Posts Tagged "travel"

Cool Japan Part 1: Nihonbashi

Posted on Sunday, 20 April 2014

Early this year, I booked a flight to Tokyo for work and a supposed vacation. After a few weeks, I was invited to Tokyo by Google Japan and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and coincidentally, the dates overlapped the trip that I had just booked. Talk about fate! 

METI invited different bloggers from all over Asia to be ambassadors for Cool Japan (クールジャパン), a government funded initiative to bring more attention to Japanese contents such as anime, manga, food, fashion, etc. to other countries.

The main purpose of this trip was for us to participate in a new campaign called “100Tokyo”. “100Tokyo” is a new website which hopes to present Tokyo’s 100 best places and things to experience. This explains all our #100Tokyo hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. 

I can never, ever get tired of going to Japan. I already went multiple times last year, but I still have tons of things I want to try. Thanks to METI and Google Japan for bringing us to different places so we can experience the best of Tokyo for ourselves.

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On the night before the main activities, we had a welcome dinner at Ginza Sushiko Honten, a one-star Michelin restaurant that dates back to 1885.

You can find it at Marunouchi Bldg. 35F, 2-4-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-6335. 

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Easily the best sushi I’ve ever tried in my entire life. Everything just melts in your mouth! 

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I was able to watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi a few years ago, and have since included eating in any fancy sushi place in Tokyo as part of my bucket list. 

After watching this documentary about Jiro Ono (an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant), you’ll definitely want to go to the nearest Japanese restaurant for a quick sushi fix! So inspiring, and not to mention, visually appetizing.

Similar to the documentary, the sushi chefs at the restaurant we ate in also experienced years of rigorous training and hard work. 

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The next day, we went to Nihonbashi Hunatsukiba and rode a boat limo to experience the “Venice of Japan”. I’ve never been to Nihonbashi before so this was a new experience even for me.

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With Laureen, Camille and pretty Thai blogger Melissa.

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Rainy days always get me down! But dark!Nihonbashi was still gorgeous nonetheless.

Nihonbashi (日本橋) literally means Japan Bridge. The area was built around the first construction of the bridge in 1603, thus the name. Because it was the starting point for “Edo Five Routes”, a cluster of roads that connected Tokyo with outlying prefectures, Nihonbashi served as an immensely important place where people interacted and traded with each other.

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Nihonbashi boasts of Japan’s first public company, postal system, bank and department store. 

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I’ll definitely come back to this place when the weather is better! I’m so intrigued after Miho from METI expressed her genuine love for Nihonbashi. I really want to check out Haibara, a 200-year-old shop that specializes in washi (type of Japanese paper). Their products have always been so good that it became part of the Vienna World Exposition in 1873 and the Paris World Exposition in 1878.

Another place I’m interested in is Yoshino-zushi Honten (吉野寿司本店) where the toro nigiri (fatty tuna) originated! Food is always a priority! NOM.

It’s both a good and bad thing that the JR Yamanote Line exists. I heavily depend on it to go to places like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa (where I like staying), Tokyo, Ueno, Yoyogi, Harajuku, and Akihabara, but sometimes it is too convenient that it discourages me from trying all the other subway lines!

To get to Nihonbashi Station, you can go on the Ginza, Tozai and Asakusa lines or Mitsukoshimae Station on the Hanzomon and Ginza lines. Nihonbashi is also a 5-10 minute walk from the Nihonbashi Exit of Tokyo Station.

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After the boat ride, we headed to a new mall called COREDO Muromachi! It just opened on the day of our visit!

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Our first agenda? Dressing up in kimono/yukata! Another dream come true! 

Kyorakutei/Megurian (橋楽亭/囲庵)in COREDO Muromachi 3 is a place where you can immerse yourself in Japanese culture. This includes tea ceremonies, kimono dressing, etc. Definitely a must-visit for tourists.

We were free to choose the design we wanted to wear and I chose black and pink with hot pink color accent simply because it matched the lipstick I was wearing, lol. And because BLACK!

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We had to strip down to our undergarments before these lovely ladies helped us to dress up. 3 layers and lots of ribbons to secure the layers in place, but it was all surprisingly very comfortable! 

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Tried it on once and I still have no idea how they were able to do this. I heard some people have to put on kimonos and yukatas on their own! It’s definitely not an easy feat!

