Shu Uemura, i wish i used you before the wedding

On top of the numerous details soon-to-weds have to think of for their wedding, one thing they must also take care of is their skin care. Think: you’ll be hiring top-rated photographers and videographers and they’ll have high-power cameras that can zoom in those old zits on your face, making them look almost like the potholes in the road to Caleruega.

So yep, Hubby and I had our visits in House of Obagi for some facial care (note: hubby had more facials than I did! haha. Truly more the bride between us :D). Alas though, it wasn’t enough for me.

More than a year ago, at the start of uber hot summer in Manila, I started to have some rashes on the face. A dermatologist visit confirmed it’s caused by the intense heat. Doc gave me some moisturizers and it did help with the redness and rashes. They subsided. But from then on, I have had dry skin on the face. The moisturizers helped (I alternated between the moisturizer from dermatologist and some products from Face Shop and Clinique). But still haven’t quite got rid of the dryness.

On my March visit to Japan, I tried Hyalocharge which Hubby was using then. It’s a lotion with viscosity that’s almost equal to water and as Hubby explained, is infused with collagen for healthier skin.

It did help. But then again, that was late winter/early spring. Our wedding is in the middle of summer.

I wanted to try a new product but I was afraid to since our wedding was getting near; I want to avoid any facial mishaps that I’ve read a lot about. My old moisturizers were working fine anyway. Problem though was that my HMUA Irene Sy-Go and coordinator Erika, instructed me not to have any moisturizers on the face during the wedding day for the makeup to have its full effect. Result, dryness at the start of the preps shoot. Thankfully, the makeup has set a couple hours later hence it wasn’t obvious at all anymore. And really, Irene is just so good she made me look flawless.

So now that our wedding is over and done, I’m a bit freer to experiment on facial products to help with the dry skin.

Shu Uemura.

And I must say, I feel much better now. I’m far from being flawless still but the facial skin dryness certainly has lessened a lot.

Step 1: Skin purifier. You use it as a facial wash. It has the consistency of a makeup remover.

Step 2: Facial lotion. Clear as water yet viscous.

Step 3: Vitalizing concentrate. When the Shu Uemura lady made a demo of this on my face, she was drumming her fingers on my face so hard it was almost painful. She said the concentrate has to be “patted” to help the skin absorb the medicine. Very viscous. Hence, the medicine dropper.

Step 4: Revitilizing emulsion. Fluid inside looks like your ordinary facial lotion.

I know it’s a bit costly. But I bought it as a gift for myself using my first salary. Yippee! Thankful. Still though, I wish I used the lot in preparation for the wedding.

manzanitas or grapes?

Got curious with how it’d taste compared with normal-sized ones hence I finally bought these mini grapes for our dessert. Look how tiny they are!

One thing with the taste though. They were good. But. They tasted similar to manzanitas sans the minuscule seeds. Given that, I don’t think I’d buy this again. I’d rather buy manzanitas (or pick some from our neighborhood in Philippines at that!) as that will be much cheaper. They have similar taste anyway. 😀

simple joys

Three notes to start this post:

1. We are really thankful to the people who lend us some of their time and read our posts. And even comment at that! Your visits makes blogging even more worthwhile. Thank you.

2. Among the many reasons a bride has in researching for her wedding details till her back breaks is so that her wedding will be unique, one of a kind, exceptional. Trust that a bride is truly exceptionally happy when she’s able to achieve this.

3. Recognition. To be recognised that the bride has achieved number two above is even sweeter than merely achieving it.

For some this may be mundane. But for us, it’s one simple joy to be thankful for. 🙂 It may change from day to day (this was last night). But at least, on some particular days, we made a mark.

Type in “travel themed wedding” in Google. This particular theme is almost worn out already these days. Hence for us to be on Google’s top six searches is a thing to be happy about.

Out of wanting to be deviant, we added a spice to our travel-theme and infused some rustic tone. Key in “rustic wedding theme” and voila!

And for obvious reasons, we’re happiest with this one. The fusion, Rustic travel themed wedding.

First. Thank you! 🙂


El Nido’s Lagen Island

Atsushi and I have no plans of having our honeymoon right after the wedding. We both agreed to settle a bit first after all the wedding excitement and wait for a few months before planning on a honeymoon. But then considering we have a couple days free after our families fly back to the hometowns, hubby asked me if we can go someplace in the Philippines at that time. (Yes, we didn’t realize we were on for a more hectic schedule).

