DAY 4 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: Osaka to Tokyo via Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Tokyo Skytree and Shibuya Crossing

Konnichi wa guys! 🙂 Osaka and Kyoto itineraries were already posted on my DAY 1, 2 and 3.

DAY 4

On this blog entry, I’m gonna share how I got to Tokyo from Osaka. There are actually 5 ways to travel between Osaka and Tokyo, and these are the following:

By bus

Duration: 8 hours

Price: Regular bus costs 3,520 (P1,550) while Premium bus costs 10,000 yen (P4,400)

By airplane

Duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Price: 6,000 to 20,000 yen (P2,500 to P9,000) There are more than 60 flights per day operated by multiple airlines. It’s recommended to book months ahead to avail cheaper fares.

By car

Duration: 6 hours

Price: Expressway toll costs 10,000 to 12,000 yen (P4,400 to P5,300).

By local train

Duration: 9 to 10 hours, 4 transfers

Price: 3,000 to 9,000 yen (P1,300 to P3,900)

By Shinkansen (Bullet train)

Duration: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Price: 13,620 yen (P6,000) for a non-reserved seat and 14,200 to 14,500 yen (P6,300 to P6,400) for a reserved seat on a Nozomi train. You can also try Hikari and Kodama trains if you are using a Japan Rail Pass.

We took the bullet train because it’s one of the things we’ve been wanting to try in Japan. It’s also the most expensive one though! HUHU More expensive than our plane ticket. HAHA

But before heading to Namba station, we had our first meal at Pepper Lunch. This one below costs 780 yen (P350).

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The Shinkansen’s gateway to Osaka is Shin-Osaka station. From Namba to Shin-Osaka, the fare costs 280 yen (P125). The picture below is my bullet train ticket. It’s a non-reserved seat via Nozomi train.

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Our AirBnb in Tokyo is quite far from the center so I don’t really recommend it. But Niki, the owner, is really nice and friendly. Her space is also clean and very secured. The security lock for the locker was a bit challenging. HAHA For more details about her room, check my Japan Travel Guide here.

We arrived in Itabashi-ku (AirBnb address) at 4pm and decided to leave for Tokyo Skytree at 6. The nearest station from our accommodation is Kotake-mukaihara. And the nearest station to Skytree is Oshiage.

Kotake-mukaihara -> Ikebukuro -> Otemachi -> Oshiage  for 240 yen (P105)

You can actually use Google to look for the best or fastest route. Just type “origin station to destination station”. See pictures below.

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Choose the train option and it will give you different routes with duration and total fare.

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Click your chosen route and it will show you the number of transfers and the stations.

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Skytree is the tallest building in Japan which gives you a breathtaking view of Tokyo. The highlight of this tower is its two observation decks located at heights of 350 and 450 meters respectively. We paid an observatory admission fee of 3,000 yen (P1,300) each for Tembo Deck (Floor 350). For more details about Tokyo Skytree and ticket prices, you may check their website here.

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Our last stop for Day 4 was the famous Shibuya crossing. From Oshiage to Shibuya, the fare was 240 yen (P105). And from Shibuya station to Shibuya crossing, you still need to walk for 7 to 10 minutes. Shibuya is one of the busiest districts in Tokyo which has a lot of department and fashion stores, nightclubs and restaurants.

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I mentioned in my previous post that Japan is expensive. Thus, the pizza above was my only dinner for Day 4. HAHAHA In fairness, it was already enough. Wasn’t even able to consume it all. But the price? Shall I still mention it? Haaay. Alright. I paid P330 for that small pizza. HUHUHU

We enjoyed walking around Shibuya, jumping from one store to another without minding the time. That was why we forgot that the last trip for the train leaves at 11pm. 😥 We had no choice but to ride a cab and paid the most expensive taxi fare  we’ve ever had – 5,680 yen (P2,500)!!! That time I really wished I have wings! HAHAHA

To sum it up, DAY 4 is the most expensive day of our Japan trip. HUHUHU It’s actually breaking my heart while writing this post and remembering how expensive this day was. HAHAHA

I hope this will make you realize to save a lot of money before going to Japan for you to really enjoy the country and every amazing thing there! 😀

Domo arigato! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

DAY 3 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: Kyoto

Hello there guys! Happy happy New Year! 🙂 I’m so sorry for posting this late, hello 2017! HAHAHA

Before reading my Day 3 itinerary, I hope you’ve already read my DAY 1 and DAY 2. *winks*

DAY 3

We spent our third day exploring the cultural center of Japan – KYOTO! 🙂 Kyoto is famous for its classical Buddhist temples and imperial palaces. This is where I had my authentic Japanese culture experience which I will forever treasure and laugh about! HAHAHA To know why, keep scrolling! 😀

Kyoto is an hour away from Osaka. From Namba, take a train to Minamikata station for 240 yen (P100). Then transfer to Hankyu Line which is actually outside the station, maybe just a 2-minute walk. You may ask the officers for direction. Mwaah! When you reach Hankyu, you will see the HELP or INFO machine (see picture below), use it to start a video call with the assigned station officer. Uhhmeyyzing! 😀

Take the train going to Kawaramachi for 400 yen (P165). Initially, we just took the regular train but during our trip, we were able to talk with a local and he said that we may transfer to an express train going to Kawaramachi for FREE. If my memory serves me right, it was at Ibaraki-Shi station when we transferred to the express one. 🙂

After almost an hour, tadaaaa! Konnichi Wa, Kyoto! 🙂

Before leaving the station, we went to Hankyu Tourist Information Center to get some maps and travel guides -DIY travel essentials. HAHA

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KYOTO Tourist Spots Map

I don’t know but we instantaneously felt a totally different vibe when we arrived at Kyoto. Prolly because there are only few skyscrapers and a lot of locals are wearing their traditional costumes while walking down the street. The main roads are not that wide and there are  numerous historical buildings everywhere.

