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AN Diary Posts

My Experience in Getting A Slot in DFA Online Appointment System (2018)

You’re gonna apply or renew your passport, huh? But as of today, you would’ve seen DFA’s passport appointment website like this:
@no appointment1.

Last Feb, the same thing happened. I went to to set an appointment for passport renewal. But all slots were full until June, in all satellite offices around Luzon. I was fidgety and worried since my passport would expire in 5 months. Unlike few years ago, I didn’t expect that setting an appointment would be this da*n hard! Nao-chan was even surprised that we need appointments to renew our passports since they don’t need one (Of course, Japan and Philippines are incomparable when it comes to systematicness).

I think there is something fishy about appointments getting fully booked like a flash. Others say that travel agencies/fixers reserve a lot of slots then offer them for a hefty price. And as a ‘kuripot’ person (I don’t have money tbh hahaha), I didn’t want to pay about Php5000 for something that is supposed to be free. Also, we shouldn’t let those agencies and ‘crocs’ gain profit from their monkey business. So it didn’t become an option for me and I already accepted my fate that I won’t get any appointments anytime soon.

Until the first week of March arrived. I was so lucky to be able to secure an appointment for passport renewal. It really felt like I accidentally scored a 3-point buzzer beater shot! So let me share how:

I was consistently checking the site to see if there were open slots for July and the following months. I checked all the schedules of consular offices around NCR and Southern Luzon, except Puerto Princesa (‘cos it’s way too far from here). Fortunately, I found a few open slots for April, DFA Legazpi. It was okay for me though it’s a 12-hour drive from here because it’s my dad’s hometown. He could definitely accompany me and it would nice also to see my titos and titas there. So I reserved that one, yay!

MY ADVICE: Fill out the application form quickly and make sure that there are no errors as you type your info. We are only given 15 minutes to temporarily reserve the slot and if you’re not fast enough, you’ll probably blow your chance away.

However, a week before April 7, I got busier and busier, that made me unsure if I could make it to my appointment. I was considering to cancel it, but I felt I’d wasted my chance. So instead of cancelling it right away, I tried to check again if there are any other open slots and thanks to my lucky stars, I found a VERY few of them open in DFA NCR North (Novaliches, QC) for April 4. It was sooner than my first secured slot but it’s relatively nearer and besides, I didn’t have to be away from home for few days.

MY ADVICE: Never EVER delete your first appointment as soon as you found a better schedule on their calendar otherwise you’ll end up losing your only precious appointment slot. It’s because most of the time, the DFA site gets very slow and goes down. Since the ‘Change Appointment’ option never worked when I found a better sched at that time, What I did was I chose the newly preferred schedule I found and filled in all the information needed at first. I only cancelled my previous appointment right before I hit the ‘Submit’ button for my new application. Take note that DFA prohibits multiple appointment applications so it’s a risky thing to do. It will be a lot better if you’d come to your first reserved appointment, when the ‘Change Appointment’ option is not working.

By the way, you might ask what time of the day can we get a higher chance to see available slots? Well, in my experience, I got my first appointment around 4PM and for my second one, I successfully got it around 2AM-3AM. It’s really hard to tell actually. Recently, I think DFA is kind enough to advice people to check their site daily for any re-opened slots, unlike last February, a cold ‘NO TIME SLOTS AVAILABLE’ message would just pop up on your screen, as far as i can remember.

Just like you, I’m also an ordinary person who’s annoyed with the current system. So, following my advice won’t guarantee 100% that you can get a passport appointment. We really need luck and eyebags to get one, friends! Please share your experiences in getting your passport by commenting below 🙂

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REA(L)OVE on Netflix: My Review

I subscribed to Netflix six months ago so I’ve started watching a few series (though my siblings are using it more than I do ^^) Recently,I’m into some reality TV series particularly Terrace House. It’s about six people, with different personalities and passion live in one roof to look for a potential partner. I got to know it from my former co-workers who had been watching it during lunch breaks. I find it very interesting – They live in a big, fancy house and they also have gorgeous cars that they can drive during their ‘dates’ or when the group is going to hang out together. The members are also wonderful as most of them have cool personas. Some of the members are models (that’s why they are so good-looking!), university students, or even athletes.

