Happy birthday to me! I waited for this day so I can finally blog about this part of my book launch. I’ve been really blessed this year, and I feel like there is no better way to cap my birthday off than to thank everyone who made this book possible. This is one major milestone I’ll never, ever forget.
Tricia Gosingtian’s 150 Style Essentials For Every Girl has officially become a best seller too, despite it being launched mid-month! If there’s anyone on my thank you list that I should thank first (besides God and my family), it’s definitely you guys. Thank you for helping me fulfill my dreams!
Thank you to CANMAKE for being one of my book’s official partners! I’m the biggest fan of the brand and I pretty much spaz every time I see their products.
Much love to the CANMAKE team!
Another major partner of my book is Casio Baby-G and Sheen, which are two watch brands that my followers should be very familiar of! I’ve been wearing their watches for years now, and SNSD becoming the endorsers has made me love them even more.
Thank you to Sonja’s Cupcakes, a.k.a. my most favorite cupcake place in the Metro, for serving the guests some of your yummiest cupcakes!
Thank you Marla, editor-in-chief of Candy magazine, and also the editor for my book, for all the kind words at the beginning of the book launch program. Sometimes I feel like people give me more credit than I deserve, but I’m so glad I have a blog to make myself heard.
While I produced most, if not all, of the book’s content, it was Summit Media who really made this book materialize into something tangible. When I submitted all the requirements on my end, it was them who pieced everything together to create the #TriciaGosingtianStyleBook that it is now. Couldn’t have done it without them!
Thank you to my brother Juju for capturing so many pictures of me while I had the most awkward speech in the world. I have the derpiest talking face, so here’s a non-talking one to make myself look more decent, lol.
This is the craziest thing! So many people attended my book launch, and they all held my book up for a few seconds so we could take this picture. YOU GUYS ARE SERIOUSLY THE BEST.
Erin from Candy hosted the event! Much thanks!
And here she is interviewing Ruth who won the CANMAKE contest! Ruth is a regular commenter on my blog and other social media accounts. I felt like we were close friends already when we finally met!
Thank you to my college friends Drew and Keena for attending my book launch! BFA ID represent!
Thank you Bea of Apartment 8 for getting lots of copies of my book and giving them away to Apartment 8’s most faithful followers. Hope the winners of the giveaway enjoyed the books!
Thank you Tracy! SPCP represent! Love this girl for her kindness and humility!
Starstruck because THE Saab Magalona attended my book launch too, heehee. Miss our Tumblarity days!
Thanks to Go Negosyo for being present as well! They gave me an Inspiring Young Filipino Entrepreneur award last 2010 and have been very supportive ever since.
Thanks to my old friend Jason for dropping by and getting a copy for his lovely wife! Hope she liked it!
You might know him if you’re part of the local photography scene as he is the big boss behind Shutterspace Studios along Katipunan Ext. Visit the studio some time. Imho, it is one of the best studios, if not the best one in the Metro.
Thanks to Darlyn of Belle de Jour for dropping by! Most people don’t know this but she was my blog’s manager for a long time. Wish I could be as brilliant and entrepreneurial as her :D
My high school best friend Martha dropped by! We’ve been friends since 3rd grade - can you believe it? We both went Ateneo but couldn’t really meet up as often as we wanted because of our contrasting schedules. Plus she was like a math genius who took up Legal Management while I was just lulzing around campus taking cosplay pictures with my friends during break time, lol queue hashtag alamnyoyan
We managed to meet up again after college, and it was just absolutely wonderful because I still felt like we were really good friends despite not talking to each other as regularly as we did in high school. <3
My brother’s girlfriend and cosplay/fashion extraordinaire Cat got a copy for her friend Pinky Lu Xun! So overwhelmed because Pinky is one epic cosplayer and I didn’t know she follows me and knows about my existence!
We were all being managed by the same company for some time and meeting these two again brought back so many memories from 2012. See you guys around! Hoping your awesome blogging skills will rub off on me!
I’ve always strongly believed in Edric’s photography and I’m so happy he is going places now. He was responsible for converting me to Fujifilm recently, seeing how he’s been constantly able to produce beautiful pictures with his XPro1 and XE1. Fujifilm Philippines should make this guy an ambassador or something! Love his work!
Summit Media and Candy girls! I just turned 25, but I’ll always be a Candy girl. Thank you for my first modeling break back in 2006, for awarding me during the first ever Candy Style Awards, and for believing in me so much to give me the responsibility and title of being the first fashion blogger in the Philippines to publish a book. Hope to have even more firsts with you girls in the future! <3
And lastly, thank you to my family for the unending support. I couldn’t have done this without you all (including my baby brother Calel who is working in the US right now). Thank you for giving me strength when I need it the most. <3
I’ll be having my second book signing on November 30, 2PM, at National Bookstore TriNoma. You can buy your own #TriciaGosingtianStyleBook right then and there! There is no excuse not to be there because I made sure that the event will fall on a weekend where there should be no work and school! I’m so excited to meet all of you!
As promised, here’s my Fukuoka travel diary after a whole week’s worth of MOFW features. Since this is not my first time in this place, I pretty much spent my time here just bonding with my family, stuffing ourselves with the arguably the best ramen in the world, and of course, my favorite - shopping!
People have a notion of Japan being a difficult place to go to because of the language barrier, but it’s not like they put zero effort into bringing tourists in the country and showing them the beauty in their country. In that one year in between my previous and my latest trips to Fukuoka, a lot has changed in terms of tourist-friendliness - more restaurants have printed out English menus, department stores have suddenly given out shopping privileges for non-Japanese passport holders, etc. I think now is a wonderful time to go to Japan, actually. Your thoughts and words can never be entirely lost in translation. They’re also trying their best to help too! :D
I usually stay in Hotel Miyako which is right in front of the station. This is the view from the entrance of the hotel. It’s super convenient to stay here because you can go shopping whenever you want, lol. Plus there are a ton of places to eat inside Hakata Station so you’ll never grow hungry!
