Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus

Cebu Pacific Air welcomes you to Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan.

I can still recall the First Officer’s DJ-like voice that welcomed us to Taiwan.
After clearing the airport security and immigration, we grabbed our luggage and I asked my family how we will travel to Taipei City.

There are many ways to go to the city and we excluded the taxi as an option because it is very expensive. We are down to taking the train or the bus. The train is faster but a bit more expensive and we thought that it may be full because most people prefer to take the train. It would be hard to hold the luggage and we have a kid traveling with us so we decided to take the bus so everyone can sit comfortably without the luggage.

Let me convince you to take the bus to Taipei! 😉

From Taoyuan International Airport, follow the signs that says Bus to City, it will lead you to the lower levels of the airport.

Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus

There’s my nephew who loves to go first, he’s the leader for our tour. Keep following the signs to the lower level.

Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus (1)

You can see the buses lined up outside once you’re at the terminal. Inside, the bus companies’ ticket booths are lined up where you can buy tickets to your destination.

Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus (3)

Kuo-kuang Bus 1819 was the most recommended online that’s why I chose this company. An adult ticket costs NTD 135 and for the child, it is NTD 70. The 1819 buses leave at 30 minutes interval and operates 24/7.

Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus (6)

Show your ticket to the driver and he will get your luggage and store it at the lower compartment of the bus.

Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus (4)

The bus has 2×2 seating arrangement and almost half empty. Everyone is seated comfortably without worrying about their luggage unlike at the train where we might be standing.

Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus (8)

The bus has Free wifi with really good speed and has charging ports as well so you’ll never run out of battery. Just plug your cable and connect the port to your mobile device.

Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus (7)

After an hour, we arrived at Taipei Main Station, like the name says, it is the main gateway to every trains and buses in Taipei. From there you can take the local train to where your hotel is.

Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus (11)

Going home, we again decided to take the bus to Taoyuan International Airport. The station is located just outside the Taipei Main Station. Just make sure you have ample time to catch your flight just to be safe.

Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus (9)Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City by Bus (10)

The adult ticket is NTD 135 and the child is NTD 70.

I recommend traveling by bus to or from Taoyuan International Airport especially if you have kids traveling with you. It was a very pleasant experience for our travel in Taiwan.

 

taoyuan airport to taipei by bus

taipei to taoyuan airport bus timetable

taoyuan airport shuttle bus

bus 1819 to taoyuan airport

taoyuan airport bus 706

bus 1819 taipei main station schedule

express bus from taichung to taoyuan airport

mrt from taoyuan airport to taipei main station

taoyuan airport to taipei after midnight

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City?

We touched down at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City very late at night. After exchanging money at the airport, we hailed a Grab Taxi to our hotel which is located in District 1. It took about 45 minutes from the airport to reach our hotel.

The hotel is surrounded by 24/7 stores and restaurants. We grabbed a bite first at the nearby convenience store before checking in.

We paid 3070.14 pesos for 3D2N stay (divided by 2 = 1535.07 per person for 2 nights).  You can check rates / book thru Agoda.

La Felix Hotel

The staff are very approachable and helpful. After verifying our passports and stay details, they assisted us and showed us our room.

La Felix HotelLa Felix Hotel

La Felix Hotel

Our room was very spacious. It has a very comfy bed and a TV (which we did not even bother using). We enjoyed the very fast wifi connection even inside the room.

La Felix HotelLa Felix Hotel

Shower and toilet were clean. I just don’t like the glass shower cover as I feel like it’s going to get broken. The towels are very soft and there’s also free shower kit.

La Felix Hotel

La Felix Hotel

The restaurant is located at the top floor and it has a great ambiance with music and city view.

La Felix HotelLa Felix HotelLa Felix Hotel

Our stay has breakfast included. We thought it’s just going to be a small bite breakfast but we were really surprised – it was buffet breakfast – eat all you can! They have rice meals, bread, egg, fruits and vegetables. For drinks, they offer tea, coffee and fresh juice drinks.

