Yokohama!

For my parent’s 31st wedding anniversary this year our family decided to go to Japan. We booked a 6-day cruise with Diamond Princess (blog entry about our experience HERE), but we arrived in Japan 2 days before it started so that we could have time to explore by ourselves. Our flight was around 5am, which meant that we had to leave  our house at around 1am. Nevertheless, I was excited because JAPAN! It was always a dream of mine to visit this amazing country.

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We were welcomed by this sign upon arriving at Narita airport

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We passed by these interesting plate display on the way to the immigration counter

We stopped to use the restroom and I found myself facing a traditional Japanese toilet:

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I used my fair share of these back in Myanmar.  They’re quite common in Asia but we don’t really have them in the Philippines.

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I like how they had an illustrated guide on how to use the toilet on the wall XD

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Ezra looks very excited to be in Japan.  I told her to pose like a high fashion model, and this is what happened:

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She just looked high XD

Since we didn’t have a meal on the plane we were very hungry. Fortunately, there were several places to buy food at the airport

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We found this little convenience store there which sold some packed Japanese food

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Ezra checking out the different kinds of onigiri

We didn’t have anyone to pick us up so my dad bought tickets for a bus heading to Yokohama, where we would be staying

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We were impressed by the efficiency of their transport system. The bus was scheduled to leave at 11:15am, and it left at exactly that time! Why can’t buses do that in the Philippines. Also, the bus had seatbelts! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bus with seatbelts before.

After about an hour, the bus dropped us off at this station where we could grab a taxi that would take us to our hotel

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We spotted this interesting looking vehicle on our way there.

Our cab driver (who was very nice) dropped us off the Daiwa Roynet Hotel, which would be our home for the next two days.  They shared the building with other offices and the hotel lobby was located on the third floor. They had a designated elevator for hotel guests, but we didn’t know that and we ended up going into a different elevator.  Fortunately we realized our mistake and quickly found the correct elevator.

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After checking in, we were given our room keys. I thought they were interesting because most hotel key cards I’ve seen were made of plastic, sort of like a credit card. This one’s very thin and flexible – it almost feels like paper. It’s probably the same material they use for our MRT cards.

After we got settled in our rooms, we bought some snacks and drinks at the convenience store downstairs and ate lunch in our rooms. (We bought burgers from Jollibee on our way to the airport before leaving Manila, but we all slept on the plane so we didn’t get a chance to eat them. We ended up having them for lunch instead.) We agreed to go out and explore later that afternoon so I tried to use our spare time to catch up on some sleep, but Ezra kept wanting to eat all the snacks we bought. I don’t have any pictures of us at the convenience store or in our room but we did take a lot of videos using the GoPro and compiled the footage in a vlog, which you can watch at the end of this entry).

At around 5pm, we headed out to see Yokohama’s Chinatown, which is supposedly one of the largest in the world.

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Beautiful details at the entrance

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Nice clean streets

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Ezra’s and Kurt’s Pre-wedding Photo/Video Shoot (Crosswinds Resort, Tagaytay)

Back in January, Kurt visited the Philippines so that he and Ezra could have a photo/video shoot to celebrate their upcoming wedding. Back then they didn’t have a specific date for their wedding yet,  they only knew that they were getting married this year. They also knew that it was going to be a civil wedding at a courthouse, which meant that it was going to be a very low-key and quick event. Since they couldn’t have a big, fancy wedding, they decided to have this shoot instead.  (Plus, Ezra really wanted to wear a big, fluffy white dress and this was the perfect opportunity). 

My parents made arrangements with Crosswinds Resort in Tagaytay so we could have our shoot there. Our family has stayed there twice before (blog entry HERE), and we’ve always thought that the place was beautiful. The only downside was that it was very difficult to communicate with the resort’s management (they would reply very late, give us incomplete or contradicting information, etc…) My mom was pretty stressed about it up until the morning of the shoot. Fortunately, everything worked out and we had no problems at the resort when we arrived.

Our shoot lasted for two days. We were all extremely tired by the end, but we also felt very accomplished since we managed to finish everything. Kurt was more interested in taking videos instead of photos (which is understandable since he was a film student), so I was only able to shoot in between takes. Most of my photos are of Ezra because I would ask her to pose for me while Kurt made adjustments on his camera. But weddings are mostly about the bride anyway, so I guess that’s normal.

Cyrus also took several pictures that day but I decided to only include the ones I took in this post.

