This would be my second time to Nara since 2009 a.k.a. the year of H1N1, as well as my first ever visit to Japan. Back then, tourists were very scarce, and the locals who were visiting the place were all wearing masks to protect themselves from getting the virus. Everyone except us (and a few tourists). Talk about that awkward moment when you’re the only one not fearing for your life, lol.
After 4 years, I (along with the hundreds of other completely healthy people who all decided to go to Nara on this exact day) finally got to visit the place again It was so crowded and everyone was running around - a totally different vibe from my last visit where all the deer seemed so gloomy from the lack of visitors feeding them deer biscuits. Now they seemed just as lively as the people who were feeding them.
Nara is one of the most commonly visited places in Japan as it is known for the 1,300+ years of history behind it. It was actually the first ever permanent capital of the country! Lucky for us tourists, it’s so accessible especially if you’re coming from Kyoto or Osaka.
Upon arrival, I quickly snapped a photo of some students passing by and got surprised when I saw the result. So cute, my kokoro hurts
The main gate to Todai-ji, the Nandaimon gate.
These two statues are not just your ordinary statues. The Komukuten and Bishamonten, are also Nara’s national treasures, protecting the giant gate from evil spirits, demons and thieves since 1203 AD!
The Daibutsuden from afar. It is the world’s largest wooden building, even if this is already a smaller, reconstructed version of the original!
Obligatory tourist shot. I didn’t get a proper one 4 years ago so I made sure to take one now!
Light seeping through windows.
There this hole in one of the temple pillars that a lot of students were lining up for. It is said that anyone who can pass from one side to the other through the hole is guaranteed enlightenment. Most kids can pass through it easily, though I managed to take a photo of this class clown who pretended he couldn’t fit so his teacher could pull him out. He was laughing the whole time!
For most of us grown-ups who can never fit this hole, let me say that this piece of information can guarantee a certain, shallow kind of enlightenment as well - The hole is just a good size comparison of the giant Buddha statue’s nostril. :)
The famous 15-meter Buddha.
Just a bunch of kids playing at a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kid of Steel wants to pass through!
Managed to snap a pic of a deer with its antlers still on. The deer is a sacred animal in Nara and they hold a formal ceremony every October to cut their antlers. This has been going on for 500 years now!
Close-up of this little cutie.
Expect some violent deer encounters, I guess.
“Is that deer biscuit for me?”
Caught this old man talking to this deer for a few minutes!
In an alternate universe, this is probably the secret game event that lets you learn a new skill or unlock a new map. Secret deer map only achieved if you manage to feed them deer biscuits without them biting your hand first, lol.
Check out the crumbs!
The cutest. Most of the students showed fear but this girl was all-smiles and was having so much fun feeding the deer!
Bleh, time to move to a new location.
After Todai-ji, we went to Kasuga-taisha, Nara’s most celebrated shrine. It was my first time here, and I’m glad I included this in the itinerary I made because it was just sooo beautiful!
Stone lanterns donated by worshippers. Kasuga-taisha has thousands of them.
May your dream come true, Chris and Jecca!
February and August would probably be the best time to come here because of the Setsubun Mantoro (February 3) and Obon Mantoro (August 14-15) festivals. The 3,000+ lanterns of Kasuga-taisha are all lit at once to mark the transition from winter to spring, and summer to fall.
An 800 year old wisteria tree can also be found in this shrine!
Wide smile that expressed my happiness after all the tourists moved on to the next area. It meant I could finally take a clean tourist-y picture without anyone else in the background. Hashtag: fashiontravelphotographybloggerproblems
The gorgeous path to the exit. Wish we had something like this in Manila! I wouldn’t mind walking outside if there were this many trees!
Limited edition Bambi cellphone charms! Only in Nara!
Last shot of the Nara scenery before I fell almost immediately asleep on the bus ride back to Kyoto. Oh man, I seriously need to work on my stamina.
Next time maybe I could stay schedule a trip in January so I can witness Wakakusa Yamayaki, or their annual festival where they set a hill on fire, or at least set the grass on fire and make it look like the whole thing is burning. Let’s see! I’m very bad with winter.
Second part of my Osaka trip is all about free time and shopping! Since I made the itinerary for the whole trip, I’m pretty sure my whole family expected 1-2 days for exploration… a.k.a. mall hopping. Thankfully, none of them complained about having too much free time, as they also had their own share of unique fashion finds!
Me and my brothers at Kyoto Station. Our trip also had Kyoto and Nara in between (which I’ll be blogging about in the next few weeks) but in the end, we had to go back to Osaka to take the plane home to Manila.
Traveling from Osaka to Kyoto (or vice versa) is so fast and easy that you can just take a day trip to one place but go back to your original hotel at night.
After dropping off all our luggage at the hotel, we headed straight to the Shinsaibashi area for some sightseeing… err, shopping. We stayed in the same hotel in JR Osaka Station, making it very convenient to just take the train straight to Shinsaibashi Station.
My brother Calel waiting outside Tokyu Hands. Always a good place to start shopping.
No one in their right mind would attack without filling their stomachs first! Before we did any real shopping, we went for some katsu in one of the underground passageways.
Shinsaibashi-suji is a covered shopping street that is a must visit for all shopaholics!
I particularly loved the Lowry’s Farm here as the store was huge! I make sure to drop by Lowry’s Farm every time I get the chance (also available in Collect Point in Singapore and Hong Kong) because they are one of the most affordable Japanese brands I know that carries quality trendy items.
Allamanda by INGNI. The mannequin on the left makes me miss my long hair so much! It would probably be this length now if I hadn’t cut it short.
I didn’t buy anything from this store (though I would have, if you presented these clothes to 20/21-year-old me) but it was a delight just looking at their clothes. Everything was extra sweet and dainty. Florals and pastels galore.
one spo’s summer collection is to die for! I’m a sucker for black and white with yellow color accent so I pretty much ogled at everything when I was here. Daisy prints are huge right now and I couldn’t blame them for placing them everywhere - tops, skirts, caps, accessories and even shoes!
The famous Kani Doraku built in the 1960s.
Why hello there, Nino! <3
Osaka Shochiku-za, a theater for kabuki plays.
Taken just before the influx of people who went here to eat dinner. Good thing I managed to snap this photo before it got crazy!
Me and the iconic Glico man, originally installed in the 1930s.
The end of Shinsaibashi-suji.
The start of Ebisubashi-suji. (Crowd was starting to get crazy here)
Dotonbori canal just before sunset.
Went back to the entrance of Shinsaibashi-suji!
I saved the best for last. Went to Shinsaibashi OPA for 11 floors of Japanese fashion goodness! This is my favorite place in Osaka for shopping as it’s reminiscent of Shibuya 109.
Laguna Moon’s S/S 2013 collection was also resort-inspired like most of the other brands. Not a bad thing though, as the palm tree prints and light, breezy materials are perfect for us living in tropical countries. Matching top and bottom set is also a big trend.
LANDS OF Eden had these cute neon yellow/green accents to give spunk to dark colors and neutrals. Peplum is also not yet over!
Retro girly is still in for spring! This style is something the Japanese will never get tired of, I guess!
Sky high strappy platforms at Esperanza. Got lucky with a pair of two-tone white/yellow pointy pumps at 50% off!
OMG, SLY. I’ve been obsessing over their current collection/s for the past months. This brand has also converted me into wearing more dangling earrings and statement accessories. This is a huge leap considering my usually conservative taste in jewelry.
Current collection features Keith Haring collaboration items.
EMODA, of course. Love the leaf print series, as well as the all-white coordinates that look so neat. Minimalist but chic as always! I didn’t splurge too much here because I already knew I was going back to Tokyo anyway for EMODA’s TouchMe show. I already blogged about it here!
KOJIHARU by the entrance to OPA. She’s my AKB bias! Too pretty!
Creative Marc by Marc Jacobs store display! The head scarves make me want to try this style out one of these days.
Yakitori for dinner.
Went around the area (at this point, I didn’t bother knowing which street was which) and spotted some unique stores. Surprisingly, there was also an American Apparel in the area.
Vintage-inspired tank tops at this place where they sell gas masks and military stuff, lol. The contrast!
Vintage adidas everywhere! They were selling a lot of discontinued and limited edition items that are now apparently super hard to find.
I remember taking a photo of similar vending machine in Fukuoka, and it didn’t look anything like this, hahaha
Stylish young mom in front of McDonalds. I went to Japan just before Golden Week and they had these special burgers that I failed to try, lol. Maybe next year? *hopes and prays*
The next day, which was our last whole day in Japan, we just killed time around JR Osaka Station. There was a giant Yodobashi (electronics heaven) so we went in and geeked out for a while. Took a break from all the fashion and got myself a quirky camera bag for my dSLR and lenses. It is white and red with floral prints. ONLY IN JAPAN! Been looking out for cutesy ones for the longest time now but have only been seeing boring black ones which I know have more functionality and stuff but sue me for being a girly girl
Who can say no to all this beef?
The eggs are for our tamago kake gohan <3 I don’t normally eat a lot of rice but Japanese rice (especially with egg) is my weakness.
Chanced upon this new place called NU Chayamachi by the Chayamachi exit of Umeda Station.
There were many artists exhibiting their work in the area, but I was fortunate enough to watch this girl create her masterpiece from scratch. They weren’t just limited to drawing on walls though! Some of them created 3D art and placed them everywhere — on trees, lamp posts, etc.
KATE SPADE SATURDAY! This is only available in Japan so I totally spazzed when I saw it accidentally.
