Tagaytay Hotels

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Review: Mangrove Resort Hotel Subic

Located at the Baloy Beach of Subic Bay, Magrove Resort Hotel is one of the nice hotels along the area.  Checking the reviews at TripAdvisor, I recommended this hotel to my family for our family weekend getaway as the reviews were fairly acceptable (3.5 out of 5 stars).  And this hotel is also ranked #2 in the hotels in Olongapo category.

The room rates were quite expensive when you book at their website.  But if you booked through email or phone, they will give you a discounted price on their rooms.  You can also check TravelBook.ph to book your stay here as they are also offering best deals and rewards points to members as well as book now and pay upon check in (no credit card needed) scheme.

We are a family of 11 adults and 3 kids.  Their biggest room can only occupy a maximum of 4 persons (adult) so we decided to book 4 rooms and requested all rooms to be located in the same floor so that we could somehow be near to each other.  We booked 2 deluxe twin, 1 superior room and 1 deluxe room.  Fortunately, these available rooms at the time we booked (about 2 weeks before our travel date) were all located in the 4th floor.

The hotel is a 4-storey building with restaurant, beach, pool and parking area.  Water activities are also available to them.  The pool was located in the 3rd floor.  The restaurant is located in the 1st floor and there is also a poolside bar in the 3rd floor.  The hotel's beach shoreline is quite short but guests can still relax and stay at their beach side loungers.  As expected, beach in Subic is not as white and powdery as Boracay but it seems clean although we were not able to swim at the beach.

Pool and Pool Bar Area

The pool in the 3rd floor has kiddie and adult pools.  The depth of the adult pool is at 4 feet maximum so some kids can still enjoy the adult pool.  The pool is not that big but enough to accommodate guests.  It also has loungers and bar area where you can take a sip on your chosen drink or have a snack with friends and family.

The food were ok and quite reasonable (about Php 250 and up per person). By the way, breakfast is not included in the room rate. We encountered a little problem during our dinner time.  After taking all our orders, the waitress came back and informed us that certain meats are no longer available at their kitchen.  It's quite misunderstanding from their kitchen and the waitress because she has to come back to us several times and informing us of the meats that were no longer available.  Well, it turned out that almost all of our orders were not available. Of course if you're hungry, you will get pissed. The service was also quite slow in their restaurants, both at the 1st floor and at the pool side.

My husband and I stayed in one of the deluxe twin room together with my sister and her family.  I noticed that all their rooms are big or at least the rooms that we booked.  It is also complete with towels (bath, pool, hand and floor towels), toiletries, bath robe, safety vault, cable tv, mini ref, small dining area with electric pot and instant coffee (at least in deluxe twin, didn't see in other rooms we booked).  All our rooms have king size bed so its really comfortable for all of us.  I just noticed though that the single bed in the other deluxe twin room is quite smaller than in our room.  And their aircon is cooler than us.  The magnetic key which functions also as key to open electricity does not turn off the electricity when removed.

*Photos of room below courtesy of google :)

Deluxe Twin

Deluxe Room

Superior Room

The bathrooms were clean with hot and cold shower. Flow of water is ample however, the following day, the water becomes scarce to the point there's not a single drop of water coming out of the shower even on the sink.  You have to wait up to an hour before you see a drop of water in the sink and not on the shower.  This is during late morning where people are about to check out. When we complained it to the front desk, the reason they gave us is that there are a lot of guests during that they. I think that's not an excuse.  They are a resort.  They should've have expected guests to be coming in at peak season. They also have a quite number of rooms. If all were occupied, does it mean there will be no more water at any time of the day? Some of the members of my family used the bathroom at the 1st floor to take a shower while some waited. The only good thing is that they allowed us for late check out because of problems with water.


Shower area

Shower area

Sink, toilet with bidet


We almost had a great time in this resort (most especially its my 5 month old niece's first time to dip in the pool). The loungers and snack at the pool side can be relaxing. But the downside we experience on the water, food and food service we're kinda turn off. I'm not sure if I will want to go back here.  Maybe not on a peak season.  And I think I can still recommend this to friends but with a warning.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Willy's Beach Club Hotel: Revisited

We're back again in Boracay last July 2016 with my husband and we've decided to stay again in Willy's Beach Club Hotel.  I've posted in my previous blog about affordable beach front hotels in station 1 which become very useful to me since my husband and I always prefers to stay in station 1, beach front, near Willy's Rock.  From the list, we've already stayed in Blue Lilly Villa.  You can read my reviews of this hotel here. We were supposed to try Boracay Plaza Resort but my husband would like to stay again in Willy's Beach Club Hotel.

