I’m Staying With Jen

I’m Staying With Jen (Hotel)

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”~Mark Black

This 4-star hotel has it’s own special way of pulling back their curtains. One weekend, Jen and I were able to witness Hotel Jen’s unique personality.

Hotel Jen has been alluring us since last year especially my travel buddy: Jen, since it bears her nick name. She’s declaring then she’s wanting to visit just to have a photo with that personalized pillow that says: “I’m staying with Jen.” Ahahaha!

Said pillow has been around some parts of the Asia Pacific (under Shangri-la Hotels & Resorts Management) and her excitement is overwhelming me. =) It is located along Roxas Boulevard, just across The Cultural Center of the Philippines,

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and Star City. Our window is overlooking that giant “chubibo!” (Ferris wheel).

Manila bay with its’ beautiful sunset (and sunrise) is just a short walk away from us. However, we were too busy sleeping, we missed them both (sunrise and sunset). Like we went there just to rest, watch some movies, read and enjoy the placidness of our room with 2 comfy beds which allowed us to elude the city’s bustle. I was planning to unplug for that particular weekend but the speed of their internet is too fast so I enjoyed browsing and uploading photos as well. =)

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Come dinner time, after scrutinizing choices of where we could eat at the lobby,

we opted to just go out and proceeded to this Seafood market which popularly known here in our country as “Dampa”. It took us less than 20 minutes to get there. The method of dining at Dampa is you choose first your seafood from the fresh market, everything are still in the water and the vendor will recommend restaurants where it is best to prepare and cook it. The charge will be separate.

You might want to look around and not settle right away on the first stall you bump into, who knows there’s a better price somewhere else. =)

What we had are shrimps, scallops, and lobsters. The last item is for Jen’s heart’s content. You’ll get crazy when she craves.

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I had to go out to buy pineapple juice for her.

We partnered them with broccoli and Yang chow rice. We went back to the hotel after an hour with happy tummies.

Oh, there’s more. We later found out that our breakfast will not be sent to our room the following morning since what comes with our package is a Breakfast buffet. Hmmmn. Happy tummies again. =) I think this is the best part of the stay, we just enjoyed eating together without the need of going to the market, prepare our meal’s ingredients, cook them before we can eat, like everything here is free-flowing and just in front of us. Foodies!

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Hotel Jen is in the following countries:

Hotel Jen Beijing

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Shenyang

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Hong Kong

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour, Johor, Malaysia

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Penang

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Malé, Maldives

Hotel Jen Male Maldives
Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Manila

Club Lounge

There are 2 Hotel Jen in Singapore and they’re putting up one in Kota Kinabalu by year 2020.

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Jen wanted to know how did they end-up with the hotel’s name. So I had to research for it. The website says that it is the brainchild of a virtual persona: Jen, that she owns a hotel, and all-time lover of life, travel and discovery.

It’s just great to know that some of our “Where to next” destination(s) were included in their list of locations. Jen is excited again. I was telling her can we try other hotels and she played deaf even on my second query. Hmmmn.

Hotel Jen isn’t too luxurious since it is just a 4- star hotel but as long as the people are friendly, the amenities are clean, everything is working, we are safe, all that we need is there, it is already truly an R&R for the two of us, and she is already checking her calendar for our next staycation.

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Meet Hunter, he is hyper during daytime, and lazy and always lying on the floor, just notice his nostrils, still active, meaning, he is still working. =) #sniffer

We missed doing this a lot. The last one we had I think was a few years ago. =) I know we’re going to do it more often.

It is so gratifying to always have something to look forward to right? =) Because we deserve a break every once in a while and #seizethestay …

PS

Hotel Jen is previously Traders Hotel also under Shangri-la Resorts and Hotels Management.

To book your stay, you can call them at: 02-795-8888

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Cintai Corito’s Garden – “Bali be like”

Cintai Corito’s Garden – “Bali be like”

There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” ~George Sand~

I’ve been hearing a lot about Cintai Corito, photos I’ve seen whenever I come across it is so inviting. I first thought it is not in my country. The place used to be a private sanctuary for its’ owners, especially for the wife (and mother). This place was dedicated for her. Like a local “Taj Mahal”.

It has been open to the public for the past 10 years, and it was only later that I was able to convince my foodie/ travel buddy to accompany me to witness its’ grandeur.

True enough, it is very beautiful and so relaxing. Everything is green, it brings you closer to nature. You hear birds chirping, pretty flowers,

and even peacocks making sounds like they’re trying to communicate with you. These peacocks are the first and primary reason why I included Cintai in my places to visit. I have this certain fascination with peacocks. They used to roam around according to my friends who’ve been here. When we visited, all of them are inside a huge cage then.

