August 31, 2016

14 Things I’ve Learned in Japan

Cliche as it may sound but I totally agree that travel is the best education anyone can have and adventures are the best way to learn. 

Last summer, we are blessed to visit Japan for 7 days. For the record, it is the longest time that we’ve visited one country because most of the time we will visit two countries in one trip to save on travel tax and terminal fee.

Read: 7 Days in Tokyo Japan

In just one week, I have learned a lot of things in Japan and it is very different from our home country. Now I understand, why even there is a language barrier, people still go to Japan. Given a chance, I wanted to go back again. 


Sharing with you the things that I’ve learned in Japan. If you are first timer in Japan, these things might surprise you too. 

1. Japan is so clean

From the moment I stepped out the airport and traveled to our hotel, I really notice that Japan is a clean country. I’ve been to Singapore but Japan is cleaner. Everywhere we go in Tokyo, the place is very clean.

A. We are used seeing two trash bins, one for biodegradable and one for nonbiodegradable but in Japan, there are so many trash bins so segregation is very significant. 

B. Do not eat while walking or traveling. If you are hungry or thirsty, you have to sit down and eat. 

C. In a hotel room, there are two available slippers, one for room and one for toilet. 

2. Transport System is very efficient. 

A. Bus 

Japan transport system is very efficient. We were sitting outside the airport waiting for our airport limousine bus schedule and we noticed that the bus were really on time, they arrive before the schedule and leave on time. Sorry na lang talaga pagnamiss mo. 



At airport limousine bus, they give bag tags for your luggage and you will present it before getting your baggage. Unlike here in our country na kakaba-kaba ka pag may bumaba at baka makuha yung gamit mo sa ilalim ng bus. Hehehe! 

I did not experience traffic during our stay when we rode the bus. 

B. Trains 

The trains are very efficient and punctual too. Looking at the train map made me so confused, parang ayaw ko na magtrain at baka maligaw ako but I have to because taxi is not an option because it is so expensive. 



If you are a tourist, you need to download an app that will help you in riding the train. It will inform you about the fare, travel time, transfers and train stations. You need to know the fare because you when buy tickets, you will click the fare and not the name of the station. You can purchase Suica or Pasmo card to save time in buying train ticket. 

Aside from knowing the station, you need to make sure that you will ride the correct train because there are so many types of train ride, it can be local, rapid, semi-express, express, semi-special express and special express. Local means it will stop in every station and other types meron skip. 

3. Train etiquette 

Before going to Japan, I already saw a video where Japanese fall in line while waiting for the train. They really wait for the passengers to alight before entering the train. So nakita ko na ganun talaga. It is the same in Singapore and Hongkong. 

Don’t speak too loud or if possible don’t talk on the phone while inside the train. There are reserved seats for priority passengers so make sure you are sitting on the right place. 




4. Escalator etiquette 

Here in our country, we stand anywhere in the escalator. We can stand at the left, middle or right but when you go out of the country, you need to know what side are you going to tay. In Tokyo, Japan, if you will not climb up or down, stay on the left side but if you are in a hurry, choose the right side. 

5. Clean before you go 

On our first day, we were eating at McDonald and we were surprised when we saw diners holding their trays, they went to the trash bin and segregate their trashes. So there is no staff who will clean the table or clear your trash, you have to do it yourself. 

It is not only in McDonald but everywhere we go even in Sanrio Puroland, zoos, park and museum, you have to clear your table. The only time that we did not clear the table is when we ate at The Royal Host

6. Vending machines are everywhere 

I’m not joking but vending machines are really everywhere. While going to our hotel, I noticed that almost all corners have vending machines. It seems that Japanese likes to use vending machines. 



A. Use vending machines if you will buy train tickets or cards. In Hongkong and Singapore, I bought our Octopus card and EZ Link card at the counter but in Japan, you need to buy, load or adjust your fare at the ticket vending machine. Good thing there is English language for this.

B. We bought zoo tickets, museum tickets and park tickets at the vending machine. There are no other way to buy the attraction tickets except for Tokyo Disney, I bought our park tickets at the counter. 