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There were some ladies who also volunteered to fix our hair and tie them hair up with cute floral clips to match our outfits! How thoughtful of them!

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Cool Japan / 100 Tokyo crew and representatives from the Philippines (Me, Camille, Laureen), Thailand (Melissa), Taiwan (AiAi), China (Lala), Singapore (Xiaxue, QiuQiu), Malaysia (Cheesie) and Indonesia (Stella).

There was a kimono exhibit in the same mall so we went there to check it out.

We were allowed to wear our kimonos for a while so I can definitely attest to its comfort! I was so sad when my little dream sequence had to end and I had to go back to wearing normal clothes! /CRY

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Took detail shots of the patterns and embroidery on the exhibited kimonos. It’s no wonder how some of these go for tens of thousands of dollars.

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Would love to wear this dainty-looking one.

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Kimonos are definitely works of art!

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Patterns printed on washi. These became my iPhone wallpapers for a while.

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You can find a cute souvenir shop at the mall’s ground floor. Here’s a quirky fan that needs no introduction.

It’s traditional x modern/pop culture collaborations like this one that give me so much life! Japan will never be not cool.

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Calling all Hello Kitty fans!

The next photos are all about the stores and products that you can find in the new COREDO Muromachi.

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Because it’s Easter today, here are some bunny chopsticks at a chopsticks store that sells so many different designs and colors!

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Not your ordinary slippers.

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World-famous Tabio socks that are proudly made in Japan. 

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Unique design from a glasses store called POKER FACE (ポーカーフェイス). The items are produced in Sabae, Fukui Prefecture, the leader in Japanese glasses production.

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Can I live here?

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Looks like my future house, lol.

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Team Singapore/Malaysia decked out in pastels! Too adorable not to post.

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Lunch time at Hounenmanpuku, still in Nihonbashi! Finished this in about 10 minutes. SO GOOD.

Lots of Cool Japan and Tokyo posts lined up in the next few days! Follow 100Tokyo on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

I heard getting a visa to go to Japan won’t be required anymore for Filipinos. I noticed there are more flights from Manila to Tokyo too. It’s definitely our year! You can check out the 100Tokyo website as you plan your itinerary. You can also refer to my blog’s Tokyo tag to read about my own experiences.

Happy Easter! <3

Taipei January 2014 Part 2

Posted on Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Our next few days in Taipei were spent just going around the city for random sightseeing and possible shopping! I say “random” and “possible” because we literally did not have an itinerary, and my whole family was depending on me to Google and ask Crissey (who went with her family to Taipei the week before us) where to go. Secretly, I like organizing these things. In a parallel universe, I’d probably be a flight attendant, travel agent or a tour guide. If I have control over the itinerary, I can go to all the places I want, trolololol. #thisfaillogic

We’ve already went to the touristy places outside the city during our first trip to Taiwan, so this trip was pretty much for “relaxation” a.k.a. non-stop shopping and eating.

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Early morning photo of me at the park near Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, another high-end Japanese department store with malls all over the country.

They had IPPUDO here! Made me miss Fukuoka a bit.

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DURAS! By this time, I wasn’t surprised anymore to see Japanese brands so readily available. 

SO JEALOUS THO.

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E hyphen world gallery!

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Brothers waiting outside the mall.

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Wild Ryhorn appeared!

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Had the most awesome yakiniku lunch at Hutong.

Red scarves were in.

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Spotted on the way to the nearest station. Lovely street style! 

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Single-journey token. SO CUTE.

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Me outside the Red Theater in Ximending. 

This place has been around for more than a hundred years now. It was built during the Japanese rule and was designed by a Japanese architect even though the style is totally Western. 

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Inside, you can find a small exhibit about the building, as well as a mini-bazaar of sorts where you can find some quirky products made by young artists and designers.

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My brother Juju came to Taiwan some time ago to watch a Miyavi concert. He showed us where it was held!

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Red on red.

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Ximending time! Chocoolate is a brand that I always see in Hong Kong and Macau. Good to see it here too!

Bruce Wayne seems like a fan.

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Quirky snapbacks everywhere! 

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In my last post, I mentioned that Taiwan had the craziest obsession with EXO. So many girls were taking pictures of the cardboard!Luhan outside Nature Republic.

Hello to Taeyeon at the back! 

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WE WENT TO MODERN TOILET. And it was gross. What would you expect?

