Travel is my constant source of life inspiration. It is food for my creative soul. Discovering new destinations and enjoying endless shopping opportunities are just some of the perks that I look forward to whenever I travel.

For frequent travellers like me, check out the Travel Tour Expo 2017 (TTE) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay, Metro Manila. Ending today, the annual travel expo has numerous travel packages on exceptional promos as well as airfares at incredible low prices.

In 2016, the number of visitors from the Philippines exceeded 300,000 for the first time, reaching a record of 347,800 (an increase of 29.6% compared to the previous year), indicating an active market for travel to Japan.

With the constantly growing number of travellers to Japan, Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd. (Tokyo Metro) joins this well-attended expo for the first time. Tokyo Metro is holding its first display at TTE (booth position: 396, 397) with the aim of increasing awareness among as many Filipinos as possible that Tokyo has a subway called the Tokyo Metro in Tokyo, a city with many attractive tourist spots.

There are many fascinating Tokyo Metro stations including Ginza, Omotesando, Asakusa, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. The objective is to convey the fact that reasonably-priced, comfortable and safe travel throughout Tokyo is possible by using (1) the Tokyo Subway Ticket, an unlimited ride ticket, to visit its many interesting stations, (2) the free Wi-fi available at all stations, (3) “Welcome Board” from which convenient subway-related information can be acquired at major stations, and (4) the ticket information offices at which any questions can be asked.

The main services that Tokyo Metro offers to visitors to Japan are as follows.

(1) Tokyo Subway Ticket

The Tokyo Subway Ticket allows for unlimited travel on all 13 lines of the Tokyo Metro and Metropolitan Subway. It comes in three types: valid for 24 hours (800 yen), for 48 hours (1,200 yen) and for 72 hours (1,500 yen). These tickets can be purchased at locations including Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Tokyo Metro ticket information offices and some Big Camera stores.

(2) Free Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi can be used at all stations on the Tokyo Metro. Tokyo Metro stations are convenient for looking things up during travel or uploading memorable photographs to social media. Preparations are also underway to make it possible to use free Wi-Fi within subway cars.

(3) Welcome Board

Welcome Boards have been installed at 14 stations that are used by a large number of foreign guests. These boards show information related to subway tickets, route guides for major tourist spots and route maps containing tourist spots. You can see how to get to your destination station as well as how much it will cost and how long it will take in a glance.

Stations with Welcome Boards: Ueno, Shinjuku, Asakusa, Tokyo, Ikebukuro, Shimbashi, Akihabara, Ginza, Roppongi, Omotesando, Shibuya, Meiji-jingumae (HARAJUKU), Shinjuku-sanchome, Oshiage (SKYTREE)

(4) Ticket Information Offices

Ticket information offices have been installed at Ueno, Ginza, Shinjuku, Omotesando and Shibuya stations. At these offices, you can ask any questions that you have; for example, how to use the Tokyo Metro and areas around the station. English speaking staff members are always present and able to answer questions.

Tokyo Metro ( ) operates nine subway lines running over a total of 195.1 km mainly throughout metropolitan Tokyo. For seven of these lines, joint extension operations are implemented with other companies. When the joint extension operation destinations are included, this network covers a total of 532.6 km. The company is therefore responsible for a metropolitan railway network that is used by 7.07 million people per day (as of 2015). As a public transport body supporting the urban functions of Japan’s capital Tokyo, it is both a Guide for Tokyo and a Linker for Transport Networks in Tokyo. Tokyo Metro not only safely and reliably transports guests to their destination, but also actively engages in related businesses to support the daily needs of its guests.

Still on Japan talk, Security Bank Corporation (SBC) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MUFG) will be opening the first Japanese Garden in the heart of Makati Central Business District. The unveiling of the first cultural investment of Japan’s largest financial group is a testament to the strong relations of the two sovereigns— Philippines and Japan.

The ceremony will be held at the Washington-SyCip Park in Legaspi Village, Makati City on Valentine’s Day. SBC’s Chairman Emeritus Frederick Dy and SGV’s founder Washington Sycip will be heading the ceremony. Other VIP guests will include SBC’s CEO & President Alfonso L. Salcedo; MUFG Manila Branch’s General Manager Tadahiro Miyamoto; Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II; and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Kazuhide Ishikawa.

Fresh from my Japan trip hosted by Tokyo Metro, I watched WICKED, one of the most celebrated, spectacular and successful stage musicals of all time. WICKED first premiered in Manila in 2014, where it opened to rave reviews and went on to enjoy a highly successful seven-week run.

The producers of WICKED recently announced that the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz is extending its Manila leg by adding another full week of shows at The Theatre at Solaire.

The international tour boasts of an outstanding array of West End and UK actors leading the cast for the Manila shows – including Jacqueline Hughes (Elphaba), Carly Anderson (Glinda), Bradley Jaden (Fiyero), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Iddon Jones (Boq), Emily Shaw (Nessarose) and Jodie Steele (who performs the role of Elphaba at certain performances).

Producer and Chief Executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, James Cundall, said that they are thrilled that once again WICKED is in Manila with a cast that is very excited about performing to such an enthusiastic fan base, and to introducing this amazing show to new audiences.

Completing the cast are the following: Kyle Anthony, Joe Atkinson, Sam Brown, Hannah Cadec, Joel Cooper, Nicholas Corre, James Davies-Williams, Natasha Ferguson, Elizabeth Futter, Zoe George, Amy Goodwin, Alex Jordan-Mills, Stuart MacIver, Tom Mather, Stacey McGuire, Sara Morley, Emily Olive Boyd, Wendy-Lee Purdy, Dean Read, Paul Saunders, Elisha Sherman, Joshua St Clair and Hannah Veerapen.

The Manila season is presented by Globe LIVE and new seats are now on sale. Book at and through all TicketWorld outlets. Major sponsor is Novuhair, in cooperation with Solaire Resort and Casino; special thanks to OOCL, and Diamond Hotel Philippines. Make-up is provided by MAC Cosmetics.


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