Puerto del Sol Raffle Scam

Some beach resort in Laiya

I was in Manila Ocean Park last July 10 for a dental check up when a lady handed me a small piece of paper to fill out for a raffle daw. I asked her what’s it for and who sponsored it. I knew something is fishy right away since she couldn’t give me any details. She said it’s a promo by Puerto del Sol as written on the paper. It’s written very tiny so nobody will bother to read it, I was hesitant but the “free vacation promo” was just too tempting so I filled out the form anyway.

This morning I received a text telling me that I am one of their guaranteed receipients of 3days 2 nights free hotel and beach resort accommodation. Wow, sounds too good. Because I was skeptic, I googled and found out this cheap marketing strategy lures people into buying a timeshare property. They’ll invite you to a presentation and convince you to buy a timeshare. When you buy it, you become a co-owner of a property for a specific period of time, each year. Syempre, being the co-owner, you get to enjoy additional conveniences and comforts, and that’s not for free. It does sound nice but even if I have the money, I will not buy a timeshare. It’s just like buying a vacation package every year amounting to hundreds of thousands! I’d rather plan my own vacation, it’s more fun and exciting and it’s cheaper.

After you refuse their offer, they will hand you out your free vacation voucher but you’ll have to deposit 5K, which will be refunded after the trip is accomplished. Hmmm fishy…that deposit is too big. I wont risk my 5K for that…but if they lower it down to 1K, I might reconsider hehe.

This whole thing is a scam. Ok, I don’t wanna call it a scam…just a shameless money-digging strategy targeting innocent consumer like myself who works hard to provide food for my family. Chos! Good thing I googled first.


Moral of the story, there’s no such thing as a free vacation!

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Old Houses in San Juan Batangas

Spent overnight in Batangas yesterday with my colleagues. Wow! I love San Juan Batangas! There’s sooo many beautiful Spanish-era stone houses along the way, so laid back and lots and lots of trees! I first visited the place 2 years ago when Lovelyn (college friend) got married there, I fell in live with the place instantly.

We roamed around the town for a few hours and it was overwhelming to see how those houses were able to survive after many many years. It’s just amazing to me. I wished those houses were open for public viewing, I’m surely gonna line up to get inside. I wanna see how their CR/bathroom will look like. I have been inside several old houses already, such as Rizal’s in Cavite, but wasn’t really able to check their bathroom lols. I’m eager to find out what style of rustic bathroom vanities they have, what kind of toilet bowl they used lols etc. I just wanna know how people from the past lived before, ok. I hope I can get a chance to visit San Juan again.

And I also hope the government would help in preserving those houses so the future generation will be able to appreciate them too.

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This post is for Andrea Paola Gutierrez

HI Andrea Paola Gutierrez!!!!

So dapat talaga complete name? Sana sinama mo na din ang middle name mo hehehe charrot lang gurl!

I will address your questions in a separate entry para naman mabasa din ng iba who’s planning to go to HK in a tight budget. So you’re visiting HK this December…wow, that’s winter season! Don’t worry dahil wala naman snow..but it’s still very cold. Medyo winter din nun when we went there and I really enjoyed it. Since medyo malamig yan, make sure you have:

Boots – for experience lang, OA kasi kung dito ka sa Manila mag bo-boots di ba
Scarf – kung maari, muted colors!
Jackets – jackets with a fur, leather jackets, varsity jackets etc.

For more info about HK Winter fashion, check HERE

San maganda mag-book?

Depende sa budget! Andaming bongga 5star hotel dun, but if you’re travelling in a tight budget, go to MIRADOR MANSION or CHUNGKING MANSION. Andaming hostels dyan and guesthouses. Actually, you can go there directly kahit walang booking online pero mas mainam yun meron. Ideal yun location nyan, Tsim Sha Tsui, kasi accessible sa lahat ng transpo and tourist attractions.

But if you ask me, I personally suggest dun kayo sa MIRADOR MANSION maghanap ng guesthouse. Yun Mirador Mansion is just the name of the building ha. Dun sa loob nun madaming mga hostels. Uunahan na kita, do not expect great service, clean hallways and spacious rooms. BTW, we stayed at Chungking Mansion and I will never everrrrr g0 back to that place again. Traumatic ang elevator, promise!