Modern Toilet is a bathroom-themed restaurant where your food gets served on mini toilet bowls and urinals. Taste is nothing spectacular but I guess people just go there for the experience.

So glad I was able to cross this out of my list of things to do in Taiwan!

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So many of these printed sweaters and outerwear in Ximending! I guess it was all the rage back in January.

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There’s a store in Ximending called Mag Freak (or something similar to that) and they have the latest issues of Japanese magazines!

Of course, no travel post (in Asia) will ever be complete without some Arashi.

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I also found a store (sadly the name of the store was in Chinese, lol, but it was about 5 minutes walk from the Red Theater) that sold Japanese and Korean music CDs and concert DVDs!

Got myself a copy of Arashi’s Popcorn.

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Adorable Hello Kitty sneakers for kids.

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Taipei is such a dog-friendly place. I’ve never seen a better place where dogs and humans coexist! So many establishments allowed dogs, and so many people also brought their dogs around with them everywhere. 

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Costumes for small dogs! 

Would buy these in a heartbeat if only our dogs didn’t weigh more than 70 lbs, lol.

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CANDIED STRAWBERRIES! It’s hard to focus on just one agenda in Ximending. After every block, you’ll get distracted by all kinds of yummy street food.

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Most people call Ximending a mini-Shibuya. There are similarities but I personally think they have their own charms! 

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Pink-haired girl outside the station.

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Wedding photoshoot in the middle of the street.

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The next day, we found Spongebob and his mom.

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No, but seriously, we killed time by walking around the city again.

Somehow, my legs turn into steel when I’m traveling. I can walk for hours and never get tired. 

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We went to Songshan Cultural and Creative Park thinking we would find something like a mini Central Park where we could take pictures of pretty trees and flowers.

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But we were greeted by this new mall called Eslite Spectrum where we spent the whole morning spazzing over the stores inside. #priorities

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(EMODA necklace, top and skirt, Jeanasis coat, Urban Outfitters boots) Hype this look on Lookbook here.

Took some full body photos because I was starting to forget that I also document my outfits on this blog, lol.

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PLAY by Comme des Garçons for Converse.

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Accessories store display inside the mall.

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Can I live here?

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Had another awesome lunch at a restaurant inside Eslite Spectrum. You can never go wrong with food in Taiwan! 

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Band practice!

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Dropped by the famous Hello Kitty cafe. Didn’t try anything because of the mixed (leaning on bad) reviews, but I’m glad they let me take pictures! 

This place is only about 10-15 minutes away from our hotel. I told you Zhongxiao Dunhua / Daan District / whatever you call it = the place to be. Barbie Cafe was also in the area.

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Too pretty to eat.

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There’s a box on the road where motorcycles are supposed to stay while waiting for the traffic light. I wish we had something similar here too so our roads could be a wee bit more organized.

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Quirky fashion stores were everywhere in our area! Lucky! I love Taipei!

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Street food break. You’ll wonder how the Taiwanese are all able to maintain their slim figures. Because FOOD. 

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Nighttime stroll.

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This little fluffy fella was patiently waiting for his/her owner who was fitting clothes inside the store.  

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On the day of our flight, we went to mass in the morning. On our way back to the hotel, I found little red riding hood walking with her mom at the park!

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Had a fixation on middle parts last January.

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Perfect weather. Note to self: first week of January is a great time to go to Taipei.

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Cool-looking station by the park. Spotted a cosplayer and a photographer having a mini photoshoot on the left.

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Lunch time! I must confess that we were just in this restaurant the night before.

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The restaurant is called Du Hsiao Yueh and it’s also near our hotel. We were hooked. This place serves great, affordable food!

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Pink and yellow. Print on print.

Guy in the background also had an interesting outfit. Funky pants!

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Coffee and cake at TJB (The Jeans Bar) Cafe. The interiors were so pretty. That pale shade of pastel blue!

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One final walk around the side/back streets of Zhongxiao Dunhua before heading to the airport. 

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I should’ve bought this off-shoulder ribbon sweater. REGRET. /cry

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Blue for boys. Pink for girls. Couldn’t pass this couple photo up because it has always been a staple in my travel diaries.

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Looks like a scene from a movie. 

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Taipei was so good to me. I’m so psyched to go back again, preferably with Crissey! Food and fashion? Definitely right up our alley.

