Weird Stuff and Other Stuff

I’m reading quite a lot now ever since I got my new Kindle. It’s my Christmas gift to myself. I’m so in love with it. It’s easy on the eyes and the battery lasts for weeks. I’m (still) currently reading A Storm of Swords. The Red Wedding just happened. Catelyn’s death was quite different from the series. In the book, her face was attacked by ravens and she was laughing. Weird.

I just finished a new series called The End of the F***ing World. It was weird as well but very entertaining. I even shed a few tears on a couple of episodes. I love weird characters. They’re very interesting to watch and they make you think a lot. I feel like painting Alyssa. The girl protagonist. So the series is about an angsty teenage girl (Alyssa) who has this idea of potentially falling in love with this another weird kid in school after saying to his face that he’s a shitty skater (an odd way to start a relationship). And a psychopathic teenage boy who wants to upgrade from killing animals to killing people. And his first target? Alyssa. Twisted, I know. A romantic black comedy. I love it.

I started having diet meals delivered to me again. One, because I want to eat healthy. And two, because I’m lazy. It’s quite expensive but it’s healthy, delicious, and worry-free.

My head hurts. I got super annoyed earlier then I felt pain at the back of my head. I need to be more insensitive.

Days ago, I figured something about myself that I do not like. It’s either I think too far ahead or I dwell too much in the past. It’s like I’m forgetting to live in the present which makes me out of focus. I want to change that.

My head is hurting a bit more now. Bye.

PS:

I drew Alyssa but it doesn’t look like her. 

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Back to Being a Student

Yesterday, I finally started my graphic design career track. I enrolled for a package course in PCCI (Philippine Center for Creative Imaging). A training center for Adobe applications (and others) with Adobe certified instructors. At first I had second thoughts in enrolling; but I decided that this kind of environment, where there are instructors and hands on activities, would be more beneficial for me rather than self studying everything.

I would be taking up the Adobe classes next month; but yesterday, I attended a 1-day class about the fundamentals of digital imaging. It was like an intro class before you get to deal with the main Adobe stuff. It was really informative and I learned that digital imaging is sooo complicated than what it seems. That’s when I realized that enrolling with them was worth it.

Funny thing about attending classes (in my experience), you will get to meet different kinds of people in each class. I had this same feeling when I attended my drawing and watercolor workshops last year. I feel intimidated by them because most of the people that I meet in every class are the so-called yayamanins. Kung hindi coño, English ng English. It’s very obvious that they were brought up differently. But in fairness, they are very friendly. I’m just not used to being around with those kind of people.

This one friendly girl approached me because she noticed that I wrote my name in calligraphy. We started our conversation from there. Syempre napapa-English din ako. English sya eh. Haha. Then at one point in our conversation when she learned I was a nurse, she asked me, “You graduated from UST?” I’m not sure how she assumed that. Maybe most of the nurses she knows graduated from that school? Haha. So I said no. May naalala tuloy akong kwento ni Benson na may isa kaming batchmate from highschool na nagppretend na hindi sya sa probinsya nag-graduate ng highschool. Poser much. 😅 Even though the people I commonly meet are not my kind of crowd, they were very amusing to talk and listen to (a sample topic that they had were their trips in Europe 😄).

So going back to the main topic, I’m so excited for next month. I would get to learn Adobe Illustrator first. I’ve been using Illustrator for some time now but I know that I have so much to learn still. I can’t wait to include these trainings in my resume.

Last week, I painted this:

I received many good feedback so I was very pleased. I hope tomorrow I get to paint again.

Also (another thing that I’m very excited about), I will be joining BGC Art Mart!!! My very first bazaar! That’s why I need to create more products to sell before April. Hihihi. Participating in a bazaar is one of my goals late last year. I can’t believe that it will happen real soon. ❤️

Thank you Kenneth for being supportive in everything I do. He lets me do all of this without question. The Adobe classes were pretty expensive but he was still really encouraging. Thank you! 😘

PS: My Christmas gift might arrive today! 😁

2017 Highlights

I’ve been meaning to do this kind of post to just put everything that I want to remember for 2017 in a nugget. So here it is:

