Dec 24, 2016

Taiwan Trip For December!

Six months ago, going on a trip to Taiwan this December was never on my plans. Six months ago, I already had a plan in mind for December but fate had something different in stored for me and I'm reminded again of how God works in His ways. God made sure that if my first plan doesn't work, I will have an alternative and it was Taiwan. Me and coworker friends have this annual trip during December and it was just usually around the Philippines but this time, we decided to do an out of the country for the first time.

Taiwan reminds me a lot of F4, the phenomenal boyband that rose to fame because of their hit drama, Meteor Garden. I can still remember how addicted I was to the drama series, I would do my best to go home early from school or find a nearby TV in school to watch the show. I collected a lot of Meteor Garden stuff, from magazines, to posters, to CDs and DVDs. My favorite F4 member was Vic Zhou.

Anyway, nostalgia aside, I'll share my experience before and during the trip. Once the tickets were booked last September, the next step was to acquire Taiwan visas. Fortunately for me, I still have my valid US visa which makes me visa-exempted. I only need to fill up a form online which will be printed and presented to the immigration. If you have an existing visa, please check in Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines website: http://www.roc-taiwan.org/ph/ if your visa qualifies for visa-exemption. For my other coworker friends who don't have any visa, they applied by following all instructions on the same website and we have a friend who processed the Taiwan visas in Manila on their behalf.

When the visas were ready, we planned our itinerary. We had five days to explore Taipei. Since there are spots that are far from the capital, we booked a van to take us to those spots for a day and a half. The rest of the days, it was all do-it-yourself traveling and exploring.

Our first two days in Taipei were chilly and cold but the rest of the days were surprisingly warm. We expected a very cold weather for December that we even have our many coats ready. Oh well, I was just glad that it didn't rain throughout our stay in Taipei.

There is definitely a language barrier. All we can say was "xiè xie". Some restaurants though can speak English. I really wished I learned some Mandarin before. My trip in Taiwan made me want to start learning Mandarin. And oh, thank God for Google translate, we were able to communicate a little with our driver!

So here are some of my photos during the trip:

Taipei Main Station

Longshan Temple

Bopiliao Old Street

Ximending Shopping District

Presidential Office Building

National Taiwan University

Taipei Confucius Temple

National Palace Museum

Yehliu Geopark

Keelung

Golden Waterfalls

Ying Yang Sea

Jiufen Old Street

Shifen Sky Lantern & Old Street

Thousand Island Lake

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Park

Taipei 101 Observatory

Taipei 101 with the gang.


Maokong Gondola (that's Taipei 101 on the upper right)

Beitou Thermal Valley

Elephant Mountain

The trip was truly a blast. I enjoyed it a lot especially because I was with my awesome coworker friends. Even though everything didn't go as planned and we kind of got lost one time and walked for over 2 km but it was still fun and worth it. I didn't expect that Taipei can be at par with Tokyo in terms of transportation convenience and tourist spots. By the way, I'd like to give a shout out to Sunny Hostel for the warm welcome and hospitable receptionists.

Sunny Hostel

Before I end this post, I'm also sharing my co-traveler's video of our trip (I'm going to create my own video but I still need to find a good music.) See below video:




I highly recommend Taipei for your next travel adventure. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them on the comments section below. Until my next adventure! ;)

Oct 30, 2016

Goth Loli for ARCHCon 2016

It's that time of the year again for ARCHCon. I've been attending this event since 2008 although unlike UP Otakufest which I never missed a single attendance, it was on/off for ARCHCon since it was difficult for me to take an off from my previous work and my schedule was graveyard. I took more priority for UP Otakufest if I do at least attend one event every year. Also last year, I was in the US. This year, I decided I should go, given that the date lies on a weekend holiday.

My initial plan was to wear my Witchy Set costume since it's Halloween. The costume was from three years ago so I tried fitting it and guess what, I can still wear it but it was kind of tight already and I was afraid the costume will fall apart on the event day. I even made a new Witchy hat. With a week to decide, I remembered my sister gave me a gothic lolita dress as a gift when I visited her in Japan and also she sent a pair of black lolita shoes which are perfect with the dress so I finally decided to wear them for the event.

