OPEN FORUM: Camera Film and Developing/Processing Labs in Metro Manila

Could you enlist some processing labs that are still offering and accepting film development?

So far, there are many sources.

LOMOISH – A blog post that informs people about where to process your film/s.

SQ Film Lab – Located in Mandaluyong City

Shutterspace Studios – Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City

If you know any place, just don’t hesitate to comment on this post. Thanks.

After the long wait: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

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SOME THINGS I WOULD LIKE TO TELL TO MY LOVELY FOLLOWERS: I reaaaaaaaally apologize for not posting new blog entries. To be honest, I lost love in blogging and I think that losing my gadgets (all thanks to those… thieves!) and being in law school would make me quit blogging or pursue a photography career, well, I think I should say I am BACK IN ACTION! Yet, I am no longer the same as before, the MSP that you meet online as the bubbly, funny person–I’m not actually that type of person, unless you know me personally. HAHA.

I was broke, really. I would never expect that I would quit blogging because my online friend’s blog was deleted due to an oppressive policy… or maybe the bashers are long waiting to topple down a blog. GAH. WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN, EVEN THOUGH YOU DON’T WISH FOR IT!?

Okay, never mind. Now I have some great news for all of you. Yep, this time I am taking up a short course in photography–this time, it would be photography as my career… hurrah! But remember, this is a much better thing than being in law school. In law school, you only have to be surrounded by books, nothing more, nothing less–but here, I GUESS I HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS HAPPIER! Being in a photog class helped me grow as a person. No kidding. I would say that I have a wider schedule than before. LOL.

Anyways, because of that, I decided to buy a new lens–in exchange of the old lens. Okay, here it is, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II. Well, that’s all I can afford. Never underestimate the cheapest things–it also has a powerful side. Well, take a look.

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Finally… I own a prime lens. With the new cap, though.

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See how sharp this lens is!? Pardon for the photo, this time my photos suck. Not fishing for compliments at all, yet this photo shows the SHARPNESS of the nifty fifty!

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They say that this lens is used to take portraits… but meh, BTW this is Ma-yeen. ((: Almost perfect photograph ugh. The nifty fifty is too difficult to use! LOL.

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Dream lens! Huhuhu… it costs 45,000 pesos! T_T Sa bagay, it’s an L lens.

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Check this out, people. The more you worship the Yellow Oligarchs (well, not only PNoy), the more poverty you will feel. Think again. The Yellow Oligarchs are the pestilence, not Marcos or Gloria or Erap, or anyone who are the enemies of the oligarchs. The price tag says it all. It’s up to you to evaluate (LOL photojourn mode).

Comments

The nifty fifty is actually a very powerful lens–just imagine the wide opening–at f/1.8, at 115 dollars. Yes, this lens ain’t very cheap (if you’re a full-time student) at all, to think that it’s the most inexpensive lens in the market. It is also difficult to use, since it is macro-incapable. Despite the wide aperture it offers, the 1:3 macro ratio is sacrificed. Boo-hoo.

As a matter of fact, the nifty fifty has taught me that zoom lenses are more flexible yet it won’t offer you a fixed aperture unless you want a costlier lens (the 28-70mm, for instance). Zoom lenses have the widest aperture of f/2.8 since it’s more expensive to create zoom lenses with wider apertures–the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 broke the stereotype. After all, Sigma is known for innovating lenses–they have art lenses + lens dock for updating firmware. Cool, isn’t it?

Time for you to snag a prime

Prime lenses is said to have better optical quality than zoom lenses. Here, primes vary from the extremes to the middle ground. The extremes are waaay costlier than the non-extremes since you’re dealing with distortion and distance. Just imagine having an EF 14mm L lens or the EF 800mm L lens–better get a nifty fifty or a 35mm lens, or an 85mm lens.

Zoom lenses are great, but if you want MORE depth-of-field adventures + more light and blur background, primes are the best option.

BREAKING NEWS: Origa passed away from lung cancer at 44


Origa’s concert in Russia, her homeland–but this time, in Moscow

It is a tragic day indeed on the 17th day of January 2015. I have never expected that one talent, one diva will be gone too soon.

Teenhood Hero, Teenhood Idol

Origa became well-known after her first big break ever: “Inner Universe,” a song that is the opening theme of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Well, sorry to say but I really never dared to listen to the original recording of the song because it’s pictured in my mind that when I hear that, I see the commercial of Animax about it… haha and the opening AV is just… too haunting.

According to Japanese-language sources, she died in Tokyo, Japan. That’s right. I bet, she has long been a Japanese citizen since she rarely comes back to Russia, or maybe she chose to remain a Russian citizen.

Sadly, whenever I listen to her songs, just like the rest of my idols in music, I never greeted her, “S dnyom rozhdeniya” at all (this also applies to Bjork, Yoko Kanno and Chick Corea, who are my constant idols in music). However, greeting your idol on FB is nothing really special or somehow corny since you only care about their music. But when you delve into their music, you’ll really admire them without questioning them at all.

In this case, I had a strong urge to learn Russian and even dreamt of studying in Russia. Origa’s the reason why I started to embrace everything Russian–even their military culture, actually. Despite the bad things that’s being shoved to us about Russia, I still never hated the country itself. I know that Russia is relatively conservative when it comes to their traditional beliefs, to think their mentality is European. Origa once said that when she went to Japan, she said that the Japanese people are conservative–at least, from a Russian’s point of view (Russia is quite more liberated than Japan, but still I find Russian culture conservative as compared to Western Europe).

I thought “Inner Universe” was Japanese, but when I read the lyrics, it was “weird” (was reading the Roman letters, not the original Cyrillic). When I “Googled” Origa on Yahoo! (wait, Google was not very popular during that time, it was only starting to become a household name while Yahoo! was still very popular (now, it’s a weak search engine), I have learned the fact that she’s Russian.

Indeed, Origa had a voice of an angel. No one can ever replicate that. No wonder, I was dreaming that she would sing one of the songs I would direct to my prospective musicians who will do the rest of the job. The movie lineup’s there–based on my own imagination. I cannot even spew it out, because I’m afraid that people surrounding me will call me crazy. After all, these people are dubious people, continuing to be dubious and will always be popular at the expense of other people.

No one can ever replace the diva. Never. Not even my other fave artists. She stood out, compared to the rest of the mainstream artists who are just… mainstream. Dunno, something’s really inside me, and I do have a feeling that Origa’s really part of my life, even though I have rarely heard of her ever since. It’s only saddening.

Sayounara, do svidanya, Origa-sama. Покойся с миром (Pokojsya s mirom). 安らかに眠る(yasuraka ni nemuru).

BACK TO NORMAL!

What I mean is that, I will no longer live in a restrictive life, and that’s good news to you all.

#RealTalk: Being chillax in the house and going out when it’s needed is actually relaxing. Okay, I could find online jobs such as selling pics online either on deviantArt (I’m going back to dArt plus Imma make it serious business) OR making videos. Wahahah!

Read the rest of this entry

Before the Year ends… one question: Is Gat Jose Rizal an elitist?

Happy New Year everyone!

I have just one question to ask. Is Jose Rizal an elitist?

Possible “Facts” that makes our national hero elitist:

1.) He spoke Spanish more fluently than Tagalog.

2.) There’s no evidence that he interacted with poor people.

3.) He learned all the foreign languages as much as he could, but he barely spoke any of the local languages of the Philippines.

4.) He wanted the Philippines to still be a part of Spain.

5.) He lived most of his adult life in Europe, perchance?

 

I support the (Absolute) Divorce Bill to become a law in the Philippines

LONG TIME NO SEE… HEAR… READ, everyone! Since you all know me who thinks outside the box, I would like to apologize for not posting a hiatus message! Hahaha! Alright, after I have been for LONG years not posting anything in this blog, I would just like everyone to know that I am a NON-traditional person who thinks outside the box and does not really live by the rules. After all, I can always defy popular opinions that I find… odd.

So, here’s one thing I am currently advocating: LEGALIZE Absolute Divorce in the Philippines!

Real Talk on Filipinos who are against Divorce

Upon reading GirlTalk forums, I have realized that the concept of absolute divorce should be recognized and legalized upon Philippine territory. Why is that so? It is because this is now the time for many women to STOP condoning and patronizing egocentric men who are womanizers and philanderers in nature. It. Just. Have. To. Stop. PLEASE.

Truth to be told, our family values are deteriorating slowly… causing the Philippines to become infested with nonsense shit, care of the elites! Now I realized that the reason why I am writing a book about elitism (oh BTW, I’m taking a break for a while) is because elitism hampered people to approve divorce!

Why should divorce be legal in the Philippines? Speaking of which, the reason why majority of Filipinos are against it is because the CBCP will dictate the fact that it will send you to hell! However, they’re WRONG! Jesus Christ approved divorce!

Hate to brag, but I’m currently in law school (but sorry, I will not continue that one because I have other plans in life which I must achieve…), and annulment is not enough. There are grounds, certain grounds that are limited. I dunno why until now, the Divorce Bill is either vetoed or yet, not yet approved.

It’s the fault of many Catholic schools that teach students to become elitists rather than being Filipinos and Christians. Oh, pardon if I’m being a spoiler to my own book, but you will know why Catholic schools are elitist in some way. Also, CBCP has always been corrupt and opportunist at the same time, teaching Filipino Christians and Catholics to become elitist and judgmental than to embrace diversity per se.

The culture of cheating, philandering and most of all, women condoning those immoral actions is just insane. Elitism has been poisoning the minds of women to condone the cheating of men–but #RealTalk:

Filipino guys who are more likely to cheat does NOT have the right to say ‘they are against divorce’. The same thing goes with women who tolerate cheating due to submission to double-standards.

This is according to QueenRoxy, formerly known as roxyisferox. Do you know that in countries where divorce is legal, men are LESS likely to cheat because absolute divorce itself is similar to death penalty (and I am not joking right here).

junetwentythree, a GirlTalker who lives in the USA said:

Filipino women are brought up by their religious views to believe in the sanctity of their marriage, despite their husbands’ infidelity. Through thick and thin, through sick and sin. This is the Catholic way. So right away we can attribute this to religion, as the Philippines is considered a Catholic country (I didn’t make this up…look it up). The good news is that Filipino women are quite keen on preserving the vows they’ve said before God. The bad news is that they also are more likely to be passive about their partners’ philandering.

The root cause is… there’s no such thing as absolute divorce in the Philippines.

xxx because the Philippine society seem to accept the fact that men are philanderers (think Erap), then it just continues. For generations and generations. Wala eh. Sabi kasi nating mga babae, “ah eh ganyan talaga ang lalaki.”

Ganon din ba sa mga foreigners? I can tell you from having grown up in the U.S. that the answer is NO. Excuse my language, but foreigners do not take that kind of crap.

So the short answer as to why Filipino men cheat is because Filipina women let them.

The whites cannot afford to cheat! Well, many whites will resort to divorce if things do not work out. No wonder, mukhang mas mataas pa ang pag-asa kong magpakasal sa isang foreigner since marrying a foreigner for me isn’t really bad, it’s only that you have to be open-minded about things. And not all white men are liberated–some of them are conservative but not really conservative na mata-matahin ka.

No wonder, divorce should be legal in the Philippines. It does not after all, desecrate the sanctity of marriage because truth is, what desecrates the sanctity of marriage is cheating, philandering, womanizing, homewrecking… all those things that are truly immoral. That is why many people should wake up that Jesus Christ approved divorce.

Should we educate young people to just be open-minded towards divorce?

YES. We should educate them the right way, that what Catholic schools teach them is how to become elitist rather than being open-minded, and of course, determine what is right and wrong by looking at the grey areas. I don’t care if the Philippine Catholic Church will excommunicate me for this one, since what I’m trying to say is that, saying YES to divorce does not make a person LESS Catholic! Upon reading one of the small books when I was in high school, it stated (paraphrased),

“Allowing absolute divorce to become legal in the Philippines will result to destruction.”

That is very elitist. That statement is very elitist, and just because it is divorce, it doesn’t mean it will cause immorality and destruction. This means, grey areas are OVERLOOKED due to elitism. Now that’s the elitist way of looking at things.

This post, is literally an introduction to “Elitism in the Orient Pearl”

Well, this is my first post that will introduce you to my upcoming book, “Elitism in the Orient Pearl.” The concept of Absolute Divorce will be tackled there. Oh, and before I forget, Catholic schools are also mentioned in the book… and yes, I don’t really care if I get excommunicated by the Catholic Church since I don’t really practice my religion anyway.

SURVEY: Elitism in the Philippines

Message to all the followers and fans:

I sincerely apologize for the long hiatus without even posting a hiatus post (OMG, this is the worst mortal sin I have committed). Anyways, I am now writing a book (I am doing my best to make this shit serious, I am not kidding this time!) about Elitism in the Philippines since its title will be, “Elitism in the Orient Pearl.”

PS: I am making a career out of it, so better bear with me regarding this one.

Intro Speech

If you are a Filipino residing in the Philippines or abroad (or if you’re a foreigner who naturalized as a Filipino citizen), feel free to answer this survey I am conducting online if you are willing to help me finish this book without any qualms. This is the only way for me to receive true feedback from netizens residing in the Philippines and/or abroad.

Survey Proper

SURVEY #1 – Introduction
SURVEY #2 – Sample Excerpts

To all the haters, bashers and the like:

Guys, do not misinterpret this one as attention-whoring. I know some of you (who are elitists) who will make an issue out of this post. Remember, I am writing a book, not creating some controversy or spark any issue that will hurt innocent people out of your intentional mishaps (lol). Just don’t answer the survey or buy the book (coming soon) if you don’t have any interest in doing so. My aim is to educate a lot of people who do not have access to social media, and I am making the price of this book as cheap as I could assign the price. Soon, I will come back to Photoshop or prolly have a new iPad mini (hopefully the iPad mini 3) with me, and there’s nothing you can really do with it if you think I am very harsh on my upcoming book haha.

Ending Note

No one can ever stop me from writing my first book. Just stay tuned for more updates!

Philippine Ambassador to Japan: The Land of the Rising Sun might offer visa-free travel towards Filipino citizens by June

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from PHILSTAR:

Visa-free access to Japan may happen anytime soon’ – by Camille Diola

Citing Japanese officials, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez confirmed that Japan’s grant of a visa-free privilege to Filipinos is in the works.

In an interview with dzMM on Wednesday, Lopez said that Japan, with whom the Philippines enjoys a good bilateral relationship, wants to boost its tourism by opening its country to Filipinos, Vietnamese and Indonesians.

“It seems na ili-lift nila itong June. May nakausap akong isang Japanese official this (Tuesday) afternoon who told me it may happen anytime very soon,” Lopez said in an interview with dzMM on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Tokyo-based news outfit Kyodo News reported that the Japanese government plans to waive visa requirements for Southeast Asian countries in a bid to entice spectators for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Japan’s goal is 20 million visitors annually, especially in the years leading to the Olympics, the report said.

In 2013, Japan’s tourism industry saw a rise in numbers after the country waived visas for visitors from Thailand and Malaysia. The numbers reportedly surged 61 percent to a combined 630,000 in 2012.

Lopez said, meanwhile, that Filipino travelers should carefully prepare for a trip to Japan by researching on the Internet and mapping commuting itinerary.

He also pointed out that Japan is among the countries in the world with a high cost of living.

“[Plan carefully] para hindi kayo mabibigla sa presyo,” Lopez said.

Filipinos should not hesitate  to travel to the East Asian country as visa requirements for Japan are not as difficult to secure as other destinations, he added.

