Apr 28, 2013

SUMMER HOLIDAY FAVOURITES

We've all got our own idea of what makes a great summer holiday, and thanks to the vast range of summer escapes now available through today's package holiday market, it's now easier than ever to enjoy a sun-drenched week or two without breaking the bank. So, which locations score the highest with today's summer sun-seekers?


The Spanish mainland is the stalwart of summer holidays and continues to draw happy holidaymakers back to its sunny shores year after year. Much of the action takes place in the Costas, particularly the bubbly, family-friendly regions of Costa Dorada, Costa Brava and the effervescent Costa Blanca. Here, the resort of Benidorm looms large and lively on the Spanish coast, overlooking sparkling golden sands and serving up a dose of Vegas-style nightlife with lashings of cheesy fun and bubbly entertainment.



The Spanish islands are another great hit - particularly the lovely Balearic Islands - which offer diversity and island living by the bucketload across the ever-popular destinations of Majorca, Ibiza and Menorca.



Away from Spain, the Greek islands continue to draw the crowds to its sun-baked beaches and stunning archaeological sites. Dance 'til dawn in the non-stop resorts of Faliraki in Rhodes and Kavos in Corfu, entertain the kids in Crete's cheerful Thassos or Zante's beautiful, laid-back Argassi, or kick back and relax in the low-key resorts of sleepy Samos.



There's a whole world of choice at your fingertips, and that's even before we've mentioned the golden sands of the Algarve, Malta's bubbly beaches or the fantastic east-meets-west appeal of Turkey...



Whether you're after a summer scorcher or a winter warmer, you can browse and book holidays online through Direct Holidays, part of the Thomas Cook Group, and enjoy huge savings as well as the chance to stay in some of the world's most beautiful and sought-after destinations. Which one will you choose?

Apr 20, 2013

DIVISORIA Guide Series : Do's and Dont's (Part1)

The idea of shopping in Divisoria might overwhelm most people. It's easy to get lost in this busy and buzzing with lots of activity shopping mecca but if we can be guided accordingly, Divisoria is certainly the best place to get the most value of our hard earned money.

On Getting There

Traffic around the area can really get crazy most of the time. So planning your trip is the key to a successful visit to this bargain haven called Divisoria or Divi to some.

    DO's
  • It's always a good idea to ride our light rail train system to avoid the traffic, just access the nearest station in your place and alight at Recto station. LRT1, LRT2 and MRT are somewhat interconnected so getting to Recto will be a breeze. From Recto, take a jeep bound to Divisoria.
  • Go there mornings on weekdays to avoid throngs of shoppers and commuters that get heavier in the afternoon.
    DONT's
  • Avoid visiting on rush hours and its always best to just commute rather than bring your own vehicle.

Wear Comfort

     DO's

    • Flipflops, T-Shirts, Shorts ... anything that makes you feel comfortable
    • Safeguard all your essentials and put them inside a sling bag you can always place in front of you.
    • Bring your shopping bags and be eco friendlier
         DONT's
    • Don't wear jewelries or you make yourself a prey for the snatchers and pickpockets
    • No high heels please, I've seen some people wearing them and I can only smirk in amazement.

    What and Where To Buy

        DO's
    • Make a list of things you'll buy and know beforehand where to locate the stores that sell it.
        DONT's
    • You know how time flies easily and how huge Divisoria is, so don't waste your time and your energy roaming freely without a fixed direction. Check the map and my street guide below.
    • Knock offs abound but avoid fake cosmetics and drugs and food items that might contain harmful ingredients.
    Divisoria Map
    Click to enlarge

            1. For Vegetables, Fruits and Meats
                - Locate CM Recto St., M. De Santos St, Fulgeras St, Sto Cristo St and Divisoria Mall
            2.  Raw Materials and Ingredients for your Food Business
                - Find them at Asuncion St and Elcano St.
            3.  Cookwares and Bakewares
                - Check it out at Sto Cristo St.
            4.  Clothing Goods, Sundries, Textiles, Accessories
                 - Head out to Tabora St. and Ilaya St.    

    HAGGLE

       DO's
    • Always ask for the last price and make sure to canvas the price of the items first from other  merchants before making the purchase. You'll be surprise how some sellers jack up their prices.     
    Now, that you are aware of the DO's and DONT's in Divisoria shopping, the next article will tackle in detail where to shop in Divisoria. Find that article here.

