Singapore 2018!

Hello, everyone! It’s been quite a while. I have a few pending blog posts I’d like to share here—and I will soon! I just finished my thesis (yes!) and am currently waiting for my defense at the end of the month, which means I have more time to write, yey!

A few weeks ago, I headed to Singapore (my first time!) for a brief 3-day trip. It was mostly a business trip (plus a little leisure) and I was in the middle of making my thesis (more on this in a separate post) so I was feeling anxious before the trip, thinking about the workload I can’t do while I’m there. Later on, I realized that a 3-day break was just what I needed. Before the trip, I was painting non-stop (my thesis is a children’s book which I wrote and illustrated.) Sometimes, the most difficult thing about working is knowing when to take a break.

Day 1

The night before, it suddenly hit me that I was going to Singapore. I suddenly got waay too excited—I’ve been dreaming about visiting that country for so long, and now, I’m actually going! Our flight was early in the morning (when isn’t it?) so we left home rather early and several hours later, we boarded our plane (Singapore Airlines—another first!)

Breakfast!

The entire flight was pleasant, the airplane food was good, and the in-flight entertainment? Wonderful!

I finally got to watch the Isle of Dogs! I’m so happy (also, it’s now up there with The Grand Budapest Hotel as my top Wes Anderson film favorites!)

Fast forward to a couple more hours later, we’ve finally landed in Singapore! Right away, I’m impressed by Changi Airport—I could see why it’s one of the best in the world. As soon as we got out of the airport, we booked a Grab and headed for our rented apartment. While waiting for check-in, we had lunch at the hawker center across the street.

I finally got to try a long-time curiosity of mine: carrot cake!

After lunch, we checked-in our apartment and headed for Office Expo Asia, where we spent the rest of the afternoon. The expo was interesting—there were a lot of products that surely intrigued me.

View from our apartment!

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Osaka Haul 2018!

As promised, here is my Japan/Osaka haul (please read my previous blog post about the trip to offer some insight on my purchases!) Whenever I travel, a handful of people ask me what to buy/what I bought/what to expect in Japan—to have an idea of what type of person I am (or what things I usually buy), here is my haul:

Music:

I dropped by Tower Records and knew immediately what I’m looking for—to my delight, I was able to find them! I grabbed a copy of Panic! at the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor (I’ve been looking for a physical copy for a looong time; I love this album so much) and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton (I am a total theatre nerd and I am proud Hamitrash—I think I’ve memorized at least more than half the songs so far? Hehehe.) Great finds + great buys!

Stationery/Art Supplies:

Next up, I bought these sticker organizers. I really had this one my ‘to-buy’ list and luckily didn’t have too much of a hard time finding them.

The lavender one is for sticker flakes—

…while the red one is for vertical sticker sheets!

I also bought a pack of 8 Posca paint markers (because I’ve been wanting to try them out for the longest time) and a roll of masking tape (I’m not sure if this is specialized for watercolor paper, but I’m excited to test it out!)

Next would be the washi tapes (oh, boy!)

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Osaka 2018!

A few days ago, my family and I went to Osaka, Japan. We stayed there from June 7 to 11, 2018—too short of a stay, if you’d ask me! Hehe. For this trip, I booked EVA Air (a 4AM-12nn flight, with a layover at Taipei for two hours.) I booked this trip months ahead and excitedly counted the days ’till the big trip; I was especially excited for this trip because it would be my little sister’s first time in Japan!

Day 1

Airplane food.

Sunrise up in the sky!

Fast forward to noon, we finally arrived in Osaka! I quickly claimed our Nankai Line Airport Express tickets and our Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan E-tickets as well from the HIS counter at the airport. (I booked both of these, amongst others, through Klook.com!)

We rode to Namba in comfortable peace and enjoyed the sights. Forty-five minutes later, we got to our destination.

The train looks so cool + futuristic, hehe.

Would recommend riding the rapi:t train (you can purchase roundtrip tickets!) If you book it online or buy the tickets there, you can get reserved seating. We made our way to our hotel, Ibis Styles Osaka, dropped our things off, and headed for Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan!

If you squint, you could see my dad, my mom, and my sister photobombing my photo. Huhu.

The aquarium was just gorgeous. I would totally go back just to spend a lazy afternoon staring at the majestic creatures behind the glass. Just look at these photos (although, the photos don’t do enough justice for the actual thing!):

Why, hello there!

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Bicol 2018!

Hello, everyone!

A-ha, you weren’t expecting another blog post so soon, eh? Well, a few days ago, I went to Bicol (my mom’s home province) for a mini-vacation with some of my relatives. It was such a nice treat right after my classes officially finished for the term. The night before we went to Bicol, I stayed at my relative’s home in Alabang for the night (since going to Bicol from my house way up north is just carsickness waiting to happen.) A few hours later (around 4 in the morning), we left Alabang and went through a 9-hour road trip to Bicol.

For reference, here is how far Bicol is from Alabang (and my house!)

Honestly, I don’t really remember much of the 9-hour drive. I mostly slept (so I wouldn’t get carsick), listened to the entire Hamilton OST, and played video games. We arrived just a bit after lunch time and rested up for the remainder of the day. The following morning, we went to Panicuason Hot Spring Resort!

