Friday, August 26, 2016

WHY THE SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS IS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE?


WHY THE SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS IS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE?

It was a Sunday.  Family day to be specific.  But for overseas workers, this is the time to converge and meet fellow nationals.  In a well-manicured tropical garden that spans in acres, mats were laid down, a potluck of food shared and a familiar language emanated.  Overseas Filipino workers came in number.  I was led to Singapore Botanic Gardens meeting strangers and exchanging smiles.

Majority of my friends working in Singapore haven’t been to this botanical garden.  Since they are too busy with their corporate lives even on a weekend, I came solo and decided to meet them for dinner.  Armed with no itinerary, I strolled and lounged for almost 5 hours to discover the reason for its inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A VISUAL ARTS STROLL IN SINGAPORE

A VISUAL ARTS STROLL IN SINGAPORE

The riverside architecture of every first world country is a postcard perfect landscape.  Marina Bay of Singapore is no exception.

Holding on to our expensive bottles of beer unmindful of the amount consumed and nearly bloated budget diminution, the sight of happy couples and groups taking the shutters of their camera infinitely put into use was our inevitable view while seated in a riverfront bar one sunset.

Before the said scenario, we walked and claimed to be fine arts connoisseurs. Taking the time to appreciate Singapore’s noteworthy architectural façade, we actually strolled around the Marina Bay and visited the National Gallery as the commencing point.

BORACAY ISLAND: CROWN REGENCY RESORT AND CONVENTION CENTER

BORACAY ISLAND: CROWN REGENCY RESORT AND CONVENTION CENTER

The famed White Beach of Stations 1 to 3 is the norm when one exclaims I’ve been to Boracay Island.  But things have changed in my perspective.  To be specific, I haven’t set foot on the white beach of Boracay Island on my last visit to the island one weekend.

On one rainy weekend, together with a few of the best travel buddies I had, we took refuge at Station 2’s landmark - Crown Regency Resort and Convention Center.  Though not a beach front resort accommodation, the experience was more than sufficient for a different kind of Boracay experience – it was jam-packed and comforting at the same time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

MERANTI HOTEL: A HIDDEN SANCTUARY IN QUEZON CITY


MERANTI HOTEL: A HIDDEN SANCTUARY IN QUEZON CITY

I’ve been living in Quezon City for quite a number of years.  But this is the first time I have heard of a hotel owned and managed by the famed Max’s Group.  Yes, it is “the house that fried chicken built” or “sarap to the bones” tagline.  This is actually their first venture into the hospitality industry. 

In a quiet neighborhood at Scout Castor Street and with just a few walks, the vibrant nightlife of Quezon City is reached, there stood the Meranti Hotel.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

MING KEE LIVE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT: AUTHENTIC SINGAPOREAN CUISINE

MING KEE LIVE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT: AUTHENTIC SINGAPOREAN CUISINE

I was the last one to arrive in the dining table.  My friends were on the mood for chit-chat as I arrive and be seated.  In a not so typical Chinese restaurant devoid of bright lights and huge chandeliers on ceilings, the restaurant provides a different perspective of an East Asian dining experience.

Ming Kee Live Seafood Restaurant specializes in Singaporean Chinese cuisine.  To suit the local availability of ingredients and our country being rich in marine resources, the seafood restaurant serves dishes that conforms to southern China cooking traditions yet pleasing to the Filipino taste.

Friday, August 12, 2016

ST. GILES HOTEL: AT THE CORE OF MAJOR BUSINESS AND CULTURAL HUB

ST. GILES HOTEL: AT THE CORE OF MAJOR BUSINESS AND CULTURAL HUB

Neon lights flash on each corner.  The fusion of pub crawlers and corporate slaves is inevitable.  One weekend lead us to Metro Manila’s vibrant central business district, specifically at Makati Avenue.  From the busy and chaotic area that surrounds, there is a comfortable oasis in the name of St. Giles Hotel.

The overnight stay’s intention was simply to relax sans the night parties and drinking sprees.  But the latter is irresistible. The alternatives of a venue for a drinking spree is broad, as all those are just a door step from the hotel.  And so a short spree commenced.

The glass-walled hotel situated at the corner of Makati Avenue and Kalayaan Avenue has an interesting façade.  It is a landmark in itself when in Makati City.  Entering the reception area, the bell boy and the security guard is quick enough to assist guests of their luggage.  In my case, even the opening of the car that drops you off the entrance door became their instant duty. 

In no time, the key card was handed over to me and with security features on access to elevators, I was ushered to my assigned room.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

LIDO COCINA TSINA OPENS IN LA FUERZA MAKATI

LIDO COCINA TSINA OPENS IN LA FUERZA MAKATI

Chinese cuisine and its people have been close to me.  My whole career life has been associated with the Chinese community – in Quezon City, Binondo and now Makati City.

