Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Lotus Garden Suite: One of the Prettiest Hotels in Palawan

It's not the best suite, neither is it the cheapest one. Still, the coziness of this Palawan hotel is just unbelievable. I stayed in The Lotus Garden Suite for two nights. 

First thing's first, why should I stay at the Lotus Garden Suite in Palawan

1. Great Location. The Lotus Garden is a cozy refuge that's situated between the airport and Puerto Princesa City Proper. It's about a 3-5 minute ride (or even less) from the airport. 

The best view to welcome your morning
This Palawan hotel is beside the famous Kalui's, and Kinabuch's Bar and Grill is within walking distance . Those two restos are a must-visit for people who enjoy great seafood and great ambiance,

2. The Lotus Garden is breathtakingly beautiful. Sure, the white silk cotton tree (known as Buboi or Doldol) sometimes kills the beauty of their ponds, but their landscaping is definitely one of a kind, paved in artfully-placed cracked tiles. 

This is one of their lounge areas. The stairwell beside it is a mosaic of broken tiles.
I bet it's the only hotel/suite in Palawan that has a treehouse, three ponds, and beautiful lotus flowers.

Beautiful, beautiful lotus flowers
3. Nature-friendly all the way. I stayed in the Okisaki room. It was built like a wooden cabin. Beneath my room was a fish pond with kois swimming beneath the lily pads. The man-made falls beside adds to the naturalistic vibe.

Best room in The Lotus Garden Suite. Paid 1,300 php for a night.
4. They have a cat mascot. Okay, this was definitely something I just had to mention. The funny gal is just lounging about reception area. She's often caught stretching out on their plush purple seat.

Mascot Cat on Purple Couch
5. Friendly hotel staff. It's so adorable that their staff is hospitable, accommodating, and very eager to help.

6. Great ambiance and set-up. I did mention this awhile ago. It felt like I owned the place because they barely had customers (probably because it's not peak season yet). My driver mentioned that he thought the place only had Asian fine dining.

Romantic lighting crafted with bamboo
They have seashell tables and a whole book collection beside their bar.

This has rocks on it. The other table has seashells beneath the glass pane.
Celebrities who have gone there include Mark Nelson (I'm not sure about this), Pokwang, Renee Salud, Ai-Ai delas Alas and Aljur Abrenica. I know there's another actor model who's gone there... but seriously, I'm not really familiar with celebrities.
Here's a Japanese-themed pavilion surrounded by lush greenery and a beautiful lotus pond.
Of course, there are some downsides about the hotel.

1. 24-hour front desk wasn't 24 hour at all. I could perfectly understand this because it's not peak season yet. Logic dictates that there's practically no guest in their right mind who would leave the suite at 3 in the morning except me.

2. Hot water is extremely hot. I couldn't adjust it to warm even if my life depended on it. Hahaha. 

It's like bathing in hot brewed coffee!
3. Continental breakfast portions are a little too small.

Two continental breakfasts combined. I missed my first breakfast so I asked them to combine both meals into one large morning feast.
4. Okisaki Room--the room with the best view-- doesn't have a canopy bed. I can deal with that, too. I love that the room was cozy, but some customers have expected this beforehand...especially with the pictures on their site.

On the bright side, I admire their effort in renovating the place. During my stay, they were working on improving their dining area.

Front desk is on the left. The shell table above is the center piece in this photo.
The million-dollar question? Will I stay at The Lotus Garden Suites again? HELL YES!!! It's affordable, beautiful, and nature-rific. I got the Okisaki room for 1,300 php!

The Lotus Garden Suites Information

Address:371 Rizal Ave. Puerto Princesa City, Palawan PH 5300
Phone:(048) 434 11 32
Tip: Rather than booking it through their site, give them a call! If it's not peak season, you'll most likely get the room at a cheaper price. You should check Agoda or Tripadvisor rates too. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

8 Places to Enjoy in Iloilo

Say you're on a business trip to Iloilo, or maybe you're just there for a quick vacation. Are you browsing the web for ways to enjoy your Iloilo vacation? Do you want to see some of Iloilo's tourist spots?

Here are just some of the places to visit when travelling to Iloilo.

