The New Chapter Begins

I promised myself to blog again after the hell I’ve been through. By hell, I’m referring to school, graduation and the Bar Exams. The past two years just happened so fast – so fast, that I never even got to open my WordPress account.

Anyway, I wouldn’t bore you what happened then as I do not plan to remember the agony of what they call academic perfection and instead, I’ll tell you what happens next.

I will be traveling again! I’ll be going back to Seoul (for the third time) on November 18-22 with my two college friends. Thereafter I will be going to Durban, South Africa to visit my aunt on November 29 and will spend about 1-2 months there.

In the meantime, I’m in my couch-potato stage. I’m damn happy staying at home, watching TV and surfing the net. Sometimes, I go to the mall or meet my friends. That’s it! If you ever wonder when will I start working, my vague answer would be after South Africa.

Until then…

Hello 2013! Hello again blog!

I haven’t made a new entry in long time because I was very busy the past few months. For some reason, I kinda like my busy schedule because there’s no dull moment in the day.

Since it’s the new year, I’ve been thinking what was 2012 for me?

Hmmm… considering I’ve hit rock bottom 2011, I think 2012 was a good year. It was a year of transition. I made a lot of changes in my life and I have been enjoying the breath of fresh air!

Thinking further, I made a list of 2012 obsessions:

  1. PANDORA CHARMS – It started at Vietnam when my friends and I went there last May 2012. Marta bought a few charms in addition to her Pandora bracelet. Each collectible charm has a meaning behind it. Furthermore, it can be designed by my own choosing. I was fascinated by it! I want to get one in memory of my travels. I want my charms to represent each place I’ve been to. So when I went to Macau a few months after, I bought my very own Pandora bracelet. Right now, I have 6 charms from Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Manila. I’m really excited to finish the whole thing! 
  2. APPLE – I asked my brother to buy me an IPad as a birthday gift. I am not a techie, and the reason I want an IPad is for my studies. I have a lot of readings and it is difficult for me to bring all of the materials to school. The tablet is handy, practical and a perfect substitute to paper. I also love playing games in my IPad. My favorite is Subway Surfers. In addition to my IPad, I found myself having an IPhone last month. It was free from my line so why not? I really enjoy taking photos and using its apps.
  3. INSTAGRAM – Maita was the one who made my account in instagram because she noticed I was into taking pictures. It is really fun and addicting…in fact, I enjoy it more than Facebook. Thank you Maita!
  4. UNIQLO – Before this brand came to the Philippines, I was already hooked to their clothes because they are inexpensive, comfortable and in good quality. When I went to Japan, I made sure I have at least one shirt bought from Uniqlo. When the store opened in the Philippines, I was happy that their prices were almost at par with Japan. Whenever I visit SM North or Mall of Asia, I try to drop by the store to see if I have something I like.
  5. RED VELVET CUPCAKES – Yes, I joined the bandwagon! What I love about these cupcakes is that it has the simplest flavor I could ask for – no chocolates, no carrots, no banana, no nuts, etc. I love it plain as it is…and it’s red!


This year has been my craziest jet setter life. I don’t think I can top off the travels I made this year to the past or even the future years of my life! According to my 2012 planner, I have been to 8 countries, 16 cities, and applied for 4 visas. All of these travels are in Asia, to wit:

  • Brunei Darrusalam – January 2012
  • Guangzhou/Shenzhen/Hong Kong – April 2012
  • Bangkok – April 2012
  • Ho Chi Minh – May 2012
  • Osaka/Kyoto/Nara/Kobe – May 2012
  • Busan/Jeju Island – June 2012
  • Hong Kong/Macau – August 2012
  • Siem Rep – September 2012
  • Beijing – October 2012
  • Hong Kong – November 2012
  • Singapore – December 2012

Thus, I find myself broke by the end of the year.


Last year I made a resolution in my blog. I am happy that I was able to follow it. I really really avoid buying makeup and as you can see, I did travel a lot.

