Friday, April 9, 2010


This trip was my first trip to Boracay – believe it or not!  I like going to the beach but somehow I’ve never been to Boracay.  So I’m going to give you a perspective from a Boracay first-timer. 

Boracay is so popular that I think I’m the only one I know who’s never been there.  And a lot of people keep telling me that Boracay is not that nice anymore and all other reasons why I shouldn’t go there. 

But based on my trip, I would say, of all the beaches I’ve been too - (Palawan, Ilocos, Batangas, Puerto Galera, Bantayan, Cebu, Sentosa, Sabah, etc… )  I still think Boracay is the best I’ve been to yet.  Hubby’s been to Phuket and still prefers Boracay. 

The white sand in Boracay is something I don’t think  I’ve ever encountered in a beach before.  It’s like polvoron or even powder!  And I love that you can go out far into the water and still have the water come only up to your knees.  That’s important for me because hubby and son can’t swim and I don’t want to have to constantly worry about them being washed away by the undercurrent.   What’s more there are not much stones to hurt your feet when walking on the sand. 

I’d understand why westerners would love to stay there.  It’s like a secret paradise hideout. 

We stayed at True Home hotel in Station 1.  For me, a person not so fond of crowds – especially at the beach, staying at station 1 was probably the key to my having a blast. 
The hotel had a beach front and our room – the Junior Suite -  was facing the beach and had its own private balcony.  As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, you are greeted by the view of the beach!  (without having to see the people and them seeing you)

View from the bed

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Italy Vacation

Pincio Point

Hubby and I recently went on an Italian Babymoon vacation. We visited Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice and had an absolutely great time!

It was my second time in Rome, and this time I got to stay there longer and get to know the city better. We rented an apartment from Rental in Rome. I have mixed reviews about their service. They don't respond to emails right away. I had to send emails a couple of times before they replied.

We stayed at a rented apartment in Via Capo d' Africa called the Costantino Loft. It was very cold when we were in Rome and the apartment didn't have a good heating source so we were still quite shivering inside the apartment even with the heater on. But then again, I come from a tropical country. I'm also not a fan of incandescent bulbs which the apartment used for all of its lighting as they are not energy efficient. The shower area was super small. I'm a 5'0 petite woman and yet I have a hard time maneuvering inside the shower. But the apartment owner was nice except she didn't speak English and we didn't speak Italian. And the location was excellent. It's very near the Colosseo and as soon as you walk out the apartment building, you'd have a view of the Arc of Constantine. Once you get a hang of the buses, it's pretty easy to get around and back.

One thing to note when having coffee in Rome when you're on a budget is it's cheaper to have your coffee standing up by the bar. Be wary of bartenders asking you to take a seat.

Duomo Clock

We just spent one day in Florence and Pisa. Florence was nice and there were so many shops selling leather bags near the church of Sta. Croce, I went a bit crazy. There's even a Leather school inside the church. Note that there's another entrance to the Leather School where you don't need to pay the 5Eu entrance to the church. But the church is also pretty interesting because it's the final resting place of some famous Italians like Raphael and Michelangelo.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Pisa, on the other hand, was just so so for me. I don't exactly get the point of preserving a building that wasn't designed properly in the first place. In my opinion, all the renovation and maintenance takes away from its charm. If not for the maintenance and renovations it wouldn't even be standing at all. And if I remember correctly, only a few of the tower's marble remain original. Most of it have been replaced.

Piazza San Marco

Of all the places we went to, we both feel that Venice was the place we loved most and we definitely plan to go back there in the future. We loved Venice partly because the bed and breakfast we stayed at was really nice and cozy and the owner, Lorenzo, was very warm and accommodating. So if you are planning to go to Venice, be sure to check out Ai Tagliapietra Bed and Breakfast. The place is very near Piazza San Marco yet far enough to be away from the touristy area.

Here's some when going for a vacation to Italy:

  1. A rented apartment might prove cheaper than a hotel if you're staying for at least 3 days.

  2. If you're renting an apartment, the tourist offices would be the place to get your maps for free.

  3. Consider taking the train to and from the airport to the Termini station. It costs only 11Euros per person compared to a 40Euro taxi ride for 2 going to central Rome.

  4. Buy the ATAC bus tickets (valid for 24 hours/3 days/7 days). Getting lost in the bus is cheaper than getting the bus tour. We got the 16 Euros ticket each for 7 days which was so worth it. It lets you get on the bus and metro free while it's valid.

  5. Eat your breakfast standing up by the bar! The Bars (Cafes as we know them) charge extra (almost double) for sitting on tables. Be wary of bar servers asking you to sit down. They probably want to take advantage of you being the ignorant tourist.
    Once we ate at this bar along Via del Babuino near Piazza di Spagna. The bar server (tender?) asked us to sit but we insisted we'd stand. When we asked for the bill, he was charging us 20Euros for a pizza, a small sandwhich, a cappuccino and a hot chiocolato. He didn't even give us a breakdown of the charges! So when we asked how much each individual item was, he just said "Ok, then 17 Euro." He then gave us a tape receipt that still didn't have a breakdown, only a the amount 17.00 Euros. Honestly, we've been eating 50Euro meals and we don't really care as long as we know it was worth 50Euros. But it sucks to know you're being cheated. In the end, we paid the 17 Euro. It's hard to argue with someone who can't speak English.

