Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gear Up for 2012 Holidays

2012 is hours away and since we're entering another year, those vacation leaves will replenish too. Here is the schedule of holidays for the next year.

Unlike 2011, there are actual holidays on the weekday. Use them wisely to plan those well deserved vacations.

Place to Stay in Makati: AIM Conference Center

We needed a place to crash because we need to go to work at 4am and our shift ends at 11am. It would be a hassle if we go home and then get back again and so, we booked for a place near the office for us to take some shower and rest for the few remaining hours before our shift. We had AIM Conference Center at the heart of Makati booked for a night.

Located at Benavidez corner Trasierra St. Legaspi St. Legaspi Village, Makati City, in the heart of Makati. We didn't expect that this place has hotel rooms since we know that this is a learning institution. And so, we booked here and spent a few hours to sleep.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Singing Out Loud at Center Stage

Our Saturday Night out wasn't complete without our all time favorite videoke night. We always loved to sing out whenever we're together and so, after watching the Symphony of Lights at Ayala Triangle Gardens, we headed to Jupiter Street in Makati to have some fun at Center Stage.

Located at Jupiter Place in Jupiter Street in Makati, at the 5th level of the building, this family KTV offers a nice place to belt all those songs you always wanted to sing. As you reach its level, comfortable seating awaits guests while you talk to the front desk and arrange a room for your group.

Food Trippin' Tuguegarao: Kainang Pilipino

Before we headed back to Manila and endure another 12 hour bus ride, we decided to have a late lunch at Tuguegarao right after our Callao Caving adventure. We decided to eat near Victory Liner Terminal so that we can relax for a bit before the long ride home.

Since it was past lunch time already, all the other restaurants nearby has no food in their kitchen and so we decided to try our luck on Kainang Pilipino which was just closing at that time because their buffet lunch was just over. Good thing the owner said we can still avail the buffet lunch so she commanded the crew to take out all the food again for us.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Food Trippin' Boracay: Bugs Grill

One night, we are treated with dinner by Pat since it was her birthday that day. We've been looking for a nice place to eat where they have buffet. We walked from Station 1 to 3 and back looking for a nice place to dine. Since we were getting hungry and tried we went to the nearest and most appetizing dishes in a buffet we can find. Near D'Mall is Bugs Grill where they serve buffet for PHP330 with bottomless iced tea.

The place is small and it was just a tent set up in the sand. It was between other establishments there but you will quickly recognize it with the logo on the table outside and the array of food choices available. Most of the dishes here are more pinoy and most are grilled. We liked it that they have soup and vegetables in the choices.

Exploring Callao Cave

After more than an hour of ride going to Tuguegarao from Kalinga, we finally arrived at Peñablanca, a town in Tuguegarao, where the Callao Cave is found.

We arrived there at around noon. I was raining and everything was slippery. We were all sleeping in the van because of our tiring activities the previous day. The van parked at the entrance of the cave and we all walked to register there. The area is near a river where you can have a boat ride.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Frozen Mochi at Yoh Froz

We were walking around Bonifacio High Street when we saw a sign at Hobbes and Landes which has a yummy photo of a mochi in it. We were all tempted and curious to have a taste and so we entered the store and inside is Yoh Froz where you can buy this yummy frozen treats.

Hobbes and Landes is a toy store where you can buy awesome toys. It's not those toy store you usually go to in malls. This one is different. Most of the time, you can play with the board games they have. It is cool enough that you can order your favorite yogurt treats while playing here since the store is just inside it.

Lunch Out Series: Fish & Co.

It has been a long while since I had a lunch out because of the shift we had for the past few months. Since we are now in a code freeze and everything was back to normal schedule, we decided to dine out before we are on holidays.

We decided to go to Greenbelt 3 and dine at Fish & Co. located at the third level just beside the array of restaurants near the cinema area. It was an ordinary day so there were less people dining in most of the restaurants there. As we enter, the staff welcomed us and assisted us to our chairs. There were only a few people there at that time so they attend to us much more attentively.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Place to Stay at Kalinga: Davidson Hotel and Restaurant

On our short weekend adventure at Kalinga, we stayed at Davidson Hotel and Restaurant which is part of the package we paid for our rafting adventure there. It is located along the highway where the Victory Liner bus pass through when getting to Tabuk.

