Autumn in Japan: Toyama, Gifu and Nagano

Search any travel blog for the best countries to visit, and we’re sure that Japan will rank high on any list.  The country has become a favorite stop for professional travelers and everyday tourists alike.  Top 10 list after Top 10 list highlight just how fun and amazing Japan can be.

We here at Our Awesome Planet make no exception to this informal rule as we frequent Japan whenever the opportunity arises.  We’ve had the pleasure to cover most of the island archipelago in every season.  And while Japan is great to visit all year round, Team Boom and Sean find that the best time to go is definitely during the Autumn months (September, October, November) when the climate is perfect, not being too hot nor too cold.

We suggest taking advantage of the cooler climate to visit some of Japan’s more rural areas and countryside.  Central Japan has so much going on, and we rather enjoyed our trip, which we found was a great alternative to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

Visiting Central Japan in the spring and summer months is another adventure all its own.  You can read more about our Central Japan Road Trip (itinerary) with Abi and Nico here —> https://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/2019/09/central-japan.html 

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FRANCESCO’s Italian Restaurant finally in BGC!

Francesco’s is an Italian Restaurant by Chef Francesco Rizzo (chef of the former Paparazzi in Edsa Shangri-La) that serves traditional regional cuisine—from brick oven pizzas, to home made pastas, to ossobucos, to Italian desserts. 🙂

With the success of their flagship branch on Mabini St., San Juan, they finally opened Francesco’s in BGC to provide authentic Italian food to its professionals and food enthusiasts.

Here’s what we think of Francesco’s BGC…


The Best of New Italian Restaurants in Manila (2020):

a mano: Best New Italian Restaurant in Manila!
Wild Flour Italian: Best of Italian Flavors in BGC!
Osteria Daniele BGC: Kicking Off the Osteria Game in Manila
Single Origin Osteria: Your Friendly Neighborhood Italian Resto in Salcedo
FRANCESCO‘s Italian Restaurant finally in BGC!

First Things First

Francesco’s is located beside Tomatito’s, around the corner where the Buca di Beppo American Italian franchise opened (and now closed).

30th St. corner 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Telephone: +632 8281-1285
Mobile: +63 919 007-8581
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Francesco’s
Instagram: @francescosph

Francesco’s Menu: Start With | Pizza, La Pasta & More | Panini, Sweets | Cocktails

The ambiance is a bit generic that you are not enticed to go in, targeting BGC professionals for a quick Italian fix.

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YAMAZATO MANILA: Michelin-Starred Japanese Kaiseki Anniversary! @HotelOkura

Yamazato, founded in Hotel Okura Tokyo in 1962, is a Japanese fine dining restaurant specializing in kaiseki and teppanyaki experiences at the Resorts World Manila complex.

Yamazato comes from its two Kanji characters 山 “yama” meaning “mountain” plus 里  “zato” meaning “village,” signifying the highest quality of Japanese food in Manila with focus on fresh produce and prime seafood from Japan.

We celebrated our 17th Wedding Anniversary with the family with an intimate kaiseki meal.

Here are some tips for your next awesome Yamazato experience in Manila…


: 2nd Floor, Hotel Okura Manila, 2 Portwood Street, Newport City, Pasay City 1309 Metro Manila, Philippines
Operating Hours:
Lunch: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM (Tuesdays to Sundays)
Dinner: 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Tuesdays to Sundays)
Telephone: +632 5318 2888
Facebook: Hotel Okura Manila
Instagram: @hotelokuramnl
Website: https://www.hotelokuramanila.com/culinary/yamazato


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Panda Express Manila: Is it Worth Lining Up For? (Review) @pandaexpressph

Panda Express opened in Megamall towards the end of 2019 and, up to now, people still line up for their famous chicken for more than an hour during peak hours.

