I ❤️ Japan and I thought of going back there even before leaving ☺️

Pikachu at Narita airport: Still a hit!
So, we were in Japan for 10 days and everything was a wonderment 😍 As I am writing this piece, I am thinking of what to share that isn’t in any websites or blogs already.  There are plenty and believe me, the information overload is real!

I have written about our experiences traveling South of Cebu, my one-and-only and beautiful home.  I have also been to Australia.  But being in Japan made me love anew.

For those who have been to Japan, I hope to get some kind of agreement and discussion; for those who haven’t,  please be inspired to plan and go to Japan.

The Old Man in Uniform 👨🏼‍✈️

Japan is indeed a country of culture and heritage.  They speak their language.  However, be worried not!  For some reason you will find your way and get what you want. There is enough English around.

Also, when lost and in doubt, ask guidance from the old man in uniform – they are never wrong and are very precise and clear with their instructions.  Take it from this idiot who can’t figure Google map  🤤🙄😝

With that, my heart shouts out to “Lolos” and “Lolas” everywhere.  In Japan, I am reminded to value our elders, their wisdom and manners.

Am I the only one in glasses? 👓👀

Funny, I did not find anyone wearing correctional glasses and no one has white hair.  Working shoes were always shiny and clean 👞.  Seriously 😂

Space and Silence

When we were in Japan, there were no jerks, no sarcasm, no pulling one overs, no rudeness.  I noticed the thoughtfulness, respect and self-respect.  Everything done was with grace and care.  I understood the meaning of having to take off shoes and to bow down to thank and part ways.  This became natural, and not some cultural rule.

Our first day in our hostel was a challenge.  We found ourselves as the only ones talking in whisper voices.  Naturally we caught up on being quiet.  Believe me, this was very achievable, rewarding and peaceful.

Centurion Ladies Hostel (Ueno)
Even in crowded places, there was a certain unity and organisation.  I never felt like my bag was going to be snatched or something.  I loved how people biked around everywhere without a biking lane.

Shibuya crossing!
The walkways had those yellow corrugated paths in the middle, making people go either to the left or the right side.  Drivers lived by the “pedestrian first” rule.  Walking around was part of our tourism journey.

Finding Hatchiko
When time permits,  I would love to write more about our experiences.  For now,  here are photos we took of places and experiences that inspired us to go to Japan 🙂. I hope they will inspire you too.

1)  That movie that made you cry…

2)  This is to remind that Narita is not just an airport.

Unagi: Kawatoyo Honten (Narita)
3)  Taken from the Shinkansen 🚅.  Really glorious!


4)  Wagyu beef really melts in your mouth.

(Your money also melts, but just don’t eat for days…  It’s worth it 🤣)

Matsusaka Yakiniku M (Namba)
5)  It’s fun if you pretend you’re in the Amazing Race (applicable to point 1) 😆

He runs at night.
6)  I did my best to catch them all…

Where I lost the battle…
7)  I haven’t had enough of the food in this city.   Just need to go back 😩.

Hairy crab
Best cow yields best milk!
Keeping it sober at Sapporo Beer Garden
Oh my the asparagus!
La Maison. The Japanese may have perfected their desserts, bread and pastries. Just saying.


My Non-Travel blog 

Sometimes, a staycation is as good as it gets.  My approved leave for 2 days on a Thursday and Friday prompted an auto-lightbulb idea to get away.  But where to? We often ask.  Those airlines promos were indeed tempting, shall we go out of the country? (yes, Singapore, I thought of you and your Great Sale.) Still this was impractical and out of our budget.  So we decided, let’s just go to a nearby island.  We had a plan to go to Dumaguete and Siquijor.  

I was particularly dead-set on going to Siquijor:  land of mystic, Isla Del Fuego.  I was imagining buying those love potions and magical trinkets, and watching the reddish sunsets.  Dumaguete was not to be overlooked:  the narrowing (even non-existent) sandbar of Manjuyod, the turtles of Apo Island.  We shopped for our iPhone waterproof cases for the much needed selfies.  I had restaurants in my checklists (Baha bar in Siquijor, Hayahay tree house, or somewhere that served Dumaguete express and lots of shrimps and crabs).  Oh, the research and travel blogs were beckoning me.  In the end, information overload just got me to say, we’ll wing it when we get there.

On Wednesday, overtimed to get my work done.  While setting my OOO email reply, I had a thought, am I ready to travel, are we really going?  I got the budget done, backpacks packed and water jugs filled (and frozen, the way we like it 😉) and alarms set at 3:00am.  But one just gets that feeling of laziness, perhaps. 

Then the sign came.  When the alarms set off, so did the thunder claps. We just said no, shut the alarms and went back to sleep.  The rains dropped really hard…SNORRRE 😴 ⛈

We had another attempt the following day.  By then, a lot of questions on the travel plans came.  What again are going to do in Siquijor?  Where’re we going to stay? How about this?  Decided that rainy June is not a good time for bus and ferry rides.  We can enjoy the rainy days at home, catching up on Game of Thrones or something.

This is not sour-graping at all.  It’s one of those times.  Just as one should have the liberty of travel, one should have the freedom to stay put.  I’m just glad I am one who gets to enjoy this. 😍

So for now, to keep from idleness, we do one of the other favourite things to do on rainy days, which is to bake!

this is a brookie. i requested this.
you could tell why it’s called a brookie.
kurtos kalacs aka chimney cakes
still a delicious epic fail bake. i shall attempt again, someday, maybe.

💡🤔 Good to know💡🤔 things about Oslob Whaleshark site

I would like to share some things I found out when I was at the Oslob Whaleshark location.  Hopefully, these may be useful to those who haven’t been and are planning a visit.🙂🐳

  • There is a baggage counter for rent (Php20.00) at one of the stores by the entrance.  First-come-first-serve and no time limit.  Snorkels, rash guard, vests and towels are being rented too.  Isn’t this a good idea if you happen to be swinging by Oslob?
  • There is a public bathroom.  Not posh, but at least you have a place to bathe and change!
  • There is a line up of eateries with good food and service.  No need to worry if you get peckish.
  • There are habal-habals (motorcycle rides) for your next destination.  Oslob and nearby towns have plenty wonderful spots just waiting for you.  Even your local driver can recommend.


for rent
Store by the entrance that rents storage and stuff

No water! 😡😫😱💦

The local news says that Cebu is placed in a state of calamity due to water shortage. Sounds awful.  I am upset despite knowing that this is bound to happen (water problem, that is).  We haven’t had rain for months.


We were chasing waterfalls weeks ago.  Though happy to be out of the city, part of me felt sad to see and realise that our natural resources could have been more majestic.  The photo you see of Tumalog falls (Oslob) may look wonderful.  However we were not there for long to enjoy.  The falls felt like my shower can do a better job.  It was ‘awkward’ to do a swim since the waters were hardly deep enough.

This is sad and alarming.  Not sure if there is anything we can do.  State of calamity now?  What a silly convenience.  

I am off now to pray for rain.

Please bring some treats for this special Da’o Falls ‘guide’.

A visit to Da’o falls will be incomplete without this friendly and smart canine, 🐕 ruff!

When you visit Cebu South’s waterfalls, you would most likely have to go with a tourist guide.

Our visit to Da’o falls was not an exemption, and comes with a special, being accompanied by the local’s dog.  Besides the brown one, there was a white one.  They follow tourists for any discarded food, said our real guide.



Cebu’s natural tourist spots seem to be dependent on guides and vice versa when we can (or should) go without them.  I am only stating this because I value privacy, so please don’t hate me for this.  How can I enjoy waddling in cool waters while someone is looking on to you? 😖


All to myself for now. Those cracks on the wall weren’t there until the October 2013 major earthquake .

Our tour guides have always been warm, patient and hospitable.  Listening to their stories as one Cebuano local to another was not part of the plan, but certainly gave me more information about Samboan, all the wonderful falls and this lonely town’s effort to boost any economy.  I can only wish for the best, and for more visitors.  Could this also mean loosing what is natural and peaceful?  The dread of unmanaged commercialism is dawning on me; I can already see some vandalism.