And since I was able to travel a LOT these past months, I’ve decided that my new year resolution would be: SAVE MORE, TRAVEL LESS.

It does not mean that I strictly won’t be travelling outside the country…but I would definitely take into consideration saving money first than buying airline tickets.

Wish me luck!


My mom got me a Diamond Indulgence card a few months ago. This a privilege card that gives access to exclusive discounts and exciting perks at Diamond Hotel, Philippines. It is only last month that I made use of this card for my birthday treat with friends and another lunch with the family for my mom’s birthday, both at Corniche.

Corniche is a restaurant located at the lobby of Diamond Hotel. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet and an all-day a la carte menu. As earlier said, I’ve been in this place twice last month for 2 special occasion – my birthday and my mom’s birthday. I chose this place simply because I want to use my Diamond Indulgence card and nothing more.

I had my first lunch there with friends as a birthday advance treat. I like the place because of its magnificent interior. They really made great use of the lobby well. Too bad we were seated a bit far from the buffet table as it was on the other side of the restaurant. Good thing in my second visit, we were seated nearer the buffet table and entrance.

For both of my visit, I would have to say the service was consistent. I had no problems from the start of making a reservation until the end of getting the receipt. The food is a different story though. Some of my friends thought that generally the food was a bit salty. My brother commented that it was not as good compared to other hotels we’ve been to. In my case, however, I just thought that it was not bad at all, but not great either. In short, there was nothing spectacular about it.

Well, there was one exception – THE BIRTHDAY CAKE! Its just a single serving complementary cake. Despite the size…and considering its free… it was surprisingly good. Turns out the cake they gave away was from Kohikan at the Diamond. Kohikan at the Diamond is technically the coffee shop of the hotel. Those complementary birthday cakes can be bought there for P250 each. Expensive right? But I can assure you, it’s worth it because it’s so damn good. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the same cake being sold at The Cake Club in Rockwell. Fortunately for us, since we’re birthday celebrants, we got those for free!

I guess Corniche didn’t wow me because I’ve been to numerous hotelrestaurant in the past. I’ve continually compared all the places I’ve been to and sad to say Corniche was not on top of my list (but not in the bottom either). Nevertheless, I did enjoy dining there simply because I was with my family and friends.


Kohikan is a different story though. I speak highly of their cakes (despite being overpriced).  So if ever I would be back at Diamond Hotel, I know what to get myself – a piece of cake!


As an advance birthday celebration, I took my cousin out for lunch at 7 Corners. It was my first time going there but I knew the place will be good since I read a lot of positive reviews about it. Hence, we drove all the way to Ortigas just to eat there!

Seven Corners is the international buffet restaurant of Crown Plaza located at the 2nd floor of the hotel.

After checking the whole 7 corners, I went straight ahead to the Japanese section to get some sushi and sashimi. For the salmon and tuna sashimi, the slices are given upon request. Beside the Japanese section is the seafood section. I was so happy that they have lobster! I have never seen lobster being offered in a hotel buffet before (unless if it is seafood night.)

There are a lot of choices! In fact, I ate a piece of almost everything – steak, pasta, soup, dumplings, roti, etc.

They have ice cream teppanyaki for dessert. I didn’t try it though. I still prefer ice cream crepe over it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their chocolate fondue, creme brulee and fresh fruits.

My cousin really enjoyed my treat. She told me that 7 Corners would probably be second on her list of favorite restaurant. I would love to go back there with my family one of these days. I’m sure they would enjoy eating there.


I have been to Midas Hotel a couple of times. In fact Midas Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants in Metro Manila. So when a group buying site offered an eat all you can Japanese Buffet for P399 at Midas Hotel, I bought 5 vouchers for my family without thinking twice.

Yanagi restaurant is located at the Mezzanine of Midas Hotel. It is one among the few restaurants located at this hotel.



