Part 1 of 7 of our Japan Diary: Manila to Tokyo. Meiji Shrine, Harajuku and Shibuya

After all the planning and researching, it’s time to make it come to life.

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This is it!!!

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We were not light packers. We had 5 luggages and about 7 hand carry bags that we fit in 30kg baggage allowance and 35kg hand carry allowance.

Our flight to Tokyo was through Jetstar, which was stationed at Terminal 1. We left at 12:40AM and arrived at Narita International Airport at 6AM. (Their time is 1 hour ahead).  It was my first time to fly via Jetstar and I’d say we had a smooth sailing flight since I was asleep the entire time. Little did I know, there was a strong turbulence midway that caused our plane to sink a few feet. LITERAL BES! As in, bumagsak daw yung plane at ang mga puso nila. The FAs panicked and instructed everyone to use their seatbelt. And I. WAS. ASLEEP.  When I woke up, we were about to land na. 🙂

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You know you’re in Japan when you see this.

After the arrival procedures (immigration and baggage claim), we went upstairs to look for the ticket counter for the Tokyo Shuttle. It was located at the right side of the food  court.

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If you will take other options like Keisei Skyliner or Narita Express, you can purchase the tickets on these vending machines. It’s just right beside the counter for Tokyo Shuttle.

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We chose the cheapest option which is the Tokyo Shuttle. For 2100 JPY, we were able to buy 1 way trip from Narita airport to Tokyo + 3 day subway pass (can be used for Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway). You’ll save 400 JPY if you buy this package compared if you’ll buy it separately.

Tokyo Shuttle- JPY 1000
72-hour subway ticket – JPY 1500

img_0051.jpgThe bus stop for Tokyo Shuttle is at Bus Stop #1. Our schedule trip was 8:35 AM.

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Vendo machines everywhere

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All aboard!

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We have the bus all to ourselves. Chos! Akala lang namin. The Bus Stop #1 is the first stop of the Tokyo Shuttle. There were few stops around the airport before it departs to Tokyo. Tokyo Shuttle is the best option for those who are not in a hurry. It is the cheapest but it takes longer time compared if you take the Keisei Skyliner or the Narita Express. Travel time was not that bad. It will take 1.5hours from the airport to Tokyo station plus you get to observe Japan roads and establishments.

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This is our stop.

Few walks from where we alighted was the subway: Nihombashi Station.

The nearest station is actually the Tokyo Station, but JR line passes through it. Since we bought the 3-day subway pass, we had to take the nearest subway.

Warning: Ang kapalit ng murang Tokyo Bus ay kailangan namin mag akyat baba sa subway ng may dalang bagahe. Pero keri basta nakatipid 😉

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Diba, mukhang walang kahirap-hirap.

From Nihombashi Station, we took the Ginza line and alighted at the last station: Shibuya.

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WHAT’S GOOD SHIBUYA!

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Medyo meh yung sight when it’s still early. Only few people cross the street. But it was such an undescribable feeling to finally see the crossing in person when you used to just see it in photos.

Our check-in time in our AirBnb was 3pm. We had to find a coin locker first so we can leave our luggages before we tour around. We went inside Shibuya 109 and found the coin lockers located at the B1 and B2 of the department store. The basement of Shibuya 109 is also connected to the Tokyo subway.

X-A10037There are small, medium and large compartments for 400, 500 and 600 JPY, respctively.

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Guys, okay lang mashunga sa pag gamit ng coin locker, hahaha! We had a hard time at first because the instructions were in Japanese. But there is an English option somewhere in there. Basically, what you have to do are the ff:

1. Put your things in the locker.
2. Push down the lever on the right side of the locker
3. Wait for the light — or sound
4. Automatically, the locker number will pop up on the monitor
5. Choose if you’ll pay via cash or reloadable card (Pasmo or Suica)
6. Insert cash or card.
7. Ta-da, you’ll get this ticket with your password (photo below)

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Warning: Once you have locked the locker, do not reopen it again because that will be considered one purchase. You have to pay again if you open it.

After we left our things, we decided to have our lunch before anything else. Of course, I did my research on Japan restaurants. Food can be really expensive in Japan, that’s why it is normal to eat at convenience stores. But if you do your research, you can also find other people’s recommendation. Just like this hole in the wall restaurant recommended by Lady Iron Chef: Torikatsu Chicken.

