Thailand, Day Two: The Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha, and The Siam Niramit Show

July 2, 2017

My day started earlier than the rest of my family’s. I woke up at 4 a.m. for no particular reason, checked my phone, and couldn’t go back to sleep. There’s the one lesson that I can never learn: not checking any electronic device in between groggy stirs. Oh wells, the damage has been done.

I got out of bed at 5:30 to shower, and by 6:30 I was ready for our hotel’s buffet breakfast. Our tour guide wouldn’t be arriving until 7:30 to pick us up for our day’s trip around Bangkok, so I took my precious time in the restaurant.

There was no such thing as Filipino Time in Bangkok, as our tour guide was already waiting outside with our van, even before the scheduled pick up time. I say this because, regardless if I have been exposed to countless cultures, I still falsely believe that it is a South East Asian thing to be late for a couple of minutes. But I digress.

So all 11 of us – me, my family, plus the tour guide and the driver – hopped on the van and proceeded to interject into Thailand’s traffic. Our destination for the day was the Grand Palace, where the body of Thailand’s Late King is still housed, and where the Temple of the Emerald Budhha is conveniently adjacent to.

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The palace doesn’t open to guests until 8:30 a.m. Since we were early, we had to wait together with a big crowd.

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This is the entrance to see the Palace itself, but we needed to see the Emerald Buddha first so we turned left just right before the gate.

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Taking of pictures inside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is not allowed. This is the only picture I have with regard to it. But look at the intricacy of those walls. 

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Now here are some pictures of the palace itself

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If you didn’t already know, the entire country is still mourning for their King who died in October 2016. Thousands of Thai still line up amidst the heat, just to get into the palace and pay their respects to the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

After seeing these glorious structures and that majestic green god, I was surprised to hear that there was one more place we needed to go to. We stopped by a jewelry manufacturing company to see how Thailand assembles their most prized gems into necklaces and rings.

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A Jeweler meticulously inspects the rubies

We were then herd into a room full of displays, in the company’s hopes that we would buy a few shiny things. No such purchases were made. Thankfully, we didn’t have to stay long in such a tempting place. We needed to hurry back to the hotel, for a few hours rest, before our next activity that was to happen at 7 that evening – of which events you will hopefully read in my next post.

Love,

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Thailand Day One: Shopping at the Pratunam Market

July 01, 2017

I woke up way before daybreak to prepare for our flight from Cebu to Manila, where we waited for at least 3 hours for our 9 a.m. connecting flight to Bangkok. I took this trip with my dad’s side of the family, and it was arranged by a travel agency of my older sister’s choosing.

We had five days to spend in Thailand, and our first day’s itinerary was blank. So naturally – and because this family’s “all about that shopping life” – we went to Pratunam Market at 2 p.m., immediately after dropping our bags off in the hotel.

The market was where we spent all of our time in, for our first day. I can’t decide whether I regret it or am content with it. The former, because there’s heaps to see and loads to do in Thailand, other than a market, during a visitor’s first day. And the latter, because I was able to buy a generous supply of clothes for myself and some gifts for my family.

It’s true what they say, Thailand is home to cheap retail and even cheaper wholesale goods.

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“The girl with the yellow hair” That’s my sister

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I read on Bangkok.Com that the market is technically open 24 hours, but all these stalls started closing at 8 p.m.

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I found these Elephant Pants inside the Pratunam Mall, and I was able to haggle the price down even lower. Suffice it to say, I am now a proud owner of 3 pairs of Elephant Pants.

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I was planning to buy these after I took the picture, but the stall owner was mean and shooed me away because “no pictures of my stall.” Oh wells, I’m sorry.

 

Love,

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My Top Restaurants in Siargao – What I Ate

Here are all the best restaurants and cafés that I tried in Siargao (in no particular order):

1. Shaka Siargao

A quaint cafe for those looking for a healthier alternative. Smoothies, juices, coffee, tea, and powerbowls are what make up their menu. Shaka caught my eye last year, while Douglas and I were walking from Cloud 9, Siargao’s surfing spot, to our resort. We ordered a smoothie instead of a powerbowl. Although, I can’t say that was a mistake since the drink was impressively creamy, and had more fruit than ice – something that you can’t come across Cebu very often. I was still a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to try their powerbowls that first try, so this time I meant to get it.

AND. IT. WAS. HEAVENLY.

2. Lux Siargao Boutique Resort

Okay, so this is a resort that has its own restaurant (as are the other ones down this list) and I actually failed to come here on my second visit. However, I was lucky enough to have had a poke bowl there with Douglas 🙂

3. Kermit Surf Resort and Restaurant

I tried their kinilaw, which is chopped up raw fish drenched in vinegar,  on my first try last year, and I was surprised to have liked it. I don’t usually like kinilaw. But Kermit Resort had their twist on it, and the sour taste of vinegar was in good balance. It didn’t hurt my throat. This made me ask what else could be good on Kermit’s menu. So I made it a personal mission to go back. This time, I got their Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap. I believe it’s meant to be a snack under their menu, but it’s big enough to be very fulfilling.

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180 pesos well spent

4. Bravo Beach Resort

I already told you what I thought about their resort on my previous post. It may not be my top one, but it’s absolutely worth the try. I had the pork coconut curry, which is almost like humba, a Filipino favorite, with that curry aftertaste and a good amount of shredded coconut on the side.

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5. Wind Del Mar

I had my best meal on the island from Viento. A resort that’s conveniently located next to Bravo. I had their chicken adobo, which they served with mashed potatoes instead of rice. If you’re Filipino, you know how much we love our rice. But I wasn’t disappointed at all. The chicken adobo and the mashed potato worked well together in sweet perfection.