In truth, I was not expecting much from this deal. In fact I was not expecting a lot of food to be served considering the price I paid for. A P399/person Japanese buffet in a 5-star restaurant is quite cheap. To good to be true right? Hence, I was just anticipating that the food served is as enumerated in the deal – assorted tempura (Fish, Shrimp & Vegetables), assorted Maki, Sukiyaki, Gohan (rice), assorted fresh fruits, and unlimited tea and coffee. I even prepped my family about it because they might have high expectations from the restaurant.


Alas, I am correct! Only the food enumerated in the deal are served at the buffet. Its just a small spread of assorted sushi, vegetables, mashed potato and sukiyaki. The rice and tempura, however, are served per table. In short you have to order from the waiter if you want another round.

The tempura and sushi taste common. The beef in the sukiyaki was good but their soup base is sweeter than the normal. The Japanese rice is very good! I’m sure the rice eaters would love it.





The restaurant is small compared to Midas Cafe. The place is a bit cramped for me. You can hear other people’s conversation at the other side of the table. Also, the waiters/waitresses are all over the place. I would partly blame the craziness of the place because of the part sit-down dinner part buffet style the restaurant offers.


I would have to commend their service. It was easy to call a waiter/waitress and all our request were given. The waiting time for an order of tempura is reasonable enough.


It was an okay experience. There was nothing spectacular about the food but I think I got what I paid for. Would I buy again? Probably not. I would rather spend a few more hundred pesos at another restaurant (such as Yakimix) where there a lot of choices. I did not regret buying the deal though. It was after all a 5-star experience, but I’m not just doing it again.


Time to share with you Part 2 of this month’s travel feature!  And I’m glad to say that my chosen traveler is one of my closest college friends and fellow blogger, Carol. 😀

Carol has been to 13 countries (excluding the Philippines): China (Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland), the USAMexicoThailandSwitzerlandFranceItalySingaporeSouth KoreaMalaysia (Kota Kinabalu), BruneiVietnam, and Japan.  And when asked what’s TRAVELING for her and how it affects her, she said, “Traveling’s a good way to waste money.  Instead of spending so much on clothes, shoes, bags, electronics, and other things, I realized that going to places and exploring new things are better ways to exploit my savings.  In this way, I invest on experience and memories.

“Traveling has affected me in many ways such as learning different cultures, tasting…

View original post 1,786 more words

The Heat is on in Saigon

It seems Mika, Marta and I have become de facto travel buddies this year because aside from going to Brunei last January, we went to Ho Chi Minh a few days ago for another 3 days 2 nights adventure. Unlike our previous trip however, we were accompanied by Mika’s two older sister – Ate Anne and Ate Malou – and our dear friend Maxine.

The vacation planning was done from scratch. We booked a cheap airfare courtesy of Cebu Pacific Air (again) and hotel accommodation at Agoda. We chose Grand Silverland Hotel & Spa located at District 1 near Ben Thanh Market. As for the tour and hotel transfers, I was able to contact Buffalo Tours for it. We were happy at their service because everything was well arranged even in such short notice.

The Travel

As expected, the 2.5 hours travel is another red eye flight. For some reason, I was happy taking a red eye flight to avoid air traffic at Manila airport. We arrived at Ho Chi Minh around 1 in the morning, local time. There is a one hour time difference between Ho Chi Minh and Manila.

One thing notable upon arrival at Vietnam is that tourist don’t need an arrival card for the immigration. Only valid passport is needed.

Going to the hotel from the airport could be a little tricky since we arrived in an unlikely time. I even read travel stories that a lot of taxis/vans defraud tourist at the airport. Good thing prior to our trip we arranged a hotel transfer. I was really happy that everything was hassle-free.

Thus, we took a 20-minute ride to the hotel.

When we arrived at Grand Silverland Hotel & Spa, our first reaction was “nice”. Considering the price we paid for, the hotel is worth the money spent. The place is not that big for a 4-star hotel but the amenities are okay considering it has a spa, gym and swimming pool.

