The Wanderess: New Year Visit in Asakusa

Happy 2016 everyone!

          I am really sorry for being on hiatus for the past weeks, it has been a busy holidays for me and my family, because it was our first! Yes, it was our first Christmas and New Year together. Will be sharing our family stories in the coming weeks. ♥

          For now, let me share you my first wander of the year…


          Spending New Year in Japan can be a little unusual from other countries, since most of them are spending their holidays visiting their first Shinto shrine of the year, which they call hatsumōde (初詣 ). This was my first New Year outside of Philippines and since we live in the Greater Tokyo Area, we chose to revisit Tokyo’s famous entertainment district, Asakusa.

Sensoji

          Most people in Japan are off from work and school starting December 30 until January 3. It is the time of the year when people are cleaning their houses, paying all their debts, buying new charms or omamori, visiting relatives and exchanging gifts.

          Upon getting off the train station via Ginza Line, we were surprised that some roads were closed and there were hundreds or maybe thousands of people on the road. Discipline was observed despite the busy event – policemen and road officers were stationed in every corner.

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As we walk outside the train station, we were able to take a glimpse of Tokyo’s Skytree Tower and Asahi Beer Tower.
Skytree
Tokyo Skytree at 634 meters or 2,080 feet.

Here’s a link for the complete address using Google Maps.

       Japan can be considered as one of the modernized country of this generation, however despite the dynamic growth of technology, they still preserve remaining pieces of their past. They value their own history that much and making it consistently sure to pass it on to their next generation.

          Take a look at the Kaminarimon Gate or “Thunder Gate” (雷門) strikingly painted in red with giant lantern and two statues of guardian gods – Raijin (left, god of thunder) and Fūjin (right, god of wind).

          * This structure was built more than once due to war and fire, take note that the current one was built in 1960 under Edo Period. (Oh yes, Asian History, love it. ^^, )

Pagoda (11)

This will serve as the first gate to the main temple, Kaminarimon Gate.

          TIP If you are planning to visit the shrine during the holidays, you really have to be patient. I mean it, because you have to walk with hundreds of residents and tourists while following their rules

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Giant Red Lantern of Kaminarimon Gate

          Their history, vivid as it may seem, signifies their practices and lifestyle. You will never question its visibility all over Japan. Someday, I am going to wear Japan’s national costume while roaming around the city! Yay! #AddedToMyOwnBucketlist

          After entering the gate, look what surprise we found… 👣

Nakamise
Nakamise Shopping Street

          Before reaching the temple grounds, you will be welcomed by more than 50 Japanese Souvenir shops. This is one of the perfect spot to get your authentic gifts/memorabilia like magnets, chopsticks, green tea, biscuits, Japanese dolls, small figurines and the like. PS. This street was only 250 meters long but it took us 20 minutes to reach Sensoji Temple due to the massive crowd.

Kaminarimon

         The second entrance gate is called Hozōmon or “Treasure-House Gate” (宝蔵門) which will lead you to the main hall of Sensō-ji. It features three large lanterns and the most prominent lantern is a red chōchin that hangs at the center.

Pagoda (10)

         On the left, you will see the five story pagoda or Gojūnotō (五重塔) that contains some ashes of the Buddha. I am totally amazed with the temple’s characteristics and ornament, impressively designed thousand years ago.

As I share more photos, I was reminded that patience is actually a great talent and it will go a loooooong way… 👌👣

Welcome to

Tokyo’s Largest Buddhist Temple

Sensōji

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One of the best things during our visit was the cold winter breeze that touches our face. It might sound worst if this happen during scorching summer. (July – September) 

Shrine 4

          It was not in the photo, but at the side of this hall, you will see stalls selling Japanese omamori’ or amulets, incense and ‘omikuji’ fortunes.

Shrine 5
As I said, discipline was observed most of the time and you won’t see them running or rushing into each other.
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Massive Crowd last January 2, 2016.

          As we enter the Sensōji Temple or also known as Asakusa Kannon (浅草寺), we only spent few minutes to make our wish and prayers, so we can give way to other attendees. Please be reminded that the temple is quite dark and the air is covered with thick incense.

          * I am not sure if they allow it or not, but whenever I visit temples, I don’t take pictures inside, to simply pay respect to their beliefs and sacred places.

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Intricate details of the temple are mostly painted in red with gold emblems.
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Good weather doing something great in the city.
Shrine 6
What was your wish?

