Friday, November 21, 2014

Taiwan Excellence Made to Joy Christmas Contest

There are only 33 days before Christmas and I am so excited because December is my favorite month of the year since it's my birthday month and of course it's Jesus' birthday as well. Also, Christmas is the perfect time for sharing, loving, aaaaaand gift giving! Yey! :)

In the Philippines, we are known to have the longest Christmas celebration because we start as early as September. When the "ber" month starts, Filipinos usually begin listing their "wish list" and "gift list" for loved onesI personally start buying gifts around 1st to 2nd week of December because I am always on the look out for good value, good quality, bazaars, promos and even contests such as the Taiwan Excellence Made to Joy Christmas Contest!
Early this month, the Taiwan government launched the Taiwan Excellence campaign in the Philippines. It's a campaign promoting the different Taiwanese brands and products and its aim is to provide Filipinos more product choices with guaranteed "seal of quality"

As part of the campaign, Taiwan Excellence recognizes that Christmas is truly a special time for Filipinos hence, they are giving us a chance to surprise 1 special person by  fulfilling his/her "Grown up Christmas list" for FREE!

Here's how to join:

2. Read on the full mechanics and instructions before entering the contest. You must be: (a) a legal resident of the Philippines; and (b) have reached the age of 18 years old at the time of entry. 
3. Register and complete all necessary information.
4. Select one (1) Taiwan Excellence gift for your loved one. Choose between laptops, gadgets, home appliances, sports equipment etc.
5. Fill in the details of the gift recipient or the loved one you want to surprise.
6. Upload a photo of yourself and write down WHY you want to give him/her the gift
7. Then click send and share the good news to your friends!

The contest runs from September 28 to November 23, 2014. 

There will be 10 lucky winners to be drawn and one from the ten will be chosen to have the gift delivered by no other than IYA VILLANINA-ARELLANO, the Taiwan Excellence Celebrity Endorser (woohoo!!! girl crush haha). 

So what are you waiting for? JOIN NOW! 
Guaranteed no purchase needed to join the contest! Promise! ;)


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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ichiran Ramen: Focus on your food

Have you tasted the best ramen in Japan? I did! and I can say that this ramen is THE BEST RAMEN IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!!! Well....for me haha. I can eat this everyday!!! hahaha it's called Ichiran Ramen.

Ichiran Ramen is a classic Tonkostsu Ramen from 1960s. They say that the original red sauce of ramen was born in Ichiran. Well, I don't know what that meant but to me it's heaven in a bowl...PROMISE! :)

I'm really a fan of ramen. In the Philippines, there was a time that we ate in different ramen places almost every weekends. In Manila, the best ramen for me was Ippudo which also originated in Japan. We waited for 1.5 hours in line during its opening in Megamall, Oritgas and what I tasted was already divine!!! BUT, Ichiran Ramen is even yummier!

In Japan, I noticed that people are fond of falling in line. They are always curious and willing to wait for hours just to eat in famous restaurants!!! One time, we waited for 5 loooong hours just to eat at Sushi Dai in Tsukiji Market (will blog about it soon!) but in Ichiran Ramen's case, we were lucky there was no line at all in Umeda branch (usually it has long queue and waiting time will range from 30 mins -1 hour or more).
Ichiran Ramen has this philosophy that you need to concentrate on the taste of your Tonkotsu Ramen. There should be no distractions, no talking, no observing other people...just focus on your food and taste the difference! It is the main reason why the restaurant's table set up is not your typical layout. Guests are seated in individual chairs with individual windows and condiments. Think, LIBRARY! :) and the best part is that it's open 24/7!!! If Ichiran Ramen opens in the Philippines... you now know where to head to after party ;)

Ichiran Ramen can be found in 14 areas in Japan. Check out the different branches here. We tried it first in Osaka specifically the Umeda branch. 

NOTE: A branch opened in Hong Kong last year in Causway Bay. For Filipinos, Hong Kong is very accessible and you can try it there instead.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Met New Deer Friends in Nara, Japan

Christmas came early for me when I met "Rudolf" the red nose reindeer in Nara, Japan hahaha just kidding. My boyfriend Wooj and I met thousands of Sika Deers in Nara Park and I can say that it was one of my favorite places in Japan!!! :) Waaa I want to go back and feed the hungry deers!