Before we started our Kyoto tour, we must fill our tummy first. HAHAHA Burger King was our savior! LOL (can’t find the pictures, Gomenasai!)

Since we saw a lot of Japanese girls were wearing Kimonos, we asked them where we can rent such OOTDs. 😀 We really didn’t understand the direction they gave us but we easily found one. There are a lot of rental shops actually but the one below was the first one we saw. 🙂

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Dress: 3,000 yen (P1,300)

Hair 1,000 yen (P440)

Ribbon 500 yen (P220)

Tax 360 yen (P160)

TOTAL: 4,860 yen  (P2,120)

We’re so lucky that we chose this shop because the owner/stylist was very nice and so friendly! 🙂 His name is Ryo. He’s very amazing because he finished styling or fixing my hair for just ten minutes! Woaaah! Kindly follow him on Instagram @ryo.first18 and @ryo.11.12 to see more of his beautiful hair creations. 🙂  Domo Arigato! *winks*

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How do I look? 😀 We didn’t expect that we could wear this Kimono for the whole day around Kyoto for FREE! Unlike in South Korea, we only had our photo ops inside the shop. So yeah, we got really excited! Hooray!!! 🙂

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First stop: Yasaka Shrine “Gion Shrine”

They said if you will visit this shrine, your body and mind will be blessed with beauty. Furthermore, if you will wash your hand and face with the “beauty water”, your heart and skin will also be beautified. ‘Twas too late for me to know about this, thus, I was able to wash only my hands and not my face (the reason why my face is not yet beautified atm haha)

I swear this is my favorite street food in Japan! Giant crab stick for 500 yen (P220) So delicious!!!! Oishi!!! Thank goodness I don’t have any food allergies! 😀

‘Twas so funny because while we were eating this, two Chinese tourists asked us to have pictures with them. HAHAHA I posted the video on my personal Instagram account but below are the screenshots. LOL

We decided to just walk going to our next destination not knowing that it’s very far! hahaha But it was still worth it because we were able to observe and discover many things along the street.

 

Second stop: Kiyomizu Temple or Kiyomizudera Temple “Pure Water Temple”

 

After more than 30 minutes of walking, we finally decided to take a bus.We took bus No. 100 and alighted at Higashiyama Gojo bus stop. Fare was 230 yen (P100). However, we didn’t know that it’s a long uphill walk to the temple plus the road was a bit crowded that time.

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Yey! After ten attempts, I finally had a photo with only few photo bombers. LOL

There are a lot of Matcha, maaatcha, matchaaaa, MATCHA!!! and souvenir shops in the area. Some sell fruit shakes and ice drops to beat the heat. But this one below caught our attention. It’s called Iced Kuzu Mochi– a new sensation of Japanese sweets!

 

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This is the entrance of the temple. We actually saw the temple from afar but were already too tired to go up because of the scorching heat of the sun. Entrance fee btw is 400 yen (P174).

Third stop: Fushimi Inari Shrine “Tori Gates”

ICYDN, we were wearing these traditional Japanese slippers called Geta while doing the deadly walkathon. LOL

We took bus No. 5 and the fare was 230 yen (P100). This bus ride was really unforgettable because a group of Filipinos thought we were pure Japanese. HAHAHA Their convo went like this…

Pinay 1: Girl, papicture ka dyan sa katabi mo (referring to me) para may panghawakan tayo na nakapagpapicture ka sa isang local.

Pinay 2: Nakakahiya girl at saka baka di nakakaintindi ng English.

Pinay 1: I-selfie mode mo lang phone mo, magegets nya na yan

Pinay 2: Wag na, nakakahiya.

HAHAHA We were going to the same destination so my travel buddy Naima and I decided not to speak Tagalog or Filipino anymore. LOL.

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Wasn’t able to try this 😦

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We weren’t able to see the whole place because it was already late and we must return our costume before 7pm. We took a cab from Tori gates to Kawaramachin (where the rental shop was located) for 1,200 yen (P500).

Tomodachi de itekurete arigatou Ryo! 🙂

Before leaving Kyoto, we looked for a resto that serves white rice! HAHAHA

Did this answer our prayer? LOL

Their Tandoori chicken was really good that we forgot to take a snap of it. 😀 Tandoori chicken meal costs 980 yen (P420).

Unexpectedly, we passed through this food festival something, I obviously don’t know what this is. HAHAHA

There were actually a lot of street food being sold but my phone battery didn’t want to cooperate. 😦

Time to say “Sayonara” to Kyoto! T____T One day was indeed not enough. We weren’t able to visit the famous Golden Pavilion. Well, it’s alright, at least I have another reason to go back to Osaka,  Japan! HAHAHA

Kawaramachi (Hankyu Line) to Umeda (Limited Express ) : 400 yen (P174).

Umeda (Midosuji Line) to Namba : 240 yen (P100)

I made a short travel video for Osaka, just click this link! 🙂

That’s all for now tomodachi! 🙂 My apologies btw for the poor resolution of some photos (ALL photos I think hahaha) Thanks for reading! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

 

DAY 2 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: Universal Studios Japan (USJ), Osaka

Check my DAY 1 itinerary in Japan here. 🙂 Domo Arigato! 😀

DAY 2

One of the major reasons why we decided to also visit Osaka is their Universal Studios where the famous Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be found. 🙂 We spent the whole day exploring this amazing theme park and I’m already excited to share my USJ experience with you! 🙂 So just continue scrolling, darling! :*

We started this day with a light breakfast because we’re penny-pinching like that. HAHAHA

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Pasta 498 yen (P225) and Flavored Water 118 yen (P55)

From Namba station to Nishikoju station 200 yen (P90). From Nishikoju station to Universal City station 160 yen (P72).

