12.31.2008

The Terraces at Ayala Cebu

Terraces at Ayala Cebu

Ever since the Terraces at Ayala Cebu opened, people have been trooping over to the mall to enjoy the new selection of restaurants and cafes there. You got to hand it over to the Ayalas. They really know how to make their real estate developments more exciting. Terraces at Ayala Cebu is a fresh concept incorporating chic dining with lush green landscape for your viewing. It's like having a piece of Greenbelt over at Ayala Cebu.

What can you find in Terraces at Ayala Cebu? Here's a quick list:

Coffee Shops
Starbucks. This global coffee shop chain has expanded its store at Ayala to accommodate more customers. 
Bo's Coffee. From its location at Entertainment Center, Bo's Coffee has also moved to the Terraces and has even partnered with the local bookstore giant Fully Booked to offer convenience for the book lovers.
Figaro. Introduced in Cebu last year, Figaro at the Terraces is their newest branch. 

Filipino and Asian Restaurants
Cafe Laguna. The popular home-grown Filipino restaurant has reopened its doors in its location in Ayala Cebu Mall. This is the only restaurant at the Terraces with two venues located opposite each other. You could choose to dine at Laguna Garden Cafe or Cafe Laguna located inside the mall. Either way, you get good Filipino food.
Lemongrass. Also owned and developed by the Cafe Laguna team, this restaurant boasts of Asian cuisine which includes Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Try their delightful Citrus and Herb Lemonade, the drink that made this restaurant famous.
Hukad by Golden Cowrie. A newcomer in Ayala Cebu but an old favorite among the Cebuano diners, Golden Cowrie opens its doors at the Terraces through a fresh new name called Hukad.
Gerry's Grill. Enjoy your favorite sizzling dishes at this restaurant.
Big Mao. For those who love Chinese food, you should visit Big Mao. 
Majestic. Another well-loved Chinese restaurant, Majestic is recommended for large groups as their food come in big servings. Try their Patatim, one of their bestsellers.

Pizza and Italian Restaurants
Don Henrico's. This pizza place import from Manila has also relocated to a better location at the Terraces in Ayala Cebu.
Shakey's. You won't go wrong with Shakey's pizza. The name behind the thin-crusted pizzas has made its location open to the Terraces as well.
Yellow Cab. The pizza place that seems to have come from New York but was actually just developed locally is now available at Ayala Cebu as well.
La Tegola. This well-loved Italian restaurant with several locations all over Cebu has finally chosen a mall-based location. 

American Restaurants
TGI Friday's. In this restaurant, every day is a Friday. Here, you get to enjoy great American food at bigger than usual servings. They also have a bar open to the park so you could enjoy your cocktails with a good view of the landscape.

The Terraces at Ayala Cebu is still waiting for more great dining options to open. These include Spanish restaurant Hola Espana, chic restaurant Gustavian, and Greek restaurant import from Boracay Cyma among others. Other restaurants and cafes to check out are Siam, Teriyaki Boy, Bigby's, Banana Leaf, UCC, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Pancake House and many more.

Since the Terraces at Ayala Cebu is a total lifestyle concept and it's not just all about dining, it has also opened Fully Booked, a local bookstore giant that spans two floors. Find great book selections here and get to enjoy your newly purchased book with a cup of coffee at Bo's Coffee Shop located inside the bookstore. Aside from Fully Booked, the Cebuanos are also awaiting the arrival of the first Belo clinic outside Manila. Yes, Belo will land at the Terraces in Ayala Cebu. Clients who want to feel and look more beautiful await Belo's big entrance to the Terraces.

With all these lifestyle and entertainment venues, you'll always find a place at the Terraces in Ayala Cebu. 

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12.30.2008

Caleruega in Nasugbu, Batangas

I got to visit Caleruega in Nasugbu, Batangas for the first time last week to attend a dear friend's wedding. It is said that Caleruega is one of the top choice venues for church weddings in the Philippines. It is so in demand that couples need to reserve Caleruega at least a year ahead to get a good schedule for their wedding.

Caleruega

When I got there, it was easy to see why Caleruega is in demand. Their Transfiguration Chapel is beautiful, and it rests on the highest point of Caleruega. I estimated that it could seat about 80-100 people, and it's perfect for small and intimate weddings. 

Caleruega

Inside the chapel, you could feel the solemnity of Caleruega. It's perfect for quiet moments of prayer and reflection. When you get wed here, it will definitely be a beautiful memory.

Caleruega

Other than the Transfiguration Chapel, Caleruega also offers a great view of the mountains in Batangas. Make sure you bring clothing that would keep you warm as the cool breeze makes the temperature go down several notches lower. 

The magic of Caleruega does not stop here. Caleruega also offers retreats for those who want a quiet time with the Lord. And for couples who don't want to wander too far for their reception venue, Caleruega has reception halls perfect for reception and wedding parties.

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12.29.2008

Firedancing in Boracay

Firedancing in Boracay

As you spend the holidays in Boracay this year, make sure you don't miss out on this wonderful sight. Locals often put up a firedancing show at night. You could chance upon them as you walk by the shore.

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12.24.2008

Filipino Christmas: Feel the Christmas Spirit in Cebu

Since everyone has been writing their Christmas posts already, allow me to share with you bits and pieces of what Christmas is like in Cebu. I went around the city to take pictures of the biggest and most glamorous Christmas displays I could find. Take a look and enjoy!

Filipino Christmas in Cebu
Cebu International Convention Center
North Reclamation Area, Cebu City

Filipino Christmas in Cebu
I.T. Park entrance
Lahug, Cebu City

Filipino Christmas in Cebu
Traditional Christmas tree at Fuente Osmena Circle, Cebu City
Every year, the Lhuilliers sponsor this tree for the benefit of the Cebu community.

The next few pics will feature a Christmas display contest in V.Rama Avenue, Cebu City. Several houses participate in the contest and try their best in creating the best Christmas display for their street. Some really put in much effort in their entries, as seen below.

Filipino Christmas in Cebu
Belen on top of a rooftop

Filipino Christmas in Cebu
Display featuring the visit of the three kings to Baby Jesus

Filipino Christmas in Cebu
This display probably has the most number of lights put up

After going around the most lavish Christmas displays in Cebu City, I realized nothing really beats spending Christmas in the company of loved ones at home. I'm excited to share noche buena with my family tonight. Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. :)

Filipino Christmas in Cebu

Merry Christmas everyone!




