Family Bonding in Escala Tagaytay

For our special family bonding activity this summer, we decided to spend a night in Tagaytay. Last weekend was filled with fun memories, most were because of our amazing stay in Escala Tagaytay. So as promised in my previous post, here’s my review.

Discovering Escala

I was looking for staycation packages last March when I heard about Escala Tagaytay. I saw posts from Facebook featuring the hotel’s amazing view. I was captivated by the unique design that the hotel had. It showcased floor to glass ceilings upon entrance and offered amazing views for all of their rooms. This was very intriguing to me. I’m all about trying new hotels also that’s why I immediately looked for their website to check out their rates.

To my surprise they had special introductory rates offer for their rooms. I immediately consulted with E if we can book a room there. I shared with him that it can be our celebration for Mother’s Day and his birthday. At first, he was hesitant but with my charm, I was able to make him say yes. After receiving his confirmation, I booked a deluxe room for an overnight stay with buffet breakfast for P4,900 (USD 109). Now if you check their rates a deluxe room would cost you P7,000 (USD 155).

I also liked that it was situated right next to Sky Ranch ( a mini theme park in Tagaytay). We can drop by for meals and after to try some kid friendly rides with Bunny.

Luxury and Child-friendly Rooms

Upon reaching the hotel, we were warmly welcomed by their staff. I was immediately impressed with their interior design. Each detail was well thought off. There was a sense of continuity in the design of their lobby. Upon arriving you will already see what they have to offer: the view of Taal and their infinity pool.

18870427_10212918297934900_961767988_o

Even my little girl was impressed with the view. Bunny instantly noticed their pool and started asking us if she can go swimming! I had to tell her that we had to settle in first in our room. Fortunately, she agreed and we proceeded to our room after checking in.

When I opened the door to our room we were welcomed with a spacious room – good enough to fit 4 adults. Even though the capacity said that max is 3 adults you can squeeze in one more! Each deluxe room had one queen bed and one single bed, a veranda with a view of the infinity pool, coffee and tea set, hot and cold shower, Wi-Fi connection, and cable TV.

18818006_10212918297214882_261569166_o

18836338_10212918297654893_418659145_o

18817972_10212918297094879_2013241222_o

18870574_10212918297134880_119333189_o 18838295_10212918297174881_773334260_o

18838301_10212918297734895_1616935567_o

18836338_10212918297654893_418659145_o

 

If you are travelling with a toddler like us I can assure you that their rooms are child-friendly. Bunny loved the carpeted floors and our veranda. She was smiling the entire time that we were there.

The Amenities

Aside from the room guests can also use their infinity pool and access their restaurant. The infinity pool was not that deep and had a section for kids. I guess they also thought of catering to families when they conceptualised the hotel.

My only comment for their pool is that it has no heater. It’s usually cold in Tagaytay so guests do expect the water to be warmer.

18838463_10212918297814897_408848167_o

18836414_10212918297854898_301768976_o

Included in our package was buffet breakfast for two. We were told upon checking in that we will be dining al fresco in their restaurant in the morning. However, a wedding reception was scheduled so our breakfast was transferred to their other function room. This was a bit of a downer for me because the al fresco area offered a better view. Fortunately, their function room also had a good view and the breakfast buffet served was good (I recommend their tapa paired with garlic rice).

18817583_10212918298014902_2086174088_o

18836475_10212918297974901_1580264288_o

18836565_10212918298174906_1447553772_o

If you want to get a massage, they also offer on call massage. This will cost you anywhere between P1000-P2000 (USD 22 – 45). I didn’t avail of this anymore because Bunny might find it weird when I woman comes in to massage me (silly thought in my head).

The Verdict

Overall, I highly recommend Escala Tagaytay. It’s a perfect venue for couples, friends, and families to bond and enjoy each other’s company. You get your money’s worth with the spacious rooms, amazing views, and accommodating staff. Interested in reading other detailed reviews like this one? Just click here for more reviews.