  • Spent the New Year with F Buddies at our place. My parents were pretty strict back then; even after I graduated college. So having my friends over for a drinking session for the very first time was very unusual and memorable for me.
  • Jen, our previous LNC teammate, was back from Abu Dhabi (or was it Dubai?) and so we got together and went to our favorite spot (Rue Bourbon). It was another rare occasion.
  • Summer was spent with friends at a private resort. Loads of fun.
  • After 8 years, I finally went back to Singapore! Singapore was my first out of the country experience. It was 2011 and Nick, Xali, and I were fresh grads when we decided to try our luck to work there as nurses. We were there for three weeks and stayed not at a hotel but at Xali’s uncle’s apartment so we kind of felt like a true local. I enjoyed every minute of it. We did our own laundry, bought groceries, cooked almost everyday, watched a movie (my first 3D movie), played the lottery, etc. I even learned how to ride a bike there. So when I had the chance to go back to Singapore to visit Kenneth’s dad, I was really really excited.
  • Tricia, our youngest sibling, graduated from college. Our parents’ pride and relief were pretty apparent since all four of us were already finished with school. Finally.
  • Our dear grandfather passed away. I get teary eyed thinking about it now. We loved him so much and we extremely miss him everyday. 😔
  • Our relatives from the UK had a 1-month vacation here in the Philippines. Our cousins grew up so tall and cute and lovely. I miss them so bad.
  • We got married again, at a church this time. It was a bittersweet moment because our grandfather just passed away. It felt wrong having to celebrate our wedding when we were still mourning.
  • Attended 3 weddings and 1 christening this year
  • This was the year of “artventure”. I rekindled my passion for art and experimented with watercolor, digital design, and calligraphy. I missed being in a school-like setting so attending those art workshops were really fun and refreshing.
  • Celebrated Miguel’s 7th birthday, our cutest cousin yet. I’m still hoping for a baby boy from Ate Beng2.
  • DIY takoyaki at some resto and tried making homemade gyoza but failed. It was bland.
  • Went back to Japan (my favorite country) with Nick, Benson, Bryan and Irving. I feel like I would never get tired of this country. There’s just so much to see and explore! They have the most helpful and friendliest people ever. I purchased my first professional watercolors here as well.
  • Discovered I have gall stones. Boo!
  • We had our so-called honeymoon in Korea. It was our first time there and it was an extremely cold November (as low as 6 °C). It was a fresh experience but we can’t help but compare it to Japan. And there was a time when we got really mad at each other and separated for a while. So for me, memories of Korea were not that enjoyable. But I got to experience autumn (one of the things in my bucket list). It was breathtaking. ❤️
  • I sold my first artwork! It was very satisfying. I’m really proud of myself and I’m so excited where this artventure takes me.
  • Had our F Buddies Christmas Party/open forum. Everybody cried except Xali (boringgg 😂). I think I’ll reserve another post detailing the events and explaining why there was a lot of crying involved.
  • I got a Kindle for Christmas! It doesn’t get here until mid-January though.
  • Isabelle and Illysa, our cute cousins, hosted our 2017 Slumber Party. It was amusing how the two sisters really prepared for the party (prepared the plan of activities, invitations, balloons, snacks). Activities involved were a modeling showdown, watching a scary movie (but we ended up watching their parents’ wedding), blind makeover challenge, sharing secrets, etc. The party ended after the blind makeover game when Illysa cried because her makeup was “ugly”. It was still a lot of fun and I can’t wait for next year’s slumber party. They keep me young.

Paalam 2017!

Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas! Hindi ako masyado na-excite nung mga nakaraang days na malapit na ang pasko. Pero nung nasa mga Christmas parties na ko, dun ko uli naisip na December nga talaga ang favorite month ko. Umuwi kami ng Quezon province for Christmas pero 3 days lang. Bitin nga. Ang strict kasi kila Kenneth bawal basta basta mag-leave. So sa day 1 ng bakasyon namin, umattend kami ng binyag ni Leon.

Day 1 – Dec 23: Leon’s Christening & F Buddies Christmas Party

Andun mga friends namin sina Benson, Dimple, Kat Neric, Mcdo. Favorite kong kasama si Benson pag may videoke kasi pareho kaming pasikat. Baka ganun talaga pag nangarap kang maging famous singer pero hindi ka naman naging ganun so dinadaan mo na lang sa videoke. Nakakatawa pa kasi ang hina nung mic kaya hindi kami mapakali ni Benson. Bothered na bothered kami na hindi naririning ng mga tao yung kanta namin. Pag alis ni Benson, kachikahan ko lang si Dimple and Kat about HS life. Mga naging crush, ex, naka-away, naka-fling, kung sino bang pinakagwapo sa batch na to, mga katangahan, kung ano ano pa.