We have better Chinese restaurants in Manila, so is it really worth it to queue for American Chinese fast food?  Here’s what we think…

Address: Upper Ground Floor, SM Megamall A, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
Operating Hours: Open Daily during Mall Hours 10.00 am – 10.00 pm
Facebook: Panda Express Philippines
Instagram: @pandaexpressph
Twitter: @pandaexpressph
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.pandaexpress.com.ph/

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#Hotels, Staycation

20 Best Staycations in Manila of the Decade (2020)! Part 1

We have experienced almost all the best hotel staycation experiences in Manila in the last decade with our four boys.

Here’s to the family’s top ten memorable stays in the metro during the last ten years—from the grandest rooms, to the fanciest breakfasts and restaurants, to the most exciting pools and kids facilities, down to the most excellent service and spa treatments:

1. OKADA MANILA STAYCATION (Overall, the Best Staycation Experience in Manila!)

Dubbed as “Manila’s Grand Icon,” OKADA Manila in Entertainment City is a 44-hectare oceanfront Japanese Integrated Resort with a steel and glass facade.

It’s the flagship Okada Manila resort and the largest integrated resort in Manila, combining a 993-room Y-shaped hotel, 10 restaurants, 4522 square meters of ballroom and function rooms, Asia’s largest ultra-luxury indoor beach club and the world’s largest multicolor dancing water feature in one massive complex.

Read more: OKADA Manila: How to Experience the Best Family Staycation Ever @OkadaManila


Okada Manila is one of our family’s best staycations ever because they have the best rooms, the best spa, the best restaurants, not to mention an amazing fountain.

We enjoyed relaxing in the room in between the food trips in their restaurants. The Casino areas are off-limits for the kids so make sure to have a conversation with them explaining why.

This is an awesome place to create lasting memories celebrating life’s milestones and special occasions in Manila.


: New Seaside Drive, Entertainment City, Parañaque City, 1701, Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +632 8880 7555
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
FacebookOkada Manila
Website: www.okadamanila.com

The cheapest weekend rate for Premium King Suite: ₱ 32,000/night.

Pricing changes based on day and availability so best to check out Okada Manila’s low rates and availability here:
Booking.com | Okada Manila (9.3 Superb ratings)*
Agoda.com | Okada Manila (9.2 Exceptional ratings)*

OKADA Staycation Series:
• OKADA MANILA: How to Experience the Best Staycation Ever?! @OkadaManila (2018)
• LA PIAZZA: Your Next Italian Romantic Date with an Awesome View of The Fountain @OkadaManila! (2017)
• COVE MANILA: Southeast Asia’s Biggest Beach Club & Nightclub! @OkadaManila (2017)
COVE MANILA: Sunday Brunch + Pool Party? @OkadaManila (2018)


* DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links where the site gets a commission if you decide to purchase from that link with no additional cost to you. We only feature awesome experiences on the site properly disclosed as sponsored or paid at our own expense. The commission will help the site continue our awesome service by paying for the website’s cost, maintenance and review expenses.

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. Thank you for the continued support!

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Bellevue Manila: Best Staycation with the Southern Alabang Vibe!

Bellevue Staycation Series
Bellevue Manila: Staycation with the Best Alabang Southern Vibe!
Phoenix Court: The Best Chinese Restaurant in Alabang 🙂 @BellevueManila
HOMARE: The Best Yakiniku Japanese Restaurant in Alabang @BellevueManila
BELLEVUE RESORT: 10 Things We Love About our Family Bohol Escape @BellevueResort!
B HOTEL QC: The Best Staycation in Timog/Tomas Morato Area!

The Bellevue Manila is the first luxury 5-star hotel in Alabang (circa 2003), providing the best Alabang staycation experience in the urban south!

We recently experienced The Bellevue Manila staycation just before the decade ended, and here are some tips for your next family staycation in Alabang.

Northgate Cyberzone, North Bridgeway, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Telephone: (+632) 8771-8181
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: The Bellevue Manila
Instagram: @bellevuemanila
Website: https://www.thebellevuemanila.com/

Check out low The Bellevue Manila rates and availability at Booking.com.