Binondo has been home to me for quite some time.  Being the world’s oldest Chinatown, the streets were already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spanish colonial period.  As the center of commerce and trade of Manila, all types of businesses managed by Filipino-Chinese thrived for centuries.

In 8 decades, there is Lido Cocina Tsina.  In celebration of its 80th year, they have opened a new branch at La Fuerza Makati.  From the quaint streets of Binondo, the culinary brand now invades the towering modern edifices of Makati City.

Friday, August 5, 2016

BEST WESTERN PLUS IVY WALL HOTEL PALAWAN

BEST WESTERN PLUS IVY WALL HOTEL PALAWAN

The flight turbulence was alarming.  I cared less for I have to take the much-needed nap.  I was seated at the farther end of the aircraft on an aisle seat, relatively comfortable.  After 1.5 hours, we arrived at Puerto Princesa International Airport.  No delayed flight.

It was as if everything came prepared and by the clock.  From the airport, a shuttle van picked us up and in less than 10 minutes, a new contemporary edifice of a modern and minimalist twist façade was right before our senses.  Our stay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan this time will be about the first international business hotel in the city – The Best Western Plus Ivy Wall Hotel.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

CHELSEA KITCHEN: THE CASUAL DINING EXPERIENCE

CHELSEA KITCHEN: THE CASUAL DINING EXPERIENCE

Passing by Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare, EDSA, every day is a constant for me.  A yellow signage in bold letters can caught any passers-by attention while northbound.  The façade of the new building of Mega Mall displays the prominent signage of H&M and Chelsea Kitchen.

On one weekend, together with my favorite travel buddies, we converged at Ortigas area and stayed at Holiday Galeria.  And for our dinner, we decided to try Chelsea Kitchen.  Having tried other sister restaurants of Chelsea, under the Raintree Group, no objections were made then.  The dinner is expected to be sumptuous and satisfying.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

CEBU CITY MARRIOTT HOTEL: WHERE BUSINESS MEETS PLEASURE

CEBU CITY MARRIOTT HOTEL: WHERE BUSINESS MEETS PLEASURE

Business as usual.  After the continuous trips I had in Southeast Asia with my favorite travel buddies, I am back again at the financial district of Cebu City for some legal representations. I am fortunate to have been booked at a luxurious hotel where an upscale financial district complemented by shopping, recreation and leisure activities is right at the doorstep. 

Finally, I will be able to experience the luxurious comforts and hospitality of Cebu City Marriott Hotel.

Monday, August 1, 2016

SUMMER IN LANGKAWI ISLAND

SUMMER IN LANGKAWI ISLAND

My summer made me discover a favorite island.  And it exists by the name of Langkawi.  Why?  Beer is cheap and the whole island is tax-free.  But more than the given vices of cheap cigarette, alcohol and food, there are natural attractions and landmarks worthy of visit.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

LAST MINUTE PAMPERING AT CENTURY LANGKASUKA RESORT

LAST MINUTE PAMPERING AT CENTURY LANGKASUKA RESORT

Scheduled to depart in the afternoon bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia then back to Manila, we dropped by the sister resort of Century Langkawi Beach Resort that is a kilometer-away from the Langkawi International Airport.    

We had a scheduled spa treatment hours before my flight.  But the spa treatment became just one of the activities we are to indulge ourselves into.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

DREAMHOUSE AT CENTURY LANGKAWI BEACH RESORT

DREAMHOUSE AT CENTURY LANGKAWI BEACH RESORT

A wooden house surrounded by a tropical rainforest and atop a private beach featuring beautiful French doors that open to private balconies and where a breathe of fresh air is conventional, makes the last setting of my vacation in Langkawi Island, Malaysia. 

The Century Langkawi Beach Resort villas made my dream house come into reality.  It may not be titled under my name but at least I now know how it feels to live on such when realized.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BEER, BEACH AND THE BLACKTIP REEF SHARKS OF PULAU PAYAR MARINE PARK

BEER, BEACH AND THE BLACKTIP REEF SHARKS OF PULAU PAYAR MARINE PARK

The emerald green water was apparent even from a distance.  An hour of ferry ride from Kuah jetty booked through a tour agency, Ekomegah Holidays, we arrived at Malaysia’s oldest Marine Park sanctuary – The Pulau Payar Marine Park.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

SEA FALCON DINNER CRUISE IN LANGKAWI

SEA FALCON DINNER CRUISE IN LANGKAWI

Unaccounted cans of beer and shared stories.  I look into the horizon and stared blankly as the skies transform in orange hues to total darkness.  After the golden sunset made its appearance, the melodramatic me surfaced.

The cruise was more than just a shared meal, a dinner to be specific. It was a fleeting yet memorable experience.  Limestone karst, a snorkelling and swimming area and at times colourful fishing vessels came in as an inevitable view cruising the straits between Dayang Bunting and the Tuba Islands, as well as some panoramic southern islands.