Taipei January 2014 Part 1

Posted on Sunday, 13 April 2014

Second time in Taipei but only properly blogging about it now because the last trip was already about a decade ago. My family and I never really got around to visiting Taiwan again (together) until this trip last January. We were too obsessed with Japan. However, for the first time, I was actually glad that we didn’t go through with our usual Christmas in Kyushu tradition because Taipei proved to be such a wonderful place! I didn’t have any free time to roam around on my own the last time, so this time I was able to immerse myself and get my bearings better. 

Some people who like Asian culture prefer places like Hong Kong, Japan or Korea as holiday/shopping destinations, but little did they know that they can find a little bit of each culture in Taiwan. I had so much fun shopping because aside from the awesome local brands that they had, Japanese and Korean brands were also readily available. 

Things were all affordable too. You can get by with so little but still be able to experience the most awesome-tasting food and drinks! Transportation was quite reasonable as well - their train system was planned by the Japanese so it’s very efficient (even more efficient than Tokyo itself, imho) and not at all difficult to understand.

I can really see myself coming back to Taiwan more often! Mostly for shopping and food. 

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After checking in at our hotel, we walked a few blocks to the nearest Din Tai Fung for lunch. We stayed at Zhongxiao (Dunhua) / Daan District area, which is, imho, the best place to stay in Taiwan if you more or less like the same stuff as me.

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Style spotting. Matching boots and coat.

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Walked all the way to Sun Yat Sen Memorial where you can see Taipei 101 in the background. Didn’t really stay long here because the place was huge, but inside you can find a lot of historical displays of Sun Yat Sen’s life and the revolution that he led.

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Snapped on our way to Eslite Mall where we geeked out on books! No photos of the place but you can find it along Xinyi Road on the way to Taipei 101.

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Outside was this Johnny Walker display that apparently spells out Happy New Year or something if you look at it from a certain angle. 

I only found out AFTER I came back to Manila. Crissey was in Taiwan with her family the week before we went, and she took a picture of the same thing. Psychic #Trissey powers.

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Taipei 101 used to be the world’s tallest tower from 2004 to 2010. It looks so little in these pictures but it is actually massive! Taking a picture of the whole thing is virtually impossible unless you do it from a distance.

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There’s a high-end shopping mall on the 1st-5th floors, but we headed straight for the top to check out how Taipei looks like at night. There’s an outdoor observatory deck and an indoor one on the 88th-91st floors.

On the top floor (101st) is, as you would expect, a restaurant/club.

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Lights were relatively dim compared to other cities I’ve seen from towers at night, but it only adds to the quiet, understated charm that Taiwan has.

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The most well-lit place was this basketball court.

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The 600+ ton steel pendulum that serves as a tuned mass damper (the biggest in the world). It exists to offset movements in the building that are caused by strong winds, etc.

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Had dinner at a restaurant called South Beauty in ATT 4 FUN, a mall near Taipei 101. Everything was so good and nothing hurt.

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Perfect strawberry shortcakes (my favorite kind of cake) on the way back to the hotel.

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Same face, different hair.

The next morning, we had a lot of free time to kill before our tour in the afternoon. We just booked the tour the day before via our hotel concierge. This is our idea of a vacation.

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Walking to the nearest shopping mall, (Pacific) SOGO.

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Was immediately greeted by LIZ LISA. I felt at home already, lol.

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SNIDEL

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ROYAL PARTY

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Near the mall (which was also near our hotel) was FAVVI@hotel. FAVVI stores selling Japanese brands are all over the city but the brands they sell in each one are different.

i.e. MERCURYDUO, titty&Co. in FAVVI@hotel, MURUA and EMODA in FAVVI@party, jouetie in FAVVI@tube, etc.

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Tour time! First stop was Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

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I grew up always hearing about Chiang Kai Shek because my dad graduated from the Chinese school of the same name here in Manila. 

In elementary and high school, I loved studying history, and it was never a chore for me to read about Chinese (and Asian and World history in general) history.

It helps to be a geek early in life - the enjoyment that I got from studying history and from anime/manga was the same kind of enjoyment.

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Coming to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, I felt like we were best friends already, lol. Everything was so familiar.

Changing of the guards. One of them looked like a K-pop idol! 

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Red hair, don’t care!

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One of the Japanese girls from the same tour group came up to me and told me that she liked my outfit and that she thought I was pretty. Japanese standard of beauty - UNLOCKED?!