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The facade of the eatery. You wouldn’t even suspect that there was an eatery here. It is located at the 2nd floor of Miyagoji building.

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The ahjummas were preparing our food (lol, Korean pala yung ahjumma). They don’t speak english and the menu were also in Japanese. So we just ordered Torikatsu because it is a Torikatsu eatery. Napractice din yung sign language and charade skills namin.

The writings on the wall are the menu. When we asked them if they have a menu, they pointed the writings on the wall, like we can understand it, bes.

X-A10045Yey! Our first meal in Japan was a legit Torikatsu! Super yummy and even the cabbage tastes different than the ones here in Manila. Super fresh. Also, this meal was only 650 JPY. Alam ko hindi dapat tayo nagcconvert, but just to check, that was around 290PHP. Not bad at all.

**By the way, as I mentioned on my budget travel guide, I have a daily food allowance of 1750 JPY. I tracked every food I bought on the trip.

After that affordable yet delicious lunch, we were ready to start our Tokyo adventure. Since we were in Shibuya, we started with the famous Hachiko statue.

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Since it was still quite early, there were few people crossing the famous Shibuya Crossing. We decided to go to our next stop which is Meiji Shrine. We took the Fukutoshin Line and alighted at Meiji-jingumae Station. I thought that was the nearest station to Meiji Shrine since it has the name Meiji Station. But I was wrong. We walked around, unsure if we were in the correct direction. We mostly used waze (often inaccurate) and Google Maps (love this app! must-have for your Japan travel) when we navigate through Tokyo. We passed by alleys, construction sites and japanese houses for what seemed like 20 minutes before we reached the entrance of Meiji Shrine.

Note: Alight at Kita-Sando station.

IMG_0137-1.JPGX-A10064Meiji Shrine

When you thought you are done walking because you’ve reached this point, NO. It’s actually just the start of more walking…

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Actually, we did not see the Meiji shrine. We reached the barrels and that was it, we cannot walk any further. It was probably 10 to 15 minute walk from the entrance.

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After resting our feet for few minutes, we walked to Takeshita Dori. Takeshita Dori is a shopping street popular amongst teenagers in Japan. It is where you can find the 4-storey Daiso store, where you can buy stuff for as low as JPY 100.

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Sorry Rachelle, but this was my best shot of the street. I have to post this :p

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While they go crazy inside Daiso, (andaming tao, bes. Di ko keri.) I went outside and bought a Harajuku Crepe. They say must-try daw ang crepes along Takeshita Dori, so I gave it a try. The store was the one across Daiso, and I bought their best seller crepe: Chocolate with Banana crepe. And it did not disappont. Super yummy! There were other recommended stores around, but tamad ako maghanap. Pero this one’s really good din and there were a lot of people lining up, you know what they say about long queues in Japan.

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After Takashita Dori, it was time for us to go back to Shibuya and check-in to our AirBnB.

Subway: Meiji-jingumae via Fukutoshin Line to Shibuya.

To retrieve our luggages from the coin locker, we just have to enter the password indicated on the ticket earlier.

Our AirBnB was easy to find. It was near the Torikatsu Chicken restaurant where we had our lunch earlier. Sam, our host, gave clear instruction and map of the area, so it was easy for us to locate it. The only struggle that we had was it was a bit uphill, so our arms were really overused with all the luggages that we carried.

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I love our AirBnB in Shibuya. It was walking distance to everything: restaurants, shopping centers, subway and convenience stores. We had enough beds to sleep in, wifi was fast, the AC took a while to cool, but it was fine. Bathroom was small. Pang-isang tao lang sya. And at first, we cannot figure out how to turn on the heater, so we contacted Sam (our host), and he quickly replied. Nasa may door area pala yung switch. Overall, we had a nice and comfortable stay! I would highly recommend it.

These were taken right before we left the AirBnB, so it was very messy.

So of course, rest ng legs for a while. Then, it was time for us to witness the kagulo in Shibuya crossing. We went there around 6PM. The best spot was in Starbuck (2F) of Tsutaya Building. Since it’s a popular spot, super dami ding tao sa Starbucks. You just really have to squeeze yourself in para maganda ang shot. It’s amazing to watch people cross the Shibuya Crossing. It’s a sight to see when you’re in Japan.

