Taiwan Exploration Day 2: Houtong Cat Village, Shifen Old Street, Jiufen Old Street and Raohe Night Market

Our second day was spent exploring places that tourists most likely visit in Taiwan. The itinerary for this day trip took a while to complete. I always take into consideration the cost of getting there and the number of hours we have to spend travelling to get there. Taiwan currently has three train services: Taiwan Rail (TRA), Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) and the Taipei Metro (for going around Taipei). There are a lot of sources like vlogs on Youtube and travel blogs that can help you plan a day trip to Shifen and Jiufen, but some of them were written or made during the time Easy Cards were still not accepted by the TRA. All the how-to-buy guides just didn’t make sense to me. I also read about the Pingxi Line One Day Pass as well, but when we arrived the TRA ticketing station the night before, it’s already closed. We tried reaching out to TRA office personnel, but it was hard because they don’t speak English. It took a while before it came to us that we can use our Easy Card in the TRA. Thanks to the patience of both parties. TRA management could treat this an opportunity to put up English Translated Guidelines for tourists since an English speaking personnel is not available.

Look for Platform 4 of TRA headed to Su Ao

Important: Time tables in train stations are very accurate. Also, asking for correct platforms will save you time. Best ask train personnel in uniform for this info. Not all of them can speak English but you can tell them where you’re headed and they will help you find the right platform.

From Taipei Main Station, we rode the TRA to Houtong Station where Day 2 began with our quick visit to Houtong Cat Village.

Further reading: Houtong Cat Village

This is a legit village where residents know most of the cats. Litter boxes are present in certain areas of the station. Most of the shops are still close when we arrive around 9 am, maybe the best time to start is around 10 am. So we turned to their cat-themed 7-eleven for breakfast, where walls have cat designs on them while outside they have a Houtong exclusive photo booth for customers/visitors.

Inside the Vision Hall or their Tourist Information Center is an exhibit of the former coal mining town before it closed in the 90’s. Close by is the Village Cat Cafe slash souvenir shop where cat themed stuff and postcards are being sold. Prices range from 20-300NT$. If you have more time to spare, you can sign up for a tour and explore their Houtong Coal Mine Ecological Park.

The visit to Houtong Cat Village was not very long because we have to move to Shifen Old Street. To get there, we rode the train that took us to Shifen Station. Shifen is only three stations away from Houtong but the TRA travels at a slower speed compared to other train lines. One can just take advantage of the time viewing sceneries from the train window. I can’t believe Taipei still have places like these despite being so modern. We were standing the whole time on our way to Shifen. It seems to me that we are all going to the same place. It was lunchtime by the time we arrived. The moment these people got off the train, most of them were scurrying to find a place to eat.

Further reading: Shifen Waterfalls

Shifen Waterfalls is more than a kilometer walk from Shifen Station and I don’t think there are other ways to get there if you’re not signed up for a tour. Just keep walking and let google map guide you through. You might see a much smaller waterfalls along the way so let me tell you this: It’s not Shifen Waterfalls. You have to pass by a number of suspension bridges before getting to the Shifen Scenic Area and the Shifen Waterfalls. More nature appreciation and sightseeing opportunities coming up.

Now this is what we came here for. Others say that the best time to visit is when there’s rain, but for me the timing is perfect as it is. The feel of the mist coming towards me while I stood there was surreal enough. The selfie I took was terrible, so I decided not to post. I’ll share with all of you instead a shot that has captured the rainbow effect. I can just stand here for hours staring at the raging waters… but it’s a long walk back to Shifen Station and we are on a tight schedule. We have be in Jiufen before 4 pm for our reservation at A-mei’s Tea House.

Following the same path, we headed back to Shifen Station. We skipped Jing’an Suspension Bridge on our way back though. Shifen Old Street will wait for me to come back, I know. So much to see and discover here!

