Guimaras – The Land of the Sweetest Mangoes

If there is one fruit in this world that I can’t live without – without a doubt, it would be mangoes. Be it indian mangoes, kalabaw, or ripe mangoes – you name it. I grew up loving everything mango – from flavored juice, shake, drinks, candies, desserts, or even just paired with rice. Just writing this post makes me crave for mangoes.

They say that the sweetest mangoes in the Philippines can be found in Guimaras – one of the smallest islands in the country. Since we were in Bacolod, it would be a waste not to visit this beautiful province specially for a mango fan like me! Since it is one of the smallest islands, it’s possible to tour the island even with tricycle alone! 🙂

HOW TO GET THERE?

From Bacolod, go to the South Bus Terminal and ride a bus going to Pulupandan Wharf. Travel is around 45 minutes and fare is P20 only for the ordinary bus. There were taxis asking us to pay P700 and we found it really expensive.

From Pulupandan, ride a trike going to the port. Fare is P20 each.

We arrived at the Pulupandan Wharf around 7:30AM, secured our tickets (P90 each) and waited for our boat. The schedule was 8:30AM however, since there were lots of passengers, we departed ahead of schedule. Travel time is 45 minutes. Be there really early since the next boat trip would be around 12noon.

WHERE TO STAY?

Guimaras offers a lot of affordable hotels and beach resorts. If you wish to stay in the island, you can book thru Agoda.

Here are our pictures from our day tour in Guimaras

guimaras pulupandanguimaras pulupandanguimaras pulupandanguimaras pulupandanPulupandan Port

pulupandanThe M/BCA Panchito II – Know the last trip of the boat and be sure not to miss it. During our stay, the boat only had 2 trips and we needed to get back at around 3PM so we could go back to Bacolod.

guimaras windmillsTouchdown Guimaras!

Upon arrival in the island, you’ll be asked to sign in the tourism log. We were a group of 4 and is fit for a tricycle tour. Rate is P1500, we haggled for P1000 but the last price was P1200. The tourism officer would suggest places to visit and it is possible to go to all for a day tour. Since the last boat schedule was around 3PM, we only had a half day tour.

guimaras tricycleHere is our tricycle for our day tour in Guimaras

guimaras windmillsguimaras windmillsFirst stop is the Guimaras Windmills

guimaras capitolguimaras capitolYou haven’t been to Guimaras if you don’t have a picture here at the famous landmark!

guimaras pitstop restaurantguimaras pitstop restaurantguimaras pitstop restaurantguimaras pitstop restaurantguimaras pitstop restaurant

guimaras pitstop restaurantguimaras pitstop restaurantIt was around lunch time and there’s no better place to be than The Pitstop Restaurant!

guimaras pitstop restaurantguimaras pitstop restaurantguimaras pitstop restaurant

They offer the famous Mango Pizza and it was soooo good! The best tasting pizza I had! I’d go back to Guimaras anytime for this!

guimaras mangoMango Shake found in the market for only P10. Keeps you hydrated :)

guimaras mangoguimaras mangoguimaras mangoMangoes ranges from P60 to P100 per kilo – half the price from the ones in Manila! We were offered a free taste and yes, Guimaras has the sweetest mangoes in the country!

guimaras mangoguimaras mangoguimarasguimarasPasalubong – of course everything mango! <3

guimaras mango farmThe Mango Farm – This place reminded me of the movie Forevermore – starring Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa. I thought it was filmed here in Guimaras. And lastly, it was not harvest time so no mangoes can be seen from the trees haha.

guisi lighthouse guimarasA view on our way to the lighthouse

guisi lighthouse guimarasLa Pachira Ocean View Resort

guisi lighthouse guimaras

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The Guisi Lighthouse – second oldest lighthouse in the Philippines. It was windy and the ruins and sea were beautiful. Ask for permission first and be careful when you climb the watchtower, it is rusty and I got dizzy when I reached the top. The view from there was breathtaking!

