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Philippine Airlines Launches Coffee Table Book  The country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), has launched a coffee table bo...

Friday, December 2, 2016

ILOCOS SUR: Fast Facts

Posted On Friday, December 02, 2016 by GREEN WALKER PILIPINAS 0 comments

ILOCOS SUR: Fast Facts


Did you know that? 

Vigan City was recently adjudge as one of the New 7 Wonders City and UNESCO World Heritage city? Cool isn't it? 

Vigan City has a special place in my heart because of its amazingly restored old churches, museums and houses. It reminds me of the old town in the capital city of Penang in Malaysia called Georgetown. 

Famous landmarks of Vigan

Calle Crisologo


You could not deny the fact that Vigan City is world famous. Especially its world renowned street in the heart of VIgan -- Calle Crisologo. The whole stretch of Calle Crisologo has antique architecture and historical houses, its road is filled with old cobblestone. From time to time horse-drawn carriage passes by and offer "Kalesa Tours".  Walked back in time and experience a wonderful time as you do your selfie and snapshots. You could even go live on Facebook and let your family and friends watch you in real time as you do your tour of this famous landmark. Go visit Vigan and be transported to a place where the old world meets the new.

Baluarte


The city is also famous for Baluarte, owned by Chavit Singson, a rich politician up North. His one-of-a-kind zoo is open to the public for free. For me, it is the happiest place up North. Animals that resides there includes a bunch of ponies, ostrich, deer, tigers, python, parrots, alpacas, giraffe, ducks, turkeys, horses. Aside from its butterfly garden, Baluarte also has albino anaconda, Palawan bearcat, raptors and reptiles. All of the animals in Baluarte are exceptionally well taken care of. And you can have your picture taken with the animals up close and personal with zero charge. Yes, they don't charge anything if you visit and go sightseeing, even if you ride the small kalesa ( carriage ) which is being pulled by the ponies.

Pinsal Falls




The largest falls in Ilocos Sur.


PINSAL FALLS: Ilocos Sur Off The Beaten Path Destination

Posted On Friday, December 02, 2016 by GREEN WALKER PILIPINAS 0 comments

PINSAL FALLS: Ilocos Sur Off The Beaten Path Destination



The province of Ilocos is not only world famous for its heritage houses and cobblestoned road but also because of its people, food and falls!



Way back in 2008,  I had a chance to visit Ilocos with my classmate.  I had a kalesa tour in Vigan and was brought to different parts of Ilocos Sur by my classmate's family who happened to be based in Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur.



Fast forward to 2016, I finally met in person travel blogger par excellence Edmar Guquib. He served as our guide on our last day in Vigan.  This time around, he guided us to the off the beaten path destination of Ilocos, the Pinsal Falls!  


Pinsal Falls is so beautiful! We were smitten by its beauty!  It is conveniently located in the town of Santa Maria in the province of Ilocos Sur.  Which is a short bus and tricycle away from our hotel.  With a height of approximately 85 feet, it is known for being the largest waterfalls in Ilocos.

The majestic landscape somewhat gives me a sense of calm.  It is only a few minutes walk from where our hired trikes parked.  I really thought it would be very difficult for a person with disability like me.   I am a ruptured brain aneurysm survivor and my sense of balance is really off.  But it was worth the journey.  When we reached the falls and upon seeing the view up close and personal,  I have to admit that these kind of beauty is what I really missed from my 5-year hiatus.  The view from the nipa hut where we sat was really breathtaking! 

Bring food with you and don't go there without a local guide.  If ever you need a guide,  I highly recommend Edmar Guquib.  He's not only knowledgeable about Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Abra, he is also very passionate about the place of his birth.

Get discounts on various tours with Edmar by telling him that Cha Sy recommended you.

God bless us all and enjoy your trip.

Love,

Cha
Please Follow me on twitter and instagram: yummytales


Sunday, November 27, 2016

VIGAN ILOCOS SUR: Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel

Posted On Sunday, November 27, 2016 by Food Blogger 0 comments


VIGAN ILOCOS SUR: Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel



A beautiful illumination of Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel ( MVFG Hotel) facade greeted me when I alighted along Bantay, Ilocos Sur from a (twelve) 12-hour bus ride from Manila.    


As I step inside the modern hotel main door I was welcomed with a smile by the hotel guest relations officer (GRO) in the front receptionist desk even though it was just 5 o'clock in the morning. It was nice to be welcomed with so much warmth. No wonder the Ilocanos are famous for being hospitable all over the world. A good first impression indeed!



