Get the #LubdExperience at Lub d Makati (because you didn’t come for the normal)

Whether you’re a foreigner backpacking in the Philippines and looking for a place to serve as your “base of operations” while you’re touring the capital, a domestic traveler who wants to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the metro’s busiest district or an urbanite who’s seeking for a change of scenery, Lub d Makati is the place for you.

The biggest hostel in the Philippines, Lub d Makati is part of the Lub d hotel chain which also has presence in other buzz-worthy Asian destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand, and Siem Reap in Cambodia. Its concept reimagines the experience of traveling, whether you’re on a solo trip or wandering with your buddies. Lub d prides itself on giving its guests a memorable and comfortable stay as they dive into the local scene.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Center of the action

Located along Makati Avenue in Makati City, the hostel is conveniently located near the high rises of the central business district as well as shopping malls that house dining and entertainment establishments such as movie theaters, restaurants, designer shops and supermarkets.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

It’s within walking distance from Poblacion, Makati’s cultural and heritage district, as well as a short ride away from Bonifacio Global City (where you can find some of the hottest night spots) to the east and Old Manila (where you can immerse in the old capital’s colonial history) to the west.

Comfy stay

After a busy day of touring the metro, you can take your rest at your choice from Lub d Makati’s 153 private rooms and ten shared rooms.

Indulge yourself in an air-conditioned private sanctuary in a Deluxe Room which comes with either a king-size bed or a two single beds, as well as an en-suite bathroom with toiletries and hair-dryer. Other amenities include: keycard system, TV, power outlet, safety box and complimentary coffee and tea.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Until July 31, 2022, you and a companion can enjoy a stay at a Deluxe King Room with complimentary breakfast and internet for just Php1,999.

Digital nomads can also use a Deluxe Room during the day (9am to 5pm) for remote work or for day trips in the city for just Php1,999.

Traveling with family or a small group of friends? A Barkada Room provides your group with an air-conditioned private retreat with a king-size bed or two single beds plus two single bunk beds, along with an en-suite bathroom. Other amenities include: safety box, TV, a mini-fridge and complimentary kettle and coffee.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

If you’re traveling with a larger group of people you can opt for a Mixed Dorm Room which comes with eight bunk beds so you can enjoy time togather yet retreat into your private space, thanks to privacy curtains and reading lights. Other amenities include: shared bathroom with towels and toiletries, as well as a wardrobe with lockers.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Do more at The Space

Besides providing you with a space to rest your head for the night, Lub d also provides you with venues for other activities and to meet new friends. Its second floor houses The Space which has meeting rooms for conferences, a WiFi-equipped co-working space for remote work as well as common area where you can hang out and play games with fellow guests.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Taste global flavors with Pinoy flair

Of course, you wouldn’t want to miss the great eats that Lub d’s roodeck bar and restaurant, Essential goodness for Pilgrims, has in store for you.

You can have your meal at the deck where you can enjoy the amazing view of the Makati skyline…

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

…or you can enjoy your meal in the lush comfort of its posh interiors.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

As Lub d’s Cluster General Manager Reycie Gutierrez puts it, the restaurant is guided by the philosophy of food being essential as the nourishment that fuels everyday lives and provides the feeling of satisfaction.

Lub D Makati
Lub d Cluster GM Reycie Gutierrez
Lub D Makati
EG’s Chef Jinggoy Fernando
Lub D Makati
EG’s F&B Team
Lub D Makati

Helming the kitchen is Chef Jinggoy Fernando who translates this philosophy through an updated menu for the restaurant that introduces Filipino food to foreigners. His team achieves this by adding a Filipino twist to typically western dishes or ingredients.

This is also a great way to introduce Pinoys to new ways to enjoy old favorites, such as in the restaurant’s latest offerings:

Mushroom Chicharon. Crispy oyster mushrooms served with a tangy ranch sauce.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Nachos. House-made nacho chips with a side of fresh gracamole, pica de gallo and calamansi crema.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Garlic Bread. A new experience of spreading roasted garlic on buttered toast and sprinkling a bit of flaky salt for an explosion of flavor.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Bicol Express Wings. Chicken wings covered in a spicy coconut milk sauce served with charred lemon for a bit of zest with each bite.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Bistek Tagalog Sliders. Grilled 100% beef patties with calamansi mayo and topped with caramelized onions and local cheese in fluffy toasted buns.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Soft Shell Crab Palabok. Thin rice noodles covered with palabok sauce and topped with a soft shell crab, served with a charred lemon for zest.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Sisig Fried Rice. A variation of the Pinoy staple sinangag (garlic fried rice) mixed with house-made sisig (chopped pork cheeks sauteed in chilis and onions), topped with scrambled egg.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Salted Egg Tostada. House-made crispy flat tortilla topped with bits of salted egg and cucumber salad with citrus dressing.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Corned Crispy Pata. Brined pork trotters which are deep-fried then served with soy vinegar dipping sauce.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Desserts include Pandan Cheesecake with mango coulis and Tres Leches Bread Pudding with vanilla sauce.

