Travel: Japan Visa – Approved!

i’m excited!!! thank you lord! i got my passport today from the japanese embassy with approved 15day single entry tourist visa to japan. yehey! now, at least i have something to look forward to for next month. as you all know, july is my favorite month because it’s my birthmonth and i see to it that every birthday is a memorable one. last year, i went to macau and jump at the world’s highest bungy.

i’m not really planning to go to japan. i’m supposed to attend a cousin’s wedding in the US but unfortunately denied a visa since i don’t have strong ties here in singapore. and so, i made a back-up plan. since it’s been months already since i had my last solo trip and i feel that i deserve a much-needed break from all these corporate slavery and toxic workload, i pursued my planned vacation leave and decided to go somewhere else.

applying for a japan tourist visa is a breeze. unlike in manila where you need to submit lots of documents and no guarantee of an approved visa, here in singapore as long as you give the complete requirements, the approved visa will be available within 3 working days.

i went to the japanese embassy at 8:30 am and get my number slip at the entrance. when my number flashed on the screen, i went to the designated window and submitted my requirements. it didn’t took them long to check my documents because within 5 minutes time, they gave me a paper slip with the claim details and told me to go back after 3 days.

the requirements:

1. duly accomplished form

2. passport picture

3. photocopy of round trip ticket showing returning flight to sg

4. original passport

5. photocopy of pass/work permit

6. photocopy of bank statements and passbook with latest 1-2 months transaction

and here’s the bekky visa. it’s kikay with all those flowery and pinkish design. :)

kikay visa

i badly need a vacation after feeling so overwork … and sad because of people leaving our team. am i going to be the last girl standing?! *sniff*

OMG…Foods!

few more days to go! as the days come closer, i feel more anxious and my palms and armpits are sweating like crazy…or maybe because PAGASA declared that it’s now officially summer. i am nervous. i was telling a friend that thinking about the wedding is something like preparing for a speech in front of the class and my heart starts beating faster than usual. ugh. i can’t wait for the day that it’s all over and our lives will come back to normal. we can travel again, spend our precious money on petrol for road trip than paying a bunch of suppliers, i can read books again and most of all…i can cut my hair pixie short!

if there’s one good thing about wedding planning, it’s about food tasting. after all, they said that you can’t eat on your wedding day so make the most out of the food tasting sessions.

the other day, i brought my mother with me during the food tasting at the caterer’s place. we got kbyc because they serve really good food and got styling with a class. we went to their place at greenmeadows around 10am. upon arrival, Nina our AE welcome us and have us seated at one of the tables in the room. their food tasting area is big because i assume this will be their main place for couples who wish to have their food tasting sessions. we are the very 1st to arrive because it’s our first and last meeting so we are an hour earlier.

i was really overwhelmed by the amount of food they served us. for 2 persons doing a x2 food tasting, it’s too plenty that we can’t finish everything. first, they served us the red iced tea then the food for the cocktails. i love my AE for exceeding expectations. prior to the meeting, i just emailed her my 1st and 2nd options but during the food tasting, they even serve those food that’s not included in my choices. :)

drinks

red iced tea

cocktails1

cocktails from l-r: grilled cheese and tomato soup shots, bruschetta roasted eggplant with peppers and feta, crackers with smoked tanigue and horse radish, hoisin chicken wrap

i initially chose bruschetta with roasted eggplant and crackers and the crackers with smoked tanigue but find them too small. the grilled cheese and tomato soup shot is yummy but my mother find the cheese ‘nakakaumay’. taste and size wise, i love the hoisin chicken wrap. i’m fan of wrap foods because i always order them at mcdonalds in new zealand.

next, they served the soups. i’m choosing between roasted corn and squash soup. me and my mom have different taste in foods, she didn’t like the roasted corn soup because she finds the taste weird, ‘anak parang may chinese yun lasa’. but i like it more than the squash soup because the squash soup is not delicious at all when it’s cold unlike this one which has a long-lasting taste be it hot or cold. i initially thought it’s just like a knorr soup but it’s different, there’s some grainy bits of corn, pepper, spice and other stuff in it which makes it very interesting. so yes to roasted corn soup. :)

i thought we’re done with cocktails until they served us the second batch. omg fiesta! crostini with ratatouille is just ok. my mom likes the cheese and chorizo balls with pimiento aioli, which i agree. but the winner in size and taste is the chicken tortilla with arangula and caramelized onions and pandesal bruschetta with adobo flakes. both are very very yummy and not too small. husband and i wants everybody full because personally, we’re both patay-gutom eaters and we feel very sad if food is nakakabitin (so no to sosy small servings). LOL! also, they don’t serve breads during the food tasting because it’s just a normal bread with assorted dippings. skip that for the actual event.

