Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Advent of the Bicycles in the Philippines

It’s everywhere, folks. Bicycle lanes here, bicycle rides there.

There’s no denying that Filipinos have the healthy gene in there system. Since more cities are promoting healthy lifestyles, providing walkways, park recreations and more bicycles lanes, it just makes perfect sense to get a bicycle of your own. Even in our own village, the number of bicyclists and bicycle enthusiasts has increased by a tenfold. Yes, those little stainless steel frames with square baskets hanging upfront are now a trending health item.

Bicycles... I’ve seen pink ones, blue ones, and even orange ones. Aside from the now-popular Japanese bikes, there’s also the ones known as folding bikes.

My sister’s officemate has a Pacific folding bike. His health regimen includes biking long distances along the busy roads of Metro Manila (Pasay in particular) and eating four eggs a day. Unlike most enthusiasts however, this person takes his folding bike to the office with him. He uses it to travel with in his free time. You would think Metro Manila was his playground.

His usual bike routine includes going through long distances with his beloved bicycle. Once he gets tired, he stops, folds his bike, and hails the next jeepney he could fit himself and his bike in to go back to his starting poing. He’s been doing this for more than a year, and the fruits of his exercise has paid off—just like John Lloyd’s new hobby has done wonders to his body.

The Many Benefits of Using a Bicycle to Travel

1. Biking builds and tones your muscles. It’s also a great way to increase your endurance.
2. It does not cause pollution, which further helps in promoting the Philippines’ Clean Air Act.
3. It’s a great way to socialize and meet other bike enthusiasts.
4. It’s cheap and convenient.

Taiwan, India, and China are the world’s leading bicycle producers. However, unlike the latter countries, Taiwan-made bicycles are intended for exporting. This is why Taiwan’s bike industry continuously strives for excellence and versatility. Brands like Pacific, Merida, and Giant are becoming names to reckon with in the biking industry.

Yes, expect cold-rolled steel tubing, magnesium alloy and carbon-fiber frames!

Just like Japan’s 5S, Taiwan’s bike industry has 3N (New Materials, New Technologies, and New Designs) to prepare it for the different environments the bikes will be used in.

The Taiwan Excellence campaign, with the implementation of TAITRA (Taiwan External Trade Development Council), aims for us, Filipinos, to discover a range of high-quality Taiwan-made products that carries the country’s seal of excellence. Their campaign is also endorsed by our local celebrity, Iya Villania-Arellano.

You can learn more about Taiwan Excellence by browsing through their pages: the Taiwan Excellence website or their Facebook page.

Disclaimer: Although this post is sponsored, the content and opinions are my own.
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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Lotus Garden Suites in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Well, this is the second time I've stayed in the place. This time, I'd probably rate it Above Average. It's not perfect, but it's still the best place I've ever stayed at. Also, it's a few meters away from the airport. 

The Lotus Garden's top view from the tree house.
Personal Experience Staying in Lotus Garden Suites

1. Staff. The staff are extremely nice and friendly. All of them were courteous and cheery. To compensate for the mishap in the rooms, they upped my free breakfast meal to be served with garlic rice rather than bread.

The Lotus Garden Suites' huge pond at the entrance.
2. Food. I'm a so-and-so on this one. Breakfast was okay. I love that they always have fruits on the plate. Their coffee is pretty good, too. Instead of the instant creamer, it's served with evaporated milk. I have yet to try to their Japanese cuisines, but I intend to do so another time.

Brewed coffee, brown sugar, and milk in the morning
3. Room. I just love the Okisaki room. It has always been my favorite place to crash. The bathroom in it is roofed (unlike the other bathrooms), and it's situated above the pond with floating lilies and swimming kois. It's also probably the only room with decent cellular reception if your network is SUN cellular.

Lotus Garden Suites' Mikado Room
Sensei Bedroom
The Sensei room would be my next pick because the bathroom (bathed in sunlight or moonlight) has the best water pressure. They also have a bidet beside the toilet, which is an added plus. But compared to Mikado, the floor is tiled rather than wooden. Expect it to get pretty cold when you wake up in the morning for a quick bahtroom break.

