Monday, September 18, 2017

Experiencing Santorini in Bolinao at Sundowners Vacation Villas

The balcony of Couples Marina 1.

Have you ever dreamed of spending your idle days in an island wherein hundreds upon thousands of specks of magenta-colored bougainvillea are accentuated by blue-capped cliff-side white buildings, with the commanding view of a teal-tinted crystal ocean surrounding a beautifully-shaped caldera? If Greece is where your soul yearns to stay but you find yourself tied to the Philippines by the many complicated things that come with being an adult, there's nothing to worry about. Recently, tons of local resorts are starting to emulate the signature appearance that made world-famous the pristine island of Santorini-- and in Pangasinan, the most famous among these resorts is Sundowners.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The 7 Things That I Miss the Most About Japan

Delicious takoyaki (octopus balls) from a food stall in Ueno Park.

As of the time of writing, it's been five months since my family and I concluded our twelve-day vacation in Tokyo, Japan, but the euphoria from having explored our ultimate dream destination did not decrease the slightest. It's all we ever talk about at home. We made a slideshow out of the 3, 600+ pictures and 10+ videos that we shot in Japan which my mom fondly plays everyday; and sometimes, we find ourselves daydreaming about the most surreal twelve days of our lives so far.

With my heart continuing to yearn for the Land of the Rising Sun, I've listed the top seven things from that country that I miss the most.

Optional: Jump to:
Page 2: Japanese food and street fare, Japanese food markets called depachikas, and the extensive and exceptionally-efficient railway transportation system.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Reliving the Spanish Era in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bataan

Old Heritage Houses standing on the edge of a canal in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

There's something fascinating about old architecture.

I remember writing a 300-word essay explaining my stand on a question that went, "Should old heritage buildings be kept as they are or demolished to give way for progress?" It sounded like it was an easy question  wherein any immediate opinion could easily be formed, but it was not.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Naked and Proud! Soaking in the Hot Springs of Oedo Onsen Monogatari

The facade of Oedo Onsen Monogatari-- a spa lover's paradise! Image from GaijinPot.

As the days of our 12-day pleasure trip to Tokyo slowly dwindled to a close, I found myself ticking off items in my "Must-Do in Tokyo" list just to make sure that I didn't miss anything significant. 
  • Theme parks: Check, check, check, and double-check.
  • Shop for anime figurines in Akihabara: Check (and bill, please).
  • Witness the tuna auction at a local fish market: No check, since we were informed too late that we needed an advanced reservation for that. This item goes into another itinerary for another time.
  • Taste staple Japanese street food which include but are not limited to: takoyaki, ramen, okonomiyaki, karaage, yakisoba, and yakiniku: Checkity-check check.
(Related post: These Tokyo Metropolitan Gardens offer relaxation amidst beauty!)
(Related post: Acquisition of your very own Japanese Tourist Visa made easyFind out how!)

I have more activities in mind that I wanted to accomplish that I've organized in tiers. From the second tier and above, the items in my dream itinerary are mainly comprised of more localized, non-touristy experiences that will give me a more intimate feel of Japan which I swear I WILL accomplish some other time in the near future. My heart welled up with an overwhelming sense of fulfillment as I realized that-- except for the tuna auction-- I've gone and done all of my Tier One "Must-Do" activities. As I reread my list, however, I saw to my horror that there was one un-ticked item in the one-foot long sheet of paper.
  • Bathe proud and naked in a Japanese onsen (hot spring) house: No check mark here yet.
I immediately grabbed my best spa-buddy, food-buddy, and travel-buddy to explain the horrendous situation and just as I expected, she was all up for it even at 7:30 in the evening! That's my mom for you!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Visiting The Rikugien and Kyu-Furukawa Gardens for a Side of Culture and Relaxation!

The tulip garden at the Kyu-Furukawa Gardens in Tokyo, Japan.

Most people think of Tokyo as a densely-populated, high-intensity city. It's easy to imagine hundreds upon thousands of Japanese rushing up and down the streets in every hour of the day, busy queuing outside restaurants and stores, or briskly walking or urgently running to catch their train or bus. But let me tell you this: there are places found in the gigantic, bustling metropolis where there are little to no people and visitors looking for retreat can enjoy the temporary delusion of being far away from the city while physically still being smack-dab in the middle of it.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Meeting Hello Kitty and Friends at Sanrio Puroland in Tama, Japan!

The facade of Sanrio Puroland, Hello Kitty's official theme park in Tokyo, Japan.

No matter how old I get, Hello Kitty will always have a special place in my heart.

I remember when I used to live in Quezon City in Manila as a child. Hello Kitty was as big of a fad back then as it still is now. All of my female classmates then were decked out in Hello Kitty merchandise from head to toe. After school, I'd head to a certain mall in Cubao just to visit Gift Gate, which was a licensed retailer for Sanrio merchandise. I remember going through racks and shelves full of Hello Kitty goodness. To the five-year old me, it was kawaii heaven. To the maid who always accompanied me there, it was not. I remember coaxing her to buy me stuff that I want but definitely don't need, such as Kiki and Lala watches, Hello Kitty lunch boxes, bright pink My Melody tee-shirts, and a whole lot more. She'd always tell me how my mom wouldn't allow it, as they were too expensive. Not usually one to argue, I'd leave the matter at that yet would make it a point to come back the next afternoon just to make sure that nobody had bought them yet.
Copyright © 2015 Travel Hard, Hannah!