    Apr 19, 2013

    Single Trip vs Multi Trip Travel Insurance


    When you're planning a holiday, there is a long list of things to think about. Which hotel? What's the beach like? Are there local activities for kids? Where's the best seafood restaurant? And that's just for starters. One travel essential which you must add to your to-do list is travel insurance, and even if you're trying to cut the cost of going away, this is one holiday feature that you really shouldn't go without.

    It can feel a little daunting when you start looking for travel insurance. After all, with all those different policies and prices, not to mention the various destinations and activities you need to cover (or not cover), it can get a little complicated. But given the importance of travel insurance and the fact that it can protect your finances should things go wrong, it's well worth taking the time to figure it out.

    One of the main considerations when booking travel insurance is whether you need a single or an annual policy. Simply put, this is the difference between one trip per year, and several. So if you're planning just one holiday within the next 12 months, you could opt for a single trip policy to cover you for this trip, and this trip only.

    If however there's a chance you'll go abroad again within the next 12 months, it's probably worth taking out an annual or multi-trip insurance policy. This covers you for several holidays within the space of a year which usually brings the average per-trip cost of insurance down, making it more cost-effective. Plus it's one less thing to think about.

    If you're confused about travel insurance, speak to a representative at Thomas Cook to find out more. You can book a wide range of policies to suit different types of holidays, and you can also reserve annual or single trip travel insurance from Thomas Cook. Visit the website or speak to a representative to find out more.

    Apr 13, 2013

    Boracay Accommodations

    There are plenty of accommodations in Boracay to choose from and if you are looking for value for money in a beachfront setting, check my recommendations below.

    In the several times I've visited Boracay, I've never used the same accommodations twice because there's always something new to discover in this island paradise. I've tried Eriko's Guesthouse (I just don't like the small unlighted alleyway you have to pass through before getting there), Villa Simprosa Guesthouse (its a compound with several rooms but the area can really get chaotic at times), Mito's Place (they used to be at the beachfront but I think they sold their front area to Starbucks and Gerry's Grill that now occupy their front space) and Alta Vista de Boracay ( a luxury resort I wouldn't mind staying again even if its not located at the White Beach but only if I can avail the 50% discount I got before)

    But I think I've found my "HG" when we speak of value for money. I'm rounding up my top 2 choices of  Budget Friendly Accommodations in Boracay that pass my requirement of a beachfront location with a room and a veranda that offers an unobstructed view of the ocean and within walking distance to familiar places of interest.

    1. LA FIESTA RESORT

    LA FIESTA Resort Boracay

    Topping my list is LA FIESTA RESORT. It's a small resort with a very homey atmosphere. Its location is directly on the White Beach, Station 1 and only a few meters away from D'Mall and some restaurants. Rooms have balconies that are facing the beach, perfect for sunset watching and people watching or just lounging while reading a book or sipping a drink. It's perfectly located close to all amenities.

    Standard room rates range from 1,500 pesos to 4,000 pesos depending on the season and the number of guests.  (Just some tip, try to haggle, we were able to get 2 rooms, one on the ground and on the 2nd floor, sleeps 4 pax each for just 2000 pesos per room.)

    For reservations :
    (036) 288-4234 (landline)
    0919-861-0886 (mobile)
    Look for Ms. Armie..

    2. CASA FIESTA

    Casa Fiesta Boracay


























    CASA FIESTA RESORT just like LA FIESTA is similarly situated at a beachfront location at White Beach Station 1, offering the same basic amenities, an awesome sea view and same price points. I believe owners of both resorts are relatives. They are actually just a few blocks apart.

    It would be perfect if you can book the room with the veranda overlooking the ocean, I think one of it is room 205. But between Casa Fiesta and La Fiesta, although the latter is needing some renovations, I still felt a more relaxed ambiance at La Fiesta. But you definitely won't go wrong with both budget friendly accommodations.

    For inquiries and reservations: 
    call/txt at (036) 288-3898
    0919-246-6522 Look for Josie..

    Apr 9, 2013

    Araw ng Kagitingan 20 Peso Seat Sale by Cebu Pacific

    In celebration of "Araw ng Kagitingan" or Day of Valor, Cebu Pacific just announced a seat sale alert effective today until seats last. The details are listed below.



    Let's brave the date and book our desired destinations. Surf the dates and look for the 20 pesos base fare for all domestic destinations for travel dates from September to November 2013 while its 200 pesos base fare for International destinations for travel dates from October to December 15, 2013.

