Manila 2017 || Birthday Staycation at Rizal Park Hotel

This is going to be my last post until I get out of a one to two-month hiatus. I know I said I wasn’t really sure, but I work out things so much better when I give myself a timeline or a deadline of sorts, and that’s what I decided to do this time. I wouldn’t want to stop blogging again because I did that back in 2012 and only got back into it by 2014. I sometimes wish life would just be a series of fun staycations and hotel hopping but I would rather that staying in hotels do not become second nature to me and be the source of my anxiety. I know this anxiety is unreasonable, but that’s exactly it. Unreasonable. I get pumped when I find a new hotel to try out that is within my price range, which is also why I’m always on the lookout for newly opened hotels because they tend to have introductory prices and you know you’re sleeping in a brand new bed. When I came across Rizal Park Hotel, I booked it for my birthday weekend without hesitation.

The location is ideal if you want to visit the attractions within Rizal Park (such as the National Museum of Fine Arts, Planetarium, Manila Ocean Park, Museo Pambata, etc), or Rizal Park itself. I wouldn’t say walking around is the safest, because let’s face it, this area is not really known for its safety from pickpockets. The hotel itself is gated so you don’t really need to worry about this once you’re inside hotel grounds.

The hotel itself is beautiful. The building was finished by 1911 and was initially used by the Army Navy Club. This year, after being restored to its initial glory, it opened its doors as a luxury hotel. Do note that as of writing, a huge portion of the hotel is still being constructed. There may be more amenities available by the end of the year or the next. I think they are still working on the gym because as of now, it’s just a small room with a glass wall where you can see only a handful of gym equipment. Better than nothing, for the fitness buffs.

However, since it was new, the staff is still working on providing hotel guests a more streamlined experience and it’s okay since they’ve only been open for roughly 2-3 months. If you’re bringing a car and decide to head out, you will have to get your parking ticket validated every single time at the reception because you will need to give the slip at the exit every time you go out.

Ever since I experienced a mix up in reservations and was unwittingly got scammed at Vietnam, I make sure to send an email to the place where I’m staying at within a week before I check in. I didn’t like that it took them three days to respond to my email, which is a bit lengthy as I’ve never had to wait that long to get a response for a booking confirmation email. So if you’re planning to check in spontaneously, your best option would be to give them a call. The check in process also took a while because they only reserved one room for one night (we booked two rooms for two nights) even though I confirmed my reservation a few days before. I also requested on my initial booking to get rooms located on the same floor since I wanted to be able to hang out with the sibs, too. I think whoever was in charge in making room assignments had to rearrange it again since they only reserved one room for us. We eventually did get both rooms located on the third floor.

It rained on our first day – and the rest of the weekend – and it is something I have learned to expect over the years because it never fails to rain on my birthday. What was unfortunate was C going down to the reception (which I later found out was not to find food but to arrange for a cake to be delivered to our room) and on his way up, the elevator door opened to a mini waterfall display. Since all the elevators leaked/got flooded, we had to utilize the stairs for the rest of our stay. Thank goodness that our rooms are located on the third floor because if we were higher up, they’d never hear the end of me complaining.

The rooms itself are great, not too spacious but the Deluxe Room had enough space for two people. I love the colorful tiles and the actual chandelier in the bedroom. The room’s neutral color palette was really relaxing, with a hint of luxury. And there’s a full body mirror – which I like because it’s hard to check your outfit without one. Haha! We did have a wifi problem since we couldn’t use the room/last name combo to get wifi access, so they gave us another way to connect to the wifi. I also didn’t see a safe in the room, which is something to keep in mind for guests who have valuables they want to leave in their room. The television’s channel guide is also a little off, but it’s not lacking with English channels for foreign visitors. If there’s one thing I like about local hotels in this country that I really can’t say for a lot of foreign hotels I’ve been to, is that Filipinos are westernized enough that we have a lot of English shows available. (There are also some Chinese and Korean channels, too, if I remember correctly.)

I like hotels with bidets in their toilets. Do you know how annoying it is to use toilet paper to wipe shit off your butthole? I don’t know if it’s just me but I never feel fully clean until I get to wash my ass. Haha! The bathroom had an abundance of towels for two guests, and they provide what I would consider complete toiletries.

Sleep quality was A+ in this bed. It was super comfortable that even if we set an alarm using the room’s alarm clock, the only thing we do once it wakes us up is turn it off so we could sleep again. The room’s air conditioning didn’t help either because it was cold no matter how much we turn it up. Haha!