Tapos nagtext na Xali about sa Christmas party naming F Buddies. Dinadramahan pa namin yung dalwa ni Bong and Nick kasi hindi nagpaparamdam.

Napilitan na sila

Tapos ok na sinundo na ko ni Nick kila Lee. Nagsuggest sya ng videoke so syempre payag na payag naman ako at nabitin ako kumanta kaya napunta kami sa Welkin Tower. Naka-ilang skip kami ng F Buddies Christmas party through the years kaya medyo big deal na natuloy kami netong year with exchange gifts and all.

Ayun masaya lang kami tapos nung pahuli nag iyakan. Nakakatawa. First time ko makita umiyak si Bong. Si Nick siguro mga second time (hindi kasali yung mga fake cries nya). Ako cry baby naman talaga. Si Xali lang ang strong siguro kasi hindi naka-inom. Parang sya lang ang pinaka matinong kausap nung gabing yun. Haha. Almost 5AM na kami natapos. Hindi ko na namalayan ang oras. Si Ian at Kenneth sumuko agad tulog sa kotse. Basta ang mga tanda kong tidbits ng pinagdramahan namin: Pag si Bong ay may gustong i-share about sa life nya, hindi na nya iisipin na babarahin lang namin sya. Tapos si Nick naman, ittry nyang hindi na maging super OA sa pagka-neutral pagdating sa mga opinions nya. Parang yun lang naman ang laman nung ilang oras naming dramahan.

Masaya pose

Day 2 – Dec 24: Diaz Christmas

Siguro mga past tanghali na kami nagising. Sumaglit lang kami sa SM bumili ng gift wrappers tapos pumunta nang Pagbilao. Tumambay lang ng konti at gumawa ng oobleck. After nun, umuwi na ulit Lucena (around 10PM) pumuntang RGR kila Lee, tapos pumuntang bayan kila Lola tapos sa Site kila tito Joey then umuwi na sa bahay. Nasweetan ako sa gift ni Kat Sister kase art related. Super na-appreciate ko. Yung gift ni Kenneth na Kindle (na ako din ang bumili) on the way pa. Super excited na din ako dun ang tagaaal.

Lagot ang dami

Day 3 – Dec 25: Merene Christmas Party

Last day na namin sa Quezon tapos luluwas na din pa-Manila ng hapon. Kelangan umuwi ng medyo maaga para hindi ma-traffic. Pero mga past 5PM na din ata kami nakaalis. Mga past 10AM na ata ako nagising tapos kelangan ko pa magbalot ng mga gifts. Isa pa lang nababalot ko. Pagka gising ko direcho agad ako sa taas para magbalot. Eh 11AM daw kasi kelangan nandun na sa Pagbilao sa mga Mommy. Pagdating namin sa Pagbilao ng mga 12NN, mga tulog ang tao. Sila Ate Gigi pala galing din Manila.

After kumain (sarap nung pata tim at carbonara), games naman. Kahit ang tanda ko na tuwang tuwa pa din ako makisali sa games. Pinaka favorite ko yung musay kasi kahit matatanda agawang agawan. Na-injure pa yung likod ko kasi napasalpok sa kuya. Work from home tuloy ako ngayon. Para akong nabugbog. After games, intermission number ni Illysa. Nagprepare daw sya ng 6 na sayaw (pero sabi nya sakin nung isang araw 4 lang daw so nadagdagan pa haha). Sabi ni Ate Beng2 gabi gabi daw nagppractice ng sayaw si Illysa para sa Christmas party. Haha. After sayawan, gift giving na tapos kailangan na namin umalis. Huhu. Sinisigawan kami ng “Boringggg!”. Ayoko pa talaga umalis pero yun nga, kesa mapagod magdrive si Kenneth baka biglang abutin ng sobrang traffic. Naiyak ang Mommy nung gift giving kasi naaalala ang Daddy. First Christmas namin na hindi kasama ang Daddy. 😔

So yun ang Christmas 2017 namin. Fun and emotional. Injured ako sakit talaga ng likod ko parang feeling ko pa ay kinakapos ang hinga ko. Pagka gising ko lang ngayon saka ko naramdam yung sakit.