I was able to talk to one of the shop staff who wanted to practice her English! She told me she used to work for Uniqlo where she was able to meet a good friend who also happened to be Filipino like me. Now her friend is working in New York! She, on the other hand, would love to go to Paris one day. I also told her to visit the Philippines too, and then she went on and on about some of her friends loving every bit of Cebu and Boracay. Yay!
Another artist’s work.
One of the store displays along EST. Transparent bags were also everywhere, in different shapes and sizes. These heart-shaped ones were absolutely darling, and now I regret not buying one!
For cat lovers! They even had cat-shaped tape dispensers!
Afternoon coffee at this quirky bookstore.
HEP Five, also a must visit for those interested in shopping for fashion in Osaka. It’s a quick walk from JR Osaka station and you can’t miss it! There’s a bright red ferris wheel on top!
After shopping, I had some free time to sneak in some shots of people’s outfits. Everyone was walking so fast though, and my photography skills were rusty. Couldn’t keep up. :P
This girl’s shoes are killing me (in a good way)! I can never pull this look off but she worked it so well. Fell in love with the whole pastel color scheme that even matched her youthful face and hairstyle.
Ugh, they make oversized clothes look good too! <3
Entrance of HEP Five. Spotted two girls wearing vertical striped bottoms and denim jackets. Another huge trend in Japan now.
Positivity all the way! Even this brand agrees with me!
JR Osaka Station at night. It was my last night and I wanted to explore on my own a bit.
Managed to catch Arashi ni Shiyagare on TV just before I went to sleep!
Osaka was super fun - I can’t wait to go back. If someone were to ask me to choose between Osaka and Tokyo, I’d be so torn. This place is so endearing in its own special way! <3
Last week, EMODA flew me and Camille to Tokyo to cover their touchMe A/W 2013 fashion show. It was a real privilege, as touchMe is strictly invitation-only, and I am completely aware that without EMODA’s help, I wouldn’t stand a chance among the hundreds and thousands of Japanese EMODA fans who would kill to sit in the show.
The show started around 9PM at Belle Salle, Shibuya Garden, so we had a few hours free before the event. Kumiko, the awesome lady who guided us throughout the night, accompanied us to Shibuya 109 to shop for our outfits for the event. Earlier that day, I already bought a full-EMODA coordinate at the Shinjuku Lumine EST store… but that did not stop me for shopping again!
Check out our giant paper bags of goodies. Goodbye to all the money in my wallet, but everything was just too shiny. I especially love the current S/S collection as it’s very resort-like (appropriate for Manila throughout the year!) and most of the items are classic, just the way I like my clothes.
One of the best things I like about the brand is how it’s very influenced by Western high street and blogger fashion, which are two of my greatest style influences too. The way the individual items are styled together make it distinctly EMODA, but the individual items (on their own) are versatile enough to be worn by those not exactly interested in styling it the same way the shop staff and models do. The brand appeals to a very wide audience in this way. As long as you like clean, classic, minimalist styles, EMODA’s items will definitely speak to you. Even my mom likes EMODA!
Anyhow, Camille and I both got some nifty novelty items for free because we shopped A LOT. We got the cutest MODE style towels and pillow cases.
After shopping, we had pasta for dinner somewhere around Shibuya. Then we rushed to the event location for some picture taking.
This iconic background! If you follow Japanese magazines, you might have already seen this a few times. Many famous Japanese models and icons have their photos taken against this background. When it was our turn, a part of me went “I CAN DIE NOW!”
But then again, the show had not even started yet at this point. So maybe after the show, lol.
Outfits for the night. I opted for simple black and white, while Camille went for a spring-y blue and green coordinate.
I wish I had enough time to take outfit shots of other people because everyone who attended the show were all so freaking beautiful and well-dressed, you’d think they’re all models.
Just after being seated (front row, baby), I noticed a ton of famous models pass by. I normally don’t get starstruck but when it comes to the Japanese personalities that I only get to see in magazines? That’s a different story.
I saw Mai Miyagi about 3 times, AMIAYA, Wei Son, a lot of BLENDA models, Chinatsu Wakatsuki, etc. I was pretty sure that there were a lot more in the event hall, but everything happened so fast. My eyes couldn’t keep up! (On a semi-related note, I also saw Nana Suzuki the day before and Hamada Britney the day after - both in 109!) Hearts all over, anyway. Also shows how big of a brand EMODA is among the Japanese fashion scene/crowd.
The show started shortly after Camille and I were seated, and it lasted for about 20-30 minutes. Took a ton of photos, as usual, and I hope these do justice to the clothes.
This collection is called BUDDY CLOSET. Absolutely obsessed with everything. It’s all a tasteful mix of masculine and feminine elements, and the colors are all so rich and creamy. I was quite surprised with the brown items, but they all worked so well with the bright blues and reds in the end. Don’t know if it’s just me, but a lot of the coordinates reminded me of London street fashion.
No words, but “I covet”. <3
This outfit was my favorite. Warm and fuzzy feels for A/W? Yes please!
A classy way of doing print-on-print. Same print but opposite colors.
The models were officially successful in making red eyebrows look cool.
I can’t even begin with this black series. The fabric is to die for! So classy, and I have some sort of inexplicable desire to touch it.
Same fabric for tops and bottoms seemed to be HUGE in this collection.
Printed bottoms and flat-brimmed caps are still in! The same themes are also present in their current S/S collection, though I think I prefer the darker neutrals that are coming up soon as I am biased with anything black and white.
Love how the orange hair accents give so much life to the dark outfits. Perhaps we’ll be seeing the EMODA team and/or staff with orange ombres later this year?
This fabric. This coat. <3
After the show, we were lucky enough to be briefly introduced to EMODA Producer Ena Matsumoto (So petite and thin-framed!) who is one of my many style icons. She was too nice to spend a few minutes to take pictures with us, as she was busy and in demand that night, and I knew we were taking a bit of her time! Made my heart melt.
She greeted us with “Hello! I am Ena, EMODA Producer!” then she asked Kumiko how to say “Nice to meet you!” in English. After we also introduced ourselves, I greeted her “Omedetou!” then she was like “Sankyu!” while rubbing her belly.
And I was like… OMG WHAT?! (in my head) I just congratulated her for the show!
Kumiko and I were so surprised because we didn’t know she was pregnant! Ena must have seen our faces, and she said “Baby!” to help clear the confusion. So excited for her! Maybe in the future EMODA will release limited edition maternity clothes! Ena will be the most chic mom ever.
There is nothing more fitting than to say that this person is responsible for making EMODA the brand that it is now. It is so admirable that she and her team have a vision of making it global one day, instead of just settling in one place. I see this vision happening very clearly, and I can’t wait for EMODA to tickle the fancies of the world’s fashion lovers.
I asked if I could take a few seconds of her time to snap about 2 solo photos of her and she gladly obliged with a wide smile on her face. But she switched back to “cool” mode as soon as I pointed the camera at her!
Spotted EMODA Press manager Erina Abe on the way out of the event hall. <3 She is wearing one of the skirts that is included in an on-going EMODA A/W 2013 exhibition. Want! I wish I could’ve stayed longer to catch the exhibition!
Thanks to these people for making it all happen! I really wish I can attend more Japanese fashion shows in the future, especially since I am more than happy to spread the love to international fans. I used to just dream about attending stuff like TGC and touchMe, so this was really an overwhelming experience.
But enough about me! This is supposed to be about EMODA!
Here’s a video of the show:
This is gonna be the first out of maybe 6 or 7 entries that I’ll be posting about Japan in the next few weeks. I’ve always been rather trigger happy when it came to travel photography, but this time, I think I’ve reached an all time high. At the back of my head, I was like “If I’m going to carry this dSLR that weighs like a baby for a whole week or two, I might as well make the most out of it.” And I did. And it gave me the worst neck, shoulder and back pains in my entire life, lol. But who cares? This is how I roll when I travel!
This first entry is mostly tourist-y stuff in Osaka with my family. It’s been 4 years since my last visit to Osaka and I remember we only went to Universal Studios then as we were on a set tour. This time, I was the one who arranged our itinerary for the whole week. *proud*
Landed in KIX via Philippine Airlines. The flight arrived late at night so we had dinner at the airport. It takes an hour to get to the city, so it was a wise idea to stuff ourselves with some yummy food before anything else.
My dad and my brothers ordered some beer!
When in Osaka, eat okonomiyaki! I had this super simple (but scrumptious) one just to fill my stomach for the night.
The next morning, we decided to go to Osaka Castle. We’ve never been to this place before (Idk why we decided to just go to Universal Studios last time) so I’ve always been curious about it.
Especially since there is an official Osaka Castle emoji on iPhone, haha. I mean, that *must* mean that this place is important, right?!
We took the train to Temmabashi station and walked 5-10 minutes to the Osaka Castle proper.
An old man looking at the castle from afar with his binoculars.
Birds on branches.
My twin brothers and two ice cream mascots. Yes, we know the one on the left is a girl, but it was just too funny as Chase (on the left) has hair long enough to be put in a ponytail.
This was in a food stall just before the entrance to the castle.
Now, time for the castle…
Two cats rolling around the grass.
Pretty spring flowers.
An adorable photo of a mother taking a photo of her daughter. Notice how the pink bag matches the flowers in the background, and how they’re wearing matchy-matchy coats! Too sweet!
Nifty vintage truck that doubled as a stall that sells art and coffee.
Lots of students were having a field trip that day!