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How to Claim Your Package at CMEC / EMS PhilPost Office in Pasay

I was very happy to win a bid at eBay and really excited to having the items. From day to day, I’ve been keeping track of the packages coming from Hong Kong. For almost a month, the status remain unchanged: Item for Customs Examination. I then received a letter on October 26th stating I should present a copy of the proof of payment for the items to the CMEC Office located in Pasay. In my head, I already thought that I’ll be summoned and then get extorted.

Filipinos are very well aware of the horror stories from the Bureau of Customs. Stories that gone viral in social media – overtaxed items, hidden charges, missing, lost, or opened packages – and the list goes on. I was hoping none of those would happen to me.

A little bit of research…

Here is the process flowchart from the Customs website. The guards are friendly so don’t hesitate to ask them questions and they’ll be happy to assist you.

VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW
Shipments under P10,000 are tax free so take advantage of that.

Track your package using PhilPost site
https://tracking.phlpost.gov.ph/
https://tnt.phlpost.gov.ph/

If your package remains in the Item for Customs Examination status for weeks, most likely you’ll be summoned to their office.

CMEC / EMS Office Address
Address: Domestic Rd, Pasay City
Phone: (02) 854 4902
Office Hours: 8AM-5PM

How to commute to CMEC / EMS Office?
Ride a bus with the MIA / NAIA signboard and tell the conductor to drop you off at Park ‘N Fly. Go to the PTT Gas Station and walk along the road. Just a few meters from there and you’ll be at the PhilPost Office.

What to bring?
– Two valid IDs
– Your package tracking number/s
– Proof of payment for the package / invoice of the package
– Payment for storage fee (112 pesos per package)

Here is my experience and walk through on how to claim the package 🙂

JpegThis is where you’ll drop off, Park ‘N Fly and PTT Gas Station. (Sorry for the bad quality of the photo.)

JpegWalk a few meters from this side and you’ll see PhilPost in a few meters.

JpegWelcome to PHLPost Central Mail Exchange Center.

JpegAsk the guards, they are very nice and will guide you with your concern.

JpegI was instructed by the guard to proceed to the second floor. Here, I presented the tracking number and submitted two valid IDs which they will scan. Afterwards, I was told to proceed at the waiting area while they look for my package in the storage / sorting room.

JpegHere are other people waiting for their names to be called.

JpegThe EMS (Express Mail Service) Window.

JpegAfter a few minutes, my name was called at the CVST MS Office window. My package was opened and checked by the Customs Officer. She was a bit strict but nice as well and asked for the proof of payment. The packages did not exceed P10,000 so I was not taxed. Should your items exceed the threshold, you’ll then be presented with a computation of how much you’ll pay.

JpegI was told to proceed to Window #2 and paid only 224 pesos for two packages. I then returned to the CVST MS Office window and showed the receipt.

JpegTada! My package was released! Yokatta! :)

Overall, it was a pleasant experience. I was very nervous but then it went well!

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Cebu – Very Relaxed 3D2N Itinerary – Bantayan Island + City Tour

I never really participated during the planning session of our Cebu trip. My friends Jie and Chelle were very excited about Camp Sawi, a movie I had totally no clue about.  A quick Google Images search for Bantayan Island made me say yes 🙂

This is the outcome of our Cebu trip, it was very relaxed and only had few activities per day. I must say it was a very short stay, unsuitable for a big province like Cebu which has a lot to offer. Definitely coming back for more of this province 🙂

Cebu has tons of affordable hotels to accommodate you. Book your stay at Agoda now!

DAY 1 – Touchdown and Beach Time!

04:30 NAIA Terminal 3
06:00 Arrival at Mactan Cebu International Airport
07:00 Cebu North Terminal to Hagnaya Port
12:00 Hagnaya Port to Santa Fe Port
13:00 Bantayan Island
20:00 Dinner at Kota Beach Restaurant
22:00 Lights Out

DAY 2 – More Beach and Food Trip

05:30 Wake Up!
06:00 Prep and Breakfast
07:30 Virgin Island – Snorkeling & Cliff Diving
11:00 Ogtong Cave
12:00 Lunch at Kota Beach Restaurant
14:30 Santa Fe Port to Hagnaya Port
19:00 Checkin at Pacific Pensionne Hotel
20:00 Osmena Circle / Larsian

