vacation

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holy week 2014: golden sunset + skyranch

Published July 5, 2014 by ladyemelye

for this year’s holy week break, the family went a little bit south.  our destination: golden sunset village resort & spa.

golden sunset is a resort owned by ricky reyes.  it is located at calatagan, batangas.  from it’s website:

Golden Sunset is one of the country’s premiere resort, just a two-and-a-half-hour drive south of Metro Manila. Located in the historic town of Calatagan, Batangas, it is fast becoming the destination for vacationers and beachgoers alike. Golden Sunset has something for every member of your family: a Serendipity Spa where you can relax and unwind, an aviary (Birds de Paradiso) where your kids can learn more about birds and various restaurants where your whole family can wine and dine to different types of cuisines. Finally, the vacation you and your family truly deserve!

Golden Sunset offers to its guests the perfect mix of breathtaking natural features, world-class amenities, relaxing yet exciting leisure activities and excellent service from a courteous and well-trained staff: all the ingredients of a relaxing and memorable vacation in one destination! Take a stoll along our sandy boardwalk, swim in our crystal clear waters or simply marvel at the beauty of our golden sunset.

there are a lot of activities that you can do inside the resort.  the only downside is that they have no actual beach area where you can swim.  there is just some sort of shore.  most of the waters in calatagan are like these — they are either rocky or they serve as fishpens.

they are not that strict with the bringing in of food and snacks.  there are several restaurants that serve food inside the resort.  you cannot use cash inside the resort for purchases.  you will actually be issued a “passport” which will be loaded with a certain amount of credits based on how much the guest wants, and that is what will be used.

 

the front desk

the front desk

we got one deluxe room and one superior room.  each room has one double bed, and two double beds. a mini living room with television, private toilet and bath, and an attic with extra provision for beddings.  the room was ok, a little bit outdated and some of the facilities and fixtures need updating.  also, the aircon wasn’t enough to cool the entire room on a hot summer day.  the television didn’t have cable, and the reception from the antenna was bad.

pink jeepneys

pink jeepneys

to go around the property, you can walk, or you can ride one of these pink electric jeepneys driven by the resort’s staff.  these are what you ride with your things from the front desk to the cottages/rooms that you have rented.

cultural show

cultural show

there is a teaser of the cultural show during noontime.  what we witnessed is a short number of hawaiian/hula dances.  there is a full length cultural show at night, around 8pm.

swimming pool slide

swimming pool slide

there are a lot of pools around the are, but the rooms were near the main pool.  these are two adjacent pools.  one is from 4ft – 6ft, with the  2-level slide.  next to it is a more shallow pool where my son enjoyed walking around in.  it also featured massage beds with rainfall showers that massage your whole body.

the golden sunset

the golden sunset

we strived to capture this scenery.  the golden sunset from which the resort’s name came from.  it is indeed beautiful to look at.

around the property

around the property

row of rooms for rent

row of rooms for rent

we had dinner at one of the restaurants which serve traditionall filipino food.  we had adobo, bulalo, fried fish and liempo.  after dinner and watching the cultural show (which also required some audience participation), we walked around the property.

rawr!

rawr!

the next day, we explored the “mini zoo” and the aviary.  the little boy took a lot of pictures with the different animals – both alive and statues.  we also went inside a pigeon/dove sanctuary where we saw lots of these species of birds, and even saw some eggs.

albino peacock

albino peacock

indian peacock

indian peacock

one of the highlights that we saw were the peacock.  we had to wait for a while before these birds showed their beautiful plumage.  it was indeed a treat.

after we checked out of the resort, since we took the tagaytay route, we stopped by one of the restaurants to have our late lunch of bulalo and tawilis.  and then we proceeded to sky ranch where we spent the rest of the day.

the sky eye

the sky eye

sky rider

sky rider

of the rides available, we tried the sky eye together with hubby and the little boy.  and of course, i couldn’t resist trying out the sky rider, which is their 300m long zipline.

after other rides and some snacks, we called it a day and went back home.

