Sakura 🌸

April is coming to an end. This month has been popularly known as the Spring Season. Undeniably, one of the best countries in Asia to experience it is in Japan. Sakura as how the they call it, is not just a blissful sight, it symbolizes a deeper meaning and tradition that the Japanese celebrates up to this time.

“The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short.” – Homaro Cantu

I’ve seen a lot of beautiful photos of Sakura posted by my friends and travel pages that I follow. Blessed with an opportunity to see it with my own eyes this year, was an overwhelming experience. After the trip, I had a deeper appreciation on why it was the most celebrated season in Japan. The relevance of Spring mirrors LIFE itself. Like Sakura, life blooms beautiful memories. Ironically, life too can be short, so we have to cherish every moment. Let’s spend more time with our loved ones, be kind, spread positivity and love fully. Let’s celebrate LIFE! 🌸

Japan-eats! What to eat in Tokyo?

Aside from Sakura, Manga and Shinkansen, Japan captured our hearts through their cuisine. They are known to prepare food passionately. They set high standards when it comes to richness and flavorful taste of their local food.

So a trip to this beautiful country will not be complete without “food trip”. It has been a week since I tasted one of the well-loved cuisines in the world. So, for anyone of you who will explore Japan soon, hope my “What to eat in Tokyo?” helps.

🌸 Fresh sushi and sashimi for breakfast in Tsukiji Outer Market. Be there early. The market closes before 12noon.

🌸 Ichiran Ramen (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roponggi and Asakusa). Experience self-service ordering machine and sip authentic tonkatsu broth ramen in one of the most famous ramen houses in Japan. It is worth the long queue.

🌸 Yakisoba, Spicy Ramen and Bread. For authentic Japanese delicacies, eat around Ameyoko Food Street in Ueno after doing some shopping. Mostly they don’t have english menu but it comes with pictures so dont be shy to ask. Saw one local ordered bread and dipped it in soya milk. I did the same and it’s really good.

🌸 Izakaya. Allot one night for an Izakaya experience. It is a typical after-work drinking place for Japanese. Here, you will eat small dishes while drinking draft beer or “sake”. You can find one in Golden Gai.

🌸 Takoyaki in Takoyaki Museum in Aqua City, Odaiba. I’m not really a fan of Octopus balls but Takoyaki in Japan tastes so good that I craved for another one the next day.

🌸 Tanuki dumplings and Chicken chops in Tanuki tea house in Kawaguchiko. Grab some snacks while enjoying the view of Mt. Fuji.

🌸 Taiyaki or fish-shaped cake in Akihabara. It comes with different filling. Most common are red bean, cheese, custard and chocolate.

🌸 Melon Pan in Sensoji Temple, Asakusa. It has a crisp outer layer but soft in the inside. The sweet smell is too hard to resist.

🌸 Tamagoyaki omelet in Tsukiji Market. Before eating fresh tuna and salmon, fill your belly with this cake-like omelet dish. Plus it only costs JPY100.

🌸 Matcha Ice Cream. Yes, we have it here in PH but of course the experience of eating Matcha ice cream in Tokyo is one for the books.

I haven’t tried other delicacies such as Yakitori, Japanese Green Tea and a lot more which means I have to come back. But for now, I’ll savor in my memory the flavors from my recent trip. Oishi! ❤️

Huck Finn

This weekend I decided to revisit the pages of my favorite childhood novel. Surprisingly, it feels like reading it for the first time. The story is more than just the (mis)adventures of a runaway boy with dirty clothes and a raft. It depicts cruelty, slavery, fraud, friendship and freedom which are still evident nowadays. It used to be entertaining for me to read as a kid, and still is, but with a different depth now as an adult. I even grabbed a pen and paper to scribble down quotes and takeaways. No wonder, it is the first Great American Novel! 📓

The Last Dance

The iconic song “Ang Huling El Bimbo” was brought to the musical theater and I got the chance to watch it last night. It was a story about friendship of four college students named Joy, Jay, Emman and Hector. The play revolved around building relationship and how it was tested by a horrible incident. Eventually, this drifted them apart, leaving them with unresolved issues. The only girl among the group, Joy suffered the most. She did not finish college, endured life of poverty, got a child out of wed-lock and struggled hard to sustain their daily means. As how the song Ang Huling El Bimbo ended, “at isang gabi, nasagasaan sa isang madilim na eskinita”, eventually Joy encountered a tragic death.

For it was already one hell of a sobering song, putting it to play is a lot more distressing. The last act was soulful and intense. After 20 years, the boys came over to pay their last respect to Joy. It was the boys’ graduation when they last met and didn’t communicate thereafter. Full of regrets, what ifs and repentance. Sadly, Joy will no longer hear them.