Anyways, when hubby asked me about the trip, luckily, DealGrocer was offering a 50% off promo for a 3D/2N stay at El Nido’s Lagen Resort that fell just right smack into our schedule. So yes, naturally, given how this is a once in a lifetime discount knowing how famous El Nido is, we made a go for it.

Downside though is that I made my booking only 3 weeks before our wedding hence our attention was focused on the wedding and ergo we absolutely were not prepared for the El Nido trip. Proof of how we didn’t have the time to look forward to the trip:

  • When I was preparing to go back to Manila for the wedding, I made sure I didn’t leave behind in Japan anything that is essential for the wedding. However I forgot to bring my swimsuits. Not even one. So even with the crazy schedule we had a week before the wedding, we still had to squeeze in some time to shop for my swimsuit when we got back to Manila
  • We didn’t have underwater camera with us. Not even just a waterproof one. We even had to borrow Otosan’s camera because Atsushi’s camera fell in the water during our Boracay trip last December
  • El Nido resort is by far one of the most stringent resorts i’ve ever been to; almost tantamount to going out of the country considering the documents I need to fill out and IDs I need to scan and send to them. Considering I didn’t have a printer and scanner in Manila and hence had to go to the internet shop, there were times that I’m almost exasperated with El Nido and was muttering under my breath in near frustration “this place better be good!!!”

Our flight to El Nido was just hours after Atsushi’s family’s flight back to Japan hence we barely had enough time to rest. Still though, the experience was one unforgettable one.

Chartered plane, anyone? They have three flights to-fro El Nido everyday. One does feel like a celebrity riding these chartered planes what with the red carpet provided when embarking and disembarking the aircraft.

El Nido flights share the same hangar as the Amanpulo ones although each have their own lounges, of course.

Both Lagen and Miniloc Island guests share the same El Nido flight hence guests are given stickers for ID.

Eighteen-seater chartered plane.

So yes, given the capacity and built of the plane, I think nobody would blame us if we hold on all the more with each other. Yihii. 😀

One thing really convenient with our El Nido trip is that after checking in your bags before boarding the plane, the next time you’d see them is in your room already. Hence, the bag tags. It was just so convenient not having to cart your heavy bag along as you ride the boat transfer.

On board the yacht, on our way to Lagen Island. Yep, this is not Titanic.

The pictures doesn’t do justice on the place. But trust that I was squealing with delight the moment we caught sight of the place. It-was-just-so-beautiful.

First day was more on exploring the island by snorkeling, trekking and kayaking. Second day was island hopping and more snorkeling and kayaking. The underwater life is by far the most interesting I’ve seen so far, even after Bohol and Coron.

The snorkel, fins and lifejacket are provided by the resort. What I loved with how they do it though is that you just need to select once. Before having your first activity, they will help you select the right size of gear for you (my first with the fins!), put it on a plastic box and they will carry it for you, even during island hopping. So if you’ll be staying in the island for a week, you don’t have to go and borrow gears in every activity you’ll be having. You’ll be using the same gear for the whole week! Well, unless you want to change it for something else. Anyways, totally convenient. Plus you don’t have to cart wet gear inside your room – they’ll keep it safe for you, till your next activity the following day. Swell.

We were blessed with a very beautiful sunset on our first day in the island. This by far is one of the most beautiful sunset i’ve ever witnessed. It’s so beautiful you can almost taste its sweetness on your tongue. This is fully unedited, mind you, save for the text.

If the weather permits, dinner is by the pool, under the stars, with romantic lighting, complete with a serenade by the island’s crooner, afterwhich there’ll be some program showcasing traditional Filipino dances. Atsushi even tried Tinikling; he wasn’t able to try back in Boracay. After a few hops, says he, once is enough. haha.

If there’s one thing I was reminded of during our El Nido trip is that people are intrinsically good. As I said, Hubby and I weren’t able to bring waterproof cameras. On our second day, there were intermittent showers and we had to get off the boat to kayak to the lagoons. Hence we had to leave behind the camera we borrowed from Otosan. The Small and Big Lagoons were just so beautiful and romantic in that when we were inside the confines of the small lagoon, Hubby and I were really having some misgivings on not being able to bring waterproof camera. Thankfully though, another couple offered to take our pictures and send it later to us, by email. Thankful. So now, we have some mementos of that enchanting Small Lagoon thanks to kindhearted strangers.

Three words to describe our trip to El Nido: opulence, convenience, luxury. And yes, good food!

One thing though. The place looks a lot like Halong Bay. And Halong Bay is considered a UNESCO World Heritage. We hope though El Nido would also be tagged as one.


The next time you go out to the beach and you see garbage, please try help in making our beaches clean by picking up garbage. A small effort can go a long way.

