Oh, Tokyo! (Days 3 and 4)

15 Feb

Ian and I originally planned to go to Tokyo in November 2013 as a late third anniversary celebration. Unfortunately, it took our travel agency eons to book our flight :-I It scheduled a mid-February trip for us, but I didn’t want to wait that long so I had our trip moved up to the last week of January.

Our last full day in Tokyo coincided with our 40th “monthsary.” (There has got to be a better, non-teenybopperish word.) Here we are about to have breakfast on the top floor of our hotel.

Our last full day in Tokyo coincided with our 40th “monthsary.” (There has got to be a better, non-teenybopperish word.) Here we are about to have breakfast on the top floor of our hotel.

Afterwards we took the train to Shinagawa station and walked a bit to Sengakuji Temple, the final resting place of the 47 Ronin who are considered by many as the best example of samurai honor.


And now for a little bit of history. The 47 Ronin are a band of samurai in the early 1700s who were left without a master after their feudal lord Asano committed seppuku. Lord Asano was made to kill himself as punishment for attacking court official Lord Kira, who had insulted him.

Their code of honor required the ronin to avenge their master’s death, but the samurai knew that they had to wait for Lord Kira to let his guard down before they struck. So they planned and waited for nearly two years.

When the time was deemed right, the ronin attacked Lord Kira’s mansion and decapitated him. They then brought his head to Sengakuji Temple where Lord Asano’s remains were buried.

The 47 Ronin were sentenced to death. But because they were only following bushido (way of the warrior), they were made to commit seppuku instead of being executed as criminals. Their remains were buried at the Sengakuji Temple graveyard.



Does anyone know what these are?

Does anyone know what these are?

So pretty

So pretty

The temple compound was peaceful and well-maintained. Ian even saw the well where the ronin had washed Lord Kira’s head. There’s also a museum where visitors can see the weapons used during the attack on Lord Kira’s mansion.

Outside the temple are small shops selling history books and interesting souvenirs, like a poster of 47 Hello Kitties dressed as the ronin. I also saw a 47 Ronin comic book with cats as characters. I’m not much of a cat person so I just got myself a letter opener that looks like a katana.

Hindi pa rin tapos ang aking O-Ren Ishii aspirations.

Hindi pa rin tapos ang aking O-Ren Ishii aspirations.

We left Sengakuji Temple around lunch time and proceeded to Tsukiji Market.

Tsukiji is one of the biggest fish markets in the world, which explains why there are a lot of birds in the area :-p Hundreds of tourists go there before sunrise to watch the auction of giant-ass tunas. Kami naman ni Ian were content to go there for…SUSHI \o/ People really line up outside Tsukiji restaurants for fresh sushi. Unless you go fishing yourself, this is as fresh as you can get.

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(Note: Tsukiji restaurant on Pasay road imports seafood from Tsukiji Market three times a week. I learned about this just last night because that’s where Ian and I had our Valentine’s date, hihi.)

Another reason for the long queues is the size of the restaurants. Most of them can seat only about a dozen people at a time. Kahit gusto mong namnamin ang pagkain mo, mahihiya kang magtagal kasi maraming naghihintay sa labas.



Pero okay lang. Lugi ka pa ba rito?


Ian and I were so full, nakatulog kami sa train on our way back to Shinjuku haha. Hindi na nadala sa pagkawala the previous night.

We rested a bit at the hotel and decided that we were too lazy to go anywhere else. So we just explored the Shinjuku shopping district once more. We had merienda in a neighborhood shawarma stall, and there I noticed that the Japanese really do not eat or drink while walking. I read somewhere that they consider it impolite. If they buy food or drinks, they would finish it on the spot.

Another observation: Japanese cashiers do not take customers’ payment by hand. They always have this tray where you’re supposed to put your money.

We bought books at Kinokuniya, the largest bookstore chain in Japan (they have an entire section on cats), then went to the flagship Isetan department store to shop for pasalubong.