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Pandan Cheesecake
Lub D Makati
Tres Leches Bread Pudding

Refreshing drinks include house-made Four Seasons and Iced Tea.

Lub D Makati
Four Seasons
Lub D Makati
Iced Tea

No matter what kind of traveler you are, make Lub d Makati one of your stops for a truly extraordinary and memorable adventure here in the metro. After all, you didn’t come for the normal, did you?

Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati
Lub D Makati

Lub D Makati is located at 7820 Makati Avenue, Brgy Poblacion, Makati City, Philippines.

For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 85416358 or email contact.makati@lubd.com.

Know more about Lub D Makati at its website or follow it on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclosure: I attended a food tasting held here. Food items mentioned in this post were served free of charge to facilitate this feature.

You car purchase does not have to bust your budget

With many of the lockdown restrictions easing up, I was happy to realize that I now have greater mobility around the metro and even beyond. I now have more options on the places I can visit and even farther destinations that I can travel to. So now, I can start acting on my previous plans to wander around, see new sights and embrace new experiences.

Car Buying Pics from Pexels

A huge factor in these plans, of course, is transportation. Despite the waning number of cases, it is still a COVID-19 world and the risks posed by the pandemic is still very real. I have found that using my private vehicle, especially for out-of-town staycations, is still the safest, most convenient, most cost effective and most comfortable way to travel as opposed to doing so by public transportation or car rental.

For one thing, with only myself and my immediate family as passengers, we are able avoid contact with other people during the trip. Secondly, we don’t have to produce documents like antigen test results and vaccination cards just to board our car. Also, we don’t have to pay for luggage and other miscellaneous expenses usually encountered during commercial travel. Another plus point is that, since we are all relatively healthy and we are traveling inside our own vehicle, we don’t have to wear protective gear like facemasks, gloves or similar items that would hamper our comfort, and we have the freedom to make ourselves as comfortable as we see fit.

Clearly, owning a car opens up a world of fun possibilities when it comes to domestic travel.

Car Buying Pics from Pexels

If you are in the market for a new car, however, you should know that buying a car is one of the biggest purchase decisions you can make, and it is not one to take lightly. As shared by author Kathleen Elkins in this CNBC article, there are myriad pressing financial items to consider other than your vehicle’s purchase price. These include your car registration fees, automobile insurance, fuel consumption (especially with today’s soaring gas prices!), maintenance and parking fees. Really, all these could add up to quite a lot!

Even the car’s actual price can actually balloon up once you factor in sales taxes and loan interest rates, plus, of course, your dealer’s commissions.

What you don’t need is to have that nagging worry that your car purchase would eventually run your monthly budget to the ground.

What you do need is a tool that helps add up the costs of your car payments so you can plan your budget accordingly.

CarPaymentCalculator.net, for instance, is a site that helps you compute your car payments. It crunches the numbers for you, whether for your loan application or based on how much of your monthly budget you can allot to your car payments. It factors in items such as rebates or trade-in obligations, giving you a more complete picture of what your car purchase will actually cost you.

You can also compute for operating costs such as your gas budget or your car’s fuel efficiency, taking out a lot of the guess work when it comes to your car-related expenses.

This allows you to more accurately forecast your monthly expenses, enabling you to budget more effectively for your family’s basic needs, as well as for small luxuries, such as traveling to exciting destinations!

Car Buying Pics from Pexels

There should be more to your life than just worrying about your car payments. You should make room for the fun stuff, like enjoying the joys that owning a car brings you just like I did!

With a clearer picture of your car budget in mind, you can now take your initial steps towards your car purchase decision!

Let me know how it goes!

P.S. If your kiddos are like mine who get antsy during long trips, CarPaymentCalculator.net can also keep them entertained with its arcade of fun driving games like Cars Lightning Speed and Nick Racing Stars. Be sure to check these out!

Photo credits:

Going on a Journey to the Unlimited with Yassi Pressman and OPPO

Earlier this month, lucky few were able to experience the ultimate journey courtesy of OPPO, the global smart device brand – an all-expense paid trip to one of the most beautiful locations in the world, El Nido. Accompanied by the Reno7 Series ambassador Yassi Pressman, the raffle winners spent three days and two nights in the breathtaking island destination, capturing their adventures in portrait with The Portrait Expert, the OPPO Reno7.

Yassi Pressman Opo
Yassi Pressman Opo

Flown in via airline partner AirSWIFT Airlines Philippines, the guests were welcomed to the trip with a kit containing all the summer essentials needed to make the most of their unlimited journey, including a bucket hat, waterproof pouch and a beach mat. 

