked our hostels and night buses. We bought tickets for USJ and airport express tickets. We exchanged our money and packed—the point is, we booked and bought whatever we could before leaving to ease on us spending yen once we arrived.

Fast forward to March 1 after months of careful planning and research, we were on the plane for Nagoya!

Day 1: Arrival (Nagoya)

(L-R): Nicole, Alecca, and I on the plane to Nagoya!

Chicken Sisig: one last Filipino meal before having eleven days of Japanese food!

Our flight landed earlier than expected, so took our time and rode the airport express to Nagoya Station. We embraced the cool air (which is such a luxury since I live in a tropical country) as we made our way to our first hostel of the trip.

Hostel Wasabi!

It was all our first time to try out a capsule hostel, so we were pretty excited! It was interesting to see all the different people checking in and hanging out in the lounge. My friends and I booked a female-only floor and we enjoyed how clean and quiet the floor was!

My little space for the next two nights.

We settled down, freshened up for bed, and rested for the day, excited for what tomorrow would bring.

Continue reading “Japan 2019 (Part 1: Nagoya)”

Papa Didi’s Ice Cream Subscription

I’ve been waiting for months to finally write this blog post!

A few months ago, I read this article on Spot.ph about a local ice cream subscription. Of course, with no hesitation, I signed up—I love ice cream, after all, and I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I was ready to have three months of sweet ice cream bliss. The ice cream that arrived were all random and I arranged for it to be delivered on the first day it was available; so every 21st of the month, I got two pints of ice cream from Papa Didi’s. I’ve never tried Papa Didi’s before, but I’ve heard good things about it and I had high expectations with the ice cream.

Right on the dot, I got my first two pints on the 21st of November.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received the ice cream because it was still intact after delivery! The ice cream was still frozen and ready to eat. Opening the box, I was happy to find a letter that accompanied the ice cream—take a look:

Honestly, when I read the word “coffee” I happy face sank a bit because I’m not too fond of coffee ice cream (same goes with mint and pistachio—sorry!) but nevertheless, I was willing to give it a go. The letter was endearing and I found myself invested in the story that went behind the makings of the chosen flavor of the month.

I scooped a small portion in a bowl and tried it out—it’s delicious! The coffee and the chocolate bits balanced out well and I found myself reaching for the ice cream scooper for another serving. (My aunt was intrigued by this ice cream subscription, so I gave her my other pint.)

Less than two weeks later, the pint of ice cream turned empty and I found myself eagerly waiting for next month’s flavor.

Continue reading “Papa Didi’s Ice Cream Subscription”

2018 Wrap-Up!

I know it’s mid-February already, but there’s no time like the present for the first blog post of the year!

This time, I don’t really have any reasons for not updating as often as I can, but I know the cause of it: I’m just not feeling it. Ever since I’ve graduated, I feel uninspired and unmotivated to do anything at all. I guess it’s because I’ve been a student so long—with a fixed schedule and fixed resolutions to achieve—that when I am no longer under an academic calendar, I don’t really have a solid goal to do anymore. It’s as if I’ve been thrown in a dark maze with no source of light whatsoever. I’d have to figure out where things go from here.

I guess you could say I’m still adjusting as I go. I’m currently helping out with the family business and am freelancing to keep myself busy, but it’s not as satisfying as I’ve hoped. I guess I just miss that sense of satisfaction when you’ve worked so hard on something that you’re truly passionate about and the results prove your time and energy to be really worthwhile. Right now, I feel like I’ve just been filling up on side quests with no “main quest”–to speak in videogame terms.

Anyways (as I try to figure my life out some more), to quickly wrap up 2018, here are the last three months of my Hobonichi!

October 2018

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September Hobonichi Wrap-Up! (ほぼ日)

Time flies! It’s December now, and I’m still stuck on a September Hobonichi Wrap-Up—HAHA! Lately, because I’ve been home 90% of the time helping out with the family businesses, I guess I don’t have much to write about as I’ve succumbed to an everyday habit/schedule-ish of sleep-eat-work-repeat. It doesn’t sound very exciting when I write it down, so I guess I’m not feeling the inspiration as much and am behind a couple of days (okay, maybe 10 days) in my Hobonichi. Once every few days, I get hit by inspiration (and insomnia) and do almost five pages in one sitting (each page takes me a good 20-30 minutes depending on the content!)

ANYWAYS, not really the point of this post; without further adieu, here’s the Hobonichi wrap-up for September (click here to see the previous wrap-up!)

Had breakfast with Nicole (after a fun sleepover at my place!)