DAY 3 – City Tour and Souvenir Hunting

06:00 Wake Up
06:30 Prep and Breakfast
08:30 Mactan Shrine
11:00 Temple of Leah
12:30 Lunch at House of Lechon
14:30 Magellan’s Cross
15:30 Carbon Market Cebu
17:00 Checkout Pacific Pensionne Hotel
18:00 Prep and Dinner
21:00 Mactan Cebu International Airport
22:30 NAIA Terminal 3

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Bantayan Island, Cebu – Sawi no More

My first domestic flight was bound for Cebu, the oldest city in the Philippines. I never really helped with the itinerary and all I did was say “yes” to my friend Jie regarding this trip, not even minding the expenses.

We were greeted with heavy rains on our way to the airport. It was a 4AM Cebu Pacific flight which we thought was going to be cancelled or delayed greatly due to the bad weather.  Fortunately, the weather subsided and we boarded the plane after a few minutes of waiting. I was really happy because it was my mom’s first flight!

We arrived at Mactan-Cebu International Airport before 6AM. Rode a taxi to Cebu’s North Bus Terminal and boarded a Ceres bus bound to Bantayan Island. All I did was complain about the lengthy bus ride and kept asking if we’re already near the island. After 4 or 5 hours, we finally arrived at Hagnaya Port.  Another hour of sea travel and finally, Bantayan Island! I stopped complaining the moment I saw the island!

Here’s the summary of expenses. Taxi and trike fares we’re shared by a group of 4.

expenses

For your accommodation, Agoda has you covered. Book now!

And let the pictures talkin!

Cebu Ceres Bus ScheduleHere’s the Ceres Bus Schedule going to Hagnaya Port.

Hagnaya Port ScheduleHagnaya Port Schedule

Bantayan IslandView from the 2nd level of the ship. Touchdown Bantayan Island!

Bantayan IslandView from Sta Fe Port in Bantayan Island

Bantayan IslandOur humble abode at Budyong Beach Resort, just adjacent to Kota Beach Resort. We scored this for P1400 per night.

Bantayan IslandBantayan IslandBantayan IslandBantayan IslandBantayan IslandBantayan IslandBantayan Island’s waters and sands. Heaven.

Bantayan IslandHere’s my mom’s moment!

Bantayan IslandMe!

Bantayan IslandWe ate at Kota Beach’s Restaurant and stayed a few hours before bedtime.

Bantayan IslandBantayan IslandBantayan Island Sunrise

Kota Beach Resort which housed the famous Camp Sawi filming.

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Photobook Philippines – Desktop How-To Guide

Everybody loves taking pictures and most are stored on their cameras or mobile phones. Only a few would want to have them printed (or developed? haha). I have 50 thousand pictures stored on my laptop and PC as well as backed up on a few external hard drives. I never really thought of having them printed. Not until Photobook Philippines changed the game! I came across a voucher that claims it is possible to have a cool, personalized 40-page softcover photobook for only P20. REALLY? Read on.

Below is the summary of expenses.

photobook philippines (20)

I made a quick how-to guide to help everyone create their own photobook using their PC or laptop.

