Weekend Tagaytay Getaway

Last weekend we went away to Tagaytay for our quarterly family bonding. E and I agreed that we will have quarterly getaways with our little girl. This doesn’t need to be expensive out of the country getaways. It can be as simple as an overnight staycation or a short out of town trip. The end goal is to just spend extra time with Bunny.

We arrived at our quarterly getaway agreement after noticing how happy Bunny was during our trips. She smiles the whole day during our trips. We see a glimmer in her eye as she sees something new and different. An article we read shared that travelling with kids is a good teachable experience.

The Road To our Tagaytay Vacation

We hopped on a bus to start our trip to Tagaytay. E and I were so excited for this trip. See it had been awhile since our last staycation. Our last one was December 2016 when we celebrated our birth month at H20 Hotel.

I was thinking of rescheduling the trip to end-June because of the gloomy weather. Halfway through our bus ride it started raining. I honestly thought that we won’t be able to enjoy our trip. I even started thinking of activities we can do inside the room, short, and fun activities that Bunny can enjoy. I was glad to see that after 20 minutes or more the rain finally stopped.

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We reached our drop off point an hour and a half after we left our starting point (SM Bacoor). There was a bit of traffic but it was manageable. We rode a tricycle to get to our hotel for the weekend.

Escala Staycation

We stayed at the newly opened Escala Hotel (more on this in my next post). Check in was a breeze! We were given our access card within 5 minutes of checking in. This didn’t stop Bunny from wandering in their lobby. She immediately pointed their infinity pool exclaiming “miming I found a pool” (swimming I found the pool). I had to talk to her and tell her that we will go swimming after we leave our things in our room.

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Our room was spacious and more than what I expected. It had an amazing view and to Bunny’s liking, it was carpeted! She momentarily forgot about the pool. She started lying down on the floor before proceeding into jumping up and down on the bed – as if it was a trampoline! She would look to us and giggle out loud as if saying she’s having so much fun.

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We allowed her to take a dip in the hotel’s infinity pool but only for a short bit of time. It was starting to get cold, even if it was just a little before four. I guess that’s to be expected because of the gloomy weather. We didn’t want to risk her catching a cold. We also wanted her to rest before we go out for dinner.

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This turned out to be a good decision. Fog appeared and our little bunny exclaimed, “scary.” We had to wait for the fog to disappear before we headed out to dinner at Sky Ranch.

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Dinner at Skyranch

We decided to have dinner at Mesa located in Skyranch. Skyranch was just a five to ten-minute walk from our hotel.  I didn’t want to risk going to a far restaurant that time.

The rain made it hard for us to reach our destination easily. When we reached Mesa their staff quickly escorted us to our table.

We decided to just order two dishes: Crispy Kare Kare and Crispy Boneless Tilapia with Four Sauces. The cold weather made me crave for Kare Kare (a unique Filipino dish made with beef, vegetables, and creamy peanut-based sauce) and fish. Mesa did not disappoint!

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The creamy peanut sauce complimented the crispy fried short ribs. My only comment was that there was a scarcity of peanut sauce! I wanted more! Bunny liked the Crispy Tilapia so much! She’s a picky eater and it was a rare treat to see her eat fish!

Skyranch Tour

The next day, after checking out, we went to Skyranch. Bunny smiled ear to ear exclaiming “laki playground” all the time (big playground). She wanted to try every ride but we just limited it to three. She wasn’t big enough yet to ride the other attractions. This seemed to be okay with her it was just crucial for her to ride the train (she has a thing for trains).

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She was ecstatic to ride the train. She couldn’t help but giggle and squeal during our ride. Seeing her enjoy such simple pleasures in life made our day.

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Going Home

After retrieving our luggage from Escala we told Bunny that we were going home. It was so funny because she started her way towards the elevator. Our funny bunny pressed the down button, giggling to herself. She thought that home meant our room in Escala.

I had to slowly explain to her that we were going home to her grandpa and grandma. At first, she seemed okay. She just looked a bit sad. She wasn’t crying or screaming. When we were near the bus stop she suddenly said “come back.” E and I looked at each other shocked to hear her say comeback. I guess she really had fun during our weekend getaway.

