Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Festival of Lights at the Ayala Triangle, Makati

Ayala Center's Festival of Lights is an annual spectacle of lights moving and dancing to the tune of selected well-known and celebrated Christmas songs.
 
This years, Festival opened last November 9 and will be entertaining visitors until  January 4, 2016.  The
Festival of Lights runs every 30 minutes nightly, starting 6pm to 10pm.  Entrance is Free. 
 
 
This year's show was directed by award winning directors Voltaire de Jesus and Luther Gumia, musical scoring is by acclaimed musicians and composers Jazz Nicholas and Mikey Amistoso of Watusi Manila (a multi-awarded creative production company).
 
 


 
 
The park sparkles with hundreds of colorful laser lights, and LED string lights.  It was a sight to behold.  Kids and kids at heart were all amazed at the glorious light display.
 
Watch the video below to see for yourself.
 
 
 
MamaSpeaks recommends a visit to the Festival of Lights ~ Check it out and be ready to be awed.
 
 
 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Grand Welcome to Casa Santa: Review

 Jardin de Miramar is a well known party and event venue in Antipolo City. It is a 3 hectare garden complex that also houses "Casa Santa Museum".

Casa Santa is home to more than 3700 collections of Christmas and Santa Clause items.

I have never seen so many Santa Clauses in my entire life.  I was so engrossed in the tour I must have taken a couple dozens of photos.

Casa Santa



A life size Santa seats on the sofa (begging for photos, I guess)

I so love this cutie Santa, just 2 inches in size.


Working Santa, preparing his list of "naughty and good". I hope I made the good list :P


So many cute figurines, I can't decide on a favorite.  

The Christmas theme carries on Casa Santa's dining area.






Santa Clauses from around the world, line up the stairs heading to the mezzanine.


My husband's favorite part of Casa Santa is the Christmas Village.   

I just found my most favorite ~these charming Santas, just made me want to start my own collection :P

There are also Belen and Nativity scene displays.

This child's bedroom abound in Christmas items.

A sleeping Santa



I enjoyed touring Casa Santa.  It was truly worth going there. 

If you are planning a visit to Antipolo, I suggest you include this in your itinerary.  Entrance is P180/adult.

Other activities offered at Jardin includes:

  • Arts and Crafts ~ such a painting animation characters in ceramics, Art 101 in canvas, and Pinoy games.
  • Kids would love Jardin's open play ground, "Galera" AND 30-foot Noah’s Ark.
  • See Santa live for picture taking (though he wasn't there when we visited, please call in first to confirm Santa's schedule before bringing your kids along).
  • View art works by awarded artists such as Ed Castrillo, Michael Cacnio, Tony Leano, Ral Arrogante, Earth Artists of Rizal, Reg Yuson, Daniel dela Cruz, mosaic artist Hannah Liongoren, and muralist Alfred Galvez.
  • Buy souvenirs ~ such as a huggable “SANTA-ko” rag doll, t-shirts, keychains, refrigerator magnets, that make for appropriate mementos of Casa Santa.
Casa Santa is located at Jardin de Miramar

276 San Jose Ext., San Isidro Antipolo City
Telephone No.: 584-3199
Cellphone No.: 09178912208
Email: 
info@jardindemiramar.com


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Legoland Hotel Malayia for the 2nd Time Around

 
 I cannot stress enough, how much my boys love LEGOLAND Malaysia.  We were there just last December and were recently back for more Legoland adventures.  
 
 
 
My boys will never grow tired of Lego bricks ~ you can turn into almost anything.  Your imagination is the limit. 
 
Compared to our previous stay at LLM Hotel, I could honestly say that service has greatly improved.
 
Check in was swift and fast (though check-in time remains to be at 4pm ~ real late if you ask me, but it was okay since we only deposited our bags, claimed our reserved tickets before heading off to the park).