  6. The good value for money restaurants are far from the tourist spots. If you go to Rome expecting to sample good Italian food, you might find yourself disappointed like I was. We'd recommend I Buoni Amici on Via Aleardo Aleardi 4 for good value for money (it's not cheap but it's reasonable and the food is good.) We also liked Franchi along Via Cola di Rienzo (1 bus stop away from Piazza del Risorgimento) in the Vatican area. You can get something to munch on from there before you wait in line at the Vatican Museum. And we also tried Alle Fratte di Trastevere Ristorante in Trastevere which was also good. It was the first good place we tried after being frustrated with other places. I almost cried because I finally was able to taste what I expected Italian food to taste.

    Also, one thing to note: I saw Luzzi Pizzeria behind the Colosseo recommended in 2 of the guide books I read. It does get packed at night with locals but I didn't really find their food amazing. Their trippa ala romana which was recommended in Let's Go Italy guide book was actually blech! Plus, one time we were seated near the kitchen, I was observing them do the bread, I'm quite certain that they recycly the bread they serve. They take uneaten pieces of bread from the tables and serve it to other tables. I'm not sure if this is common practice in restaurants but when it comes to this bit of information, ignorance is bliss.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Bayshore Delicious along Upper Serangoon

Crispy Baby Squid

Cereal Prawns

Black Pepper Crab

All very yummy and very reasonably priced. If you're not sensitive about ambiance then Bayshore Delicious is a good place to sample black pepper crab, cereal prawns, and crispy baby squid. Another personal favorite on their menu items is their salted fish fried rice.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Suan Lum Night Bazaar

On our last night in Bangkok, we decided to check out the Suan Lum Night Bazaar. We would have used the MRT since there was a station just near the bazaar but it was raining so we decided to take a taxi. (Again, the driver insisted on a fixed price instead of the meter.)

I read that this Night Bazaar was supposed to close down by April 2007 but fortunately for us it was still open.

There are so many interesting things to see in the night bazaar but I also read that prices here are inflated compared to other markets like Chatuchak or Patpong. So sharpen those haggling skills and prepare to bargain as they expect you to.

I also saw a lot of leather goods that I like and actually came home with a few good steals myself like my new wallet below. It's made of cow's hide and thick leather. It smelled like papaitan for a few days but I love it.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Sunshine Tacos, 24 hours Mexican Grill, Sukhumvit, Bangkok

For those wanting to take a break from Asian cuisine, you can try this quaint little Mexican grill in Sukhumvit. They are open 24 hours and they serve a mean burrito.

They have these little checklists on the table and you can choose what goes into your burrito or taco.

What's interesting is when we entered we were greeted by mostly Filipino servers. I asked them how come they're mostly Filipino and if the owner is Filipino too and the server explained that the owner is from Florida and they used to have a lot Thai servers but most of the customers that eat at their place are Westerners and that Filipinos understand and speak better English. That's good for Pinoys in Bangkok.

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Limoncello, Pizzeria, Sukhumvit, Bangkok

I love to eat! And I love Italian food the most. So I looked for an Italian food place with good reviews and reasonable prices and found Limoncello also on Soi 11.

Limoncello serves pizzas cooked in a traditional wood fired oven. Just how I like 'em.

If you ignore my silly face, you'll see the oven and pizza being made.

I love food so much, I constantly forget to take pictures as soon as they are served. That's why if ever I do have pictures of the food I try, it's usually been partially eaten. We ordered the Pizza Limoncello which had tomato, ham, mushroom, mozzarella cheese, gorgonzola cheese and rocket leaves. Sadly, the pizza didn't make it for photo ops.

Seafood in tomato soup

We also had the seafood in tomato soup and I loved it! As for the pasta, I was quite disappointed. I ordered Taglialini con salsiccia (Home-made angel hair pasta with Italian sausages and mushroom) and from the picture below you can tell that the noodles are weird. I have eaten a lot of Italian food and this one tasted like pancit. It tasted more like Chinese food than Italian. For this dish, I say, I prefer my own cooking.

But I did notice that the table beside us ordered the same thing except they asked for a different type of pasta.

Taglialini con salsiccia

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Bangkok, Thailand Night 2

Bangkok Jam

I brought Jorey back to Siam Square that night to see if he wanted to buy something from there. There was this store selling nice casual wingtip shoes with rubber soles. I know my brother would just go crazy in that shop because he just bought a wingtip vans in patent leather.

MBK mall

From Siam Square, we walked all the way to MBK mall. I'm pretty sure I've been to MBK before because I remember from inside, it looked like Farmer's Plaza in Cubao. Bangkok's traffic jams is also just as bad as Manila and most taxi cabs ask for a fixed price instead of basing the fare on the meter. But when it's traffic and you're tired you eventually give in to it even if their asking price is twice as much as you would pay had you put on the meter. Nevertheless, it was a fun night. We also saw some breakdancers (or whatever they are called these days) showing off their moves at the National Stadium station.

We ended up having dinner at Burger King. We were too tired to even think about where to eat and you know you can't go wrong with a Whopper meal. I'm a dessert person and I couldn't resist their brownie with vanilla ice cream and fudge. Jor was playing with his dessert and he was sticking the brownie in his teeth and giving everyone that was passing by a silly smile. It was hilarious!

Veneers please?

Didn't your mother tell you not to play with your food?

I only realized when I was going through our pictures that this is the only picture we have together. To think that I was telling him we should have more pictures of us in places we've been too.

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