Maximizing your Japan Rail Pass

When I published my Japan travel expenses, most of you balked at the price of my train ticket: Php 23,000 or ¥45,100. I also had the same reaction when Ivan told me about the pass, but upon reading up on it and calculating the amount of money I’ll save vis-a-vis buying the tickets separately, I made sure to buy the pass before I left for Japan.

Rail travel in Japan is very comfortable. All the trains are in great condition, and the seats have legroom airlines can only dream of. While it’s cheaper than flying domestic, it is more expensive than taking the bus. While the bus can save you money on fares and overnight buses can save you on accommodation costs, it eats up more time to travel the same distance. Besides, this is Japan we’re talking about! I can’t pass up the chance to ride the bullet train!
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Snapshot Japan: Snowy Sapporo

Snapshot Japan: Snowy Sapporo, a photo by nina_theevilone on Flickr.I left Tokyo early yesterday morning to embark on what became a 12-hour journey to Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. Just as I was getting used to the cool climes of the Kanto region, I braced myself for even colder weather. While the southern half of Japan is already welcoming Spring,…read more
Destination, Morocco


When Morocco is mentioned, people always think of Marrakech. This vibrant city is the most popular destination in the country, thanks to budget carriers that have direct flights from various cities in Europe. After Fez, we were ready to face the touts at Djemma El Fna Square and the souks.

Djemma El Fna Square
Orange cart at Drjemma El Fna square. The freshly squeezed orange juice is really yummy!

As the petit taxi drove through the gates of the medina, we eagerly took it all in, the crowds, the traffic, the noise. It was the complete opposite of Ouarzazate. After the driver insisted we pay more than what the ride should cost, we dragged our luggages down the street beside Cafe de France, the favorite meeting place of tourist and guides in the medina. As soon as I whipped out my iPod to look at the map, touts came to offer to show us the way. Waving them off, we continued walking, following our instincts and finding the derb where Amour Riad is.
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Destination, Morocco

Hassi Labied and Erg Chebbi

Once again we woke up inside a bus, but the landscape outside is quite different. There seemed to be a seemingly endless nothingness, broken only by small clusters of buildings every once in a while. Slowly, the bus empties, until only half a dozen tourists remain. The driver pulls up to a small town in the middle of nowhere and announces that we have arrived in Merzouga.

Erg Chebbi
Erg Chebbi with dunes reaching up to 150 meters in height.

We were met with a bunch of touts, something that we are already used to in Morocco. Each one was offering to take us to a hotel, and we ignored the calls, except for one: Hassan Ougnir’s of the La Source Inn, where we made reservations for.
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Destination, Guam

Things to do in Guam

Learn how to build a nipa hut

Lina’La’ Chamorro Cultural Park 01
A Chamoru building a nipa house

Want to know about the Chamoru culture? There’s no better way to learn about Guam’s indigenous people than at the Lina’La’ Chamorro Cultural Park. Here you can visit a recreated local village and experience how it was like to live in the island before it was colonized.
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Destination, Philippines

Lakbay Norte 2: Checking in at Cagayan

After a 4-hour delay, we finally made it back to Cagayan. We’re on the second leg of Lakbay Norte 2, and we’re going to explore more of North Luzon.

Cagayan Museum
First stop: Cagayan Museum

Due to the delay, we had limited time to spend in the Cagayan Museum at the provincial capitol complex. Just enough time to eat a Cagayan favorite: pancit batil patong. I love pancit and the unique twist they put in this favorite noodle dish. It’s just noodles sauteed with sauce topped with chopped onions, poached egg, pork broth, and seasoned with calamansi or vinegar and soy sauce.
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