We arrived there early morning after our 12 hour bus ride from Manila. We were a bit sleepy and disoriented from the ride and we walked directly in the hotel. Our contact person was waiting for us and she welcomed us right away. We went to the front desk to check in and they gave us a room. The other two rooms are to be available at the afternoon. It was okay and we just went ahead and placed our stuff there. We went back at the restaurant area for breakfast. It was part of the package.

Barkada Dinner at Wee Nam Kee

Our dinner out with friends was scheduled that Sunday afternoon when I was obliged to go to work in the morning and attend an out reach program at noon. It was really a busy day but I prepared myself for it. I was wandering around Serendra in Bonifacio Global City when my friends arrived to see me. They were from our street and they met with me after my long morning's activity. As dinner arrived we looked for a place to eat and we decided to eat at Wee Nam Kee.

Even though I tried it here before, I still decided to eat here again since the first time, I only had one dish of them. Also, I like their Hainanese Chicken Rice and I couldn't resist the thought of eating it again. This is the only Singaporean dish I could eat everyday. I really like it.

Food Trippin' Boracay: Boracay Crab House

Our stay at Escondido includes a free dinner on our stay there. We availed it on the first night and we dinned in at their restaurant called Boracay Crab House.

Located at the Escondido Beach Resort, the place offers guests with their specialty which are crab dishes. The place is located at the second level inside the Escondido Resort compound. The interior consist of wooden tables and chairs. It is an open area and guests can enjoy the nature around while dining in a cozy atmosphere. During night time, the light illuminate the place as well as the small garden below and the place is somewhat enchanting and a nice place for bonding with family or friends.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Rizal Passport: Manila and Intramuros Tour

My friends decided one weekend that we use our Rizal Passport that I got from the Department of Tourism Office a few months back. We planned to get all the Manila stamp site locations stamped at that day and so, early morning, we met up at UN Avenue Station in Manila to begin our day's adventure.

The Lakbay Rizal Project is from the DOT wherein they are promoting the areas where our National Hero had been on his life. The goal is to get all the locations stamped and these locations are all over the Philippines. It started last June as we all commemorate Rizal's 150th birthday and from that period up to a year, the project will end giving the first to complete all locations a special prize. At first I wanted to win but as priorities and schedule were demanding, I just wanted to try if I could get as many stamps as I can.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chico River White Water Rafting Adventure

After our 12 hour bus ride from Manila to Tabuk in Kalinga, we are ready to take the adventure that Chico River has to offer. From Davidson Hotel, our hotel in Kalinga which is included in the rafting package we availed for PHP4000, we took a jeepney going to the drop off point where our rafting adventure will start. We had another group with us and they are friendly and we get along just fine.

As we go to the drop off point, we were awed by the beautiful scenery that we see as we pass by the side of the mountain. There is a nice view of the river and there are rice fields on top of the mountain. If it wasn't that cloudy that day, it would be a perfect view. The road is a bit narrow and we need to pass by some area where it seem like the mountain is carved just to hava a road there. There are few vehicles passing by there but the driver was cautious enough that we arrived at the drop off point safely.

Kalinga-Tuguegarao Weekend Escape

We planned to go White Water Rafting in the far north of Luzon and so one weekend, we decided to go to Kalinga to experience the rapids of Chico River located at the province of Kalinga and to maximize our stay, we decided to take a side trip at Tuguegarao which is a few hours away from Kalinga.

We booked our White Water Rafting Adventure with Chico River Quest and our package cost PHP4000 per person, inclusive of the accommodation, White water rafting adventure plus breakfast, lunch and dinner. All we need to pay is our transportation going to Kalinga and to Tuguegarao plus our meals the next day. It was a nice deal since the hotel that we stayed in was nice and the food we had was also good.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Place to Stay at Boracay: Escondido Beach Resort

On our weekend getaway at Boracay, we stayed at Escondido Beach Resort which is located at  Zone Escondido, Station 1, Balabag, Boracay Island. It is just a few minutes walk from the beach. You need to cross the main street from here and it is located at the back of the church there. The resort is also where Crab House is located. It is a bit difficult to find but you can ask people around and they will quickly point to you its location.

Our stay here is through a coupon we availed for a 3D/2N stay with free breakfast and dinner. Comparing to other resort's rates, it wasn't that cheap but the coupon was already paid and it was still a good deal for all of us.

