Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Japan 2017: Exploring Kyoto ~ Kinkakuji Temple

Kinkakuji Temple, or the Golden Pavilion, is one of the two temples we visited at Kyoto.  It is one of the most famous temples in Japan.  It is a Zen temple and its top two floors are covered in gold leaf, thus the label Golden Pavilion.  It is a sight to behold and once you see it, you would probably just want to stay there and stare at its beauty.

Going to Kinkakuji Temple from Kyoto station is easy.  It is only a bus ride away from Kyoto Station.  Bus 205 to Kitaoji Bus Terminal will bring you to Kinkakuji Temple.  Take note of this as there are other Bus 205s.  Fare for adult is JPY230 (JPY120 for kids).  Travel time is almost an hour.

Entrance fee to Kinkakuji Temple is JPY400. Kids below 6 years old enter for free.

 There are designated areas to take photos from.  There are also stalls that sell good luck charms but you can’t take pictures of the merchandise (it might bring you bad luck L).

Coin toss.

Candle charms. 

Kinkakuji Temple is very gorgeous in every angle.  I honestly fell in love with it. Let me share to you photos we took of the Golden Pavilion so you can see its beauty through my camera. J

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Japan 2017: Kyoto by Day and Nara by Night


After exploring Osaka, the next city we visited was Kyoto.  Kyoto is Japan’s old capital.  Most tourists prefer to visit Kyoto than any other Japanese city.  At first I was confused, but when we explored Kyoto, I understood why.

Kyoto is where the ancient and modern Japanese culture merges.  You will see all the old houses, buildings, and structures all around Kyoto.  Temples are all over the place as well.  However, modern architectures are also highlighted in this place.  Kyoto Station is one of the most modern train stations you will visit in Japan.

Very modern Kyoto Station. 

There are tourist passes available when touring Kyoto.  Most of the passes will give you access to various temples all over Kyoto, as temples are the known tourist spots in this place. 

Kyoto Tower. 

We only have a short visit at Kyoto so we narrow down our temple visit to two of the most popular: Kinkakuji Temple and Fushimi-Inari Taisha.  We chose to ride the bus instead of the subway to see Kyoto up-close.  While subway is a quicker way to go around Kyoto, buses will offer you a scenic tour of Kyoto.  Buses stop in every street corner to accommodate elderly passengers.  It also runs slower than that of your normal train speed, and thus you can savor the view of Kyoto streets.  Plus riding buses is cheaper than riding trains.

Go-Karting at the streets of Kyoto. 

Kyoto also is known for Gion, the place where there are still a lot of geishas and maikos.  Unfortunately, we don’t have extra time to go visit Gion and go geisha-hunting. 


Nara is just an hour by train from Kyoto, so we squeezed both cities in a day’s itinerary.  Nara is famous for Nara Park where a lot of cherry blossom trees and deer reside.  And since neither any of us were able to see a deer up close, we decided to visit Nara. 

We were behind schedule when we arrived at Nara Station.  Nara Park is just a close walk from the Nara station but since it was nearing nighttime, we decided to take the bus to the park.  It cost JPY 210 (JPY110 for kids). 

It was dusk already when we get to see the deer.  We weren’t able to buy deer crackers to lure them to us, but a kind Japanese gave Neo a piece of bread so the deer will go near him, but he got frightened and threw the bread to the deer directly.  I was a little bit frightened too since deer are still considered wild animals – good thing their horns were already cut.

Hello, Mr. Deer. 

After exploring the Nara Park, we decided to walk back to Nara station and feel Nara by night.  It is not as lively as Osaka or Tokyo or maybe Kyoto.  It has the feeling of exploring a nearby province from the Metro – progressive yet laid-back.

Passed by Kofuku-ji Pagoda on our way to Nara Station. 

So if you have time, do spend more than day or two at Kyoto, visit all the temples and wonderful sightseeing spots and dive in the rich Japanese culture this city has to offer.  And while you’re at it, hop on a train to Nara to see and experience a nice relaxing feel of Japan.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Press Release: Tiny Buds Opens 1st Pop Up Store in Glorietta

Last May 21 (Sunday), Tiny Buds™ opens its first pop up store in Glorietta 3.  This is a celebrated milestone as it is Tiny Buds™ first ever mall location store.  This pop up store serves as a home for all natural items for bath essentials, skin care, tooth care, and home cleaners.  The pop up store will be open until February 2018.

Tiny Buds™ is a natural baby care line well-loved for thoughtful natural alternatives to everyday baby products such as baby powder made entirely from rice, diaper cream that soothes rashes with berries instead of petroleum and even gentle laundry products made from coconut.

Tiny Buds™ pop up store is a place where parents can have an engaging experience every time they visit.  Customers can try each item, learn about the benefits and even have their orders delivered to their homes for free! 