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5 Ways on How to Score Free Travel

Everyone loves to get something for FREE. Have you thought about how to travel for free? Here's a quick guide on how to score free travel:
  1. Get a job with travel benefits. Usually big multinational companies need to take their employees to different places to attend to business concerns. This is one of the reasons why I love my corporate job. It takes me to places in the Philippines like Bohol, Palawan, Boracay, Iloilo, Davao, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and many more for FREE. Some even get to travel abroad for free. You get free plane fare, free hotel accommodation, and even free food allowance. Make the most out of your business trips by getting to enjoy the sights each place has to offer.
  2. Be on the lookout for promo offers. A lot of companies offer freebies for selected customers, if you're lucky. Cebu Pacific this year offered FREE flights to reward their clients and celebrate their success this 2008. If you're the first one to get news about these promo offers, you'd surely get to score freebies if you're quick enough. Make sure you're always informed about the latest promo offers available.
  3. Join an organization that sends representatives to other countries. Be it a religious community or a networking group, there are lots of organizations out there that sponsors representatives to various events in other places. In these situations, you have to work hard to be active in the group and be selected as representative.
  4. Get a sponsor. You could apply for a scholarship or ask friends and relatives to take you to places where they currently are. If you're lucky to find a sponsor willing to spend for your travel, go ahead and enjoy the benefit. Make sure you return the favor by being a good guest and helping them in any way that you can.
  5. Humbly ask for help from people. I've witnessed a story unfold about someone asking people to help send her to a World Youth Day event. She merely asked for donations from people online to spare their extra money so she could fulfill her dream, and true enough she got the donations she needed. This may be a long shot for some people, but it wouldn't hurt to try.
There are lots of other ways you could explore to score free travel. Some articles on the Internet talk about house sitting, sister city exchanges, home swapping and more. I simply compiled the 5 ways that are most familiar to me. I hope this post helps. Good luck!

Oh. Since it's the holiday season and people must be feeling generous, here's a humble request: If you want to sponsor the Chic Traveller to her next trip, don't hesitate to click the Paypal button on her right sidebar. Haha. Here's an easy link for you. ;)




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My Christmas Wishlist 2008

I hope it's not too late. I found out about Manila Freelancer's Christmas Wishlist contest from Lagawan, and I thought I'd send an entry myself. Here's my top 5 wishes for this Christmas:
  1. I wish everyone will have a happy Christmas this 2008! Admittedly, I feel that Christmas started a bit late this year. Christmas decors were put up later than usual. Even Christmas parties seemed less in number. Some people were still even working up to now, a few days to go before Christmas eve! Nevertheless, I still hope people will get to feel the Christmas spirit and spend their time well with their loved ones.
  2. More traffic for my blog. This December, I haven't had a lot of time to spare for my blog, and sad to say traffic decreased significantly. I'm still developing my site. I hope I'd get to learn more from other experienced bloggers out there so I could drive more traffic into my site.
  3. A trip to a good beach destination with nothing to worry about. Cebu, Bohol, Boracay or Palawan will do! Okay, I just came from Boracay and here I am wishing for another trip. Yes, I did go to a good beach destination but it was partly work. I wish I could go on vacation without having to worry about a lot of things.
  4. A room makeover! I've been wishing for this room makeover for over a month now, but I'm not yet ready to shell out a lot of money to make this happen.
  5. Time, time and more time. It would be nice to get to manage my time well for a lot of things I'm doing. I need time for my work (--and sadly, this makes up 75% of my time), my family and friends, my business, and my blog.
Want to join this wishlist contest? Here's a link to Manila Freelancer's Christmas Wishlist Contest.

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Discover Boracay Hotels: Milflores de Boracay

Last week, I went to Boracay Island with my team mates from work. It was a trip of many firsts:
  1. It was my first time to get weighed for a plane ride. We rode Cebu Pacific's Cebu-Caticlan plane. They weigh not only your baggage, but you and all the handcarried things you have with you.
  2. It was my first time to go snorkeling near Crocodile Island off Boracay. The waves were HUGE on the way there, but the sights underwater was well worth the bumpy boat ride.
  3. It was also my first time to stay in Milflores de Boracay, a very good value-for-money option among the many Boracay hotels available.
When I first heard about Milflores de Boracay, I did not expect a lot. All I knew was that it wasn't a beachfront Boracay hotel, and that it was pretty cheap at Php2,300 per room. Knowing Boracay hotels and considering it was peak season, I surely didn't expect great accommodation. Little did I know that I was in for a big surprise.

Milflores de Boracay

The entrance was unassuming. It was a small gated hotel, and when you enter you'd see a small space for their reception desk and cafe. What struck me the moment we arrived was that we were greeted with warm smiles. It seemed the staff awaited our arrival, and they greeted us politely. They served cold orange juice so we could refresh ourselves from the long trip.

GOOD VALUE ACCOMMODATION
They gave us our keys and led us to our rooms. Milflores was a small Boracay hotel with only 3 floors, and the entire building only had 10 rooms.

Milflores de Boracay

When we got to our rooms, we soon found out that they were very spacious. The design had a modern feel to it, and I liked it very much. Each room had 2 queen-sized beds that could easily fit four people. It was equipped with the basics: TV, aircon, and a nice bathroom. I liked their shower head. It's wider than the regular ones you find in most hotels. Eco-friendly guests will love Milflores de Boracay more since this Boracay hotel uses a solar hot shower system.

Milflores de Boracay

GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
More than the room accommodation, what really sets Milflores de Boracay apart from all the other Boracay hotels is that they really deliver in terms of their customer service. Other than the warm welcome, they helped us with everything we needed. When they didn't have a function room for us, they searched another hotel that could accommodate us. They are willing to attend to all our requests, even when we ask for an ice bucket at midnight. They arrange for us everything we need -- from land transfers to paraw sailing to island hopping. You could say we were really pampered guests because all we had to do was wait at the hotel and they'd arrange everything for us.

All in all, I had a great stay at Milflores de Boracay and I would love to stay here again. It's a nice hotel to stay in when you visit Boracay with your friends and you guys are on a budget. This Boracay hotel advertises a rate of Php2300 available all year long, and you could easily split this among four people. The rate comes with breakfast for two, and they serve very good Filipino breakfast. Milflores is definitely good value for your money. I haven't stayed in any other Boracay hotel that gives as much value for money as Milflores de Boracay!

For those picky with location, Milflores is not far from the beach even if it's not a beachfront Boracay hotel. The beach is a mere 1-minute walk away from the hotel. Milflores de Boracay is located on Station 1 too, so for those eager to visit those bars at night you don't need to walk far to get back to your hotel.

Milflores de Boracay
Station 1, Balabag, Malay
Boracay, Philippines
Tel No.: (036) 2883363
http://www.milflores.net/

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12.22.2008

Sunset in Boracay

Sunset in Boracay
A Boracay visit will never be complete without a sunset pic.
We were lucky to have spent 3 days in Boracay last week in great weather.