I do look forward to visiting them again. Hopefully, I get to dine in the al fresco area and try on a relaxing message when we come back. You can book your rooms through their website at  http://www.escalatagaytay.com/

 

 

H20 Hotel Review

I’m still in the process of catching up with my blog backlogs, so here I am sharing my overnight stay experience at H20 last December.

Maximising a MetroDeal Voucher

As early as September last year I bought this voucher from MetroDeal.

Capture

As a consumer, you have the option to choose from the different rooms available in H20 Hotel and the type of activity you want to try at Manila Ocean Park. My long talk with E, my husband, ended with us booking the Aqua Room plus 2 tickets to Manila Ocean Park’s Ultimate Adventure. This meant that from the offer posted at the site, at P2,999 my final dues was P4,999.

To compute for the savings I decided to break down the booking if we were to book on our own:

P7,320 for the overnight stay at the Classic Aqua Room

P 760 per person for the Manila Ocean Park Activity

P 300 per person for entrance to Yexel’s Museum

P 400 per person for Liquid Buffet

Total would be at P 10,240 and our savings at P5,241 or 50% of the total bill. This is a good price already for me, so I know we made the right purchase.

Birth Month Staycation

You may be wondering why we booked an overnight stay at H20 in December. No, it’s not our Holiday celebration or our pre-holiday celebration. The reason why we went there was to celebrate my daughter and I’s birth month! Both of us are December babies and I wanted to start a little family tradition. It’s really important for me to start our own family tradition since technically speaking we are a legit family since last August.

H20 Aqua Room

In the eyes of my toddler, the Aqua Room was the bomb! She fell in love with our room because she saw Dory! Yes, blue tang fishes were present in our gigantic aquarium! According to their website, there are up to 35 different species of fishes present in the aquarium. This alone made our stay worthwhile.

15319266_10211160237904498_2701209833680683565_n

You can just sit back and relax while you watch the fishes swim by. If you have a toddler who loves Dory and Nemo, a background chatter of “swim, swim, swim” and “Dowy” would be heard as well.

15253424_10211160238984525_5459556333570560669_n

As for the other amenities of their classic Aqua Room, our queen sized bed was super comfy. It made leaving the bed to roam around Ocean Park a struggle. It was as if the bed was hugging as back when we lied down.

The t&b was roomy although there are no bidets and no bathtubs present. Free toiletries were also provided inside the bathroom.

Our room also had a personal fridge. My problem though is that at times it seemed like it wasn’t cooling our drinks efficiently.

Zenyu Eco Spa

What I loved the most about our stay at H20 was Zenyu Eco Spa! I swear my one exclamation point is not enough to show how much I enjoyed my 90 minutes massage.

Thanks to E, I was able to sneak out after bunny finally fell into a deep slumber after dinner. Truth be told though she fell asleep while we were eating! I think she got super tired from our full day experience of Ocean Park.

From the H20 Website

From the H20 Website

Zenyu Eco Spa is conveniently located just across the check-in counter of the hotel. I noticed that only a few people were waiting outside. I was guessing that most didn’t even bother to try it out. To this I say, you missed out on an amazing massage!

My 90-minute massage at their spa was the best I’ve ever had so far. Better than my experience at The Spa, really. The masseuse listened intently to my body and pampered it well. I even fell asleep for 30 minutes or less.

My money was well spent! I guess they really deliver on what their name’s translation in Japanese which is “complete healing.” Needless to say, I slept like a log until morning when I came back from the spa.

Outdoor Jet Pool

The morning after, E decided that they will take a dip at the Outdoor Jet Pool. Location of this pool wasn’t really convenient. We had to get out of the hotel and walk past the entrance of Ocean Park to access it.

15319026_10211160280905573_4116193518332932859_n

I wasn’t also impressed with the structure of the place. The freaked out mum inside of me was screaming. Kids can slip if they run too fast and the pools weren’t really that fantastic.

Overall Rating

I give H20 a 4 out of 5 rating with room for improvement – to be frank with their outdoor jet pool. The rest of their facilities were great and I would definitely come back with my family when we can.

