February 28, 2015

Guimaras and Iloilo ~ Our 4D/3N Sweet Adventure - PART II


PART II - ILOILO

Day 3 ~ Iloilo
  • 9:30am - Left Jannah Glycel the same way we got in (via tricycle to Jordan Wharf, ferry to Ortiz Wharf, then by taxi to our Iloilo hotel).

We arranged with our Ortiz Wharf taxi for half day tour of Iloilo. It was a bit expensive than taking the jeepney, but definitely more convenient and time efficient. 

Kuya John (Cellphone # 0929-2286722/ 0926-9196319)  our taxi driver, cum tour guide is very versed on the tourist areas in Iloilo.  Again like Sauro, he was very helpful in making the most out of our vacation.  In case you need assistance transfers in Iloilo, you can give him a call anytime.

  • 11am - Arrived at Injap Hotel.  Injap is located in front of SM Iloilo.  Kuya John waited for us, as we checked-in our baggage.
  • Lunch at Breakthrough. Perfectly located by the beach. Breakthrough serves delicious and affordable Ilongo dishes ~ house specialties are seafood of course.
 
Top: Miag-ao Church;
Bottom:Guimbal Church

  • Miag-ao Church (UNESCO World Heritage Site, by far one of the most beautiful churches I have set foot on. Also known as the Miag-ao Fortress Church since it served as a defensive tower of the town against Muslim raids.
  • Guimbal Church  -  400-year-old church made of yellow adobe and coral stones, one of the oldest in the country.
  • Camina Balay nga Bato - a 2 storey heritage principalia house. A tour cost P150/pax inclusive of the most delicious hot chocolate, I have ever tasted.



  • 4:30pm - Back at the hotel to freshen up.

  • 5:30pm - Dinner at Ponsyon (also by Breakthrough) at Plazuela.  Plazuela is a small commercial center with lots of restaurants to choose from.

  • 6:30pm - Evening stroll at Esplanade.  Cheezy!!!


  • 9pm -  We ended the night with coffee and tea at Small Ville.

Day 4 ~ Departure from Iloilo.

(Flights were delayed as usual, although reason this time around is air traffic congestion in Manila). 
  • 8am - Breakfast at Horizon CafĂ© (21st floor of Injap Hotel).  Breakfast is just so-so, but it was just okay as it came free with our hotel package.
  • 9am - Mass at SM Iloilo
  • 11am - Merienda at Ted's Old Timer La Paz Batchoy (I can't possibly let go of the chance to taste Iloilo's famous batchoy).
  • 12nn - Back to hotel, check out and go to the airport.

What will I miss about Iloilo? 
  1. The FOOD!  So love Ilongo food, I think I gained 2lbs in my 2 days stay in Iloilo.
  2. The Esplanade concept, is great.  A safe, clean place to walk and jog and keep your tots busy.  
  3. Easy commute ~ stress-free driving .  Would love to drive here.
  4. Clean environment.  I do hope they can keep it as such.
 
YES, we will be back :)
 
 
 
Please check also Part I of our GUIMARAS-ILOILO trip.



    Guimaras and Iloilo ~ Our 4D/3N Sweet Adventure - PART I

    My husband has been complaining, how he never gets to fully relax whenever we travel with our kiddos around.  Our last Singapore-Malaysia trip was no exception, as it left us both exhausted than rested.   

    He joked that we should try something unexpected and different, where we can leave the busy metro (yup, electronics included) and just be spontaneous (without the kiddos)!

    And so, after our Singapore-Malaysia trip, without much thought, I booked us a round trip ticket to Iloilo, the gateway to Guimaras.

    I haven't been to either Iloilo and Guimaras and thought it would be nice to hit two destinations in one trip. 

    Iloilo City is a thriving urban city, but still manages to maintain its rural charm.


    Meanwhile 15 minute ferry ride away is rustic Guimaras,  an enticing island, with pristine glorious beaches (Oh and lots of mangoes ~ delicious-delicious mangoes).

    However, spontaneous as I wanted to be, the Miss Planner in me, decided having a confirmed lodging, is still a must: that would mean a comfortable bed, well ventilated or air-conditioned room, and safe!



    Sharing here our 4D/3N itinerary (will add links as I finish writing them):


    PART I - GUIMARAS

    Day 1 ~ Departure from Manila via Cebu Pacific

    (It is a common story by now, our 9am flight via Cebu Pacific owned Tiger Air, was canceled. I received the CANCELATION notice about 5 minutes before check-in time.  We hurried to the check-in counter and demanded for the next available flight - and luckily got seats in the 1130am flight. Lucky us, since the family after us, got transferred to a much later 2pm flight.)

    • 12:30pm - Arrived at Iloilo Airport (beautiful airport, clean and spacious).


    From the airport, you can take the air-conditioned shuttle (at P50/pax) to SM Iloilo, then a cab (P100 approximately) to Ortiz Wharf or take a private van (P600) and head straight to the wharf.  The wharf is about 30-40 minutes away from the airport.





    • 1:20pm - Take the ferry going to Jordan wharf Guimaras.  Cost is about P15/pax. 

    If you travelling as a group, you may want to rent the entire ferry to yourselves for P500. Upon alighting the ferry at Jordan, head straight to the Tourism center and register. 

    You may also inquire from the  tourism center suggestions on where to stay and confer your itinerary if you are not yet sure on what to do.  The tourism center, will register as well the name of your driver. 

    From Jordan to Nueva Valencia,  where we  stayed mini van rate is P500 and tricycle rate is P250.






    Day 2 ~Land Tour (am) / Island Hopping (afternoon)
    • Morning ~ Land Tour. We started at 7am and arrived at Pitstop at around 11am. The entire tour and back to Jannah took us a little over 5 hours.  A wholeday land tour costs P1200.


    • Afternoon Tour ~ Island Hopping  costs P500 for the first 3 hours, and additional P150 for the succeeding hours.
      • SEAFDEC** - a marine animal research facility. Must-must visit!
      • Ave Maria Islet
      • Turtle Island



    We were too tired, from our early morning land tour, we decided to pack-up early. Alas, we were not able to finish our island hopping itinerary.

    We missed:
      • Baras Cave / Baras Beach Resort
      • Natago Island
      • Isla Naburot


    TIPS:

    1. In Guimaras, you need not worry you are being over charged, since rates are regulated and may easily be checked via the tourism office. 
    2. Places of interests, by land from Buenavista to Nueva Valencia is about 50km (or more), driving is hard labor and not easy, please be generous, additional tip is highly appreciated for these hardworking drivers.
    3. Our driver's name is Sauro (Cellphone #0919-3257672) we also got him for our land tour of Guimaras.  He was very helpful, suggesting places to go to and was also our impromptu photographer. He also suggested we get mangoes before heading to Nueva Valencia (he even did the bargaining for us).  If you are looking for a dependable driver in Guimaras, I do recommend you get him.
    4. Attractions in "*" are highly recommended. Note to self, do not try to cram your schedule with same day Island Hopping and Land Tour. 

    GUIMARAS is a gem waiting to be discovered.  The island has so many untapped potential.  I love Guimaras now, a laid back beauty, but I would not be surprised to see tourist soon flocking on its doors.  
    GOAL 1 - to relax: MET 101%




    February 26, 2015

    Padre Pio Church in Libis Quezon City

     
    Let me start by introducing to you Padre Pio.
     
    Padre Pio is a Catholic Saint famous for bearing the Stigmata (marks corresponding to the wounds of Jesus' crucifixion) and his miracle works. There are literally thousands of accounts that speak of his healing gift.
     
     
     
    One of the most famous of Padre Pio's healings that got me, is that of a blind girl who had no pupils, from Palermo Italy named Gemma DiGiorgioWhen she was seven, a nun took it upon herself to write Padre Pio on her behalf, and received a note saying that the girl should be brought to Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotundo.
     
     
     
     
    That's exactly what Gemma's grandmother did: brought the girl to see the famous monk. Padre Pio heard the child's First Confession and gave her, her First Communion — then made the Sign of the Cross on her eyes. After the blessing, Gemma was able to see.
    (I have read of Gemma's story from "Michael”, a journal of Catholic Patriots.).
     

    (Read more about the life of  Padre Pio here: MIRACLES OF PADRE PIO)

      

     
     Padre Pio is indeed a man of God and has been a devoted servant.
     
    We are truly blessed to have been given a chance to visit the Padre Pio Church in Libis. 
     
    Upon entering the Church, we saw the walls adorned with chronicles of some of the numerous miracles attributed to him and thousands of petition letters seeking help and mercy, neatly stocked in piles.
     
     

     
     
    It is a solemn place to be one with the Lord.  And it is perfect for your young ones, the church has an area meant specially for children, with doves flying around freely. 
     
    It is really a very good place to teach kids of God's love and mercy.
     