Bright Christmas with the Symphony of Lights at the Ayala Triangle Gardens

Every Christmas, Ayala Avenue comes to life with its bright Christmas lights along the road. Along with this, the Ayala Triangle Garden is equally decorated with bright lights. It is not only those lights that is featured during the season, ATG is known to showcase this lights with a blend of Christmas songs in the garden every night. It is called the Symphony of Lights.

Every year, they get to do this in ATG. The lights that hung from the trees are accompanied with a very festive music in every blink of these bright lights. It seems like those lights were dancing. I thought I'd miss the show this year because of my schedule at work but thankfully, we dropped by here one weekend just to enjoy this.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Exploring Istanbul: Bağdat Cadessi

On our first weekend at Istanbul, we decided to explore the streets since it was the last time we'll be spending it with our other office mates who will be leaving soon. We decided to spend our morning there exploring the place because they told us that there are a lot of shops and bazaar there.

From our hotel, Byotell, we took a cab that brought us to Bağdat Cadessi. It is a long street with a lot of shops and cafés on the side street. It was all high end shops all around and we are looking for the bazaar.

Flying with Emirates

It was my first business trip in the office and I will be travelling almost halfway around the world. For this, we booked with Emirates which was famous for it's good service. And what's much more nice about this flight is that I'm flying in Business class, another first time for me! 

We were scheduled to fly from Manila to Dubai and Dubai to Istanbul on a Saturday morning. The flight took us around 12 hours plus a couple of hours waiting time for the transfer flight. It was a really long flight and good thing we were in Business Class and everything was all comfortable.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Exploring Istanbul: Topkapi Palace and Rustem Pasa Masque

The second half of the tour began after lunch. After exploring Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar, we proceed to Topkapi Palace and Rustem Pasa Mosque in the afternoon and explored the other places and learn the history of the old civilization, Constantinople, today, Istanbul, Turkey.

The bus took us back to Sultan Ahmet to where we were in the morning. It took us to the entrance of the famous Topkapi Palace where the sultans had lived before they changed their government. As we alight the bus, we were given a brief preview of the place. We waited until we got our tickets and finally entered the gates of the old palace.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Food Trippin' Boracay: Aria Gelato

As we indulge in the sweet and yummy crepes of Crazy Crepe, my fried craved for a scoop of gelato and so, to satisfy her cravings, we all went to the far side of D'Mall de Boracay to buy a scoop of the yummy looking Aria Gelato.

The small store is just a counter wherein there is a display of gelato and its different flavors. There are crews behind it that waits for your order. All the available treats and their prices are in a sign just above where guests can see and decide what to buy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Food Trippin' Boracay: Quency Cakes and Pastries

The reason for our Boracay trip was to celebrate my friend's birthday there at the island. And so, on the day of her birthday, we decided to have a surprise treat for her and we decided to buy it at Quency Cakes and Pastries in D'Mall.

We have been planning on the surprise for a while that is why when we saw their shop at the D'Mall de Boracay, we had a mental note to go there and buy her a surprise. The store is located near the Crazy Crepes and it is just small. They have a small ref where the cakes are displayed. You get to choose which one you like there. They have different sizes and designs there. We originally intent to buy a nice beach design but unfortunately, there was none on stock. And so, we opted for a chocolate cake. They have different sizes for this. The big one is around PHP500 and the medium round one is at PHP320. We chose the latter. It was fit for us all.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dinner at Kulinarya Experience

It was my first time at Robinson's Place Manila and me and my friends decided to have dinner there after a day of adventure around Manila. We ended up picking Kulinarya Experience aka KXP as our place to eat and we all liked it here.

Kulinarya Experience is located at the Midtown Wing of the Mall. It is found at a corner near CBTL. It is a bit small but you can easily notice it with a big sign and a big menu display just outside it. As you enter, you will be greeted with the crew in their kitchen and bar area where they get most of the orders. The rest of the area are seats for guests. It was quite big and I think it can seat around thirty to forty people. The place is dimly lit adding to a nice cozy ambiance.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Food Trippin' Boracay: Crazy Crepes

It was another night when we are looking for something to eat after dinner. we were at D' Mall in Boracay when we stumbled upon a crepe store which sells yummy looking crepes based on the designs on the front of this store. We couldn't resist and we had our dessert that night there at Crazy Crepes.