Looking back, she was always smiling and giggling. She liked lying down on the carpet and hiding from us. The room was her playground and her dad and me her playmates. I did tell her that we will try to go back but next time perhaps longer. We will surely give everything that we can to make her squealing happily again.

If I learned anything from this trip it’s that kids appreciate time away with their parents. They see the world from a different perspective while we introduce them to a new portion of our world. I highly recommend that parents go on vacations with their kids at least once to twice a year. Again, it need not be expensive. What’s important is that you spend time with them.

 

This entry was posted in Travel.

How We Booked Cheap Flights with GetGo Ph #FlyForFree

For weeks, E and I have been waiting for the GetGo Ph seat sale. We had to book our flight back to Manila from Hong Kong. See, we already have our tickets to Macau thanks to the Cebu Pacific Seat Sale last February. What we lacked is our return flight home. I told him that we had to book our tickets by April, latest May.

In my “kuripot” (cheapskate) mind, I wasn’t willing to spend more than P7,000 (USD 140) for our flight back. Some of you are probably thinking that I’m too cheap, how can I possibly book three tickets below P7,000. With determination, stalking skills, and a supportive husband we were able to book our flight back for only P4,426.21 (USD 89)!

GetGo Ph Anniversary Sale

So how did we do it? As I mentioned, it took stalking skills and E to book this flight.

After booking our flight to Macau, I discussed with E that we had more than enough rewards points from our credit card to book two return tickets.

With his approval, I processed the transfer of points from my credit card to my GetGo Ph account. The points transfer was easy but it took 3 working days for GetGo Ph to reflect it on my account.

I guess this was a blessing in disguise. The current seat sale that they had charged 2,000 points per ticket. I didn’t give up, though, I started checking their page every other day hoping that they will announce a seat sale. I keep telling myself that I still had three months to book our return tickets.

Judging their past seat sales I knew that they have bi-monthly seat sales (Read: stalker digital practitioner who spent time analysing their sales and corresponding points).

Come March they started posting teasers about their anniversary sale. I knew that this sale was our opportunity to book our return flights. Thanks to the data I had, I deduced that the possible duration of the seats on sale will be around September to December 2017.

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I started checking their page daily! I noticed that they post updates around 11 AM and would send out email blasts at least every other week. This obsessive stalking of their page and email checking bore fruit when I received their advance announcement for the much-waited seat sale.

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With my hands trembling, I took a screenshot of my desktop (an actual screenshot – me taking a photo of my desktop)and sent the image to E. My heart started to beat faster as if I ran for a minute in place. It was now or never.

I then asked my brother if I can borrow his Mac Book Pro so I can easily book my flight. This, of course, came with a payment, he will also book a flight if he sees fit (a.k.a. if it fit his schedule). I was fine with that, we had 8,050 points. In my computation, we would only need 4,000 to 5,000 points.

Booking Our Flight

Around 9 PM last March 13, my brother handed me his laptop. Bunny wasn’t asleep yet so she even said “tap tap” when she saw it. I immediately logged in on my GetGo Ph account and clicked remember me. My plan in mind is to sleep for a bit with Bunny and wait for E to wake me up when he comes home. It was written in the stars that we will get our ticket because E’s shift would end around 10:30 PM and that night he was home 15 minutes before midnight.

E woke me up from my not-so-deep slumber with a kiss, just like Sleeping Beauty daw. I immediately sat up and opened the laptop. I refreshed the GetGo Ph site and the promo was still not up.

Midnight came and with renewed confidence, I refreshed the site and clicked on redeem flights. I entered our details, picked the dates, and waited for the page to load. E sat beside me waiting for the page to load. It felt like we were waiting for more than five minutes before the page loaded.

We had two choices, book the morning flight (8:35 AM departure) or the midnight flight (00:05 AM departure). I tried to weigh the pros and cons, I even considered making a list before making the decision. It was then that I realised, there was no traffic to beat, the train was our way to the airport, and that we weren’t in Manila. I also factored in work, with the morning flight we still have ample time to rest before we have to go back.

