2019: The Year of Being Uncomfortable

Hello, friends! I know I’ve been gone for a while. Starting November of the previous year, I’ve traveled quite a bit for vacation. Planned my first independent overseas trip and it was in a magical place called Japan. After that, I got to visit my hometown, the Philippines, and had the chance to catch up with old friends and connect with new ones. I even got to go to Arizona for the first time to see one of my best friends and see my favorite band perform live. Not to mention, the holidays got the best of me. But I’m here now.

I want to write about the concept of writing vulnerably and my journey with it. This is going to get personal real fast so sit tight, and enjoy this tiny glimpse of my sincerest sentiments and thoughts. To be honest, this is actually going to be a breakthrough for me. If you noticed, for the previous year, the only things that I used to write about on here are informational topics and recommendations or basically anything that would keep me from showing any type of emotionality. For the longest time, I tried to suppress it— emotions, I mean. I got out of touch with my writing for a few years back. I got caught up with graduating and thesis and moving to the US, and frankly, when everything settled down, and I finally found time to try and write again, I then realized that I was scared of vulnerability. At that time, I was dealing with a break-up, and I’m guessing that something about going through that made me shut out my emotions in the fear that it would make me seem weak and fragile. I desperately wanted to show everyone (myself included) that I was strong and that I was fine, so as a result, I kind of went overboard and sacrificed my writing. I would still indulge in spoken word poetry though, listening to it was definitely one of the things that helped me through those times.

The thing about me is, I couldn’t stop thinking about writing. I knew I want to pursue it, still; at the same time though, it also scared me too. And so, I decided to start reading again. Baby steps, I thought. Soon enough, I started journaling privately again. And then, eventually, I finally had the courage to start and commit to this blog. Writing publicly without showing vulnerability helped a lot, of course, because I didn’t feel as exposed somehow. I was playing it safe, and I’m very aware of that. I think that as long as I’m writing, at least I’m getting some kind of practice, right?

Here we are, a year after— a lot of self-discovery and self-love, a couple of travels here and there, and a few tattoos later, I could honestly say that I’ve definitely grown as a person, and I’m proud of that. I’ve learned a lot this previous year. When I was evaluating it at the start of the month though, I felt like I haven’t accomplished a lot. But looking back now, I realized that I was hard on myself. I had focused on self-acceptance, getting to know myself more, and being comfortable with solitude, and that’s not so bad. I feel like it’s an important journey that I’ve been on, and honestly, it’s still one that I’m continuously going to be on; it’s just that this year, I feel like I’m ready to take on so much more new challenges. I read somewhere recently that “Growth is not found in comfort,” so here’s to getting uncomfortable.

All love,
Fried Filipina Feelings

The Basics of Starting a Skincare Routine

Part of growing up in our early 20’s is wanting to focus on ourselves more, and starting a skincare routine is definitely a great way of doing that. It’s the easiest physical forms of self-love and a more evident way of treating ourselves right. Plus, who doesn’t want good looking skin?

I don’t know about you, but when I was in college, I went into a phase where I got into makeup. I took my time to do it before going to school. Primer, foundation, kilay, concealer, lip stick— the works. I had time to do it especially because my classes were in the afternoon and it was a good way to kill time after I’ve done my school works. It was one of those things I did that felt very therapeutic, and I needed that small break in college. It certainly helped rid of the stress a little. Besides, it never hurt to look a tad bit presentable.

However, I didn’t really have a good skin routine back then, and the Manila pollution that I had to deal with during my commute to go to and from school certainly took a toll on my skin. I would get frequent breakouts and would have huge noticeable pores especially on my nose area.


I have combination skin. This means I get really oily on my T-zone area, but eventually noticed when I actually paid attention— that I also have some dry patches here and there. When I would do my make up, the dry patches would be really noticeable. So I did a little research here and there and found out how important it is to moisturize. Yes, even oily people have to moisturize too. I was surprised when I discovered this too, because I thought it was just going to get me even more oily, but as it turns out, it actually helps control the oil somehow. When our skin dries out, our oil glands tend to be overworking to compensate for that; thus, producing excess sebum that makes us really oily.

It is important to know what skin type you have in order to address your skin concerns accordingly.


