Thursday, March 17, 2011

Osaka: The Day the Earth Shook

March 11, 2011 marked the world premiere of the movie “Liberacion” directed by Filipino indie film director Adolfo Alix, Jr. and starring  Japanese actor Jacky Woo at the Osaka Asian Film Festival. I, together with my travel co-host, Nat Kiefer, producer Jonas Gaffud and travel companions Doc Gamboa and Mael Cautivar covered the event for our travel show “World Premiere.” This year, the festival launched its international film competition where Liberacion has been chosen to compete.

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2011 (Photo by Mael Cautivar)

With my travel co-host, Nat Kiefer (Photo by Mael Cautivar)

While viewing the film in the afternoon, we felt our seats slightly “shake” while the screen moved from left to right. The Japanese viewers remained calm while our contingency felt alarmed. After more than 30 seconds, we stepped out of the auditorium and could still feel the tremor.  When it was over, we went back in and felt mild aftershocks. Since the Japanese seemed to be used to it, we remained inside the theater and finished the film. We proceeded with the open forum and conducted an interview with Jacky

ABC Hall, venue of the Osaka Asian Filmfest 2011 (Photo by Mael Cautivar)

Jacky Woo receiving recognition after the Q&A portion at the Osaka Asian Film Festival

After our shoot, we headed back to our hotel and we were shocked to find out about the tragedy in Tokyo and Sendai. We received tons of messages via FB and email from family and friends asking about   our situation. We assured them of our safety and we were relieved that we were unharmed.

Despite the tragedy, the people in Osaka remained calm and collected. This allowed us to continue shooting for our travel show.  It was a depressing time to be in Japan (especially when we tuned in to BBC in the mornings) but at the same time we had to stay and finish our job. For next four days, we explored Osaka, its culture, sights and sounds.

Majestic Osaka Castle, one of the most famous castles in Japan

Cherry blossoms at the Tenmangu Shrine

The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, one of the largest public aquariums in the world

The "World Premiere" team in front of Tempozan Giant Wheel  (Photo by Mael Cautivar)

The Japanese love color!! (Photo by Mael Cautivar)

Trainstopping in Osaka  (Photo by Mael Cautivar)

Our short trip showed us how the Japanese are different from the rest of the world, with their tranquility amidst the series of tragedies, their eagerness to help despite the language barrier, the contrast between the old traditions and latest pop culture.  It was definitely one trip we will never forget. 

The Japanese were always helpful in giving directions  (Photo by Mael Cautivar)

Japanese girls in their traditional kimono costumes

It may take a while before Japan recovers from the recent tragedies it has experienced. But with the resilience of its people, and kindness and generosity the world has shown, it will recover and get back on its feet as it has shown throughout its history.

Peace and happiness from Osaka, Japan


  1. Li,

    Good to know you were not in harm's way when the earthquake hit Japan.

    Nice blog! Keep posting!


  2. Thanks Bianca! It was a memorable trip. God bless Japa and its people.

    Hope you can follow my blog for future entries ;p

  3. Hi Lia!

    Nice blog. Keep on blogging and sharing pix. Soon enough, Japan shall rise and smile again to inspire us with her beauty. It's good that you and your team were not harmed by the tragedy.

    I wish you all the best in your new show and future travels and endeavours. Godspeed! :)

    Cheers from Denmark,

  4. Thanks Bonn!! Our prayers are with Japan and its people.

    I hope to continue what I enjoy doing the most--traveling. I will keep on writing and sharing my experiences ;p

    All the best in Denmark!

  5. hey Lian,

    wonderful piece on osaka.

    our hearts and prayers are with the folks in Japan. they are honorable, determined people and they'll recover from this tragedy.

    i'm so glad that you're safe.

    happy blogging, chong.

  6. Hi Lia,

    I am happy to know that your are okay.Just finish having lunch with Kuya Ferdie, Ate Sally,Juno,Camille, Nanay,the Ba-ang family and summer.
    Take care always...

  7. Thanks Tito Phil!!

    Enjoy for me!! love to everyone in Davao ;p

  8. looking forward to watch your travel show soon! :) you are a citizen of the world! love you!

  9. Hi Lia,
    Thank you for sending me your blog link. You are beautiful as ever both inside and out. Keep up the good work.
    Hugs, Cristina
    Miss MA USA 2005