There are two ways to get to Jiufen Old Street from Shifen Old Street (if not signed up for tours): ride a cab or transfer to Ruifang Station and then take the bus from there. I believe the TRA is very reliable and much affordable compared to taxis so we hopped on the train back to Ruifang and took the bus going to Jiufen. You won’t get lost in Ruifang as there are a lot of signs that can help you find the right bus stop. From this point on I’d like to express how much I love Taiwan’s transport system because buses and trains come on time. In case of delays, time tables will let you know as well.

Tip: If you’re in Taipei City proper and you want to visit Jiufen, you may ride the express Bus 965 near Taipei Main Station to save time.

Jiufen Old Street is popular among Studio Ghibli fans because it is closely linked to the film Spirited Away. Some say Hayao Miyazaki used this town as reference for his Oscar winning movie, but he says similar places like it exists in other parts of the world. There are a lot of arguments online regarding this topic, but coincidence or not it seems the town has already embraced the Spirited Away thing to further strengthen its tourism.

Further reading: Jiufen

Since we haven’t eaten any lunch, first thing we did in Jiufen was find a place to eat. Close to the entrance of Jiufen Old Street is a stall selling Taro Balls. I don’t know the name of this store but I hope the photos will make it recognizable. They sell Taro Balls (hot or iced) at 50 NT$. Got one iced with pearl barley and it felt like a complete meal. Maybe the hot version is also nice but for us who were walking the whole time, the cold version is satisfying.

Grandma Lai’s Taro Balls is also famous here in Jiufen

A-Zhu’s Peanut Ice Cream Roll is one famous stalls in Jiufen. You can watch a lot of vlogs about it on social media. One peanut roll costs 40 NT$. It’s made with peanut brittle shavings topped with Taro ice cream and then wrapped with something we call “lumpia wrapper” in the Philippines. You also have the option of adding some cilantro to it. The Taro “ice cream” has an icy texture rather than creamy so I think they should call it “sorbet” instead. I didn’t become a fan of this peanut roll because I’ve been paranoid the wrapper might bring me indigestion.

That day might be one of Jiufen‘s busiest days. When we arrived outside A-mei Tea House, we just sat there and waited for our accommodation because it was packed with tourists wanting to witness this spectacle similar to a scene from Spirited Away. If you are a fan, I’m sure you won’t miss the chance of having a photo with A-mei Tea House as your background. It was quite a moment for me as well, to stand there imagining Chihiro and Haku and Yubaba’s bath house. Probably the same for a lot of other Japanese tourists climbing up the Jiufen Tea House just to get a good view for their selfies. I am not exaggerating.

Further reading: A-mei’s Tea House

The highlight of our Day 2 is totally A-mei Tea House. To experience this, I bought vouchers from Klook to spare us from the hassle of lining up. Besides, you come to a tea house to have tea, right? If you book for this experience from Klook, you can easily choose from their sets which includes tea and snacks that go with it. Minimum of two vouchers per transaction for this so I guess solo travellers will have to line up to get in.

Set: Tea plum, Milk plum, Sesame flakes, Brown Sugar Mochi, Mung Bean Cake and High Mountain Oolong Tea

A complimentary postcard from A-mei Tea House is also included in the set. When I entered a bookstore in Xinyi District, I saw one and was surprised that it costs around 80 NT$ per piece. So please take care of your postcards if you get one.

A-mei Tea House staff knows how to speak several languages so it will be easy to communicate with them. Be prepared to listen to a set of instructions how to prepare the tea, how much of the tea you should brew, how many seconds you should let the tea sit and for facts about the tea you are about to drink. They say all of these things quickly so better ready those ears. Hot water is unlimited and staff make rounds to check if you have enough. We stayed until the red lanterns were lit but the number of people outside doubled since we arrived, plus it’s getting late and we really have to leave so I let it go. I just had my photo taken by the entrance instead. Can you imagine how we went past all these people so we could go back up?

We explored the area a little bit more before heading out to Raohe St. Night Market. I wish we had more time and also money to try more food! Though Jiufen is more like a shopping place than a food market, there are a lot of food stalls and small restaurants here that I wasn’t able to see anywhere else.