The most notable feature of the Tiny Buds™ pop up store, though it is small in size, it aims to make a big impact in the environment.  As part of the Tiny Buds™ can Save the World campaign which started on their website , Tiny Buds™ pledges to donate a portion of all proceeds from the pop up store and the website to support WWF’s Environment Conservation Programs.

Each time a customer purchases an item on Tiny Buds™ ‘s website, a corresponding number of Tiny Buds™ points will be donated.  Every month, the points on the site represent how big the donation will be.  This is how each Tiny Buds™ can save the world.

Tiny Buds™ believes that now, more than ever, being a responsible parent means making choices that are nourishing not only for your child, but also for the world they will grow up in.  IN planting these seeds, Tiny Buds™ hopes to empower parents and remind them that every tiny step will impact the world and steer it towards a greener future.

The Tiny Buds Pop Up store located inside POP by Retail Lab on the 2nd Floor of Glorietta Mall 3, it will be open until Feb 2018. Tiny Buds™ items can also be found in Baby Company, Robinsons, Mercury Drug, Rustans, Landmark, Savemore, Waltermart, Lazada, Shopee and more. Learn more about Tiny Buds™ online: , Facebook, and Instagram.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

How To Have A #FamFirstAtSM Experience

I love going to the mall.  Who doesn’t?  When I was still a little kid, going to malls would be a treat my parents would give us because of exemplary conduct or achievement.  When I started working, going to the mall is more like a stress-buster, especially during Sale season.  Now that I am a mom, going to the mall is an activity my family enjoy so much.

There are a lot of malls my family frequent, but we are most regularly seen at SM Supermalls.  Besides the fact that SM got everything for us, SM is very conveniently located that everywhere there’s an SM close to us.  We get to experience a lot at SM Supermalls.

How does my family enjoy a #FamFirstAtSM moment?

Retail Therapy.  Ever heard of this?  I know moms (women) mostly know this.  Shopping shopping shopping!  Ninety percent of the time, we go to SM to shop.  SM has everything for my family.  If it’s shopping for me, there are a lot of stores to choose from – clothes, shoes, and bag stores are everywhere inside SM.  If it’s shopping for the husband, SM has Ace Hardware for him.  If it’s for the little boy, Toy Kingdom and Tom’s World it is!

Just a fun fact, my little boy’s first SM visit was when he was a week old.  Because we needed to buy something and we know that SM has everything for us.

Celebrate and Eat.  My family celebrates through eating out.  SM has a lot of restaurant to choose from.  There are fancy restaurants we can eat out to celebrate occasions, and there are also fast foods to eat out after running an errand.

Dinner after a long day at work.

Pampering and Me Time.  Most SM malls has Spas and salons that cater to moms who needed pampering.  This is a very much needed thing for all moms who needs to unwind.

Movie Date Night.  SM Mall of Asia is a mall close to where I work and this is where the hubby and I normally go for a movie date night.  It has a lot of cinemas (more than 10 actually) and shows a lot of movie choices for the much needed date night every couple has to have.

Play.  Please don’t judge me when I say I enjoy spending an afternoon with my little boy at SM Dasmarinas’ Tom’s World playing arcades.  Oh, this was a habit we have when we have nothing to do and we will just drop by SM and play to bond and while away the time.

How much points do you have? haha

Date With The Son.  Most of all, spending a day to date our little boy is what our family likes to do best at SM.  SM has everything we need to a date with our little boy.  One lazy afternoon, we decided to go and watch a family movie, eat at a fast food, went window shopping at Toy Kingdom, and play run as much as he want at SM by the Bay.  It was a very #SuperSummerAtSM2017 that my little boy enjoyed so much.

Oh, what a happy face J

These are just some tips on how you can enjoy a #FamFirstAtSM experience as we did.  How about you?  What’s your idea of #FamFirstAtSM?  :)

For more updates about SM Supermalls' fun family activities and events, visit and follow its official social media pages by clicking on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and get an insider access to all the fun happenings at SM Supermalls nationwide through Viber and Snapchat. You may share your Super Summer moments inside the SM Supermalls by posting your photos on social media and adding the hashtag #SuperSummerAtSM2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

#NationalSuperMomsDay at SM Bacoor With Legally Blind Mall Tour

Last May 14, SM Supermalls celebrated the #NationalSuperMomsDay in more than 60 SM Supermalls nationwide.  This is to give all moms the credit they deserve.  All SM Supermalls had different events catered mostly for moms.

We were lucky to get invited at SM City Bacoor to experience what they have in store for #NationalSuperMomsDay.  Several treats were offered to mommies, but the most awaited part was the Legally Blind Mall Tour. 

Most moms find leisure time in watching televisions and letting them have a meet and greet with artists is a real treat.  Casts of Legally Blind Mikhael Daez, Mark Abaya, Rodjun Cruz, Lauren Young, and Janine Guiterrez were present to entertain mommies.  Each of them gave a song number to serenade the mommies who were at SM City Bacoor to celebrate Mother’s Day.  They also gave moms flowers as a reminder that they are special. 