I told her I just had tons of make-up on and that anyone could look decent with the right tools and techniques, lol. #soannoying #humblebrag 

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National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine.

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Mom and I.

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Just in time for another one of these changing of the guards things. My brothers were joking about how these people were the same ones from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, lol.

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Visited a temple in the middle of a residential area.

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Took this on the way back to the hotel. Sadly, I couldn’t really take photos of the National Palace Museum since it was forbidden.

Still, the place is a must-see! Watch out for the famous Jade Cabbage.

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Nighttime shopping at FAVVI@party which is about 5-7 minutes walk from our hotel.

Splurged on EMODA and MURUA! Lots of old stock MURUA were also on sale, driving a lot of stylish Taiwanese girls crazy.

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Zhongxiao Dunhua side and back streets are the best thing ever! If you see all the fashionable people from the nearest station walking in the same direction, this is probably where they’re headed. It’s like a mini Harajuku slash Myeongdong where everyone in the street is well-dressed and where all the local, independent stores are to die for.

I’m still not over this place! I went shopping here almost every day I was in Taiwan because I always found something I wanted every single time. Will post more photos taken in daylight in my next entry.

I guess the reason why I love it so much is because you can’t really find the same items in the mall? Maybe you can find some similar stuff in Ximending, but the vibe here is quirkier and more artsy. I’m a sucker for places like these.

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This store combined two coats together to create this unique two-tone look. Who would’ve thought this could work?

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Bought a fluffy pink sweater here! My mom also found some items that fit her style. Don’t be afraid to bring your parents here because they might find some things they like too.

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Lots of cute cafes and restaurants here! Don’t know if any of them are good but they all seem pretty and picturesque!

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Lots of men’s fashion here too. More than the ones you can find in the mall.

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One of my favorite places in this area is ARTIFACTS! Very reminiscent of Opening Ceremony.

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Cute window display at the Stay Real cafe.

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3 CONCEPT EYES HEAVEN! Among all Korean cosmetic brands, I believe in this brand the most. I’ve been using a lot of their lip products recently and everything works like a charm!

I found this at a beauty store that also sells Taiwanese and Japanese beauty products. Don’t count on me to give the store name because I can’t with Mandarin, haha

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Dirty Pretty! This place reminded me so much of Harajuku!

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When in Taipei, you can’t NOT try the street food.

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Miracles… in January!

Taiwan has the biggest obsession with EXO so it was fun going inside stores and hearing Growl everywhere.

Interestingly, on the day of my departure, EXO arrived from Korea! Too bad my flight was in the afternoon and they already arrived around noon.

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3CE make-up haul. I highly recommend the lip crayons (though make sure you also buy the sharpener too) and this “More Brown” eyeshadow set. It has become an essential part of my everyday eye make-up routine. 

Will post the next one very soon because *le gasp* I have 5 pending Tokyo entries and I have to rush everything before I leave for the US this May and June! 

My dream is to have a life here in Manila that is as interesting as my travels. I need to go out more so I can post more travel entries!

LA November 2013

Posted on Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The only reason why this entry exists is because my mom decided to stay a day and a half in LA before going on the long flight back to Manila. I thought this was a good idea too because I didn’t want to go straight from Boston -> Detroit, Detroit -> LA, LA -> Manila all in one go either. Plus it’s been 10 years since my last visit to LA! So many feels because as a kid I had really good memories of this place. Because Disneyland.

We stayed at Hollywood Boulevard and took pictures of touristy places like tourists would. Later on, my mom’s friend from college was able to take some time off from work to drive us around. This was crucial as my impression of LA was starting to become just Hollywood, lol. There are lots of other pretty places in LA too, but I’ll have to save them for the next trip. Maybe it’s the lack of time but I felt a little crippled during this trip? Everyone seems to have a car and commuting isn’t as common as in the East Coast. Correct me if I’m wrong!

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El Capitan Theatre. Open since the 1920s!

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It felt so weird all of a sudden to not wear a coat after Chicago, New York and Boston.

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Chinese Theater!

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Footprints, handprints, and autographs of some famous Hollywood celebrities.

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Hollywood Walk of Fame! The 5 entertainment categories have their own symbols so you’d know if someone was a given a star for their contribution in the motion picture, television, music, radio or theater industries.

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This Spiderman looks nothing like the one I saw in Times Square!

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Hollywood First National Bank.

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Dolby Theater. You know, where the Oscars are held.

