Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 1: The Firsts

The feeling of boarding an international flight for the first time was really exciting! As compared to domestic flights in Philippines, Japan Airlines (JAL) is much spacious and bigger. It has seven seats per row with add-on facilities like a built-in television. The travel from Philippines to Japan will take about 6 hours. I thought I was unfortunate for having been seated beside a stranger. He’s actually not a stranger at all. He’s also a student ambassador but from other group. At first, I was a bit uncomfortable but because my seatmate is really friendly, we got along. He even introduced me to his other groupmates. It’s such a shame because I forgot his name. I felt he has good appetite and so I shared my food with him. The lunch meal was colorful but not my type of food. During the 6-hour flight, I got busy exploring the features of the built-in TV. I had fun watching movies and listening to some Japanese songs. It’s weird but I can’t sleep. I would sometimes stroll around the plane by going to the comfort room as an excuse. I had this funny experience in the comfort room when I flushed the bowl and a loud noise came out. It was as if the bowl was trying to flush me as well. Heheh. It was indeed a memorable flight. When the plane finally landed at Narita Airport, all of us were excited to go out and make our first step to Japan. At the airport while walking, since I was carrying many baggage or maybe out my carelessness, I wasn’t able to notice that some of my travel documents fell. Good thing my friend and co-delegate, Ben, managed to pick those. I was embarrassed in front of the supervisors but I acted as if nothing odd happened. I was also disappointed when I exchanged my allotted pocket money (in Peso) to Yen. The exchange rate in the airport was too low as compared in Philippines. Nevertheless, I managed to contain myself and hoped that sooner or later things will turn out well. There in the airport, I met our Japanese supervisors, Nobuo Takibayashi who will be with us through out the 10-day trip.

“Finally! I’m here at the land of the rising sun.”, I whispered when we got out of the airport.

The weather was so cool. I felt refreshed as the cool breeze touched my face. It was spring season that time. Flowers are expected to fully bloom this season including cherry blossoms. We rode our respective buses and made our way to Tokyo. At the bus, we were asked to apply sanitizers which became a habit every time we rode the bus. While daddy Taki oriented us, I enjoyed watching the beautiful sceneries and cherry blossoms, exceptional infrastructures, and amazing lifestyle of the people of Tokyo. I could hardly see anyone not in their corporate or in their casual attire. The fashion sense of the people is remarkable. Everything is in place and is systematic.

Our first stop was to take our first dinner in Japan. Our bus stopped in front of Mc Donalds. Unlike in the Philippines, its structure is quite different. Anyway, we won’t be eating our dinner there. We will be eating in a shabu-shabu restaurant. The rest of the supervisors were waiting for us there. It was my first time using chopsticks and trying the infamous shabu-shabu. I was seated beside our Japanese supervisors and with a Muslim groupmate, Rash. We used to be tablemates every time we eat since we can’t just eat anything especially pork. I was really amused trying to cook the raw meat together with the vegetables at the boiling water in our table. Everything was new to me. It was a real-fun experience.

After the dinner, we proceeded to Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa, a luxury hotel in Tokyo, where we will be staying for two nights. The Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE), partner of NYC, gave each one of us overcoat, t-shirt, and travel bag. The trip was really full of surprises. After an hour of rest, we had an urgent meeting. I knew we would discuss what happened at the hotel back in the Philippines. We discussed all the do’s and don’ts and were given warnings.

I had many firsts during my first day in Japan. Indeed, it was a long yet a very memorable day!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rollercoaster Ride before Departure

Last year, I blogged about what happened to my supposed trip to Japan, the Japan East-Asia Network for Students and Youths (JENESYS). As promised, our trip was moved just this summer, April 11-22, 2010. This will be my first entry as I reminisce and share my stories and experiences about my first out-of-country trip.