Osaka Castle, finally! The most famous landmark of Osaka. Interestingly, while it looks like this from the outside, the inside is totally modern and is used as a museum (which you have to pay for before you can enter)!
I have a ton of shots from the outside but not so much inside as it was forbidden to take pictures in a lot of areas! But I’m not complaining. The castle is really breathtakingly beautiful, and I’d take pictures of it from the outside than from the inside any day.
More details. Looks so perfect, like a wedding cake.
The view from the top of Osaka Castle.
Buildings, and a school.
Inside the castle, you can see a lot of 16th century stuff about Japan, which you will definitely love if you’re a fan of Sengoku Basara! My favorite part about the museum is this big wall showing different crests of the main characters (I really sound like I’m talking about an anime!) during the Sengoku / Warring States period.
Recently, I just finished watching the Nobunaga no Chef live action too so it was fun to see all the familiar names inside the castle.
Was tempted to scream “OYAKATA-SAMAAA!!!” when I saw this Yukimura Sanada figure.
Shingen, you look so cute like this! But where is that bad-ass horse that you’re always standing on?
To draw the line between truth and fiction, lol. Somehow imagining history as animated or live makes it so much more interesting. I wonder when we’ll ever have a telenovela where someone from 2013 time slips to the time of Andres Bonifacio. Or Lapu Lapu.
After going around the castle, we went around the area (which was huge, ok) to find the best spot to take tourist-y Osaka Castle pictures. There were too many people taking pictures directly in front of the castle, and I didn’t want to risk being photobombed, so I walked all the way to some garden in the castle premises to have this taken! I think it turned out pretty well!
To those who plan on going to Osaka Castle soon, try to find this area :D
I love how it’s right in the middle of the city. Reminds me a lot of Intramuros! It is so accessible that some people pass by it everyday and even go jogging inside.
Similar feel to being in Rome and passing by the Coliseum, or being in Paris and passing by the Eiffel Tower everyday like it’s nothing new and totally normal!
NHK building near the castle.
So pretty even when it’s on the ground and people just walk on it / past it every single day. It’s these little details that make Japan so unique! Even the slightest details are not overlooked.
Took a random walk at some random place before heading back to JR Osaka Station. We stayed at Hotel Granvia which was probably the best travel decision I made during this trip that I planned/fixed. It’s right in the heart of the station, making it incredibly convenient to travel from one place to another.
Don’t even get me started on how amazing shopping is in this area! You can walk to Yodobashi Umeda, HEP Five, EST Umeda, etc. It only takes about 8-10 minutes via train to the Namba area where you can find Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade, Umeda OPA, etc.
Not the best place if you’re struggling with any sort of self-imposed shopping ban as it’s going to be so hard to resist all the shiny things *u*
In the station itself, the North Building has Isetan and Lucua while the South Building has Daimaru. In Lucua, there’s an EMODA and a MURUA. <3
With my brother Juju at a coffee shop somewhere in the station. He ended up being my companion in my Tokyo sponsored trip shortly after this one! More on that soon! Will have to finish my Osaka, Kyoto and Nara posts first. *shiny eyes*
1) Celebrated my boyfriend RG’s birthday at Draft in Rockwell! Had this yummy meal all to myself while he ordered a scrumptious burger. NOM
2) Salmon sashimi at Marufuku in Ortigas.
3) Macarons at Chez Karine in Serendra.
5) Squinty eyes and pretty plants on a very sunny day. L-R: me (lol my legs are so landi), Tracy, Teptep, Kim and Krissy
6) Awesome double rainbow after a perfect weekend getaway with your equally perfect friends.
7) Celebrated my eldest twin brothers Chase and Juju’s birthday at Nanbantei at High Street Central. SO MUCH FOOD, DECEMBER. A few weeks prior to this occasion, I also celebrate my birthday on November 24 while my youngest brother celebrates it on November 27. Then it’s my boyfriend’s turn on December 3, before my brothers who celebrate theirs on December 10. Yep, we’re all Sagittarius.
8) Wearing my Baby-G x Ke$ha watch from Time Depot.
9) Had a shoot for ETC’s Etcetera with fellow bloggers Camille and Laureen! Thanks to all those who tweeted me good stuff about it. Actually, there were even some people who thought it was going to be a weekly thing. Huu, sorry guys. I wish it were possible to just do those cutesy videos on TV and NEVER speak, lol.
10) Got sent ProStyle Fuwarie hair styling mists right after it became available here in Manila. I’ve been using this for quite a while now (check out my Beauty Must-Haves post last January 2012) and I’m so happy they’re finally here! The one who brought it to the Philippines discovered it on my blog first. :D
11) Wearing my Haute Lifestyle dress for my boyfriend’s cousin’s wedding.
12) My favorite Brooklyn Omelette from Borough in The Podium.
13) With my niece Zoe at my grandparents’ (her great grandparents’) house for Christmas Day lunch.
14) Pizza and drinks at Locale Gastropub in City Golf with my boyfriend the night before I flew to Japan.
15) My happy self after arriving at our hotel room in Fukuoka. Wearing a JEANASIS sweater which was a gift from my boyfriend from the Collect Point in Singapore.
16) My fashion bibles! (SCawaii not in picture)
17) Ippudo ramen right after dropping our stuff at the hotel.
18) Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima!
19) Floating Torii in Miyajima!
20) Got myself the Vanilla Onyx body mist from MURUA! The other two I gave to my friends as late Christmas presents.
21) Wearing new purchases! EGOIST bag, SpRay jacket, CECIL McBEE sweater
22) Ramen again! From one of the restaurants in Ramen Stadium Canal City.
23) The cutest bath stuff at Tokyu Hands at Hakata Station. <3
24) Still at Tokyu Hands. TOY CAMERA HEAVEN! I got myself a Megane Cam but I wish I had all the money in the world to buy everything, lol. And I wish I already knew that I was going to get an Instax from my boyfriend for our anniversary in January because they had a complete row just dedicated to Fuji film.
25) Spotted these luxurious-looking macarons at one of my favorite places, the food section of Hankyu department store. The packaging and the colors make them look so precious.
26) Ichigo overload. It’s not too evident in the photo but these are HUGE. And insanely expensive!
27) The Japanese have the best food presentations ever! Everything is so cute, you wouldn’t want to ruin them by digging in!
28) Added one more CANMAKE blush to my already growing collection of Japanese brand blushes. The other one I gave to Crissey as a late Christmas gift. Gave in to consumerism and got myself this limited edition Hello Kitty eyelash glue just because the packaging was too cute to resist.
29) New rings from L.CHANGE at Canal City. Unfortunately, my favorite one on the right recently got lost/stolen/IDK. :( So I’m really careful with the other rings now.
30) My last meal in Japan. :( BRING ME BACKKK
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!
I’m back from Japan! Sorry if I haven’t been updating for the past couple of days. Back to the daily grind after a much needed vacation, and I’m suddenly not feeling my old post-processing style. Took me a while to figure out what to do with these pictures, so I apologize for the tardiness.
On a brighter note, a happy 2013 to all my blog readers! First (celebratory) post of the year goes to my last post on my Indonesia trip last November. It was a week long adventure with an insanely busy itinerary, so I obviously couldn’t fit everything into one post. And besides, one can never have too many travel photography entries, yes? I am happiest with these kinds of entries.
The last post ended with a wonderful massage to wrap up Borobodur day. This second half starts with Keraton Jogja or The Sultan’s Palace.
In the palace compound that is located strategically in the center of Jogjakarta. The Jogjakarta King stays here with his family and assistants.
One of my blog readers spotted me in the middle of the crowd! I didn’t know there Indonesians following my blog and Lookbook since I wasn’t quite sure that it could translate well to other cultures, so I couldn’t thank her enough for the support. <3 (What a cheesy moment!)
Gamelan orchestra and traditional dance take place in the palace throughout the week.
Headdress details. So ornate!
Sonia, wearing Alleira Batik, and Ayu, the pet of the Sultan Palace guardian.
Entrance to the Taman Sari Jogjakarta. This Water Castle was the site of a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. Built in the 18th century, it had multiple functions - resting area, workshop, meditation area, defense area and hiding place among others.
With Pure Heart Caroline (more on that later)…
…and our seemingly matching outfits. Black and blue!
Christina Instagramming inside the King’s bedroom.
Only the central bathing complex is preserved now. It was such a hot day that no one dared to go out into the sun! Check out all the people hiding in the shadows, lol.
Mas Angin at Alun-Alun Kidul. In the past, people had to successfully cross through these giant banyan trees for the King to see if they had a pure heart or not.
I think the tradition still holds true for the guards at the Sultan’s Palace.
Visited this art gallery to check out Picasso-inspired works that made use of traditional batik techniques.
Then we visited Malioboro which is a must-see for tourists! Markets are some of the best places to see how locals go on with their daily lives. We didn’t have a long time to spend here but it was all so interesting nonetheless. I found this man walking around the street, making it seem like having a snake on your neck was completely normal!
Giant durian of “smells like hell but tastes like heaven” fame.
Old cassette tapes. Spot Christian Bautista!
Mirota. This was where I got all my batik print fabric for my MOFW Indonesia posts a few weeks ago. Perfect place to buy souvenirs as well.
Colorful lights back at the banyan trees area. Time to put our hearts to the test! Lots of tourists and locals gather around this compound to try it out themselves.
Everyone tried going past the trees but only one person succeeded. I thought I was walking straight until I took the blindfold off. Someone tell me the secret to walking straight without having to look at where you’re going! Argh.