Compare my loot (top) with Ian's. Nerrrd.

Compare my loot (top) with Ian’s. Nerrrd.

If you ever find yourself there, go straight to the food section in the basement. Nakaka-overwhelm (in a good way) yung dami at bango ng pagkain! Paikot-ikot ako because I didn’t know where to start. I especially loved the dessert section and the food’s lovely packaging.

(Tip: If green tea KitKat’s what you’re looking for, don’t waste your time searching for it in malls. The airport’s your best bet.)

We also went to Bicqlo, an 11-story building housing both Uniqlo and Bic Camera. You’ve got floors devoted to clothes and floors devoted to electronics.  What a random combination.

Soon enough we got tired of walking and decided to abuse the massage chairs on one of the Bic floors. I never thought massage chairs could be so aweeesome. I was glad that we didn’t have to get one of those expensive massages being offered outside. LOL, kurips.

The following day we had to say goodbye to Tokyo, sniff sniff.

Check out this checkout machine (lol). You only have to insert your room card here. If  you have no pending charges, you’re free to go.

Check out this checkout machine (lol). You only have to insert your room card here. If you have no pending charges, you’re free to go.

Check out this checkout machine (lol). You only have to insert your room card here. If  you have no pending charges, you’re free to go.

I was quite sad to leave Tokyo because I really fell in love with the place and the people. I even found myself daydreaming that I was a post-grad student there. There were times when I wished I didn’t have our trip rescheduled to January, para hindi pa siya tapos hehe.

Pero buti na lang hindi kami natuloy ng mid-February because Tokyo is now experiencing its worst snowstorm in decades. The snow storm has already killed a dozen people and injured a thousand 😦 I hope it ends soon!

Oh, Tokyo! (Day 2)

2 Feb

Ever wondered what a typical Japanese breakfast consists of?


Grilled fish and rice


The ever-present miso soup plus a bit of pork and tiny, cold cold fish (don’t know what it’s called)


Cold raw egg

And there’s natto, a pungent, sticky mass of fermented soybeans. Definitely an acquired taste. If you want to try it, I suggest you begin with a teeny-tiny morsel.


Photo from http://www.sakura-hostel.co.jp (I forgot to take a picture of my natto.)

Now that we’re done with breakfast, let us proceed to our half-day city tour. Our travel agency told us to be at the hotel lobby at 8:40 a.m., 10 minutes before actual departure. Because, you know, Japanese time. We were on time so we were relaxed and walking leisurely, but the tour assistant waiting for us (his name’s Masa) was already a bit jittery. When Ian told Masa that he’d just go to the restroom, Masa said it’s okay but he had to make sure to be back by 8:50. I wanted to calm him down 😀

A bus brought us to the Hamamatsucho terminal where another bus and our tour guide were waiting. We departed at 9:10, leaving behind the passengers who failed to  arrive on time.

Our first stop was Tokyo Tower, a broadcasting tower patterned after and taller than the Eiffel.


There are two 360-degree observatories, main (150 meters up) and special (250 meters), but our tour package covered just the former. If you’re going on your own, you have to pay 820 yen or about P365 to access the main observatory; or 1,420 yen or P630 to access both.

A note on currency conversion. One yen is equivalent to about 44 centavos. To make my life easier, I just pretended that every expense in yen was double the amount in peso (e.g. 1,000 yen is about P500). It made me think I was shelling out more than I actually was, which is a good thing if you don’t want to spend a lot.

Back to Tokyo Tower. They say that on good weather you can sometimes see Mt. Fuji from a distance, but I didn’t see it 😦 Maybe I just didn’t look hard enough.



You can also look down.

Our next stop was the Imperial Palace. It’s the residence of the Japanese imperial family, so of course we weren’t allowed inside. They say the public is allowed to enter the palace only on January 2 (New Year) and December 23 (Emperor’s birthday).