"I am Iloilo" sign in the Iloilo Esplanade
Just so we're clear, there are a lot of great places to visit in Iloilo, especially now that Iloilo is preparing for the Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC) Summit.

1. Iloilo Esplanade

Iloilo Esplanade Entrance Sign
Post Script:
This 1.2 kilometer esplanade celebrates Iloilo citizens' love for their river. It provides a functional, as well as beautiful venue that accommodates varied leisure activities open for all to use and appreciate. It also brings everyone closer to the water's edge, reconnects people back to nature and increases awareness of the environmental balance necessary for the city to sustain those who live within its borders.
A closer look at the newly paved pathway inside the esplanade.
The Iloilo Esplanade was created alongside the Iloilo River. It's a known shortcut from the highway to Molo. It's also a safer walking route to the Boardwalk which leads the path to Smallville, Iloilo's nightlife central.

Iloilo Esplanade's Beauty at Night
The Iloilo Esplanade is a great place for joggers and exercise buffs. At one end of the Esplanade (the one near  Zyron's), group exercise programs like Taebo and Zumba are being held on a daily basis.

The path to Molo and the entrance of the Riverside Boardwalk
2. JD at Huervana St., La Paz

Whenever someone mentions JD, they often refer to the famous JD Roadhouse. Unfortunately, their food quality has begun to decline. The last time I ate there, I was so disappointed with the Palabok (too little sauce) and their famous Baked Mac (too dry).

This JD Bakeshop is located in Huervana St., La Paz, Iloilo City
Then, I was able to eat breakfast at JD La Paz. Boy was my disheartening experience erased.

I just love eating at the place early in the morning. It's virtually empty.
For me, the best JD (in terms of food preparation) is located in La Paz, in front of the La Paz public market, along Huervana Street.

At the top portion of a picture is their new sandwich. I love it. It's way better than their JD Clubhouse Sandwich.
3. Plazuela de Iloilo

Sorry for the sucky picture. Hahaha. I took this shot with a Samsung Galaxy Y.
I've been gone for such a long time that last June, when I visited Plazuela, I was so amazed by the new additions in the place. There were enlarged colorful flower fixtures accompanied by bees and butterflies.

4. Teds at Iloilo

Teds is just Teds. It's famous for its batchoy. I personally don't like eating batchoy, but I'm sure the adventurous palate would beg to differ.

5. Sharetea in Smallville

Okay, so it's not all about local restos. I know Sharetea isn't from the Philippines, but I'd be damned if I don't include them in this list. I would rather drink in Sharetea than in Iloilo's damned Starbucks anytime.

Ooops! Sorry, wrong tea. Although, my usual Sharetea order does remind me of my favorite Chatime Mousse drink. Mmm...Chocolate...
Yes, bitter ako because we've had multiple undesirable experiences with them, ranging from a Frappuccino with too much sugar to an over-charged "dagdagan mo ng cream" request.

And besides, at least Sharetea was not responsible for mass food poisoning Iloilo citizens, Dakasi is.

6. Roberto's

Of course, there are other places worth mentioning. This restaurant is particularly amazing as the owners don't allow franchising.

Roberto's is relatively small compared to the massive number of customers that buy their burgers, siopaos, meatballs, shanghais, and fried rice on a daily basis.

Roberto's with their amazing Lumpia Shanghai and Queen Siopao, 
7. Coffee Break
Coffee Break because it's a local cafe
This last picture was taken YEARS ago. I just love Coffee Break's Baked Mac and Tuna Casserole.

As for their Frappes? Let's just say that it has been a struggle for them to maintain their old standard in coffee drink quality, especially when it comes blended iced beverages or frappes.

8. Love & Kisses Pizza Pies

Love and Kisses is a late addition because I've completely forgotten about it. I do have two sucky pictures of my favorite pizza choices.

Love & Kisses is the only pizza place that lets you order Seduction.
Love and Kisses has always been one of my favorite pizza place ever since time immortal. To be more prices, that's two decades ago.  I have enjoyed Love & Kisses' pizzas even back when their tiny pizzeria was located in narrow street within Iloilo Central Market.

And if all else fails, there's always Fantasy, right?
Sure, they're no Afrique's. Then again, Love & Kisses creates a nostalgic atmosphere that Ilonggos have learned to enjoy throughout the years.