The location is great – it is very near some of the must see tourist spots in Saigon like the ones below:

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
Pham Ngu Lao Street
Ben Thanh Market
Reunification Palace
War Remnants Museum
Ho Chi Minh Square
Bitexco Financial Tower – Saigon Skydeck
Central Post Office

Too bad during our stay it was raining so we never get to visit those 😦 

Additionally, it is surrounded by travel agencies where you can book tours like the Mekong-Delta Tour. Also, these travel agencies cater to booking bus/vans bound to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia as well as Bangkok, Thailand.

I totally loved the features offered and felt like it was totally worth the money. Will definitely stay here again. 🙂

Check out the rates in Agoda. Click the image below to book.

How to Get DSWD Travel Certificate for Filipino Minors?

According to my nephew, I am the best tito in the world. (lakas mang uto no?) That’s because everywhere I go, I always bring him. I know there are tons of Titos and Titas and Lolos and Lolas who love to bring their favorite pamangkin or apo out of the country. I wish it could be easy as buying a ticket and flying to the target destination but wait – we are missing a very important piece of document. A child traveling out of the country without either parent or legal guardian must secure a DSWD Travel Certificate – this is to protect the minor from child abduction or trafficking.

I will share you with how we were able to get one – this is for a child who will travel out of the county other than the parents or legal guardian.

DSWD REQUIREMENTS FOR A TRAVEL CERTIFICATE

– Duly accomplished DSWD Travel Clearance application form
– Photocopy of either Birth Certificate or passport of the minor
– Written consent of both parents or the solo parent or the legal guardian permitting the minor to travel to a foreign country
– Affidavit of Consent and Support permitting the minor to travel to a foreign country with a specific person other than them indicating the authorized traveling companion of the minor and his/her relationship to the minor, country of destination, length of stay, purpose of travel, and tentative dates of departure and arrival
-Two colored passport size photos of the minor taken within the last six (6) months
– Photocopy of the passport of the traveling companion

IS IT FREE? OR IS THERE A FEE?

There is a processing fee of 300 pesos for 1-year validity and 600 pesos for 2-year validity.

VALIDITY OF A DSWD TRAVEL CLEARANCE

A DSWD travel clearance is valid for either one year (or two years if you opted to pay for 600 pesos) from the date of issuance. The clearance is valid for multiple travels given that the conditions haven’t changed. If a change in condition occurs like a change in traveling companion or a new destination – a new travel clearance must be secured.

HOW TO APPLY?

Complete all the required documents and head to the DSWD Office. Take note that you must go to the DSWD Office that has jurisdiction over the minor’s residence. We live in Region IV-A (Rizal) and the closest and most convenient DSWD Office is in Manila. The DSWD Office in Alabang has jurisdiction over Region IV-A so the application must be submitted there.

FOR REFERENCE, HERE IS A LIST OF THE DSWD OFFICE.

DSWD-National Capital Region
389 San Rafael Street, corner Legarda St.,
Sampaloc, Manila
Tel/Fax: (02)313-1435 loc 210,733-0010 to 14/488-3104

DSWD Field Office I
Quezon Avenue, San Fernando, La Union
Tel/Fax: (072) 888-2505/888-2184

DSWD-Field Office II
3 Dana Pagyaya, Regional Government Center
Carig Sur, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan
Tel/Fax: (078)846-7532/846-7043

DSWD-Field Office III
Government Center, Maimpis,
San Fernando, Pampanga
Tel/Fax: (045)861-2413 (telefax)

DSWD Field Office IV-A (CALABARZON)
Alabang-Zapote Road, Muntinlupa City
Tel/Fax: (02) 387-2632 or 850-8380/807-1518

DSWD Field Office IV-B (MIMAROPA)
1680 F.T. Benitez corner Gen. Malvar Sts., Malate, Manila
Tel/Fax: (02) 336-8106 local 401/336-8106 local 103

DSWD Field Office V
Magnolia St. PBN Buraguis, Legaspi City
Tel/Fax: (052) 821-7920 or 480-5346/480-5754