We were able to settle down around 2am after checking in. We had an early day ahead so we went to bed right after.

Day 1

We availed a whole day Saigon City Tour which starts at 8am and ends at around 4pm. In short, we had to wake up early in preparation for the whole day ahead. In truth, I was looking forward for breakfast simply because I’M IN VIETNAM!!! The country is known for it’s delicious cuisine, so yes, as expected the food is great.

By 8am our tour guide, Thanh, picked us at the hotel lobby and this is where we went:

The Reunification Palace

Chinese Temple

The Notre Dame Cathedral

Old Post Office

Opera House

People’s Committee Building

War Remnants Museum

After the whole day tour, we went back to the hotel and rested for a few hours. We then went to Ben Thanh Market which is just a few blocks away from our hotel. We bought a lot of candies, coffee and other pasalubong for a cheap price. Good thing Marta has talent for haggling so we practically just followed her in dealing with the seller.

Ben Thanh Market

We went back again to the hotel to drop our things and roamed around the District for a good place to dine. We were adventurous that night so we opted the local ambiance. Ate Anne saw this restaurant where a lot of Vietnamese eating, so yes, we tried it.

Since the menu was in Viet, I don’t know how my co-travelers were able to order from the menu. Maxine was extra daring that night that she even ordered frog as an entree.

After eating, we went back to Ben Thanh Market for one last round to check out their night market and afterwards, to the hotel so we can hit the bed early. Thus, we went to sleep.

Day 2

We have no particular plans for our last day. In short, it’s killing time until we go to the airport later that night.

My friends and I slept the whole morning until check-out. After leaving our bags at the concierge we took a taxi to NowZone Fashion Mall and thereafter at Diamond Plaza. We were able to kill a few hours at those malls before going back to the hotel to wait for our airport transfer.

Thereafter, we went back to the reality of Manila.


I had a short trip to Bangkok, Thailand with my mom for business. We stayed at Pratunam which is known as the shopping haven for retail and wholesale. We chose Novotel Bangkok Platinum because it’s a new 4-star hotel conveniently located beside Platinum Mall. Moreover, the place is walking distance to other malls around Pratunam.

So here are the photos of the hotel.

Novotel Bangkok Platinum


executive room at the 23rd floor




6th floor lobby


The Lounge (6th floor)

free breakfast


  • Superb location
  • Very clean rooms…and the bed is very comfortable!
  • Friendly staff, especially the concierge
  • Free breakfast with outstanding choices
  • There is an escalator connecting the hotel and mall


  • Separate floor of concierge (1st floor) and lobby (6th floor)
  • Need to interchange elevators at the 6th floor to go to the room

As for the negative part, I really don’t think that it’s a big deal but I have to put it there anyway for information purposes.


Mom and I really loved the hotel and we promise ourselves that we will book here again if ever we go back to Bangkok.


Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon and Camiguin

I really don’t remember the real reason what opted us to go to Mindanao. I think the controlling factor would be: first, we’ve never been there, and second, Patricia lives there. Hence, this summer trip led by my friend Patricia as a default tour guide.

It was the six of us – Bea, Marnie, Chatti, Kajo, Patricia and I – who went to Bukidnon for four days and three nights. We stayed at Patricia’s place at Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Going there from Manila took us about half a day since we made a few stop-overs along the way. We took a domestic flight for 1.20 hr from Manila to Cagayan de Oro (Lumbia Airport) and another 2.5 hr car ride from there to Malaybalay, Bukidnon. There is no domestic airport in Bukidnon so all travels leading there must channel through Cagayan de Oro (CDO).

Lumbia Airport

As expected, the airport was nothing extravagant. I guess all domestic airports are like that in the Philippines. I don’t care about it though. What’s important is that we arrived at CDO safely.

Since we took an early flight, we arrived just in time for breakfast. Patricia has plans for lunch already so she suggested that we eat something light instead. Hence, we ate at the most popular fast food chain in the world – McDonald’s.

