Staycation at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo

 

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It was a surprise for the kids and I made sure they won’t have a clue even when I was trying to sneak our luggage at the back of the car. Because I always attend press briefing and events with Megaworld, the kids thought they were just dropping me off. ” Are we checking in?” – after they finally saw the bellman carrying our bags. What an effortless way to surprise them with an overnight staycation.

Richmonde Hotel Iloilo offers a discounted local rate for us city dwellers to have break without traveling far. The rate may be higher than most hotels in the city but this hotel in Iloilo Business Park is one of the few hotels in Iloilo with pools.

As a new hotel, Richmonde Hotel possess modern and stylish interiors. You will love their sleek and minimalist approach that can please both business and leisure travelers alike. Spacious lobby that opens to their Granary Restaurant and BizBar on each sides.

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BizBar doesn’t look like this; I took this photo when BizBar was used as a holding room for media during the inauguration of Iloilo Convention Center. Perfect for late-night drinks, guests can enjoy the exclusivity of BizBar.

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Richmonde Hotel Iloilo has nice rooms – big and classy. The color scheme though in browns and neutrals makes our room calm and relaxing. The beds are bigger too, perfect for us with growing kids.

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Yes, just like most hotel rooms nowadays, the bathroom has a clear glass wall to create an illusion of a much bigger space. Don’t you worry, you can still keep your modesty by pulling down the blinds.

My view inside the bathroom.

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I love the bathroom especially the marble vanity except that the bottom corner of the shower was not properly cleaned. I’m meticulous with that corner because I know how hard it is to clean that part.  Other than that, the room is flawless.

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One of their key facilities is their pool located at the 7th Floor.

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The size is just right. My kids like it because it has a deep part but still safe. Here, I told them to get out of the water while utility crew were fixing the lights. A kid got a minor scratch. They were quick to respond though.

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Nice pool deck. My kids love their food – ” Worth the wait“, they said. With the view of Iloilo Business Park, I love hanging out at the pool deck.

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To sum it all, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo is a recommended hotel in the city. The staff are professional especially the servers during breakfast. Great room and of course, they have a pool that my kids love. Can’t wait to stay at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo again with the family!

Have you stayed at Richmonde Iloilo?

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Multigenerational Staycation at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

 

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Traveling with kids needs careful planning and a little bit of skills ( if you want to enjoy yourself), top that when you are traveling with parents. We love traveling with my parents but there are special considerations to think about like looking for senior-friendly hotels. I have brought my parents along in local trips like our week-long trip in Camiguin. We often travel together during the Holidays as it coincides with my mom’s birthday and their anniversary ( a day after her birthday).

The year 2016 was the year my mom turned 60 and she made it clear to us that it should be special. We planned to just send them to Hong Kong but as always, it didn’t push through 😀 So I thought about letting them enjoy what my kids and I love – staycation.

Being her daughter, I had a feeling that my mother is adamant of the idea because she likes to roam around. Because I know my mother as someone who like fine things, I was pretty sure she will end her stay at Marco Polo with a big grin.

Marco Polo Cebu Lobby

 

Why Marco Polo? Because I know the kind of service they render and my kids always remember our wonderful staycation at this family-friendly hotel in Cebu back in 2014. My kids back then

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My boys now with their Mamalo upon check in.

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As expected Marco Polo Cebu was festive during Christmas, still service was swift and pleasant. I was surprised that we were billeted to city view rooms. Just look at that. My beautiful Cebu! The two buildings is Marco Polo Residences Cebu.

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When you spend decades in Cebu, you can just stand by the window and watch. My parents had fun spotting buildings, reminiscing how once in the 70s a particular structure was the only “tall” building in the Queen City and sharing a little bit of what they know about Cebu Plaza Hotel history.

The view from Marco Polo for me is one of the reasons why it is on top of the list of hotels in Cebu.

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My parents’ room..

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Our room. We own Pikachu and Charmander.

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Room as spacious and I love the working station.

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The hotel’s Continental Lounge is something I was eager to let my parents enjoy.  Privacy and sweeping views of cityscape, the sea, and the mountain. We stayed until it was dark.

 

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Marco Polo Plaza Cebu is also one of the hotels in Cebu with swimming pool. They have adult and a kiddie pool.

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Speaking of which, Marco Polo is genuinely family friendly with a kid’s club and a clinic ( a must for families). For adults to totally relax, they have a spa. I used their gym. Clean, modern, spacious.