DSWD Field Office VI
M.H. del Pilar Street, Molo, Iloilo City
Tel: (033) 300-0526/ 337-6221

DSWD Field Office VII
MJ Cuenco Avenue corner Gen. Maxilom Ave., Cebu City
Tel/Fax: (032) 233-8779 or through trunkline no. 412-9908

DSWD Field Office VIII
Magsaysay Blvd., Tacloban City
Tel/Fax: (053) 321-3090 or 321-1176/ 321-1007

DSWD Field Office IX
General Vicente Alvarez St., Zamboanga City
Tel/Fax: (062) 991-6030, 991-6056 (trunkline)/993-0652

DSWD Field Office X
Masterson Ave., Upper Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City
Tel/Fax: (088) 858-88-92/858-89-59

DSWD Field Office XI
Suazo St., cor. Magsaysay Ave., Davao City
Tel/Fax: (082) 226-28-57/227-8746

DSWD Field Office XII
9506-Purok Bumanoag, Brgy. Zone 3, Koronadal City
Tel/Fax: (083) 520-0572 or 228-3180/228-8637

DSWD Field Office CARAGA
R. Palma St. Butuan City
Tel/Fax: (085) 346-0113/815-9173

DSWD Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
40 North Drive, Baguio City
Tel/Fax: (074) 444-3209 or 444-3262/442-7917

More comprehensive information can be found here : http://www.dswd.gov.ph/faqs/travel-clearance-for-minors/

 

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Step by Step Guide for Philippine Passport Appointment

Philippine Passport Appointment

Want to travel abroad but don’t have a passport yet? Lucky you, it is very easy and convenient to schedule a passport appointment nowadays.

Here is a guide on how to get yourself an appointment.

First, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs website for passport appointment at https://www.passport.gov.ph/appointment

how to schedule passport appointment

You will be landing at the Appointment page. Read the important notes and terms & conditions. Tick the check box and select either individual or group appointment. I will use individual appointment as example.

how to schedule passport appointment

Next is the Site Location page, you will need to select your preferred DFA Branch.

how to schedule passport appointment

In this example, I chose DFA NCR EAST (SM Megamall). Once done selecting your site, click Next.

how to schedule passport appointment

how to schedule passport appointment

Next is the Date and Time page, select your preferred date and time. Tick the CAPTCHA box and click Next once done.

how to schedule passport appointment

The next part is the Personal Information page. Key in the details and follow the format used as example.

how to schedule passport appointment

Next is the Family Information page, key in your parents’ name and citizenship. Click Next once done.

how to schedule passport appointment

Next is the Application Information page. Select the Application Type (New or Renewal), Citizenship (Birth, Naturalization, etc) as well as the emergency contact person and contact number.

how to schedule passport appointment

Last would be the Contact Information page. Type in your complete address, occupation and office address/number.

Hit Next.

how to schedule passport appointment

The next page would be a summary of your information. If you find an error, click Edit and then Save once finalized.

how to schedule passport appointmentThe next page will ask you to confirm the schedule. Tick the CAPTCHA box and agree. Click Confirm to proceed.

how to schedule passport appointmenthow to schedule passport appointment

Next will be Processing and Payment page. Choose between Regular or Express Processing and then click Pay Now. A new dialogue box will appear, tick I Agree and Proceed to Payment.

how to schedule passport appointmenthow to schedule passport appointment

Your request for appointment will be initiated. Proceed and Confirm.

how to schedule passport appointment

Note that the status has changed from Initiated to Pending.

how to schedule passport appointment

Lastly, you will receive an email with the subject DFA Passport Appointment System – Payment Reference. Go to your email inbox and take note of the payment reference number like the one above.

Go to your nearest Bayad Center and pay the amount due. Don’t hesitate to ask the crew in case you need help in filling up the form.

You will then receive your booking confirmation in your email inbox upon settling the amount.