cocktails2

cocktails batch 2 from l-r: crostini with ratatouille, cheese and chorizo croquettas with pimiento aioli, chicken on crisp tortilla with arungula and caramelized onions, pandesal bruschetta with adobo flakes mango salsa and kesong puti

next, salads. i easily devoured the insalata caprese with walnuts and vinaigrette so wasn’t able to take a photo. it’s my first and only choice because i love refreshing garden salads. the orange and walnuts are very tasty. insalata caprese is the unanimous choice for me and my mother. they even gave us the barbecue chicken salad as bonus to taste, which is also yummy.

salad1

salad: barbecue chicken salad

next, chicken dishes. this is it, the mains just started! seeing all these food makes me now excited on the wedding day. they served us 2 different dishes, again another exceeding expectation from kbyc. i just asked for supreme of chicken with herb cream sauce but they also gave me the other chicken dish which is japanese rolled chicken in leeks and cheese with teriyaki glaze. i like both but chose the supreme herb chicken in cream sauce so i have one cream based dish. i love cream based dish, that’s why i’m fat. hehe!

chicken1

japanese rolled chicken in cheese and leeks with teriyaki glaze

chicken2

supreme chicken in herb cream sauce

next, they served all the beef, fish, pork, seafood and pasta dish. ohmygulay. i didn’t expect they will serve this many food. just looking at all the food makes me dizzy.

beef1

slow cooked beef in ponzu sauce, truffle oil and onion rings

pork1

baby back ribs with corn

rice1

carrot rice

seafood1

honey nut prawns

seafood2

prawn thermidore

pasta1

seafood linguine with tomatoes, capers and basil

fish1

seared sesame crusted salmon, wasabi mashed potatoes and balsamic syrup

hinde na kami makahinga ni mother sa kabusugan at dami ng foods. my mom and i were full from the soup, salad and cocktails, we barely touch the mains, tingi na lang. the slow cooked beef in ponzu sauce and truffle oil reminds me of asado, sweet with a bit of citrusy flavor and the beef is tender. of course, the carrot rice which kbyc is known for is really very good. for the seafood dish, they gave us the honey nut prawns and prawn thermidore. i like the prawn thermidore because it’s creamy with some mushroom inside similar to chicken-ala-king but mom likes the honey nut prawns better. i just badly want the prawn thermidore for the reason that i already ate the honey nut prawns in a friend’s event so would like to eat something different. but i love my mom and let her win this time since i already chose the soup dish earlier. we didn’t get the baby back ribs as we both find it spicy, probably too much barbecue dressing or cumin so we ditched the pork dish. anyway, lechon will be serve so there’s still pork for pork lovers. :) for pasta, the seafood pasta linguine with basil and capers is good but salty. i just asked them to lessen the saltiness and it’s still good to serve. lastly for the fish dish, we get the seared sesame crusted salmon with mashed potatoes and balsamic syrup. me and my husband love to eat salmon, whether it’s salmon don or sushi salmon. this is an upgrade because this is our personal favorite and something we like to share with guests on our special day.

our AE then started discussing with us the details for the reception look, going through the contract, etc. it took us 4.5 hours to finish everything. it’s a breeze talking to her because i don’t have to mention the things i want. she did her assignment before the meeting by reviewing the pegs i sent her and all the things i’d like to include in my reception look, she mentioned them all to me. anyway, i trust her completely and i know she will be my wedding guardian angel to prettify everything.

to cap of the meeting, they gave us the desserts. one is the banoffee cups and the white chocolate cake. i chose the banofee cups while replaced the white chocolate cake with mixed fruits for the oldies. i forgot to take photos before eating the dessert, so sorry for the messy spoon. hehe.

desserts1

banoffee cups and white chocolate cake

nothing ever excites us on the wedding other than the food. and the thought that once all these brouhaha is over, we can go back to our normal lives and move on.