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This is a screenshot of the video I have taken. Can’t upload the video here eh 😦

Afterwards, the 6 of us went our separate ways. My mom, sister and I went to look for a place to have dinner. We ended up buying from 711. And we discovered this noodle that had easily become our favorite during the entire trip. Parang naka 5 ata kaming ganyan.

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Say went to meet her cousin in Japan, they had dinner outside. Leslie and Rachelle checked out some shopping centers, they also ended up buying at a convenience store for dinner.

That’s for our first day. It was only our first day, but we felt like we were there for 3 days already. Super pagod!

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Here’s my total damage for the day:

Tokyo Shuttle + 3 day Metro Pass – JPY 2100
Locker – JPY 300
Lunch – JPY 650
Harajuku Crepe – JPY 490
Dinner – JPY 367

Food: JPY 1507 (I have a budget of JPY 1750 per day)
Others: JPY 2400
Day 1 Overall: JPY 3907

Japan 2017: How to Apply for Japan Visa

One look at the requirements for Japan visa and you’ll start to think twice about going. But do not get too overwhelmed with the requirements, it’s actually pretty easy to apply for a Japan visa.

First, you need to find an accredited agency who processes Japan visa. In the Embassy of Japan website, they have indicated the following agencies:

For our visa, we went to Rajah Travel Corporation. I have a friend working there and she advised me to wait for the Travel Expo to pay for the visa processing fee because they will give a discounted amount. So we went to the Expo last February and pay for the visa processing fee of P450 instead of the original price of P1,500.

Then, they sent the list of requirements for the visa.

  1. Valid Passport. It must be valid 6 months from the date of travel. Bring old passports.
  2. Completed visa application form. Your agency will give you this. Or you can download it here.
  3. For those with guarantors (example, mother will shoulder the expense of the kids), a separate form needs to be filled. You can download it here.
  4. 1 recent 2×2 colored photo (or just say photo for Japan visa and photo studio will know it). Must have white background and applicant should wear a collared top. Write your name at the back of the photo before pasting it on the application form (Note: paste the photo and not staple it)
  5. Original NSO Birth Certificate. Must be issued 1 year from filing. You can order it here for P350.
  6. If married, NSO-issued marriage certificate.
  7. Certificate of employment stating position, tenure of service and with gross annual income. You can also include your ITR or anything that will prove your employment.
  8. For Self-employed, DTI Business Name Registration or SEC Registration Certificate
  9. Original bank certificate. Must be issued within 3 months from filing.
  10. Daily schedule/itinerary in Japan. Here’s our daily itinerary. You can use it as a sample.

Sample Itinerary

 

 

* It doesn’t have to be super detailed. Just give them an idea where you’ll be going during your stay. I personally believe the itinerary will be considered when they check your bank certificate.

We were a group of 6 where 1 was a guarantor, 2 were under the guarantor, 2 students w/o guarantor and 1 self employed. Since I think better when I create lists, I came up with this checklist. Please see the requirements below based on which category you fall in.

Visa Checklist 2

* Feel free to copy my checklist or comment below/send me a message, I can send you the template.

Once you submit everything, the agency personnel will go through your documents and make sure you have complete requirements. Afterwards, just wait and pray that you’ll get approved. Usual turnaround time is 3 – 5 business days.

And after few days of waiting… are you ready to see this in your passport? 🙂

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That’s it! Goodluck!

 

Japan 2017: Pre-planning + P40,000 All-in expense for 7 days.

Our Japan trip, which happened last June 6 – 12, is by far the most special trip I’ve had. I knew everything by heart because I carefully planned and researched our itinerary and budget. They say travelling to Japan is expensive, but with thorough planning I would say it is not as expensive as other people think. If you are in my page because you also want to go to Japan without having to burn your wallet, you’ve come to the right page. We are a group of 6 who travelled to 3 cities: Tokyo – Osaka – Kyoto (well, plus Nagoya because that’s where we flew out of Japan) for P40,000 and some change. Below I will share how I planned our trip.

Before I start, I just want to share that my budget was divided into two. Pre-trip expenses and During trip expenses. The Pre-trip expenses include airfare, accommodation and booked tickets. Basically, anything that has to be pre-booked was under Pre-trip expenses. During trip expenses cover food and transportation within Japan. In other terms, this is my ‘pocket money’.