Cosmic Guesthouse (http://www.cosmicguesthouse.com)
Ridor Guesthouse
Kowloon Guesthouse
USA Hostel
Lily Garden Guest House

Mas mainam, go to AGODA.COM then search for Mirador Mansion, check mo yun rates ng mga guesthouses then compare.

Sa food naman, para makatipid, my tips are:

– Always eat heavy breakfast either sa McDo or KFC. Surprisingly, mas mura sa fastfood compared dun sa mga local carinderia nila.
– Buy de-litrong mineral water from 711. Whenever you go out, refill-refill na lang. Sooo much cheaper!

– After breakfast, bili kayo ng tinapay sa bakery. Piliin nyo yun siksik, yun parang putok hahaha. Yan ang lunch nyo, at dahil may baon kang water, solb na!

– Tapos hanap kayo ng YOSHINOYA kasi every 2PM, half the price sila haahaha.

Regarding coupons, you can get them usually sa labas lang ng mga restos / fast food, they’re all over. Yan yun shabu-shabu that we ordered from Cafe de Coral. Hinde ko sya masyadong type, mura lang yan and pwedeng pagsaluhan ng 5 tao. Yun chicken curry hinde din masarap. Kulang sa gata!

If you’re planning to go to Disneyland and Ocean Park, check mo dun sa hostel nyo if they have discounted tickets. We bought ours in a travel agency in Worldwide Plaza, as advised by Ate Yen. Daming Filipino stores dun. Mas mura kesa pagbinili mo mismo dun sa Disneyland.

Really looveee HK. My bestfriend and I are planning to go back there, ewan ko kung kelan, pero baka pangarap lang muna. So many nice things to see, kulang ang 8 days eh. Next time when I visit the place, food trip naman ang kakareerin ko! Also, when travelling, make sure may baon kang slippers, salompas, Pau linament etc. Traveling HongKong means walking and traversing looong and winding roads.

Have fun in HK! And balitaan mo ko about your vacation (feeling close hahaha). Hope you’ll find this post helpful, if not naman, keri lang. 🙂 Thank you for visiting and commenting, Andrea. Take lots of beautiful pictures, try different delicacies, and have lots of fun fun funnn. Babaunin mo ang magagandang memories na yan when you’re older hahahhahaha charrr! Thanks again and take care!

Check out related stories:
Hong Kong is most beautiful by night

How to go to 10000 Bhuddas

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Looking for a nice and cheap place to stay overnight in Puerto Galera? Try HSL Beach Resort!

Planning to go to Puerto Galera this summer? Try HSL Beach Resort. We went there 3 years ago so I know it’s a nice place. Not the best out there pero if you’re looking for cheap accommodation in Puerto Galera, this place will do. Just to be clear, they’re not paying me to do this (although I think they should!)

Why I recommend this resort?

First, they offer very affordable room rates. When we went there last time, we rented 1 big room (6 adults, 1 kiddie, 2 dalagindings) with 2 beds all for 1500! That’s really cheap! If you’re just planning to stay overnight, you don’t need bonggang accommodation, unless you plan to just sleep and relax in your room, but if your purpose is to have fun with water activities all throughout your stay, this resort offer a good value for your money.

Here’s their current room rates:
1 room / good for 5 = 2500 overnight (aircon with TV)
1 room / good for 5 = 2000 overnight (non-aircon but with TV)

2nd, it’s beach front, babeh! You don’t need to walk very far, you can go swimming just right across your doorstep!

Here is the entrance to the resort. What I really really like most about this resort is that they’re not CROWDED. HSL Resort is on the far right side, a little far from the hustle and bustle of Puerto Galera – you know that part where almost everyone gather together to eat, dance and be merry. But it’s not very far and isolated, ok.

The front yard. This resort reminds me so much of my barrio! So nice to stay here, very relaxing.

Nipa and Lawanit rooms. I really like the atmosphere here, parang provincia talaga. Mahangin, malilim and tahimik.

It’s really different here compared to the other resorts, more relaxing and spacious!

There are several hammocks so you can relax better. During Holy Week, tents are allowed here.

Great for family outing since there’s huge space surrounding the area so kids can play.