  1. First, let’s get the voucher! Here is the link for 98% OFF Photobook. Original price is P1200, now it’s P20! Sweet isn’t it? (If the link is unavailable, google metrodeal photobook philippines)
  2. Register at Photobook Philippines.
  3. Download and install the Photobook Designer for PC. It is also available for Android and IOS (I won’t cover the mobile version though)
  4. Grab a few readybooks. You can preview these readybooks so you can already get a glimpse of how yours would look like. Make sure you select softcover and Mini Square before downloading. Install these as well.photobook philippines (1)
  5. Open the Photobook Designer. photobook philippines (2)
  6. Select Open an Existing Project and select your readybook.photobook philippines (3)
  7. Once you have the readybook open, you can import pictures from your computer or Facebook/Flickr. You can drag and drop pictures from here. You can customize each page and select styles, background, frames and add scrapbook items. Up to you.  😉photobook philippines (4)
  8. Once done, select File > Check Photobook to see if you missed something (a blank text box or maybe a full blank page!). You should get a No problems found. confirmation once fixed.photobook philippines (5)
  9. Once you’re done double / triple checking your photobook, select File > Order.  Check the box and click Start.photobook philippines (6)
  10. The order will then be opened thru your browser. First is the My Cart page. It’s still P1,200! Don’t panic! Trust me! Click Continue.photobook philippines (8)
  11. Next is the Shipping/Billing page. You have 2 options, Express Shipping (P250, 5-7 business days) or Priority Express (P500, 4-6 business days) Click Continue.photobook philippines (9)
  12. Next is the Payment page. Here you will see the Voucher Code box. Copy and Paste here the voucher you bought from MetroDeal (Step 1). As you can see, from my P1480 bill, it now only P280! Select Confirm Order and pay thru credit card / paypal.photobook philippines (10)photobook philippines (11)
  13. Once successful, you’ll get to the Order Confirmation page. Take note of your order number which will also be sent to your email.photobook philippines (12)
  14. We’re not done yet, we have to upload our photobook. Select File > Order. Click Upload Order and hit Continue.photobook philippines (14)
  15. Your photobook will be uploaded. This might take awhile depending on your internet connection.photobook philippines (15)
  16. You’ll be prompted once successfully uploaded. You’ll receive a confirmation email as well.photobook philippines (18)
  17. That’s it! Now for the waiting game! You can track your order herephotobook philippines (19)

Hope it helps! For any questions / comments. Feel free to comment. 🙂

 

Lakawon Island – A Paradise in Negros Occidental

On the spur of the moment during Cebu Pacific’s #PisoFare early this year, without any local destination in mind, I just picked Bacolod out of the blue. I had 7 months to prepare however, it was only a few days before our trip, till I finally realized where were going! A dose of vitamin sea of course!

Lakawon Island is the perfect choice since it is just approximately an hour away from the capital, Bacolod City. Lakawon Island itinerary? No need! You can get conquer this on a day tour!

HOW TO GO TO LAKAWON ISLAND?

From your hotel, go to Bacolod North Bus Terminal. Ride a bus going to San Carlos and drop off at Brgy San Andres Terminal. Just tell the bus conductor you’re going to Lakawon Island. From Brgy San Andres Terminal, ride a trike going to Cadiz Viejo Port and there’s your boat going to Lakawon Island.

LAKAWON ISLAND EXPENSES

Below is a quick summary of expenses. First 3 items are back and forth cost.

lakawon expenses

TIPS

– Ordinary buses are faster and cheaper!
– There are 2 places named Cadiz, one is the city, the other is the port called Cadiz Viejo. Don’t be like us, we first arrived at the city instead and then headed back to the port haha
– The earlier you get there, the better! The boat won’t leave until it is full unless you pay for every seat.
– Bring lots of foods and drinks! This will save you a ton!
– Don’t rent a cottage (P600 is the cheapest), instead opt for their Floating Bar. This was actually suggested by the reception, glad we did!
– Last trip of the boat is 5PM.

For more information, rates, and promos, visit their website

Here are the cheapest hotels in Bacolod. Book your stay in now.
Okay let’s get the pictures talkin!

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarHere is the map route found at the bus terminal.

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarUp early! Ordinary bus going to Lakawon

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarA lot of sugar cane fields on scenery. How I love the fresh air here!

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarBrgy San Andres Drop off terminal

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarThe trike on the left will take you to Cadiz Viejo port.

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Resorts & Spa’s Van which will take you to the terminal and to the port. I believe it can be arranged to have you picked up and dropped of at your hotel. Of course, it is more expensive.

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarAt Cadiz Viejo Port. I told my girlfriend that’s the floating bar and she bought it XD

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarThere’s the boat and the island visitors.

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarEveryone is provided with a life vest. The waters are calm and it’s only like 15 minutes boat ride.

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

As you get closer to the island, you’ll see a large floating boat. That’s TawHai Floating Bar, the biggest floating bar in Asia.