Alright, so let’s begin. Below would be an overview of my expenses and I will create a separate post to further discuss each.

*For conversion purposes: 1JPY = 0.45PHP

I.

JAPAN VISA

JPN Visa

In order to obtain a Japan visa, you have to submit your requirements to an accredited agency. For the list of agencies, you can check it here.  In our case, we went to Rajah Travel Corporation. They have a branch in Makati and Manila. Visa processing costs P1500. And the turnaround time is 3-5 business days.

Tip: Pay for the visa processing fee during Travel Expo. Agencies offer a discounted price. We paid P450 for the visa processing.

Budget allotted: P450

II.

AIRFARE

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This is the most expensive portion of my pre-trip expense. If you are good at snagging seat sales then you can make your budget less than P40,000.

A little back story… We never planned on going to Japan. We were actually thinking of Korea or Bali. But during one seat sale of Jetstar last December 2016. I noticed a super cheap fare from Manila to Japan. Immediately, I booked a one-way ticket MNL to JPN. I didn’t have any plans then on how long we’d want to stay in Japan and where we want to go, so I kept my options open and did not purchase a return ticket. WRONG MOVE. For months, I have to check Jetstar website to see if there’s a cheap flight from Japan to Manila. We ended up buying Nagoya to Manila, because that’s the cheapest ticket we can find. (Note: we were able to buy the return ticket 1 month before our trip. Hassle!)

Tip: If you really want to go to Japan, decide early if you want to go on multiple cities or focus on one area only. This will give you a non-hassle booking experience.

Regarding baggages, I don’t normally give much importance to adding a baggage. Often I would pick the smallest baggage allowance. So when I booked the MNL to JPN flight, I only alloted 20kg for my mom, sister and I. And 15kg for my 3 friends. With teamwork and strategic planning, we were able to fit everything in the allotted baggage allowance. Thanks to the 7kg hand carry allowance! Yay!

Manila to Tokyo: P3,500
Nagoya to Manila: P6,373
Budget Allotted: P9,873

III.

ACCOMMODATION

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There are plenty of accommodation to choose from in Japan. There are hotels, capsule hostels and AirBnB rooms. Choose depending on the people you are with. In my case, I was with my mom and so I opted for an entire room in AirBnb. But if I were alone or with a friend, maybe I’d try the capsule hostels.

Anyway, it was my first time to try AirBnB. I usually book through Agoda or Booking.com. I was happy with my experience with AirBnB. There were many options and you can get to chat with the host of the place. I will create a separate entry for the two AirBnBs that we rented.

Initially, we booked 1 night in Tokyo and 3 nights in Osaka. But after we booked our roundtrip ticket, we adjusted it to 2 nights in Tokyo and 3 nights in Osaka. I wanted to book ryokan (ancient type of house in Japan) in Kyoto, but I realized it would be hassle to transfer from one place to another with our luggages.

Tip: Book a place near the subway and probably near the tourist sites. Example: Shibuya, Shinjuku, Asakusa. Book a place depending on your itinerary.

In Tokyo, I booked a room in Shibuya. It was walking distance from Shibuya Crossing and there were convenience stores, restaurants and shopping centers around.
Price: P1,976/head

In Osaka, our main agenda was to visit USJ and to explore Dotonbori. So we booked a room near Dotonbori.
Price: P2,927/head

I find our accommodation cheap for our entire stay in Japan.

Note: Check in time is usually 3PM.

Budget Allotted: P4,903

IV.

TOKYO TO OSAKA TRANSFER

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There are 3 ways to get to Osaka from Tokyo.

  1. Airplane
  2. Shinkansen (bullet train)
  3. Highway Bus

Since I wanted this trip to be as cheap as possible, I considered a sleeper bus. Why? You get to save 1 night of accommodation. The only catch is, travel time is 9-10 hours. But if you’ll think about it, you wouldn’t even notice the time because you are sleeping. I actually slept the entire bus ride.

I checked two websites for the buses. The more famous one is the Willer Express Company and the other one is Kosoku Bus, which is a group of Japanese highway bus managed by Keio Bus.

From several options, I narrowed down my choices based on my preferences: must be a sleeper bus with a comfort room and reclining seat. Finally, I found Eagle Bus. It has 3 seats in one row separated by aisles. We also have our own curtain for privacy. There was also an outlet for charger and an overhead bin for our handcarry bags. We departed from Shinjuku Expressway Bus terminal at 10:10PM and arrived at Osaka 7:30AM.