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There are areas to meditate, pavilions for events, picturesque villas and a Balinese themed restaurant: Abadi.

There’s a special corner for a spa, swimming pools in varying sizes and a TV room too.

We arrived in Lipa, Batangas a little late than expected, still, we were able to catch their buffet spread.

After which spent all the afternoon roaming. I truly enjoyed it and breathe easy. Everything I see, hear and smell are all pleasing. The place is good for all the senses like a serene refuge. I also had this great admiration that everything were executed in meticulous details.

This would surely be one of your choices to stay when you’re heading to Lipa. There are also equally nice establishments in the vicinity, which made me want to go back soon. It is more or less (depending on the traffic – I do not recommend leaving on Saturdays even in the morning – as you’ll get stuck in traffic) than 2 hours from Manila.

In the midst of seeing mostly several images of Buddha, this image of Mother Mary brought solace to my heart. Our Lady of Guadalupe seems to be showing up to me lately mostly in unexpected places and time. I hope to see her in Mexico one day. =)

By the way, “Cintai” is the Indonesian word for “Love.” You can contact them thru their mobile: 0917-833-1508/ 0977-811-9593. Or email them at: reservations@coritosgarden.com. They are located at: Sitio Pandayan, Malabanan Balete, Lipa, Batangas.

 

   

Balay Dako by Antonio’s…

Balay Dako by Antonio’s

“Family is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but always a beautiful song.”

I’m so glad to have brought my family to dine at Balay Dako… It just occurred to me that when they planned going to Tagaytay, I instantly thought of bringing them nowhere else but at Balay Dako.

And because me, my son and her girlfriend were outnumbered by oldies, what we ordered were those that are a little “healthier”, even if I wanted a lot from the menu to try for myself, please take a look:

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Gela just enjoyed nibbling on these dessert from Ilo-ilo: Piyaya.
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While I enjoyed the ube turon
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I was quite disappointed with the halo-halo, I think they lack some of the ingredients.
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The oldies wanted fish, so we had sweet and sour fish for them.
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My son opted for the salt & pepper spare ribs.
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We ordered for the green mango salad too

I actually can’t figure out what matches it. We just had the beef shanks soup (“Bulalo” in Filipino), and normally green mango salad fits best with fried food.

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Their paella.
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Mama and nanay (her yaya) about to start on their fresh lumpia when I asked them to smile first. =)
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Their lumpiang sariwa.

I still want to try more from their menu, I’ll come back soon. =)

 

Menu Photos courtesy of: http://antoniosrestaurant.ph/balay-dako/#menu-section

I’ve tried most of their desserts, so we can always go out and find another, there’s a lot of places in Tagaytay where you can find a good one to get your sweet cravings. So it’s like hopping from one place to another, besides Tagaytay is a very beautiful place. You wouldn’t mind just looking around.

 

 

 

My Pangasinan Adventure

My Pangasinan Adventure

“Jobs fill your pocket, adventures fill your soul.” ~Jaime Lyn Beatty~

I am sitting in my cubicle when I heard my office mates discussing about our Summer Outing this year. And I can’t help but get too excited as we’re going up north this time to Pangasinan. It’s going to be different this year as we have been exploring the South for the past years. Our first stop is to revel in the beauty of the Hundred Islands.

What made it more thrilling to me is to find out that the Lighthouse of Bolinao, is included in our itinerary. Whoopee! As you know, I have been collecting Lighthouses and this will surely slash one from my list to visit. The Enchanted cave is included in the list too. =) I am not that fond of spelunking but this one is going to be definitely exciting. Something that is new to me.

So here’s how our itinerary goes:

LUNCH AT DE GARCIA GARDEN & GRILL

On our way to the resort, somewhere in Sual, we spotted this eclectic restaurant and opted to have our lunch here. We also enjoyed the artistic ambiance, looks like the owners are travelers too, and the food that they served us is okay too. =)

CASA ALMARENZO BED & BREAKFAST 

And then it’s time to unpack and look forward to the activities that we’re about to do in the next few hours.

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HUNDRED ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK

The waters of the Lingayen gulf were clean and of bluish and greenish hue. As the roar of the boat’s engine started, all of us had fun witnessing the naturally beautiful islets that surround us.

There are 3 major islands that they converted as Tourist spots where you can have picnic as there’s a grilling area, restrooms, and rent kayaks and banana boats. Said islands are as follows: Quezon island, Governor island and Children’s island.