Just across the hotel reception desk is a comfortable sofa, an unpainted wood carving, plants and a wall made of small square mirrors, tiled out to look like a window to give the optical illusion of what you wish was there, instead of what really is a mirror. It was indeed a very good way to make the area look wider. It has created a larger more open-feeling space, that also gives depth to the space without weighing things down.  

Did you know that?

Mirrors are useful when space is short, they can also bring a wow factor to a well-proportioned room, lending a sense of drama while maximizing the feeling of size. 
I learned these information from my architect neighbour / friend Joyce.  She further said that a space combined with a soaring ceiling will instantly doubled by adding a wall of framed mirrors and mirrored doors. The end result will be a lovely sense of symmetry, and you can further make it twice as fabulous by adding a showstopper chandelier and everything in that space will be awesome! 



Geez, those throw pillows are so dainty! It features a woman in a Filipiniana attire.

To tell you the truth, I was not expecting much about the hotel when I decided to go and visit Vigan the second time around. I thought almost all hotels in Vigan are old or if they look new they were just remodeled from old houses and were then converted into hotels. But my jaw literally dropped when I first saw this European-style hotel in its glorious glory. It was love at first sight. I can still vividly recall how wide-eyed I was when I stepped out of the bus and saw the hotel's beautiful illumination against the dark backdrop of the early morning twilight. That awesome feeling was immediately reinforced when I saw the wooden carvings beautifully hand-carved standing tall at the reception area and were present in every door of the hotel.


Just adjacent the main hotel building is the building that houses the Spa and Jacuzzi room of Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel. Again, the use of mirrors provided a beautiful illumination of its surroundings and bounces the light around and brighten the space. Note: Did you noticed the beautiful cobblestone flooring?  It looks just like the flooring in Calle Crisologo!



This particular photo was taken and owned by Kev Hernandez. Thank you Kev!   

As you traverse the hallway going to the hotel's restaurant or to the hotel's vip room located at the second floor,  you'll pass through this wonderful view.




The MVFG Hotel's Fountain


As you climb the stairs,  you can't help but notice the beautiful wood carvings of the hotel's initials conveniently stashed at the vertical metal stair handrails.



Beautifully carved ceiling of the Fiesta Garden Hotel.


Feel that European vibe when you eat breakfast at the hotel's patio.  That "European feel" is the primary reason why many guests preferred to eat and hold their meetings there.


The hand-carved door of the hotel's presidential suite. 




Each room is elegantly designed to give a festive vibe for a most relaxing stay.  I can say that I discover comfort in all of the rooms with uniquely accented “carved fiesta theme” doors. 


I was bowled over by the festive artwork on each of the wooden door of the 53-Rooms Hotel. I bet you'll also appreciate each of the masterfully carved festive door carvings that they had made all the way from Paete, Laguna. Whoah! What a dedication to Filipino art and culture!


Picture this out on your mind, each room door showcases different Filipino culture and life in general during festivals better known as "fiesta".


The door art depicts Filipino games, dance that can be played with friends, relatives, neighbours such as "Palo Sebo" Akyat Kawayan" (A Philippine game of speed, wit, strategy, coordination, endurance and physical power using kawayan (bamboo pole),  Luksong-tinik, Tinikling dance, "sabong"( cockfight ), "Tuba drinking spree","harana". 


It also depicts the deep relationship/ bonding between Filipino family members as they live their day to day family life.  It also features Filipinos love affair with horse carriage.  Family bonding, buying "lobo" ( balloons) for their kids. Filipinos genuinely love fiestas, balloons, grilling lechon, farm life, 


This photo was taken at the dining table of the presidential suite.


The Presidential suite bedroom. My bed. Joke. Hi hi hi! I wish #WishKoLang



DeLuxe room.


Our breakfast of rice and scrambled eggs on our first and second day at the Fiesta Garden Hotel.


The scrambled eggs at MVFG Hotel is sweet and tasty.  


Yummy rice.


Dinner for (7) seven people.


Magnificent seven.


Photo taken at the MVFG Hotel's restaurant.


 The swimming pool of MVFG Hotel.


Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel's Swimming Pool.  

My fellow blogger, Vigan's number one travel blogger Edmar and I had a great time when we went night swimming in this beautiful swimming pool. It was very convenient because you could take a shower anytime of the day or night because hot water is readily available in every room.



MVFG Hotel's pathway to the restaurant.