As with most hotels, you can pick between getting a room with twin beds or a king bed. While C and I got the one with a king-sized bed, the sibs got one with separate beds. They had the same amenities we do although their room felt slightly bigger than ours.

As I always say whenever I write about hotels I have stayed in, the staff is a major part of the hotel experience. No matter how great the amenities are, the staff can make or break your stay, especially with staycations. Fortunately, the hotel staff is great. They are always eager to help and would accommodate what we considered ‘silly’ requests. I stayed for the long weekend for my birthday, and C went to the hotel’s buffet (and as of writing, their only) restaurant to inquire whether they sell their cakes whole. They don’t, but they eventually acquiesced and let him buy a whole cake from their buffet (he also told me how the restaurant staff let him pick the icing to use in writing the greeting) and delivered to our room even though they do not have room service yet. Whenever we’re carrying bags to and from the parking, if a staff sees us, they would immediately offer help to carry it (even if it wasn’t heavy).

Our stay came with complimentary buffet breakfast that runs from 6 to 10 in the morning. The buffet breakfast offers different breakfast choices from Filipino, to Japanese, Chinese, and Western breakfast. The choices for each is not as overwhelming as most international buffets, and there were some hits and missed with the available dishes. I can’t go into too much detail though because we didn’t really get to see the entirety of the spread whenever we had our breakfast. I believe that this was the first long weekend so the volume of guests was higher than usual, and some of the items in the buffet breakfast ran out/took a really long time to be refilled even though it’s not even 9 AM yet. I think the staff at the restaurant also got overwhelmed because we had to ask for coffee repeatedly until we got it.

The restaurant has a door connected to the hotel’s courtyard where guests can smoke, hang out or drink al fresco.

Checking out also took a while since a lot of the guests were checking out at the same time. Also an additional note, I’m not sure if it’s the hotel or the bank, but the cancellation of deposit via credit card also took a while. I’m anal about any sort of credit card charges so I always check my credit card account to make sure cancellations push through and the cancellation still didn’t reflect a full day after checking out. My experience with other hotels is it is canceled within the hour after check out..? I’m under the impression that they’re still working on managing the hotel with a large volume of guests.

Overall, I would definitely stay in the hotel again. There is a great potential for a luxury hotel with the available amenities, and the service the staff provides. They gave me a 50% off discount coupon which I plan on using in a few months to see the hotel amenities that are still being constructed and see if the experience improves once they’ve had more time to operate. 🙂

Rizal Park Hotel, South Road Drive, T.M. Kalaw Ext., Ermita, Manila, Philippines 1000

What’s your favorite luxury or boutique hotel in the Philippines? Let me know in the comments below because I enjoy staying in nice hotels! 🙂

Manila 2017 || Where to go, what to eat

If I had to pick one thing to love about the blogging community I’m surrounded with, it would be the sheer amount of support you get from the friends you gain online. The outpouring of love and “please don’t throw yourself in front of the bus” I’ve gotten from the comment section and private messages I received from that previous post really touched me. Don’t worry! I don’t plan to. I feel awful complaining about life when I know I’m already privileged – all my life I’ve never had to go really truly hungry, always knew there was a bed for me to sleep in, I have enough clothes to go a month without repeating outfits, I have been employed by jobs that pay well/allowed me to help my family/finances my travels and the things I enjoy doing, and I have more than a handful of people that loves and supports me throughout all of it. But that crushing feeling of being overwhelmed about not having a “purpose” is not something I can accurately put into words. As I’ve said, I’ve been getting sick more frequently – there’s nothing wrong with me that can’t be fixed by getting a good amount of sleep, some weight loss, and a cleaner diet. But it’s also made me think about my inevitable death and how much I don’t want to die regretful. It has made me take a look at my life, what I spend time on, and I guess I just wanted to take a break to examine just that. And maybe get my head out the water and just keep breathing. But enough about death and all this sad talk guys and girls, I’ll get over it. I’ll just be extra and dramatic about it first. Haha! This post was about something more cheerful and the entire opposite of death. So here’s a rundown on how I spent my 26th birthday weekend! 🙂

I usually go out of town for my birthday on a solo trip. I’ve always found solo trips a gift to one’s self. I know it’s just not me who enjoys traveling solo, but I also like that I get to make decisions based entirely on my preference. This year, however, I decided to stay put and just go on a staycation with my family. My birthday is a day before a national holiday which always guarantees that I either get a long weekend or at the very least, an excuse to stay in post birthday celebrations. C kicked off my birthday weekend by handing me a huge pink Aranaz paper bag. I’ve always had a thing for structured boho bags. I really liked the ones that are available in dozens of online shops now but I’ve seen it on a lot of people now that just seeing it made me tired of looking at it. Haha!