The place is small and is just consist of the front counter and their kitchen. Basically it is a takeout store and you just order there and get your yummy crepe on the go. You can opt to stay at the benches outside but most of the time, you can carry around this yummy dessert. The store is decorated with samples of the flavors you can choose from. it was quite difficult to chose at first but we managed to pick what we want. There is also a price on the displays so you'd know how much the different flavors costs.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Food Trippin' Boracay: Don Vito Italiano Ristorante's Gelato

As we explored the island of Boracay at night, we usually crave for sweet things especially after dinner. Among the array of restaurants there is an Italian place where they also serve some gelato. This is said to be the restaurant wing of Mandarin Island Hotel. It is known as Don Vito Ilatiano Ristorante. We didn't eat the restaurant per se but my friend wanted some gelato and so she bought one for herself while we just tasted it.

This place hits me when I realized that the logo they have is similar to that of Red Hat Linux. It was just weird and I was wondering if it was even legal to use that image. Anyway, we only stayed outside while my friend went in. From the outside, you can see that the place is packed with guests. It seems like they serve good food there. Maybe if we have some budget to splurge on to, we would have dinned in there. Reviews says that they have some awards on being a good restaurant. I am not sure, maybe I'll research more on that. The place has this cozy ambiance inside and I think it is a perfect place to stay for a group of friends who want to eat Italian.

Read the Label and Win with Human Nature

I was looking at blogs lately and I stumbled upon some natural and organic hair products that I instantly got interested in. It was called Human Nature and I have no idea where to get it. I thought it was some imported stuff that you need to get to some specialty store and so I looked in some but failed to see any traces of this product.

I was in a local grocery looking for some stuff when I saw a stand with a Human Nature logo with it. I instantly grabbed some products and bought it right away. At home, I did some research and looked up their website, there I found out that you can actually win a trip to different destinations in the Philippines with it and so I tried my luck and joined.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Exploring Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar

During our stay in Istanbul, we decided to have a tour around and see the sights it was famous for. Long ago, Turkey was known in our history books as Constantinople. We toured it and saw the rich history and culture behind it and the foundation of the country we visited.

The first half of that day, we went to Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. There are in between locations that are equally amazing to see. There is the Hippodrome, the Obelisk of Theodossius and the Carpet Show.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Starbucks 2012 Planner

Every year, before the year reached its last few days, Starbucks Coffee never fails to give out a planner to whoever completes the sticker booklet. For many years now, this is the first time I tried hard to complete it since last year I didn't like the design and just gave away the stickers I had. This time, aesthetically, the planner is very nice and I liked the simplicity of it plus how earthy it seems. I decided to complete it this year and today I have my Starbucks 2012 Planner!

This year, Starbucks made two options in completing the sticker booklet, Option 1 is still the Christmas Special plus drinks making a total of 17 stickers. Option 2 on the other hand is completing 23 stickers with any choice of beverage. Of course, I chose the lesser number of stickers and with the help of friends giving me their stickers whenever we go to Starbucks, I have successfully completed all 17 of it after six branches of Starbucks. Yey! It was a big accomplishment for me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Food Trippin' Istanbul: Robert's Coffee

On our short stay at Istanbul, Turkey, we were assigned most of the time with a client. It came to a point where we got tired of the free food in their cafeteria and so we always make an excuse just to go to lunch by ourselves and here we discovered Robert's Coffee.

It was just a small stall inside the large building of Akbank in Turkey. They also have one outside but it only offer coffee and tea for those smokers outside. The stall inside is quite bigger. They have some seats available if ever you opt to eat there. They also offer a wide selection of sandwiches and drinks.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Food Trippin' Boracay: Jonah's Fruit Shake

On our first day at the island, when we were walking back from lunch, we decided to have the famous fruit shake that everybody raves about in Station 1 in Boracay. It is the famous Jonah's Fruit Shake.

Located along Station 1 just at the beach front, this branch of Joanah's Fruit Shake is one of the many in the island since they became famous and they branch out. The place here is good, you are facing the beach while the sea breeze and the sound of the waves relaxes you as you sip into a yummy drink. The place here is just small but can seat around forty to fifty guests. They have crews roaming around to quickly get your order.

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