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We got so excited upon seeing Harry’s face in the station! Waaaaah! 🙂

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Meet my Japan travel buddies Naye and Princess! Before reaching USJ, you will pass through their official hotel named The Park Front Hotel and a lot of restaurants.

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Welcome to Universal Studios Japan!!! Fortunately, this year is their 15th anniversary! 🙂

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Obligatory shot with the iconic globe for the 2nd time. 😀

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Entrance Fee (with tax): 7,400 yen (P3,350)

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To reduce your waiting time for popular attractions, you may purchase an add-on which is an Express Pass. Express Pass for 7 attractions costs 6900 yen (P3,100) while for 4 attractions costs 4500 yen (P2,040).

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Of course, our first stop was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! 🙂

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Remember this? 😀 Well, I don’t even know what this is. HAHAHA Not a fan, tbh. LOL

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(singing) On the brooms of love up and above the clouds, the only way to fly is on the brooms of love…. harhar! 😀

Didn’t miss the chance to taste the popular frothy drink in the wizarding world – Butterbeer! 🙂 600 yen (P270)

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It’s time to try the motion-based dark ride of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! 🙂 We initially planned to buy an Express Pass but the number of this kind of pass being sold was very limited and we arrived a bit late so we spent almost TWO hours queuing. HUHUHU

There are lockers provided and strictly no phones and cameras are allowed during the ride. If you want to have a souvenir,  you may purchase a picture which was snapped during your ride and you’ll be given a claim stub like the one posted below.  The staff had a hard time looking for our picture in their computer, she just then offered us to have another ride without the need of queuing up again provided that we will purchase the picture which costs 2800 yen (P1,300). Of course without thinking twice, we happily agreed! HAHAHA Halerr? That’s way cheaper than going back to Osaka! hahaha We really enjoyed the ride! The only thing we didn’t like was the characters were speaking Japanese! We couldn’t understand a thing. hahaha That’s no biggie though, so don’t leave USJ without trying this!!! To all HP avid fans out there, you’d surely love everything inside the castle! I promise! 🙂

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There are soooooo many Harry Potter merchandise or souvenir items being sold inside the castle. Pens, towels, notepads, robes, magnets, key chains, wands, chocolates and a whole lot more!!! They’re very pricey though. 😦 So I only bought two sets of playing cards which costs 2,300 yen (P1,000) each.

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“Wingardium Leviosa!”

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Which wand do you want? 🙂 Cheapest one costs 3500 yen (P1,500).  There are actually few areas in the park where you can use your wand to do some spells and tricks. I even saw a young boy who got so amazed with the power of his wand. HAHAHA Credits to the special effects! LOL

After spending almost three hours in Harry Potter’s world, we proceeded to the next popular attraction. We queued for almost two hours just to try THE FLYING DINOSAUR which is considered as the world’s longest Bolliger & Mabillard flying coaster, according to the park. This was such an over-the-top, thrilling experience! I certainly felt like I was flying the whole time and was spinning 360 degrees on air! HAHAHA So unforgettable! Been praying a lot of times during the ride. LOL This was actually the first attraction to mark the park’s 15th anniv. 🙂

I love this unique frozen mango! 🙂 It’s very cold (duhh! frozen hahaha) but soft on the inside and very sweet. So delicious! 🙂 Bought this for 500 yen (P225)

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While I was looking for my companion, I passed through this Jurassic Park Ride and noticed that there were only few people in the queue, so I decided to try it alone. HAHAHA I didn’t know though that I will get very soaked after. As in head to toe! T_T

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We really wanted to try the restaurants inside the park but our wallets only said “Yes!” to this chocolate churro. HUHU hahaha 480 yen (P215)

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I truly had an unforgettable experience in this park but the only thing I forgot was my companion! hahaha We separated ways inside the park and forgot to agree about our meeting time and place. Princess and  I spent almost an hour waiting for Naye at the park’s entrance while Naye was waiting for us on the other side. HAHAHA Because we were both confident of each other’s capability to go home just by ourselves, we both decided  to leave the park when ’twas already closed. And yes, we were all able to arrive home safe and sound. 🙂

That’s all for DAY 2. Thank you for reading! I’ll post my DAY 3 itinerary pretty soon! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

DAY 1 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan : Osaka Castle, Dotonbori and Namba District

Konnichiwa! (Hello/Good day!) Ogenki desu ka? (How are you?) 🙂

Hello everyone! I’m baaaaacccckkk! 😀 Before reading my DAY 1 itinerary, I hope you have read already my Japan Travel Guide. Check my previous post here. 😉

DAY 1

Our departure time to Osaka via Jetstar was at  7 o’clock in the morning. We arrived at NAIA Terminal 1 around 4am then we immediately paid P1,650 for travel tax. There weren’t too many passengers that time so we only spent few minutes for immigration clearance and had more time for breakfast! HAHAHA

Our flight was not delayed so we arrived at Kansai International Airport (KIA) on time. So unusual, yeyyy! 😀

OHAYO OSAKA! ♥ ♥  ♥

Just like in Incheon Airport, KIA has a train from the boarding gates to the main building. We had a fast clearance in Immigration and Customs and their officers are not that scary. LOL

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Time to fill up our tummy! 😀 It’s always a part of my itinerary to try either KFC or McDonalds in every country I get to visit because I love comparing their food and trying something that’s not being offered in our country. In Japan, we tried McDo! 🙂 BUT… I don’t like their fries! huhuhu I spent  450 yen (P207) for this meal.

