Friday, March 26, 2010

Vancouver 2010

Sorry I haven't updated my blog in a while. My family and I just migrated to Canada and I had been busy with all the preparations and stuff. Now I'm back and I am writing to you from Beautiful British Columbia (as the license plates here says :D). For my first post this year, I bring you some photos I took during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. What a memorable Olympics for Canada! I might be new here, but there's no doubt I had caught the Olympic bug. Go Canada!!!

Olympic Cauldron (taken on Feb. 28, 2010)

Olympic Countdown (taken on Feb. 28, 2010)

Richmond Torch Relay @ Richmond O-zone (taken on Feb. 9, 2010)

Richmond O-zone (taken on Feb. 9, 2010)

Richmond Torch Relay @ Richmond O-zone (taken on Feb. 9, 2010)

Crowd in Robson Street (taken on Feb. 28, 2010)

Olympic Village (taken on Feb. 28, 2010)

International Broadcast Center (taken on Feb. 28, 2010)

By the Canada Hockey Place (taken on Feb. 28, 2010)

By the Canada Hockey Place (taken on Feb. 28, 2010)

By the Canada Hockey Place (taken on Feb. 28, 2010)

Downtown Vancouver (taken on Feb. 28, 2010)

Vancouver 2010 Jacket by HBC ... Go Canada!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Taken from the Annual Edogawa Fireworks Display (August 2, 2008)

Let me be the first one to greet you a very very happy new year! Have a very blessed and peaceful 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Happy birthday to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!
Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Guide To Tokyo

As you may know by now, Tokyo is one of my favorite cities in the world. The energy of this city is unbelievable and everyone is up and about 24/7. In spite of these, it still remains as one of the most orderly and safest cities in the world. I was fortunate enough to have a chance to live in Tokyo for 6 months. During this time, I was able to explore the city and appreciate its unique charm. To help you plan your vacation, I listed some of the must-see places in Tokyo.

1) Harajuku/Omotesando/Downtown Shibuya
These areas are three of the most popular shopping districts in Tokyo. Harajuku offers cheap and trendy clothes and mostly caters to teenagers. In fact, the famous Takeshita Street in Harajuku is said to have the most concentration of teenage girls in all of Japan. Nearby Omotesando, on the other hand, offers high end luxury brands. Name it, Omotesando has it. When you go shopping, don't forget to check out the side streets of Harajuku and Omotesando. There are many hidden gems there. Lastly, Shibuya offers hip and trendy clothes and is just 5-10 minutes away from Omotesando by foot. It is also famous for its restaurants and nightlife.

Aside from shopping, Harajuku is also home to one of the most famous shinto shrines in Tokyo - the Meiji Shrine. It is a quiet sanctuary compared to the hustle and bustle of nearby Harajuku and Omotesando.

JR Harajuku Station (taken on February 16, 2008)

Takeshita Street (taken on February 16, 2008)

a) Harajuku and Omotesando: JR Yamanote Line Harajuku Station, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line Meiji-jingu Mae Station, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon/Ginza/Chiyoda Line Omotesando Station
b) Shibuya: JR Shibuya Station, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon/Ginza/Fukutoshin Line Shibuya Station, Tokyu Toyoko/Den-en-toshi Line Shibuya Station

2) Shinjuku
Shinjuku is the home to some of the highest buildings and offices in Tokyo. Aside from this, it is also a popular shopping spot. But unlike Harajuku/Omotesando/Shibuya, Shinjuku caters to the older age group and has a large concentration of department stores. Other than shopping, Shinjuku is also famous for its nightlife especially the infamous red-light district Kabuki-cho.

Shinjuku (taken on December 23, 2007)

JR Shinjuku Station, Odakyu Line Shinjuku Station, Keio Shinjuku Station, Toei Shinjuku Station, Tokyo Metro Shinjuku Station

3) Akihabara

Home of the "otaku" culture, Akihabara is the place to go to find cheap electronics, games, gadgets, etc. On sundays, parts of Akihabara are closed to traffic to accommodate the large number of shoppers. The best time to shop is during holidays such as the golden week (May 3-5) and new years day since most shops go on sale. Make sure to catch the best deals.

Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Akihabara Station, JR Akihabara Station, Tsukuba Express Akihabara Station

4) Ginza/Tsukiji/Odaiba

Ginza is a high-end shopping district located in eastern Tokyo packed with shops and department stores. Just like Akihabara, parts of Ginza are closed to traffic on Sundays because of the influx of shoppers. A few minutes away from Ginza is Tsukiji, home of the world famous Tsukiji Market. 5-10 minutes away from Ginza is Odaiba, an artificial island famous for its great views of the city. This place also houses the futuristic Fuji TV office, a large ferris wheel and some good restaurants and nightlife.

Ginza Clock Tower (taken on January 31, 2008)

Odaiba View (taken on February 10, 2008)
Odaiba Ferris Wheel (taken on February 10, 2008)

a) Ginza: JR Yurakucho Station, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho/Ginza Line Ginza Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Higashi Ginza Station
b) Tsukiji: Toei Oedo Line Tsukuji Ichiba Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Tsukiji/Higashi Ginza Station, Toei Asakusa Line Higashi Ginza Station
c) Odaiba: Yurikamome Line, Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit

5) Tokyo Tower/Roppongi

The landmark of Tokyo, Tokyo Tower, is a 333m high tower and is a great place to view Tokyo's cityscape. For more information, you can check out my post on Tokyo's night views. A few minutes away by foot from Tokyo Tower is the ultimate nightlife district of Tokyo, Roppongi. This place is lined with bars and restaurants which is packed with both locals and foreigners alike. Roppongi is also home to high-end malls such as Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown.

Odaiba Ferris Wheel (taken on January 20, 2008)

Roppongi Hills (taken on July 26, 2008)

a) Tokyo Tower: Toei Oedo Line Akabanebashi Station, Toei Mita Line Onarimon Station, Toei Asakusa Line Daimon Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Kamiyachou Station, JR Yamate Line Hamamatsuchou Station
b) Roppongi: Toei Oedo Line Roppongi Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Roppongi Station

6) Asakusa

Asakusa is one of the older districts of Tokyo. It is home to the famous Sensoji temple - Tokyo's largest Buddhist temple. Aside from this, Asakusa is also known for cheap and delicious food.

Sensoji Temple (taken on February 10, 2008)

Sensoji Temple Pagoda (taken on February 10, 2008)

Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station, Toei Asakusa Line Asakusa Station, Tokyo Metro, Tobu Isesaki Line Asakusa Station

7) Marunouchi Area

The Marunouchi Area is filled with offices, restaurants and some shopping areas. But the main attractions of this area are the Imperial Palace, Diet Building and the Tokyo Station. To fully appreciate the beauty of Tokyo, you can ride an open bus that departs from Marunouchi for 1200 yen. There are several tours available depending on your taste.

Imperial Palace (taken on July 20, 2008)

By the Imperial Palace (taken on July 20, 2008)

Tokyo Station (taken on July 20, 2008)

JR Tokyo Station, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line Tokyo Station

8) Tokyo Disney Land and Disney Sea

The Tokyo Disney Resort consists of two separate theme parks - Disney Land and Disney Sea. If you want to explore both, you have to allot 2 days minimum. Disneyland caters more to the kids while Disney Sea is more for the adults. Check out the official site of Tokyo Disney Land for more information.

Disney Resorts Entrance (taken on May 5, 2008)

Disney Sea (taken by my friend Winai on May 5, 2008)

Disney Sea Map (taken on May 5, 2008)

JR Keiyo Line/Musashino Line Maihama Station

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tokyo Night Views

Tokyo is one of my favorite cities in Japan. It's clean, safe and full of energy. Just like other big Japanese cities, it may seem dull during the day. But when the sun sets, the whole city transforms into a sea of lights filled with neons competing to get your attention. Here are some of the shots I had taken from different places in Tokyo at night.

Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba (taken on February 10, 2008)

Fuji TV and Aqua City in Odaiba (taken on February 10, 2008)

Ebisu Garden Place (taken on July 5, 2008)

Roppongi Area from Tokyo Tower (taken on March 9, 2008)

Shibuya Crossing (taken on December 23, 2007)

Shinjuku (taken on December 23, 2007)

Odaiba Area from Tokyo Tower (taken on March 9, 2008)

Tokyo Dome (taken on March 1, 2008)

Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Hills (taken on June 28, 2008)

Tokyo Tower From Below (taken on March 9, 2008)

Some places to see Tokyo's night views:

1) Tokyo Tower
Entrance Fee: 820yen to main observatory; 600 yen from main to special observatory
Operating Hours: 9:00am - 10:00pm
Access: Please refer to link above

2) Roppongi Hills
Entrance Fee: 1500yen
Operating Hours: 9:00am - 1:00am (last entry is 12:00am)
Access: Please click here

3) Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Entrance Fee: FREE
Operating Hours: 9:30am - 11:00pm (last entry is 10:30pm)
Access: Shinjuku station (JR, Tokyo Metro, Toei Lines, etc.)

4) Odaiba Seaside Park
Entrance Fee: FREE
Operating Hours: ANYTIME
Access: Shinkotsu Yurikamome Line Odaiba Kaihin Koen Station or Daiba Station / Sea Bus Odaiba Kaihin Koen Stop

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Off To Albay

After a whole day in CWC, my friends and I spent the 2nd day of our Bicol weekend getaway in Albay. We left CWC early in the morning and since our friend's aunt lent us her van and driver, we just sat back and relaxed until we arrived in Albay around 2 hours later. Our first stop in Albay - the Cagsawa Ruins.

The Cagsawa Ruins is what remained of the church of Cagsawa after the Mayon Volcano erupted and engulfed the whole town in 1814. Now, this place is a primary tourist spot as it is one of the best places to view the star of Albay - the majestic Mayon Volcano. Unfortunately for us, we were not able to see the perfect cone shape of Mayon as it was a cloudy day. We were told that if we wanted to see the whole of Mayon, we should get there as early as 6 or 7am. Oh well, better luck next time.

Cagsawa Ruins (taken on November 17, 2007)

After Cagsawa Ruins, we proceeded to another famous place in Albay - the Hoyop Hoyopan caves. Hoyop is Bikolano for "ihip" or "blow". True enough, it was breezy inside the cave. This cave is famous for its stalactite formations and it is another good place to view the Mayon Volcano.

Hoyop Hoyopan Caves: "Skull" (taken on November 17, 2007)

Hoyop Hoyopan Caves: "Moses" (taken on November 17, 2007)

Hoyop Hoyopan Caves: "Elephant" (taken on November 17, 2007)

Hoyop Hoyopan Caves: "Skull" (taken on November 17, 2007)

Since we had time before heading back to Naga, we stopped by Busay Falls. Busay falls is not as popular as Mayon or the Hoyop Hoyopan cave, but it is a great place to relax and enjoy nature. It sure was a great way to end our Albay daytrip.

Busay Falls (taken on November 17, 2007)

Finally, we bid farewell to Albay and made our way to Naga to catch the 9pm bus of Penafrancia back to Manila. If you're riding Penafrancia, I recommend riding its Comfortec Bus. Just add 100 pesos on the regular fare and you can sleep comfortably throughout the 8-hour journey.

Access to Legazpi, Albay (from Manila):
a) By bus: Several bus companies such as Penafrancia, Victory Liner, Isarog Lines take the Manila-Legaspi Route daily.
b) By plane: Companies such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Zest Air have regular flights to Legaspi from Manila.

Access to Legazpi, Albay (from Naga):
Upon arrival in Naga, you may ask around for buses or vans taking the Naga-Legazpi route. Travel time is around 2 hours.

a) Entrance fee Hoyop Hoyopan cave: 20php
b) Entrance fee Cagsawa Ruins: 10php

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

CamSur Watersports Complex

Around this time 2 years ago, my friends and I decided to head to Bicol for a weekend getaway. Since this was my first time to go to the Bicol region, I was so excited. We decided to head first to Camarines Sur to try out wakeboarding and spend the next day going around Albay.