Want to hear something embarrassing? Our tour guide said the bus would be parked beside a building across the palace grounds, and that we should be there at a certain time. Hindi namin mahanaaaaap. I was already panicking because I knew the bus wouldn’t wait for us, the same way it left the other passengers at Hamamatsucho. Good thing it passed the street we were on. We hailed it, got in, and were greeted by cheers and applause from the other tourists. Haha, nakakahiya.

We proceeded to Sensoji Temple, also known as Asakusa Kannon (Kannon is the goddess of mercy, Asakusa is the location), which is Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. On our way there I was surprised to see some rickshaw drivers. Our tour guide said these guys charged a lot and that they’re college graduates who knew how to speak English.


Not listening to the tour guide, haha. Kaya naliligaw e.




Purification fountain, where people rinse their hands and mouth before going to the temple. You’re supposed to pour water from the ladle into your cupped hand, not directly to your mouth, but I saw some tourists doing that :-/



I was happy to see women in traditional attire.

Outside the temple is the Nakamise shopping district, which is perfect for buying pasalubong. Sad to say, Ian and I no longer explored it because we wanted to be the first people back in the bus to make up for our tardiness, hehe.

Sensoji was our last stop, but we also drove through the Ginza upscale shopping district. How upscale is Ginza? One square meter of land there is worth more than 10 million yen. That’s about P4.5 million! For one friggin square meter!

Okay, kalma. We also passed by Akihabara which is famous for its electronics shops and anime, manga establishments. Our tour ended at the Tokyo Central Station, where we were left to fend for ourselves.


Don’t you wish MRT stations were as nice as this?

We went back to Shinjuku to have lunch and rest a bit, then we were off to the Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. It is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the late Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. It’s the only place we visited that made us feel we were not in a big city.


Torii gate. Said to mark the boundary between the sacred and the profane. The main Torii gate is 40 feet high.

Between the Torii gate and the shrine is a 10 to 15-minute leisurely walk in a forested area. It was a refreshing break from the concrete jungle outside.


Ian had a blast using his new GoPro to video-record our walk here.


Barrels of sake offerings


Offering hall


Piles of prayers written on wooden blocks


Big taiko drum

The austerity of Meiji Shrine and the thousands of trees along the path left us feeling serene, so our senses were assaulted when we reached Harajuku Takeshita Dori which was a short walk away.


Harajuku is known for weird teenage fashion.


This guy scared me. But he made the peace sign when he saw me looking at him.


Just another Sunday at McDonald’s

After Harajuku, it was back to Shinjuku for us. We decided to explore the shopping district and look for the Don Quijote (Donki) store for cheap buys. The store was cramped from floor to ceiling with, well, everything. It sells pre-owned luxury bags, electronics, toiletries, home products, luggage, winter clothes, snacks… it even has an entire section devoted to sex toys. Anong sinabi ng SM? Haha.

For supper we went to *drumrolls* McDonald’s. In our travels abroad we make it a point to visit a McDonald’s branch to see how different the menus are. Nothing weird in McDonald’s Japan, I ordered a spicy chicken sandwich which had a different dressing, and Ian had french fries topped with melted cheese and bacon bits. The big difference — the price. My meal cost 630 yen or about P280. Dalawang burger meal na yun dito.

On our way back to the hotel, we took a wrong turn. Ian and I have quite a knack for getting lost in a foreign country at night, and in subzero temperature. We got lost in Beijing, too, and I remember feeling so scared. But this time, I felt quite safe. I wasn’t afraid of getting mugged or raped or abducted to be sold on the black market (I was especially scared of the last one when we got lost in a seedy part of Beijing). We passed by some homeless people, but I wasn’t as scared as I would have been if I were walking at night on Agham road.

After what felt like 30 minutes of walking in the cold, we finally arrived at the hotel where we finally had the chance to put Tiger Balm patches on our sore muscles. Tanders!