How nature lined up these emerald green islets are truly a breath-taking sight to behold.

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BANANA BOAT

We wouldn’t wanna miss this breath-taking ride! =) I lost (or we) my voice after.

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ENCHANTED CAVE

Tucked in Patar, Bolinao is someplace enchanted. =) The Enchanted cave. We dipped in its’ super cold and clear water, and when they declared we’re leaving, I almost don’t wanna go. Not yet! =)

ST. JAMES THE GREAT PARISH CHURCH VISIT

Of course, we wouldn’t leave this town without saying some prayers. Moreso, thank Him for this wonderful trip with wonderful people and great food.

 

CAPE BOLINAO

One of the highlights of this trip (Well, for me perhaps), is a visit to the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines.

PATAR BEACH

We also had the chance to squeeze in to see one of their beaches. The sands are so fine, not that white, but their so fine. =)

BOODLE FIGHT THE PANGASINENSE WAY

I just found this boodle fight prepared neatly, and I just tasted a very delicious version of “Pinakbet”.

Roughly, it took us 5 to 6 hours to get to Casa Almarenzo. This includes the stop-over we had for lunch.

We also had fun roaming around the town, had lunch in this cool restaurant where you will find a wide variety of viands to choose from. We also shop for the also famous Bolinao longganiza. =)

Pangasinan is truly one of the most interesting towns in the northern part of the Philippines. There’s actually more to see in Pangasinan, such as: Sunflower farm, Our Lady of Manaoag church, the beaches, beautiful falls, caves, their delicacies, to mention a few.

 

 

A whimsy and quirky place in Lubao, Pampanga

Prado Farm – A whimsy and quirky place in Lubao, Pampanga

“Seeing how beauty and functionality have been coaxed out of chaos, perhaps accounts for the sense of magic that one feels for Prado Farm”. ~Mariel Francisco~

It is a rare occurrence that I get to find things that are new to me. Things that inspire, fascinate and drive me to move forward. Even slowly but surely getting where I want and who to be.

Over the years, I have explored in my own little way and maybe more in the coming years if I can afford them already. A few friends inspire me too, pushes me to my limits because they know and desires seeing me making my big dreams come true.

They knew what’s it like how to place random items together and uncover a new-born artistry. They don’t just know how, they feel it.

Targeting a place somewhere in Bulacan, as I do my research, I went farther north and landed to a farm in Lubao, Pampanga. Thanks to fellow bloggers, they unveiled to my senses a place that arrested my attention.

I researched further if those who wrote about it are professional photographers as their photos are really amazing and soulful. It reminded me that it takes two to create beautiful pictures. Someone who’s got the eye for it, and the subject itself. I didn’t include a modish dslr, cool tripods/ monopods or even gargantuan lenses. All it takes are young convivial hearts that are unafraid, seeking and lovers of fun with their up-to-the-minute mobile phones. And voila!

So their photos brought us one weekend to Pampanga. A few hours travel by bus and we reach our seasoned and whimsical destination.

Prado farm is located at Siongco, Prado in Lubao, Pampanga. It is strategically situated in the main road and can easily be spotted if you have your own vehicle or just riding a bus.

The gate that’s made of old gas tanks was the only thing that I wanted to see in my own eyes, but Jen introduced me to several Instagram photos that there’s a lot more to it. Seriously, I don’t know what inspired the owners but the place is a mixture of anything which results into a very bewitching place.

I even got a vintage coaster which has a “1930” stamped to it. There’s a lot of grizzled items but they’re a bit pricey. Just to get there is sufficient to me already and to shop is something I candeal with another day soon.

I must say the 5-hectare farm is truly a “wander and wonder” thing to me.

The Facade

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The Souvenir Shop

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The Blue House

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The Old Train Station converted into a Museum

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On our way to the Yellow house

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The Yellow House

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On our way to the Hotel

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I opted not to visit the pool as like a mermaid I might plunge into the water instantly, rather, listed in our bucket an overnight stay with them soon.

Junk architecture, sustainable designs, vivid colors, a vast flora, unique innovativeness, organic food, a set of artworks here and there that are literally surprising, country and vintage feel, a place that brings you back in time, giving you feelings of incredulity yet reckon that they are real right there in front of your eyes. All quirky and whimsy. =)

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If you want to visit the farm, their address is: Km 94 -95 Jose Abad Santos highway, Prado Siongco Lubao, Pampanga. You may call contact them at: 0920 903 0964 and you can visit their website too: http://pradofarms.com/