Yassi Pressman Opo
Yassi Pressman Opo

Throughout their stay, Yassi and the winners explored the beauty of El Nido as they went island hopping, swimming, and snorkeling in Kingkong Island, Cadlao Lagoon and Hayag. Yassi even shared how she was able to swim beside turtles and thousands of fish under the sea,  through an Instagram post. The group capped off each full day with a four-course meal and some R & R at the luxurious Lihim Resorts in El Nido.

Yassi Pressman Opo
Yassi Pressman Opo

The journey to the unlimited would not have been complete without the OPPO Reno7, the Portrait Expert that beautifully captures and records all your greatest moments from any unforgettable trip. Its 64MP HD triple rear camera setup and 16MP front camera with AI-powered camera features like Portrait Mode, Bokeh Flare Portrait and AI Highlight, allow you to snap professional-level photos and videos. The group did not need to worry about suddenly running out of battery in the middle of their island hopping, as the OPPO Reno7 comes with a 4500 mAh battery.

Yassi Pressman Opo
Yassi Pressman Opo

Go on your own journey to the unlimited with the OPPO Reno7 and express your #UnlimitedMeInPortrait. 

To know more about OPPO’s latest Reno7 5G, visit the OPPO Philippines’ official website at www.oppo.com.ph/ or its official Facebook page at OPPO Philippines. You can also check OPPO’s official stores on Shopee and Lazada.

About OPPO

OPPO is a leading global smart device brand. Since the launch of its first mobile phone – “Smiley Face” – in 2008, OPPO has been in relentless pursuit of the perfect synergy of aesthetic satisfaction and innovative technology. Today, OPPO provides a wide range of smart devices spearheaded by the Find and Reno series. Beyond devices, OPPO provides its users with the ColorOS operating system and internet services like OPPO Cloud and OPPO+. OPPO operates in more than 40 countries and regions, with 6 Research Institutes and 5 R&D Centers worldwide, as well as an International Design Center in London. More than 40,000 of OPPO’s employees are dedicated to creating a better life for customers around the world.

Details and images provided in a recent press release.

Shop for OPPO Reno 7

Things to Do in Burlington This Summer

Burlington is a city of about 42,000 people in Vermont that is known as the “City of Lakes” and “City of Parks.” It’s also known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities.

It is the perfect place for people to get away from the hustle and bustle of life.

The city offers an abundance of things to do that are both relaxing and exciting. There are lots of natural beauty spots, such as Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains. The city also has a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops that will make any visitor feel like they want to start looking at Burlington houses for sale.

In Burlington, you can find everything you need to enjoy your time off from work or school-and it’s all within walking distance!

Here are some enjoyable things to do in Burlington, Vermont, this summer.

Visit the Vermont State House

Lake Champlain is the largest lake in New England and a popular tourist destination.

The lakefront is one of the most beautiful places to walk in Burlington. It is a short walk from the waterfront to the State Street Bridge and back again.

Lake Champlain has clear water, a sandy beach, and a wide variety of wildlife. The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the lakeshore for fishing, boating, swimming, and other recreational activities, all of which you’ll love in summer.

This walk will take you along Lake Champlain with its clear water, sand beach, and wide variety of wildlife. You can enjoy fishing or swimming on the sandy beach or simply just walking along the waterfront as you see some beautiful views.

Get Some Good Food and Drinks

Burlington has many great places to eat, but these are some of the best restaurants worth checking out:

1) The Friendly Toast – Breakfast, lunch and dinner. This restaurant offers great food with friendly service. They have a wide variety of breakfast and lunch options like omelets, muffins, sandwiches and bagels.

2) The Burlington Farmers Market – This market is open every day from 9 to 2 and offers fresh produce, meat, cheese, breads, and more.

3) Cosmic Grind Coffee Shop – Cosmic Grind Coffee Shop is a small coffee shop in Burlington. The success of Cosmic Grind is highly due to its welcoming atmosphere and great customer service. Cosmic Grind is a great place to stop by for an iced coffee or a warm drink on a cold day. They also have delicious pastries that are baked fresh in-house every morning.

Ride the Burlington Greenway

The Burlington Greenway is an eight-mile-long bike and pedestrian path that runs through the heart of the city.

The Burlington Greenway stretches from the South End to Burlington’s waterfront, and it connects to other bike paths along the Lake Champlain shore.

The greenway has a few small bridges and footbridges over the tracks. It is also home to a large number of trees and plants, which provide shade for walkers and cyclists, as well as a natural habitat for all the wildlife.

Photo Credit: Header photo by Stephen Mease on Unsplash

The Prince returns… and rolls out the red carpet for guests

The Manila Prince Hotel by The Manila Hotel is delighted to officially announce its highly anticipated reopening on June 1, 2022. This heralds an exciting new chapter in the property’s history as it establishes itself as a perfect staycation place in the heart of the city.

The newly reopened Manila Prince Hotel offers guest affordable luxury with a reopening rate of only P1,999 nett for an overnight stay in a Deluxe room. This royal treatment can be enjoyed by two (2) adults and two (2) kids 12 years old and below, along with set breakfast for two.