Continue reading “September Hobonichi Wrap-Up! (ほぼ日)”

That’s a Wrap: Graduation (Part 2)

Here’s part two of my “That’s a Wrap” blog post; to read part one, which is about my thesis, click here! (Also, by the time you’ll read this, I’ve been “unemployed” for a little over a month, haha! Quotation marks on “unemployed” because I technically work for the family businesses + freelance for now…so…sorta unemployed?) If you’ve read part one and are here for part two, thank you for sticking around!

GRADUATION – October 13, 2018
Just like that, I’m done with school. I admit it’s been difficult for me to grasp that I don’t have to write papers, study for exams, or do projects anymore. I’ve always enjoyed learning and college brought out the nerd in me; I loved taking notes, buying stationery, organizing my thoughts into an essay, graded recitation, the readings. When I first entered university, I remember one of my professors telling me, “Life in college is like a fantasy or even a utopia.” Only now, when I don’t have classes to attend or schoolwork to do, did I understand what he meant.

In college, I felt like—for the first time in my life—I am my authentic self. I studied hard, made mistakes, pursued my interests, and made lifetime memories and friendships. I was so used to living in this bubble in high school; what we’re required to study and do regardless of our interests. I was such a frustrated artist in high school—I wanted to pursue writing and arts, but I didn’t get the opportunity to really get into either until I got to college. I was surprised by the amount of freedom I got and, for the first time in my life, I met people with the same goals and ambitions in my course. I felt like I belonged.

Finally finished all my required units!

I was able to achieve so much in the short four years I’ve had in De La Salle University. I was able to write stories and see it as a short film, study abroad, take part in internships, write a book, and so much more. I am incredibly grateful for my experiences.

Thank you for the four incredible years, DLSU!

Continue reading “That’s a Wrap: Graduation (Part 2)”

That’s a Wrap: Thesis (Part 1)

It’s been less than a month since graduation and I feel that it has finally sunk in that, after spending the majority of my life in school, I am finally finished (for now, at least.) Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this, I’d like to share a story or two about my last two semesters in university focusing mainly on my thesis and graduation. I’ll be splitting these into two separate blog posts, so brace yourself for a lengthy read!

THESIS
I know I’ve been hinting this post several times in the past when I was still working on my thesis, and I’m happy to finally share my thought process on the entire thing: the concept of the story, the writing, and, finally, the illustration process.

It was in my second year of university when I decided two things: one, that I would like to write and illustrate a children’s book for my thesis. And, two, I want to do my thesis alone (I guess I was too traumatized by group work and I know that I’m too much of a perfectionist, so I worried for partnerships when it comes big projects, like a thesis.) Seeing that I had around two years before I would reach the thesis term, I prepared hastily for this in order to have the skills for it. I went to talks and took writing classes to improve my storytelling, I practiced my brush lettering, studied more watercolor techniques, and read + reread a lot of children’s books. I wrote a lot of stories and articles to practice. (I also stocked up on art supplies!) Eventually, the thesis term arrived, and I was ready to face the long road ahead.

My thesis was divided into two terms: the research term and the thesis implementation term. The first term focused more on the story development and research, which went by rather quickly. (I enjoyed writing and researching—I’ve learned so much!) The second term is when I got to apply what I’ve learned…and have fun with it!

The story conceptualization for the book took a while until my mentor and I found a story that worked. Basically, my end goal is to write a book that I know my little sister would love reading. The story is simply about a little girl named Hannah (yes, I named my character after my sister) and her dad. So Hannah is sick in bed with a cold and wants nothing but Alphabet Soup to help her feel better. Her dad does his best to make it—despite not really knowing how to. He misinterprets Alphabet Soup as a soup with 26 ingredients from A-Z and adds in strange and fun things to make a funny soup. The story inspiration was directly derived from the fun and silly relationship dynamic between my sister and my father.

The writing process of my book was frustrating, to say the least. I took me three months (and ten drafts) until my mentor and I were satisfied with the text. I wrote the book in poetry to make it fun (and somewhat more difficult for me, haha.) It was also around this time I gave my book its title: Silly Soup Day.

After I fully grasped what I wanted to write, I jumped right into illustration and did a few pages of character and color studies:

I also roughly painted the cover design of my book:

Continue reading “That’s a Wrap: Thesis (Part 1)”

Hobonichi 2019 Haul!

While I prepare for the Hobonichi wrap-ups I’ve missed (click here to see the latest one), I’d like to share my Hobonichi haul for next year! It took me a while to decide on what cover I’ll use for the next year, but after weeks of indecision, I’m happy with what I chose. When I got the package, I ran to my room to open it up right away (then I placed everything back to take a photo of everything, haha!)

The box is so cute! Happy 20th anniversary, Hobonichi!

When you open the box, this is what welcomes you. I feel encouraged already!

What to open first?!

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