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That’s mashed potato underneath the chicken, red bell pepper, and onions.

6. Miguel’s Taqueria y Cerveceria

I think this is the only Mexican place on the entire island, but I could be wrong. Please do correct me if you know other places. Also, it isn’t a restaurant per se. It’s more like a stall with a couple of wooden chairs and plastic tables on the side.

I’m not sure what legit Mexican burritos taste like, but I know when it taste good. I also ordered their fish taco, which I liked because the fish wasn’t too soft underneath the scrap/batter. It was all evenly cooked.

7. Buddha’s Surf Resort

I also failed to come here during my last visit, but it wouldn’t be fair to this place if I didn’t at least mention it. It’s where Douglas and I had our Valentine’s dinner. awwe. But the chicken curry we had was good, mind you. A little watery than I would have liked, but nonetheless flavorsome.

4 things I love about Hamamatsu Flower Park

If I were to rank my favorite places to visit in another country, flower parks would probably be somewhere at the bottom of that list. You can imagine how a bit disappointed I was when, in Hamamatsu, our first order of business was to go to one.

Before buying our tickets for the Hamamatsu Flower Park, I didn’t feel any excitement or appreciation towards it. I mean, what else was there to see aside from flowers?! I’ve always been a see structure, see buildings kind of girl. Even while we were inside the gates, watching my mom pose for pictures, I told myself that the day was going to be excruciatingly slow. It was, but not for the reason that you’d think.

I was surprisingly the one who slowed down the group, because I ended up taking pictures in every corner of the place. There were so many parts of the flower park that I couldn’t get over with.

The rose garden

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The roses took up a big portion of the area. It’s landscaping is circular and a bit like a maze. Different colors were spread in every part of the circle, so rich in vibrance. If it were possible to go blind from looking at those flowers, it probably would have happened to me (and my mom).

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It’s shameful of me to have forgotten the name of this room, but just look at this arrangement. I can see romantic photoshoots and movie scenes happening here. It’s like a picture taken out of a fairy tale book.

This could be a place where the princess spends most of her time, singing to the flowers and talking to the butterflies.

I can tell that this room was very well planned out, seeing that the colors match each other.

These backgrounds

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I’m sure that you can’t tell by simply reading these words, but I am getting giddy just looking at these pictures. The striking colors, and the fact that they show such peaceful harmony, make me think of hopeful tomorrows, and achievable dreams. Flowers do create a sense of happiness!

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The rose flavored ice cream

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The flower park had a green house where their guests could sit and recover from the brilliant sun. Inside it, is a store that sells differen flavored ice creams. I ordered the rose flavored one since I’ve never heard of this before. I’ve had matcha and sesame seeds, but never rose flavored. The store sells sakura flavored ice creams too, but unfortunately, we came late for sakura season.

The ice cream tasted sweet, just like every other ice cream in the world, but it definitely had the aftertaste of a rose. It actually felt like I was smelling rose rather than tasting it.

There are still so many aspects of the flower park that I admired, like the many options of desserts and snacks inside their souvenir shop. But the ones I listed above are those where I took my time more. It’s safe to say that I fell in love with the place, despite my previous cynicism.

In Sushi Heaven

Address: 36-2 Shogencho Higashi-ku Hamamatsu Shizuoka
Tel.: 053-463-7666 (+81-53-463-7666)

For our second day in Hamamatsu, my brother and I chose to stay in the hotel. I know, such a waste of day in a new city! No need to remind me since I’d been told many times by my mother and my uncle. I just wasn’t feeling it because of a couple of petty events which led to my loss of interest. Such events I will no longer recount because they are not the topic of this post.

What I want to talk about is the Daiju Sushi Restaurant, where we had a hefty dinner that night.

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According to my aunt who brought us here, the restaurant has been running for almost 50 years. The owner, Mr. Kazou, is the itamae of the sushi place which he inherited from his father and it looks like it’s always been doing great. I guess any establishment does well when the owners are hands-on.

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Left to right: my aunt Mildred, my mom, my sister, Mr. Kazou, my uncle, my brother, my aunt’s step dad, and our family friend Tita Edith.

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First thing you see upon entering. The trophy is the owner’s win in a golf tournament.
The Daiju Sushi Place isn’t your everyday go-to sushi restaurant. It is one of the fancier places in Hamamatsu. Reservations have to be made, money has to be prepared, and your attachment to said money has to end even before you go inside the restaurant.

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Once you order your food, I guarantee that you’ll like what you see and will want to order more. In our case, our orders eventually stacked up.

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Sashimi Katsuo

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Kuchi No Nitsuke
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Tempura

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Chawamushi
This was the most full I’d been during our entire stay in Japan. Even though I was almost full to the brim, I still had room for the sushi platter.

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Mr. Kazou is such a friendly guy and is very easy to talk to, despite the language barrier (we had my aunt translate for us). He was eager to let us try everything on his menu, but too bad we didn’t have enough room in our stomachs. Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll be sure to order all the food that we failed to try and know that I’ll enjoy them just as much.

Photo Dump: Food, Glorious Food

Day One

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Day Two

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Day Three

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Day Four

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Day Five

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Day Six

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Sweets

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Disney Sea, The Happiest Place on Earth: A Photo Diary

Question of the Day: What’s the first thing you do after entering the gates of the happiest place on Earth?

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My mother, always looking fine

 

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left to right: my brother, me, my sister, my mom

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Grace, who so generously bought us ice cream by the end of the day.

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