If you do visit Da’o falls at Samboan, and any other guide-required falls, please tip well if not generously.  Please try to bring some doggie-snack at Da’o, I know I will. ☺️💗🐶



An “Indiana Jones” trail.
I see fish-es. Makes me want to jump 😳


Back-float view

What’s wrong with choosing a place to stay because of rabbits?


Deciding to stay at Veny’s or Chateau de Tan-awan for our Oslob vacation felt just right.  Sure, there are plenty of resorts lining up the whale shark adventure location, but why not try a homey stay?  Besides I am a sucker for rabbits and pets and home-baked goodies.  I have to thank The Other Side of Mae for the details and insight.

Chateau de Tan-awan can be contacted by mobile at (0917) 912 7783.

The place is a home by the sea with a garden where you will find the host’s pet rabbits, cats and rooster.  I got scared of the rooster while hanging to dry my clothes – he was huge! and kept approaching me 😰🐓

If you do an Internet search on the place, you may easily discover about ‘the’ banana bread (Php105.00/loaf).  They have other bakes too.  We could not resist and bought their walnut brownies (Php130/styro tray) with the banana bread as well.

Our room has aircon and fan and a double-sized bed.  Since we requested for another bed, a single-sized mattress on the floor was provided.  Toilet and bath are shared with towels, soap and shampoo provided.  Drinking water is free (yehey!) so you can fill up your water jugs for the much needed hydration.  Since we used the aircon, the room rate is Php1,200/night (if we didn’t, it would have costed us only Php700. Hey, we wanted to snooze the night away 😴).

Sumilon Island, Cebu

It’s just a sand bar with a view of ombre blue.


It’s not such a long stretch and not all powdery sand
The island, a distance from whale shark watchers
A barge
Bangka parking area. Good thing it was not a crowded day.
Oh the different shades of blue!
To get there, go to Oslob, south of Cebu, location of another tourist spot of whale shark watching.

Take a boat or bangka to the island, which costs Php1,500 (5 persons) or Php2,000 (7 persons).  There is a Php50 entrance fee.

Bring your SPFs and water 🔆💦

Off to White Beach!

This is my first travel diary to Moalboal’s White Beach on February 24 and 25, 2016.  This include side trips to Carcar, Sibonga’s Simala shrine and Badian’s Kawasan falls.


One day, we decided to go to the beach.  Mind you, the last time we went out of the city was a supervised field trip like ages ago.  We just wanted to go out, get sand on our lazy feet and submerge our urban bodies in salty water.  For this, we decided to head south from our home, Cebu City.

Our trip was decidedly a short one and on a reasonable local budget.  We had 3 stops in mind:  White Beach at Moalboal, Simala shrine at Sibonga, and Kawasan falls at Badian.

Our first stop:  Simala Shrine

The gates open at 8:00am

How lovely to start your day with prayers and thanks to Jesus and Mother Mary.  I’ve wondered what this place may bring.  A friend told me that praying at the Shrine allows your most ernest wishes granted.

Some notes on this trip:

  • Cost of aircon bus ride (from South bus terminal to Sibonga stop) is Php140.00/person.🚍
  • From where the bus stops, you may need to commute by motorcycle/habal-habal to the Shrine.  The one way fare is Php20.00/person.  For the inexperienced, this may be a butt-staking bumpy ride 🏍🚵🏼


Looks like they’re making a giant pool.
  • The site has a public bathroom located nearby the parking space.  Mind that this is not a comfortable restroom but a respectable one, enough to do your business.  Expect some wet floors.🚽
  • There was a morning mass, which I think started 8:30am.  ⛪️
  • Coloured candles, for specific grants, are priced at Php35.00/each.🕯

We were done by 10:00am and decided to eat before heading off to the beach.  This lead to our next destination.

Second stop:  Early lechon lunch at Carcar

Carcar lechon, always best with icy cold 7UP


Carcar is known for its lechon and chicharon.  Compared to the lechon sold in the city, this one is served with its dripping sauce and the crispy skin is thicker and crunchier.  Yes we travelled back up north a bit for this and was worth it.  Notes about this break:

  • Sibonga to Carcar non-aircon fare is Php36.00/person.🚍
  • The lechon carenderias are at the far end of the public market which you can find by the city rotunda.⛲️
  • A kilo of lechon was Php275.00.  Buying less will cost a little much at Php300.00.  Still about half the price than those sold in Cebu City!⚖
  • Chicharon packs (the meaty ones) sold at Php25.00/pack. Bought some, naturally.
  • Tricycads  charge a minimum fare of Php8.00/person.  We rode one from the rotunda to the bus stop for our next stop since we were told that this was a bit further on foot.
  • Bus stop to south-bound areas is near Rose Pharmacy.  It took us about 30 minutes to wait for the bus.  Most rides are already full with commuters from Cebu city.
  • Non-aircon bus ride from Carcar to Moalboal was Php59.00/person.🚍


Third stop:  White Beach at Moalboal

White beach, Basdaku
Public site of the beach early morning

It is best to tell the conductor that you are bound for Basdaku (location of White Beach).  From the stop, you need to take a tricycad to the beach or to your preferred resort and this will cost you as much as a bus fare.  We got our tricycad ride at Php130.00 (discounted rate courtesy of Nong Castro).
Meant to be our adventure highlight, we decided to book a place for an overnight stay.  After several thumb-clicking research, we contacted Ester’s Homestay located at Basdaku right by White Beach.

Esters homestay
View from our room- the beach is just out there!

Ester’s is pretty casual and reasonable at Php1,500.00/night.  We had an aircon room with 1 queen bed and 1 single bed, and it’s own toilet and shower.  They even provided us with 2 towels and 1 tissue roll, which was unexpected.  No TV, wifi, and personal ref, then you do not really need them.

Somewhere in this Internet universe, there is a blog about some out-of-towners having a misunderstanding about their seafood dinner with Ester’s.  I have to say that that allowed us not to set high expectations and prompted proper dining arrangements. Surely enough, we had our wonderful and homey meals.
Dinner for 2 was at Php300.00, with grilled yellow fin tuna fillet and sauteed local veggies.  We even had 1 liter of Coke (Php60.00, yes expensive). Breakfast was at Php250.00 for 2 instant coffees, a bowl of danggit and 3 fried eggs (why 3 when there was just the 2 of us? I don’t know 😹).  The rice was yummy as this was not the substandard broken rice.  To us, the food was great that we just ate without a care to photograph.

Low tide at 6:00am, them rocks hit your feet while you swim
White beach,Basdaku,Moalboal
Nice doggie, one of many possible strays that needs love

White Beach is not quite the prestine white sand beach.  But the stay did not disappoint.  When off for a swim, it is best to have some aqua shoes to avoid the rocks hitting your feet.

Quick notes:

  • Ester’s Homestay room with 2 beds, T/B, AC – Php1,500.00.  Contact number: (0927) 578 5983
  • Tricycad fare from Moalboal bus stop to resort – Php130.00 (usual price – Php150.00)


Fourth and last stop:  Kawasan Falls in Badian

Kawasan falls,Badian,Cebu

We wanted to head straight to Kawasan falls.  So we struck another deal with Nong Castro for a ride from Ester’s to Kawasan for Php300.00.  Unfortunately the drop off was by the road side which is about a kilometre away from the falls.

Not to worry, there are habal-habals by the road side and at Kawasan Falls that charge Php50.00/person/ride.

The falls are beautiful, clear and blue.  Unfortunately this is surrounded by crowds and stalls, selling life jackets and raft rides.  Coconut water was being sold at Php60.00 (in the city these are sold at Php25.00).  Bathroom use was charged at Php10.00 and the facilities are substandard.   Did not bother to take any photos of Kawasan Falls because of the crowd.  Besides there are plenty online.

Good thing we found a secluded part where we waded by the cool waters for about an hour.  Then by 2:00pm, we decided to head back home.


  • Non-aircon bus ride from Kawasan, Badian to Cebu city is Php126.00/person.  The ride took almost 4 hours.🚍
  • Kawasan Falls entrance fee for locals was Php20.00/person.
  • Kawasan beach resort and restaurant:  Delia Capacio (0977) 250 8632.  This is located by the bus stop and also serves as a meeting place for Kawasan canyoneering activity. This may be a possible place to stay for our future visits to the south.

Our next trip might involve waterfalls trekking.  Need to remind myself to buy local vinegar before heading home.🍶