January 2012 - Pinay Daily Ramblings

Friday, January 27, 2012

Acuatico Beach Resort, Batangas, Philippines
Friday, January 27, 2012 32 Comments

Acuatico is the best beach resort in Laiya, Batangas. We stayed there for 4 nights. It is 87 miles south of Manila and is facing the South China Sea. Laiya is part of San Juan, Batangas. You can reach it by bus or you can drive there and it will take you 3-4 hours depending on the traffic.

Family suite

This Balinese-inspired resort is fairly new and is one of the most popular resorts in Batangas. We stayed at their Family suite. The rate was about $250 per night. It has 2 bedrooms. The interior is very cozy although the rooms are too small and the space for your traveling bags is limited.
Floating Bar

I love their infinity pool and the floating bar. They have an outdoor Jacuzzi too. We didn’t get to see their beach at its best since there was a typhoon when we were there.
Oceano Restaurant
Their buffet breakfast is decent and it came free with our room. Oceano Restaurant is the only restaurant in Acuatico. They serve Filipino, Asian, and continental dishes. Their food is a bit expensive and I’m not so sure about the quality. They can do better with their dishes.

Infinity pool

Your stay in Acuatico Beach Resort will be best enjoyed if you go there during summer (March-May). There are several Laiya beach resorts but Acuatico has the best infinity pool.
Overlooking the beach

Come and explore Laiya and the rest of San Juan, Batangas. They have lots to offer to tourists. It’s a fun place to bring your kids. Beat the heat this summer and have fun at the beach. It's more fun in the Philippines! :)

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year @ Harbour Square
Monday, January 23, 2012 4 Comments

We missed the Dragon Dance! We came in late and missed the whole thing. The whole Harbour Square was boring so we just decided to grab some dinner there.
Restaurants at Harbour Square
Our favorite restaurant

Harbour Square is a food court located at the CCP Complex in Manila. Sun Cruises ticketing office is right beside Harbour Square. You can book Manila bay Cruise from there. There are several stalls along the entrance too and they sell all kinds of stuff.
Manila Bay
Toy store in Harbour Square

After dinner we decided to drop by Malate area and see if there are festivities going on there for Chinese New Year. Unfortunately the whole festivities are happening at Luneta Park and we were stuck in heavy traffic.
We decided to drop by the Buddhist Temple and see what's going on. But with all the traffic and lack of cabs tonight, we just headed back home after that.
Buddhist temple in Manila

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Kung Hei Fat Choi!

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Come and explore Baguio city, Philippines
Saturday, January 21, 2012 8 Comments

Baguio city is the summer capital of the Philippines. Americans took over this place in the nineteenth century and developed it into a modern city. It is at an altitude of 4,900ft and the weather here is much cooler than other places in the Philippines. The temperature here ranges from 50F-70F and can get lower than 50F during December to February.
Limestone rock carved into a Lion's head (famous landmark in Baguio)
We visit Baguio every year. Couple days of stay are enough to tour Baguio but we usually stay there for 10 days or so just to explore the neighboring towns. It is also a gateway to Ifugao and Sagada where you can see the hanging coffins, rice terraces etc. There are many affordable hotels in Baguio; some Baguio hotels are under $50. You can also rent vacation houses there for the whole family. Camp John Hay’s Manor hotel Baguio is our favorite. It is in a great location and just a few meters away from Baguio Country Club and Golf course. It has impressive architecture and very homely interiors. Their rates range from $125 up to $280.
Heavy rain
View from the room
Le Chef restaurant
Manor Garden 

You can walk to the historical Bell house from Manor hotel. It was built originally for American soldiers in Asia as a rest house in 1903. During WWII, Japanese soldiers took over it and used Camp John Hay as a concentration camp. Bell house was then used by General Yamashita as his headquarter.
Relic of Camp John Hay's American roots
We always go to Mines view Park whenever we are in Baguio. It is an abandoned mine used by the native Igorot tribe. Now it is a tourist attraction. There are souvenir shops etc. all over the place.
Souvenir shops
Lourdes Grotto is also in our must visit places when in Baguio. It has a nice view of downtown Baguio. It is a replica of the famous Lourdes Grotto in France. You will have to climb 252 steps before you reach the shrine. Ladies, wear those stilettos somewhere else :)
Lourdes Grotto
During our stay in Baguio, we would sometimes drive around the neighboring towns. We happened to pass by this area in Tuba, Benguet where a sign about Colorado falls is. We never really made it to the falls, we just walked nearby and took pics because it was slippery. We thought it was totally lame (coz we didn't really know what we are looking at) it turns out the falls was further away. Too bad we didn't see it.
Sign on the road
This is what we saw when we decided to head back to the car.