It was April 11, Sunday, when I went to Manila for the Pre-Departure Orientation Programme. It was my first time boarding a plane alone regardless of the fact that my uncle gov (governor) incidentally took the same flight with mine. What I thought would be fun became my worst trip when I had to pay additional fee for my excess baggage and when my sinusitis lingered in the middle of the flight. It was an excruciating pain like I had taste of hell. Nevertheless, it was fulfilling to be travelling by myself. My uncle was in a hurry and so we had to separate ways at the NAIA arrival area. Good thing he gave me additional pocket money. I felt better. Heheh. I knew I had to go to the second floor so I can take a cab that’s way cheaper. It was pitiful of me and embarrassing to carry my heavy baggage while I take the stairs. It was around 2 AM when I arrived at the College of St.Benilde Hotel, the same hotel we stayed last year. Upon entering the hotel, my supervisors and some of my groupmates who were standing by the lobby welcomed me. I felt really excited seeing them again. I stayed at room 1611 and shared it with a schoolmate, Leo, an Engineering student. He’s also my roommate last year.

During the two-day orientation programme, we had series of activities like that of last year’s. We had our practice of our group presentations, we visited the Japanese Embassy, and we had some brief lectures and orientation. I wasn’t able to prepare all the things I had to bring during the trip and so I thought of going out of the hotel to buy some necessary stuff at the nearby mall. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed. At the back of my mind, I was wondering why I have not completed the things I have to bring when I already paid for excess baggage. During our medical check-up, I was asked to consult the resident doctor of the hotel when they found out that I’m having headache and runny nose during the past few days. I don’t want to take it seriously but I felt really anxious because I even have to present a certificate from the doctor that I’m in a good condition to travel. I knew one case of a delegate from the previous batch who was not able to join the trip and was forced to remain because he was ill. Good thing I didn’t have the same fate like him. The doctor just gave me a prescription of medicines to take. I kept from the doctor the possibility that it was maybe because of undiagnosed sinusitis.

We were set to travel for Japan on April 13, Tuesday. We should be ready by 5 in the morning so we could bring our baggage and room key to the breakfast venue. By 6 AM, we will be leaving the hotel. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to wake up on time. I was in a real rush. I was so embarrassed when I found out that the supervisors were already looking for me. Six of us in our group were late but I was the last person who arrived in the breakfast area to return the room key. I was so ashamed I didn’t take my breakfast there. Afterwards, the Japanese supervisors instructed us to ride our respective buses. They were really concerned of the time. Japanese people are really time-conscious that they are well-known for being punctual. I cursed myself for being a late comer and promised not to do it again. I was really uncomfortable during our way to the airport. I cannot contain myself for what happened and I knew our group supervisors would scold us. Upon arrival at the international airport, the ambiance changed when we took group pictures. I was feeling better then. I was so wary of my important belongings like camera, travel documents, cellphone and wallet that I managed to keep them in a small bag which was with me all the time. I was getting restless at the airport as we pass through the check-in, immigration and boarding areas. I have to be cautious of my travel documents- air ticket, passport, boarding pass, and embarkation card. At the boarding area, we were told to set our watches one hour forward (Japan time). We stayed there for about an hour waiting to board the flight JL746.

It was my first out-of-country trip. It was exciting at the same time nerve wrecking. At last, the long wait was over! I told myself, “JAPAN, HERE I COME!”

(and so the journey continued...)

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Real Score

It has been a year since I last posted a blog. When our Internet access at home bugged down, I grew tired posting blogs. Anyway, here I am again trying to revive and reminisce those interesting things worth sharing. Hopefully, I can post as many blogs as possible. I really find it hard to compose these days. Not that I don't have interest in composition anymore but I think it's my brain that has the problem. hehehe

My dad reminded me of my blogger account when he told me to document my 10-day trip to Japan. So after this blog, I'll try to work on a documentary blog about my trip. I have lots of stories to share. Of course, I won't stop blogging about MOVIES. It's already hitting my number one hobby and addiction. In fact, just this summer, despite all the great and odd happenings of my life, I managed to watch around 30 movies.

So more blogs to come, soon...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

MOVIES, Again!

Just this summer, I finished watching almost 20 movies. Those movies are all my picks. Among those many films, the following are my best choices:

Pearl Harbor

Black Hawk Down

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Trip to Japan POSTPONED

What is said to be the main feature of my summer vacation was postponed.

Everything was set until the commissioner herself, Atty. Priscilla Abante went to the College of St. Benilde (CSB) Hotel where we are having the pre-departure orientation announced the bad news.