     
    Padre Pio Church in Libis is located at the RER Compound 188 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave. (C-5) Bagumbayan, Libis, 1110 Quezon City
     
    Mass Schedules: Mon-Sat 5:30pm;  Sunday 10am, 12:15pm, 5pm and 7pm.
     
     
     

    Addicted to Toys! ~ Yexel's Toy Museum at Boom na Boom Complex

     
     
    Do you love toys?
     
     
    I have long been hearing about the Yexel's Toy Museum in Las Pinas.  I have been wanting to go there for sometime now, but it is quite far from where I live and never got the time.
     
     
    I was glad to learn we would be visiting the Yexel's exhibit at the Boom na Boom, CCP complex as part of my son's school field trip (I think I am more excited to join this fieldtrip than my son)!
     
     
     
     
     
    This toy collection, by  Yexel Sebastians  started out as a hobby~of personal toy and eventually was transformed into a museum. 
     
    The original Yexel Museum is located at 52 Sampaguita Road, Pilar Village, Las Pinas City and was first opened to the public in 2012. 
     
    The one we visited at Boom-na-Boom complex is just an exhibit, but was okay, since we still managed to get some awesome pictures and best, my son had a great time posing right next to his favorites:
     
     
    Taz, Dash and Finn
     
     
     
     
      
     
    Yexels Toy Museum at Boom na Boom Complex,
    Pasay City is open Mondays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm.
    Ticket Price is P300.
     
     
    For questions and inquiries, please check out Yexel's facebook page - Yexel's Toy Museum and Art Gallery



    February 14, 2015

    Ark of the Avilon Zoo

     
    For a quick city edu-entertainment with you child, you might want to check out the Ark of the Avilon Zoo.
     
     
     
     
     ARK AVILON ZOO is the only indoor interactive zoo in the country.  It is two storey building resembling the biblical Noah's Ark.



    I was there recently, as a chaperon to my son's school fieldtrip. It was nothing like the zoos we have visited in Singapore (you can check out our Singapore Zoo trips here: Singapore Zoo).


    The Ark is quite small and you can easily tour the entire zoo in a an hour or less.  But I do appreciate that it is indoor (away from the scorching heat of the sun or otherwise monsoon weather).


     
     
    The Ark Avilon's offers:
     
    1. Photo opportunities with the zoo's star attractions like JENNY the Bornean Orangutan, AYLA the Palawan Bearcat, NARDO and ALEX the Cockatoos, TYSON the Burmese Python and  BUSTY the Pony;
    2. Farm animals feeding at FARMLAND Fun Feeding Station;
    3. Arts and crafts making using recycled materials, and
    4. Venue for celebrating birthday parties and other corporate events. 

     
     
     
    TIPS:
    1. Bring lots of loose 20s for the animal feeding.
    2. Bring insect repellant.
    3. Don't expect too much from the place.  It is a bit old and requires an upkeep.
    4. You can bring your own food inside the Ark, subject to P25 corkage fee per person.
     
     

    Ark Avilon Zoo is located at Frontera Verde, Ortigas Avenue corner C-5, Pasig City, Philippines

    (+632) 706 2992 / arkavilonzoo@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

    Entrance Fee is P400 (Below 3feet is P300)
    20% discount for Senior Citizen and PWD (with Senior Citizen ID / PWD ID card)
    Operating Hours: 9am to 6pm
     

    BDJ -All Things Kawaii (January and February 2015



    What is Kawaii?
     
    KAWAII is Japanese for "radiant face"
    It is all about being lovable, cute and adorable!
     
    I was so happy to receive BDJ's first beautybox for 2015, simply titled "Kawaii".
     
     
    Just look at these loots!
     
    I am so loving this box.  Everything in it is full sized :P
      


    Here is what's inside:

    1. Sunkiller Perfect Strong Plus, 30ml (P495)

    Just perfect for the coming summer month! It has super UV-blocking abilities that stays on skin longer. It is also waterproof and sweat proof.  So awesome this product. Can't wait to give it a try.    


    L-R:  Sunkiller 1. Perfect Sunblock, 2. Bifesta Cleansing Lotion Age Care, 3.Lucido-L-Styling Milk Airy and 4. Lucido-L-Treatment Oil Perm.


    2. Bifesta Cleansing Lotion Age Care, 300ml (P419)

    I have heard of this product before and I am happy to get a sample to test before actually buying.  This product boasts as being the first water based make-up remover. It is gentle on skin and helps boost skin repair. 


