Posted by: arub1n | May 13, 2011

ainaku revisited again

After almost 2 years of hibernation, I will try to wake up this site again ūüôā

Posted by: arub1n | June 7, 2009

June’s Finale : Recap Part1

RECAP : French Open 2009

Nadal beats Djokovic for his 5th title in a row. – Djokovic defeated by Kohlschreiber in the 3rd round while Nadal lost to Soderling in the 4th round.

Federer will not reach the semifinals. – Federer defeated Soderling in the finals for his 14th grand slam trophy tying Sampras and completing his career Grand Slam. I’m not a RF fan (a fan Sampras/Rafa), but after capturing this Roland Garros trophy, I believe he is the best male tennis player in history, as of now. Congrats Roger!

Safina or Ivanovic in the finals! – Safina played Kuznetsova in the final but lost in straight sets

Next, Wimbledon!

Posted by: arub1n | May 23, 2009

June’s Finale

My vote for next month’s finale :-p

the finals 2009
Superman dethrones the King. Magic in 6.
Melo and Billups are tough, but Kobe is tougher. Lakers in 7.

I like the Magic and Lakers to meet in the finals.
Lakers in 7.

roland garros
French Open
Nadal beats Djokovic for his 5th title in a row.
Federer will not reach the semifinals.
Safina or Ivanovic in the finals!

Posted by: airisshu | May 23, 2009

mom’s day @ subic

For mother’s day, we (ivy, i and hubby ) treated¬†mama to 3 days and¬† 2 nights of fun in Subic. It had¬†been a while since we last had a family vacation and so we really took time off our respective work for this.

My sister offered to look for and book us a place to stay. Only requirement we had apart from the budget was that it must have a swimming pool for us to lounge around <we know that subic beach is hopeless>. So when she found Club Morocco online, she booked a room  right away.

We initially had little misgivings with the resort, as we read and eventually confirmed that it’s about 30 minutes from SBMA… but¬†boy, the¬† trip was definitely worth-taking! It’s right smack in the middle of boondocks that made the view simply breathtaking. For 3k a night for a room of 4¬† plus the fact that¬† the rooms are huge and the amenities¬†competitive of¬†4-5 star hotels¬†, the resort was indeed a pleasant, pleasant¬†surprise! And the best part was only few people were there, that we had¬†the badminton area all to ourselves. ūüėÄ

We could have stayed at the resort the entire vacation but we planned to duty-free-shop <haller, we’re in subic>¬†and go safari, as well.

 Here are some pics :
club morocco in subic
badminton area at club morocco
mountain top
tiger safari
royal subic

Posted by: arub1n | May 5, 2009

Catching Up…

My first post since December 2007 -a 17-month hiatus. Now, I need to catch up.

Dec 2007.
Trip from JP to RP. Home Sweet Home.

Jan 2008. 
Happy New Year in Las Pinas!

Feb 2008.
Trip to Thailand with Rish.

Mar 2008 .
2008 MLB season begins.
Pacquiao won over Juan Manuel Marquez via a split decision.

May 2008.
Company outing in Dos Palmas, Palawan.

Jun 2008.
31st Birthday.
Rafael Nadal demolished Roger Federer for his 4th consecutive Roland Garros title.

Jul 2008.
Trip to Baguio with Rish.
Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer again for his 1st Wimbledon title.

Aug 2008.
Rish’ 30th Birthday. Beijing Olympics.

Sep 2008.
Roger Federer took his 5th consecutive US Open title after defeating Andy Murray.

Oct 2008.
2008-2009 NBA season begins.
Philadelphia Phillies defeated surpise contender Tampa Bay Rays for the World Series title.

Dec 2008.
Pacquiao TKOd Oscar De La Hoya.
Trip to Bacolod. Trip to Subic. Went home for the Youth Seminar in Isabela.

Jan 2009.
Happy New Year in Las Pinas again.
Rafael Nadal opened the season by taking his 1st Australian Open title.

Feb 2009.
Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals for their Super Bowl XLIII title.

April 2009.
2009 MLB season begins.
Norbertrip to Bicol with the tsongers!

May 2009.
Now, I’m updated.