The best place to stay


When in Vigan, Fiesta Garden Hotel is my hotel of choice because it is very accessible to everything. In just 5 minutes you'll be at the bus terminal going to Manila. I rode one of the buses bound for Laoag in Pasay city which passes by the hotel's entrance. I paid Php680 for an ordinary aircon bus. I alighted at the very door of the hotel! Woooottt! Easy peasy! 

For me, MVFG hotel is a breath of fresh air from the usual old houses transformed into a hotel in Vigan. It is conveniently located along the national highway in Guimod, Bantay, Metro Vigan, Ilocos Sur. It's around 10 minutes drive away from the various tourist spots in Vigan.

My fellow blogger friends and I had a great time exploring Ilocos with the modern Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel as our home-based for 4 days and 4 nights! We learned from the hotel staff that Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel started as a restaurant and transformed itself into a spa hotel. 

Technically, the location of the hotel is already in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, but is part of what is called Metro Vigan. The rooms are huge and allows you to move freely. I love the fact that the air-conditioning unit were individually controlled and not centralized that way we can easily adjust the temperature in our room. It also has a mini refrigerator, Safety deposit box, hot and cold shower, Coffee-making facility, shampoo, conditioner, bath soap,  flat screen TV and cable, plus a wifi internet access among other amenities. There is also a big swimming pool with slides which we tried on our second night at the hotel. The hotel is located just along the highway so it is very accessible. The whole hotel is actually adorned with the colorful wood-carved murals that can be seen on the hotel lobby, restaurant and on each door of the hotel.


Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel is Rated as a 3-star hotel only because it lacks one executive suite thus if the construction is finished they could be rated as a 4-star hotel real  soon.  It features an impressive bathroom with an option of hot or cold rain shower and flexible shower. It has a high tech toilet bowl, it is like staying in a four star hotel in Metro Manila. I'll definitely go back in this hotel with my family next time around.


The hotel is charming, it actually captured my heart. Especially during night time when all of its lights are open. 

I also appreciate the fact that they provide newspaper every morning for their hotel guests.


It also provide its guests with coffee, water, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, lotion, slippers and the very important deposit box.

Room Tip: choose rooms near the pool or near the lobby


Located in Vigan, Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel is a perfect starting point from which to explore Ilocos Sur. The hotel offers guests a range of services and amenities designed to provide comfort and convenience such as:
  • Free Wi-Fi in all rooms 
  • Cable TV 
  • Mini refrigerator 
  • 24-hour security 
  • daily housekeeping 
  • printer 
  • 24-hour front desk are on the list of things guests can enjoy. Some of the well-appointed guestrooms feature television LCD/plasma screen, internet access – wireless (complimentary), non smoking rooms, air conditioning, desk. The hotel's peaceful atmosphere extends to its recreational facilities which include dart board, outdoor pool, spa, massage, garden. No matter what your reasons are for visiting Ilocos Sur, Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel will make you feel instantly at home.

Be greeted with a smile and warm hospitality of the North as you celebrate your special occasions, events and gatherings in the FG Pavilion. Take pleasure in the festivity of Ilocano dishes at the Garden Fiesta Restaurant where delectable fiesta-inspired dishes are served.

Giving a new-look to Metro Vigan is the The Lounge ( VIP Room) where guests can relax and enjoy good music, assortment of drinks, house-blended cocktails and pica-pica.

The hotel was founded two (2) years ago by a group of friends. They're actually experts in the field of medicine.  Yes, they're all doctors by profession and businessmen on the side. 

Relax, stretch your arms and visit the province of Ilocos Sur and experience for yourself the Fiesta Garden Hotel Resort and Spa where each room is tastefully designed, giving it an attractively festive air for a most comforting stay. Find solace in all of their rooms with distinctively accentuated "carved fiesta themed" doors and equipped with air-conditioning, and an en suite bathroom in each.  Taste the delightful Ilocano dishes at the Garden Fiesta Restaurant where sumptuous fiesta-inspired food is served.  Unwind and swim to your heart's desire in their luxurious pool as you enjoy everything else that the hotel has to offer.


Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel... a Place Like no Other where relaxation and festivity combine!  

Rating: 4 stars 




Travel pa more! 

Love your own!

Promote the Philippines!  The foreigners I've met praises the Philippines with so much passion and love!  They always say that we Filipinos are so lucky because we have a very beautiful country! So, what are you waiting? Travel the Philippines! Support local tourism!