Lakawon Island – indeed a must visit when you’re in Negros. The waters are calm and the sands are fine. Even kids would definitely have a great time in this island. Beautiful and picturesque! Party goers would even enjoy this, there’s party music everywhere and they can go drinking all day 😀

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

Here is the restaurant. Be sure to be seated next to the big electric fans hehe

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

This is their AIRCONDITIONED comfort room. Under renovation. when we were but the AC is functioning well.

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating BarLakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

Big part of the island is still under construction.

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

Lakawon Island Tawhai Floating Bar

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Birthday Feast at Sambokojin – The Kitchen God

It is that time of the year again to age…

For this year’s birthday, I decided to treat my family to a feast at Sambokojin. I have been showing my mother, nephew, and niece the website of Sambokojin and all the mouth-watering foods we can eat. My gullible nephew was very excited and he kept track of the days and reminded me almost everyday of my promise.

We went to their Megamall branch on a Monday and yey it was not crowded. We arrived around 10:45AM. I told the receptionist we are a group of 4 and I’m a birthday celebrant. She asked for an ID and checked my date of birth. She requested us to be seated first and after a few minutes, my name was called. A staff ushered us to our table and my nephew was WOWed, his eyes were rolling and already pointing finger on the foods he wanted to eat.

Of course, another date was set for Love. And we’re lucky to have a friend join us as well. It was a busy payday-family day-Sunday! We waited for like 1 and a half hour to be seated! Wew.

What I love about Sambokojin:
A week of free birthday buffet! (yes, 7 days! 3 days before, actual birthday, and 3 days after birthday)*
– They charge the kids by height! (take advantage of this!)
– NO service charge! (wow!)
– Courteous, helpful, friendly staff (some are even playing with my nephew)
– Superb overflowing foods and drinks (well, this is automatic!)
– Cheaper rates compared to other buffet (P688 lunch on weekdays and P888 Fri-Sat-Sun)
– 3 branches are within my zone

*Free Birthday Buffet may be claimed lunch and dinner, within those seven (7) days. Only 1 Free Birthday Buffet may be claimed per visit.

For updated rates, check here and to know more about their promos and rewards, kindly visit their website.

For a group of 4, we were only charged 1268 (Adult P888 + Child P380). I’m free of charge since it’s my birthday and my nephew was free of charge as well. Sulit!

Itadakimasu!

SambokojinSambokojin

Sambokojin

Picture taking while waiting

Sambokojin

Yosh we’re in!

Sambokojin

Inside Sambokojin

Sambokojin

He’s hungry and mad because I was still taking pictures 😀

Here’s some (yes, only some, of the foods I was able to take decent pictures) My favorite are Japanese Cheesecake, Lechon, Crab Meat and the Mango Shake! Enjoy the foods and drool!

SambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojinSambokojin

SambokojinSambokojin

My niece and nephew, amazed by Sambokojin!

Sambokojin

Selfie at their comfort room. It is very clean 🙂

Sambokojin

Sambokojin

Sambokojin

sambokojin part2 (2)

It was indeed a happy birthday! Thank you Sambokojin!

Osaka, Japan – 7 Days for Less Than 25k

I remember those days when going to Japan was only a dream. First influenced by anime as a kid, then followed the video games growing up, and now concerts by Japanese artists which can only be seen by flying to Japan.

You see, dreams do come true and this dream will not come true without Cebu Pacific Air who offers cheap flights to Japan. Thank you Cebu Pacific Team! I was able to share this dream to my family and friends by scoring them great deals for flights.

Many even thought that Japan would cost atleast 6 digits to travel and I’ve proven them wrong. Did you know you can go to Japan by saving 1k per PAYday? Save it for a year and boom you’ll find yourself in a plane flying to Japan.

Let’s tour Osaka, Japan do-it-yourself style.