Lotus Garden Suites Sensei Room Open-roof Garden Bathroom
Mikado Bathroom at Night
Nature-inspired Open-roof Shower
Yes, it can get pretty cool at night, so expect to end up with a cold after taking a nice bath.
4. Lounge Area. Now, this is where Lotus Garden will always one of the best inns to book a room in. Their lounge area is Japanese-themed and nature-rich. Their restaurant/ reception areaOn one side, books are rowed in wooden shelves.  Not only is it surrounded with plants, the ponds filled with floating flora and fauna. They have a swimming turtle in the pond beside the Sensei room. 

Lounge Area and Restobar
Another Lounge Area
5. Price. The price is just about right. In comparison, the room in Corazon Tourist Inn was 180 php more expensive than a room in Lotus Garden Suites.

The tree house looks nice too.
I think that wraps up my experience for the Lotus Garden Suites.

Personal Ratings

1. Staff: 5/5
2. Food: 3/5 (I have yet to taste their sushi)
3. Room: 4/5 (My first pick is Okisaki. Sensei would be next among the standard/regular rooms).
4. Lounge: 5/5 (Travelers get to enjoy well-thought landscaping and beautiful greenery simply by hanging-out on their restaurant.
5. Price: 5/5

The Lotus Garden Suites Information

Address: 371 Rizal Ave. Puerto Princesa City, Palawan PH 5300
Phone: (048) 434 11 32

Next stop, Ardent Suites in Puerto Princesa, Palawan... 
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

'Tis the Season to be Jolly with Taiwan Excellence's Christmas Contest

We, Filipinos, love the Christmas season. 

We put-up our Christmas tree, reward carolers for singing Christmas songs, religiously attend simbang gabi, and prepare Noche Buena feasts. It’s a long-standing tradition that’s been followed even before I was born. 

Gift-giving has also played a crucial part of this country’s Yuletide season. Most of you may remember bringing canned goods and packed noodles to school in celebration of White Gifts Sunday. Although a Methodist started this tradition, some schools in the Philippines continue to honor it. And just like us, Taiwan Excellence recognizes how special Christmas is for us. This is why they have offered to fulfill 10 Filipino’s “Grown-up Wish list” through the Taiwan Excellence- Made to Enjoy Christmas Contest.

Taiwan Excellence-Made to Enjoy Christmas Contest Flyer

And let’s face it! The act of giving is far more rewarding than the act of receiving. 

Made to Enjoy Christmas Contest Details

By simply visiting and registering in the Made To Enjoy The Life website, you will have the opportunity to win your loved one a special present this Christmas. All it takes is choosing a Taiwan Excellence product and sharing your reason for choosing that person.

Taiwan Excellence Products

Have you joined the contest yet? If you haven't, do so now. You might be one of the ten lucky winners to give your special loved one the gift they solely deserve. As an added bonus, Iya Villania-Arellano, Taiwan Excellence Celebrity Endorser, might be the secret Santa to deliver it at their doorstep.

The Taiwan Excellence seal is found in Taiwanese brands that excel in quality, innovation, and good value for money. Products you may have already used include Acer, Asus, MSI, and even Pacific. These four are just some of the ones well-known worldwide.

With the assistance TAITRA, the Taiwan Excellence campaign was launched in the Philippines with the purpose of providing Filipinos better Taiwan-made products, or as Taiwan has put it: Bringing Excellent Lifestyle in the Philippines.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Digitally Transforming the Filipino Haggling Tradition

Yesterday, my sister and I went to Divisoria. We were searching for a certain curtain design for their bedroom. As you all know, Divisoria is the place to go when buying anything and everything at an extremely cheap price. The streets were lined with stalls that were filled with hanging Christmas decors, drapes, and--I repeat--anything under the sun.

The Divisoria Experience

After having to deal with the traffic from Recto to Divi, we maneuvered the busy stalls of Puregold to reach Tabora. In Tabora, we checked every single stall, kiosk, and selling space that sold curtains. To our dismay, we didn't find the particular design. Although a little disappointed, we got some great deals on a few yards of U.S. cotton textile. Yes, like any other Filipino, we ended up haggling for the 7 yards of Winnie the Pooh and some other cartoony-designed bed sheet-to-be.