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12.17.2008

Abaca Boutique Resort and Restaurant

If you want to splurge and treat yourself this holiday season, head over to Abaca Boutique Resort and Restaurant in Mactan, Cebu. It's an ultra posh destination perfect for those who want to get pampered. In their official website, they described "Abaca as the Philippines' newest and most exclusive boutique resort in Mactan Island. It's a tropical hideaway that offers the tranquility of very private deluxe suites set in a lush tropical beachfront retreat."

The first time I went to Abaca, I was already intrigued with their secluded location. It's located in Punta Engano, Mactan way past Shangrila and Hilton Resorts. At that time, the boutique resort was not open yet and only the restaurant was available to the public. I wondered, "Why do we have to go so far in Mactan to eat in a restaurant?"

I soon found out that there was no reason to ask that question. Upon arriving at Abaca, a big wooden gate greets you and a message outside states, "Honk before you enter." The guard opens the door, asks you if you have a reservation and leads you to the restaurant entrance. The ambiance is familiar. It reminded me of Shangrila's Cowrie Cove. At night, candles line up the pathway giving the place a soft glow.

Abaca Boutique Resort and Restaurant Mactan

Once seated, the restaurant staff are very attentive and they immediately attend to your needs. In the menu, you'll notice a date on the page. Abaca's selection of dishes depends on the freshest catch of the day, so you'll definitely discover a different food experience each time you return. You may find some ingredients unique, and the staff will gladly explain to you what these are.

Abaca Boutique Resort and Restaurant Mactan

One thing's for sure: Abaca Boutique Resort and Restaurant will never disappoint. It provides one of the best gastronomic experiences here in Cebu. The restaurant may be found at one of the farthest points in Mactan, but a lot of people go there for the unique experience that it offers. Several news articles even say that there are people from Manila who fly in to Cebu just to dine in Abaca.

Make sure you have a reservation before you go there, since the restaurant is almost always full. The experience does not come at a modest price. Prepare to shell out at least Php1000 per person to enjoy Abaca Resort and Restaurant's top picks.

This holiday season, Abaca Boutique Resort and Restaurant offers special dinners for its guests. Strictly by reservation only. Click the links for their Christmas Eve dinner menu and New Year's Eve dinner menu.

Abaca Resort and Restaurant Mactan Cebu

Abaca Resort and Restaurant
Punta Engano, Mactan, Cebu
Telephone Nos: (032)4953461 or (032)2360311

http://www.abacaresort.com/
All photos in this post are courtesy of Nilo Miranda, http://on2boy.multiply.com/
Can't get enough of Cebu's restaurants? Click on this guide to Cebu's best restaurants for more.

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12.16.2008

Nong Nooch Garden in Pattaya, Thailand

Nong Nooch Garden
A picturesque view of Thai architecture amidst the clear blue sky
Taken in Nong Nooch Garden in Pattaya, Thailand.


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12.14.2008

10 Things to do in Bohol, Philippines

Thanks to my job, I'm lucky enough to visit Bohol quite a number of times already. To aid all of you travellers out there, here's a quick guide on the top 10 things that you could do in Bohol, Philippines.

1. See the Chocolate Hills. This is Bohol's most famous attraction. When you arrive at the Chocolate Hills site, you need to go up a flight of stairs to view the hills from the top. What is so special about these hills? These are perfectly cone-shaped hills of about the same size where the grass turns brown in the summer, thus the name Chocolate Hills. It's a natural formation, and there is none other like it in the world. This site is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines.
2. Meet and greet the Bohol tarsier. Tarsiers are very small animals with large round eyes. They're so small that they're hard to spot since they only measure about 4-6 inches, and they could easily fit into the palm of your hand.
3. Go on a Loboc River cruise. While you're at the tarsier stop, head over to the floating restaurants nearby and treat yourself to a hearty lunch while enjoying a cruise at Loboc River. There are restaurants that serve buffet, and usually there are singers on board to entertain you on your journey.
4. Take a pic of the reforested area and Baclayon Church. On your way to the Chocolate Hills from Tagbilaran City in Bohol, you'll find a forest filled with trees climbing up to the sun standing tall and straight. It cools the air as you pass by this area since it blocks off most of the sun. It's a good photo opportunity since the Bohol people developed this area to become a beautiful man-made forest. For those who love old churches, you could also drop by Baclayon Church. It is perhaps Bohol's oldest church built in the 1950s. The church is definitely a sight to behold.
5. Enjoy the beach in Panglao. Panglao is 30-45 minutes away from Tagbilaran City, and you could hire a taxi or a van to take you there. If you're booked in a Panglao resort, you could also arrange for a shuttle to take you there. Panglao is beautiful with fine, powdery white sand and clear blue waters. The beach is not as crowded as Boracay. There are two most populated beach sites in Panglao: (1) Alona Kew side, and (2) Dumaluan Beach Resort and Bohol Beach Club side. The former houses more restaurants and bars, while the latter is a more peaceful side of Panglao. Don't forget to take beach sunset pics.
6. Visit the Bohol boa constrictor (sawa). When you go on tour in Bohol, tour guides would often ask you if you want to drop by the site that houses the biggest boa constrictor (sawa in the local dialect) in Bohol. The once-wild sawa is now tamed by a middle-aged lady and open to viewing by visitors. This site is like a small zoo. There are other animals up for viewing. Once you're there, try to meet their singing Marimar who would gladly belt out a song or two and guide you through the whole site. If you're lucky, she might also offer you the items she made from the sawa's shedded skin.
7. See the dolphins. If you want to see dolphins in Bohol, better wake up as early as 5am to catch them. Resorts would gladly arrange the trip for you with local boatmen. It's better to go as a big group to maximize the boat rental which usually runs for about Php2500-3000 per trip.
8. Visit the nearby islands. The best beaches in Bohol is not limited to Panglao only. There are also nearby islands which offer beautiful sights on shore and under water. Visit Balicasag island, a top diving site, and revel at the beauty of marine life by snorkeling or diving. Contact the nearby dive shop in Panglao to arrange for your diving trip. For snorkeling, local boatmen usually have snorkeling gear available for rental.
9. Go food tripping. May it be as unique as Bohol Bee Farm or as simple as grilled food at a restaurant by the shore near Dumaluan Beach Resort, Bohol is certainly home to a lot of new and memorable dining experiences. Take time to visit the Prawn Farm in Island City Mall and Bohol's best Chinese restaurant, Shang Manou.
10. Buy Bohol's native pasalubong. Like most places in the Philippines, there's always something unique to take home to your loved ones. Try Bohol's calamay and peanut kisses, which could easily be bought in pasalubong centers and supermarkets. If you want something tangible, there's always the reliable Bohol tourist-y shirt.

