Ehime Prefecture, Japan

My First Birthday in Japan

Being in a new place, I never thought I would be surprised as I was.
It’s been just two-months since I came, don’t have many acquaintances yet, so I expected a quite lonely birthday.

It’s Friday, a day before my birthday, last working day of the week. While I had a discussion to one of our colleagues, the music in the office suddenly changed to a birthday song. The colleague was asking whose birthday as we gather together around the table where the cinnamon cake was served and sang along.
I was wondering if it’s for me or if someone else has his birthday because mine would still be tomorrow. At the end of the birthday song, confirmed. It’s for me. 🙂

We ate down the cake, and handed me a gift like a lego. I thought, maybe they gave me a game thing because I said I used to love playing board games.

At night when I arrived home, I received a notebook, a flashlight plus a battery from my housemate.
I would have bought them both myself had I not been given ahead.

On the next day, came my birthday. I was on my bike, chasing to get a good view of a fabulous sunset on my way home.
Then, someone rang the door bell of the apartment. It’s a delivery man! Bringing a package and looking for me.
I was so surprised…I had not expected any delivery nor had I received any since I came.
It’s exquisitely wrapped that I was so careful not to mess it.
I’m gonna keep it for a souvenir. 🙂

On the next week, I received another set of gifts.
Japanese hairpins, earrings, an elegant cellphone accessory which I love so much that even the shop attendant complimented it’s beautiful and a touching birthday letter.

Then, another Saturday came, another belated gifts received, a mug, a hair ribbon and a hanky.

I’ve got lots of gifts this birthday…not a lonely birthday after all… 🙂

2012, 2015, Manila, Philippines

Metro Manila Escapades

Manila Ocean Park

It opened on March 1, 2008. It is larger than the Sentosa Underwater World oceanarium in Singapore in terms of floor space. I went there with my sister around May 2012 while I took a 4-day vacation at Bacoor Cavite.

SM Mall of Asia
Located in Pasay City, it is the 4th largest shopping mall in the Philippines and the 13th in the world. It was initially the largest shopping mall in the Philippines when it opened in 2006, but later on new larger malls were developed making it the 4th in line. It has a gigantic globe as its icon.

2011, Manila, Philippines

Applying for Schengen Visa at Makati

April 25, 2011. I flied to Makati with my 3 office mates to apply for Schengen visa.

Mama, tito and my siblings fetched us at the airport, showed the map to tito where Tiara Hotel was and drove us there to check-in.

Mama wanted me to stay at Bacoor for a week. I would have loved too if only there were no work constraints. After checked in, they brought us to GreenBelt, as requested, and left us strolling the mall, hoping to meet actors and actresses…

Well, luckily, Shalani was there…😛

Later on, we looked around for a restaurant that accepted e-Diners card, have some dinner before hailing a taxi and return to the hotel. There, we started preparing our explanations for the visa interview.

The next morning, after eating and formally dressed up, we’re off for a walk to the embassy. I was the first interviewed, causing to be thrown with most questions. ‘:( .

The consul first asked for my purpose of travel, followed with more or less 10 questions regarding the travel and the company. Oh..she was strict and terrifying. I could not finish my explanations. She always interrupted me with the next question…it seems, when she got my point.

You have to convince her that you will be returning back to the country on time. When I told her I have teammates who had gone to Germany as well for the same purpose and had already returned home, she asked for a name and traced it in her monitor. After that, she quit asking and instructed me to wait the visa/result after 14 days. Alas! Relieved!😀

My teammates followed. They we’re just asked for their purpose- which was same as mine. Done! Wait for 14 days. Gosh! How lucky of them.

On the afternoon, we’re off for home.

2011, Bohol, Philippines

Bohol Escapades

Date: July 30, 2011

THINGS TO DO IN BOHOL

Cruise at Loboc River

You could have your lunch aboard the floating restaurant cruising the river.
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Chocolate Hills

Located in Carmen, Bohol, there are at least 1,260 hills that are covered in green grass that turns brown like chocolates during the dry season.
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Cross the Tigbao Hanging Bridge

CNN counted this bridge among the world’s 13 “most spectacular foot bridges”.
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Man Made Forest

It is a 2 kilometer stretch of densely planted area of Mahogany trees.