My other concern was I didn't have friends coming to the event. My eldest sister isn't available too. So I asked my mom to come and she gladly agreed. I even asked my dad too but he's just okay driving me and my mom to the venue. It's been a long time since I brought my mom to a cosplay event. I was just too happy she was there with me and willingly took photos for me. :)

Here are some of my photos during the event:




Nakigitsune from Touken Ranbu

With a human-size Gundam.

Yes, that's No Face right there!

Storm Trooper with a cape?






Thanks Ma for the support! Until the next convention y'all~! :)

Oct 26, 2016

Nostalgia Alert: Gilmore Girls Is Back!

Okay I bet you already heard the news of Gilmore Girls coming back this year and yes, they just released a trailer. I am just as excited as any Gilmore Girls fan out there. To see all the cast again in the trailer has overwhelmed me with happiness and nostalgia. After all, it has been nine years since the show ended at season seven. I was in my high school and college when I watched the show before. Clearly, I was kind of the same age as Rory. I remember watching it together with my older sisters. We love the show a lot. The show taught me a lot of things especially American culture like if you have the brains and want a good college, you are suitable to be in a private preparatory school. It introduced me to the lovely state of Connecticut and the prestigious universities of Harvard and Yale. The nostalgia was not just meant for my teenage years but it apparently reminds me a lot of my business trips in Connecticut. I am reminded on my first visit to Yale University where I met a friend who toured me around the campus and I told him that I knew Yale because of Gilmore Girls and I can still remember how he laughed while saying that "everybody has watched Gilmore Girls". Although the show was not exactly filmed in Connecticut, I have read before that the inspiration for the Stars Hollow town was from a real town in Connecticut. I searched for it today and found out it was Washington. "Oh, I was there once! I had my first apple picking there!", I thought. Then I checked on some blogs about travelers doing some road trips to find the Stars Hallow look-a-like towns in Connecticut and they also mentioned Kent. Yes, Kent was beautiful! It is probably my most favorite Connecticut town I have visited so far. I really liked the town's ambiance; the book store, the antique shops, the cafes, the Kent falls, the environment was just beautifully in place like a rural main street in a US movie, yes, just like in a set of Gilmore Girls. I should have taken some pictures around the area. I only have photos in Kent falls, in fact, one of my Facebook profile picture is me in Kent falls. I wish I thought more of Gilmore Girls when I was in Connecticut and took more photos especially in Washington and Kent. Maybe next time when I have the chance to visit again, I'll definitely find some time to tour more around. Connecticut in general is a very beautiful state and I really loved it there. No wonder it became an inspiration of the show's writer. I am also excited about Rory's lovelife on who she'll end up with. I read that all of her exes will show up on the new series. I actually liked Dean a lot but him getting married right away was a turn off for me. Jess was not my type at all, sorry Jess fans. Logan was my kind of guy although he has done bad things in the past. I can't wait what those last four words they are talking about but we'll have to wait and see! :)

Sep 16, 2016

A Letter To Myself

Dear Self,

How are you? You must be still sad of how things turned out. I know how hard it is when your mind and heart are contradicting. It is very stressful and tiring especially when you think of the pain almost all the time and still holding on to some false hopes that you know will never happen. There must be a lot of questions and what ifs in your mind. But I tell you, let all these sadness and pain feel you. Let all the tears flow from your eyes. Let the loneliness take control for now. Take the time to heal and accept that everything happens for a reason.

Once this is all over, I hope you put that happy eyes again. I hope you put that beautiful smile again. I hope you put that bubbly attitude again. Please don't hurt yourself. Take care of your health. Spend time with people you know that truly love you. Focus on improving yourself. Keep your faith in God because He will never give up on you no matter what happens. Forgive but remember all the lessons. Understand that these are all part of the process to make you a better person and to lead you to the happiness that you are praying for.

You deserve much more. You deserve to be treated as a priority and not to be taken for granted. Don't ever question your worth because you know yourself better than anyone. You deserve to be loved through the good and the bad because you can do the same. Aren't you excited to think that there is a greater or maybe the greatest happiness coming? I am excited for you!