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Hollywood and Highland. Around the time GANTZ premiered at the Chinese Theater a few years ago, I was able to watch a clip of Nino and Matsuyama Kenichi doing some silly things all over the city. Like ask random passersby if they knew who the two of them were, buy souvenirs for their co-stars, wash their socks at a coin laundry (lol), etc. 

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Darth Vader judging that costume…

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The force is strong with this one.

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Spotted Brangelina at Madame Tussauds. I’ve been to the one in London and I must say that they are quite different. Visiting both museums wouldn’t be redundant. Most of the figures wouldn’t be caught wearing the same exact outfit.

The one in LA is also more interactive. Like there are chairs beside the figures and you can take selfies with them if you wanted to.

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Gaga had her own special space where the lighting was absolutely gorgeous.

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James Dean!

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Audrey <3 

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My favorite figures! Robert Redford and Paul Newman as Butch and Sundance.

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*cue 007 theme song*

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Life is like a box of chocolates.

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When art imitates life.

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Wish changing hair colors were this easy. I love that pinkish red in between the brown and orange.

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Fake Oscars.

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Count on me to remember the names of historical places, but I cannot remember for the life of me the place of this shopping mall…

Anyhow, we literally just breezed through this place on the way to the newly-opened Kate Spade Saturday on W 3rd St.

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Magnolia Bakery behind me! No smiles here because the sun was terribly high. Look at those shadows.

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Found it!

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I usually splurge on a lot of stuff here but I just bought a dress (I was such a good girl this whole trip!) while my mom bought a lot of everyday-type (not just Saturday) clothes. The styles fit her taste so well.

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Drove around the city with mom’s friend. I have no idea what some of these places are called. 

I officially declare this entry the official “when Tricia was most useless” entry.

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Palm trees and sunny skies.

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Had Sunday mass somewhere in this area.

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When in LA. 

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On the day of our flight back to Manila, my mom’s friend drove us to different places, including the…

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…Annenberg Space for Photography! THIS WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY TRIP. My mom’s friend is a photography enthusiast, and she wanted to bring us there when she found out that I was into photography as well. TEARS. No photos allowed inside though.

The current exhibition is called The Power of Photography by National Geographic. Instead of printing the photos out, they opted for multiple high-definition TV screens to show all the iconic National Geographic photos. 

They’re celebrating their 125th year anniversary with a wonderful exhibit. It will only be up until April 27th though! Check it out! 

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The closest I could get to the Hollywood sign.

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Hipsters outside the Griffith Observatory. The girl on the right had the nicest blue-green hair!

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Obligatory couple photo.

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City of Angels.

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Not Lorde, lol.

So that’s the last of my US travel diaries from last year. I still have Taiwan and Tokyo to post before I go to the US again in May, so wish me luck with all the editing and sorting out. May I upload them as early as possible! 

Boston November 2013

Posted on Saturday, 15 March 2014

After the whirlwind that was my 3 short days in New York, things finally got to slow down when we arrived in Boston. My aunt (mom’s sister) has been living there for more than 2 decades, so it was nice having some sort of tour guide who perfectly knew what do and where to bring us around. 

I stayed in Boston much longer than New York but I took a few days off this time and didn’t bother to fix up or bring my camera at all. There was even a time I stayed overnight at my other aunt’s place at Rhode Island, and another time I finished a legit Maine lobster in Maine all by myself. Still dreaming about it until now.

Anyhow, I fell in love with Boston as soon as my aunt picked us up from the airport. Harvard / college town realness! My first encounter with The T (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or MBTA but more commonly now as The T) included a lot of students in sweaters and stuff that movies are made of. Adorable.

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Trinity Church.

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Remember my Chicago post? Here’s another Hancock tower.

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Early morning walk. It was freezing. Don’t be fooled by the sun.

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You’ll see more of these Red Sox signs in the next couple of photos.

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Was introduced to the city via Boston Duck Tours. I got to ride a World War II amphibious DUKW vehicle! It was a short but sweet city tour, and the tour guide we had was absolutely hilarious. Kept on emphasizing the words “THE FIRST” every time he would mention it. And he probably mentioned it 20+ times.

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The Massachusetts State House had another one of these banners. I heard they occasionally dress the city’s historical statues up in Red Sox jerseys every World Series season.

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So. Clean.

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The road to Charlestown to the left. Charlestown is the oldest neighborhood in Boston. 