At least I didn’t make a complete U-turn! *ahem Tara ahem* :)
Caroline was the only one who passed the test, so we called her pure hearted Caroline for the duration of the trip. Because we were all bitter, the rest of us who didn’t have pure hearts would make it a huge issue every time she would make a snide remark about something.
Fun times! We all had a good laugh (at ourselves) that night!
After all that fun, we had dinner at the same place where we were supposed to watch the Ramayana ballet.
Here’s Rama, Sita and Lakshamana on stage. No speaking lines, just 2 hours of pure acting and dancing. It was beautiful! It was already late at night when we watched this, but I was far from spacing out.
I guess it helped that I was a huge history geek in school? I actually enjoy stuff like this a lot!
Besides watching cultural shows, I also adore visiting temples!
Built in the 10th century, Prambanan Temple is the largest temple compound in Indonesia. Unlike Borobodur which is one massive temple, Prambanan is a complex of smaller, individual temples.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Prambanan Temple attracts tourists from all over the world. Don’t forget to visit this place if you’re in Indonesia!
Light-haired me and bb Sonia.
Christina posing for her blog. On the walls of the temples are illustrations depicting the Ramayana and Krishnayana. It was so timely to visit this place right after watching the Ramayana ballet the night before.
Was spotted by some blog readers again! Sweet that they gave all of us these batik moustaches that they made themselves.
The intricate details make you want to bow down to all those who made this masterpiece possible. Some of the temples have been slightly damaged by natural calamities like earthquakes and typhoons, but it’s still amazing considering that they didn’t use any kind of glue to build everything.
The temple framed by pretty trees.
One of the vendors in the market outside the temple.
Christina from New York singing New York, New York.
Visited yet another batik museum! This time, it was a showcase of a variety of batik from different time periods. Some of the batik prints were influenced by the cultures of neighboring countries, while some had motifs inspired by simple myths and fairytales.
My favorite part would be the China-inspired ones that all had a refreshing red tinge to them, instead of the usual blue-brown-orange color scheme.
Suddenly, sungka! Seems like the Philippines and Indonesia have a lot in common. We actually have a lot of similar words too!
In the same museum, there was a busy workshop where you can see the whole process of creating batik.
Fine motor skills at its best. The ladies of the workshop did most of the manual wax jobs. If I had their steady hands, I would probably be happy to do the same kind of work.
Meanwhile, the men were in charge of batik stamping. Some of them expressed, albeit jokingly, their frustrations about not being able to inspire the youth enough to make the next generation take on this process of creating and preserving their “cultural treasure”.
Of course, this couldn’t be more untrue. It’s admirable to find many Indonesians still preferring to wear traditional batik during events like weddings and parties. Some companies also require their employees to wear batik to work at least once every week, and it is *never* an issue or a chore.
Outside the museum, we were greeted by two of the best Batik Carnival representatives from Solo! They made their own costumes and it took them about 5-6 months to finish everything.
How cute is she!?
On our last day in Solo, I went with the double Christinas to the nearest Starbucks just because we missed it so much. I don’t know why they put “Mrs.” before your name, but it makes you feel so awkward, especially if you’re not married yet.
Pretty Sonia before heading to the airport back to Jakarta. I hope everyone enjoyed all my Indonesia posts in the past couple of weeks. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to come back, but I look forward to visiting it again some time in the future. I had a swell time immersing myself in Indonesian culture and in everything related to batik, thanks to those who made this familiarization trip possible.
Til the next travel post! Cheers to a new year of more travels, hopefully. <3
Finally got around to sort the first half of all my Indonesia photos. This was a super spontaneous trip. I barely had any breathing room, having only arrived from my Hong Kong trip a few days prior to this one. But no one is complaining here - my dream is to constantly travel and go to the best places in the world!
November has always been my luckiest month. Birthday aside, a lot of other good stuff always happen to me around this time of the year. Two years ago, I was given the opportunity by UNO to shoot my first magazine cover. Last year, I was the only Asian blogger sponsored to Malaysia Fashion Week by MIFA for a whole week. This year, I was lucky enough to be included in the first ever Indonesia Fashion (Batik) Familiarization Trip! I had a whole week’s worth of batik goodness, all thanks to the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and Shinta Dhanuwardoyo. A passionate batik evangelist, Shinta initiated a movement named #Batikday to raise batik awareness across different social media platforms.
We visited a number of batik museums and even got to try creating our own batik using manual wax-resist dyeing techniques! I was able to try it out in Malaysia but they do it differently in Indonesia, which I think is super interesting. Ah, Indonesian batik is much more tedious and complicated to make! But it only really gives you more respect for those who still choose to continue and preserve this cultural heritage in this day and age.
A pre-drawn pattern for everyone to try tracing with hot wax.
Here’s the result of my “hard work”! I added some dots and swirls to cover all my mistakes, heehee.
Here’s Indonesian blogger Tara dyeing and washing her work with blue dye. We were given a choice of blue or red, but I combined both colors for mine to achieve a royal purple color. :D
All smiles! School boys goofing around by the well near the batik museum.
An example of Indonesian wedding attire. So pretty!
When in Indonesia, eat all the yummy satay! We had lunch at TeSate in Plaza Senayan before Jakarta Fashion Week.
Pictures from the BIN House fashion show. Past meets present! It was a wonderful show that was able to successfully marry traditional kebaya and batik with modern styling. Check out that pretty ensemble with the combat boots. Much love.
After the show. Me with the NY girls Christina Topacio of ProFresh Style and Christina Caradona of Trop Rouge with BIN House designer Wita.
(My dress is from EMODA while my necklace is from Forever 21. I didn’t have a hairdryer and an adaptor for my curling iron so I just braided my hair to achieve messy waves!)
All the familiarization trip bloggers with the designer herself. And that’s Shinta beside me. She wore her batik wrap from BIN House with super chic Balenciaga heels and a python Celine bag!
A nifty batik art installation with the iconic Google pointer! Spot the Philippines!
Also wearing BIN House! <3
Double Christinas and their satisfied craving for CBTL. It was their first time outside the US! :D
A beautiful view of Jakarta from the SKYE Bar where we were able to unwind after a busy day.
Tara’s killer rings in different metals.
Polaroids of me, Tara and our baby (because she was the youngest!) Sonia Eryka. I taught them how to do fishtail braids. Yup, I’m still trying to make the world a girlier place.
Next stop after cocktails and drinks was Alleira at Grand Indonesia.
They taught us how to create different looks using batik scarves. We witnessed giant squarish and rectangular fabric magically turn into dresses, tops, bottoms and even jackets. I wish I took videos!
Got some Alleira goodies thanks to the warm people who welcomed us into their store. I got a nice Alleira dress which I can’t wait to wear for my upcoming MOFW Indonesia. It’s huge (for some reason I got an XL) but there’s nothing like a belt to fix everything!
The two Christinas from New York tried Kopi Luwak (civet coffee) out of curiosity! It was so fun trying to explain the whole concept of drinking collected feces from wild civets to them, hahaha.
Hello Batik Museum in Pekalongan! It was mostly under construction, but fun how we were able to practice our batik-making skills again.
This time using batik stamps, which made the whole process so much easier! But of course handmade batik is still more authentic, and not to mention, worth a whole lot more than printed ones.
Major hair envy. Wish mine were this big and thick! :<
Christina C. (wearing Alleira batik jeans) on the left and Christina T. (who hid her toes) on the right. I’m wearing EMODA leggings and Forever 21 flats!
We took our turns writing our names and the cities we came from with wax. Manila represent!
An example of a batik stamp. So intricate, yes?
We visited a batik stamp workshop right after to watch the experts do it. I need their patience and intense focus in my life!
Batik stamp artist. He’s been doing this for years.
Spotted a cute little girl outside the workshop.
And then suddenly, a happy bunch of kids who started posing for pictures!
LARISSA store batik! I got myself a nice handmade batik scarf as a souvenir. <3
Blue and pink batik artwork in the streets of Pekalongan. If only all graffiti looked like this…
At the batik market where they sell printed batik for cheap. I wasn’t able to get one for myself, but it was fun just going around and appreciating the fact that they actually have a ton of these batik markets all over Indonesia!
On the way to Borobudur Temple was this enchanted-looking forest with the tallest trees! My 40mm f/2.8 wasn’t able to capture the vastness of it all, sadly.
Lunch at BS Resto where a lot of tourists go to before visiting the Borobudur temple.
Me and Christina Caradona sharing a giant coconut!
With my Indonesia loves, Caroline, Sonia and Tara. <3 Thank you for showing us tourists around!
Beside the restaurant was another museum where they made silver.
One of the highlights of my trip was being able to visit Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one incredibly massive temple structure, unlike Prambanan Temple (more of that in my next post) and Angkor Wat in Cambodia (which I was able to visit last March 2011), which are both large complexes that consist of smaller temples.
It is a 9th century Buddhist temple in Central Java, and also the single most visited tourist attraction in the whole of Indonesia. Not surprised, because it’s absolutely beautiful.
No glue or cement were used to create this temple! They built in a Lego-like fashion where they made interlocking pieces of stones. Genius. /cue creepy Ancient Aliens music
View from the top.
Christina Topacio striking a pose! Did you know that she’s half-Filipino? <3
At the top of Borobudur, you can find a number of stupas, mound-like structures containing Buddhist relics. If you peek inside those bell-shaped things, you’ll be surprised to see Buddha statues sitting inside.
