UNIQLO Has Arrived in Iloilo

June 16th, 2016

 

 

The highly anticipated Japanese apparel brand has finally opened their doors, making SM City Iloilo home to the 3rd  UNIQLO store in the Visayas. The store will officially open on June 17th.

Together with members of the press, yours truly had a chance to get the first look at their store, right before the VIP shopping. The store tour was curated by no other than their lovely store manager. Let’s start!

 

 

UNIQLO tags LifeWear as their brand’s image, offering high quality and innovating everyday wear.

 

 

 

I’m familiar with UNIQLO and working as a eigo no sensei ( English teacher) in Japan a decade ago, this brand has been synonymous with affordable pieces. Because they were everywhere in Japan, UNIQLO was the place to go whenever you have wardrobe emergencies – you can always buy something from their store!

 

 

UNIQLO is so far the biggest clothing store occupying SM City Iloilo, offering a full range of everyday LifeWear essentials for men, women, and children. I still wear my reliable lounge hoodie and jogging pants till this day – UNIQLO pieces older than my kids. That’s how durable their products are.

I often shop for UNIQLO polos back in the day because they are inexpensive yet stylish, along with inner wear. I miss those camisoles with dainty neckline details. 

 

 

UNIQLO SM City Iloilo manager showing to us the mesh innerwear. No VPL ( visible panty lines).

 

Giving our “twins” the right support without the painful underwires.

Casual, everyday pieces for women. Great clothing when dropping off and picking up the kids. I have now 4 UNIQLO shirts, one more and I have a weekly “uniform”. haha.

If you want something a little bit ” dressy” and business casual..

Let’s check out the men’s section…

A great Father’s Day gift is a Pique Polo shirt, drying sweat and suppressing odor, courtesy of DRY technology. Then of course, AIRism pieces.

AIRism is light as air and dries sweat quickly, available for men, women, and even kids. I’ll definitely get AIRism polos for my kids, next time.

Another best-selling piece for men at UNIQLO is their Skinny Fit Tampered Jeans.

And for the kids and babies!

I got kid1 cargo pants and shorts,  while kid2 had a Doreamon shirt and a nautical themed shorts. ” Oh, it feels nice!“, said kid2 while touching his shirt during our fitting session.

So are you ready? Head to UNIQLO at Upper Ground Floor of SM City Iloilo and get discounts and other novelty items as part of their exclusive opening offers ! Enjoy shopping!

For more updates, visit UNIQLO Philippines’ website at www.uniqlo.com/ph . Follow their social media accounts, Facebook ( Facebook.com/uniqlo.ph), Twitter ( twitter.com/uniqloph) and Instagram ( instagram/uniqlophofficial).

Business & Pleasure: Boutique Hotels in South San Francisco

June 13th, 2016

 

 

Photo by City Bitches Abroad via Trover 

 

Frequent travelers to California’s Bay Area often opt to stay in South San Francisco. It’s close to the international airport and business areas like biotech companies, so what more can you ask for? To balance business with leisure, South San Francisco also provides relaxing bay views, marina, parks, and other tourist attractions.

The next step is looking for the best place to stay. Check out these hotels in South San Francisco.

A Suite Life

All the suites at Embassy Suites San Francisco Airport bear a contemporary vibe and prove ultra-spacious with separate living areas. Thus, this is the hotel for those who prefer high-end hotels. Its main feature is the tropical atrium, which features a koi fish pond and fountain. There is also an indoor heated pool to soothe your tired muscles after a long day!

Business travelers will love the wide array of business amenities as well as the shuttle services to the airport, which is 3 miles from the hotel. If you are staying at the hotel on a Friday or Saturday, take advantage of the free motor coach heading to the downtown area.

 

Practicality Meets Comfort

 

Do you find boutique hotels in South San Francisco too expensive for your budget? Experience the benefits of staying in a small hotel like the CitiGarden Hotel, which is located not far from the business district. It’s perfect for guests who want to arrive in a peaceful environment at the end of the day, and this courtyard-style hotel has a pool and in-house restaurant.

