Tokyo Trip – Odaiba

The afternoon we spent in Odaiba was very, very tiring! Odaiba is a man made island in Tokyo Bay. Ang dami naming nilakad! There are several malls in Odaiba and we went inside all of ’em.

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Before heading to Odaiba, we passed by the Nippon Television Tower and saw this yellow thingie that Miko called PIKACHU. No kids, that is not a Pokémon. I have no idea who that is. :p

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Odaiba was initially built for military purposes in the 1800s, and  expanded as a seaport district in the late 20th century, and has developed since the 1990s as a major commercial, residential and leisure area

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One of the most popular things to see is the Rainbow Bridge. This is the bridge by day–

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The first mall that we visited (because it’s the closest to the train station) was Decks. Ang ganda. Mukha talagang decks with its wooden flooring. :D

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We had snacks at Anchors,

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just some assorted sausages, juice, and cola.

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But because my newbie legs and feet were aching from all the walking, I begged Miko that we stay a little longer and we had more refreshments. :P

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When I got some of my strength back, we went to Aqua City

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and we saw a replica of the Statue of Liberty. According to Wiki, The French Statue of Liberty came to Odaiba in the late 90’s in commemoration of “The French year in Japan”. Because of its popularity, in 2000 a replica of the French Statue of Liberty was erected at the same place.

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I don’t remember if LEGOLAND is inside this mall, but we decided not to visit it anymore, because there was still so much to see in the area. Like this Hello Kitty Store.

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Akalain mong pati dried fish at dried squid meron si Hello Kitty?

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Look at this Kitty Geisha! Ang cute cute!

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In Diver City Plaza, there’s the famous 18 meter tall Gundam statue!

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Katuwa kasi even the locals seemed excited to see the humongous robot.

 

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There’s this golden structure of some sort that caught our attention. Don’t know what it is, but it’s just magnificent.

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Here’s a better shot. Better kasi may sunflowers. I love sunflowers! :D

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And there’s a kiddie program being shot in the area. No, babe. That’s not Mojacko. :p

 

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And this architectural masterpiece is the Fuji television Headquarters. The building was designed by world-renowned Kenzo Tange. he also designed St. Mary’s Cathedral in Bunkyo. (I’ll be blogging about that soon.)

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Walang pinipiling lugar ang Minions. Pati pala sa Japan, popular sila!

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Hello there, Stuart, Bob and Kevin!

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Here’s our family portrait. Charot! :p

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Of course, Dragon Ball is popular here.

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And lucky cats.

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And this blue dog that’s called LAUGH THE DOG, No, baby. Hindi siya si Snoopy na nalubog sa asul na jobos. :p

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Miko looked for Tekken, but didn’t find the game in the arcade. (Naging successful naman siya when we went to Shinjuku a couple of days after.)

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And look! There’s Astroboy again! Ang sarap iuwi at isabit sa kwarto ko!

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Do you remember the Monchhichis? They used to have an animated tv series in the 80’s. Ang tawag ko nga sa kanila Ewoks. Hahaha. Eh baket ba, pareho naman silang furry.

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Saw this shop that stationery, fans, toiletries, etc. I took a photo of it because I like the store name. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept that deals with  one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is also a noodle shop at The Collective. :p

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Then finally, darkness fell and we saw the lights of the bay and the Rainbow Bridge.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t see the bridge’s rainbow colors, but the view was still stunning. The towers supporting the bridge are white in color, designed to go with the skyline of central Tokyo. Lamps are placed on the wires supporting the bridge, which are illuminated into three different colors, red, white and green every night using solar energy obtained during the day.

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The rainbow lights we got to see were from the Daikanransha, located at Palette Town. It is one of the biggest ferris wheels in the world. The wheel is brightly lit by neon tubes programmed to display multiple patterns in over 100 colors.

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Hay Odaiba, nakakapagod kang galaan! But oh so fun!

Next stop– Shibuya!

*featured image from Wikipedia

// listening to Adele – Hello

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Hapag Restaurant and Events Place – Malolos, Bulacan

After our pilgrimage to Barasoain Church and visit to Barasoain Museum, we went to one of the most recommended restos in Malolos.

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Hapag Restaurant and Events Place is situated behind the Provincial Hall. They serve Filipino and International dishes.

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We were there around 6pm so the place wasn’t packed yet. The guests started to come in by 7pm. Miko and I were joined by my cousin, Kuya Edmund who’s now living there.

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Their molo soup was served piping hot. The dumplings looked homemade and were very meaty and yummy. The soup was unusual for molo because instead of it being clear, it’s thick and nido soup-like. We loved it!

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The Calumpit Rice is garlic fried rice with egg, veggies, and Calumpit longganisa. Delicious rice and ulam in one dish!

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Then there’s the sinful Prawns and Crab in Sweet Spicy Sauce. Sarsa pa lang, panalo na.

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The seafood they used had so much aligue. Fitting for our cheat meal.

