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!”

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.

Continue reading “Bicol 2018!”

Hokkaido 2017 (Part 1)!

This post is long-delayed, I admit, but it’s finally here! Yey!
The reason it took so long was the photos! I have a LOT of photos to share, so I’ll be splitting this blog post into two! 🙂

A few months ago, I went to Hokkaido with my family for a few days (August 31 – September 5, 2017). While I’ve been to Hokkaido in the past (Kushiro, to be specific), this would be my first time in Sapporo. I was in charge of the itinerary again and this is what we did:

Day 1: August 31, 2017

Our flight to Sapporo took a grand total of nine travel hours (including the layover)! We departed from Manila at 9 in the morning –

landing at Narita Airport by 3:00PM –

then flew off for Sapporo by 6PM and finally arriving at 8PM!

Phew! We rode the train to Sapporo Station and walked to our hotel, Hotel MyStays Sapporo Aspen, from there. We had takeaway dinner from the nearby Coco Ichibanya and headed to bed for another early start the next day.

Day 2: September 1

Waking up bright and early, we headed for Otaru.Otaru Station! It was such a beautiful day.

Otaru is so gorgeous and we were lucky to go on such a good day!

Just look at these flowers!

We arrived a little too early (I guess I was just too excited, woops) and most of the shops were still closed, so we walked around and took our time enjoying all the sights!

I love all the architecture and history of all the buildings here.

Coming to Otaru, I had a few things I knew I wanted to see and do (not to mention, eat hehe) – which I’ll get to in a bit.  Walking around, we encountered a small market that sold souvenirs, fresh Hokkaido sweet corn and melon, and dried seafood.

Sweet Hokkaido melons selling at ¥500 per slice! Expensive, but worth a taste. It’s so good.

Since all the stores were still closed, we headed for the Otaru Canal next.

There was an elderly man painting the canal and there were various artists selling postcards and their paintings of the canal on the side. I couldn’t resist and bought a postcard for myself.

Continue reading “Hokkaido 2017 (Part 1)!”

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)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 8 (May 23 – May 29)

I’m ashamed to say that I’m already back at home (in the Philippines) and I still haven’t finished writing my Japan blog posts 😦 I’m catching up right now to make up for it (and the one month break helps too haha!)

Day 1: May 23

Today marks as the first day (for my friends back home) of the third term in my home university! Good luck guys! Hehe. I went shopping for a bit today in Shinjuku’s Uniqlo for a few shirts and stuff haha. The weather’s getting hotter – so I needed some lighter clothes / summer clothes!

We also went to Harajuku for a bit just to eat some crepes:

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Day 2: May 24

A few weeks ago, I applied for a baito (or part-time job), and today I get my first shift – well, a trial shift; but a shift nonetheless. I applied in a nearby conversation café wherein I basically have to sit down with a couple of Japanese people and converse with them in English for three hours. I won’t say much about what happened during that shift, but I can tell you this – that shift would be my first and my last for the entire trip (haha).

Day 3: May 25

Today, my friends and I had classes until 3 in the afternoon. I was so restless because we were going to Ikebukuro (also known as the “female version of Akihabara”) for several reasons: first, we were going to buy tickets for Tokyo DisneySea (yay!); second, we were going to visit the Pokémon Center (double yay!); and lastly, we were going to Animate (the one-stop shop for animé merch).

After classes, we quickly ran to the train station and made our way to Ikebukuro. We bought our tickets to DisneySea (so excited) and went to the upper floors for the —

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Pokémon Center!

We ran in – no questions asked. I had two things in my mind that I would want to buy; first, a Piplup (don’t judge) plush toy and a gym badge – any badge. Fortunately, I was able to find a really cute Piplup plush – and at a reasonable price, but the gym badges – alas – were limited edition and sadly out of stock (for good).

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Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 8 (May 23 – May 29)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 7 (May 16 – May 22)

Yes, yes. It’s been a quite a long time and I’m really sorry about that! I’ve been so busy these past few weeks – busy exploring Tokyo and the weight of school, of course; but now I’m taking the time to update on my exchange program here! 🙂 I hope you enjoy reading as much as I had recollecting these memories!

Day 1: May 16

Today was a very ordinary day in school. I went through the usual routine of going to school, having Japanese class, then going back to the dorm to rest and do homework – BUT there’s a good reason why I didn’t go out today.

Day 2: May 17

Today, I was supposed to go to the Louis Vuitton exhibit near the school but decided not to anymore as the weather was terrible. It was raining really hard the whole day, so after school, I asked Winona: “Hey. Do you want to have doughnuts and coffee and wait for the rain to stop?”, whereas she agreed. We went to Krispy Kreme in Shinjuku (near Toho Cinema) and did just that. Now, there was a Taito station near the doughnut shop so I wandered inside and saw a giant Snoopy stuffed toy inside one of the UFO machines.

I didn’t believe that I would win something like that – but then:

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I WON. Winona and I were laughing so hard because our faces mirrored the same expression like: “WOW. I ACTUALLY WON. I GUESS I’M NOT THAT MUCH OF A LOSER AFTER ALL.” HAHA.

The day pretty much brightened up afterwards – both figuratively and literally.

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 7 (May 16 – May 22)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 6 (May 9 – May 15)

This week was a pretty chill week (nothing really exciting happened except for a few exceptions)! Hope you enjoy my re-cap!

Day 1: May 9

Today, my friends and I went on another midnight run to Lawson in our second attempt to buy Ghibli Museum tickets. Notice my use of word: attempt; meaning we failed again as tickets are not yet on sale (sadly). Other than that mishap, it was a regular school day again!

Day 2: May 10

After school today – Winona, Pam, and I went to Iidabashi for our job interview. Yes, I applied for a part-time job here in Japan at an English Language Cafè. Basically, it’s like a cafè wherein Japanese people or other foreigners go to in order to practice conversational English for an hour at a rate. Luckily, later on, I was e-mailed that I passed the interview and that I needed to go and have a trial session before they announce that I got the job!

Day 3: May 11

After school today, one of my classes had a field trip to the Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park.

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The field trip was not only very educational, but it was also very enlightening. I got to birdwatch for the first time and see some plants and other living things in its natural habitats.

I also met up with my cousins in Shinjuku and spent the rest of my evening going around with them!

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 6 (May 9 – May 15)”