Oh, Tokyo! (Day 1)

1 Feb

Whenever people ask me how my Tokyo trip went, I always find myself gushing more about the people than the places I visited. It’s not that Tokyo’s sights aren’t interesting; I really just find the Japanese very fascinating. They’re my kind of people – disciplined, punctual, polite, and helpful. Also important: they do not dawdle. To a Type A like me, that’s a very good thing.

I also love how they are able to combine their respect for tradition and formality with their skill for innovation and, well, eccentricity. In a span of a few hours I got to see women in traditional kimonos as well as girls in Lolita outfits.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me track back to our check-in at Shinjuku Washington Hotel. As expected, our room was smaller than the hotel rooms we’re accustomed to. That’s densely populated Tokyo for you. But Ian and I had no complaints because the room was clean and the bathroom was well-stocked with Shiseido toiletries. I imagine tall Caucasians would have problems taking a shower, though, because the ceiling is very low. I couldn’t even put on a shirt without hitting the ceiling.

One of the nice things about our hotel is that it’s close to the shopping district and is a 10 to 15-minute brisk walk from the Shinjuku train station. (Please note that a brief walk for me might be extended torture for you. I love walking fast.) One thing I noticed on our way there:  Tokyo is crowded but oh so quiet. There we were, standing with dozens of people waiting for the stoplight to turn green, but no one was making any noise. Seems like the Japanese really don’t like noise, because when we were on the airport bus we were asked not to use our mobile phone because “it [would] annoy the other passengers.”

Back to Shinjuku station. It’s known as the world’s busiest train station, with more than 3 million passengers daily. Quite intimidating at first – the entire train system was – but we soon got the hang of it.


We had no choice but to get the hang of it because we couldn’t afford to take the taxi. I read somewhere that a 15-minute ride in a Tokyo taxi costs about P800, so no thanks, we’d stick with the train. (This doesn’t mean, however, that train rides are cheap. For a destination that’s two stops away, I paid about P66, more than four times the cost of a quick MRT ride back home.)


Tokyo taxi, why you so expensive?


Crowded, but there’s no jostling. I love the Japanese. I love the boy in the picture too, hihi.

So we took the train and got off at Shibuya where we found the statue of Hachiko, the dog who made us all cry. I still get teary-eyed every time I read about how, for nine years, he would go every day to the Shibuya station to fetch his human, who he didn’t know had already died.


A few steps away from the Hachiko statue is the Shibuya Crossing which is famous for being super busy.


We walked around Shibuya for a while…


…and had supper at one of those small restaurants where you have to place and pay for your order using a machine.


No English translations. Hula hula na lang.

We went back to Shinjuku to go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building which has a 360-degree observation deck on the 45th floor. It accepts visitors for free until 10:30 p.m.



After taking photos we walked to our hotel where we had our second supper, haha. This vegetarian ramen at the Yakichi restaurant is the best ramen I’ve ever had. Or maybe I was just on a Tokyo high.


Japanese food is delicious, but I don’t remember ever seeing an obese Japanese in Tokyo. Maybe it’s because they walk fast and often?

So that’s how our first day went. You might have noticed that I’ve been so daldal in this post, unlike before when I’d just flood my blog with photos. Goes to show how much I enjoyed our Tokyo trip 🙂 More posts to come!


8 Dec

There’s something brave about traveling alone. I’m not just talking about the courage it takes to go on a trip despite possible threats to one’s safety. I’m referring more to the courage it takes to enjoy one’s own company and examine one’s life, to not use another person as an emotional crutch.

So early this week I decided to go to the beach by myself. It was kinda weird for me to want to be on my own, given that I live alone, but at home I always find something to keep me busy. Either I clean the unit or I clean the unit or I clean the unit. I wanted to go somewhere I had never been to and take time to reflect.

My friend Almi suggested that I go to Stilts resort in Calatagan, Batangas because it’s peaceful and quiet there. And boy was she right. It was so peaceful and quiet…because I was the only guest in the whole resort!



All mine.

All I could hear the entire time was the wind ruffling leaves, buzzing bees, and the distant moos of a cow.