C. For drinks and food, it is normal that there are vending machines. Just drop your coins and press the button. But I was shocked when I need to use the vending machine just to order food, and present the receipt at the counter. 

D. If you will recycle your plastic bottles, you need to use vending machines too.

7. Shopping 

A. In the Philippines, whenever we buy something we just pay directly to the cashier but in Japan, you have to use the money tray. The cashier will not get your money if you hand it to her/him, they will point you the money tray. 

B. Taxes are not included in the price so sometimes you will see two prices, one without tax and one with tax. 

C. There is no bagger, we pack our own groceries or stuff whenever we buy something. Some groceries even charge for plastic bags, 2 yen per bag. 

8. Cash 



Japan is a highly developed country but not all accepts credit cards so make sure you always have cash. I do not see money changer during our trip so make sure you have Japanese Yen before leaving the airport. 

9. Internet 

Don’t expect that there is free wifi everywhere so I suggest you rent a pocket wifi or avail the roaming surf in your postpaid account. 

I don’t know why my roaming is not working properly, I can receive text and calls but I cannot send text or call so I just activated my Globe surf roaming at P599 for 24 hours so I can message my husband. 

10. Japanese are so disciplined 

It is obvious that they always fall in line in train but even in other places like theme parks, they will automatically fall in line even there is no staff na nagpapila. Whenever they see someone standing, makikipila na sila sa likod mo.



I also noticed this sa mga nagfield trip na kids. They are so disciplined, sa isip-isip ko kung sa Pinas yan habol na ng habol ang teacher. Hehehe! 

11. Japan is a safe country 

Japan is one of the safest country in the world so when we went to Japan, I have peace in mind that my son and I can tour Japan safely. I even see small children who are riding trains alone and even toddlers who are on field trip have no guardians. 

I did not see security guards in the mall, groceries or restaurants. No one is checking your bag. 

12. Japan toilets are very unique



I’ve been meaning to use the toilet in Japan because it is very unique and true enough, it is very different from what we have. It is something that I really miss in Japan, you have warm seat and different buttons for bidet, deodorizer, scents, sounds and many more. You can even adjust it according to your preference.

13. Mirrors are very amazing too 



It is very common that the bathroom mirror will have moist after you take a bath but in Japan, may space na walang moist. Amazing! 

14. Tactile paving 

I always see tactile paving on the stairs, train stations and footpaths and my husband informed me that this is designed for blind or visually impaired. Ang bongga di ba! People will know if they need to walk, pause or if they are approaching pedestrain crossing. I also saw this in Singapore train stations pero in Japan, everywhere I go I see tactile paving.



After our Japan trip, we went back to the Philippines. Home is still the same but something in our minds has changed. It is really true that 

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life and travel leave marks on you. 
Anthony Bourdain.”

August 29, 2016

MIA for Two Weeks

I have no idea that I will be busy these past two weeks, I was checking my blogs and I only have 6 blog posts this month of August and malapit na matapos ang buwan. Hehehe! So what really happened for the past two weeks?

Aug 14 to 18

I was busy making reviewer and tutoring my son for his long quiz and first periodical test (one week na exam) #nakakabaliw so I have very limited time to blog. 

August 19

I attended my goddaugther birthday party and after that we went to my friend’s house to extend our condolences. 

Wake is one event that I don’t want to visit because I’m so scared, seeing coffins nagogoose bumps na ko. When my grandfather (mother side) and grandmother (father side) died, nasa malayo lang ko lagi so kahit kanino, di pa ko tumitingin sa coffin. 

I really scheduled the visit on Friday because I know na uuwi na ang aking asawa from business trip and may kasama na ko. And of course, tapos na rin ang exam ng aking anak. 

I saw the schedule of my son for the following week and wala lessons for the whole week. Feast week nila so puro activities lang sila so we’ve been contemplating kung sasama ba kami sa SG trip ni hubby. 

August 20 

My husband decided to bring us with him so we bought plane tickets (2 tickets for Ethan + Me). Yehey, instant vacation for us but I was cramming for our itinerary. We only have four days to enjoy SG. 