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Our AirBnB room is located in Namba so we took Nankai Airport Express which costs 920 yen (P423) to Namba Station for a 50-minute travel time.

Our check-in time was at 6 o’clock in the evening because we needed to wait for our host to finish her work that day. Good thing she suggested Namba Hands-Free Center. It is where you can leave your luggage for a corresponding fee. This is located near Namba station and Namba Park. It’s on the fourth floor of Hotel Ichiei. I paid 500 yen (P230) for my big trolley bag and 200 yen (P92) for my backpack.

After leaving our luggage, we went to Osaka Castle.

Subway Midosuji Line (Red Line) at Namba Station (M20) → Hommachi Station (M18) → transfer to Subway Chuo Line (Green Line) → Tanimachi 4-chome Station (C18). Total Fare: 240 yen (P110).

From Tanimachi 4-Chome Station, take Exit No. 1-B and walk for about 10 minutes before reaching the gate of the castle. You know you’re on the right track when you see these landmarks below. 😀

Few more steps before the gate….

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This is the GATE! hahaha

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From here, you still need to walk for almost five minutes before reaching the castle. There are different food stalls inside.

Entrance Fee to Osaka Castle: 600 yen (P276)

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Inside the castle is a museum but you can’t take pictures in a certain floor. ( I forgot if it was the 2nd or 4th  hahaha)

There is an observation deck in the topmost floor of the castle tower which offers a beautiful panoramic view of Osaka.

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One amazing thing I found in this place is the Osaka Castle souvenir coin machine located at the ground floor. 😀

Step 1: Choose between gold or silver coin for 500 yen (P230)


Step 2: Choose between necklace chain or key chain for 200 yen (P92) (Optional)

Step 3: Engrave your name (or your lover’s name if you’re very sure s/he is the ONE already ‘coz maybe s/he has another ONE or TWO? y’know! lol) at the back of the coin for 30 yen (P14) This is a fixed rate regardless of the length of your name.

Time for some ice cream! 🙂 This tastes a little ordinary but it was kinda big. Well it should be big, it’s so pricey! hahaha 400 yen (P184) Gosh.

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We stayed for only few minutes in Osaka Castle, upon exit you will see this fountain above. From here, just walk for maybe 5 minutes before reaching the nearest station. Fare to Namba Station: 240 yen (P110).

After claiming our luggage at Namba Hands-Free Center, we directly went to our AirBnB room which is located beside Rise Motomachi Animal Hospital. We walked for almost twenty minutes. Whew!!!! I don’t really recommend the place. HAHAHA

We took a rest for just an hour then went to Dotonbori for dinner!!! 🙂 Dotonbori is one of Osaka’s most popular tourist destinations because of its many shops and restaurants. This is the perfect place in Osaka for those tourists who want to experience “Kuidaore” which means “To ruin oneself by extravagance in food” or simply “Eat till you drop!” This is also where you can find the iconic Glico Man.

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Takuyaki with egg- 550 yen (P253)  for 6 pcs

Okonomiyaki – 1,000 yen  (P460)

This was our only dinner because everything was very pricey. HAHAHA And also, we were very tired already so we all decided to just go home and sleep. LOL

That’s all for now tomodachi! 😉 DAY 2 will be posted sooooon! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

Japan Travel Guide

Japan has been every Filipino’s dream travel destination in Asia. And I think I don’t need to explain why. LOL. Honestly, I’m just feeling a bit lazy now so let’s just get straight to the point, shall we? HAHAHA

AIRLINE. There are a lot of airlines that offer direct flights from Philippines to Japan. And since thousands of Japanese visit our country every year, the flights are not limited to their capital city which is Tokyo. Some airlines offer flights to Osaka, Nagoya or Fukuoka and some of these flights are departing from Cebu or Davao. There are two airports in Tokyo: Haneda and Narita. Haneda International Airport is located closer to central Tokyo than Narita International Airport. To check the flight schedules for every airline, just click the icons below. 🙂

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Among these airlines, the cheapest one is Jetstar. I learned about their promo when I attended Travel Tour Expo 2016 last February at SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. I’ve been attending this kind of event since 2013 and I find it really helpful for a budget traveler like me, trust me! HAHAHA To know more about this annual event, you may check my previous post here.  It was my first time to try Jetstar and their online booking system is the easiest one for me. You can easily check for an alternative date with the same or cheaper price.

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Yes, that price in the photo above is in pesos. One way ticket to Japan can be as cheap as P1,998 ONLY!!! However, Jetstar is very strict with their hand luggage (carry-on baggage). They strictly follow the 7kg rule (14kg in business class) and that includes your handbag and other personal items such as your gadgets.

VISA APPLICATION. Unlike applying for South Korea, applying for Japan is through their accredited agencies only; one cannot apply directly to Japan Embassy except for diplomatic or official visa. The following are the accredited travel agencies:

Based on my brain-squeezing research (chos! haha), UHI is the best one. And I was riggghhhttt! 🙂 I consulted first my requirements through their email address and they responded on the same day. I submitted my requirements in their office on the 19th of July and got a text and email that my passport was already ready for pick-up on the 22nd. That fast, amazing! 😀 UHI has two offices: Makati and Cebu. Their office in Makati is located at Mezzanine Floor, Dusit Thani Hotel. It is just beside SM Makati and the nearest train station is MRT Ayala. While their office in Cebu is located at 2nd Level JY Square Discovery Mall, 1 Salinas Drive, Lahug. By the way, you can send your application and documents via courier if you’re not from Metro Manila or Cebu. Just check their website for more details. 🙂

There are different requirements for each type of applicant, you may check the complete list here. But I will only focus on the requirements for a tourist without any family or relative or guarantor in Japan.