 

Golden Sunset Village Resort & Spa

Brgy Uno, Calatagan Batangas

Travelpros, Mall of ASIA
Tel nos.: (+632) 556-0169 / 556-017

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quick family getaway: boracay 2013

Published March 11, 2014 by ladyemelye

june of 2013, somebody gave us plane tickets to boracay so we had a quick weekend getaway to the famous beach.  for hubby and i, it was our 3rd time in the island, but it was my son’s first time.

we flew in to kalibo via philippine airlines, and then took a van to caticlan.  since we were with my son, i have arranged our transportation via myboracayguide.com.  it already included the van transfer, boat to the island, plus the multicab that will drop you off to your hotel.

i also booked our hotel via the same website, since the planning for this trip was only short.  the site also offers certain discounts for some hotels which you can browse via your station preference.  activities can also be booked via this website.

we booked calypso resort in station 2.  here is the description from the website:

perfectly situated on white beach near the Tourist Center. Enjoy stunning ocean and sunset views from their poolside bar and restaurant, take part in their diving activities, or relax on their beach beds by the ocean. The rooms are uniquely styled to have a modern design with African type decor – each room is bright, spacious, and has its own balcony. Guests can enjoy room amenities such as cable TV, minibar, safety deposit box, as well as hot and cold shower.

they also have a restaurant which offers a variety of food, and even set meals for as low as php 150.00.  daily breakfast is included in the room cost.  there is a swimming pool wherein the guests could take a dip, which is also used for diving lessons.  wifi is available, although signal is poor inside the room.

hotel restaurant

hotel restaurant

inside the room

inside the room

swimming pool and dive center

swimming pool and dive center

it was pretty much a laid-back, beach bumming vacation for us.  we swam in the pool and beach, played on the shore, walked around and ate.

little boy looking at the gelato stand

little boy looking at the gelato stand

time for gelato!

time for gelato!

one activity we did was riding the glass bottom boat so that my son could see the fishes swimming underneath us while touring at the sea.  the boat looked like a giant “nemo” (clownfish) which as the name implies has a glass bottom so that you can view the marine life underneath.  we got a “promo” price for the 11am trip which costs 400 per person.  you can also book this through the website, but we just went to the glass bottom boat stall near the market to make bookings.

See a colorful array of fish and corals without getting soaked! The Glass Bottom Boat is perfect for those who want to take a peek at Boracay’s underwater life but would like to feel safe in the confines of a boat. There is also time for swimming and snorkeling for those who are more adventurous. Drinks and snacks are included, and children are given discounts.

glass bottom boat

glass bottom boat

varied marine life: sea urchin, starfish and sea cucumber

varied marine life: sea urchin, starfish and sea cucumber

another activity that we learned while staying at calypso is how to play shuffleboard.  apparently, the resort hosts a tournament for this every year, and the pictures of the winners are displayed at the restaurant.  different nationalities join this game, and there has already been a filipino team who won the championship.

shuffleboard

shuffleboard

travelling to boracay was a nice break from work, quality time spent with family, time for destressing and relaxation.  i hope we can do diving the next time we visit this island.

beijing bash: day 4

Published November 24, 2013 by ladyemelye

it is our last day in beijing but we still have so much more that we haven’t seen.  this day, we devoted to exploring the forbidden city since our flight is at 1am the next day so we will be leaving the hotel at around 9pm.

on our way to the forbidden city we passed by tiananmen square again, and also chairman mao’s mausoleum.

chairman mao

chairman mao

after lining up for tickets at the meridian gate, we were finally inside the forbidden city. the forbidden city was the chinese imperial palace during the ming and qing dynasty.  we took a leisurely pace walking around the complex, and we tried to look at every display possible at the halls.

hall of supreme harmony

hall of supreme harmony

it was a very educational and interesting tour.  one can learn about how the emperors lived before.  one can understand more about their culture and their way of living.  the grandeur of the palace complex is indeed breathtaking.

throne inside the palace of heavenly purity

throne inside the palace of heavenly purity

forbidden city

forbidden city

walking inside the forbidden city makes me want to watch the movie the last emperor all over again. 😀

after this, we went back to wangfujing to do a little bit of shopping before going back to the hotel and getting our things ready for our departure  that night.

even though we stayed in beijing for 4 days, there were still a lot of places that we did not get to see.  maybe we can go back someday to further explore this. 😉

xie xie beijing!

beijing bash: day 3

Published November 24, 2013 by ladyemelye

because we will be going to the great wall this day which is a little far from the city, we hired a van plus a tour guide for this day.  so after breakfast, we met our driver and tour guide at the hotel lobby and off we went to be a hero.

since this is a “tour” we had several requisite stops at some of the factories in china.  according to our tour guide, they are required to bring their guests here, stay for a certain number of minutes, and then leave.  they are given an incentive from the government when they do this.  we are not forced to buy anything from these stores, but be warned that the sales team can be very persistent for you to buy something.  plus the languange barrier makes it a little hard to explain that you are really not interested in these things.

