Dōmo arigatō Yoshi for Visiting Me in Manila, Philippines

1:10:00 AM Pinoy Boy Journals 4 Comments

Last May Brian (New Zealand), Anieka (England) and Baz (Australia) came to the Philippines just in time for my birthday. The last time they were here, we went to heaps of places around the metro and even went to Boracay. It was hell lot of fun. It felt like i was traveling also which is good for someone like me who cannot travel 12 months every year. So now that Yoshi is confirmed to be going to the Philippines, that makes him my fourth foreign visitor. I love friends coming over to the Philippines. There's a great feeling of being you know... "special" that friends will actually take time, spend some money and travel thousands of miles just to hang out with me and visit my beautiful country.

As i said, when Yoshi went to Manila, he came bearing gifts.

It was an immense feeling. Hey c'mon we're all backpackers here and we all know every cent counts. But still, he took time out to buy something for me and my friend. That is very thoughtful of him. But of course who wouldn't be excited to receive gifts. C'mon right? Let's open it shall we.

He actually gave me two different gifts. One is something edible and the other one is something i could literally display in my room which i love. My room is small but i display my most prized possessions which includes photos i took from around the world, investment on art pieces, among other things.

He said i would love it. First thing that comes to mind. FOOD. Who doesn't love food?>

After downing a couple of bottles of beer that night in 77, i needed to eat something. So there i was opening Yoshi's gift to his beloved Filipino friend. Everyone, meet my best friend every night for the week till i literally ate everything, maybe a few given to my mom and my sisters.

...Kamome No Tamago (かもめの玉子). This is a type of bean cake designed to resemble an egg ("tamago" is the Japanese word for egg, kamome refers to a seagull). A standard package (pictured below) of the regular variety includes 6 "eggs" for about 525 yen ($4.80 USD). The standard eggs are about the size of an actual large egg. They are filled with yellow beans and covered in a thin shell of cake with a thin covering of "white chocolate" (not really chocolate). They are mildly sweet and make a satisfying snack.

Source from here

I am not really good with food reviews. It's either i like it or not. And this one is One Big Like! The other gift my friend gave me is a mad Japanese Samurai Soldier Toy. I forgot how it is called. I've mistaken it for transformers at first sight. Either way, it's a figurine that showcases Japan's biggest contribution to the world - awesome toys. 

NOTE: If you have any idea what this is or what it is called, feel free to comment down below so i would not be calling him bad ass badboy anymore. 

So Yoshi did brave the Northern Luzon region and experienced Banaue Rice Terraces. A few months before, he already told me there's one place he wants to see in the Philippines and that is the terraces so i am pretty sure he's dead set on that one. He came back to Manila armed with interesting stories and so many awesome adventures to tell. First one, his tour guide in Banaue is named none other than... Jerik, same as my name. And Yoshi told me he was a very good guide, friendly and very honest. Like all Jeriks in the world are. Before he left, i made a thorough research of Banaue and suggested he visit a couple of places. Advised him of prices and how to haggle and not be tricked. He stayed in a good hotel fronting the terraces and had very delicious Filipino food. He also made new friends, a couple of westerners, Filipino tourists, family staying beside his room, etc. He arrived middle of the night. At around 3AM, i got a call saying he was dropped off by the bus in Cubao and i said, well then good as it's nearer in my place in QC. He told me the taxi driver was charging him for P900. What the hell???? I told my friend, hand that taxi driver your phone but keep an eye on him. And i told the driver that the going rate from anywhere in Cubao to my place is not more than a hundred pesos. After a few taxi drivers went by, someone agreed on the normal price. Good thing Yoshi mentioned he has a Filipino friend who has advised him of the prices. So folks, if you're traveling to the Philippines just say i know the prices and...

When Yoshi arrived. Never ending stories, left and right. He couldn't contain his excitement sharing his brief but well worth trip to the mountains. His gorgeous photos of Banaue Rice Terraces were so amazing, i felt really bad i didn't go. One with him, two that i haven't visited it yet. If folks like Yoshi who's not from here can appreciate the immense beauty of the Philippines, so should we Filipinos right?

At round 5AM, we were watching TV and so many stories were shared how it is in Japan and how it is in the Philippines. It was good catching up and sharing what's going on with our lives for the past seven months.

Basically, he told me how fast paced life is in Japan particularly in Tokyo and Kyoto where he lives. He works on odd hours. I assume because of the weather and temperature he's studying. I don't know. He told me how expensive it is in Japan even for him. Imagine his round trip flight from Tokyo to Manila was around $1500. He also said that Japanese people are really bad in English. It's so hard to study. Because unlike how English is spoken and written with subject and then verb,  Nihoŋɡo is spoken and written with no fixed order. Like for example the verb comes first followed by the greeting then the subject last. Apart from the hard course on English, Japanese people really don't like to travel outside the country. Yeah you could see Japanese tourists in Paris, London, but instead more Japanese choose to travel within their own country because they feel not being able to speak in English outside will give them such a hard time. So what they do instead is buy all the expensive material things. Yeah all the Vuittons and latest gadgets.