Expenses Philippine Peso Japanese Yen
Roundtrip Airfare 3886.42  
Baggage Allowance 2198  
Icoca Card 896.9 2000
Haruka Express RT Ticket 986.5 2200
Osaka Amazing Pass 1350 3000
Universal Studios Japan 3330 7400
Accommodation for 7D6N at Peace House Abeno 6N 6750 15000
Transpo, Food, Pasalubong – Tips Here 5400 12000
Total 24797.82 41600

Below is our itinerary.  We were a very relaxed group and really took time in each of these spots. You know that feeling of not wanting to leave an area because everything is just so magical and you just wanna absorb all it has to offer. Everything is picture perfect and the good thing is that most of them won’t cost you.

Day 1 – Touchdown Japan!

Kansai International Airport
Tennoji

We arrived around 9PM in Osaka, Japan. We were greeted by very cold autumn breeze – good thing we were already autumn-ready when we boarded the plane back in NAIA. Lots of pictures from getting out of the airport. We then bought Icoca Card and Haruka Express Ticket.

It took about 30 minutes train ride from Kansai International Airport to Tennoji Station. It got colder as we went out to find our guest house, Peace House Abeno.

I would like to thank the Japanese ladies who helped us without our luggage when we were crossing the overpass. They were very generous to offer their help and it would be a shame not to agree. Thank you so much ladies! ❤

Day 2 – Foodies and Sights!
Tsutenkaku
Shinsaibashi
Dotonbori
Mio Mall
Abeno Q

Yumiko-san (the guest-house owner) invited us to join on their buffet lunch. We woke up early the next morning and went to Tsutenkaku for a lite breakfast and of course photo op since we still have time before our lunch. We then meet with the other guests at Dobotsuen-mae Station and headed for Shinsaibashi for the lunch buffet – well spent 1000 yen.

After the lunch at Shinsaibashi, we strolled the neighboring Dotonbori.  Don’t forget to have a photo op with Mr. Crab as well as see yourself on the electronic billboard. We shopped a bit of pasalubong at the local grocery here. We then headed to Mio Mall and Abeno Q which is in Tennoji just in time for dinner.

Day 3 – Amazing Osaka Day 1!
Osaka Castle (click for detailed post)
Osaka Castle Park
HEP Five Ferris Wheel

We woke up early the next day because we thought of maximizing the Amazing Osaka Pass. We bought the 2-Day Pass and guess what, we only covered 2 locations for our first day. Like I’ve said, we were a very relaxed group and we really loved the Osaka Castle and it’s surrounding parks where spent almost the whole day exploring and picture taking. We then headed to Umeda for the Umeda Sky Building but we actually never found it! (What a shame! I know right!). We saw HEP along the way and boarded the HEP Five Ferris Wheel for free courtesy of the Amazing Osaka Pass. We had dinner on one of the floors of HEP and then went back home after dinner.

Day 4 – Amazing Osaka Day 2!
Tennoji Zoo (click for detailed post)
TenShiba Park
Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Captain Line Cruise (click for detailed post)

We woke up around 5AM to maximize the last day of Amazing Osaka Pass. Grabbed some bread at Tennoji Station and went to our neighbor Tennoji Zoo and TenShiba Park. This actually marks my first time at a zoo! I’m one of those who can’t afford a field-trip back in the day so I never got to go to any of the zoos. Oh I love the wolves and foxes – I wish I can pet one.

We exited the zoo just in time for lunch. We went back to Tsutenkaku for lunch and boarded the subway to Osakako Station. We immediately saw the Tempozan Ferris Wheel and followed the road to it. We were surprised by a Japanese lady who sells kimonos because she can fluently speak Tagalog and more foreign languages. We toured the area and ate french fries and ice cream at mall next to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. We then decided to board the Santa Maria Cruise only to find out that the last trip has already sailed! Another miss, I know! We then boarded the Captain Line Cruise which was perfect for sunset viewing.

I know I’ve missed a lot and miserably failed to maximize the Amazing Osaka Pass. Well at least, the next time I visit Osaka, I still have lots to see! 🙂

Day 5 – The LQ Day!
Universal Studios Japan (click for detailed post)

The LQ day. Me versus my girlfriend. I told her it’s so expensive and we’d rather go to the Ocean Park. I lost. The power of woman’s tears.