But few days ago, I bumped into this new Japanese Netflix show. I could say that it is a bit similar to Terrace House since the objectives are pretty same. Rea(l)ove is a Japanese dating reality show which participants will get to know each other for three days in Okinawa. But the twist is as the show continues, each of them will reveal their dark pasts that they have to get over with to find a new love. This one seems to be intriguing, so I gave it a try!

Watching the first episode, I thought it was a scripted drama, but no~ With regards to location, it is superb. It makes me want to go to Okinawa! However, it’s quite apparent that the show is not as classy and sophisticated as Terrace House as some reviews say it was ‘trashy’. The hosts of the show are quite popular, Atsushi Tamura and Mari Yaguchi who are said to have had been involved in some controversies before. They revealed the male participants first, then the female ones followed. Unlike the Terrace House members, most of them look very ordinary, (less good-looking tbh) and that made me more curious what kind of secrets they have. They had a segment called ‘Free Time’ where they could speak with any members freely. They are observed concurrently by the hosts, making commentaries about what’s going on. Atsushi-san is ruthlessly frank and harsh, which makes me annoyed a bit. Thankfully, Mari-san is a considerate one and always try to make him stop saying such offensive words!

What made me watch more is each secrets were revealed in every episode. In the middle of the segments, those members are randomly picked by the host and they had to tell their dark pasts in front of whoever they were with. In the first episode, the secrets revealed by the (un)lucky participants are shocking and a bit difficult to bear. Some are compassionate enough and tried to comfort each other. But most of them get discouraged after knowing the secrets of their prospects which I think is a normal thing, a typical human reaction.

I managed to watch all episodes of this reality show. And I must say that it was somehow OK. Though I doubt about its authenticity after since the ‘couples’ didn’t really succeed. Like right after the program, one member was hanging out with the other member whom she rejected during the show. I couldn’t get it really.

Anyway, if you want something extraordinary and want to take a break from fancy series, i think this is worth the try 🙂

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My Short Struggles as a Creative Newbie

You might be thinking why I haven’t been updating the blog in the past year… Not because I’m lazy! Actually, I got tied up with my work then and I’m going to share my experience /(^___^)\


Weeks before my graduation last 2017, I received a message from my supervisor during my internship, offering me a position at their ad agency. I was very happy as I had been dreaming to work there and since not all graduates can get a job right away, I really felt lucky.


I thought I’m ready to take the next step. Getting in the advertising is what I wanted since my 2nd year at the university. I fell in love with the process of creating ad campaigns. From understanding people’s mindset and behavior, to visualizing concepts. I’m aware of the struggles working in the field, but it never discouraged me. Until I experienced them myself.
Working in the ad agency is indeed very interesting but struggles were getting in the way. As a newbie, I did realize some things:


Hey! I’m Not an Intern Anymore
When I entered the company, it was a season for internships. So after a few weeks, creative interns came in. To be honest, I felt a bit nervous since I don’t know how good they are. I was still a bit insecure about my abilities then. But that anxiety grew more when I got compared to them (though, I know I still LOOK like one haha) I remembered my boss once told me, “The intern said he can think of 6 ideas for this month’s posts, but how come you’re not sure you can make it?” and “I still count you as an intern”. I felt more pressured since I’m the one who’s paid by the company, and it would be a big slap on my face if I’m not useful enough or if they find interns better than I do. But don’t misinterpret me – I don’t hate them. I had that kind of feeling but I did get along really well with the interns. I don’t mind about the so-called ‘seniority system’ and they became my friends. 🙂

The Pain of Rejection is Real
In my job interview, I mentioned that one of my strengths is I can easily move on from rejections. I think it is one important quality to be able to survive in this ‘subjective’ industry, where revisions are an everyday thing. In my high school days, or even in my college days, I faced quite a lot of rejections and failures, and I thought I got used to it. I’ve learned how to accept them, then do something. But to be honest, no matter how aware I was, it’s still somewhat  painful for me to know that my ideas were rejected. I realized that until now, I’ve never gotten used to get my ideas and sketches turned down, as I deeply thought each one of them. I imagined that they will be approved and see them on different media. By that time, when the client or my boss asked for revisions, it gets really tough to go back from scratch. (That’s why falling in love with your ideas is FORBIDDEN!)

Am I Really Getting Creative?
So, thinking, visualizing and getting rejected became a daily cycle. I had to give up my creative style to please the client and have the posts approved. I started questioning myself – Is advertising really for me? Maybe it was too early for me to enter this industry. I thought maybe I should explore more and further expand my abilities.