Brought my iPad to read an e-book but I ended up ditching it. I spent the afternoon just soaking in the lovely view…


…and trying out my DSLR’s timer for the first time :-p

I admit that I felt afraid when it was starting to get dark, so I scheduled a massage at 7 p.m. I wanted a comforting female presence, even just for an hour.


Kuya Mel, the super nice staff member, assured me that the place was safe and that the resort had roving night guards, but I still felt anxious because my door only had a doorknob lock which could easily be picked (they really should install additional locks). So I pushed a heavy table, chair, and fire extinguisher against the door, and slept with a pair of scissors on my bedside table hehe.

I was so relieved when morning came.

Ultramega low tide

Ultramega low tide

I spent the morning reflecting (naks) and stalking this little fella:


I spent 30 minutes trying to get a decent picture of this crab — it kept rushing into its hole every time I came near. But when it found food, wala na siyang pakialam sa akin.

I really enjoyed my stay at Stilts, feeble door lock notwithstanding. I left feeling refreshed and at peace. I even found myself smiling during the ride back to Makati.


I’m doing this again (but in a place with multiple sturdy locks) 🙂

Sorry, not sorry :-D

9 Oct

I  decided to not blog for a while because it was starting to become a chore 😛 I already spend about nine hours of every working day in front of a computer. I don’t want to go home and do the same thing.

So maybe I’ll update this blog only when I feel like it. (Oooh what a rebel, haha.) And now I feel like it, so…

What’s up, what’s up?!

Of course I’ll begin with the most important:

Naughty Calvin

My nephew is one year and five months young, and already he’s been showing everyone who’s boss. No one gets to watch TV when he’s around because Barney always has to be on. He gets hyper late at night and you cannot do a thing about it. He pees on the new mattress, throws your phone at the wall, bites you when you are sleeping, then laughs as if it’s the funniest thing in the world. It’s enough to make you rethink your plans to have kids.

Then one day you get up at two in the morning to watch him sleeping, only to find the brat wide awake and smiling at you. And you think, “Honey, you may pee on the mattress as often as you want.”

Taob si Tita.

* * *

Now that we’re on the topic of rewarding experiences…

I’ve been going to 360 Fitness Club (Makati branch) regularly for the past five months and I’m happy to report that:

1. I’m no longer underweight. (I’m hoping it’s muscle mass I gained.)

2. My waist is 1.5 inches smaller.

3. I no longer go huffin’ and puffin’ when taking laundry out or when taking that extra flight of stairs.

4. I feel proud of myself for being disciplined enough to go to the gym at least three times a week.

Whenever I tell people that I enrolled in a gym, I often get reactions like, “But you’re already thin!” But while I was thin, I was also lampa. My friend Aloi would say I was freakishly strong, but I didn’t feel fit at all. So I decided to try circuit training.

So what is circuit training? Well, it’s an intense workout combining cardio and strength training, which you can finish in just 30 minutes. One circuit is composed of 20 stations. You’re supposed to perform a particular exercise per station, and go at it for 30 seconds before moving on to the next. People are advised to complete three circuits in one session.

Camera 360

Not everyone will be doing the same set of exercises. There are different levels depending on what you want to achieve. There’s a set of exercises for people who want to lose weight, another set for those who want to get toned, etc.

One of the things I like about the gym is the coaches are very helpful and friendly. Members who have tried other gyms say that it’s a welcome change. In other gyms daw kasi, nobody assists you unless you have a personal trainer. At 360, the coaches will assist you if they see that you’re bewildered 😛 or doing something wrong.

There are group classes too. My favorite is the suspension training class, which involves the use of Jungle Gym or TRX equipment.


There’s also power yoga, pole dancing, body balance (combination of yoga, pilates, and tai chi), kettle bell, etc. You also have the option to get a personal trainer, for an extra fee per session.

I’ve been bugging my friends to try it because it’s fun and productive, and because I need gym friends haha. The people there are nice but I’m quite shy hihi.