How to Get to Bohol
There are two airlines with flight routes to Bohol from Manila. Check out Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines for rates. If you'll be coming from Cebu, take a ferry that will take you to Bohol in two hours. Try Ocean Jet in Pier 1 or Weesam and Supercat in Pier 4.

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12.08.2008

Muay Thai in Pattaya, Thailand

Muay Thai boxing


No, it isn't Manny Pacquiao vs Oscar dela Hoya. This is a scene of a Muay Thai boxing match shown in a Pattaya cultural show. I really liked this part of the show because the Muay Thai boxing seemed real. More on this in my posts on Nong Nooch Garden and its marvelous sights.

Speaking of Manny Pacquiao, kudos to him for winning his match against Oscar dela Hoya today. TKO at 9 rounds!

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12.05.2008

Cebu Restaurants - Cafe Georg

One of the restaurants here in Cebu that always makes me proud is Cafe Georg. Located in Banilad Road in Cebu City, Cafe Georg offers a unique selection of dishes that would surely satisfy anyone's palate. 

On your first visit, you'd probably see Cafe Georg packed full with people on lunch or dinner time. The place is simple and unassuming, but it oozes with good taste. You'd see black steel chairs with some couches on the side, and an glass-enclosed area on the right side for small functions. Empty wine bottles decorate the wall, giving the cafe a bit of a personal feel. 

Cafe Georg Cebu

With a modest yet elegant ambiance, Cafe Georg moves on to engage their customers with delight once the menu is read. New and unique dish selections are featured, offering a wide variety of choices for everyone. From appetizers, salads, pasta, main course, desserts to beverage -- you will surely find something suitable for you. Let me share with you my personal favorites:

Cafe Georg Mango Tahini Salad

Mango Tahini Salad. A unique mix of salad greens, cucumber, mango and cashew nuts. 

Cafe Georg Bolognara Pasta
Bolognara Pasta. A combination of carbonara and bolognese pasta.

Cafe Georg Spinach and Cheese Dip
Spinach and Cheese Dip. A delicious cheese dip laced with spinach flavor for your toasted bread makes a wonderful appetizer.

There are lots of dishes to choose from. You could also try Chicken Pot Pie, Neopolitan Fish, Singaporean Style Fish, and many more. Every so often they cook up with new dishes to make their customers come back and look for more. The prices for their dishes are very reasonable. They range from Php150-200 only.

Cafe Georg
Banilad, Cebu City
Telephone No: (032) 234-0887

Click here to see more of Cebu's best restaurants.

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12.04.2008

NAIA T3: The Cebu Pacific airport?

Anyone who's been to NAIA Terminal 3 (T3)  could see that the airport is dominated by Cebu Pacific flights. A few months ago when Terminal 3 was launched, Cebu Pacific heavily advertised it in the media to announce that their flights were already in the spankin' brand new NAIA T3. It's a great relief to Cebu Pacific passengers to finally get to try a Cebu Pacific airport with better facilities.

Cebu Pacific airport NAIA T3

NAIA T3 opened to the public a few months ago, but until now it's a work in progress. The airport is servicing Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines, and PAL Express, but I feel that the flights are largely dominated by Cebu Pacific. There is one entrance to all flights, domestic and international. When you enter, you'd see only Cebu Pacific domestic flights in one row of checkout counters and the international flights in a separate row.

Make sure you check in early because Cebu Pacific does not provide separate checkout counters for the destinations. For both domestic and international flights, there's only one line to get to a check-in counter regardless of your destination. As your flight's check-in gets nearer to its closing time, the staff calls out the destination name to give way to passengers who came in a bit late. This is a fairly new practice in the local airline industry. I guess they did this to make sure all counters are maximized. 

Cebu Pacific airport express ticket counter

What I liked best about NAIA T3 is that it has its own express ticket counters located conveniently near the entrance. It has saved me a lot of times when I came in too late for check-in, and I could easily purchase another ticket to get on board the next available flight. When one does a no-show in Cebu Pacific, exorbitant fees are charged to get to the next flight using the same ticket. It's fairly cheaper to purchase another ticket and save the other one for a refund or another date.
When you need to go to the other airports like Centennial or the old NAIA airport, NAIA T3 actually has a shuttle service for the passengers. The schedule is not regular though. Ask the airport personnel for the shuttle schedule.

Though NAIA T3 has already opened, the services it offers is still pretty much basic. Not all of the shops and restaurants have opened, and there are still parts of the airport that hasn't been fully furnished yet. As of my visit two weeks ago, the food options accessible to everyone include Jollibee, Kopi Roti and Mister Donut on the second floor. When you get in towards your boarding gates, there's a San Miguel kiosk selling rice meals and various food products like E-Aji and noodles. There's a Delifrance inside and a Japanese restaurant whose name I could not recall. Other retail shops include National Bookstore and Duty Free. 

I hope this airport will get fully operational soon so passengers could completely appreciate its value addition to our travel industry. 

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12.03.2008

Experiencing Pattaya Beach, Thailand

On a Saturday morning, we got on a trip to Pattaya from Bangkok. After a few hours of early morning shopping at the Pratunam wholesale market, we arranged for a taxi to take us to Pattaya. As we were pressed for time, we decided to take the hotel taxi offered at 3,000 baht to take us to Pattaya.

We left Indra Regent Hotel at about 930am, ready for a Pattaya experience. We planned to spend the whole day there. We prepared an itinerary beforehand, and we had a list of the must-visit places and sights. The trip was a bit long. It took about 2 hours, and we arrived in Pattaya Beach just in time for lunch.

There were a lot of restaurants to choose from, and plenty of them were offering European and Thai food at the same time. As we were hungry when we got to Pattaya, our driver took us to the beach side to look for a restaurant. We settled for a simple cafe that served Thai food. The staff were very friendly. They even gave us a free map to guide us in Pattaya, since our driver wasn't too familiar with all of Pattaya's places. We ordered our favorite Thai dishes -- Pad Thai Noodles, Tom Yum soup, Chicken with Cashew and Thai Milk Tea. The food was very delicious! I swear, no one could go wrong with these dishes in Thailand.

Pattaya Beach Thailand food experience

After a hearty lunch, we decided to check out the Pattaya beach before heading to Nong Nooch Gardens. We just had to cross the street from the restaurant to head over to the beach. The sight that greeted us was this:

Pattaya Beach Thailand

People were sitting next to each other under large beach umbrellas. People were pretty much doing their own thing. Those in groups chatted with each other. There were people who read books as they relaxed by their beach chairs. There were some who were getting massages on the sand near the sidewalk. It was pretty crowded! The shore was filled up with all these people that you can barely walk by the shore to get a clear view of Pattaya Beach. The first row of beach chairs were already very near the water, and it was hard to move without passing by people.