Hope this guide has helped you. 🙂

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Step by Step Guide on How to Book a Flight with Cebu Pacific Air

Step by Step Guide on How to Book a Flight with Cebu Pacific Air

I have been seeing a lot of questions on Cebu Pacific’s Facebook page so I thought I’d create a step by step guide with screenshots on how to book a flight with Cebu Pacific Air. 🙂

 

This guide will use the web version, I’ll try to create one for the mobile app as well.

Ready? Let’s go!

First, visit Cebu Pacific Air‘s website.

how to book a flight
If you are not registered yet, do so and sign in.

The first page will ask where would you like to fly – Round-trip, One-way or Multi-City as well as the number of passengers (adult, child, infant) and the promo code (which I haven’t used even once lol)

Btw, on the left side of the page, you will see the ongoing promotions/seat sale. 🙂

how to book a flight
I’ll use round trip as an example so we’ll select which airport we’ll be flying from. (Manila or NAIA is selected as default) as well as the destination which is Tokyo for a solo flight (1 Adult).

how to book a flight
Next, you will be presented with the flight results. Select your preferred date as well as the time. You can also add flight combos with meals and baggage allowance. In this example, I only selected a flight without add-ons (you can add them later if you wish)

how to book a flight

We will now select the returning flight since we selected “Round Trip” on the first page.

how to book a flight
how to book a flight with cebu pacific

Once done selecting both departing and returning flight – review the booking summary which shows the total amount. Scroll down to the bottom and click Continue.

how to book a flight

In the next page, you will have to enter the Guest Information. You can add this information to your Guest List so you can just select from the drop-down the next time you book. In case there are missing information, you will be prompted to fill those.

No need for the passport information as of time of booking, you can add this later when you check-in for your flight.

Check the box that you agree and click Continue.

how to book a flight

The next page will show the add-ons. Baggage, meals, insurance, seat, surf board, equipment and the newly added #CebMoments. By default, the meals, insurance and seat will be selected. Review those and modify the selection as you wish.

You can add those if you prefer but you can change these even 4 hours before your flight. Plenty of time, no worries. 🙂

Click Continue.

how to book a flight

Since we used an international flight in this example, the next page will show the Philippine Travel Tax. You can pay this as well if you prefer but I personally pay this at the airport to avoid the P100 fee.

Tick the checkbox and click Continue.

how to book a flight

The next page will show the booking summary. Review and click the check box if you agree. Click Confirm and Continue.

how to book a flight

Time to pay. Fill in the necessary information. The email provided will be the one to receive the itinerary and receipt.

Below are the Payment Options available. You only need to select one of these.

how to book a flight

The first option is the Credit / Debit Card. Enter all the information as it appears on your card. This will require an OTP (one time password) so check your mobile phone for this.

how to book a flight

The next option is Paypal. My personal choice since I find this faster. You will be asked to sign in thru Paypal and confirm.

how to book a flight
how to book a flight

The next option is the Payment Centers. Using this option will put your booking “on hold”.

You have two options, I would recommend selecting Pay within 24 Hours from the time of Booking so you will have ample time. You can pay your booking thru 711 or SM/Robinson’s Business Centers as well as the other merchants in the screenshot.

Note that some of these merchants have “cut off”. In my experience with Business Centers, they don’t accept payments after 5PM.

how to book a flight

The last option is AliPay. I personally haven’t tried this one but I think it works the same way as PayPal.

how to book a flight

Once you select your mode of payment, click Submit. Your booking will be processed. This can take up to a minute (or longer if there’s heavy traffic on Cebu Pacific’s website)

how to book a flight

I have selected the Payment Center as mode of payment and now I have the booking that is “On Hold”. Take note of the reference number and pay this at any of the partner merchants (711 or Cebuana, etc.)

how to book a flight

Upon settling the amount, you will be receiving the itinerary or ticket that looks like this. The status would be Confirmed and you will have a booking reference number.

That’s it! Congratulations on your successful booking! Happy #CebTravels.

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Cebu Pacific – How to Refund Unaccompanied Minor Handling Fee?

Just 6 hours into our flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, it was a last minute decision to bring along my nephew. I knew that the fare would be expensive and I noticed an “additional” fee that was new to me – the Unaccompanied Minor Handling Fee.