    Visit their website to book for your flight at www.cebupacificair.com

    Apr 3, 2013

    INDOCHINA TOUR : The Itinerary


    My Holy Week staycation proved worthwhile in planning a lot of things, one of which is preparing our itinerary for INDOCHINA tour this year and though it is still more than six months to go, I need to figure out how many days we need to cover our planned trip, what countries to visit, what must sights to see, where to stay, what to do, how much money to prepare, how many days leave from work we can afford to take and what return flight to booked.

    Prepare yourself girls (you know who are), this is going to be our preliminary itinerary and probably just make some minor changes along the way.


    INDOCHINA Itinerary (Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand)

    ***Updated as of Dec 7, 2013

    DAY 0 - DEC 9 - Depart Manila via Cebu Pac 2250H
    • Pay Travel Tax (1620 pesos) and Terminal Fee (550 pesos)
    • Arrived Ho Chi Minh 12:20 am Dec 10
    • Buy Dong Currency at the Airport
    • Hotel Taxi Pick Up (14USD)
    • Check in Hotel at HONG HAN (32 USD 4pax/night inclusive breakfast)
    DAY 1 - DEC 10  VIETNAM
    • Hotel Breakfast
    • City Tour  (Museum of History (Entrance - 15,000VND)*, War Remnants Museum (Entrance - 15,000VND)*, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office
    • Shopping (Ben Tahn Market/Saigon Square)
    • Food trips/Socials (Allez Boo Bar and Restaurant, etc )
    • Overnight Ho Chi Mihn
    DAY 2 - DEC 11
    • Hotel Breakfast
    • Cu Chi Tunnels Half Day Tour
    • Shopping or City Tour
    • Food Trips
    • Water Puppet Show
    • Overnight Ho Chi Mihn
    DAY 3 - DEC 12 CAMBODIA, Siem Reap
    • Breakfast / Check Out / Leave for Cambodia (7am)
    • Bus Ride to SIEM REAP (Mekong Express 24USD - 12 hrs) 
    • Arrive Phnom Pehn around 1pm then Siem Reap at around 8pm
    • Terminal Pick up by MotherHome Guesthouse
    • Check-in/Overnight Mother Home Guesthouse (23USD/night for 2pax inclusive buffet breakfast)
    DAY 4 - DEC 13 
    • Breakfast
    • Leave before sunrise for Angkor Wat Tour
    • South gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temples/ Chao Say Tevoda/ Thamanon/ Ta Keo/Ta Prohm Temple
    • Back at the guesthouse for lunch
    • Return to Angkor Wat at 3 pm and stay until sunset.
    • Overnight Siem Reap
    DAY 5 - DEC 14
    • Breakfast 6:30AM
    • Leave at 7:10AM  for Kravan Temple/Banteay Kdei/Sras Srang/Pre Roub/East Mebon/Ta Som/Neak Pean
    • Lunch somewhere at the temple
    • Preah Khan temple
    • Back to Guesthouse
    • Buffet Dinner at Angkor Mondial Restaurant and Aspara Dancing Show (USD10/pax)

    DAY 6 - DEC 15
    • Check Out then Arrange for (Leave 8am) Siem Reap to Bkk trip (16 USD) (8hrs)
    • Arrive Bangkok 5pm (Khao San Road - Hua Lampong Train Station - Silom or Lumphini)
    • Check in Accommodation at Pratunam (1,300 baht/night for 4 pax)
    • Food trip / Socials
    • Overnight BKK
    DAY 7 - DEC 16
    • Breakfast
    • Ayuthaya Tour / Grand Palace Tour
    • Food Trips
    • Bangkok Market/Shopping
    • Overnight BKK
    Day 8 – Dec 17, 2013 Back to Manila
    • Morning Flight Back to Manila
    * 10,000VND = 20 PHP

    With regards to expenses, I haven't made a detailed accounting yet but included here our accomodation expenses per night per head and our bus transportation expenses from one country to the other just to have a ballpark idea of some of the major expenses. The food there is relatively affordable so it won't be a major expense. Maybe we will spend more on shopping since these countries are known to be a shoppers paradise, yay!   ;-)

    So there, our preliminary INDOCHINA itinerary. Let's do the second leg next year to cover, HANOI - LAOS - MYANMAR - MALAYSIA, whatyathink? ;-)


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