NOVOTEL BANGKOK PLATINUM

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

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executive room at the 23rd floor

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hallway

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6th floor lobby

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The Lounge (6th floor)

free breakfast

Positive:

  • 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

Negative:

  • 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.

Verdict:

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

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Aside

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.

Monastery

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!

Aside

A DAY WITH MAITA AND KAJO

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.

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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.

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

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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).

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Next Best Thing

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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.

J.CO DONUTS MEGAMALL

I don’t really go to Ortigas because it’s far from home. However, there are certain circumstances that would warrant me to drive all the way there, which I did today….for a matter of a dozen donuts!

J.CO Donuts is an Indonesian brand which recently opened at SM Megamall.

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I was never a fan of donuts and the real reason that opted me to check out the place is because I made a promise to my friend Riz that I would check it out on my free time.

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When I arrived, I was surprised to see a lot of people in the store. In fact, they sell donuts so fast it’s like they’re selling pandesal in the morning! Just after a few minutes, the rack would be empty. Nevertheless, they replenish their stocks constantly.

The donuts are guaranteed fresh and the toppings are made from scratch. From the counter, you can see the bakers melt chocolate and put the filings inside the donuts. It was truly an interesting view on how everything was made.

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And since I’m new to the brand, I bought their J.POPS Baby Donuts so I can try everything! A box of these assorted bites-size donuts cost P250. It’s really the best choice for those customers who just want to try every flavor on the menu.

Again stated, I am not a fan of donuts so I don’t have much expectation from these babies. I just wanted to try them out of curiosity.

Upon tasting, I said to myself “wow, this is good!” The factor that separates J.CO from other stores is that their donuts are not too sweet. I mean it! You can eat out a whole box without feeling diabetic after. Moreover, their donuts differ in taste.You can distinguish one flavor from the other. Hindi siya puro lasang matamis lang.

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I would definitely buy again! I am looking forward to their Trinoma and Mall of Asia branch opening.

NAIL CONCEPT PANAY AVENUE

I love going to the nail salon on my free time. It’s a way of pampering myself after a stressful day. So one afternoon, I went to Nail Concept for pedicure and footspa. The place is a bit far from home but relatively near my brother’s office. Despite the location, I was lured into availing their service because of the vibe of the place.

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First thing I have to commend is that they have free parking space allotted for their customers. For those ladies bringing a car, parking space is really an essential factor.

Upon entering, the staff would greet you with a smile while handing out their list of services. I do appreciate their hospitality! In other nail salons I’ve been to, the staffs never put up even the slightest grin which made me feel they were not happy to be at my service. Good thing in this nail salon, you will be definitely greeted with a smile.

The place is spacious so one can really relax while availing their services. The place is not cramped with too many people as well. They have a collection of premium polishes from OPI, Sally Hansen, Kleancolor and The Face Shop, which is arranged by color and by shelf. Unlike other nail salon, they don’t charge extra for using premium polishes. In short, you can use whatever color and brand you like for your nails.

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I’m satisfied with their service. The nail technician really did a great job for my pedicure. As for the foot spa, the service was okay. Well just don’t expect a lot of foot exfoliating in the process.

I don’t remember the prices of their services but it’s definitely cheaper than Dashing Diva, Beauty & Butter and The Nail Spa. They also offer discounted rates at group buying sites occasionally.

I would definitely visit again!

Location:
Nail Concept
Unit A1-80 Panay Commercial Complex, Panay cor. Timog ave., Q.C.For reservations, please contact:
Phone #: 02 351 1395

ALBA TOMAS MORATO

I told mom that I would treat her for lunch one Friday afternoon. In truth, I availed a Deal Grocer voucher for a lunch buffet at Alba Restaurante Español for P450 per person (originally P715). I seldom go to a Spanish restaurant, and it would be my first time eating here so I’m thrilled to try their cuisine.

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the buffet table is at the end of the room

I made reservations two days earlier, but upon entry it seems that the waiters were not aware that I made one. Fortunately, it was not a problem since there were many vacant tables.

The food was great…not too many selections, but GREAT! They have the best Lengua Estofado I have ever tasted. I would say better than Conti’s and Casa Armas. The salad, paella, pasta, fish fillet and chicken cordon bleu are also worth mentioning. They also have dessert selections – about 3 or 4 dessert to choose from.

Lengua Estofado of Alba Restaurante Español

Considering that there are only few Spanish Restaurants in Manila, I would probably consider Alba as one of the best. Offering a buffet selection was a good marketable idea. In this way, I can choose portions of food that I want to eat instead of ordering ala carte. Ofcourse it would have been impractical for a group of two to order one paella, right?

I think the P900 voucher I bought at Deal Grocer is money well spent. I would definitely buy again if they would have another deal. However, I don’t see myself going to Alba just for the heck of it. I’m not the type of person who craves Spanish cuisine, so I guess I’ll probably just eat here if there will be promotional rates.

AMICI TOMAS MORATO

After ditching Patricia’s pre-birthday party, she invited me to a dinner at Amici with our other friends who were also absent in the said event. It’s actually my first time eating at this restaurant so I’m a bit excited to try their food

Good thing about Amici Tomas Morato, Quezon City is that they have valet! Finding an empty parking space around Tomas Morato is bothersome so it’s really added points to restaurants that offers valet parking.

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We went there on a Monday night so the tables were not full. The place was spacious and neat. It is also a good place for long conversations considering we were there for more than two hours. I don’t like the color of the place though, especially the chairs. For some reason, I think they chose a cheap shade of yellow and green for an Italian restaurant.

As for the food, well these are what we ate:

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Mozzarella Fritto

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Insalata Con Ricotta Fritti

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Margherita Pizza

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Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

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Spaghetti Alla Bolognese

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Ravioli di Pesce Mousseline

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Peach Walnut Ice Cream Cake

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Rouge Ice Cream Cake

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Chocolate Cake

We loved the Bolognese and Carbonara. The ravioli was nothing spectacular, except the fact that it’s color green (just like the chairs). What is really worth mentioning though is the Peach Walnut Ice Cream cake. It’s really good! I can see myself dropping by Amici one of these days for a slice. I’m not a fan of strawberry so I really have nothing to tell about the Rouge Ice Cream Cake, though my friends who took a bite of it said that it was good. I guess we were really mesmerized by the ice cream cakes! The chocolate cake is also good. It’s like the Classic Chocolate Cake sold at Starbucks Coffee. The rest of the food was okay.

As for the service, we didn’t have any problems, except that they don’t have the cream based ravioli we ordered (Sorry, I forgot the name). That is why we opted for Ravioli di Pesce Mousseline as a second choice.

Despite the fact that most of their food was “okay”, I would probably go here again when I’m craving for pizza and pasta. A doze of an ice cream cake wouldn’t hurt also.