As usual, I didn’t really have a solid plan of what I wanted to do during our weekend. While C loved doing nothing for his birthday, I wanted to sleep in before heading out to visit the museums in Metro Manila for mine. It’s weird because I’ve lived in this country my whole life. I head out to travel and visit museums, but rarely do so when it came to local ones. Unless it was a school requirement, I never bother, so I decided to change that. Of course, our first stop was the National Museum of Fine Arts. It’s a four-story building that used to be where Congress and Senate meet until it got turned over to the National Museum of the Philippines, and was in turn, filled with exhibits by Filipino artists and houses the famous Spoliarium by Juan Luna. Before I started looking into museums to visit, I thought this was the actual National Museum, and didn’t realize that the title is used for the governing body who manages all the National Museums. Entrance fee to all the museums they handle is also free since relying on visitors fees proved to be detrimental in managing the museums, hence, taxpayers now fund the upkeep. I think it worked because it was packed with locals and tourists alike on a rainy Saturday afternoon, more than a year since the fee has been revoked.

Juan Luna’s portraits of daily life in Paris

Philippine Hero, Jose Rizal

An artistic representation of me at work LOL

We attempted thrice in the span of two days to watch the shows at the National Planetarium but was unsuccessful because we always get stuck in traffic. It recently re-opened early this year after renovations to upgrade the facility and I really wanted to see whether it lives up to my memories of being in awe of it back when I was in grade school. The nearest miss was when we missed the 10 AM show by 5 minutes and the next one was for 2 PM. Instead of hanging around and waiting, we headed to BGC for another museum.

Adult responsibilities aside, I still feel like a child at heart and interactive museums never fail to entertain me. We went to The Mind Museum where I’ve been itching to visit.. but I also don’t like heading to anywhere in Taguig (the office included) because that place is like a bubble. Getting in and out of it is a journey on its own because traffic is horrible. It takes me a full hour on normal work days to get from the BGC bus terminal to the office building I work in even when I get off at the third stop. Ugh. But I digress. The Mind Museum is not as extensive as other interactive museums I’ve been to, and they know that which is why they have three-hour time slots which are ample time to explore the entire museum. Unlike the National Museums, admission is not free. If you’re going with a student (or anyone you know that has an ID for discounts), have them bring their ID. My brother goes to a state university and his discount is huge (since my sister attends a private school, hers is minimal but discounts are discounts haha).

After visiting The Mind Museum, I wanted to head back to Rizal Park and take our chances at either the Planetarium again or Museong Pambata. But we knew the museums close early and all this rain is undoubtedly going to foist our plans once again that C just drove around while we thought of what we wanted to do next. He remembered how I wanted to go to a gun range, and headed to Makati Cinema Center where there’s a bowling alley, a gun range, and an archery range. When we got there, we had a vote on what we wanted to do (I’m all for democracy, even on my birthday haha), and archery won. Off to Kodanda Archery, we go.


I also think that birthdays are a good excuse for stuffing your face silly, and I had three days to do so (which was, unfortunately, also detrimental to losing weight). We had a late lunch in Binondo on our first day and I over ordered that it ended up as both lunch and dinner for us. C & I have made the walk to Sincerity Cafe & Restaurant from Binondo Church since we were in college, mainly because it was C loved their fried chicken, plus it was cheap and we didn’t have a lot of cash to spend on dates. This time we went to their branch in Lucky Chinatown Mall and had our patience, with the traffic and the almost full parking, tested.

Sincerity Fried Chicken

Sincerity Patatim with Cuapao – I’M A BIG FAN

Sincerity Fried Rice


Oyster Cake – NOT a fan at all

Anyone who spent their childhood in the Philippines in the 90s grew up with Jollibee. I’m not gonna lie, as an adult, it still is my favorite fast food. When I was younger, all I wanted for my birthday is a Jollibee birthday party which I didn’t get, so I’ll make do with a birthday lunch from Jollibee.