My father and I were enjoying our drinks at the lounge when my mom texted that the hotel sent an anniversary cake. Oh boy, she was so kilig!

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Well, it was sweet to know both parents were kilig of the gesture. haha. They too sent their famous Malicious cookies for the kids. I tell you, it’s not a hype. They are really good but I can’t pinpoint exactly why. One of their housekeeping also gave us Chocolate Liquor with cacao sourced from the mountains of Balamban, Cebu. My dad ate all of them before I can document them.

Our second day of course is my mother’s special day!

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Officially a senior! I got those fresh flowers from my bathroom. 😉

Because my mother was expecting a cake…

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Another thing that my parents love about our stay is the food. Well, Marco Polo Cebu restaurant is one of the best in the city. Our Continental Lounge access includes breakfast at the lounge but I wanted to experience the buffet. My parents love the buffet that we still opted to enjoy our breakfast at Cafe Marco.

Marco Polo buffet is also one of Cebu’s specifically when it comes to their theme. My family enjoyed their Spanish dinner buffet,  Sabores de España last 2014.

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My folks were impressed with the wide selection and the taste. My father noted how great their cooks especially how they were able to make delicious Cebuano dishes, which is hard to achieve when offering it to locals who can cook.  We also love their soya milk and fresh juices.

All we wanted was to give our parents the gift of relaxation. Thank you Marco Polo Plaza Cebu for helping me out in making my parents enjoy their special days. As my father said, they will never forget their experience at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Now, I have a feeling they are expecting for a staycation every anniversaries. Oh boy…

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As children, we want to enjoy our time with our parents and spoil them a little bit. If you are planing on what to give to your parents, why not treat them for a staycation. They will surely love it and you can never go wrong with Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Thank you so much!

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For Marco Polo Cebu room rates promo and other packages, contact:

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

+63 (32) 253- 1111

www.marcopoloplazacebu.com

Visit and follow them on social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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Rewarding Myself at Spa Riviera

 

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Let me start this post by saying that all photos for this article are not mine. Hence, what you see above is not me ( I wish!). It’s not easy nor polite to take photos while I’m having my service. Thank you Spa Riviera for letting me use your images.

Motherhood is not easy. It has been said millions of times with the same message. We juggle a lot of things from taking care of the kids, keeping a home, and earning a living. We try to be the best worker, mother, or wife that we forget to become women. We fail to give some time for ourselves,  to take a pause and recharge.

I wish all women can prioritize themselves before others. To all mothers out there, girl, you have to take care of yourself before you take charge over others.

There are many ways to have some me-time and one of the most common is a trip to the spa.

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“A beautiful day at the spa is what I call heaven on Earth”

Women need to recharge and what better way to do it than with a good spa service. I came across the quote but I can’t find the exact author. Living in Iloilo, it was a quest looking for a good spa. I found one, though but it was a little bit pricey for me and I can’t enjoy their service anytime I want to. Others, the service was not good and you know nothing is worst than a bad massage.

Thank goodness for Spa Riviera. Everyone knows about Spa Riviera, if I am right, it is one of the first spas in the city and still one of the trusted name when it comes to getting the best massage in Iloilo.

From their main branch in General Luna Street, the spa now has 3 other branches – Spa Riviera Mandurriao, Spa Riviera Jaro, and Spa Riviera SM City.

Spa Riviera treated me for a relaxing afternoon with their Gayuma Package – their signature Gayuma Massage ( hot stone) with Facial-  way back last December. What a perfect time for pampering. Just what I needed hustling kids’ exams, Christmas parties, packing for our trip, and not to mention my activities and events. Hectic.

Just last week, I invited my husband to join me for a couple-time. We needed it too.  I waited for two visits before writing this to give more weight to my spa day narrative.

Just like my previous visit, I signed up for their Gayuma Massage.

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I love the hot stone massage. There is something with heat that it heals your tired body. This is one of the reasons why I love ofuro so much. Heat relaxes me.

The therapists at Spa Riviera are professionals. Their receptionist like Ms. May, is chic and efficient.

Spa Riviera has the perfect setting to let everyone enjoy a good massage and treatment. No fancy spa music. Everything is hygienic. Customers are there to enjoy and relax.

Spa Riviera also has a sauna but I didn’t try it yet. Maybe next time.

A piece of Bali

After so many years serving the public, the spa’s General Luna branch was renovated into a little Bali, inspired from Spa Riviera’s owner, Mrs. Marie “Babes” Wharton’s trip to the island. It made the spa more relaxing from the hues to the tropical flowers.