And more stupas.
Just so you can see how massive the stupas are!
The back part of the temple.
After a long day of non-stop sightseeing and traveling, we headed to Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort and Spa for a 2-hour massage and body scrub at Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa! We were treated with smiles and superb service - just what my tired self needed.
I absolutely love going to the spa, so it was such a treat for me to be surprised with this luxurious treatment after spending hours traveling inside the bus and under the scorching heat of the sun at Borobudur Temple. The massage and body scrub was enough to make my body feel rejuvenated again, since I was already feeling a little under the weather due to our hectic schedule.
Facilities fit to make everyone feel like a princess!
Inside the private rooms, we were free to take our time in the bath tub before the actual massage. They had the best amenities that were nothing short of special. They really spoiled me in this spa! Wish I could bring it back home with me to Manila.
Lastly, on our way back to the Grand Aston hotel, I managed to spot an old billboard of Miyavi’s concert in Jakarta last October. I’d love to bring him to Manila too, lol. *fangirl moment*
Watch out for the next post soon!
Didn’t see this coming, did you? I made sure to post this before the month ends, since I know that a lot of you will be going to Hong Kong for the holidays, and I figured I can help you guys decide which places you can go to while you’re there. Only applicable if we have the same interests, of course! :D
Last October, just before the long All Saints/Souls Day weekend, I went on a spontaneous trip to Hong Kong with one of my friends Jee. Both of us have already visited this place in the past, so we only went to our most favorite places this time.
First stop: BUY ALL THE BERRIES IN THE SUPERMARKET.
We literally stuffed ourselves with blueberries and strawberries during our stay in Hong Kong. They were priced so reasonably.
While walking to the nearest station, we spotted this Korean tourist couple wearing matching outfits. They even had matching Mario keychains!
Jee, also being Korean, admitted to this whole matching items thing being a very iconic part of culture. I wouldn’t be surprised - they make some of the most romantic dramas, and they *always* insert a scene where the guy gets couple rings… which the girl ends up temporarily losing at one point, lol
Saving money by commuting! Going around Hong Kong via MTR is super easy, as long as you make sure you don’t join the rush hour crowd.
Guess where our second stop was?
Hong Kong Disneyland is the most accessible Disneyland to us Filipinos. “The happiest place on earth”… is surprisingly just an hour or so away from Manila. You can order tickets online so it’s a lot more convenient.
Pumpkins everywhere! Jee and I were so lucky to catch all the Halloween exclusives. They even made a special map where you can see all the spooky new attractions.
Of course I had to get a Minnie Mouse headband by the entrance before I had my photo taken in front of the castle!
BABY POOH Y SO CUTE
The cutest but most expensive ice cream ever. I love how the Minnie one comes with a yellow ribbon!
Adorable Mickey luggage. So pretty but I wouldn’t want to use it because I would only be afraid to damage it :(
Colorful Mickey iPad case.
Heavy eyeliner to match my Halloween Minnie headband. This was taken while we were waiting for…
OUR MICKEY WAFFLES! Came with whipped cream (that formed a :> smiley) and fresh strawberries. Didn’t taste anything special, but it looked wonderful in pictures (just like most of the overpriced food in Disneyland).
Shoes from Choies. So many people in HK complimented me on these shoes but unfortunately my shoes weren’t able to reply properly lol
The cutest Nightmare before Christmas glass figurines. Reminded me of my good friend Tracy so much!
Epic glass rose from Beauty and the Beast. Belle is my favorite Disney princess! How about you?
Limited edition Minnie pumpkin figurine. I’m not sure if they’re still selling this now, but I’m sure the Christmas products will be just as nice!
Jee and I come in peace! Thank you to the stranger who helped us take this picture :D
Must-haves for all Minnie lovers. That polkadot cardigan, I covet.
Just because Jee is adorbs.
These boys are wheely cute.
It’s a small world after all! It was so fun to spot all the characters from the Disney movies. Here is Cinderella.
I can show you the world~
Just because I love Japan and I can’t freakin’ wait for Fukuoka and Hiroshima in December. I couldn’t ask for a more ideal way to end 2012.
PHILIPPINES REPRESENT. Check out the tarsier!
This part of the whole boat ride was my favorite. PASTEL GOODNESS EVERYWHERE. I was spazzing the whole time so this was the only non-blurry shot I could post. :P
One of the rides in Disneyland. Not for those with motion sickness (like me).
The new part that I only got to see recently! Some of the rides are still under construction, but I’m glad they’re making HK Disneyland bigger. I used to think it was too small to spend the whole day there, but maybe after they finish all the new features, we can enjoy it until late at night.
Vinyl toys for all the collectors out there. I particularly fancy the wicked witch one (second figurine, bottom row)
Duffy! A lot of people don’t know who Duffy is, so I’ll post the Wikipedia link here so you can read all about it and realize how IMMENSELY ADORABLE it is on your own. <3
After Disneyland, Jee and I spent our remaining days just shopping like it’s the end of the world. Via MTR, we first went to Langham Place in Mong Kok, where we headed straight to H&M and Monki.
Monki, which I think is Scandinavia’s answer to H&M. Very similar styles and selections, and they’re located right next to each other.
If H&M won’t come to the Philippines any time soon, I hope Monki will! We need some more Swedish brands in this part of the world~
I.T. is popular fashion conglomerate of sorts. Interestingly, the selection of brands per I.T. store differs per location.
Crazy for kitties!
Japanese magazine heaven in a store called kaimonoou. I prefer buying magazines here because they sell the Japanese versions and not the Taiwanese/Chinese versions… which are so much thinner than the originals.
Also, you know how Japanese magazines usually include limited edition tote bag collaborations from different brands? They also sell the tote bags here separately, in case you missed a certain issue or in case you’re only interested in the bag and not the magazine.
Also in Langham Place, you can find Baby Cafe by the one and only Angelababy! She has been one of my ultimate girl crushes for the longest time. If I could trade faces with anyone, I would choose Angelababy’s face. Or Lena Fuji’s, Nozomi Sasaki’s or Keiko Kitagawa’s.
Found a hidden dazzlin in a building near Langham Place. You might’ve already heard of this brand if you closely follow ViVi and SCawaii!
If you’re up for some good food, don’t forget to drop by the restaurants on the higher levels of Langham Place before you leave.
Hong Kong by night… is not dark at all. Well, the side streets and residential places are, but all the commercial areas are lit up like this even until late in the evening.
Chicken, fish, pork, sausage and fries in one meal. All for about HKD50+. NOT BAD AT ALL.
Another thing about Hong Kong that I should mention is…
They are also crazy about Japanese brands and Japanese fashion. They have collect point everywhere, so brands such as Lowry’s Farm, JEANASIS (my top 1 collect point brand), HEATHER, and GLOBAL WORK, among others, are easily accessible. They’re all selling Fall/Winter items now, so prepare your wallet if you’re into the styles and colors of the clothes worn by the mannequins above.
Hong Kong by day.
Along Park Lane Shoppers Boulevard early in the morning. No shops were open yet. I just wore a cozy sweater and a pleated leather skirt because I wanted something comfortable to wear for my official ultimate shopping day.
BECAUSE WE WERE GOING TO THE ONE, MY FAVORITE MALL IN HONG KONG! All caps for emphasis. I went back to this place everyday during my stay.
This is like, every Japanese fashion lover’s mecca… outside Japan.
But first, lunch! A lot of the stores in The One open late, so it’s better to go there during the afternoon or evening.
Rose Champagne White Chocolate at Harlan’s Cake Shop.
Refreshments at one of the cafes in the mall.
Okay, it’s time to start spazzing now. MURUA…
ENOUGH SAID. My top 2 favorite MODE brands are available in Hong Kong! AHH! JUST TAKE ALL OF MY MONEY.
b+ab is a high-end Hong Kong label which I also love. They recently released a b+ab x Angelababy collaboration, which I’ll be wearing in two of my MOFW Hong Kong posts soon.
I also got my hands on an old b+ab x Hello Kitty iPhone case, which was surprisingly still available! It was definitely meant for me, lololol
Truffle Xiao Long Bao for dinner!
Near the Jordan Station is Prudential Centre, which seems like a weird place to go to from outside, but there are two stores there that I always visit. One is this store called Zucozz.
The other one, which I couldn’t take a picture of, is a hidden gem. But since I love my followers, I’ll let you in on it! It’s called Ayumie, and they sell old season Japanese and Korean brands for cheap!
Nice merry-go-round display at Samantha Thavasa. If I were still in my Liz Lisa phase, I would get one of these bags in a heartbeat. Sadly I got over it a long time ago, so there’s no room in my closet anymore for bags that come with ruffles, heart keychains and giant toy plushies.
I still love them for getting Miranda Kerr, Tomomi Itano and After School as endorsers. Taylor Momsen was an odd choice.
Me in the middle of Times Square in Causeway Bay. Comfy shopping/walking outfit! I can’t imagine walking the whole day in HK wearing heels!
Top from Lowry’s Farm, and skirt from Far East Plaza in Singapore.
Halloween in Times Square.
Jee and her perfect hair being blown by the wind. The weather was wonderful and cooperative. You might want to schedule a trip to Hong Kong around late October to mid-November! Not too hot but not too cold either. It was windy and cloudy, but definitely not rainy! Perfect weather for those who prefer packing light.
I still prefer going there late December though! :D Light coat weather!
