Japan: The old and the new in Tokyo

From Osaka Castle, I take you to Japan’s busiest city in the third installment of this blog series (read my first post here).

Thanks to Japan’s fastest bullet train, we arrived in Tokyo from Osaka in less than three hours. We went straight to Shibuya, our home for the next two days.

First order of business was for my parents to take a photo with the famed Hachiko statue outside Shibuya station. And then, of course, we had to try the Shibuya Crossing – one of the busiest intersections in the world. Like any tourist, we crossed even if we didn’t need to. 😀 Continue reading


Japan: Eat, shop, play in Osaka

In my last post, you read about our busy day at Kyoto, straight from a red-eye flight from Manila.

For the second installment of my Japan blog series, I’m going to share with you our experience during our brief stay in Osaka.

Visiting Osaka, the second biggest metropolitan area in Japan, is my favorite part of our trip. What’s not to love when there is so much to see and experience without spending a lot (well, compared to Tokyo)? Continue reading

Japan: Temple Running in Kyoto

Last June, my family flew to Japan for a vacation. And with only four days to spare, we took on the challenge of visiting three of its most popular cities — Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo.

I figured that since it will probably take us a while before we went back to Japan, we might as well see as many places as possible.

Of course I later realized that while it was doable, it was terribly exhausting. Nevertheless, we accomplished our goal and went home with a luggage full of pasalubong and hearts filled with wonder. If you’re my Facebook friend, you can check out the video of our trip here. Continue reading

Stale checks and tears

Today, I was assigned to do a story on the students who will be affected by the proposed budget cut of the Commission on Higher Education. We stayed at CHED the whole afternoon and talked to the students applying for Tulong Dunong or waiting for their checks.

Five of them agreed to be interviewed. The last one was a 2nd year student from PUP.

Jovelyn, who is taking up secondary education, told us that her father was a carpenter and her mother did laundry. She said that while she does not have to pay for tuition at PUP, she spent P200 a day on food and transportation since they live in Bicutan. Continue reading

Yarning for Divisoria

A few months ago, I picked up crocheting as a hobby. It was something that I learned on my own as a high school student (from the pages of an illustrated crochet manual from Book Sale). I guess I decided to try it again after rekindling my interest in crafts, which is now trendy in the Philippines.

(Skip this part and go to the Divisoria Trip subhead if you get bored)

I first tried making paper flowers (thanks to a class at CraftMNL) and while the result was fabulous, it was time consuming and required a lot of space (I live in a tiny condo unit).

Continue reading

Letters for auction: The cruel fate of Gregoria de Jesus, Aguinaldo’s election fraud and other interesting stories

IMG_7785Earlier this month, I found myself dining with other journalists on a 200-year-old table which was used to entertain the likes of Jose Rizal, local elites and members of the royal families from Russia, Cambodia and Japan. As I finished my slice of Canonigo cake, I thought about how good the food – with recipes dating back to the 19th century – tasted.

Around us were paintings of Malang, Amorsolo and other famous painters. But what made me return to that place were several pieces of yellow and fragile paper tucked away in one of the display cases.

Bonifacio letters

The first time I visited Leon Gallery was earlier this year when I reported about their first quarter auction, which included letters from Andres Bonifacio to his close friend Emilio Jacinto.

The letters were deemed rare, according to curator Lisa Nakpil, because Bonifacio was “a man on the run.” Continue reading

Slingshooting with the pros

A kid with a slingshot aiming at a bird is just one of the images that come to mind when people talk about the “tirador.” It’s one of those trusty childhood toys Filipino kids played with before they were introduced to matchbox cars and Barbies. Like tumbang preso, materials are free and easily gathered from household items and the nearby tree.

Unfortunately, that was before my time. I never played with slingshots or even tin cans. So I was quite intrigued when I was assigned to do a story on the Philippine Slingshot Federation, a group of “tirador” enthusiasts who want slingshooting to be recognized as a sport in the Philippines. Continue reading

7 churches for Visita Iglesia in Quezon City

If you’re like me and you only have one rest day for Holy Week, you’ll probably end up staying in the city. Why not make it worthwhile by following the Catholic tradition of Visita Iglesia? You not only get to pray and reflect but also visit beautiful historical and cultural landmarks.

Yesterday, I visited seven churches in Quezon City for my report for Bandila. Watch our television report below (in Filipino) or continue reading (in English) about the churches I chose.

Santo Domingo Church – Known also as the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila, the Santo Domingo Church is the largest Catholic church in Metro Manila. If you read my previous Visita Iglesia post, you’ll know that it was constructed, based on the design of architect Jose Zaragoza, after the original church in Intramuros was destroyed during World War II. Continue reading