August 21 

We had a quick trip in the mall to buy some stuff for our trip. August 22 I’m finishing my chores, need maubos ng aking labahan and plantsahin because after the trip, another batch of labahin at plantsahin ulit. 

Aug 23 to 27 

Singapore Trip 

I celebrated my birthday in Singapore. My son and I visited different zoos in SG. 

August 28 

Because of the delayed flight, we just arrived on August 28. We were so tired but happy.

August 29 

Good thing it is holiday today so we can rest before work and classes resume. More stories on my next post and expect for our Singapore trip series.

August 15, 2016

8 Ways to Score Cheap Airline Tickets


“Travel as much as you can, as far as you can, as long as you can. Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.”

I agree with this quote because we live in a wonderful world so learn to travel and see the beauty and charm of other cities, provinces and countries. Have some adventures in life, seek to see and experience things up close and personal. Do not stay or live in one place.

I cannot deny that travel means expense but nowadays, you don’t need to be rich just to travel because there are so many ways to travel cheaply.

Living in the Philippines which is an archipelago, we always need to fly out to visit Visayas, Mindanao and of course other countries. In order to save money, I need to look for cheap airline tickets. 

I’ll be sharing with you how do I save for airfare. Here are the 8 Ways to Score Cheap Airline Tickets




1. Watch Out for Seat Sales 

My number one on my list is watch out for airline seat sales, I cannot stress enough but you can really save money if you are able to buy promo ticket.

I remember when my son was in toddler years, I really wake up before 12AM so I’m ready to book when 12AM strikes. Airlines are offering P1 sale or FREE seat, we’ve been to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for only P2,145 Round Trip for 3 persons.

How can you watch out for seat sales? Follow the social medias of different airlines such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and subscribe to their email updates to keep you updated with deal alerts.

2. Visit Travel Expo 

Visit Travel Expo, if you don’t like waking up early, you don’t have a reliable internet connection or you don’t like booking online. It is like a one stop shop where airlines, resorts, hotels and travel agencies offer promos, seat sales and discounts. But you need a lot of patience to fall in line. 

3. Enroll in Airline Frequent Flier Program 

Whether you are a frequent traveler or not, take advantage the frequent flyer program of different airlines. Membership is free and you can earn miles by flying or staying in partner hotels. 

We were able to book Business Class ticket using our Mabuhay Miles when we went to Cebu. 

4. Use Credit Card 

Credit card companies are also offering airline promos and discounts by using their credit card to book the airfare. Some companies are offering buy 2 and get one free. Some companies are offering installment too. 

We also earn miles by using our credit card. Credit Card Points to Mabuhay Miles. 

5. Fly with Budget Carriers 

If you are not picky, book your tickets on budget airlines like Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. These airlines also offer membership program where you can also earn points or miles.

6. Book One Way Ticket

Don’t always book round trip ticket especially if the price is steep. Whenever there is a seat sale, I make sure that I will only book the promo fare so most of the time, I will buy a one-way ticket and wait for another seat sale or check other airlines. 

When we went to Cebu 5 years ago, I book Manila to Cebu and Cebu to Manila in two different airlines.

P499.68 - Manila to Cebu (via Cebu Pacific) 3 persons 
P1561 - Cebu to Manila (via AirPhil) 3 persons 

But there are times buying round trip ticket is much cheaper, so just mock book to compare. 


7. Fly on Cheapest Days or Times 

If there are no seat sales and you need plane tickets, book the cheapest days or times. The cheapest days are Tuesday and Wednesday. Avoid expensive days like Fridays, Sundays, Holidays and Peak Season. 

The cheapest times are flights at dawn and red-eyes. I don’t mind flying as early as 5AM if the fare is cheap. When we went to Japan, I chose the earliest flight because it was the cheapest rate, fare difference of $50 dollars per person/way

8. Use Booking Platform 

Sometimes looking for a cheap airline ticket is very stressful because it takes so much time but now with the help of booking platform like Traveloka, the work will be easy. It is available on your desktop or mobile phones.

Booking platform is a great tool to search for cheap airfare because you only need few clicks and you can see, compare and book airline tickets. It will save you time in comparing cheap flights from different airlines. Aside from that, you can also book a hotel at a competitive price. 