SOGO and the iconic giant pedestrian. We went here early Sunday morning to avoid the crowd, but there were still too many people D:
Inside the dressing room of :CHOCOOLATE. Just thought it was nifty, lol
These flats, I DIE. I just had to take a photo. I just came from Disneyland, and this was what I immediately get in real life?! *dreams shattered*
When in Causeway Bay… GO TO IPPUDO!
I know you guys are probably already super tired of me always raving about this place. I’ve mentioned it in my Fukuoka post, as well as my Singapore post, and because I love their ramen so much, I need to post it here too. There is always room available for the best Hakata Ramen in this world.
You can find it on the second floor of one of the building in Russell Street… which is the street right in front of Lane Crawford/Times Square in Causeway Bay.
Going back to I.T., the selection of brands in Times Square is much different compared to the ones in Tsim Sha Tsui, etc.
Hong Kong has also caught the Comme des Garçons craze, it seems! Lucky for us in Manila, we also now have it in One Rockwell.
Jee and I wrapped up our trip with a small detour. Just a street away The One is Granville Road, which is this nice and quirky place to shop for edgy items that are priced cheaper than the ones you can find in shopping malls. Well, I remember it used to be so much cheaper here in the past compared to now, but I still love it for its character! It’s like a much, much subdued version of Takeshita Dori in Harajuku.
I love how it still manages to portray the image of the “real Hong Kong” that I’ve known throughout the years.
Halloween fever ain’t over yet! Orange and black lomo cameras on display.
A hot pink car parked in the middle of the road.
Posters and graffiti everywhere.
Nifty lightbulbs on display. While in Granville Road, there’s this 4 or 5 story building that you should visit. I don’t know what it’s called, but it reminds me of a smaller Shoppesville in Greenhills where you can find some young independent designers and online stores selling their stuff in one little space. It’s super cramped and the building looks weird and old from outside, but it’s a must if you like edgy, one-of-a-kind pieces.
The store owners wouldn’t let me take photos so here’s a photo of clocks instead (WHAT).
Granville just before sunset. That store on the right, Cutie Little Fun, sells Liz Lisa-inspired items at half the price. Of course the quality is much different, but it works if you’re on a budget! Liz Lisa can get reaaally expensive.
If you like the real Liz Lisa, you can go to Miramar Shopping Center, which is just beside The One mall. In here you can also find other Japanese brands such as SLY, snidel, moussy, etc.
Foggy morning view from my hotel. I stayed at BP International Hotel for the second time already. It is perfectly situated along Austin Road, perpendicular to Nathan Road, where you can find The One, Miramar Shopping Center, etc. The Jordan and Tsim Sha Tsui stations are also conveniently walking distance! Right in front of the hotel is Cafe de Coral, which I frequent for their yummy fish fillet breakfast set. Just a minute’s walk away is also Sasa, which I know you can also find everywhere in HK, but it’s nice to know that there’s one that is super nearby. At the end of your trip, you can spend all your remaining money on Japanese cosmetic brands like CANMAKE, Dolly Wink/Candy Doll, etc. <3
Phew, that was long! Stay tuned for my MOFW HK, as well as my Indonesia travel entry in December. :)
Melbourne is most-known to be the fashion capital of Australia, and more importantly, the holder of the title of “world’s most livable city”.
I personally immediately associate Melbourne with two things. One would be, of course, TRAMS! The second would be Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, which I sadly missed by a few days. Now that I’ve been able to experience the city and immerse myself in it, I now associate this place with everything that has to do with art. I found out that they actually have a ton of events that celebrate all things creative (Melbourne Music Week and Melbourne Carnival, other than Fashion Week, to name a few). Around the city, you can also find a lot of street art, and the tourist center can even provide a special map that’s only specific to all the good street art in the city. How truly admirable, yes?
About these pictures… I’m quite impressed with my new 40mm f/2.8 lens, which is the lens that I used throughout this whole trip. I didn’t go to Melbourne for work so I wanted something that didn’t weigh a lot so I could relax and enjoy my time without worrying about my back and shoulders spontaneously snapping and dying on me. Happy with how it’s half the size of the nifty fifty (50mm f/1.8 II)! All the members of my family are all open to taking my pictures now! The 24-70L never fails to tire them out after the 3rd click or so. I don’t know where I found the strength to carry it (attached to my 5D Mk II) for 10 days straight in London and Paris. Maybe I have hidden muscles somewhere. :P
Now, enough of me yapping, and let’s get started with the pictures!
This was my view from the hotel window. I stayed somewhere along Little Collins, a street which I grew to love! Super convenient place to stay at because it’s near everything!
Winter just ended and spring has finally arrived! Australia being Australia, the seasons run opposite of those in (North) America and Europe.
Cute window sticker display while I was walking.
Typo. I used to always go to the one in Wisma in Singapore because they have the best stationery ever! They sell house decorations, gifts, accessories, laptop bags, wallets, and postcards, among others. It’s part of the Cotton On group, and we all know that Cotton On just opened here in Manila recently. I hope they don’t forget about bringing Typo here too!
Tram cables all over the place!
Sneaky ninja photographer mode because I really liked the print of her skirt.
This is in GPO, which was originally a Post Office built back in the 1850s. Now it is one of Melbourne’s most favorite shopping destinations! It houses some really good local designer brands like…
MANNING CARTEL which I am a fan of.
One of my favorite Manning Cartel coordinates. I would wear this in a heartbeat. Sadly I couldn’t take pictures of the recent collection inside the store, but boy, was it absolutely breathtaking!
SASS AND BIDE! Obsessed with their newest collection which showcases a lot of black and white with color accent. You could faintly see on the racks that they have a lot of gold, neon orange and blue mixed with our favorite classic black and white.
Way to create something new out of something old! They still kept the facade intact, so it could still very much pass off as a Post Office if you didn’t know what it was.
Afternoon coffee on the day of my arrival. I took a red-eye flight from Manila to Melbourne via PAL, and headed straight to touring around the city in the morning. Kind of gross, but I swear I wasn’t stinky and no one knows me in Melbourne anyway, LOL.
ANYWAY, I had about 4 cups of coffee that day. Apparently, coffee is one of the things that people take seriously in this town! I never tasted bad coffee during this trip.
Body chain, and a chance to not wear a coat because the sun was being nice and cooperative at noontime.
The girl on the left was wearing some fabulous Senso Neve boots! I met my ninja match because she immediately suspected that someone was taking her picture from far away. Oopsies!
Flagstaff Gardens, the oldest park in Melbourne.
Not-so-fresh from the airport. My mom and her friends went to Harbor Town Shopping Centre in Docklands for an afternoon of discounted outlet shopping!
If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter, you might find the dress on the left familiar! This was the dress I wore to the recent Aranaz x Rags 2 Riches event. So many people were asking me where I got it, and ta-dah, here it is! It’s from a store in Harbour Town called HiddenAgenda.
GLOBALIZE! There’s a newer store that just opened in the Central Business District, and I got a few nice stuff from there. The saleslady turned out to have a Filipino boyfriend and she gave me further reductions on a pair of Her Majesty silver shoes that was on sale.
Waterfront area which comes alive at night. Lots of nice dining areas that serve fresh seafood!
Walk of Stars at Waterfront City. It’s a tribute to some of Australia’s best entertainers.
Sooo, I had Asian cuisine in Chinatown almost the whole time in Melbourne. What *is* Australian cuisine anyway, if it even exists? I asked around and people only answered with either pie or fish and chips.
Speaking of pie… PIE FACE, I MISS YOU. This place has the best cheese sticks! I had cheese sticks for breakfast for 3 days straight. Death by fat and cholesterol, but I REGRET NOTHING.
Here’s something that you can’t really miss in Melbourne. The Flinders Street Station is a cultural icon in this city! The facade has been maintained perfectly, and up to this day, it still serves its purpose as a railway station.
Across Flinders Street Station is the Federation Square, Victoria’s second most popular tourist attraction. When I went there, I found a lot of people enjoying the heat of the sun since they had a long winter!
Sigh. Something I can never bring myself to do. *embraces the cold*
St. Paul’s Court in the background. It took me a while to get some decent solo shots from this place because there were cyclists in the area who kept photobombing me and smiling while they pass by the camera.
And, right then and there, I declared my love for this city and its people.
Animal print mannequin I found at MYER, Australia’s largest department store chain.
Cruella de Vil figurine at one of the stores in Queen Victoria Market, the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere!
Obligatory mushroom photo because they are my favorite.
Mom and I took a quick coffee break here. Different kinds of pastries being served in the morning, somewhere in the market.
Happy school kids (in the most adorable uniforms) dancing to some performers in the market.
Queen Victoria Market from outside. You would think that the sun was cooperating during this day, but little did everyone know that it rained cats and dogs about 10 minutes after I took this picture. My mom and I were heading towards Flagstaff Gardens to take some outfit photos but because of the erratic weather, we ended up freezing at some random place in the market instead.
Layering is your friend! Denim blue top from Pull and Bear, sweater from INGNI, and coat from Warehouse.
By chance, we stumbled upon this immensely colorful artwork in the market. I swear these were everywhere in Melbourne!
A wonderful quote on a window display that I was lucky enough to see every morning, on my way to the central business district.
Unique designs on some shoes for all the feline fanatics out there.
On my last day in Melbourne, I wore this outfit. Let me take this opportunity to be self-absorbed and ask everyone DON’T YOU JUST LOVE THE COLOR OF MY COAT? It’s an in between red and violet, which has the tendency to lean toward one color or the other depending on lighting.