 
We stayed at the Pirates Themed Room this time.  I liked our previous room better, the "Adventure Themed Room", but  my boys liked the Pirates Room better.  The room
 
 
 This room has the same configuration as the Adverture Themed Room.  Rooms at LLM Hotel are huge, with a separate sleeping area  for the kiddos.

There are 2 televisions, 1 in the adult room and another at the kid's sleeping area, with a good selection of kiddie and adult channels to choose from.

Food options has likewise improved.  There are now more Western food options to choose from.  Staff has also become more attentive to guest/visitors requests.  Good work here. 
 
 
 
 
My son clowning around.
 

For Legoland Hotel bookings and inquiries, please visit their webpage: LEGOLAND MALAYSIA
 
 
Please check also our previous LLM Stay, by clicking below links:
 
 
  

Friday, June 19, 2015

Casa Astillero Beach Resort: Camp Grounds and Beach Wedding Venue in Calatagan, Batangas


Casa Astillero Beach Resort in Calatagan Batangas, known for it's campsite, suitable for team buildings, is now offering affordable, intimate, and unique beach weddings.




The resort, a 2,500sqm pearly white sand site is located at Barangay Santa Ana Calatagan in Batangas. It is a semi-private beach resort inside Caisip compound where the famous Villa Sachico and an ancestral house of Zobel de Ayalas are located.

 
Casa Astillero is a perfect getaway to unwind and relax, with its tranquil view of the beach, affordable cottages and kabanas and perfect campsite, where  one can build a bonfire by the beach at night, grill your favorite dish and relax till sunrise. 



Casa Astillero Beach Resort is embarking on another service, which definitely mirrors the beautiful and pristine beaches in Calatagan – weddings.

Last June 2, 2015, Casa Astillero Beach Resort has introduced its enchanting beach wedding services to family and friends, during an intimate gathering.
 

Of the recent company’s success of unveiling another online wedding resource, www.beachweddingvenue.ph,  Pam Caisip, General Manager said, “our mission to provide an affordable, intimate, and unique beach wedding in Calatagan resonates my personal vision in life.  In short, I believe in forever. While beach weddings are expensive, Casa Astillero Beach Resort believes that everyone deserves to be happy, without spending too much.  Furthermore, we want to let everyone know that beach weddings are best done not only during summer, but during off-peak seasons, as well.  After all, wedding represents the endless commitment, which I strongly agree.”


 
Casa Astillero is perfect for someone who is looking for an intimate and affordable beach wedding venue in Calatagan. The place is not too big, not too small, which is ideal for an intimate and sweet inspired beach wedding.
 
The beautiful place is equipped with a session hall, which has a capacity of 100 guests, Kabanas, Kubo (Nipa Hut in English), open picnic cottages, and tents for adventurous couples out there!

They also have air-conditioned spacious rooms, good for families of 4 and/or honeymooners. They could also provide mattresses for extra person/s if need be.
 
If you are looking for a beach wedding destination, Casa Astillero Beach Resort could just be the place for you.
 
If you want to visit the place, please do not hesitate to contact Pam at pamastillero@yahoo.com.
 
You may visit their website for further details: www.casaastillero.com.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: Subic Grand Hoyah Hotel

There are plenty of hotels inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, and one hotel that stands out because of it's professional and friendly staff, chic & fun KTV, affordable Spa and to speak-of restaurant ~ with custom made Shabu Shabu embedded gas range is Subic Grand Hoya Hotel.

This  four storey boutique hotel is conveniently located in central business district of Subic Bay Freeport Zone,
near all the best places to go to, such as: duty free shopping, motorized Ziplines family extreme fun at Tree Top Adventure and one the country's best theme park, Zoobic Safari with white lions and the only tiger Safari in the Philippines.

The Subic Grand Hoyah Hotel offers world class facility . Guests are treated to a unique atmosphere, complimented with the gracious hospitality and personalized service of our warm staff.  It is good choice for family, business partners and  leisure travelers.

ACCOMMODATION






Subic Grand Hoyah Hotel offers 40 spacious rooms (Deluxe Twin Rooms Superior King Room Deluxe King Room Family Deluxe Room Family Suite Room). 


RESTAURANT

 



At the right side of the lobby is the restaurant that can cater up to 100 people. The complimentary breakfast is something to look forward to with different kinds of juices and coffee selections. The Shabu Shabu is beyond the standard. All ingredients are selected by the Subic Grand Hoyah Hotel to prove the magnificent dining experience.

 

SPA AND MASSAGE

Grand Hoyah Hotel offers an international standard Spa and Massage services from experts and professionally trained therapist while on stay in the hotel. The Grand Hoyah Hotel KTV Relaxing and fun KTV rooms with 55 inches screens at Subic Grand Hoyah Hotel.

From VIP Rooms that caters for two persons to bigger and wider for groups and parties.  




If you are looking for an affordable hotel with first an extra-mile service in Subic, check out the Subic Grand Hoyah Hotel.

For more information: http://www.subicgrandhoyahhotel.com

Subic Grand Hoya Hotel is located along Canal Road, Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Our Singapore DuckTour Experience


Kids and walking really doesn't fit well together. 


I figured it would take a lot of walking if we insisted in touring the Singapore Marina area on foot, and so decided a tour onboard an open tour bus and the river cruise. However, due to limited time, I thought it is brilliant to do a Wacky Duck Tour instead.


The Original (with live commentary) Singapore Duck Tour takes you on a Singapore Heritage Tour by Land and Sea on onboard a DUCK, which is actually a remodeled WWII amphibious Vietnamese war craft

I booked a combo tour, through Asiatravel, which included: a ride on the Singapore Flyer; a DUCKtour and tickets to the Gardens by the Bay twin conservatories. 

The entire package costs SGD70 for adults and SGD55 for children. 




The tour boards by the Singapore Flyer tourist center and
lasts for about 60 minutes.






Hubby and I got to see most of Singapore's famous attractions without the trouble of dragging and forcing the kids around the city.


The land adventure included sights of Esplanade, the Historic Civic District and the Suntec City.  This is followed by the harbor tour view of Marina Bay, Merlion, Art Science Museum, Skypark and Gardens by the Bay Domes.


VERDICT

I think nothing beats walking, if you are yearning for a more authentic Singapore experience.  However, if you have children around, your next best bet is a Ducktour that combines both land and sea tours.


TIPS
  • The chairs near the commentator may get wet, as the duck makes a huge splash as it enters the water.  It was fun to watch my kids giggle in laughter as they moved away from the "danger zone". 
  • Remember to reserve seats though phone, especially if you intend to ride on a weekend or a holiday.  I have seen a couple, turned away since the tour is full and they have not made reservations.


Check out the Duck Tour webpage for additional details.





Monday, January 5, 2015

Festive Hotel - Resorts World Singapore


Hotels inside Sentosa are really expensive, if not for a credit card promotion, which included a 2 nights stay in Festive Hotel's Family Deluxe Room, inclusive of multiple attractions tickets for 2 adults in: SEA Aquarium, Universal Studio and Adventure Cove - staying in a Sentosa Hotel would not have been included in our Singapore adventure.

I booked via Agoda using my MasterCard and used earned reward points from my previous Agoda hotel bookings.  The entire package is less than P20,000 total.

Breakfast was not included in our package though, but no worries since there are numerous restaurants in the adjoining Forum Mall and nearby Malaysian Foodstreet.



Festive Hotel is connected to the USS Theme Park through the Festive Walk and Forum.  It is still about 5-10 minutes walk to and from USS, but a lot convenient than staying outside the Resort's World complex.  



The room was huge with a king size bed, loft bed and sofa bed, that can comfortably sleep 5 pax.  The hotel provided enough linens and pillow.


Room was clean enough (since my dust allergy was not trigger), although it has seen better days and would soon need renovation. 


There is a bath tub, but I find it quite high for the average Asian.  You would need to use steps to climb in and out the tub, which could be slippery when wet.  You have to be extra cautious, especially of the kids to avoid accidents.

There is also no bidet, which saddened by husband. Bidet sprayer happens to be one of his hotel requirements.

But that was okay, as the view compensated for the missing bidet....



Our room opens up to balcony, with a pool view and a glimpse of the USS park at the back ground.


VERDICT
Would like to try other hotels in Sentosa next time.  I have heard about Movenpick, which is cleaner and newer than Festive.  Would consider staying here again, but only if on promotion.


TIPS:
  1. Entry via taxi is free for hotel guests, just show a proof of your hotel confirmation (SMS or print out).
  2. Ask for the special children toiletries pack upon booking.
  3. Request for Sentosa Espress Pass tickets.  This would give you free access to the Sentosa Express to and from Harbourfront Station.
  4. Standard Hotel Check-in at Festive Hotel is 3pm, but you may leave you luggage at the hotel concierge before exploring Sentosa Island.   
  5. Festive has a pool, but the Hard Rock Pool is much nicer.  Hotel guests may use the Hard Rock Pool, just by showing their Hotel Key card.
  6. For convenience, you may opt for the hotel limousine for transfers outside Resorts World.  As the taxi bay, was located near the Forum Mall (5-10minutes walk from Festive, through Festive Walk), we decided on a limousine transfer to the airport which cost us about SGD55 (regular taxi, on a non-peak hour from Resorts World would cost approximately SGD22-25).  The limousine transfer was more expensive obviously, but so convenient, considering regular taxi going outside Resorts World is difficult to get especially during rush hour.  With 4 pieces of full luggage, excluding backpacks and 2 EXTREMELY (we've been walking across Singapore for 8 days straight  now) kids in tow ~ a hotel limousine was a welcome luxury.

For Festive Hotel bookings and inquiries, please visit the Resorts World Singapore website:  FESTIVE HOTEL


You may also check out, the rest of our Singapore-Malaysia trip here:

Day 1 - Singapore City
Day 2 and 3 - LEGOLAND Malaysia
Day 4 - Jurong Bird Park and Science Center
Day 5 - Singapore Zoo (with breakfast with the Orangutans)
Day 6 - Sentosa Island
Day 7 - Universal Studio Singapore
Day 8 - SEA Aquarium and Vivo City


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Legoland Hotel ~ Lego fanatics Dream Hotel!


To complete the LEGOLAND Theme Park experience, we have decided to stay over night at the Legoland Hotel.






Legoland Park is located in Malaysia's Southernmost city Johor Bahru, which is an hour away by land travel from Singapore. 


THE TRAVEL

We went here via a private taxi "SGMYtaxi", I booked on-line.  SGMY is efficient and travel is convenient and hassle free.

Note: You need not pay anything right away. Payment is made in cash after reaching your destination.


The owner Mr. KY is very easy to talk to and very generous, if I may add.  Our ride was upgraded from a Toyota Innova to a Toyota Alphard.







THE HOTEL

The Legoland Hotel is located right next the Legoland Park and WaterPark. With a two days combo park and waterpark tickets, hotel guests can leave and enter both parks anytime for two consecutive days, so you are assured you get the most out your vacation.





The moment we entered the hotel confines, I immediately felt the
excitement from my boys eyes.  My youngest rushed to the lobby and started digging in a pool of Lego blocks to start building!


The hotel's lobby alone was enough reason to visit the hotel. 




The boys were pleasantly surprised to find Lego mascots and toy models.  The discotheque elevator was also a welcomed surprise.


The fun doesn't end there.  We have been upgraded to an Adventure Themed Premium Room.  The room is huge, with a separate sleeping area (which my youngest called the "double-decker couch") for the kiddos.

The room has 2 televisions, 1 in the adult room and another at the kid's sleeping area - so there is no fighting over the television remote.





All rooms invite kids and kids at heart to a Treasure Hunt.  My boys gamely took the challenge and immediately started with their treasure hunt.




Other plus:
  • Each room also contains a Lego bucket to busy the kids.
  • Aside from the basic amenities,  kids get to have their own bathroom sink.
  • Splendid View of the LEGOLAND Park 
 
 

  • Room packages also comes with a buffet breakfast for 4 at The Brick.


VERDICT 
(Warning:  My boys are Lego fans, my review can be a bit favorable).

My boys love LEGOLAND Malaysia.  They had so much fun at the Legoland Park and my youngest won't leave the Water Park.

That being said I think there are still room for improvements, especially on the following areas:

  • Food - they serve mostly Malaysian and Indian food, which were quite spicy to for our liking. If the hotel food was a miss, you may try Medini Mall  located right next to Legoland Hotel. There are a number of Western Restaurants at Medini - we were able to try Secret Recipe.
  • Check-in is at 4pm, while Check-out is at 11am. Early check-in is highly appreciated. 

Staying at the Legoland Hotel (LH) is more costly than staying at nearby hotels, but we find it more convenient staying at LH.
  • LH is just a few hops away the Theme park and the Water park.
  • The 2 days combo ticket is  exclusive to hotel guests.
  • Guests can enter the park 30minutes earlier than other patrons.

And the experience staying in a Lego themed hotel, is really priceless.

For Legoland Hotel bookings and inquiries, please visit their webpage: LEGOLAND MALAYSIA

Friday, January 2, 2015

Royal Plaza on Scotts ~ Our Singapore Vacation Starts Here


We wanted a hotel along Orchard Road, but find most of the hotels quite expensive.  We were truly delighted to have chanced upon the Royal Plaza on Scotts (RPoS), which was our Singapore home for 5 days.






Check-in was spot on easy. 

I emailed the hotel a night before our scheduled check-in to inform them of our estimated arrival in Singapore, which was early in the morning (Note, that I did not specify for an early check-in, but was hoping they would take a queue).  We were delighted to be ushered to our room right away and it was only 11am.


Location simply perfect.

RPoS is an affordable first class accommodation in one of Singapore's prime location. It located at Scotts Road which is a few steps away the famous Orchard Road.  Truly ideal for some mega shopping.





Accessible.

RPoS is about 300 meters away from an MRT station.  There is also a bus stop just outside the hotel and a taxi station, with the hotel's good old bellhops ready to hail a taxi for you anytime.

Our mode of transportation in Singapore is via taxi.  RPoS is never more than SGD20 away from most of Singapore's favorite attractions.


A hotel with pluses!

We were upgraded to a Royal Club Premier for the entire duration of our stay.

All rooms, except for the Suites are only 32 sq. meters, but inarguably spic and span.

The following are free with all types of room  accommodations:

  • In-room Nespresso machine (we saved a couple of dollars on coffee)
  • High-speed WIFI/wired Internet for multiple devices (really fast)
  • Mini-bar with snacks (re-stocked daily)




The upgrade gave us access to Royal Club Lounge worth over SGD190++, which included:
  • Afternoon tea
  • Evening cocktails
  • All-day coffee/tea/soft drinks
  • Breakfasts for 2 at award-winning Carousel or exclusive Royal Club Lounge (we had ours at the Carousel)
  • Pressing of 1 suit per stay
  • Priority check-in at Royal Club Lounge
  • Use of Royal Club Lounge meeting room (1 hour)
  • Luxury toiletries (L'occitane was so much better than the standard brands)
  • Dream bed by Simmons (ultra comfortable, we wake-up refreshed and rested)



VERDICT

We enjoyed every minute of our stay at the Royal Plaza on Scotts. Our next vacation in Singapore  would definitely be a stay at the RPoS.
 


Royal Plaza on Scotts
25 Scotts Road, Orchard, Singapore 228220 (View map)
Contact Numbers: (65) 6737 7966(65) 6737 7966
Email: royal@royalplaza.com.sg