Staycation seekers, weary urban warriors, working folk, and even guests from outside Metro Manila can expect unrivalled comfort and inimitable service while enjoying the hotel’s facilities and spaces. The hotel boasts of a pool where you can take your kids to enjoy an afternoon of fun, while the rest of the day can be spent having a hearty meal at the hotel’s Marcelino Street Café, which serves a la carte dishes for now. Eventually, Manila Prince Hotel’s amazingly decorated Chinese restaurant, Dragon Court, will reopen at a later date.

Manila Prince Hotel

Guests are also within walking distance to malls and commercial establishments—the closest being UN Square, which has an array of fast-food choices on the ground floor like Tim Horton’s, Café France, Karate Kid, and many others. The hotel is in the center of everything, and convenient enough to be near banks, hospitals, schools, and convenience stores, churches, and many others.

But Manila Prince Hotel is not just welcoming stay-in guests but also those who are looking for the perfect venue for events that have been postponed or re-scheduled because of the pandemic. With the return of social events and gatherings, Manila Prince Hotel gives guests an option of an affordable but grand venue for conferences, meetings, and even gatherings like wedding receptions, anniversaries, and more.

Manila Prince Hotel

Manila Prince Hotel is a multi-use establishment that welcomes both staycation/leisure guests, and even guests who need mandatory stay bookings for a few days. Strict safety guidelines will be implemented.

With the reinforcement of cleaning and disinfection procedures implemented in rooms, common areas, function halls, dining outlets, and kitchen and employee areas, Manila Prince Hotel has adapted to current guidelines from the government to ensure guest safety and comfort.

Manila Prince Hotel

Reservation for staycations as well as function rooms for meetings/conventions, launches and other occasions are now accepted. For enquiries and reservations, guests may call 0998-591-1912; visit https://www.manilaprince.com; or email info@themanilaprince.com.

Details and images provided in a recent press release.

Treat mom to Manila Ocean Park’s Under the SEAfood Buffet for an advanced Mother’s Day celebration

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I’m sure we’re all looking for ways to make it a day to remember for our moms.

The most important women in our lives deserve nothing but the very best on their special day, right?

The traffic jams during the mad scramble for our go-to restaurant haunts on May 8 will also stress our mamas out.

So why don’t we treat our moms to a truly memorable time at Manila Ocean Park the day before Mother’s Day?

On May 7, from 4pm to 9pm, with Manila Ocean Park’s Under the SEAfood Buffet (Php2,299/adult | Php1,839/kids 11 years old or younger), our moms and our loving families can look forward to:

A Scrumptious and Sustainable Seafood Dinner.

The whole fam can feast on the sea’s bounty with a delicious buffet spread laden with classic faves and fresh takes on Philippine and Asian seafood dishes as well as local produce, all ably catered by Hotel H2O’s Makan Makan Asian Food Village.

Manila Ocean Park
Manila Ocean Park

A Tour of the Park’s Well-Loved Attractions

Awaiting the family’s enjoyment – both the young and the young-heart – are six of the park’s educational and interactive attractions. From a trip into the watery depths at the Oceanarium and Jellies Exhibit, a sojourn to Antarctica for the Penguin Exhibit and the Christmas Village, to the playful forays into the Super Toy Collection and World of Creepy Crawlies, there’s something to catch everyone’s fancy.

Manila Ocean Park
Oceanarium
Manila Ocean Park
Jellies Exhibit
Hotel H2O
Penguin Exhibit
Manila Ocean Park Reopening
Christmas Village
MOP Summer
Super Toy Collection
MOP Summer
World of Creepy Crawlies

Meet and Greet with Manila Ocean Park’s Mermaid

Let’s make our moms’ fairytale fantasies come true with an encounter with Manila Ocean Park’s mesmerizing and magical mermaid.

Manila Ocean Park
Manila Ocean Park

Plus, our moms also get their very own special flower souvenir from Manila Ocean Park to commemorate their special day.

A pre-Mother’s Day celebration at Manila Ocean Park is a great way to trear our mamas to new and exciting experiences while showing them our love and appreciation.

So what are you waiting for?

Set up your family’s advanced Mother’s Day celebration at Manila Ocean Park today. Book your tickets here.

Manila Ocean Park
Manila Ocean Park

Do take note of these details:

  • Event will be held on May 7, 2022 from 4pm to 9pm at the Oceanarium Area.
  • Registration starts at 3pm.
  • Tour of attractions starts at 4pm and ends at 6pm.
  • Dinner buffet will be served from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
  • Children below 2 feet are free of charge.

Manila Ocean Park is located behind the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

For more news and updates on its attractions and offers, follow Manila Ocean Park on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out my previous posts about Manila Ocean Park:

Photo Credits: Images of the Seafood Buffet and Mermaid were taken from Manila Ocean Park’s Facebook Page. Used with permission.