The last leg of stuffing my face happened during my birthday dinner at Niu by Vikings. I was looking into dinner buffets that had a birthday promo and wasn’t too expensive (no hotel buffet dinners for me) but still served quality food. When multi-cuisine buffets started popping out of nowhere the past few years (beating the classic Pinoy buffets that have been around forever), cheaper ones followed suit. I didn’t want to gorge with so-so food, as quantity over quality has been quite the theme in some buffets I’ve been to. I did my research and ended up here to ensure a nice birthday dinner. I, unfortunately, didn’t get to try all the cuisines they offer because I got full around my third plate of food. Haha! 🙂

I had a number of restaurants that I wanted to try on our third day, but I still had a large amount of undigested food in my tummy. I was also starting to show symptoms of the flu. The feeling of being bloated and runny nose does not mix well together, and we spent the rest of our staycation utilizing the bed for sleeping. Overall, I had a relaxing and [literally] filling birthday weekend with my family. I honestly was dreading turning 26 for a bit, because 25 is a good number to achieve a lot of milestones in life (admittedly, a lot of my plans were thwarted but it happens). 26 sounded so close to 30 – and it meant I only had four remaining years to tick off the remaining items in my ’30 before 30′ list. But good food and great company (with their thoughtful birthday gifts) make for awesome birthday memories. Cheers to turning 26! 🙂

Manila 2017 || Celebrating Chicken Boy’s Birthday at The Manila Hotel

While I like to head out and explore as a birthday treat to myself, C is exactly the opposite. The past couple of years has been a hectic time for our lives. Days where we get to do absolutely nothing but lounge around in bed, are far and few between. Through the years, whenever I try to plan something for his birthday, I would be met with a statement of him wanting to ‘do nothing’. Talk about being vague because ‘nothing’ has never been my forte. So for this year’s birthday, I went with finding a five-star hotel that was a short drive from where we live but never frequent often, to book a room for his birthday weekend. Since he is also a watch aficionado (I swear if we weren’t saving up for the future, he’d probably have an expensive timepiece on his wrist by now), I bought him a watch that he has been eyeing for months and got it customized to his taste. There’s a thing his face does whenever he’s overwhelmingly happy – I know it sounds cheesy and cliche – where it just lights up. The moment he saw the bag that contained his gift, he already knew what it was and that childish giddiness came bursting out. It was one of those moments where I just wish I can scoop it all up in a bottle and keep it in a glass case so that I’ll never forget it. He even exclaimed once the weekend was over that it was the best birthday present ever and I beat my own record of the best birthday gift from 2011 (which was a chicken leg plushie).

Whenever I search for hotels to stay in while traveling, I take into account a couple of things: if it fits my budget, the location (how accessible it is from public transportation), the capacity (if you haven’t noticed, I rarely stay in hotels that have more than 100 rooms because more guests meant slower check ins and busier breakfasts), the amenities, and of course, the aesthetics (I do not like staying in hotels that look like an average room). If I used the same qualifications in booking The Manila Hotel, it would only pass the amenities and room aesthetics. The location is not quite ideal although they do have a shuttle, and they have 500+ rooms which made finding a table for the buffet breakfast on a Sunday morning, quite a chore for us and the restaurant’s hostess. This is the downside of being spoiled from our previous hotel stays – we get picky!

The Manila Hotel is a five-star hotel that’s been open since 1912. I, unfortunately, have never had any opportunity to step foot inside the hotel until this year. Upon arriving, I was a bit flabbergasted how it could have been touted as one of the best hotels in Manila as the building outside looked dated.. and frankly, does not call out to me. Getting inside though was a totally different story. The high ceiling, gigantic chandeliers, and, marble floor, all screamed opulence. However, the volume of the guests that were checking in before us (one of the reasons why I avoid hotels with massive capacity and major hotel chains) when we came had us waiting for 20+ minutes for our turn. While there were a lot of staff positioned in the reception, they were outnumbered by people inquiring, checking out, scheduling their shuttles, and whatnot. It was a good spot for people watching though as there were ongoing photoshoots everywhere, from debutantes to weddings. As well as the staff in traditional Filipinianas milling around, helping hotel visitors.

