One Hanami Day

hanami in japanese culture, means flower viewing particularly the ‘cherry blossoms’ during spring. people usually go to the park or gardens to have picnic under the beautiful cherry blossom trees with their families, friends or colleagues. japanese sometimes wear their traditional kimono or yukata during the hanami festival. it has always been my dream to go to japan and see the sakuras in bloom.

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but dreams of travel and jetsetting are a reality miles away…

so last year, when i found out that the japanese community here in christchurch organizes a yearly hanami festival, i got so excited and vow to attend the event. no need to go to japan at all because my cherry blossom dreams will now become a reality here in christchurch! spring officially starts from september until november, but the best time to see the sakura is during the early part of september as the flowers are very vibrant and in full bloom.

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compared to last year, this year’s event is better because there are food stalls available showcasing a variety of japanese delicacies such as rice cakes, sweets and gyoza. i tried one of the rice cakes which is similar to our bibingka but with a sakura topping on top. it was good, not too sweet. but the best-selling item during the hanami is the gyoza. check the long queue, everyone wants a gyoza on a good sunny day! for $6, you will get 6 pieces of gyoza, choose from pork or lamb flavor. :) we bought 1 flavor each, yummers!

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there’s also a tea ceremony booth at the far end area of the park. a few women garbed in kimono were doing a traditional tea ceremony while the audience enjoy a cup of hot tea and a rice cake.

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around half past twelve, the drum show started and the people assembled and find their seats. the show run for 30 minutes.

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all these japanese stuff brings back good memories of my japan trip few years ago. :) if there’s one country i want to visit again, japan is on top of the list and most likely I will spend the days just eating ramen, sushi and more rice cakes. *nom*

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Wellington: The Sunday Creatures

on our second day in wellington, we started the day by attending the sunday mass at st.john’s presbyterian church along willis street. due to earthquake repairs, sunday mass is temporarily held here until the catholic church is already safe to use. after the mass, we started looking for a place where we can eat our lunch. despite being called a city and the capital, most restaurants and establishments are closed during sundays making the city look dead as a ghost town. we must have spent 30 to 45 minutes walking around until we end up in a turkish eatery which i didn’t find satisfying at all.

after that, we went to weta cave studio. to go there, we rode bus #2 from the city central going to miramar.

so what is weta cave studios all about? it’s a shop where they sell souvenir items from the movies ‘the hobbit’ and ‘lord of the rings’. visitors can also enjoy a short film viewing inside the store, as well as a mini tour at the studio next door that explains how props and costumes were made for the movie. due to the ongoing production of ‘the hobbit’ movie series, visitors weren’t allowed to take photos inside the studio. hmm, fair enough to keep the secrecy of how things were being made. there’s nothing much to do inside the store aside from buying stuff and taking photos, so we joined the tour which costs us $NZD20 each. well, i’m not a fan of anything fantasy related so i think the workshop is just ok, but the husband likes it and finds it very interesting.

weta cave

weta cave

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here are some of the photos we had that day. i did not upload most of them in fb because as you know, i am pregnant and i had photos with the not so good-looking characters and the parents and in-laws were panicking when they saw my photo with gollum and the lurtz. lololol. and you know how the oldies believe in old wives tales, pamahiin and urband legends right? they told me not to look at them or else baby will come out ugly-looking. hahaha! i really appreciate the concern and all but i find it very stressful, especially for me who doesn’t believe in pamahiin at all.

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so this is the highlight of our second day. not much to see in wellington on a sunday to be honest.

Wellington: City Tour and Friends

few weeks ago, my husband and i flew to wellington to have his passport renewed.

well (rant upcoming)…

we could have save some bucks if only the embassy people told us ahead that they will be flying to christchurch as part of their mobile consular services. when i called them for an appointment, they even asked us where we came from and we said that we’re from christchurch. they should have known by that time that they were scheduled to go to christchurch and advised us instead to wait for them rather us flying to the capital and spending for airfare and accommodation. i’m pretty sure they know there’s an upcoming christchurch leg. well ph government office, what else is new?

anyhoo, we just took the opportunity to roam around wellington and catch up with some old friends.

we took the earliest flight on a saturday morning and left our car at the airport for 2 days. this is cheaper compared to us getting a cab or getting the airport shuttle services. it was a smooth 50-minute trip from christchurch to wellington and we were blessed to have a good weather on that particular weekend, after days of cold snap and non-stop rain.

it was both our first time in wellington. husband and i were very amazed when we saw tall buildings, shops and lots of cars. ‘syet ang daming building!’ hahaha! para kaming galing probinsya!