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With E’s approval, I booked the morning flight. I expected the site to load slower, I anticipated that users were logging in and booking their flights, but to my surprise, I was able to go to the next page in less than 15 seconds. I added baggage allowance for myself only which cost us additional 3,510 points. In total, we used up 3,570 points and just added P4,426.21 for tax and other fees.

The Experience

To be honest, there was a sense of thrill when we booked our flights through GetGo Ph. The fact that I asked E to wake me up is enough to prove that I was determined to get tickets. This is something that I would advise to those who will try to book. Set an alarm for 12 MN and don’t wait for their Facebook post. Watch out for their email blasts because most often than not they announce in advance.

This goes for all seat sales. You will miss out on good flight schedules if you wait until the last minute to book or if you just wait for their post to reach you.

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Other Seat Sales

If you are still looking for seat sales, you can check Philippine Airline’s site. Last I checked they have no announcements yet on their Facebook page. You can book domestic flights for as low as P1,000 one way. Their sale is both for their domestic and international flights.

Also, as of posting the GetGo Ph Seat Sale is back but with limited seats. So you can try your luck again in booking your flights!Capture4

Subic Meat Plus Review

In our first day at Subic, lunch wasn’t part yet of the Ad Summit event so E and I decided to head over to Meat Plus for lunch. I just heard of Meat Plus from a team mate and decided to try it for lunch just because he made it sound interesting and a must try!

Our Order

There are combo meals available at meat plus and orders wherein you choose your own steak which they will cook for you. Being a mummy I guess I went ahead for the value for money and ordered a combo meal for burger steak which included side dish and soup for just Php 220+ and E decided to choose his own steak and get the tenderloin steak meal at Php 260+. We just ordered side mashed potatoes for Bunny and my soup as well for her.

The Taste Test

For my order, the steak was cooked well (forgot to mention you can ask them to cook it rare, medium rare, medium well done, or well done) which is my preference. It was just the right amount of juicy minus the bloody part which would have been the case if I ordered it rare or medium rare. The soup was creamy which Bunny liked at a lot and she ate almost half! The mashed potato was left to me because she like the soup more. E’s order was tastier and juicier perhaps due to the choice of meat. If only I knew I would have ordered for the same cut instead!

 

Well Done Burger Steak

Well Done Burger Steak

 

E's Order

E’s Order

The Service

The service was just like the same as with other restaurants, although they made a mistake with the order of the group next to us. I personally think it was due to the volume of the people who came in which reflected how the staff is not that prepared to serve a big crowd. On the other hand though they were very nice and accommodating to us and even assisted us right away when we got in the place.

The Verdict

Combining good food, good price and okay service I will give Meat Plus a 3.5 out of 5. Big area of improvement for the service.

Zoobic Safari Escapade with Bunny & E

As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post, in our last day in Subic we decided to go around Zoobic Safari before departing to Cavite. We already had a driver hired for our day out, Kuya Ramon (you can read more about the Subic Taxi Service here). Before that though I was contemplating whether we will go to Ocean Adventure or Zoobic Safari. For one, I know that we can’t afford going to both places given our limited time and Bunny usually dozes of mid-afternoon so we won’t get to enjoy the day if we visit both.

After much research on my end and E’s we ended up picking Zoobic Safari – although I think he is partial to Zoobic Safari because he hasn’t been there before! For me it’s cute and at least I get to see how they both enjoy a new place to visit.

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We left our hotel around 8.30 AM and already checked out. I just asked the staff to keep our things first because we will visit Zoobic Safari first to which they happily obliged. We arrived at Zoobic Safari a little after 9 AM. We just bought our tickets, Bunny was free (perks of traveling with a baby/toddler) and we had to pay Php 545 each. This already is good for the whole park from the petting zoo, the animal show, and even the encounter with the tigers! Good price already if you ask me.

We started our tour with the petting zoo. It is optional to buy the basket of fruits and of course I wanted us to experience feeding the animals first hand so I ended up paying Php 100. This was super worth it because the animals engaged more with us when they saw us holding the basket! The funniest ones were the deer and the camels! Within the petting zoo you can have a photo with animals for P50 (there was an owl and a miniature donkey).