  • Philippine passport (more than six months valid with at least two blank pages)
  • Visa application form (download the form here)
  • Photo (4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background)
  • Birth Certificate (issued within one year)
  • Marriage Contract (if the applicant is married, also issued within one year)
  • Daily Schedule in Japan (see sample below)
  • Bank Certificate
  • Income Tax Return (Form 2316) original and photocopy
  • Visa application payment of P950 to P1,500 depending on the travel agency.

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OSAKA, KYOTO AND TOKYO. Osaka is Japan’s second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. Some tourists prefer this city than Tokyo because of the famous The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan. For a complete list of tourist spots and travel guide to Osaka, you may check this page. On the other hand, if you want to see countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures, include Kyoto in your itinerary. This city is just an hour away from Osaka but one day is not enough to visit Kyoto; an overnight stay is recommended. 🙂 For Kyoto travel guide, visit this page.  Lastly, if you want unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, anime and dining, Tokyo is undoubtedly the best city for that. There are a lot of amazing things in Tokyo and it’s really a beautiful and  peaceful city. And also, this is where Disneyland and Disney Sea are located. Tokyo is six hours away from Osaka if you will take the regular train and only two hours if you wanna try the very expensive bullet train or Shinkansen . That’s the reason why some tourists only visit Osaka and some only visit Tokyo. But in our case, we visited both because it’s more pricey to have another Japan tour. HAHAHA And we really really wanted to try their bullet train! 🙂

JR PASS. Japan Rail Pass is the most economical means of travelling throughout Japan by rail. It is valid for reserved and non-reserved ordinary car travel on all Japan Railways (JR) Group Shinkansen “bullet trains” (except for the “Nozomi” and “Mizuho” services), limited express trains, express trains, and local trains (Green Car passes are valid for Green Car travel) and the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit system). But then, you cannot buy this pass within Japan. You must purchase first a voucher from an accredited agency here in the Philippines and exchange it with an actual pass when you arrive in Japan. But I’ve read in the Facebook page of The Japan Times that it will be available within Japan very soon. The 7-day validity pass costs P13,200. We weren’t able to buy our JR passes before we left Manila and ’twas a good thing because our total transportation expense within Japan was only around P10,000 which already includes Shinkansen (P6,150). So that’s around P3,000 cheaper! 😀 But it’s more convenient to use JR pass since you no longer need to buy tickets in every station and do the Math every now and then. HAHAHA

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TRANSPORTATION. “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation” by Gustavo Petro.  Japan, so far, has the best transportation system I’ve been to. You can see a lot of businessmen and rich people who take the public transport particularly the train. There are more than a thousand of train stations in Japan and every city railway map looks very complicated. Posted below are the railway maps of Osaka and Tokyo.

Told yah! You’d surely get totally confused on your first try of finding the station you’re looking for. HAHAHA But like I said before, worry no more, train mobile apps will be your savior! 😉  Hyperdia is one of the famous train app in Japan. I also recommend Osaka and Tokyo apps by Mapway.

But during our trip, Google Maps was more useful. 🙂

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Bicycles are widely used in Japan; you can see a lot of cyclists and bicycle parking racks everywhere. We forgot to look for their amazing underground parking system like the one in this video. 😦 Anyway, a friendly reminder: always be alert while walking in the street because some of them don’t blow their horn. I was almost hit for more than ten times already. HAHAHA

TIME. UTC/GMT +9 hours. Japan is 1 hour ahead of Philippines.

SEASONS. Spring: March to May; Summer: June to August; Autumn: September to November; Winter: December to February. But the most famous season is the Cherry Blossom season! 😀 This starts from early March to late April. Below is the Cherry Blossom Map for 2016.

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ACCOMMODATIONWe booked our rooms both in Osaka and Tokyo via AirBnb. You can download their app or use their website to rent unique accommodations from local hosts. AirBnb provides great choices and with it, you can really feel at home anywhere in the world. If you will go to Osaka, I suggest you look for a room in Namba district. This is regarded as the center of Osaka. And if you will just stay within Tokyo, the best place would be Shibuya.  However, the room we booked for in Tokyo was in Itabashi-Ku which is a bit far from the center. But I still recommend it since the local host named Niki was very friendly and helpful. Her unit is clean and comfy. Both of these rooms have free Wi-Fi and toiletries. But our stay in Niki’s place was way better than in Osaka. 😀 I’ll share the whole story on my next post. HAHAHA

Our local host for Namba, Osaka was Noriko, you can check her AirBnb profile here. 

While in Itabashi-Ku, Tokyo, our local host was Niki. She’s a Vietnamese who currently works in Japan. Check her AirBnb profile here. 

 

LANGUAGE. Most of them can speak and understand English. But still, you need to prepare your translation apps. 🙂 In our group, I was the one assigned for this. I mean, for communicating with those Japanese who can’t understand English. HAHAHA (One was assigned for route planning or transportation and the other one was for photography. That’s actually a travel tip! Assign roles to your travel buddies! :D) I actually had fun using their language and it was so fulfilling whenever they understand everything I was saying. haha I started learning their language when I was still 15 years old but up to now, I only know the basic. LOL

JAPANESE YEN. One (1) Japanese Yen equals .45 Philippine Peso. Your Philippine pesos would be of greater value if you convert it beforehand in the Philippines than in Japan. Japan is an expensive country. You should definitely double your budget. HAHAHA We lost weight during our tour because of their expensive drinks, meals and fares. Actually, almost everything is expensive! hahaha Well, if you’re rich, forget about what I said. LOL

ELECTRICAL PLUGS OR SOCKETS. They are using types A and B. Type A is a two flat identical sized parallel prongs while type B is a two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin.  In the Philippines, we also use Type A so you no longer need to bring an adaptor. 🙂

WI-FI. We expected for many free Wi-Fi access points in Japan but only find few ones. We just found some in convenience stores and cafes and you need to “Log-in with your Facebook account” when prompted with log-in options. It’s a good thing though so we can fully enjoy the city and just surf the net before hitting the hay. 🙂

TOURIST GUIDES or MAPS. These can be found in every train station. In the airport, there are only few ones being displayed in the Tourist or Information Desk.