According to the Cebu Pacific guideline:

Unaccompanied Minors
Children below 7 years old will not be accepted for carriage.

For flights within the Philippines, children aged 7 to below 12 years old travelling alone may be accepted, only after the Passenger Handling Form is accomplished and submitted upon check-in, and the prescribed Unaccompanied Minor Handling Fee is paid.

We do not accept unaccompanied minors on flights outside the Philippines.

Since we were already booked, my nephew will be booked alone. It will look like he will be traveling alone without having an accompanying adult.

So I tried booking and got a prompt like this:

Unaccompanied Minor Handling Fee 2

I also printed and filled up the Passenger Handling Form in case it will be needed at the airport.

I successfully booked my nephew and got charged the Unaccompanied Minor Handling Fee.
Unaccompanied Minor Handling Fee

Since my nephew will be traveling together with me (his uncle) and my mom (his grandmother), technically, he is not an “unaccompanied minor”. I immediately messaged Cebu Pacific on Facebook Messenger and I was informed that booking a child separately would need to be done directly from Cebu Pacific’s satellite office or at their ticketing office at the airport to avoid being charged of the Unaccompanied Minor Handling Fee. I asked if it can be refunded and luckily, I was informed to immediately proceed to their office at NAIA and request the refund there.

Cebu Pacific Office

At NAIA, I went to Cebu Pacific’s office and explained the situation. I showed the Facebook Messenger conversation so they are aware that the issue has already been coordinated. I was asked for a written letter requesting for refund, two valid IDs which they photocopied as well as filled up Application for Refund form. Kudos to Cebu Pacific’s staff in NAIA, they are so very accommodating and explained the process thoroughly.

Cebu Pacific Application for Refund

We then boarded the flight after requesting for a refund and had an amazing El Nido, Palawan vacation.

Yey! I was able to successfully get a refund! 🙂 It took a month to have the refund credited back to the card used.

cebu pacific refund

Here is a quick explanation why it takes so long according to Cebu Pacific:

Transaction will be reversed to our merchant bank and will be coordinated with your issuing bank hence it will be a bank to bank transaction reason why we cannot give you the definite date for the actual charge back to your account.

Hope this guide helps! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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How to “Sponsor” for Japan Tourist Visa?

DISCLAIMER: This post is purely based on experience. I am not in any way connected to any travel agency or the Japan Embassy itself.

I have traveled to Japan multiple times as a tourist and I have always dreamed of showing my Mom my favorite country. Year 2018, I was able to fulfill that – her first flight out of the country was bound for Tokyo, Japan.

She is not employed and is a plain house lola who takes care of her grandchildren. She only has a passport and lacks a lot of documents to apply for a Japan Visa. What I did was guarantee or sponsor her trip to Japan.

Year 2020, I was able to sponsor my mom, my nephew and my niece on their trip to Japan.

HOW?

Compiled the requirements:

Philippine Passport
Visa Application Form
Japan Visa Photo
Birth Certificate
Marriage Contract
Daily Schedule in Japan
Airline Tickets
Accommodation Booking
Letter of Guarantee
My birth certificate – proof that we are related.
My bank certificate – proof that we can afford to travel.
My ITR – since she doesn’t have one.

*Check out my post Tips on How to Get Japan Tourist Visa for details on each item.*

She does not have a bank certificate and Income Tax Return (Form 2316) since she is not employed. She submitted my bank certificate and ITR  plus attached a letter explaining the scenario. Also attached a copy of my birth certificate as proof that she is indeed my mother.

*Check the ITR explanation letter here.*

Download the Letter of Guarantee from the Embassy of Japan website and fill out the form.

Below is the letter I (the sponsor) submitted to the Embassy. You can use the format and edit it to reflect your information/scenario.

– – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – – — – – –

The Office of the Consul General
The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines
2627 Roxas Boulevard
Pasay City, Metro Manila 1300
February 28, 2019
Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is (Name), with Philippine Passport # (passport number) and a resident of (address). I am currently employed as a (job title) at (company name) with office address at (company address).