 

Mount Sea Resort Review

Back in December, I urged my choir batchmates to indulge in a staycation at Mount Sea Resort.

FB_IMG_1488435351912

We rarely see each other now that we weren’t that active anymore. Most often than not, we get to see each other eirher once a month or even once every other month. I guess this is part of adulting. Schedules do not meet and surprise get togethers are better than planned ones. That is why we planned our Christmas staycation, hopefully this will become a tradition.

Merry Christmas from our crazy part of the world.

A post shared by Denice Diaz (@denice_diaz) on

Scheduled on the third weekend of December, we had pure fun at Mount Sea.

The location was good, it was just a short bus ride away from everyone. Getting there was easy. If coming from Manila, it is easily accessible via CavitEx.

When we got there, we had a minor hiccup with our reservation. There was a minor miscommunication. See, I reserved three rooms and I was given the Caviteno Privelegio rate. However, upon our check in we were charged with their normal flat rate. Price difference was almost at P4,000 if I recall correctly. Great thing is that they were able to sort it out immediately. I just mentioned the name of the person whom I contacted for the reservation.

When we went inside our rooms, my initial reaction is that it looked good. I haven’t stayed there before, but I do know that they were undergoing renovation.

Photo from Chinee

Photo from Chinee

Rooms were big, bathrooms clean and with free toiletries, complimentary snacks were provided, and the door warning system was good. AC was good and easy to adjust too.

Since we were there not just to stay in our rooms, but really to enjoy each other’s company, we went around the resort. What thrilled me the most was their entertaimment area, which they call Vertical Avenue.

FB_IMG_1488435057361

This area had a mini gym, pool table, darts, sala with entertainment console, and a videoke room! Of course we all sing, aside from being filipinos we are choir members, singing is second to talking.

We did explore Vertical Avenue but the pool looked so inviting. We decided to go for a swim first in their private pool in the afternoon and have mature dinner, because adulting, in the resort restaurant.

Their private pool area had two pools, one is good for kids and the other one for adults. What we all liked about their private pool was the seats submerged in the adult pool (the area where it was situated was elevated). We spent the afternoon and morning after, swimming and taking lots of photos.

FB_IMG_1488435077035

Photo from Chinee

Photo from Chinee

Crazies @letgoletgao @iamchineeta @kulet_coh @iameduard02

A post shared by Denice Diaz (@denice_diaz) on

For dinner, their in-house restaurant was good but nothing stellar. I think what I liked the best was their chicharong bulaklak. Service was fast and they had high chairs for kids (yay for bunny).

FB_IMG_1488435136957

FB_IMG_1488435129077

We went to Vertical Avenue after dinner to drink and be merry. You can request for your drinks to be served there after dinner. Just a reminder, usage of the videoke room is limited to 45 minutes per room. Since we were staying in 3 rooms we had 2 plus videoke hours. Of course we maximized those 2 plus hours, we had the whole vertical avenue to ourselves! The staff even allowed us to go a bit over our time because nobody else was lined up to use it.

Photo from Chinee

Photo from Chinee

The rooms, before I forget, comes with free breakfast for two. Since more than two people were assigned per room, we paid a bit of extra. Breakfast was plated and you can choose from the usual continental or local plates.

IMG_20170302_140914_531

Near the dining area for breakfast was a mini garden. My little girl, being a nature lover, went around with her daddy. She had so much fun talking with the macaw bird and feeding the koi fish.

IMG_20170302_140823_673

Overall, our stay at Mount Sea Resort was great. My only feedback though is that they should have spa services offered and better reservation tracking. We would definitely visit and stay there again.

8Cuts Review

After our meeting at BGC, we decided to have lunch there instead of going back to the office first before having lunch. I think the winning combination of hunger – stress – payday resulted to our decision to try 8cuts at Serendra. I’ve been hearing a lot about this burger shop, but I haven’t had time to try it yet so I was super excited to finally bite a piece of their burger.