Rooms are comfortable with TVs and Wi-Fi, and for a small charge, guests can have a fridge and a microwave. Want to relax or keep up with your fitness regimen? There are biking and walking trails close by.

 

Quaint Stay

 

Traveling for business can be rigid for some, and for guests who want to have a piece of home, La Quinta Inn San Francisco Airport North is the best choice. Rooms are old-fashioned but not dated, resulting to a homey ambiance. This lovely hotel is equipped with a fitness center, spa, and a pool. They also offer a 24-hour laundry service and valet parking.

Providing comfort and convenience, airport shuttle services are available, while key attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, and Golden Gate Bridge are a few minutes away by car.

 

 

Photo by Majid Shaheen via Trover

 

 

Cozy and Intimate Break

If you wish to stay in a boutique hotel in South San Francisco, pick the Inn at Oyster Point. There are only 30 rooms, assuring guests of personalized services and less crowded accommodations.

Each room is chic and indulgant, with charming décor, fireplaces, and picturesque bay views. Enjoy fresh seafood at the SouthHarbour Restaurant. The city’s Marina and shopping area are conveniently accessible along with the business center. For those driving to South San Francisco, the hotel offers free parking on top of their complimentary airport shuttles.

Modern Business

 

For those who don’t want to risk missing their flights, stay at Holiday Inn San Francisco International Airport. The hotel is the airport’s closest neighbor, but it is not secluded, with the downtown area easily accessible. If you want to travel in the city via subway, the station is just a few minutes away from this hotel. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley is only 30 minutes away by car.

All guest rooms are newly renovated, echoing sleek and contemporary themes — perfect for today’s business travelers. The hotel provides room service and a 24-hour gym. For post-meeting entertainment over drinks and food, head off to Houlihan’s Restaurant.

South San Francisco not only offers the best location, linking business districts and tourist attractions, but varied hotel options available for different types of travelers.  From inexpensive hotels to worth-every-pennyaccommodations, or intimate lodging to those with the best location, take a pick to any of the hotels mentioned above.

This article is written for Hipmunk’s Boutique Hotels in the US Fall 2015.

Family-Friendly Boutique Hotels in South Padre Islands

June 11th, 2016

 

South Padre Island has long been a top choice for spring break beach parties, but over the years, it’s also built a reputation as a family vacation destination. When traveling to South Padre Island with your brood this summer, check out these family-friendly accommodations.

Photo via Schlitterbahn Beach Resort & Waterpark

Fun for Everyone

Put your family in the center of all the fun at Schlitterbahn Beach Resort and Waterpark. Rooms are accentuated by recovered Loblolly pine from a 2011 wildfire, creating a relaxing vibe. Book a double king room or a two-bedroom suite, which includes a bunk bed set and a queen sleeper sofa.

The water park is the resort’s highlight, and it’s one of South Padre Island’s top attractions. The heated indoor water park is open year round, so you can enjoy all-day fun on 13 water slides. Attractions vary from baby-friendly to more challenging rides like an uphill water coaster and a surfing ride.

 

Affordable Stays

Traveling as a family can be costly, but you can save when you stay in inexpensive hotels like the Padre South Hotel on the Beach. The hotel’s two-bedroom suites have enough space for families, along with private balconies that offer views of the Gulf of Mexico. Families can save money on dining by preparing meals in the hotel kitchenette. Laundry facilities are also available.

Guest will love the pool with Jacuzzi. Top attractions like the beach, the water park, and Laguna Madre Nature Trail are just a few minutes away.

 

Photo via Pearl of the South Padre

 

 

 

Lap of Luxury

When you want to indulge, stay at Pearl South Padre. Everything from the guest rooms to the grounds is luxurious. The whole family will love the stunning pool, which is the largest in South Texas, along with the pristine beach and the restaurant’s delectable seafood dishes.