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Phoenix Court: The Best Chinese Restaurant in Alabang :) @BellevueManila

Bellevue Staycation Series
Bellevue Manila: Staycation with the Best Alabang Southern Vibe!
Phoenix Court: The Best Chinese Restaurant in Alabang 🙂 @BellevueManila
HOMARE: The Best Yakiniku Japanese Restaurant in Alabang @BellevueManila
BELLEVUE RESORT: 10 Things We Love About our Family Bohol Escape @BellevueResort!
B HOTEL QC: The Best Staycation in Timog/Tomas Morato Area!

Phoenix Court is the undisputed fine Chinese Restaurant that’s the best in Alabang, with a 250 seating capacity featuring signature Cantonese food.

We celebrated Joshua’s 12th Birthday with a Chinese lauriat featuring only the best signature dishes at Phoenix Court.

2nd floor, Tower Wing, The Bellevue Manila,
Northgate Cyberzone, North Bridgeway, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Monday – Thursday from 11 AM to 2.30 PM and 6 PM to 10 PM
Friday – Sunday from 11 AM to 2.30 PM and 6 PM to 10.30 PM.
Telephone: (+632) 8771-8181 local 2211
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: The Bellevue Manila
Instagram: @bellevuemanila
Website: https://www.thebellevuemanila.com/

Check out low The Bellevue Manila rates and availability from Booking.com.

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NANKA: Have you tried the Best Japanese Steakhouse in Quezon City?

Located in Brgy. Paligsahan, NANKA is a 120-seater standalone restaurant that recently branded from a Japanese Latin concept into a Japanese Steakhouse concept under the helm of Executive Chef Michael Santos.

It’s now known as one of the best steakhouses in Quezon City, serving Japanese Wagyu imported from Japan and Black Onyx Angus Steaks and WX (Wagyu-Angus) meats from Ranger Valley, Australia (usually only served in hotels).

Here are some tips on what to order on your next steakhouse dining with the family at Nanka…


1810 Mother Ignacia Ave. corner Roces Ave., Quezon City, Philippines
Operating Hours: Mondays to Saturday 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Telephone: +632 8517-9677
Mobile: +63 977 621-8472
Email: [email protected]
Facebook:Nanka Japanese Steakhouse
Instagram: @nanka_ph

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#Travel, Japan

SAGA, JAPAN: Awesome Itinerary

Why visit Saga? Just a 13-minute train ride away from Fukuoka, this small prefecture on the beautiful island of Kyushu is rich in nature and nestled between both sea and mountains. It offers a wide range of experiences from gourmet dining, deep cultural history, plenty of natural landscapes, globally famous potteries, hot springs and colorful festivals to name a few!

Here are a few reasons why you should visit Saga Prefecture…

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Nature Escape – Visayas: Exploring Oslob, Apo Island and Cabilao @DiscoveryFleet

I’ve sailed with many fancy cruise ships—that spoiled me with luxury, service and unmatched comfort—all over the world. But nothing really comes close to the rawness and one-of-a-kind encounters that I’ve experienced on board the much smaller and more intimate liveaboards like Discovery Fleet.

Now obviously we can’t compare luxury cruises and liveaboards because they are on different categories, but for someone like me who is new to this industry, they do have a lot of similarities. It’s only been my second time on a liveaboard but I’ve already grown fond of the concept of living on a small ship that sails across the beautiful islands of the Philippines.

And ever since I’ve been wanting to try out Discovery Fleet’s Nature Escape: Cebu with the following route: Mactan – Oslob – Sumilon – Apo Island – Cabilao – Mactan.

Read about our first experience Discovery Fleet bound for Coron here:
Nature Escape – Coron: Emerging Trend in Exploring the Philippines! @ Discovery Fleet


 4th Floor JTKC Centre, 2159 Chino Roces Ave., Makati City, Metro Manila
Office Hours: 7:30 am – 4 pm (Monday – Friday), 9 am – 12nn (Saturday)
Telephone:+63 2 8 5195674 – 76 ext. 328, +63 2 8 4031999
Email[email protected]

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