Bruised knees every year

Sa Friday ay uuwi ulit kami for New Year naman. Sa Pagbilao naman kami magbabagong taon. Yun ang setup namin. Christmas kila Kenneth then New Year sa amin. Wala pa akong namimiss kahit isang New Year sa bahay kaya sobrang importante sakin ng New Year. Tsaka hindi kasi kami naghahanda ng Pasko, New Year lang talaga. Ang Papa pala hindi ko na nakita nung uwi namin kasi duty, sa New Year na lang daw. Then may slumber party din kami nila Isabelle and Illysa. Haha.

29th Birthday Bop

Good morning! It’s your birthday! 🎉

Sabi ko kaninang madaling araw bago ako matulog (around 1:30AM), pagkagising ko  magbblog ako agad. Gagawin ko na syang everyday routine. Eh pag gising ko (mga 9:30AM), cellphone agad hinanap ko. Nalimutan ko ata yung deal namin ng sarili ko. Ok lang naman. Maganda naman ang result kasi madami na bumati sakin. Maganda ang gising. Buti naman. Medyo bad mood kasi ako kahapon. Bumaba na naman self-esteem ko kahapon. Kaya nag-Tumblr ako bago matulog and sinearch ko yung #magma hashtag ko. Ayun umokey naman ako somehow. Nakangiti naman ako bago matulog.

Excited na ko bukas kasi bukas yung parang celebration ko since weekday ngayon. Baka mag-dinner lang kami mamaya ni Kenneth. So ang itinerary bukas:

  • Buy Aly’s cookies at the Spectrum Fair
  • Avail Eatigo’s 50% off on Applebee’s
  • Print Watercolor Zodiac Galaxies Series
  • Go to BGC Art Mart
  • Avail Eatigo’s 50% off on Tipple and Slaw (di pa sure)

Parang may nalimutan ako. Mamaya ko na lang aalalahanin.

Christmas party namin sa Monday. Hindi talaga “namin” kasi hindi ko na sila ka-team. Pero natuwa naman ako ininvite pa din nila ko.

Gutom na ko kaya umorder na lang ako sa KFC. Ittry ko yung bago nilang hotdog sandwich at nuggets. Ano kayang difference nung nuggets sa fun shots nila. Buti tumatanggap na ang KFC ng credit card kasi 92 pesos na lang pala ang cash ko.

Wala na ko masabi ang boring na ng mga kinekwento ko. Ay. Work from home ako ngayon. Buti pinayagan ako ng mabait kong boss. Kaya super chill lang ako dito sa bahay. Tapos kakain lang kami mamaya. No fuss birthday. Hindi naman talaga ko mahilig magpakain or magpainom sa birthday ko. Kuripot kasi ako. Saka na ko magpapa-party pag millionaire na ko.

Sasabihin ko sana as conclusion, “Enjoy your day!”. Pero naisip ko mas okay ang, “Enjoy everyday!” Kaya enjoy everyday! Wag na masyadong weak. That’s so not you.

Art Day Fun Day + I’ll Be Careful on October 2020

I originally wanted to study Interior Design (Accountancy being the runner up) but ended up studying Nursing to grant my family’s wishes. I can’t study Interior Design anyway since I already made up my mind that I won’t study in Manila because of my then boyfriend (LDR issues). Love can really be limiting sometimes. I took up nursing to please my parents but mainly to challenge myself because they all said that Nursing is a very difficult course. I wanted to prove to them that I can do it and that I can easily pass the board exam (puro yabang). And pass I did. But who am I kidding, really.  Joke’s on me because I could have studied something that I really wanted but I ended up studying something else.

Even if being a nurse delayed my plans to pursue my true love (being artsy and creative), I didn’t regret it. I didn’t regret the people that I met and the experience of working in a hospital. But I promised myself that that would be the last time I will listen to other people on what I should and shouldn’t do; the last time that I will let my ego take the best of me just to prove to other people that I can do this and that, even if those things doesn’t really interest me.