Choose an oceanfront suite to enjoy unrivaled views of the Gulf. Kid-friendly offerings like Summer Kids Camp, complimentary breakfasts for kids under 12, and family movies are available. Mom and Dad will enjoy their much-deserved massages from the hotel’s spa.

 

Hip Place for the Family

If you are looking for a boutique hotel on South Padre Island, check out Wanna Wanna Inn. There are just 15 rooms that include staples like a fridge, cable TV, and a microwave. Even without the frills, however, this property has this beach vibe that your whole family will love.

At this beachfront hotel, kids can play in the sand or swim in the saltwater pool. Bring your furry friend along for the trip, since Wanna Wanna Inn is pet friendly.

 

The Best of Both Worlds

Properties like WindWater Hotel offer a more complete list of facilities without the high room rates. Top attractions and the beach are just a few minutes away. After a long day at the beach or enjoying the island’s attractions, find comfort at the hotel’s pool and hot tub. Free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and parking are also nice perks

WindWater Hotel only allows guests 21 years of age and over, so this is the perfect place for families with adult kids. Pets are also welcome at the WindWater Hotel.

Whether you’re a parent looking for a family-friendly resort or a kid who wants to plan a nice beach getaway for siblings and parents, you’ll have your pick of hotels on South Padre Island. From affordable rooms to indulgent accommodations, these South Padre Island hotels will make your trip special.

 

This article is written for Hipmunk’s Boutique Hotels in the US Fall 2015. To know more hotel properties, visit and read these articles..

Work and Play with these Boutique Hotels in San Jose

Boutique Hotels in New York City and Its Neighboring Cities

Boracay Tropics Resort Hotel Review

June 10th, 2016

 

 

 

A few years back, Boracay Tropics Resort Hotel was  home to the stars and celebrities while in Boracay. A Best Western Boracay Hotel, Boracay Tropics is located in Station 2.  Their location used to be a humble accommodation in Boracay – Rainbow Villa- and we stayed there during my first trip to the island back in 2011.

I booked directly and got a good rate compared to booking Boracay Tropics Agoda. It might not be a beachfront hotel, but situated along the main road, there is no need to get a Boracay Tropics location map.

The lobby is fairly small but we had a quick check-in. You will be given a resort necklace and billeted right away to your room. Welcome drinks follow once you are settled.

 

 

The room is spacious and well maintained given the number of years.

 

 

 

The interior mirrors the trend during its time. Thus, if you have stayed in other new hotels in Boracay, the look of their rooms might come as outdated. Personally, I just want our room to be safe, clean, and spacious.

 

 

 

Deluxe bathroom…

 

 

 

Our roof has a view of the pool.

 

 

 

The main attraction of the hotel is their pool. I took this photo early morning, checking how they keep the pool clean.

 

 

 

It’s small, so expect some “crowd” but we had our space. Fellow guests were considerate.

 

 

 

Boracay Tropics pool area, I believe is the resort’s ace. The whole resort is peaceful and a solace from the energetic White Beach of Station 2. It was nice to arrive in a quiet place after enjoying White Beach. The water is good too.

 

 

A nice place to unwind. Read a book. Suite rooms have hammocks and a balcony.

 

 

Traveling with a big group, Boracay Tropics is one of the hotels in Boracay with family rooms. You can also check the Boracay Tropics dorm room. The breakfast buffet was fine with plenty of choices and the staff were attentive. But I have to say, the food was average.

 

 

As a whole, I recommend Boracay Tropics Resort Hotel. If you want to have a relaxing time and want to avoid overcrowded hotels during peak season, this is a good place to stay.

Here are my comments:

1. Noise. I read in Tripadvisor about the noise. There was a construction during our stay but it didn’t disturb us. This is happening all over the island. Better ask the hotel first if there are constructions nearby and request to be billeted away from the noise.