There’s a CR, cabinet, TV and 2 big beds. There are shower/CRs outside also.

There’s also a kitchen area so you can cook your own food. Everything is Puerto Galera is so friggin expensive! A single meal is 150P. If you want to save a lot, buy bottled water and snacks before heading to PG. Buy your own San Mig light na din as they can get expensive there.

Good thing the market place is very accessible, so to keep everything in budget, cook your own dinner and breakfast! We had itlog na maalat with kamatis, sisig on a hotplate and seafood carbonara that night. Taray ng dinner namin hehe. You can borrow kaldero and kawali from the resort owner, for the gasul, I think you’ll have to pay 50P yata.

This is where we slept. No fluffy bed, comforter and definitely not the most comfortable experience but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, ok. In fairness, I had a good sleep that night.

Doesn’t matter where you’re staying – whether in a nice and expensive resort or something like this – what matters is you go with the nicest bunch of people around you. Wag magsama ng maarte so everyone will have fun!

For HSL Beach Resort reservation, contact Marie at 0916-2074858 (latest phone number as of March 2012).

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People’s Park In The Sky Needs A Repainting

Palace in the Sky now known as People’s Park in the Sky is situated atop Mt. Sungay, the highest point in Tagaytay. It was supposedly a guest house for US Pres. Ronald Raegan during the the Marcos regime, but was never completed. It’s now open to the public as a nice sightseeing viewpoint.

What to expect:

Old and rusty structures

Not so well maintained garden

Cold and windy weather

Breathtaking 360 degree view of Tagaytay and neigboring provinces. You can also see little bit of Makati and/or Ortigas Skyline from there.

What to do:

There’s soo many things to try other than just walking an uphill climb and taking lots of pictures. My friends went all gaga doing a Lady Gaga dance cover and videotaped it so we’ll have something to laugh about when we get back to our hostel. It’s also the perfect place for exercising/jogging. There’s a shrine too, if you want some quiet time. We saw one couple celebrating their, probably, monthsary together. Sweet!

Some foreigners visiting the place, mostly Koreans, annyeong! Entrance fee here is only 15Pesos!

The People’s Park signboard ala Hollywood.

You know, I think the Luge and Skyride would be awesome here. Yes, that one in Singapore! Imagine this – enjoying the fantastic view as you board the Skyride and then having an exciting ride as you go down on a luge. Sayaaa! Let’s all dream about it!

This lumpia tastes really good so I asked Ate for her Lumpia Recipe – very thin and small slices of Singkamas, Carrots, Sayote and Camote (no need to pre-cook or blanch your veggies). Mix all ingredients then wrap in a lumpia wrapper. No need to add seasoning. Then deep fry. Nasa sawsawan (suka with some toyo, sugar, sili and other spices) daw ang secret! I tried it once but failed. The veggies has to be cut into very thin and small slices so it wont take too much oil when you fry it.

This is the garden area. A few cottages perfect for picnic to celebrate the good life.

Another shot of the garden, with Taal lake and Taal volcano, nice view as a backdrop.

Someone should propose a re-development plan to preserve the structure itself. Sayang! The first time I visited this place (many many years ago), water was leaking through the ceiling.

I kid you not but this place can be developed as our version of SENTOSA SINGAPORE! Calling calling DOT or whoever is responsible for the beautification of my country LOL. Let’s just hope, if it ever comes to a reality, God will not allow that tiny volcano to erupt yet.

There’s even a mini ampitheater.

This is literally The Kalawang In The Sky. A repainting would be nice, di ba? We need Boysen In The Sky NOW na. It doesn’t even look “historical” hahaha, more like DIRTY.

Tagaytay Highlands? Not sure, I’ve never been there. Since this is the highest point in Tagaytay, CABLE CARS would have been perfect here.

Be awed by God’s beautiful creation – mountains, lakes, clouds, sunshine, sunset etc. Thank you Lord for your amazing grace.

Pampam’s hair flipping moment! Had lots of fun with the wind blowing our hairs. Fresh air whohooo!!!

A short trip to People’s Park in the sky offer a great bonding experience between families, friends and lovers. I’d choose this place over Picnic Grove any day. This is one of those cheap activities that’s worth a try, for just 15P and you’ll have the privilege to see the beauty of this world. Priceless.

How to go to People’s Park in Tagaytay : From Cubao, ride San Agustin Bus bound to Nasugbu (100P fare) > drop off at Olivares Terminal (just before Tagaytay Rotonda) > From Olivares Terminal ride a jeepney going to People’s Park. 17P fare.

Note: Olivarez Terminal is just a few walks away from Tagaytay Rotonda (they’re not the same, pwede lakarin). Across the Olivarez Terminal is Olivarez Center/Plaza.

Looking for a place to stay in Tagaytay, check out JESCA LAKEVIEW

Want a romantic date in Tagaytay? Try Sonya’s Garden!

For a complete Tagaytay Itinerary, CLICK HERE

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Love Singapore!

 I was able to witness how diverse and multicultural Singapore is when I visited my cousins there last year. Their culture is a melting pot of Chinese, British, Malay, and Indian cultures. Amazing! I stayed in a hostel near the Chinatown, where old streets and Chinese-inspired buildings can still be seen, and just a  few walks away from there, you’ll find modern metal buildings all around the city.

Their food is also very diverse. There are lots of cuisines to try – Chinese, Indian, Malay, Western and even Fusion. One friend tried an Indian food called Mi Goreng (it’s like spaghetti only 1000x spicier) and ended up eating only a spoonful. I mostly tried Chinese food since I am more familiar with it. Malay dishes (mostly with coconut milk) are widely available too.

If you want an extraoridnary experience of multicultural life, visit Singapore! Can’t wait to go back next year!

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Best Place To Stay Overnight In Tagaytay

I love visiting Tagaytay! Been there a couple of times already and I just don’t get tired of the place. Its cold, fresh air and awesome sceneries are perfect for unwinding. Definitely one of the few pleasant cities in Asia!

If you’re looking for a very cheap/affordable place to stay in Tagaytay, you might consider this:

JESCA Lakeview Bed and Breakfast. It took a while for us to find it because Japox only knew it’s called LAKEVIEW. Apparently, there is another LAKEVIEW Hotel in Tagaytay – yessss, that bonggang luxurious hotel with swimming pool!!! Eh hello, nakasakay lang kaya kami sa tricycle hahaha. We asked the locals and they all pointed us to that same LAKEVIEW HOTEL, until finally, Ate from the nearby fruit stand told us to walk down the street and look for it.

Walking downhill to check the rooms and the garden. So far soooo good. Perfect for those who are travelling in a tight budget. Not the place for honeymooners, ok, but for a cheap yet romantic date, I think this will do. Room rates are very affordable (500P per room, good for 2) and very homey. It’s just like sleeping over at your friend’s parent’s house in the province. Yun nga lang, shared bathroom but they have a heater/towel so it’s ok.

Little pretty flowers here, there and everywhere.

Old country house style. Those are aircon rooms on 2nd floor, with a nice overlooking view of Lake Taal.

 Ahh what a wonderful world! Mountains, trees and greens, so so beautiful!

Non-aircon single bedroom (good for 2, 500P). Oh yesss, it has a sandblasted floor and stonewalls!!! I initially thought we were in a garage LOL when we first got in. I guess it’s because this house was built down the ridge overlooking the lake so it has to be durable and cannot rot easily. But a little improvements on the flooring and interior walls would be nice, noh? But it’s ok, beggars can’t be choosers eh.

Trust me, you don’t need airconditioning here. It’s too cold by night. No need for TV too. We stayed outside the whole day and spent the rest of our night enjoying the view, Tanduay Ice and chichas. Besides, I have all the time to watch TV when I get back home. All I need is a comfortable bed, pillow and blanket.

Here’s the room we rented, good for 4-5. There’s a huge bed that can accommodate 3 biggies and a double bed. We’re lucky, Japox’s Lolo owns this place so we were able to get this for a very cheap price – 600/4 so that’s 150P each! Not bad.

Chicha for socials. Sarap ng Hansel Premium!

Too tired already.

Wake up call na japoxxxx!

Good morning sunshine!

What a beautiful morning! Ang lammmmmiggg!!

Nice spot to enjoy a sweet date in the morning.

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast!

