KOTA KINABALU

I booked a cheap flight to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia via Cebu Pacific Air for December 28-30, 2011. This is my Christmas vacation getaway I planned with my mom, cousin and aunt.

We arrived at the airport around six in the evening and we took a taxi from there to the hotel. After changing a small amount of USD to MYR, we bought a taxi coupon at the arrival desk of the airport for 30MYR and presented it to the taxi driver.

I booked a Studio Suite at Gaya Centre Hotel. The room is good for 4 persons and includes free breakfast. The Studio Suite is big enough for all of us. The beds were nice as well the furnishings and other amenities. I can say we booked a good hotel for the price of 163 USD for 2 nights.

Since we arrived late, there was really nothing much to do after checking. After settling down in our room, we went to Suria Sabah Mall just across our hotel to change money and eat dinner. We ate at Secret Recipe. I know there’s Secret Recipe in the Philippines, but I just have to try it Malaysia just to see the difference of hometown taste. This is what I ordered.

Good thing the mall closes at 10pm. We still have time to stroll around until closing. I think Suriah Sabah is one of the biggest malls in KK. It has specialty shops like Coach, Mango, Elle, Cotton On, Hush Puppies, Holika Holika, Elianto and many more. My aunt really enjoyed shopping here…and I mean REALLY enjoyed it. The sale items are cheaper compared in the Philippines and some items are even sold 70% off! I even took home a few shopped items myself.

And thus, it’s the end of day 1.

So the next day was also another laid back day for the four of us. Even though everyone woke up early, we just spent watching television and drinking coffee while taking turns in the bathroom. We didn’t book any tours for our trip so everything is just on our own. We had breakfast on the 4th floor of the hotel. The cafe was nice and offered good food of Western and Malay cuisine. We decided to eat outside overlooking the seaview. The weather in KK is just like in the Philippines so you can imagine the feeling of having breakfast in an open area at around 9am. After eating, we  took photos on the balcony of the cafe.

We then went straight back to our hotel room, and thereafter went to Jesselton Point. From there, we booked a boat ride to take us to the Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, Sapi Island and the floating houses of the Filipino community.

The beach was so beautiful.

So after the island hopping, we went to the Filipino Market for souvenirs. My mom bought batik while my cousin and aunt bought pearls. I was surprised that the prices of pearls there were more expensive compared to Manila. Nevertheless, you can haggle for a lower price…and sometimes the seller gives a cheaper price for Filipino buyers.

We then ate a late lunch at a Chinese Restaurant at Warisan Square then went straight back to the hotel to rest. Afterwards, we went back to Suriah Sabah for shopping. I left my mom and aunt there because my cousin and I have a reservation at South Sea Sanctuary for a spa. I availed their foot and body massage which is about 2 hours long. My cousin got a foot massage. So far, this is the best foot massage of my life!!! (Sorry no pictures. I was succumbed by the spa that I forgot to take some photos)

After the spa, we went back to the hotel and got a nice sleep. My mom and aunt went to the night market while we were out. They bought coffee and batik. Thus, day 2 has ended.

We did not plan anything on our last day. We just ate breakfast and stayed at our hotel until check out. Since our flight was later in the evening, we still did some last minute shopping. Afterwards, we went to the airport and waited for our flight.

So that’s about the whole duration of our trip. We didn’t explore much of the place but still made the most out of our vacation. We really just wanted to have a laid back lifestyle for a few days and not the tour-tour type of vacation.

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MIDAS CAFE (MIDAS HOTEL)

Earlier I told you that I really enjoyed Midas Cafe when our family had dinner there around October 2011. Well, it seems mom enjoyed the food also because we came back for more!!!

Mom’s friend from the States stayed in Manila for a few days and she wanted to treat her in a nice place. So around the afternoon, I made reservations at Midas Hotel (Roxas Blvd). The buffet is not as overwhelming as other hotel buffet but I love the place because of the ambiance, their friendly staff…and everything taste so good!

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Ofcourse, as always, the first thing I will eat at a buffet are sushi and sashimi. The salmon sashimi and california make were good.

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After a few plates, I tried their salad. I chose to make lettuce in Caesar salad with mango, croutons, bacon bits and Parmesan cheese.

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I also took a bite of their pastry.

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Thus, I was already full. I tried a few bites of their entree and skipped ahead to dessert. I just took 2 sticks of pineapple dipped in chocolate and ate fresh mangoes.

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Dinner cost P1342 per person which includes unlimited soft drinks, coffee and tea. The 10% service charge and VAT are also included. Not bad right? I’m definitely sure that I’ll be back again.

MY HAIR IS BACK IN BROWN BLACK

I decided to go to Tony & Jackey (Amoranto Branch) to get a trim and treatment. They have this P1000 promo package for haircut and keratin treatment for any hair length, which I think is not a bad price.

Well, that was originally the plan. However, I asked my stylist if I can have a color, and she said YES after checking my hair condition. This 2011, I did a lot of hair changes such as coloring, then permanent blowdry (which lasted only for 2 months), then coloring again, and finally a soft rebond. I did take care of my hair by applying DIY keratin treatment twice a week. So I guess the keratin paid off since I can have a color despite the numerous changes I did to my hair.

So then, the idea of a haircut and keratin treatment was out. Instead, I availed their L’oreal hair color in black brown for P3000. I know the price is kinda steep. You can avail same L’oreal hair color in a cheaper price at other salons. But I what the heck, I’m already here, so let’s get it over with.