2. Playroom. I informed the front desk officer about this. The hotel’s site needs to be updated-  they don’t have a playroom now, yet it is still published in their site. I for  one as a parent, was looking forward to such facility.

Overall, a good place and a kid-friendly hotel in Boracay. Have  you stayed at Boracay Tropics? Share your story!

Herschel Opens in SM Iloilo

June 4th, 2016

 

 

 

Herschel  finally opens their store in SM City Iloilo!

 

Maker of today’s “it” backpacks, Herschel Philippines has broadened their realm to adoring lovers of signature Herschel backpacks. Now, Ilonggos and the rest of Western Visayas as well as neighboring cities like Bacolod don’t have to travel to Manila or ask their family and friends abroad for a Herschel bag. SM City Iloilo is the home to one of the latest Herschel Philippines branches.

 

 

Based in Vancouver, Herschel Supply Co was founded by two brothers – Jaime and Lyndon Cormack- in 2009. They got the name from the town in Saskatchewan province of west central Canada where three generations of their family settled after moving all the way from Scotland.

From iconic designs, products mirror their love for heritage such as the signature red  and white stripes fabric liners, inspired from the uniform of their grandfather.

Herschel is known for their backpacks, with Little America as their signature silhouette.

 

 

Let’s check out this Herschel Philippines store!

 

 

 

From their signature silhouettes, Herschel Iloilo carries products from their collections.

 

 

 

Take your pick!

 

 

 

Find other products like this cute tote bag – perfect for mommies like me and ladies who want to have everything in one bag.

 

 

 

Get one for your little one!

 

 

 

Wallets..

 

 

 

Caps..

 

 

 

Decisions, decisions…

 

 

 

The best bags for the #WellTravelled

 

 

 

Visit them at Upper Ground Floor, New Wing in SM City Iloilo today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Pristine Playground Called Agho Island

May 30th, 2016

 

 

Completing my island hopping in Concepcion “series”, I present to you, Agho Island.  This goes to all children of the sun with high standard when it comes to white sand beaches and beautiful islands. Uninhabited but totally not remote, Agho Island comes next to Bolubadiangan or Sand Bar Island Resort as Concepcion’s top attractions.

 

How to get to Agho Island

 

 

 

Take a boat ride from Poblacion ( town center), Concepcion to Agho Island for at least 35 minutes. Agho is “hidden” behind bigger islands and situated northeast of the town center.

For those visiting Sandbar Island, it takes less than 20 minutes. Due to its location, avoid the monsoon season if you are sensitive to sea sickness or scared of waves.  Compared to other island hopping trips I had in the past, Concepcion is “safer”, thanks for surrounding islands and islets pacifying the waves.

 

 

Bask and Dip All Day Long

 

Untamed yet beautiful. The first sighting of its long stretch of sand makes you say, ” wow”.  Smaller compared to other islands off the coast of Concepcion, it covers 8 hectares. The back part of the island is filled with rock formations – making it suitable for those who love some dramatic photography sessions.

With kids, we were contended with long stretch of powdery sand. Who wouldn’t? Entrance is Php25( adult) and Php400 for cottages. As soon as our boat anchored, my beach boys went straight to the water.

Clean and clear…

 

 

I believe in salt water therapy, that’s why we often go to beach to cure coughs and colds. Vitamin Sea drenches away negative energies. The water is therapeutic that I spent hours dipping – you know that as you get older, you spend less in the water –  much to the delight of my kids.

The island’s landscape is another thing.  The nearby islands create a stunning scenery especially that of Pan de Azucar Island’s Mt. Manaphag.

 

 

For us tropical people, we have this discerning taste when it comes to sand’s softness and yes, Agho’s sand is soft and powdery. So far, it comes next to Boracay’s. But the water quality and the underwater creatures are the reasons why I love this island.

 

 

 

Just keep on swimming, my little child.

