Spell Saab

Japan Holiday: Kyoto Cooking Class & Tour

January 11, 2017 12 Comments

The last time Jim and I were in Kyoto was during our honeymoon in February 2015. It was also when I first experienced snow. It fell right as we stepped outside after our cooking class. It’s definitely filed under “core memory” in my brain.

As we had such a wonderful experience then, we wanted to take a Japanese cooking class with the family this time around!

Since we were staying in Osaka, the agency arranged for a van to drive us the whole day for our Kyoto trip. It was about an hour away so we took a nap going there.

The cooking class we attended is called Cooking Sun and I highly recommend it especially for groups!

Dried fish parts

Dried fish (they looked and felt like wood) makes what’s called DASHI. It’s the base used for many soups including miso! According to our teacher, it unlocks umami — the fifth taste. There’s sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. It’s a kind of brothy, meaty taste.

Bonito flakes are made from the dried fish as well

We started with the tamago or Japanese fried egg. Jim and I learned this when we took our first cooking class so I was pretty confident.

In fact, I was overconfident I kind of burned my egg hehehe. No pictures. Nakakahiya. LEL.


Preparing the spinach salad dressing

Spinach Samurai draining the spinach

Mixing it in with the dressing

Oh, I didn’t see you there

This is just really how I cook……

Consulting the recipe bec I don’t know what tf I’m doing

Now for sushiii

Nunki helping with the sushi rice. It’s made with rice vinegar!

Look at that cute Japanese girl watching

Papa Gerry and his fans

Leave 3 fingers space on top and 1 finger space at the bottom

Sige lang, girl

Kaya mo yan

Sabi sayo kaya mo yan eh

~*p e r f e c t *~

And I finally learned how to make chicken teriyaki. It’s just soy sauce, sake, and sugar.

We learned how to straighten the shrimp out so it’s ready for tempura

In this photo I’m about to snort some cocaine LOLJK I think that’s baking powder so that the batter will stick to the food

Pinapakialaman nanaman ako ni ate gurl… CHAROT. She was so nice and helpful, okay??


OMG I MADE EVERYTHING IN THIS BENTO BOX. Still very proud of myself hehe.

We had a nice lunch with the family upstairs and our bento boxes were soooo filling. Jim’s dad enjoyed so much that he plans to have a night where he prepares the same dishes at home for us! Maybe this weekend!:)

After the wonderful cooking class, it was time to take a trip around Kyoto! I recommend our driver George and our lovely tour guide Keiko! I am not sure how you can book them but George e-mailed me directions to some places (he’s SO helpful) and I have his e-mail address if you’re interested in hiring a driver for your tour in Osaka/Kyoto!

Our first stop was to check out the famous Golden Pavilion

It was originally the retirement villa of the shogun Yoshimitsu until his death in 1408 when it became a zen temple. It burned down several times in history but the most recent one was in 1950 when a monk burned it down and tried to commit suicide right after. He survived and went to jail for seven years before being released for a diagnosed mental illness. Very interesting, I think there’s a book about it. Aha! A quick Google search says it’s called The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima. 4 stars on GoodReads.com! Hmmm maybe it should be one of the books I read this year. Anyway, going back: the pavilion standing today was rebuilt in 1955.

Sweet/terrifying moment

“Humans, stop burning down stuff”


Oh yeah, we bought Huaraches the day before heehee

Cute little ducks

And a brief sighting of a rare selfie stick

And a fierce orange-red winged creature makes an appearance (lovette)


Did anyone ask for a blurry family pic? Well here ya go!


And then we went to a little shopping district called Kiyomizu-michi. There’s also a temple there but we did not go anymore because Nunki fell asleep in the van and papa Gerry offered to stay with her while the girls looked around for 20 minutes. Our guide Keiko told us about a Ghibli store and I made a beeline for it!


Sure hope that sign doesn’t say DON’T TOUCH

Best purchase from our recent Japan trip: a No-Face coin bank ✨ #spiritedaway #ghibli

A photo posted by Saab Magalona-Bacarro (@saabmagalona) on

Matcha soy ice cream!

We were all very tired and it was already night time when we got back to Osaka. We decided to just find a restaurant near the hotel for dinner. Osaka is very different from Tokyo in that it’s more difficult to find a place to eat if you’re not from there. Once again, it was hard to find a place for 7 people and we ended up at a Korean barbecue place. They had no English menu and no English speaking staff so I tried my Google Translate app. The funny thing is that the waitress couldn’t understand what I was showing her and then I realized she was Japanese and I was translating Korean phrases!! Haha! Once we figured it out, we just typed in BEEF, CHICKEN, BEER. Hahaha! The food was great.

A few more Japan Holiday blogs to go! Hope you’re having a great 2nd week of the year!!!




  1. Reply

    Rejoyce Canaynay

    January 11, 2017

    Can’t believe this is all taken with just an iphone. But will totally go for your recommendation about the Sony a6000. Planning to get it before my next trip.

    • Reply


      January 28, 2017


  2. Reply


    January 11, 2017

    Love the photos!!

    ~I was just wondering while reading this post… may mga cooking class for tourists din ba dito sa Pinas?

    ~ Speaking of cooking/food, I heard about Isabel’s. Is it named after you?

    • Reply


      January 28, 2017

      Hi Blair! I’m sure meron!! Isabel’s is named after my mother-in-law whose name is Ma. Isabel :)

  3. Reply


    January 12, 2017

    Hi Saab, bentang benta sakin ang mga caption ng mga pictures. Tawang tawa ako hehehe! Keep ’em coming! Loving all your blogs/kwentos from your recent family trip! Love you, girl!

  4. Reply


    January 12, 2017

    Hi Saab,

    Great blog post as usual.

    Anyhoo, ano recommended mo na suot diyan? May trip ako in Feb. Balak ko jacket na makapal lang, is that enough????

    Ginawin na tao,

    • Reply


      January 28, 2017

      Hello!! No, you need thermal shirts, thermal tights (you can get from Uniqlo or Marks & Spencer), sweaters, if you’re only bringing a thick jacket basta make sure maluwag siya enough because you will have to layer a lot to keep warm :) Don’t forget your beanie and gloves! Bring scarves just in case!

  5. Reply


    January 19, 2017

    Absolutely love your travel posts, Saab!😭 It seems like you keep looking younger and younger??? So unfair! Hahaha.

    Btw, what lipstick are you wearing? Luvvit!<3

    • Reply


      January 28, 2017

      Kylie Cosmetics KoKo Kollection in Khlo$ :)

  6. Reply


    January 23, 2017

    Hello Saab, if you can, please blog more :)

  7. Reply

    Kim Guinto

    February 26, 2017

    Hi, Saab! Great writing. I always enjoy your entries! Btw, can I get the email of George? My family and I are going to Japan next week and you have advertised him well. Hehe. Thank you and keep on sharing your stories with us please! 😊

    • Reply


      February 27, 2017

      Hi Kim! It’s f.k.izm-tama2[at]ezweb[dot]ne[dot]jp — sorry, I don’t wanna type the actual address bec some spam robots might steal hehe. Enjoy!