#WalangForever in Taiwan – 6D5N Itinerary for 15k

I first set sights on Taiwan after watching the movie #WalangForever way back 2015. I thought it was going to be my next destination but it was only this year (2019) that I was able to go to Taiwan.

Taiwan is currently visa-free for Filipinos. I did not actually worry about Taiwan not extending the visa-free status since I can enter Taiwan with the use of my Japan Tourist Visa.

Let’s explore Taipei, do-it-yourself style πŸ˜‰

Below is the summary of my expenses:

EXPENSES AMOUNT
Roundtrip Airfare (Pisofare) 2026.79
Baggage Allowance 2198
Travel Tax 1620
6D5N Accommodation at One Plus One Hotel 2489.75
EasyCard 925
Airport Bus Roundtrip 408.58
Taichung Bus Roundtrip 829.26
Pocket Money 4500
TOTAL 14997.38

I scored another pisofare deal from Cebu Pacific Air way back last year. PHP 8107.16 for 4 persons equals PHP 2026.79 roundtrip airfare to Taipei!

Below is the screenshot of the payment details πŸ˜‰
cebu pacific pisofare taiwan

For the accommodation, we stayed at One Plus One Hotel which costed PHP 9958.99, divided by 4 equals PHP 2489.75 each for 6D5N.

To be honest with you, my tour in Taipei was incomplete. There’s so much missing, so many places we didn’t get to visit due to the rain. My heart is longing to be back as soon as possible. Despite the rain and missing pieces – we were able to enjoy Taipei.

Day 1 – Touchdown Taiwan!
Taoyuan International Airport
Taipei Main Station
Ximen

Taiwan Itinerary

Cebu Pacific Air welcomed us to Taoyuan International Airport as we touched down the sunny Taiwan. Our lansones was confiscated at the airport. Just a reminder, if you’re heading to Taiwan, do not bring fruits and vegetables. Good thing there was no fine at all. Meanwhile, bringing meat products could cost 1 Million NTD.

My nephew was so energetic and is taking the lead. We decided to take the bus to Taipei and had lunch at Taipei Main Station.

We bought 4 EasyCards with 400 NTD each for use in our train rides in Taipei. Ximen (my nephew calls this X-Men Station) is our home station and is just next to Taipei Main Station.

Taiwan Itinerary

We had hard time finding our hotel, we went to the opposite end of the road and that the hotel is on the other end, as usual, charge to experience. We were so exhausted with all the baggage and heat. We checked-in and stayed for a bit (AC finally!) and went out for dinner. I was surprised to see Ximending especially during the night – it feels like I was teleported to Tokyo! Huge billboards, overwhelming crowd, bright lights, it’s like a city that never sleeps.

Day 2 – The Cable Car Ride and The Great Panda
Maokong Gondola
Taipei Zoo
Taipei 101

My nephew is a big fan of Panda and this is his main quest in Taipei – to see for himself the Great Panda. We woke up early and left the hotel just around 8AM. The owner was very helpful and guided the shortcut to Ximen Station as well as the train route to take. We reached Taipei Zoo Station and my nephew was already hungry so we ate biscuits at the benches before heading to Maokong Gondola.

I loved the Cable Car in Singapore and I’m not letting the chance to ride the Maokong Gondola pass me by. I was about to use my credit card to buy tickets but the staff told me to use theΒ  EasyCard for $20 discount ($40 discount roundtrip). Great deal! We opted for see-through Crystal Cabin.

Taiwan Itinerary (18)
I love the Crystal Cabin but my nephew seems so afraid.

It was very windy up top and we had lunch at Hi-Mart. I also loved the sweet potatoes outside the station. We grabbed some fruit drinks and sat by the stairs for about 30 minutes before heading down the zoo.

The little guy was so hyper for the zoo, this is his first time. He has tons of energy and goes ahead of us. He kept yelling once he sees new animals and drags me to see them too lol. And finally, his dream to see the Panda came true.

Taiwan Itinerary
He asked me to take a photo of him and acted like he was bitten by the Black Panda.

All of us were exhausted exploring the zoo and it was scorching hot too so we decided to go. My nephew was the only one who disagreed saying there are more animals to see. It’s 3 vs 1 so he lost – and he gave in to his hunger so he agreed to leave as well lol.