Review: Dino Lara Photography

I think, the fact that I frequently mention Dino here in our blog already screams how Dino is one of our favorite supplier, even from Day 1.

We’d always be thankful to him on how on Day 1 he thoughtfully obliged us and suggested how we can have the “first look” photoshoot to maximize our locations since we have a 6pm ceremony. I will always remember the wash of emotions I had and how my eyes teared-up as I hear Dino describe how our “first look” would be. See, when I met up with Dino, Hubby and I were less than one week civilly married and the totally emotion-less civil marriage we had in Japan had us dreaming and yearning for a beautiful Church wedding. The civil marriage system in Japan really doesn’t beg for any emotion whatsoever – well, except for the emotion of wanting to have the most beautiful and touching Church wedding EVER. So I think nobody would blame me if I’d get emotional even when Dino was just describing how it would be done on our Big day.

And come first week of January, Dino obliged us as well and met up with us even when it was right smack in the middle of his super peak schedule. Dino was very patient with all our questions as well, silly as they might seem!

Come wedding day, well, his team was just superb. Together with Jason’s team, they made my hubby, who was otherwise really shy, seem naturally expressive. Looking at our raw pictures now, somehow, the emotions, that usually Hubby only shows when nobody sees us or when nobody around us knows who we are, were captured in the pictures. Dino was even able to make hubby tickle me!!  haha.

I am still in the middle of selecting photos that will be included in our main wedding album (yes, main. We’ll have around 5 albums I think, 2 big ones and 3 small ones). Photo selection is quite a difficult task, I tell you, if you’re only to choose 350 pictures among 5,500 beautiful ones! And yes, even when they were just raw copies for now, I can only sigh as we look at our pictures. Beautiful.

Can’t, can’t wait for our photo albums.

Thank you Dino. You helped make our dream come true, and even perpetuated it, with the help of your beautiful pictures.

Supplier: Dino Lara Photography

Rating: 5/5

Contact details:; +63920.9125069; +632.8834408

a Process Engineer once again

As we prepared for our wedding, Atsushi and I both held this hope dearly between us – that I would be able to work as an engineer again, after settling in Japan. For somebody who really loves her career (and I hope my career loves me back twofold haha), I was teary-eyed when hubby told me it makes him proud to have an “engineer wife”. A lot of factors could hinder me from working again. And so I prepared myself to that possible reality. But our fervent prayers were answered; from tomorrow, I will no longer be a shifu or housewife and will work again as a Process Engineer.

But if truth be told, I am nervous, for reasons that I really couldn’t quite fathom. Hubby has been reminding me of the reasons why I need not fret in that our talk always ends up with me blushing and hugging him or me squeezing his hand because of happiness that my husband (and our colleagues as well, he argues) believes in my capabilities.

I’ll be working at a company that is both old and new to me.

Old, because I have been previously assigned here; sent here to work from Manila. Hence, I already know the nooks and crannies of the office (well, except the 36th floor which is for the CEOs and top management).

But new, because this time, I will not be working as somebody assigned from our branch office in another country but as somebody who is already based here in Japan.

Old, because I have already worked with a number of colleagues in the company and ergo I know a lot of people already.

But new, because the first project I will be involved in are composed of engineers that I haven’t worked with before.

I will be meeting again a lot of colleagues who wished me fare well during my last assignment here, two years back; colleagues who kept on asking me when I am going to marry and to whom I replied that I have no plans to get married and to which they would reply back it’s mottainai.

So again new, because the last time I was in the Yokohama office, I was very much a single. But I’m coming back now, very much a missus.

Nervous, yes. But nonetheless, very excited.

To God be the glory.

great customer service, anyone?

I think anybody would readily agree with me that nothing beats Japan’s excellent customer service. Want proof? Here’s one:

From the southern-west part of Japan, Okasan went on a business trip to Yamanashi prefecture. Thoughtful as she is, aside from her Inden-ya present to me, she bought us shiro (white) wine. Yamanashi sits in a basin and because of its location, the prefecture has been famous for its sweet grapes. And ergo, the winery.

After her Yamanashi trip, she then went to Tokyo as she also got invited to a special film showing. Cinema staff then took care of her wine bottle. But alas, after the movie, everyone found out that for some reason, her bottle of wine got broken.

Can you imagine what a cinema staff would do had it happened in your country?

Anyways, what the cinema staff did was they got the address of the recipients of wine (us!) and they promised to deliver the wine to us. That was Monday.

Friday, I received the package. Of course i’m happy, there’s another delivery! Another gift/mail to open! Yey! 🙂

It was a box specially designed for bottle deliveries.