U.S. Cotton sheets cost 85-130 php/yard

Haggling has always been part of our culture. We always here phrases like "Last price?" or "No Discount?" or "I'll buy it by bulk if you give it to me at _____". Honestly, even online sellers from OLX/ Sulit, Ayos Dito, and eBay receive text messages like the ones I mentioned above. It's a typical behavior that's neither good nor bad, depending on the haggler's technique and style.

Selling on eBay used to be as easy as bidding and winning.
Filipino Online Shopping

Nowadays, a lot of us have enjoyed the benefits of buying online. For one, you wouldn't have to deal with the heat, the crowded streets, and the pollution of going to Divi. You also save on precious time and fare because the items get delivered at your doorstep (especially in the Manila area). Some online items are even being sold at a cheaper price than in malls. So, it's really no surprise that a lot of us are now going to websites like Lazada and Zalora.

My first Lazada purchase...
Can't Haggle When it's Sold Online

However, like buying an item from a mall or a superstore, all prices are fixed. There's no haggling allowed, because all prices are final. We don't get the opportunity to talk to the online shop's owner, and it can be a bit frustrating at times. Fortunately for us, we are a resourceful race. Some of us wait for sales or marked-downs; others end up using coupons (usually encoded prior to online checkout).

All it Takes is a Keyphrase

iPrice is a site for the thrifty, budget-conscious Filipino. When all the coupons are at your fingertips, readily available at a click of a button, online shopping definitely gets better. So why bother scouring every single blog/website via Google Search when you can go to a single website for the keywords that can slash a price down to a better bargain?

Is Using a Coupon the Same as Haggling?

It's not. However, these two techniques result to a single outcome. We get what we want at a bargain deal.

Some helpful links:

My Lazada Buying Experience
How to Commute to Divisoria
The EBAY Experience: Pros, Cons and some Tips in Buying and Selling
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Taiwan Excellence to the Philippines: A Tech-Savvy Blogger's Perspective

What does Asus, Acer, D-Link, and Transcend have in common? They're all brands proudly based in Taiwan. These four powerhouses are also names normally sought after by consumers looking for cheap yet reliable electronic gadgets and devices. Ironically, some people still believe that these brands are from the US. For that said reason, it's important for the world to learn about Taiwan Excellence.

Taiwan Excellence to the World

The Taiwan Excellence Award is given to companies who continually challenge themselves in creating innovative and high-quality products that stand out in the industry. Among Taiwan's forerunners are Asus and Acer. Both are well-known for building laptops, tablets, and even mobile phones with specifications as powerful as their US counterparts.

These brands don't stop at competitive pricing and ingenuity. They broaden their reach by creating ads and marketing strategies focused on the masses, rather than just the Tech community.

An Act of Ingenuity

Back in the days, when people asked what router worked best with PLDT DSL, most computer stores would immediately point to D-Link. Compatibility-wise, D-Link was easier to set-up compared to Netgear and Cisco. This, alone, made Taiwan's brand a highly-recommended product to multiple subscribers. Not only was D-Link able to ensure its product's purchase, but is also created a demand that no other brand could supply.

Customer Loyalty

When memory cards were first sold, Transcend was among the brands that stood out. It went neck-and-neck against SanDisk, Imation, and Kingston. Years later, some users still rely on Transcend because they're cheap and durable. While others have switched due to preference, there's no denying that the brand has now garnered continued patronage for its continued excellent quality and performance.

Bottom Line
There are so many times where people assume that a good electronics brand can only come from the "Land of the Free". Now, Filipinos can rely on brands that are closer to home.

With a design inspired by the spirit of fulfillment in their traditional culture, the Taiwan Excellence Seal provides the world a means to recognize brands and products that are, in fact, made in Taiwan.

Disclaimer: Although this post is sponsored, my opinions are my own.
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Get Ichabod's Voice Commands on your Waze (Philippines)

Say what? A gross invitation to indulgence?!?

I just found out through CNET that Sleepy Hollow fans can now make use of Ichabod's voice to help you drive safely through the streets of Manila.

Waze Application for Android, Samsung Galaxy 4
To get Ichabod Crane's (Tom Mison) voice on your Waze, all you have to do is open your Waze, tap on the cloud-like icon at the bottom and go to your settings (cog-shaped icon).