Willy's Beach Club Hotel is also quite an affordable hotel.  It's not listed in my affordable beach front hotels in station 1 as this post was more of affordable hotels below Php 3,000 per night price.  Depending on the season, you can book Willy's Beach Club Hotel for a little over Php 3,000 per night.  During my first visit in this hotel last 2013 (see my blog post about it here), the accommodation rates then was below Php 3,000 for a deluxe room on an off peak season.  Since our trip was July 2016, considered as an off peak season, we were able to still get an affordable room rate.  We booked the Super Deluxe Room that has a bath tub and location is nearer to the beach.  For 3 nights stay, the price we got was Php 9,531 through My Boracay Guide website.  I also used My Boracay Guide when we booked our first stay at Willy's Beach Club Hotel last 2013.  Our booking comes with free airport pick up for 2, which saves us about Php 800.  You can read my review on their free transport service here.

The Super Deluxe Room is quite smaller than the Deluxe Room we booked before.  The room we had is still located at the 2nd floor.  View from the veranda is facing the restaurant but view of the beach is nearer (right side view) than our previous room. Other differences are super deluxe room have bath tub, mini ref, facial tissue, and own veranda.  Having our own veranda is perfect since my husband smokes.  Our previous room also has veranda but it seemed shared to the other room perpendicular from us.

Super Deluxe Room

Mini Ref

Another view of the room with small vanity dresser

Veranda and view

Welcome fruits were also provided in our room.  However, some fruits tasted old already that's why we didn't consume it all.

Welcome Fruits

Again welcome drinks were provided upon arrival in the hotel.  There's no more seashell necklaces given to us upon arrival unlike before.

The room is quite old but does not smell one.  I say old as we had a little difficulty in opening and closing/locking our door.  Linens and pillows are clean and smells nice. Bathroom is clean with ample water supply, hot and cold shower, towels and toiletries.

Bath tub beside the Toilet

Toiletries with facial tissue and hair dryer

The bath tub

Our stay still comes with free buffet breakfast.  Again, they served combination of Filipino and American dishes.  The choices were sufficient with breads, drinks and dessert.  They are also offering grilled buffet dinner.  I can't recall how much it cost but I think its not that expensive.  We tried it one time since it was rainy the whole day on our 1st day.  The choices were mostly meat and a few cuts of fish, shrimp and squid with pasta, rice and soup.  For us, its quite enough already but for some, it may not be as inviting since the cut or the portions of the food were quite small.  But anyway, it's buffet, you can get another one without a limit.  What's also good about this buffet dinner is that you can have a freshly grilled meat as there is a standby griller who can grill for you at the corner of the buffet.  Their food still tastes good.  Some servings of their ala carte foods were quite a lot.

Beef with mushroom

Similar to our last stay at Willy's Beach Club last 2012, we did not experience any problems during our stay.  Willy's Beach Club Hotel may not be a fancy and luxurious hotel but it is one of the affordable hotels in station 1 worth staying as it can be relaxing and enjoyable since it is beach front and away from the crowd.  If I'll be visiting Boracay again next time, I wouldn't have second thoughts of staying in here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Corporate Planning and Team Building Venues

I would like to share a few venues I've searched in the south area (Laguna, Tagaytay, Cavite) where your company can hold corporate meetings, events, planning sessions and even team buildings.

Gratchi's Getaway
Website: http://www.gratchi.com/
Location: Kabangaan Road Barangay Kabangaan Silang, Cavite
Contact info: (02) 664-1633; info@gratchi.com
Amenities: accommodations, obstacle courses, team building packages, swimming pool, function rooms, educational tours.
Price range: Php 800 to Php 2,900 per person depending on the activity, accommodation and number of pax

Forest Club Eco Resort
Website: http://www.theforestclub.com/
Location: Barangay Puypuy and Masaya Bay, Laguna
Contact info: (02) 376-4623 or (0917) 863-3050; info@theforestclub.com
Amenities: accommodations, obstacle courses, team building program, venue for spiritual activities, swimming pool, function rooms, massage (hilot) therapy, family getaway
Price range: Php 525 per person day tour with lunch and snacks
                   Php 4,000 - 10,000 per night overnight accommodation (depends on the type of rooms and number of pax)
                   Php 375 per person for team building activity