Meet the Tarsier

Tarsiers are commonly called the smallest monkey in the world.

Alona Beach Panglao Island

It is one and a half kilometer long stretch of coral white sandy beach where resorts and dive centers, restaurants and souvenir shops alternate.
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2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, Cebu, Philippines

Cebu Escapades

> PLANTATION BAY RESORT and SPA

Last April 22, 2017, we had a summer outing at Plantation Bay Resort and Spa. It was the most enjoyable and the funniest summer outing I ever had. We had a game, the Amazing Race which consisted of 6 stops in the resort where each stop has a corresponding challenge to accomplish by group representatives before proceeding to the next stop. Challenges were archery, golfing, consuming a can of beer, kissing the cheeks of 2 staffs, diving and kayaking. Our group emerged as the champion among the 5 and was priced by the resort with banana boat ride. I also tried biking, playing at the game room, swinging, volleyball and swimming at the pool. Food were good especially the lechon and the fruit salad and staffs were very friendly and respectful.

> D’ FAMILY PARK

Opened to the public on May 8, 1999, it is a nature park perfect for family picnic and venue for large group activities. Amenities includes picnic camp sites, children’s playground with swings, see-saws and slides, a mini zoo and a multi-function club house and a pavilion. My first time to go there was last Saturday, June 25, 2016. From Mary’s, I headed at 12 noon and arrived at 1:10 pm. It was better than I expected although I was frustrated with the swings because it’s too close to the ground like for small kids only. The park was around 7-minute walk from the main public road where PUJs pass by. By 2:45, I left for Metro Gaisano.

Expenses:

Fare: 9+9+9+7+10+8
Water: 15+20
Ice cream bar: 15
Crunchicken at Metro: 75
Total: 177
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> SM SEASIDE CEBU

Opened on 27 November 2015, it is the 3rd largest shopping mall in the Philippines and the 10th in the world. After attending Sunday mass, I went there yesterday, June 19, 2016 from 12 noon to 6pm. Like SM City, there are different wings, the Seaview wing, the Mountain wing and the City wing. There is also a Skating rink, a Skypark garden at the top and a bowling area. The H&M amazes me because it’s so huge. I lunched at Mang Inasal and watch a movie, the Finding Dory.

Expenses:

Fare: 8+9+7+15+15+8+8
Lunch: 174
Water: 20
Total: 264
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> ROBINSONS GALLERIA CEBU

The newest shopping destination in Cebu opened last December 10 2015. I went there for the first time today, June 18, 2016. I headed from Mary’s at 10:45 am and arrived at 11:25, around 40 mins travel. Near the main entrance, I was greeted by their icon, a gigantic guitar. I visited the department store first, then Daiso Japan where I bought a led light for my bike, then proceeded to the Food Gallery which disappointed me because there were only a few choices available, then to grocery where I bought buko salad and chicken macaroni salad. By 12:45, I left and go to IT Park.

Expenses

Fare: 8+11+7+8
Buko salad: 45
Macaroni salad: 81
Total: 160 Php
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> ISLAND HOPPING NEAR MACTAN, CEBU

Last June 4, 2016 we spent almost a day taking a private cruise through the islands near Mactan by renting a pumpboat at Hadsan Cove Beach Resort. We brought with us pork and fishes which we grill on the boat. We sailed to 2 islands, the Kawhagan Island and Olango Island where there is a marine sanctuary.

Mactan is a densely populated island separated by 2 bridges from Cebu mainland. It is divided into Lapu-Lapu City and the municipality of Cordova. Ferdinand Magellan of Spain set foot on the island in 1521 but engaged in a warfare with the tribes and was killed by the warriors of Datu Lapu-Lapu, the ruler of the land.

Mactan offers diving, snorkeling, island hopping, jet ski, parasailing and cultural activities.