I am writing to your office to let you know that I will be supporting my mother, (mother name), holder of Philippine Passport # (passport number), and a resident of (address). I will be taking care of all of her expenses during our stay in Japan. Attached herewith are necessary documents for your reference.

I have been to Japan last (date/s). I did not have any issues with immigration and law enforcement during my stay in Japan.

We have planned this trip since December of last year and I am excited to show my mother the beauty of Japan. We will be flying to Japan on (date) and stay until (date) only. I guarantee her compliance with Japanese laws and regulations.
I am looking forward for your positive response.
Sincerely,

_____________
Name

 

We then submitted all requirements at TravelPros in Megamall. After 3 days we received a text that the passport can be claimed. VISA APPROVED!

GOOD LUCK ON YOUR APPLICATION!

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Utada Hikaru – Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018

If there is one artist in this world that I would like to see live in concert – it is definitely Utada Hikaru from Japan. I have been dreaming of this since I saw her concerts and TV performances online.

Cebu Pacific Air held a Pisofare Seat Sale back in December 2017 and I booked for a November 2018 flight to Tokyo hoping the concert would fall on the dates I selected. Unfortunately, it was 2 weeks far from my chosen dates. She’ll be in Osaka and I’ll be in Tokyo. I tried re-booking and the airfare almost tripled. Taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka and going back would be expensive as well so I had no choice but just to book a new flight to Tokyo.

All that sorted out and paid too BUT I still don’t have a ticket to her concert. I thought obtaining a ticket was only a few clicks away. Little did I know that it would be lottery style. The Hatsukoi album pre-order contained codes for the lottery so those who purchased gets to be drawn first. Thanks to my friend Nini for giving me a code.

The process was very thorough – it feels like applying for a professional job or a government ID lol. A decent picture needs to be submitted that follows their standard as well as some personal information. You can then choose 3 dates/venues and one of those will be the one you can attend to – if you win. Below is my application details/history:

Utada Hikaru - Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018 ticket

I chose Makuhari Messe as primary mainly because it will be the final stop which will be filmed for TV/DVD release. Saitama Super Arena was the secondary because it is the Utada United 2006 venue. Both of which are in Tokyo.

Once application has been submitted – the waiting game begins. I’ve been checking the website as well as chatting with friends who applied for tickets for updates and plans. One day, I got a text message that my card was charged and it was the price of a ticket for two! I was selected at the first draw and for the final show at Makuhari Messe! Sadly though, I was the only one among my UH circle to win. Fast forward, my friends all won and obtained tickets from the general lottery draws. Kami-sama arigato! ❤

What a ticket! Too bad it’s only digital and there’s no official printed copy.

Utada Hikaru - Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018 ticket final

We were back in Tokyo as early as December 5 and originally planned to go to Saitama Super Arena hoping we could score some tickets. The plan never came to fruition though since we have different itineraries and the rest of the team were flying on different dates. We spent the days touring Tokyo. Good times!

Fast forward to the date – December 9, 2018 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan – Utada Hikaru will be performing the finale of Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018.

Utada Hikaru - Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018

We woke up a bit late that morning since the tour is at 7PM. We thought of heading early to Chiba and explore the area but they said that we might be too tired for the concert. Point taken. Nini gave us some sticky notes and each of us wrote our messages for Hikaru. Below is my simple message which I hoped reached her. 🙂

Utada Hikaru - Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018

We left Asakusabashi at 2PM and then headed to MakuhariHongo Station in Chiba which was an hour of train ride. Grabbed a few snacks from Lawson and then boarded the bus to Makuhari Messe. I was enthralled with the city – it gave me the feeling of being in the future or a different world.

We went straight ahead to the venue and saw the early birds taking picture of the signage. Of course we’ll never miss the opportunity too.

We then stepped inside and Hatsukoi album was playing – I felt goosebumps run through me and almost brought me to tears. I even thought she was rehearsing lol. The fans have brought flowers and one was Kuma-shaped too! So much love for Hikaru! ❤ Everyone here was  busy picture taking.