Budget allotted: P2,637 (6000 JPY)

V.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN

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If Universal Studios is one of the reasons you want to go to Japan make sure you book a ticket beforehand. This will save you a lot of time from queueing. Though, even if you have a ticket you still have to go there early because there is a line going inside the amusement park.

I booked our USJ admission ticket via Klook, my ever trusted travel app. Despite being advised of buying two tickets: Admission ticket and Express pass, I only bought the admission ticket.

Admission ticket – is the ticket for you to get in USJ
Express Pass – is a ticket you show to skip the lines to the rides

I am not an amusement park enthusiast. I don’t ride rollercoasters. I don’t see myself riding all the rides in USJ. Basically my main purpose in visiting USJ was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. So, with that in mind, I did not buy an Express Pass.

Tip: If you like rides and you want to try as many rides as you can, you should buy an Express Pass, especially if your visit will fall on weekends or holidays.

During our stay in USJ, we went to WWOHP, rode Jaws and Jurassic Park – The Ride and my sister and friends tried the Flying Dinosaur.

Because I was a user of Klook since December 2016, I was able to earn quite a number of credits and promo codes, so when we booked our USJ tickets, we used those. Plus, I took advantage of Klook’s summer promo where I got P1,500 off.

Budget allotted: P3,175

VI.

WI-FI ROUTER

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In this digital era, I cannot imagine myself not having an internet. For my past travels, I would rely mostly on free wi-fi or as ask people for directions if I get lost. But I really want to be prepared for our Japan trip. There’s no room for us to get lost. So I booked us a wi-fi router so that as soon as we get to Japan we can easily navigate around and use the internet if ever we need to.

We booked our wi-fi router through Flytpack. It was delivered to us 2 days before our departure. Another option would be 3G/4G sim cards you can purchase through Klook or in Japan airports.

Our Flytpack router also acts as a powerbank, which was helpful because I don’t have a powerbank. Also, it was fast even if there were 5 of us connected to it. It has a limit of 1GB per day.

One router costs P1,960 but there is a deposit of P2,800, which will be refunded once we return the unit.

Budget allotted: P327 (deposit not included)

 

VII.

POCKET MONEY

After I booked all the neccessities, I have to plan how much I would have to carry with me. Total pocket money was P18,000 (40,000 JPY) converted at Nikko Money Exchange, Malate)

The travel tax was excluded from the P18,000 pocket money. We paid P1,620/person at the airport.

Next, I allotted a daily food allowance, which was 1,750JPY or P780. Was it enough? Yes, it was more than enough for me. I did not starve myself. I actually ate a lot in Japan. Most food in the convenience stores are around 150JPY to 500JPY. And the restaurants we have eaten, we’ve normally pay less than a thousand yen.

Allotted budget: 12,250 JPY (1,750 x 7 days)

Another one I considered was the transportation budget. We took advantage of the 1 day passes because it offers unlimited subway rides. Also, we wanted to experience the bullet train. It was quite expensive, but we made it part of our budget.

Break down:
Tokyo Shuttle + 3 day pass = 2,400 JPY
Bullet train (non-reserved seat) = 5,830 JPY
Kyoto 1 day pass = 1,200 JPY
Estimate for Osaka transportation = 2,000 JPY

Allotted budget: 11,430 JPY

I also considered possible entrance fees at other tourist sites that we will visit, especially in Kyoto. I read that there were some temples that has admission fee. To be safe, I allotted 2,000 JPY.

Of course I also had to set a budget for my souvenirs which was P5,500 or 2,475 JPY.

And the remaining from P18,000 was Contingency funds: 11,845 JPY or P5,330

Total pocket money: 40,000 JPY or P18,000

Note: The allocation of the pocket money didn’t go exactly as planned. Like, there were times I only spent 1500 JPY for food. And we didn’t pay 2,000 JPY for entrance fees. This was my anticipated budget allocation before our trip. The important thing is I did not exceed my limit of 40,000 JPY.