12992333_10209064705837506_1992167527_n

My Order

Ordering was easy – but can be a bit difficult if you didn’t know what you want. I was contemplating between their specialty burgers, making my own, or trying their classic ones. Being the safe person that I am in trying new places I ordered their classic cheeseburger #3. Aside from the safe side thing – I also wanted to try first their classic offerings just to gauge if they can deliver great and quality tasting burgers. I upgraded to their go lunch box sets – rated PG. This included skinny fries and drinks.

12962684_10209064706117513_2103458625_o

As for the skinny fries – in their terms – I pimped my fries to add bacon and cheese (because cheese + bacon make the world a bit better and is well deserved especially after a long week).

12987915_10209064705957509_1314309026_n

 

The Taste Test

After five minutes this piece of beauty was served.

12966845_10209064704757479_1748047633_n

The skinny fries was just what I needed to help remind me of the beauty that is cheese and bacon. It was the right amount of serving, not too much and not too few, just enough for my soul craving for something salty.

12992136_10209064705117488_388296608_n

As for the cheeseburger, at first munch it was like sinking your teeth into a juicy piece of well loved meat. You know that it has been prepared just for you, just for your burger craving body. The sauce complemented the juicy burger just fine but the cheese really finished it off. Dripping down the juicy meat making you crave more.

12980442_10209064703957459_1241109617_n

The only downside though is that if you don’t finish it and plan to take it home you will be faced with soggy – sad bread. The oil is dripping plus the juice of the burger – but I think this is to be expected. Comparing this with the other burger shop I tried, Zarks, I like their burgers better. I was able to finish my burger without being faced with soggy sad bread like what happened when I tried Zarks.

The Service

Aside from the taste test, I will introduce the service part in my food reviews. For 8cuts? I will give them a 5 out of 5! Service was superb and the one assigned to our table was very accommodating!

The Verdict

4.5 out of 5

If you are craving for burgers and are looking for something more than the usual ones (especially from the fast food ones) go for 8cuts! My personal favorite will be the cheeseburger plus the skinny fries. I will probably come back for another serving soon!

Lost Horizon Annex Beach Resort Review

For our first two days in Bohol we stayed at Lost Horizon Annex. I opted to stay here instead of the beach front because:

  1. I wanted to save on the accommodations
  2. The annex is just a five minute walk to the beach front
  3. I wanted to have a quiet night since we are with Bunny (although the beach front is not really that noisy, there are bands playing at the beach front restos and I wanted Bunny to sleep easier)

Although there are a lot of other options in terms of resorts that are not in the beach front area – Lost Horizon Annex offers a “shortcut” as you may call it to the beach front. This is a good perk because you don’t have to walk farther just to go to the beach as compared to the other resorts. When you are staying at the annex you can pass through the red gate of the Lost Horizon Beach Front which leads you straight to the beautiful Alona Beach.

We reserved a standard room for the night that we will stay, and at Php 2100 it is a good deal already. The room was spacious and each had a balcony. I think this is for smoking guests or for guests who would want to breathe a bit of fresh air every now and then.

From Lost Horizon Annex Website

From Lost Horizon Annex Website

The bed was big enough for the three of us and I think can even fit 3 adults or even 2 adults and 2 kids. As for the facilities – the aircon was good and at times we had to increase the temp because it was becoming super cold! They also had a flat screen tv with cable which was great because we called it in early for our first night. They have the normal T&B no tubs though and sometimes the water pressure is low. This is an area of improvement for them but it is clean.

From Lost Horizon Annex Site

From Lost Horizon Annex Site

The staff was very accommodating as well, when we stayed there the attendant was very friendly and attentive to the needs of the guests who come up at the reception area. They are also very flexible in terms of charging food that you buy at their mini-bar. If you didn’t have cash with you she will just charge it to your bill without hesitations.

As for the breakfast they shared, typical set meals nothing fancy or special but it was enough for hungry tummy’s like ours. Check in and check out is a breeze and they accept credit cards too!

From Lost Horizon Annex

From Lost Horizon Annex

Overall I given them a 4 out of 5 especially because of the place, affordability,  and staff.