Care to share your tips in booking cheap airfare.

August 12, 2016

Betty Crocker: Chocolate Chip

Ever since I attended the Bread Baking Class, I was looking for weighing scale, dough scraper and additional mixing bowls for proofing. I’ve been to Gourdos but I did not find what I needed so I asked my husband if he can accompany me to Dough It All - Mamplasan

Read: The Day I Learned How to Make my Own Bread 


We went to Brentville to check the baker’s supply center but the guard told us that it was already closed, last week lang po nagsara, lilipat daw po sa bandang hi-way. Waah! I just found out last month that they have a branch in Laguna then sarado na. 




Since there is also South supermarket in Brentville, we checked it out para di sayang lakad. I saw the Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip cookie mix P148.50, I tried their oatmeal chocolate chip mix last year and we liked it so I tried this chocolate chip mix.

Read: Betty Crocker Oatmeal Chocolate Chip




You only need two ingredients, 1/2 butter and 1 egg. Mix the three ingredients and bake for 8-10 minutes at 375F. 



The chocolate chip cookie is good, it is a little bit sweet for my taste so I pair it with milk. Between the two instant mixes, I prefer the oatmeal chocolate chip. The only problem with baking cookies is you need to make sure that you will get it on time, I almost forgot the second batch so may burnt part sa ilalim, anyway it is still edible. As of this writing, I only have 5 pieces cookies left since I baked it yesterday.

August 11, 2016

Why I don’t like Pokemon Go?

I’ve been reading a lot of not so good news about Pokemon Go so I already told my son that we will not download this game even it is already available in the Philippines. Last Saturday, I’ve been seeing a lot of Pokemon Go in my newsfeed but I did not pay attention. 

Out of curiosity, my husband asked me to download the app because the Pokemon Go app is not compatible with his phone. #choosy So I downloaded it and tried it, I just look for monsters within our house and I was able to catch two monsters and yun pa lang napagod na ko. Hehehe! I downloaded the game in our Ipad too. 

Last weekend, my son was not allowed to use the Ipad so Sunday afternoon came, he was convincing his daddy to play Pokemon Go. I said no, but my husband said, “sige na, bonding na namin”. I’m not sure if that is really for my son or dahil gusto din niya magplay. Hehehe! So after church, they drove around the village to catch monsters but they did not find any. Hehehe! 

Last Monday, my son asked me to play Pokemon Go. I tried again to look for monsters within our house and I found one. But the following day, I already deleted the app on my phone and my son asked me, why mommy? 

Why I don’t like Pokemon Go?


1. The game is not for me, you need to move just to look and catch the monsters. Knowing me, I’m so lazy to move and I don’t want to go out of the house just to play the game. 

2. I don’t think it is a safe game because your focus is on your phone.

3. You need to be online just to play the game so it means additional cost if I will play it outside because I don’t have wifi connection. 

4. The snatchers are very happy because they see a lot of people playing Pokemon Go, madami sila mabibiktima. Madaling masnatch na ang mga magagandang phone. 

Well, the good thing about Pokemon Go, it makes you move so nakakaexercise ka na rin. A good bonding with your friends or family kung sabay-sabay kayo na maghunt. 

Let see this weekend, if my husband and son will play the Pokemon Go since I haven’t deleted the app in our Ipad.

August 09, 2016

Painting by Numbers

When my son was in toddlers years, I always buy coloring books or print free coloring pages online. He likes to color and doodles, even our white walls are not exempted

But now, he doesn’t like to color anymore and he prefers painting. Two years ago, we painted a canvas shopping bag and he enjoyed it.

Read: Art Time

So when I saw the Craft Easy Canvas Painting Kit last year, I immediately bought it. The kit is very affordable but it is not always available in National Bookstore. 

Read: Craft Easy Canvas Painting Kit

We also tried painting at Sip & Gogh few months ago and my son wanted to go back but I told him that we will go back pag may budget na. One session is almost 1K so it is not friendly to my pocket. 