We departed from Manila on Friday night via Penafrancia Bus to Naga, the capital of Camarines Sur. After around 8 hours of travel, we finally arrived in Naga terminal where we were picked up by a shuttle which brought us to Camarines Sur Watersports Complex or CWC.

Upon arrival, we checked in and proceeded to the man-made lake for wakeboarding. Since we were all beginners, we started with kneeboarding. Unfortunately, towards the end, I was not able to graduate from kneeboarding. I could not even complete one round. Yeah I really need to practice hard! hahaha. Even if my arms hurt from all the wakeboarding, it was such a great experience and I would really recommend it.

Wakeboarding in CWC (taken by my friend on November 16, 2007)

Kneeboarding - beginners stage (taken by my friend on November 16, 2007)

After a whole day in CWC, we went to Naga City for dinner and some late night coffee bonding. After a while, we decided to head back to CWC and called it a day.

Access to Naga (from Manila):
a) By bus: Buses such as Penafrancia, Victory Liner, etc take the Manila-Naga route.
b) By plane: Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, Zest Air have regular flights to Naga.

You can check out the updated rates at Camarines Sur Watersports Complex's website

Thursday, October 22, 2009

10 Hours In Macau

Last February, I went to Macau with my friends who are living in Hong Kong. We took the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau and arrived at around 12noon. From the port, we took a free shuttle to the Venetian where my friend and I met up with our other companions. Then, we all took the taxi to Senado Square where we started our Macau exploration.

Most of the attractions of Macau are contained around the Senado Square area. Some of the places we visited included the St. Dominic Church and the very famous St. Paul Cathedral ruins. There are many shops and food stalls around this area so you won't get hungry. Trust me :D

St. Paul Cathedral Ruins (taken on February 7, 2009)

St. Dominic Church (taken on February 7, 2009)

After walking around Senado Square, we got hungry. So we chose to eat in A Lorcha, a Portuguese restaurant recommended by a friend. But when we got there, lunch time was over. So we had to return during dinner time. Luckily we were able to get a reservation since they were almost fully booked for the night. While waiting for dinner, we just decided to go to Macau Tower. Aside from the magnificent view the tower has to offer, Macau Tower is also home to AJ Hackett Macau Tower which is the highest bungee in the world. None of us jumped but we watched people jump while eating the pork jerky we bought in Senado Square. What a great way to relax! Hahaha!

Macau Tower (taken on February 7, 2009)

Bungeeeeee (taken on February 7, 2009)

Bungee!!! (taken on February 7, 2009)

View From Macau Tower (taken on February 7, 2009)

Outside Macau Tower (taken on February 7, 2009)

At around 5:30pm, we returned to A Lorcha. While waiting for dinner time, we went to A-ma Temple which is a few steps away from the restaurant. This was also a great place to catch the beautiful sunset of Macau.

A-ma Temple (taken on February 7, 2009)

Sunset by A-ma Temple (taken on February 7, 2009)

Then we had our much awaited A Lorcha meal, and it did not disappoint. The waiter recommended we have clams, prawns, Portuguese fried rice and lamb. The food was delicious and the staff are mostly Filipinos so they really took care of us. But if you plan to eat in A Lorcha, make advanced reservations as it is almost always full. You can contact them at +853 313 193. It is located at 289 Rua do Almirante Sergio, Macau. As it is a very famous restaurant, you can ask people around for directions.

A Lorcha (taken on February 7, 2009)

Prawns (taken on February 7, 2009)

Lambchop (taken on February 7, 2009)

Portuguese Fried Rice (taken on February 7, 2009)

Prawns (taken on February 7, 2009)

After our meal, we went to the Venetian, explored for a bit, then rode the bus back to the port.

Inside The Venetian (taken on February 7, 2009)

We left Macau at around 10pm and went back to Hong Kong via ferry.