Wet weather, cold breeze and morning dews! Simple pleasures but how seldom we achieve it.

Lucky Me bulalo and gardenia bread for breakfast, truly, this was one of the best breakfasts of my life!

There’s a kitchen somewhere so you can cook your own food too, if you like.

Lillies on a pot.

Joanne enjoying the rocking chair.

Yummy breakfast by the porch.

What a huge garden! I like! It expands right down the hill.

The best thing about this place is that it’s very accessible. Just a little walk uphill and you’re at Aguinaldo Hi-way already, from there you can wait for the bus that will bring you to Cubao. It’s also near some fruit stands so you can go shopping first before going home.

Ratings? Well, it didn’t even get the 1star standard, but the place is OK, great value for money. If you’re going to stay in Tagaytay overnight, I highly recommend this place because:

It’s cheap, probably the cheapest you can find in Tagaytay.
It’s just a few steps away from Aguinaldo Hi-way – that means it’s very accessible to all places of interest in Tagaytay
It’s just 1 ride to One Destination (where restos/cafes like Cafe Lupe, Carlos Pizza, Henlin, Kitaro, Mile Hi Diner, Pancake House, Starbucks, Teriyaki Boy, Leslie’s and Antonio’s are located)
1 ride to Tagaytay Rotonda (Chowking, ATMs, 7-11 etc.)
2 rides to Picnic Grove, People’s Park, Sheperd’s House
15-30min ride to Taal Splendido/Caleruega/Sonya’s Garden/Bag of Beans
1 ride to Magallanes Square
It’s near the Poveda Prayer House / Lourdes church, if you want to spend some quiet time.
It’s on a ridge overlooking the Taal lake (i didn’t see the volcano)!

Will definitely come back, hinde na lugi. For a complete Tagaytay Itinerary, check out this LINK


UPDATE (as of FEB. 28, 2013)

Big thanks to Bob (genxp@ymail.com) for this info:
“active pa din yun number kasi nagcall ako :) she talk to me nicely and i make reservation good for 2… the price changed because it’s already 800php yun sa baba daw and 1,200 if you want a room with cr.. :D so i guess this would be the latest post, thanks for this blog.. such a big help for us first timer in tagaytay” 
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A Short Trip To Sonya’s Garden Bed and Breakfast

One of the places you must visit should you go to Tagaytay is Sonya’s Garden.

A few weeks back, I had a chance to visit the place and bygolly wow, I was impressed. Hehe not really super surprise but I loved it there. It was a short trip (we stayed there for 15-30mins only) we didn’t get a chance to tour around so I can’t say much about the place. One thing I can assure you is, if you adore country living, this place is definitely for you! I’ve always thought I am a provinciana country girl by heart so yeah, even if we stayed there for just a brief moment, I felt the connection haha and enjoyed it. I really liked the ambience. The wet weather also made the tour more fun for me.

Here is the pathway to the gardens and other facilities, I supposed. Sayang. Maybe next time when there’s another chance, we could spend a night here. I really would like to try their healthy eat-all-you-can dining.

We were only able to get to the Panaderia which is just a few steps away from the parking lot. Ahhh it’s nice to walk inside the store with the aroma of freshly baked bread. Kakagutom.

Ate baking goodies. They’re not pugon made, sorry. Oven baked goodies but nonetheless, masarap pa din naman. You must never miss their SPANISH BREAD. It’s a bit pricey but OMG sa sarap and they’re quite heavy too so yeah, sulit naman. 110P or 120P yata for 10pcs. I should have bought 3 packs had I known how yummy they were! Forget everything else except the Spanish Bread!

90P choco cookies. For me, nothing beats Fibisco choco chips cookies!!!

This Cheese hopia is equally good too! Really. Another must buy pasalubong from Sonya’s bakery. Again, it’s pricey! Actually, everything they sell is a bit pricey! May halo yatang ginto yung harina nila LOLs.

Leeks (garlic chives or kutsay) hopia which tastes like Bossing’s hopia, I presume. I only bought 2 of the best selling products because again they’re…super pricey!

See, oven baked not pugon. Do you know that pugon-baked goodies are 4times better than oven-baked? Well, that’s actually just my opinion…and now you know it LOL. But really, pugon baked smells better!