Our Christmas Date Night

four days to go before christmas! i’m very excited to go home and celebrate it with my family and friends!!! filipinos are very festive when it comes to holidays and spending my last four years away from home, made me realized that i can’t compare the filipino christmas to anywhere else in the world. the back to back christmas parties, reunions, get together, traffic and so much foooooood — it’s only in the philippines! :)

since i’ll be away from husband this christmas, we decided to do it in advance. this our first christmas together as husband and wife but then i have to go home and do some wedding errands so he has to stay here in christchurch. i don’t think he’ll be too sad when i’m away because he will have lots of time playing ps3 at home – haha!!!

aside from the throngs of people doing the last-minute shopping, everything else seems to be ordinary here in chch. so for us to somehow feel the christmas vibe, we always attend the simbang gabi daily at 7 pm and so far we haven’t missed a session.

after our simbang gabi last night, we had our dinner at Spagalimis Italian Pizzeria. we went italian this time to make it special because we’re fully loaded with chinese, korean, japanese and indian food binge these past few days.

when we entered the restaurant, i noticed that the place is dimly lighted and i said, “beh, masyado naman pang romantic date ang aura…madilim!”. i ordered our food right away because we are very very hungry as usual. lol.

for the starter, we ordered bruschetta. THIS IS THE MOST ‘SULIT’ BRUSCHETTA I TASTED IN MY LIFE! the serving is large fully loaded with toppings and already filled my stomach to the brim. we had 1 each and split the last one in half because, we love each other so much. haha!

yummy bruschetta

yummy bruschetta

for the pizza, we ordered a medium salmon pizza in cream cheese with lemon zest. it’s also very good and tasty. we both liked it so much because of the cream cheese on top. the pizza looks small for its size but i no longer complained once i tasted it, because it’s very delicious and yummy. all superlatives.

salmon pizza with cream cheese and lemon zest

salmon pizza with cream cheese and lemon zest

for the pasta, we had one each. his is a salmon in cream pesto while i got a chicken ravioli in cream pesto as well. since we’re full from the bruschetta and pizza, we barely touched our pasta so had requested for it to be pack for take away.

chicken ravioli in pesto cream

chicken ravioli in pesto cream

salmon pasta in pesto cream

salmon pasta in pesto cream

our very simple christmas dinner may not be as grand as the parties in manila (to be honest i kind of miss that too), but we’re happy to have at least celebrated it together in the most simple and peaceful way we can. and of course, we’ll definitely go back to this place again! sarap eh.

food trip is date night

food trip is date night

Foodtrip: Alvarado Mexican Cantina

my flatmate organized a lunch date today and invited me along with her friend. ate becky, the oldest among us, has been here in nz for a while and her husband is a kiwi. meanwhile, aggie my pinay housemate, is like my older sister. i always tag along with her when she goes to the gym because she gives me free passes. of course, who doesn’t want free passes!?

since aggie suggested chinese the first time, she let me decide which cuisine to try this month. i suggested we go for mexican. not that i’m craving for mexican food though. it just so happened that while inside ate becky’s car, i saw a mexican resto and i said “how about mexican?” i’m not yet familiar with the places around chch so i let them decide on where to eat.

we went to alvarado mexican cantina restaurant at their new place at stevens street. after the massive quake in chch, all affected restaurants moved to new places around the city. upon arrival, a friendly staff greeted us and ushered us to the table nearest the fireplace. i forgot to ask where she came from but i assume she’s mexican based from her looks and accent. then while we’re about to leave the restaurant, ate becky said ‘muchas gracias’ and ‘hasta la vista’ and the staff replied in a cool string of spanish and i am ‘the-no-hablo-español’ girl feeling giddy because 1) i met a mexican & 2) i heard someone speak spanish in life. ok. i want to learn spanish and i want to go to mexico, pronto!

mexican

mexican
mexican
mexicanalvarado mexican cantina

i ordered burritos and it has garden salad and fries on the sides. the burritos was ok but nothing special. i think the most delicious burrito i’ve tried was the one in sm megamall foodcourt.

burritosburritos

my friends ordered quesadilla and fajitas each.

quesadilla

fajitasfajitas and quesadilla

for dessert, we ordered churros and caramel flan for sharing. the churros would have been better if there’s a dipping bowl for the chocolate. as for the caramel flan, it’s just leche flan.

churros

caramelflanchurros and flan

the place is good too, ambiance is relaxing and everything is colorful. it’s just a bit dark inside probably it’s the lighting. apart from that, everything is ok. if you want a simple, quiet and comfortable place to dine out, this is a nice place to try.

mexican

mexican

mexican

mexicanmexican and colorful

for next month, they want to try japanese.

