Monday, December 28, 2015

Inquiry on Eastar

Inquiry on Eastar Jet:

I'm confused on whether buying the Discount Fare (99,000) would already include the FREE 15kg checked-in baggage? Please advise.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Japan: Nagoya and Toyota: 4 days Autumn Itinerary


Travel Date: Nov 14-17, 2015
Temperature: Minimum at 11.6 Celsius, Maximum at 17.4 Celsius; Rained for 3 out of 4 days stay in the city.

Bearable cold temperature (coming from a tropical country).  No need for fleece yet, you can have double shirt and leather for layering.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Nagoya: Noritake Garden

Destination: Noritake Garden, Nagoya, Aichi
Travel Date: November 16, 2015
Noritake, a known brand of tableware.

In 1876, Ichizaemon Morimura VI and his brother Toyo founded Morimura Gumi with the intent of establishing overseas trading by a Japanese company. By 1878, Toyo had established a business in New York selling Japanese antiques and other goods, including pottery. The company was renamed Morimura Brothers in 1881. 

In 1904, key members of this trading company created the Nippon Toki Kaisha, Ltd. ("the Company that makes Japan's Finest China") in Japan.[4] A new factory was built in Noritake, near Nagoya (now Noritake-shinmachi, Nishi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi). In 1914 the company succeeded in creating their first Western style dinner set, called "Sedan", to compete with European porcelain companies. This forerunner of the modern Noritake Company was founded in the village of Noritake, a small suburb near Nagoya, Japan. Today, many collectors agree that the best examples of “Nippon-era” (1891–1921) hand painted porcelain carry a back stamp used by "Noritake" during the Nippon era. [Reference]

Turn left (eastward) immediately after coming out of Exit 2. Go under the elevated Shinkansen tracks, then take a left turn at the second traffic signal of Wanouchi-cho. The visitor’s entrance is located about 50 meters ahead on the left (East Gate).

2015 Nov: Japan: Nagoya: Tokugawa Garden

Destination: Tokugawa Garden (1001 Tokugawa-cho, Higashi-Ku, Nagoya, Aichi 461-0023)
Travel Date: November 15, 2015
Open: 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Last entrance at 5:00 p.m.) *closed on Mondays
Garden Entrance: 300 yen for adults
Access: Morishita Station on Seto line or Ozone Station on Meijo subway line.

"Tokugawa-en", a Japanese garden in the middle of Nagoya.  One of the suggested sites on where to chase koyo during November.

In the early Edo period (1603-1867), Tokugawa Mitsutomo (1625-1700), second lord of the Owari branch of the Tokugawa clan, established a vast residence called the Ōzone Shimoyashiki. After his death, the property was passed on to the families of his three retainers Naruse, Ishiko and Watanabe, until the Meiji Restoration of 1867, when ownership was returned to the Owari Tokugawa.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Aichi: Toyota: Obara

Destination: Obaracho, Toyota, Aichi Prefecture 470-0531, Japan
Travel Date: November 16, 2015

Thanks to roparat for the full details on how to get to Obara/Kamnigi Stop.

My course was: 
  • Drop-off at Obaraokusa Stop -to visit Obara Fureai Koen
  • Walked 4km (roughly 100 minutes)
  • Visited Semmi Shikizakua no Sato (jumped in at Kaminigi Stop, headed to Toyota station)

For my personal take, Obara Fureai Koen has maple, sakura and more ginkgo in place. The market is livelier in the afternoon.  An off decision when you choose this as your departure point heading back to Toyota, is you need to have the strength to stand for the  next hour, since the bus is already full when it departed at Kaminigi.

Jugatsuzakura (Autumn Cherry)
The Jugatsuzakura (literally "October Cherry") is one of the varieties that bloom in the autumn and winter. The flowers are small and sparse, but provide a surprising sight in combination with fall colors or snow. [Reference]

Saturday, December 5, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Toyota: Asuke: 4 things to expect in Korankei

A visit on mid-November in Nagoya City is still too early for autumn.  Where most of the leaves are still in shinning green.  So heading to an off-track destination of Korankei in Toyota City is a good decision.  It's almost an hour train and another hour bus away from Nagoya, but arriving there will give you magical autumn experience.

Most of the review will say that getting there is difficult since you have to change trains and buses.  Traffic is terrible and the place is crowded.  Well, they are all true, so you have to wake up early to catch the earliest transportation and to avoid traffic.