Our guest sitting prettily while Japox was shamelessly trying to taste each and every bread they serve HAHAHA (they have free taste test inside to help you decide which one to bring home)

This is I think, Sonya’s trademark. You’ll know right away it’s Sonya’s Garden once you see this nice princess bed whatever. One must not forget to take pictures here – sitting, lying down or doing random cute poses – to earn your bragging rights. For best results, take a picture with your loved ones – cuddling and kissing allowed. Kaso, malamok tsaka andaming antik dyan.

To the SPA! You bet, it’s pricey! Well, I can get cheaper deal via Ensogo or other cheap deal sites so I wont probably try this one.

This zen inspired fountain sort of provide a very calming ambience.

To the secret room!

Sharing this picture because I thought those petals looked gorgeous!!! HAHHAHA

Can you guess where this is? Yessss, inside the comfort room!

Looks classy! I can actually imagine Maria Clara coming out from that CR.

Coolest bathroom ever. Really! Very vintage but very prone to anay.

Quite obvious why they’re called mickey mouse plant, right? I wanted to bring them home except that I don’t have any use for them but they look really cute, no? Its color reminds me of Chesa, the fruit that tastes like PUTO SECO LOL. Serprise serprise! This plant belongs to eggplant family (i knew it!). I wonder if you can torta them as well?

Sonya’s garden offer spa services, eat all you can dining, bed and breakfast etc. It also an ideal venue for intimate wedding and a nice haven for lovers (even for friends) who wish to spend a relaxing day in a refreshing atmosphere! Definitely coming back when I have more time, budget and car!

How To Get There By Commute:

– If coming from Manila, ride a San Agustin bus bound to NASUGBU, politely ask kuya to drop you off at Buck Estate Subd., from there ride a tricycle to Sonya’s Garden.
– If coming from Tagaytay City/Rotonda, take a jeepney ride to Buck Estate then ride a tricycle headed to Sonya’s.

Here’s a complete Tagaytay Itinerary for your perusal. Enjoy!

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1 Night and 2 days in Tagaytay (Itinerary)

Yehey! We survived Tagaytay for 2 days without bringing a car! I still prefer kung may kotse sana, more convenient, eh since wala namang kotse and we wanted to spend a little money as much as possible, we have no other way but to commute. Ok naman mag rent ng van (Manila to Tagaytay) kaso they usually charge 2000P for 10 hours, since we’re staying there for 2 days, this is clearly not an option for us.

If touring Tagaytay with smaller group (2-5), my suggestion is to commute via San Agustin bus (bound to Nasugbu) then just rent a car/van there to tour your around. Cheaper that way. Surprisingly, commuting to Tagaytay is easy, there are plenty of public transpo available (tricycles, buses and jeepneys) to get you to different places, it is, however, impossible to find a taxi there.

Touring Tagaytay in a tight budget? Here’s a complete 2-day Itinerary to Tagaytay by commute, with budget assumption, some directions and side notes. Hope it helps!

2-Day Tagaytay Itinerary (commute)
2-Day Tagaytay Itinerary (commute)

Tagaytay is actually an expensive city, but who says you can’t enjoy Tagaytay with spending less money? With a little less than 2k for a 2day tour (fare, food, accommodation and pasalubong included), this is quite cheap!

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Corregidor Day Tour

My knowledge about Corregidor are very limited to ghost stories and wars, it changed right after I watched a TV Special about Corregidor on Knowledge Channel. I didn’t know there’s so many things to learn and experience there – relieve the past experiences of the Filipinos and Americans who bravely defended our country against the invading Japanese forces during World War II, visit the building ruins, canons and infirmary, explore the tunnels, experience ghost-hunting and watch the sunrise and sunset.

Sun Cruises (travel agency) offer Corregidor day tour for only 1999P (includes a roundtrip ferry transfers, shrine, entrance and terminal fees, guided island tour and buffet lunch). If you prefer a more romantic escapade, try their sunset cruise with sumptous dinner and serenade while overlooking the Manila Bay. I super likeee but it sounds a little expensive, not sure if they offer a discounted tours.

My friends and I are planning to book a 2-day Corregidor tour this March. I can’t wait!

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