Seeing this scene dropped my expectations of Pattaya beaches. I hope this doesn't hold true for all of Pattaya beach, since I've only explored one part of Pattaya. I was really very surprised that the beach was so crowded that people could hardly enjoy the sights that Pattaya beach offered. This made me appreciate the Philippines' own set of beaches more. Most of our beach destinations may not be as popular as Pattaya Beach Thailand, but we could definitely get a better experience of the sea and sand as our beaches are not too crowded like this.

Check out these links to my posts on some beach destinations in the Philippines: 

CEBU

BOHOL

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12.02.2008

Eden Nature Park and Resort, Davao

Eden Nature Park and Resort Davao

I went to Eden Nature Park and Resort in Davao last Saturday. Obviously, I was jumping in glee on how beautiful the place is. I've been a bit behind on my blog posts lately. I will try to update my experience in Bangkok and Davao soon. :)

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11.27.2008

Indra Regent Hotel in Bangkok

We stayed at the Indra Regent Hotel on our latest Bangkok trip. I was pretty excited because it was located right at the heart of Pratunam, one of Bangkok's main shopping areas. On our stay at Indra Regent, however, I had mixed feelings. I didn't know what to expect since the reviews I found on the Internet were pretty inconsistent. Here's a quick review on my recent stay at Indra Regent Hotel. 

LOCATION
When we arrived at 11pm Bangkok time, we had no trouble talking to the taxi driver to take us to Indra Regent Hotel. The hotel was easy to locate, and most taxi drivers were familiar with the place already. From Suvarnabhumi Airport, the ride took about 30-45 minutes and it cost us 350 baht. A big lobby in warm orange light greeted us when we arrived. The lobby was pretty, but I thought the lights were too dim for my taste.

Indra Regent Hotel lobby

When we arrived, no one greeted us right at the door. Check-in was relatively smooth, and a bellboy ushered us to our room right after. We got a superior room at the 9th floor, and my friend really liked the view of the nearby buildings from there.

Indra Regent Hotel nightview

We weren't able to take pics of our room as we were all excited to tuck ourselves in after a long and tiring flight. The rooms were pretty much basic. It had twin beds with TV, a desk and two chairs, closet and a bathroom with hot and cold shower. That was pretty much it. The interior design wasn't anything fancy or striking, and the hotel even had an old feel. I guess that's pretty much a given since Indra Regent Hotel has been around for several years.

BREAKFAST
Indra Regent Hotel treats their guests to a hearty breakfast on the 5th floor in an open area. There were a lot of selections available, and we truly appreciated this. You could go for the usual pancake/waffle, oatmeal or bread with butter for breakfast. For the health-conscious ones, there's salad and a good selection of fruits. For those who want a heartier meal, they also have sausages, pasta and other meat dishes available. 

Indra Regent Hotel breakfast

SERVICE
The staff at Indra Regent Hotel were pretty much helpful and accommodating, but not necessarily polite. They willingly entertained all the questions we had about shopping locations, taxi rates, restaurant locations and even tourist spots. 

For those who plan to shop until they drop, you would be happy to know that stores around the Pratunam area are willing to deliver for free to Indra Regent Hotel if you buy a lot from their store. I was able to avail of this service twice, and it helped ease my shopping load a lot. Indra Regent Hotel does not advertise this service though. I had to approach the concierge and ask them about this to get the details on how this service works.

RATES
We were lucky to get a discounted rate from Agoda. Otherwise, the rooms cost about 2,500baht and up. I find it a bit expensive, considering there are a lot of hotel options available in Bangkok with better rates. An extra person in the room would cost more than 1,000baht, regardless of whether you availed of an extra bed or not. 

EXTRA CHARGES
I read a review on the Internet that Indra Regent Hotel had a bad habit of charging their guests highly for unneccessary things. I validated this when they tried to charge me for a laundry bag that I got out of the closet. In Manila hotels, I usually use the laundry bag to store used pieces of clothing and they don't mind. In Indra Regent Hotel, however, they tried to charge me 267baht for a measly laundry bag! I returned it to them since the price was highly exorbitant and unreasonable.

REVIEW SUMMARY
All in all, what I liked best about Indra Regent is its location and shopping convenience. Apart from the free delivery service to Indra Regent Hotel for your shopping bags, each floor is also equipped with its own weighing scale to guide travellers on their baggage weight for their flight back home. I also liked their dining area for breakfast and their wide selection of dishes. Apart from these two, I think that Indra Regent Hotel is too expensive for the overall quality of experience they're offering. There may be options around the area that offer better value for my money. 

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Tourists stranded in Bangkok airport

I just got back from Bangkok yesterday, and today I saw in the news chaos at the Bangkok airports. Reports say there were explosions at two Bangkok airports as anti-government protesters stormed the airports to protest the return of Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat from the APEC Summit in Peru.

All incoming and outgoing flights to Bangkok were cancelled, and thousands of travellers were stranded in the Bangkok airports. The blasts started on Tuesday at 5am in Suvarnabhumi Airport, and another one followed in Don Muang Airport this Wednesday at 640am.

We left Suvarnabhumi Airport at 12midnight on Tuesday on board a Cebu Pacific flight. I'm pretty shocked to see the sudden turn of events. There's a video of Thai protesters disrupting the airport and punching people. It's a far cry from my perception of Thais, since I've always seen them as friendly and loving people. I thank God that I'm home now. I hope and pray that the tourists stranded in Bangkok right now will also get home safely.

For more information on this event, please refer to the CNN story below:





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11.19.2008

Shop Until You Drop at Chatuchak in Bangkok

I've been to Bangkok twice already, and one thing I really love is Bangkok shopping. The city has a variety of shopping options for any traveller that ranges from budget to splurge! If you're a budget shopper, one of the markets that you must go to in Bangkok is Chatuchak.

Chatuchak is a market that opens only on weekends. According to Wikipedia, Chatuchak is the largest market in Bangkok and of the world! It has more than 20,000 stalls that sells everything you need from furniture, clothing, houseware, Thai handicrafts, food, pets and a lot more. With Chatuchak's very big area, one would actually need a map to identify key areas to go to.

Chatuchak map

The total area is actually divided into several categories for easy reference, but you'll find out that the area is not entirely exclusive to that category shown in the map. Chatuchak Market is exceedingly big! I've been there twice and I think I've only covered barely 1/8 of the total area. It's impossible to cover the entire Chatuchak market in one day. When you go there, you need to have an end in mind. You should ask yourself: "What do I want to bring home?" Chatuchak is certainly not the place to go window shopping or browsing.

