July Hobonichi Wrap-Up! (ほぼ日)

With August more than half-way through, I thought it would be a good time to post my Hobonichi wrap-up from last month! July has been a memorable and busy month for me—aside from balancing my thesis and internships, I also had personal achievements and attended different events! (If you’d like to see the start of this series, click here to view the January wrap-up.)

I’ve been working on my high school yearbook as the editor-in-chief for four years already (there were a lot of complications) and it’s finally ready for distribution! July 2 was a memorable day for me, for sure.

We finally decided the names of our puppies: Pepper and Oreo!

Two back-to-back events: an ABC book launch and a spoken word poetry show by Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay!

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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 got back from 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) 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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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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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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Japan 2k16 Photobook

I know, I know.

I haven’t updated my Japan 2016 blog in a LONG time – but bear with me. I’m writing it slowly, and you should expect a post probably next week (if school work doesn’t drown me). In the meantime – I’m very excited to announce that for the past few months, I’ve been working on a secret project. I was looking through the past photos of my Japan trip when I was suddenly struck with inspiration – why don’t I make a photo album? 

So that’s what I did – I combined my photography, my brush lettering, and my photo editing skills together in one huge project.

It was a difficult process to choose only a hundred photos for the entire album – I distributed it to 20 photos a month (excluding the collages, it counts as “1 photo”) – but after much deliberation, I finally completed it. I arranged the photos in the order that it happened. If some photos don’t make much sense, it’s because it’s probably an inside joke or story. Maybe if I have the time, I’ll write about it in my future blog posts!

Without further adieu, here it is! The product of several sleepless nights, blood, sweat, and tears:

Update: I actually had this printed in hard copy via fotogra.ph! I highly recommend this company because the prices are really good, the service is speedy, and the outcome is perfect. Would definitely order again in the future!

[2018 Update: I don’t think I’d be able to ever complete the 2016 weekly Japan blog posts at this point 😭 It’s been too far gone, and I’m  trying to move forward and focus on things that are coming instead. I hope that you’ll understand! I kept the majority of my day-to-day life during my exchange program in a journal and I think that’s enough for me.]

Palawan 2016 / 2017

Last December 28, 2016, to January 1, 2017, my family and I decided to go local and went to Palawan for our New Year celebration. We rode the plane for a one and a half hour flight for Puerto Princessa.

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(Photo from Philippine Airlines & Google)

On our first day, we stayed in Puerto Princessa and checked in Aziza Paradise Hotel. It was my first time to go to Palawan, so I was pleasantly surprised by the quiet beauty of the place. We arrived pretty late in the afternoon, so we headed to the nearby mall for some last-minute shopping for the beach and had a quiet dinner in the hotel restaurant.

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(Photo from Booking.com)

We all went to bed early, because we had an early start the next day since we’ll be heading for El Nido by bus. I braced myself for the 6-hour long journey. (Luckily, I prepared for the trip beforehand and loaded my phone with three seasons of FRIENDS!)

Fast forward to six to seven hours later, we finally arrived at our inn! We stayed in the MaryGold Beachfront Inn, which had a beautiful view of the beach:

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(The girl in pink is my sister, and the guy in green at the back is my dad!) Heehee.

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We spent the remainder of the day playing in the sand and swimming in the beach.

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Japan 2k16 – Week 11 (June 13 – June 19)

According to my planner, June 13 – 19 was Palindrome Week! Thanks to my incredible memory, I had to research on what a palindrome is again.

“A palindrome is a word, phrase, number, or other sequences of characters which reads the same backward or forward. Allowances may be made for adjustments to capital letters, punctuation, and word dividers.” (Reference)

or

a word, line, verse, number, sentence, etc., reading the same backward as forward, as Madam, I’m Adam or Poor Dan is in a droop.” (Reference)

Anyways – back to the blog!

Day 1: June 13

Today, my mom and brother will be flying back to the Philippines – unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see them anymore because I had classes. It was raining really hard today, so I felt really lazy to go home (I just wanted to stay under a roof and eat something warm). Thankfully, I only had one class today.

Winona (she’s dismissed the same time I am usually) and I were literally in front of the train when we decided – right then and there – to go to Sweets Paradise; for two reasons – one, we were hungry and it was lunchtime, and two – Sweets Paradise in Shinjuku had an Osomatsusan (おそ松さん) collaboration. Naturally, we had to go.

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If you’re not familiar with Sweets Paradise, it’s basically a buffet where they have a huge range of sweets up for eats! Aside from sweets, they also have salad, curry, pizza, and pasta – and of course, drinks. You can check out their menu and the prices here.

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Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 11 (June 13 – June 19)”