Expense Summary

Visa processing – P450
Airfare – P9873
Accommodation – P4,903
Bus from Tokyo to Osaka – P2,637
Universal Studios – P3,175
Flytpack – P327
Travel tax – P1,620
Pocket Money – P18,000

Total: P40,985

Note: You can spend less than 40,000 PhP if you can get a lower airfare and if you will not take the bullet train.

That’s it! Watch out for my next posts. I will share detailed information about the topics above. As well as our daily activities in Japan.

Love,

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Father’s Day Letter

Dear Pa,

I look up as I type this and saw you watching the usual daily news. If I look closely, I will see wrinkles on your face and your hands. Visible signs of hard work from years of working and providing for our family. There are so many things I’d like to tell you but cannot say in person because for sure I will struggle to get the words out before I even reach the middle of this note. Despite being someone who likes to speak up, I cannot bring myself to tell all these things to you. So today, as the world celebrates fathers’ day, I would like to share this letter I’ve written to tell you and the world how much I love and appreciate you.

Looking at you, I know for sure the kind of man I would like to be with someday. Some people when they look at their fathers they will see the exact person they don’t want to marry or they don’t want to be like. But I look at you with utmost respect and love because you were nothing but an epitome of a great father. Even my friends can attest to that. And I feel blessed to have a father like you. A man who never deprived us of the things that we need and want.

I will always remember you as the strong man who can carry me with one arm. The man who can still dribble like Stephen Curry at 60. I will remember you as the thoughtful man who gave out Dunkin Donuts to the kids in our neighborhood on Christmas Day, which back then I kinda felt envious because you didn’t buy any donuts for me. But later on I realized that we were more privileged than other people so we should learn how to give and share our blessings to others. I will remember you as the hard-working man who had to wake up early in the morning before the day breaks to go to work for years until it’s time for you to retire. The man who provided food and education to us and tried his best to buy us the things that we don’t really need but incessantly asked for. We didn’t know how hard life was, we didn’t know what you had to go through just to give us a comfortable life. I remember you told us that one time you only had 100 pesos left to get home. We never felt that times were hard, because you and mama made it easy for us. And thank you for that Papa and Mama. I will always remember you as a selfless, responsible and loving father. And I wish people can have a dad like you.

And now that we are older, Ate just graduate from Medical School and I can see how proud you are of her. I know I haven’t accomplished much. I am already in my mid-20s and yet I still don’t know what I really want to do in life. And yet you were there to support me and encourage me and never pressure me into anything. I know you would like to have grandkids running around the house, and even that I cannot give you yet. But someday, I hope to make you proud too. Someday, I hope I can make you happy and contented, not that you are not happy and contented now. I want to give you and mama a more comfortable life. And someday, I will give you that. But for now, there’s one thing that I can do and will always do for you, please know that no matter what happens, I will take care of you, both mama and you. I will take care of you when you can’t do things you can normally do. I will take care of you when all your hair turns white. I may not be the perfect daughter, maybe not as successful as other people’s daughter, not as sweet and obedient like others, but I will always love and take care of you everyday.

Today, as the world celebrates fathers’ day, I celebrate not only this day but every day because I have this life and this family. I couldn’t even ask for anything better.

I love you.

Love,

Joy.

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Neil’s Kitchen: Date Night

For someone who’s always on the lookout for artsy restaurants, I didn’t let Neil’s Restaurant escape my radar. I found out about Neil’s Kitchen through Instagram. When I saw their beautiful interior in photos, I knew I have to visit this restaurant. I have made several attempts to go to Neil’s Kitchen, but being a Northern girl (Far-view, represent!), I have to consider the time and means to go to South.

Finally, I found the perfect occasion to see Neil’s Kitchen for myself, and it was no other than: Valentines Day! We celebrated Valentines 3 days after the 14th because we didn’t want to join the flock of couples celebrating on the date itself.

Continue reading “Neil’s Kitchen: Date Night”

5 Suggested OOTD Spots in Taipei

Alright, I am one of the guilty users of #OOTD. Hahaha! I love seeing photos of my outfits and I enjoy posing for my OOTDs  (I even have my own trademark OOTD pose lol). So far, the place where I have the most number of OOTDs is in Taipei. And I would share below the best places to take your OOTDs when in Taipei. (Jeez, I just used the word OOTD five times.)