Since Asakusa has a lot to see, let’s look around…


FOOD         

          If you get tired or you prefer to take a break, Asakusa has a lot of food to offer – from fried snacks like chicken, long potato fries, takoyaki, mochi and noodles. (Price Ranges from ¥200-800)

          However, I found something fancy…

Banana
Banana in Pink, Chocolate and Aqua.

For ¥200, you will enjoy this healthy coated banana with candy sprinkles and it is too cute to eat, right?

Cheers to JP for having cool and cute stuff! 😂


SOUVENIR

I got my ref magnet for ¥380.

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MUST TRY!

          You should also try getting your O-mikuji (おみくじ) or paper fortune available at the sides of the hall.

Pagoda (12)
Focus on the left side of this photo, where everyone was almost patiently falling in line to get their first paper fortune of the year.

How to do it?

  1. Drop ¥100 at the tip box.
  2. Shake a box full of sticks.
  3. The stick you draw shows the number of your omikuji.
  4. Take a paper from the drawer with the corresponding number and see if you are 吉 lucky.

Of course, I tried it too…

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Senso-ji’s omikuji offer Japanese and English advice.

          My first omikuji for this year was a bit heartbreaking!!! I received a bad fortune which says the following:

“Thunder hit and sound is breaking the sky, it is really dark and terrible. A man of good sense of humor stay within a house closing the gate and doors. All looks really lonesome. There maybe some mistake and misunderstanding in writing a mail to others. Though you do your best with utmost care, troubles may be always your way.”

* Your request will not be granted. Patient will get well. The lost article is hard to find. The person you wait for will not come. Stop building a new house. Stop starting a trip. Marriage and employment are both bad. *

* WARNING *

Do not let this piece of paper decide for your choices in the future.

My simple wish may not come true but no one can stop me from taking wonderful trips and meeting the person I am waiting for. Honestly, there’s no wedding plans on the table. Haha! ♣

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          If you received a positive omikuji, you can keep it. In my case, since it is not a good one, I folded and tied it to the tree where bad lucks were collected


 ♦ PERSONAL NOTE ♦

      We had the whole afternoon walking and checking some shops for authentic Japanese goods and it felt good to know traditional practices of this country. It wasn’t so bad to be accustomed to a new environment. More likely a breath of fresh air coming from the ancient times with modern clothes. Lels.

          So if you’re looking for an authentic Japanese thing to do – do not forget to include Asakusa’s Sensōji Temple in your Tokyo itinerary! 🎌


HOW TO GET THERE?

          Asakusa is served by different railway lines such as Asakusa Subway Line, Ginza Subway Line, Tobu Railways and Tsukuba Express.

         I wouldn’t miss the chance of sharing tips on how to travel Japan cheaply.

         Tourists may come from different cities, so I would recommend you to try Hyperdia, smartphone app that has routes and timetable for railway and aviation in Japan. 👌

          For Tokyo Subway Pass, please click here.

HOURS AND FEES

Main Hall is open from

6:00 am to 5:00 pm (April – September)
6:30 am to 5:00 pm (October – March)

Temple Grounds are always open.

*** Admission to the Temple is amazingly FREE.


See you on my next adventure, またね!!!

xoxo,
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Dear 2015

December 31, 2015

Saitama City, Japan

         That was amazingly fast.

        Before I begin my musing over the last 365 days of 2015, I would like to thank everyone who played a great part in my life. It wouldn’t be remarkable and crazy without YOU in it, and honestly it would be extraordinary if you will still join me on my next chapter…

Let’s continue to be a part of each other’s lives.

MT MANALMON

Thank You…

for continually sharing the ‘gift of life’

for all the joy and laughter you brought into my life

for all the precious time I shared with my loved ones regardless of hectic schedule

for all the surprises You showed me

for all the resources we’ve got to survive every single day

for all the friends I gained despite the storm

for all the chances I had to make things better

for all the strength to carry on

for all the determination to continue my passion

for all the pain I had to go thru to be who I am today

for all the tears I released to ease the agony

for everything

        I am not in control of everything that has been happening in my life, but I am grateful on how my choices in life turned out. I had to deal with tons of constant and consecutive changes but nothing beats the joy of living with my own family.