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OFW!!!

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basically, the 3 largest cities in new zealand are auckland, wellington and christchurch. auckland is the largest and populous city in the country and somehow equate to manila. everything is in auckland – shops, events, concerts, traffic and crime! wellington is the second largest city and the country’s capital. it is a balance mix of urban and nature. the seat of government is also based here. lastly, christchurch is the third largest city. we don’t have that many buildings because as you know, there was a major quake a few years back so most of the tall buildings were already demolished. i would describe christchurch as a very laidback city with lots of parks, gardens and nature trails. we don’t have to go out of the city to find nature because hills and ducks are only a few minutes away from our house. i compare christchurch as similar to baguio city, city with a cooler climate.

if i were to choose between the three cities, i would prefer christchurch. i think i already gave up the city lifestyle and would rather live in a place where nature is more accessible than tall buildings and malls. after a long day at work, all i want to do is relax, have a nice view of the surroundings and enjoy strolling at the parks and feed the ducks. haha!

now going back to our wellington adventure, we took the city bus upon arrival at the airport so we can early check-in at the hotel. unfortunately, we were too early since 12pm is the earliest check-in time and it’s only 8am. to use the spare time, we started with the city tour and walk towards the wharf and museum. pregnancy didn’t stop me from doing long walks though i must admit that i easily got exhausted and out-of-breathe after 20 minutes of walking. i forgot to mention that wellington is a hilly city so it’s like hiking at the same time!

we had a quick breakfast at mcdonalds then after that, we went to Te Papa Museum. i like going to museums. i’d rather go to a museum or a library than spend time in a shopping mall. it’s a really nice museum – clean, well maintained and the entrance is free. FREE! woohoo! we spent an hour or two in there before i got a message from Mj, telling me that they’re on their way.

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we walk for another 15 minutes going to the wharf, meeting them at a japanese restaurant for lunch. it’s nice to see her again after years of not seeing each other. she’s got a baby too after 11 long years. wow indeed! so happy for her. :)

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Baby Alex meets Tito and Tita :)

after the lunch and bidding each other goodbyes, we went back to the hotel. i have to endure these long torture hilly walks. i swear, i missed our trusty old car. :-|

we were finally able to check-in at the hotel around 2pm. when we reached our room, i heard some weird noise coming next door. it was like some couple having sex and we could hear the moaning and heavy breathing from the inside. hahaha! juice colored!

16 Weeks: Spell B-I-G

it’s officially 16 weeks (and 6 days today). finally, bump is slowly showing! people are now slowly noticing it and i’m loving the perks that comes with it. hehehe! few weeks ago, a man at the mall gave up his seat when he saw me walking towards him and there’s no vacant seat beside him. also, some colleagues at work are nice enough to let me pass through walk ways when they see me walking around with a laptop. luhvet! <3 also, we finally hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time and confirmed ‘Puto’ is happy disco clubbing inside the tummy. tugs tugs tugs.

if you are curious as to how i look like now, this is me at 16 weeks (barely 4 months).

BIG

BIG

big braso ✓ big nose ✓ big cheeks ✓ big boobs ✓ big tummy ✓ big bilbil ✓ big pata ✓

the photo is screaming BIG. instead of looking young and feeling young like gretchen b, i’m looking big and feeling big like claudine b!!! que horror. i’m not even half way through the pregnancy so just imagine that i will still get bigger than this. also, weird things are starting to happen. my neck, nape, groin and underarms are getting dark. as in ‘makulimlim na may namumuong sama ng panahon‘ darkness. juice colored. why is miranda kerr so pretty when she got pregnant? wwwhhhhyyy? i always tell Puto during our silent 1-1 moments, “huy bibi, sana lumaki kang cute dyan sa loob ha…kasi onte onte na nawawala ang ganda ni mommy…” despite the change of look, i’m still happy. tiis ganda na lang muna until baby comes out! :-)

there are days that when i look at myself in the mirror, all i can say is “beh, ang pangit pangit ko na!” it’s quite depressing looking at my old self. what a difference a year can make. i always ask my husband “beh, pag pumangit ba ako at tumaba iiwan mo na ako?” it’s because i was very different when he saw me 11 years ago and he just tells me, “bakit kita iiwan eh nakakatamad lumabas? masarap matulog dito sa bahay.”