Commonly, travellers hit up Keelung Night Market right after visits to Shifen and Jiufen but it’s getting late and travel time to Keelung from Jiufen is almost two hours by bus. So I chose another night market closer to our hostel in the Zhongzheng District. Raohe Street Night Market is pretty popular in Songshan and among food vloggers/bloggers who have been to Taipei.

Look for Bus 1062 heading to Songshan
Raohe St. Night Market

Time for dinner when we reached Raohe St. Night Market so we sat down and decided to order this thick seafood soup after seeing it from that huge steaming pot. Sorry, forgot to list down the price.

Before our phones and my camera ran out of batteries, we were still able to take pictures of food and stalls we saw as we looked around. Sure, there are lots of good food in night markets and with all that food around you it’s quite hard to choose which one appeals to you the most. As much as we want to try them all, I still had some restrictions like seafood and super oily food. Watched a couple of vlogs about night market food while doing my research and I conclude that Taiwanese and tourists alike here in Taipei seems to be fond of fried food otherwise there will be limited stalls here that sell them.

We tried some of these fried dumplings commonly found in night markets and are uniformly priced at 40-50 NT$. Bottom parts are fried while inside it remains soft and juicy. Spicy sauce is always the best choice.

Fried Dumplings

I cannot resist the call of milk tea after all the food we had. Ordered a drink at ONECA but instead of milk tea, I bought matcha coffee. Not sure if we have this variation in milk tea shops across Manila but it’s my first time trying such combination. ONECA is new in Taiwan and currently expanding, with a plans to have branches in Taichung, Kaohsiung as well as Taipei 101. Can’t wait for them to reach Manila too.

Matcha Coffee with pearls

Before heading home, this Japanese style okonomiyaki has come to our attention so we lined up and gave it a try. It has egg, strips of bacon, mayo and bonito flakes on top and prepared very nicely by these hardworking guys. Their stall isn’t hard to locate: Just look for that yellow sign and a long queue of people waiting to be served.

That is all for Day 2. On my next post, I will share with you our adventures in Maokong Village and the Xinyi District.

E-Mart’s NO BRAND: No brand but expensive?

E-Mart, one of Korea’s biggest supermarket chains teamed up with Robinson’s Retail to open their first overseas store here in the Philippines. NO BRAND is E-Mart’s private brand. They’re set to open 25 NO BRAND stores in the country, along with 25 Scentence beauty stores at major shopping malls according to The Korea Herald last Tuesday.

As soon as I read about it on twitter, I thought about scheduling a visit to its pilot store in Robinson’s Galleria. I know you are curious about NO BRAND and it’s the reason why you’re reading my blog right now. Let us begin, shall we?

Here are some of my expectations:

  • huge area
  • purely Korean retail store
  • an aisle or two dedicated for K-beauty products

None of these expectations were met, but the store is brimming with interesting snacks and food ingredients I have never seen before. And later on you will be seeing some of the stuff that caught my attention and those that made it to my haul. My first stop was the snacks section. Snacks range from 60 to 300 pesos, while the nuts can go as high as 800 pesos. I appreciate the minimalist packaging, contents can be easily identified through English text and clear plastic jars.

Seaweed and Wasabi Potato Chips, an all-time favorite.

One of their best sellers, Purple Sweet Potato Chips is at P62.75 per can.

I bought two of these Original Potato Chips. P57.25 per can.

Sesame Sticks are sold at P134.50 per bag. The bag is about the size of our local choco chip cookie bags.

Although NO BRAND stores should be about Korean goodies, I assume that it’s only about 80 percent Korean. They have Jasponica rice, HOP (House of Polvoron), Japanese Mochi, Japanese Egg Soy Sauce and Taiwanese brand milk tea on top of their Korean offerings.

The Wasabi Square Cookies are made in Chiayi County, Taiwan. When you bite into the cookie, the wasabi taste is really strong but as you chew them the cookie turns sweet. This is addicting if you are into wasabi like me.

Wasabi cookie squares, P125 per pack.

I got a small box of Sesame mochi because black sesame is so good!