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Such renovation is a treat to know how a spa occupying a building in the city center is now like a secret hideaway with its distressed painting, little thatched roofing materials, and a bowl of flowers like kalachuchi.  Come inside and your senses are automatically prepped for a nice spa time.

I can sense that Mrs Wharton, who by the way has launched her English pastry business ( you can enjoy her English tea and pastries at the lobby of the spa), has a knack for design. The interior though Balinese inspired, is not overdone.

It’s impressive to know that Iloilo has a charming spa within the city proper that everyone can drop by. It is conveniently located that you can just enjoy a massage before sleeping or have a facial before picking up your kids in school – now with a glowing skin even without make up.

Bring the spa home

Another treat from Spa Riviera is their own Gayuma Massage Oil and Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil for you to enjoy a nice massage at home. You can get this pair for only 280Php in all Spa Riviera branches. It is also a nice gift idea.

 

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I’m looking forward for a year of pampering at Spa Riviera. You too deserve it, enjoy the spa’s various services. Enjoy as your me-time or bond over with your friends or loved ones.  Spa Riviera is open from 10am till 11pm.

For more information visit their Facebook page or call (033) 509 0209.

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Cabalen Opens 28th Store in Iloilo

 

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Cabalen is one of the most familiar names in the world of restaurants in the country. Whenever we hear, ” Cabalen”, you will automatically think about ” local cuisine” and “buffet”. For the past 30 years, Cabalen has kept their ground as one of the top names in the industry.

A restaurant known for their Kare-Kare as well as other Kampampangan dishes, Cabalen adds more cuisine choices for Ilonggos. I asked what does, ” Cabmen” mean? And a few Google searches, I learned it means ” town mate” – “balen” means, ” town” while “ka” means ” mate” or “fellow“, just like the word, kabayan. Thus, the restaurant offers family-friendly dining venue for all types of occasions and dishes that everyone will love.

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When it comes to gastronomy, the Kapampangans takes the lead and they are known to be good cooks. Yesterday, Cabalen formally opens their 28th store in Iloilo bringing more dining options in a city known for gastronomy and flavor. Cabalen is another addition to the various restaurants opening their doors to the local market.

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The ambiance is homey, drawing inspirations from local homes in the Philippines or those elegant heritage homes in the country. Thus, everyone feels at home with the company of good friends and family.

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At the far end is their function room, for Ilonggos to host their special occasions and intimate events.

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What’s in the menu?

Proud to be the Home of the Best Kare-kare, Cabalen offers a complete set of menu from starters to desserts.

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When you say, Kapampangan, I look for one of my favourite dishes – sisig – which was invented in Pampanga.

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Plenty of options like chicken and bangus. I still go for the original and tofu.

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Cabalen is famous for their signature dishes like Dinuguan, Caldereta and Lechon Paksiw.

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I’m hungry just writing this post.

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Still on your 2017 New Year’s resolution? Cabalen also offers low-calorie choices like their own salad station.

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If you want to skip meat, my personal choice is their Lumpia Hubad. Tokwa’t Baboy as well as Crispy KangKong won’t hurt your diet regimen too.

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Their dessert table ranging from local sweets to foreign like the chocolate fondue.

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Kapampangan Cuisine

I love discovering cuisines from other regions of the country and I found a taste ( literally and figuratively) at Cabalen. I only learned that they call Arroz de Valenciana ( a local take on Paella) as “brenghi“.

Here is  Sampelot– Kapampangan’s version of “Ginataan” or what we call in Cebu as ” Binignit”.

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Tibok Mais for me is a hybrid of sapin-sapin and maja.

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Ilonggo Dishes

Though Cabalen is a restaurant known for Kapampangan dishes, I overheard from the owner while taking photos that they also want to focus on Ilonggo food. True because it is not easy to cook Ilonggo dishes at home these days.

One of them is Bagongon. Bagongon is type of snail ( that grows mostly in fishponds) and Cabalen’s alternative to their famous snail dish which is another authentic Kapampangan.

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My dad will be happy to dine at Cabalen in SM City Iloilo. Whenever we visits Iloilo, off we go to the local market to look for bagongon and he patiently cooks and prepares them. I’m not into  “exotic” food but I love bagongon. I just wonder how I can suck the snails with class while dining at Cabalen.

Another Ilonggo favorite is Tambo – young bamboo shoots.

