Dags Marasigan



First stop - Amazing race in Tokyo, Japan with Marte and Duterte couples. Oct 7-10, 2010

Underground River Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Island Hopping, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Manila, Philippines

Munich, Germany

Salzburg, Austria

Mercedes, BMW and Nazis

May Marte and I were just discussing of going to Tokyo, Japan last year and May kept on saying that it was out of their budget.  However, Philippine Airlines made a promotional discount through mileage that enticed the Marte couple to meet up with me in Tokyo last October 8-10.  They even brought Joel and Carren Duterte with them.  Due to Air Canada seat availability, I arrived a day early on October 7 and the 2 couples from General Santos City arrived on October 8.

From Narita airport, I took the JR Narita Express to Shinagawa station, transferred to Gotanda station en route to Nakanobu station which was the train stop near our hotel, Chisun Shinagawa West.  The subway route system of Tokyo was very overwhelming at first but it was actually very simple.  There were just numerous train companies intertwined to a very efficient network and the information counters at each station were very helpful and patient in explaining how to get from one (1) stop to another.  The Tokyo subway can be simply termed "crazy" due to its web-like network but true to Japanese ingenuity and engineering, the trains were very efficient and on-time.

The one (1) way fare for the JR Narita Express was Yen 3,100 or about US$ 38.00.  Since we took the subway a lot for our roaming around Tokyo, we bought the Metro open ticket for both Metro and Toei subway lines for Yen 1,000.

When I arrived on October 7, there was not much to do since the flight arrived at 4pm and it was about 1.5 hours from the airport to the hotel.  I was just able to roam around Shinagawa west in the evening.

On October 8, while waiting for the Martes and Dutertes whose flight arrived at 1:00 pm from the Philippines, I first went to the famous Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market.  Acres of fish trading and the Japanese really love their fish!  For an 11 pc sushi set, the price was Yen 3,650 or about US$45 yet an eat all you can Japanese buffet in Toronto was just about half the price!  From the market, I passed by the Tokyo Imperial Palace/Garden which was closed to the public at that time due to an official funtion.  So I just saw the feeding of big carps by the river bank.

From the Imperial grounds, I passed by the Tokyo Tower which was near Akabanebashi station.  From there, I checked out Shinjuku and Harajuku areas where the "Harjuku looking" girls of Tokyo hung out.  Within the area of Shinjuku was the Meiji Shrine where I also witnessed a traditional Japanese wedding.  On my way back to the hotel, I walked for about 15 mins to Shibuya where the "Tokyo Times Square" was located. Since it was still daylight, the Shibuya crossing was not as glittery compared at night. Took the subway from Shibuya and met up with the Martes and Dutertes at the hotel at about 3:00 pm.

Typical of my compressed travels which the Martes and Dutertes were not used to, as soon as I met up with them at the hotel, we went to Shinjuku then walked to Shibuya.  At that time, the Shibuya crossing was such a treat with all the lights and the Japanese people criss-crossing the Shibuya intersection.  We had dinner at the food festival at the Shibuya mall and from there capped the night with a stroll at the Tokyo Tower.

On October 9, we left the hotel at 730am and went to Yokohama via JR Line.  The fare for the JR line was not included in the whole day Metro subway pass. 

Yokohama had a very beautiful waterfront and was developed as a convention/business site.




















From Yokohama, we went to Asakusa where Carren's eyes popped when she saw the shopping stalls but I immediately capped her excitement due to time constraints!  At Asakusa, the Sensoji temple was there but I think the highlight of the area was the flea market.  The rain did not deter in keeping up with our scheduled itinerary so from Asakusa, we went to the Imperial garden which was open on Oct 9. 

At the Imperial grounds, Paeng Marte was already complaining of fatigue but we still had to visit one more area - the Roponggi district.  We did not bother going up the Mori Tower because of strong winds and it was raining.  So May and Carren just went shopping at the Roponggi mall while Paeng, Joel and myself waited for them at Starbucks.  The amazing race ended at about 800pm and we had dinner a a very nice Japanese restaurant near the hotel.  The owners were so happy that we devoured every bit of food that was served to us.  Well, after walking for 12 hours, we did not hesitate of not leaving anything for the dogs!

At the airport on October 10, we met Jun Rey who was en route to Cebu via Philppine Airlines, same flight the Martes and Dutertes had.  I waited for a few more hours for my Delta flight to Manila on the same day.

Next part of the story, Puerto Princesa, Palawan...