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After this, we watched the animal show – this was only available during weekends and since we went there on a Saturday we ended up watching the show. I honestly think it was E who enjoyed more than Bunny and I. I even pushed him to participate in the show to which he ended up holding a snake (he looked goofy when he did to which my heart skipped a beat). This was a good show which lasted around 15 minutes!

Near the animal show stage was the serpentarium. I initially though bunny will be scared of the reptiles inside but she looked at it with her eyes wide open as if wondering what those creatures were and why they looked scaly and funky!

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The next step was the ride which toured us to the many different parts of the park. It eventually led us to the Tiger Sanctuary and the encounter with the tigers! To make the ride more exciting we were asked if we wanted to buy chicken – dead one of course – to be fed while we were in the enclosed jeep. So our group bought and off we went inside through the enclosed jeep. Bunny didn’t even wink or cry when the big miming approached us! She was smiling and even calling the tigers! I think in her mind it was larger versions of the cats she played with back at home. She was so cute and so was her daddy! E was taking lots and lots of videos and I told him to take more photos instead of just videos but still he took more videos!

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After this we waited for the ride to bring us to the croc area and bunny met a new friend! This friend followed her around and sniffed her diaper a lot ( I guess because she was due for a change of nappies) to which she just giggled and laughed.

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We went by the croc area fast because little bunny was sleepy and we just waited for the ride again to bring us back to the entrance area.

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The park tour took us around 4 hours to finish! Which was long as compared to the 2 hrs projected time in their website. After our tour, Kuya Ramon was already there to pick us up back to Subic. While in the taxi I recall telling E that it was a great choice for bunny because she really likes animals and nature and also because he hasn’t been there before. You can check out their site here: http://www.subic.com/zoobic_safari.php

Subic Taxi Service

During our stay in Subic, there were times when I needed to ride a cab to or from the Ad Summit. Due to this, I would ask the receptionist to help find a Subic Taxi for hire. That is how I met Kuya Ramon. He was our driver after our ABS-CBN trade dinner. Out of all of the Subic Taxi drivers I encountered he was the nicest and I guess easiest for me to get along with because he had a relative from Cavite.

This is perhaps the main reason why I contacted him to be our cabbie for our Saturday escapade at Zoobic Safari. As for the rates though – this is already fixed but you can try to package or rent them for a day just ensure that it is still within the rates they shared.

Attractions in Subic are far away from the main SBMA area where our Ad Summit was held, which is why going to Zoobic Safari or Ocean Adventure can get costly. You can split the cost though because one Subic Taxi can fit 4 persons. The only option as well to get to the attractions is through the taxis or through private vehicles. Here’s a photo of the rates they have, hope this helps when you plan out your Subic Tour! Also, here’s Kuya Ramon’s contact number: 0939 182 8411

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Subic Residencias Review

As I’ve shared in my previous post, for our 4D/3N stay in Olongapo we stayed at Subic Residencias. The initial plan was to stay within the SBMA area but that would be costlier and will be a bit far from the malls. It was E who found Subic Residencias through Trip Advisor and he shared with me that it has a good price within my set budget. I trusted his judgement and we booked a room for 4d/3n.

When we arrived in the Olongapo terminal of Victory, we just rode a tryke and after 5 minutes we arrived there at Subic Residencias.

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From Subic Residencias FB page

My first impression is that it has a convenient location, very much near the fast food restos and walking distance to SM as well as the bridge that leads to SBMA proper. This is very good because in our set-up they need to buy food per meal while I was out. Open entering the place, we were warmly welcomed and were assisted to our room. The room at the price of Php 2,100 per night was good! It was very spacious and even had a mini-ref (a must for us because I need it to store Bunny’s breastmilk). Aside from that, they also have a clean bathroom which is a must for me – but the shower sometimes the hot & cold shower was faulty (not hot showers at times).