The Taipei 101 was our last destination for the day. We took groufies outside the stationΒ for the tower and headed inside to look for food. For pasalubong, check outΒ Jason’s Marketplace – there are mark down items and some are on Buy 1 Take 1 promo. One more thing to note is that they offer $50 OFF on $500 purchase (this offer may be for a limited period only). We grabbed some chocolates and Taiwan’s famous Pineapple Cake for pasalubong.

We went back to Ximen and explored the area a bit before heading back to the hotel.

Day 3 – The Failed Trip to the Flower Farm and a Mini Reunion
Taichung Station
Taroko Mall
Taipei City Mall

Taiwan Itinerary

We woke up very early for Taichung! My cousin works in Taichung and we haven’t seen her for like 3 years now. The goal was to meet her and we’ll go together to the Flower Farm and Rainbow Village.

It was a sunny morning in Taipei and we headed to Koh Kuang Bus Station to board a bus to Taichung. The weather gradually changed as we travel to Taichung. We reached Taichung Station just in time for lunch and it was raining hard.

My cousin Rose was already there waiting and we braved the rain and headed to Taroko Mall for lunch. My mother and my cousin had a lot of catching up to do. From time to time, we were checking if we can proceed to the Flower Farm but unfortunately the weather was not cooperating.

We headed to RJay Supermart, a Filipino grocery just a few blocks away from Taichung Station. They sell cheap pasalubong and we grabbed some chocolates and goods. The ladies there liked my chubby nephew and they were teasing him that he can eat everything he want but he should stay there.

5PM and still it was raining, we failed to see the Flower Farm and Rainbow Village. Too bad I know. Good thing we got reunited with my cousin so the trip there wasn’t a waste at all.

We boarded the 5:15 bus back to Taipei and arrived around 8PM. We saw another Jason’s Marketplace and hoarded more pasalubong before going home.

Day 4 – Very Lazy Rainy Day
Guanghua Digital Plaza
National Theater and Concert Hall
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Alarm was set for 7AM. We had coffee and bread for breakfast and even prepared. It was still raining and we were all tired from the trip to Taichung (and probably down because we did not see the Flower Farm lol) so we decided to take a nap first.

My nephew woke us at around 1PM nagging he was hungry. We left the hotel at around 2PM and had lunch at the Japanese restaurant in Ximending Walking District.

Taiwan Itinerary
Gundam Base Taiwan – Guanghua Digital Plaza

I am currently looking for a PlayStation 3 controller so I Googled the best place for electronic gadgets in Taipei. Our next destination was Guanghua Digital Plaza, a massive cyber zone in Taipei. My nephew immediately saw the Nintendo Switch and he wanted me to buy it for him – reminding me it was his wish for his birthday last August. He was throwing tantrums and we were not in good terms during the entire exploration in Guanghua. I wasn’t able to find a PS3 controller though since most stores are on PS4. It was past 4PM when we left Guanghua.

We next headed to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, one of Taipei’s famous landmark and tourist spot. This was shown in the movie #WalangForever as well. We were lucky to witness the changing of guards here.

If you could stay until around 6PM for sunset and the night lights, here’s what you can expect to see:

Taiwan Itinerary

Day 5 – More of Taipei
National Taiwan University
Longshan Temple
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park
Taipei 101

Technically our last day in Taipei, we set the alarm for 6AM so we could maximize the day. We will never leave without visiting the National Taiwan University which was home to the hit Taiwanese drama Meteor GardenΒ so it was the first in the itinerary for the day. We had lunch at Yoshinoya which is located just across the university.

The next stop was Longshan Temple which is located just outside Longshan Temple Station. They say that Longshan is the most loved temple in Taiwan and I felt that during our stay. People are solemnly praying and somehow I felt like being in ancient Formosa. We had merienda near the bakeshop and my mom got tired from all the walking and told us she’ll return to the hotel and call it a day.

We all went back to Ximen and rested for a bit. Originally, our next destination is the Elephant Mountain but my mom did not want to hike due to the injury and decided to just stay at the hotel. My nephew wanted to go with us but we told him to stay with his grandma.

We continued the journey and headed to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park instead so we can save time and skip hiking. We also saw the Taipei Dome which is still under construction – in my head I was wishing Utada Hikaru Live in Taipei awww. We walked through the park all the way to the Taipei City Hall and Taipei 101 Station. Back to Jason’s Marketplace, we bought some foods for dinner and the final stretch for pasalubong.

Taiwan Itinerary

Taiwan Itinerary

Day 6 – Going Home 😦
Taoyuan International Airport
NAIA

Sad that it’s time to go home. We woke up at 4AM and had lite breakfast. We prepared and checked out at 6AM. We have heavier luggage now due to pasalubong. We again decided to take the bus to go to the airport.

