Friday, January 30, 2015

THE 44

30 January 2015

44 men. People blame religion, lack of coordination, foolhardy leaders aiming at redemption, the absence of the Commander in Chief.  I understand the sentiment - those 44 men are husbands, sons, brothers, fathers - and for them all to die so violently in the line of duty just leaves you with a lump in your throat.  You just want to blame somebody, anybody.  You can't stop ordinary citizens from wanting to know why it happened, and for demanding our government to do something about it.  The mandate should never be limited to the police - the state must serve and protect us all. 

I pray for the souls of the fallen 44, and for their families.

Monday, December 29, 2014


DAY 3: Monday, 29 December 2014
Downtown Shibuya

We were all eager to head out in the afternoon after staying home all morning because of rain!  And since we ventured out of the house kind of late we kept the itinerary simple: go see the famous Shibuya Crossing and visit Tokyu Hands, this megastore my sister wanted to go to for the craft supplies.
This is what greeted us when we got out of the station somewhere in Shibuya.
The place was bursting with energy.
(And people, obviously)
iPhone photo
But first - one quick family photo!
We started crossing the street to get to the other - and more famous - intersection.
(I wish I could take those trees home).
Happy Tons and Papu no doubt posting a photo in Instagram.
(We have pocket wifi care of Camp Japan! Galing nila, I swear.  The house has internet and they left a pocket wifi for us to use too).
Shibuya Crossing! Made it to the other side, heehee
Aaaaand we crossed!
Took a photo with Laz soon as we hit the sidewalk, and another one thereafter with Dada!
My dad and Shibuya Crossing behind him.
Family photo at the famous Shibuya Crossing. 
We saw a guy recording everything with a monopod and I think a GoPro while crossing ha.  Talo kami!
My dad again, with Shibuya Crossing behind him.
I love this photo and that it's so candid, my dad looking so serious, heehee.
We eventually left Shibuya Crossing.
We then started cutting through streets and alleys to get to Tokyu Hands.
I love the sights and sounds of Shibuya - of Tokyo, period!
See that monitor?
This little boy was engrossed with it.
Alo still glancing back at the monitor.
Excuse me for bragging about my kid, I am a mom after all - our Alo was quite a hit in Tokyo.
Only our 3rd day here and already so many people, old and young, would talk to him, say hi to him, try to make friends with him - in the subway, in the street, in restaurants.
I think it's because he's got these huge eyes and brown hair. Like anime.
We are here!  As you can see, Tokyu Hands is a "creative life store".
6 or 7 floors of everything.
May pet store pa.
Amanda and Bugs, then later on my parents, explored the store.
Pao and I stayed with the kids in Hands Cafe to wait for everyone else.
Alo was a bit antsy, so we stayed put.
Hands Cafe kept them more than entertained.  There's a lot to see in the cafe alone - they have cacti and succulents!
Wrote about Hands Cafe here

Finally it was time to go home.
I liked Shibuya at night time as much as I did daytime.
(We didn't take a cab by the way, I just took a photo).
Amanda standing on some steps for one last look of Shibuya Crossing from near the train station.
The kids later at home.
Laz is Alo's favorite talaga.  Everything and anything Laz does, Alo is always tickled pink.


29 December 2014

We checked the weather reports for the trip and the reports did predict rain for just one day during our holiday - the 29th, today!  We were actually hoping they'd be wrong, but true enough, it was drizzling hard when we woke up.
Alo woke up first (as he always does) and cuddled up to his Manong.
(Alo's henley is from Mio and Ia, and his joggers are from Lola Tons - thank you!!!)
So we spent the morning indoors.
(Except for my mother, Amanda and Bugs who dashed to the grocery for some supplies and lunch!).
In the teeny kitchen in our rental.
I loved that house.  In Manila, it'd make for a perfect starter home for a young couple.
Team Patajo was assigned the room on the ground floor (easier for us to be near the bathroom, with the baby and all).
It stopped raining after lunch and we headed over to downtown Shibuya!

