Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Regent, Singapore

      My first day in Singapore and I had a relaxing day at the Regent Hotel which is also owned by Four Seasons. My son Dennis and his wife Charisma came from Macau for a 3 day trip and from Manila I met them at the hotel. They were a little anxious that I might get lost but the drivers here are so gracious and respectful to foreigners like us.
    This hotel is at the Cuscaden Road and just adjacent to Tanglin Mall. The Botanic Gardens of Singapore is just a fifteen minute walk away. Along the way is the British Council and Australian office.

The scenic elevator inside the plush lobby of the hotel is surrounded by plants with water spouts that make the ambience relaxing and inviting.
 I lounged around the lobby waitingfor my brother and his friend.

My brother Adi who has stayed in Singapore for 4 years  took us around the city.

 From the windows of our room, the Tanglin Mall can be viewed.And here you can see the rooftop resort like pool of the Tanglin Mall.

The first night we ordered in since we were too tired to  move. We had Singaporean, Malaysian and American cuisine.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Playa Tropical Resort Hotel: Ilocos Norte's Bali Inspired Haven

          The trip to Pagudpod is not an easy one, having to sit for more than 12 hours to see white sand beaches. The Saud beach and the Maira ira beach resorts are some of the well known beaches where people flock to.
          But there are noteworthy places to go to like the Paoay Church and the Marcos mausoleum where the strongman's body is laid. And of course you can stay at the Playa Tropical and bask under the Balinese inspired atmosphere.
        From the infinity pool you can see the seashore of the blue waters of the South China Sea.
       As you can see the serene water of the swimming pool invites you to take a dip and be cleansed of all worries. There are also other activities to do like billiards, darts and drinking. for kids there is a playground. If you feel like having a massage, you can have it in your room or in the Solana Spa. This is the way to go. Bliss.

The Garden

Saud Beach where the Bangui Windmills are visible

Playa Tropical Resort Hotel
Brgy. Victoria, Currimao
Ilocos Norte, Philippines

 You can contact them at:
077 6701211; 0917 5700223

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Strangely Beautiful Mt.Pinatubo

The jawdropping beauty of Mt.Pinatubo was worth the two hour trek three hour drive. The scene was eerie.It started at the Capas jump off point until the tripoint of three provinces namely Pampanga,Tarlac and Zambales.

Early February dawn, an assortment of trekkers gathered, ready for an early morning hike to the crater of the infamous Mt.Pinatubo. All were hyped as coffee was downed by upsized cups (the better to stay awake my dear), schedules and car assignments dished out by our coordinator at the Macdonald’s El Pueblo. Among these hikers were our group, writers and photographers traveling together not because of profession but by choice.  We were friends and colleagues who happen to love writing and taking pictures.

My jaw dropped when I saw it. I covered my mouth with my two hands and uttered “Oh, my God,” for whom else can create such splendor. I was startled by the aqua blue color of the water. Like a strange cobalt eye that gazed back at you. There was an eerie soft breeze that went passed my ear. The landscape was surreal. The sun’s rays, like a spotlight highlighted each portion of the yawning caldera. There was a veil of mist that swathed the atmosphere, which after a while dissipated.
I shuddered at the fact that we were at the mouth of the sleeping beauty. What ancient lore it must inspire. The driver told me that the natives believed that inside the volcano was a firebird ready to devour everything.
I was of course skeptical of his narrative, but it gave an interesting dimension to the journey. We ate our lunch near the water, all pensive, but there was the inimitable glow of completion and absolute amazement.
Back at the jump off point, we noticed our appearance. Disheveled, covered with white lahar powder, we resembled a group of Bedouins traversing the deepest desert in Africa. We laughed out loud, depleted of our strength but so full of appreciation for the experience.

        The hike is approximately 5.5 km (2 hours walking) each way with a total of 300 metres. The terrain is easy to hike until the last 20 minutes where you go up to the border of the Crater Lake using a single trail. You need to be fit to do this and there is a minimum age requirement of 8 yrs old.

       We chased, we hiked, we conquered. Now we take a breath and eat a huge tumbler of halo-halo only our cabalen can offer.

Our gracious host was Tripinas and you can contact them here:

Phone :
(+632)477-7446 Landline
(+63)9179037672 Cellphone

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why on Earth Should I Go To Singapore?

1. English Gardens in the Singapore Botanic Garden
           From the Regent Hotel in Cuscaden Road, we walked for 15 minute to this inspiring piece of heaven on earth, the Botanic Garden of Singapore. We knew that we wouldn't be able to cover the whole grounds in one day but we tried to enjoy what little time we had here. It took us 3 hours to reach  the Orchid Garden before we turned back.
          This paradise on earth boasts of a huge herbarium collection and library, making it an important reference center for botanists around the world.
English garden inspired

2. Supertrees at the Gardens by the Bay
        These man man made structures light up the sky every night. There's a bridge that lets you go from tree to tree and gives you a beautiful sight of the bay area.

3.Cloud Walk
          Enclosed in a self contained structure is a man made rain forest. The temperature is controlled and mist is everywhere, making you think of dinosaurs and cavemen.

4. Flower Dome
          Inside the Flower Dome is a festival of flora and fauna. The beautiful collection of decorative flowers are made into creative arrangements.

5. Food
Laksa, Satay, Hainanese Chicken, Nasi lemak

National Museum of Singapore

7.Architectural designs
Photo by Kris Alcayaga

Photo by Kris Alcayaga

The Arab Mosque at Kampong Glam

8.Universal Studio and Sentosa Resort
          Need I say more?

Cable Ride to Sentosa
           You can stroll to Sentosa  by using the boardwalk  or you can travel by cable car. It will zip you above for a few minutes, offering a stunning view of the world renowned resort.
           It is an amazing experience and at the same time relaxing.


View of Sentosa from cable car

9.Artistic and tasteful graffiti in Kampong Glam
          Haji Lane and Arab Street are popular market places to buy authentic wares. Famous local artists were commissioned to do several street art figures on stone walls.
Girl with a Lion Cub by Ernest Zacharevic

10.Quaint Cafes
         In Cluny Hill where my brother works, there's a cafe called House and it's interesting as you can see. In the Kampong Glam there are cafes that serve international liquor and cuisine like the Mexican Piedra Negra.