From Subic Residencias FB Page

From Subic Residencias FB Page

The staff were very accommodating especially their guard! He would give Bunny one of the displayed ball like ornaments so she can play at the lobby while we were waiting for her dad or while they were waiting for me to come back from the summit. Getting a taxi is also easy, you can either walk near the exit to SBMA or you can ask the staff to call one for you – just be ready though because per ride to SBMA can cost you P150 to Php 200.

The hotel however can further develop their services – I highly suggest that they also offer breakfast. Even if we were near fast food restos, it is more convenient to have free breakfast tucked in the fee. I hope they can also offer guests additional services like transfers or they can offer as well tours within Subic.

Overall though, I give them a 4 out of 5 for service, location, and staff!

 

Subic Escapade: When Work Meets Play

After our Bohol getaway we had another escapade – in Subic! No this wasn’t really planned (I mean the kuripot side of me is dying inside – kidding). But it was a fun trip anyway. See, I had to attend the Ad Summit @ Subic and because it spanned for 4 days and 3 nights I really can’t leave Bunny that long. The longest we have been apart is overnight due to our office planning session and it was hard on me and her – I was looking at her photos just to fall asleep and she had to comfort suck her dada’s nips just to fall asleep! So imagining 4 days without her was just hard, so I booked a hotel stay for Bunny, her dada and I.

The Plan

It was simple, I will be away from 10 AM until 4 PM everyday and out as well by 7 PM for dinner. She and her dad will stay at the hotel and order food while I am away. To make sure she has enough milk I will be pumping in between talks and when I get back to the hotel. Sounds easy, but really it was hard at times – especially when I lost my breastfeeding bag (thank God the guard found it)! So for 3 days that was our routine, and it worked! The nice thing was that she and her dad bonded even more that at times I got jealous because she was super sweet to her dad and sometimes ignored me.

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The Hotel

Hotels are pricier when it is within the SBMA so we opted to stay at a hotel within Olongapo but walking distance to SM and the buses going to the Summit. For 4 days and 3 nights we stayed at Subic Residencias and it was less pricey but very much worth it. Bunny even had fun playing with the phone – peg nya ata to call for room service always!

 

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Very apt for the theme of the year is our final day in Subic! The talks during the summit for me really centered on not limiting yourself to possible executions that you can do for your brand which sometimes entailed playing. To be honest, working in an agency is fun but it sometimes can be too much especially if you get drowned with JOs, briefs, and to-dos. This meant of course time to let go and let loose – maybe through drinking for some but can also be achieved by playing. Playing with apps or playing outside.

This then inspired me to tell E to ask his cousin he lives nearby to visit us while we were there and to take Bunny and her dad out to visit Zoobic Safari on our last day in Subic. It was her Tito’s first time to meet Bunny and although she didn’t really play that much with her tito they had their moments.

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As for our Zoobic Safari escapade will post a more detailed entry about this soon but it was really fun to see both of them with eyes wide open, seeing new things and interacting with the animals. Definitely the highlight of our trip in Subic.

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Budget

Since this wasn’t really a travel-travel we only spent on our hotel accommodation, food (mostly for Bunny and E), and transpo. We only spent around Php 10,000 but 50% is for the 4D/3N at Subic Residencias.

Bohol Car Rental Service Review

This is my last Bohol Travel related post! Almost a month of posts mostly about our 4 day getaway at Bohol and Panglao. As I have mentioned in my other posts we rented a car with a driver through Kuya Tatsky’s service. Upon checking many different blog posts most travelers mentioned Kuya Tatsky, so before our getaway I was already texting Kuya Tatsky:

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I wanted to check how much it will be to do the Countryside Tour – the comfy way and in our own time. I know that hotels and travel agencies offer their own version of the Bohol Countryside Tour, but I wanted to fully maximize our Day 3 and not be bothered with time limits. We also had Bunny with us, so it was also important that we were all comfortable without having to spend too much.

Kuya Tatsky promptly replied to my inquiries and even gave us different options for the car we can rent – if you are travelling with a group of more than 4 people you can even rent a van! I even asked for additional service from him – to our hotel in Panglao and back to Tagbilaran. Now, there are many different car rentals available when you land in Bohol but it was more convenient for us to have Kuya Tatsky’s rental service. The drivers arrived early and will wait for you. They don’t ask for tips but because of their good service we end up giving them food or pang-lunch and tip as well. The drivers were also trust worthy – there were times when we left our bag with my phone and other valuables and everything was safe!