A family #StaycationByTheOcean at Hotel H2O

And just like that, we’re right-smack in the middle of summer, folks!

I’m sure that the sweltering heat and humidity of the city has got your family longing for a bit of rest ‘n relaxation surrounded by the refreshing and calming waves.

Well, the good news is that you won‘t have to travel far to get your dose of #VitaminSEA, because right here in the metro is a place where you and your family can immerse yourselves in the beauty and peace of the ocean: Hotel H2O!

Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O

This prime destination remains to be the only marine-themed urban resort in the country. As we can gather from its name, Hotel H2O has a deep affinity for the wonders of water, and its proximity to both the Manila Bay and Manila Ocean Park provide its guests with sea-themed options for entertainment and sight-seeing.

Want to know what makes Hotel H2O your fam’s best bet for summer fun and relaxation in the metro? Take your pick from these reasons:

1. You can enjoy a unique stay in your marine-themed room

Given the hotel’s proximity to the sea, it’s only fitting that Hotel H2O’s stylish, contemporary rooms would showcase the ocean’s resplendent beauty, particularly its Premiere Classic Bay Room.

This posh accommodation opens to a receiving area furnished with a spacious desk as well as a comfy sofa (that transforms into a day bed) and a large-screen LCD TV, making the option for family members to work remotely, then transition to relaxation and entertainment quite seamless.

Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O

The receiving room links to an opulent bedroom furnished with a king-size bed and an elegant en-suite marble bath with free-standing bath tub with a separate shower.

Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O

Of course, the room’s piece de resistance is the wall-to-wall window showcasing the scenic Manila Bay so you can enjoy that beautiful sunset view with the fam right in the comforts of your room.

Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O

On the other hand, Premiere Classic rooms that do not face the bay showcase an aquarium wall where guests can gain some serenity while watching the graceful dance of colorful fish against brilliant corals.

Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O

2. You have enjoyable options for physical activity

You can take advantage of the hotel’s Fitness Center to do some yoga, cardio or strength training. A few minutes here can get your brood pumped up and energized for the day.

Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O

Before the day’s end, you can indulge yourselves with a relaxing massage, a hot bed treatment or a mani-pedi session at Zenyu Eco Spa.

Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O

3. Gourmet food choices are within easy reach

Even the most discriminating foodies in your family will find something to tempt their taste buds as Hotel H2O gives them easy access to sumptuous culinary creations curated and managed by Hotel H2O’s executive chef Ranuka Hettiarachchi. Be sure to check them out!

Breakfast Buffet and Chinese-Filipino cuisine at Makan Makan Asian Food Village.

Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O

Handcrafted coffee and designer pastries at Garden Cafe.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

Asian and Filipino dishes with a twist in an al fresco setting at Garden Dining.

Garden Dining by White Moon Bar
Garden Dining by White Moon Bar
Garden Dining by White Moon Bar
Garden Dining by White Moon Bar

Bar chows and refreshing cocktails at White Moon Bar.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
Hotel H2O
Hotel H2O

4. You can enjoy a full day of fun at Manila Ocean Park

Since Manila Ocean Park is literally next door to the hotel, it would be a shame not to take advantage of its fun, educational and interactive attractions within easy reach.

MOP Summer
Oceanarium
Manila Ocean Park Reopening
Jellies Exhibit
Hotel H2O
Penguin Exhibit
Manila Ocean Park Reopening
Christmas Village
Manila Ocean Park
World of Creepy Crawlies
MOP Summer
Super Toy Collection
MOP Summer
All-Star Bird Show
MOP Summer
Sea Lion Show

So if the fam’s game for a lot fun in by the sea, treat them to a #StaycationByThe Ocean at Hotel H2O.

From April 29 to August 31, 2022, you can book your staycation at Hotel H2O at these promo rates:

  • Park View Room: Php3,200 nett on weekdays | Php3,700 nett on weekends (from published rate of Php12,200 nett)
  • Aqua Room: Php3,800 nett on weekdays | Php4,300 nett on weekends (from published rate of Php13,420 nett)
  • Bay View Room: Php4,000 nett on weekdays | Php4,500 nett on weekends (from published rate of Php14,640 nett)
  • Aqua Supreme: Php4,400 nett on weekdays | Php5,300 nett on weekends (from published rate of Php17,080 nett)
  • Aqua Jellies Room: Php4,400 nett on weekdays | Php5,300 nett on weekends (from published rate of Php17,080 nett)
  • Bay Deluxe: Php5,300 nett on weekdays | Php6,000 nett on weekends (from published rate of Php20,740 nett)
  • Premiere Classic Bay: Php6,200 nett on weekdays | Php6,800 nett on weekends (from published rate of Php24,400 nett)
  • Premiere Classic Aqua: Php6,200 nett on weekdays | Php6,800 nett on weekends (from published rate of Php24,400 nett)
  • Executive Suite: Php9,500 nett on weekdays | Php10,000 nett on weekends (from published rate of Php36,600 nett)

Weekday rates are applicable for check-in dates between Sunday to Thursday. Weekend rates, on the other hand, are applicable for check-in dates on Fridays, Saturdays and during public holidays.