oo nga naman. malamig nga kasi sa labasssss!

kidding aside, i’m very thankful to the husband for his love and support during this pregnancy period. i never had a hard time asking him for favor when i’m not functioning at home. husband can cook, can vacuum, can clean toilet and offers to give extra pillows when i’m having a hard time moving around in bed. thank you my labs…mwahugs tsup tsup!!!

in the next 3 weeks, we will have the next ultrasound to check if baby’s growing normally. if baby is not too shy, we might be able to find out the gender too. exciting! we can finally start buying stuff and think of names.

[speaking of baby names]
me: be, pag nalaman na natin ang gender pwede na natin pag botohan ang pangalan.
d: pag botohan!? maniwala ako sayo. may bahid ka ng corruption!
me: [hahaha] wala no. pag hindi ka agree hindi natin pipiliin. gagawa tayo ng voting scheme mag ta tally tayo ng mga balota!
d: ewan ko sayo. voting scheme mo mukha mo. baka ang mga balota may pangalan na.
me: [hahaha]

Ice Bucket Challenge: Baket?

today, i got my first nomination for the ice bucket challenge.

i was more annoyed than excited in receiving the nomination. not that i get a lot of nominations though. in fact, i was nominated only once…and vow not to be nominated again. let this be a warning to those who are planning to nominate me – haha. i just wish these people doing the challenges and nominations really know what the cause is all about and not just doing it for the sake of having to post something in facebook ‘because-i’m-a-cool-person’ or nakikiuso lang. and i really really wish that they DONATED money to ALS after they posted their videos in facebook, that would be more appreciated. seriously, do we need to have a gimik or fads for charity’s sake? if someone nominates me to jump over a cliff for X awareness, hello? yes, stupid awareness. :-|

here are the reasons why i’m not doing the ice bucket challenge. baket!? sorry but not sorry for not doing it.

  • it’s still winter in new zealand and i don’t want to dump ice-cold water to myself in this single digit/negative weather!

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  • i don’t like cold objects – stepping on to cold floor; touching cold doorknob and water faucet, lying in cold bed, wearing cold clothes due to the lack of sunlight for drying clothes.
  • i don’t look like a celebrity and i just feel that i’m not like kathniel, robin-mariel, zanjoe-bea, luis-angel and anne curtis who did the ice bucket challenge and still manage to look good even drenched.

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  • i’m not a fan of wasting resources especially water. i remember those days when we don’t have access to a good water system in our subdivision at tandang sora and we buy 6 drums of water a week which costs 25php/drum. do the math, that’s 150/wk and do the math again that’s 600/month. when we moved to a new house and have a decent water connection from maynilad, we only pay 100-200/month and that is unlimited. i also experienced using the water used from the laundry and water from washing the dishes to flush our toilet, because we don’t have a functioning water sewerage system. so water waste is just NO!
  • water shortage awareness. aside from africa, there are other places in the world experiencing shortage of water. how about the slums and poor provinces in the philippines and other third world countries? even rich countries were not spared. forest fires in california and farm drought in new zealand definitely needs water.
  • and most of all…i’m a cold-hearted, killjoy, no-fun person and i just don’t feel posting a video of myself to look “cool” (i’d rather donate).

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for the love of god…AND water, please do not nominate me to do the challenge (because the cold bother me anyway). >:(

i hope this post may not perceive me to be an evil person, ok? i just hate fads, trends and if everyone’s doing it, i’m more likely not to do it. it’s ok to donate though. just make sure you know the cause and what you are really donating for. i’ve been supporting World Vision and Kiva ever since and still happy to support up to this date.

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