You still have a lot of goals right? Pursue them. Don't let the sadness pull you down. You're an amazing girl. Don't give up on love. Don't you ever think for a second that you could've done something to make things work. Remember that you were not the one who gave up. You are a strong girl. If ever you feel down, just look how far you have come. Know that sadness happens so we can appreciate what happiness is.

This shall pass and one day, it will be nostalgic but you will not remember the painful feelings anymore. Hang in there!

Love,
Your conscience

Aug 20, 2016

Japanese Summer Fiesta: Bon Odori 2016

I've been looking forward on joining my second Bon Odori festival this year. I wasn't able to attend last year because I was on the other side of the world at that time (yeah, missing these kind of events while on business trip makes me sad). Also, this is the perfect time to wear the yukata sets my sister sent from Japan. Since I have already worn the pink yukata during Halloween last year, I wore the red set and had my other sister wore the pink set.

So here are some photos of our yukatas and during the event:



Our butterfly obis which means we are still single. <3

Found a Tsukihi Araragi cosplayer!
Yes, the sister of  Koyomi Araragi in Bakemonogatari.

Eating the very sweet apple candies.

Our matching getas.

Fireworks before the event ended.

Bon Odori is another way for me to enjoy Japanese culture. It's fascinating to know that we have this kind of event here. Maybe next time, my sister in Japan can join so the three sisters will be complete. Until the next Bon Odori! :)


Jul 30, 2016

Listening To Adele

Lately, I've been listening to Adele's songs. I'm not sure why but most of her songs describe my feelings of what I am going through right now. Her music is like the anthem of this point of my life. I feel like I have finally understood why most of her songs (and all other songs) are centered on love, heartbreak, self-examination, and forgiveness; these feelings have great impact in our lives.

I would like to quote some lyrics of her songs and give my short insight on how I relate to them.

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere? 

- Chasing Pavements
These lyrics not just describe my struggles with a relationship but also my struggles with life in general. 

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true  
Nothing that I wouldn’t do 
Go to the ends of the earth for you 
To make you feel my love
- Make You Feel My Love 
This is the last stanza of the song which I believe completely reflects of what kind of a person I can be for the one I love.

When was the last time you thought of me?  
Or have you completely erased me from your memory?
- Don't You Remember 
This is part of verse 2 of the song and this is what I ask every time I remember the people who left me.

Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?
- Someone Like You  
This last line in the bridge part is what I felt when I had to say goodbye to some people. The feeling was definitely bittersweet.

We've gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain't kids no more
- Send My Love (To Your New Lover)  
These lines describe of what I am trying to do, to let go and remind myself that I am a mature, grown up woman who is willing to understand and forgive.

Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time that we might
Be exactly like we were before we realized
We were sad of getting old, it made us restless

-When We Were Young
This song reminds me a lot of my sister who I visited in Japan. Me and my sister are the best of friends and I feel nostalgic thinking how we were so young and free before and now things are getting complicated. It was sad to part ways when I went back home. Taking photos of her during my visit is like what I felt in the first three lines on the chorus.

Let this be our lesson in love
Let this be the way we remember us

- All I Ask 
This is my most favorite Adele song, even though I wasn't able to relate to it much when I first heard it but I knew something was coming. However I want to focus on these two lines which means to remember the lessons and the happy momories together.

Somewhere in the future, I will look back on this part of my life and remember how strong I was to overcome the pain and struggles.

Jun 11, 2016

Dumaguete and Siquijor Summer Escapade

For our mandatory summer outing, my coworkers and I decided to visit two nearby provinces of Cebu namely, Negros and Siquijor. We only visited Dumaguete City in Negros though because it's a huge province while Siquijor is a small island province. This trip was really fun and exciting for the reason that almost everything didn't go as planned. I'm not saying that those that go as planned aren't fun. No doubt they are the ideal but being spontaneous and out of the plan can be exciting too especially if you are with people who enjoy new adventures.