we stopped by the jade factory, the silk factory, a pearl culturing shop plus a sports medicine facility where we got a free foot massage.  this was very welcome since we stopped by here after our great wall hike, so it was a relief from our sore feet.  and being a girl, i could not help myself, so i bought earrings at the jade factory and the pearl store. 😉

jade sculpture of a ship

jade sculpture of a ship

we went to the juyongguan section of the great wall.  here we scaled several meters of the wall, but it was only hubby who climbed a steep stair section going to the first post of this wall.  we were able to see all kinds of tourists visiting the great wall.  there also “love locks” attached to some portions of the wall wherein lovers had their names inscribed into the locks.

juyongguan section - great wall of china

juyongguan section – great wall of china

matteo lost at the great wall

matteo lost at the great wall

a quote relating to the great wall: “until you reach the Great Wall, you are no hero.” so i guess, we are heroes now. 🙂

after the wall, we had a buffet lunch and then we headed to the summer palace.  this is the largest royal garden in China.  main sections consist of the longevity hill and the kunming lake.  the seventeen-arch bridge can also be found at this complex.  we walked around and toured some of the buildings but we were unable to take the cruise which would provide a more interesting view of this place.

the seventeen-arch bridge

the seventeen-arch bridge

here, we learned regarding the lion statues that are mostly found in chinese buildings.  if there is a ball under the paw of the lion, it is a male lion and the ball symbolizes power.  if there is a cub under the paw, it is a female lion which symbolized fertility. 🙂

our last stop for the day was the olympic village.  we did not stay too long and just took pictures here.  i would think it would be more beautiful at night since you will be able to see the different lights in the buildings.

bird's nest - olympic village

bird’s nest – olympic village

that’s it for our third day of touring beijing.

beijing bash: day 2

Published November 24, 2013 by ladyemelye

after breakfast, we left the hotel for another full day.  our first stop was tiananmen square.

tiananmen square

tiananmen square

this is located at the heart of beijing and is considered as the largest city-central square in the world.  the flag-raising ceremony at sunrise and flag-lowering ceremony at sunset are the most magnificent rites, which unfortunately we were not able to witness.  it was a hot that day so we just took pictures around before heading to our next destination.

tiananmen square - another side

tiananmen square – another side

we walked a short distance to qianmen street.  this street hosts a variety of high end shops and some shops that sells various items and trinkets which you could buy as pasalubong.  there is also a tram which “tours” you through the street.

qianmen

qianmen

we did some shopping and pictorials here, but the main purpose of our trip here was to eat at one of the restaurants which serves the original peking duck. 😉 so off to quanjude we went.

qianmen quanjude roast duck restaurant

qianmen quanjude roast duck restaurant

we ordered veggies, rice, red bean cake and of course, the roasted duck.  in most of the restaurants here, they serve the rice last so make sure that you ask your server to serve it to you once most of your dishes have already been served.  plus, if you ask for water, you might likely get a warm glass of water. 😉

sprite and coke

sprite and coke

our lunch

our lunch

steamed red bean cake

steamed red bean cake

veggies

veggies

of course, the highlight of the meal was when the roast duck cart was parked in front of the table.  one of the staff expertly carved the duck, separating some of the crunchy and yummy duck skin, and also slicing the duck meat thinly.  traditionally, you wrap the duck in some sort of pita bread/pancake together with some cucumber/scallions and then you add hoisin sauce.  the remaining duck meat, we ate together with our rice and veggies. 😀

roast duck carving

roast duck carving

our little boy even got a toy duck keychain which goes “quack, quack, quack” once you press the button at it’s side.

toy duck

toy duck

after we were full, we did some more shopping around the area.  we were supposed to go to forbidden city that day, but since the time would not be enough, we decided to go to wangfujing instead.  this is another shopping area which consisted of several shops/malls and also restaurants and fast food.

wangfujing

wangfujing

of course there was shopping involved and we also tried out some of the street food which beijing has to offer.  some of them was too weird and exotic looking.  i tried the strawberries/kiwis covered in hardened sugar syrup while hubby was more adventurous and tried out the fried baby scorpions.  he said they tasted like baby crabs. 😉

street food

street food

on a side note, unlike here in the philippines, in beijing, the sun is still out at around 6pm.  their 8pm still feels like our 5pm – 6pm here where in the sun is just starting to set. 🙂

another thing i observed is that they really give priority to the elderly/children.  we rode a bus going to wangfujing street and we were standing inside.  hubby was carrying matteo, and i was carrying the stroller.  suddenly, the bus assistant was “shouting” angrily to one of the passengers and she was pointing to my hubby.  we somehow understood that she was telling that passenger to stand up so that my hubby can take the seat since he was carrying our baby.  so in the end, he got to sit down. 🙂

more of our beijing adventures next post.

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