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)”

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!

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

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!

Continue reading “Singapore 2018!”

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!)

Continue reading “Osaka Haul 2018!”

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!

Continue reading “Osaka 2018!”

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:

Continue reading “Bangkok 2017 (Seeding the Future ASEAN Camp)!”

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!

Continue reading “Hong Kong 2017!”

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.

Continue reading “Japan 2k17!”