Rates are inclusive of overnight accommodation, complimentary breakfast for two, Manila Ocean Park tickets (6-attraction package) for two and welcome drinks for two.

Hotel H20 is located at The Boardwalk Luneta, Quirino Grandstand, Ermita, Manila.

For bookings and inquiries, you may call (+632) 7238- 6100 ext. 6172 and 6180 or send an email to reservation@hotelh2o.com. Reservations are accepted from 9am to 6pm only.

For more details about Hotel H2O, visit its website or follow it on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out my previous posts about Manila Ocean Park:

A sweet and whimsical tour of The Dessert Museum

Are you a sweet tooth? I know I am!

Since I was young, I’ve had this deep affinity for sweets and I’m also a firm believer in the adage “There’s always room for dessert!”

Imagine my delight when I discovered that there’s a special place in the metro for dessert lovers like me: The Dessert Museum!

The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum

This destination is 12,000 square feet of space dedicated to desserts. It features eight themed rooms focused on a particular sweet treat, each with eye-catching visual elements such as giant-sized simulations of well-known products, background info on desserts’ history printed on the walls, games that visitors can play and other bric-a-bracs that complement the theme.

In these rooms, visitors can take fun and whimsical pictures of themselves in dessert-themed fantasy environments.

To a dessert lover like me who likes to geek out about her favorite food, this place surely comes close to my version of heaven.

Is it any surprise then that I would go here? Check out my trip through this wonderland of sweets!

Raining Donuts Room

The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum

Ten Thousand Marshmallows Room

The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum

Candy Cane Groves

The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum

Banana Beach

The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum

Room of Never-ending Bubbles

The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum

The Bewitched Bakery

The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum

Pinata Party

The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum

Kake-Pop Kourt

The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum
The Dessert Museum

The appeal of The Dessert Museum mostly lies on the sheer number of great photo opportunities it provides. Knowing this, I had my daughter, #ExhibitA, accompany me so I have someone to take those snaps “for the ‘gram.”

During our two-hour tour throughout the museum, we were given fifteen minutes per room. The flow of people were managed by tour guides in each room to ensure that it won’t get too crowded and to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. The museum also employs official photographers who can take group pictures fort he souvenir photos which you can buy for Php250 each at the gift shop at the end of your tour.

Thanks to the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, guests of all ages are now allowed. Adults (at least 18 years old) are required to be fully vaccinated while kids (below 18 years old) should be accompanied by fully vaccinated adults.

Tickets are priced at Php799 for walk-ins, tickets bought online through thedessertmuseum.com are priced at Php699. As our visit fell during my birthday month, my daughter and I were able to take advantage of the Birthday Babies Are Free Promo, wherein we just needed to pay for #ExhibitA’s entrance while I got in for free.

Our tickets entitled us to enter the themed rooms, as well as get four dessert samples each, which were mostly made up of small pastries and bite-sized candies. I suggest you have a meal or a snack prior to your visit as well as bring a tumbler of water so you won’t get hungry or thirsty during your tour.

The Dessert Museum is located at Units 124, 126, 127a, S Maison, Coral Way, Conrad Hotel Manila, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

Gourmet Food Trippin’ at Manila Ocean Park

How’s your summer going so far, foodies?

If you’ve got a hankering for some #VitaminSea but are not keen on leaving the city, then Manila Ocean Park is definitely the place to be!

Having just reopened after nearly two years of being closed to the public, Manila Ocean Park is reinforcing its positioning as the all-season holiday destination with eight exciting attractions now ready for the hordes of urbanites like you who are raring for fun and adventure.

MOP Summer
Exploring the Oceanarium
MOP Summer
Sea Lion Encounter

All that walking around and sight-seeing is sure to work up an appetite, though. Well, don’t worry, dear foodies, because Manila Ocean Park also serves up gastronomic delights that will satisfy even the most discerning gastronome.

These culinary creations are all curated by Manila Ocean Park’s Executive Chef Ranuka Hettiarachchi, who brings his extraordinary skill sets to bear in bringing distinctly gourmet dining experiences for the park’s visitors through its in-house restaurants.

MOP Food Trip
Chef Ranuka Hettiarachchi, Manila Ocean Park and Hotel H20’s Executive Chef
MOP Food Trip
Chef Ranuka joins Mr Francis Low in welcoming me and my fellow bloggers to Manila Ocean Park

Garden Dining by White Moon Bar

Garden Dining by White Moon Bar came about in May 2021 when the lockdowns were beginning to ease up but indoor dining was not yet allowed. By making use of Manila Ocean Park’s Barnyard area to offer al fresco dining, and serving up a refreshed menu of Asian fusion dishes, this newly opened eatery became a bright spot for foodies looking for restaurant-quality fare during quarantine.