There you have it. 8 Places to Go to When in Iloilo

8 Places to Go to in Iloilo
8 Iloilo Tourist Spots
8 Iloilo Spots to Enjoy
8 Places to Visit in Iloilo

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Marikina Sports Center Rates, Schedules, and Brochure

In my opinion, Marikina has one of the best sports center in the Philippines. It has well-kept facilities, and most of it are open 24/7. So the swimming pool is closed during Mondays, and only during summers do they allow night swimming, it's not that bad when the rates are affordable.

Marikina Sports Center's Soccer Field.
Given the government's average budget, the sports area and its staff is proof to where the citizen's taxes go. 

Marikina Sports Center contact number, information, and rates.
Administrator: Dr. Angelito A. Llabres 
Bookings/ Reservations or Inquiries (02) 682-9573
Administration Office (02) 646-1635
Visit us:
But let's not talk about that. I didn't put this post up to review the place.

And if all Badminton Courts are fully-booked, where better than to play beside the track oval.
Beside the veteran chess players...
Honestly, I just wanted to post some pictures and information the Marikina Sports Center rates.

Multicolored bleachers surrounding both sides. Entrance fee is 10 pesos per person.
To make things easier, I took the liberty of posting the Sports Center's brochure.

Marikina Sports Center Brochure
Just click on the image to enlarge it.
Marikina Sports Center Brochure
Just click on the image to enlarge it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

One Direction VIP Concert Tickets Sold Out Before 3PM in SM MOA

May 24, 2014

We were in SM's Mall of Asia this afternoon hoping to buy a 1D Concert Ticket for one of my sister's nieces. At 1 p.m., this was what greeted us.
A very, very long line of ticket buyers that approximately spans SM MOA Arena's perimeter four times over.
How long have some of the patrons been there? A group of teenagers we asked told us that they'd been there since 7 a.m. (and yet they weren't even close to ticketing office!)

Close-up of what's going on in the line. There wasn't any movement for awhile, apparently due to the ticket sellers taking a lunch break.
That's crazy, I know! But unbelievable as it may seem, while we were eating at Sbarro, my sister was able to catch a glimpse of the ticket prices. Guess how much!

More avid 1D fans camped out, sitting on newspapers, and finding means to keep themselves preoccupied in the blazing heat of the sun.
14,000+ ?!? To be more precise, the Diamond ticket cost a whopping 14,800 pesos. This was nowhere near the VIP that amounted to 17,950 pesos. 

SM MOA Arena today, May 24, 2014
When is One Direction's concert in the Philippines?

March 21, 2015!!!

Hopefully, 1D's management will decide to give the horde of devastated One Directioners a second-day concert (based on tonight's news in ABS-CBN's Bandila).

Obviously, a one-day sale on the One D concert tickets wasn't enough. A one-day performance of One Direction isn't enough either.

Ticketing Prices were as follows:

*Bronze (standing) -- P1150
*Silver (standing) -- P2200
*Gold (free seating) -- P3775
*Titanium (free seating) -- P7450
*Diamond (reserved seating) -- P14800
*VIP (reserved seating) -- P17950

How does that song go again? Let's go crazy, crazy, crazy 'till we see the sun...

Fortunately, my sister's niece was able to procure a ticket in SM City Iloilo because they distributed the One Direction concert tickets to other SMs. That's so 1D fans in the provinces could get an opportunity to buy one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Is Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Company Inc's (PPLIC) LABB PLUS Refundable?

As of April 22, 2014 at 12:16 a.m., someone was kind enough to post these comments in "STOP Buying Philippine Prudential Life Insurance C...".