First batch is from May 12 to 21, 2009
Second batch is from May 19 to 28, 2009

The JENESYS Programme, funded by the Japanese Government and in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat, is to deepen understanding of the different facets of the Japanese society including politics, diplomacy, economics and culture and to form the basis of future vision and construct firm solidarity among Asian countries which will promote mutual understanding of the future generation of ASEAN and East Summit member countries.


Dear Mr. Balt:

The National Youth Commission wishes to inform you that you have been chosen as one of the delegates to the JENESYS Programme (batch 2) to be conducted on May 19 to 28, 2009 in Japan.

You are expected to check in at the College of Saint Benilde International Conference Center and Hotel, Arellano corner Estrada Streets, Malate, Manila on May 17, 2009 for pre-departure activities.


Richard Alvin M. Nalupta
Chairperson and CEO


(letter distributed during the announcement of the commissioner)

May 18, 2009

Dear JENESYS 2nd Batch Delegates:

WE regret to inform you that due the regrettable and unforeseeable developments in relation to the A(H1N1) virus in Japan, the implementation of the Japan- East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) Program 10-day visit to Japan for the second batch will have to be postponed to a later schedule until the situation is under control. The dates of the new schedule will be communicated to you as soon as it becomes available. We are hopeful that the program will be implemented within the year. However, in the event that the situation has not improved, rest assured that for next year's implemetation, all participants, Student Ambassadors, and Supervisors, are automatically included in the next year's implementation. The National Youth Commission will update you on any developments regarding the implementation of the program. In this regard, we would like to request that you inform the National Youth Commission if there will be any changes in your contact details, i.e. mailing address, e-mail address, mobile and landline number. All administrative matters regarding your return to your hometowns will be taken care of.Please understand that this decision was arrived at with all difficulty and regret, with everybody's welfare and health at utmost importance.We ask for your kind understanding.

Thank you very much.


National Youth Commission (NYC)

Japan Information and Culture Center(JICC)

Japan International Cooperation Center(JICE)

Every batch is divided into four groups according to their prefecture. I belong to group 1 HOKKAIDO. In short, Hokkaido will be the destination of our group after we’re done in Tokyo. Hokkaido is located on the northern part of Japan. That’s why, it is expected to be cold in there. Our group really went well. We even started to rehearse for our group presentation in Japan. Though we only have a short time to get along, we still managed to bond among ourselves. It’s really nice to know and befriend people from different places.

After the unexpected announcement, everyone including the coordinators and supervisors were all disappointed. Before the commissioner arrived, we were having fun learning Nihonngo and the Japanese way of life. I just felt the excitement that day because the following day (early morning) will be our departure to Japan. Upon hearing the news, I whispered to myself, “This can’t be happening.” To my dismay, I even didn’t noticed I ate a bread with ham.

Since the programme was postponed, we’ll have to leave the hotel by May 19, the scheduled day for our trip. I thought it was time for goodbyes not until when our group supervisor invited us in Baguio City. For enjoyment sake, I decided to come along with my eight groupmates! Others didn’t made it though they want to come as well.

That was my first time in Baguio City. Indeed, my trip to Japan became a trip to Baguio!

It’s fated.

To be continued…

Life in Land Bank

As early as 6:45 am, I have to wake up to prepare for office. Instead of going off my bed, I end up sleeping again. Finally, I wake up at around 7:45 am. Since office hours in LBP starts at exactly 8 am, I have to rush to the CR to take a bath. Though I can take a bath in 5 minutes, it takes me a long time to select what clothes to wear. This has been my habit even during school days. I’m peculiar when it comes to clothing. I then arrive late at office at around 8:30 am. Good thing my supervisors usually arrive late as well. By then, I wait for them to give me instructions. I’m assigned at the Accounting Division. I assist mainly the branch bookkeeper. There are also other trainees aside from me. They are all from MSU Main taking up the course Management. Since I’m the only trainee who is taking up Accountancy, I do all the accounting tasks. Here are the common tasks I usually do:

Preparation of Reports (GL FX, FIPOS)
Proof sheet Filing
Cite Verifying
Salary Loan Checking
FMS Reconciliation

Sometimes, when I’m finished with the tasks assigned to me, I just play text twist in the computer. This has been our form of killing boredom. I also often just stroll around the bank when I have nothing to do. Since LBP is a government bank, we usually have many clients coming from different local government units and provinces. I would even notice faces coming over every week. LBP is definitely a busy bank.