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Congratulations Ezra and Kurt!

I haven’t mentioned it here on my blog yet, but my baby sister got married last week :) I’m extremely happy for the both of them, and I can’t ask for a better brother-in-law. I’ve witnessed their relationship blossom and grow stronger over the past 14 years and I’ve never seen two people more perfect for each other.

If you read my blog, you would know how close Ezra and I are. We share clothes, interests, ideas, friends and secrets. We’ve always been each other’s outlets whenever we needed someone to talk to. The most we’ve been apart was when I lived in Katipunan for my graduate studies, but even then I would always come home during the weekend. We shared a room up until I was 15 and I remember how we used to love staying up, talking to each other. Even when we finally got our own rooms, they were right next to each other, separated only by a thin piece of plywood, and we could just yell through the wall whenever we needed to talk. If it was any other guy I probably would have a hard time letting go and giving her up, but I know that Kurt would take care of her and make sure that she remains close to our family. He’s not only my sister’s husband, but he’s also one of my closest friends, and that makes things a lot easier. The three of us went to the same high-school, and he was even part of my entourage during my debut. I love how they never make me feel left out when we’re together, and how they remember to include me in their plans.

They haven’t shared that many pictures of their wedding on social media yet and I don’t want to spoil it for them by posting photos before they get the chance, so I will leave you with this (which I grabbed from Ezra’s FB page).

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It was a court wedding and it only lasted about 15 minutes. Fortunately, the couple that was supposed to get married after them never showed up so we were able to stay inside the chapel for a few extra minutes and take some photos/videos. Besides, Ezra and Kurt already had an elaborate wedding shoot last January. I’m still working on the blog entry for that, but it should be up by tomorrow.

Congratulations to the happy couple! Wishing you the best on this new chapter in your life :D

Thailand 2014 : Ancient Siam

Last December our family went to Thailand and we scheduled a visit to The Ancient City (AKA Ancient Siam).  It’s a huge outdoor museum where they have replicas of famous landmarks around Thailand, with some of them being life-sized.  It’s popular among tourists because it’s like taking a tour of the country and learning its history without leaving Bangkok. 
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Tourists have the option of bringing their own car, riding a tram or renting a golf cart to explore the place.  We decided to rent a car at our hotel and hire a driver to take us around since we weren’t familiar with the place but we still wanted to be flexible with our time and not join a tour group.  We spent the day just driving around the park and stopping at all the displays that we found interesting.  We had to skip a lot of them because otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to see the entire place.  It was that big.

Here are some pictures we took at the museum:

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We found a baby elephant and took pictures with him/her

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This was the shopping area where you could buy gifts and souvenirs to take back home

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So pretty~

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We found some musical instruments and played around for a bit
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This was where I took my 51st self portrait last year

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Of course we saw lots of replicas of Buddhist temples and prayer rooms

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VLOG : Siam Niramit and Ancient Siam

I finally got around to editing and posting this vlog from when we went to see the Siam Niramit show and visited Ancient Siam in Thailand last December.  (I already posted a vlog and blog entry from when we visited Siam Ocean Park about two weeks ago.)

I’m still working on the blog entry for our Siam Niramit and Ancient Siam adventures, but it should be up in a day or two. In the meantime here’s the video of our trip:

EDIT: Blog post is already up. You can read it HERE if you’re interested

Thailand 2014 : Siam Ocean World

As usual, this entry is going up pretty late.  These pictures were taken when our family went to Bangkok for the holidays last December.  Just like in 2013, we chose to fly on Christmas Day because plane tickets are cheaper for some reason.

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This time Amie came with us, yaaaaay!

We spotted these pretty flowers at the airport and stopped to take pictures
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Our parents booked the same hotel we stayed at last year
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It was Christmas day, so of course there was a huge tree in the hotel lobby

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View from our room

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The next day we enjoyed a lovely breakfast at the buffet room.  We walked around a bit after eating, and stopped by the koi pond to see the fish

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We also took some pictures by the pool area
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Afterwards, we went to Siam Paragon to explore Ocean World since we weren’t able to do that last year

First we said hi to the Harrods bears
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Then we headed to the aquarium entranceIMG_9115 (1)

They were having some sort of penguin exhibit that day
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Ezra found Nemo!

The exhibits outside the aquarium were the same as last year’s, but they were covered in snow this year

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Amie was bitten by a fish

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