Batangas is a haven for luxury resorts. It might not boast of fine white sand, endless stretch of beaches, and stunning tropical islands like the ones you would see in Bohol or Palawan, but its advantage is its proximity to Manila, the bustling metro that is the Philippine capital.
Batangas is roughly around a three-hour drive south of Metro Manila, and it is the quickest escape for those wanting to get away from all the chaos on weekends. Given the proximity, it’s no wonder that various luxury resort companies have taken their share in building and promoting Batangas (particularly Nasugbu) as a prime luxury destination.
I got to experience this with a few friends a couple of weeks ago after one of them won at a mall promotion and the prize was a two-night stay at a luxurious resort situated along the tip of a flame-shaped peninsula.
Great news for who are planning to finally take that much awaited trip to Dubai, Europe, or USA – you’re in great timing as Citibank is currently offering up to 40% percent off of its Business class and Economy class fares. If you are planning on traveling from Manila, Cebu, or Clark to one of below cities from May 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, you are eligible to join the promo: Continue reading →
A friend of mine recently threw a birthday party at one of the 2 bedroom suites at Aruga by Rockwell luxury serviced apartments/hotel in Rockwell Center, Makati City, and I was one of the few who arrived early to help with the preparations. Since we arrived in our suite early with our room in its untouched and pristine state, I decided to take some photos and write another unbiased hotel review.
Aruga (a Filipino word which means loving care) by Rockwell prides itself in providing utmost care and a relaxed and pleasant environment to its guests without missing out on luxury which is true to the Rockwell brand, its parent company. Continue reading →
Happy New Year! It was the first day of 2016 when my friends and I headed over to the scenic and crisp Tagaytay City for a whole day of road trip and adventure (see my Tagaytay road trip blog post here). We chanced upon Nuvali in Calamba, Laguna while on our way about an hour south of Manila and decided to check out the Republic Wakepark while we’re at it.
I’ve heard of Republic Wakepark a few times already from my other ‘sosyal’ colleagues but was never able to try this one out thinking it’s an all too expensive sports hobby. I was proved to be wrong when we first entered the lobby and saw how much their services were. Hmm, not bad. Basically, you can go wakeboarding all you can for 8 hours for only P995 (around US$20) – that is, if you have the energy to go for 8 hours straight. If you just wish to do some leisurely fun, a 2 hour unlimited pass for P475 will do. If you need more time, you can stay overnight at one of their suites at a reasonable price, with room rates as low as P2,500 per night. Continue reading →
My trip to Japan this year has been an incredible experience. My posts on my personal Facebook page has gotten a lot of attention, with many of my friends asking how I managed to discover and experience the unique culture of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka in only 7 days. I myself could not imagine how I did it. I could hardly imagine how I would most of the time run around train stations hoping to possibly catch the next train and save precious time. I could hardly imagine how I managed to plan my trip and adjust to last minute changes using a rented pocket Wi-Fi and notepad while on-board a bullet train and be prepared to scurry to the next nowhere-to-be-found platform once the train stops. It was all worth it, though, since my memories of Japan remains clear ’til now and my memories of that stinking, urine-turned-bad smelling thick-brothed ramen and drunk Geishas are staying with me, alright.
I actually never planned to visit Japan this year, but when I chanced upon a Cebu Pacific promo last February that offered a round trip flight from MNL (Manila)-KIX (Osaka) for only P8,700 (around $197) or approximately less 60% off the regular fare, who was I to let that pass? I went to Japan in March when winter is almost done and spring is looming around. That also meant I only had a month to plan my itinerary. Good thing I was also visiting a Pinoy friend living and working in Aioi (near Osaka) who helped me with my planning and offered free accommodation whenever I’m in Aioi, which served as my home base.