Day 6 – Lazy Rainy Day!
Shitennoji Temple
Abeno Market

Supposedly, we’re heading for Kyoto however it was raining and we’re all drained from Universal Studios Japan. We just went on the neighboring area and went shopping for pasalubong. Tipid day.

Day 7 – Anime and Gadgets and Parting Time
Nipponbashi – Denden Town
Namba
Tsutenkaku
Kansai International Airport

Anime and gadget day! And of course, final stretch of pasalubong shopping.

Pasalubong

SAMSUNG CSCLots of chocolates of course and some noodles.

SAMSUNG CSC

My girlfriend managed to buy herself a brand new boots and kimono. She also has her set of chocolates. This is inclusive of her own 25k all in budget 😉

For myself, I got JPOP CDs, earphones, a new jacket, hand puppet for my nephew and niece, and lastly, wooden cooking utensils for my mother.

PASALUBONG TIPS I suggest buying at pharmacy stores. We bought at Sugi Pharmacy and you’ll get discounts when you buy 5k worth of products and just present your passport. Take advantage of tax-free stores. Also there are 300 yen stores and you’ll be surprised of what they can offer for 300yen.

Mt. Batolusong – Embrace Me Under the Big Sky

Recently, Utada Hikaru announced she’s releasing a new song called “Oozora de Dakishimete” (Embrace Me Under the Big Sky) in July. The song is a tie-in with Suntory water commercial in which she was shown hiking. Check out her photos/videos here: http://www.suntory.co.jp/water/tennensui/utada/. Seeing her photos and watching the commercial reminded me of the time I hiked Mt. Batolusong.
My officemate Liz invited me to hike Mt. Batolusong in Tanay, Rizal which is approximately 2hours from Manila. For 500 pesos, it includes transportation (Ortigas – Tanay – sidetrip – Ortigas), guide fee, registration and environmental fees. Fair enough.
We all met at Eton Cyberpod in Ortigas at 2AM. Bought water, trail foods and some meds (Diatabs for me xD). As usual, 2AM is not 2AM since some were late. We reached Tanay, Rizal around 4:00AM.
I won’t forget the old man wearing all white and riding a white horse who suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I thought he was The Reaper and gave me a mini heart attack. Wew. The driver asked him some information and he guided us to Barangay San Andres, the jumpoff for the hike.
TIPS
1. Bring lots of foods
2. Bring lots of water and keep yourself hydrated
3. Bring extra clothes
4. Rest if needed
5. Some areas have signal, you can post ATMs haha
6. There are natural flowing water in some areas and you can refill your water supply. Ask your guide to confirm if it is potable.
7. For the sidetrip, you can opt for some food trip or go swimming after the hike. There are tons of resorts in Tanay and Antipolo.
All right, let’s get the pictures talkin!

Mt. Batolusong Just about to hike

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Roughly an hour of hiking, the dawn is breaking. Raul for Absolute Drinking Water xD

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Looks like a painting ❤

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Photo Opp

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
witnessing the sunrise

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Breathtaking view. Too bad there’s no sea of clouds!

Mt. Batolusong
Team Mt. Batolusong, just halfway there!

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Right now, surely, you’re looking at the same sky somewhere~
Nishino Kana

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
The sun is up but still cold

Mt. Batolusong
At the grassland

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Just taking my time to appreciate all the wonders of our nature

Mt. Batolusong
My friend Coi having fun while hiking

Mt. Batolusong

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
More more grass

Mt. Batolusong
Because hiking is incomplete without a jump shot! 😀

Mt. Batolusong
Finally seeing the summit!

Mt. Batolusong
Beautiful flower

Mt. Batolusong
Team Mt. Batolusong : Mission Accomplished! Summit Reached!

Mt. Batolusong

Mt. Batolusong
View from the summit and the other one having Laguna de Bay at the background

Mt. Batolusong
I love the clouds, feels like I can reach them!

Mt. Batolusong
Rest! Staring at the clouds, feeling the wind, smelling the grass!

Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Mt. Batolusong
Embrace me under the big sky! ❤

Mt. Batolusong
Of course, take a chance to dip in the mountain waters, so refreshing 🙂

Mt. Batolusong
Going home. Highway is just a few steps away 🙂