(Top from Sportsgirl, sweater from Zara, Yesstyle skirt, coat from Warehouse, DKNY boots, Mango bag, from Japan socks) Hype this look on Lookbook here.
I had time to curl my hair! You only get to have your photo taken in a foreign place like this very seldomly, so I really try to wake up extra early and make an effort to prettify in the morning so I could at least look decent in these immortalized photos.
Boots that go with everything - a must for travelers! These particular ones keep my feet warm without compromising on style.
Another wall I saw along Lonsdale, on my way to a Greek restaurant called Stalactites. My cousin and her fiancee (who are both based in Sydney) strongly recommended that we try it…
…and it did not disappoint! Lamb festival for lunch.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a leading example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture! I wasn’t able to go in because the weather was getting pretty bad and this was a long walk from my hotel, but I just had to see one of Australia’s largest churches with my own eyes.
Figurines at the Royal Arcade along Bourke St. Took my time taking pictures while waiting for fellow Lookbook-er Chloe to arrive!
Russian matryoshka dolls in Australia?
HELLO CHLOE T (and her amazing 7-inches-high JC boots)! We had the most amazing time bonding over everything at Koko Black, where we had the yummiest hot and iced chocolate. She is officially my first and only friend whom I know originated from Brunei. I’ve always loved her very quirky take on street style, so I was lucky she agreed to meet up with me for a short chat before I left the city of Melbourne. I must say that our 2 or so hours of bonding definitely wasn’t enough because I really had fun talking to her. I couldn’t have ended my trip better than this!
I hope you guys enjoyed my recent travel diary. As usual, following My Own Fashion Week/MOFW Singapore, I’ll be wearing some Aussie brands after this entry and posting them as MOFW Melbourne. I’ll also be in Hong Kong next, so expect another travel diary and MOFW in November!
Finally posting these after so long! I went to Singapore twice recently - once during the last week of July for a leadership conference for Operation Smile (where I am an ambassador) and once during the first week of September to attend a seminar of sorts. Of course, as always, I managed to find time to do other things in between my fixed schedules. As for what those “other things” were… well, I’ll let the pictures do the talking!
Anyhow, I’m going to take this opportunity to announce the addition of a new concept for my blog. You all know that I love traveling and taking pictures of my outfits, right? So why not do a project where I combine a little bit of both? I’m calling it MOFW, which stands for “My Own Fashion Week”. Basically, it involves me posting outfit photos for a week, featuring brands or online stores from the most recent travel entry. Expect some “MOFW: Singapore” entries starting tomorrow! I coincidentally accumulated gifts from some Singaporean blogshops recently, so what’s a better way to showcase them than to actually dedicate a week for them? I still don’t know what I’ll come up with, but it’s definitely going to be a fun challenge.
Now, on to the photos! I’m combining both my trips into one entry since some of my activities (i.e. shopping, lol) overlapped anyway.
The most convenient way to get to the city from the airport! I love that they have a train connected to one of the terminals, because it saves you so much taxi money!
ONE°15 Marina Club at Sentosa, where I stayed for a night or two. The owner of this place is an active supporter of Operation Smile Singapore, and it was so nice of him to let us stay in this wonderful place.
The Youth Park in Somerset. We had a whole day carnival activity of sorts here, to raise awareness for Operation Smile. We even gave out flyers to people along Orchard.
One of my functional travel outfits. I usually wear super simple outfits and just make myself more bongga by doing my hair and make-up properly!
I took a hop on hop off bus tour! So convenient because you get to see the whole city, and hear trivia about certain places as well.
The driver of the bus stopped the vehicle and started spazzing about these one-day orchids! Lucky I got to see them during my trip!
With the other Operation Smile delegates from Indonesia. They were adorbs and I loved their fashion as well!
This was somewhere in Clarke Quay.
Clarke Quay by night!
I represented Operation Smile Philippines with Louise, who you may all find familiar! She was on Junior Masterchef! We were roommates for a few days, and it was so fun because it was like having a sister!
But uhh, she is already an inch taller than me even if we’re 10 years apart. FML.
Far East Plaza, along Scotts Rd. This is one of my favorite places to shop in Singapore. Here you can find a lot of dainty stores and popular blogshops that sell their own designs, as well as other stuff that are imported from places like Thailand, China and Korea.
MAC Morange and Ruby Woo, two shades of lipsticks that seem to always be out of stock here in Manila!
I rode the MRT alone to Marina Bay Sands. One of the best things about Singapore is their transportation system! So tourist-friendly!
TWG, where I have my afternoon tea and macarons almost everyday. Wish we had the actual tea salon here in Manila!
I had lunch at KRAZE BURGER while watching some kids ice skate.
The shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Here you can find a lot of high-end brands, as well as celebrity restaurants.
On a hot afternoon, silly me decided to pay a visit to the newest attraction in Singapore…
Gardens by the Bay! Looks straight out of a movie or a video game, yes? It looks more surreal at night.
You could check out the two cooled conservatories for a fee. The first dome I went to was the Cloud Forest. I actually didn’t plan on checking these places out until I went to Singapore again with my family, but silly me decided to come here when the sun was at its hottest. I immediately looked for an air-conditioned place, but eventually found myself dedicating a few hours just relaxing and enjoying the conservatories. Totally worth the adventure!
The world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
The Cloud Forest replicates the conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1,000 metres and 3,000 metres above sea level.
You can check the different conditions out as you go up the “mountain”. They made it feel so real!
View from above.
Inside the “mountain”, there are also some sights to see.
One of my favorite things in this conservatory was this presentation of what will happen to the planet if global warming worsens, at the rate that it’s going. The end of the world can just be around the corner, if we don’t do anything to save it.
And then after you leave the projector room, you’re presented with this beauty. SAVE THE PLANET!
After the Cloud Forest, I went to the Flower Dome…
…where I took my time taking pictures of the prettiest flowers!
One of the good things about going here during the day is being able to take good, naturally-lit and non-grainy photos!
My desktop wallpaper.
Highlight of the Flower Dome: this area with all these pink, red and purple flowers! Also, in this area, there’s a restaurant or an events space which I think would be so ideal for weddings!
Next option for my desktop wallpaper.
I wish I had someone to take my pictures when I was here! I was wearing floral, and it wasn’t even on purpose!
The Singapore Flyer to the left.
Airport and shopping outfit! I can spend hours just walking, taking pictures and shopping here, so flats are a must!
Totally squealed when I saw this at ION. Baby G x SNSD = most perfect combination ever.
Lucky for us, these watches are already available in Time Depot! I already have the Yoona, Jessica and Sunny ones!
Man reading newspaper in front of Forever 21.
CHANEL, I LOVE YOU!
Those boots, I covet.
LV shoes. I’m quite drawn to pointy shoes nowadays!
Valentino. Super cute and pink! Very reminiscent of Legally Blonde.
The most badass sweater that I’ve ever own. This one from Zara was such a steal! I love how it’s already so ornate that you could pair it with the simplest clothes and it would still make you look fabulous.
Glittery Aldo flats that matched the grainy floor. I’m weird for noticing these things.
H&M COME TO MANILA SOON PLEASE! Ugh, I spend so much here every single time. But I’m also so happy that they provide tourist refund! <3
My favorite Topshop in Singapore. Even if they have Topshops in other malls, I still prefer to shop here! I think it’s the most complete one!
On my free night, I had dinner with *the* Zhang Jingna, a.k.a. zemotion of deviantART. We had the nicest foie gras steak and the yummiest green tea cakes!
And then there was Haji Lane, which I call like the Cubao X of Singapore. It’s every eclectic fashionista’s paradise.
Arm candy and Campbell’s.
What a wander wonderful store signage!
Cute mailbox, and the nicest cyan paint background.
Ugh, every place in Haji Store is calling out to me! So ideal for photoshoots.
Daintiest store in Haji Lane. I wish to live here.
I saw this cat sleeping in the store and thought it was fake. A few minutes after it started jumping around everywhere! Sorry for taking your photo, Estee. From that look in your eyes, I know you are quite mad…
Took the MRT to Bugis+ after Haji Lane because I haven’t been here before.
OMG, Lowry’s Farm has a giant store in Bugis+! Well, I know they’re also available in the Collect Points in Isetan but this one is huuuuge! A must for those who love Japanese brands and Japanese fashion!
Dinner alone at Novena, where I stayed for a few days. I spent 10-15 minutes walking to Ibis Hotel to the Novena station everyday! It was a refreshing sight because the area was filled with high-end condo buildings and hospitals.
But it’s really nice to have spend time in a foreign country alone, without any set schedule, without any one to bother you with work. This is my idea of a holiday!
I cheat with red lips. It means not having to spend too much time on eye make-up. This is my no-fail way to make myself instantly presentable!
I CRY. IPPUDO IS IN SINGAPORE. Yes, you heard that right! I was able to experience Hakata ramen straight from the source in Fukuoka, so I was overjoyed to find out that they had a restaurant in Mandarin Gallery! The experience and the ambience were different from the Ippudo I tried in Fukuoka, but still good enough because I really missed being able to choose the noodles’ firmness! Never encountered a ramen restaurant here in Manila that offers barikata, etc.
Ojii-chan, you’re making a really creepy face…
Post-sunset view somewhere in the Marina Bay Sands area.
The Louis Vuitton Island Maison.
National Day was on August 9, but they were rehearsing fireworks a week or two too early. Managed to enjoy the whole show while on a bus to my hotel. Lucky!