 

 

Isn’t it nice to unplug them as much as possible? Here are my boys, trying their best to catch a parrot fish. We brought our garbage back.

 

 

 

Another memorable activity is jumping from the boat.

 

 

 

Bring your beach towel and laze all day long at Agho Island. A family-friendly island and a nice beach for those who want some rustic and commercial-free island without challenging one’s comfort zone to the extreme, Agho Island is one island you have to visit.

 

I hope Concepcion Tourism Office will keep the tranquility of their islands and we look forward visiting Agho over and over again.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Work and Play with these Boutique Hotels in San Jose

May 27th, 2016

 

Heading to San Jose for business? If you are one of Silicon Valley’s thousands of business travelers, you deserve more than just a place to sleep. Check out these boutique hotels in San Jose to enjoy the city’s best when it comes to entertainment, attractions, and business facilities.

Stay in the Center of it All

 

 Photo by Hotel Valencia Santana Row

Visitors love to go to Santana Row, San Jose’s outdoor mall and  premier shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. Hotel Valencia Santana Row is the only hotel in Santana Row and it’s just 10 minutes away from the San Jose Convention Center.

This hotel is great for business executives or those who want some indulgence when visiting San Jose. The hotel’s ambience shows Spanish flair with wrought-iron lattice and step-out balconies, and guests can enjoy views of the Santa Cruz Mountains from its rooftop wine bar.  On top of its modern business center, Hotel Valencia offers 24-hour room service, a pool, fitness center, same day laundry, and valet.

 

 

Bring the Kids

 

 

Photo by Fontaine Inn Downtown-Fairgrounds

Thinking about enjoying a family trip while on business in San Jose? Fontaine Inn Downtown-Fairgrounds has affordable rooms so extending your stay will never be a problem.

The location is ideal – only 6 miles from the airport and close to major Silicon Valley companies. Top theme parks like Great America and Raging Waters are nearby!

While catering to your needs as a business traveler, your family will love the outdoor pool. Driving all the way to San Jose? This hotel offers free parking!

 

 

Stay Longer in San Jose

 

Photo by Extended Stay America San Jose-Edenvale North

Not all business travelers are operating on a tech company’s budget. If you are on your own and looking for cheap hotels in San Jose, Extended Stay America San Jose-Edenvale North is your best choice.

Located in a nice, safe neighborhood, Extended Stay America San Jose-Edenvale North is perfect for longer stays. The rooms are clean and spacious, and each room has a fully equipped kitchen where you can prepare your own food to save money. And for a little treat, guests will love the bath tub – just what you need after a long day in San Jose. This hotel also offers laundry facilities.

 

Never Miss a Flight

 

  Photo by Extended Stay America San Jose-Airport

If you want to stay near the airport, pick another property of Extended Stay America. Extended Stay America San Jose-Airport is only two minutes away from the airport and close to the rail station to downtown.

Guests at this hotel will love the in-room fully equipped kitchen, large workspace, Grab-and-Go breakfast, wireless printer in the lobby, and business center.  For some relaxation, this hotel has a fitness room and a pool.

Enjoy Post-meeting Entertainment

 

Photo by Hotel De Anza

Hotel De Anza is an imposing structure in the downtown area of San Jose with its neon sign and distinct Art Deco architecture. After all, this hotel first opened in 1931 during the Jazz Age. Through the years, the hotel has kept its status as a classy luxury hotel where business travelers can relax and enjoy some entertainment over food and music.

With only 100 guest rooms and 9 suites, each guest receives personalized service. Rooms are well-appointed and include indulgences like in-room espresso machines and complimentary cookies and fruits. Some of the amenities unique to this hotel are a Midnight Snack Program, 24-hour gym, and multilingual staff.

Whether you are looking for a hotel where you can enjoy drinks with your colleagues, or a wallet-friendly hotel in San Jose, these boutique hotels in San Jose have you covered.