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Aren’t you not salivating yet?  This newest restaurant in Iloilo is located at the 2nd floor of SM Iloilo ( Cinema Level). For Cabalen Iloilo price tag and contact information, here it is:

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Kids 4-feet and below get 50% discount while kids 3feet and below can eat for free. Now that’s a new addition to the list of family restaurants in Iloilo.

If you are looking for where to eat in Iloilo, check out this new restaurant in Iloilo.

 

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Win Tickets and Watch Coldplay Live in Manila: Create your Globe Coldplay story on April 4, 2017

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                      Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams Tour at the Allianz Stadium, Sydney Australia

 

The Coldplay fandom in Manila is undeniably huge. Tickets to their April 4, 2017 concert at the MOA Concert Grounds, presented by Globe were sold out in a day, but Globe will give all its customers another chance to watch the most-coveted concert of 2017.

By registering to any GoSurf promo or subscribing to any Broadband plan, customers can earn raffle entries to win tickets to Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dreams Tour in Manila”. For Globe Broadband customers, every P5 spent on their bill is equivalent to one raffle entry. Forty tickets are up for grabs as 20 lucky customers will win 2 tickets each.

“We know that music is an integral part in every Filipino’s lives and Globe is here to elevate your music experience by allowing you to enjoy music in a different perspective. With Globe, you can listen to your favorite artists like Coldplay on Spotify, or catch it via live stream from their L.A. concert on YouTube, or even watch them perform live by joining our raffle promo. We want all our customers to get this chance and experience watching their favorite artists here in Manila, or even abroad,” shares Globe Senior Vice President for Consumer Mobile Business, Issa Cabreira.

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“This time, by simply registering to any GoSurf promo or subscribing to a Broadband plan, all our customers can get a chance to win tickets to the most-anticipated concert of Coldplay this 2017.” Cabreira added.

Globe takes entertainment to another level. Just recently, Globe awarded two of its loyal customers, Monique Lim and Cristina Santiago, to watch the band perform at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney Australia last December 13, 2016 through Globe’s “Fly-Away Promo.”

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                  #GlobeColdplay “Fly-Away Promo” winners, Monique Lim and Cristina Santiago.

They won a total of Php 230,000.00 worth of prizes which includes a 4-day, 3-night trip to Sydney with round-trip airfares, concert tickets, hotel accommodation, and pocket money.

“I’ve always been a hardcore Coldplay fan, from Parachutes to A Head Full of Dreams. It just so happened that A Head Full of Dreams is my most favorite amongst their albums. The moment people started screaming and when the show was about to start, I had to pinch myself to feel that I was actually there… about to witness beyond paradise!” shares Lim.

Santiago shares the same fandom as Lim, “When Chris Martin went up the stage for the first time, it was so surreal, that feeling was way over the top. After witnessing and experiencing how their live performances, I will definitely get tickets to their concert here in Manila. We’re so grateful that Globe made it possible for us to experience such a magical concert all the way in Australia. This whole experience is definitely one for the books.”

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Customers can still get a chance to experience paradise and win tickets to the Manila leg of Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams tour by registering to any GoSurf promo or subscribing to a Broadband plan. Learn how to earn raffle entries by visiting www.globe.com.ph/globecoldplay. Follow @enjoyGLOBE (on Twitter) and like Globe Telecom (on Facebook) for updates.

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Megaworld to Open Four Hotels This Year

Three hotels are Megaworld’s local brands, one hotel under the Marriott international brand

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Property giant Megaworld is set to open four new hotels under its portfolio within the year, in a bid to further boost tourism in its various developments across the country.

The company is set to open the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Iloilo Business Park and the Savoy Hotel Boracay in Boracay Newcoast by first half of this year, and Savoy Newport Hotel in Newport City and Hotel Lucky Chinatown in Binondo, Manila, by the second half of the year.

The 15-storey Marriott Courtyard Hotel in the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park township in Mandurriao, Iloilo City, will offer 326 rooms and it will be the first Marriott brand to open in Western Visayas. It is strategically located beside the iconic Iloilo Convention Center.

Last year, Megaworld announced that it is adding the Savoy Hotel brand, alongside Belmont and Richmonde Hotels, as its homegrown hotel brands.

The first Savoy Hotel to be opened will be the Savoy Hotel Boracay Newcoast, a 559-room resort hotel in the 150-hectare Boracay Newcoast development. The six-storey hotel will feature the country’s first concert pool arena, which will be capable of hosting events in a pool setting.

The 11-storey Savoy Newport Hotel, on the other hand, will offer 684 rooms and will add to the growing hotel offerings of the 24/7 leisure and entertainment complex of Newport City, which is the home of the renowned Resorts World Manila.