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The Pinakbet with Crispy Pork was loaded with shrimps, too. The veggies they used were sweet. Halatang freshly picked. The pork, parang lechon kawali sa pagka-crispy!

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Their Baby Back Ribs was good too. Not sure about the rub they used. It’s definitely not my favorite spice, but it worked well on the ribs because it wasn’t too strong and they mixed it with brown sugar or honey. The only thing I didn’t like about this was the gravy. It was bland.

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The Banofee Cake, despite of the not-well formed crust was delightfully sweet. Ang dami pang whipped cream. Yummmm.

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The best part of eating at Hapag was the great dishes. The second best part was that it only cost around 1,200php!

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We hope to eat here again the next time we are in Malolos!

Hapag Restaurant and Events Place
Beside Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center,
Provincial Capitol Compound, Guinhawa,
Malolos City, Bulacan
0923 7027612, 0906 2419181, 0923 7372589

// listening to Mean Girls – Jingle Bell Rock

Barasoain Church and Museum – Malolos, Bulacan

We were supposed to go to Angeles for some Aling Lucing’s Sisig and Corazon’s Halo-Halo, but went to Malolos instead because of it started to rain very hard. Classic blessing in disguise! At least nakapag-pilgramage to Barasoian Church (Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church) na nakikita ko lang dati sa ten peso bill (halatang ang tanda ko na hehehe), and got to go to the Barasoain Museum as well!

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There were a lot of tourist that Saturday afternoon we visited. Mga 6 buses yata ng mga kiddos na nagfi-fieldtrip ang nasa parking lot. Not surprising that this heritage spot is part of their itinerary, Barasoain Church being one of the most important religious buildings in the Philippines.

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It was also the temporary residence of General Aguinaldo, where the First Philippine Congress convened, where the drafting of the Malolos Constitution occurred. It wsas declared by Marcos as a National Shrine by Ferdinand Marcos in the 70’s.

Two Philippine presidents were inaugurated here– Aguinaldo and Estrada.

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Barasoain was derived from a name of a town in Spain, a town that Spanish missionaries thought was similar to Malolos. When the Spanish-Revolution broke out, the Spaniards coined the term “baras ngsuwail” or “dungeon of the defiant” because it because a meeting place of anti-Spanish forces.

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There are monuments in front of the church that honor the Republic of Biak-Na-Bato,

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officially referred to as the Constitution of the Philippine Republic,

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the first republic ever declared in our country by the Emilio Aguinaldo and his fellow members of the KKK.

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The museum is just beside the church.

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It was kinda hard to explore the whole museum that day because there were a lot of kids (and chaperones) from the field trip running around the halls.

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Here are some of the items that caught our attention–

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Ugh. I’ve never been a fan of Aguinaldo.

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Diorama! My favorite project when I was in gradeschool!

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Mon Confiado really does look like Aguinaldo. If you don’t get the reference, watch Heneral Luna.

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Wait, where can we find Artikulo Uno? :p

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It’s Luna!!!

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I wonder how much these handwritten artifacts cost.

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Lots of ladies that afternoon.

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I’ve always been fascinated with old staircases. Creepy.

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And look! Here’s the train that they used in Heneral Luna, where the general was speaking to the official in Fench and English about getting the train for use of the troop. “Puñeta! Arestuhin na nga ‘yan! nauubusan na ako ng Ingles!”  wpid-dsc_5274.jpg

Loved that we were able to visit a museum before the National Museums and Galleries month ended. Balita ko ang haba ng pila masyado sa National Museum eh!

As for the Angeles Trip, that would have to be scheduled another weekend. :)

// listening to Nat King Cole – Fascination

Tokyo Trip – Tsukiji Fish Market

The fish auction is probably one of the most popular things to experience in Tsukiji, but since it happens at 5am and only a hundred people can watch it, ‘wag na! Okay na ako na mag-lunch doon! We had some trouble finding the market, but then we saw this building with a giant fish design. So this must be the place. :p

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I was in awe seeing a market that’s soooooo clean.

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Tsukiji may be famous for fish, but it didn’t smell like fish at all!

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The only time I got to smell the fish was when I was already standing right in front of it. Look at those fresh salmon…

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There’s some grilled fish they sell in the streets. That one is tuna steak, not stake. :p Didn’t get to take a photo of the grilled scallops, that was what I wanted to try, but there were too many customers and I was too hungry to wait.

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Besides fish, you can also buy veggies, fruits and other stuff here.

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These must be the plumpest, most gorgeous grapes I’ve ever seen. Parang hindi totoo!

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All the veggies look so pretty. I can eat them raw on the spot.

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There were also juices, condiments and kitchen utensils being sold.

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This is the best place where you can get lovely and inexpensive pasalubong like chopsticks,

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coasters, wooden spoon and forks, and other kitchen must-haves.

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It’s tough to choose where to eat because the streets are lined with so many little restos serving the freshest sushi and sashimi.

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We chose to eat at Marukita because one of their staff told us, “Masarap dito!” We think he’s memorized that line in different languages for all tourists that would pass by. Effective!

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The ground floor was packed so we had to go up the second level. They served us free tea and miso soup first.

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Miko had the Salmon Roe Bowl. It has salmon sashimi, salmon roe, egg, ginger on top of rice. It’s 1,500 JPY, more or less 600 Php.

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Miko, who’s very picky with his salmon, was very pleased with his meal. The sashimi was tender, fatty, and delicious. The roe was bursting with salty rich goodness.

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I had the Conger Eel Bowl. *sigh* I thought what I had was unagi, as it looked the same and tasted the same, but no!!! Unagi is freshwater eel, while conger eel is saltwater eel and it’s called anago in Japanese. :(

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But it’s ok, at least now I know the difference and I can say I like both unagi and anago! Aaaand it’s still the best dish I had in Japan. It’s 2300JPY so that’s around 800Php. That’s already cheap considering the huge pieces they served. And mahal naman talaga dito ‘yan sa Pinas!

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After that excellent lunch, we walked around looking for dessert. Before finding where the ice cream stand was, we saw a store selling sweet egg creations. The Japanese really love their eggs, don’t they? :p There were a lot of people buying from this store, but Miko wanted some matcha and I wanted something cold.

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I was the one who ended up getting the matcha ice cream, because Miko saw that there’s a flavor na kapangalan niya! (His last name is Alfonso, hehehe.) So he had the Alphonso Mango.

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It’s the perfect dessert after our seafood meal, but we just have to say that we still love the cheese and avocado ice cream in UP Diliman more. Yung bang sa katabi ng isawan ni Mang Larry. :p

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Our last stop was the stunning Hongwanji Temple. It’s based on Indian architecture and caters to Shin Buddhism, the most widely practiced Buddhism in Japan.

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Thank you Tsukiji for that unforgettable dining experience!

Next stop… Odaiba! (Where Gundam is!!!)

// listening to Kelly Clarkson – Dark Side

Tokyo Trip – A Walk Around The Imperial Palace

One of the best things about staying in the quiet neighborhood of Jimbocho is that it’s only a 20-30 minute walk away from the Imperial Palace. Miko would always jog around the area and I went him one morning. Shempre not to jog, but to feed my eyes with the sight and sounds of Chiyoda. :p

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So while Miko was jogging, I walked and saw the following…

The National Archives of Japan Building which house the  Japanese government documents and historical records and make them available to the public

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Lots of locals jogging! Kaya naman ang papaya nila. Lakad na nga ng lakad, takbo pa ng takbo!

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The East Gardens of The Imperial Palace was closed when I passed by. Too bad I was already back in Manila when I only found out that it’s closed Fridays, Sundays and holidays. They say it’s one of the top 5 most beautiful gardens in Japan.

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Not really sure what this building is, but it’s pretty!

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There are sculptures and other art along the path. I especially like this one of three naked guys. Hehe

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Aaaaannnndddd… This was my workout. Intense, di ba? :D

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These are more buildings around the area. They’re so fond of glass and stones…

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And there are photo-worthy structures everywhere.

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Here’s the National Theatre of Japan where they stage performances of traditional Japanese performing arts

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I’m not a morning person at all, so walking around the palace at 9am was a challenge for me, but it was made better by the tree-lined streets and fresh air.

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We finally reached the main entrance of the Imperial Palace. Unfortunately, the inner grounds are generally not open to the public. For guided tours, you have to reserve through the Imperial Household Agency. The tour of the palace grounds almost the whole year, although no buildings are entered. The tours are held in Japanese, and an English pamphlet and audio guide are provided. I recommend you make your reservation 2 months before your trip, because I tried to book a month before and no slots were available by then. :,(

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Anyway, The Imperial palace if also called the Imperial Residence, where the Emperor of Japan lives. It’s a large park-like area that contains the main palace (Kyuden), the private residences of the Imperial Family, museums, and offices.

At least we got to see the Hirakawa-mon or the main gate,

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the Ote-mon or literally, “Great Hand Gate”,

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these lovely trees with a name that I do not know. Birch tree daw sabi ng Google?

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And here are a lot of Sakura trees without blooms. Boooo.

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And my favorite spot where we can see the palace stone bridge or the Seimon Ishibashi Bridge or Maganebashi, literally “Spectacle Bridge” because of its shape.

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People usually call this Nijubashi meaning double bridge, but I’ve been told it’s the wrong term.

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It’s relaxing to look at goose/geese in the boat paddling toward Tokyo’s most famous bridge.

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There were a lot of tourists that day who most probably thought the same.

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We saw a statue of Wake no Kiyomaro, a high-ranking official and a trusted advisor of Emeperor Kammu during the Nara period.

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Picture-picture before heading back to our hotel.

// listening to someone playing the ukelele