Malaysia 2019!

Hello everyone! 👋🏻

It’s been a couple of days since I’ve been back from my latest adventure, and I’d like to share it with you guys while my memory is still pretty fresh, lol. At the end of last month, from September 25-30, I went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Abbey for work!

Day 0

For the first time, I’m starting a travel blog entry with Day 0, haha!

I went to Abbey’s house the day before our trip for work + last-minute packing and we headed for the airport later that evening to “camp out” until our 6AM flight. After hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop to work and kill time, we finally dropped our luggage off and headed for our gate.

Day 1

It was my first time to fly AirAsia, and I had a pleasant experience. Honestly, I don’t remember much of what happened during this flight exactly because I pretty much napped on and off until we landed.

View from my seat.

Once we landed at 10AM and got through the usual airport procedures, we had some time to kill (because our AirBnb check-in wasn’t until later that afternoon)—what better way to start the day off with breakfast? Our first official eat in Malaysia was at OldTown White Coffee. I ordered the iced lemon tea (yum!) and the French toast. The tea was excellent, but I found the French toast too buttery? (Still ate everything though, haha!)

First meal in KL!

After our meal, we booked a Grab and headed for our AirBnb. It took a while to find, but we made it. We dropped our stuff off and rested for a bit before heading for the nearby IKEA (insert choir singing here.) We each grabbed a shopping bag and slowly filled it with things as we walked through each section, finally reaching the end and paying for our things. The funny thing is that we both forgot to buy the things we needed to buy and had to go around once again (after dropping our things off in the lockers!) In the middle of our second round, we had a break at the IKEA Food Hall for dinner:

Dinner at IKEA’s food hall!

Abbey and I ordered the salmon fillet with lemon and dill sauce and vegetable medallions (and an add-on of two more pieces–these are my absolute favorite!) We also got a serving of soup and a cup of iced tea. For takeaway, I ordered some juice and bread for breakfast for the coming days.

Day 1 damage!

We booked a Grab back to the AirBnb and relaxed until it was time to sleep.

Our AirBnb! (The stairs are scary for me, but it was a great place!)

It’s barely been a day, and I’ve managed to fill up half of my suitcase already! (It amazes me how I was able to fit everything in my luggage.)

Continue reading “Malaysia 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 ÂĄ300! 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 ÂĄ300!

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)”

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!”