More of our Day 3 in Tokyo

Sunday, December 28, 2014


28 December 2014
Laz and Alo in the Ueno Zoological Gardens (or Ueno Zoo).

I'm going to share photos of Ueno Zoo so the kids can look back and remember this visit.  Laz especially likes going over this site to see his old toys and the places he's been when he was a kid.   This was the highlight of Day 2 of our Tokyo trip with the family. Alo was still awake in the picture above (you see those pandas as soon as you enter the zoo), but he fell asleep before seeing the real panda which was the first animal we visited. 
There was a line to see the giant panda enclosure.
This attraction is also the first one you'll see once you enter the zoo.
The panda has some indoor enclosures, like huge aquariums.  But he was fortunately outside when we visited!
Bunso was fast asleep at this point so Manong went solo posing with more panda statues.
Next up: these 3 cute elephants who performed some tricks.
Monkeys were up next
Capybaras that looked like giant guinea pigs!
My sweet kuya paused to give Alo a bottle after we saw the capybaras.
Making our way to the West Garden area
I think they call this the Aesop Bridge?
You get this view at the end of the bridge.
Isn't it beautiful?  Right in the middle of the busy bustling district of Ueno.
Some pictures muna before we headed down.
(Look at Alo - awake!  But not for long, shucks). 
Red bears; a porcupine
A crane
It was so nice being outdoors.  We really enjoyed the weather.
The benches the boys are sitting on have panda ears.  So cute.
Top row: by the pelicans; souvenir shop near the panda enclave; flamingos
2nd row: capybara; boys by the cranes and swans; marsh in the middle
Bottom row: panda benches; elephants performing tricks; Laz by the petting zoo map
There's also a monorail to take you around the zoo.  Pao is standing in front of the monorail station.
The line was crazy long so we skipped this.
Kangaroos.  Laz was thrilled to spot a joey.
(At least he swore up and down it was a joey).
I was surprised to see how big ant-eaters are apparently.
Although this is a giant ant-eater according to the sign.
The animals all have outdoor and indoor enclosures.
If they aren't in their outdoor area, you can run around to the back, where there are sort of hallways, with huge glass windows, like aquariums, where you can see the animals' indoor space.
It was so great.  There's Laz looking at a fox.
Warthog; fox
Laz was thrilled to see the flamingos for some strange reason, haha.
I didnt know he was so into them.
The outdoor enclosures for giraffes, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and pygmy hippos.
All the animals were indoors that day (probably because they were cold?).
Laz's first time to see rhinos, hippos, and giraffes.
(He missed the Singapore Zoo because he got sick and they don't have these animals in Avilon Zoo and Avilon Ark).
One of the many hippos in the zoo.
You can see what the hippo is doing underwater through that monitor.
Live video feed, so cute!
Another hippo swimming in murky water, eek.
Top row: save the pandas; lots of families in the zoo; there was a section of the zoo that was under construction or renovation
2nd row: emu; giraffe; by the pelicans again
Bottom row: by the marsh; capybara behind the leaves; an okapi
I waited on a bench with Alo while Pao and Laz went to the Small Mammal House.  
This is just a small part of the massive polar bear enclosure.
I feel bad for not having a full shot of the entire area!
It's so odd seeing a bear swim, heehee. 
There's an indoor part again, of course, where you can see the bear swimming.
I wish we had zoos like these in Manila.
Sea lion.
There was an enclosure for seals beside the sea lion (though I wasn't able to post a picture)
Zebra and something with horns hehe forgot what it was; bull elephant - we were heading back to the entrance of the zoo at this point!
Our Alonzo woke up at this point to get changed (they have very nice changing stations in the zoo).
Alo at least saw the elephants!
Hi, baby!  
We left the park around 5 p.m.
If you have kids, definitely bring them to Ueno Zoo.
If you don't have kids and feel like hanging out outdoors, head on over as well!

More of our Day 2 in Tokyo