Note: I paid for my own transportation going to and from Vigan but my hotel accommodation together with other bloggers were sponsored by MVFG Hotel.

Love more!

Cha


Kindly follow me on twitter and instagram: yummytales


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

HONG KONG:Lucky Number Eight in IKEA Shatin

Posted On Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by Food Blogger 2 comments

HONG KONG: Lucky Number Eight in IKEA Shatin



The above "forced perspective" picture was taken by accident.


I was then about to take the picture of my younger sister and while motioning her to move a little to her left to block the view of the yellow wet floor signage at the back, an idea struck me.

I ignored the yellow wet floor sign and took the shot.

Voila! It is as if the number 8 was on top of her head. 



In Chinese tradition, the number eight (8) is one of the numbers believed to be auspicious (吉利) or lucky. In fact, it is treated as the luckiest of of all lucky numbers This is because "bā" (八), the word for "eight" in Mandarin Chinese sounds similar to the Mandarin Chinese word "fā" (发), which means "prosper" or "wealth." In Cantonese, "baat" (eight) sounds similar to "faat" (fortune).

Another reason why the number eight is considered lucky is that the figure "eight" has a perfect symmetrical shape, which is equivalent to perfect balance, one that is considered ideal in Chinese Astrology.

IKEA, the Swedish home furnishings retailer known for its well-designed, inexpensive, and functional furniture for the home, must have these in mind when it placed an ornamental plant shaped into a figure "eight" outside its store in Shatin, Hong Kong.

This particular store of IKEA in Shatin is where we dropped by right after we climbed up to the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery nearby.

IKEA was founded in 1943 by 17 year-old Ingvar Kamprad. As a young entrepreneur in south Sweden, Kamprad soon turned his business into a mail order operation selling a variety of household products, particularly furniture. The first IKEA showroom/store opened in 1953 in Sweden.

The name IKEA comes from the initials of its founder (IK) plus the first letters of Elmtaryd (E), the farm in Southern Sweden where he grew up, and Agunnarvd (A), the nearby village.

The IKEA logo's colors are blue and yellow which are the same colors of the Swedish flag.

Swedish flag.


Before IKEA was known to be seller of home furnishings, it originally sells pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewellery and nylon stockings, meeting needs with products at reduced prices.

Kamprad's innovative strategy was to design functional furniture that was easy and inexpensive to build, receive it disassembled at stores, and display it on the show room floor with detailed explanation tickets, making salesperson assistance unnecessary. Employees were available for questions but the customers could choose, order, pick up, transport, and assemble their own selections. Cost savings earned by IKEA were passed through to customers in lower prices (estimated cost savings are 20-50%, compared with the competition). His stores soon became home furnishing centers, also offering restaurant facilities and play areas for children. The strategy continues to drive IKEA operations.

From the start, Kamprad's desire to integrate social value into business practice has strongly influenced the IKEA vision. In December 1976, Kamprad wrote, "What is good for our customers is also good for us in the long run." This objective of responsibility drives the company vision to create a better everyday life for the majority of people. The vision is realized by offering a wide range of functional and well-designed home furnishing items, at prices so low that the majority of people can afford to buy them.

Ikea will open its Philippine store soon! Abangan!


TAGAYTAY: Puzzle Mansion Bed And Breakfast Staycation

Posted On Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by Cha Sy 0 comments

TAGAYTAY: Puzzle Mansion Bed And Breakfast Staycation




My friends and I spent one (1) night and two (2) days stay at the Puzzle Mansion Bed & Breakfast in Tagaytay City.


Upon the invitation of Tita Gina Lacuna, we troop to Tagaytay for a much needed rest and relaxation sojourn.



My Kababayan from Bicol Noks loves to lie on his back even on this hard cement floor. Ha ha ha! Okay, okay, he wanted to pose ala modelo. So. pagbigyan! Ayan, I hope you achieved that model pose you've always wanted. We actually left him behind because he waited for his best friend to come and fetch him.  Ha ha ha!
  


I think Noks has a valid reason for laying on his back on that hard cement floor. According to studies, sleeping on a hard surface can be very beneficial for your back and spine because the floor does not sink like a mattress.




Missing these guys! I hope to have another out of town vacation with all of them real soon! Oh, we missed you Kuya Ted sa pictures natin! Waaa! 



With Blaire Villanueva (leftmost standing actually kicking Noks,lol) , Noks lying down, Anton aka Pusang Kalye and I aka travelonshoestring.


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