There are 3 options to go to Korankaei, Asuke, Toyota City, Japan:
  • HigashiOkazaki Station to Kourankei via bus Meitetu Okazaki.Asuke Line (Earliest: 6:36, 8:30 Arrival 7:41, 9:36) - 55mins
  • Toyota City Station to Kourankei via bus Meitetu Yanami Line (Earliest: 7:18, 9:35 Arrival: 8:00, 10:17) - 42mins
  • Jyousui Station to Kourankei via Toyota Oiden Bus Sanage.Asuke Line (Earliest 7:26, 8:26 Arrival: 8:23, 9:23) - 57mins
Visit this page to help you regarding provincial buses (or Nishitetsu service) in Japan.  

4 things to expect in Korankei, Asuke:

1. Taigetsukyo Bridge (red bridge) with autumn backdrop - has been a promising scenic spot and loved by photographers especially for those chasing the koyo leaves. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Nagoya: Hotel Trusty Sakae

Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Date Stayed: Nov 13-17, 2015

Price: Discounted - Thanks to, I got another Insider Deal of almost 60% discount, plus reduction on price by using Rewards Points.  Comparing to, I got a cheaper deal in for less than 25%.

It is still better to prepare hotel booking by comparing prices on the official site and other 3rd party booking sites as an early bird, to have more choices. 

Check-in: It is a late check-in, so there are only few people in the lobby. I was accommodated quickly, the staff can speak clear English.  There is no deposit needed.  Choice of breakfast is already being asked (night before) since it is not buffet type.

Room: (Single Deluxe, 15sqm) Room size in Japan is normally small, it's my fourth visit in Japan - so I already expected that it has good facilities and service - with coffee/tea maker, slippers and toiletries.  Nice to know that they even offer LAN cable, that’s so helpful on my online meeting.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 June: Australia: Blue Mountains: Jenolan Caves

It's a decision between to do or not to do it because of the price and the schedule.  A week before our flight we have decided to do it since there is nothing much to do in the city.

An addition to my cave adventure (after Sumaguing in Sagada, Callao in Cagayan, Sung Sot Cave (Cave of Surprises) in Halong Bay, Manjanggul Cave (lava tunnel) in Jeju) glad we made it!

Realizations for our decisions:
  • The Trolley Tours works with Jenolan Office to reserve the tickets and guided tour for the cave.  We got a 2.00 aud discount booked from Metropole Hotel and they were able to reserved us in both Trolley return ride and Cave tour.
  • The Chifley Cave is a good choice and gives you enough time (to do the cave, quick lunch, self-guided tour in Nettle Cave, visit at blue lake, quick visit in souvenir shop and a 30 minute rest before the bus leaves at 3:30pm). Personal choice of good cave is the Diamond Cave but can be visited if you stay there overnight in Jenolan Hotel or if you have private car to be there by 9:00am.
  • If you don't mind being the reason for the delay of the bus departure in the afternoon, you may take both Chifley and Lucas. There is also Oriental Cave (check the schedule).  Be mindful of the negative reviews about of Trolley Tours (read more in Trip Advisor).

We left Trolley Shoppe/bus from Carlton Stop at 10:30am.  It is a long almost 1-1.5 hours bus ride heading to the caves.

Going there stay on the left side of the bus to experience the cliff adventure.

Chifley Cave guided tour started at exactly 12:30nn.

2015 June: Australia: Katoomba: Scenic World

In Central Station, head to platform 7. Take note that 1st and last coach is a quiet coach, meaning you should minimize the tone of your voice, phone on mute and be mindful of your movement/noise. Better stay in the middle coach. It will be around 2 hours, so don't miss Katoomba stop, otherwise you'll reach Mount Victoria.

Scenic World
From the internet not much says about the quickest access to Scenic World - mostly website suggests to take the Blue Mountains HOHO and the Troley Tours.  Please be aware that there is Bus #686 run by the government which accepts Opal Card.

2015 June: Australia: Katoomba: Metropole

Why stay in Katoomba?  Because we can't have Scenic World and Jenolan Caves at the same day.

Metropole Katoomba
Location: Corner Gang Gang and Lurlline Streets, Katoomba, NSW 2780, Blue Mountains, Australia
Just across Katoomba Station!
Book Metropole Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia in Agoda

You can see Katoomba Station from the fire place/3rd Floor

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Australia: Sydney: Bondi Beach

Australia, famous for it's best beaches!  But since it is too cold for us to be playing on the water, the closest and easiest to visit for a short time will be Bondi Beach.  

With shops that offer affordable ROX items to be most loved graffiti walls expressing emotions and warm relationship among others.  One that touched my heart is the wall that remembers the Bali bombing which hurt Sydney tourists at that time. (since we saw the site in Bali as well)

2015 June: Sydney: Ultimo, Haymarket, Town Hall

After my visit, I can say it is not for all.  It will be mostly appreciated by those who love applied science or students coming from intensive science subjects in their lower years. 