VENDING MACHINES. There are thousands of vending machines in Japan. Like every 10 or 15 meters, there is a vending machine and I’m not even kidding! Really amazing. HAHAHA I believe it’s because Japanese love walking and biking and their summer is hotter than ours so they need to stay well hydrated. By the way, they love flavored and sparkling water. It was only on my fourth attempt that I was able to buy a natural drinking water. LOL  And this one below is my favorite flavored water!!! This one is so hard to find. Only 1 out of 20 vending machines offers this drink and I wasn’t able to find this in convenience stores.  This sounds like an exaggeration but to taste is to agree! HAHAHA

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SELF-SERVICE. “Self-service” culture of Japan is truly remarkable especially in restaurants, parking areas, gas stations, laundry stations and some grocery stores.

Whew! This post is already the longest one I think. HAHAHA Spent almost three hours for this, time to sleep! 😀

That’s all for now sweeties!🙂  I will just update this if ever I forgot something to be included here.😀 If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me! 😉 I will share my 7 Days 6 Nights Itinerary in Japan on my next posts!🙂Domo Arigato!😉

 

Xoxo,

Kulit.

Discover the breathtaking view of Batanes for P10,000 All-In (5 Days 4 Nights)

If you don’t love reading, here’s my nakakahilong travel video in Batanes. 🙂 Just click this.

Batanes has been on my bucket list even before it was featured on a local blockbuster movie. I’ve been wanting to visit this place since 2012, however, my big problem has been the plane ticket. It’s a bit difficult to look for the cheapest fare since their flights are limited. There are only two airlines that offer direct flight to Batanes from Manila and these are Philippine Airlines and Skyjet. Regular fare starts from P7,000 to P10,000 for one way. But luckily, I was able to avail the promo of Skyjet last May 16, 2016. This offer was exclusive for walk-in customers in their office at Aseana, Macapagal. I bought my two-way ticket for P3,996 ONLY! Yeyyy! For tips on how to catch the cheapest airline ticket, please check my old post here.

Skyjet offers one flight per day to and from Batanes except Tuesdays and Thursdays. While Philippine Airlines also offers only one flight per day but daily. Both airlines offer only morning flights to and from Batanes with ETD (Estimated Time of Departure) around 7 or 8 o’clock.

The best time to visit Batanes is from the months of February to June since they usually experience typhoon from July to December. At first, we were kinda nervous about the weather on our chosen dates but because of Accuweather, one of my favorite travel apps, we became confident it would be a sunny week. Accuweather provides weather predictions on different cities all over the world.

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Skyjet operates at NAIA Terminal 4 so we didn’t need to come early since it is a small airport. We took our breakfast at Seattle’s Best coffee shop located inside the boarding area. We then left Manila earlier than the departure time. Kudos Skyjet! 🙂  And also, thanks for the free water and fudgee bar. hahaha 😀

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HELLO BATANES! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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I always do DIY (Do-It-Yourself) travels but because my companions wanted a hassle-free travel, we availed a tour package by BISUMI Tour and Services. ‘Twas a good thing I was convinced because it was verrrryyy hot in Batanes that time so the van provided by Bisumi was a good relief after every skin-roasting tour. HAHAHA By the way, if ever you’ll be asked by BISUMI (thru their feedback form) on how did you learn about their agency, I’d appreciate it if you’ll write “www.iamkulit.com” HAHAHA LOL

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The rate per person for the package we availed is P5, 900. This is a 3D2N (3 Days 2 Nights) tour in Batan North, Batan South & Sabtang Island which is inclusive of all government fees and permits, tour guide services, A/C Van for the tours and transfers, round trip boat rides to Sabtang, lunch and refreshments and dinner (Sabtang Island only).

DAY 1 North Batan Tour (Afternoon)

  • Lunch at Vunong Dinette
  • Boulder Beach in Chanpan Valugan
  • WWII Japanese Hideout/Tunnel
  • Basco Idjang Viewing
  • PAGASA “Tukon” Radar Station
  • Tukon Church (Mt. Carmel Chapel)
  • Vayang Rolling Hills
  • Lighthouse in Naidi Hills
  • Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral

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DAY 2 SABTANG ISLAND

  • Travel to San Vicente Port and/or Radiwan Port in Ivana
  • Malakdang Lighthouse
  • Sinakan Stone Houses
  • Brgy. Savidug Stone Houses
  • Sto. Thomas Chapel
  • Savidug Idjang Viewing
  • Refreshments at Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint
  • Brgy. Chavayan Stone Houses
  • Souvenir Shopping/Picture taking (Ivatan headgears)
  • Sabtang Weavers Association
  • Sta. Rosa De Lima Chapel

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DAY 3 South Batan Tour 

  • Walking tour at Paderes Point and Cliff Road
  • Chawa Viewing Deck
  • Mahatao Boat Shelter Port
  • Mahatao Town Tour
  • San Carlos Borromeo Church
  • Blank Book Archive
  • Mahatao Spanish Lighthouse
  • Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse
  • Lo-Ran Old Naval Base
  • Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Itbud
  • San Antonino de Florencia Church in Uyugan
  • Honesty Store
  • San Jose de Ivana Church and Ruins
  • House of Dakay and Old Spanish Bridge

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“Blow Ur Horn” signs are almost everywhere

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Blank Book Archive where you can write your Batanes experience or memories.

