Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's more fun in the Philippines ( travex2012 part2)

At the recent Phil. Travel & Tour Expo 2012, zestfully flagged was the newest slogan of our tourism : -
"It's more fun in the Philippines" .
So still here at PTTE 2012  let me take you back to our old : -
" Wag maging dayuhan sa sarili mong bayan" (don't be a stranger in your own country).


It's easy, with all those cheap tour packages being offered left to right, all you have to do is start somewhere in our 7,107 islands you haven't been yet

Lots and lots of booths offering local tour packages  at the travex. Personally thu', pre packaged tour doesn't work for me. I'm more of free spirited backpacker traveler who needs more leeway on pocket and time. I hate to be boxed with limited time and places to see. More so, I don't have much on my wallet to afford some expensive tour packages. So the trips you see here in my blog are 99% DIY (do-it-yourself).

Travel expo  for me is more of availing on promo accommodations. I didn't have the chance to avail promo airfare  there. I grabbed super cheap airfares on the internet. But I preferred to avail accommodations at the expo rather than on line. Cos in the past, I had experienced buying promo deals (accommodations) on line and some of them were wasted unused. Usually, these promos are limited to book outside blockout dates/weekends/holidays which exactly the time I needed these places for my family off school and work. Here at the expo they let me book on the spot, on the dates I prefer including blockout dates. Aside from the fact that expo's special promo rates are much more lower than promo on line. I'm not even talking about regular published rates here. I'm cheap. I love promo deals. haha.

This time, I was particularly scouting on Boracay accommodations. For this year, I have airfare tickets already booked. One with my brother for his birthday and another set with my husband for our anniversary. This is to say, you'll get to see more of  Bora here in my blog this year.

Well, if you're going to Bora before me this year and you need some places to stay suggestions, I could refer you to my latest Bora, and from there you could browse back to other hotels at Boracay I've been to.

A flyer was handed to me from 2Go booth. Offered were reasonable passenger ship fares to Boracay and other Visayas and Mindanao destinations. hmmm, that's new. .maybe. .
There were numbers of Coron, Palawan booths but I don't have plans of revisiting that paradise this year so I didn't step- in to anyone of them. Anyway, again if you're into Coron this year, you could visit lots of Coron posts I have here and from there be linked to places I visited in Coron

I thought this was an icecream outlet. Same name of a popular Swiss ice cream brand. I wonder if this resort is Swiss owned too?
Heading to Cebu? Don't ask me, cos the last time I went there, I didn't bother to avail any accommodation. I left Manila on an earliest flight, day toured Cebu and got back home before midnight. Yep => here

No airfare needed. Road trip to the north. Been there at Zoobic also - Tiger Safari, Close Encounter, Croco Loco, and lots of other adventure activities to indulge in Subic.

Extend your road trip to further north => Baguio City. Hotel Elizabeth , I haven't stayed here yet. Maybe next time. The promo rates were catchy thu'. Wish I had availed one. But didn't. 

Lots of  beautiful booths displays. . I only had limited time to take photos. I just enjoyed myself  looking at the the creativity of each booth.

But I had more fun of availing cheap promo rates according to my family calendar. will be the international booths offering tour packages. I know, this was Phil. Travel Expo. Let's just be happy that quite a lot of foreign countries participated cos after our own country we could now fly to our global neighbors, right? 
see ya,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Phil. Travel Expo 2012 (part1)

daughter (behind the lens) : oops mom, i think you know that pretty woman in stripes over there. . 

me: huh? who? (stripe-y woman already at her back when i turned). It happened . . that was my favorite Ms. Tweety De Leon, a.k.a. super model/celebrity of my era. See, even wealthy celeb likes to score cheap deals or was she there as endorser or owner of some travel booths? I couldn't say. .

I didn't see her, I only realized it now upon seeing those snapshots by daughter that it was her she was referring to. I'm compiling photos of my recent hauling of cheap travel deals at Phil. Travel & Tour Expo 2012 held last weekends at SMX. I went there on the first day, a Friday which I reckoned wouldn't be  as tight as I expected patron queues would be on the following Saturday and Sunday.

I was almost right cos in general  the flock of crowd wasn't yet crazy the time I went. Especially hotel booths. It was so breezy, I was able to avail clever  ( by that I meant_ cheap with free dates ) hotel accommodation deals.

Since these booths weren't busy ( it was only me then. .), I was able to discern, dissect every details of their offers, haha. Even bargain for additional requests like early cheak-ins, non-smoking rooms and choice of beds. I was happy that even though those were promo deals, I was given the privilege to book on the spot , on dates of my choice. Including regular block-out  dates like holidays and weekends. Usually, based on my personal experience, you can't use these promos on  peak seasons, especially on holidays, which I hated most and for awhile stopped me for availing promo deals.

I was only 85% right in presuming that the crowd would be light that day. Cos when I went to try airline booths_ wheeew!!! crazy#*$%^&! Our flag carrier - the Philippine Airline was the blockbuster one, as always. With the massive queue, I knew I wouldn't get a chance to score even a local promo fare. I never had a chance at expos like this, ever! haha.

Check the backpackers (like me)  favorite airline booths

Cebu Pacific.

Zest Air.


Since I don't have the patience and courage to battle a crowd like that, I have resolved long time ago that I'd rather not sleep the whole night at home and virtually combat the internet traffics during airline promos on line instead.

International carriers weren't that crowd-heavy thu'.

Cathay Pacific : Dragon Air

Tiger Airways


Jeju Air. first time I heard of this there.