This article is written for Hipmunk’s  Boutique Hotels  in the US Fall 2015

 

How to Get to Concepcion Iloilo Beaches

May 26th, 2016

 

 

 

Thanks for reading our family trip to Concepcion’s Bulobadiangan and Agho Islands. As promised, I’m sharing here how to get to the islands of Concepcion. If you haven’t read it, here it is:

Visiting the Island of Concepcion, Iloilo wit Kids

There are many entry points going to Concepcion but Iloilo City ( via boat or plane from Manila and othe major cities) is the most common route. For Roll-On Roll-Off points, check out the port of Culasi ( Ajuy), Roxas City, and Aklan’s Caticlan port.

Iloilo City to Concepcion, Iloilo

 

  Photo courtesy of Google Maps

Distance from Iloilo City to Concepcion is at least 98 kilometres. Set aside at least 2 hours of road travel, depending on driving speed and road condition. For those taking public transportation from Iloilo City, get the bus from Ceres terminal or van in Tagbak terminal.

I will be sharing more on how to get to Concepcion from Iloilo via private vehicle. It’s quite easy though even for first-time visitors – just drive along the National Highway, passing the northern towns of Barotac Viejo until Ajuy. Once you pass by Poblacion Ajuy, look for the road that separates Concepcion and Sara.

The side and the entry road is narrow, it can be tricky. We almost got lost because the signage was covered with election posters  even though we went after elections. Going right is Concepcion and left is Sara.

Once you turn right to Concepcion, just go straight. You know you are on the right track once you see the peak of Mt. Manaphag. Go to the plaza and look for the Tourism Office.

 

Concepcion Tourism Office

 

 

Most local visitors have direct contacts of boat transfers going to the islands of Concepcion. I’m glad that the local tourism office of Concepcion are readily available to assist walk-in visitors.  Personally, I feel more secure if I arrange it with the tourism office.

They gave us a nice boat – safe with life jackets- and helped me haggle the price. Pay Php25 ( per adult) as environmental fee and you are helping the municipality of Concepcion in tracking their number of tourists. They will ask you where you’re going and if you want to go island hopping.

Feel free to ask for their recommendations and suggestions. Here’s their contact number in case you want to get in touch with them before your trip:

Concepcion Tourism Office – +63 998 216 8581 / (033) 396-7731

Boat Going to Bulobadiangan Island

 

Boat rides going to the beaches of Concepcion is at Php1,500 ( small boats, pictured above) and Php2,000 (for bigger boats).  I suggest, you take the big boats, these are the boats from Sandbar Beach Resort. Aside from having a bigger capacity, they are safer and more stable.

” Why are the boat rides expensive?”

Im glad I went and talked with the lovely tourism officer of Concepcion.  I find it ridiculously expensive at first, especially the Php1,000 per island rate for island hopping. Turns out, you will be renting the boat for your whole trip and it will be chartered. I thought the boats will leave you and come back on your desired time. The arrangement is very safe for tourists – you know you will not be left alone in an island.

On top of that, we had a tour guide and assistants ( our boatmen helped  the boys jumping from the boat into the water) . The big boats served as our beach base. As I kept mentioning, we didn’t take a cottage during our trip.

Unlike other beach destinations like Guimaras, travelers are not on a steady schedule. They only serve when there are demands from passengers since the islands of Concepcion are uninhabited. Most of the boats are for fishing and not for transporting beach trippers like us.

There you have it. My super mini travel guide to Concepcion, Iloilo on how to get there. If I missed something or if you have some questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Boutique Hotels in New York and Its Neighboring Cities

May 25th, 2016

 

Staying in boutique hotels in New York makes your trip in the city more enjoyable and relaxed. If you are looking for affordable boutique hotels, this list is for you. Likewise, read on for more boutique hotels in Washington, D.C. and nearby destinations.

Boutique Experience for Less

 

 Photo by Washington Jefferson Hotel

Many guests avoid boutique hotels because they think these properties are costly but Washington Jefferson Hotel can testify that you don’t have to spend a lot to stay in these type of hotels.

