T&J Travels #11: Marikina

I have always wanted to go to Marikina! I heard a lot of good things there and how clean it is. I would really like to see it myself.

The restaurant we visited today was recommended by my boss and I am eager to taste their famous pancakes!

+ Rustic Mornings +

They do have an indoor setting. This is just where we chose to sit.

The serving that we got was HUUUUGGEEEE. I don't know if we're allowed to share but I wish we could because it was hard to finish. I even had Reagan clean my plate. I am not to complain, I just hope that I could take in all of those lovely deliciousness in my stomach.

+ Marikina Shoe Museum + 

A few steps away is a museum that houses what Marikina is most famous for: shoes. It's a really small building and inspite of it, not as cold as I would hope. The aircon barely works sadly.

There were not a lot of people in that day so we were able to look at the displays without waiting for others to finish. They have a small display of different types of shoes, shoe contest winners and famous ones from Filipino celebrities.

I wish the museum is larger to house more shoes! They have a small collection of Imelda's as well and based on what I saw she does have a good taste in shoes. I imagine them housed much elegantly as the shoes are though. All those brands look expensive and some are even barely used that it's a shame cramming them in small shelves.

+ Marikina Riverbanks +

We asked around for directions and found out that there's a jeep a few blocks away that could take us exactly to this Riverbanks I kept on hearing about. I do not know if there's other ways but we found ourselves walking the entire stretch of a mall until we reached the end leading up the famous river. I would like to visit the miniature museum also but the guard told us that since it's already quarter to 5 we may not enjoy our stay.

And so we found ourselves near the river. We stayed there a long time just enjoying the breeze in our hair. This type of nature park within reach is something I fancied for so long, not living anywhere close.

From our vantage point we went down to the bridge that will lead us to SM Marikina. Their designer would have done a better job if they've made it look like a beautiful landmark and still be flood ready. What a wasted opportunity.

Reagan kid me in finding a house to stay here for good but then told me that it might be worrisome when flood strikes. We had this office mate who lives there and experienced that in one of those heavy rain fall storms and was lucky that the flood water that came into their house has only reached a few inches away from the top of his beloved billiard table. I am not a high person so that it is really high in my standards. But that would not stop us from coming to visit though!


The Script: Freedom Child Tour (4.14.2018)

(I feel like I'm making a mess of my timelines. I still have a lot of blogs (Bataan and Lion King to name a few) left unwritten and I'm writing this first out of everything!)

I still remembered that day. I've just wiped out all of the remaining credit card balances I had. Out of nowhere I suddenly thought of visiting philippineconcerts when I saw it. My heart stopped. No. Why didn't I heard of this earlier?

Fast forward to yesterday. Ahh. This is the second time we've got seats on the elevated sides and hell yeah I am not going back. An experience 3 years ago with my favorite band will forever hurt me. It was the worst feeling I had of all the times I've been to the concert of The Script (for the opening at least, the rest of the night was superb) and I just don't want to waste money on that anymore, nor at any concert I will attend to the future come. 

Now two things: 

1. I was able to enjoy Paint the Town Green with 0 hassle. I mean look at this video: 

2. They have better bouncers this time. There were (at least from my vantage point, and except for that girl who really wanted to see Danny up close when he came near the balcony above us) no people standing on their seats nor people rushing to the front. You pay for what seat you have b*tches. This is exactly what I really want. 

The best seats for the night have got to be the middle area where they sat there singing one of my most favorite songs of theirs but I don't feel bad. I already had a good experience with that song (cuddling with Reagan OF COURSE) so I want other people to have that wonderful experience too. Besides our seats are already amazing as it is. 

I loved that the crowd was amazing throughout the night, one of the most memorable would have to be the one where you put arms on both sides of you (Reagan didn't stand and I was shy putting my arm over the one next to me because she was quiet the entire time, like no screaming!) but that was OK, because watching it IRL is surreal. They do know how to (literally) move the crowd. 

I purchased the tickets before the setlist was available and when I did it wasn't disappointing. I was a bit worried that they might fill it with the songs at their Freedom Child album but thank goodness it wasn't. Freedom Child has got to be the album with the least songs I like (I try to treat every song of theirs equally) because some of their songs there have become too political for my taste. I was even denying it to myself until I heard over the radio of two DJs talking about it, sharing my POV. I think it's safe to say on behalf of all fans, I hope they got back to their roots in songwriting and not choose that route before it's too late. 

So anyway the set they made is amazing and they were focused on the performance itself. It was really a good fan service for them to perform in the middle of the crowd and Danny traversing the arena. As always they've made really good use of our time, song after song after song. I enjoyed again and as expected. The group of girls in front of us are really cute, they were dancing and singing and screaming their hearts out the entire night. I would love to do the same (well, I do but not that much) because I have already wasted a recording of a concert because of my horrendous voice overlapping the band. 

Again, I am proud to say I have never missed a concert and I know in my heart I never will. I might become Doris Brigonia (she was near us, she's at the pit) one of the oldest concert goer of theirs. I just hope they always think of Manila whenever they have tours. I mean, this is their 4th tour and never miss, the fans here love them so there's definitely no reason why they won't come back right?!



