Japan 2017: An Amateur’s Guide (Day 5 and 6)

Hello everyone! I am heartily sorry for not having posted in a while. I was a bit busy juggling work, home, and community activities and most days I was just too tired to post. Fret not, this will be my last update on my recent Japan trip since this is the last highlight. So, let’s begin.
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Japan 2017: An Amateur’s Guide (Day 4)

Hi Everyone. I have not been able to continue posting about my Japan trip due to the ongoing political crisis in my homeland, Mindanao, specifically in the city of Marawi. In light of the recent invasion by the Maute Group in that city, the President declared Martial Law here in Mindanao to ultimately control the rebellious acts of those infidels. I’m sorry for being harsh in my words, but those scumbags have done enough harm and danger for so long a time, and now this happened. It’s tiring to be watching the news all the time (and most of them are biased news if I may say so) and seeing people in that area fearing for their lives, entrapped in the midst of constant war just because of those stupid rebel groups who have done nothing but disrupt the peace in Mindanao.

Anyway, so much for that.
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Japan 2017: An Amateur’s Guide (Day 3)


Day 3 was probably one of my most memorable experiences ever. We visited one of the most iconic studios Japan has to date – the Studio Ghibli Museum. Located in the quiet town of Mitaka, it is approximately an hour’sΒ train ride from Kinshicho since it was the last station under the Chuo – Sobu Line. You have to change stations from the Chuo-Sobu Line to JR Line to get to Mitaka. I slowly got the hang of looking at train station maps and changing lines ever so often as days passed. It wasn’t as difficult as it seemed once you got used to it.
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Japan 2017: an Amateur’s guide

I’ve been a constant daydreamer when it came to imagining myself strolling on the streets of Tokyo. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been a fan of Japan’s vibrant culture, its people, and most specially, Anime. Who would’ve thought that the day I’ve been dreaming of would finally come! I just came home from an eight-day vacation in none other than my favorite country in the world – JAPAN! *cries*
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Travel Diaries of a Banker: Surigao 2016

The long weekend brought by All Souls and All Saints Day finally gave me and my Security Bank Georgetown family a chance to make our overdue summer outing happen. (Can I still call it “summer outing”? Haha) Our trip to Surigao was coordinated by Cdo Travel and Tours, a local travel agency which has cheap tour packages good for backpackers. We concentrated our time on three places namely: Tinuy-an Falls, the Enchanted River, and Britania Group of Islands. Below are some snippets and details of our short escapade (credit is given to whom credit is due). Enjoy!

The Itinerary: we travelled by Van at around 12 midnight last Friday, the 28th of October. Our meeting place was at Dunkin Donuts Divisoria, the usual and most common of all meeting places in the city. Our land trip took a good six to seven hours. We arrived in Surigao around 6 AM in the morning of Saturday.

First stop: Tinuy-an Falls

Thanks to the rainy season, Tinuy-an Falls showed its prowess and force to its humble audience. It actually looked like a staircase – it had three levels from which free flowing water passed through. The cottage we stayed in costed us P300, and there were souvenir items displayed just outside the entrance of the Falls.

The caretakers of Tinuy-an Falls have a small raft where 10 people can row towards the falls for P150.00 only.

Obligatory couple photo. 😜

(C) Ria Gonzaga

(C) Ria Gonzaga

(C) Ria Gonzaga

We stayed for an hour or two before proceeding to our next stop – the Ocean View Park and International Doll House located in Bislig City, barangay Cumawas. Owned and managed by Mr. And Mrs. Werner Willimann, the Doll house and the Ocean View Park has garnered a lot of visits from local and foreign tourists alike. There is an entrance fee of P20.00, and you have to leave your shoes and / or slippers outside so as not to make the floor of the dollhouse dirty. If you are hungry, worry no more. The Park has a restaurant that offers affordable and delicious meals to choose from.

These dolls are already considered Collectors’ items. The tour guide explainedhow some of the dolls’ hair were actually taken from the real strand of celebrities from which they were copied from.


(Barbies around the world)

The Willimanns also have some vintage car collections which I think many car enthusiasts will find cute.

(View from the deck)

Our last stop for Saturday before we proceeded to our hotel was the Enchanted River in Talisay, Hinatuan. Not that I wasn’t able, but I decided not to take photos of the place because the crowds were just a mess. I wouldn’t do it any justice. It was humid, I was grumpy, and the people just kept on coming in. When we took a look at the River, it was already murky, and we decided not to swim anymore.

We traveled to our hotel in O’s Landing Resort in Britania at around 2 PM in the afternoon, a little early than the initial plan of 3 PM to avoid any chance of rain. There was a small sidewalk park somewhere down the road where we took quick snaps. It’s a good place to reflect and enjoy the sea breeze.