Pina Colina Resort
Website: http://www.pinacolina.com/
Location: Tolentino Ulat Road Barangay Francisco Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road Tagaytay, Cavite
Contact info: (02) 994-8557 or (046) 683-7717; pinacolina09@gmail.com
Amenities: accommodations, obstacle courses, function rooms, special packages for corporate functions, swimming pool, basketball court
Price range: Php 2,500 to Php 6,950 per night on accommodations depending on the type of room
                   Php 1,700 per person (estimate) for corporate function

The Green Olive Garden
Website: http://greenolive.ph/
Location: Kabangaan Road Iruhin West, Tagaytay City
Contact info: (02) 245-4890, (0917) 861-6325, (0947) 227-9407; greenolivegarden@yahoo.com
Amenities: accommodations, swimming pool, function rooms, wedding events, corporate events, team building package
Price range: Php 30,000 package for whole day activity (as per our inquiry. price available through direct inquiry to them)

I hope you will find the above information useful.  I only tried Pina Colina Resort when we had our corporate planning session there.  Will blog about my experience here soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Change The Way You See Happiness

What makes a person happy?  I'm sure the most common reply that you will hear is that being with their loved ones, family and friends makes them happy.  Or maybe for some, you will hear materialistic responses like chocolates, flowers, shoes, bags among others were the things that will make them happy.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Anything that will make them feel good inside or anybody who can make them smile can be factors that makes a person happy.  But happiness is not limited to the material things that you like nor the people that surrounds and loves you.  There are little things that can bring happiness into your life.  Those things that will make you change the way you see happiness.

I'd like to share some of the few shallow things that makes me happy.  

Sunset - I just love sunsets.  Whenever there's a chance, I try to take a picture of it whether on the streets, on the beach or even when I'm inside the car.  I get a little frustrated when I am not able to capture the beauty of the sunset as seen by my naked eyes.  But nevertheless, I get fascinated on the outcome of my pictures even just using a mobile phone.  This is happiness.

Boracay Sunset

Sunset in Thailand
Sunset in Bolinao, Pangasinan

Capturing sunset in a moving car

Nasugbu, Batangas Sunset

BGC, Taguig Sunset

Sunset in Bantayan Island, Cebu
Capturing sunset again while inside the car

Photography - No, I am not into photography but I love taking pictures!  I do not have plans of making or shifting a career out of photography though.  I do, however, do a little research on how to take nice shot or what cameras (or even mobile phones) can best suite my personality and love for photography.  I took mostly nature shots and night shots. I know my pictures are just basic but when I get some compliments on it, it already makes me feel happy.  This is happiness.

Tinuy-an Falls


Apo Island


Enchanted River

Event in Circuit Makati

Nemo in Moalboal, Cebu

Batangas restaurant

Instax taken in Mactan, Cebu

My cute niece

Artwork in a restaurant in Boracay

Golden fields in Mariveles, Bataan

Fireworks show

Fireworks show

Kabiang Tunnel

Instax capture of our wedding

BGC street at night

Boracay Sail

Blogging - Eversince high school, I already love to write.  I even tried to take up Journalism in college but I ended up in an Engineering course.  My passion for writing has not ended until I put up this blog last January 2011 just to share to the world my thoughts and experiences mostly about my travels.  It really makes me happy when people find my blog useful.  This is happiness.

You see, there are really more than just family, friends, love ones, and material things that can make a person happy.  With our fast-paced and stressful life to some, one can discover various things that can change the way they see happiness.  Even the smallest things can change the way you see everything.  Just like Huawei's new mobile phone, the Huawei P9.  With its cool camera features, it will feel like you have a camera with a smartphone attached.  This will change the way you see mobile photography.  Huawei P9's camera is co-engineered with Leica, one of the world's most respected names in the photography industry.  It has dual lenses at the back where one lens shoots exclusively black and white while when both lenses are used, a DSLR-style shallow depth of field can be produced.  This can definitely change the way you see mobile photography.  It is a mobile phone but with features similar to DSLR when taking photos.  With its 2 lens camera, you can set the depth of field of your shots which has the same effect as changing aperture of a DSLR.  Result, photos will be high quality and users will be able to take amazing monochrome, slo-mo, colored, light painting photos among others.

Living in this world could take you to a lot of challenges and experiences.  But seeing life in a different perspective can make living worth it, so enjoy every bit of it.  Live life to the fullest!

Discovering Taiwan's Best Brands: Taiwan Excellence Experiencing Zone Event in Trinoma

It's the third leg of Taiwan Excellence Experiencing Mall Event this weekend in Trinoma.  The event first happened in SM Megamall last June 3-5.  Mallgoers will once again be able to witness a wide selection of high quality products from Taiwan's best brands through Taiwan Excellence.  This event is happening at Trinoma mall in Quezon City on August 19-21, 2016.