Don’t forget to visit the food section of Hankyu and the beauty section of Tokyu Hands.
First picture of me straight out of the plane. As usual, we took the direct flight to from Manila to Fukuoka via Philippine Airlines.
First stop? IPPUDO! Let me be annoying and say that my family and I were already hooked on Ippudo even before the ramen craze trickled over the rest of Asia.
So hooked that it is also a must for me to go to the Ippudo in SG and HK even if the experience is a little different from the original. Never fails to give me nostalgic feels from the very first time I was able to taste Hakata ramen. <3
Before sunset, we decided to go around the station for a walk. They finally finished the new roof deck area!
They had these cute stalls where you can buy souvenirs and traditional Japanese desserts.
There was also a shrine.
And a giant space for kids to play in!
Such a tranquil place.
Overlooking the city.
We also dropped by the new cinema area which wasn’t there the first time we went to Fukuoka. My dad watched Les Miserables because he couldn’t wait - the Metro Manila Film Festival was still going on when Les Mis was already being shown in different countries. We had to wait til mid-January to be able to watch foreign movies again.
When in Japan, visit Maruzen and buy all the Japanese magazines. :D Well, I didn’t go crazy this time because I already knew exactly what I wanted - ViVi, SCawaii, Jelly and the recent Ninagawa Mika photobook.
Plus I was so afraid to go over my baggage weight limit because it’s normally the books and magazines that I buy that make my luggage so heavy by the end of the trip. T_T
I also buy my magazines in other countries where it’s available! They’re everywhere in HK. In SG, you can get them at Kinokuniya.
Before going back to the hotel, we stuffed ourselves with some yummy Marbre Blanc parfaits. <3
On our third day (second was spent in Hiroshima and Miyajima), we went to Tenjin for shopping! First stop was Tenjin Core which is one of my favorite places to shop in Fukuoka! You can go to this place via subway. There’s an underground shopping center that connects the different buildings together so it’s super convenient during winter time when it’s too cold to walk outside. After Tenjin Core, I went to Parco to check out EMODA and MURUA with the other MarkStyler brands.
Didn’t take a lot of pictures here because my mind was 100% concentrated on shopping! And by lunch I couldn’t carry my camera properly anymore because I was holding too many paper bags lol #shopaholicphotographerproblems
Besides the ones I posted here, Tenjin Core houses other brands like Liz Lisa, rienda, dazzlin, INGNI, PeachJohn, Heaven and Earth, GILFY, DURAS, and Lip Service. I know I missed a lot but I’m typing this all purely out of memory. My bad for not taking proper notes. Anyhow, their fall/winter collections were mostly oxblood + brown + black and old rose + white + cream. Adorbs!
Don’t think shopping in Japan is just for girls though. Most places usually have 1-2 floors just dedicated to men’s clothing. My brothers like buying from RAGEBLUE.
Hello me! Simple and comfy outfit for shopping. Nothing special!
After a long day, we had yakiniku back at Hakata Station. So rich in flavor huhu I felt so guilty for my stomach after each bite! IDK how everyone manages to stay thin in Japan considering the high quality of food being sold everywhere. The sorcery!
On our last free day, we walked from Hotel Miyako all the way to Canal City. It’s only about 10 minutes away so it was definitely a good warm-up exercise in the morning.
Except it was raining again. Gosingtian family, bringing the rain from Manila to wherever they go to, since… the beginning of time.
This is one part of the mall where you can find Western brands like Zara, H&M, etc. My brothers went crazy at H&M because they were having a sale and they were selling good collared shirts at Y1500 and blazers and jackets at Y2000-3000. NOT BAD AT ALL.
There’s a part in Canal City where I spend hours shopping - it’s on the second or third floor of the mall where they sell brands like moussy, SLY, rosebullet, Ungrid, EGOIST, Esperanza, etc.
Wearing new purchases from the day before. You might find the SpRay jacket, CECIL McBEE sweater and EGOIST bag familiar from my MOFW posts!
One of the special things about Canal City is that they have a Ramen Stadium! It’s like one giant food court full of ramen restaurants with different specialties, cooked in distinct styles. Only the best ramen restaurants can continue selling their ramen here so I think after a certain point, the one with the least sales will have to give his space up for a new “challenger”.
Long queue probably means the best so we queued along with the people haha but it’s already our second time here so I guess this restaurant (Kizuna) still remains to be a fan favorite after all.
Cafe MUJI after a long day of shopping! The MUJI in Canal City is like one big multi-level department store. If you think that the ones we have here is already huge, you should check this particular MUJI out.
My brother Juju having cake!
My cafe au lait. <3
On our last night in Japan, I was lucky enough to catch Kyary and AKB48 perform on television. <3
I was luckier last 2011 though. I caught the whole Kouhaku on NHK on New Year’s Eve. If you still remember my old Fukuoka post, I managed to catch some screens of Arashi and Laruku.
Time to say goodbye to my hotel room. Wearing mint houndstooth pants from Romwe. UGH writing about this trip now is making me miss Japan so badly.
At the airport. Goodbye, peaceful city of Fukuoka! *tears*
‘Til the next travel post and my next trip to Japan! I hope you guys can also visit Japan soon! :)
As you all know, I went to Fukuoka again last December with my family. This time, we skipped the touring part, shopped til our hearts couldn’t take it anymore, and stuffed ourselves with the best ramen in the world. Well, not exactly. Being history geeks and travelers at heart, we dedicated one day of our trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima. We’ve already been to Nagasaki, so naturally Hiroshima was a clear choice for our next destination.