Powerhouse Museum
Location: 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Australia

Located in the old Ultimo Power Station building adjacent to Darling Harbour, the Powerhouse Museum is the flagship venue of Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS). Its unique and diverse collection spans science, technology, design and decorative arts, engineering, architecture, health and medicine, fashion and contemporary culture.

Seems to small from the outside but has a lot to offer on their underground levels which stores the permanent exhibition. 

2015 June: Sydney: Central

You can reach Central area by taking buses (412, 413, 436, 438, 439, 440, 461, 480, 483) passing along Broadway and Parramatta Road.  First stop is the university area.

The University of Sydney
Location: New South Wales 2006, Australia

There were few students on our visit on a Sunday morning. Also, can't get a full photo of the Great Hall since there are a few maintenance vans parked in front of the building.  But still it was a nice spent morning for people watching on a sunny chilly weather.

Great Hall

Nicholson Museum

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Australia: Sydney: Itinerary & Tips

Accommodation: Where to stay in Sydney?
Hotel in Sydney: Pensione Hotel Sydney, Haymarket
631-635 George Street, Haymarket, NSW, 2000 Australia

Hotel in Katoomba/Blue Mountains: Metropole Katoomba
Gang Gang St & Lurline St, Katoomba NSW 2780, Australia

Itinerary: Places to go, Things to see, What to do in Sydney?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015 Australia: Sydney: The Rocks

Inspired by Running Man's episode when they visited Victoria Library in Melbourne.  We have decided to visit State Library of NSW.

State Library of New South Wales
Location: Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Free Tour Schedule: Monday to Fridays at 10.30am

Sunday, June 21, 2015

2015 June: Sydney: Churches

There are a lot of churches in the city. It's not only the catholic churches that have intricate designs, there were Anglican and others as well.  On the Pitts, you can also see the Scientology Church (Read). 

We're able to attend the Sunday mass in St. Peter Julian's Church.

St. Peter Julian Haymarket
Location: 641 George Street, Sydney   NSW
Sunday  Mass  Times:  9.30  am,  11.00  am  (Chinese),12.30  pm,  3.30  pm  &  5.00pm  (Korean)

Gospel MK 14:12-16, 22-26 - June 07, 2015
While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."

2015 June: Sydney: I'm Free Tours

I’m Free Tours was started by Ross & Justine, two Sydneysiders, upon their return from travels around Europe. This small group is also made up of young Sydneysiders and Melbournians.

Read more reviews in:

Thanks to Danica our guide in Sydney Sights that we took at 2:30pm on a Saturday afternoon of June. 

It started at meeting point in Town Hall Square, on George St between Sydney Town Hall and St Andrew’s Cathedral. She welcomed the participants by asking the home countries we've been from and had small chats with the groups.  Good thing about this is even there are a lot of joiners, you can still hear her loud and clear.

2015 June: Vivid Sydney - Lights

Vivid Sydney is festival of light, music and ideas held in Sydney, Australia during end of May to early June.

Vivid Light transforms Sydney into a wonderland of 'light art' sculptures, innovative light installations and grand-scale projections for all to enjoy - for free. It is a magical celebration of light-design excellence and the world's largest outdoor 'art-gallery': a unique Vivid Sydney experience. [Read more on]

Photos below were taken during the last weekend of the event on June 2015.

Martin Place

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flavors of Sydney and Katoomba, Australia

Are you heading to Australia to try some of the must eat, cheap eats, best tasty restaurants?  Let me share some of the places we have visited that may also fill-up your hunger for Australian food.


The Grounds of Alexandria
Food: Seasonal greens 7.00aud (with olive oil and sea salt), David Blackmore full-blooded wagyu cheeseburger 21.00aud (with shed-made dill pickles, mustard seed onions, tomato chili jam & lettuce, all on a pretzel bun with fries), Citrus Fizz (zesty orange and lemon soda), Elderflower and Cucumber soda
Value: 42aud (1450 php)
Location: 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015
Personal Preference: 9 out of 10, I loved the experience.

2015 June: Sydney: Pensione Hotel Haymarket

Affordable accommodation upon my research in Sydney are mostly found in Kings Cross. Good prices from airbnb are in Darlinghurst. But, accessible location would be in main thorough fare of George Street which is near the Light Railways in Haymarket, Townhall station and Wynyard station.