Garden Dining by White Moon Bar
Garden Dining by White Moon Bar
Garden Dining by White Moon Bar
Garden Dining by White Moon Bar

Looking at these mouth-watering dishes, you would be hard-pressed to imagine Chef Ranuka whipping these up using just a griddle and stove, which was all he had available when this restaurant first opened.

MOP Food Trip
Pineapple Glazed Pork Liempo (Php280). Grilled pork belly slices glazed with homemade pineapple sauce served with fried potato wedges, mixed salad and spicy mayo dip.
MOP Food Trip
Bulalo Steak (Php450). Batangas beef shank, sweet corn, French beans and cabbage served in garlicky gravy with Java rice.
MOP Food Trip
Umami Chicken & Cheese Madness (Php240). Grilled chicken thigh fillet in mushroom ang garlic sauce topped with melted mozzarella cheese, and served with sauteed greens, fried seaweed and Java rice.
MOP Food Trip
Hot & Spicy Chicken Wings (Php200). Deep-fried chicken wings glazed in sriracha and fermented bean paste, garnished with spring onions, garlic pechay and white sesame, served with Java rice.
MOP Food Trip
Hungarian Sausage (Php370). Fried sausages served with potato wedges and Dijon mustard.
MOP Food Trip
Blueberry Cheesecake (Php190).

While feasting on these dishes, you can quench your thirst with refreshing shakes and cocktails.

MOP Food Trip
Watermelon Shake (Php120).
MOP Food Trip
Pineapple Shake (Php120).
MOP Food Trip
Ginger + Honey + Citrus Booster (Php120).
MOP Food Trip
Mojito (Php220). Refreshing cocktail made with white rum, mint, citrus juice and soda water.

Garden Dining by White Moon Bar is located at the side entrance of Manila Ocean Park near The Barnyard and Sea Lion pool.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

Read about my previous experience here.

Makan Makan Asian Food Village

Makan Makan Asian Food Village got its name from the Singaporean expression that invites people to eat.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

Located at the second floor of Hotel H2O off to the side of Manila Ocean Park, this restaurant presents an extensive array of tasty Singaporean hawker fare, staple Chinese dishes, and Pinoy classic faves, giving hotel guests and park visitors a viable option for their midday or evening meal.

MOP Food Trip
Chicken Corn & Egg Drop Soup (Php380). A thick and soothing savory soup with chunks of minced chicken, corn and ribbons of egg whisked into the broth.
MOP Food Trip
Mixed Seafood Fried Rice (Php360). A distinctly Asian twist to our sinangag with the addition of finely chopped seafood and veggies.
MOP Food Trip
Crispy Pork with Adobong Kangkong (Php420). A take on the Ilocano dish Apan-Apan which features slices of deep fried pork belly on a bed of sauteed water spinach.
MOP Food Trip
Sweet & Sour Fish Fillet (Php350). A Singaporean version of our Escabeche made with battered and deep-fried fillets of fish served in a sweet and sour sauce.
MOP Food Trip
Pancit Canton (Php300). A Pinoy favorite made of egg noodles tossed with sauteed veggies, seafood and chopped meat.
MOP Food Trip
Sambal Squid (Php490). Also known as Sambal Sotong, it is made of fresh squid rings cooked in a sauce made with chili, shallots and garlic.

With both familiar and exotic dishes on offer, Makan Makan Asian Food Village is a worthy food stop during your Manila Ocean Park adventure.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

For more details and updates on its food offerings, follow Makan Makan Asian Food Village on Facebook and Instagram.

Garden Cafe by Hotel H2O

If you feel like you want to take a coffee break in the middle of your wanderings around the park, drop by Garden Cafe by Hotel H2Oo. Here, you can relax amidst a refreshing backdrop of foliage and open air, while you sip your handcrafted coffee or smoothie.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

You may as well indulge yourself with some pastries while you’re at it. These confections are usually sea-themed and lovingly crafted by Chef Ranuka’s pastry chefs.

Mirror Glazed Sea-Themed Cake.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

Aqua Bavarian Donut.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

Other Pastries.

MOP Food Trip
Almond Chocolate
MOP Food Trip
Sable Cookies

Want something to help you combat a hot day? Go for some iced coffee, then.

MOP Food Trip
Iced Latte (Php100).
MOP Food Trip
Iced Mocha (Php110).
MOP Food Trip
Iced Kopi Tarik (Php110). Made with coffee dark roasted with margarine and sugar, sweetened with condensed milk.
MOP Food Trip

Don’t hesitate to sit down and take a break with your pals while having some coffee and pastries in this comfy (and very Instagrammable) nook.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

Garden Cafe by Hotel H2O is located at the ground floor of Hotel H2OO, easily accessible from Manila Ocean Park.