Road trip to Queenstown

my first travel adventure in new zealand is queenstown, a small town at the southern part of the south island. south in the south? that’s almost being at the bottom most part!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAqueenstown

i took advantage of the long weekend holiday last march and went on a solo getaway. i didn’t know that there’s a domestic flight going there. what i did was, booked a ticket and rode the bus for 8 hours from christchurch going to queenstown. despite sitting for hours inside the bus, i enjoyed every single minute of it because of the very beautiful scenery along the way. stop overs and bathroom breaks gave me an opportunity to take photos of the new places discovered.

here’s a stop over at lake tekapo. the bright summer sun makes the blue water sparkle along the horizon…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlake tekapo

…and here’s lake wanaka, a beautiful lake with lots of ducks bobbing up and down the water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlake wanaka

i stayed at base backpackers hostel accommodation. i did not enjoy my stay here because the place is crowded with young travellers too noisy and drunk disturbing other people in the wee hours of the morning. if you want some peace and relaxation, i don’t recommend this place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbase travel accommodation

so what is it like enjoying “me” time? well…

  • food trip – if i’m not roaming around the streets and taking photos, you can see me eating somewhere else. whether you are feeling hungry or just curious to try on something, eating is the best pastime.

1indian food

2food trip in queenstown is not complete without going to fergburger

3yummy homemade chocolates @ patagonia chocolates

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAgoing japanese

  • (window) shopping – i’m not a shopping person so i always end up buying nothing in all of my travels. i sometimes even forget to buy pasalubong and souvenir item for myself. there’s a sunday bazaar near the wharf selling different kinds of souvenirs and a massage booth for tired shoppers who want to relax.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsunday market

  • cruise – i joined a group tour for an hour. it covers the lake and surrounding areas of queenstown. the guide also showed us the mountain where they shoot lord of the rings. a photo with the captain is a bonus. hehehe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmillion dollar cruise

  • city tour – walking along the streets of queenstown, exploring every corner of this beautiful paradise.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAqueenstown mall

  • feeling the nature – new zealand’s unspoiled nature and beautiful scenery makes every unprofessional photo looks post-card worthy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAscenic view

  • people watching – observing people and what they do makes travelling more interesting ;)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArest and relaxation at its best

i wish to go back to queenstown on my birthday next month. since the husband is finally coming, at least we can try doing some winter activities together. finally!!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Colors

it’s weekend again and it means, it’s weekly photo challenge time. thanks to wordpress dailypost community for the good ideas (^_^). and so, this week’s theme is about colors. here’s my photo entry for the week. (to be honest, i’m just lazy to blog and all i want to do is sleep, eat and relax in this cold weather…hihihi)

colorssouvenirs at asakusa 

this picture was taken at one of the souvenir shops at asakusa in tokyo, japan. as you can see, tourists are not allowed to take pictures of them (you should buy it!!!)…but i was able to sneak one shot. one.naughty.bad.ass.

i wish to be able to go back to japan again someday, perhaps in kyoto or osaka so i can see the beautiful sakura blossoms during the spring.next time, there’s always a next time. ;)

We are the Furballs (WTF)

dogs are my most favorite animal. when i see cute, big or unique dogs walking around, i gushed with excitement and always attempt to take a picture of them. i miss my dogs very much and hopefully i’ll see them very soon. :(

anyway, i called in ‘sick’ few weeks ago and went to this dog café which my friend recommend. i’ve never been to a pet café though i know these things are prevalent in some countries like taiwan, japan and korea. i wish we have something like that in the philippines. :)

since it was a weekday afternoon, i was lucky that the place was not crowded unlike weekends. in fact, i was the only person that time so i’m very excited because i get to spend most of the afternoon playing with the dogs. yehey! you need to buy a drink (bubble tea) which costs $6.50 on weekdays and $7.50 on weekends, which also serves as the entrance fee to the dogs. if you want to eat, there’s a small dining area at the ground floor because food is not allowed upstairs. you can spend time with the dogs for as long as you like.

i can’t describe the feeling when i first saw the cute little dogs. all of them were barking and staring at me when i arrived, in a cute way though. it seems they were very excited to hear someone walked up the stairs and visiting them. all dogs are very friendly. a few chairs are available though you can sit on the floor too if you want to cuddle the dogs.

my favorite among the dogs is a boston terrier one named ‘bui bui’. he’s bulky and quite heavy to carry. he may look like a terror dog, but he’s sweet and loves to snuggle and sleep on your lap. :)

the other dogs play and roam around the area, some busy chewing the seat edges as their past time.

it’s a nice place to hang around if you like dogs in general. i suggest going there on a weekday during off-peak hours to make the most out of your stay.