If any of you are interested, just inform me so I can schedule you for a free trial 😀

What else, what else? Oh, Ian and I turned three a couple of weeks ago. We weren’t together on the anniversary day itself because I attended a conference in Boracay, and he was covering the budget deliberations in Congress. Okay lang din, we decided not to have a big celebration because we wanted to save up for a trip abroad.

Oh, and I’ve been living alone for almost a year \o/ I haven’t burned down the unit yet, so I can say that I’m doing well haha. Still can’t cook, still can’t do big-ass laundry, still can’t iron clothes (but boy can I steam the wrinkles awayyy). But I’m glad I no longer come home sad and weepy and lonely. Sanayan nga lang.

Okay, awat na. Ang haba na nito. How about you, how have you been? 🙂

Not an April Fool’s Day Joke

1 Apr


That really is me \o/


Surfing in Baler, huweee

More details in Kate’s blog


23 Feb

Malamig ang Valentine’s Day ko… Because Ian and I celebrated in subzero Beijing \o/

Day 1

Temperature check: -11 degrees Celsius. Our day started with lunch at a restaurant near the hostel. We had fun browsing the menu which included “Gold Medal Fish With No Result.” Whut :)) Didn’t get to find out what that meant because we ordered spring rolls, kimchi rice (in China, LOL), and yummy tofu soup with greens and nuts. It took them almost an hour to serve everything :-I I had to put on my angry face and exaggerate my gestures to communicate my annoyance.

Annoyance turned into fear and loathing when I went to the comfort room. When I opened the door, I saw an old woman’s head protruding from one of the cubicles. I thought I was seeing a Chinese ghost, haha. Pero mas nakakagimbal ang sumunod na discovery:

1. Her head was protruding because she was using a squat toilet. No porcelain thrones here.

2. Her head was protruding because the cubicle did not have a door.


So there you go, Traumatic Experience #1.

From Xicheng district, we rode a bus to Qianmen street which is within walking distance of the infamous Tiananmen Square. I love taking long walks especially when it’s cold, but not when it’s this cold. I was wearing gloves but my hands got numb and stiff  after less than five minutes. Poor Ian wasn’t able to bring gloves so you can imagine how miserable he was. Good thing there was a vendor selling gloves by the Qianmen gate.


Tiananmen Square


Tiananmen means Gate of Heavenly Peace. Ironic, yes?

Just north of Tiananmen is the Forbidden City, home of emperors and their families.


The place is huge. They say there are about a thousand buildings here.

The place is huge. They say there are about a thousand buildings here.

When we got tired of all the similar structures (hehe), we walked back to Qianmen, a 600-year-old commercial street which is now home to Western establishments like Starbucks and Zara.


We did a bit of shopping there and had supper on one of the side streets. The food wasn’t satisfying. The hot and sour soup was mapanghi and the xiao long bao had a basahan aftertaste :-I We went to KFC after to buy Ian’s favorite egg tart (Why don’t they sell that here?).

We rode a bus back to the hostel but got off at the wrong station (I think). The announcement system is confusing kasi. They say “We are now arriving at XinJieKouBei” both at the stop and while the bus is moving. So you don’t know if you’re already at XinJieKouBei or if that’s the next stop. Unfortunately, our hostel wasn’t located on a busy street so it was difficult to find people we could ask for directions. The streets were also not well-lit.

I saw what looked like a beauty parlor and told Ian to ask the women inside for help. When I got a closer look, however, I realized that it wasn’t a parlor. The women were heavily made up and were wearing revealing dresses. And just outside of the establishment, there was a guy eyeing us suspiciously. Tapos may van pa na nag-maneobra toward us. Takot na takot akooo, haha. We hurriedly left. After approaching about five more persons, we were finally pointed toward the right direction by a delivery guy. Whew. Traumatic Experience # 2.