Then our lives there end when the puncher clock strikes 5pm.

Fated to Work Here

“I would rather work in Iligan than to work in Marawi.”

As part of our academic requirements, we are required to finish 250 hours of On-the-Job Training (OJT) to our selected OJT partner. At first, I was really hesitant to finish the 250 hours. That would mean a ruined summer. Since I’m not really interested of complying, I neglected the whole thing while the others are busy looking for an OJT partner. In short, I didn’t care and I had no plans. But after graduation, I suddenly came back to my senses. I realized the importance of the training, the learning and the experience.

Looking for an OJT partner is difficult. I had several choices. I thought I made up my mind when I decided to look and have my OJT in Iligan. But due to some circumstances, I was forced to have it here in Marawi. This place is actually not one of my choices but I guess it’s fated that I work here. I then tried the PNB, the PHILHEALTH and the LBP. Among these three, I fell in Landbank of the Philippines (LBP)- Marawi Branch. LBP is the busiest bank in Marawi. It’s a government bank. Most of their clients are working for the government. When I applied there, I was accepted immediately and was instructed to go back tomorrow to start. It was indeed quick considering I wasn’t even oriented.

I realized that no matter how I wanted things to be, at the end of the day, its fate that decides.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mixed Thoughts

I'm so exhausted this past few weeks. No, this semester! That's why I can't able to update my blogger account from time to time. Tomorrow will be a big day. I'll be taking my last exam this sem, Law. That means my summer vacation is about to start! :D Too bad because I don't want to study. Yesterday, when I knew my COST ACCOUNTING grade, I really got disappointed to the point I want to complain. Here's my point. My prelim grade is 1.75 then it went down to 2.00 this midterm. I was sure the decrease of percentage is not that bad. I got my results for my final exam yesterday. It's 115/120. My practice set is 97.73%. Curious why my grade didn't increased, I checked my percentage grade. Nothing has changed! Now that's my point! Why?? It's a loss on my part since I was really aiming for a grade at least 1.75. Well, I guess that's life. YOU WIN SOME, YOU LOSE SOME. Anyway, that's not a big deal anymore. What I really really hope is to PASS all my subjects! I don't want to turn down my parents who keep on bragging me to our relatives. I won't fail them at any cost. geee.. So much for that. This semester is really a roller-coaster ride for us.

After all, there are still many good things happening in my life. I still have my family, my girlfriend and my friends! Recently, I have been on the go for birthday celebrations. Two of my closest friends celebrated their birthdays this March, Norka and Nimay. We have this 'tradition' to celebrate just the four of us. Celebrating means food food food. heheh. I really love these events. I have also been into a rocky road yet smooth flowing relationship. Complicated isn't it? The important thing is we're both happy together. Before I end this blog, I also want to thank Jade Augusto who gave me an award. heheh. It's flattering to know that there are people who like my write-ups. Meaning, there are still people who care to visit this almost abandoned account. LOL.

Jade noted on her recent blog: The rules say I must nominate a set of at least 5 blogs I find amazing.. So here goes. My list of most amazing blogs goes to: 6.balt

In every beginning, there's an end. So I guess at this point, I'll have to cut this personal blog. I haven't posting personal blogs recently. I also hope I can change my template or at least customize it. I don't know anything about customizing. heheh.

till then...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

So here's another a must-see movie offering of Celador Films. My friend, Nimay, introduced this movie to me. She told me how great the movie is. Curious what's with the film, I borrowed her uncle's DVD and really watched it despite my busy schedule. Nimay didn't failed me. The movie is indeed great! The story, the setting and even the soundtrack are all remarkable.

The Plot: The story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Intrigued by Jamal's story, the jaded Police Inspector begins to wonder what a young man with no apparent desire for riches is really doing on this game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out...

I say: How can possibly a slum and uneducated Chaiwalla from Mumbai, India win 20 million rupees in "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"? Find out the stories behind Jamal's answers. The stories that will lead him to become a millionaire and will reunite him to his lost love.

When I say it's nice.. it's nice!
When I say it's great.. it's great!
When I say it's a must-see movie.. it's SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE!