Saturday, August 6, 2016

Oakwood Premier (Joy-Nostalg Center Manila) ~ A Fine Retreat in the Ortigas Urban Jungle

We again scored big discount on our latest hotel staycation via the Traveloka booking site. 

We needed to stay at the Ortigas Central Business district area and decided to book at the Oakwood Premier (Joy-Nostalg Center) ~ wondering if the excellent online rating was real!

We entered via the ADB Avenue entrance and was led to a short hallway leading to the hotel lobby (the hotel's main entrance and basement parking access was via Topaz Street)

The lobby was medium sized but impressively decorated.

We were really pleased with the a one bedroom suite that we booked. It was huge at about 90sqm ~ talk about space.

There is a separate bedroom with a king-sized bed, that screams "STAYCATION". 

(Note: There is also a television inside the bedroom, on top of the television in the living room and bathroom). 

Definitely no fighting over TV here!

A working kitchen ~ fully-equipped with microwave and convention oven, vitroceramic cook top, dishwasher, refrigerator, toaster, rice cooker, coffee maker, crockery and cooking utensils.

A dining area that fits 4.

The living room comes with a home entertainment system (40" LCD TV and sound bar home theater system). 
Cable channel options were quite good too.

A full work space ~ for business travelers (actually there are two of them, one in the living room and another one in the bedroom).

My favorite place in the suite is the all-modern/luxury bathroom (free-standing bathtub, double sink, shower stall with rainshower and STEAM GENERATOR).

Dual Sink

Free Standing bath tub ~ warm bath while watching TV anyone?

My very own in-shower steam (truly relaxing and such a perfect way to unwind and de-stress)! 

The rooms also come with all the essentials to make your stay comfortable ~
toiletries, bath robes, iron and ironing board and even a washer/dryer. They thought of everything.

Our stay comes with buffet breakfast at the famed The Nostalgia Dining Lounge ~ the place was classy and posh with an eclectic design. 

The buffet spread was varied and very good.   

We checked the hotel pool, but never got to try it.

It was well kept and clean.  My son, decided last minute that he wanted to try the bath tub, while watching TV (Yes the TV won it).

  • Location is perfect. It is just a stroll away from Podium, Mega Mall, Robinson's and St. Francis Square.    
  • Fast and efficient check-in,  although I was a bit disappointed that check-in time was a little later than I am used to (3pm, instead of the usual standard 2pm).
  • Staff were attentive and pleasant!
  • Our room is clean, spacious and comes complete with all of our needs.
  • The Ortigas skyline view from our  room's floor to ceiling window was wonderful. It was nice sipping coffee, while we lose our gaze in the multitude of lights outside. 
  • For the bathroom alone, I am giving Oakwood an A+.       I so want an in-shower steam at home!
My family hands down love Oakwood Premier and we would definitely be back soon!

It is a luxury-business hotel, perfect for those who wants to mix business with leisure!  ...Or families who just want a retreat in the urban jungle. 

Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center Manila is located at
17 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
For direct booking and inquiries:

Tel: (63-2) 637 7888 / (63-2) 910 8888
Fax: (63-2) 706 7777

For Traveloka bookings check their webpage or download Traveloka mobile application:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Walk with Dinosaurs at The Mind Museum

My 7 year old was thrilled when he found out we were off to one of his favorite places to visit ~ #TheMindMuseum and was ecstatic when I told him about the museum's latest attraction ~ #DinoPlay

My son is huge dinosaurs fan. He has been fascinated with these HUGE creatures since he watched them in The Jurassic World movie ~ DinoPlay was just perfect!

Satisfy your children's fascination and their curiosity (and yours) by visiting The Mind Museum's latest traveling exhibition, Dino Play: Explore the Mind-blowing World of Dinosaurs!

Launched last June 29, Dino Play invites young dinosaur fans to come and explore the world of dinosaurs. Start your exploration onboard a vintage original Sarao Motors jeep right next to T-Rex sculpture and huge dinosaur eggs welcomes you to the exhibit, a peek to the adventure that awaits you and the kids inside!

Dino Play is divided into four nests:

  • Dino Dig ~ where you and active kiddo can try your hand at being a paleontologist! Dino Play provides free use of Paleontologist Field Kits to reveal fossils hidden in the excavation sites.

  • Dino Lab ~ where you can examine actual fossil remains; Take a look at dinosaur bones, petrified wood, ancient shelled creatures, and even dinosaur poop that has since turned to stone.

  • The Dino Fun area ~ offers hands-on activities such as: make your own fossils, play with the Dino Family Tree, and learn about a day in the life of a dinosaur. Adventurous bodies can climb the Dino Lookout Tower and spot any rogue dinosaurs that may be hiding in the vicinity! 

And my 7 year old's favorite nest at Dino Play ~
  • Dino Den ~ We spent a good amount of time playing pretend dinosaurs, wearing different dinosaur costumes and wooden slippers (with dinosaur footprints).

Thumbs Up for Dino Play ~ It is an excellent opportunity for kids and kids at heart to learn about some of the most intriguing creatures that have ever lived in on the planet!


*The Mind Museum’s traveling exhibition Dino Play will be on display in the Museum for a limited run, until September 30, 2016 only. The exhibition aims to travel to cities and provinces around the country as part of The Mind Museum’s mission to bring science closer to the general public.

Entrance Fees:

Dino Play* onlyThe Mind Museum (3-hour tour) + Dino Play*

Child/Student    P200                                Child/Student    P650

Adults                   P100                                Adults                   P700

*Enjoy Dino Play exhibition for 90 minutes choosing from these timeslots:

9am-1030am  |  1030am-12nn  |  12nn-130pm  |  130pm-3pm  |  3pm-430pm  |  430pm-6pm

Limited capacity. Guests are welcomed on a first come, first served basis.

Recommended for kids up to 9 years old with adult supervision.

For more information or for interested parties who would want to host this exhibition, please contact:

Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram: themindmuseum

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Helpful FREE Applications for your Tokyo Japan Vacation

Preparing for a family vacation in a foreign country that doesn't speak your language is a daunting task, so to make planning for our Tokyo Japan vacation easier, I have enlisted the help of free downloadable applications in Google Play.
I have listed below the applications that proved useful to us:

1. PLANNING - I did my planning by area and  these applications were especially helpful in pointing out key attractions with descriptions.  

I checked TripAdvisor a lot to see other travelers'  reviews, experiences and tips.   

Tokyo Handy Guide (by 公益財団法人東京観光財団).
The Tokyo Handy Guide the official tourism guide application of Tokyo Japan. It contains useful tourist's information on Tokyo's prime attractions by areas. 

Tokyo Travel Guide and Map (by Sygic Travel)
This application allows you to create a day by day itinerary. What cool about this application is that it computes for the estimate amount of time spent (touring the attraction and travel time from one tourist spot to another).  You can later download your itinerary via PDF.

Touch! Tokyo - Guide you to Japan (by H.I.S. Co., Ltd.)
Contains the latest events and activities information by area, including invaluable tips. It is also so easy to use.

2. BOOKING - I spent a good deal of time looking for an affordable, but comfortable and accessible place to stay in Tokyo. 

I initially planned for a hotel stay, but got turned off with the expensive small and constricted hotel spaces. I turned to AirBnb looking for a Tokyo home-sweet-home. 

3. NAVIGATION - do not underestimate the power navigation applications in Japan.  I have downloaded a few, but ended up using Google Map (which proved to be very accurate) most of the time. 

Google Map
The Google Map is our best friend in Tokyo Japan. It proved useful in both walking / taking the train to our destination.

Other Navigation Apps we referred while touring Tokyo:  

Tokyo Rail Map Lite (by Urban-Map ~ Vollmer & Becker-Asano)

Tokyo Route Planner (by Unwilling Developers)


This is a talking translator and an offline dictionary. It can even translate via voice recognition Japanese to English and vice versa. 

A better option, which was a find by my eldest sons is the Yominawa Japanese Translator Application.

It provides an easy way to translate Japanese with the use of your camera in real-time. You take of photo of word/sentence you want to translate and this application displays the English translation.

5. TOKYO DISNEYLAND RESORT - these applications helped us a lot in navigating Tokyo DisneyLand and Tokyo DisneySea

TDR WAITING TIME (by ThreeSixtyApps)
This application provides realtime attraction wait times, fastpass service status and current operation status.

Aside from providing attraction wait times, this application works as a navigation map.  It was sometimes difficult to make sense of the distributed hand maps, especially if you are inside a huge park.  This application shows where you are at the moment and the actual location of the attraction you want to go to.

Let me know if you have other mobile applications ~ you have tested useful in your vacation planning.