Ichabod Crane's voice is now available in Waze worldwide. Enjoy old English phrases as spoken by Tom Mison based on his 18th Century Colonial American era.
Under settings, just tap on Sound. Tap on Navigation Guidance and select English (US) - Ichabod Crane.

And even in online gaming, Ichabod Crane strikes again with a bucket if filthy curse words that sound more adorable than babies and puppies combined.
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Saturday, November 1, 2014

MyPhone A919 Duo: Easiest Way to Root and Install a Faster ROM (Xperia Mizwa Final)

MyPhone A919 Duo Running on Xperia Mizwa (Gaming+Battery Friendly) ROM.
Before anything else, let me list some basic points.

1. You will be expected to download some files from XDAForum and MyPhone A919 Duo User's Facebook Page.

2. You will need internet to download a couple of programs from the Google Play Store.

3. This process will require rooting and installing of CWM recovery before installing any ROM because you might end up getting the message "Signature Verification Failed".

4. You do not need to download any flashing software for this installation. 

Some terms to understand before we start.
  • XDAForums- This is where new custom ROMs are released. Whenever people want to try something new with their phone (e.g. make it look cooler, make it run faster, or make it more customizable), this is where they usually go to download and try new Android OS.
  • CWM (ClockworkMod) recovery- This like a computer's BIOS. It's where the magic happens without having to rely on the phone's stock rom.
  • Stock ROM- This is your phone's original system. Meaning, if your phone was running with unRooted ICS or JB, then that's what your stock ROM is.

Note: Stock ROMs are usually unrooted. This means you can't change their system files and pre-installed software easily. You can't remove the add-ons the company has installed in your phone, and you can change permissions for rooted applications.

  • Root- If you're simply the type who likes to install APKs, then rooting isn't necessary. However, if you're the adventurous type who prefers tweaking your system, boosting your RAM permanently, changing where your applications are automatically installed, or simply into wreaking havoc to your phone, then be my guest.

DISCLAIMER: This said, please remember that I will not be responsible for bricking your phone. And yes, I've rendered a MyPhone useless. It was bricked because I installed the wrong recovery.img. Fortunately, this following procedures won't be as complex.

  • Superuser- This grants an application permission to change some of your system settings. One of the most practical reasons why people install Superuser is to allow a rooted application to do some juju on your phone e.g. remove bloatware or software installed by MyPhone.
  • Boromir- the exploit used to install superuser into your phone. Boromir is probably some character in Lord of the Rings.

1. Procedures in Rooting your MyPhone A919 Duo

1.1. Download Framaroot from the XDAForums. 

Question: Does Framaroot work for all Android devices? The answer is NO. For instance, the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 does not budge with Framaroot. It will simply show you that now exploit is available for it

1.2. Copy Framaroot from the Downloads folder of your computer to your SD card.

Side Note: While you're at it, you might as well download Final Mizwa (Battery and Gaming-Friendly ROM) and the recovery image we will be using.  You might as well copy this two files into your SD card.

Google docs showing the contents of Final Mizwa Click on the image to view in actual size.

My Google Chrome Downloads tab. Click on the image to see original size.

For backing up files, I manually copied my files from the phone to the SD card. Or you could try Wondershare's Dr. Fone for Android for your images and videos. I used SMS Backup for my messages.

1.3. Assuming you've copied all the necessary files into your SD Card--NOT YOUR PHONE MEMORY (Framaroot, Recovery Image, and Final Mizwa), then disconnect your phone from your computer, and we shall start the rooting process of our MyPhone A919 duo.

Conditions to ensure Framaroot (and the rest of the apps) will be installed smoothly:
a) USB Debugging must be checked. ( Go to Settings>Developer Options> USB debugging) 
b). Unknown Sources must be checked (Go to Settings> Security> (Under Device Administration) Unknown Sources.

1.4. Go to your File Manager and look for Framaroot.  If you saved it directly into the SD Card, then once you tapped into the SD Card, you'll immediately find Framaroot. Install it and open it.

Framaroot will have to editable segments. One will have "Install SU" and the word "Boromir" will also pop out. Don't change a thing, but tap on Boromir.