This hotel provides standard in-room amenities but its site is impeccable. Located in Midtown, guests are just a few minutes away from Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park. The Theater District is only a 5-minute walk.

All 158 rooms and suites are spacious, modern, and safe. Frequent guests swear at the service and warmth of the staff.

Artistic Taste at the Village

  Photo by The Redbury New York

The Redbury New York, formerly Martha Washington Hotel  is another Midtown Manhattan hotel. If you love visual arts, then you will enjoy their interiors filled with photographs by Matthew Rolston along with classy red colors and patterns. The hotel decor evokes the music publishing hot spot of Tin Pan Alley, once located in the same neighborhood as this hotel.

For food and drinks, this hotel has a pizzeria named Marta and a cozy lobby bar, Bar Marta. Guest services include multi-lingual staff, 24-hour fitness center, and a notary service for business travelers.

Celebrities’ Choice

 

  Photo by Washington Square Hotel

For those who want to stay in a less hectic part of the city, Washington Square Hotel is for you. Located in Greenwich Village, an area known for artists and creatives, this historic hotel has hosted personalities like Ernest Hemingway, Chuck Berry, and the Rolling Stones.

Situated in a historic landmark and decorated in Art Deco style, this hotel is a gem. Each room has Keurig coffee makers, designer toiletries, and offers views of the village and the park. Penthouse suites have the luxury of city views and body jet showers. Amenities include a spa, fitness room, restaurant, and a bar.

Resort for all Seasons

 

  Photo by Omni Mount Washington Resort

Need to get out of the city?  Head to New Hampshire for a rujevenating stay at Omni Mount Washington Resort! This historic hotel dates back to 1902. Set within White Mountain National Forest, this resort provides year-round activities for guests.

In summer, guests will have fun with rock climbing, mountain climbing, river tubing, archery, horseback riding, and fly fishing. Then it becomes a mecca for winter holidays with Bretton Woods as the largest ski resort in the state of New Hampshire and offers skiing, ice skating, sleigh riding, tubing, and a lot more!

A family-friendly hotel, guests will love the homey ambiance of the rooms with poster beds and fireplaces.

Stress-free Business

 

Photo by Hyatt Regency Washington DC

 

Taking a business trip to Washington, D.C.?  Check out Hyatt Regency Washington D.C.! With its prime location in the downtown area, top attractions in the capital are just nearby.

This hotel provides a relaxing ambiance for its business travelers thanks to the soft gray colors accentuated with citrus hues. Rooms are modern and ergonomically designed with an oversized desk. Details such as more electrical plugs makes Hyatt Regency a top choice among business travelers.

From Midtown New York to the outdoors of New Hampshire, or visiting the capital, rely on these boutique hotels when it comes to comfort, convenience, service, and little indulgences in between.

 

This article is written for Boutique Hotels in the US Fall 2015

 

 

 

 

Visiting the Islands of Concepcion with Kids

May 22nd, 2016

 

 

DSC_0983

   

The islands of northern Iloilo are continuously creating buzz over the years. Tranquil, untouched, and immensely a great place to unwind and enjoy the benefits of saltwater therapy. But is it safe to bring the kids along?        

As a parent, this is always my main concern. My husband and I have been Islas de Gigantes in Carles and would like to venture more beaches in northern Iloilo. One of my friends went to Concepcion’s Bulobadiangan Island with their kids including their baby, so I thought, “let’s give it a try“.        

After traveling more than two hours from Iloilo City, I went straight to Concepcion Iloilo Tourism Office for our boat transfer. Most locals contact their boats directly, but I’ll explain in a separate post on why it is better to ask the assistance of the tourism office.        

How to Get to the islands of Concepcion Iloilo” 

 

Our boat for Php2,000 for the whole trip.  I first thought it’s too expensive but seeing the boat, it is worth the price. It also turned out to be cost-effective.  