    3. Lucido-L Styling Milky Air, 70ml (P295)

    Another product I have been hearing of lately is Lucido-L, another brand I have been wanting to test.  Lucido-L Styling Milk Air is a leave on hair treatment, for conditioning and styling hard to manage mane (like mine). I am so using this one.  I also love that it comes in a fruity floral fragrance.

    4. Lucido-L Treatment Oil Perm, 50ml (P295)
    The Lucido L Treatment Oil in an overnight hair treatment for permed and colored hair, to keep it soft and curly.  


    I was also happy to see a BDJ box returning product, Pixy. 



    T-B: 5. Pixy Blush-on and 6. Pixy Eye Shadow


    5. Pixy Blush-on, 3.5g (P345)
    6. Pixy Eye Shadow, 2.8g (P315)
     
    This brand, I have tested before.  It is easy to apply and blends well with my skin tone.  It is also handy and chick. However, it doesn't last very long and would need constant retouch about every 3 hours.

     

    L-R: 7. Pixy Coverlast and 8. Pixy Two Way Cake Fit


    5. Pixy Coverlast, 10g (P325)

    Pixy promises a long lasting powder foundation with Coverlast, that hides blemishes, for a smooth and even look. It also controls oil and shine.  I think I am going to try this first.

    6. Pixy Two Way Cake Fit, 12.5g (P275)

    Another Pixy item in the box is Pixy Two Way Cake Fit.  You can use it wet for more coverage or dry for a more natural look.  This product contains squalane, found to keep skin soft and supple.


    VERDICT

    BDJ continues to impress.   I am really happy with the items I got.  This month's box total costs three times the subscription cost I paid for.  No wonder BDJ boxes are always sold out.

    If you are interested on BDJ boxes, check out their webpage here: BDJ Beauty Box


    February 13, 2015

    Simply Shoes ~ The One-Stop Family Shoe Shop

     
    SIMPLY SHOES OPENS AT SM CENTER ANGONO

    SM started out with shoes. And today, it continues to expand its footwear legacy by reaching out to communities with the Simply Shoes outlets.  Simply Shoes, an affiliate of SM Retail, just opened its fourth branch at SM Center Angono.
     
    Simply Shoes is a one-stop shoe store offering a wide assortment of shoes selections for women, men and children.
     
     
     Simply Shoes carries an assortment of brands, both for everyday and special occasions including SM’s iconic Parisian brand, which offers trendy yet affordable footwear for the ladies. Parisian Comfy show you how to combine comfort and style.  My shoe of choice ~ really comfty (and affordable too)! 


    (photo grab from Parisian's Facebook page)

                 
    It also carries Milanos, trendy shoes for men; as well as sporty Easy Soft, Duralite, Treads, Islander, Beachwalk, Toeberries, Sling and Kicks for the active and casual lifestyle.



    (photo grab from Simply Shoe's Facebook page)


     
     
    Kids, on the other hand, will make stylish steps with Sugar Kids, Tough Kids, Sofia the First, Spongebob, Barbie, Ollie, Fisher Price and Avengers. 
     
     
    (photo grab from Simply Shoe's Facebook page)


                 
    Now, some good news for the budget conscious mommies:
    Simply Shoes SM Center Angono has an Opening Promo. 
     
    Use your SM Advantage, Prestige or BDO Rewards cardholders get 10x bonus points on all purchases until February 15, 2015. 





    Visit Simply Shoes branches located at Walter Mart Tanauan, Walter Mart Makati, Walter Mart Sta. Maria and  SM Center Angono.

    February 11, 2015

    Jurong Bird Park ~ Asia's Largest Bird Paradise


     Singapore has so much to offer children and kids at heart ~ and Jurong Bird Park is one of them

    Jurong Bird Park is Asia's largest birds paradise. It is home to almost 5,000 birds across 400 species (yes that many!). 







    Here you can find different species of birds fly, swim and roam freely.



    The park's major attractions include:


    1. Penguin Coast - houses nearly 500 penguins across 5 species.



    2. Lory Loft - a 9 storey high enclosure (the structure is so huge, it's hard too tell, you are in a bird cage) that offers close encounters with colorful lories that you can feed.




    3. Waterfall Aviary - a 30 meter high man-made waterfalls, the largest walk-in aviary in the world.  We did not see much birds though and this attraction was in need of a little up-keeping.