Once done, a pop-up message suggesting its success will show-up in your screen.

Note: In some occassions, Superuser doesn't show up in your App Menu. No worries, just go to Google Playstore and download it there.

Now that we're done rooting your device, the next thing to do is to install CWM recovery. In this part, I don't suggest downloading ROM Manager because it will simply tell you that it's still going to use the phone's recovery instead of CWM.

2. Procedure on Installing ClockwordMod Recovery and Installing Final Mizwa ROM in MyPhone A919 Duo

2.1. Go back to Google Playstore and download Mobileuncle MTK Tools.

2.2. Install and open it.

Note: There will be instances that MobileUncle MTK Tools require Superuser permissions. Just tap on ALLOW.

2.3. Once the application has opened, look for Recovery Update and tap it.

2.4. Under Recovery Update, locate your recovery.img file under SD Card. It's the file that you copied into your SD Card, found usually under Recovery file in SD Card. Check out the image from CaraKamu's blog.

Now, it should ask you to reboot your phone. Do it.

CWM-based Recovery v6.0.2.8. Click the image to view actual size.

Tada! We're in CWM Recovery.  Use the Volume buttons to move the selector up or down and the Power button to select the highlighted text (the text with blue background). Most people will usually install the ROM without formatting the system. This is fine because Xperia Mizwa does that for us. The following is optional:

2.4.a. Wipe Cache Partition
2.4.b. Under Advance, Wipe Dalvik Cache
2.4.c. Under Mount and Storage, Format System. Then, Format Data. Then, Format Cache.
2.4.d. To be on the safe side, I also do wipe data/ factory reset.

2.5. Select Install zip from SD Card.

Note: As an extra precaution prior to installing Mizwa Xperia Final, Before selecting "choose a zip from sdcard", select toggle signature verification and press the Power button twice. This should give you a message at the bottom. 

2.5.a Signature Check: Disabled.
2.5.b After doing the Toggle signature verification, select "choose a zip from sdcard". If you copied Final directly into the main folder of the SD Card (some people call it the root folder), then just locate it and select the file.

Note: Expect to select Yes a couple of times before finally achieving the screenshot below.

Now, we wait...

As you could see, formatting the partition is already done by the Xperia Mizwa ROM. The portion shown above "Installing: /sdcard/Final Mizwa" is done by following items 2.4.a to 2.5.a. Click on the image to view actual size.
And we're done. Bask in the glory of the XPERIA loading screen. 


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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bluejay Coffee: One of Iloilo's Dining Treasures

Bluejay is another Ilonggo-owned cafe that's withstood the test of time.
Who doesn't enjoy a good cup of coffee? Drinking coffee is one of the things Filipinos have grown to love. From the oldest tatang to the youngest estudyante.

Bluejay Coffee has many branches, but this one is the branch situated within the Smallville Complex.
Coffee-based concoctions have now been a staple for social gatherings, friendly chitchats, studying hyperdrives, and even first time dates.

Presentation-wise, Midnight Chocolate Cake stood out from the pastry crowd. It was a little too moist though, perhaps after having been refrigerated for awhile.
Back when Bluejay first opened, I wasn't a big fan, especially with the cost of their drinks. Now, however, I just can't get enough of their hot chocolate.

Now, this is a feel-good hot chocolate drink!
Throughout the years, it seems that Bluejay Coffee and Deli has strove to win the masses by adding value meals, cakes and sweet treats into their menu. They sure are doing it right, particularly in the price department.

For 88 php. this Chicken ala King pasta comes with an orange juice drink.
While I've always been a fan of Coffeebreak, it just breaks my heart that the quality and quantity of their drinks have dwindled in the past decade.

Same value for a different kind of pasta, this Baked Penne is also available with a 12 oz juice.
My favorite Bluejay place is in Ayala Technohub at Glicerio Pison Ave., Diversion Rd., Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

You may contact them via the telephone number 333-3961 or the email

The Ultimate Cheese Sandwich
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

DoVa Brunch Cafe: Iloilo's Dining Treasure

Don't let the word cafe stop you from entering DoVa Brunch Cafe. It's a restaurant and brunch cafe that offers good food and great atmosphere. Some of their best-sellers include the Cornflake Friend Chicken & Waffle, pretty much anything with their scrumptious waffle, and deep-fried Cheese Ball appetizers.