I'd like to personally thank Theresa for keeping us updated and informed regarding her request for a refund on Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Company Inc's LABB Plus.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "STOP Buying Philippine Prudential Life Insurance C...": 
hi all, Theresa here.. i have received an email from IC, they sent a letter to pplic requesting for refund on my behalf kaso tagal bago sila ngsend. then i just got my labb plus refund amounting to 4250 last april12. keypoint to get this is be firm na IC said this is refundable, its better kun sabay sabay kayo punta sa HO ng PPLIC wag sa SM north ave. okay din na lahat kau punta sa office IC nang makita nila ganu karami ang biktima. 
Posted by Anonymous to Digital Brew at April 21, 2014 at 4:35 AM

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "STOP Buying Philippine Prudential Life Insurance C...": 
i just got my labb plus refund last april12. it took them more than a month to give it back... ~theresa

Posted by Anonymous to Digital Brew at April 21, 2014 at 4:13 AM

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "STOP Buying Philippine Prudential Life Insurance C...": 
hi haopee, just want to update u that i got my labb plus refund amounting to 4250php last april 12. ~theresa 
Posted by Anonymous to Digital Brew at April 21, 2014 at 4:04 AM
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "STOP Buying Philippine Prudential Life Insurance C...": 
hi all, just want to update u that i got my labb plus refund amounting to 4250php last april 12. ~theresa 
Posted by Anonymous to Digital Brew at April 21, 2014 at 4:00 AM
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "STOP Buying Philippine Prudential Life Insurance C...":  
Hello! This is Antonette. PPLIC called me last night and told me that they already cancelled my LABB Plus. I just have to return the documents they gave me when I bought the plan. They told me that there is a Php 250.00 processing fee so Php 4250 would be returned to me. They told me that my money will be returned after 30-45 days.I told them it's okay as long as I can have my money back. After office, I'll go there to return the documents. 
I don't know how they were convinced to cancel my plan. I just gave them a cancellation letter 6 days after I bought the plan. It stated in my letter the rights I have as their client according to the Insurance Code. I even mentioned Title 4, Sections 26-27 which they violated. Maybe they found my reasons valid and was convinced to cancel the plan even though their contract stated that it was non-refundable. 
Posted by Anonymous to Digital Brew at April 30, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "STOP Buying Philippine Prudential Life Insurance C...":

Guys, narefund din yung LABB+ at endowment ko. so may pag-asa. Sasabihin talaga nila na hindi refundable yung LABB+ (kasi yung endowment may 15-day look out period). Kaya magsesend kayo ng letter of reconsideration for cancellation sa email nila (lagay nyo yung reason. yung akin kasi hindi ko alam na may rider na kasama in the form of LABB plus yung ENdowment ko. so bayad ko na bago nila inexplain na non-refundable yon. so sabi ko this is a violation of contract kasi may concealment silang ginawa). Sa head office yon. i-cc nyo na lang din yung email nyo sa insurance commission (nasa site nila yung email add nila). Anyway, after nyo magsend ng letter tumawag kayo sa main office nila (wag mainip kasi sobrang laging busy. redial lang ng redial). iconfirm nyo sa head office nila kung natanggap nila yung inemail nyo. after non, follow-up lang kayo lagi (by phone lang ako kasi may trabaho ako.) then, tatawag sila sa inyo kapag cancelled na yung plan. Papupuntahin nila kayo sa branch kung saan kayo nag-avail to surrender yung documents. DOn't forget to get your SOA na may nakalagay na cancelled with refund. Yun nga lang may bawas na P250 pesos yung ibabalik nila. after nyan w8 kayo tas follow up lang ulit kasi natagal bago nila naibalik yung akin. around 20 working days (meaning di pa bilang yung Sat at sun plus holiday). so sobrang tagal.

Posted by Anonymous to Digital Brew at May 27, 2014 at 5:18 PM
Ang time line ko ay, March 21 nag-avail ako. March 22, nagpacancel ako then send ng email of cacellation for LABB plus. Then follow-up na lang sa head office every two days. April 1, nakatanggap ako ng tawag na okay na. Cancelled na yung LABB PLus. May 5 ata o 8 naibalik yung pera ko (ang tagal). As for my endowment cancelled na agad sya nung March 22 pa lang pero nabalik pera ko around May 23-25 ata.
Posted by Anonymous to Digital Brew at May 27, 2014 at 5:22 PM 