That’s a long intro. I just wanted to share what happened last week. 😄 I attended a free workshop from Valerie Chua (one of my inspirations) called Essential Watercolor Tricks. I felt so lucky to be a part of that workshop. She’s really good in explaining the step by step process, plus I like that she’s kind of “kalog” as well which made her less intimidating. Then I was able to meet Abbey Sy too (another inspo)! It was a great event and I received a lot of freebies. Hihi. But the main highlight is really being able to meet Valerie and learning from her. She even replied to my IG story thanking me for being there at the event. *kilig* Okay, that’s enough fan girling.

So after that event in Shang, we (Kenneth) went straight to Burgos Circle to attend another workshop (not free). It’s about brush calligraphy this time and it’s with Paolo Tugano. We (Dyn) were able to learn a different font (he corrected me and said that the correct term is letter form, not font). One activity that I suggested is I’ll write a quote using my own style and layout then he’ll rewrite it using his own style. Here’s his creation:

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My favorite quote at the moment

He was so good. I didn’t even bother to take a picture of what I did. 😅 But Art Day Fun Day didn’t stop there. Out last stop is at BGC Art Mart to checkout some handmade goodies. Booths lined up with artists selling their creations (shirts, toys, paintings, etc.). I bought some cute washi tapes for my journal.

Something else happened. Right in the middle of my watercolor workshop, I felt this stinging pain in my right upper abdomen. I just kept ignoring it because I’m having a hard time focusing on what Valerie is trying to teach us. I figured I was just hungry because the only thing I ate is a hotdog and a bite of brownie and it’s already 4PM. I asked Kenneth to buy me shawarma. I didn’t wait until the end of the workshop to eat it, thinking that food will relieve the pain. We came home at around 9PM and the pain is still there. Before sleeping, I rubbed some Vicks (naturally 😂) on my belly and tried to sleep the pain away. When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I noticed is that the pain is still there. I’m beginning to worry because I’ve never experience this before. I knew something was wrong.

I asked Kenneth to bring me to the ER so I can have an ultrasound and get this thing diagnosed. Turns out, I have calculus gallbladder (stones in my gallbladder). Another surgery? Please, not again! I underwent bilateral oophorecystectomy (December 2016) and open appendectomy (April 2015) already. Please please I don’t want another surgery. But unfortunately, I have no other choice. The only treatment for gall stones is to remove my gallbladder. I felt really sad and started to pity myself. I was like, “Ang weak ko. Feeling ko mabilis akong mamamatay kase andaming aberya ng katawan ko, kung ano-anong tumutubo sa loob.” But talking to Arien turned out to be therapeutic. She told a story about their 90-year old patient who underwent a lot of surgeries in her lifetime. The patient even joked, “Wala na nga akong lamang loob.” That made me chuckle and made me feel a bit better. I’m planning to have the surgery done on January next year. Hays.

I also discovered something really weird. I checked out the “On This Day” section of my Facebook and I saw that:

  • Oct 22, 2011 – I discovered that I needed to wear eyeglasses. Okay sure, no biggie. But I still find it a hassle wearing glasses.
  • Oct 22, 2014 – I posted a photo of myself showing my stitched wound that I got from a snatcher’s knife. Still the most traumatizing thing that ever happened to me.
  • Oct 22, 2017 – Yesterday. The day I found out that I need another surgery. Grrr!

These dates are exactly 3 years apart. I’m beginning to think what will happen to me on October 2020. This coincidence is so weird and scary!

Mariyang Glinez

At last! I finally had the time (and will) to do it. I’ve been meaning to create a header for my blog since I started learning calligraphy. I like how it turned out. ❤️

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The photo that I used in the background is the one that I took when we were in Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto Japan.

And now I’m off to painting. I’m feeling so productive today.

Muniba Mazari

When I got home from the Korean Embassy for our visa application (sobrang haba ng pila!), I stumbled upon this Goalcast video where a woman in a wheelchair is making a motivational speech. Her name is Muniba Mazari. I was completely blown away by her strength and optimism despite countless misfortunes that I found myself getting teary eyed while watching  her tell her life story.  Her words resonated with me and made feel really inspired.

That day I decided that I’m going to live my life for myself. I am not going to be that perfect person for someone. I am just going to take this moment and I will make it perfect for myself.

Embrace each and every breath that you are taking. Celebrate your life. Live it. Don’t die before your death.