Bunheads

Still waiting for Season  of Smash and the winter premiere of Pretty Little Liars. So I searched for new shows to follow and as of this moment my fave. is Bunheads.

Bunheads, from ABC Family, is a small town drama written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, same person who gave us Gilmore Girls. It revolves around Michelle, a Vegas Showgirl, and her life when she married Hubble. She moved in to Paradise only to discover that her husband is still living with his mom, Fanny.

Now, the story takes a drastic turn when Hubble dies from a car accident. Michelle then decides to stay at Paradise.

What I love about Bunheads is the fact that:

  1. The cast consists of real ballet dancers.
  2. The witty and quick dialogue exchanges between Michelle and Fanny, and Michelle and everybody she talks to.
  3. The small town feel, which I can relate to somehow.
  4. The dances.
  5. The struggle that Michelle has, if she will teach or if she will pursue dancing.
  6. Madame Fanny (who also played Rory’s grandmum)
  7. Boo (Bettina)

The show has 10 episodes as of today, but ABC Family announced the return of Bunheads come January 7, 2013. 🙂 Now, if you are looking for a funny yet touching show and you were a big Gilmore Girls fan, check out Bunheads.

I give it an 8. 🙂

Praybeyt Benjamin

The movie: Praybeyt Benjamin, starring Vice Ganda, Jimmy Santos, Eddie Garcia, and many more.

Photo courtesy of http://viceganda.net

The short synopsis:
The movie is about Benjamin (Vice Ganda), who aims to prove that being gay is not a disease nor an ailment, through joining the army and trying to save his grandfather who was kidnapped by terrorists.

Lines:
Vice: Pag bakla salot agad?
Vice’s Sister: Hindi ba pwedeng malas muna?

Vice Ganda: Ay kabayo!
Vice’s Sister: Brownout?
Vice Ganda: Hindi, sunrise.

Vice: Yan ang hirap sa mga re-cruit re-cruit, di nasasala, kahit sino na lang eh noh
Nikki: Tingnan mo ikaw bakla.
Vice: Oo, ui anong bakla? Kelan man, di mo ako makikitang ma-aatract sa lalaki, kelan man di ako tumitig o nagwapuhan sa lalaki at ni hindi ako pinagpapawisan sa lalaki.

 

Why I watched the movie?
I wanted to have a great time with my boyfriend, and we chose the movie to unwind, was also looking for a movie that would make us laugh.

My verdict:
I was a bit disappointed with the movie. Personally, I think the movie kept on switching directions, it didn’t have that focus that’s needed. The story was ok, but the focus wasn’t on the story it was more on the delivery of the jokes or one liners that’s intended to make the people laugh. Yes, I know that it’s a comedy movie, but that doesn’t mean that the focus should be more on the humor bit, because they can incorporate it within the story, without it being too much of a hard sell. I mean, one sample perhaps is Date Night and for a local one, Kimi Dora, it’s a comedy, but they are not trying to make us laugh, which is good because we laugh not because they are delivering one liners, but we are laughing because the story is funny, and the delivery of the lines are spot on.
There was a lack of focus in this movie, they should have focused on one part or direction. If it was about proving that people shouldn’t disrespect or look down on the lgbt community, then they should have made it more about that, minus the out of the blue one liners. It seemed more of a stand up comedy movie, rather than a comedy movie. Yes, I know that Vice is good in this, but the movie has a potential to be a great one. I hope they could have made this movie more about the story than the one liners, because some are just so out of the blue, with a feeling that it’s somehow forced into the movie.
I also didn’t get the whole fast paced scenes, if you watch it carefully, it seems that some parts are in a bit of a fast forward mode.
I did like the scenes with Derek Ramsay, Vice was very much consistent on those scenes, and he was able to deliver those intimate yet funny scenes well, so kudos to that. But all in all, I personally think that this movie can actually be made into two different movies, one about acceptance and the other on tackling the issues of the LGBT community. And yes, they can both feature Vice Ganda. He was good, but this movie can be better.
My Rating:
2.5 out of 5