In Binondo, Manila, the six-storey Hotel Lucky Chinatown will offer 93 guestrooms and will mainly cater to Chinese tourists and businessmen as well as for those who are on a historic tour of Manila.

“We see tourism as a potential driver of growth for Megaworld as we draw more people to our developments. Within the next three to five years, we hope to see a bigger slice of hotel earnings in our revenue pie as we open our new hotels,” says Kevin L. Tan, senior vice president, Megaworld.

To date, Megaworld owns three homegrown hotel brands namely Richmonde Hotel, Belmont Hotel and Savoy Hotel.

The company is operating three Richmonde Hotels in Eastwood City, Ortigas and Iloilo Business Park; and one Belmont Hotel in Newport City. Three more hotels under its portfolio are scheduled for completion within the next five years in various townships.

 

Source: Press Kit

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Star Cruises Announces the First Cruise Ship to Homeport in Manila for Filipinos to Cruise to Taiwan and Hong Kong

 

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Featuring 6 Day/5 Night Cruises to Laoag, Kaohsiung and Hong Kong on board SuperStar Virgo from 19 March to 28 May, 2017;Providing more choices for Philippines outbound tourism
Star Cruises, the leading cruise line in the Asia Pacific, has announced the first-ever homeport deployment of SuperStar Virgo to Manila, providing another tantalizing option for the booming Philippines outbound tourism industry.Featuring 6 Day/5 Night cruises departing from Manila, SuperStar Virgo’s itinerary is the perfect opportunity for Filipinos to enjoy exciting ports of call including:

Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte, Philippines, featuring Spanish colonial buildings, baroque churches and white-sand beaches

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2009 Ilocos Norte Trip

 

  • Kaohsiung, the largest southern port city in Taiwan, a centre of Chinese culture and cuisine

 

  • Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis world famous for shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife.

 

Take advantage of “almost unlimited baggage allowance” on Star Cruises when you need to take home the spoils from an unforgettable vacation!

“Star Cruises was the first major cruise line to recruit Filipinos 23 years ago for our cruise ships and now we are pleased to be the first international cruise line to welcome Filipinos on board Superstar Virgo as our guests from our homeport in Manila,” says Ang Moo Lim, President of Star Cruises. “Worldwide, nearly 25 million people have enjoyed a cruise in 2016 and we are extending this opportunity for Filipinos to join their ranks from Manila – and at an affordable price.”

Benito C. Bengzon, JR, Under Secretary for Department of Tourism welcomed the move of Star Cruises with: “The Philippine Department of Tourism extends its warmest congratulations to Star Cruises as it launches its latest program. We are confident that inclusion of the Philippines in the itinerary of SuperStar Virgo will help strengthen the country’s position as a competitive cruise destination in the region.”

Star Cruises strives to continue to offer a differentiated cruise experience with the added bonus of great savings. An irresistible Early Bird Discount starting from PHP 24,500* Per Person (Twin share) will be accorded for cruise departures on 19, 24 and 29 March 2017; third and fourth persons (Quad share) can enjoy an additional 50% off from PHP 12,250 per person*.

Book now for school holiday fun! Filipino holidaymakers can look forward to setting sail in style and luxury with an all-encompassing cruise voyage comprising of deluxe accommodations, up to 6 sumptuous meals daily, spectacular performances, pampering recreational facilities and much more – all part of Star Cruises promise to deliver exceptional cruise experiences infused with a touch of warm Asian hospitality.

For more information and reservations, please call our appointed travel agents or Star Cruises at (632) 836 6830/ 31/ 32 or visit our website www.starcruises.com.

* Fares shown above are based on twin-share in an Inside Stateroom on SuperStar Virgo, excluding port and gratuity charges, subject to Star Cruises’ terms and conditions.

About Star Cruises

Star Cruises is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong, a leading global leisure, entertainment and hospitality corporation. A pioneer in the Asia Pacific cruise industry, Star Cruises has been operating its fleet since 1993, taking on the bold initiative to grow the region as an international cruise destination with a fleet of six vessels including SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Libra, SuperStar Gemini, SuperStar Aquarius, Star Pisces and The Taipan.

Star Cruises’ commitment in offering best-in-class services and facilities is reflected in a host of recognitions and accolades received over the years. These include being inducted into the prestigious Travel Trade Gazette’s “Travel Hall of Fame” for a ninth year in 2016 in recognition of winning “Best Cruise Operator in the Asia-Pacific” for 10 consecutive years. Star Cruises was also recently voted “Asia’s Leading Cruise Line” at the World Travel Awards for a fifth year in a row in 2016.