Coping up with the cruelties and struggles that this world brings, we tend to overlooked those who have been with us from the beginning. As we aged, we conquer our own battle. We wasted our time dwelling over material things, fame and success. Consequently, it allowed us to neglect our families and friends, the core who unceasingly supported us. When they depart, regardless of the amount of time that we spent with them, we still wished we had more time. Imagine how painful it will be for someone who failed to do so. Life indeed is short. So this I have to say, make time for friendships and relationships. Don’t wait till its too late.

Dance with them as if it will be the last.

Angel

How can you lose someone you never had? How can you afford to lose someone you truly love?

How can you lose someone you never had?

How can you afford to lose someone you truly love?

We often hear people say “Everything happens for a reason”. No matter how much we wanted to seek answers to so many why’s, we hold our stand in believing that someday everything will soon make perfect sense. Tragedy tests our patience. It can leave us devastated, emotionally drained and most of the time we blame ourselves for all the ridicule that this cruel world brought us.

Where can we get the courage to move on? How can we start all over? When will this pain ends? It will be a long and hard battle to win. A lot of lessons to learn, tears to shed, hearts to mourn. Things get worst before it gets better. With all these circumstances, our faith must hold us together. Let it go. Continue to trust in Him. Instead, don’t ask why, seek for His answer.

Fly now our angels.

Kalayaan

Paano kita papalayain?

Isang bagay na kay hirap gawin

Alaala mo na araw-araw kong kapiling,

Ang pagpapalaya ba sa akin ay darating

Sa isang iglap, sa isang kurap,

Pagkawala mo’y hindi ko matanggap

Ang iyong haplos sa bawat sakit,

Hindi ko na kailanman makakamit

Sadyang ang panahon ay kay bilis sayo’y dumating,

Pagmamahal mo sa amin mo lang pinarating

Kung maari lamang na ikaw ay aming bawiin,

Ang sakit sa aming puso’y papawiin

Ang iyong mga tinurong aral aking babaunin,

Pagmamahal mo kahit saan ay dadalhin

Paano ba kita papalayain?

Ikaw na nagbigay ng buhay sa akin.

Twenty Eighteen

Thoughts as another year unfolds

New Year’s Day while on our way back to Manila after the holidays, I asked a loved one why he doesn’t make a list of goals for the New Year. His answer was simple “I don’t want to set expectations and disappoint myself when I fail to achieve it”. Curiously, I asked again, “Then how do you make things happen in your life without planning?” And he immediately answered, “As long as I know what I’m doing and it will take me to what I want to be, I’m good with it, no need to write it down.”

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On the contrary, it has been a tradition for me marking down my plans to kick-off the year. My progress stimulates a sense of excitement as I tick-off my lists every year-end. The regulars usually are my travel goals to as many places as I can, saving up PhpXXX amount, career leap, losing weight and learning something new. My 2017 didn’t fail me except for the losing weight part (LOL). After that conversation, I contemplated for a while. Do I want to change how I do things this year and try doing it spontaneously? Will I ditch listing down my goals/plans for 2018? Eleven days after New Year, I finally decided to stick to what I got used to. Not because I don’t want to take chances and do something new. I do, actually. It’s just that, it works for me so why get rid of it?

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In the era of social media, everything is public, fast-paced, #Goals posted everywhere, associating our lives and achievements from that of others and the end-products are pressure and stress. I too experienced it at some point. More often my goals were patterned after the clamor of the society. Sometimes the intent and purpose doesn’t define me. At that moment, I paused to think what really makes me happy? Who do I really want to become? Then flashes of things that I love doing crossed my mind – fulfillment after reading a good book, writing a blog, going back to running, visiting more heritage houses and museums and as plain as enjoying a cup of coffee during friends meet-up. With that thought, there’s no point in pushing myself too hard. I want to recourse to conventional activities which are less stressful and will make me feel better. I will still navigate but with a purpose of fulfilling the old soul in me and not just for the show-off bucketlist. I will work not for the heck of getting that “title” but because I don’t want an idle mind. I will still spend prudently but scrap setting a specific amount, instead I will save to buy more books and to build a shelf for my stuff. This year, I will take things on my own pace as modestly as I can. With my own definition of contentment.

And for the greater things, I’ll leave it up to 2018 to surprise me!