Taiwan Excellence Experiencing Zone, led by the Bureau of Foreign Trade and in partnership with the Taiwanese government, is an interactive product showcase featuring brands that bear the Taiwan Excellence seal which assures customers of superior quality products.

There will be 140 products from 54 Taiwan Excellence-accredited brands that will be seen on this event.  This wide range of products covers needs for Information and Technology, Home and Living, Sports and Leisure.  Included in this products showcase are STRIDA's durable bicycles which is designed for ease and reliable urban transport, SH-RD's protein cream that prevents hair damage and makes hair softer and shinier, and FECA's storage products which helps in maximizing home space.

Guests and visitors will not only enjoy the Taiwan Excellence product showcase, they will also be entertained by performances, fashion shows, games, and raffle draws.  They can watch out for surprise number from local bands such as Silent Sanctuary on Aug. 19, Callalily on August 20 and Up Dharma Down on Aug. 21.

The Taiwan Excellence Experiencing Zone will also have brand presentations to make consumers aware on the featured products and how it can complement their lifestyle.  There are also booths from brands such as Tatung, MSI, Feca and Asus.  Consumers can also avail huge discount from featured brands such as Kymco, MSI, Pacific, Tatung, Tern and Thermaltake.

This Taiwan Excellence Experiencing Zone is happening this weekend only.  So hurry! Be in the know on the latest gadgets, home appliances, fitness gears and many other treats.  Head now to Trinoma this weekend!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review: My Boracay Guide's Transport Service

I have been using My Boracay Guide website the past years I've been to Boracay.  Recently, I booked again through their website when my husband and I decided to stay in Willy's Beach Hotel again for the second time.  I also booked through them the first time we visited this hotel (you may read about my review on Willy's Beach Hotel here).  Their rates were quite lower than other booking sites such as Agoda and Booking.com.

Upon booking, there was a notification that my booking comes with free airport pick up.  This is My Boracay Guide's way of gratitude to their customers who chose to book with them.  Based from their website, they have various kinds of transport vehicle depending on your budget.  Price is also dependent on the number of persons.  Since ours is free, the kind of vehicle given to us is their economy transfer.  This usually cost Php 400 per person for 2 pax, one way, inclusive of boat fee.  However, terminal and environmental fee is not yet included.  In their other transport service, all of these are included in their fee.

Once booked, My Boracay Guide will send an email to confirm your booking.  The free transport service was not included in their email to me so I confirmed it further to them.  Once confirmed, I gave them details of our flight and arrival.  We will be coming from Caticlan airport.  I believe My Boracay Guide's transport service can either be in Caticlan or Kalibo airport.  They were able to acknowledge my email on our flight details. I thought that was it.

Upon arriving in Caticlan airport, there was a My Boracay Guide staff waiting outside.  We approached her but unfortunately our names were not included in her list.  I showed her the acknowleged email when she was asking a voucher from me.  She made a few calls and thankfully I heard that we were indeed part of their transport service.  

Aboard the shuttle/van service, we were with other passengers who I believed booked through Southwest tours since that was the name written on the van as well as on the driver's shirt.  For proper identification, we were given sticker of My Boracay Guide. This is I guess to separate and identify us from those who booked through Southwest tours.

From the airport, the van took us to Tabon port.  This is an alternate port going to Boracay.  The travel time is quite far, about 8 minutes.  The port is not as orderly as in Jetty port thus the fee were minimal.  Environmental and terminal fee is only Php 100 per pax while the boat ride is only 25 per pax.  From Tabon port, the boat will lead you to Tambisaan port.  Similar to Jetty-Cagban port route, travel time from Tabon to Tambisaan port is less than 10 minutes away.

Upon arriving at Tabon port, we had to find the My Boracay Guide staff to assist us.  It seems that we were the only one who used My Boracay Guide's transport service.  Well that's a plus since we are the only one who they would take care of.  Anyway, it took us a while before the staff from My Boracay Guide assist us.  We were asked to pay for the terminal and environmental fee then the staff told us that another staff will be assisting us on our way to the hotel upon alighting at the Tambisaan port.

Tambisaan port is near Crystal Cove as we can see it from afar.  There were tricycles also waiting for passengers to take them to their resort.  But it seems that most of the tourist there were guided by various transport service.  Not the usual DIY traveller.

Since our service was free, we rode the E-trike, the economy transfer service of My Boracay Guide.  Travel time is about 20 minutes from the port to Station 1 where our hotel is.  That's quite far since i'm used to the very short travel from Cagban port to hotels in Station 1.  Another reason why the travel time took a while is because we were riding an e-trike.  It's a battery operated tricycle which travels about 20-30 kph at maximum.  Quite slow.  I heard that the e-trike fee is 180 pesos one way.