When in Chatuchak, you should seriously prioritize your shopping needs. Visit first the area of the market for the goods you need to buy. When you see something you like, buy it. Chances are, you won't be able to go back to that store again. Chatuchak is like a big maze, and it's definitely the place to go all out impulsive on shopping.

Chatuchak shopping

Despite its chaotic nature, you'll learn to love Chatuchak for the unique experience that it offers. For one, Chatuchak is a place to hunt for hard bargains. Bargaining in this market is a way of life. Remember to first haggle the item that you want for half the price and start negotiating from there. When you have friends with you, buy together in one store to get wholesale prices.

After a day at Chatuchak, you'll surely go home tired but hopefully happy with the goods you've brought home. I'm not really a fan of the Chatuchak market, but I'm glad I got to visit it for its unique shopping experience. You'll really get to find everything in Chatuchak, especially if you have the patience to go around the market. Who knows? You might even find that life-sized Robocop replica you've always been looking for.

Chatuchak

How to Get to Chatuchak
Of course, there's the reliable taxi but you could also take the sky train (BTS) to Mo Chit station. From Mo Chit, you'll see a big park and exit to that side. You need to walk a bit to get to Chatuchak Market. Another way is to take the subway (MRT) to Suan Chatuchak (Chatuchak Park) station.

Chatuchak is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm. It's best to get there early to avoid the huge crowd and midday heat.

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11.17.2008

Traffic at Chatuchak Market

Chatuchak market


Took this shot when we were on our way to Chatuchak Market, the biggest shopping destination at Bangkok that opens only on weekends. Goods sold there range from pets to furniture to fruits to clothes, and many more! You can literally shop until you drop at this place. With more than 20,000 stalls at Chatuchak Market, it's impossible to cover the place in only a day.

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11.15.2008

Book your hotel with the best travel agent

If you like traveling on a budget, it's important that you choose the best travel agent for you. I'm not a big fan of travel agencies for my trips because I like doing things on my own, and I like scouting the Internet for best travel deals.

When I went abroad for the first time on my own, I asked a friend for advice on the best travel agent for hotel reservations online. He recommended Precision Reservations, and since then I've been using their service for most of my trips abroad. They've relaunched their site to the name Agoda, and here are the top reasons why I consider them the best travel agent on the net:
  • Great travel deals. Agoda Reservations have a lot of partner hotels worldwide. When I compare their rates to other travel agents, online hotel deals, and even the host hotel site itself, Agoda rates are definitely competitive and cheap. Agoda may not be always perfect in sealing the cheapest deal 100% of the time, but the hit rate is definitely high.
  • 24/7 Customer Service. They're the only site I've seen so far that offers excellent customer service online for its potential customers. You can chat with a travel agent anytime, and they're always polite when they assist you. They would entertain all your travel needs, and they will complete the booking transaction for you as well. You could actually ask them specific questions like the size of the room, hotel rules, and more. You can also enumerate all your hotel requests when you make the booking, and Agoda will arrange them for you. The service makes me feel like I was actually talking to a real person, and this is a huge plus over most Internet booking sites. I can actually secure my hotel booking instantly and hassle-free. This service alone makes them climb up my list on the best travel agent on the web.
  • Comprehensive travel reviews. Agoda gives incentives for their members when they give reviews on the hotels they stayed in. The reviews are very useful and comprehensive. It really gives anyone a good preview of what the hotel is like. I rely on this to choose the best hotels for my destination, and so far Agoda has delivered me good results.
  • Agoda actually gives a refund! I really appreciate that Agoda is a very honest and transparent with their business transactions. This is another big reason why they're the best travel agent in my book. When I went to Thailand and arranged for an extra bed online, my companions and I weren't able to use it when we got to the place. I even forgot that I actually paid for an extra bed. Barely a month later after completing my trip, I received good news from the credit card company. Agoda actually refunded me for the amount that I paid for the unused extra bed. Amazing!
  • A loyalty program that delivers big discounts. Agoda gives its members points for every booking made through them. I don't really believe in loyalty programs done through point system, but Agoda really delivers the good benefits promised on its site. They advertise that they give 4-7% rewards savings, but I feel the total package that they offer is worth so much more. With a couple of bookings made through Agoda, I was able to save $60 from my hotel bill because of the points redeemed from Agoda's loyalty program. Given the right timing and a good number of required points, members could actually stay in Agoda's partner hotels for free. 
Agoda really makes it their business to reward their customers for being loyal to them. There may be a lot of companies doing this, but Agoda edges out from all of them by making sure that their customers avail the rewards they deserve. They have very good programs to entice their customers to avail of their service again and again. Since I've used Agoda, I've never looked back and I've been loyal ever since. 

Here's a post on my review of one of the hotels I booked through Agoda, Bangkok's Abloom Executive Serviced Apartment. 

I invite you to try out Agoda Reservations for your hotel needs in your next trip. I hope you'll have a great experience with them as well.
 
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11.14.2008

Off to Bangkok

Next week, I'm off to Bangkok. It's my third visit to the country, and I discover something new every time. Bangkok is one of my most favorite cities in Asia, and I always want to go back there after each visit. I love that there are so many places to explore in Bangkok, and I love Thailand's rich culture and warm hospitality.

For my trip to Bangkok next week, I plan to go to Pattaya because I've never been there. Actually, if I really had a choice I'd want to go to their islands Ko Samui and Phi Phi. However, we only got a three-day trip due to our corporate work schedules (boo!) and we cannot afford to miss a day of shopping. We would have to reserve that itinerary for a next visit to Thailand.

Bangkok elephant show


I hope I'd get to see their famous elephant show next week. This was taken when we went to the old city of Ayutthaya, but we didn't get the chance to catch an elephant show. I hope I'd get to see the elephants perform in Pattaya.

For those who have visited Pattaya before, what are the must-see places there? Wikitravel is always a good resource, but I would love to hear your suggestions too!

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11.12.2008

PAL Econolight

MANILA – Philippine Airlines introduces a new product, called PAL EconoLight Class, aimed at the budget segment of the market, on all its domestic jet routes as well as selected short-range Asian routes.

The selling period starts today (November 4), while the travel period starts on November 10, 2008.

PAL will allocate seats on these flights for the new product, which is priced lower by up to 93% off regular Fiesta Class (economy) fares, but designed with less passenger amenities than Fiesta Class.

Still, EconoLight Class offers more than competing budget carriers.