You see, I’ve been wanting to dye my hair for almost a month now. I just need a go signal from a hair expert if I could do it. My ash brown hair has already faded, so in short, I have black, brown, silver and white hair all over. It’s so messy! Other people would say my hair color is still okay, but being an OC person, I wanted to fix it.

Generally I would have chosen a lighter shade but my stylist told me that it can’t cover silver/white hair. So I chose black brown in order to cover my white strands and at the same time conceal my remaining ash colored hair.

And thus, I did it!

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MY 2011 OBSESSIONS

Since it is almost the end of the year, I have been thinking all the obsessions I had this 2011. Thus, these are the following:

1. Group Buying Site – I did buy a lot of stuff here, however, I limited my purchase to food and services. My aunt and uncle from the States visited the Philippines for a month. Prior to their arrival, I did collect a lot of eat-all-you-can buffet vouchers. I really wanted to take them out in a nice place taking into consideration my financial capacity. So what did I buy?

  • 6 vouchers at Barbara’s Restaurant,
  • 6 vouchers at Riviera Cafe (Heritage Hotel)
  • 6 vouchers at Cafe Midas (Midas Hotel),
  • 6 vouchers at Seasons (Manila Pavilion Hotel), and
  • 4 vouchers at Cafe Jeepney (Intercontinental Hotel)
I have to say, the best was Midas Cafe. I love to go back there again!
For the services, I did avail salon and spa treatments. I only bought vouchers in those establishments that I am familiar with or I am a regular client thereof.
A piece of advise to those people who would purchase deals from the net, If you found a good deal but you’re unfamiliar with the establishment, better read reviews first before clicking “BUY”. Also, try avoiding vacation & travel deals if your schedule is not that flexible.
2. FINO Leatherware – I was never a fan of buying leatherette goods. No matter how nice it is, I won’t buy if I know that the material won’t last long. I’d rather buy an expensive bag that I can use for a lifetime than buy a cheap one that I can only use a couple of months. Anyway back to FINO..the brand was an influence by my friend Maita whom I have to say knows her leather well. So I checked the place when they had a sale. I found out that aside from bags, they also sell other goods such as card case, passport holder, checkbook holder, coin purse, keychain, and many more. I was so addicted that the next thing I know, I was purchasing Christmas gifts in early December. I even influenced my friend Marcus to the brand. He really loves the cardholder I gave him for his birthday. I’m really sure that I’ll be collecting a lot of stuff from FINO in the near future.
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3. Blackberry – I did own a blackberry as early as 2010. However, I never really opened my BB social until late this year. Alas, hello world!
4. 2011 Belle De Jour Planner – They have a planner every year which includes freebies. Of all their planners, I think the 2011 book bound edition was the best in all aspects. I really did make a good use of my planner this year.
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5. Scarf – I added this accessory to my wardrobe. Before I had no appreciation of using a scarf before, but now I find it practical to wear. It can perk up my outfit and shrug off the changing weather. In lieu of my addiction to scarves, I have been reading and watching videos on different ways to tie a scarf! Good thing I haven’t strangled myself while practicing..yet.
6. Milk Tea – Yes, I did join the trend. I was an avid fan of milk tea even before the hype. I thought that my love for milk tea would die out this year, but it has been my stable “happy drink”…hence, I have to include it in my list.
7. Travel – Last time I went out of the country was back in 2007 during my second year in college. My  friends and I were bound for Europe for a conference then. After three years of travel hiatus, I grab all the opportunity to travel with family and friends this year. So where did I go? Shanghai, 3 times in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Seoul. By the end of December, I’ll be going to Kota KInabalu as well. *excited*
SHANGHAI
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HONG KONG
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MACAU
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SINGAPORE
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SEOUL
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8. Laser Hair Removal – I have ugly lower leg hair! So there was one time I asked Ate Marivic if she knows any spa where I could go to remove it. She referred Skin Rejuve located at 116 Kamias Road, Quezon City. I availed 10 sessions of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Hair Removal Treatment during their soft opening. I got a good price for it considering I’m their first client. My cousin also availed the treatment. I have been going to Skin Rejuve with my cousin every 21-28 days to get an IPL. I have to say, I’m really happy with the results.
9. Pichi-Pichi – This is a Filipino dessert made from grated cassava. I was never a fan of Filipino dessert except leche flan, but there was one time I got so addicted to it. Well it was Agi who bought a whole container of pichi-pichi from Arny & Dadings. All of my friends we’re so addicted to it…and so was I. How addicted? I even got to a point where I googled establishments that sells the best pichi-pichi in town, then afterwards check the nearest branch near our house. Even Agi sometimes brings pichi-pichi for me at school. Thanks Agi! Luckily, my cravings subsided but I have to admit that sometimes, I just would love to have a bite of Amber’s pichi-pichi!
10. Reading Blogs – I think this is another reason that also motivated me to make my own blog. I really enjoyed reading Mika’s blog. I also read a lot of beauty blogs since I’m very interested in make-up. Hmmm… maybe I should make an entry about make-up sometimes.

THE INFLUENCE

I have been reading blog entries for some time now. I really do enjoy it! Mika convinced me to open my own blog. She told me it’s fun to have one. So I figured, why not, I’m always in front of the computer anyway. I just hope I enjoy making my own blog post as I enjoy reading others.