Hanging Out in Hokkaido: Snow Day

Hey! How have you  been? I haven’t posted in months!

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I’m so excited to tell you about what’s been going on recently!!

Late last year, we were invited to visit the 2017 Sapporo Ice Festival. The trip is to celebrate our supplier’s 70 years in the Philippines and will be all-expenses paid. Yay! I wasn’t supposed to go but my brother wasn’t available so we had one remaining ticket 🙂 I had my reservations at first because it might coincide with another trip but luckily, it didn’t! 🙂

Preps for the trip started right after we found out; we were in Japan twice late last year so we decided to look for and buy winter stuff, i.e. boots and thermals, then. We scored Columbia winter boots for just 3,500 pesos! Such a steal! Of course, our thermals were from Uniqlo lol.

Okay, now that that’s done. It’s time to tell you about the trip itself.

We left Manila in the morning and arrived in Tokyo at 3PM. Our generous sponsor gave us business class tickets! Hello, airport lounge and leg room!

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The view from the airport lounge. Not in photo: the amount food I consumed inside the lounge!

I just have to say that ANA’s flight attendants were really nice and courteous. They greeted us personally upon boarding. I mean greeted us like,  “Hi, Ms. _______. Please enjoy the flight”. They changed into “proper attire” when it was time to serve the food. They removed their coats and wore aprons.  Also, napaka-efficient nila. Unlike sa atin na ang daming announcements and preparations before landing, ANA’s crew  do all of these just once. Like when we’re really about to land na.

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LEG ROOM. DI AKO SANAY, BES
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We were given a choice of Western or Japanese food. I chose Western! Ang sarap!

Our flight to Chitose Airport was at 5:55PM so we had time to buy last minute winter gear at the airport. There are a lot of shops inside Narita Airport pala. There was Muji and Uniqlo. I didn’t know! We left the airport on time and landed close to 8PM with ice on the tarmac!  It was so cold! I don’t remember the exact temperature but I think it was below zero. The tour guide told us that we were lucky because a few days before, the snowfall was heavy and there was limited visibility.

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Our first glimpse of the snow

By the time we got to the hotel, I was famished. Maybe the cold burned most of the food I ate on the way HAHAHA. We ate grilled beef and seafood hotpot, and ordered hot beverages as we sat down.

Our first meal

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After dinner, we checked in to our rooms. My sister and I wanted to test our new boots so we went out. It was legit white all around; the bushes lining the sidewalk were covered in snow and you can see snow that’s been shoved to the side of the road. We walked along the street until we couldn’t take the cold anymore. We stopped at a Family Mart to see what we could buy. While there, we called our parents via Viber to show them we were still alive… just frozen. Joke!

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The boots
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The sidewalk by our hotel

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My nose was getting red and there was already smoke coming out of my mouth when I breathed. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. As we were nearing the hotel, it started to snow!! I was seriously freaking out!

Our call time the next day was, I think, at 9:45AM. After breakfast, we still had some time so we went out again. Guess what? IT WAS SNOWING! We walked to the nearest department store (where the others were) and took more photos. Nag-selfie din yata kami with a snow-covered tree. hahaha! #turista

Slow-mo para kita ‘yung snow! :p

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After our fun in the snow, we boarded the bus going to Snowland. It was this park where you can do different snow activities like snow sliding, snowmobile driving, skiing and others. Snow sliding was included in the package so it’s free while the others had additional fees. I tried the snow sliding first kasi for sure hahaba pa ang pila (we were the first tour group to arrive), and then my sister and I purchased tickets for the snow mobile. The slide was so much fun; you get these salbabida-shaped things and then go up the slide made of snow. Once on top, you choose a slide (there were four), sit on top of your salbabida and then ask the guide to push you down. I did it three times because my sister didn’t get a photo or video of me twice! At my last try, the guide turned my salbabida around so I was sliding down backwards! Kaloka si ate. Baka nairita na sa akin HAHAHA.

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On the other hand, the snowmobile activity was like driving at a go-kart; you get five rounds to drive around the track.  It was a bit scary at first because of the turns and the possibility of crashing into another person but I eventually got the hang of it. My sister got a free round! Beside and behind the park’s main building, there were a few snow sculptures. They also offered pony rides!!

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We had lunch after at a horse park called Northern Horse Park. Most of the award-winning race horses come from Hokkaido and this park is one of the many that raise them. They also house retired horses. We were allowed to roam the grounds after eating to meet the horses but sadly they were kept inside due to the cold weather. I did see a border collie dog, though! He was patiently waiting outside the restaurant for its owners. Before we left, I saw it playing with kids in the snow 🙂

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We went to the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival next. It was situated near the Lake Shikotsu, thus, the name. In order to see the ice creations, you walk through a tunnel. At the end of the tunnel is the ticket booth where they ask for donations for maintenance. Past the ticket booth is a winter wonderland! It was like being in an ice city! See the photos below to find out 🙂

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My favorite!

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We left the festival and headed to Sapporo for the next leg of our trip! On the way, we saw deers! 🙂

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