We arrived early giving Lara and Nini more time to shop for some tour merchandise. Lara gave me a Laughter in the Dark Tour scarf, thank you Lara! ❤ We then met with Renj and had group pictures. After their shopping, we then finalized – had our meds taken for stomachache, for headache, for colds,  for whatsoever because we should be on top condition and on DO NOT DISTURB mode.

At around 5:30PM we were all instructed to go the entrance where we will be presenting the ticket as well as undergoing the facial recognition. It was so fast and convenient. I really can’t believe I’ll be seeing Hikaru in the next few minutes. Around 6:45 PM, my urinary bladder was acting up – not really bad but better let it go so I don’t have anything to worry about. Still 15 minutes before the show, I ran to the comfort room and was surprised with the queue. Like every male concert-goer is there and there’s only 1 comfort room to accommodate everyone. This was the only rant I have about the venue/management. I fought for a few minutes but at 6:55 PM, I gave up and went back to my seat. Luckily it never bothered me again lol.

Utada Hikaru - Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018

Few minutes past 7PM, they turned off the lights and an announcement was made. The lights resumed and everyone applauded then finally, Hikaru surfaced and graced the stage.

ANATA was the first song and from there I was already crying with goosebumps all over. DREAMS DO COME TRUE! I still can’t believe Hikaru is performing and I’m so lucky to be a part of this concert.

MICHI followed – one of my favorite track from her Fantome album. I love how the English backing vocals haunted me (in a good way) and hearing them live gave me goosebumps.

TRAVELING has been performed since Hikaru’s 2004 Budokan Concert and truth be told this song is not a favorite of mine. The song grew so much in me during this performance specially when she inserted “Makuhari Messe” in the lyrics and the crowd went crazy. I  was captivated. I have been craving for Traveling since then because I felt that I am “Makuhari Messe” – at least part of it you know. PS: the namesake of this blog was from the this song 😉

COLORS was overlapping Traveling and the crowd was raving. The song was beautifully arranged specially when Hikaru soloed the

PRISONER OF LOVE what a song for me! I’m literally a prisoner of love. I remember whispering to my girlfriend “don’t you give up” as Hikaru sang it.

KISS AND CRY my heart was beating as the song transitioned to this one. “I just want to be happy” is something I sang for myself. I love how the A-list single Can You Keep A Secret? became just an adlib to this song. Hikaru got me all the natural high.

SAKURA DROPS one of my favorite songs from Hikaru’s entire discography. Too much emotion I can’t help but cry. Falling in love, giving it all, and wishing it was the last heartbreak. Despite of it all – just like the cherry blossoms – we’ll bloom again someday. I think that was beautiful.

HIKARI the song that started it all (technically it was SIMPLE AND CLEAN) was arranged in acoustic and orchestrated way. We were waving our hands halfway through the end of the song and I felt like my arms and shoulders hurting after this haha. I found myself in tears for all the emotions from this favorite song of mine.

TOMODACHI is an easy-listening track but at some point I can’t really relate to this song (lol) so I just chilled it while enjoying Hikaru and the dancer’s performance.

TOO PROUD like Tomodachi is another track that I don’t relate to but good enough not to be skipped. I love the rap part but Jevon was not here so Hikaru filled it with her rap. Since I memorized Jevon’s part – I was rapping with the words from the original song.

CHIKAI is one of the most important songs in the set list. As a Kingdom Hearts fan, this is a bias. I love the song as well as it’s English counterpart Don’t Think Twice. It was so beautifully written. Hikaru performed at the middle of Makuhari Messe and a lot of people went to the center to see her closer. I wish I could’ve done the same but I was frozen and in tears watching her perform the song.

MANATSU NO TOORIAME is another ballad and I was still pulling myself together from the Chikai performance.

HANATABA WO KIMI NI is another beautifully written ballad that easily grew on me as it was released back in 2016 for her comeback after the long hiatus. I was still in awe and crying watching her perform this song that pierced my heart. The song has an extended instrumental being played by the band and orchestra as she walks back to front the stage.

