Plan the VL Days Ahead & Lets Travel! :D

2012 Philippine Holidays (something I got from research as part of my job haha! ). Note that this is the latest announced list of holidays Hope there will be more announced! :P More holidays..more chances to travel :)

New Year's Day January 1 (Sunday)
Chinese New Year January 23 (Monday)
Maundy Thursday April 5 (Thursday)
Good Friday April 6 (Thursday)
Araw ng Kagitingan April 9 (Monday)
Labor Day May 1 (Tuesday)
Independence Day June 12 (Tuesday)
Ninoy Aquino Day August 21 (Tuesday)
National Heroes Day August 27 (Last Monday of August)
All Saints Day November 1 (Thursday)
All Souls Day November 2 (Friday)
Bonifacio Day November 30 (Friday)
Christmas Day December 25 (Tuesday)
Rizal Day December 30 (Sunday)
New Years Eve December 31 (Monday)

Italicized font are special holidays :)

Travel Thoughts :

For travel planning..
- long Easter Weekend! <3
- hope the First November Long Weekend will remain :P


My 2011 Review & My 2012 List :)

Not sure if I have to do my “List” every end of my birthday instead haha but anyways, just sharing the “checking” 2011 list and creating one for 2012. J

For the things I would love to do:
Here’s what I wrote last year..
2011 Love to-dos:  
1. Save more & more! :P
2. Learn a Foreign Language. :)
3. Drink more water! haha!
4. Run 10k (i will try) :P
5. Bake Sweets..
6. Avoid Slouching..
7. Take Dance Classes :P
8. Learning a New Italian Dish
9. Go Back to the Gym..;P
10. Go Camping! I have not tried this for two years now..
Time to check:
Glad I was able to attend dance classes – great stress reliever, really!  
Went back to the gym – lost some lbs but now on plateau hahaha! Need to work harder haha! Operative word: harder haha!

Still on the 2012 list :P
1.10k run -  (5k lang kinaya ko haha!)
2. Save More & More again! haha! :)
3.Take a Foreign Language Class (Thinking French or Mandarin J).   - Planned on this mid year,but I was thankful to be part of a Feature Writing Class instead. ;))
4.Go camping! J - where?! When?! :P
 ..if given a chance I would also love to:
5. travel alone (kahit quick getaway lang! ;) ) – am sure Jz would oppose this haha! And maybe dad :P
6. Try detox therapy. – Suggestions where to please? :P
7. Send a snail mail – haha miss doing this! :D
8. More frequent check ups - always too busy to do this.. baaaddd. Health is Wealth!
9. Get that HPV vaccine – nuff said
10. Learn how to cook Paella - just thought of this earlier today as suggested by Dad haha! Why not?!  Lets try haha! :)
Now, checking on my Travel Wishlist.. 
2011 Travel List (hope I can visit majority of..):
1. Vietnam 
2. Cambodia –
3. Canada (hopefully! kahit quick lang :P)
4. China
5. Aussie (replacing Korea in my list :P)

1. Bohol (still on my list until I get to go here & Cebu again :P)
2. Coron (again still on my list :P)
3. Batanes (really have to save for this!! )
4. Marinduque (new in my list.. ehem..ehem..hun.. :P)
5. Banawe (almost done when we went to Baguio, but parents did not want to push thru because of the weather hehe).
& the 2011 Route was..
The Vietnam trip was lovely with Jz, Tita Vic, Cuzin Francia, the couple (Lana & Jake) & their mommies – but due to time and budget  have not gone to the other out of the country destinations (no time for the yearly SG trip even); and moved some for trips next year so I could be with some of my loves and fave travel buddies during the trips ;) For trips to our very own Philippines, I was more than satisfied :D  As a first timer. I was very happy with the fun trips to Bohol with my lovey. Was not able to go to Coron, but enjoyed my first time in Puerto Princesa (first Spelunking and Zipline too! ) . Glad that I was able to spend Bora this time with some friends I haven’t travelled with before J.  So for 2012, I have updated my list and just carried some onto next year.. J
Hope to visit these:
1.       Canada – forever on my list until everything’s settled (mom & dad giving me their RTs instead haha)  so I could go visit my fam J Praying for more moolah and more importantly the timing (on some personal matters) and accumulated leaves to be achieved lol! Already accomplished : Jz’s passport renewal √ .. haha one step closer for..him. Lol! Cant wait for a sidetrip to Banff too!
2.       Mainland China – (hun, you promised! Haha! )
3.       Cambodia. Angkor Wat was elusive haha!
4.       Dumaguete – Dad’s bugging me to accompany him to either Bacolod or Dumaguete since he has not been there yet. Hopefully for a long weekend.
5.       Marinduque – Bellarocca <3 I think Batanes is still more expensive so maybe here first J
6.       Sagada – Planned but not sure if I will go Spelunking again though  hahahaha! *excited* for this.  
7.       Camiguin – pictures look so lovely .. probably the beaches are lovelier up close!

2012 will definitely be packed! Lets rockin’ travel! J


Weekend Treat: Mandarin Oriental

Jz and I decided to take advantage of my perks to avail of the weekend treats in Mandarin Hotel Makati. We originally planned to just book a De Luxe Room at 4500 php (taxes included) per night and breakfast for two included. But, the rooms are all booked on the dates we planned to have our stay. We decided to just upgrade the supposed reservation to a Business Room at 5000 php (taxes included). Business Room weekend treats include the same package as the De Luxe, only with complimentary local calls and wifi access The prices are applicable to those who have loyalty or company discounts. The regular price is not that bad though.It just 5500 php for both Deluxe and Business Rooms. The Superior Rooms are also available at 4500 php per night.Other more luxurious rooms are available at 6,000 php to 15,000 php per night.

At first, I was a bit of critical in noticing the parking. I just felt that it is odd for a hotel to have limited parking slots which are all located in an open area (comparing ti to most five start hotels). I also noticed that the hotel staff in the entrance are not that proactive in assisting guests who are about to enter the hotel. But, when we were able to reach the front desk staff, I forgave the not-so satisfying thing I noticed. The reception personnel was pleasant and courteous. She anticipated the questions I might throw and made sure all the information I need (wellness facilities, time of buffet, and other establishments in the hotel and its respective floors). The hotel's policy of not requiring a deposit which is usually double the total amount of the whole stay is very practical,. If the guest will pay in advance, they will not require the deposit as long as the payment will be done in cash.  The guests have the option to either just pull out the mini bar or reinstate it by informing the hotel staff and just pay in cash real time.

There is nothing special with the size and fixtures in the room. I was impressed with the laundry and iron storage though. The bathroom has enough space and a complete set of toiletries are prepared for guests.
When we tried for the wi-fi access, we were glad that the connection is fast. We tested it on the macbook, iPad, and iPod and even ran an online speed test to prove that the wifi access is not for show (which happens in other hotels).

What I enjoyed in our stay is the 24 hour schedule of the gym. I never thought that working out late at night would give me that adrenaline rush I need to boost my energy and make my weekend worthy. It also helped me to effortlessly snooze past midnight. Guests will just have to bring the key card for security access especially past 10 pm when no attendants are on schedule. The steam bath room is also available until 10pm.
Every time guests would have their workout, the attendant will immediately hand free bottles of water, serving of fruits, and towel to make it a holistic wellness activity.In addition, the  machines and facilities are up to date and user-friendly. These things made me forget that the it has been two hours of working out.

Another favorite is the brekky part. The Paseo Uno buffet breakfast offers vairety of American, Mediterranean, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Continental food. The food servers are friendly and very attentive. The bread pudding can give my Heat fave a feat. I also loved the hot choco we requested twice which made me think that it was made with a bit of tablea and mixed with an imported drink to give that deliciously sophisticated drink. My other faves are the Mediterranean salad and pita bread with dips made of humus, feta cheese, and eggplant dressing.

Urban Thoughts:

- Guests who brought their cars has the better option to avail of the valet service if there is a need to drive somewhere else in between the stay. There might be some instances that parking will be full upon return. Not sure if we just experienced this because it rained and it is the Christmas rush - parties happening in the hotel, families and friends checking in for the weekend.

- It is better to take the non-smoking room since for the smoking floors,we were told  the smoking scent of the previous user may still be sniffed by the next guest :P In our case though, our rooms were clean and free of that cigar smell.