Passengers will continue to enjoy PAL’s comfortable aircraft cabin with generous legroom, convenient schedules and seamless connections at NAIA Centennial Terminal 2 in Manila, now boasting an on-time departure average rate of 91.3%.

While snacks are not served, water is available upon request on domestic flights. On the international sectors, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, such as soda, juice, water, coffee and tea, are served with peanuts.

Passengers also receive a free baggage allowance of 15 kilograms each.

Tickets for EconoLight Class are available for purchase year-round only through PAL’s website www.philippineairlines.com on a “book and buy” basis.

PAL EconoLight Class is currently offered on PAL flights between Manila and Bacolod, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Cotabato, Davao, Dipolog, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Laoag, Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, Roxas, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and Zamboanga.

EconoLight Class is not available on routes served by PAL Express.

Asian routes cover flights between Manila and Bangkok, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Macau, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei.

One-way fares of as low as P488, inclusive of all fees and surcharges, are available on domestic flights. International round-trip fares start at $48, excluding surcharges.

Click here for my post about my PAL roundrip Cebu-Manila-Cebu flight for only Php1592!

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Philippine Airlines Flight for only Php1592?

Is it possible to purchase a Philippine Airlines flight for only Php1592 (One Thousand Five Hundred Ninety Two Pesos) only?

Apparently, it is.

Last November 4, Philippine Airlines launched a new product called the PAL Econolight Class.
It offers Philippine Airlines flights for budget travellers on all its domestic jet routes and selected short-range routes. Seats for these Philippine Airlines flights are on allocation. Better book early if you want one. It's said to be up to 93% cheaper than Fiesta Class (economy) fares, and I got to find that out for myself today.

I went online to book a Cebu-Manila-Cebu flight for December. First of all, I checked Cebu Pacific to see if I could rebook an existing ticket. With all the fees, I was required to pay more than Php2000 to rebook the flight to December. I decided to check out Cebu Pacific's online site to see their normal flight fares for the time period.

A Cebu-Manila-Cebu roundtrip flight from Cebu Pacific costs more than Php4000! Their rates are pretty deceiving. They post Php4 on the fares page, but they bloat it to almost Php2000 once you check the final amount with the taxes. Next, I checked Philippine Airlines. These days, it's always best to check the two competing airlines to get the lowest fares.

I was very pleased to find out that I could get a Philippine Airlines flight for Cebu-Manila-Cebu for only Php1952! Here's a screen shot of my itinerary:


Don't you think it's a GREAT deal? It costs less than a one-way ticket from Cebu Pacific! For more info on Philippine Airlines' Econolight product, click here.

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11.11.2008

How to Redeem PAL Mabuhay Miles

Here's a quick guide on how to redeem PAL Mabuhay Miles for extra flights:

1. Complete the Mabuhay Miles travel award redemption form. You could download a copy from the Mabuhay Miles website. For quick reference, here's a link the Mabuhay Miles redemption form for you.
2. Bring your Mabuhay Miles membership card, photocopy of a valid ID with photo and signature of Mabuhay Miles member, and photocopy of passport for international travel. Make sure you have these documents on hand to avoid the hassle of searching for a photocopier when the PAL customer service representative asks for them.
3. If you plan to have someone redeem for you, make sure you have a letter of authorization and a photocopy of your representative's valid ID with photo and signature.

Redeeming Mabuhay Miles may sound so attractive since you're paying practically nothing for the flight. This may be true for the time when Cebu Pacific was not in the picture yet. Before, I could redeem my Mabuhay Miles and fly to Manila from Cebu for Php900 only. That time, the taxes and fuel surcharges weren't too bloated yet.

Make sure you check for the best rates when redeeming your precious Mabuhay Miles. I accompanied my friend one time to inquire about a possible Cebu-Manila award ticket redemption from Mabuhay Miles, but we quickly found out that a Mabuhay Miles award ticket costs around as much as a normal flight from Cebu Pacific. The PAL representative told us we had to pay Php4,000 for fuel surcharges and fees to redeem an award ticket from Mabuhay Miles. A Cebu Pacific flight costs around Php2,000 per way as well. It just goes to show the Mabuhay Miles offerings are not as lucrative as before.

If you really want to redeem those Mabuhay Miles since they're expiring anyway, make sure you book early. The seats that they offer for this are very limited, and they require you to book at least 10 days in advance. The best way to go for the best deal is scouting for the lowest price in the market. The local airlines are competing heavily for the share of the market, so better check who's offering the best deal on your travel date.

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11.10.2008

Bohol Bee Farm Dining

Bohol Bee Farm

Get to dine at Bohol Bee Farm with a scenery overlooking the sea.
Great food + good ambiance is a very wonderful combination.
Make sure not to miss this on your next visit to Bohol!


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11.09.2008

Great Food at Bohol Bee Farm

In my last blog entry, I shared with you guys pics from my Bohol Bee Farm visit. Let me treat you now to a short guide to Bohol Bee Farm's food selections. 

Dishes at the Bohol Bee Farm are prepared with great care and attention to detail. They use the best organic ingredients, and most of them are cultivated from their own farm. Guests are treated to a wide selection of uniquely Bohol Bee Farm dishes. They have everything from soups, salads, pasta, pizza, meat, seafood, sandwiches, sweets and even a kiddie menu for the little ones.

On our first visit, my friend and I ordered a few dishes. For our appetizer, we got Bohol Bee Farms delicious camote bread with herb, mango and honey spreads. The camote bread is soft and it has the slightest hint of sweet taste to it. The camote bread was good, but what we particularly loved were the spreads which brought a unique taste for every bite of camote bread. The best pick for me is the mango spread. It wasn't too sweet and its taste would make anyone come back for more. This appetizer is definitely a must-try for any Bohol Bee Farm guest.

Bohol Bee Farm camote bread

My friend got the Vegetarian Pasta (Php180). It's spaghetti mixed with assorted organic herbs and vegetables. The serving is very generous. We could hardly finish the single serving that they gave us. 

bohol bee farm pasta

For the main course, I got a Grilled Marlin (Php240). It came with organic garden salad on the side and organic red rice with broiled camote. The sauce that they provide is not plain toyo. It really complements the grilled marlin perfectly. For their organic salad, you are invited to try out the organic flowers. Yes, you can also eat flowers and it makes the salad dish very colorful. Aside from the usual mix of greens and vegetables, you are treated to new organic ingredients which paint your salad with yellow, blue and pink hues! Don't be intimidated by the unique ingredients. These flowers just taste a lot like leafy greens.

bohol bee farm marlin

I cannot fully describe how heavenly all the dishes at Bohol Bee Farm tasted. It's best that you better experience it for yourself. Head to Bohol Bee Farm the next time you visit Bohol.