It only takes about an hour to go to Hiroshima from Hakata Station via Shinkansen, which surprised me a bit since it took us longer to go to Nagasaki despite it being geographically nearer Fukuoka. Apparently the train from Fukuoka to Hiroshima is so much faster than the one we took before.
Where I spent an hour sleeping like a baby. It was exceptionally wet and cold the day we decided to go out of Fukuoka. Just our luck! I’m starting to think I have the worst luck when it comes to traveling because the weather was just as bad in London and Paris when I was there. The weather was perfect the day before and the day after, but we couldn’t schedule this later because of the year-end holidays. Most places would be closed, and of course Shinkansen tickets would be impossible to get because a lot of people would be going home to their respective homes (if outside Fukuoka, or even Kyushu) in time for New Year’s.
Passed by these factories while on the train.
Finally arrived at Hiroshima and headed straight to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or the Atomic Bomb Dome or Genbaku Dome.
This building is what remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, and at present, is one of Japan’s most important landmarks. Since the bomb came from almost directly above the building, it wasn’t completely destroyed. Now it serves as a reminder of the nation’s hope to rid the world of war and nuclear weapons.
The 1983 replica of the T-shaped Aioi bridge, the aiming point for the bomb. The shape was easily recognized from the air, so it was an easy target. The fact that they had the clearest weather the day of the bombing pretty much sealed the city’s fate.
After the years of struggle after the atomic bomb, Hiroshima has successfully rebuilt itself. It looks so peaceful, you wouldn’t even expect that something so intense hit them at one point in history.
Sadako (not of Ringu fame) on top of the Children’s Peace Monument. I already mentioned her being *the* post-atomic bomb Japanese icon of hope in my Nagasaki post last year, but she is actually originally from Hiroshima.
She was two years old when the bomb hit. She was only able to live until age 12 because she heavily suffered from the after effects of the atomic bomb. It wasn’t all that bad though. She persevered and kept a positive outlook until her death. So inspiring!
Also one of the symbols of Hiroshima advocating world peace. Every 6th of August, they hold a ceremony here to memorialize the victims of the bombing.
An old watch that was found after the atomic bomb. The Peace Memorial Museum was packed with tourists from all over the world, wanting to know the whole story behind this very dark part of history. I won’t spoil it for those who have plans to visit this place in the future. The experience is quite inexplicable, especially the part where they interview the survivors about the tragedy that they witnessed with their own eyes. Not only were their homes destroyed, but most of their loved ones were also killed by the bomb and its radioactive effects.
A model showing how the area around the T-shaped bridge looked like before the bomb.
A model showing how Hiroshima looked like after the bomb. Everything was completely wiped out save for some structures that were near the epicenter.
In the museum, there were very graphic pictures and videos relaying Hiroshima’s story to those who went there to hear it.
A shadow of a person was imprinted on these steps as the bomb fell on the city.
Some survivors lived up to see the city rebuilt, but suffered from the most grueling sicknesses brought by a lot of factors, this black rain included. I couldn’t take pictures of the pictures of the victims because they were too graphic. :(
Depressing stuff aside, the Japanese are really something. Sadako was a wonderful example of how they continued on living despite what happened to them. As the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, one school boy encountered a rescuer and asked him to give his notebook to his family as he already knew he was dying. Some of the personal effects of those who died are still displayed in the museum. Not primarily for the tourists, but for the owners’ descendants to be able to claim them one day.
The rain made the visit to the museum and the park so much more saddening. T_T
To lift our spirits up, our tour guide Hiro (also the same tour guide from last time ‘cause we absolutely love her) brought us to a special restaurant.
The walk was long and difficult because it was raining like no tomorrow, but it was all worth it.
BECAUSE IT WAS OKONOMIYAKI TIME! All caps because I love okonomiyaki.
My friends would laugh at me and say that I love all Japanese food anyway, lol. I can’t help it if everything is just so good, and I surprisingly feel like I lose weight in Japan even if I eat a lot. This sorcery, I don’t even
Concert stickers as restaurant decoration. Not a fan of KAT-TUN’s music as much as Arashi’s, but hey, still Johnny’s! \o/
Just a few days after this one, Kanjani8 performed in Kouhaku for the first time. Congrats Eito!
My brother Chase. And a ton of wall scribbles. People from all over the world have written messages here, so it was fun to make out what they all probably meant. There were some familiar band names written too, but I’m not so sure if they were legit written by the artists themselves or just by fans haha hopefully the former
Kinoshita Yukina, Gekidan Hitori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Tamori-san! No English subtitles, I promise! I’m afraid I love Japan too much that I recognized them instantly lolol much thanks to Arashi no Shukudai-kun and Music Station from years ago :D
Best okonomiyaki ever! <3 We ordered two different kinds - one that used soba noodles and one that used udon noodles.
Walked around the city again after lunch so we can burn all the yumminess that we ate and get to our next destination!
The ferry station from Hiroshima to Miyajima.
Was greeted by this deer as soon as I landed in Miyajima! OMG, MEMORIES OF NARA! Ugh, bring me back to 2009 when I went on a Tokyo-Kyoto-Nara-Osaka tour. Back then I didn’t shoot in RAW because I didn’t have enough memory space so now I need to take more pictures hahaha EXCUSES T_T
Miyajima means “Shrine Island” so it’s the more popular term, but it’s originally called Itsukushima. By this time the rain had gotten so much worse so I don’t have any pictures of my outfit that day for Lookbook. I am not going to sacrifice my camera for some outfit pictures, haha
Something that never changes every time I go to Japan: transparent umbrellas.
I could totally imagine how much prettier this place would be in autumn with all the fall foliage! Or spring with all the sakura!