Day 2

We woke up early for our trip to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Badaling section was closer, but we were told that the crowd would get so thick sometimes that you wouldn’t be able to take a decent photo of the wall. So we joined the Mutianyu tour provided by our hostel. There were just five of us — the tour guide who calls himself William, Ian, me, and French couple Maxime and Clemence (pronounced “Clemos”).

After a two-hour ride, we reached Mutianyu.

There was snow, yay.

There was snow, yay.

I slipped on snow, boo. Hahaha. I call this the Great Fall of China. My friend Elvin named my injury Bruise Lee.

I slipped on snow, boo. Hahaha. I call this the Great Fall of China. My friend Elvin calls my injury Bruise Lee.

My knees are still painful and purple, but I didn’t mind the pain at the time. I mean, just look at this view.

Cable car ride

Cable car ride

Asked a Brazilian tourist to take our photo. Also invited him to go to Palawan and Boracay. Philippines, represent!

Asked a Brazilian tourist to take our photo. Also invited him to go to Palawan and Boracay. Philippines, represent!

Camera 360

Went down the slopes on a toboggan! Funfunfun!



Before having lunch at a nearby hostel, we passed by market stalls which were attended to by really aggressive vendors. They’d shout at you, pull your arm, and harass you until you buy or go sungit on them. Of course I did the latter, haha. They were offering ridiculous prices — 280 yuan for calligraphy pens (around P6.50 per yuan) which eventually went down to 80 yuan.

We returned to the hostel to rest, then went out again at 5 p.m. to see the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. We took the subway this time, which was a pleasant experience. Two yuan and you can go anywhere you want. The subway was also tourist-friendly. It has 10 lines (compared to our three) but we didn’t get lost because there were signs everywhere.


Didn’t know the Chinese were into Santa Claus


We had supper at Ghost Street, which is lined with about 100 restaurants ranging from the “This costs how much?!” to “I wouldn’t eat here even if you paid me.” (Traumatic Experience #3) We ordered greasy eggplant, greasy fried rice, greasy duck, and greasy hot and sour soup (which also smelled mapanghi) in a mid-level resto.


Day 3

Panda Day at the Beijing Zoo!


Then we went to Wangfujing street which is a shopping haven. Lots of malls and market stalls.


They skewered Patrick!

They skewered Patrick!


I was able to practice my haggling there. I’m getting really good at it.

Me: How much for this cap?

Vendor: 50 yuan

Me: Too expensive! (Best actress award!) 15 yuan.

Vendor: 45

Me: 15

Vendor: 40

Me: No. 15 only. *walks away*

Vendor: Okay, okay. You’re so cheap!


So there’s my Beijing experience. I still have a lot of kuwento pero tinatamad na akong magsulat, haha. That trip was exhausting, traumatizing, but very very enjoyable. Definitely my best Valentine’s Day yet 😀

Kate’s Qs

1 Feb

What was the first cell phone you owned? Do you still have it? If not, how did you lose it?

I was able to save up for a Nokia 3210 when I was in high school. I gave it to my cousin two years later, when I bought a new phone.

Android or iOS? Why?

I’m fine either way. The only thing I don’t like about the iOS is that it forces you to go through iTunes to download songs. What I don’t like about Android is that there’s no Android app for Scrabble 😛

What do you think is your greatest achievement? (Naks, gusto ko yung sagot nagsisimula sa, Thank you for your very good question.)

Thank you for your very good question (haha). I’d like to think that I’m a good daughter, and that I’ve never given my parents major problems. They are mighty proud of me, and to me that is a big deal.

If you were a Mortal Kombat character, how would your Fatality move look like? (FINISH HIM!)

A full-force karate chop to the kili-kili. Ask Aloi, he knows it’s my favorite move.

Which musical group (local/foreign) are you dying to see live?

Maroon 5. Only because I want to see Adam Levine.

If you were a pizza, what would your toppings be and why? (Or why not? LOL.)

We have discussed this already, yes? Haha. Just cheese! Because I like keeping things simple and corny.

What’s the most valuable advice you can give to your 18-year-old self?