 

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The smaller boats cost Php1,500 but for those bringing along kids, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you take the bigger boat especially if you are planning to check out other islands in Concepcion Iloilo aside from Bulobadiangan Island.

DSC_0894

 

 

Travel time from the poblacion to Bulobadiangan Island is 20-25 minutes. It’s hard to think about time with plenty of things to see along the way. Concepcion has many offshore islands, making its water calmer. Unlike other island destinations where it is in an open sea, those places are a little bit scary for kids and mommies.

We also saw the Concepcion Coal Plant. I didn’t know they have it there.    

 

    DSC_0908

Bulobadiangan Island

 

Among all Concepcion Iloilo beaches, Bulubadiangan is the most visited island, more popularly known as Sandbar Beach Resort. Most people will tell you that you’ve never been to Concepcion if you skipped their sandbar.

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We didn’t occupy a cottage because our boat has bigger space. See the savings from renting a bigger boat? Our big boat casted a shadow, giving us some shade for a beach picnic!   

 

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Bring packed lunch when visiting these tourist spots in Concepcion, Iloilo. I packed rice, Don Rite sausages, fried pork and breakfast leftovers. The small stores in the island serve drinks and basic food like chips.

Be careful swimming and look out for sea urchins. We saw a group of ten spiny creatures. They were the cutest. This part of the sandbar has plenty of star fish!

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    Another angle of the sandbar of Concepcion, Iloilo facing Igbon Island.

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We didn’t spend a lot of time at Sandbar Beach Resort to mazimixe our time at Agho Island. Our boat captain said it is better than Bulubadiangan Island.

 

 

Agho Island

 

If we can go back to Concepcion, I will prioritize Agho Island itinerary and then visit other islands.  From the sandbar island, it takes less than 15 minutes. We passed by fishing villages and houses perched on rocks facing the Visayan Sea.

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The route means more open water and I was thankful that we took the big boat. Liam is a little bit scared of open sea and waves but with a bigger sea vessel, he enjoyed the ride.  

 

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Welcome to Agho Island!

 

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It goes without saying that this is the top things to do in Agho Island, second are taking tons of selfies and photos.

 

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I love Agho Island. So far, it’s my favorite in terms of “swimmability”. The local festival, Tampisaw Festival suits well. The water is clear and just a few steps from the shore are fishes.

 

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Pan de Azucar Island’s Mt. Manaphag serves as a good backdrop. The sand is also finer and softer at Agho.

 

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I won’t divulge more because I’ll be writing a separate post on Agho. Let me just summarize everything for Concepcion Iloilo island hopping with kids.

Rates and Expenses

1. Environmental fee – Php25 per adult ( free for kids)
2. Entrance fee per island – Php25 per adult ( free for kids)
3. Cottage – Php 400
4. Island hopping – Php500 per island ( Tourism Office rate), direct transaction costs (Php1,000).
5. Parking – Php100 .

 

Travel tips for Concepcion, Iloilo

1. Buy your own food and plenty of water.
2. Bring floaties, goggles, and snorkeling gears. A store in front of the tourism office ( market) sells them.
3. Visit Tourism Office ( 09982168581)  unless you trust your contact 101% for safety reasons and best rates. Tourism officer, Ms. Jeneve Yu  ( 09291179380)  haggled our boat for Php1,800 instead of Php2,000 which we used for tips  (please give). She also gave a tip for budget travelers – just find a shady spot in the island to save money from renting a cottage.

4. BEST TIME to visit – weekdays and summer. Water is calm during summer, avoid Habagat season. During weekdays, you can get haggle along with less crowd.

Thank you, Ms. Jen of Concepcion Tourism Office for your help!  Stay tuned for more stories on Concepcion, Iloilo.

Check out more beach destinations

Family Fun in Guimaras Island

Mantigue Island, Camiguin

Mararison Island, Antique

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