Review: Motorola 5GS

Two days before our Japan flight my phone started to suddenly turn off. What's worse is it won't connect to wifi or data at all. A day of this and I decided to buy a phone a day before our trip. I am already going to spend money for 10 days and I just want something decent to use. Plus, my re-contract is only a few months away anyway so no need to splurge on a new device.

I didn't research that much and just went on with the first phone that I found that's decent. Motorola 5GS. There's a pricier version that I was told to have a better camera but at that time I can't see the difference so I got this instead. So anyways the specs that I am looking for are simple. Anything more than: 2000mAH battery, 2GB RAM, 16GB. Moto 5G have the ff: 3000mAH, 4GB RAM and 32GB. So far so good.

Like all of my gadgets the first thing I always do is get a case. I've gone to St. Francis and almost gave up that I would get a case. I even felt offended when I get disgusted looks that I don't have a phone they expect to have. The last one that offered me could only give one sample and I was too tired to even resist in the price she gave. 

I've been using 5GS for 2 mos now and I am quite satisfied albeit with a few exceptions which I'm not sure if an isolated case or just me:

1. The camera is not as good as I wanted it to be especially in low light or if the subject is moving. I also find the colors washed out. I am no photographer but I do love taking pretty things.

Sample Photos and a quick clip for Moto 5GS (No edits where made. Just added the watermarks)

2. Twice I had sudden restarts that were caused by an SD Card. The first time I encountered this issue was when I attempted to move all my Spotify songs on my SD. I had to uninstall Spotify and reformat the card for the phone to work. After a few weeks, no issues until one day when it started to boot loop. I am now SD Card free for a few days now and I thought maybe I could survive without it. Unfortunate, I loved the one key management it offers. 

EXTRA: I wonder why the CLEAR option in opened apps are on top? You have to scroll through all the apps!

Everything else is really decent IMHO. I particularly enjoyed using the fingerprint feature which my much old phone doesn't have and is half the price. So far it works great and it's really quick. I also liked that I still have access to FM Radio and the audio jack that higher end smartphones have already dropped. It rarely feels hot to the touch even when playing games for a long time too. 

Price: 10999 (bought at the Moto Store in Megamall with free wireless in-ears (other than the earphones provided by Moto) and a selfie stick)


T&J Travels #10: Japan 2018 (Part 15)

+ Odaiba + 

For our last day we decided to go to Odaiba first. Our flight is still at 8 PM and we don't know it at that time but thought it was a good idea to be further away from Narita Airport.

Odaiba is a tech island and is really modern. I was planning to see more of the island like do the ferris wheel or see the the small liberty statue but we found out there is not much time. We did get to see what we came for here-- the Gundam Unicorn! Our timing was also perfect because we only had to wait for a small time for the changing to Destruct  mode. 

For lunch we headed over to Hokuriku Toyama Kaiten Sushi Premium. It's a restaurant we found on the top floor that has a sushi train. Come to think of it we've been here for a long time yet have not eaten any sushi. The experience was not as fluid as I expected, our plates come late, sometimes wrong. Even our bill was incorrect! One thing that I noticed though is that the restaurant doesn't look like it was run by any Japanese. They all seemed to be foreigners too. Come to think of it, Diver City felt like most of the people there are either Koreans or Chinese. There was even a time Reagan and I accidentally separated ways that I panicked that I lost his face in a sea of people who looked like him. 

+ Amazing Race +

When we got back from Odaiba our train off loaded us away from where we came the first time. This proved extremely stressful because we could not find the locker where we left all of our things and we spent a whole lot of time going back and forth finding it. When we found it FINALLY after asking all of the train people we see, we then got ourselves to a different platform and had missed our train in a minute or two when we found the correct one. We had to spend grueling minutes of waiting for the next train to come. 

Apparently when you missed your original reserved train, you could take the next one but you had to find a free seat. Our original seats were already taken plus the first ones we chose were already booked by other people too. We moved alright and was lucky that we didn't get to stand again. This is what travelling on an off peak means. If the train was packed we will be stuck standing the entire trip for an entire hour and a half.

The Narita bound train have informative screens that show the flights and while Reagan was sleeping I could feel myself almost faint looking at it and seeing that ours wasn't late. As soon as we got to Narita we were running with 2 rolling luggage and 2 hand carry each. Of all the times we finally didn't get lost! When we reached the check in area we were the last ones there. We are already pressed for time but we had to spend a few minutes more to pay for our additional luggage (at least we have more yen left) and with no complaints from us followed the instruction that we had to leave the box the One Piece whale my sister made me buy. 