Upon going around CDO, I was surprised to see that the place is really urbanized. I mean, it really is a city! They have SM, Limketkai Mall, and even Starbucks! The weather was too hot though. It was crazy hotter than Manila (or any other place in the Philippines that I’ve been to!) Another noticeable factor to see there was the remnants of the typhoon Sendong – the ruined houses, the muddy river and devastated lands. Nevertheless, I still think that CDO did pretty well in reviving their city. It was beautiful (but very hot!)

Before going straight to Malaybalay, we went to Panagatan floating restaurant located in Misamis Oriental and Del Monte Golf Country Club Bukidnon. Those places, as Patricia said, were places that should be visited by tourist. Also, we don’t have time going there any other day since our itinerary was full.

Panagatan is such a cool floating restaurant. The view of the sea contrasting the roads of Misamis Oriental was quite a view. The food is good also and not too expensive also.

Kajo, Chatti and Patricia

Panagatan Floating Restaurant

After another 2 hr drive, we arrived at Del Monte Golf Country Club. We we’re still full from our lunch so we just decided to drink coffee and tea and share some french toast and pancakes. The french toast was so good! The pancakes were a bit dry though.

Alas, after a whole day trip, we arrived at Patricia’s place. We were welcomed by her parents and older brother. Her mom, prepared us dinner. In truth, we were still full from our lunch and snack, but we couldn’t pass out the prepared dinner…steak!!!

Patricia’s family owns a restaurant just across their house. Lucky her! So in times of hunger, all she needs to do is call the restaurant ask them to make her some food. In our case as being delighted guest, our dinner was served  with Wagyu steak, 2 kinds of pasta, a salad and dessert. All these food are eaten in the comfort of their home but with a waiter a few steps from the dining table. I mean, how cool is that?

Amadeo Restaurant (yes, that is a restaurant!)

After a very sumptuous dinner, we went to bed and took the time to advantage of our deprived sleep. The five of us stayed at their guestroom.

Day 1 has ended

The next day, it was Patricia’s older brother, Juan, who toured us around Malaybalay. The original plan was to go to the monastery, Nasuli Spring, Gantungan Falls, Kaamulan Grounds, and a bit of tour around town. Unfortunately, it rained hard around the afternoon so were able to hit the monastery, shooting grounds and capitol only.


During the evening, we went out for a drink at local pub called Mindy’s. We were accompanied by some of Patricia’s friends and cousin, and ofcourse with Kuya Juan. I had to skip the first bottle of Jose Cuervo because I don’t like a tequila hangover. While they were doing shots, I was drinking a bottle of Tanduay Ice. I’m such a loser. After finishing the whole bottle in a jiffy, they got a bottle of Jack Daniels for replenishment. Now since Jack is good friend of mine, I decided to join the drinking. By the time I started to catch up, everyone else is getting drunk. I mean it! My friends are so hyper that I sat on the corner table to settle down since I’m palpitating from the mixed alcohol. Crazy right?

The party didn’t stop there. We went a drive to the Capitol and parked in front of the field. With the same group of friends, they started drinking beer this time. It was a fun and crazy night.

Day 2 has ended

Third day’s plan was to go to Dahilayan Adventure Park for the zipline. It was another long drive from Malayabalay so we left early in the morning. We arrived there around 11am and went straight ahead for the zipline. I was feeling under the weather so I did not join the fun. I guess the weather change of Manila, CDO and Bukidnon made me sick and got me the sniffles. Nevertheless, my friends enjoyed the Asia’s Longest Dual Zipline!

Last of the three zipline course

Afterwards, we decided to have lunch at Pinegrove Mountain Lodge, which is a new place inside Dahilayan Adventure Park. The food was good, but we have to commend the Mango cheesecake served there. It’s the best Mango cheesecake I have ever tasted!

Pinegrove Mountain Lodge

We were suppose to avail other activities at Dahilayan after lunch but the sky was a bit gloomy. Hence, we decided to call it a day.