       Looking back to the first six months of 2015, I was merely enjoying going to different places in the Philippines, while attending few training related to nursing. I was trying to go back to my first love with no rush. It brought so much pain and confusion when you already know what you like to do but the odds seems to be unlikely. It was always a tough battle going back to where I was but I kept on moving. Little did I know, I am already changing path. I guess I was enjoying too much to notice the shift in my world.

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January – June of 2015 (Philippines)

        However, life keeps on challenging me. I was myself before I sleep but I woke up broken and tormented. My thoughts were eating me up and my eyes were drowning. I cried for help but no one heard me, I am not even sure if my voice came out. Just like other relationships, mine was not perfect and we had a lot of misunderstanding. People didn’t have to know everything about us. Whenever life check on me, I pray  and forgive.

“It sounds foolish to others, but I still believe that a person can change and that a person can be renewed.”

         Life can be ironic but still it can be kind and I am back with my family since July 1st of 2015. I can’t imagine how it all happened so quickly, from changing homes to adjusting in a new environment.

        I woke up no longer in my room but beside the person who carried me in her womb for nine months – my Mother. I am safe here, I always thought. As I stayed longer, I am getting used to new faces, fresh vicinity, changing seasons and in a country where language is totally different.

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      Not everyone knew that I had to risk all comfort in my first home – Philippines. I lived there for the past twenty three years of my life – since birth, to attending schools from kinder to college, building lifetime friendships, experiencing my first love and numerous heartbreaks and countless mishaps along the road.

        It’s where I started my everything but I am partly wrong… I am missing the chance of being with the important people in my life… I have accepted the changes wholeheartedly for it is my personal choice – to be with my own constants thru the good and the bad, under one roof. 

        They say I am lucky to be here, but I would rather say blessed. I am not here just to wander around.  Just like other adult, I have to work my ass off and do the things I am supposed to be doing at this age. I am honestly too lax about the life I have, or maybe I am too contented with what is already in front of me. And yes, I believe that everything too much is not good in the long run.

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July – December of 2015 (Japan)

        Everyday I tell myself that I wanted to DO MORE and BE MORE. I am very close to being certain that I am not born to do little so I engage in a lot of activities. I exhaust skills I can improve and I woke up every single day to learn something new and fun. I like to spend my twenty four hours doing the things that matter to me, the things I love. 

        Have you ask yourself, what do you really want?

      Well for me, I love sleeping or watching movies/series, crawled up in bed while munching Cheetos and drinking soda. I really do and I can actually cancel a date for this but it is not the life I wanted for the next twenty or thirty years of my life. It might be worth it for a short period of time, but “being more” is what  keeps me going so I resorted to start doing productive activities that nourishes me as an individual (aside from paying job) – I write what I want. I write what interests me. I write bits and pieces of my journey. I write my own story.

        One word, One sentence, One phrase will go a long way… So I kept my pen and paper ready most of the time to take every chance to TRY and TRY again.

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Birth of my newest ‘Baby’

        For I know that someday I will have my own family and I want my kids and grandchildren to know how life can be wonderful and tricky at the same time. Our old memories doesn’t need to be perfect, but we can start making it remarkable. 

        Just like everyone in this world, I made mistakes and I had my struggles too but my perspective is always brighter just like the sun, shinier in the dark like the stars…

         Our environment is already a world full of whiners, check the social media and it is pretty obvious. Instead of focusing your energy on the things that annoys you; focus on the things that matters to you. Start doing the things you wanted without compromising your career and relationships.

        I learned not to get tired of making myself better…so should you.

xoxo,

831521baadd09be864adc7921b59843b5d0bb840c56320a4b1dca90afa9e9a13

10 Things I Discover About Go Pro

Konnichiwa! こんにち!

As I share my third gadget review this month, I am also celebrating my first anniversary with my favorite travel buddy, Go Pro Hero 4 Silver Edition.

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Read our story here 👉 Celebrating 1 Year with Go Pro!

It’s been a year since I bought this camera from Gadget for Less. They actually have the cheapest price for a brand new Hero 4 Silver back in December of 2014. The transaction was very smooth & fast, we set a meet up in TriNoMa with no additional charge and I also got wonderful freebies from them. I was never wrong to believe in Chito Miranda‘s recommendation via Instagram. 

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Another commendation from Chito, this time on my re-posted photo…

Kinilig ako, kaya ayan may screenshot! 😂

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Gopring just turned 1 year old last December 19, 2015.