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DAY 4 FREE DAY

For Day 4, we just slept the whole morning. HAHAHA In the afternoon, we bought souvenirs at BISUMI souvenir shop. I highly recommend this shop because they have unique and beautiful designs for shirts (cotton or dri-fit, P180-P250), ref magnets, wallets, bags and etc. Around 4 pm , we decided to go the Fountain of youth but were not able to do so because it closes at 5 pm. Sad. We just then went to the White Beach instead. The sand is not that white though, the beach is full of corals (so ouchy to the feet LOL), and I don’t recommend this for your kids because some areas that don’t have corals are deep. I suggest you go biking. 🙂 Some hotels offer free rent for bicycles while there are stores that charge P25 each for unlimited use. If you have your license, you can also rent a motor.

DAY 5 SEE YOU AGAIN, BATANES

Triple M Homestay is very near to the airport. The terminal fee is P100. Our flight back to Batanes is 7:45am. This has been the saddest part of my every getaway- flying back to Manila. Haaaay. But I will surely come back for you my dear Batanes!!! 🙂 For a prenup shoot perhaps? HAHAHAHAHA

TRIPLE M HOMESTAY

We stayed at Triple M Homestay (Marfel Lodge extension) during our stay at Batan. We met Miss Marfel on our first day stay and she was very accommodating and friendly. The rate per person is P400 (fan room) or P600 (A/C) with a common bathroom. We only used stand fans on our first day and A/C on our third and fourth day. We only paid P200 each on our second day since we didn’t sleep there, we just left some of our bags in our room. You can cook in their kitchen and buy snacks or food at their honesty store. One thing I really love about Batanes is its people. They’re very honest and trustworthy. Other motor owners even leave the keys in their motors outside their house. When you rent a bicycle, you don’t need to leave an id or something as a security deposit. I bet Honesto is from Batanes. Harhar.

SABTANG LIGHTHOUSE STAY

Our stay in Sabtang is my favorite part of our tour. Our overnight stay here is not included in the package so we paid P500 each to Nanay Ading. 🙂 It has two comfort rooms, two beds, a videoke machine for singers wannabe out there hahaha, television (with cable, aha!), refrigerator and my favorite part, it has the BEST view of Sabtang Island!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂  The best afternoon nap of my life happened there. 😀 I slept on a cliff with the amazing view of the ocean on my left and of the beautiful mountain on my right. 🙂 And during that night, the sky was full of staaaarrrrs! The moon was shining so bright! That night was truly amazing. So, I highly recommend this place! And I also recommend that you stay overnight at Sabtang. 🙂

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RESTAURANTS

The following are the restaurants we tried at Batanes. Some of which are a bit pricey if you just eat alone but of course, cheaper when shared with your travel buddies. 😀

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SUMMARY OF EXPENSES

With BISUMI Tours & Services:

  •  Plane Ticket via Skyjet                            P3,996
  • Tour Package                                               P5,900
  • Sabtang Lighthouse Stay                        P500
  • Triple M Homestay                                   P1,800
  • Meals                                                             P1,000
  • Rental Fee (Bicycle)                                  P25
  • Tricycle Fare                                                 P200
  • Terminal Fee (Basco Airport)                P100
  • Miscellaneous                                             P200

                                                             TOTAL:        P13,721

If DIY (Do-It-Yourself)

  • Plane Ticket (via Skyjet)                                                                   P3,996
  • Triple M Home stay (Fan Room for 3 days)                                P1,200
  • Sabtang Lighthouse Stay                                                                  P500
  • Meals (depends on your hunger and appetite haha)               P1500
  • North Batan Tricycle Tour (P500 each, min of 2pax)               P500
  • South Batan Tricycle Tour (P750 each, min of 2 pax)               P750
  • Sabtang Tricycle Tour (P400 each, min of 2 pax)                       P400
  • Eco Tourism Fee (to be paid upon arrival at the airport)        P350
  • Basco-Ivatan Port and vice versa Tricyle Fare                           P250
  • Sabtang Boat Ride (two-way)                                                          P150
  • Sabtang Environmental Fee                                                             P200
  • Rental Fee (Bicycle)                                                                            P25
  • Rental Fee (Ivatan Costume)                                                           P20
  • Terminal Fee (Basco Airport)                                                          P100

                                                                           TOTAL:            P9,941

If you have noticed, it’s really cheaper if you won’t travel ALONE. hahaha So better bring your sibling, your best friend, your kalandian, your ex (if you haven’t moved on yet! LOL) or your FOREVER! Achuchu! hahaha

Batanes is really a very very beautiful place. She’ll surely break your heart upon leaving. 😦 I’ll see you again soon, Batanes! 🙂

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If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment! 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading! 😀 I also hope you find this useful for your Batanes getaway soon! 🙂 That’s all folks! :*

 

Xoxo,

Kulit.

 

Credits to my companions for some photos above. LOL

 

 

2D1N BALER Travel Guide

You can check my Baler video blog here or just continue reading. 😀

BALER is one of the famous surfing spots in the Philippines. It is the provincial capital of Aurora, located in the eastern part of Central Luzon region.

HOW TO GET THERE

The cheaper way to get to Baler is by taking any bus from Metro Manila to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija (P190) then from Cabanatuan to Baler via bus or van (P250).

