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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Syd in Manila: Part One

Hello friends! For all of you (and by all of you I mean the very, very tiny audience I have on blogger) who didn't know, I spent my winter vacation in the Philippines. Normally, we go back every two years for winter vacation or summer vacation. Seeing as how we went to London and Paris last year, my family decided to go back this year to the motherland. 

I wish I would have been able to blog during the trip, but due to the very unstable wifi connection, uploading pictures here had been a complete pain in the arse. However, I'm now back in the US so speedy wifi it is! 

I left Las Vegas on December 18th and headed to Los Angeles for the connecting flight that goes straight to Manila. Unfortunately Philippine Airlines pulled out of McCarran International Airport so I have the trouble of flying out to Los Angeles then taking another flight. Ah well, at least I reached my destination. My family and I arrived midnight in Manila and we were greeted by my aunts and uncles, for a snack we went to eat at the Manila Peninsula (unforunately I have no pictures huhuhu). After that we went straight home and called it a night. 

Next morning was when the fun started. My mom, sis, and I decided to go get our hair done at a Korean chain salon called Bangs Tony & Jackey. 

(from the website: Tony and Jackey Beauty Salon Corp. have come a long way from being a five-seater salon back in 2001. For more than 10 years, Tony & Jackey have continued to serve the Filipinos with quality hair service that are delivered in exceptional manner.)  

I've been getting my hair cut here every time I visit the Philippines and I can vouch for the fact that the hairstylists are top of the line, amazing, and very talented people.
The inside of their SM The Block branch. All stylists are Korean and the main color scheme of the entire place is black and white.

The chair a customer would sit on. The mirrors they have are so freaking high tech. When I was getting my undercut reshaved, my stylist Angela went ahead and played music videos that popped onto the screen to entertain me while she worked on my hair.

My sister getting one of their special digital perms. She looks like an octopus about to be electrocuted, hehe. I'm not entirely sure of how the process works but it did leave my sister's hair still very soft and in large ring curls. 

If ever you visit Manila, please do go and try out Tony & Jackey, you will not be disappointed!

After my haircut my aunt and I decided to go shopping downstairs. Filipino malls are very different from American malls. Malls here in the US are normally 2-3 stories tall but back in the Philippines, malls can go as high as 6 floors. Back when I lived there as a child I dreaded the weekend mall trips due to the vast amount of people and the endless walking. Now that I'm old and and appreciative, I don't mind the aching feeling after a days worth of shopping. Filipino malls also usually have their 6th floor reserved for salons, movie theaters, and arcades. 5th floor would be restaurants and the like. 4th-1st would all be stores along with the gigantic department stores. 

One thing I love about shopping in the Philippines is that they have stores so unique to them I always look forward to going to whenever I come back. One store in particular however isn't so exclusive to the Philippines. UNIQLO! I love Uniqlo. The closest one I have is all the way in San Francisco so I went ahead and went all out to get the shirts I'm sure I won't be seeing elsewhere. Thank you to my ninang for buying these shirts for me, it means a whole lot!

 The first store I visited. Haven't been inside a Uniqlo in two years? So I went ahead and went crazy. I love the lifewear brand. Everything is so comfortable and easy going, lots of simple but very stylish finds. I'm just bummed they don't have one here in Vegas. Hopefully within the next decade they'll have one up and running!

Came in at the perfect time. Uniqlo was having a year end sale, especially on their basic graphic t-shirts.
This is where the damage done to my aunt's wallet occurred. Now if you know me, my favorite colors when it comes to clothing are dark and very muted colors. So seeing this aisle almost gave me a heart attack. Uniqlo collaborated with several artists around the world to create these straightforward shirts. Artists such as Feel the Sea, Andy Warhol, Osamu Tezuka, Bearbrick, Keith Haring, 10 Grupen, Fender, and Peter Sutherland were featured for the men's 2013 collection.  
Being a Japanese brand, the very kind Filipino salesladies would bow before attending to a customer.
I grew up with Astro Boy so I could not resist getting an Osamu Tezuka collaboration t-shirt.
 My Uniqlo haul. I chose the designs of Osamu Tezuka, Keith Haring, Bearbrick, and 10 Grupen. Maybe one day when I'm older and have gained recognition, I could feature my design for Uniqlo! One day..one day. 

Afterwards, my aunt and I got a bit hungry so we went down to one of my favorite pastry shops to get some snacks for ourselves and my mom and sis (who were still getting their hair done).

 After a short while we went on to have lunch at Kimono Ken. Kimono Ken is a Japanese chain restaurant that serves fast but delicious Japanese cuisine. Their tempura is to die for. You don't find tempura like that in the states. 

See this is why I'm not a food blogger. The food pictures I post are so badly put together LOL

We strolled around the mall a little bit more and decided to go to Etude House. One of the many Korean cosmetic stores in the Philippines, Etude House remains to be one of my favorites, second only to the Face Shop. Etude House has a very cute feel to it and I love the masks they have. Another plus is that Sulli Choi from f(x) is the brand endorser. 
Minho from SHINee is also a brand endorser! The lifesize cut out of him is a bit scary. I didn't know he was that tall. Then again I am a shrimp, so anything past my height is gigantic.

An adorable comic featuring Sulli, Krystal, Key, Onew, and Taemin. Key is complaining of dry skin whilst Onew and Taemin make fun of him. Sounds about right LOL 

We went to Fully Booked as our final stop before going back home. Fully Booked is Manila's equivalent to the US's now defunct Borders. Borders and Fully Booked share that same easy going band/music atmosphere. Whenever I'm at Fully Booked I do pretend I'm back at Borders, hehe. 

And that's about it really! This wraps up day one of my trip. Dully noted, I didn't take pictures of every single day due to me wanting to relax, but there should be a couple parts to this very limited series hehe. Until then, happy reading!

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