Tag Archives: japan

11 Countries in 2017

2017 was a wonderful year for us not just because we got married but also because we were able to travel to different places together. Since we love travelling, we planned for our honeymoon to be in installments but we never thought we would be able to go to as many countries as we have the past year.

In 2017, our first year as a married couple, we were able to visit 11 countries:

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

We often get asked, especially by followers of our page and this blog, how we are able to travel frequently. They ask if we are still employed and for some advice.

To those who don’t know, we have regular office jobs so yes, we don’t have all the time in the world to travel. We just rely on our accumulated vacation leaves and non-working holidays. We usually plan ahead (i.e. we booked our Dubai tickets for February 2017 in October 2016; our Japan tickets for May 2017 in January 2017; our Australia tickets for October 2017 in February 2017; and our Netherlands tickets for June 2017 in October 2016).

We’d also like to think we’re practical travelers, always on the lookout for seat sales and promos. Actually, since we want to travel the whole world anyway, we choose our next destination based on seat sales (i.e. We got our Dubai tickets for just around P12,000 each; Japan for P6,000; Netherlands for P33,000; and Australia for P12,000)

While we love 5-star hotels (who doesn’t?), we as much as possible go for standard accommodation (i.e. 3 to 4-star hotels and Airbnb) without sacrificing cleanliness and comfort. Since we’d be most of the time out of the hotel anyway, we always stick to practical accommodation. It also helps that we run a travel agency by ourselves, so we have access to good deals. Believe it or not, sometimes, travel agencies can still offer better deals than websites.

Lastly, while we are able to travel to different places, our priority is still having savings for our future. We live by a total budget and we set aside just a percentage of our income for travel. We stick to that travel budget and work with it. Thankfully, we have our side businesses (i.e. Sophisticat Shoes and the travel agency) to supplement our salaries.

Thank you, Lord for an amazing 2017! Excited for the rest of 2018! ❤









































Miyajima (Itsukushima Island), Hiroshima, Japan

June 21, 2016

Still part of anniversary was our trip to Miyajima Island in the Hiroshima Prefecture. It is known for the floating Torii gate, which fronts the Itsukushima Shrine and is believed to be the boundary between the spirit and human worlds. The Torii gate is also part of the Three Scenic Views of Japan (just like Amanohashidate). We particularly chose to visit it at low tide, so we could walk around the gate and fly the drone (LOL).

Some scenes of the Wolverine movie were shot in this island, which also has cute deers roving.

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Amanohashidate, Kyoto, Japan

June 20, 2016

While looking for places to visit in the Kansai region, we stumbled upon articles on this quiet, little place called Amanohashidate, which is one of the Three Scenic Views of Japan, according to Edo period literary artist and scholar Hayashi Gaho. It is located in Miyazu Bay, northern Kyoto.

From Amanohashidate Station, we had to take a ferry and a monorail to the Kasamatsu Park and do “Matanozoki“ to see the breath-taking view of the heaven’s bridge through an upside down bend. We were also able to bike the 3-km. stretch of the Amanohashidate sandbar. It was good we purchased the Amanohashidate Pass (for just 1400 yen per person!), which already covered the ferry ride, chair lift, bike, and train ride from JR Fukuchiyama station (the farthest covered by our rail pass) to Amanohashidate station.

We highly recommend visiting this place!


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Kyoto, Japan: Toei Kyoto Studio Park / Toei Uzumasu Eigamura

June 19, 2016

Our rainy second day in Japan was spent at the Toei Kyoto Studio Park, which is home to many anime blockbusters (Dragonball, Sailor Moon, and the original Power Rangers), and where around 200 Japanese films are produced every year. The movie theme park also functions as an Edo period film set. In fact, some scenes of Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) were shot there.

Kyoto was once known as the Hollywood of Japan. Instead of spending a day at the Universal Studios Osaka, we thought of checking this park out to learn more about Japanese film-making. We were lucky to have been there on a Sunday as there were many shows happening and mascots roaming around. Truly worth every yen ($2200/person) spent!

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Kyoto, Japan: Golden Pavilion / Kinkaku-ji

June 18, 2016

Our afternoon was spent at the picturesque Golden Pavilion or the Kinkaku-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about a 9-minute bus (Bus No. 204) ride away from the JR Emmachi Station, which in turn is just three stops away from the JR Saga-Arashiyama Station. Also, the hydrangeas found along the way were so pretty.









Kyoto, Japan: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Tenryu-ji

June 18, 2016

We flew to Japan last week for a family vacation. We arrived early in the morning of June 18, claimed our West Kansai-Hiroshima JR pass (which we will be writing about when we summarize our trip), deposited our luggage in the coin lockers found at the train station, and explored Kyoto for our first day. Note that we had no fixed itinerary for the entire trip. We just had some sites in mind (thanks also to suggestions of friends, especially Janna’s boss) but we had to make up our itinerary as we went along because of changes in weather conditions.






Sagano Bamboo Grove

Our first stop was the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, which is considered nationally as a “Place of Scenic Beauty” and also a “Historic Site”. Our photos here do not give justice to the magical feeling of being surrounded by tall bamboos.

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Just within the area is also a Buddhist temple built in the 1300’s, the Tenryu-ji, which has been designated as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site for being a Historical Monument of Ancient Kyoto.