We took the same route on our way back to the Caticlan airport on our last day in Boracay.  Similar to Cagban port, vans are available should your flight be in Kalibo.  As for us, since our airport is in Caticlan, we just paid Php 25  boat ride and Php 30 terminal fee.  I noticed that some did not buy tickets for the terminal fee.  Also, there were locals and pinoy tourists who simply go straight to the ticket counter without even bothering to fall in line when there is one.  Pinoy nga naman. Well, maybe one reason is that the line were not so organized.  Even after paying for the boat ticket, there was no organized line in the waiting area of the boat.

This new or alternate route is new to us.  The e-trike driver told us that this is the usual route when the water is not calm or when there are waves during Habagat season.  Well, there was indeed strong waves as if you were in a surfing beach.  This is the reason why we were not able to go to Ariel's Point... Again *sigh*.

Anyway, My Boracay Guide's transport service is quite acceptable.  Though it wasn't perfect and organized and there was a little waiting time, I would still recommend it for convenience.  But for budget travellers, you can still do DIY as it is not really difficult to reach Boracay.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Taiwan Excellence: Showcasing Superior Products through Experiencing Zone Mall Event

Last June 3 to 5, Taiwan Excellence, a campaign that promotes high quality products, showcased their amazing wide array of Taiwan’s product design and innovation through the Taiwan Excellence Experiencing Zone Mall Event held at SM Megamall Event Center.  The event drew attention to mall goers with its attractive experiencing zone which allows them to see how Taiwan Excellence products can complement and enhance their lifestyle.

The Taiwan Excellence Experiencing Zone Mall event is one of Taiwan Excellence’ activities to showcase their high quality innovative and game changing products.  Organized by Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) of Taiwan and undertaken by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TIATRA), Taiwan Excellence has helped Filipinos appreciate the products that have been engineered and manufactured to the highest standard of Taiwan.

Joining this event were some of Taiwan’s brand partners where they exhibit their products’ superiority such as Acer, Asus, D-Link, Tatung, Heartway, KYMCO, MSI, Johnson Tern and Chanson.  All of these brands proudly bear the Taiwan Excellence Seal which ensures consumers of highly superior, quality and innovative products.

Keeping the event fun and pleasant, a Formosa bear mascot greeted guests happily and gamely posed for photos with them.  The event not only exhibit Taiwan Excellence products, it also features a lively dance number from Conven PH and a soothing song number from singers Christian Bautista, Julie Ann San Jose and Yeng Constantino.  Adding entertainment and excitement to the event was a fashion show of products and fun games lead by blogger and vocalist, Saab Magalona and Cosplayer sisters, Alodia and Ashley Gosiengfiao.  Several lucky draws were also provided to keep guests entertained.  Each brand partners also shared the best features of their products to make it more interesting to the guests. 

Formosa Bear

Coven PH

Yeng Constantino

Saab Magalona

Cosplayer sisters Ashley and Alodia Gosiengfiao
Fashion Show of TIATRA’s highlighted Products

TIATRA Deputy Executive Director, Scott Yang, said: “Every year, we strive to bring best Taiwanese products to the Philippines and its experiential activity allows people to see these things up close.  We’ve made everything in this experiential exhibit fun, captivating and different.  We hope to do more projects that would help Filipinos discover how we can help enrich their lives with Taiwan’s superior products.”   

(From left) Taiwan External Trade Development Council Deputy Executive Director of Strategic Marketing Department Scott Yang, Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office Minister Samuel Chang, Taiwan Trade Center Manila Director Harrison Koming Lan

Not only the guests have benefited from this event, even the brand partners appreciates TIATRA’s effort in helping them spread awareness and strengthen visibility of their products in the Philippine market.  Such brand partners as Asus products where their Product Marketing Commercial Solutions, Ruemer Allan Santillan, takes pride in embodying the Taiwan innovation by having high quality and technology that keeps up with the needs and lifestyle of its consumers.  Likewise, Heartway’s Supervisor and Far East Medical’s Jailyn Macamay shared that linking their products with TAITRA gives their product a reliable impact to the public.

Taiwan Excellence Experiencing Zone Event does not end here.  Other upcoming events are scheduled as follows: July 8-10 in SM Mall of Asia, August 19-21 in Trinoma and October 21-23 in Market! Market!  For more details, just visit their website at www.taiwanexcellence.ph.        

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.