There was a hint of musky carpet smell as we walked through the hallways of the fourth floor to find our room, but nothing too overpowering (my sense of smell picks up quickly). When we found our room, we were greeted by elegant colonial period Filipino aesthetics. It reminded me of those old Filipino houses that have been built during the Spanish colonial period. One of the more prominent architectural materials during that time is dark wood (I think from Molave and Narra but I’m just picking random local tree names at the top of my head), which is pretty obvious with how the whole room was designed. Capiz shells were also used to adorn the mirrors in the room, as well as to frame the wall behind the bed. When I opened the cabinet, it only had one robe in it which was odd given that the room was for at least two people. They did have a lot of closet space and hangers for those who are planning to stay longer.

Fortunately, the marble bathroom has been renovated to reflect the modern times. It had both a waterfall shower, a handheld one, as well as heating. The toilet also had a bidet which is something C and I find important in a toilet (lol). When I first used the toilet, I got curious why there was a remote placed near it. As it turns out, the remote is a waterproof one designed for the waterproof LED television placed beside the bath tub. Shitting does not have to be boring because you can scroll through different channels while on number two. You can also utilize the television while on the tub. Cool, right?

You guys know me and know about my affinity for bath tubs. I don’t live in a home with one, so I tend to compensate by booking rooms that will allow me to splurge on LUSH bath bombs. Any tub with a faucet that fills water quickly and has enough leg space for it to not be cramped is A+ in my book. The tub we had in our room ticks all the right boxes but if I had to nitpick, the placement of the faucet was a little unfortunate because, in the process of filling the tub, the counter’s corner and my ribs kept coming in contact. Totally my fault, but it got annoying. Haha!

One of the best things about staying in local hotels are the abundance of channels you can choose from. Most international hotels I’ve stayed in almost always have at most, two English channels. In the Philippines, if you avail of a cable provider, you get a lot of foreign channels (English, Korean, Chinese, etc) as well as the local ones. We didn’t have to settle with switching between HBO and Fox Movies. They also have a channel guide to help you navigate your extensive channel options. Personally, Cinema One is my favorite weekend channel for binge watching movies.

While one side of our room was just one big window, we kept our curtains closed the entire time while we were there because we didn’t really have the best view. Since we were on the lower floors, our view was just meh and I think a higher room would have a more peaceful view of the ocean.

When I first spotted the speaker, I got excited because I like listening to my own music. C and I sometimes listen to random songs and hold our own bedroom dance parties (some days, it’s to the tune of Pussycat Dolls’ Don’t Cha). They do have to update their speakers because the one they have caters to earlier generations of iPod. It was disappointing.

While checking in, we were asked which room we wanted – the one with twin beds or the one with a king-sized bed, and of course, we went for the room with king-sized bed. I guess the biggest reason why I don’t plan on staying in this hotel again is the fact that the room we got did not have a king-sized bed in it. We had two twin beds pushed together to form one bed. C and I often fall asleep talking and cuddling. The indent in the middle of the bed was not conducive for cuddles that we both ended up facing different directions at the opposite sides of the bed. I repeat, this bed is not the best for romantic purposes. You can clearly see from the photo the part in the middle where it was obviously indented because IT IS NOT A KING-SIZED BED. The bed did look much more put together when we walked in than this photo. I wasn’t able to stop C from jumping in before I got around to taking a picture. Oh well.

Since he wanted to do nothing, we both brought our laptops to this staycation and maximized their high-speed internet. C spent the weekend playing games with his friends, while I alternated between the tub and staying in bed to work on my blog, watch movies, and go online shopping. I also spent a considerable amount of time justifying to myself ordering room service food to avoid going out. C and I are fans of room service because ~*convenience*~ but the items on the menu was just. so. expensive. There were a number of restaurants in the hotel itself, such as Cafe Ilang-Ilang where we had our buffet breakfast and where you can also avail of buffet lunch and buffet dinner. We weren’t in the mood for buffets, Chinese food (they had a Chinese restaurant), and both restaurants we wanted to try had a dress code and we literally just packed loungewear and casual clothes. I doubt we could pass off our pairs of shorts as smart casual to get into The Champagne Room and Cowrie Grill. We decided to go out and find somewhere to it within the vicinity of the hotel. I am guessing it’s not the best idea for foreigners to do because the area surrounding the hotel does not scream safe at all. We were followed by a group of children who were asking for some change until we reached a food establishment (to take out pizza!). We avoid handing out money to beggars because you don’t really know whether they are victims of well-organized syndicates and you support these syndicates by giving them cash. We hand out food instead of money.