Sesame Mochi 210 gms, P129.50

Here’s a photo of 3:15 PM milk tea. They have 5 sachet boxes and the 15 sachet packets. 5-sachet boxes are at P134 per box.

NO BRAND has their own instant noodles, I got one bag just in case. I saw instant jjangmyeon and placed it in my basket right away. Other noodles available are Jin and Nongshim noodles. Not sure if you can get them cheaper here at NO BRAND though.

4+1 Shin Ramyun noodle soup by Nongshim

NO BRAND Jjang Ramen, P180.75 per pack.

They have an aisle dedicated for candies/chocolates too. There were no milk chocolate bars, only dark chocolate ones so I picked the one with yellow and white NO BRAND wrapping for P76.50 each. Already sampled them at home and its your typical dark chocolate. Also on display is the 70 percent dark choco. I believe they’re both made in France.

Some snacks I found interesting but didn’t buy are the following:

Coffee Peanuts, P314.50 per 530 grams

Mixed Nuts, P728.25 per 800 grams.

Seaweed Strips with Almonds, P126.25 per bag.

Seaweed and Fish Chips, P126.25 per bag.

Pop Brown Rice

Mixed Grains, P655 per canister.

They also sell instant rice (microwaveable ones) and meal sauces. I only bought the one for Mapo Tofu though. I might come back for the Jjang Sauce next time.

Germinated Black Rice, P63.25 per bowl.

Chinese Tofu Sauce, P72.50 per pouch.

Homestyle Jjang Sauce, P96.50 per pouch.

If you like cooking and baking, Korean food or not, NO BRAND has an aisle or two of ingredients for you. Their line up of flavored seaweed/laver is nice I want to try them all.

Gimbap Sheets, P124.50 per pack.

P149.50 for a pack of 6

Soy Sauce for Eggs 200ml, P30

Homestyle Galbi Marinade, P110.25 per pouch.

Flavored Salt, P96.50 per 500 grams

Fried Chicken Batter Mix, P139.25

Korean Pancake Mix, P156 per 1.2 kgs.

Homestyle Cream Soup, P69.25 per 100 grams

Herb Seasoning Salt, P128.50 at 50 grams

This seasoned seaweed reminded me of Jo Ji Ah! She made rice balls like these for Kim Min Kyu in I Am Not A Robot (로봇이 아니야).

Seasoned Seaweed, P190.50 per pouch

Perilla Seed Powder 300 grams per pack at P251.25

Soybean Powder for Soup 400 grams, P239.50

Their pasta sauces look pretty decent. I took pictures of them just in case. First photo is for seafood pasta, I think. Slightly priced higher than the other variants at P143.25. Tomato, Cream and Rose Spaghetti sauces are P132.50, 400 grams per pouch.

Came across jams and spreads as well. My basket has no room for them at the moment. For baking enthusiasts, they might be good deals.

Crunchy Peanut Butter 400 grams, P219.50

Hazelnut Choco Cream 400 grams, P247.50

Strawberry Jam 800 grams, P344.25

Apple Jam 800 grams, P359.25

NO BRAND also have their kind of coffee, tea, juices and other drinks. Forgot to take pictures of the cereals, sorry about that. Some of their drinks are a bit pricey, but they have coffee in big cans and packs. It was a crowded aisle so I was only able to take a few pictures of them.

NO BRAND also offer frozen deli, meats, pizza, dumplings and even cake! I read somewhere that their cheesecake is good. Might try it out on Christmas.

P323.50, 660 ml ice cream/sorbet tubs

Green Tea Ice Cream, P302.50

I’m done with all the food, now we’ll move on to NO BRAND’s non-food offerings. I checked on their bath essentials and saw that they have a lot of bubble bath and liquid soap variants, but only one kind of bath soap. Their shampoo bottles are huge too, comes in 1500 ml bottles which in my opinion is “sulit” compared to just 500 ml bottles of branded shampoos. Not sure about their conditioners though, I didn’t see labeled ones. But I saw bottles of hair essence, enlighten me if they’re the same.

