Vlog : Holidays 2015 + Canon Vixia Mini X

I just realized that I never shared this video here on my blog. Probably because things were a little crazy during the holidays. Anyway, these are just random clips I took over the Christmas break using my new Canon Vixia Mini X. I decided I needed a vlogging camera with a screen and better audio, so I asked Ezra and Kurt to buy this for me. Luckily Ninang was scheduled to visit the Philippines so she was able to bring it with her just in time for our family’s Thailand trip.

You’ll also see lots of footage with my bunny, Mochi in this video. I got him around November so he was still pretty new to the family in this video. (And back then we thought he was a girl, so I kept referring to him as “she”.)

Week 15/52 : As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters

I’ve fallen behind on this project again, as well as on blogging. April is almost over and I haven’t gotten around to editing my March Instabits entry yet. Things have just been crazy these past two months. I had two uncles die, one month apart. My Tito Rey lost his battle with cancer last March 6, and my Ninong Rey (yes, they had the same name) died on April 17 due to a massive heart attack. These past two months have made me realize how short life really is, and how we should treasure every single moment. Of course we’re all very sad to have lost two great men in our lives, but we are comforted by the thought that their sufferings are over.

It’s pretty common tradition for family members to release white balloons during a loved one’s funeral, as a symbol of letting go. I suppose the balloons represent the deceased’s soul rising up to heaven, which was the inspiration behind this image. This may not be my best photomanipulation, and it looks very similar to some previous manips I’ve done in the past, but I would still like to dedicate it to my two uncles who are now watching over us. Goodbye Tito Rey and Ninong Rey. We miss you, but we will see each other again.

White balloon stock : http://freaky-stock.deviantart.com/art/Transparent-PNG-balloon-98480117

Quote in the title is by Seneca

Hong Kong 2016

As I mentioned in my Hong Kong Disneyland blog entry, some colleagues and I went to Hong Kong a few weeks ago to attend a conference on Key Engineering Materials. The last time I was in Hong Kong was back in 1994, so I was pretty excited.

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The conference was organized by the International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology (IACSIT) and was held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Wan Chai

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Here’s a group photo of the participants that my dad took. He dropped by the conference to pay for the tour just as we were setting up for group photos, so he grabbed the chance to take a shot.  (The conference fee included a one-day tour. Family members of participants may join but they have to pay 50USD per person.)

We didn’t really take that many photos during the conference (I didn’t bring my DSLR, just my Vixia), but here are a couple which are mostly from my phone (and a few from Dustin’s camera)

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Morning break tea/coffee with Dustin and Marco

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I thought their mugs/glasses were pretty interesting

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I wasn’t able to take a decent shot of my lunch but here’s what I had for dessert. I forgot what the jelly thing is called, but the other one is obviously a blueberry cheesecake. It was *so* good. It was really cold when they served it so I felt like I was eating ice cream.

That afternoon we had parallel sessions. Here are some shots I took of Amie, Dustin and Marco during their talks (they were in different sessions).

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I love how Marco promoted the Philippines at the end of his presentation (under Sir Marvs’s orders of course)

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Marco won an award for one of the best papers in the conference yay!😀

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Hong Kong Disneyland

Last week some colleagues and I went to Hong Kong to attend a conference on Key Engineering Materials. Since we were already in the area we decided to also visit Disneyland😀

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We had an early flight which meant we had to leave our houses around 3am that day. Here’s Amie catching up on some sleep on the plane while Dustin and I took photos.

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After about an hour and 50 minutes, we arrived in Hong Kong. Here’s Amie awake and making use of the free wifi at the airport.

After exchanging some money we looked for a travel agency inside the airport where we could buy tickets for Disneyland

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I guess they were promoting Toy Story Land which was why our tickets had Toy Story characters on them

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I packed my Minnie Mouse ears which I bought during my trip to Disney California Adventure back in 2014. I paid about $20 for this headband, so it’s going to be coming along with me on all Disney trips from now on. (Raffy does not look amused.)

We took a taxi from the airport to get to Disneyland since we were told it would be cheaper. We paid roughly 110 HKD per taxi, with an additional 5HKD per luggage. (The lady at the airport told us that if we took the Airport Express it would cost us about 70-80 HKD per person to get to the park.)

It was 14 degrees Celcius when we arrived in Hong Kong, which was colder than I expected. I even opened my luggage at the airport to dig around for second pair of leggings because I was worried my legs would freeze during the day.