The famous Miyajima floating torii, which is one of Japan’s three best sceneries. One down, two to go. I’m not totally sad that I didn’t catch it on high tide, when the water makes it look like it’s floating, because it only gives me more reason to come back here one day.
Foggy mountains and the Itsukushima shrine from afar.
The Itsukushima Shrine is built on stilts because it’s built so close to ocean that it can get covered by the water at high tide if it weren’t.
The floating torii view from the shrine.
Father and son.
One of the streets near the exit of the shrine. Looks straight out of a movie. Looove!
Japan’s “it” girl! Takei Emi endorsing Maquillage. She is so pretty I doubt she even needs to use all that make-up lol
Dropped by Oyster ‘Kakiya’ 牡蠣屋 which is supposedly one of the best oyster bars in the island. TEARS! Because these were sooo good it puts all the oysters that I’ve eaten in the past to shame.
Oyster overload at a random stall. Don’t forget to try out the oysters in Hiroshima!
Late afternoon-almost evening in the shopping street in Miyajima. So pretty even if it was freezing! I didn’t buy anything (was saving my money for some shopping at Tenjin Core) but I enjoyed just looking around for nifty souvenirs and street food.
HELLO KITTY DESSERTS! SO ADORBS
Aww, time to go back to Fukuoka. I would say that one day in Hiroshima and Miyajima is enough, but I wish I could’ve stayed an extra day to explore more places. I checked out their Facebook page, and OMG GOOD JOB PROMOTING HIROSHIMA! I would totally go back based on the pictures and write-ups they regularly post there. Or maybe I’m just biased. <3 If it were only possible, I’d fly to Japan once every quarter.
Fukuoka post and My Own Fashion Week (MOFW) featuring Japanese brands coming up next! Posting the second travel entry after all the look posts!
Sorry for the Instawillgoplaces delay! Anyhow, feast your eyes on plentiful food porn, travel photos and a couple of annoying photos of myself, teehee.
1) Really really really good Mac and Cheese and Truffle Pizza at one of my new favorite places to eat/hang out, Locale Gastrobar in Pasig. NOM.
2) Camwhoring in the dressing room at the Apartment 8 launch with Lissa, Camille, Patricia, Vern and Verniece.
3) Pigged out at Wildflour Café + Bakery with my boyfriend RG after a long day at The Mind Museum. Totally craving for all these right now. Can’t wait to go back!
4) MAC Ruby Woo lipstick and matching red nails! Sweater from Forever 21.
5) After getting a bangs trim and a blowdry at my usual salon. I should do this hairstyle more often…
6) Attended the Ateneo Bonfire as usual, to celebrate the 5th straight championship for the UAAP Basketball team! Boyfriend and I are both proud Ateneans :D
7) The first time I dyed my hair darker after a long time. It’s (Schwarzkopf) Igora Royal 5-65 on light brown, previously bleached hair. 7-65 for the non-bleached parts like roots. Baby steps to making the color even. It was frustrating when the color on my roots and the rest of my hair would fade differently, so my hairstylist decided to use two different colors (from the same family) then. Complex stuff.
8) BIG BANG concert! Definitely one of the highlights of 2012. <3 I made sure to schedule my flight to Hong Kong the next day and not on the day of the concert!
Went with my Juju, Calel and his girlfriend Farrah who is a huuuge K-pop fan. We both screamed our lungs out during the concert like crazy people, lol. Sadly can’t go to the DFKC but I’m still crossing my fingers for a solo SNSD concert or a possible SM Town Manila. :(
9) As soon as my friend Jee and I arrived in Hong Kong, we splurged on giant strawberries at the supermarket. Yum!
10) Hong Kong Disneyland with Jee! She bought the cutest Marie cat ears because she super loves cats, and I got myself a nice limited edition Halloween Minnie headband.
11) Benico x Hello Kitty Petit Macaron blushes in PM03 and PM04 in Sasa for about HKD99 each. Still using these blushes now, especially the purple/pink one.
12) Stocked up on some of my favorite lashes! Sasa, just come to Manila already! T_T
13) Had dinner with the family at UCC as soon as I came back to Manila! Absolutely in love with their seafood salad. Pricey but so good.
14) And yet another dinner with the family. This time at Italianni’s in Eastwood Mall. We all clearly missed each other too much. That, or we all have bottomless pits as stomachs.
15) Before I knew it, I was out of the country again! Here’s a pretty view of Jakarta.
16) Borobudur Temple!
17) Prambanan Temple!
18) The most adorable Alice in Wonderland stickers I found at a random stall in a mall in Jakarta. Alice and I have the same hair! :D
19) Japanese burger with truffle cream sauce at UMAMI in The Grove. My siblings and I also love going to this place for coffee and dessert! Try their sea salt caramel coffee. <3
20) The yummiest comfort food at Borough in The Podium with my family. Brooklyn Omelette, I love you forever.
21) Homemade paella made by my talented brother Calel!
22) Bangs! With Camille at the Apartment 8 Holiday Collection shoot.
23) My super sweet boyfriend surprised me with flowers the night before my birthday! He also baked a layered chocolate cookie dough and oreo cake which we both ate at midnight. He worked on it for 5 straight hours! Intense.
The perks of having a boyfriend who loves to cook and bake. I fail at everything related to the kitchen, lol.
24) I didn’t post this on Instagram but I just found this too cute not to share! I was taking my usual outfit photos in front of the mirror when he decided to photobomb me. :D
Pink and princess-y look while I still can. Dress is something I got in Korea a long time ago. Maybe I should schedule a trip to Seoul again this year…
25) He treated me to Wafu in Greenhills for my birthday lunch. So. Freaking. Good. I can eat Japanese food everyday.