As of today, I can still witness that not all people know Go Pro. I won’t blame them if they are already contented with their smartphones or digital cameras that can also capture precious moments. However, as I continue to explore the beauty of our planet, I needed more…

Let me share you what I discover about Go Pro HERO 4 Silver on a beginner’s take.

1. Basically, it is small and can actually fit in your palm.

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It’s only 41mm in height, 59mm in width and 29.6mm in depth.

2. Not all Go Pro are expensive, they also have the pared down HERO for entry level.

(For as low as Php 6,000)

Entry Level 199 dollars w wifi wo 129

3. Surprisingly, this handy camera produces 12 megapixels shots at an astonishing 30 frames per second! Wow.

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Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Philippines (January, 2015)

4. Since this is Wi-Fi enabled, you can easily control & transfer your photos immediately thru their FREE Go Pro App!

For better connectivity,  you just have to use the fastest memory card which is Class 10.

For Apple users, click here.

For Android users, click here.

Smart Remote
You also have the option to purchase your smart remote that can control distances of up to 180 meters.

5. You can creatively edit your own videos and photos using their FREE Go Pro Studio on laptop/desktop,

6. It has fixed, wide-angle perspective. (140-170 degrees!)

Your picture doesn’t only showcases yourself but the best view of your surroundings! If you are keen on it, you can remove the fish eye effect on Go Pro Studio.

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7. Since I have the Hero 4 Silver Edition – it is WiFi ready & has LCD touch screen.

You can also conveniently playback your photos and trim your videos!

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8. It is an ACTION CAMERA.

Using Go Pro is not just about taking the best selfie, it is also a high definition camera that you can take almost everywhere while enjoying different activities via land, water and air.

It can also capture 1080p60 and 720p120 videos with utmost clarity that offers ‘ultra high-resolution, cinema-quality capture’. So don’t forget to bring yours when trying extreme sports!

9. Mount it everywhere.

Mount it during skiing, cycling, surfing, diving! Pair it with drone! How about harnessing it to your pet? All of these sounds exciting, right?

So much things to try on your Go Pro, don’t hesitate to use it because it is ‘small, light, aero/hydro-dynamic, and tough’. – Gizmodo

10. Best part, it is WATERPROOF up to 131 feet.

Now, imagine yourself indulging under the sea with school of fish or even dolphins, captured at its finest quality.


♦ HERO 4 SILVER or HERO 4 BLACK?

Hero 4 Silver has the best value for money. Why? You can save extra $100 while enjoying your 1.7 inch touchscreen  which the Hero 4 Black lacks. In that sense, I can conclude that Hero 4 Silver is easier to use. PS. The only thing you give up is a 4K/UHD video.


♦ PERSONAL NOTES

There’s a lot more to learn about Go Pro, you just have to search online, read reviews and watch tutorial videos. If you’re experiencing something unusual, try to research about it first and if you still need assistance, you may ask fellow users via Go Pro Users Philippines. 

You can also buy cheap accessories at Go Pro Philippines Items for Sale. If you are hesitant, you can post in GPUP forum and they can vouch for the seller.

I haven’t tried contacting their Go Pro Support Team, but I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback that they are really helpful and generous.

* Request FREE Go Pro Stickers (not waterproof), here.

As a I go to different places, I am grateful enough that this camera is well worth the price for the usabilityquality and availability of great accessories. It’s a bit tricky and confusing on my first use and I just keep on trying until I get a hold of it. One of the best way to capture great images in just one snap!

I hope you learned something great about this worthy action camera! Simply take a snap, share and love it. 📷👌

PS. I’ll make sure to update this post as necessary. I might include editing apps and some troubleshooting.☺️

xoxo,

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Celebrating 1 Year with Go Pro!

Konnichiwa!

Can you imagine how time flies so fast? It was only last December of 2014 when my generous mother gave me one of the best Christmas present, a Go Pro Her 4 Silver Edition. Perfectly, it suits my personality because I love to travel and photographed the places I’ve been to! 📷

Let’s take a glimpse on where we have been for the past twelve months!

DECEMBER of ’14

We decided to spend our year-end climb at Mount Maculot, weather was not friendly then but we still push through with our exchange gift at the campsite.

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We are really a small family, relatives are mostly living abroad, but we always make sure to have a Merry Christmas for His birthday!

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Case Verde served as our last ‘mondate’ for 2015.

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JANUARY

New Year Salubong with High school, Loves!

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Quick day-hike at Mount Pico w/ my best frenemy, John Placer.