 Baguio is an interesting place and far from the chaotic city of Manila. Come and visit this February for the Panagbenga Festival (Flower Festival). Book a Baguio Tour Package at a reputable travel agency near you or explore the city on your own. You can hire a car to take you there or take a bus to Baguio from Manila. It takes 8 hours to get there from Manila by bus. The bus lines most preferred by locals are Victory Liner and Philippine Rabbit. The bus ticket cost around Php400 to Php450 (about $10).  

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Fun Things to do in Angeles City, Philippines
Friday, January 20, 2012 9 Comments

Angeles City is one of the fastest-growing cities outside of Metro Manila. It is in the province of Pampanga and it is only a couple hours drive from Manila. Mount Pinatubo, the volcano that erupted violently in the 90’s that resulted in the evacuation of the US military from Clark air base is now a tourist attraction. The former airbase is now a sprawling cosmopolitan metropolis with lots to offer to tourists. There are many accommodations in Angeles city to choose from. Oasis hotel is our favorite since it is affordable and the location is great. It is a family-friendly hotel.
Oasis hotel

Here are the things that you can do in Angeles, Philippines:

1.    Mount Pinatubo Sky Tour @ OMNI Aviation (around $100 per person). Get to see the famous crater of Mount Pinatubo from up high. It is an unforgettable experience for me.

Mount Pinatubo crater
Cessna Plane in OMNI

2.    Take your kids to Fontana Leisure Park.   This is a great place to visit if you are traveling with your family.

3.    Take an exciting ride through the valley of Sapang Bato and enjoy the hot spring and Spa at the end of the trip. You can make inquiries at Puning Hot Spring Spa Phone (6345)499-0629 or 499-0630 .

4. Play golf at Clark Freeport Zone. The golf courses here are beautiful and challenging. 

5. Join the Hot air balloon fiesta on February 9-12, 2012. This is a fun filled event with thousands of people participating. Book any Angeles city hotels now and get to join the Balloon festival next month.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choi
Thursday, January 19, 2012 2 Comments

Year of the Dragon starts on January 23, 2012. Chinese New Year is known as Spring Festival in China. It is also celebrated outside China. Filipino-Chinese community in Manila celebrate the new year in Binondo.
Lucky Bamboo
I bought a Lucky Bamboo in Chinatown today. It symbolizes good fortune. It started during the Ching Dynasty. Only the Emperor has this breed of plant in his garden during that time. He gives it away as a reward to people who has accomplished several tasks for him.
Lucky Golden Pineapple
I also bought Golden pineapple for excellent good fortune and to bring wealth luck. It is also believed to bring abundance and wealth for business and career minded people. Happy Chinese New Year!! :)

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What to do in Manila, Philippines
Thursday, January 19, 2012 5 Comments
Manila Bay

The city of Manila is one of the fourteen cities that make up the National Capital Region (Metro Manila). Manila is the capital of the Philippines. The typical things that most tourists do here are visit Intramuros, Luneta Park, Malacanang palace, China town, San Agustin Church, National Museum etc. If you are running out of ideas on what to do in Manila, you can check out these other places:

Manila Ocean Park
Inside Manila Ocean Park

This oceanarium in Manila is located behind the Quirino Grandstand Luneta. It is a walking distance from Manila Hotel and US embassy. It is one of the biggest marine parks in Asia. You can even go shopping here, enjoy the shows, and enjoy the food at Asian Food Village. This is one of the most fun places to go in Manila for kids.

Manila Bay Sunset Cruise

At the end of the day you might want to relax and have a glass of wine. Why not do it in style? Watch the sun go down while you are in the upper deck of a boat. Get to see Manila from a different setting and enjoy the city skyline by sunset. Sun Cruises is operating daily from 4:30pm till 8:00pm. You can book and pay online at http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/index.html.

Shopping at Mall of Asia

Mall of Asia is actually outside Manila. It is located in Pasay city but only a few minutes away. Shop, dine, watch a movie, or go to a spa. There are lots of things to do here for every member of your family.

Star City

Have fun checking out all the rides in this theme park. Your kids will surely have a blast. It is located in CCP Complex in Pasay city.

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