1L shampoos, P358.25

1.5L shampoos, P456.50

Hair Treatment 200 ml, P294.50

Hand creams, facial cleansers, face masks, and other skin care products, they have it! But I noticed there are no make up lines here just yet. But they do have something for your kids and babies on their shelves. Limited at the moment, but who knows, NO BRAND Philippines just might add more in the future.

Baby Comfort Cream 200 ml, P317.50

Baby Comfort Wash 500 ml, P475.25

Deep Cleansing Foam 200 ml, P251.25

Their kitchen towels, sanitary napkins, panty liners, tissue and wipes also come in bulk. I bought a pack of 34 Overnight Sanitary Napkins at P341.50. Pretty competitive price, I think. They also have a number of laundry soaps available in powder and bar form. They even have this dedicated laundry soap for underwear that I added to the haul, a gift idea for neat freak people in any occasion.

Laundry Soap for Underwear, P56.50

Ordinary Laundry Soap 450 grams, P79.50

Laundry Bar Soap 450 grams, P81.25

Oxygen Bleach 3 kgs, P610.50

Overnight Pads (33 cm), P341.50 for a pack of 34

Looks like NO BRAND also aims to be on the eco-friendly side as well. These two paper products are quite interesting too, if you’ll ask me. I cannot imagine how to reuse these stuff but sounds good. Subject for further research, these two.

Reusable Kitchen Wipes, P466.25 per roll

Washable Paper Towel, P436.50 per roll

There you have it. Might visit again next week when it’s less crowded but I doubt. I’ll try to update this post if I can. I’ll also mention a few things I over heard while inside NO BRAND Philippines:

No Brand but still expensive? Why?

IMHO, it depends on the stuff you want to buy. I don’t want to over analyze on this either, so be the judge based on prices posted above.

How much is this?

Store just opened a few days ago. Some items are tagged, while others are not. I guess it’s an opportunity to be discovered by their staff.

They honor credit cards, yes?

Just like all major supermarkets, yes they do.

Plastic bag or paper bag?

They charge for plastic bags. Paper bags are free but it’ll be nice of you to bring eco bags for your haul.

Is this spicy or not?

Although majority of the items have English text, be mindful that this is still a Korean grocery store. Some of the staff are yet to be trained on this one. This is where your Google Translate comes in.

Disclaimer: Not a paid post.

My haul, a summary.

A Not-so-Total Recall: ONE OK ROCK Live in Manila

First glimpse of my ticketJanuary 17, 2016

Tension headache now puts me in nocturnal mode. The first time since 2016 started 17 days ago. You should know by now. I’ve been counting it down since Amuse Asia announced ONE OK ROCK’S 35xxxv Asia Tour last August 31. I went through a lot since that announcement. PULP Royalty heartache was the worst part… I had unstable BP and appetite loss for a couple of days. After shedding a few tears, I was ready to move on and prepared for ticket selling day. Practicing the Art of War, I got my desired ticket. Much to the wonder of sales ladies that day, we looked like we were running after dear life just for VIP tickets. It marked another countdown… that’s about to end in two days as Taipei Arena experience their DAY 2.Come Monday… it’s going to be surreal.


Before I begin, credits/thanks to jpopasia & Mei for helping me remember the details for this entry. I am just a daydream believer, not a memory keeper.  

Present, February 19, 2016

My concert OOTDHonestly, I don’t know how to properly start this. My thoughts are really disorganized, and I don’t even know if words are enough to describe how I felt a month ago. What I’m certain about is that it still appears to be dream like, and there are moments when I close my eyes and still see myself being in MoA Arena, my ears ringing due to the noise we have created…all for the love of ONE OK ROCK.

For the longest time I only saw them either on YouTube or DVD; followed them everywhere via Instagram and Tumblr (through fan updates) and seeing the guys perform live is just surreal.

The night before the concert, as I packed my things I thought about the whole thing as an adventure since I don’t know what waits for me…who am I going to meet or what am I to gain from all this. Looking back on that day (or that night), the last question was answered. T’was the ultimate fan girl experience I know I will remember for the rest of my life. Even without the PR I have longed and almost died for.

