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!”

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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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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:

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!

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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.]

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)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 10 (June 6 – June 12)

The Japan blog continues! 🙂

Day 1: June 6

After a fun (but tiring) weekend, we embrace the start of the week with a test (boo). Luckily, according to the flowchart and exam schedule, this week would be pretty chill – so we went out a lot.

Day 2: June 7

Today, the only thing due in school were some paperwork for one of my classes – so yey! I went back to the dorm right after to sleep and clean my room.

Day 3: June 8

Winona, Pam, and I planned on going to Ueno Zoo – but due to time restraints, we changed our plans instead and went on a mini-food trip, haha! It was around lunch time when we headed to Tokyo station after our classes. Tokyo Station is an interesting place to stop by when you’re in Tokyo – since the station is filled with shops (you don’t even have to get out of the station)! We decided to hit Ramen Street first to eat the best ramen there. After some research and debate, we lined up at Rokurinsha (六厘舎) – which is known to have the longest lines (you can check out their menu here – it’s in Japanese though, so use Google translate). Luckily, we arrived before the lunch crowd, so we only had to wait approximately 30 minutes. The store is relatively small, so it only seats about twenty people.

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This ramen shop is known for its tsukemen (つけめん) noodle dish (it’s a type of Japanese noodle dish in which you dip the noodles in a bowl of very thick soup first, then you eat it). To learn more about the difference between tsukemen and ramen, you can read about it here.

We all ordered the original tsukemen dish – which cost us just ¥850! The dish arrived really quickly, and before you know it, we were stuffing our faces with one of the best noodle dishes I’ve ever eaten. This is the first time I’ve eaten tsukemen, and I’m happy to know that the dish lived up to the hype.

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We were really full – the fullest we’ve ever felt, and that’s saying a lot; BUT the food trip must continue.

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 10 (June 6 – June 12)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 9 (May 30 – June 5)

And the Japan blog continues! I made a promise to myself to try to finish my blog before classes begin next month. Now, without further adieu, here’s the blog post for May 30 – June 5!

[Heads up, this is a long post.]

Day 1: May 30

Today is the first day of midterms week, and I admit that it’s off to a good start (so far). We had our Japanese oral exams (which went pretty smoothly, thank goodness) in which my partner Tiffany and I had to create a script / scenario in which she is a waitress and I am a customer in a restaurant. [Thankfully, I was able to apply the script in real life situations as well.] Actually, the oral exams are the easy bit of Japanese classes – the difficult part is grammar, vocabulary, and – of course – the Chinese characters, Kanji.

There’s another exam tomorrow, so my friends and I headed straight to the dorm to study.

Day 2: May 31

Today’s exam is kanji, reading and writing, and listening. A triple-combo attack to poor Sophie. Still, the battle’s not over because…

Day 3: June 1

…there’s another test. Today is the last day of hell week midterms! YEY. The test today is grammar (nooo) and particles (it’s crazy how many particles Japanese has). After the midterms, I had one more class then I’m free! My family is in Japan right now for a business trip, so I headed for Kawasaki (really far from Tokyo) and to meet them.

The trip was worth it though since I haven’t seen my dad in a couple of months (and the food was delicious too).

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Day 4: June 2

Just a few more days to write papers and study, then I can finally rest during the weekend.

(but we had ice cream because we literally live five minutes away from a Baskin’ Robbins)

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Day 5: June 3

I’m really jealous at how everyone back at home is lining up to watch Me Before You as it won’t screen here in Japan. I’ve been dying (haha) to watch it ever since the trailer was out. I also wondered if I would cry as hard as I did reading the book. (Spoiler: I didn’t.)

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 9 (May 30 – June 5)”