I had my Endownment plan and LABB PLUS cancelled yesterday. Thank you for all the tips I got from this blog. Sa mga na biktima din ng PPLIC, check nyo lang lahat ng comments and mga links na meron dito sa blog, sobrang helpful. Another tip pag magpapacancel kayo always have a back up whether if it is your parents, close friends and relatives. Makakatulong sila sa iyo lalo na pag pinag aralan din nila yung mga policies sa contract mo. Tandaan nyo MAY LABAN KAYO! Wag kayo papadala sa non refundable na LABB PLUS na yan kasi hindi totoo yan. May 15 day grace period ang bawat policy ng insurance. NASA BATAS NA YAN. Hopefully makuha ko na within 30-45 days yung pera ko. hindi ako papayag na hindi nila ibibgay lahat. Just make sure na nakuha nyo ung statement of account ng both endownment and LABB plus plan nyo, photocopy nung letter of cancellation na ginawa nyo kasama yung written confirmation na nagsasabi kung kailan mo makukuha yung pera. Mas maganda kung papa photocopy nyo ung ID nung kung sino mang kumakausap sa inyo. Kung sila nga nakakapag request ng id nyo para pa photocopy paano pa kaya tayo d ba? MORE POWER SA BLOG NA ITO! 
Posted by Anonymous to Digital Brew at June 25, 2014 at 9:06 AM

So there you have it. I hope this answers the question of whether LABB Plus is refundable or not. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Where to Buy Cakes and Pastries in Marikina? Wolly Winkle

Now, before anything else, I have to say that this was not paid nor endorsed by the owner. I simply came across the tiny patisserie while waiting for our car to get upholstered, which took about 3-4 hours!

To make a long story short, I got hungry and checked what was in the Wolly Winkle Cakes and Cafe shop.

Don't let appearances deceive you.
Wolly Winkle is located near MG Square Upholstery at G. Fernando Ave., Corner Dragon Street, Marikina City. It's directly beside the newly-opened, awesome-looking Car Wash and Restobar whose name I have not taken note of.

The Wolly Winkle Cakes and Cafe's atmosphere suggest a cozy and welcoming vibe.
So I entered the establishment with sky blue metallic sticker plastered all over its front display. I'm not sure why the owner chose to do this with the cake shop as you could barely see through it during afternoons.

This cake shop may look barren in the outside, but once you've entered, you'll certainly appreciate the thematic choice of blue and Alice in Wonderland artwork hung throughout the small room. 

I especially love that their service water is served in a wine glass instead of a regular cylindrical one.
There aren't that many tables, which makes sense since it's not an ideal place to eat dinner in. 

However, if you're going to hang out with a friend and just want to try some cakes, it's definitely a place to consider (especially if you're near Sta. Lucia Grand East Mall).

A slice of cake cost within 100 php range. The portions are smaller than what I expected, but I won't judge this yet since I haven't tried any of it.
Cake pricing is as follows:

(Cake - Slice/Whole)
Blueberry - 125 / 1000
Oreo Cheesecake - 125 / 1000
Classic Sans Rival - 105 / 840
Chocolate Dream Cake - 95 / 760
Chocolate Paradise -  95 / 760

Unfortunately, I forgot to name of their best-seller... It had something to do with Marshmallow; it's the one located at the upper right corner of the picture directly above. 

I ordered their Mac and Cheese (95 php) and Revel Bar (45 php). 

The bread was a little chewy (perhaps from having been refrigerated). Nevertheless, the Mac & Cheese was real good.
Okay, so the price is a little steep compared to mainstream restaurants and fastfood joints. After all, Goldilocks' Baked Mac cost about 65 - 75 php. 

Still, it's definitely a place I would consider visiting again. I wasn't able to taste their cakes, but their revel bar sufficed to tell me that its preparation was home-made.. and I just love home-made cooking.

To sum it all up:

***** Ambiance/ Atmosphere - cozy, thematic and just great for friends who want to hang out.
****   Food - Good enough. I haven't tasted the cakes yet, but their Revel Bar was OK! It's not too sweet or too jam-packed with flavor.
***     Price - A little steep in comparison to Banapple (my favorite cake place), but all the well good. Can we go back to the ambiance? It was really cute and adorable.  On the other hand, the pricing just sounds about right if you were to go to a cafe to hang out. It's cheaper than Starbucks albeit the lack of specialized  coffee blends.

Will I go back there to try their cakes? Definitely!

Wolly Winkle Cakes & Cafe is located at #32 Gil Fernando Ave., San Roque, Marikina City
Tel No. 631-76-44