 

About Superstar Virgo

The 13-storey SuperStar Virgo is equipped with 935 cabins, including sea- view cabins and balcony suites. Offering a wide variety of dining, shopping and entertainment choices, her facilities embrace Chinese, international and Japanese restaurants, an alfresco bar, foot reflexology salon and spa, gym, steam and sauna rooms, hairdressing salon, two-level theatre, duty-free shops, a 100-metre mega water slide, outdoor swimming pool, mini golf course, karaoke room, children’s activity centre and more. A calendar of themed entertainment constantly refreshes the onboard fun and excitement, ensuring every voyage is a brand new enjoyable experience.

 

For more information on Star Cruises, please visit:

Website: www.starcruises.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/starcruises

Instagram: www.instagram.com/starcruisesasia

Twitter: twitter.com/starcruisesasia

 

On Star Cruises, every journey is a voyage of discovery and surprise.

Source: Press Kit; images for SuperStar Virgo and Kaoshiung courtesy of Star Cruises

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Cebu for the Holidays

 

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For months, we planned to spend our Christmas in Mindanao, particularly in my mom’s hometown in Lanao del Norte. But just like any travel plans, last-minute decisions always end up to be the best.

So we decided to spend our holidays in Cebu instead. It was nice since my family is there and my dear friends are also flying over to Cebu. Just perfect.

We started the Christmas holiday with a nice dinner and fireworks display at Day’s Hotel’s The Promenade before leaving for Cebu.

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With two weeks to spare in Cebu, we decided to bring our car and traveled by land. Hashtag, road trip!

Two things made this Cebu trip “special”. First, for almost a decade, we got to spend both Christmas and New Year’s Day. Second,  it was my first time to drive in Cebu. Yay!

I asked the kids to help me come up with the highlights of our Cebu trip and here they are…

 

Ice Skating

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SM Cebu used to have an ice skating rink and I can still remember just looking at those  kids enjoying the ice. Imagine my delight when I learned that SM Seaside has an ice skating rink. Obviously, it’s too late for me to enjoy ice skating ( haha!) but the kids just had the best of their times. We went skating twice – on our 3rd day in Cebu and the day before we left. Worth the price.

 

Cat Cafe

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Liam loved the Cat Cafe, located at the Skypark of SM Seaside. Everyone who gets inside needs to order. Surprisingly, the cafe is inexpensive.

 

Cousin Love

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Just two of their ten cousins. My eldest, my melancholic child, shares that the best part of our time in Cebu is visiting their cousins. They seldom see each other and I take pride that my kids bond with their cousins over the holidays.

“High Tech” Cebu

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We stayed in one of the hotels in Ayala during our first 5 nights and my eldest was in awe with the buildings. ” Cebu is beautiful, Mama”. It made me realised that whenever we are in Cebu, we seldom go to malls or visit the city center. We prefer staying at home, but I guess I have to expose my kids to city life.

Mama’s 60th birthday

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Christmas season will always be special for our family because my parents celebrate their anniversary every December 27th, followed by my mom’s birthday. Because 60th birthday is special according to my mother, we treated them to a 2-nights staycation in Marco Polo. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu was gracious enough to gave me a complimentary overnight stay. More on Marco Polo in a separate post.

Cebu’s mountain barangays

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One of the things I take pride is that you can escape the urban in less than 30 minutes, courtesy of the mountain barangays of Cebu.  I love going to Busay and the Trans-National Highway. Whenever we go on a road trip, I find joy traversing the Northern Cebu Protected Landscape with lush mountains and forests.

I also look forward staying in one of the private homes in Cebu’s mountain areas and wish my friend can build a pool in their farm. With my mother’s curiosity, we went to Sirao Flower Farm. Yeah, I know it’s hyped but it was a short drive from Marco Polo. We enjoyed the mountain air and the views. I can’t imagine how harassed the place will be during Sinulog.

Giving back

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Photo by Glen Layosa

In lieu of gifts, my high school barkada has an annual gift-giving. This year, we shared some joy to kids in Sitio Babag, Barangay Busay. I was late and got lost but the candy prizes came just in time. 😉

I don’t want to sermon but it’s a nice idea to skip exchanging gifts with your group of friends and come up with an outreach program.

Southern trip

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Our southern road trip to Oslob was a double-whammy. We missed the Whale Shark watching ( you need to come early, it ends at 11:30am) and we arrived in a drained Tumalog Falls. A consolation is that we saw the whale sharks even from the shore. I can’t imagine how gigantic they are up close.

Still making the best of our southern road trip, we got to see the coasts of Cebu, ride the habal-habal,  drop by at the heritage church of Boljoon ( pictured above), eat torta in Argao and chicharon in Carcar. It was still a nice day especially for my parents.

 

Making memories

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Sums up our holiday in Cebu. Going beyond the things to do in Cebu or the must-eats in Cebu, weaving new memories especially for my kids is the best part of our trip. Bonding with my family, my kids with their grandparents and cousins as well as catching up with my friends.

There were quite a few things on my list that we missed like visiting museums ( ouch!), but I think there is another time for that. Our last vacation was making the most of urban Cebu with short trips to the mountains and seas, definitely seeing the best of Cebu. There are more to see and enjoy in my hometown and we will surely be back.

See you in a few months, Cebu!

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Shop for Beauty Products Online with BeautyMNL

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Maybe it’s because of my work as a freelance writer or my distaste towards crowd, but I’m an frequent online shopper. I love browsing products online than checking them in racks and stores. Though I confess not leaving a mall without some purchases, online shopping gives me more freedom, convenience, and savings. Living outside Metro Manila, it means that some of our selections and collections are not that complete. That’s the reason more people from the province prefer online shopping.

When it comes to beauty sites, I have discovered BeautyMNL, a beauty site where Filipinas like me finally has an online destination to pick and shop for beauty products from skincare to travel accessories. Gratitude goes to BeautyMNL team for letting me try their site and shop.

My BeautyMNL Loot

While most beauty site sells expensive beauty products, you will love the BeautyMNL carries affordable products that you can have for yourself or as gifts. Here is my loot..

 

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I shopped for products that I can use for my travels, because there is no reason to look less pretty even while on the road. Let me introduce my beauty picks from the site!

UV Perfect Bright Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++ and Cleansing Oil Facial Cotton Sheets (Handy Pack)

 

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I can’t live without Japanese beauty products and Boiré is a trusted name when it comes to skincare. Bioré Face Milk is a non-sticky skincare product with SPF 50 that I can easily put in my travel kit. Same goes with Bioré Cleansing Oil Cotton Facial Sheets that easily wipes my make up, saving me from bringing my make up remover liquid bottles. The facial sheets is also great when traveling on the road to quick freshening up.

 

Beach Born Sea Salt Spray

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I love the beach. Who doesn’t? And this best selling product let you take the beach by giving you that beach waves anywhere you go.

 

Skin Genie Lip and Cheek Stain

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My ultimate travel tip for beauty junkies? Bring multi-purpose products like Skin Genie’s Lip &  Cheek Stain. It is small that I can take even in my small pouch and the color fits any skin tone. Plus, it is very affordable. Check out the site and you’ll be surprised how much it really costs.

 

Maybelline Fashion Brow Cream Pen and Matte Lipstick in Madly Magenta

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I love make up but I can live without painting my whole face – except for lip color and brows. The nice thing about BeautyMNL is they carry a lot of Maybelline products and you know how inexpensive Maybelline products are.

It’s been years that I “graduated” from Maybelline because I want something more bold and long-lasting but I think the company now evolves to provide long-lasting product like this Cream Brow Pencil. I only use Japanese brow pencil for the color and long-lasting qualities and surprisingly, this Maybelline Cream Brow Pen is long lasting! I’m glad I stumbled on this affordable product because I don’t think I can spot this in stores.

Matte lipstick is a hit these days and today’s trend lip color is about magenta and burgundy. I love this lipstick from Maybelline, colours survive after a sumptuous meal. It smells good and unlike other matte lipstick, it is non-drying.

Shopping with BeautyMNL

Shopping online with BeautyMNL was a breeze and if I was to give a BeautyMNL review, I will give it a high rating. The site is easy to navigate and the products are well presented with prices and even reviews for meticulous shoppers.

Shopping online can be tricky for some due to the number of products. To trim it out, check out their ” New Arrivals” or ” Best Sellers” page. Let me share that I was done shopping in a flash.

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I received my package in 5 business days; for those living in Metro Manila, they will ship the next business day. The package arrive well-sealed and bubble-wrapped.  If you are concerned about shipping costs, the site offers frequently offer free shipping, so better check the site regularly to avail their promo.