26) Then we spent most of the night with the rest of my family at Mom and Tina’s. First time to treat all of them for my birthday instead of the usual. For the past 24 years it has always been my parents paying for everything but I wanted to give back by treating them out for dinner for once. Made me feel like an adult! :D
27) My dad surprised me with cake (which I ended up paying for also, lol) with a color scheme and design that matched the color of my top and the curls on my hair! 8D
28) Light make-up and shiny gold accents.
'Til next time! I'll probably do a separate entry for my December Instagram photos. Follow me @tgosingtian for live updates!
After my short trip to London, my family and I headed straight to Paris via Eurostar!
Steam punk vibe at the station. It was love at first sight.
Different trains arriving from different places such as Amsterdam and Brussels. It’s so easy to travel from one place to another while you’re in Europe! Wish I could say the same about Asia! My craziest dream is for a train/tunnel to magically appear from Manila to Tokyo.
Ah, la belle Paris!
As usual, we walked around the area of our hotel after leaving our stuff in our rooms. We stayed at Hotel Saint Petersbourg at 33-35 Rue de Caumartin, which is a humble place that’s only one block away from the Opera and the subway. Excellent location! It’s also near shopping places such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.
We passed by an Office du Tourisme to get our bearings. You can get almost all your tickets to all the famous tourist spots here. Talk about convenient!
From here on, I couldn’t help but snap pictures at almost every corner.
Ministère de la Justice at Place Vendome.
Librairie Galignani in rue de Rivoli. It is the first English bookshop established on the continent! It’s been around since the early 19th century.
When in Paris, eat macarons. I think I ate macarons everyday when I was there. I tried Pierre Hermé, Angelina, and of course Ladurée!
So many people having their afternoon tea and cake. Angelina (formerly known as Rumpelmayers) was once a favorite of Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel.
I can stare at this the whole day. I loved all the macarons so much that I had to buy some more before heading back to Manila. My tummy was very satisfied.
Hello there, little fella!
Jardin des Tuileries, a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde. There weren’t a lot of people when I went there because it was so windy and rainy.
My hair after being subjected to x number of hours of different weather conditions. Nothing like a little red lipstick to save a bad hair day.
River cruise! Vedettes du Pont Neuf. Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine.
Rue du Bac, near Musée d’Orsay.
The flag of France. The Tricolour.
Gare d’Orsay is a former Paris railway station and hotel. Now, we just know it as Musée d’Orsay, the famous art museum.
In front of Musée d’Orsay. Went here on another day, so more pictures of this place in another post.
Pretty French buildings.
Even tree branches are photogenic in Paris.
Feels and looks like a dream.
Had afternoon coffee (al fresco) at a small cafe where everyone was too nice! One of the waitresses knew how to speak in English so she patiently took our orders and even complimented us for looking cute. Little did she know that she was the cutest one!
One of my favorite landscape photos from my Paris trip. Here’s a good view of the Eiffel Tower, the River Seine, and the Pont Alexandre III arch bridge.
Thank God we found someone who could understand English!
Hotel des invalides and Dome des invalides. Louis XIV built Hotel des invalides in the 17th century to serve as a home for invalid war veterans. Now it’s a war museum.
Dome des invalides is the burial place of Napoleon, two of his brothers and his son Napoleon II. More pictures of this place in another post!
Place de la Concorde, one of the major public squares in Paris.
Here you can find the Obelisk of Luxor, another one of the three Ancient Egyptian obelisks. I already posted a photo of the London Cleopatra’s Needle before, so I only need a photo of the one in New York to complete the series! Back in early 2011, I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures and go around Central Park because of my 38-39 degree fever. Hopefully I can come back soon, yes?
Stylish Parisian pedestrians (and some tourists!)
L’église de la Madeleine. The Madeleine is a parish of the Archdiocese of Paris.
Every fashion fan should know the significance of 31 rue Cambon. Clue: She invented the concept of the modern boutique… and of course, N°5.
The Opera by day.
Guess where I am?
Just in time for the lights! I’ve always preferred the Louvre when it’s dramatically lit up in the evening.
Time for fill our empty stomachs with classic French food!
But first we had apéritifs with my mom’s former student and my former schoolmate (he went to Ateneo for a few months as an exchange student) Frédéric, who introduced us to Sauternes. Sweet wine will be the death of me! Someone bring this to Manila!
The Opera by night.
I absolutely love Paris at night. It’s like it completely transforms into another place! Nothing can ever compare. Everything is so wonderfully lit, and the fact that there are so many places with Paris with a very rich history makes it all the more magical.
Up next: Versailles!
After my family and I finished familiarizing ourselves with London via bus tour, we decided to take it easy and go to the tourist sites that were a bit less historical/cultural, and a bit more “pop culture”.
Waiting by the bus stop wearing an outfit that seemed to match the colors of London’s streets and buildings. Brown, red and black.
When in London, try Pret a Manger. It’s a British chain that offers ready-to-eat sandwiches, etc. Absolutely perfect for people on the go, and for tourists like us who don’t have a lot of time to waste. Grab ‘n go!
I’d be happy if our street signs here in Manila could look like this one day.
Finally, BAKER STREET!
Shot from outside the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
You can’t miss this place if you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes. You can go inside to buy all sorts of Sherlock goodies, and take pictures of every single corner in this apartment. I can’t fully describe it with any other word but cute!
The loveliest hand-painted Sherlock Holmes chess set and figurines. Insanely pricey, but I guess Holmes fans wouldn’t mind shelling out extra pounds for something as precious as this!
The iconic (fictitious) living room! Sherlock’s and Dr. Watson’s hats were free for visitors to try on for photography’s sake, and coincidentally, my twin brothers wore outfits that matched the colors of the hats!
Warm colors and dark wood.
Flowers by Sherlock Holmes’ living room window.
Sherlock Holmes’ violin.
Dr. Watson’s things. I swear, everything in this place was so photogenic.
Even the bathroom on the top floor looked straight out of an old movie.
I have a lulzy story to share about this fake bathroom though! -
"Like the London Dungeon, there were lots of exhibits at the Holmes Museum, but it wasn’t like an amusement park so it was really boring. The building was set up and decorated as if Holmes was living there, but all you could do was have a look around. In my travel guide it said that the toilet there was a must-see, so I peed there (laugh)." - translated from L’arc~en~ciel’s hyde’s Adventures in London (1997).
Sherlock Holmes’ door.
Something I was able to randomly spot while walking in the streets. War of the Worlds!
After the Sherlock Holmes Museum, we headed to Madame Tussauds, a wax museum known for the wax versions of popular political and royal figures, celebrities, musicians, etc.
Miley and Daniel don’t look much like themselves here, but it’s interesting how they’re grouped in the same area in the museum.
Kate Winslet and Colin Firth, two amazing English actors!
Brangelina. Angie doesn’t look like herself, but it’s amazing how they even got her tattoo down pat.
Wax versions of the Beckhams. Just as flawless as the references!
My love, Johnny Depp. I quite like how he’s presented as Jack Sparrow instead of himself in this museum. You can’t see all the outfit details properly in this shot, but if you’re a fan of PotC and all the original costume designs, this figure is definitely something to spaz about.
Queen Elizabeth looks so real!
And so do Prince William (That hair… or the lack thereof) and Kate Middleton (That dress…)!
One of my personal faves from the museum: The Beatles. George Harrison looks hot and John Lennon looks squishy and adorable. Who’s your favorite Beatle?
Hey I heard you were a wild one!
This was one of the creepiest wax figures in the museum. It’s like those horror movies where they wax people alive and pass them off as statues.
The weather was suddenly cooperative after Madame Tussauds, so we took a bus tour again to be able to take proper pictures of some of the must-see tourist spots.
This is St. Paul’s Cathedral, London’s tallest building for about 200 years.
View from the front of the cathedral.
Spotted a model in summer clothes when everyone else was wearing winter/spring coats. Couldn’t imagine how she was able to survive walking around like that in the cold!
Union Jack on a cab.
I wonder if the construction in this place has already finished by now, in time for the Olympics. If anyone is particular with this area, let me know how this ended up looking like!
My messy wind hair was surprisingly normal there. Spotted a few girls who even looked like they haven’t combed their hair in a week! So ideal.
A guy playing bagpipes in front of the Tower of London.
Interesting sock detail. Found out just now that these are called “kilt hose flashes”.
Shot from a cruise that we spontaneously took just before sunset. We took the boat from the Tower Millenium Pier.
Tower Bridge, one of my favorite bridges in London!
London Bridge, of nursery rhyme fame.
Blackfriars Bridge. The north end goes to the Inns of Court and Temple Church. The south end goes to the Tate Modern and the Oxo Tower.
One of the three Cleopatra’s Needles. This is the pair of the one in New York. A separate one stands in Paris (more pictures of that in my Paris post!).
A closer photo of the London Eye, with clear skies in the background.
After the spontaneous cruise, we decided to walk around to different places before heading to West End for Les Miserables.
Pretty building details.
Such a romantic setting! Spotted a lot of couples making out and holding hands. <3
I want her shoes!
China Town! My dad was craving for Chinese food and we were all kind of missing eating rice, so we had a basic eat-all-you-can dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
Queen’s Theater. Opened in 1907!
View from inside the theater. We watched Les Misérables, one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. It was so wonderful I got teary eyed at some parts! Definitely a must-see while you’re in London. I wish I had more time to watch the other shows, but at least I got this one out of the way already. I’ll definitely make sure to watch the rest the next time I visit!
Next up: Windsor Castle, City of Bath, and Stonehenge!
Finally posting the first of my spring vacation entries! Surprisingly managed to take 16 gigabytes worth of RAW pictures every single day when I was in Europe, so it took me a while to pick the best ones out from my folders, and to try to create a proper (and coherent) entry to jumpstart my London and Paris entries off. Based on the title, yes, I am really dividing my stay in London into two parts! I also went to Windsor Castle, the city of Bath, and the Stonehenge, so expect a separate entry for those places too. So many pictures, so little time!
Here’s a photo of me and my brother Juju in front of a mirror in our hotel’s lobby. We stayed at this dainty place called Ashburn Hotel, which my family and I loved to bits. They had free wifi in all the rooms too (SURE WIN!)
The morning after we arrived, we decided to take a bus sightseeing tour to familiarize ourselves with London. Finally got to ride one of those open-topped red double decker buses! We didn’t have a strict itinerary, but we did kind of list down the places that we could go to on the dates we were there.
Took advantage of the early morning sun to take landscape photos of different landmarks. It rained during the whole duration of our trip, so I had to be extra careful not to get my camera soaked. So many people were apologizing for the weather back when I was tweeting about it. No need for apologies, really! I’d like to think it was all part of the London experience. We had “brollies” in our backpacks anyway!
The Union Jack is one of my favorite flag designs of all time.
This is the National Gallery, found in Trafalgar Square.
Established way back in 1824. I love European culture in general for this reason! Everything just seems to be so well-preserved. This is even considered one the relatively newer buildings.
You can see Big Ben from this angle.
As you can see, all my pictures from London seem darker than my usual travel photos. I don’t consider it a bad thing though! The raw photos + the post-processing is a marriage of what my image of London is and how all the movies and books describe it!
This is the Admiralty Arch, as seen from Trafalgar Square. The opposite side leads to The Mall, which leads to Buckingham Palace.
Just a pretty building, among all the pretty buildings in the city!
The iconic Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly. The Palm Court inside the Ritz were once frequented by the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, and the Queen Elizabeth herself.
We didn’t eat here, but I just found it so cute that a restaurant was named after William Shakespeare. Well, why not? He’s known as the greatest writer in the English language!
St. James Court! Legit old English typography right there.
It started to rain before noon, so I snapped all the pictures I could before it got worse! Here’s the London Eye, the tallest ferris wheel in all of Europe, as well as one of the most popular tourist attractions in London.
I wish we had time to take a ride on it. I’ll definitely make time for it the next time I visit London!
St. Paul’s Cathedral from afar.
This is such a magical picture of the Big Ben. The rain was getting out of hand, so my family and I decided to halt our bus tour for a while to grab something to eat. The clock turned 12 as soon as we got out of the bus. Perfect timing!
When in London, eat fish and chips.
Silly Sherlock and Watson fans left comments on the restaurant’s guestbook. Sherlock Holmes’ comment: “Not up to par. Awful.” John Watson’s comment: “Very nice. Don’t listen to him.”
Now, did you just read that with Robert Downey Jr.’s and Jude Law’s voices? (Edit: Or Benedict Cumberbatch’s and Martin Freeman’s?)
There’s a heart. Aww.
Sorry for the reflection - I started taking pictures from the first deck of the next bus we hopped on. This street needs no introduction. Sweeney Todd!
The iconic red telephone box.
The Tower of London was founded in 1066. It played a crucial role in English history as it served different purposes, including being an armory, a prison, as well as the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
Just a cute dog that kept on snuggling my shoe.
One of the sentries guarding the place. The Queen’s Guard are situated in all of the royal residences in London.
My brothers taking pictures and listening to the audio guide in the middle of bad weather.
It’s a little hard to imagine how I managed to take all these pictures while doing so many things at once - holding my camera, umbrella, bag, etc., walking in the rain, listening to the audio guide, fighting the wind, and just pretty much trying to survive this whole thing by forcing my tourist level to increase to level 99.
What some Tower of London prisoners wrote on the walls of their cells.
Sadly, I couldn’t take proper pictures of the place where the “Princes of the Tower” were confined, but their story was one of my favorites from all the Tower of London events.
Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York, were the “Princes of the Tower”. They disappeared in 1483, but their bones were supposedly discovered in 1674. People believed they were murdered, but until now, nobody has really proven what happened. There are, however, suspects and evidences that lead to their murder, making the princes’ story such an interesting mystery topic for fiction and non-fiction writers.
Too pretty! As a kid, I loved reading about castles and princesses. As I grew older, I found myself totally falling in love with all things medieval - video games and movies that involved knights and whatnot turned out to be favorites.
Don’t these pictures remind you so much of Final Fantasy Tactics? Or King Arthur?
Took a picture of this for all my geeky graphic designer friends to see. Lovely logos.
The Line of Kings, on display in the New Armouries of the Tower. It’s a 17th century gallery displaying wooden versions of horses that different monarchs used.
A 16th century double-barrelled wheellock pistol.
This 14th century basinet weighs 7 pounds. It’s like you constantly have a baby on your head.
People are free to put their faces in and try to see through the thin slits for the eyes. I tried it and it was so difficult to see anything! But then again, I guess people back then also had to protect their eyes from being gouged out.
The Tower of London and part of the Tower Bridge in the background!
This is one of the Victoria Embankment dragons. The two mark the boundary between the City of London and the City of Westminster.
This is how the London subway looks like! Or at least one of the stations. I loved how it was all decorated with not only product advertisements but also music, museum and art exhibit advertisements.
It’s really weird - some people warned me about the weather being erratic all the time, the subway being messy and expensive, or the food not being that great (I guess they were comparing it to French or Italian cuisine?), but IDK, London was such a charming place for me. Although I do admit that my love for English accents should be partly blamed for this feeling. G’day! Fancy a cuppa tea? Or crumpets? Seriously, I could listen to an English accent the whole day.
Part 2 of my London pictures to follow soon. I wanna go back!
About 2 hours away from Fukuoka is another famous tourist destination. Nagasaki was very famous as a port city in the past, but most people would recognize the name as that second city after Hiroshima to be destroyed by an atomic bomb during the 2nd World War.
My family and I took the Express Train from Hakata Station in Fukuoka straight to Nagasaki Station. Had a free day so instead of just shopping we spontaneously decided to check this place out.
Best decision ever.
If you take a bus to Nagasaki from the Hakata Bus Terminal in Fukuoka, it will take you around 2 and half hours. Great alternative if you’re a bus person.
Near the Nagasaki station. Purdy clouds.
L from Death Note (lol)
Took a bus to go nearer the Atomic Bomb Museum.
Passed by a building with tokusatsu sentai mascot Daiwaman X by the window.
My family and I had lunch at some revolving sushi restaurant near the museum.
And every single plate looked like this. How are the Japanese able to maintain their weight when all the food available in the country is so good?
The Peace Memorial Park outside the museum. After the bridge is a giant space where the hypocenter monument lies.
Folding a thousand cranes can grant you a wish, according to Japanese legend. These cranes donated by the locals expressed their desire for peace after the tragedy that happened to them.
By the entrance of the Atomic Bomb Museum.
Going to save everyone from very graphic war photographs, but in a nutshell, most of the contents of the museum were remnants that were saved after the atomic bomb hit Nagasaki, as well as detailed timelines of World War II so people can understand the events that led to this very specific and traumatic moment in history.
And here I started tearing up. One part of the museum presented different accounts of atomic bomb survivors.
At this stage I was bawling. Not only did civilians suffer from losing their family members, but they were also exposed to the “atomic bomb disease” caused by heat rays and radiation.
"The Boy Standing by the Crematory in Nagasaki" by Joe O’Donnell. Very "Grave of the Fireflies", don’t you think?