DISCLAIMER: You will see my face in almost all the photos. So unless you can take it, you can press the back button NOW. :p

Continue reading “5 Suggested OOTD Spots in Taipei”

Travel Guide: 3 days in Taipei

Travel date: July 29 – August 2 (midnight) 2016

Finally! I found the time to share my Taipei itinerary.

Few months back, Taiwan remained to be just another country for me. I didn’t know a lot of people who have visited Taiwan, compared to those who have gone to Japan or Korea. But what convinced us to book a trip to Taiwan? What did we do there? Where did we eat? What are my tips to those who will be visiting Taiwan soon? I will answer everything below. 🙂

Continue reading “Travel Guide: 3 days in Taipei”

Taipei: Itinerary and Expense

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Few notes:

  • The budget shown above doesn’t include the total amount we loaded in our Easy Card (MRT Pass). We bought the Easy Card in 7-11 and it can be used to purchase food and other stuff. Getting an Easy Card costs 100 NTD, then you can reload it for another 100. In total, I think I have spent 500 NTD for the card and the load.
  • The hours specified above includes the travel time and queuing time (if applicable).
  • Approximately, I have spent more of less 12k for the entire trip (minus the airfare), with the airfare, probably around 15k.

Will post more about our Taipei trip.

Love, Andrea

My Klook Experience

My friends know how fond I am of creating itineraries and researching activities for my trips. Recently, we flew to Hong Kong, and I promised myself that I would do the things I did not do during my first visit. (Back story: My first trip to HK was in 2013, and we availed a packaged tour: HK Disneyland + Shenzhen + jewelry shop and other places I am not interested in).

This time, I wanted to go to The Peak and try the Ngong Ping cable car. Luckily, I found an app where I can book these activities at a discounted price: Klook. I learned about Klook while I was browsing posts in DIY Travel Pilipinas (posted by Mr. Richmond Difuntorum Cruz). I was curious, so I downloaded it and gave it a shot. I was hesitant at first, because I never heard of it before. But then, it turns out to be a really good app and I can’t stop recommending it to people, who just like me, like to customize their itinerary.

Here’s what I booked:

klook-bookings

  1. This is the activity that you booked.
  2. Number of tickets you bought
  3. Total amount of the activity.
  4. Discounted amount because I have a referral code. You can use mine to get a discount for your 1st purchase: ZLI88
  5. The new amount of the activity
  6. This is where you can see the voucher. It will also be sent via email

The usual round trip ticket to the Peak is 88HKD (545Php). But you have to fall in line for about 2 hours. The one I purchased through Klook was a Fast Track, meaning we got to skip the 2 hour queue and went straight to the tram. And that is only for 508.50Php. HOW.AWESOME.IS.THAT?

Overall, I really love my experience with Klook. That’s why I am sharing it to you. I can’t wait for my next travel, just so I can book with them again.

Download the app and see it for your self (this is not a sponsored post, haha!) They currently have vouchers for Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Bangkok, Phuket, Bali and even Boracay.

Don’t forget to use my referral code: ZLI88 for you to get a discounted price on your first purchase! 🙂

With love,

Andrea

#PassionProject

I have always wanted to become a food blogger. I thought about starting a food blog in 2013, but I realized describing food was not one of my strongest suits. So I kinda shrugged off the thought. But I and food were inseparable, so I decided to start an Instagram account that would showcase my love for photography and food.

I created eatsinthenorth as my platform for my food photos. As implied in its name,  eatsinthenorth are compilation of the foods I have tried from the north only. Currently, I am posting my own photos but I am looking forward to repost photos from people who used #eatsinthenorth in their food photos.

So friends, if you have visited restaurants in the North, please do tag us in your photos! I’d love to discover new restaurants thru your posts!

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Itinerary: Sagada

MAY 2015

Duration: 2 days , 2 nights

Day 0

11:00PM – Left Manila to Sagada

8:00AM – Side trip to Banaue Rice Terraces and breakfast at Point Valley Inn Restaurant

10:00AM – Arrival in Sagada; Tourist Registration

10:30: Settled in George Guest House

Afternoon: City Tour

•Echo Valley Hanging Coffins
•Sagada Underground River Entrance
•St. Mary’s Church
•Bokong falls
•Valley Rice Fields

7:00PM – dinner at the Yoghurt House

Day 2:

3:00AM – Wake Up

4:00AM – On the Way to Kiltepan

4:30AM – Waiting for the Kiltepan Sunrise

6:00AM – Toploading back to the house

7:00AM – Breakfast at Sagada Brew

9:00AM – 5 hours Spelunking (Caving from Lumiang cave to Sumaguing Cave)

3:00PM – Head back to house to rest

7:00PM – Dinner at  Lemon House

Day 3:

4:00AM – Check out at George Guest House

9:00AM – Breakfast at Good Taste, Baguio City

10:00AM – Left for Manila to celebrate Father’s day with the family.