Continue reading “Twenty Eighteen”

How Travel Changed My Life

Traveloka’s blog contest: “How Travel Changed My Life”

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 Station 2 Boracay Island (Aklan 2010)

2010 when I had my first taste of this obsession called traveling. It was a 3-day trip with friends in Boracay. Back then, flights were still very limited and expensive, so we booked a one way flight and decided to go back to Manila via RoRo. It was my first trip without my family, first trip outside Luzon, first trip that I financed myself; a completely new experience for me. From then on, I make it a point to travel at least once or twice a year. I was so fixated in booking flights just to get that stamps on my passport, ride a plane, visit tourist spots and to mark off my vacation leaves. As it turns out, my idea of traveling was very shallow.

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Ngong Ping Village (Lantau, Hong Kong, 2013)

April 2014, I finished my post graduate studies. After surpassing all the challenges in school while working, I decided to reward myself with a vacation on Holy Week. I longed to experience that kind of traveling where you are on your own, commuting, just your feet and your adventure instinct. While watching television, a travel show featured Pampanga and its delicacies. Given the accessibility and its sophisticated culinary creations, Pampanga seemed to be a perfect weekend getaway. I was telling one of my good friends about it and later on found out that he too wanted to get a taste on what the province has to offer. Although it was supposed to be a solo adventure but a friend’s company is very much welcome. I made a deal with him that I will be on top of the planning. I did my homework pretty seriously – Google, maps, blogs and friends from Pampanga were of great help. On the day of our trip, we found ourselves off to an exciting adventure. We wandered around Pampanga riding jeeps, walked under the scorching heat, got lost, congratulate ourselves when we got the directions right, endured starvation because most of the stores were closed in observance of Holy Week and made us extend our stay for us to taste  Gill’s Sherbet when it opened on Easter Sunday. I can go on and on to tell every bits and pieces of our travel but all I wanted to say is that, that trip changed my outlook in traveling.

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Enjoying Gill’s Sherbet (Nepo Mart, Angeles City, Pampanga, 2014)

Planning your own trips will require you to be on top of every detail. As you go through the process, you will find interesting facts about the place, you will uncover its rich history and customs, the curiosity about each destination will ignite. Traveling made me appreciate the beauty of the busy streets, dining in carinderia with that long line of local eaters, riding jeepneys, tricycles, habal-habal or buses, visiting museums and galleries, unfolding its antiquity and experiencing how the locals live.

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Balete Tree or Millenium Tree (Aurora Province, 2014)

As I discover Philippines and other countries, I also discover more about myself. Traveling helped me to gain control of my ability to plan my own trip. It challenged my patience, tolerance and fears. There were times when we got lost, rain poured hard, stomach ached, items misplaced and committed mistakes after mistakes. All these are there to test our judgment, our composure and our capabilities. Misunderstandings and disagreements are inevitable when traveling with companions, but you will be surprised on how at the same time, traveling will strengthen your relationships with them. While I have my own faith, travel has taught me to respect other’s traditions, religion and beliefs. Truly, a different perspective was unfolded in me.

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Big Lagoon (El Nido, Palawan, 2014)

Most importantly, traveling imparts gratitude and appreciation. Reading blogs from other travelers equipped me on how to organize my trips. It readied my expectations, what to try, where to go, and what to do and not do, etc. As a way of giving back, I decided to create my own blog site where I can talk about my travel experiences and share my discoveries and takeaways. I made my Instagram page a venue where I can post places I visited and the story that lies behind it. I owe it to other travelers like me, that I may contribute even modest information to their future travels. More so, to the locals of the places that I’ve been to, it’s my own little way to help them promote their tourism. I maybe an amateur blogger and yet to explore more places, but I will do my best to advocate history and culture of every place that I will visit.

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Chinese Temple (Chinatown, Singapore, 2015)

How travel changed our lives may differ, whatever it maybe, we are one more of a person right after every travel. Each experience will add up to a person we’ve become. For me, traveling is a responsibility. It’s up to each one of us on how we will make use of our experiences in traveling.

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Kuya Din, our habal-habal driver who we had a deep conversation about Mindanao’s tradition and Muslim religion (Samal Island, Davao del Norte 2016)

Along the way, I not only found purpose in traveling but I also found someone to do it together with, my good friend who accompanied me in Pampanga. It has been three years that we have been navigating together and we are just getting started.

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To more travels! (Patapat Viaduct, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, 2017)

Link: www.traveloka.com/en-ph/how-travel-changed-my-life-blogger-contest

#TravelokaPH #WhyITravel  #TravelokaStories

TravelBook Philippines Inc. (TravelBook.ph) anniversary promo!

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TravelBook.ph celebrates their fourth year anniversary

Press Release

Travelbook.ph, the leading local hotel booking website in the Philippines, is turning four!