Near Kawhagan Island
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> MARIBAGO, BLUEWATER BEACH RESORT

Last March 12 2012, we had a company summer outing at Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort, a Filipino-owned resort. It is located in Buyong, Maribago, Lapu-lapu City. The pool looks great and the beach has a nice ambiance. We stayed there whole day and had games and lunch.
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> TUBOD FLOWING WATER RESORT

Located in Minglanilla, Cebu, it is a resort with a free-flowing swimming pool. I came here twice, during G1 class reunion and during family day of my niece.

> VILLA TERESITA RESORT

Located in Talisay City, I came here with my father and brother. It was spontaneous agreement for us to go swimming. We brought with us roasted chicken, pork barbecue, hanging rice and green mango. I bought myself a lifebuoy too 😀

> CEBU WESTOWN LAGOON

Rests on Subangdaku NRA, Mandaue City, beside MO2 Restobar, I went there overnight last Sep 2015 to celebrate the birthday of my niece.
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> WHALE SHARK WATCHING AT OSLOB, CEBU

Whale shark watching in Tan-awan, Oslob started last September 2011. Large number of tourists arrive in Oslob not just to see the whale sharks being fed but also to snorkel or dive with them. We went there around February or March of 2012.
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> DURANO ECO FARM AND SPRING RESORT IN CARMEN, CEBU

Around June 2012, the Jogurls and I went to Durano Eco Farm. Located in CorteCarmen, it features cool spring pools and various species of fruit trees and ornamental plants. It is a 2-hour drive from Cebu City. It originally was exclusive only to the Durano family and their friends but was opened to the public on January 3, 2012.

> GENESIS VALLEY MOUNTAIN RESORT

Rests on Cabangahan, Consolacion, it has spacious grounds for games, a pool with jacuzzi, fishpond, birds and a small zoo. Together with ARS team, I went there and slept overnight at the tent.

> DANAO COCO PALMS RESORT

A pretty average resort with pools and cottages located one and a half hour away from Cebu City. We went there at around September 2011.
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> UBONG SPRING AT DALAGUETE, CEBU

Around November 2011, we went to Ubong Spring. It is a cold spring where the sea and the spring meets. A dalakit tree which is almost a century old is standing near the spring.
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> BEACH OUTING AT ALCOY, CEBU

Around November 2011, we had an outing at Tingko Beach, a public beach nestles in Barangay Daan Lungsod, Alcoy, Cebu. There are  cottages atop the rock formation which looks interesting. There is no corkage fee so you can bring your own food.
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> SIMALA SHRINE AT SIBONGA, CEBU

The Simala Shrine or the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist is located at Marian Hills, Lindogon Sibonga, Cebu which is 2 hours travel from Cebu City.
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> FISHING AT PapaKit’s Marina and Fishing Lagoon

Together with RTS team, I went to Papakit’s in Silot Bay, Poblacion, Liloan. Fishing rod with bait is for rent. The kinds of fishes are bangus (milkfish) and tilapia (catfish).

> TOPS LOOKOUT AT CEBU CITY

Tops can be found in Barangay Malubog, Busay, Cebu City where you can see the wonderful view and the spectacular city lights of Cebu and Mactan.

> Fishing at D’Pond Family Grill

Around October 2009, together with the Chooks group, I went fishing at D’Pond. It is located in Kawayanan, Yati, Liloan. Fishes caught are paid per kilo. It also offers floating cottages for rent and karaoke.

> FISHING AT TALISAY CITY, CEBU

Crocolandia

Located in Biasong, Talisay City, Crocolandia is a sanctuary for animals such as crocodiles, monitor lizards, snakes, owls, birds and fishes. They also have resident biologists and consulting veterinarians that ensure that the animals and reptiles are taken cared of.

Fishing is also available. The ponds are small but are abundant of tilapia. You can purchase the fish that you catch and bring them home.

> MAGELLAN’S CROSS IN BASILICA DEL SANTO NINO

Magellan’s Cross is a Christian cross planted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers when he baptised the first Christian Filipinos, Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana and about 400 followers into the Catholic faith.The cross is housed in a chapel next to Basilica del Santo Niño.

Basilica Minore del Santo Nino is the oldest Roman Catholic Church of 16th century in Cebu cityThe Holy See calls it the “Mother and Head of all Churches in the Philippines”