If you want a direct trip, Genesis Transport, Inc. is the only bus line that provides a direct route from Cubao to Baler. For more information, visit their official website at www.genesistransport.com.ph or you may call (+632)709-0545 and (+632)441-6834 or visit them at G/F Genesis Transport Building 704 EDSA Corner New York St., Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines 1109. Travel time from Cubao to Baler is 6 to 7 hours for P450 (Standard A/C).

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But if you want a comfy travel or the fastest way possible like what we did, choose JoyBus, the Executive/Deluxe coach of Genesis Transport, Inc.

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We left Cubao Terminal around 1 o’clock in the morning and arrived at Balete Park around 5:30 (earlier than expected) that was why we had a spooky experience because it was still dark. Dogs were howling and some were getting close to us. Waaaahhhh!!!! We were holding hands while saying all the prayers we know. HAHAHAHA It was quite a long walk from the highway to Balete Park. Good thing a concerned guy, who have noticed how scared we were, allowed us to hop on his humble “delivery” tricyle. LOL.

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BALETE PARK, MILLENIUM TREE

It was prohibited to climb the tree but I was willing to pay for the penalty. Hihi If you’re curious, I climbed through its roots. #TarzanMode

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Inside the Balete Tree

Entrance fee: P10 for adults, P5 for kids.

 

Delicious!!! 🙂

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A tour guide from the park approached us and offered to do some tricky shots like the ones posted above. He also accompanied us inside the Balete tree and took more photos. I forgot how much did we pay him, guess ’twas P200.

Obviously, the tricycle (a motorcycle with an attached sidecar) is the main mode of transportation around Baler. And that’s my favorite seat. HAHAHA

DITUMABO FALLS “MOTHER FALLS”

From Balete Park to Ditumabo, the fare was P100. Then from the Ditumabo tricycle terminal to the starting area of the trek (four-kilometer struggling trip for the tricy hahaha), the fare was also P100. We were advised to hire a tour guide while trekking to the falls so we hired manong driver as our tour guide. HAHAHA We paid him a total of P500 or P6oo? I forgot. LOL

Entrance fee: P30

It took us an hour to get to the falls but we certainly love the experience! Truly unforgettable! 🙂

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The very very cold water didn’t stop us from taking a dip. We were the second group to arrive here so we were able to enjoy the falls as much as we wanted to. HAHAHA If you’re planning to go here, take the earliest tour to avoid photobombers. LOL

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One of my favorite shots during our Baler trip. It made me miss my brothers. HUHUHU

 

Yey! 🙂 Baler beybbehhhh! 😀 I forgot the name of our hotel/lodge. Sorry. But there are a lot of affordable rooms in Baler and there are also expensive ones, some even have pools. So it depends on you. But since we were on a tight budget, haha, we chose the cheapest  one available which was P1,700 per night for the three of us already.

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We weren’t able to try their food but I just took a photo ‘coz I like their concept. HAHA

GERRY’S BUFFET

 

 

For our lunch, we tried the famous Gerry’s buffet for P200 only.

MUSEO DE BALER

Entrance fee: P35 good for two sites already (Museo de Baler and Balay ni Aurora)

This is just a small museum but I still recommend the place because of the artifacts and paintings about the history of Aurora. I didn’t post everything  inside the museum ‘coz I want you to appreciate them with your own eyes. 🙂

BALAY NI AURORA

 

SURFING

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This was my first surfing experience. I failed on my first attempt but after my instructor told me not to look at the board and just look straight to the shore, I finally did it! Yeyyy! Then repeated it for more than fifty times. LOL Got addicted right away. HAHAHA We paid P250 for the surf board and P100 for the instructor, so a total of P350 for a one-hour surf. If you have noticed, I wore different swimwear in the photos above because we surfed both on our first and second day stay. 😀

HUNGRY SURFER

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Meet my beautiful Baler travel buddies Hafz (center) and Dimple (right) 🙂

BALER LIGHTHOUSE

Another favorite part of our Baler trip was our trek to Baler Lighthouse which we did on our second day. It was very challenging ‘coz the way to the top was so steep and a bit slippery and we only had stones and roots as our support. It was a bit exhausting for non-active girls like us. HAHAHA

But when we already reached the top, we suddenly forgot the pain after witnessing the most amazing view of Baler.

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My girls have fear of heights (notice Hafz’ hands hahaha) but so what, they still made it! hahaha Proud of you girls! *mwah*

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The last photo above was the scariest pose I’ve ever done in my life because I was standing on the topmost-slash-prohibited-slash-most dangerous spot in the Lighthouse. HAHAHA. My buddies were the ones who felt more nervous and our tour guide was begging me repetitively to go down since his license as a tour guide will be cancelled if something bad happened to me. Sorry po. 😀

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ERMITA HILL

Our tour guide said that Baler was washed away by a tidal wave in the 17th century. Thousands of lives were lost and only few families survived when they went up to the nearby hill which is now known as the Ermita Hill.

 

HANGING BRIDGE

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SOUVENIR SHOPPING

We bought our souvenir shirts and fridge magnets at the Pasalubong center. Then for delicious homemade products and goodies, we went to Nanay Pacing Pasalubong store. Our tricycle driver was also our tour guide for the second day. From Baler Lighthouse, Ermita Hill, Hanging Bridge and Pasalubong center, we gave him P1000.

We were not able to reserve a bus going back to Manila but our tour guide contacted a van driver for us going to Cabanatuan. We just then rode a bus from Cabanatuan to Cubao. We arrived in Manila around 10pm.

That’s all folks! 🙂 I wish to go back to Baler very soon! 😉

 

Xoxo,

Kulit.