Nara Park is home to one of Japan's famous temple, Todaiji Temple, where it houses the world's largest wooden building and largest bronze Buddha statue. We didn't get in all the temples in the area BUT it is one of the things we regret because temples in Nara are nice--as I see it in photographs. Well...maybe next time!

We spent half of our day playing with the Sika deers freely roaming around the entire Nara Park. I've never seen so many deers in my life as in close encounter haha. I suggest if you have time, allot a day in Nara because there's so much to see--deers, nature, culture, and temples. It's easy to go to Nara as well and here's how...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Taiwan Excellence, Excellent Taiwan!

This week, I suddenly missed the smell of peppered chops and the taste of milk tea because I was reminiscing my awesome food trip in Shilin Market last year. So I've decided to walk all the way to Landmark during office hours (oopss!) just to satisfy my craving. While walking near the entrance of Landmark Makati footbridge, I saw  ad about Taiwan Excellence campaign in the Philippines. In my mind I was like "Wow talk about Taiwan! it's a sign!" so I went on to purchase my milk tea and on the side got curious about what Taiwan Excellence is all about. Being a nerdy marketing student, I searched about it on the internet and this is what I have found out.

Taiwan Excellence campaign is about awarding and promoting top quality Taiwanese brands to Filipino consumers. It started out 22 years ago to raise Taiwan's international competitiveness by supporting its local brands. This campaign recognizes the excellent and superior Taiwan brands based on different factors such as R&D, design, quality, and marketing efforts to various categories like IT, fashion, sports, transportation etc. The brands undergo a rigorous evaluation and among the selected products, the judges will award only top 10 Gold awards and the remaining finalist will be given the Silver award. 

All Taiwan brands are eligible to join this campaign because it is considered as a prestigious award giving body as it provides "seal of quality" to the brands. The seal of quality becomes relevant to consumers especially for Filipinos because we are all after the assurance of high quality in products we buy everyday. In Filipino we call this "panatag ang loob" or peace of mind because you know you made a good buy. Personally, if I see seals or certification of quality, I automatically associate it as a good brand.

The Taiwan Excellence campaign this year is bringing more than 56 top quality brands in the country. Does Acer, Asus, or BenQ brands ring a bell? :) It sure does to me because I have positive experiences about these brands already and I assure you that these are really excellent and competitive products! 

I remember saving my allowance when I was in college because I wanted to buy my very own first laptop as a graduation gift to myself. I bought an Acer laptop in 2007 and would you believe that I am still using it up to now? after 7 loooong years my Acer laptop is still alive! haha talk about high quality and long-lasting technology! So since then, I am sold about Taiwan brands and its quality is unquestionable.

To know more about Taiwan Excellence Campaign check out the following sites:

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Kyoto Day Trip Temple Hopping

Kyoto is an ideal place to embrace the culture of Japan as it is known for temples, Geisha, and nature. We spent a day in Kyoto for temple hoping and generally, it was refreshing to see the different places of the Gods and emperors. 

We were able to maximize our trip to Kyoto because of the very efficient bus system intended for tourists. Click this link to know more about it and how to avail the Unlimited City Bus in Kyoto (for a day).

We visited 4 temples, 1 huge uhh...garden (?) of bamboos, and 1 market place. Here are the details in order of how we visited all of these. Note that you may change the order of places depending on your priority or "must visit" places but we recommend for you to follow our route to save time if you start from Kyoto Station.

1. Fushimi Inari-Taisha Temple- The temple that is dedicated to God of rice and sake or prosperity and success. There are stone foxes all throughout the shrine because it is believed that foxes serve as messengers to the Gods. This is the home of the famous red tori (shrine gates) and it is one of my favorite temple in Japan. We highly recommend for you to go to Inari Temple :)
 
 Prayers for the Fox

Unlimited City Bus in Kyoto for Temple Hopping

When you want to get the most of your Kyoto day tour or temple hoping, it is best to avail the Unlimited (1 day) City Bus for only Php 200 or 500 yen. We went temple hopping (around 5) with this bus pass with a lot of walking! Click here to know the places we visited. If you decide not to get an unlimited bus pass, each bus ride will cost you Php 100 or 230 Yen for adults and 120 yen for kids (flat rate), and you'll be riding buses more than 10 times if you want to go around the city.
How and where to buy the City Bus in Kyoto?

First go to Kyoto Station and exit at No. 6. You will be able to see signs of the City Bus ticket in the ticketing booth or you can approach anyone in case you couldn't find it.
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