We departed the Taipei Main Station at 7AM and arrived around 8AM at Taoyuan International Airport, plenty of time for our 10:45 flight back to Manila. We checked-in at Cebu Pacific Air counter and dropped our 60-kilo baggage. We had another breakfast at the food court before proceeding to the boarding gate.

Back to reality…

I will skip Taipei next time and just head straight to the below destinations πŸ˜€

Shifen
Jiufen
Yamingshan National Park
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Zhongshe Flower Market

At least I have more reason to come back to Taiwan right? πŸ™‚

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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! πŸ˜‰

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

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. πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

 

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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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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.Β  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.

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (1)

The outside view of the hostel

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (8)

The front desk

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (2)Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (3)

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (22)

House rules and amenities

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (4)

I badly want to steal this lol Coin bank for tips

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (5)

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (10)

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (25)

The rooms

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (6)

The Bar – coffee, beer, breakfast, meals, you name it πŸ™‚

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (7)

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

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (9)

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

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (21)

The elevator – the logos say it all πŸ˜‰

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (23)

The map for 2nd floor

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (24)

The floor is protected by a security card

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (13)

The hallway. The rooms are only covered with curtains.

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (26)

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

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (27)

There’s also a safe in case you need to put a treasure πŸ˜€

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (28)

Each bed has a television πŸ™‚

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (14)

The toilet – it’s automatic!

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (15)Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (16)Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (17)Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (18)

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (29)

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

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI (20)

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

Book now thru Agoda!

 

Tokyo, Japan – 7 Days for Less Than 20k

Back in 2016, I saved 1k per payday and traveled to Osaka, Japan with 25k budget. This year, I again managed to travel to Japan by saving 1k per payday. I saved for a year and found myself back in the country I love most. Let’s explore Tokyo do-it-yourself style.

EXPENSES Philippine Peso Japanese Yen
Roundtrip Airfare (Pisofare) 2856
Baggage Allowance 1900
Travel Tax 1620
Suica Card 2324 5000
Keisei Bus (NRT to Tokyo / Tokyo to NRT) 930 2000
Accommodation for 7D6N at Hostel East57 Asakusabashi 5538 11915
Showa Kinen Park Entrance Fee 209 450
Tokyo Tower Main Deck Ticket 418 900
Food and Pasalubong 3951 8500
TOTAL 19745 28765

You can also add Nikko and Yokohama if you have more time. πŸ™‚

Here is a screenshot of our pisofare payment details. 8567.94 pesos / 3 persons = 2856 pesos roundtrip each. Booked December 2017 for a November 2018 flight.

cebu pacific pisofare

Here is a quick guide on how you can score cheap promo tickets to Japan!

Here is a screenshot from our Agoda booking. 16612.92 pesos / 3 persons = 5538 pesos for 7D6N accommodation. This is actually for 4 persons but we failed to find another one to join us in our trip, we could’ve saved a thousand pesos πŸ˜‰ I highly recommend Hostel East57 Asakusabashi for your Tokyo stay.

Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI 1

Originally, the itinerary I submitted to the embassy was just a draft – the locations were far from each other. Special thanks to my Japanese friend who arranged the final itinerary. Most of our destinations are free of charge that’s why everything was spent on food and pasalubong. We are a very relaxed (lazy and slow to be exact lol) group and really took time in each of these spots. We wake up around 7AM and we leave the hostel by 10AM. Ideally, you can add more to this itinerary to maximize Tokyo πŸ˜‰

Let’s go!

DAY 1

Arrival in Narita International Airport
Asakusabashi

Tokyo Japan Itinerary
My Mom’s first international flight. Touchdown Japan!

We arrived 1130AM in Japan – just in time for lunch. Grabbed a quick bite at 7-11 first. Bought Suica Card and booked a bus ride to Central Tokyo. The express bus is stopping at Tokyo Station so we had to take a train to Asakusabashi Station where our accommodation, Hostel East57 Asakusabashi is located. After unpacking and a quick rest, we familiarized ourselves in the area during dinner time when we were looking for a place to eat.