Pensione Hotel Sydney, Haymarket
Location: 631635 George Street, Haymarket, NSW, 2000 Australia

Price: DiscountedUpon comparing the official website, agoda and expedia, the lowest price for 1 shoebox room for 7 nights  (P25,567.53) is in expedia (with 10k php hot deal discount).

Check-in: Quick and easy - Check-in time starts at 3pm.  But if they found the room available they can let you in upon arrival. They would also need 100.00 aud as a deposit, just surrender the receipt upon check-out.

For early travelers, they have guest lounge where you can take a rest and freshen-up before you start the day.

Australia: Visa Application

Most of the advise online is still to get a visa first before buying a ticket.  But what can I do if the fares are on sale?!

I bought my 5J ticket on 28-Oct-2014 during the Peek-a-BOOK Piso Sale for 7,060 php base fare RT. Now, how will I get the visa?

2015 Feb: Singapore: Itinerary

2015 Feb: Singapore: Itinerary

Travel Date 

Feb 13-16, 2015 (near Chinese New Year celebration)

Accommodation: Where to stay in Sydney?

Fragrance Hotel - Bugis 
Location: 33 Middle Road Singapore 188942 
Contacts: +65 6336 9888,

Trip Report

Itinerary: Places to go, Things to see, What to do in Singapore?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2015 Jan: Philippines: Negros Occ: Talisay: The Ruins

The Ruins - Talisay
From Lacson St., take Bata-Libertad or Magdalaga-Libertad jeep. Head to Silay-direction.
Drop-off at a corner, block before Pepsi.
This is the tricycle terminal going to Ruins. (100/way)
Entrance 95/pax

The Owner Owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, sugar baron. Married to Maria Braga. With 10 children.

She died after an accident with the doctor arriving from Silay after 4 days. (2 days on chariot, "kalesa" from Talisay to Silay, vv).

He then was re-married to Conception Sison Diaz, with 3 children. [Reference]

The Mansion
It has 8 rooms for unmarried children with first floor for the sons and second floor for the daughters.  

The second floor has a viewing deck to see his sugar cane farm and where he watches good view of the sunset.

2015 Jan: Philippines: Negros Occ: Bacolod: Campuestuhan

How to get to Campuestuhan

From Lacson St., take Mandalagan-Libertad (side of Robinsons). 
Drop-off at Alisbo Memorial.
From the corner, take a jeepney with:
1. Homesite-Cent. Market
2. Sta. Fe-Cent. Market
Drop-off at Lopues East centro
Look for Jollibee/Grace Pharmacy (opposite street).
Find G&C shuttle (going to Campuestuhan)

We are in doubt if we should stay for a night (to experience log accomodation, with no other site to visit) there or visit it as day-tour only (to cover other places).

2015 Jan: Philippines: Negros Occ: Exploring the Capitol side of Bacolod

Exploring the Capitol side of Bacolod

From Lacson St., take a jeepney (Sign board: Bata-Libertad, Magdalaga-Libertad), make sure to ask if passing by SM Bacolod.  

Drop-off at Pope Tower.
This is a tower in a reclaimed site, dedicated to Saint John Paul II.
Entrance: 20php/pax (2015)

From the roof top, you can see baywalk, Campuestuhan, Bacolod cityscape.

Take a tricycle (15php, 2015) going to Bacolod Cathedral.

You may opt to check the Museum (but too sad that the Secretariat Office is close and we did not continue to go upstairs for the Museum)

Next, take a jeep (Magdalaga-Libertad) going to Negros Museum.

Open: Monday t0 Saturday 9am - 6pm 

This houses the  JGM Gallery of International Folk Art and Toys. Which includes different toys and dolls from different countries like Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Myanmar.  I like the most is the collection for Matryoshka Dolls from Russia.

For me, sharing this personal collection to the public is good for us to gain knowledge on toys other countries have, especially for those who are non financially-able to reach this foreign land. So I suggest that the "no photography" should be replaced by "no flash photography" - with this you'll invite more visitors most of the tourists would share photos on SNS and blog sites. 

The upper floor is the permanent exhibit which shows traditional items from Old  Filipino Days.  *Warning: Be careful in going down the stairs since it is too slippery.

Just outside is the Museum Cafe (looks like owned by an English man). 

Take a walk until the next block to reach Provincial Capitol and Lagoon.  This turns as a practice ground and extended classroom during weekends as students meet to do their dance rehearsals and other activities.

Take jeep  (Magdagala-Libertad) from (St) to go back to Lacson St.

You may opt to drop at Bob Caffee to another set of sweets.  

View this link for the: The Taste of Bacolod.