For now, I will be inviting you to join their monthly selfie contest called, #selfieMNL  and you can win a Printster polaroid of your pretty face and a PHP200 BeautyMNL GC. To join, click here for the complete details.

Enjoy shopping, beautiful one!

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Nobu Hotel Manila

 

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A brand unmistakeable in the world of luxury, everyone was thrilled when Nobu opened another franchise in Manila- the first in Asia-  in May 2015, attended by members of society’s top tier as well the people behind the brand such as Chef Nobu, Robert De Niro, and Hollywood producer, Meir Teper.

Almost a year and a half after the opulent opening, it’s not that too late to have the chance to spend even for one night in one of Manila’s luxury hotels. Nobu Hotel was the official residence of the media for the Vivo V5 Grand Launch held last November 23.

 

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Nobu is one of the three hotels of City of Dreams, an integrated resort of Entertainment City in Paranaque. City of Dreams is hard to miss with its gold hue and the distinct Fortune Egg.

 

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Lobby and Reception

Location wise, Nobu Hotel and its sister hotels within City of Dreams are good options for those who don’t want to go far from the airport ( read: traffic!).  The facade is not too gaudy or too decorative but security measures at the entrance reveals that Nobu means business and pleasure.

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True to the Japanese theme, the whole hotel carries the color scheme Japanese like – neutral colours blending from dark to light. I need to get adjusted to the dark browns all over the property as I have grown some liking to citrusy but not bright colours in hotels.  Right at the entrance of Nobu is the casino.

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Polished Elegant Rooms

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Not just spacious or complete with amenities, you will appreciate how rooms are personalised, giving guests a feel of owning the room during their stay at Nobu Hotel Manila.  Sheets and linens are comforting, firm bed with plenty of seating spaces. Ergonomic workstations with electrical sockets all over the room for guests who might be bringing a gazillion gadgets.

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Rooms are splashed with touches of Japanese art and style from the brush stroke painting at the wall above the bed’s headboard to the geta-shaped ( traditional Japanese slipper) in-room slipper. Very Japanese but not trying too hard.

While some rooms have garden views, I have the Manila skyline far away.

 

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Personalized greetings on screen will greet the guests. TV includes paid movies but I was contented with cable shows. The phones are programmed to guest’s name. Nobu’s mini bar includes bottles of wine and sake.

I love the work station with their purple pen and notepad with its dainty holder that I was tempted to take it home. I tried contacting guest services via phone and it took only one ring and they answered with ” Good morning Ms. Caulin how may I help you?“. Hmm, impressive.

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Now let’s go to the bathroom. It would be nice to have a tub in my room to enjoy ofuro but I’m cool with what I had. The corners of the shower glass – spots that most housekeeping often miss – were squeaky clean.

 

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The sink is too big that you can wash some laundry here or if you are traveling with a baby is perfect! Sakura are printed on the designs of their toiletries and other fixtures.

My only concern about Nobu Manila Hotel’s room? I hope they can have a socket close to the mirror. It took me twice the time to dry my hair with the power socket located at the far end of the wall. Challenging if you are giving your own hair a blow out.

 

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Nobu Restaurant

There is a reason why Nobu is such an acclaimed name in the culinary world. Food satisfying not just to one’s palate but to your whole senses. It is not just eating but dining experience.

Breakfast was impeccable in terms of flavour, variation, and service.

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Another factor is the interior of the restaurant.

 

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Breakfast is served at Nobu and it is just one of the dining options at City of Dreams. For affordable dining, go to Red Ginger.

 

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As a luxury hotel, Nobu Manila has a long list of facilities and services. To get the complete list, I recommend visiting their site.

 

Beyond Nobu Hotel Manila

Going out of the posh walls of the hotel, the garden is a wonderful place to kill time. Some do this while waiting for check in or in our case, while waiting for our shuttle schedule to the airport.

 

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It is heaven for fashion bloggers and influencers. Families will love the open space for kids to roam and explore.

 

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Speaking of kids, City of Dreams is home to Manila’s top family attraction – Dreamplay! I can’t wait to bring my kids here.

 

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If you don’t have plans to enjoy the casino, City of Dreams has a lot of options when it comes to shopping and dining, or malling.

 

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With a casino and dark color scheme, I asked myself if this is a kid-friendly hotel. I think, yes. I can bring my kids here and I think they will love it. The space, Dreamplay, the pool and awesome breakfast – what more can we ask for, right? Plus, I’ve been few guests with little children.

For Nobu Hotel Manila contact information or Nobu Hotel Manila rates, visit their site.

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