Time of Arrival, MoA Arena: 5:02 am. I always tell myself , Remember the Art Of War.

Yours truly and Kumi-san from Japan :)Not the first one but proud to be one of the early birds. The first thing I looked for? Not the comfort room… but medics. I was really worried about my BP since it can potentially hinder one of the happiest days of my life. The day before the concert, my BP reading went 140/100 the moment I found out that ONE OK ROCK has arrived. (I found out after my check up the morning after the con that it is something hormonal. I concluded that excitement can be very deadly for me. XD) During the first few hours of waiting I saw and met the “coolest kids” who later became IG, Twitter and even Tumblr friends. Some I am yet to find though, like Kumi-san from Japan (with me on the photo). I was told she doesn’t know any of her SNS accounts because it was her daughter who made it for her. I also got to see P.O.O.R Admins, and wrote a message on the banner the boys were holding during “selfie time”. IMG_20160119_095415Every time I see my name I’m still… OMG. For the first time in my life I loved the name I hated for all these years of existence. You can’t imagine the feels whenever I look at one of those IG clips Tomo held on to one side of the banner and recognize my own handwriting. OMG. Oh, I also got to finally meet Mei… YES.. who doesn’t know Mei? You can see me here (click to open her post) since I was the first victim, literally. I’m proud to be part of the first batch of her Fans on ONE OK ROCK series which some of you might’ve read at one point. If you haven’t but you own a copy PULP Magazine December ish, you’ll see the excerpt.

First view of centerstage :)Now, fast forward to 8:30 PM! Waiting in line for 13.5 hours outside and additional 2 hours inside the arena  was all worth it. The moment lights went out and the boys appeared on stage one by one… I forgot my fluctuating BP, my calm, and all the waiting time didn’t seem that long. My fan girl dreams are finally coming true. The first sight of Taka got me totally mesmerized that I don’t remember screaming his name. I was just there standing in awe and staring at the person I refer to as my “wonder wall”. This isn’t YouTube. This isn’t DVD. He is right in front of me now, holding a red microphone, jumping, running about, screaming and singing his heart out.Then there’s Toru on the VIP 2 side whom I never imagined to be Prince Charming material irl. No, I’m not a convert.. Taka still holds my heart. I just can’t help but look at Toru that way. Ryota, on the left side of the stage, who was the reason I decided on VIP 1. And right in the middle, unable to move around like the other three, is Tomoya, who just looked so adorable in his bouncing curly hair.

P1130812After the 35xxxv intro, Take Me To The Top got us all bouncing energetically. Their next song, Memories, came in next and you can see several middle fingers in the air, my own included, as soon as Taka exclaimed, “Go on and f*ck yourself!” I was kind of looking forward to doing that after I’ve seen their Paris live last year. It felt good. Lol.

Taka-san asked if we are ready, before proceeding with Deeper Deeper. The arena was shaking already, moments before you even thought about asking, Taka-san! Another surreal moment for me, this one, because I finally got to experience that clap sequence for the song’s intro. In the MLF live, this song got the crowd hyped the moment Taka-san began to clap, then cleared his voice in preparation for the opening screamo. And yes. We never we never we will not stop!

In his almost perfect English Taka introduced themselves as ONE OK ROCK and said that it’s their first time in the Philippines.(He slightly stammered at “Finally, we made it… here.” but that’s OK.) Thus, the first memorable quote for the night was delivered:  “Alright, who wants to have fun tonight, Philippines?” That was before he asked us all to wave our hands, while saying, “Let me see your f*cking hands!”Seriously love, do you really have to reiterate? Because all hands are up to begin with! Stuck In The Middle began and upon checking, the lively crowd was singing along to all the lyrics we know by heart.

Taka-sanWhen you see Taka-san’s hands “tick” you know that Clock Strikes is up! It seems to be very popular among Filipino fans because we were singing along with him, in unison, even though the lyrics is not in second language. Another OMG-worthy moment for Taka-san’s perfect singing voice. You can just imagine the goose bumps, #TeamBahay. I was staring at his neck the whole time, a weird habit of mine. You know the expression about neck veins when singing? His neck vein’s perfect, even with effort. His vocals are soo powerful. *insert swooning expression right here tee-hee*.

Another ballad, which is a new one, got included in this set list. It isn’t exactly OOR style but it just kind of grew into me. This song, Last Dance signaled us to embrace the slight change of ONE OK ROCK. There’s no escaping change. I learned (after reading Mei’s recall) that this song was being perfected by Taka during sound check. Lucky PR holders. sigh.

I was clearly rooting for the very handsome Toru during his showdown with Tomoya and Ryota. But no, my heart only belongs to you ,Taka-san! After his short break he prepared the crowd to Cry Out. Another set of goose bumps for me. Cry Out is one of my favorites out of 35xxxv albums. I am now perfectly in the zone, head banging…I never stopped singing along.

Second memorable quote for the night came in before he introduced their next song, Heartache. “Oh my God I told you this is our first time in the Philippines. We feel really good and are really, really happy to be here.” He was saying thank you endlessly…just goes to show how overwhelmed he is for the response of the Filipino fans to ONE OK ROCK. To be honest, I got a tiny bit disappointed that he didn’t play guitar while singing this one for us, but to compensate for that they did the original version, in their mother tongue. An ‘ocean of lights’ from our smartphone flashlights spontaneously lit up the Arena, adding more feels to the already piercing ballad. It was very beautifully captured by @julenphoto and even became the highlight of Toru’s night, as depicted in his IG post after the show in Manila.

Next up, Decision. It was sang in English, and Taka pulled it off without the help of his friend Tyler. Taka is getting really comfortable with the English lyrics of songs from the 35xxxv deluxe. At this point we’re halfway through the show. I can’t remember well from this part, (after Decision, came Suddenly) until it was time for The Beginning. About time for my third and most memorable quote for the night. I know it not only applies to me but for the rest of #TeamBahay, #TeamArena, #TeamAbroad among others… their promise to return. And I quote, “We are definitely coming back here! That’s a promise Manila!” I think this part of the show was the most intense for me.  In my summary (that can be found on Mei’s Love for 10969 series), I mentioned that being able to hear it live and to sing along to it was nothing but surreal. The Beginning will always be my favorite song by them. Now I want to cry just remembering how it felt back then! *I miss you, Taka-san!*

VIP 1 view!As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Their final song on the set list was Mighty Long Fall. My energy was still high even at this point because I can’t wait for the encore! And now for memorable quote number four: “Do you still want a bit more? Me too” Taka-san said, teasing us more. Since I already researched on this I knew it’s going to include Wherever You Are. Replaying my live cam, I was surprised at how well I sang along, my Japanese lyrics were even perfect! I think this was the song where Taka held out his mic and let us all take the lead since we like to sing very much haha. He looked so happy. Even Toru’s smile was permanently plastered on that handsome face. My heart is right about to burst recalling all these. ONE OK ROCK made all the years of waiting so worthwhile. The satisfaction was two way though. Enter memorable quote number five (part of it): “You guys are so beautiful. Thank you so much!” They definitely loved Manila even more after that surreal number. To end the encore as well as the show, they played No Scared and 完全感覚 Dreamer. (The white balls are bouncing everywhere now)

I’m still desperately searching for a trace of me on the band’s “selfie” at the Arena, but the spotlight will forever be more dominant. If only it wasn’t there. Erasing those regrets now…at least I’m still there and it’s all that matters.  HAPPY MONTHSARY #ONEOKROCKLiveinManila. See you in part two, my dear reader! 

ONE OK ROCK's signature bow


                       Arigatou Gozaimasu, ONE OK ROCK!     See you soon, Taka-san...  

                       Arigatou Gozaimasu, ONE OK ROCK!     Arigatou Gozaimasu, ONE OK ROCK!