After almost a year,  I finally decided to quit my job in the agency. Perhaps I needed to take a step back and do the things what I love to do. Recently, I’m still hibernating but I want to further improve my illustration skills (my first love!) as I felt my hand got rusty and I haven’t done a nice illustration since last year. So please check out my drawings soon! 🙂


So Am I Giving Up the Advertising Path?


Not! I still have love for advertising and it will not easily fade. It’s no that I gave up, but taking a retreat is a good way to practice harder to achieve our goals. Now that I had a glimpse of the advertising world, I have an idea on how to be a better creative. I want to go back in that field as less intimidated, more outspoken and confident person.


Now that I am #unemployed, I can have more time to blog! 😀 😀 😀
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I Love this Shiseido Commercial!「なぜ資生堂のCMが好き?」

Long time no write! Aika here~

Couple of days ago, Nao-chan sent me a YouTube video. It’s the newest commercial of Shiseido, and it really made my heart melt because my favorite actresses were there, Ryoko Shinohara, Maki Yoko and my current most favorite Yuriko Ishida!

Ryoko Shinohara (Screengrab from Shiseido Co. Ltd. Youtube Video)


Maki Yoko (Screengrab from Shiseido Co. Ltd. Youtube Video)


They are so gorgeous and their beauty never fades, especially Yuri-san! (My #midagegoal is to be like her when I reach my 40s hahaha)

Yuriko Ishida (Screengrab from Shiseido Co. Ltd. Youtube Video)

The video doesn’t have any English subtitles so Nao-chan had to explain everything about it. According to him, the newest commercial introduces Shiseido’s Hyoujyou (facial expression) Project. It reminds women not to be reluctant in showing their emotions. We all know that as we get older, wrinkles and visible lines appear when we smile, cry or do any facial expression which most of women don’t want to show.


Aside from the angles, videography and ‘pastel’-like vibe of the CM, I’m truly amazed to the story or concept. I like that it established a ‘human connection’ and it was able to highlight Shiseido’s significance.  (As an advertising major student, I really have to observe that XD)


Anyway, see the video here. There’s no English subtitles but you’ll definitely enjoy it since the music is nice! 😀
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Strolling around Tokyo Asakusa with Ricoh Theta S

Recently I bought Ricoh Theta S.
This camera can capture 360 orbital view.

I would like to start take the photos of Tokyo and other areas as orbital images (‘ω’)

Seeing those images make me dizzy a bit actually, but exciting (^O^)

Anyway I strolled around my favorite place Asakusa….

To see images below properly, browsing with Google Chrome recommended.
Or click and jump to Google streetview.



Kaminarimon Gate


Nakamise Street.
Many lovely shops.

Retouching the photo to remove myself is very troublesome.
I should compromise retouching stone tiles.

I want to be invisible to save the time to retouch.


Continue reading Strolling around Tokyo Asakusa with Ricoh Theta S

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Aika Finally Travels: Wandering around Singapore

Finally, I was able to have a my long vacation! Over the past few months, my world revolves around work and studies. (That’s why I couldn’t post so much in our blog haha) I work almost every day, even on weekends and write my thesis after tutoring. It was my first time to go on a trip abroad, and though Nao-chan wouldn’t be the first person whom I’ll travel with, I’m super thankful to my closest friend, Bebe-chan for inviting me to go on a trip with her. She planned for our trip and also introduced me to a lot of places, and importantly, food!

So after a 3-hour flight, we safely landed to Singapore! We arrived to our accommodation around ten in the evening so we just took a rest and got ready for tomorrow’s stroll!


First Stop: Little India

Our hostel was located around Veerasamy Road, so we could reach this very interesting place by a few minutes of walking. At that time, It was Deepavali Festival,  a religious festivity widely celebrated in India. and since Indians are part of the Singaporean multicultural society, this has also become a very important holiday in the country.

little india-deepavali
The streets were decorated with colorful, bird-like lanterns

Little India is full of shops, offering various items. The establishments are all amazing as they are vintage and vividly painted.





The streets were full of people because of the holiday. And I admit, at first I felt something. We look different so there are lots of time some locals were looking at us. But of course, this place is really safe and very interesting, I must say.  In fact when I was here, I almost forgot that I’m in Singapore! I could see a few women wearing gorgeous sarees, the aroma of curry and the lively Indian music.


Continue reading Aika Finally Travels: Wandering around Singapore

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