Checking out was such a breeze compared to checking in. Have you ever been to a hotel where your stay wasn’t unsatisfactory but you didn’t really think you’d miss out if you never come back? Honestly, that was what we both felt for The Manila Hotel. But I’d still like to emphasize the positives and the complimentary breakfast that came with the room was one of them. The buffet breakfast at Cafe Ilang-Ilang turned into brunch as their extensive food selection kept us full until it was time for dinner. C and one of his sisters have a one day gap between their birthdays so joint birthday dinners with the family is an annual occurrence. This year, we headed out to Gringo in Makati for some ribs and chicken (because chicken boy). C’s family have never failed to treat me like one of their own. It’s nice to witness how family dinners have evolved from their family unit, plus me, and this year we were joined by his sister’s fiance and future mother-in-law. 🙂

The nachos is something I’d go back for!

If you ever go to Gringo, don’t be ashamed to pour the sauce on your rice because it tastes AMAZING. And you also have unlimited refills. Just do it!

A sweet ending to a pretty chill birthday weekend, if I must say so myself.

Subic 2017 || My best friend’s birthday!

I was supposed to post this once I was done with 15 Days of Writing True, but I unexpectedly hit a road block from writing every day. It usually takes me more than one sitting to work on something I’d be proud of because my process is usually – write while I’m emotional/whenever the ideas are there and just hack out all the content I can squeeze out of me (the best example of what I can come up with whenever I use my emotions as a writing guide). Then I take a couple of days to reread and polish whatever it is I made because I tend to forget whatever I’ve written down while I’m in the zone. Two weeks of churning out material daily have gotten me so frustrated and I made the decision to overcome the last five writing assignments on my own timing. Unfortunately, I cannot always be emotional. It’s a double-edged sword as I am never lukewarm when I emotions come into play. I am either detached or I dive into head first. It’s also how I curate my relationship to everything – I try to only surround myself with people I can look up to and people whose feelings are mutual with mine. You can only imagine what it means when I call someone my best friend. My non-athletic self will literally try outdoor activities for them. Which is exactly what I did when Gin wanted to celebrate her birthday by heading to Inflatable Island.

Since my work week ends on a Friday morning, I just needed to finish up before we made the long drive to Subic. The roads were surprisingly not clogged, and we arrived in Mansion Garden Hotel in Subic Bay Freeport Zone two hours early. The hotel’s location was central and it was easy to walk everywhere (if you’re a big fan of the sun, that is). I’ve never spent time in Subic before, and would usually end up on less crowded parts of Zambales, so this was a new experience for me. Our first order of business was to eat brunch in the hotel’s quaint cafe, Garden Cafe.

We didn’t have high expectations for our meal. It was affordable (we spent less than Php 300 each) and the pictures on the menu weren’t appetizing. However, the serving was huge. It doesn’t look like it but we really took a while to finish everything and we’re fast eaters. There wasn’t a need for a dip for my pork chop, and chicken boy sang praised for the gravy that came with his chicken. We were so excited for the hotel’s free breakfast, thinking the cafe would be the one catering it (they were not) and was disappointed when we had lackluster food the next day.

The hotel interior adhered to its’ garden theme and incorporated as much wood and plants into their decor. I personally like this color palette as it is very calming. I’m a fan of unconventional lighting and want their ceiling lights for my own home.

I believe that Subic has a building regulation where structures can only have a specific number of stories which is why the hotel has expanded by adding another building connected by a bridge. Nonetheless, the nature theme carried over to the newer building.

We had the Standard Deluxe Room which was the smallest room available. It wasn’t too cramped, but the bed was not for made for tall people. At all. I’m of average height and if I wiggle a little, my feet will enter that damned territory of ‘within-reach-when-a-monster-under-the-bed-decides-to-say-hello’.

When I stay in hotels, I rarely bring my own soap and shampoo and work on the assumption that the hotel will already have it. They did have a few available but we had to ask housekeeping for more shampoo because of ~*my hair*~.

All their rooms had a veranda and ours faced another hotel annex in the making. Even with the ongoing construction, it was surprisingly quiet inside our room until you open the veranda door. It was not bad at all.

Once the birthday girl arrived, we headed to Inflatable Island for some body pain. Going in to write about this, I imagined myself writing about how unprepared I was for this activity in a sarcastic manner, only to sit here and just write it as it is. I am so not fit.