*wtf (we’re the furballs) is found at 45 east coast road.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

“health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” -Buddha

it’s saturday again and another time for weekly photo challenge. i’m running short of topics to share so i’m mostly relying on the friday’s challenge. hopefully soon *fingers crossed*, i’ll be able to post something ‘exciting’ here (watch out for it!).

this week’s theme is all about BIG (literally or figuratively)…and these are my photo entries.

this picture was taken last year at wat pho or the temple of reclining buddha in bangkok, thailand. i was very keen to see this statue of the big buddha since i first learned about it from the movie ‘the beach’, which is one of my favorite movies. this is very huge standing 15m high and 43m long.

this picture was taken at odaiba shopping center in tokyo, japan. this larger than life gundam robot reminds me of my childhood days when i used to watch japanese cartoons and tv shows during weekends and afternoons after going home from school.

lastly, this photo was taken during a trip at ta phrom temple at angkor wat in siem reap, cambodia. the growing trees among the ruins makes this place one of the most visited spots at angkor wat. this place was also used as a location for the movie ‘tomb raider’ by angelina jolie.

 

Adventures in Tokyo Disneysea

for my 5th and last day in japan, i spent the day at tokyo disneysea. it’s a separate theme park from tokyo disneyland and more catered to adult visitors because this is where the wild and thrilling rides are found.

tokyo disneysea is a bit far from maihama mrt station, so i bought a single journey ticket for the disney monorail to go there. ang cuteeeee ng train!

the first thing i did upon arriving at disneysea was to have a photo-op with mickey mouse. yehey!

disneysea has 7 main areas: mediterranean harbor, mysterious island, mermaid lagoon, arabian coast, lost river delta, port discovery and american waterfront. 

mediterranean harbor, is the first area upon entering disneysea. there you will see mount prometheus, which is the iconic structure of disneysea. this is also where you can ride the venetian gondola as well as see the fortress exploration, where i met captain jack sparrow aka ahem potential lovelife kasi ang gwapo. haha. starstruck!

walking further, you will now reach the american waterfront area.

i also watched the broadway musical show featuring the disney characters. pero na lola mode ako, nakatulog ako. pahinging kumot!

this is the tower of terror. mukhang kalmado on the outside di ba? pero high drop tower thrill ride yan. maiiwan ang kaluluwa sa taas. haha.

ang cute nila, pakalat kalat sa park!!!  :) :)

this is the toy story section area. it was still closed when i visited and only opened last july 9.

i also watched the lumiere and friends show by noon. this is one of the shows i enjoyed so much. sing and dance ang disney characters ang saya.

lakad lakad la la la, i reached the port discovery area. sumakay ako ng isang ride pero byahilo ang nangyari. nakalimutan ko mag bonamine. paikot ikot ikot ikot ikot lang ang ride…

this is the mysterious island zone. i rode the ’20,000 leagues under the sea ride’, a submarine-like ride.

then this is the mermaid lagoon area which is my favorite among the 7. ang cute ng rides at ng pastel colors. hehe. sinakyan ko lahat ng chikiting rides sa mermaid lagoon!!! wahaha.

humahapon na ng onte so i went to arabian coast. this is where aladdin and princess jasmine’s characters are seen. i rode the jasmin’s flying carpet ride and the aladdin’s carousel. hilo-hilo paikot-ikot rides galore.

because the theme park is so huge, i was not able to explore the lost river delta area that much. i just took a picture of the temple of the crystal skull ride.

i super enjoyed my two days of stay at the disney resort. the theme park is very big that a whole day is not enough to cover all the areas and attractions. nevertheless, i really made the most out of my 2 days and rode as many rides as i could.

good-bye and thank you japan for being nice to me. i enjoyed my vacation at your beautiful, warm and friendly country. i wish i can go back there again some day. thank you tokyo for the good memories. :)

Adventures in Tokyo Disneyland

tokyo disneyland … ✔

japan experience is not complete without visiting tokyo disneyland. since it’s my first disneyland experience, i don’t know what to expect apart from seeing mickey mouse and minnie mouse in person. i’m lucky because the weather is good that day after days of non-stop raining.

tokyo disneyland is located not in tokyo but in chiba area. so i have to travel for an hour and transfer train lines to reach the destination. i bought the 2-day pass, 1 day each for disneyland and disneysea. they are separate theme parks and a whole day is required to visit each place. based from personal experience, even a whole day is not enough because the theme park is so huge and there are lots of attractions to see. the park is divided into 7 themed areas: world bazaar, adventureland, westernland, critter country, fantasyland, toontown and tomorrowland.

i spent the entire day walking around, trying some mini rides and watching the attractions. the morning and evening parades are very nice as well. disneyland is a very happy place, i almost think of staying here forever. someday, i wish i can bring my loved ones here so they can see and experience the happiness i felt that day.

tokyo disneyland jubilation parade

to wrap up the day, i stopped by a 24-hour sushi place near my hostel for dinner. my friends advised that I try eating authentic sushi in japan, of course for experience. :)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers

%d bloggers like this: