Kyushu, Day 14: Fukuoka Castle Ruins

A short walk from Maizuru Park, we reached Fukuoka Castle Ruins. I was expecting to see remnants of the main keep but there was not so much to see.

MARCH 17, 2020

We passed by MAIZURU PARK but none of the trees had any flower blooming.

A short walk from there, we reached FUKUOKA CASTLE RUINS. I was expecting to see remnants of the main keep but there was not so much to see. What survived were some turrets and guard towers in the castle grounds. Portion of the moat was also noticeable.

We went to ICHIRAN TENJIN NISHIDORI afterwards and ordered the premium tonkotsu (kamadare style) again. This time, we did not buy the set because we were still full from breakfast. I bought extra osukaran vinegar (¥120), Ichiran’s original premium vinegar, and added it to the broth. That brought out a nice touch of sourness although my conclusion is not adding the vinegar is still better.

I shopped for tea bags and tea leaves in the store recommended by Hisako-obaasan. It was difficult to spot because there was no English sign but good thing she sent me a picture of the store.

We went back to Canal City and spotted a Studio Ghibli shop

…then went to HAKATA GION TETSUNABE for early dinner. We ordered the bestselling tetsunabe gyoza, which were bite-sized pieces of gyoza served in hot skillet.

We went back home afterwards because Hisako-obaasan and Masanobu-ojiisan prepared a yummy light dinner for our last night in Fukuoka.

They served us okonomiyaki, homemade umeshu, sake, and a side of salad with prosciutto.

What a perfect way to cap off our last night for this Kyushu region trip!

Japan, Day 4: Osu & Sakae

Finally the day to explore Nagoya – hello Day 4! This was more of a shopping day though so don’t expect cultural or technological tours. 🙂

In the morning, I went to Osu Shopping District and went around different anime shops such as Geepress, Mandarake, and Yellow Submarine.

Finally the day to explore Nagoya – hello Day 4! This was more of a shopping day though so don’t expect cultural or technological tours. 🙂

NOVEMBER 24, 2018

In the morning, I went to OSU SHOPPING DISTRICT and went around different anime shops such as Geepress, Mandarake, and Yellow Submarine. My only purchase was the earphone plugs I badly wanted ever since losing my Luffy plug 2 years ago. I also tried looking for a Sailormoon action figure for a friend but oddly enough, I didn’t find any.

When it was lunch time, I went to Maidreamin which is one of the popular maid cafes in Japan. It was my first time to visit one and it was interesting. I had the omurice with curry sauce but I didn’t know that they will draw on the omurice using catsup… uhm, talk about a weird combination with my curry sauce. I couldn’t say no because it might offend them so I just said the first animal I could think of – neko (cat). Good thing the taste of the curry overpowered the catsup!

Some of the customers ordered the set menu which included a dance performance from the maid of their choice. It was like watching a good solo JPop act (but I still have my own reservations on this).

Near Maidreamin was the giant maneki-neko, the landmark of Fureai Plaza. At different times of the day, there were different performers like this guy who was doing different balloon artworks.

Next order of business was to find Ocha no Kakien for my fix of green tea! It wasn’t far from the maneki-neko and they were having a free taste when we got there. I was supposed to buy matcha but they had it in powdered form – which I had no idea how to mix. ☹ I ended up getting a genmaicha+matcha combination of tea leaves for ¥600 (already tried it back home and I super love this!!!).

I forgot what I was trying to look for during this time but I remember seeing so many shops that cater to different shopping needs – shoes, clothes, caps, bags, food… you name it! Be prepared to have tired feet and empty wallets.

I saw a shop selling Cremia while finding the road going to Sakae. So even if it was autumn season, I still bought ice cream. I looove Cremia’s signature langue de chat cone.

I was also supposed to try Gaburi Chicken but still full from lunch so that visit was postponed.

Last stop for the day was SAKAE, which is the popular shopping and entertainment district of Nagoya. I went to PARCO to visit animate and try to find my sister’s Nyanko-sensei plushie request. It was a surprise not to see this in any of the anime shops we visited in Osu, especially since it had a recent movie release in Japan. Anyway, luck was on my side because I found two different plushies!

I also dropped by Tower Records. I initially planned not to buy anything but out of curiosity, I asked the staff for the CD shelf of LUCK LIFE and Kenshi Yonezu. Lo and behold, their shelves were facing each other.

I bought LUCK LIFE’S latest EP (Naru) and Kenshi Yonezu’s Lemon EP with DVD. So happy for Kenshi Yonezu because he has two whole shelves dedicated for his music. ❤

Spot flumpool – they’re on hiatus though ☹

No pictures anymore but after PARCO, I shopped for new coats in GU then spent a lot on food souvenirs in DonKi / Don Quijote (mostly Kitkat and instant noodles). Sad wallet but happy heart.

Back at the area of the hotel, I followed the staff’s instructions on where to find the nearest money changer. It was a surprise to find out that Kintetsu Nagoya Station a fifteen-minute walk. Perfect discovery because it would be an important train station for the next 2 days. Initially, I was thinking of boarding the train from Fushimi to Nagoya then walk to Kintetsu Nagoya. What a nice discovery!

Dinner was at CoCo Ichibanya where I got the hamburger curry with cheese. I liked that they have options on the serving size for rice since I don’t eat much rice.

That’s it for the first exploration of Nagoya!

PH, Leyte: Kalanggaman Island

The travel from Palompon to KALANGGAMAN ISLAND took about an hour. We left Palompon at 6:30AM and arrived in our destination at around 7:30AM.

We rented a cottage near the sandbar, which was less busier and noisier plus we had a great view while resting and eating.

JUNE 25-27, 2017

Our first local trip together – me and my best friend, K! Our main mission was to visit Kalanggaman Island in Leyte… so we first took a plane going to Tacloban. Then from Tacloban, we rode a van for 4 hours to get to Palompon.

Palompon is a small town and less urban than Tacloban so there are only a few restaurants to choose from as well as small groceries. Initially we booked our accommodation via Airbnb but Diana, the host, told me to directly transact with her instead so that we could get a room instead of the whole house. I think this one is an updated link and it looks very similar to the room we stayed in:

We were welcomed by the host’s mom and we were happy to see that the room had aircon because the weather was hot at that time.

We did nothing during our first day except to eat and buy items to prepare for our island trip the next day…

Spotted working while on vacation!

Next day, we got up early to go to Palompon Eco-Tourism Office and rent a boat.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You need to reserve ahead of time because there is a limit to the number of tourists they allow to visit in a day. In this way, they prevent the island from being abused by a large wave of people. Check out this link for more details:

We rented a boat for us two, which costs Php 3,000.00. Share per person would definitely be cheaper for a large group. There is an option to join another group so that the cost per pax would be lower but the time we want to go back to Palompon is different so we had to rent our own.

The travel from Palompon to KALANGGAMAN ISLAND took about an hour. We left Palompon at 6:30AM and arrived in our destination at around 7:30AM.

We rented a cottage near the sandbar, which was less busier and noisier plus we had a great view while resting and eating.

It was still low tide so we explored first the sandbar while there was still sand to walk on. There is a warning board there not to swim during high tide because of riptides.

After walking around, we went back to the main area where people were swimming.

The place was really beautiful to look at – different shades of blue for the sea and white sand everywhere. The only thing we were disappointed was that we read in a lot of blogs (and even in the office) that snorkeling is a recommended activity. We snorkeled for about an hour but we only saw less than 5 small fish. The rest was just people and floating seaweed. ☹

We went back to our cottage to eat early lunch but decided to go back to the sandbar because the outer edge was already submerged in water.

We didn’t go to the outer edge though because we were scared to get pulled by a riptide. We only walked a few meters then ran back to dry sand. Haha!

Admired these sceneries while eating our lunch…

The morning didn’t end well though because while we were eating chocolates for desserts we saw a lot of people going to the sandbar area to swim even if there was a large board already warning people not to. A few minutes later, I called K’s attention because I thought I spotted someone flailing in the middle of the sea… true enough, it was a middle-aged man who got pulled by the riptide.

Rescue team went to save him immediately… everything happened fast because we couldn’t see the guy anymore and 3-4 rescue persons dived into the sea. They got the guy and tried to revive him for a long time. He was eventually taken to a boat to ride back to Palompon while CPR was being continued.

I heard locals muttering that the tourism would be affected especially if the issue would be in nationwide news… all because of not following warning signs. Some blamed the guy, some blamed the staff in the island for not having a life guard stationed near the sandbar. But bottom line is, can’t we just follow instructions and warnings because these wouldn’t be there if there is no harm or danger that would possibly befall you.

My HS friends and I saw the same thing in Magalawa Island (Zambales) – people were swimming in the sandbar area even if there was a huge sign saying not to because of riptide or strong undercurrents. Thankfully at that time, no one got hurt.

We headed back to Palompon after the incident, 3-4 hours earlier than our intended departure from the island. We just stayed in our lodging and watched Running Man to keep our boredom at bay.

The next day, we left early in the morning so that we can have lunch in Tacloban. Tricycle drivers in the van terminal tried to rip us off by charging us Php 150 going to Ocho Seafood and Grill. The last one I just had to answer back that their rate was way more expensive than a taxi so he explained that he would have to pass by small streets to get us to the place otherwise we would have to walk about 5 minutes from the drop off. We told him it was fine so we were only charged Php 50 for the trip. Whew.

No pictures of our lunch in OCHO SEAFOOD AND GRILL but it was such a joy because we finally got to eat really delicious food + everything we had was fresh seafood. It is like dampa style because you get to choose raw seafood then ask them to cook it the way you want it. Highly recommend the place although it gets full even during weekday lunch time.

Our last stop before going to airport was JOSE KARLOS COFFEE where we had hot tea and desserts while watching another episode of Running Man. We went to the airport by riding a jeepney because there was no other option unless you rented a car to go there.


Conclusion after this trip – Cambodia is still the best trip we had together. There were other annoying incidents in this Leyte trip which I choose not to share anymore because it might just be a case of bad luck as others seemed to have enjoyed their time in Leyte.