We only bought two-hour passes for 4-6 in the afternoon which was not enough to go through all the obstacles, but enough for me to go home bruised and scratched up. We deposited our things in paid lockers which were brilliant for whoever owned this because everyone is bound to place their things in lockers. 😛

I think aside from the obstacles, the hardest part is actually going back on the inflatables via the styrofoam board. People tend to sit on it and it takes time for everyone to get up.

Once we were done, we relaxed on one of the beach bags while sipping fruit shakes. The downside is that the food stalls close early at almost the same time the inflatable island stops operation (6 PM). Therefore, if you end up hanging out here too late and have the need to ingest something, you need to bring your own.

There was a queue for the shower so we utilized the outdoor shower, and laid out a waterproof mat on the car so we can just bathe in our own hotel rooms. Although instead of showering, we went and had drinks while taking a dip in the pool. Once we all felt hungry, we walked to 1925 Gastropub. As usual, we had low expectations for the food but EVERYTHING WE ORDERED TASTED GREAT. I cannot remember what we ordered but we were super happy with everything. Both our boyfriends had beers while Gin and I had an entire bottle of champagne to ourselves. We did some math and came to the conclusion that if we drink at least three glasses each, it would cost about the same if we get the bottle. We’re far from being alcoholics, but we have an affinity for the bubbly. That we did not finish and had to take back to the hotel. 🙂

Overall, bruises aside, it was such a fun getaway. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been part of Gin’s life for the past decade. We’ve gone through so much from being a couple of naive teenagers from the province. We’ve weathered fights, bad haircuts, a long distance friendship, really weird fashion choices, family problems, weight gain and weight loss (and we’re currently in weight gain again), messy breakups, health scares, spilling alcohol on bedsheets, and, times when our kilays were so not on fleek. She’s not just my best friend because she’s family. For her birthday, and the remaining 364 days of the year, all I wish for her is a life filled with so much love and happiness. ❤

Mansion Garden HotelDewey Avenue corner Bonifacio Street, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales, Philippines

Suitecation at Infinity Tower Suites + Eating our way through Makati

I already had a draft of this post just sitting there, waiting for me to fill the gaps with words, for almost a week now. However, before I even got to doing so, the stats on my old posts kicked up for some reason. I had been putting off updating them because there were a lot, but since I was getting comments on some of them, I knew I had to go back and do a clean up of sorts. I went and deleted most of them that were basically just a college student’s rants, and my posts went down from 700+ to 275. I also worked on updating the posts with missing photos (such as the ones from a 2013 travel series/my first foray with a Schengen visa) and even got to upload a video of old clips with it. I’m now working on another old travel series where C and I went to Singapore for my birthday. Thank goodness I have the long weekend to work on this. Now all I need is another staycation, and this weekend would really take a turn for the better.

Last weekend, we did just that. I bought a Dealgrocer voucher for a room in Makati and booked one for me and the sibs. Since all of us had different schedules, last weekend was the only one we could free up without it being a holiday/long weekend, and totally avoid the crowds. When we got to Makati, the first thing we did was go to Glorietta for a little shopping. C was busy with weekend work, but we had lunch together at Kanto Freestyle Breakfast in Makati. Every time I didn’t work from home and worked the night shift in the office, we make it a point to have breakfast. We often end up here or Crepe Amelie, so we decided to have the sibs try it out too. Both siblings had Crispy Corned Beef, C had his usual New Zealand Beef Tapa, and I ordered my favorite Tuyo Flakes with Kesong Puti. We all had Scramble after our meal, to try and beat the heat.

We stayed in a 2-bedroom suite at Infinity Tower Suites. It was huge and looked more like a condo than a hotel room. The master bedroom had its own bathroom and too many cabinets for a hotel room. Honestly, if I had a condo, this would be how big I want it to be (but it would be too expensive and I’d just buy a house instead lol), and the location is great as well. It’s located in the heart of Makati’s business district, and would be perfect for anyone who works within the area. You can just bike or walk to your workplace! That’s what I would do if I lived there.

The master bathroom had a tub, although it was a little faulty since it drains slowly even while it’s plugged. The bathroom does look dated though.

The common bathroom looked even more dated than the master bathroom. It did function properly, although the bidet in this toilet had a super strong pressure.

The other bedroom had two single beds where the siblings slept in. All of the rooms had the AC temperature control panel, but the entire flat was really cold no matter how much we fiddled with it.