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I also started the year by not missing the chance to see Pope during his Papal Visit 2015. Thanks for making this possible Kuya Lawrence!

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First Anniversary w/ RK at Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

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Sun, Beach & Sand

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Chasing Sunsets at Kapurpurawan Rock Formation ☀️

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FEBRUARY

Follow me to Laoag, Ilocos Norte

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Follow me to Vigan, Ilocos Sur

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19th Hot Air Balloon in Subic w/ my ‘kinder-elementary-high school classmate’, Gemo Ian

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MARCH

I didn’t visit any places this month, we had to prioritize some family needs so I just focused starting on my DIY Room Renovation – I personally painted my walls from pink to white, installed wall shelves (w/ Lolo’s help) and bought a new bed & mattress.

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(Completed in June)

APRIL

Bataan Getaway w/ P4

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“Siblings that God forgot to give.”

MAY

Mount Batulao w/ RK (Our first hike.)

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Quick Escape to Bag of Beans, Tagaytay

Tagaytay

Bag of Beans

Overnight in Laguna w/ my best friend, Pia

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Night Market in Divisoria – perfect time to buy school uniform and school supplies for my cousins.

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JUNE

Unexpected Mysteries at Mount Manalmon w/ Daph

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Overnight at Zulaybar w/ P4, My cousin’s send off party.

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I’m still working on my night shots, this photos was from one of the videos we took that night. If I can only attach their video so you can hear their screams! Haha!

Davao w/ Jmelou & RK

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Davao’s Wild Water Rafting
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Traveling Besties  w/ Marri Jmelou =)
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Davao’s Pearl Farm Beach Resort
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Snorkeling in Samal Island

Surigao del Sur w/ Jmelou & RK

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Tinuy-an Falls, Niagara Falls of the Philippines

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Prayer Mountain in Calinan, Davao City

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Quick dip at Daranak Falls

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Tanay Church

Tanay Church

Mount Maculot “Tamaraws Unite”, My last PH mountain for 2015.

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JULY

On July 1st we landed at Narita Airport, Japan.

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w/ Mama & my Sister-in-Law

Strollin’ at Akihabara

Akihabara

Tokyo Bay

Tokyo Bay

Odaiba

Odaiba
Sibling & Cousins Love

Odaiba Night

Kamakura City

Kamakura

AUGUST

This was the month I decided to “stay” in JP, for good.

Ōmiya

Omiya
I used to pick up my Mama here, right after her work.

SEPTEMBER

My 24th Birthday at Mount Fuji

FUJI 2015

Post Celebration at Fuji Safari Park

Safari

OCTOBER

Solo Backpacking in Osaka City

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Taking pictures made easy by my beloved travel buddy, Go Pro.

One Day in Kyoto City

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Fushimi Inari Shrine

NOVEMBER

Solo Backpacking in Osaka City

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Mount Haruna in Gunma

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DECEMBER of ’15

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shibuya

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Roponggi

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Two more weeks before we end the year and I still have new places to go, will surely update this post SOON! =)


I just tried to choose one to two photos per city/gathering just to give you a highlight of where I was this Year of the Sheep! As you notice, I was in the Philippines for the first half of 2015, it will always be my home. On its second half, I decided to be with my family. Everyone close to me knows that I made my own choices between these two countries. I had so much changes and adjustments, but everything is possible with Him.

It was a ‘happy yet nerve-racking adventure’ kind of 2015 for me and my family. We survived family challenges and I think my Lola would be happy seeing us together. I’m still thinking of Lolo back in the Philippines, but he will be less troubled now that his two sons and grandchildren are with him. We are very grateful, millions thanks to the man above. ☝️

Despite of the events in our family, I am still able to go places and enjoy life (Thanks Ma, I love you!). I am still smiling regardless of my personal issues. I think that’s how life is supposed to be, to keep your world rolling even if it’s heavy, even if it’s hard.

2 countries, 25 cities.

Numbers above is just a recall, I am not rushing into booking airfares because I still prefer a trip with plans without going broke (that sounds painful, right?). I believe in right timing, if it feels good on the inside, then you may take an action to pursue it.

Think about the pros and cons. 👌

On the brighter side, I just renewed my passport for the third time, and I am preparing something special and memorable for 2016. I’ll surely make it happen with His provision. 👣🌏✈️

See you on my next adventure!

xoxo,

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