Things will get shitty six years from now. You will be tempted to do extremely stupid things and blame it all on your sadness (and on the person who caused it). Please keep in mind that only you are responsible for your actions. Be brave. Things will turn around 🙂

Share the song that’s on loop in your head right now.

“When I was a young girl” by Feist

What TV series (local/foreign) are you watching right now?

Game of Thrones. I’m still on season one.

They’re going to make an ALL-GIRL EXPENDABLES-ISH MOVIE! Please suggest a woman you think should be on it.

Meryl Streep. That woman can do anything. Dati I said, “Kapag nakaya ni Meryl Streep na mag-split sa ere, hahanga na talaga ako sa kanya.” Then I saw Mamma Mia! and whaddyaknow.

If you could write a children’s storybook about anything, what would it be about?

About a girl whose widowed father has just remarried. At first she’s angry and scared, having read all those evil stepmother stories. She cooks up plans to make life miserable for the bruha. Maybe she’ll “accidentally” spill juice on her stepmom’s dress as she’s about to leave for work. Hide her phone, perhaps? Then the girl begins to realize that her stepmom’s actually nice, and that her father’s been smiling and humming more often.

Her stepmom’s birthday arrives. The girl writes a quick birthday note, hands it to her stepmom, and runs. She’s still unwilling to call her “Mommy” or consider loving her, but she has decided that it wouldn’t hurt to give the woman a chance. 

Maybe someone has already written about this, I don’t know 🙂

Liebster Schmeebster

30 Jan

I’m back (for now, yet again), thanks to this Liebster thing. Here’s how it’s supposed to go: I share 11 facts about myself, answer my tagger’s (Hello, Kate!) 11 questions, ask 11 questions of my own, and tag 11 bloggers. But because my favorite bloggers have already been tagged, I’ll skip the last two parts.

11 Facts about Myself

  1. I grew up in a shoe factory. When I wasn’t studying I was watching artists sketch shoe designs, playing with size stickers, or pretending I was a porter carrying shoe boxes.
  2. I often got into fistfights with my younger brother. I wasn’t a very nice Ate. I promised myself that I would make up for it by being a good aunt to his son.
  3. I love studying. I’d study for a living if I could.
  4. I love singing. I hold mini-concerts at home, and I haven’t said no to an invitation to sing before an audience.
  5. I have two mothers whom I love so much – my biological mother who passed away when I was a kid, and my stepmother who has been taking care of me since I was a teen. I sometimes feel conflicted about my love for them. I’d wish Mama were here, then I’d realize, “But if she were, Tita Tes wouldn’t be.” But there’s no use thinking of the what-could-have-beens, right? I’m thankful I got to have them both.
  6. I have an unusual emotional reliance on stuffed toys. I didn’t grow up in a touchy-feely household, so I got used to expressing my feelings through them. Example: Instead of hugging my US-bound cousin goodbye, I wrapped my stuffed penguin’s flippers around her. Weird, I know.
  7. I exhibit signs of obsessive compulsive disorder — repetitive checking, mental rituals, excessive hair plucking, compulsive counting, intense need for order, etc.
  8. I have fallen in love thrice.
  9. I am an Inquirer baby. I started out by reading Pugad Baboy and Katrina in the comics section. I graduated to the main section when I was 11. I became an Inquirer scholar in college, had my internship there, and was hired as researcher shortly after graduation. I worked there for more than five years.
  10. I am a feminist.
  11. I’m good at cyberstalking. When I’m really interested in a person, I can dig up her/his phone number, family tree, activities back in high school, etc. I scare myself sometimes. 

I do realize that this list makes me seem like a nutcase, haha. Oh well, kanya kanyang kaweirdohan lang yan. Up next, my answers to Kate’s questions 🙂 

Calvin, the Catholic boy

8 Dec

My nephew (and now, godson) was baptized last Sunday. He wants to ask you guys something:


Sino pong hindi pa nagbibigay ng regalo diyan? 😛