And in celebration of four exciting years in the business, TravelBook.ph encourages you to explore and see the beauty of the Philippines in the coming months with ongoing exciting promos: Win a free trip to Japan for two in the Konnichi-wow: Free Trip to Japan and avail of highly affordable deals on hotels and resorts with Super Summer Sale.

In addition to the anniversary, TravelBook.ph is also celebrating a lot of huge milestones. In just four years, TravelBook.ph grew exponentially in the e-commerce industry. Its number of bookings increased up to 200% ever since they started offering affordable hotel reservations in March 2013. Today, over 3,200 local hotels and resorts are listed on their website, providing more opportunities for Filipino wanderers to travel around the country and support local tourism.

TravelBook.ph dares to brave that extra mile and achieve even more by further establishing their brand as the only online travel agency (OTA) that promotes local tourism and highlighting the unique perks and services they offer to Filipino travelers, including attractive discounts, convenient payment options, exclusive reward points, and the TravelBook.ph mobile application.

TravelBook.ph will also be releasing TravelBook magazine, the company’s official free publication that aims to inspire Filipinos to visit local destinations, meet new people, and immerse themselves in the country’s rich culture.

All these and more will officially be announced to the media on TravelBook.ph’s upcoming Summer Anniversary Blowout press launch on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas.

The Philippines is undeniably full of wonders that are meant to be appreciated as well as explored. As they celebrate their fourth anniversary, TravelBook.ph encourages you to go out there and explore the amazing places in the Philippines and gain memorable travel experiences like no other.

For more details, please contact:

Mary Angeli Pasquin

Business Planning Officer

MaryAngeli.Pasquin@travelbook.ph

+63 (998) 840-4855

+63 (2) 662-1113

Sharah Pinky Librada

Marketing Communications Officer

SharahPinky.Librada@travelbook.ph

+63 (917) 530-7464

+63 (2) 662-1113

About TravelBook.ph

TravelBook.ph is one of biggest online travel e-commerce company (online travel agent or OTA) in the Philippines dedicated to offering great value hotel bookings and with a varied selection of Philippine hotels and resorts in Baguio, Batangas, Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Davao, Laguna, Metro Manila, Palawan, Pampanga, Tagaytay, Zambales, and more. A total of 3,000 of affordable hotels are currently listed in Travelbook.ph.

TravelBook.ph offers the best price guarantee with attractive discounts for hotels and resorts, and various types of payment options without a credit card:

– Pay at Hotel
– Over the Counter: banks, 7-Eleven, department stores, and payment centers

Travelbook.ph also offers exclusive reward points: Customers also automatically earn back 5% of the total amount they spend as reward points, which they can use to get discounts on their future bookings (1 point is equivalent to PHP 1.00).

Customers can also use TravelBook.ph’s convenient mobile app to book accommodations on the go. It is available on the App Store and Google Play.

Lastly, TravelBook.ph is a proud Philippine-based company with 24/7 support. It has a Filipino call center ready to assist customers anytime. They can be reached through these numbers:

Landline: +63 2 662 1111

Sun: +63 925 887 2835

Globe: +63 917 850 9029

Smart: +63 998 961 3012

To know more about convenient and affordable hotel bookings all over the Philippines, visit www.travelbook.ph

Follow TravelBook.ph on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TravelBook.ph/, Twitter https://twitter.com/travelbookph, and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/travelbookph/.

Travel Promo Alert: 50% Rebate with TravelBook.ph

Who doesn’t love to travel and who doesn’t love to travel cheap? Here is the ultimate answer to our travel needs. Book now: http://www.travelbook.ph/?affid=0442

For a limited time, get back as much as half of what you paid for.

 

Typical reward programs would give you at least one to five percent rebate only, but with TravelBook.ph’s special promo for the holiday season, we will be offering an astounding 50% rebate

Yes, that means you get back half of what you spend! This is TravelBook.ph’s biggest and most ambitious giveaway to date, and you only have from November 21 to 27, 2016 to avail of it.

  

Just imagine how much you’re getting with this promo: If you book a hotel worth PHP 2,000.00 you automatically get PHP 1,000.00 back in reward points. With this, you can already book a room worth PHP 1,000.00 for free or use it to further lower the prices of your future bookings. Take advantage of this weeklong promo, especially for the holiday season when staycations and out of town trips are trendy!

 

This is just the start of our six-week long holiday promo to say thank you to our loyal customers. Check back on www.travelbook.ph and www.facebook.com/TravelBook.ph every week to learn about the latest special deal that we will be giving away!

 

Book your hotels now at www.travelbook.ph/?affid=0442 and earn big reward points!

So what are you waiting for book now! Continue reading “Travel Promo Alert: 50% Rebate with TravelBook.ph”