FOREVERMORE was performed immediately after she got back from the stage.

FIRST LOVE hearing just the intro and I was already getting the goosebumps and I was crying. I locked my girlfriend in my arms and sweet danced her as I get all the feels of the song. I can’t believe that happened and still the best memory from the concert.

HATSUKOI is like the First Love of the Hatsukoi album (lol this is very redundant). I was still recovering from my tears and here we go again with another beautiful ballad.

PLAY A LOVE SONG is another favorite song of mine. Upbeat and I think written with simple words like “Why we fight? I don’t know.” and “Hold me tight and don’t let go.” I can truly relate to this song found myself crying again (tears of joy I suppose). It was just so magical and fun and the splashing colors on the stage background added more magic to it.

ORE NO KANOJO honestly one of my least listened song. I believe there was not a moment when I was craving to listen to this song. It only gets played when I listen to the full album. I loved how the song built up from slow-and -steady to a more progressive track

It was already the encore of the concert and it was sinking that I’m about to wake up from this magical moment of my life.

AUTOMATIC started with the band intro and Hikaru continued. Automatic is Hikaru’s signature song and it sure does brings back a lot of memories for me. Loved how the guitar-man hyped us when he did solo lead guitars that rocked the venue but we all felt hanging, I wished it was longer.

GOODBYE HAPPINESS is literally “goodbye happiness” for me. I was crying cause this is the last song. The colors splashing the stage is back inviting us to enjoy and dance to the song. I love the part where Hikaru was kissing us goodbye. I was looking her in the eyes and then she said “Arigato” and bowed. That made me cry even more! It felt so sincere.

Laughter in the Dark Tour has been an amazing concert! I’m so lucky and proud to have been a part of it! 🙂

Here’s the Philippine Team with our eyes still fresh from all the happy tears! ❤

Where to Stay in Tokyo, Japan?

Looking for a place to stay in Tokyo, Japan? Check out Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI

Click Image to Book

Conveniently located near Asakusabashi Station, just a station away from Akihabara / two stations away from Tokyo Station. The staff here are really nice and very helpful.

We’ve been to Japan twice this year, November and back again this December to watch Utada Hikaru’s Laughter In The Dark Tour concert in Makuhari Messe. We loved our first stay and was back again for the second stay.  My friends also booked here during their December stay.

The hostel’s address is 1-15-5 Yanagibashi, Taito-ku, Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan, 111-0052.

PROS

– One train ride to and from Narita International Airport via Keisei Main Line
– very friendly and helpful staff! They also speak English.
– Very affordable (less than 1k pesos per night)
– very comfortable stay
– very clean
– 2 to 3 minutes walk from Asakusabashi Station
– tons of restaurants and convenience stores nearby.
– You can borrow coffee mugs / utensils
– FREE stuffs inside the fridge. I loved the peanut butter here lol
– Free toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, cotton buds and others)
– Free and very fast wifi

CONS
– sometimes the other guests are noisy especially during the night.
– small space for luggage and things
– the room doesn’t have a door, it is only covered with a curtain

Book now thru Agoda!

Here are some pictures taken during our stay.

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The outside view of the hostel

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The front desk

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House rules and amenities

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I badly want to steal this lol Coin bank for tips

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The rooms

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The Bar – coffee, beer, breakfast, meals, you name it 🙂

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Some maps / printed materials that can help you navigate Tokyo.

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The fridge – be sure to name your food/drinks and also check out for free stuffs inside labeled “FREE” 😉

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The elevator – the logos say it all 😉

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The map for 2nd floor

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The floor is protected by a security card

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The hallway. The rooms are only covered with curtains.

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The outlet for charging  as well as the earphone jack for watching TV.

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There’s also a safe in case you need to put a treasure 😀

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Each bed has a television 🙂

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The toilet – it’s automatic!

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The 5th Floor is where the shower and toilets are located. The male and female section are separated. Everything is so clean! ❤

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There’s a vending machine in case you need a drink.

Book now thru Agoda!