We stayed in Dumaguete City for a night. We walked around their park near the pier. Here are some of our photos in Dumaguete City:




The famous Sans Rival with delicious pastries like the Silvanas.
Silliman University

The exciting part started when our Siquijor plans didn't follow. We initially planned to get to Siquijor early morning but unexpectedly, we were not able to get tickets for the early ferry schedule because a lot of people were traveling to Siquijor for a fiesta. So the tickets we purchased is already for the 12pm sked and because we really want to explore Siquijor, we decided to stay there for the night, We didn't bring enough essentials for us to stay there for the night because we really intended to go back to Dumaguete City early evening on the same day but we thought it would be a waste to miss some spots in Siquijor. One fun part of the trip was the place we stayed in Siquijor. The power was on and off (off most of the time) so we had no choice but to go outside in the middle of the night to breathe some fresh air. It was really dark outside and suddenly the dogs were howling so we immediately went inside the room again, enduring the heat. Siquijor is pretty known to be a place of magic and sorcery. Anyway, it was worth the stay and I always have a lot of laugh every time I think of our Siquijor adventure. So here are some of my photos in Siquijor:



Famous Balete in Siquijor.


Lazi Church

Cambugahay Falls

Salagdoong Beach

Here's also a short video summary of our trip taken by my coworker blogger:


This trip was really fun and memorable. Until my next escapade with my coworker friends! ;)

May 14, 2016

My Awesome Trip To Japan

It has been a childhood dream of mine to visit Japan. Growing up watching anime has been a great influence of my interest about Japan. Now that I have the means, I have finally decided to do it, with the help of my sister who currently works in Japan. I took a vacation there for one week during Golden Week and it was just me and my sister touring around. It was definitely an awesome experience to finally visit one of my dream destinations.

I visited Narita, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Odaiba first before staying for two nights in Matsumoto Nagano where my sister lives. Then we went to Kyoto which by far was my favorite prefecture due to it's preserved traditional Japanese ambience. We headed to Nara after to see the wild deers before taking a night bus back to Tokyo.

So here are some of my great photos during the trip:

Shibuya Crossing (with my sister)
Shibuya Hachiko Statue (in case you haven't heard of the Hachiko movie, go watch it!)

Gundam Front Tokyo (I'm the happiest gundam fangirl at this moment!)

Matsumoto Castle
Agatanomori Park
Fushimi Inari-taisha
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Nijō Castle
Kiyomizu-dera
Nara Park
Todaiji Temple
Tokyo Skytree
Asakusa Sensoji Temple
Tokyo Tower
Takeshita Street
Meiji Shrine
Tokyo University
Hachiko with Dr. Ueno Statue at Tokyo University (glad to see Hachiko's happy face!)
Akihabara
Imperial Palace
Tokyo Dome

Since Japan has it's own different culture and customs, I'd like to list down the things I noticed that were kind of interesting to me. :)

1) Vending Machines - there is a vending maching in almost every corner!
2) Small Cars - yes, it seems like they like their stuff small including their cars.
3) Girls Having Bangs - you'll see them everywhere. I so belong in this country! haha
4) Complicated Railways - I would be totally lost if I wasn't with my sister. ;A;
5) Not Wearing Sunglasses - my sister said that Japanese people are not very fan of sunglasses because they'll look like foreigners. Oh well, I wore my sunglasses, I'm a foreigner there anyway.
6) Wearing Masks -  you'll see them everywhere especially in trains and subways.
7) Old and New Toilets - okay their new toilets are amazing! Water pops out from the toilet if you prefer to have water before using tissues and then they have this flushing sound button you enable so any toilet noise will not be heard. The old toilets are weird though. You'll have to squat all the way to the ground. ;A;
8) One Piece Everywhere - aside from all the Ghibli stuff I see everywhere, it looks like One Piece is the most popular manga/anime there right now.
9) Not Accepting Tips - my sister told me not to give tips since they would think it's rude.
10) People Think I'm Japanese - oh yes, people there would try to talk to me in Japanese, thinking I'm a Japanese. I blame this to my looks and fashion. I do understand what they were saying but my Japanese skills failed me! My many years of watching anime in Japanese didn't help me!! xD

I really enjoyed my trip. I really hope I can visit there again soon. Until my next random travel! :)