Mall goers, especially moms who watched were all delighted and happy to be able experience a treat like this.  I can say it by their smiles – as I was too.  It was an unforgettable experience for me as well. J

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Greenwich Hawaiian Overload Pizza Party Day

Pineapples on pizza?  It has been a widely debated topic by Netizens for quite some time as people weigh in and acknowledge their love or contempt for the sweet and savory treat which is arguably the most controversial pizza flavor yet – the Hawaiian pizza flavor.   This becomes an issue even for barkada when you and your friends don’t agree when it comes to which pizza flavor you are ordering for your next bonding session.

Still, a huge chunk of Filipinos consider the pineapple-topped delight as their favorite.  For this reason, Greenwich, the Philippines’ favorite pizza and pasta chain, decided to put the spotlight on their Hawaiian Overload Pizza in celebration of this year’s Pizza Party Day that was held on May 19.

Greenwich understands how much Filipinos love pineapples in their pizza that is why it offers a delicious unique take on the beloved classic making the best-tasting choice for Hawaiian pizza lovers – the Greenwich Hawaiian Overload.  

Yummy Greenwich Hawaiian Overload! J

Aside from the scrumptious sweet and juicy pineapples, the Greenwich Hawaiian Overload also the goodness of two kinds of savory ham, smoky bacon, and green bell peppers, loaded with generous heaps of mozzarella and cheddar cheese on freshly baked crust.  The Greenwich Hawaiian Overload truly makes for the perfect treat for your Pizza Party Day celebration.

Visit your favorite Greenwich pizzeria, or call Greenwich delivery at #55555 and get the deliciously Greenwich Hawaiian Overload pizza goodness delivered straight to your home.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Japan 2017: The Potterhead at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (USJ)

Disclaimer: I am a Potterhead and this post is photo heavy. 

If you are a fan of Harry Potter, you would agree with me that visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in your bucket list.  Aside from owning a copy of Harry Potter books (from The Sorcerer’s Stone to The Deathly Hallows, to the new additions such as The Cursed Child), and watching all eight movies, visiting Harry Potter’s Wizarding World will always be a must-do-before-I-die thing for us Potterheads.

One of the many reasons why we went to Universal StudiosJapan is to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The moment we entered USJ, we ran as fast as we could north-east from the entrance where The Wizarding World is located.  This is because they close the area the moment they reach the number of guests inside and you can only enter when you have a Timed-Entry Ticket.

Upon entrance to The Wizarding World, you will be greeted by the hair-raising Harry Potter melody and the Weasley’s Flying Ford Anglia stuck in the Forbidden Forest.

There’s an arch welcoming you to Hogsmeade Village along with The Hogwarts Express.

Go directly to Hogwarts Castle as it is the main attraction.  This is where you will ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  We weren’t able to since Neo didn’t reach the height requirement.  So we just content ourselves in touring the castle inside.

Hogwarts Castle!

The Black Lake.

Entrance to Dumbledore’s office.

The pensieve.
Hour glasses that record the house points.

The Marauder’s Map.

Just close to the Hogwarts Castle is Hagrid’s Hut where Sirius' flying motorcycle can be found, while you enjoy the Flight of the Hippogriff, a ride inspired by Buckbeak.

Flight of the Hippogriff ride.

Now, let us have a photo tour of Hogsmaede Village.

Snow-capped shops.

Sirius is in trouble. 

Wand Magic is also performed by Mr. Ollivander inside the wandmaker’s shop.

Souvenir items and treats can be bought at Zonko’s, Honeydukes, and Dervish and Banges.

If you feel hungry during your tour, you can drop by The Three Broomsticks to have a meal.  But if you’re not hungry, go there still, and buy yourself a Butterbeer! J

 How will muggles (normal people) like us enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter the most?  Here are some tips.

·         If you plan to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and you arrive early at USJ, go directly to it.  You can stay as long as you want inside. Don’t bother with the Timed-Entry tickets if you arrive early, but if you want to go visit the Wizarding World again, go get one.  If you arrive late, make sure to go directly where the Timed-Entry tickets are issued. (PS: We entered The Wizarding World when we arrived at USJ.  Went out, and got a Timed-Entry Ticket so we can visit it again).

·         The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride is quite popular.  Line up to this ride as fast as you can.  The ride can have a waiting time up to 240 minutes.  If you have a little child that is not yet allowed to ride it, line up alone.  I regret not being able to ride this attraction, so I suggest you do.

·         Bring home a token.  Wands range from JPY4000-5000.  Wizard robes cost around JPY17000.  Key chains and magnets cost JPY2000 up.  Cookies and candies are quite pricey too.  Since souvenir items are expensive, I suggest you buy a Butterbeer with a souvenir mug.  It cost JPY1100. 

Wingardium Leviosa! 

Now, I’m ending this post with this super happy photo of me – drinking Butterbeer beside the Black Lake with a view of Hogwarts Castle. J

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