The wine was inside one of the smaller boxes whilst a letter was on the other small box. As Hubby put it, the letter contained their deepest apologies as well as explanation of the contents of the package.

So here’s the wine, safely wrapped with big-bubbled bubble wrap.

And yes, cinema people replaced the broken wine with a wine they bought straight from Yamanashi. Not replaced with just any wine that can be bought in a neighboring mall in Tokyo.

Oh, they didn’t stop from there. Because it was a special film showing, some brochures about the movie were being handed out. Okasan’s copy got wet as well. So cinema staff promised to send a new one along with the wine.

But they didn’t just send a new brochure. They sent one that had a sign by the lead actor Daiichi Yasuo.

Simply amazing customer service. Can anybody else top this?

Inspires me really. To go the extra mile.

Oh by way, The movie is entitled “Love Tomato” or “Koisuro Tomato” in Japanese. It was filmed in the Philippines and has a Filipino title of “Kumain Ka Na Ba?” (Have you eaten yet?).

It stars the beautiful Alice Dixon. She’s 43, can you imagine??


Here’s one scene of the movie. Sorry it’s blurred. Photo taken from the brochure print.

Okasan gave us a copy of the movie. The print may be weeping (yes, blame it on the wine) but it is workable, probably. Weekend is for movies so Hubby and I definitely have this movie in our lineup. Over a bottle of wine, most probably.


principal sponsors wedding favors

I have already incorporated our rustic/travel theme in a lot of details in our wedding. To break the monotony, we thought of non-travel/rustic related thank you gifts to our principal sponsors, Bestman and MOH.

We initially thought of giving them Alamid coffee – The Philippine Civet coffee, tagged as the world’s rarest brew. But owing to a number of reasons, we had to select another option (will post a separate entry about this coffee). Other than looking for a good calendar for our guestbook, one of our goals for my March Japan visit was also to look for a good principal sponsors wedding favors.

Found the perfect one in Keikyu Kamiooka. Lupicia.

They have this pretty set that’s perfect for giveaways. The flower ornament is just so pretty(!!) and almost-rustic. We chose Sakurambo (cherry) flavor.

The loose tea leaves are inside the round canister. What made us finally make a go for this as our giveaways actually is that you can customize the lid of the canister. They have a number of designs for different occasions and among the designs available for weddings, I chose this design, for obvious reasons. You can just imagine how giggly I went when I saw the colors on this design. As for the font, it would be too long if we specify “Atsushi and Marjorie”, hence, we settled for a simple “A & M”. And of course, the date has to be inscribed on it as well.

It comes with a matching Sakurambo (cherry) flavored tea honey.

Now the one thing missing in this set is the tea ball for the loose tea. They were selling some in the shop but it was at 400yen each. I looked for one in Gourdo’s in Manila as well and found a very very pretty lime-green colored tea diffuser. Perfect accessory to complement our colors. Except that it was at 300pesos. haha. Found this one in another mall though and I couldn’t be any happier.

It looked so pretty on the VIP table.

And oh, another thing that made me all giggly with this set is that the package comes with a paperbag that has our colors. Yep, both orange and lime green. The lime green came off as pistachio green in my phone camera though. Look at the odd color of the hand haha. In real life, they are colors that would definitely make a bride giddy.

Perfect. Just perfect.

my Kanji flashcards

I just love it everytime the intercom buzzes and when I pick it up, the voice on the other line would say a cheery “takyoubin desu!” or “youbin desu!”. This means “package delivery!”, by the way, or something similar to that.

Got my beginner Kanji flashcards. Ordered online by hubby from Whiterabbitpress. Recommended by Apple, a friend I had through W@W; Apple will hopefully be taking her JLPT level N1 this December. Isn’t she just amazing?! I wonder when can I take the JLPT level 5 or 4 haha. Anyways, for now, I-am-so-excited for these!

Of course I opened my pink case first. ~sheepish grin~

And the lessons continue. 😀


furniture leg socks

When our dining set was delivered to us, Watanabe-san put some thin brown cardboard on the bottom of each table and chair leg so as to protect the wooden floor from any scratches when we move the furnitures during usage. Alas though, it appears it wasn’t enough.

So I finally bought our furnitures some socks. I wanted the brown-pink pattern, consistent with our house motif, but the packs the shop has for the pretty brown-pink pattern weren’t enough to cover all our dining chairs’ legs. Hence, I opted for this one.

I tagged this as “only in Japan” since it was in Japan that I saw these first, some 7 years ago I think. I do believe though, that these socks are already available in Manila.


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