Night version of my shot of the Singapore Flyer and the Gardens by the Bay. Only thing missing here would be Avatars…
I’ve been to this country a number of times with my family (Universal Studios with them was so fun), but I don’t mind coming back here every so often because it’s so ideal for someone like me who loves cities (and shopping).
Love how everything is in English and everyone knows how to speak the language! I can’t speak Mandarin to save my life (My dad, my angkong, and ama speak Hokkien fluently, but my mom is Filipino so I didn’t go to a Chinese high school)… if I ever need saving in Singapore. It’s one place I’m sure that I’ll be 100% safe. Wish I could fly there every quarter or something. Someone give me blogging work in Singapore!
But seriously, I hope you guys liked how I presented your country through my eyes and my camera’s lens! Can’t wait for my next visit!
And so my travel entries from Europe ends here. I can’t say I’m 100% sad that my next travel post might not be as dreamy as Paris anymore, since it took me so long to find time to post-process everything. 16 GB times 5 days in London and 5 days in Paris equals hours/days/weeks/months of going through hundreds of pictures, working my lazy butt off and working on these photos every chance I get, and deliberating which ones to show on my blog. All the sleepless nights, and finally, it’s over. For now, at least. I still have two trips worth of photos from Singapore, as well as a pending trip to Melbourne this September. Please do watch out for those posts soon! I am always the happiest every time I finish a travel photo diary. Now, if I could do this forever…
If only I could eat macarons everyday just like I did in Paris…
If I could only give a macaron to each of my readers in gratitude…
Miss Dior perfume display. Some of my favorite perfume campaigns are from Miss Dior. All the pink roses and ribbons!
Fell in love with this dress the moment I saw it. Something a grown-up Madeline or a modern Miss Clavel would wear.
French department store, Galeries Lafayette. I wasn’t able to go shopping in Paris at all (Shame on me for going all tourist-photographer mode!), but I was able to pass by for a while when my dad decided to buy a new pair of walking sandals.
Such a temple for shopaholics. The glass dome and the interiors are quite lovely too, so don’t forget to take a picture (or don’t be like me) even if you’re not going to shop! *photography advice*
If you’ve noticed, I always post pictures of couples in my travel entries. This picture is a little different though.
A group of young American girls hopped on the tour bus I was in and sat behind my seat. Suddenly, they started talking about a couple fighting near the bus stop, so I took a picture out of curiosity. I zoomed the photo in, and this is what I got. Drama much!
The girls behind me kept on shouting “Don’t break up with her!” in the hopes of trying to uplift the couple’s mood from… well, the top of the double decker bus we were on.
The Louvre on a busy weekend.
My brothers Chase and Juju in front of the Louvre.
Me looking like a giddy little girl! Dreams do come true. I’ve always wanted to visit the Louvre, especially since I took art history classes back in university. It was finally a time for me to see all these artbook staples in real life!
Details of I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid. A lot of people think that such a futuristic structure in the middle of classic French architecture looks out of place, but I kind of love how, from afar, you can totally see the marriage between the new and the old.
I don’t believe in being too stuck up about pretty old things, as long as the new ones look just as good, or even better.
Inside the Louvre. SO MANY PEOPLE! But not surprising since I’m pretty sure this place is on everyone’s bucket lists.
Winged Victory of Samothrace, or simply, Nike. This is one of the most celebrated sculptures EVER. The moment you find out that it was created way back in 190 BC, it becomes all the more worthy of celebration.
The Mona Lisa! It was surprisingly small - that is all I can say. I have a closer photo of it, but my mom told me that if I only take a photo of the painting, it could look like something that I just got off the Internet.
So I decided to include the frame, and the glass pane protecting it as proof that I actually went to the Louvre and saw the real Mona Lisa. LOL, too extreme.
In this hall where this ceiling is, I bumped into my cousin’s girlfriend. Of all places to bump into someone you know!
And again, I heeded my mom’s advice and decided to include people in my photo. It’s a little amazing how everyone is just free to take pictures inside the Louvre. Some tourists were even using flash. SMH!
I had a totally different experience in Musee d’Orsay! There were so many guards trying to catch people taking pictures. I had to use my ninja skills again for the sake of this blog.
La Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
Jacques-Louis David’s The Coronation of Napoleon.
Some of the characters in the painting.
From the same artist, The Intervention of the Sabine Women. Leader of the Sabines, Hersilia, is that iconic woman in the white dress.
Venus de Milo!
The famous armless statue. The epitome of Classical beauty.
Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss.
Michaelangelo’s unfinished marble structure, Dying Slave.
Vermeer’s The Astronomer.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ Turkish Bath.
The Louvre from a higher place. Fans of The Da Vinci Code would love this!
The weather was pretty good and our tour bus stopped at the most convenient places, so I was finally able to take a lot of photos of random people walking by.
I love this couple’s fashion!
Notre Dame Cathedral, home of hunchback bell-ringer Quasimodo! :)
Love her outfit so much! Totally something I would also wear, especially the pants.
A man selling souvenirs by the street.
Oops, I got caught! But it’s still a good picture nonetheless. I love everyone’s fashion in Paris. No doubt it is the fashion capital of the world.
These girl friends had matching shoes. How adorable!
Musee d’Orsay restaurant.
Sacre Coeur through clock at Musee D’Orsay!
Picture taking is prohibited in most areas of Musée d’Orsay…
…unless you are a ninja like me! It’s absolutely gorgeous inside the Musée d’Orsay d’Orsay - these pictures don’t do it any justice.
This museum was formerly Gare d’Orsay, an impressive Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. Nowadays, we know it for its collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works of art. Here are some of the paintings I was able to see with my very own eyes: Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette, Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone Arles and The Church at Auvers, Édouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia, and Gustave Courbet’s The Artist’s Studio.
Fangirled a little inside every time I saw an iconic painting!
One of my lucky pictures of the inside of the museum.
One of the sections housed Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde or The Origin of The World… also known as that very bold close-up painting of a woman’s genitals. In the same area, a group of little kids were having an art session for school. Interesting choice of location, teacher!
National Assembly, where the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France is.
Paris, it’s so annoying that you are so breathtakingly beautiful! Such a dream! I wish I could visit you every year.
Traffic building up.
A close-up of the Luxor Obelisk in Place de la Concorde.
Blue and brown + glasses = always a smart combination.
Flowers on tall trees that were being blown by the strong winds. It’s so fun being able to take pictures from a double decker bus. Gives you a totally different perspective of a certain place.
Al fresco at Avenue des Champs-Élysées! Perfect day to have afternoon tea and macarons.
The famous giant Louis Vuitton store along Champs-Élysées.
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile.
On a different day, the French flag in the middle was removed, but one of the sculptures suddenly got a red scarf. I wonder who gets to decide what to do with all these pieces of cloth.
Mother and daughters taking a walk.
La Tour Eiffel from Trocadero.
Ahh, to be able to ride a bike in Paris…
Close-up of the Eiffel Tower. Did you know that this monument is the most-visited paid monument in the world?
If earlier I had a photo of a mother with her daughters, here’s a photo of a father and his sons!
Me looking rather disheveled because of the wind… but it’s the freaking Eiffel Tower in the background! *happy dance*
My brothers Calel, Juju and Chase. OT, but do we look like one another?
So many people going to and from the Eiffel Tower.
The Beautiful Life.
L’Hôtel national des Invalides.
The chapel at Invalides.
Spot the old lady in red! This is one of my favorite pictures ever. I got lucky!
Sacré Cœur, in English, means Sacred Heart.
On our way to La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre, which is a church on top of a hill. Again, brown and blue + glasses + book = <3 (I’m such a stalker!)
The view of the city from the top of Montmartre, where many artists such as Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh used to have their own studios.
People were free to perform in the area.
Coincidentally, the Relic of St. Therese was in this church the day we visited this place. They were having a really long mass (in French though) with hundreds and hundreds of people, so my family and I decided to drop by and pray as well.
The way to Montmartre.
Art Nouveau detail on the Metro sign, and a man with nice shiny shoes.
Ideal clear blue sky.
Had mass at this church as well!
People outside the church looking like they were so ready to have their photo taken.
Two women crossing the street, wearing bright red color accents.
Dinner time at La Contrescarpe. It was my parents’ 28th wedding anniversary, and my mom’s student from Ateneo, Frédéric, reserved a table for us at this restaurant.
I swear I felt like I gained a hundred pounds in Paris. But how can you not eat your heart out when authentic French cuisine is readily available everywhere?
My parents said our food expenses in Paris were double our London food expenses. That says something, yes?
Dramatic lighting calls for an equally dramatic photograph. Sorry if it’s contrived. I couldn’t help it!
The restaurant’s special menu.
Al fresco. It was too cold in the evening though, so we decided to dine inside. I need to grow another layer of skin - I am so bad with lower temperatures. :(
The Dandy Warhols were performing at some place near our hotel.
On our last free day in Paris, we went to Champs-Élysées in the hopes of doing some serious shopping. However, we totally forgot it was Labor Day, and almost all the stores turned out to be closed. So what did my family do for a whole day? What else but eat! Luckily, the original Ladurée was open and was serving customers as usual. If you haven’t heard of this place before, they are only the inventor of the double-decker macaron, and they sell about 15,000 every single day. Definitely one of the highlights of my whole Paris trip was being able to taste Ladurée macarons.
A fitting ending to a long travel post, yes? I hope you guys liked this entry as much as I enjoyed working on it! <3
(I’m actually updating from Singapore right now, leeching wifi from CBTL Ion Orchard!)