The kitchen was equipped with a fridge, an old electric stove top oven (you can tell it has been used countlessly in the past), a microwave, and complete utensils. We were weirded out by the door here and found out that it leads to a laundry room, and the maid’s quarters.

The living area had a huge 2-piece lounge set and a small dining table.

I bought a bath bomb from LUSH to use on the tub! I never knew how amazing they were but even if I had a tub at home, it would be too expensive to use it.

After spending the afternoon filling ourselves with junk food and binge watching movies, we headed to BGC with C to have dinner in Genki Sushi. It’s unfortunate that Japanese cuisine in this country is a bit on the pricey side. I wish I can crave for sushi and sashimi anytime I want and not worry about my wallet. What’s special about Genki Sushi is the automated ordering system and the food train that delivers your food.

When we got back, we spent the night hanging out again with drinks and ice cream! Even though we all live in the same house, we don’t really see each other often because of our conflicting schedules. I work the night shift, my brother attends the university, and my sister still works on her academic prowess even during summer vacation. *cough nerd cough*

The next morning, I was lying in bed thinking what our breakfast would be at The Wholesome Table. I knew it was an organic restaurant so I decided on eating an ice cream cookie sandwich before we headed down there. I know, I know. For someone who is trying to eat healthily, I eat so much junk.

Our stay in Infinity Tower Suites comes with free set breakfast in The Wholesome Table. It’s an organic restaurant and the interior is heavily inspired by nature. It uses wood, fake plants, and warm lighting. There were floor to ceiling windows to let natural light in, and tons of flora outside these windows to complete the one with nature feel of the restaurant. The decor is dreamy and similar to how I would decorate the breakfast nook on my future forever home. As hotel guests, you get a one-page menu to order your set breakfast from. The selection was understandably limited compared to their actual menu.

C and I both had the Meat & Eggs Plate. Our meat was our choice of Nitrate-free Bacon, scrambled free-range eggs, and breakfast salad. To be completely honest, everything tasted okay although all I could think of while eating was that it could use a little more salt. But that’s just me and my taste buds. My brother had their Gluten-Free Lemon Yogurt Pancake, while my sister had their Gluten-Free Waffles. Both came with coconut vanilla butter and raw honey. I’ve had quite a lot of vegetarian, vegan, and, organic meals in my life (I am fascinated by them), but this was, unfortunately, my least favorite.

He was not happy with me when I told him where we were having breakfast

We wanted to have dessert after our meal and went out in search for something sweet. I initially thought that the Salcedo Weekend Market was open on Sundays and it was a short walk from where we were, so we headed there. But I was mistaken, and our search ended with the suggestion of going to another of C and I’s favorite breakfast places. Crepe Amelie has been an establishment that we frequent for years now, and I can order from them without looking at their menu. Their floor to ceiling windows are similar to the ones on The Wholesome Table, and this is actually where we conceptualized that we wanted a breakfast nook with great windows to let the morning sun in.

Our Pink Lemonade came into this cute honeycomb glasses. Can I just say that I really want to own a set?

My brother was still not full from the meal so he had the BLT sandwich. I think I may have already mentioned before that my sister and C have the SAME preferences in food, and she ordered C’s favorite, Banana PB & Nutella Crepe. C and I shared his because we were both already a bit full and didn’t want to overwhelm ourselves with food.

After our lengthy breakfast, we headed back to our room to pack our things up, while C headed back to his office to work on a Sunday. Boo! The reception called 30 minutes before checkout to remind us of their checkout time, but I decided to stay inside the room on the dot. Haha! After getting our incidental deposit back, we headed to SM Makati for some more window shopping and then to MINISO for some actual shopping before heading home. I ended up with three of MINISO’s Php 99 eyeshadow trios, cotton pads, and phone cases. $2 shopping is so much fun!

Overall, our stay in Infinity Tower Suites was a success as our main goal was to relax. I guess it is value for money if you’re just looking for a serviced residence somewhere you can crash and not clean up afterward. The location in Salcedo Village is ideal if you plan on exploring both upscale side of Makati, and the booming foodie area of Poblacion. However, I am betting that for the price we paid for it in DealGrocer (Php 6900+), you can get a nicer room via Airbnb (this is an affiliate link where I can earn travel credits when you sign up via that link and book a place).

The long weekend is almost over! How did you spend it? 🙂