Middle-Earth Magic: Hobbiton in New Zealand

Every fan of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films dreams of going to New Zealand. In fact, the movie trilogies directed by Peter Jackson based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels have spurred a rise in Tolkien tourism. Many fans of the LOTR fictional universe travel to significant filming locations based on the books.

The best place you can experience Middle-Earth magic is the Hobbiton Movie Set, a sprawling farm complete with hobbit holes, gardens, bridge, mill and souvenir shops. My favorite part of Hobbiton is The Green Dragon Inn, a real pub where you can sample beers traditionally brewed in the Shire, the home of the hobbits! Continue reading

Universal Studios Japan Theme Park

For movie and pop culture buffs, Universal Studios Theme Park is one of the top attractions where you can enjoy rides inspired by Hollywood blockbusters, TV shows, cartoons and video games produced by Universal Studios. This world-class theme park transports you right inside your all-time-favorite flicks like Jurassic Park, Waterworld and JAWS.

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Jurassic Park’s The Flying Dinosaur. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Japan
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Mischief Managed: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Japan

As a huge fan of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter novels and the blockbuster film series based on the books, visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a dream come true. This themed area within Universal Studios Japan (USJ) was a major highlight of my recent trip around Osaka and the Kansai region upon the invitation of Cebu Pacific & USJ. Flying along with Harry, Hermione and Ron in the Forbidden Journey inside Hogwarts Castle, walking along the shops in Hogsmeade and drinking Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks was just amazing!

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“I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good!”

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Volunteering as Tributes: Archery in Makati

The Hunger Games Trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire & Mockingjay) was one of those things I could not put down. I must have spent one weekend just reading through all three books. I love the character of Katniss Everdeen in the books and how she was portrayed in the movies. Her skill with the bow and arrow is just so badass. The same goes for Tauriel in The Hobbit. Though she doesn’t appear in J.R.R. Tolkien’s original book, the woodland elf in The Desolation of Smaug shows off awesome archery skills comparable to Legolas. I’ve always hated the “damsels in distress” stereotypes in movies so it’s refreshing to watch movies with strong female warrior characters.

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Trying to channel Katniss in a Hunger Games District 12 training jersey

However, my previous experience with archery has been somewhat limited to virtual adventures. In Skyrim, (aside from shouts & destruction magic) bows are the most useful ranged weapon you use to damage the legendary dragons when they’re in flight. My demon hunter character in Diablo III also uses a variety of crossbows and bows to battle the minions of The Lord of Terror.

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A Hobbit Birthday Party

September 22 marks the mutual birthdays of hobbits Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, two of the most loved characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The day is actually known as Hobbit Day! So, we thought it would be a fitting theme for my nephew Eli’s fourth birthday last Saturday. Here’s a quick look at our Middle-Earth celebration.

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Amazing Harry Potter Cake and Cupcakes

The Regali Kitchen designed the most amazing treats for my nephew Eli’s Harry Potter-themed 3rd birthday! Since Eli started going to school this year, this topsy turvy stack of Hogwarts spell books represent Harry’s first year at Hogwarts. Kudos to Chef JB Cada and Stephanie Santos for the wonderful treats!

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Top 10 On Screen Geeky Concept Cars

If you dream of owning a car that can take you back in time or has the looks of a spaceship, this is the article for you. It’s a land where anything is possible, and Hollywood has produced some of the most futuristic vehicles out there. Here we take a look at some of the craziest concept cars from the movies. Are they a glimpse into our future, or just the unattainable dream of over-excited directors?

The Herkimer Battle Jitney

From the 90’s movie, Mystery Men, the Hermiker Battle Jitney has been dubbed the finest non-lethal fighting vehicle ever built. You wouldn’t want to get in the way of this huge military tank, with its armored, windowless body. There are a number of stories regarding the Herkimer’s origin and its whereabouts now. Whilst some insist it was custom-built for the film, others claim it was a real vehicle built for, and used by, either the British or US armed forces. Wherever it came from, it’s certainly cooler than any car we’ve seen at the traffic lights. Continue reading

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

It was with a heavy heart that I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and last novel in the Harry Potter series by J. K Rowling back in 2007. You know the feeling of not wanting a certain experience to end, but at the same time wanting to know that the characters you’ve invested so much in, get their happy ending.

This feeling was also echoed during the airing of the eighth film in the movie franchise last year. After ten years of having a new Harry Potter movie to look forward to almost every year, watching the final film was bittersweet. Continue reading