One of the most tragic, most heartbreaking war photographs I have ever seen in my entire life. The story behind it is so powerful and moving as well.
The photographer was interviewed by a certain Seiko Ueda - “I came in from Sasebo to Nagasaki and looked around from a hill. Men walking with white masks caught my attention. The men were working besides a big hole of about 60cm deep. They were putting the corpses piled up on a wagon into the hole with burning lime . Then I saw a boy of around ten years old walking toward them. He had his little brother baby strapped on his back. In those days, it was quite common in Japan to see young boys carrying their little brother or sister on their back while playing in the field. But this boy wasn’t here to play. He had a very important duty to come to this crematory. You could see it on his face. And he was barefoot. The boy came to the edge of the crematory. His face was stiff and his eyes were bracing for an ordeal. The baby on his back looked deep asleep and the head was bent backward. The boy stood there for five or ten minutes. Then the men with the white masks came towards him and started to untie the straps. At this moment, I realized that this baby brother he was carrying was dead. The men gently held the baby’s arms and legs and slowly put him into the hole where the hot stones are laid. I could hear the steaming sound of the baby’s flesh burning. Then a gleaming red flare danced up in the air. The bright red color like the sunset was reflecting on the yet tender boy’s cheek as he stood there straight and still. That moment, I realized that the boy was biting his lip and it was bleeding. He was biting hard as he gazed his little brother in flames. When the flames had calmed down, the boy turned on his heels and left the place silently.”
Left the museum with bloodshot eyes, but our tour guide Hiro-san managed to sum it all up in a good way. She mentioned that this museum wasn’t made to make the Japanese purely appear as victims of the World War since they admit that they also had their own share of violence back then. It was made so that everyone can learn from this traumatic experience, having just been reminded of that time when human beings actually resorted to these very grave measures.
A monument of Sadako, of “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” fame.
Not Sadako of Ringu fame.
Walked past the bridge from the museum to get to…
…the monument that marks the hypocenter of the atomic bomb.
They were able to estimate its exact location because all the trees around this point were still standing, which could only happen since the initial impact of the bomb was vertical.
A piece of rock that was exposed to atomic bomb radiation, preserved behind a protective container.
Suddenly, a photograph of my brothers to lighten this entry up! No more depressing stuff after this, I promise!
A few blocks from the museum is this very large space they call the Nagasaki Peace Park.
Lots of installations and monuments to help promote world peace were donated by artists from all over the world and were displayed here.
And I finally got to take a picture of the canned coffee I mentioned in one of my older Fukuoka posts. My brothers always had to get their daily caffeine fix, but it would never be satisfied by any other kind of coffee except for this one.
While we were in Japan, at least.
Random view of the pathway to Oura Catholic Church.
And of course we had to try some meat buns while we were there.
Bumped into this cat while walking and…
…soon after realized that it just might be the artist of these portraits (lol)
What would a manga writer think about this situation?
Oura Catholic Church is Japan’s oldest standing church, and is the only Western building to be designated as a national treasure. Can’t believe this has been preserved since 1863.
Nagasaki has a very large population of Catholics, which only explains the very famous line “Hiroshima in anger, Nagasaki in prayer.”
Behind the Oura Catholic Church is Glover Garden, an exhibit of mansions of Nagasaki’s former Western residents. Failed to take pictures of the actual recreated houses for some reason I can’t remember! To compensate, I shall just post a cute picture of some koi fish fighting for food.
From the houses you can enjoy a nice view of the port city of Nagasaki.
Our tour guide Hiro-san showing us a photo of one of Japan’s most loved heroes, Ryoma Sakamoto. Prior to this introduction, I already had an idea who he was… thanks to JIN, that genius Japanese drama about a doctor time traveling to the past and saving people with brain surgery even if it wasn’t even invented yet. He traveled to Ryoma Sakamoto’s time!
He continues to be a very relevant figure in Nagasaki, as he established the Kameyama Shachu in this place. The Kameyama Shachu or the Kaientai is only Japan’s first trading company!
Ryoma Sakamoto also had a secret meeting place inside one of Glover’s houses. I saw it. I just failed to take a proper picture of it (again).
Used my ninja photography skills once more because the branches were framing this girl perfectly and I just had to take a picture.
Found out she was trying to take a picture of the sunset so I took a picture of it too.
What better way to end the tour than to see cherry blossoms! They’re not supposed to bloom until spring but our tour guide says that the tree must’ve gotten confused with the very erratic weather conditions they’ve been having.
2 years ago, I missed the cherry blossoms in Tokyo by a few weeks! /cry
Took the bus back to somewhere nearer the Nagasaki Station since it was getting late. Snapped a photo of this couple that we saw earlier at Glover Garden. They were also so excited about the cherry blossoms so I guess it really is very rare to see them bloom in winter.
After dinner, we walked around this place called S TOBI. It was already rather late in the evening and the stores were closing but our tour guide made it a point to drop by a certain dessert store to get a slice of cake for her daughter. Too bad I can’t remember the name of the store but they supposedly have the most glorious treats!
Perfect hair and perfect coats! Managed to do zero shopping in Nagasaki but it was all good because I can be such a geek sometimes! This place has such a rich history that no amount of shopping can ever compare to the things I was able to see here.
Long, educational day at Nagasaki ended as soon as we boarded the train back to Hakata Station in Fukuoka. Spent the first hour in the train sleeping, and the next hour just fooling around with my brothers Juju and Calel. Managed to re-enact parts of Inception while pretending to sleep/dream. Aptly called the whole thing Trainception afterwards.
Psyched to go to Hiroshima some time in the future. Heard the place is just as wonderful! I hope more people can go visit Japan this year. Why this place is my favorite cannot be fully explained by these pictures or words. I can only try.