Sunday, May 29, 2011

Berjaya Manila Hotel

Needless to say_ summer 2011 in Ph. has ended. Last week, rains started to occur daily and seemingly here to stay for the next 9 months. Yet, my family is a little still in denial, cos this week as the last leg of vacation, we still have scheduled out of town trips and one of these is a beach trip. So brave to beach in a rainy first week of June!!

How about a staycation ( just so I could use the word myself , which is flooding over blogs now a days:))), here's one of my in-towns this summer.

Berjaya Manila Hotel is in the middle of the bustling Makati Avenue. Oh don't look out to search which building it is among those. I swear you can't find it, cos I was inside the hotel, on the 21st floor when I took this photo, haha.
You know how Makati Avenue is lined- up by quirky tall and slim hotels. Berjaya, Manila is one them, but I think it's one of the newer ones if not the newest by the time of my visit this summer.
I've seen better versions of this hotel in Singapore and Malaysia branches. I think this one here in Manila is the smallest one and modest indeed compared to its sisters.
A friend who is based abroad came home to visit Manila this summer and her first choice to stay at was Berjaya Manila Hotel. It was simply because once in her lifetime, she was an employee of this company which has series of hotels and resorts around the globe. Ofcourse, she did score a great deal of discounts and yes I was invited to stay with her.

Nothing to rave about the room of the hotel. Everything there_ was generic. I've seen the same bed, floor and the rest of it in other hotels around. But the freshness and neatness of a brand new hotel was very imminent and made me forgot it's not a mainstream hotel.

Internet connection was greatest. It's not the usual low signal wi-fied , but has LAN!

The indoor pool at the 5th floor was a simple dipping pool but because there was no single soul other than the three of us ( me and my 2 girls) using the facility. .

. . we got to enjoy the sunny-less pool freely. It was by the way in the midst of the hottest summer and the roof preventing us from burning our skin was totally great.

My daughters had a good time chilling at the small jacuzzi beside the pool.

There was no dining outlet at the poolside, but you could call their in-house restaurant located at the ground floor to bring you food at the pool area.

Going back to the room, we did take a glimpse of the lobby and realized why the bareness of crowd that day.

It was a Maunday Thursday. A biblical film clip was showing at the lobby but no audience was around. My country is prominently Catholic religious, during Holy Week, people here are either in the church or in this modern time, in the beaches which we got a lot to be proud of. Exactly, why I choose to staycation instead of taking a tedious out of town trip and squeezing in the uberly crowded beach scenes at that time of the year. The following day, it was Good Friday, we checked out and spent the whole day in the church observing the holy day.

Rainy season is up. Staycation in a hotel nearby is I guess a practical choice to unwind this season of rain and typhoon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Oh My Gulay : more than a vegetarian cafe

In the midst of hustle and bustle of  Session Road in Baguio City, surprisingly afloat is an artsy vegetarian food venue. Oh My Gulay is located at the uppermost level of La Azotea Bldg ( the green building in the photo above).  

Precaution :  take a pair of brave and strong legs with you. .

. . cos you would be needing them to take flight of stairs going up to the roof top where the resto is located. Yes, no elevator or escalator ride. It is a vintage building.

Reaching the top most floor of the building, I was taken surprise by a different world seemed suddenly appeared infront of me.

Oh My. . Gulay!!!!! was first and foremost an art gallery to me before a restaurant.

Lost in the interior  that was more than eclectic even interestingly crazy, we were all over the place, bubbling with delights of the sights of the art creations in the house.

Even the outside view was great.

Dining tables were set in different corners. We liked all the settings and took us awhile  to choose, haha.

Here?? nah!! look how thick the fog is. . brrrrr. sooo damn cold!!!!

I was seriously taken aback by the sudden dropped of temperature. When we entered the building the weather was sunny summer, fair enough to roam around Baguio in shorts and sleeveless tops. But up there, it was another world. Actually, when we hit back the roads of Baguio, after 1.5 hours upstairs, it was already cold. I had to buy leggings from a street vendor to survive the rest of the day.

How about here??? no!

We finally settled on this corner. .

. . and enjoyed our veggie dishes here, visit My 3rd & 7th Sense for the foods.
I know this is a restaurant and very much belonging in my food blog. But having seen the place, would you agree with me on posting Oh My Gulay here? It's a destination on its own right, right?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Balatoc Mines Tour ( part2 )

To enter the site a miner has first to drop his chapa ( remember we were given each at the registration ( here ),  in the box as his identification and retrieve it at the end of the day. Each chapa has a unique number to each miner. In the real mining world, this chapa is a lifeline. At the end of their working day, a remaining chapa in the entrance box means a miner left inside the tunnel.

The walking tour begun. .

Various machines, gadgets and tools of mining were showcased on our way to the tunnel. Interesting and very informative.

Gold ores!!! For those who are clueless what they are (like my girls before this tour. . ), gold ore is a concentration of gold in a rock, particles or flakes in water.  Technically, only if it is feasible to mine for extraction of the precious metal  that it is considered to be ore. Our guide said these samples were of low grade and not worth of undergoing the tedious process of extracting. I agreed no less. Otherwise, I don't think these gold ores could be seen on piles in this spot!! Don't you think so???

Until. .  we reached the Vegas Tunnel.Dated 1946, this is already is an ex-site  and currently exists as the main site of this only one mining tour in our country.

Entering the tunnel was super exciting for us. . it was a whole new world_

dark. .

dangerous. .

in every inch_ interesting!!

An actual dug hole and said to be a good one cos other holes were far smaller and meant to be crawl by the miner like a rat. This one is a lot better cos a miner can fit almost standing  and the hole can be almost walked thru. Can you imagine that?!!

We took turns  to operate this machine and managed to dig each a hole.

An actual lecture on how to install a dynamite that is being used to achieve a rock blasting.

They install not only one dynamite in one explosion but several of them to achieve a muti-blasting.

There's a hiding corner in the tunnel where a miner run to protect himself from the dangerous explosion of the dynamites.

The most thrilling moment of the tour was when we got to experience a real blasting. We were warned and had to run for our life (not that extreme but for the thrill you could internalize and pretend that the situation is actually life threatening) as a miner performed a real blasting with us inside the tunnel.

And then our ride arrived. .

Out we went off the dark tunnel back to the airy and sunny  earth.

The girls were so happy surviving the tunnel tour!!!