Big Bad Wolf Book Fair Haul (2019)

It’s time for another book haul!

I first went to the Big Bad Wolf Book Fair last year with one of my best friends, Nicole. I’d won VIP tickets and we excitedly went book shopping before class that day (it was really convenient that the book fair location is near our university!) The Big Bad Wolf Book Fair is easily one of the best book fairs I’ve been to. The books offered were all interesting (not to mention very cheap!)

This year, they announced that they will be holding their book fair in Pampanga, which is easily accessible to me via the highway from where I live. I tried out for their VIP Day contest again and won! I invited my aunt, my sister, and our driver to tag along (each pass is good for two people) and off we went.

The VIP tickets—it looks so nice!

Coming to the book fair, I prepared a specific budget and didn’t really have specific books to look for. For me, the Big Bad Wolf Book Fair specifically is a chance for me to discover new and wonderful books.

The entrance to the book fair!

Not surprisingly, there were a lot of people at the book fair. (And this was VIP day! What more when it opens to the public the next day?) After around 2-3 hours of going around gathering books, we finally finished our shopping and left the events place.

Lots of people and books inside!

Without further adieu, here is my haul for this year’s Big Bad Wolf Book Fair:

Continue reading “Big Bad Wolf Book Fair Haul (2019)”

Instant Memories of 2019

I finally had my latest instant camera film developed and scanned. As compared to my previous roll, this one lasted me almost three months before I finally finished up all the film inside. I was able to bring it with me to Japan during my “hooray-we-finally-graduated” trip last March and my trip to Seoul last April. Shockingly, I didn’t even use it up during the two trips (mind you, this camera had just around 30 shots, too!) I was surprised with how sparingly I was using the instant camera. Maybe I’ll use it more generously next time.

Anyway, here are some of the best/cleanest shots from the roll!
(Note: None of these images were edited/color corrected aside from resizing it + adding my logo!)

Some shots from my Japan trip:

Alecca took this photo in our Osaka hostel—we were in the lobby/common room for hostel guests.

Alecca took this photo of me in USJ, behind the Flying Snoopy ride (which was closed for the day.)

Took this quick photo of Alecca (L) and Nicole (R) while we were waiting in line at USJ!

Continue reading “Instant Memories of 2019”

Our First Visit to Masungi Georeserve

For quite some time already, my friends and I have been wanting to visit Masungi Georeserve for a trek. We’ve read blogs about it, saw it circulating on social media, and was hooked with the advocacy of the place and the idea of hiking with gorgeous views around us (and, as a bonus, it’s a great bonding experience!) Finally, our schedules synced up and we booked slots (via Klook) to a Masungi tour and counted the days down ’til adventure. The agency that handled our tour was Tanlines Philippines and they did such a wonderful job. The tour included a round trip van ride to and from Makati and Masungi—which is the main reason why we booked a tour rather than go there ourselves.

On the morning of our hike, we woke up bright and early and made our way to the Tanlines PH HQ for breakfast and briefing. We also met up with the other people who would join us on the day’s tour.

Filipino breakfast courtesy of Tanlines PH.

After breakfast, we made our way to the van and headed for Masungi. The ride there took around two hours, which gave us time to catch up on some sleep (we did wake up at 4:30 AM, after all!) When we finally arrived at Masungi, we headed for the final briefing (and last bathroom break!) before starting our trek.

Before the hike when we’re all still so fresh and energetic, HAHA.

The whole group on today’s trek!

We were immediately faced with our first challenge. Our guide told us that this was the “training course” of the entire hike—he said it was the easiest climb we’ll see in the entire trail. I swallowed my fears and climbed up the rope. The feeling I got once I finished the climb was immediately satisfying. I wanted more.

Courtney and I smiling as if what we were doing was nothing, LOL.

After a couple of minutes, we finally reached the iconic Sapot. The view from the top of the web was amazing. Both the hike and the view made us breathless, hehe.

Do you see the spider on the left?

Continue reading “Our First Visit to Masungi Georeserve”

Korea 2019!

Last April 17-21, I went to South Korea with family. It was my first time in Korea, and I was excited to explore a new country—at least, a small part of it anyways, haha! Going into this trip was refreshing as I didn’t really know what to expect from the trip. I did the research and planned the itinerary alongside my aunt and this is what we did during the five days we had in Seoul. (Brace yourselves for a picture-heavy post!)

Day 1

We made our way to the airport in the morning and flew using Asian Airlines (another first for me!) and it was a pleasant experience over-all. The in-flight Bibimbap meal they served was fun to “make” and delicious—a great meal to welcome us to Korea.

The in-flight bibimbap came with sides + instructions on the side.

Fast forward to a few hours and we finally landed. We claimed our luggage and our rental wifi device and hopped into the express bus to Myeongdong. The views during the ride there was beautiful and the lengthy bus ride allowed me to catch some Zs.

We stayed at the Ibis Ambassador Myeongdong Hotel, which was located right beside the famous Myeongdong shopping + street food area.

View from the lobby.

After we checked in and dropped our things off in our rooms, we went down to the streets and had a variety of street food for dinner. I tried to take as many photos as I could during this portion, but it’s hard to simultaneously stuff your face with food and take good photos, hee hee.

Some mini gimbap—selling at a set of 6 per order. Yum.

A variety of sausages on a stick—also yum.

Large dumplings? Yes, please.

Finally got to try Korean banana milk—it’s so good! One sip and I’m hooked.

As expected, the entire area was flooded with stalls and people. It was overwhelming, but not in a bad way.

So many people!

Out of all the things I’ve eaten during the first night, the most memorable bite was the Korean Egg Bread (which I now learn is called gyeran-ppang)—my goodness, it’s sooo good. I wanted to hoard several pieces and bring them home.

Don’t mind me; I’m just here drooling just looking at this picture.

With stomachs full, we walked back to our hotel and called it a day.

Continue reading “Korea 2019!”

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)”

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Continue reading “2018 Wrap-Up!”