Well, I really think this is good news to me, to think that there is still a very high concentration of Filipino TNTs in Japan. Despite the TNT issues, I think this is still good news for me because finally, I could go to Tokyo Disneyland and Osaka Universal Studios and of course… plan a DIY trip to Japan with my very own itinerary. I think I should first tell this good news to my classmates in Japanese language class so that they will be HAPPY to hear it.

As you can all see, I am not ashamed to say this but Japan is my favorite country, more like of a second home to me. Not even the United States (whoops! No offense to my American followers here on WP) and Hong Kong could replace that.

Well, I won’t hesitate to look for inquiries in Japanese universities once I step in Japan soil without a visa… as a Filipino citizen. I really do not know why, but I think Waseda University is my first choice school. I won’t mind getting in other Japanese universities besides Sodai but… you know me.

Also, you all know (delve into my past entries first haha) that I made a story about Osaka Monogatari about a Filipina woman and a Japanese man being together. Well, I might have very high expectations of having a Japanese man as my husband (seriously, I am not joking), but the more you expect, the less it will happen. I guess, I have to embrace the ugly reality. LOL.

Why is Japan my favorite country… and more like a second home next to my native country?

Some of you do not know this, but before I delved in Japanese dramas, I used to be an anime fan. Yeah, I liked Japan more than the United States that’s why you’ll see why I was interested in learning Japanese (to think it’s too taihen, which is a fact). Also, despite the language barrier and of course, high cost of living (which are your two worst enemies once you visit the place), Japan has this charm that not even the US or Hong Kong will ever have. Also, if you’re going to ask me why I am including US and HK mercilessly (and mercilessly comparing them to Japan) is because my pops admire those two places for no valid reason at all (either that those countries made a significance on him… or he has solid connections. Also, he still has this irrational admiration towards China, despite he himself admitting the fact that it’s a bully country), and he thinks that Japan is ugly and there are things in the Philippines that are not in Japan.

Well, Japan is NOT a perfect country, and I understand that. There are some aspects of Japan which I do not approve (they’re still sexist and misogynist; South Korea surpassed them, so to speak–and they’re yet to approve the LGBT community, and they still discriminate inked people!), yet more and more good aspects of Japan are still showing.

Now I will directly tell you why I am now considering it as my second home.

1.) Many similarities with Filipino culture – As you all can see, Japanese culture, despite being completely different from Filipino culture, has its own share of similiarities. Both Japanese and Filipino people are hospitable and resilient, and you could see that the Philippine-Japan relations is very stable. Well, it just boils down to Filipinos being forgiving despite the atrocities of the Japanese during the second World War (this is the reason why the Japanese changed their fierce ways). The Japanese could also be forgiving, but an apology, whether heavy or light, is generally accepted. Sincere or not.

2.) They won’t hesitate to help you in spite of the language barrier – That’s what you won’t see in HK or the States. I have better experiences when I entered Tokyo Narita Airport and Kansai International Airport — the immigration officers are very professional–but the one in Osaka was a great experience (laid-back vibes, something you won’t see in fast-paced HK).

3.) The salespeople – I won’t hide this fact, but when I visited Yodobashi Camera, I simply purchased a circular polarizing filter for my DSLR lens. Oh my… this salesman is sooooooooo HOT, considering that he is not flawless. LOLs! Anyways, that was the greatest experience when I told him, “Eigo onegai-shimasu” rather than the “osoi hanashite kudasai” thingy. Good thing they’re consistently honest and professional. They show you the change and they count it. AND they don’t force you what you don’t like. Haha. The most memorable Japan experience so far. LOLOLOLOLicons. Again, you rarely find that in HK and the States.

4.) Better than China – How many times did I tell you that even though I love siomai and Chinese/HK movies, I still do not consider China and HK as a second home to be? Do you know this “Parang Pilipinas lang” vibe? In English, lemme tell you that it is a place where there are many people who are going in there, or lezzay that almost everyone (every Filipino, so to speak) is going there. Even my Filipino-Chinese acquaintances would be very honest that Japan’s better than China (of course, Filipino-Chinese people have a posh mentality and they’re more practical haha, not simply because afford nila ‘yan). Also, Japan is not a bully country at all (except if you’re one of the countries that Japan formerly invaded for a very long time), unless the Japanese PM visits the very controversial Yasukuni Shrine, where class-A war criminals are enshrined (that’s why HM Emperor Akihito never visited the said shrine ever since he became emperor).

Japan is also better than China, speaking of err… being tolerant. Except if you had a track record of taking illegal drugs in the past. Once you are involved with illegal drugs, especially if you’re a Japanese celebrity, you will be harassed by the media! I feel sorry for Komukai Minako-san for being harassed by the Japanese media simply because she became a fugitive for being involved with drugs–she’s now staying in the Philippines for refuge (hey, she’s always welcome in the Philippines, just like Noriko Sakai who is welcomed in China despite her history of drug involvement, to think that China’s laws regarding drug trade is more dangerous than Japan’s).

And don’t you know that I side with Japan when it comes to the Senkaku Islands? China is currently bullying Japan, that’s why I side with Japan, speaking of being prepared in terms of being “attacked” verbally by a bully country. Not only that, Japan still has this “never give up” mentality that will make their country stay stronger… than yesterday. Haha.

5.) There are things there that HK and the US does not have at all – Frankly speaking, Hong Kong and the United States are only good if you’re going to shop for H&M (sorry guys, I am still a Forever 21 girl), brands that you cannot find in the Philippines, or if you’re simply going on a vacation. They’re only good when you’re on a retail vacation. Other than that, no more. Pardon me for my “very posh” mentality, but ever since I have visited Japan, my travel standards have increased. Like almost everyone’s going to the United States and Hong Kong, which is something I am not even proud of. Once I visit Tokyo Disneyland and Osaka Universal Studios, that I really could tell that I have a very posh mentality, which is often misinterpreted for being elitist. Well, not under-estimating HK and the US, but if you happen to settle for less, HK and US are the only options (haha, beeyotchy mode on).

6.) Japan is an introvert’s paradise – Well, extroverts have a possibility that Japan could be their second home since I know some people (though not personally) who are extroverts but have lived in Japan for quite some time. However, silence is a virtue in Japanese culture, that’s why if a person is an introvert, of course automatic they will consider it as their second home.

7.) You don’t need to visit Tokyo first if you like Japan as your first foreign country destination – Believe it or not, expat forumers think that Osaka is way, way better than Japan. I can tell it to you by first-hand experience. Osaka is laid-back and the peeps (the Osakans) there have higher level of patience as compared to Tokyo-ites, who appear cold–due to the capital’s fast-paced nature, but Tokyo is an English-friendly city (though it’s optional to be an Anglophone there).

8.) You have Hiroki Umeda-san (HAHAHA, this is not a joke, I love him!)

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He may not be very handsome by Filipino or Japanese standards, but hell, Steve Aoki might be set aside for now. LOL.

9.) Hong Kong is only good if you’re a beginner/starter on travelling abroad – I ain’t kidding, I have been to Hong Kong 4x already, but then I still do not consider it as my second home. As a matter of fact, if you’re going to travel overseas, I suggest Thailand would be a great option for a first-time traveller (yeah, Thailand’s much greater than Hong Kong 100x more than you think).

10.) Meanwhile, the United States also has this “parang Pilipinas” vibe, meaning to say that there’s nothing really good to see, except if you’re going to tour around the whole of the United States – I really do not get the hype why lots of my fellow Filipinos think that once they have entered the United States, it is already an achievement. If you are going to settle for less, Hong Kong or the United States (not the whole U.S. of course, I am pertaining to major cities) are the only two places you’d want to get into.

Never mind if you have never been to Hong Kong or the United States–after all, it’s better to visit a country with a high cost of living and at the same time does not have a good command of the English language. You are on a vacation and you’re on a leisure travel, not on a shopping spree (#RealTalkBuddy).

11.) Love for WEIRDNESS – You don’t see a huge Gundam in HK or in the States. Well, in Japan, weirdness is the norm. Whether you wear extreme fashion or you do quirky things, nobody cares.

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12.) Hong Kong and the United States (pertaining to major US cities, except Las Vegas since it’s the only city I liked in the U.S.) are over-rated (like, everyone’s going there and it’s kinda bland lol), as compared to Japan – I hate to say this, but Thailand is also overrated–nonetheless it gives you second home vibes, which HK and the US has failed to give to tourists. I’d rather visit Tokyo Disneyland and Osaka Universal Studios just to make sure that Japan is something worthy to visit after a long walk to the historical sites (castles, significant places in history) and of course… major places of worship. Haha. (Bitch mode on, don’t care.)

Remember: Over-rated destinations would never give you a second home vibe, but there are lots of exceptions! Thailand is only becoming overrated is because many people are going ga-ga on the hype on its cost of goods, et cetera. It’s more like Forever 21/H&M hype, tbh (no offense to the Thais, can’t be help’d). But it’s a better destination than Hong Kong.

What’s next for Japan?

Before you visit Japan, here are some things I would like to tell you:

1.) Learn some Japanese basics – The locals will surely be impressed if you’re going to use the basic Japanese phrases like “arigatou gozaimasu” and “sumimasen” while inside Japan. If you cannot comprehend what they’re saying in Japanese due to their fast speech, just tell them, “Eigo onegai shimasu” if your Japanese is really bad. Lol.

2.) If you have learned Japanese formally, then you’re ready to go – Practicing Japanese as your second or third language will surely impress the locals. No kidding, you will never have any problem communicating with the salespeople on places outside Tokyo, which happens to be a city and a prefecture at the same time (LOL, so much for having a special status).

3.) Learn to use chopsticks! – Not really a must, though it is the usual thing that is used to eat Japanese food, including ramen. If you were to ask me, it’s better to eat sushi and sashimi with chopsticks (hashi is the Japanese term BTW).

4.) Try to avoid doing eye-to-eye contact – Remember, doing so is rude. Only a few accept this body language/gesture as A-OK, yet most of them still think it should not be done.

5.) Follow Japanese customs if you’re entering a Japanese person’s home – The usual: Bring a safe gift (food, wine or flowers will do… they’re very particular on gifts, and it’s rude not to give your host a gift) and remember to take off your shoes before going inside their home. Slippers are usually provided and when entering a room with a tatami mat, take off your slippers.

6.) High cost of goods (not only high cost of living since that is already given) and the usual language barrier are your two worst enemies – You do not actually need to be rich or fluent in Japanese to enjoy Japan. Remember, Japan is a very costly country to live in mainly because they’re export-oriented and at the same time their natural resources are very scarce, and of course its homogeneous population has still yet to embrace the outside world, to think that part of their country is Westernized. But hey, Japan isn’t so expensive at all when it comes to goods. It’s actually cheaper to buy Japanese KitKat and of course Pocky there–buying an imported Japanese KitKat in your home country would cost more, prolly double. Haha. As a matter of fact, most parts of Europe appear to be costlier (comparing UK and Australia, the former is still costlier, to think that the latter has more expensive major cities).

It’s Official: 日本語がわかります

でも、今週私はとても忙しいですから、私は日本語の勉強をためらいます。

私は本当に日本語を勉強したいです。私は日本のInstagram Followersに日本語で伝えます。私の日本語はあまりよくないですが、習いたいです。私は日本の大学に入って、勉強します。どこで?

私は早稲田大学に入って、勉強します。私は日本の男に結婚します。

Yeah, I think my Japanese still suck, literally speaking. I still have to prove myself more to maintain my standing. It’s sort of hard to juggle between studying for the Civil Service Exam, since studying a new language and reviewing your past lessons at school (general subjects in college, to be particular) needs a genius brain–whose ability to get high grades is possible through simple stock knowledge. This means that the brain power required to do these two things is a brain that could effortlessly lead someone to the Latin Honors’ Hall of Fame.

I am not kidding. I started learning Japanese last year, and it was one helluva ride. I think learning Chinese would be the first step to learning Japanese, but since it cannot be helped, I can’t help but studying Japanese. I won’t stop pursuing my dream to study in one of the most prestigious universities in Japan, which needs a lot of effort and paperwork to be fulfilled. Yet I am still in a state of identity crisis wherein I really still do not know where to begin. Prolly I should retrace my steps again and see how I really improved as a person.

It’s kind of a blessing that we’re required to write a diary entry on our activities in life. Oh wait, there’s more to that than studying the language.

Now I could understand the songs of my favorite Japanese artists, and I could say that this made me understand why I love anime, though I took the wrong course at the first place. Nevertheless, I chose to have a diverse mind over having a one-sided track since conforming into the standards of the academy doesn’t mean you’ll land into a good job. As a matter of fact, what makes students reformers is how they use their knowledge carefully to contribute towards social change.

Yes, I am talking about REAL change, not the change the popular kids in high school and the typical bratty kids in college wanted to happen.

If you want real change–then start easing the tone of your egoism within yourself and your group. Oppress those people who want nothing but to empower themselves the wrong way–we should have a real headstart by contributing towards society.

Best and Worst Passports to Have

Best Passports   Worst Passports

It is not surprising that Germany, Japan and of course the United States would be on the top list.

Sadly, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, Brunei and Malaysia didn’t make it to the top 20 best passports list, but that’s alright, for as long as they could access at least Canada, NZ, UK and the Schengen Area without visa restrictions.

No passport is perfect, since countries like Japan and the United States have burdens to get a visa to Brazil or even Russia, which is actually something that South Korean passports are blessed with: Visa-free travel to Russia and Brazil.

But then again, why is South Korea not even on the Top 20 list?

Hmmm… I don’t think pre-arrival visa to China should be a hindrance, but I think Koreans from the ROK are very lucky to have a passport that could send them to a lot of countries without a visa. Also, they’re part of the visa waiver to Australia and the United States, therefore it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Also, South Korea finally allowed multiple citizenship… but quota-based. However, they should adopt the “Ritenshon Shonin” in order for everyone to still have Korean citizenship in all aspects (so to speak, native South Koreans could still have Korean citizenship and American citizenship if they’re born in the US, and Koreans who were born in South Korea but naturalized in another country could still retain their Korean citizenship, and half-Koreans who are dual citizens since birth could still retain their citizenship no matter the cost will be–for as long as they’ll apply for permission to retain their Korean citizenship).

Also, if you’re a South Korean citizen, you could go to South America visa-free/visa-on-arrival, which American and Japanese passport holders don’t have (they both need visa to enter Brazil in advance).

Well, the only downside is that, South Korean passport holders cannot enter North Korea at all, since both countries are still enemies. South Koreans don’t really like going to North Korea at all, and they’re fine with it–as a matter of fact, many North Koreans who escape their own country fly to South Korea for good. Obviously, South Korea offers greener pastures and better quality of life, as opposed to North Korea.

By essence, South Korea officially recognizes North Koreans as South Korean citizens. If North Koreans escape from their home country successfully via the indirect route, this means that they become South Koreans for good. It’s a good thing that the ROK government resurrected its peace talk plans towards North Korea.

South Korea not making it to the top list… why?

South Korea is actually a latecomer when it comes to being one of the richest and the most developed countries in the world. It is one of the Asian Tigers, alongside Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Well, these Asian Tigers of course, has this freedom to travel without a visa. I really dunno why Brunei isn’t included in the Asian Tigers to make it five… hmmm…

Well, I just hope that South Korea will still develop its bilateral relations with other states so that South Koreans would travel up to 170+ countries without a visa. Speaking of which, it is possible that South Korea might as well continue its peace talks with North Korea so that South Korean citizens won’t feel tension with its rival state.

Other countries with travel freedom (but did not make it on the top list)

Australia, Greece and Iceland are the Western countries (though Australia is geographically a South-east country with a Westernized culture) that didn’t make it to the top list. It is surprising for Australia since its neighbor New Zealand surpassed it by making it to the Top 20. Other countries like what I have mentioned before (Malaysia, South Korea, Brunei, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore) also have this travel freedom reward.

To make the list… (check this list out if you want)

[Just remember, they’re not actually in order… hehehe]

1.) Liechtenstein – It didn’t make to the top list, but it still had the 100+ visa-free access.
2.) Israel – Though the Arab League is technically an avid “hater” of this country, this country rather is more rewarded than the Arab League states, in terms of travel freedom–it can access Japan, South Korea and the Schengen Area
3.) Mauritius – Surprisingly, this little island country in the southern part of Africa within the Indian Ocean allows its citizens to travel to the Schengen Area and Japan without a visa.
4.) Barbados – Same with Mauritius.
5.) Mexico – Same with Mauritius and Barbados, but what these three have in common is that their passports aren’t biometric (AWWWWWW…).
6.) Brazil – Though Brazilians need to enter Japan with a visa in advance, it could enter the Schengen area without a visa.
7.) Argentina – Same with Brazil, but its citizens could enter Japan without a visa.
8.) Chile – Same with Argentina, I think.
9.) Czech Republic – Of course, it’s part of the Schengen Area.
10.) Cyprus – Cyprus is fairly European, so to speak. And YES, it’s part of the EU.

So far, I base these things on how they could access the following territories (not necessarily ALL of them):

1.) European Union and the Schengen Area – Of course, to be fair this will include the United Kingdom and Ireland, and also non-EU member states such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland (EFTA members, if not EU, lol). Eastern Europe is included if you’re talking about EU member states haha.
2.) South America – Visa-free access to South America is actually not-so bad after all, but once a country is rewarded visa-free access to ALL South American countries without a visa, this would mean that they have the same level as the Pope (well, almost).
3.) OECD member states (namely Japan and Israel) – If you’re one of the countries that could enter Japan and Israel without a visa (all of them), then you must be lucky.
4.) Countries with the most lenient visa policies (Philippines, Ecuador, Malaysia, Haiti, South Korea) – Well, Haiti seems to have the most lenient visa policy in the world, which will put Ecuador second to the list, and I’ll make a separate article about this one). Meanwhile, South Korea has eased their visa policies towards other countries (the Philippines is NOT lucky to be one of the countries that could access South Korea without a tourist visa, prolly due to the “Tago ng Tago/TNT” controversy–but when it comes to Israel, Filipino citizens could enter Israel without a visa at all), but there are some countries that need a visa to enter the Land of the Morning Calm.
5.) South Africa (and the rest of its neighbors) and the United Arab Emirates – Same thing with #3. No need to explain further.

Well, access to Vietnam, China, North America and Russia aren’t counted at all since it would be unfair to some countries included in the list. Remember, it’s actually very difficult to get a visa going to Vietnam (sources say), China (it’s easier getting a Chinese visa if you’re a Filipino citizen and China only allows 6 countries to enter its territory without a visa), North America (some countries need to access Canada with a visa, except if you’re coming from the EU/Schengen Area or a developed country in general; and the United States’s visa policies are much stricter compared to China) and Russia (ahhh… sources say it’s very difficult to obtain a Russian visa, but it still depends upon the country you’re coming from).

Worst Passports: Why Worst!?

It’s actually FAIR and JUST that China did not make it to the Top 20 WORST Passports list, even though it’s quite infuriating to possess a Chinese passport (just ask those Filipino-Chinese friends of yours who are not yet officially Filipino citizens, or their parents who are not yet Filipino citizens)–well, the reason why I’m saying this is because China, even though its citizens need to apply for visa to Ecuador and the Philippines, did not make it to the top 20 worst passports list is because at least it still has the “worth” in it. However, what makes it something not to be proud of is the controversial inclusion of its “disputed” territories which is of course possessions of Vietnam, Philippines and India. Also, China isn’t having a formal war with the United States compared to most Arab and Muslim states such as Afghanistan, Iraq… and you know the rest.

These countries actually restrict foreigners from entering their territories without a visa mainly because of the war that’s happening in their territory. I bet, countries that are actually having internal conflict cannot actually concentrate on bilateral agreements due to the fact that unending wars are still on-going. No wonder, South Korea actually didn’t allow its own citizens to enter these countries. The Philippines actually did this as well, to Filipinos who actually want to enter Iraq despite its status.

Well, these countries are actually having wars and conflicts, therefore the result: They can only access no more than 41 countries without a visa, which is actually more infuriating compared to possessing a Chinese passport.

Why is China not included in the list!?

I hate to say this, but even though China did not make it to the top list, other countries impose visa towards China is because there are a lot of illegal immigrants from China, despite its growing economy. Ecuador and the Philippines are imposing visas towards Chinese citizens due to the fact that everywhere, you see a Chinese person. Prolly at the end of the day, Filipinos might be the second largest ethnic diaspora next to China, or even surpassing them (unless the 1987 Constitution is burned to the pits of hell, haha).

Also, China imposes visa to other countries, which is actually more frustrating. Only six countries could enter China without a visa (Brunei, Japan, Singapore and Mauritius), but Wikipedia stated seven countries (Gawd, when will I stop relying too much on Wikipedia!?). Only diplomatic and official passport holders have the privilege to enter China without a visa, which is again, frustrating for ordinary passport holders.

Indicators of having a “good ordinary passport”:

1.) If a certain country has good diplomatic relations with other countries.
2.) Lesser numbers of an ethnic diaspora.
3.) Less people who overstay.
4.) Less people who stay illegally in a foreign country.
5.) Countries that have no internal conflict.

I actually do not buy the fact that the smaller and the richer the country, the more you could travel without a visa. Well, Barbados and Mauritius might not be as rich as the OECD founding members, but speaking of internal events in a country, it should be something that adheres with international standards.

What makes a good passport?


Visa requirements for British citizens


Visa requirements for Japanese citizens


Visa requirements for U.S. American citizens


Visa requirements for South Korean citizens

I have noticed that if you come from a developed country, you usually get lots of benefits if you are a citizen of the countries I have mentioned above. However, being a rich/not-so-rich but not-too-poor country doesn’t really mean you could already travel without any visa. I’ll show you more examples:


Visa requirements for Filipino citizens

Side Note: Even though South Korea has a lenient visa policy, the Philippines, however, isn’t included in its list in the countries that do not need visa to enter its territory without the visa, probably due to Filipinos “overstaying.” After all, I still consider a trip to South Korea a privilege.

And here’s the worst part…


Visa requirements for Chinese (mainland) citizens

This map shows that owning a Vietnamese or Iranian passport is even more valuable than owning a Chinese passport (most countries offer visa-on-arrival travel for Chinese citizens, only a few are willing to offer totally visa-free travel for Chinese citizens). Ah, the horrors of having 1 billion people residing in one big country… and overseas. But don’t worry, the mainland Chinese government is doing efforts to sign mutual visa-free agreement with other countries. Well, Filipino government officials should warn China that it should stop bullying the Philippines so that Chinese citizens could travel to the Philippines without any visa… like let’s say, for 14 days only.

Here, even though China is wealthier than the Philippines, Filipino citizens (like me) could travel without any visa in 58 countries. In the Philippines, you need to get a visa before travelling to other countries such as Japan, the US, China, Australia and of course, South Korea. As a matter of fact, only the privileged ones could afford getting visas.

Diplomatic Relations Matter


Visa requirements for Israeli citizens

If you happen to be an Israeli citizen… I have to warn you guys that there are some countries that despise your country. Hmmm… well, not saying that it is oppressive to be an Israeli citizen, but other countries view it as “occupied Palestine” since these countries that have an obsessive form of hate towards Israel are mostly pro-Palestine. It’s not the fault of Israeli citizens that some countries despise them, but the Israeli government is actually being oppressive towards Palestinians. I hate to say this, but if the Jews should have their own country, they should have been friendlier towards Palestine and Palestinians rather than oppressing them. Until now, there are some non-Arab people that has a negative view on Israel.

Though holding an Israeli passport has an oppressive side, lemme tell you that you have the opportunity of visiting most of South America, Japan and the EU/EFTA/Schengen Area at the same time–which means that holding an Israeli passport is similar to holding a Hong Kong and Macanese passport. Some Israelis might accept this fact, but some think that there should something be done in order to allow Israeli citizens to travel these states.

It’s a good thing that there are countries that simply impose visa rules towards other countries, rather than rejecting their passports. It means that they maintain good relations with one another, even though they bully other countries. For instance, China and the Philippines. Even though the Chinese government despises PNoy, they still welcome ordinary Filipino citizens to enter their country (provided that visas are already in Philippine passports). There is no such thing as “obsessive hatred” against each other, despite the territorial dispute controversy between China vs. its neighbors.

No wonder, I still look up to China despite being a bully country. Well, the reasons why the Philippines has good ties with other states and nations is because the Marcoses and former President Gloria M. Arroyo made efforts to make friends with different world leaders. Look at PGMA, even though she broke her promise with former US President George W. Bush, the USA and the Philippines are still allies. The yellow oligarchs cannot actually do that–you have to say something GOOD about the country and not bully the Philippines just to get close to them.

Best Passports have good diplomatic ties with other countries as great powers

Most countries in Europe and North America have the best passports mainly because they have the most stable form of government and has the power to exercise their policies to influence everyone. No wonder, many Filipino citizens opt to be dual citizens to travel without any restrictions. They may use their Philippine passport to travel towards the rest of Southeast Asia, but they’ll need their other passport to travel to Europe.

Worst Passports actually do not offer security and safety for tourists

Well, not all countries aren’t too dangerous for the traveller, but you see, political turmoil actually is a distraction to allow their citizens to enjoy visa-free travel. However, there are countries that really impose visas to almost every country in the world, that’s why in return, countries who suffer on their visa policies have their revenge (lol).

Conclusion

I have a question for you, guys. If you happen to be a dual citizen and your other country requires you to choose just one citizenship at the legal age, will you accept this fact or not? Why or why not?

Criteria:

1.) One citizenship of yours allows you to travel in 170+ countries yet requires you to choose one citizenship while the other allows dual citizenship but only lets you travel to just 60+ and below countries. (Or the other way around)

2.) If you actually need to apply for permission to retain your other citizenship to remain dual?

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