A freelancer’s application for a tourist visa to Japan

When I booked my flight to Japan last year, I was still a regular employee, and the Embassy had just announced that they were relaxing the visa application requirements. I was very confident that I was finally going to be able to fly to my dream destination since I was a child.

Fast forward to July 2015, my plans had changed, and instead of working in a new company, I chose to be a freelancer, instead.

Cue panic over my visa application.

Fast forward again to September 2015, and I’m smiling like an idiot while staring at my shiny new visa to Japan, watermarked with Mt. Fuji and pretty cherry blossoms.

Like most people with blogs who successfully obtain a tourist visa to Japan, I am now sharing my experience and the answers to the questions I kept asking people so that others may benefit from it. Continue reading A freelancer’s application for a tourist visa to Japan

The Wish-Not List, 2015

It’s a little hilarious and embarrassing to look at wish lists from a decade ago.

While writing my wish list yesterday, I looked through my published wish lists from 2005 to 2009. At the time, I was age 21-25, and from the lists, you can see how I was at that age of acquisition, when I had removed schoolgirl things in my life and was gathering new stuff and experiences for working-person-hood. I had begun to be able to afford to buy things for myself, and I did buy things for myself (most of them from bargain stores, I think) and collected a great variety of things from the many things that interested me.

It was a time of acquisition and trying out the things I liked.

Now, ten years after my first wish list post, is the time of minimalization and focusing on the things I actually need. Continue reading The Wish-Not List, 2015

The Wish List, 2015

Wish lists are good things. They can be bad, too, when we expect and end up being disappointed when people don’t to give us the stuff we listed, but I think they’re mostly good because they help us know what to give people on their birthday, Christmas, or even on normal days with no occasion. I also found that maintaining my own wish list helps me focus my spending. After actually listing down what I want, I remember it better, especially when I’m being tempted to buy something I don’t really need. Continue reading The Wish List, 2015

A bite of Marco Polo’s Quinoa Salad

Quinoa has been an extremely popular grain for in the past couple of years. It’s a little expensive for my everyday budget, though, so I don’t get to have it often. But when I do, my taste buds rejoice. Continue reading A bite of Marco Polo’s Quinoa Salad

On the Eighth Year

Last year, I realized that I was being called out of the place where I’d worked for the last seven and a half years. The things I went through before I had this realization were gruelling. And even though this realization was a huge sigh of relief, it was still a difficult thing to process. I’d still be leaving something I enjoyed, something I’d invested sweat and tears in. I’d be changing my life as I knew it.

So to deal with all this, I made a playlist.

Naturally. Continue reading On the Eighth Year

At least sixteen percent of the Philippines

Tomorrow is the 117th anniversary of the Philippine Declaration of Independence, and to celebrate, I took the Lakbayan Quiz again. When I took it in 2007, I got a D, which means that I’d visited 5-10% of the Philippines. Now, five years later, I’ve visited 16-23% of the country, which gave me a C. Ha! Progress!

On a related note, I wrote a blog post about how many Philippine islands I’ve visited.

The Lakbayan Quiz is a project by Eugene Villar of Vista Pilipinas. It asks you where you’ve been in the Philippines, and how frequently visit each place–just passed by, been there once or twice, visit frequently, or if you’ve lived there. The grading system is discussed in this blog post.

If you like travelling around the Philippines and you haven’t tried the Lakbayan or something similar, I highly recommend taking it. It’s not to brag about how high your score is–or wallow in self-pity when you get a low one. To me, it’s a reminder that there’s still so much of the Philippines waiting for me; a realization that I’ve actually quite forgotten some of the provinces and islands that I’d studied in school before; and a reissued challenge to know my country and visit as much of it as I can.

My Lakbayan grade is C!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Happiness in a Cream Cheese Salmon Maki

A layer of vinegar-infused white rice. A sheet of nori. A fresh slice of salmon sashimi. These are some of my favorite things in my favorite cuisine. And when they’re all rolled together with an important addition of cream cheese, it becomes a mouthful of happiness called a Cream Cheese Salmon Maki.

I get giddy just thinking about it. Continue reading Happiness in a Cream Cheese Salmon Maki