This post of mine is long overdue. My friends have long been asking for my itinerary since the day I posted in my “Japan 2015” photo album on Facebook, so here goes my itinerary and a lot of talking on the side. Continue reading →
There are lots of travel hacks available out there, but take time to check this video out and find out new tricks to add to your already known portfolio of hacks. In this National Geographic episode, host Brian Brushwood shows us that even if the hotel receptionist tells you it has no vacancies, you may still be able to get a room for the night anyway. Continue reading →
I logged in to Couchsurfing.com to find out about local events in San Francisco and found a recurring event below:
Of course, I decided to join the event, which really got me excited as it is a good opportunity to meet new people, locals and travelers/backpackers alike, in San Francisco, an international city and tech hub. I asked a friend to tag along as I am not really that confident when I go alone and meet lots of new people for the first time, so having a buddy with me boosts my confidence big time. 😉
We went last 8th July, 2015. It was a chilly night. We arrived at the first pub named The NorthStar at around 9PM only to be greeted by a packed street parking. The area was very close to Italian restaurants and bars and The NorthStar doesn’t have its own private parking space, hence the reason for this, so be sure to arrive early to avoid the hassle.
Parking issue solved (after about 30 minutes), we headed straight to The NorthStar’s entrance where we were greeted by an old hippie man letting us know of that night’s pub crawl and rock-paper-scissors tournament. Continue reading →
Last year, I went on a trip from Manila to San Francisco and back via Korean Air, a 4-star airline, just so I could take advantage of the free Seoul transit tour provided for by Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN). I scored this trip when Korean Air had an online promotion – I purchased the ticket for USD $1,080. See my article regarding this here.
This year I went on the same route, this time via Asiana Air, a 5-star airline. I got the ticket for USD $897 – I didn’t know at first that the Asiana Air website has year round promo fares and I just found out about it after scouring the web and comparing fares. Such a great deal, I must say! The cheapest I know of for this route.
Anyway, I was planning to register for another free transit tour with ICN airport when I called Asiana to confirm my reservation. Since my Seoul stopover is 12 hours, the agent asked me if I wanted a free transit tour or hotel accommodation provided for free by Asiana. I didn’t know at that time that Asiana has its own free transit tour, although ICN airport already has its own.
Of course I had to try Asiana’s freebies this time, however, the dilemma is, if I wanted the free transit tour or the hotel accommodation. For those of you who are wondering if you can have both, the answer is no. You can only choose one, as confirmed by the Asiana phone agent with a cute Korean accent. I asked what we will be doing if I choose the free tour – the agent replied it is the same as the tour provided for by the airport, only this time the food and temple entrance fees are for free. Continue reading →
Japan is undoubtedly one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit and sleep in. Do not worry; locals share the same sentiment as well. Japan is a sleep deprived country, and people there tend to take advantage of sleep whenever they can (sans the expensive hotels).
Most visitors to Japan who look for accommodation will head over to booking sites right away, but I personally discourage booking all nights of your trip in one batch. Suggest for you to book only your first night, and then look locally once you’re there instead of online for the rest of your stay. By doing so, you’ll be able to find out other, cheaper inns and other free places to stay at that are not available online.
If you are flexible enough (meaning you can sleep standing up), consider these tips first: Continue reading →
I can’t believe I’m now back in the Philippines writing about my unforgettable stay at Amami Onsen Nanten-en in Japan. My experience is so fresh I can still feel the atmosphere and impeccable service that left me feeling spoiled.
Anyway, here’s a continuation of my previous post on how I booked this Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn so ‘magical’ it sounds sugar-coated but it’s true. Once you step inside Amami Onsen Nanten-en, you will experience the culture, ranging from traditional construction and decor to excellent hospitality and service the Japanese are known for.
Surrounded by scenic mountains and lined by a serene river, Nanten-en is in the Osaka prefecture but is far enough from the bustle of the big city, you’ll feel as if you are traveling back in time and isolated from the rest of the world. Unlike in Kyoto where ryokans are next to homes and other establishments, Nanten-en is particularly unique due to its secluded nature. It just takes about 40 minutes and 590 yen to go to Amami station via the Nankai Koya line from the Nankai station in Namba where the touristy Dotonbori area is. Convenient, eh?
Amami Onsen Nanten-en is just a minute’s walk away from Amami station. There are traditional residential houses around the area but the only commercial establishment is the ryokan, so make sure to bring food if you don’t plan on ordering from the hotel – yes, it is accepted by the hotel, meaning no charges, if you bring your own food. The main building of this ryokan was designed by renowned Japanese architect Dr. Kingo Tatsuno. Completed in 1913 and just turned 101 years old when I stayed there, Nanten-en has already been designated as a National Registered Cultural Asset. Continue reading →