DAY 2

Imperial Palace
Kitanomaru Park
Nippon Budokan
Tokyo Dome City
Akihabara

I really wanted to see the Nippon Budokan mainly because of Utada Hikaru’s 2004 concert here. Fandom first you know :P. The Imperial Palace East Garden was closed during our visit but the good part is that the Imperial Palace is surrounded by lots of parks so our visit was not a waste. We then went to Akihabara (just a station away from Tokyo Station) for dinner. Akihabara is a must for anime/video game fans. There’s Square Enix cafe and Gundam Cafe just near the station. πŸ˜‰

DAY 3

Shibuya Crossing
Hachiko Statue
Harajuku
Meiji Shrine
Shinjuku
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Viewing Deck

Of course, a Tokyo visit would not be complete without Hachiko! ❀ It was fun watching the people in Shibuya Crossing, it feels like everything is on fast-forward mode. Don’t forget to time-lapse here. We then dropped by Harajuku to look for the Sailor Moon Store, a request of my friend. We went to Meiji Shrine and then off to Shinjuku – another busy place with lots of buildings and lights. We had hard time finding the Tokyo Metropolitan Govt Building and we’re lucky to have one Japanese student who accompanied us. It was a long walk from Shinjuku Station. I apologized for causing her trouble and she said that it was no trouble at all. We went to see Tokyo’s night lights from the building’s viewing deck. We had dinner on one of the restaurants near the station before heading home.

DAY 4

Showa Kinen Park
Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center
Asakusa Shrine / Sensoji Temple

We saw an autumn forecast on one of the tourist information center and decided to go to Showa Kinen Park which is located in Tachikawa City. It was an hour ride from our home station. There is a 450yen fee to enter the park. We spent most of the day here because the autumn leaves were really beautiful and the park is really a huge one. We then went to Asakusa to meet our Japanese friend and she toured us around the area.

DAY 5

Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Tower
One Piece Tower
Don Quijote
Roppongi

We went to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea but we did not enter lol. Mainly because it was expensive (7400 yen / 3426 pesos per theme park per person) and also we need to be here as early as possible but it’s almost noon time when we arrived. We then went to Tokyo Tower – sadly, the other half side of the main deck was under construction so I feel like the ticket was a waste. There’s also One Piece Tower (2200 yen entrance fee), One Piece Store, Detective Conan store and a general anime store. We then walked to Roppongi and passed by a 100yen store and of course, Don Quijote where we shopped for pasalubong, tax free!

DAY 6

DECKS
AquaCity
Diver City Tokyo Plaza
Unicorn Gundam
Statue of Liberty
Odaiba Marine Park

Another must-see in Tokyo is the life-size Gundam! Odaiba is like a city from the future. The train here from the Yurikamome line is fully automated – be sure to get to the front seat of the train to get the best view. There’s also a supermarket here that’s called “OK Everyday Low Price”, be sure to check it out so you can grab some pasalubong πŸ˜‰

DAY 7

Narita International Airport
Mactan-Cebu International Airport
Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Tokyo Itinerary

Too much airport for a day lol. The pisofare I grabbed has a stop-over in Cebu but I’m not complaining. Our flight is at 1PM so we checked out at 9AM and arrived at Narita International Airport past 10AM. If you have time, you can check the Observation Deck to see the planes landing / taking off. There’s also a Pokemon Store here so if you haven’t been to the Pokemon Mega Center, be sure to stop by here.

TIPID TIPS

Expenses on food will truly hurt your wallet. Find the cheapest restaurant and eat there πŸ˜‰ They are usually fully packed so you’ll find them easily. For pasalubong, 100 Yen, Don Quijote and those tax free stores will save you thousands of yen. πŸ˜‰ You’ll find them when you’re not looking for them πŸ˜‰

Tokyo Itinerary

Enjoy Tokyo! ❀

Mayon ATV Ride – Get Up Close and Personal with Mayon Volcano!

Wherever you are in Albay – Mayon is a sight to see – it seems like it follows you. The closer you get – the more mesmerized you become with the world’s perfect cone. The best way to get close to her is riding the ATV! I’ve always wanted to try this activity since 2013. Despite being in our hometown almost every year – I never got the chance to cross this off my list.

I told my girlfriend that if we go to Bicol for vacation, we’ll definitely experience Mayon ATV Ride. Quality Time. They say couples should try new things together right? :”>

Prior to our trip, I have texted Sir Noel (09291932759) from DIY Group and I informed him that we’ll go for the ATV Ride once there. Our pickup point would be at Sumlang Lake then transfer to their base in Legazpi. Originally – this was planned as an activity for two and my family will just wait at their base while we’re gone for an hour for the ride.