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And yet Raffy refused to wear his jacket! He said we only had 4 days to cherish the cold weather before we had to go back to the Philippines’ tropical heat. (Which is true. I’m sweating profusely even now as I’m typing this.)

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Hello Hong Kong Disneyland!

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Since we came straight from the airport, some of us still had our luggage. (Raffy and I left our bags with Ninang and my parents since they would be heading straight to our hotel.)

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We were so excited that we look loads of pictures even before we made it into the park😄

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Before heading inside, we looked for the luggage valet where we could store our bags so we wouldn’t have to lug them around the whole day.

Raffy found his first Disneyland attraction right next to the luggage valet:

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Ta-dah! Disneyland toilets!😄

Finally after several more photos, we made it inside the park,where we were welcomed by the iconic Mickey Mouse landscaping in front of the Disneyland train station:

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Where we of course took more photos😄

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We strolled along Main Street looking for a place to eat while (surprise surprise) taking even more pictures

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Japan Day 8 : Cruisin’

Our 8th day in Japan was spent at sea. We used this time to relax and start packing because we were leaving the ship the following day. Since we had a lot of time we decided to have breakfast at the International Dining Room again. We ordered the Japanese breakfast set and enjoyed our meals while chatting with the friendly dining staff. Most of them were Filipino so my parents had a lot of fun talking to them.

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The waiter on the right was actually on board with us during our Alaskan Cruise on the Golden Princess in 2014. He came up to our table to say hello because he remembered our family.

Later that afternoon we went out on my parents’ balcony to watch the sunset

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The lighting was magical so Ezra and I took lots of photos. I used one of them for my 23rd self portrait last year.

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Japan Day 7 : Stopover at Busan, Korea

I’m well aware that Busan is not part of Japan, but our 9-day Japanese cruise included a one-day stop in Korea so I’m including this entry in my Japan blog series. I was hoping we could visit Seoul but of course we could only dock at port cities. Still, I was pretty excited because I’ve heard many good things about Busan.

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It was nice and sunny that day, which was a pleasant change. It rained during all our previous tours so we were happy to see the sun again.

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Ezra and I had a hard time with this shot because the heads were placed extremely high up. I guess we’re much shorter than the average Korean. (Hmm … I suppose we’re much shorter than the average Filipino as well…)

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We decided to not sign up for a group tour because we wanted time to explore by ourselves. The information counter gave us this map so we wouldn’t get lost.

To get to the city you had to take a free shuttle from the pier:

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When we got to the parking lot the previous bus had just filled up so we had to grab the next one. We had to wait for other passengers to arrive before leaving but at least we got front row seats.

As soon as we reached the city, Ezra found her Korean hubby:

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Lee Jong Suk❤

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My mom really wanted to see Jagalchi Market so we went there first.  We saw lots of interesting things being sold:

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We weren’t sure what this was but we guessed that it was a sea squirt (we were right).

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We saw lots of shellfish

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And a few octopus

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Of course my mom took lots of pictures

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Japan Day 6 : Nagasaki and balloons!

On our 6th day in Japan, our ship docked in Nagasaki. There were plenty of places to visit but we decided not to book a tour because we wanted to explore the city ourselves.

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We woke up with a birthday treat for Ezra at our door that morning because when we booked our cruise we indicated that this was part of Ezra’s birthday celebration as well. Our parents’ anniversary balloons were still hanging outside their room so our doors looked like mirror images of each other. (Yes, Ezra and I decided to wear the same dress that day).

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The crew also gave Ezra a birthday card

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Birthday girl. (Her birthday was actually a month earlier so this was a late celebration)

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Since we didn’t book a tour, we got a map from the information center and asked for advice on which sites we should visit.

One of the main forms of transportation around Nagasaki are the trams. We took a couple of them that day to get to the places we wanted to see.

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Initially we couldn’t find the tram station since I was expecting something like the train stations in Tokyo, but they turned out to be these small platforms in the middle of the road.

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I thought it was cool that they had change machines inside the trams, in case you didn’t have any coins with you for the fare.

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The map we got was pretty helpful and gave good directions to the popular tourist destinations…

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… but that didn’t stop us from getting lost. Thankfully a kind old man helped us find our way. Japanese people are so helpful! We only asked for directions but he personally took us to the place we wanted to go.

It was raining pretty hard that morning and most of the places we wanted to see were outdoors. We decided to stop by the bomb museum first since it was indoors and hoped that the rain would stop soon.

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We saw lots of colorful origami there

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We also found this long string of origami cranes that wrapped around the spiral pathway down to the museum

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They called the exhibit “A String of A Thousand Cranes”

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