Look how gorgeous and serene it is:

Hehe, spotted this little monkey statue. A lot of people go inside the hoop/ hug and take pictures in it.

The water is so clear!

It’s such a refreshing sight to see as compared to the buildings, noise, and smoke I see on an everyday basis in the city. We spent the rest of the day chilling around the resort. (I know, it doesn’t seem like I was that productive, but I DID work on my thesis while I was on this trip! Haha.) (Yes, I am one of those people.) The next day, we headed up the hill to see the view.

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Bangkok 2017 (Seeding the Future ASEAN Camp)!

Here I go again with the late posts! (Huhu.) And, as usual, the cause of it is mostly school work and thesis! That’s right! By the time you’ll read this, I’m finished with the first part of my thesis (which would be the research and conceptualization) and I’m now working on the actual thesis itself! My thesis is a children’s book that I’ll be writing and illustrating myself. Wish me luck! (I’ll surely write a blog post about the entire process one of these days.)

Now, some backstory on this post. Two years ago, I submitted my application for PTT’s Seeding the Future ASEAN Camp and I didn’t get accepted. Not giving up, I tried out again this year with my best friend, Courtney (this is the first time the camp accepted applications by the pair!) After tensely waiting for weeks, we got the big news: we got accepted to the ASEAN Camp! Everything after that happened really fast—we met up with the other pairs who were picked as well, had a send-off party from the company, and packed for our trip!

Team PH from batch 2017 and earlier batches + admins of PTT!

The camp was held from November 19 to 24—yes, I didn’t go to classes for a week (excused, though.) Courtney slept over the night before our flight and we headed for the airport in the wee hours of the morning. We were really excited for several reasons: it was our first official trip abroad together, we were excited to meet new people, we were excited to learn new things, and we were excited to visit Thailand for the first time!

The morning of our departure!

Team Philippines! (L-R: Glen, Jardine, Phebe, Celine, Courtney, and me!)

BTS of our documenting everything, ha-ha!

Touchdown, Bangkok!

A little selfie I took in the airport, hehe. (I sent this to my Thai friends, Pam and Mye!)

After a few hours of travel (and naps), we finally arrived in Bangkok, Thailand! We each bought internet sims and looked for the PTT representative that will pick us up. (We couldn’t believe that we were actually here!)

Team Philippines again! (L-R: Phebe, Celine, Jardine, me, Courtney, Miss Cheng–our rep from PTT PH, and Glen!)

We met up with other PTT pairs, too!

A few hours later, we were comfortably checked in our hotel and had some free time to lounge about before our first general assembly with the entire camp.

“Let’s take the cliché comfort room selfie here!”

With so many activities and getting-to-know-you games, I can confidently say that it was a night to remember. I met a lot of wonderful people (despite my introvert-self working double time memorizing everyone’s face + name, haha!) We even met another fellow Filipino who was based in Thailand (Mike!) After an overwhelming welcome from PTT and the entire camp (not to mention the memory game we had to play by memorizing everyone’s name—which I completely messed up huhu), we tucked in for the night, excited what the next few days would bring us.

PTT ASEAN Camp Family!

So much had happened throughout the next few days, and I wouldn’t dare write down every single detail down here. Instead, here’s a photo diary of the events that happened for the rest of the trip:

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Hong Kong 2017!

Tad late on this post! Oh, well.

Early November last year, I went to Hong Kong with my family for a short 4-day trip, and I was (again) in charge of the itinerary.

Day 1: November 3

Touchdown, Hong Kong!

We had snacks here (I ordered a mantou – one of my favs!)

I was pleasantly surprised to find a “My Cup Noodle Factory” here! (Something to do when I visit HK again.)

Since it was a short trip, and our only two priorities were Disneyland and Ngong Ping, we stayed at Novotel Citigate, which was literally 10 minutes (or less) away from the airport. It was super convenient because they provided us a free shuttle to the hotel from the airport, it was two stops away from Hong Kong Disneyland, and from our hotel window view –

Ngong Ping was just within walking distance!

Since it was still pretty early, I convinced my mom to go shopping with my in Causeway Bay (while everyone else took a nap to catch up on much-needed sleep.) No Hong Kong trip for me would be complete without a visit to IKEA, after all.

Day 2: November 4

Rise and shine! Today, we’ll be going to Hong Kong Disneyland – yay!

If you know me, I make it a point to go from opening hours and leave closing hours just to make the most out of my day.

My little sister, Hannah!

Sisters selfie 💖

It was such a beautiful, sunny day in Disneyland (though it did rain later in the evening.)

  We were welcomed in the park with a mini-parade!

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Hokkaido 2017 (Part 2)!

 Without further adieu, here is part two! (You could read part one here.)

Day 3: September 2

I booked a private van via SkyExpress for today’s trip since we’d be traveling quite a distance. I got the Furano and Biei Day Tour package and it was amazing! The package included visits to Furano Cheese Factory, Jam Factory, Anpan Man Shop, Tomita Farm, and Patchwork Road. You could also request up to two stops without additional cost. This particular tour is only available from June to September.