While en-route to the ATV base, I asked my Mom to try the ride but she was uncomfortable – reluctant even. She said that she prefers to just look after the kids. Sir Noel said that the kids are FREE as back ride so she has no choice but to go haha.

We picked the shortest and also the cheapest trail. It costs P700 per person and would take an hour to complete. For 3 adults, it costed us P2100. I would’ve asked for a P100 discount but the kids were not charged so it’s not a bad deal right? πŸ˜‰

Here’s our pictures and more of the story πŸ˜‰

Mayon ATVMayon ATVMayon ATVMayon ATV

JACS Outdoor Adventure ATV Trail. Their base is located at San Agustin St. Diversion Road, Pawa, Legazpi City. You don’t have to worry about getting there since they have a van to pick you up in Legazpi City.  They have free WiFi, water station, lockers and comfort room. You can select your preferred ATV from their fleet. You may reach out to them for inquiries at 09957320289 / 09063716374.

Mayon ATVMayon ATV

Gear Up! After selecting our equipment, we had a brief orientation regarding the activity – do’s and don’ts. We also did a couple of laps maneuvering the ATV at their base.

Mayon ATV

Photo Op! Too bad Mayon was covered with clouds though.

Mayon ATVMayon ATV

The trail consists of paved to muddy to bumpy to rocky and dusty roads as well as shallow to knee-deep rivers. Wear comfortable clothes and slippers/sandals.

Mayon ATVMayon ATVMayon ATVMayon ATVThis was the end of the trail. Photo op before heading back to base.

Mayon ATVMayon ATVLook at the smile on my Mom’s face. She truly enjoyed this activity! <3 #LolaDuties

So yeah – if you find yourself in the Bicol Region – don’t miss this fun activity. I’m sure everyone will surely enjoy the Mayon ATV Ride – from kids to grandparents! Truly an unforgettable experience!

I highly recommend JACS Outdoor Adventure ATV Trail. They have very courteous and friendly staff. Kudos to them for our safe ride as well as for taking most of the pictures and videos! Salamat tabi!

We’ll definitely be back to try the Black Lava Trail! B-)

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Albay – 2D1N Itinerary

I’ve always known that Albay – which is 500+ kilometers away from Manila – is 12 hours away by bus. I was surprised that my recent trip only took 9 hours one way! This made me realize that my birthplace got even closer and can be visited on a long weekend.

I’m really not a fan of taking a plane to Legazpi since I feel like the time allotted to prepare, travel to the airport and be there 2-3 hours before the flight is not worth it. I always prefer to leave late Friday afternoon at Araneta Bus Port and be in Albay early next morning and then start touring right away.

Where to Stay?
Since I am from here, I don’t usually spend on accommodation. I stay at my Aunt’s place. Check out Agoda for your accommodation.

Going Places?
It is easy to go places in Albay by riding jeeps and trikes. Don’t hesitate to ask the locals for directions should you find yourself lost (but I doubt this lol) and they’ll be willing to help you out.

Here is my simple and very relaxed purely DIY itinerary for Albay that is very child friendly as well. I’m sure the kids would enjoy touring the province just like my nephew and niece who seemed to have so much energy during our tour!

DAY 1

0600 Arrival
0800 Sumlang Lake Eco Park
0900 Quitinday Hills and Nature Park
1000 Mayon ATV Ride
1230 LigΓ±on Hill Nature Park – Lunch
1400 Albay Park and Wildlife
1600 Embarcadero de Legazpi
1700 Legazpi Boulevard
1830 Ayala Malls Legazpi – Dinner
2000 Lights Out

DAY 2

0800 Daraga Church
0900 Cagsawa Ruins
1000 Kawa-Kawa Shrine
1200 Ligao Centro / Public Market – Pasalubong Hunting
1230 St. Stephen Church
1300 Home Sweet Home
1800 Back to Manila

If you have an extra day or two, you can explore more of the region and add Sorsogon province as well as tour Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte as you go back north to Manila. πŸ˜‰ I plan on doing this and once done, I’ll share it of course.

Oh, before I forgot, pictures!

legazpi boulevardLegazpi Boulevard with Mayon Volcano at the background :)

sumlang lakeSumlang Lake

mayon atv for kidsGeared up for Mayon ATV

Albay Park and WildlifeLook at that dinosaur at Albay Park and Wildlife!

Embarcadero de LegazpiEmbarcadero de Legazpi

Kawakawa HillAtop Kawa-Kawa Hill

albay itinerary (7)Going back to Manila

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