Posted by: airisshu | October 27, 2008

Nikko Day 3: Toshogu and more temples

3 days in Nikko¬†–¬†no, make it 2.5 days as we had to leave after luncthtime, was just too short to enjoy whatever this¬†charming place has to offer. It was like we were served with a very¬†enticing Paella but were given 3 minutes to finish everything off… taking away the¬†delight of¬†savoring the¬†saffron’s aroma and delicately peeling off each clam’s, oyster’s and shrimp’s shells .

On short trips like this, we are just bound to become more of¬† a tourist than a traveller.¬†Not that I’d be snotty and¬†claim I prefer one over the other. Au contraire, I always¬†intend to be a balance of both.

A tourist, as they say, goes around with a guide book at hand and visits spots that¬†a¬†country, city or province¬†is most famous for… say, eiffel tower¬†for paris or the pyramids for egypt.¬†They most likely spend their time having their¬†photos taken on the “must-sees”¬† and might¬†forget that there’s so much more a place can offer.¬†A traveller, however,¬†breathes in the experience of being truly in¬†wherever he¬†or she is visiting¬†-culture, tradition, language¬†and all that jazz. A traveller wants to remember the trip for whatever experience gained and not through postcard souvenirs. As for myself, I both want the experience and pictures.¬† ūüôā

Bin and I know, in the years we’re here in Japan, we have seen¬†enough¬†of shrines and temples. They have all long been looking like the same to us.¬†But because Nikko is home to World Heritage ¬†infrastructures, they are then promoted to must-sees.¬† To compromise, we moved our visit to¬†Toshogu shrine on the last day – should we wake up later than planned,¬†we can sort of skim through it. And skim it, we did. hehehe

We woke up a little late than planned, as usual,¬†on the 3rd day to pack our bags.¬† They were expectedly lighter as we already consumed our generous supply of food. After taking a long¬†bath (sulitin ang bayad hehe) and settling our payments, we left¬†the ryoukan and¬†went our way¬†to¬†Nikko eki to leave our porma-bags in lockers. We then rode a bus marked with “World Heritage” without knowing¬†where exactly¬†is the shrine.¬† We just played by ear and luckily got off at the right station.

There were sooo many people going to the shrine. It reminded me of my semana santa trips to grotto when I was kid,¬† where you would see¬†“pilgrims” quietly walking up the hill to pay respect to the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. Some parts of the temple were under construction so we just took a few shots and went our way.

This trip culminated our lakwatsa days in Japan for the year 2007. Bin and I were never hooked on ski trips, so by December we decided to save whatever we had and prepare for the much awaited return to Philippines.

We got up from bed at around 7am, took a shower then headed to the bus stop for Chuzenji Onsen – the first destination of the day. A 50-minute travel zigzagging through the mountains brought us to Chuzenji Onsen. 5-minute walk from the bus station is the Lake Chuzenji.

The lake is beautiful and was calm but I think the view can be enjoyed more at the peak of autumn where colorful leaves of the trees near the shore decorate its panoramic view. After taking few shots of the lake (and of ourselves), we headed back towards the bus station to Kegon Falls which is about 5-minute walk from the station in the opposite side.

Kegon Falls is the highest waterfall I’ve seen so far, higher than the falls I’ve seen in Hakone and maybe higher than the Hinulugang Taktak in Antipolo – never been there yet though :-).¬† The drop of the water from about 100meters to the base of the waterfall creates a great view which is probably more beautiful if we came two weeks earlier. After taking few shots of the lake and of the the surrounding views, we returned back to the bus station for our next destination – Tobu World Square.

We arrived at Nikko station at around 12:30pm but since we were not sure until what time the TWS is open, we decided not to take our lunch at a restaurant near Nikko station but instead go to TWS directly. With our excitement and being in a hurry, we did not look for the Tobu Dial Bus (bus for TWS) anymore but instead walked from Kosagoe station to TWS, which is just about 800 meters ( Rish and I wanted to walk anyway).

After learning that it is open until 9pm, we took care of our stomachs first. 

TWS РTobu World Square is a theme park that displays beautifully crafted 1:25 scale model of the most famous structures/sites in the world. From Tokyo Dome in Japan to Eiffel Tower in France, from the Pyramids of Egpyt to the Great Wall of China, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy to the Parthenon in Greece. Did not reach Philippines though :-).

To add more fun in our photoshoot adventure, Rish and I agreed to challenge each others’ shots. Each of us is allowed to take a maximum of five shots per architecture/structure and from that five shots, select one as the best shot and the four other shots should be deleted at once. It was fun!¬†
Shots, shots, shots. Pose, pose, pose.

