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...)

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…

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!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Falling for FALL FOR YOU

Secondhand Serenade has been one of my favorite boy bands! I love their songs! One of their songs, YOUR CALL, is one of my favorite songs ever. Added to that list is their latest release, FALL FOR YOU! I just can't get enough of this song. Sometimes, I find myself singing it anytime and anywhere! heheh. Really, this song is so nice! It's a song you guys have to listen. I won't assure you you'll like it but at least appreciate it. Visit this link It's worth listening I assure you!


The best thing about tonight's that we're not fighting
It could it be that we have been this way before?
I know you don't think that I am trying
I know you're wearing thin down to the core

But hold your breath
Because tonight will be the night
That I will fall for you over again
Don't make me change my mind

Or I won't live to see another day
I swear it's true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find
You're impossible to find

This is not what I intended
I always swore to you I'd never fall apart
You always thought that I was stronger
I may have failed, but I have loved you from the start

Ohh, but hold your breath
Because tonight will be the night
That I will fall for you over again
Don't make me change my mind

Or I won't live to see another day
I swear it's true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find
It's impossible

So breathe in so deep
Breathe me in, I'm yours to keep
And hold on to your words 'cause talk is cheap
And remember me tonight when you're asleep

Because tonight will be the night
That I will fall for you over again
Don't make me change my mind

Or I won't live to see another day
I swear it's true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find

Tonight will be the night
That I will fall for you over again
Don't make me change my mind

Or I won't live to see another day
I swear it's true
Because a girl like you is impossible to find
You're impossible to find

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Twilight Review

Just recently, I found myself watching the controversial movie, TWILIGHT. It was past midnight when suddenly I had the urge of watching it. I finished watching then by 2:30 am.

Indeed, it is a nice movie and I'm impressed with the story. My girl friends are so in to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and they keep on talking about this. The fever became extravagant when the movie was about to be released until now. Actually, I understand why others seem to be disappointed. It's because they have read the book and they have expected too much. Unlike me who don't have time and interest to read those four books, I appreciate the movie. I really don't care about the production issue. I focused more on the story and the execution of scenes. The story is nice and interesting while the scene executions are fine. I guess I don't have high standards when I watch a movie. As long as it's not screwing my time and I'm entertained, that would be fine.At first, I was a bit bored because of the so-many-talking scenes yet I still paid attention to those. I should say I'm impressed with the characters of the story. I find them unique and interesting. They are not that exaggerated nor too dry. I like the characters of Alice and Jasper. They're so weird. I'm somehow curious why the Cullen siblings are matched with each other. On the other hand, the tandem of Edward and Bella is nice. I understand the story revolves around them. I won't forget the lines "I don't have the strength to stay away from you anymore." and "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb." Those lines are two of the turning points of the movie. Then I like the flying and fighting scenes especially the baseball scene. Wow! I didn't realized that vampires can soar that high. They can be baseball superstars if they really exist! Rosalie who I find as a "semi-villain" really upsets me. I thought she would be really beautiful but Victoria stole that feature from her. Among the characters, I find Victoria the most beautiful. Jacob Black is a werewolf right? If he will play a significant role in the series, then I suggest the production should find another Jacob Black! heheh. One thing, if I'm not mistaken, I saw Stephenie Meyer on one of the scenes at the resto I guess. What is that? A special appearance? heheh. I also want to give my compliments to the setting. NICE CHOICE huh!

Overall, I like the story and I'll be looking forward for the next movie of the series, NEW MOON.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Death Race

Yesterday, I decided to watch one of my pending list of "movies to watch"-- DEATH RACE. According to my brothers, the movie was "the best!" I doubt it at first not until I have finally watched it.

Death Race is a 2008 action film written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. The film is a remake of the 1975 film Death Race 2000, based on lb Melchior's short story "The Racer", and stars Jason Statham in the lead role. The remake had been in development since 2002, though production was delayed by disapproval of early screenplays then placed in turnarond following a dispute between Paramount pictures and the producer duo Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner. Death Race was acquired by Universal Studios, and Anderson re-joined the project to write and direct. Filming began in Montreal in August 2007, and the completed project was released on August 22, 2008.

The movie tells about an ex-con Jensen Ames (Stathman) who is forced by the warden of a notorious prison(Allen) to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Must-See Movies

Brave Heart (Mel Gibson)

Gladiator ( Russell Crowe)

Alvin and the Chipmunks

I'm the type of guy who is fond of watching movies. It's my form of rest and entertainment. Me and my whole family even watch movies together. It's our habbit. Eating popcorn and chips while discussing the movie happenings is what we do. While my other siblings get dizzy because they can't relate theirselves. Others pretend they understand (hehe). I also join my siblings when they watch children-oriented movies. I also find it fun and interesting. It makes sense.
Those three are a MUST-SEE movies. Yes! They are great movies.