Here is a woman, who was forced by her parents to be married at a young age. A woman who sustained several injuries after a car accident that made her paraplegic and unable to bear any child; but then I look at her, and see a woman who is truly unbreakable. I felt guilty for those days when I complain too much; whether be it about my job, my relationships, and life in general.

But now I’m feeling so inspired and somewhat contented on where I am in my life at the moment. Just because some things aren’t within my reach right now, it doesn’t mean that it will stay that way forever. Unless I let it.

muniba-mazari-story2-1

Thanks to Muniba for giving me that needed push. And as they say, “You do you.”

Japan in 7 Days for Only ₱18,000

Sounds good, right? And this includes plane tickets, airport fees, accommodation, food, a pocket WiFi, a trip to Universal Studios Japan and a few souvenirs. But a little disclaimer, I just have to say that this isn’t easy. You need to have the stars aligned in your favor to be lucky enough and get the cheapest flight, to not be choosy and book the cheapest (but still decent) accommodation, and be patient enough to do some research to score some deals (ticket discounts and vouchers).

I actually didn’t spend ₱18,000 because I bought a lot of stuff for my online shop called RanShoppe (shameless plug) and I also did some art tools hunting for my artsy projects (for watercolor painting and calligraphy – check out Dust Designs if you’re interested) (yeah, another shameless plug). But not everyone has an online shop and not everyone has this art hobby, so all the money I paid for those things doesn’t count. Some of you may think that this is a joke and say that the ₱18,000 could just cover the plane tickets and terminal fee alone. But as I’ve mentioned earlier, you have to be really lucky to get a roundtrip ticket for just ₱2,400 like I did (thanks to GetGo). But even if the circumstances are different for you now, I think you can still pickup a couple of money saving tips with this trip. So this is how I managed to do it:

Visa Application (₱950)

For the second time around, I applied for my Japan visa via Reli Tours and Travel agency because they have the cheapest handling fee. Luckily, I was granted a multiple entry visa for this trip. Yay!

Roundtrip Tickets (₱2,400) + Terminal Fee (₱1,620)

I booked my ticket via Cebu Pacific using my GetGo points. At that time (maybe 7 months before our actual trip), GetGo held a promo. For only 10 points, you can book a one-way ticket to any country you want (so 20 points for a roundtrip ticket) and all you had to pay for is the travel taxes and web admin fees which amounted to ₱2,400. If you have a gazillion points, you can also have the option to pay the taxes and fees with those points so you can basically fly for free. I had about maybe 15,000 GetGo points at that time because I kept on converting my BPI Real Thrills Reward Points to GetGo points. You can do this as well if you have a credit card and love traveling. If you can cover the base fare with just GetGo points, all you have to do is pay for the taxes.

Accommodation via Airbnb (₱2,650)

I stayed in Japan for 7 days so that’s just ₱450 pesos per night! Some person gave me a referral link and that includes a ₱1,000+ voucher discount for my booking. You can also get an additional discount from Airbnb for a one-week stay. I came with four of my friends on this trip so what I did was, I gave them my own referral link and they got the same discount. I’m going to share with you my link as well if you also want to get that P1,100 discount on your first booking with Airbnb which is: www.airbnb.com/c/gleniza.

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We stayed at Four Letter Words Hostel which is a very humble and straightforward accommodation. All the basics are available: comfy sleeping nooks, fast WiFi, hot showers, it’s also in a great location plus you get an entertaining and very kind host. He even offered us a free stay on our next trip to Japan! He said that we can stay there for as long as we want and bring some friends. I honestly don’t know what more could you ask for.

Pocket WiFi via Klook (₱1,615 – only ₱230 per day)

This I think is optional for some people. But I like renting a pocket WiFi when traveling to Japan. Their train lines can get pretty complicated so I always have to look up train stations and the appropriate fare for each train ride online. When navigating, the site I always go to is called Hyperdia. This amount could get much cheaper if you’re traveling with your friends or family since you could just split up the total rental fee. I was given a 7GB data allowance and I only consumed around 4GB during my whole stay.

Kansai 3-Day Pass via Klook (₱1,990)

I got a 3-day pass since I planned on traveling to Nara, Kyoto and Kobe. You can opt for a 2-day pass which is a couple hundred cheaper if you want to leave out Kobe in your itinerary. But going to Nara and Kyoto is highly highly recommended! In my case, I lost my pass when we were in Kyoto so I had doubts to go to Kobe the next day. So it’s up to you if you would like to get a 2 or a 3-day pass. Klook also offers promo codes, and since I’m a first time Klook user, I was able to get roughly 15% discount when I purchased the pass and pocket WiFi. I just used the promo code GETKLOOKD (not sure if this is still active though).

As you may notice, I kept on thinking of ways to get discounts in every purchase I make for this trip. That’s what I meant when I said that you got to have patience. Research first before making hasty (and expensive) decisions. Ok next:

Universal Studios Japan ticket via Klook (₱3,380)

I didn’t really visit USJ during this trip because I had the chance to go there last year. But my friends did so I included it here. I was busy buying stuff in Don Quijote while they were enjoying their USJ visit. I think last year, we spent ₱3,500 for our USJ ticket; so booking via Klook is a bit cheaper. And as you may already notice, Klook really helped us a lot with this trip. It’s very convenient that we can book all these things with just one app. Aside from convenience, the most important thing is that it’s cheaper.

Transportation to and from Kansai International Airport (₱850)

I included this separately because traveling to and from the airport is pretty expensive. From the airport, we just rode a train going to Tengachaya station which is just a 10 to 15-minute walk from our hostel. It was quite a long walk because we had our luggages in tow. But it’s much easier since we don’t have to transfer train stations.

Tourist Spots (Almost Free)

With our Kansai Passes in hand, we toured around Kyoto, Nara and Osaka for cheap. So all we need to set aside are the entrance fees for the different shrines, temples, etc. But the great thing is, most of the entrance fees for some of the great tourist spots are free! I think I only shelled out ₱200 when I went to Osaka National Museum of Art. It would have been another ₱200 when we visited Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) but our good friend Irving took care of that (Thanks Irving!). But still, it’s just a couple of hundred pesos and the rest of them are free! Let me show you around:

Nara

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I think this is at Kasuga Taisha
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Nara Park
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Nandaimon Gate
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The five story pagoda near Kofukuji Temple
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One of my most favorite shots by Doc Irving
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Some cool background we found
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Eastern Golden Hall
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Photo Op
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Somewhere around Nara Park

Kyoto

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Tenryuji Temple
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Somewhere around Arashiyama
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Arashiyama Bamboo Grove!
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Near the Togetsu-kyo Bridge
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Fushimi Inari Taisha
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Torii gates
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Kinkakuji aka Golden Pavilion (₱200)

Osaka

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Dotonbori
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Osaka National Museum of Art
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₱200
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Osaka’s New World: Shinsekai

Food (it depends)

This is somewhat tricky because different people have different appetites. In my case, I can go having only two meals per day; but I’m always tempted to buy desserts (which can get a little expensive). And it also depends on your food choices because some restaurants are really pricey (like when we craved for katsu). Your best bet for a filling but inexpensive meal is at gyudon restaurants. It’s a good thing that everything is somewhat still fresh from my memory so I can give you a general food price guide when eating out in Japan.

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Crab flavored piggy
  • Instant noodles [₱60-80]
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Pwede na
  • Sandwiches at Family Mart/Lawson/7-11 [₱100-120]
  • Mcdo [₱150-200]
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Best takoyaki (somewhere in Namba)
  • Takoyaki (6-8 pcs) [₱250-300]
  • Gyudon [₱150-200]
  • Ramen [₱300-500]
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Mouthwatering okonomiyaki
  • Okonomiyaki [₱200-300]
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Sosyal na chami
  • Soba [₱300-400]
  • Katsu meal set [₱500-600]
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Lengua cone
  • Ice cream cones [₱150-200]

Souvenirs (₱400-500)

The above amount can buy you a keychain, maybe two fridge magnets, and one pouch of Kit Kat. So if you have a lot of friends and relatives requesting for their pasalubongs, or if you want to try all the different flavors of Kit Kat and other Japan goodies, adjust this amount accordingly.

And that’s it! So a sample itinerary would be:

  • Day 1 – Arrival at KIX (in our case we arrived at night)
  • Day 2 – Nara
  • Day 3 – Osaka (USJ)
  • Day 4 – Kobe
  • Day 5 – Kyoto
  • Day 6 – Osaka + Shopping
  • Day 7 – Departure

I hope this helps! Enjoy your Japan trip in the near future!

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Dust Designs

Haven’t done any blogging lately and I’m hating myself for it. It always crosses my mind but I wasn’t getting myself around to do it. I almost didn’t want to write now because I’m about to sleep already. My neurons are still kind of recuperating from the art class that I took this morning (I took an art class! Yay!). But so much stuff has been happening lately and I need to talk about it. I want my future self to go back and remember these things. Let’s have it as a list.

  • CANADA We’re done with our medical test and we passed! All we have to do now is wait for the passport request. Once we get notified of this, it means that they’re going to stamp our passports with PR visas (finally)! So keeping our fingers crossed for that. It’s kind of bittersweet though because that also means we’re leaving our families here in the Philippines. 😢 Oh well.
  • ART VENTURE I’m becoming more serious in pursuing my passion in art. Last week, I took my first ever art workshop about water brush calligraphy and it was a lot of fun. It was kind of bitin and pricey (Php 2,000 for 2 hours) but I enjoyed it. What I liked most about the experience is meeting the artist. I saw firsthand how she works and just listening to her tips and insights made me feel really good about this art venture. Seeing how good she is at what she does motivated me more to be as skilled as her. And then earlier this morning, as previously mentioned, I attended another workshop. This time, it’s about the fundamentals of drawing (Php 1,950 for roughly 5 hours). I guess I’d have to reserve a separate post for this because I’m thinking of writing every detail that happened today because it’s still fresh from my memory. To cut things short, I learned A LOT today. Didn’t think of actually being able to draw this (pictured below). I felt more confident than yesterday and I’m actually glad that I’m taking the necessary steps to improve my skills (even if it comes with a price). It’s definitely worth it! The instructor (Joms de Mesa) said something that I want myself to always remember. He said something along these lines, “If you were able to do this on your first try, just imagine what you can do if you keep on doing this for a year.” And that’s very true and a really good reminder to keep on going. To tie this all up together, I made an IG account dedicated to my art called @dust.designs (hence the title of this blog post). I hope to see a transition (from noob to expert) on my future posts so I need to keep on learning and practicing.
  • TRAVEL Hope everything goes well when we apply for our Japan visas next week. We’re hoping to go back there again this coming October. Nick should better be approved this time! I’m excited to stroll around the districts of Osaka then maybe go back to Kyoto. Not sure. Haven’t made an itinerary yet. I’m also looking forward to go visit some art stores in Japan. I hope I won’t get overwhelmed and start buying everything that looks kawaii. I also notice that most of the quality tools that’s being recommended in art blogs are from Japan, so I think I can buy it cheaper there. More better reasons to go back!
  • LIFE IN GENERAL I’m actually in good spirits right now. Mainly because of me trying to do the things I love like drawing, watercolor and some traveling. I feel happy whenever I produce a decent work and see myself improving. It’s an extra boost if I post it and somebody likes it (sometimes ❤️ or 😲 if I’m using Facebook 😄). Although in hindsight, I sometimes worry and think about some negative things. Thoughts like, “What are you planning to do with art? Are you going to get money from it? There’s a lot of people better than you.” and “Why do you keep on traveling? Traveling costs a lot of money. Do you have a lot of money? No you don’t! Why not save it instead and use it for things that really matter? You’re being selfish.” Stuff like that. I try not to think of these things because it dampens my mood and it demotivates me. I know that this “art thing” isn’t something that’s certain to make me earn money; but I’m loving every minute of it! What’s important is that I’m doing what I’m passionate about and for me, that matters. But it doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit my job (for now) and just do art. Of course I’ll keep my job (for now 😁) while doing stuff I like on the side. I’m just now in a state where I fully understand that life is really short. Yes, earning money is necessary to live. But making art and traveling is what I live for. For me, it gives more value and quality to my life. I’m just thankful that I finally know what I want to do. I felt very lost before. I was in a position where I’m very discontented and don’t know what I’m doing. I wan’t someone to tell me what to do and give me the answers because I have no clue what I’m supposed to be doing. And then, just like magic, I finally figured out who that someone is. That someone who will give me the answers. Me. Finally, I was able to figure it out. And I’m not gonna stop now.
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My logo!

Okay, that’s it. Got kind of emotional back there. Haha. I hope I can blog more frequently. I almost forgot that writing feels soothing and therapeutic. It also keeps my mind in the right perspective. Until then!