For our entire Bohol trip, we hired three drivers + cars from Kuya Tatsky. My favorite driver from the three, was Kuya Rikrik. He was very friendly and even took photos for us! He also gave us recommendations on which places we should visit first and which we should put last. He waited for us whenever we toured and would assist us in storing the stroller back in the car. That is probably why I told Kuya Tatsky that I will highly recommend his service especially Kuya Rikrik.

If you do plan on going to Bohol – you can contact Kuya Tatsky here: 09291976766

 

Bohol Bee Farm Review

This is not really about our stay there, since we stayed in Lost Horizon while we were in Panglao. This is a review however for the food served at the Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant. In a nutshell our lunch at Bohol Bee Farm is nothing short of ordinary.

First, take a look at this view that you will be welcomed to when you sit down and wait for the service crew. Breathtaking right? This alone is enough for me – in filipino terms – ulam na kanin na lang kulang (I just need rice because the view is more than enough).

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Now imagine sitting there and then trying to remind yourself of the main reason why you went there, for the food! Now, I didn’t really research on what food to try there but since I love pasta I got the spicy pasta. E on the other hand ordered the seafood lasagna, and we got a kiddie spag meal for Bunny.

We were thinking that this might not be enough for us, oh but really it was too much already, we ordered pizza as well. Meat lovers pizza, for my pizza loving soul. Drinks were easy, I got the mango shake and he ordered iced tea.

While we were waiting the crew brought this old school high chair for Bunny, doesn’t she look like a tiny princess? They were so kind to even put comfy pillows so that she is just at the right height for the chair.

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Service was fast. They first gave us the yummy pumpkin bread with the pesto and mango jams and the organic chips with salsa dip. Bunny liked the chips so much ( I think she ate 4 pieces on her own) and E and I both loved the jams. (Which is why we bought it for our pasalubong! Read more about it here).

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After five minutes, our food was served. We were honestly surprised that each serving is good for 2 people! Even the kiddie spag meal! Should have ordered one pasta dish lang and the pizza!

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E’s seafood lasagna was served with their famous salad. According to him it was delicious, just the right combination of sweet and salty but you can really taste the seafood side of it. As for the spicy pasta, it was like eating pasta with chili con carne but with a bit more tomato sauce. It was yummy and just the right amount of spice for me. The kiddie spag is sweet, just right for kiddos. Pizza was fantastic as well! Overall the yummy food plus the view made this one of my favorite stops in our Bohol vacation!

Bunny loved the mango shake also!

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I give this a 10/10 and a must visit when you are in Bohol!

 

Darunday Manor Review

For the rest of our stay in Bohol, we were checked in at Darunday Manor. I discovered it through Trip Advisor and saw the good reviews it received from travelers. Aside from the good reviews, they also offer free breakfast and location is very convenient. It is situated in the main city, near a bank, near fast food chains, near a park, and the airport. That is what I liked the most about Darunday Manor. It is very convenient and you get what you pay for. At Php 1,400 you get a good room, free breakfast, good and homey service.

Darunday Manor Room 10 - From Tripadvisor

Darunday Manor Room 10 – From Tripadvisor

Our room was located at the 3rd floor, and on our way up we were treated to magnificent paintings from Boholano Artists. This was such a welcome treat from the usual clean walls of hotels. The paintings gave the place such a good ambiance that will make you feel at home.

From the Darunday Manor FB Page

From the Darunday Manor FB Page

The service was good and you can really feel the warmth from their team. Although most are older compared to the usual staff of hotels, you can tell that they really like what they are doing.

Darunday Manor from their FB Page

Darunday Manor from their FB Page

Overall though they still have a lot to improve. The best way they can compete with other hotels in Tagbilaran is to have more upgraded facilities. The rest is already good. I will probably try other hotels if we go back to Bohol, but Darunday Manor is a good budget hotel option.