At around 8pm, we left TWS and took our dinner at the same restaurant as lastnight near Nikko station then headed back to the ryoukan. After catching up on Bionic Woman,  then there was Day 2.

Posted by: airisshu | December 3, 2007

Nikko Day 1 : bags, kakueki trains, buddhas and a bridge

Bin and I spent our 3-day vacation in November on a„ÄÄbackpacking trip in Nikko. Well, it’s just fair that hauling 80L of bags should define it as backpacking, right? Yeah, us, backpackers!¬† wow.

My ever-generous husbandry bought me my pack months ago, with all the intention to use it on our dream trip. But because we could not go, in at least the next two years (after we, uh,¬† settle things back home), we finally decided to break it in.¬† Amidst other important things we needed to budget for (haller, we havent bought a single furniture for our home yet), we both saw our bags as “investments” for future trips we really, really intend to take… and so with eyes closed and fluttering hearts, we reached deep in our already worn-out pockets and got him a matching pack last month. this is it! kelangan sulitin!

We were told that the best time to go to Nikko is during the middle part of autumn. We came probably¬† two weeks late to see this famous tourist spot in its most beautiful splendor, you know, red-orangey falling leaves everywhere… but still, it was one of the nicest places¬† I’ve been to…. that I¬†was mentally kicking myself¬†for visiting nikko just then.¬† Anyway, there were still some parts that shouted autumn and the weather was so pleasant, that, as usual, we got to take millions of photos.

With our ryoukan reservation confirmed, our bags packed mostly with food (actually 50% of my bag weight was OUR food hehe) and our cameras’ batt fully charged, we left for Nikko early morning of Friday. Buying a 3-day Nikko pass in Asakusa, Tokyo really saved us much needed moolah. One pass costs 4.4k in mickeymouse money and this includes roundtrip Asakusa-Nikko (normal fare is 2K, one way) and unlimited bus and train rides in Nikko-Kinugawa area. We would have easily spent 20k if not for this ultra-mega-powerful pass.

We initially planned to avail the limited express where we have to pay 1k each, over the cost of the pass, but geniuses that we are, on a peak season like then, we forgot to reserve seats earlier. We had no other choice but to take the 3-hour local train from Asakusa to Nikko.¬†Thankfully, we were able to find seats once we got to the train. The trip went by after sleeping half of the time and planning for our itinerary (and our life) the other half. It reminded me so much of the Nagano-Tokyo local train ride I, Kat, Rose and Marts took seven years ago, which we whiled away by playing word games. Long-distance slow-moving trains definitely have its own charm. With great company it will never be boring to me. ūüôā

Our Nikko ryoukan, we soon found out, was a nice little inn by a river, about a couple of minutes walk to a forest and mountains. How could we get more rural than that?! hehehe … Most of the occupants that time were caucasians, probably because the inn is one of the few¬†that wisely advertise on the net in eigo. We got the western type room because Bin is a diva when it comes to sleeping arrangements… he does not want to sleep on a tatami ! Good thing that I still managed to convince him to take the room even if it did not have a private bath. Haller, ryoukan does not suppose to have western rooms and private baths. ūüôā¬† My only miff with this inn and Nikko as a whole, is the cost of dining. Our inn has exaggerated fixed rates for dinner (2k per meal) and breakfast (1k) when their menu doesn’t even sound a bit inviting. It paid that I fear hunger and¬†we were “armed” with sandwiches I prepared from home hehe. We only had to eat out for dinners w/o really feeling¬†deprived. ūüėÄ

After dropping off our bags at the ryoukan and the short litany on must-see places by miss ryoukan-owner, we decided to visit buddha monuments 10minutes away, which turned out to be at the middle of a forest. The buddhas looked more like tombstones to me and the place reminded me of The Secret Garden… eery if not for other people visiting. After some shots, we left and went back to ryoukan for the tripod for a photo shoot of a lighted Shinkyou bridge also known as the Sacred bridge. We learned that it is called so because in old times it could only be used by the emperor. Accdg to miss ryoukan-owner, the bridge is very (stress on¬†this)¬†nice at night. Well, it is to me only if somebody would confirm that the ornaments are real-gold. Otherwise,¬†carry lang¬†hehe. It was close to freezing cold that night so we decided to go home after few shots and spend the night catching up on Heroes and Prison Break. ūüôā