3:00PM – Arrived in QC

Journal: One Saturday in QC

It was a long weekend due to the All Saints Day holiday. My office mates and I took advantage of it and went to Ateneo and UP Town Center to shoot our Big Night video presentation.

Just want to share some shots I took that day.

(Clockwise from top first column)

  • Found Biblio at the 2nd floor of UPTC extension. My heart jumped with joy when I saw shelves full of books! They have a log book where you can write your requested book and they will check if they can find it for you.
  • Long Live Bacon. I found this at Lazy Bastard’s store near the cinema of UPTC. Haven’t tried their food but I heard lots of good feedback.
  • Those cakes belong to The Chocolate Kiss located at UPTC extension. I love how this new wing of UPTC feels like an extension of UP and Maginhawa. I first tried Chocolate Kiss at Bahay ng Alumni inside UP Campus.
  •  The facade of Starr’s. They are famous for their milkshakes, haven’t tried it though. But I love how it looks from outside, it is so enticing that you want to come in and give their milkshake a try.
  • This photo was taken at one of the walkways in Ateneo.
  • We had lunch at Friuli Trattoria! It has been my go-to place for pizza and pasta since I first tried them at their Maginhawa branch. Friuli Trattoria will give you a mouthwatering experience without hurting your wallet.
  • After lunch came the dessert. I tried Carmen’s Best Hazelnut (P100, small). I was contemplating whether to buy a vegan ice cream or Carmen’s Best, the latter won, obv. Hazelnut was good, but my favorite still goes to He’s Not Worth It.
  • Oh, just me posing with some book quotations in the background. It was a test shot for the shoot.
  • Biblio‘s wall! I want something like this in my room!
  • Another thought to ponder on Lazy Bastard’s wall. Bacon is not Pork, it’s Bacon.

#StopTheStigma

I am supporting the initiative of Philippine Psychiatric Association to raise awareness, promote mental health and protect the rights of people with mental disorders by signing the petition to make the country’s first Mental Health Act happen.

If you’re one with us, you can sign the petition here.

Do you know how hard it is to have a psychological disorder here in the Philippines?

  1. HMOs or health cards do not cover consultation to psychiatrists and psychologists.
  2. One consultation with a psychiatrist is worth P 1,500 – P 2,000.
  3. Medicines are costly.
  4. People can’t talk about it openly because not everyone understands.

You know how I know? I’ll let you in on a little secret…

Continue reading “#StopTheStigma”

In Transit: Vietnam to Cambodia

When we booked our tickets for our Vietnam – Cambodia trip, we already decided that we were doing a cross-country trip. We booked a ticket from Manila to Ho Chih Minh then Siem Reap to Manila. We had no choice but to do our research on how to get from Ho Chih Minh to Siem Reap. You are probably reading this because you, too, are planning to do a cross-country trip from Vietnam to Cambodia.

It is very easy, actually.

Continue reading “In Transit: Vietnam to Cambodia”

TravelBook.ph: My Go-To Travel Buddy

One crucial factor of creating my travel itinerary is choosing the accommodation. Last December, my family decided to spend the holidays in Baguio. This is something big for me because we never go out during Christmas. My dad always prefers to spend the holidays at home. So when I learned about our first Christmas vacation out of town, being the lakwatsera that I am, I took care of planning the itinerary and booking the accommodation.

Good thing, I stumbled upon TravelBook.ph when I was looking a good yet affordable hotel in Baguio City. After looking at a lot of options, we finally decided to book Albergo Hotel. We made the payment at SM Payment Center, after which we received the hotel voucher. It was a smooth transaction.

My life has changed since then. Whether it is for a staycation in the city or an out of town, I always use TravelBook.ph for booking my accommodation.

Get to know my go-to travel buddy!

Continue reading “TravelBook.ph: My Go-To Travel Buddy”