The boarding gate is at the edge of the terminal that need to run some more! We were only able to buy a few souvenirs and have barely finished our water bottle when it was already boarding time. I remembered exhaling in satisfaction as we sat, knowing that even after everything we made it. Back at the train I was really afraid that we need to book another flight. I was already calculating how much we need to pay just to get back to Manila and it was more than what we paid for our round trip tickets. Getting there literally in the nick of time was a once in a lifetime experience I WOULD NOT WANT TO REPLICATE AGAIN. I do not want to try my luck next time. And oh, the next time I'm in Japan I would like to map that Tokyo Station on my head so we'd never get lost. 


T&J Travels #10: Japan 2018 (Part 14)

+ Tokyo Skytree +

Currently the highest tower in the world, it is no wonder they get a ton of visitors each day. Today we managed to get here ├át a good that we didn't have to wait for too long in line nor pay extra for the exclusive line for foreigners. 

There are two observatories according to height: 350M and 450M. We only got the lower end because we do not think the additional 1000JPY is worth it for now. 

The elevators have varying light themes to maybe entertain the passengers but it was so quick you could barely notice you're already there. When we reached upstairs there are already A LOT of people. I really thought we're the first ones!

The morning is a bit hazy that we weren't able to see Mt. Fuji. But with the wide range the observatory offers, it's still fun finding different landmarks on the view up top.

Skytree has a shopping mall downstairs so you won't go hungry nor have any reason to not add shopping bags to carry. We've gone to their foodcourt which we found one that serves a Napolitan Spaghetti. Maybe because it is not freshly made like the ones we had at Pancho but it wasn't as amazing as that one. I wish we had more time to stay because there are so many food options!

+ Kaminarimon +

Reagan was really keen in seeing in real life because I've given him a nanoblock of the gate a long time ago. Since it's already the middle of the day the number of visitors are quite large that it was hard to reach the temple nor enjoy what it offers. 

+ Studio Ghibli +

We've booked a specific time for the museum that I was really anxious that we won't make it. Fortunately the buses are easy to find from the station and they have a dedicated booth for the purchase of tickets. It is also convenient that the drop off is right at the museum so it's impossible to get lost. 

It's almost 10 days now. My stupid manicure is awful. 

No photos are allowed to be taken inside and I understand why. The feeling of seeing something for the first time in real life  is rare nowadays and preserving it for the visitors is part of the experience. I absolutely loved our visit. 

We were able to go to one of the short clips that are in full Japanese. You could get the gist but I would have loved to understand at least what the kids say. I hope someday they'd be open in adding subs. 

The gift shop AND the restaurants are expensive, like really. We only had ice cream which is probably x4 on the price I am willing to pay for a Mini Stop-like sundae that I don't feel bad not getting a chair inside their cafe. 

It was a hard decision in not getting anything at the gift or book shops. But back then I don't feel like buying anything at all and the number of people packed in the small shop made it so hard to be enthusiastic in checking things out. 


T&J Travels #10: Japan 2018 (Part 13)

That moment when our first visit at St. Marc's is at Japan!

+ Bunkyo Festival + 

Our visit is at the edge of winter onto spring. Which means we are too early for Sakura but just in time for the very first blooms of Plum to show.  From what I've read, there are a lot of bloom watching that happens in Japan only that the sakura / cherry trees caught on as the most popular.

When we arrived at the Bunkyo Festival's first day, indeed there are some plums available but not as much as I imagined nor hope to smell. I remembered a blog saying other than having different shades of white, pink and violets, plums emit a sweet smell when in full bloom unlike sakura. Next time I would like to time our travel that is within the two blooms. But I won't complain as much since we are gifted with a few trees with initial blooms. 

We've arrived too early though, hence not much stalls that are open. We did get to see a performance from a guy and his monkey!

+ Ueno Park + 

Since it's just "almost" spring, most trees and even the lilies (Reagan had a swell time staring at the lotus pods he went as much as sending me a photo on our viber just to irritate me) are still all brown. Which is why it's a beautiful surprise when there's one sakura tree that is currently in full bloom. Even the locals can't help but take photos and point in delight. 

Do not come near the water if you have Trypophobia like me.

This is the first sakura on the line of trees that has ever bloomed!

The park is huge! But I could only imagine what this would look like in spring and I bet it would be hard to look for a space to park a picnic mat on. 

+ Akihabara + 

We're earlier than we were yesterday for more window shopping. Maps have failed us though and had us walk a long way instead of getting off at the Akihabara station. Because of this I think we found the street where jewelries are popularly sold although we didn't get any. 

If Shibuya is popular for shopping for the general public, Akihabara is every anime lovers dream. I know we've been shopping so much for the past few days, but it's hard to resist buying anything from here. We got really good deals on Kindles (yes S!!) and Gundam. It is however, really easy to get home because some shops are already at their closing when we came. On the next time I find myself in Akihabara, I would surely 1. come really really early and 2. bring a luggage with me.


I was really tempted in buying Fukubukuro but I have no idea of the animes they mention on the labels. 

+ Gaba + 

Our dinner was a mistake. Reagan and I both ordered a mountain of chicken.  It was really delicious but the serving was horribly too much in one sitting. Pictures don't do it justice. While we were eating we discovered that there is a smaller version of this, too bad no one told us. In the end I had to stop finishing mine.