The hotel. O’s Landing Resort was just one of the many strips of resorts located in Britania. The staff were friendly and helpful, and the place was quaint – a little simple, but just right for an overnight stay. They had rooms good for 10 people so it was fairly easy to decide which ones were staying in one room. Edmund and I were separated from the rest. We enjoined a group of girls from Iligan, Zamboanga, and Oroqueta. 

(Our cute villa. 😊)

A view of the ocean and the sunset to cap off the tiring land trip is every bit of perfection an exhausted traveler needs.

The Second Day: Britania Group of Islands

We took an early boat ride to the islands that Sunday morning. The sea was calm, the sun was just coming up, but the clouds were helpful enough to give a little bit of gloom and shade to lessen the harmful UV rays.

We went to three islands to catch some small waves. There were also souvenir items available so it wasn’t hard for us to pick what to bring home. I decided to buy a pen holder and a small kitchen chopping board for my mom.

Quick sand doodle. πŸ˜‰

The new friends we met during the trip: (left to right) Elleo, Hyacinth, Nizza, and Eve. Such a happy bunch. 😊

(C) Hyacinth Baloncio

(C) Eve Marey

Overall, i think I’ll give Surigao a 3 stars out of 5. A good place to unwind  and relax, but not necessarily a “wow” factor. Even so, it’s a must see. I think I may be able to go back there someday but will move to Siargao, the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. 



The Beauty That Is Cebu

Hello everyone! How I’ve missed writing to you guys and sharing my stuff here on WordPress. I’ve been pretty busy lately and I couldn’t seem to find the time to even jot down an entry or two on my blog. I’m really sorry. However, this week is my Mandatory Scheduled Leave week so finally, after eons of waiting, I get to have this opportunity again to tell you about my recent adventures.

Last Sunday, my boyfriend and I travelled to Cebu together for the first time (talk about #relationshipgoals! Haha). We were so excited over the whole trip, albeit it was cut short due to some emergency that had to take us back home. But, let me just share with you some snippets of our first trip together.


We didn’t really have some serious itinerary planning for this trip. We were able to book a promo airfare for the both of us which only costed us around P2,500.00 (round trip). So we decided to give it a go.

(While waiting for our flight)

We stayed at Edmund’s childhood friend’s place so we were able to save some cash for our day trip on the morrow. When we arrived at Cebu, AC (Ed’s friend) picked us up from the airport and strolled us around Cebu’s two biggest malls, Ayala Center Cebu and SM Seaside Cebu. Mall games in the Philippines are still going strong, mind you.

Before embarking on our mall hopping, AC took us to a rugged mini restaurant called “Pungko pungko sa Fuente”. The main dish was fried pork insides called “Chicharon Bulaklak”. It was up to you to decide how many pieces you’ll get together with the famous Filipino rice balls, puso. 

(We’re about to use our hands to eat)

(Image from whereiscebu.com)

We then moved to Ayala Center Cebu, where one of its main attractions is its long terraces just in the middle of the mall. It is always Ayala Malls’ signature to add a little bit of nature inside its establishments.

(Image from thousandwonders.net)

After what seemed like a whole day of intensive strolling, we were able to relax our sore feet and unwind at a “night market” called “Mercado sa Sugbo” in Cebu IT Business park, where a lot of entrepreneurs who showcase their food, jewelries, bags, and more converge together on a weekly basis (usually on weekends). It was fun and people were just chilling around with their family and friends. The food was great and just right for a light dinner.

(People are settling down on long tables while waiting for their meals)

Day 2

For our second day (which was also our last day), we took a day trip around the city to visit some of the local tourist attractions in the area. Our first stop was the Basilica del Sto. NiΓ±o which was located near University of San Carlos  – a school known for its top performing graduates in all fields. 

(Front view of the church)

(A local vendor displays her colorful balloons for sale)

The Basilica was a sight to behold. People were busy coming in and out to offer their prayers or simply to wander around and relax under the cool shade of the trees and buildings. We then went to see Magellan’s Cross, the famed Cross which the Portuguese explorer put on Cebuano soil.

We also visited Fort San Pedro, another must-see place if you want to get a feel of history all over again. The interior decoration was beautiful and emitted a feeling of being in the past and reliving those historic moments. All of these locations were travelled to by walking!

(Inside Fort San Pedro)

Although we still wanted to remain in Cebu, our time was cut short due to an emergency Basketball game for the local bankers’ association in Cagayan de Oro which is Orobankers. We decided to book a ferry ticket for our hometown and just got home in the morning. 

Our boat was to depart at 8 P.M., so we were still able to do some last minute sight seeing in another one of Cebu’s big malls, Robinson’s Galleria. 

(Inside Sans Rival Restaurant. What cool interiors!)

(Wandering feet)

I really wish we can go back to Cebu and probably go beaching if only Time allows. There still is so much more to see and I want to experience more of this Queen City of the South.

(My baby’s first time to ride a ferry.haha)

I’d definitely go back and visit Cebu’s neighboring places like Dumaguete and Bacolod which also have their own beautiful attractions to look forward to.

I hope you guys had a great weekend!