We talked about so many things. And it was very nice talking to him and exchanging notes. Instead of him getting to know more about my country, i was very curious listening to his stories of Japan. After a few hours of talking. I got up and got my Lonely Planet Asia Book and flipped on Japan. 

There he was guiding me photo by photo - how fun it is to hike up Mt. Fuji, how expensive it is to ride the bullet train, how i could possibly take a photo with a Geisha someday but Yoshi being brutally honest with me spending a night with one will cost me a fortune, how cheaper it is to stay in love hotels than in lofts and hotel rooms, how porn is sold alongside coca cola in can on a vendo machine. So many things. I am literally wandering at 7AM. 

We were waiting for his flight back to Tokyo scheduled at around 2PM. We went down to the dining room for lunch. During this time he got to see the rest of my house. My house filled with lovely furniture and a comfortable couch. My photos together with family pictures and swarovski crystals. He sat on the couch and said, "you have a very lovely house". I could literally see through his eyes how much he is loving the feeling of living in the Philippines. He got to eat "Paksiw na Isda" and "Giniling na Baboy" and as soon as i introduced him to my mom, she hugged Yoshi like her own son. 

We got out of the house for a bit and smoked. It was sunny, almost scorching because of the midday sun, the total opposite of the temperature now where he is from. While he's on his usual weatherman vest and cargo pants, he walked for a bit looking around my village and he even took a photo of my house and asked if i could have his photo taken with the house too. I said, yeah sure man!

A few hours after, the taxi arrived not going to the airport but to the MRT station. Yoshi is pretty damn good roaming around Manila already. He rode the MRT from Quezon Avenue to Taft and rode short taxi to Terminal 2. So i told myself, i think i did a very good job familiarizing Yoshi with the city.

He only had about a few hundred pesos in his wallet. Yet, he still managed to save some for souvenir coins. Good job, my friend.

I went back to my room and opened again my book. As i was reading it, NHK was on cable showing the benefits of having a good spacious kitchen. He commented this network doesn't have good ratings in Japan. It's very serious, he said. I leafed through the different pages of Japan. Capital City Tokyo. When will i be able to go there, i asked myself? Hmmm... that i am very much looking forward to doing.

I remembered Yoshi borrowing my pen and saying he is going to write something. Before he left he taught me a little 101 on Nihoŋɡo. I remember some, but half of which i am still trying to dig deep in my brain how i was able to speak it with him then and now. My bad. He gave me a piece of paper with the Japanese alphabet and i thought this is one of the best gifts I've ever received in my life. As soon as he left, i was back to speaking broken Japanese words most of which i think are wrong and admiring the majesty of Mt. Fuji.

If there's one thing i sincerely learned from Yoshi is his humility. With all of us, and i mean i think everyone can agree, Japan is on the top lists of must travel destinations in the world. Who wouldn't want to stay in high tech hotels, dress like fashion forward street stylists and just walk around the top country of Asia? This man lives there, right in the epicenter of the future of technology. Yet, i've never seen Yoshi more happy and alive as when he was here in Manila, in a third world country, in seemingly chaotic city like Manila. When he sat in the couch with his arms folded to the back of his head on that hot sunny day day that he was leaving, i already knew this man would come back to the Philippines. For sure.

In one of our talks, i told him how it is to live in the Philippines, money yes can buy you all the luxuries in the world but here money is just part of a circle as the world turns. We have problems, most of which are about trying to still live till the next day apart from the crucial life and death matters of the Filipino mass, but still we laugh about it. We fuckin' laugh our problems off.  Heck, we're one of the happiest people in the world. 

He asked me when am i going to Japan???

I answered I don't think i can anytime soon. I don't have money. And i started laughing.


whatta cute samurai soldier doll! tell yoshi i want one too! hahaha.

for sure, i'll tell him how big of a hit his gift was.. when he comes back i'll tell him to buy one for you. i just wish i could really save up big time so i can go to japan within the next 12 months.. i really want to go there. "The secret!" he he.. btw, just found out your hubby is into robotics. very very interesting! whatta great job he has! can't wait for the rest of your kota kinablu post.. i wanna know what other things to do other than climbing mountains, he he not really my cup of tea.

that toy is oh soooo yummy. jealous! hmpf!


yeah flip its a really awesome gift. thanks! but i thank yoshi for that!!! btw, where are you headed next? i am just about to read your blog where did you go in china?