Read: Painting at Sip & Gogh

Few months ago, I saw Art Craze - Paint by Numbers but when I checked stores, malayo naman sa min. Good thing I saw this Painting by Numbers kit at S&R and I immediately bought it. 



My son was not allowed to use the Ipad last weekend because he did not finish his baon in school so that is the consequence. He was bored so he remembered the painting kit that I bought. 



The kit is P349.95, it includes canvas, 2 brush, paint and yung pansabit with screw. Actually, I find it expensive kasi kasing laki nga lang siya nung Craft Easy kit, the only difference is may numbers. Hehehe! 



But my husband told me, yun ang binabayaran mo yung numbers. In fairness, my son’s finished artwork is good because of the numbers. The numbers really helped him. Though he asked help from me, so I painted the eyes, whiskers and flowers, mahirap daw kasi yung small. 



I will buy painting kit again so he has something to do when Ipad is not allowed. After his painting session, nauto niya daddy niya na magplay ng Pokemon Go. Sunod naman si Daddy niya at bonding daw nila. Hmmm! 


Nadagdagan na ulit. :)
The following day, I hang the painting on our wall.

August 03, 2016

Why do we Travel with Kid in Tow?

Some people do not want to travel because it is hard to explore with kids. Some people do not want to travel because they feel that it is so expensive. Some people do not want to travel because they just don’t like it, they would rather shop or stay at home because that makes them happy.

For me, there is nothing wrong with that because we have our own reasons and we find time for the things that make us feel HAPPY to be ALIVE. In our case, we feel happy when we travel with our son in tow. 

For the record, we are not rich and we are not a frequent traveler but we find time and we find ways just to travel because that makes us happy.

Looking back, when I was a kid we don’t travel a lot so I was really excited every time we have a field trip in school, summer camp in church or if my relatives will have a family outing and they will invite us to join. That is the only time that we can visit new places. So when I started working and earning, I try to save money so I can travel. 

Now that I’m a mom, we make sure that we have time to travel. I do believe that you don’t need to be rich in order to travel because traveling does not mean going out of the country or going out of town. If budget is tight you can explore your own city or province. I’m pretty sure that there are nice places that you can visit within your area. 

So why do we always travel with our son?

1. Traveling is the Best Investment 

We are not born with a silver spoon so traveling is considered a luxury for us. We are happy to invest our money in traveling because we believe that...


“Time doesn't wait for you... Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

Yes, traveling is not FREE, you need to spend money to go to different places but it is not just an expense because you get something in return. You will learn a lot by exploring the world. 


“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” 

So traveling is the best investment that we can give to our son. Cliche as it may sound “You only live once” so I wanted my son to see and enjoy the world while he is young. 



2. Traveling is the Best Gift 

I consider traveling as the best gift that I can give to my son because clothes will fade and toys will be outdated but the memories that we’ve shared while traveling is timeless.

When he gets an award in school, instead of buying gifts we visit theme parks, museums or places that he can enjoy. I don’t want to shower him with material things that will not last. I rather spend the money on experiences that can last a lifetime.



We want to fill our life with experiences and not material things. We want to have stories to tell in the future and not stuff to show to people. 

3. Traveling is the Best Teacher 

Traveling is not always fun, there are always ups and downs. There are mistakes or mishaps along the way but those challenges will teach you lessons in life.



Going out of the country will make you more observant, attentive and curious. You will realize that each country has their own culture and traditions and you cannot just do what you want, you also need to adapt. 


The best education you will ever get is traveling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences.

You also get excited to see the places or things up close and personal. I would like my son to see and experience different things because I know there are so much to learn outside our comfort zone. 

4. Traveling is the Best Way to Create Memories 

Some people say that they will just travel when their kids are already old so they can enjoy the places. But for me, I would like to travel while my son is still young because time flies so fast and in a blink of an eye, he is ready to move out of the house. 

“Each day of our lives, we make deposits in the memory banks of our children” - Charles Swindoll 

Before that happens, I would like to share and explore the world with him. I want to travel with him, visit every country, every province and every city. Eat foods, try new things and take a lot of pictures. I would like to spend more time with him because I know time will come that we will no longer be his travel buddy. I would like to grab the opportunity while my son is still young and while we still have energy because I don’t know if we can still travel in our senior years. 


I hope that when he grows old, he will remember the places that we’ve seen, the foods that we’ve tried, the things that we did and the most important thing is the memories that we’ve made along the way. I hope that he will remember that he has a mom and dad who are always there for him because at the end of the day, what matters most is the people you have in your life. 

PS. If you love to travel, check my “Best Places to go with Kids in the Philippines” album on my Facebook page, subscribe to You Tube or visit our Pinterest board of “Traveling to the Philippines with Kids”. I will update the album from time to time 

You Tube  Best Places to go with Kids in the Philippines 
Traveling to the Philippines with Kids 



August 01, 2016

Thailand: IKEA Bangna

IKEA is from Sweden, It is a Scandinavian chain selling ready-to-assemble furniture, household products and food products in a warehouse-like space. 

Last summer, my husband went to Bangkok, Thailand and he told me that there is an IKEA in Thailand. He knew that I always check IKEA product online and I’ve been meaning to visit this store. 

I was fortunate to visit IKEA Tachikawa in Japan but since we don’t have extra luggage with us, I did not buy a lot so when my husband mentioned that he will go back to Bangkok, I immediately checked IKEA online catalogue.

Read: IKEA Tachikawa


Photo from IKEA Catalogue


I noted all the stuff that I like and sent it to my husband’s phone so he can see the pictures and names. I’ve been sending pictures and my husband said, mukhang excess baggage na ko sa dami ng pinabibili mo. Hehehe! I told him that I don't know what is available so kung ano kasya.

IKEA Bangna

July 24

Last Sunday, my husband flew to Bangkok and I suggested to visit IKEA Bangna on his first day bago pa siya maging busy sa work. He’s a submissive husband so after dropping his luggage in the hotel, off he went to IKEA. Hehehe! It was also a good decision because according to hotel staff it is Sunday so there is no traffic. 

My husband warned me, 23 kilos na daw bagahe niya so I only have 7 kilos sa aking ipabibili. So I have to say goodbye to Raskog Utility Cart because it weighs 10 kilos. The Kallax 2x2 was out of stock but even it is available, it is still heavy. The Trones Shoe/Storage Cabinet is too bulky. Waah! 




According to him, the IKEA Bangna is bigger compared to IKEA Tachikawa and hindi niya kayang ikutin. He was already tired so he has no strength to look for Pruta containerSo he bought 4 Drona (storage boxes) THB149 each, Gnarp (5-piece kitchen utensil set) THB119 and 2 Glis THB129 each (storage with lid).



The Drona is for the Kallax shelves, the Glis is perfect for our small accessories, pen or pencils. The Gnarp is for the kitchen, it is not heavy and I’m not sure if it will not last enough, feeling ko madali mabakli. Hehehe! But I think I can use this in teaching my son how to cook, at least hindi mabigat and fit sa kanyang maliit na kamay.


Photo from IKEA Catalogue

He forgot to buy the IKEA chocolates and cream sauce that we like. 



Read: Pasalubong from Japan
          IKEA Graddsas Cream Sauce

IKEA Philippines 

Few days after my husband went to IKEA, I learned that there will be an IKEA Manila soon but there was no definite place or time yet. But I’m one of those people who are excited because at least we will have another store where we can buy stuff at a very affordable price. 

Some people say that IKEA products have low quality and it will not last for a very long time. Some people say that products are mass produced so marami ka rin kapareho. But I don’t mind because I like IKEA products because it offers products that are space-saver, easy to assemble and affordable. Maybe as a customer, you can check and choose what product that is worth buying for.

There are IKEA products here in the Philippines but of course, the price is either double or triple the price. I found IKEA products at a reasonable price when we went to St. James Bazaar but I only bought picture frames. Well, I hope there will be IKEA Philippines soon. 

IKEA Bangna 
38 Moo 6 Bangna-Trad km. 
8 Bangkaew Sub-District Bangplee District, 
Samutprakarn 10540 
Hours: 10AM–10PM 
Phone: +66 2 708 7999 

IKEA Restaurant & Café 
Open 9:30 - 21:30 hrs