    4. Bird Shows - Jurong Bird Zoo also runs numerous shows:
    • High Flyers Show (Pools Amphitheater; shows at 11am and 3pm) - is a showcase of birds' skills. My boys love the low flying birds as they did exhibition flights across the arena.  Very colorful and entertaining. 
    • King of the Skies (Hawk Arena; shows at 10am and 4pm) - is a display of hunting birds' skills. It was educational to learn about hawks, falcons, vultures as they parade around.
    • Lunch with Parrots (Songbird Terrace; show at 1pm) We gave this one a miss, over Breakfast with the Orangutan at the Singapore Zoo

      
    5. Birds of Play - is a water playground (yehey)!  Remember to bring trunks and swimwear for your little ones.

     






    Located near the water playground is Safari Scoops.  A perfect cool down and last stop at the bird park.


     TIPS:
      1. If you intend to do numerous zoo parks suggest you get the park hopper tickets via their website: PARK HOPPER TICKET for discounts.
      2. The park is huge.  Get the ticket with tram access.  You can hop on and hop off anytime.  I suggest you do a full ride first to familiarize yourself with the area before touring the park on foot.
      3. The park opens at 830am. Come early to get the most out of the park. Any later would probably be too hot to enjoy your tour.
      4. Wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of water. Don't forget your umbrella or cap and insect repellant.
      5. Jurong is about 30-40 minutes away the city center.  There are various transportation options:
      • MRT via the East West Green Line alight at Boon Lay (EW27) then transfer to a connecting bus at the bus interchange, bus no. 194 or 251 OR
      • Direct bus via Singapore Attraction Express (SAEx). Check SAEx website for their schedule OR
      • Like what we did take a taxi cab.


    February 8, 2015

    A sure hit attraction for picture obsessed individuals!

     
     
    Trick Eye Museums have literally taken the world by storm,  and I fully understand why.
     
     
    How can one resist, a picture perfect opportunity to get a shot or two, right next to really interesting and original 3D artworks and
    backdrops?
     
     
    ****
     
    Trick Eye Museum is finally in Singapore.
     
     
    It is located in Resorts World, Sentosa, right next to the Malaysian Food Street, just a few meters away the Universal Studio.
     

     

    Entrance to the Trick Eye was included in the Sentosa 1 Day Play Pass we bought.  Otherwise, a ticket would cost you SGD20 for children and SGD25 for adults
     
     
    For discounted rates, you may opt for the RW combo/bundle tickets, through the Resorts World website.
     
     
    I have posted some of our favorite photos below.

     


     

     
     
     
     

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

     

     TIPS:
    • Know your angles. 
    • You may borrow a selfie stick from the museum, so don't fret if you forgot to bring your own. 
    • Don't rush into the exhibit.  Take you time and shoot from the recommended photo-shooting angle.
    • There is no rest room inside, so do your business before entering.
    • Get the most out of the museum.  Come on a weekday to avoid the crowd. 

    Your imagination is the limit!


    For more information and tips on Sentosa Singapore, please visit my other posts... SENTOSA SINGAPORE



    February 7, 2015

    The Luge and Skyride at Singapore Sentosa

    Included in our Sentosa 1 Day Play Pass is roundtrip ride to the Sentosa Skyline Luge.


    The line at the Luge was long and winding (literally)... but that was fine since this ride is a MUST try when visiting Sentosa.


    The Luge and Skyride are actually two rides. 

    The Luge takes you downhill, while the Skyride takes you back up.
    The ride downhill takes approximately 5 minutes, and the skyride about 10 minutes.


    The LUGE is a gravity thrill ride, with a unique braking system that takes cruising or speeding downhill.  I was only at cruising  speed though since I was riding with my youngest. However, hubby and my eldest son were (hmmn...carefully) speeding downhill. 


    The Skyride was like riding a ferris wheel only lateral.  I was a bit scared for the boys, as we were seated very high up, traversing on cable! 


     
     
    VERDICT
    1. It was fun riding the Luge and the Skyride.  Although the boys loved the Skyride more. I think the height adds to the excitement.
    2. I can't say the Luge is really safe, since I saw a teen girl with bruised elbow being attended by the Luge medics. I guess one needs to exercise caution in steering the luge, especially next to steep corners.
    3. Be careful driving, but don't forget to have fun!
    4. It can be hot up on the Skyride so apply sunblock for protection.
    5. Be careful with loose belongings, especially your cellphones, cameras and wallets. Please avoid booboos.

    For updated pricing please visit the Sentosa website:  SENTOSA LUGE AND SKYRIDE.


    For more travel tips on Sentosa, please visit also our other Sentosa Posts: Singapore Day 6 - SENTOSA.   
     

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