Lucky for you, it’s easy to start a skincare regimen. Here are simple steps that you could easily incorporate in your day-to-day routines:

  1. Cleanse.

    This could be as simple as washing your face. If you have make up, be sure to remove it first. I personally like using make-up remover wipes because it’s convenient and easy to use. After doing so, you will need a good cleanser that suits your skin type. Look for products that are gentle and  has a low ph level. This is because with a low ph, you are able to maintain the acid mantle balance in your skin. Because if that balance gets disrupted, people are more likely to be prone to sensitivity and breakouts. Moreover,

    • if you’re oily and/or acne prone, I would recommend using something with salicylic acid or tea tree. (Recommendation: Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle cleanser is probably one of my favorites.)
    • if you have dry skin, it’s best to look for hydrating cleansers, those that have hyaluronic acid as an ingredient. (Recommendation: Cosrx Low PH Good Morning gentle cleanser.)
  2. Tone.

    This preps the skin for the next step. It removes excess dirt on the skin, and enables your skin to absorb more of the good ingredients in the serums you would be applying. Depending on what toner you’re using, it also has it’s respective benefits. I personally have two different toners that I switch up depending on how my skin is doing when I examine it at that time.

    • A witch hazel toner. This is what I use if I feel like my skin has been fine and I just want to maintain it. It helps soften and smooth out your skin as soon as you apply it. This is gentle, alcohol-free, and it works really well. I really love Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner. It’s affordable and better than Thayer’s in my opinion.
    • A glycolic acid toner. If my skin needs a little pick-me-up and it’s feeling dull, I use this product. It’s a chemical exfoliant which sounds kind of harsh, but it’s much gentler to the skin compared to physical exfoliants. It makes your skin softer and smoother. (Recommendation: The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution)
  3. Moisturize.

    This is important because like I said earlier, it affects how your skin produces oil. Now that the weather’s getting colder and drier, this step also helps locks in the hydration in your skin keeping it supple and healthy looking, which we all want.  I personally like using The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA because it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin, but it keeps it hydrated for long periods of time. It also doesn’t have scent, which I love, because that means they’re keeping their ingredients as simple as possible, and not adding a bunch of unnecessary things that you don’t need.

  4. Protect.

    The last step is applying sun screen on your face. I read that one of the benefits of doing so is that it helps with reducing wrinkles and fine lines when you get older. Another thing it does is that it prevents your acne marks from getting darker. It helps to make it fade quicker and less noticeable because you’re not allowing the sun to affect it that much. I like using bb creams that already have SPF in it like the ones from Missha’s. However, if we’re talking about just a regular sunscreen, then I would have to say that Etude House’s Sunprise Airy Finish SPF 50+++ would be my go-to.

There’s more to skincare than what I stated here, but I believe this is enough to get you started. I might make a blog post in the future about diving deeper into skincare and the other skincare steps that enthusiasts do so watch out for that!


All love, FriedFilipinaFeelings.




What it’s really like to work night shifts

The very first job I got when I just graduated from college is a night shift. When I tell people about this, I always get very mixed opinions. It was either very “Oh, wow. Good for you. Night shifts are awesome,” or a heavy look of disgust and pity. But how is it really like?

I work for a bank, and we deal with the behind-the-scenes stuff of all our client’s transactions. We are responsible for charging or crediting their accounts appropriately. The schedule that I initially got started from 10pm up to 6:30 in the morning. Prior to starting work though, I had to go on training with the morning shift for about two weeks. I also did an internship with a different company before and had to come in during normal office hours. With that said, I have a pretty good experience with both morning and night shifts and thus am able to compare the two well.

Here are 4 truths about it that I found out that could help you decide whether to take that graveyard shift you’ve been eyeing or not:

  1. It’s really not as bad as people make it out to be. People talk negatively about this and make it seem as if it’s the worst decision you could ever make. That’s not true at all. To be honest, when I first started, I didn’t even feel sleepy at all. Maybe because I was excited about finally working and feeling like a responsible adult, but I realized, that it was more than that. People that I worked with tend to be so much more flexible and fun at night. We have rules that we don’t have to follow. Our supervisor understands that staying awake during those times is difficult, and so he and the management lets us stretch and walk around, and they don’t mind if we grab a coffee or a snack to help us out. In the morning shift, they aren’t even allowed to eat at their desks, so we feel a bit special in that sense.
  2. You get paid more for the same job than those people who have morning shifts. There’s this thing called “Night Shift Differential”, and it’s magical. You basically get a bump in your hourly wage just because you work nights. Moreover, if your shift bleeds into the weekend, you get paid even more because of the “Weekend Differential”. Now, I don’t know if the job that you’ve been eyeing offers these two things but if you truly are trying to consider working nights, then these are some things that you might want to ask about. It helps a lot because they add up, and that increase in salary just makes it worth it sometimes.
  3. Your body clock will get messed up. That’s a given, for sure. But you know what else? Your body would also get used to it eventually. We humans adapt very quickly to the environment that we function in, so it’s very natural for us to settle into a routine. However, it does take a while before you actually get used to your new work schedule. You will have days where it’s so hard to fall asleep because you could see the sunlight peeking through your window curtains, but you will also have days where you would fall asleep as soon as you get home. You just have to go through the motions and figure out eventually what works best for you. I, personally, find it way easier to stay awake through the night rather than to wake up early in the morning. Those college all-nighters surely helped me train for this state of being. Of course, it still varies per person though. I still have co-workers who absolutely hate it, and admittedly, we all still get a little sleepy sometimes. Good thing nobody will judge you if you do. They’re generally more forgiving because everyone gets that way and understands that that’s just part of it.
  4. Even with this schedule, you could still have a social life. You won’t be working all week long. (You could, but that’s up to you.) You still have your days off. During those times, you just have to make sure to set time for your friends and family. This is important, and is also something that you have to actively work on, too. Remember that they are busy as well so setting plans in advance would surely help. Taking short power naps is key. Sometimes, I would still need to sacrifice sleep in order for me to go out as much as I can. But you could always just get your dose of zzz’s when you get home, and it still works out fine.

I hope this post helps people get an idea of how it really is working a graveyard shift. It’s almost a year since I started this job, and to be honest, I would actually want to switch up jobs and try something new. Not because of this schedule, though. It’s just that right now, I want a different career that could help me grow even more as a person. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed working nights, and I think it’s good that I get to experience what it’s like. If I were given the chance, I would probably do it again.

How about you guys? Have you tried working nights? What’s your take on it? I would love to know your thoughts!

All love, FriedFilipinaFeelings.

Podcast Recommendations from a 20-something

Podcasts! It’s everywhere now. Listening to long form media such as this is a good way of making mundane tasks more bearable and fun. In this post, you would see what kind of podcasts somebody in their early 20’s like listening to.

One of my favorite things about the job that I currently have right now is having the freedom to choose to work independently. With it, comes the luxury of being allowed to listen to as much music and podcasts as one would want as long as we stay productive. I call it the introvert’s dream job. Less interaction with people, and more time discovering new songs and podcasts— when all the while you’re still getting your responsibilities done? Uh, yes please? With 8 hours of work spent in a day, I could say that I could pretty much spend up to an average of 5 hours of uninterrupted listening. I think that’s plenty of time to listen and gauge which of them are worth listening to.

Here are 4 of what I listen to the most:

  1. ABG – Asian Boss Girl

    1200x630bbA podcast for the modern day Asian American woman is their slogan and it is exactly that, but it’s also so much more. They talk about what it’s like to work in an office setting with each of them having a background in the finance, technology, and production industry. They also talk about the typical kinds of things that people in their 20’s or 30’s go through and experience such as dating, balancing social life, moving out, etc. There was even an episode where they talk about something as random as zodiac signs, and I liked that because it’s just so refreshing (fine, and also because I think astrology is interesting). Being an Asian woman who now lives in America, it just feels nice to look up to them and hear their stories. Through them, I feel like our individual stories and truths, no matter how normal they are, deserve to be heard.

  2. BBC’s Global News Podcast

    p05z434bThis is my go-to daily dose of news. It’s important to be aware of what’s going on with the world, and this helps me to have a better grasp with that. They cover the most important news all over the world and they produce it daily too, so you’re surely be up to date with the latest happenings. They are especially good at presenting facts without bias, and I think that’s also something very essential in this day and age; with the overwhelming information we receive from social media everyday, this give us a chance to think critically about an issue and take a stand without the influence of other people’s opinions.

  3. Mad About Movies

    mad-about-movies-podcast-1If you like watching movies, then you’ll definitely enjoy this. They review films in such a humorous way, but at the same time giving you an in-depth analysis that I find to be very entertaining. I also appreciate the fact that they separate their movie reviews from non-spoiler to the full-on spoiler ones, so you won’t have to worry about that in case you want to see it too. This helps me discover new and old movies that I would maybe want to see for myself. Other than that, they also provide you with television and movie rumors and news, and even give out quality recommendations that I feel are worth giving a shot. I also personally like it when they talk about the DC and Marvel cinematic universe, because it gets really funny.

  4. Wake Up With Jim & Saab

    maxresdefaultOut of everything I just shared, this is probably one of my favorites. They’re a married couple who are part of a Filipino indie rock band called Cheats. I’ve been following them on social media for a while now, and now that they’re new parents, their stories just keep on getting more and more interesting. (Plus, their baby Pancho is super adorable, my heart always melts when I see his pictures!) I especially like their humor and the way it’s so natural for the both of them to take part in a good conversation. They talk about life as new parents, budgeting, balancing their time— the usual stuff. But I like it when they also talk about college experiences, Manila traffic, and what it’s like to play in a band while also being parents. They speak in English most of the time but I appreciate it so much when I hear them talk in Tagalog, too. Maybe it’s also partly because I miss the Philippines a lot, but nevertheless, I find it to be highly entertaining. This is the kind of podcast that makes you feel good and at the same time makes you look crazy at work from trying not to laugh so much.


All of the podcasts mentioned above could be found at your typical podcast places. Enjoy! And let me know if you want to think of them! Also, what podcasts do you listen to? I’m always down to discover more!

All love, FriedFilipinaFeelings.


Applying for a Japanese tourist visa as a US Permanent Resident

So you want to travel to Japan. But the thing is, you don’t really know whether you need a visa or not.

The short answer is if you’re a US citizen, and you have a US passport, is that you don’t need to apply for a tourist visa. You’re automatically granted up to 90 days of stay, given that you have a onward/return ticket with your valid passport.

If you’re a US permanent resident or a “green card holder”, and you still have a foreign passport, then it really depends on the country that you currently have citizenship of if you still need to apply for a tourist visa. You could check here if the country where you’re from is listed there. If it is, then you could probably travel to japan “visa free”, but the length of days you’re allowed to stay there still depends on the country so just make sure to check. It differs from 15 days, 30 days, or in most cases, up to 90 days.

If, however, you’re the same as me, and the country where you’re from also isn’t listed on the link above, then unfortunately, we still need to apply for a visa for short-term stays in Japan.

No worries, though. You’re in luck because I already had to go through the pain of doing a ton of research to figure out how to go about this. In my case, I’m a Filipino citizen, and also a US permanent resident, which means I still have a Philippine passport even though I’ve had a green card for about 3 years now.

I was already living in California when me and my friends from the Philippines were planning a trip to Japan. Before this, though, I already had plans to visit them in the Philippines. However, when they told me that there was a “seat sale” and had bought plane tickets to Japan, I knew right away that I wanted to travel with them. And so we decided to meet there.

I eventually figured out that the requirements and the process that they have to go through to get a tourist visa was way different in my case. A good example of this is that they have to go through an accredited travel agency to submit their requirements, while for me, I have to go to the Japanese embassy in my city directly.

It’s a pretty confusing process if you don’t know where to start so here are a few steps that could help you out:

  1. Figure out which Japanese Embassy has jurisdiction over where you live, because that’s where you would need to send your requirements to. It varies per state and there’s only a few Japanese Embassies/Consulate Generals across the US so be sure to check it here.
  2. Make sure that you know EXACTLY the kind of visa you’re applying for. There are lots of different visas and all of them have respective specific requirements. Here’s a list of the different kinds of visa to help you:Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 4.14.33 PMScreen Shot 2018-10-25 at 4.15.06 PM
  3. Prepare your requirements.  This, I think, is really important and is very crucial for your visa approval. For this blog post, I would only state the requirements needed for a tourist visa if you’re NOT a US or a Chinese citizen. Here’s what you will need:
    • Applicant’s valid passport
    • Completed and signed visa application form
    • 1 passport sized (“2×2”) photo attached to the form. Make sure it’s taken within 6 months!
    • Most recent bank statement. This is to show that you have proof of sufficient funds to cover all the expenses while in Japan. I just simply printed the most recent online bank statement I have of my savings account, and that worked out fine. However, if you are not paying for your trip, a letter from the person/entity covering the cost of your trip is necessary.
    • Flight itinerary/reservation issued by travel agency or airline company. Be sure to have tickets that are the same flight schedules to your travel itinerary that you will submit as well. It’s not advised to purchase tickets until visa is approved, but I still did so anyway and didn’t have any problems. Just be aware of the possibility that you might get rejected, and thus, should be more cautious because the tickets you purchase might go to waste.
    • Documents intending the purpose of your visit
      • Hotel reservations. I personally recommend checking out Agoda because they send out neatly presented reservation documents after you reserve it in their website. You could even choose not to pay yet, so it works out perfectly because you won’t be risking your money if in case you didn’t get approved.
      • Daily schedule of stay. Follow this format. It doesn’t have to be too detailed. It could be as simple as this: Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 5.02.18 PM
    • Proof of your immigration status
      • It could be any of the following:Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 5.05.38 PM
    • Visa or clearance of the country you intend to enter after japan (if applicable)
    • Visa Fee. Check here to see if your country’s exempted from the visa fees. In my case, I was informed by the person at the Japanese Embassy that the Philippines and Japan have a bilateral agreement so I didn’t have to pay for it. If, however, you still need to pay, be sure to bring cash or money order because cards and personal checks aren’t accepted.
  4. Submit your requirements to the appropriate Japanese Embassy/Consulate General. You could go directly to their location or you could send it through mail. I did the former. If you are sending it by mail, though, be sure to include a “pre-paid self-addressed return envelope and completed release of liability”. My experience of going to the Embassy and submitting the requirements was really easy and efficient. They gave me a slip the same day to claim my passport after 5 days.

Aaand I got approved! I’m very excited for our upcoming Japan trip. I might write about coming up with a 5 day itinerary because I was kind of in charge of that too. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to reach out. I’ll be more than happy to help you out as best as I could!


Good luck!

– FriedFilipinaFeelings

Much Ado About Me

Hi, I’m Justine! Welcome to my blog!

I’ve always been somebody who thinks that words are important. When I was a kid, I liked reading books. I was even part of the library club once. When I got to high school, my teachers saw potential in my writing and told me. I didn’t know I had that. I wasn’t aware of it, but I embraced it. I chose a writing major as a first choice in the college entrance exam of my dream university. Chose finance as a second option because my mom worked for a bank and I thought that it would be so great to work at a corporate office someday. I’m 22 years old now, and employed at a pretty well known bank, but I am unhappy. The pay is alright, and yet I still catch myself thinking of doing something else. Something more. Something different, perhaps. Something that I loved. And when I actually take my time to sit down and think about it, deep down, I know that I’ve always wanted to write.

And so welcome to my blog. I enjoy journaling privately, but I honestly just do it when I feel like it. I feel like starting a blog would be a much greater commitment, so it took me a long time to finally start it. I will try as much as I can to be consistent at it though, because ultimately, I want to end up with a career that involves writing and creating and inpsiring, even. But moreover, I want this blog to be a safe space for me and my thoughts. This would be my creative outlet.

I want my branding to be a blog for lifestyle and travel. In terms of content, I would be talking about skincare and make-up that I enjoy and discover. Other than that, I would also want to share my experiences as a 20 something who moved from the Philippines to America. I am a Filipina who was born and raised in Manila. I now live in Los Angeles. I know a lot of people have to go through this, but not a lot of people talk about the struggles and what it’s really like. I want to create or connect with a community to make people feel like they’re less alone in this world.

I also want to share about coffee shop/ food finds, interesting podcasts and poetry that stuck with me. I am interested in collaborations that I would be doing with other creators. Feel free to message me if you have any ideas and want to work with me on this.

I’m an aspiring writer and one of my biggest dreams would be to publish my own book of poetry, get to perform my pieces to an audience, and make people feel with my words. I feel like making this blog is a step, albeit tiny, towards that.


Thanks for sticking around and I hope you enjoy my words!

All love, FriedFilipinaFeelings.