Actually, the day was not yet over because it was also the birthday of Patricia’s father. There was a small celebration that evening so we have to back early.

Before going straight home, we stopped by a few shops in town to buy some tokens for the whole family. After all, we invaded their house for four days. There are few selections in town but we were able to give each of them a simple tokens. We gave it that evening during the party.

Fastforward, we had dinner and a few drinks at the party but around midnight we had to excuse ourselves in order to pack our things and sleep for a few hours before going to Camiguin.

Day 3 has ended

The last day is the most crucial of all. Turns out staying four whole days at Bukidnon is not enough to see all the  tourist attractions. And since my friends are such beach bums, Camiguin island is must go-to destination before leaving for Manila. Our flight back to Manila was 6pm at Lumbia Airport so Patricia has this crazy but bright idea to squeeze-in Camuiguin Island before leaving.

The idea was this: We leave 2 in the morning from Malaybalay to Camiguin. By 6am we will arrive at the port, take a 45 minute boat ride (taking the car with us) and take another 2 hour drive from the port of arrival to the beach. Most probably we will spend 1 hour or so at the beach and go straight to the airport for our flight back to Manila.

The plan was perfect but it can’t afford any error. Well it did. There were delays from the ships departure both going to and from Camiguin. Nevertheless, we were still able to catch our flight back to Manila so all is well. Our only regret is that we didn’t have much time to chill on the beach and feel the sun & sand.

White beach of Camiguin Island

Marnie and Bea

I would like to give a shout out to my friend Patricia who was the TL (team leader) of this trip and made everything possible. Thank you kapatid!



I just got back from Bukidnon with a few friends. While we were there, Kajo and I bought a few goodies to take home for Maita. Today, we met her for lunch at Il Terrazzo Tomas Morato, Quezon City so we can give our pasalubong to her.

Il Terrazzo is a convenient place for the three of us to meet since it’s halfway from our houses. I’m also curious to see this place since I haven’t been there in a long time.

To my surprise, a lot of things really changed. Nevertheless,  I am delighted by these changes. First of all, Banapple moved to a bigger location just beside their old store. The place has more tables now and is less cramped. In fact, they even have a private room available for events. So cool! Second, Il Terrazzo has Gong Cha and Bon Chon on the same floor.



The three of us had lunch at Banapple. I was planning to take home some Banoffee Pie after but Maita told us that she’ll take us to another dessert place instead.

After a few chit-chats and empty plates, we went to the dessert place Maita recommended. It’s just across Il Terrazzo, beside Belo Medical Group and Army Navy. The name of the restaurant is Fleur de Lys. I have seen this place a few times but I never got a chance to try it.


The restaurant has two floors. The first floor is a small area allotted for their counter/cashier.


The second floor has wider space full of tables for their customers. The place is cozy and well lighten. The stairs is a bit steep though.

As for the desserts, Maita chose The Next Best Thing (Warm Chocolate Cake w/ Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream, P128 mini) and Best Kept C-cret (Caramel Chocolate & Yema Cream on Soft Chiffon Cake, P115 slice).


Next Best Thing


Best Kept C-cret

They are so yummy! It’s not your piece of cake available at your nearest coffee shop. It’s the best slice of a not-so-common cake. I was really happy that Maita took me here with Kajo.

Around two in the afternoon, the three of us parted ways.

Before going home, I still went to Rustan’s Supermarket to buy some toiletries and afterwards went to the nail salon for a much needed mani & ped.

I was feeling adventurous today so I wanted to try a new nail salon. Upon Maita’s recommendation, I tried Spa 101. Maita is a Timog branch client, but since I live near Banawe, I availed their services in their Banawe branch. For P450, I got the Tickle My Fancy Package which include manicure, pedicure and footspa. I also availed their eyebrow threading for P150. I did enjoy my stay there. I guess it’s another nail salon on my top list.