DoVa Brunch Cafe entrance. The waiter was nice enough to take the picture for me.
Dova is often full during meal times. In fact, I suggest calling them for a reservation if you really want to eat there exactly at lunch or dinner time. Better yet, you might as well enjoy an early or late lunch.

True to their Ilonggo hospitality, Dova's servers remind me of the best Outback and Alfredo Steakhouse waiters. They're attentive, nice, and eager to please. You'd probably feel guilty for not leaving them a tip. 

Hummus Plate for 195 php. I personally do not like this Greek concoction. I'm more of a waffles kind of person.
Prices at Dova are at the higher end of what Ilonggo restaurants normally charge. Although affordable, don't expect to pay for a JD or Hungry Ninja meal. We ordered a Hummus Plate appetizer, two full entrees consisting of a Beef Brisket plate and a Bacon and Sausage Waffle meal, and two drinks. All in all, our total damage amounted to 970 php.  

Now, this is what you call an all-American meal with salty and spicy sausage, crispy bacon and overflowing maple syrup on top of a buttered waffle. Bacon and Sausage with Waffle for 240 php.
Is Dova's food that good? Yes. In a span of one week, I've gone their twice to satiate my palate and experience that Afrique's vibe in another setting. Try their Grape smoothie, it reminds me of my Cibo days.

Tiny Tidbit: You're probably wondering where the name came from. According to Panay News, Dova is the last two syllables of the name of the Chef and owner of the place itself, Chef Miguel Cordova.

The most expensive entree in our order, Beef Brisket with Black Rice. The meat was tender while the gravy and black rice was quite tasty. What I didn't like about this 350 php selection is the amount of fat on the beef. Maybe I could request a fat-trimmed one next time.
Dova is located at  Huervana Extension Street, LaPaz, Iloilo City. It's across the tennis court within the LaPaz Plaza. They're open from 9 am to 9 pm.

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Eleos at Molo: One of Iloilo's Dining Treasures

I came across this tiny resto by accident. Because of the Greek symbol used on its name, we had to ask their server how the name was pronounced.

Pass the giant Far Eastern Hardware Depot is a tiny, cozy resto with three tree stump tables within its glass entrance. The second floor was being renovated for the increasing number of customers they cater to, particularly on weekends and special couple holidays.

Eleos' Cakes and Pastries Indoor Front
Upon entering, Eleos gives us a homely vibe that's only found in Ilonggo-owned restaurants and cafes.

This table is located at the entrance.
Since the place was practically empty on a school night, we had the staff to ourselves. I asked for her to explain the menu since I wanted to taste the best they had to offer, and she summed it up pretty well. Our server was courteous and energetic at the same time.

Greek-themed menu paired with tree stump tables.
Their menus were Greek-themed with budget-friendly meals that had the god names appended to it. e.g. Zeus Delight, Poseidon Adventure.

Zeus Delight is a plate consisting of Eleos' Pasta Deliciosa (I picked their sweet Tuna Caserole), Spare Ribs (a little too fatty for my preference) and Garlic Bread.
So, it's no five-star resto. I'm sure some people will still prefer JD Roadhouse or even Manila's Banapple over it. Still, if you're the type who loves romantic ambiances and budget-friendly menu prices, Eleos is a place to add in your restos-to-visit.

If I remember correctly, Poseidon Adventure has their best-selling Beef Stroganoff. I totally forgot what this particular meal was paired with. It probably has something to do with tomato sauce. Both meals cost 169 php each.
Tiny Tidbit: After teaching us the correct pronunciation, they also shared the meaning of Eleos. The Greek word's English translation is Mercy, which is also the first name of the owner.

This Chocoholic Dream Cake cost 45 php. Not bad for its heavenly taste. It's moist, tasty, and best of all, just with the right amount of sweetness.
Eleos is located at 414 AvanceƱa Street, Molo, Iloilo City.

Will I dine at Eleos again? Hell, yes!
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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.

Check out our most recent post (with more pictures) on the Lotus Garden Suites. Here
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