Bohol Bee Farm
Dao, Dauis, Panglao, Bohol
+6338.5022288

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11.05.2008

Bohol Bee Farm

I've been to Bohol countless times, but it was only on my last trip that I was able to go to Bohol Bee Farm. On our way back to Cebu, we decided to have lunch at Bohol Bee Farm since our trip is still scheduled at 4pm. After checking out from Dumaluan Beach Resort at noon,  we arranged for a taxi that would take us to Bohol Bee Farm then to the pier afterwards.

The first thing that you see when you enter the Bohol Bee Farm compound are actually their gardens. The Bohol Bee Farm serves its own harvests from this farm. When you get to the main venue, a souvenir shop greets you. With their colorful displays, you will definitely be encouraged to stop and look at the items. Since we were hungry at that time, we glanced over the selections and proceeded to the dining area located downhill. 

Welcome to Bohol Bee Farm

The entrance to the dining area is a mini preview of what's in store. The welcome sign to Bohol Bee Farm is followed by well-arranged vines that form an arc, soothing in sight to the Bohol Bee Farm guests. 

Bohol Bee Farm Dining Area

The Bohol Bee Farm dining area is open air and very welcoming. When we arrived, there were a lot of Korean tourists and they were having buffet for lunch. We proceeded further to get a table overlooking the sea.

Bohol Bee Farm

While we were waiting for our food, we took our chance to explore the place. I think Bohol Bee Farm is really designed with the comfort of their guests in mind. There were a lot of comfortable seats to sink and relax in. They even have hammocks nearby, allowing the guests to lie down and rest. 

On my first visit, I saw that Bohol Bee Farm is an amazing place and I know that there still are lots of interesting things to see there. It's too bad that I only had a few hours to spend in that place on my first visit to the famous Bohol Bee Farm. I'd definitely be back there again.

Aside from the great venue, Bohol Bee Farm serves excellent, EXCELLENT food in my opinion. I'm very excited to share the pics and my story with you guys tonight. However, I would have to reserve the details of my food experience in Bohol Bee Farm for a separate entry, simply because I think it truly deserves its own spotlight. 

How To Get To Bohol Bee Farm
Bohol does not have a lot of public transportation options for their travellers. To get to Bohol Bee Farm, hire a taxi from your resort. They usually charge double the meter and a certain fee for waiting while you're at the venue. Talk to the driver to make sure you get a good rate.

Bohol Bee Farm
Dao, Dauis, Panglao, Bohol
+6338.5022288

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Globe Visibility

Has anyone else tried Globe Visibility? For travellers on the go, it would really be nice if an Internet connection is readily available. This would also greatly aid business travellers like me. Our company issued us Globe Visibility devices so they could reach us anywhere, anytime. We had to say goodbye to those excuses on how we cannot check our emails. Boo.

Globe Visibility is marketed as a device which lets you connect to the Internet whereever there's a Globe signal. Sounds promising, eh? Unfortunately, I haven't enjoyed the benefits this product has promised to offer.

Here's my experience so far:
  1. Globe signal is strong, but it's hard to connect. It seems like the Globe Visibility device cannot be detected properly by my laptop. 
  2. When I do get to connect successfully (yehey!), the connection disappears 10 minutes later.
  3. On why the Globe Visibility device cannot be detected, I'm not really sure if it has to do anything with my USB ports. However, 3/3 failed USB ports are unusual.
I do hope this technology will get better in time. I hope a Globe service personnel reads this post, and actually take this review to heart.

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11.03.2008

Chic Traveller Goes to Panglao

Taking inspiration from kegler747 and realizing that I have a lot of travel photos to share, I'm going to start Photo Mondays which will feature destinations I've been to and travel photos I particularly like. 

Here's a photo of me enjoying the morning sun in Panglao. Cheers!

chic traveller in panglao

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Panglao Bohol Resorts - Dumaluan Beach Resort

If you're looking for value accommodation among the wide selection of Bohol resorts in Panglao, then you should check out Dumaluan Beach Resort. It's actually beside Bohol Beach Club, the more popular among island resorts in Panglao, yet Dumaluan offers rooms at more affordable rates.



Location
Dumaluan Beach resort is located at a more serene side of Panglao. The view from this Bohol resort is picture-perfect. Any tourist would love basking in the fine white sand, enjoying the sight of the sky merging with the sea with huge white clouds looming over the horizon. Unlike Boracay, people here are lesser in number. One could easily read a good book and relax under the shade of nearby trees.

Accommodation & AmenitiesRoom rates start at Php1300 for a Standard Aircon Room, Php2150 for a Deluxe Room, and the suites start at Php2500. At the time we got a reservation, most of the resorts in Panglao were fully booked. In Dumaluan, we were able to get a family room for Php3500. The family room did not offer much, except a LOT of space and a heater in the shower. The room and the bathroom were very spacious, and the bed was probably bigger than normal.

panglaobohol resorts

What I liked is that I get to have breakfast by the sea, even if the breakfast selection is not too amazing. They simply offered us a choice of longganisa or hotdog with egg, and beverage choices of coffee, tea or juice.

panglao

I also liked their big pool. The water went as deep as 8ft, and there's a small kiddie pool on the side. If you're like me who gets to catch up on her exercise only when swimming, then you'd really enjoy this pool. I got to do a few laps in the morning sun, and there weren't a lot of people yet. Pool is open until 10pm, and the rooms are just nearby so it's a short walk to a quick shower after a dip.

Food
I'm not too enthralled with the food that the resort offers. What I liked though is that there's a small dining place nearby wherein you could have the freshest catch cooked for you. Choose from a variety of fishes like lapu-lapu, blue marlin, and bangus and they will cook it to your liking. They have meat selections too. Prices are cheap. I ordered grilled blue marlin (Php120) with rice and mais con yelo (Php45) and I got it for less than Php200! You get to dine in nearby cottages, and enjoy the view of the sea. This is definitely a unique Panglao island experience.

panglao

Service
The staff at Dumaluan Beach Resort in Panglao are helpful, but they're not cheerful nor polite. They did accommodate our requests like taxi and dolphin watching, but it seemed like they weren't happy doing so. It would be a big plus if their staff learned to smile once in a while.

How to Get There
Hire a taxi from Tagbilaran City in Bohol to get to Dumaluan Beach Resort in Panglao. The usual rate to Panglao is double the meter rate, which is approximately Php350. You are free to haggle with the driver on the best rate. It's more economical to travel in a group so you could spread the cost among you. Travel time from Tagbilaran to Panglao is about 30 minutes.

Dumaluan Beach Resort
Bolod, Panglao, Bohol
Tel No. +6338-5029092/9081
For a full list of room rates,
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