Qatar Airways.

South African Airways.

Ofcourse a travel & tour expo wouldn't be complete without tour packages.
and a lot more of PTAA Expo 2012.
see ya.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ayana Resort & Spa, Bali

After Eat, Pray, Love _ I have added in my wish list  the three countries Julia Roberts had been in the movie. But ofcourse I'd go nearest first and the most practically viable, atleast  from where I'm coming from ( Phils.). .

Bali, Indonesia. It's hard not to acknowledge that the mentioned movie is in one way or another boosting the tourism industry of Bali. I am a random testament to that, haha.

For instance, the 5star resort that we were staying in was offering a package named exactly after the movie - Eat, Pray, Love Bali's Package which rates range from $299++/night to $599++/night, roughly P15k to P25k (in our local currency) per night, depending on your choice of accommodation.

For this Bali trip, we went high-end, made a pass on the massively crowded Kuta beach ( which could be like the station 1 and 2 of our Boracay ) and headed to a more secluded Jimbaran beach. This is the realm of luxury hotels. We were staying at the Ayana Resort and Spa, a cliff top luxury hotel.

No doubt about the beach being perfect. In my short and limited Bali experience, I actually haven't seen any beach here that wasn't. The resort has a private beach exclusively for the guests, it's the Kubu Beach.

We stayed in a cliff villa with best feature ever _ a private infinity edge plunge pool!! Is that luxury or what??

Facilities and amenities are endless. It got  lavish spa packages which mostly I haven't heard of yet before here.

Another thing that Ayana Resort is famous for is as wedding destination. It has this state-of-the-art glass paneled wedding pavilion that sits on the towering cliffs of Jimbaran Bay. This wowed me, so much so it made me wish a renewal of  vows with husband_ here when we hit a lotto jackpot, haha.

Aside from in- villa dining, this resort also got astounding list of dining options. One of the most famous ever is  The Rock Bar which is another flagship of the resort.

We went seafood indulging at Kisik Bar which is also another reason to enjoy a ride of  the resort's unique inclinator.

Ofcourse my Bali affair doesn't end here. .I've only just begun. .

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Rock Bar @ Bali

It's the most romantic day of the year_ today is Valentine's Day !
In my imaginary perfect world, husband  has to fly me to Bali, Indonesia and bring me  to The Rock Bar !!! at Ayana Resort .( please refer to the photo above:)  This photo was taken still with the sun a bit up.. You'll get mushy when you experience this state- of- the- nature cocktail bar at sunset. Perched at the base of the resort's towering cliff, it offers nothing lesser than  a breath taking view of the glorious ocean.

I heard you asking how to get down there? ( remember the resort nestles on top of the cliff, this bar is at the base of it) It's accessible via an inclinator . Boarding the inclinator is another one of a kind you would get to experience in this cosy cliff bar. If you're not prioritized staying guest of the hotel, you would have to injure the queue which quite long cos the inclinator could only accommodate four at a time.

Okey, for those who haven't been there yet, I'll  make it easy for you. Above is how gloriously pretty it is with the changing colors of the sun and the ocean. Need I elaborate more why I wanna be there tonight?

Spread the love. . .
Happy Valentine's Day lovers!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fish Spa

Last night we had an appointment with Dr. Fish. We had a fish spa. On trips, I wanted to try it for the longest time,  but everytime fish spa was available, I didn't have time. I've seen major version of it,  like in one resort I had stayed in_ the fish spa was in a big man made pond. I know Manila Ocean Park has a decent fish spa,  I was glad thu'  to find one within the neighborhood. This was just a mini version. Fishes were in aquariums.

By now, I'm sure you know how this works. Kindah symbiosis. You feed the fish with your dead skin, the fish gets nourishment from it and in return the procedure relaxes you and leaves you a healthy expoliated skin. I'm sure there's a down side, but I'll get to that later.

Except for the youngest family member ( she had one during her school field trip in a resort ), it was basically our first time. The three of us were a bit apprehensive  to dip our feet with those little monsters waiting to eat our skin! haha. We were joking around the possibility of the fish to be piranha  and eat our flesh instead. haha.
Husband braved it and had a foot dipped.

Up close - look how fishes swarmed into his sole. It was like they hadn't eaten for a decade!

Then my turn. I'm sharing a secret_ my most tickling spot is my foot!!! So it wasn't easy for me to let go. The spa attendant kindly suggested that I had to do it first with a heel. .

aiming for numbness so I would be able to do it easy with the rest of my feet. But it had been long minutes and I was still tickled hard. haha.

After awhile, the attendant was right, numbed with familiar  sensation, I was able to do it with both my feet totally sunk. I enjoyed it. It was relaxing like a foot massage.

Older daughter took longer (than me) to dunk her feet. The fishes might have had felt her prolonged hesitation, cos initially they totally ignored her foot.

But after awhile, they became friends and ate her dead skin too. haha. The dipping time was limited, she only got to use a partial of it.

The downside of this ofcourse still boils down to sanitary condition of the spa. The risk of infection is high cos this is a shared facility. What if the previous user had skin infection and the spa staff failed to change the spa water in the tank?  I actually raised this issue to the attendant of this particular spa. She assured us that the tank is regularly sterilized (to that effect). I hope so, cos among the three tanks that we used, mine was the only one looked clean with clear water. The other two were a bit cloudy. 

After the fish spa, we all enjoyed a foot massage that came with the package. We checked our feet and were all happy with softer soles. 
Good job Dr. Fish.