Category Archives: Travel Journal

Tokyo, Japan (Part Two)

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On the second day, we were taught how to count in Japanese. One thing that I like best about the tour is going outside Tokyo (passing two prefectures like Yamanashi and Shizuoka). Good, good. Here, counting in Japanese is EASY since it was simplified towards foreigners. Seems like I’m going back to elementary–kidding. xD

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Here’s Tokugawa Ieyasu. He’s the one who started the Edo period in Japan. No wonder, Japanese people living in Tokyo owe him for making Tokyo as the current capital of Japan.

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FUJI-YAMA! In other words, this is Mt. Fuji–but textbooks will insist that it’s Fuji-san (-san is the On’yomi term for mountain, while “yama” is the Kun’yomi term).

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Our tour guide Kana-san explained how it is to get into the Edo palace. Whoa… Hakone is actually the checkpoint where you will be inspected whether you’re a wife of a shogun or not (as far as I recall…). So far, if you’re going to Edo during those feudal times, everyone should pass through the Hakone checkpoint to see whether a woman is the wife of a shogun or a warlord.

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The windmill!

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Mt. Fuji in photographs (well, this is officially my photographs). So far, these are my shots–again, using the Canon EOS 60D with the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. The PictureStyle I used is the velvia 50 downloaded from the Internet and I simply installed the said PStyle into the camera itself. Notice that Mt. Fuji here is rather blue in color prolly because of the white balance, but the autumn leaves remained consistent.

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This is the come-come cat, or in Japanese, Maneki Neko. Its purpose is to welcome customers in restaurants… and bring good luck, I guess?

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We simply rode a cable car just to have a cruise at Lake Ashi (maybe?). The strong smell of sulfur reminds me of those hot springs, am I right? Nevertheless this is a much better experience compared when going to any other place that does not even give us the strong smell of sulfur.

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Well, our cruise in Lake Ashi isn’t really that special, but hey, that was a great ride! Something that I should experience once I step into the Yangtze river.

Well, there’s a photodump (via iPhone 5) about my trip to Seoul and Tokyo!

Tokyo, Japan (November 26-30, 2013)

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Welcome to the costliest city in the world! That’s right, folks! Tokyo is best-known to be the most expensive city in the world… but how is it affordable, compared to Europe?

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Roppongi sign

Roppongi is basically a district in Tokyo (situated in err… Minato ward) which resembles the 5th Avenue of New York City plus Beverly Hills (thus the coined term Roppongi Hills). This in indeed, the Japanese version of Bonifacio Heights (Bonifacio Global City)–only a larger version. Sadly, unlike Tokyo Prefecture, Metro Manila is only a posh metropolis at its center (Taguig, Makati, Mandaluyong aaaaaaand San Juan). However, I still consider the central part of NCR much more affordable as compared to Tokyo as a whole (highly-urbanized areas are quite costly).

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Whoa! My best buddy said that this route is too familiar… yes! It’s a Gran Turismo route (but hell… I don’t play that video game, sarreh). But what I’m pertaining to is the Shibuya Ward (yes, where the biggest pedestrian crossing is located). Too bad, we didn’t explore the whole of Tokyo that much (well DUH! It’s too freaking big!)… but never mind.

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Emperor Meiji

So, our tour guide showed us Emperor Meiji’s photo and explained how he modernized Japan. As a matter of fact, he’s the Japanese contemporary version of King Sejong the Great. Well, if you’re going to ask me, I am not going to compare both Sejong Daewong and Emperor Meiji since the two of them did anything to improve their country through their policies. I guess we need more leaders who are like them. Also, I think that the Emperor is well-respected by today’s Japanese people, and they owe him a debt of gratitude.

Despite Japan’s custom to be very early and on time, it is indeed, an economic latecomer since it only started to apply all of Emperor Meiji’s policies–thus, making Japan a very industrialized country. At least, Japanese people learn from their mistakes, and their culture is more on, “If there is no room for error, there is always room for improvement.”

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I didn’t realize that there is a BMW shop… but how costly would be the car if someone living in Tokyo buys one?

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So here we are inside the Meiji Shrine. It seems that there are lots of sake barrels… since the late former Emperor was a wine connoisseur.

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Western wine.

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Entrance gate to the Meiji shrine.

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Small dippers.

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Wishing cards–if you want to make a wish, this is the right place. LMAO.

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Above shows a collection of photographs while in the Central Park.

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A Westerner falling asleep. One of the best tourist attractions that you could find EVERYWHERE. LMAO. ((:

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HIROKI-CHAN! Well, I just assume that he’s a ninja attraction. Nyahawrhawrhawr!

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Above photos now show that Japan is the place for weird people! Even though that Japan’s best-known to be a conformist society, they express themselves out of their own uniqueness.

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Above photos show ASAKUSA–or the traditional district of Japan. Here, people preserve the culture of whatever’s traditional Japanese.

IMG_8565Yay! Hiroki-sama in the bus with his samurai outfit! He’s all laughs and at the same time he’s a real actor–but not the mainstream one.

My second time in Japan and first time in Tokyo makes me think that I want to stay and live in Japan forever… but since I’m too… you know, like not very confident to communicate with the locals, I just thought that living in Osaka would be better. Tokyo is too big, too scary and somehow… too vibrant. But anyways, I think that the Tokyo experience would not be complete without the presence of Hiroki-san!

This was our first day of tour in Tokyo, Japan. By essence, this was so far the best trip ever! In other words, this is one great experience that you won’t ever experience in such places like Hong Kong or even the U.S. of A (JOKE!).

Anyways, one reason why Japan for me has no vibe of “Parang Pilipinas lang.” In other words, they’re really have this certain pride that is genuine, and they have this attitude of being true to themselves without losing face. Overall, this is the best place for me to study since the crime rate here is VERY low. You could expose your smartphone here while taking photos. Also, gadgets here in Japan are TOYS, but some use it as career TOOLS for the future.

In other words, they CREATE the future. I believe that even though Japan is a homogenous nation, it is very open-minded and tolerant when it comes to individuality. Walang basagan ng trip, so to speak. Even though it’s deemed to be sexist, it has an egalitarian society, meaning to say that they shun discrimination.

PRE-tour Story

Ahahaha… I was very much worried about going to Japan. As a matter of fact, I was wondering why the HELL I have two tourist visas, to think it’s a multiple-entry Japanese visa. ‘Yun pala, nagkamali!

Well, since Japanese people are afraid of making mistakes, I think when they commit mistakes, they easily learn from them. The GOOD WAY to learn is to learn from your mistakes. No wonder, Toyota President Akio Toyoda-sama was very apologetic for a accidents which involved Toyota cars.

But it’s a good thing that the Immigration Officer still managed to accept the visa and let me enter (Dōmo arigatō gozaimashita, yakuin-san!). Actually, both Korean and Japanese immigration officers are friendlier and more professional, as compared to the Filipino ones (sad much). >: NAIA Terminal 1 Immigration Officers are friendlier than in NAIA Terminal 2. Oh well, that is just me!

There’s a PART TWO of this one! Stay tuned! Gomen nasai, I just posted this one late na! xD

Seoul, South Korea (Second Batch Photos)

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This was a photoshoot from… well, I forgot what district that is, but anyways, to Korean people who have witnessed this photoshoot, please enlighten me (This is Myungdong, right?)!

Well, this girl is very lovely… thinking that she possesses sharp features.

To my Korean buddies, you don’t need plastic surgery to make yourself more attractive. She (the gal) sets an example for people who are aspiring to become models.

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The best season to visit Seoul is actually on AUTUMN/FALL. Notice the red leaves before winter comes? That means that Seoul is bringing provincial vibes despite its urbanization. At least, Seoul is urbanized without sacrificing nature. But expect the harsh… Siberian cold. The weather’s quite harsh, but not as intense like Beijing or the rest of California (or prolly Toronto).

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So we visited the Changdeokgung palace (sorry if I didn’t post much of the Gyeongbokgung Palace, but no worries)… which is actually a better-looking palace than the Gyeongbokgung. I ain’t kidding, either–the Gyeongbok palace has a more traditional-conservative vibe–while the Changdeokgung has a more relaxing and harmonious vibe.

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There are so many autumn leaves to see, and the Changdeokgung is really harmonious. Oh, anyways, I will just post the rest of the photos in the photography blog.

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Lastly, we met King Sejong (free day). Yes, he’s really one of my favorites in Korean history, that’s why I really had a great time taking close-up photos of his statue. Well, that’s all for now. I really liked our Korean trip.

Seoul, South Korea (November 23-26, 2013)

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Seoul is practically a vibrant city–it has provincial vibes and at the same time it is modern with the fact that its road are very wide, and drivers there are really driving fast! But that’s not all, Korean people are very polite and friendly, as opposed to people’s impressions. Maybe it’s because once they stepped into the Philippines, they might abandon their values!

But forget about it. Let’s just start the story.

My trip to Seoul has changed my impressions towards Korean people. Actually, I really find them very nice people, until I found out the blog of Roxysiferox… where she said that Korea has a backwards society. But surprisingly, Koreans have this culture of being laid-back and at the same time progressive at the same time. While they are being progressive, they cannot help but to preserve their values and traditions, and that is one thing that I like best about South Korea.

Seoul is basically a city which is actually FAR BETTER than Beijing and Hong Kong combined. Take note that Seoul’s traffic system has more rigid discipline, kaya if you’re a pedestrian, expect that Korean will give way for you to pass. It is actually a HUGE, MASSIVE city that does not look like a concrete jungle. In other words, it is better than Hong Kong, speaking of its size–and better than Beijing, speaking of cleanliness and orderliness.

People in Seoul speak English, though not very fluent. No wonder, it’s easier to communicate in Seoul, and guess what? Seoulites could speak English better than Beijingers–only the privileged in Beijing speak English (Zhang Jingchu, Zhang Ziyi and Han Wenwen) in a very efficient manner. Also, people in Seoul are very accommodating and they’re not as assertive compared to the Chinese.

So we visited the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Anyways, the architecture’s too conservative to get started with, but never under-estimate this heritage site. It is one of the greatest palaces (the Great 5) of the Chosun dynasty. If you’re going to wonder why it is the most popular, it is because there is this Changing of the Guards ceremony wherein the guards will change. I thought, it was “Changing of the Gods.”

Anyways, there’s a part two of this blog entry since I really could no longer remember properly those things… but anyways, Seoul is really great! Just watch out for this part two of the blog entry since my lappie has a serious problem with regards to loading images. I guess, I have to minimize the number of files. My other blog molybdenumstudiosphotography will handle ALL the files!

Manila Ocean Park, continued

Manila Ocean Park: Define first-time experience. What I liked here in this one is that, it is like Osaka Aquarium located in the Port Ward of Osaka-shi. Here are some photos that I didn’t publish!


Hey, Patrick! Why y’lyin’ there, eh?


Result of being underwater all day (;


Behind the scenes from the shooting.


Pardon me again for the dark skin. Y’know, I’m never a photogenic person!


Nice portrait, eh? I’m not really good in portrait photography, though.


Nice! The best Christmas souvenir just in case you’re either someone from a non-Christian country.


I’m always off-cam, and behind the camera. Kasi hindi nga ako photogenic.


Yum! Salivation-sensitive chicken. <:


Of course, the congee with century egg completed my day.

Since this was my first time to visit Manila Ocean Park, I know, this time, I’m without the family. If I were given a chance to be independent, I hope the Philippines would lessen the crime rate kasi nakakahiya naman sa buong mundo! Parang ‘yung hostage crisis last, last year? As if Philippine tourism was ruined because of the incident. I think, this is another sign of the Spratly issue response… or nagkataon lang.

Here are some of the things about diplomacy/travel (Chinese citizenship vs. Filipino citizenship)

Most Filipino-Chinese people go to Hong Kong, but some do go to China or Taiwan. Okay, share ko lang sa inyo ‘to, ah. I think holding a Philippine passport, although restrictive, has more advantages compared to a mainland Chinese passport. There are many restrictions if you’re a Chinese citizen, and visiting Taiwan is something… really complicated to tell. But to know more about the Filipino-Chinese with how they travel, well… obvious naman that they’re travelling all over the world kahit mas restrictive naman ‘yung passport nila, hindi ba?

Still waiting for the right time to get my lens…

Gosh, I’m still waiting for Kuya Joseph’s reply pa naman! HAHA! Anyways, the Sigma lens talaga, is like risking your life using something with poor quality control… and lemme be honest with you: Never naman talaga ako naging fan ng third-party lens. If you’re talking about third-party, Sigma, Tamron and Tokina are the actual ones that will really boggle you. I’m not discouraging your from buying third-party, pero make sure that it has an anti-shake feature, kasi the results might turn out to discourage you, so sayang naman ang pera.

When I simply take photos with my Sigma lens, parang hindi talaga maganda ang quality. Trust me, flexi-lenses like that won’t really please you…

*still waiting for his reply* Drama mode na naman ako!

Panorama Madness; First Time in Manila Ocean Park

So, my ka-grupo and I went to this attraction near Quirino Grandstand. YES, that’s right. It’s Manila Ocean Park. However, since it’s a Wednesday, there are a few people visiting the place, so yeah.


Believe it or not, this is a panorama shot. Usually, a single shot to this subject would cause distortions.


I love the emptiness [*ehem* ambience] of this place. Look at the top, there’s the slide! HAHAHA!


Alright, this is the entrance towards the real… aquarium, I think? Be the judge!


Taking this shot is like, playing again with Photomerge.


Antarctica! This is one interesting continent and at the same time, a snow desert. BRR!


This is one lucky penguin! Of course, watch out for the next episode… I mean, shot!


Fierce! This one’s really taken like a boss! Pang-NatGeo ang peg, ah! Pardon for the blurry effect, though.


Last photo: This is the interaction between a human being and a polar animal. ((:

I guess, I’m really desperate for the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens, OR the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM for Canon lens. Just in case the 5D Mark III comes, I might as well buy the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, or maybe the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM.

Just in case the EF 70-30mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens comes, I might as well use it to be a paparazzi person. Hmm…

The Real Taal Adventure, plus jumpshots


This is how the Taal Lake really looks like.

Starting off my “career” in jumpshot photography

Alright, lemme share you something. One of my momma’s buddies asked her, “Is photography her (datch me ryt there!) hobby?” Then momma answered, “Yeah, but it’s really money-burning!”

Here are some other photos that you might enjoy!


This is my favorite jumpshot. No joke about it, the composition says it all.


Another awesome jumpshot! This happens when the kung-fu master is meditating lawl!


Feeling Superman! Joke only!

Get ready for some real… mishap(s)

This time, these are my “fail” photographs of my levitating self. Please don’t laugh, ok? Here goes…


Don’t stare at my legs! I know they’re fat! xD


HAHA, I thought I’m gonna beat Lei Wulong.


I’m flying desperately… but it won’t ever happen for real.

Photomerge: The solution to ALL my panoramic problems

Now don’t ask me why, since this is my photo… a product of that Photoshop feature.


Voila!

Oh, well… I have to go now! Bis bald! (This will be posted in Tumblr and Facebook tomorrow, +8.00 GMT. Stay tuned.)

Tagaytay Trip on a Sunday

WARNING: This would be the first time I won’t watermark some of my photos (and won’t be featured in deviantArt), so please, you are NOT authorized to use these photos unless featured in deviantArt.

Guten Abend! Well, yesterday, I took photos of the Lake Taal, in the lowlands, this time. HAHA. It was very hot, and we ate on a resort owned by a Korean. But before that, we ate Bulalo at Leslie’s (?) and went to Sonya’s Garden. (Correct me if I’m wrong haha!)

Here are the photos that I took:


Ah, my favorite subject! The blue, blue sky… guess if it’s really from the camera or if it’s edited xD haha.


The fountain with smooth water flowing… I’ll show you a closer photo of that!


Take a closer look at that smooth water! It’s like liquid glass! Nature-kissed museum on the way! xD


Don’t steal or use this photo, just please! These are precious flowers in f/10, I think haha.


The blue, bloooooooooooe sky again! HAHAHA, with the flowers this time, floating? HAHA, nah!


The blooming flowers… as usual. Flowers are the easiest subjects to target… IMO.


Coincidential shot! @_@ There’s an insect on the flower… it’s the power of my imagination without a true macro lens.


As featured in deviantArt, of course, this is one of the shots I want to showcase… outside Tumblr, dArt… etc.


Another shot once more! HAHA! This time it’s the real horizon… (:


The swimming pool of the resort! HAHA, unfortunately, we just hopped by here… NOT overnight.


The very unusual chopsticks (this shot doesn’t rock xD). Well, sorry if my Sigma lens doesn’t have full-time manual focus (MF).

Pardon me if the computer is very slow, I really don’t know why, but my MacBook Pro is still fucking solid for more than a year! Well, it may be a happy birthday to my MacBook Pro every err… September/October, but yeah… you got me. (: I’m a very proud Mac user and at the same time, Canon user for a year, so they’re one year already. I love you babies!

Spoiler: I will be going to a photography workshop for the very first time

Of course, after one year of having a DSLR, well, I think my photography skills are still not yet enough. I want to experience a workshop, and granted, I am in. I am very proud that my deviantArt account (~molybdenumstudios) will turn one year old on a May! It’s like, Happy Birthday to my deviantArt account!

Good night for now! xoxo