Our driver for the day picked us up from the hotel early in the morning and off we headed for Furano! Our driver gave us about an hour or two per stop, as we only have limited time; which is understandable seeing that we still have a LOT of places to go! 🙂 Our first stop was Shikisai no Oka, which we requested as an additional stop. My cousin and I were the most excited because we saw photos of the flower fields online! And, boy, did it not disappoint.

Literally took my breath away.

Additionally, you could rent a cart to drive around (I think for 15 minutes)? Just make sure to bring your driver’s license.

(L-R) My cousin, my mom, and I

 

We had a mini-photoshoot with all the flowers!

Behind-the-scenes HAHA

Aside from a blooming flower field, they also had a small alpaca farm where you can pay ¥500 to feed them.

Aren’t they cute? Huhu they’re really fluffy too.

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Hokkaido 2017 (Part 1)!

This post is long-delayed, I admit, but it’s finally here! Yey!
The reason it took so long was the photos! I have a LOT of photos to share, so I’ll be splitting this blog post into two! 🙂

A few months ago, I went to Hokkaido with my family for a few days (August 31 – September 5, 2017). While I’ve been to Hokkaido in the past (Kushiro, to be specific), this would be my first time in Sapporo. I was in charge of the itinerary again and this is what we did:

Day 1: August 31, 2017

Our flight to Sapporo took a grand total of nine travel hours (including the layover)! We departed from Manila at 9 in the morning –

landing at Narita Airport by 3:00PM –

then flew off for Sapporo by 6PM and finally arriving at 8PM!

Phew! We rode the train to Sapporo Station and walked to our hotel, Hotel MyStays Sapporo Aspen, from there. We had takeaway dinner from the nearby Coco Ichibanya and headed to bed for another early start the next day.

Day 2: September 1

Waking up bright and early, we headed for Otaru.Otaru Station! It was such a beautiful day.

Otaru is so gorgeous and we were lucky to go on such a good day!

Just look at these flowers!

We arrived a little too early (I guess I was just too excited, woops) and most of the shops were still closed, so we walked around and took our time enjoying all the sights!

I love all the architecture and history of all the buildings here.

Coming to Otaru, I had a few things I knew I wanted to see and do (not to mention, eat hehe) – which I’ll get to in a bit.  Walking around, we encountered a small market that sold souvenirs, fresh Hokkaido sweet corn and melon, and dried seafood.

Sweet Hokkaido melons selling at ¥500 per slice! Expensive, but worth a taste. It’s so good.

Since all the stores were still closed, we headed for the Otaru Canal next.

There was an elderly man painting the canal and there were various artists selling postcards and their paintings of the canal on the side. I couldn’t resist and bought a postcard for myself.

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Philippine Road Trip!

Last month, my professor from my Philippine history class gave the class a unique finals project. We had to go to six specific historical locations in the Philippines and take six specific photos: Aguinaldo Shrine (near his grave), Luneta Park (GomBurZa marker), Barasoain Church (Aguinaldo’s carriage), Mt. Samat (cross), Clark Museum (near the canon), and the San Agustin Church (grave of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi). What’s more is that we were given two weeks to go to all these places! To get an idea on how far all these are (from where I am), here’s a map:

I was seriously stressing out – but miraculously, I was able to visit them all! Now, hang on tight for a lengthy post as you tag along with me on my adventure!

My first stops were the closest to my university: Luneta Park and the San Agustin Church.

Luckily, I’ve been to Rizal/Luneta Park before so I knew what exactly to look for and where it is. We literally ran out the car, took the photo, and ran back – HAHA. We were running on a tight schedule (since they picked me up after my classes) and still needed to go to…

San Agustin Church!

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The next day, I went to the Aguinaldo Shrine.

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Japan 2k17!

A bit of a delayed post since I’ve been having trouble uploading all the pictures, but here it finally is! 🙂

After 8 months, I’m extremely lucky enough to go back to Tokyo, Japan! I was in charge of creating the itinerary and planning other details alongside my aunt – which was a really exciting and awesome responsibility!I was looking forward to this trip for several months – it’s what kept me going in school (“suffer now, enjoy later”) as I spent fewer hours sleeping and more hours into school work. Like my previous travel/ Japan posts (click here to read one), I’ll break down my trip per day. For this trip, I went with my grandmother and my two aunts!

Day 1: April 11

Our flight to Tokyo, Japan leaves at 9AM, so my family and I were at the airport by 5:30AM. After dropping our bags off, we headed for the airport lounge for a light breakfast (since they’ll also be serving brunch on the plane later on) as we waited for our boarding time.

Breakfast with a view!

I was itching to leave since at this time of the year, it’s really hot here in the Philippines and I’m missing the cool air of Spring. Fast forward to four hours, we finally landed!

(It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon. ANA’s windows are really cool – they can turn into different shades of blue depending on the time and the user.)

I was immediately hit with nostalgia when I saw all the Japanese characters all around and when I heard “arigatou gozaimasu” from the usual “thank you” and “salamat” I hear at home. I was grinning from ear to ear as we made our way to the Narita Express to catch a train to Shibuya.

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