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Longfellow Bridge. The statues on the pillars are of viking ships.

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Even the Old South Church is in celebration.

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After the tour, we went to Newbury Street. It immediately became my most favorite place in Boston. Quiet and quaint. Just the way I like it.

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Got to try these hot chocolate drinks at L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates (along Clarendon). Nom.

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4-5 layers and still underdressed. At least I had nice pants. 

(They are from EMODA, by the way!)

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Almost all the building along Newbury Street looked like this! I didn’t get to do a lot of shopping because I spent more time taking pictures, but I did reach Urban Outfitters at the end of this street and bought more useless shenanigans again, lol. That store will be the death of me.

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Sunset already? No wonder people worship the sun in this part of the world. This was only around 4 PM.

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Lots of quirky shops in Newbury Street. One of my faves was Pinkyotto! Totally my style!

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Halloween hangover.

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#punny

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The next day, we took the T again to see Harvard!

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Harvard book store. Since 1932. I love the little crests and the curved staircase.

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Too gray for Elle Woods, but just right for me (as if I went to Harvard, lol).

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We picked a really good time to go to Boston. Winter was near, but thankfully, some of the leaves refused to fall because the world conspired in my favor. They still needed to be there to prettify the world through my lens. 

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See?

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Didn’t have time to go to all the places in Harvard because it was huge! We just decided to take The Freedom Trail in the afternoon.

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What is The Freedom Trail?

During the 1950s, some concerned Boston citizens wanted to preserve the history of the American Revolution. They decided to mark the 16 most significant sites and connect them with a 2.5 mile walking trail that is bricked or painted with a red line.

You can go to all of the sites by just following the red line on the ground. No need for cars or a tour guide!

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First stop - Boston Common. Established in 1634, Boston Common is America’s oldest public park. 

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Granary Burying Ground where a lot of famous people are buried. 

There is a huge obelisk in the middle of the graveyard to mark where Benjamin Franklin’s parents were buried.

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One of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

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John Hancock, we finally meet. I am not surprised that your tomb is so tall like all of your buildings around the US.

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Paul Revere’s Tomb.

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Lunch time at Parker House, birthplace of the Boston Cream Pie. A must try in Boston!

I’ve no photos of the famous Parker House rolls but omg, I can eat that stuff every day. Interestingly, the rolls are famous enough to have their own Wikipedia page.

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Benjamin Franklin’s statue in front of the Boston Latin School, America’s oldest public school.

Ben Franklin was one of the school’s dropouts.

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Old State House, at the intersection of Washington and State Streets. 

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Saw this at a store in Faneuil Hall.

Our Duck Tours tour guide spoke in what was actually Boston Accent… though I initially thought he was Australian who just somehow found his way to teaching people about Boston’s culture, lol. 

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The Great Hall. This has been around since 1792! 

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Stairs bearing the names of the 13 original states. At the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. 

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Photos weren’t allowed inside in this place, sadly.

Dating back to the 1680s, Paul Revere’s house is the oldest building in downtown Boston. It’s just a very small place but it was nice to see how people lived during that time, and what kind of furniture they used, etc.

I’m still curious how he all managed to fit his family in there.

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Tried the famous cannoli at Mike’s Pastry! Lived up to my expectations.

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At the Memorial Garden in front of the Old North Church. Dog tags to commemorate those who died during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.  

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Hey there, kitty! They say black cats are bad luck but I just think they’re cute.

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Started to get dark already at 4 in the afternoon. What the.

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Snapped on the way to the USS Constitution. 

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The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. We didn’t know it was going to be closed to the public that day (maybe the black cat really did bring us bad luck) so we weren’t able to know more about it. 

But wow, it was gorgeous. Very fitting as the last stop in The Freedom Trail.

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Back to the city we went. The next few days were just spent driving around different places in Massachusetts and visiting some malls and outlets. Once you get to visit an outlet in the US, you’ll never want to buy anything full price in regular malls anymore, lol. My youngest brother had the grandest time splurging on so many shoes. 

A little sad that I only have one more US post pending because I really had fun making these, but yay for good news - I’ll be heading to San Francisco (albeit very briefly like my LA stop last time), Florida and Las Vegas with my family in May. 

I also have 2 pending Taiwan posts, and more Japan goodness! I’m heading to Tokyo for work next week and I’m so excited to see early sakura!