Follow it on Facebook and Instagram.

White Moon Bar

Want to end your Manila Ocean Park adventure on a high note?

Then, proceed to the second floor deck of Hotel H2O to catch the gorgeous sunset while you hang out at White Moon Bar.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

Nibble on some appetizing bar chow while listening to chill music.

MOP Food Trip
Chicharon Bulaklak (Php280).
MOP Food Trip
Potato Wedges (Php180).
MOP Food Trip
Edamame Beans (Php350).
MOP Food Trip
Beef Burger (Php400).

Of course, your sunset chillout sesh wouldn’t be complete without some of White Moon Bar’s Classic and Signature cocktails.

MOP Food Trip
Tequila Sunset (Php300). A sweetened version of Tequila Sunrise due to the addition of grenadine.
MOP Food Trip
Amalfi Sour (Php390). Made with limoncello and vodka, shaken with honey, strawberries and fresh lemon juice.
MOP Food Trip
Sangria Blanco (Php320). Made with white wine, a splash of sweet citrus, cucumbers and peaches.
MOP Food Trip

So take the time to enjoy good food and great company at White Moon Bar as you wind down from your activity-packed day at Manila Ocean Park.

MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip
MOP Food Trip

Follow White Moon Bar by Hotel H2O on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on its offers.

Watch out for more foodie destinations that Manila Ocean Park will be launching soon!

Manila Ocean Park is located behind the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta along Roxas Boulevard, Ermita Manila. To stay updated on its promos and offers, follow it on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclosure: I attended food tastings held at these restaurants during my recent tours in Manila Ocean Park. Food items here were served at no cost to the attendees.

Check out my previous posts about Manila Ocean Park:

Summer fun with the barkada at Manila Ocean Park

Hey, hey, summer’s here!

And while the barkada might be raring to go out of town for some summer fun, the good news is that you won’t even need to leave the city.

Right here in Metro Manila is a place where friends can come together for a full day of fun: Manila Ocean Park!

MOP Summer
An early start to our tour of Manila Ocean Park
MOP Summer
The last stop of our Manila Ocean Park Tour

As the country’s first world-class marine theme park and premiere educational entertainment destination, Manila Ocean Park boasts of attractions that will surely appeal to everyone in the barkada.

According to MOP’s EVP & COO Francis Low, the park’s attractions are designed to be educational, interactive and experiential. These design pillars sets Manila Ocean Park apart from similar establishments. With exhibits that visitors can not only look at but also interact with, the park helps create memorable moments for the guests as well as add to their knowledge.

Want to know what you and your pals can expect at Manila Ocean Park? Well, read on, then.

Oceanarium

This is home to 14,000 marine creatures across 277 species indigenous to the Philippines and Southeast Asia. With a 220-deg curved walkway tunnel with an amazing view of sea creatures swimming overhead, Oceanarium will give your barkada the feeling of being at the center of the ocean’s wonders, as well as lots of spectacular photos for your Instagram feed!

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Trails to Antarctica

If the summer heat is getting to you, make a beeline for Trails to Antarctica where you can learn more about this mysterious frozen continent as well as its inhabitants. An example of these would be the Humboldt penguins, curious and highly sociable animals that you can interact with for some feeding, and of course, a photo opp for just Php650!

By the way, some of these cuties were hatched and raised right here in Manila Ocean Park, thanks to its very successful breeding program.

Manila Ocean Park Reopening
MOP Summer
Manila Ocean Park Reopening
MOP Summer

All-Star Bird Show back to back with a Sea Lion Show

Manila Ocean Park is also home to our feathered friends such as macaws, cuckatoos and birds of prey which display their intelligence and skills through stunts and tricks during the All-Star Bird Show.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Back-to-back with the bird show is the Sea Lion Show which showcases Manila Ocean Park’s South American sea lions which include Sandra, the sexiest female with all the suave moves; Icis, the prettiest among the females; Ira, the youngest and cutest; while Yeni, the smartest. The only thorn among the roses is Vincent, a big and beefy male sea lion who is also diligent with his training. These marine mammals display their skills through funny antics and entertaining skits during the show.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer

The All-Star Bird Show and Sea Lion Show are performed back-to-back at 12.30pm and 4.30pm on weekdays and at 12.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm on weekends.

While the park’s aviary, The Birdhouse, is still closed, you can book your very own Bird Encounter and give your inner Disney Princess (or Prince!) free rein.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

You can also get up close and personal with a sea lion through the Sea Lion Encounter. For Php3,500 per person, a group of at least five people can get an exclusive demonstration of a sea lion’s talents and intelligence through learned behavior such as giving you a kiss, jumping through hoops and performing a water ballet with you. Sea Lion Encounters are available only via reservations and is subject to availability.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Jellies Dancing Sea Fairies

Did you know that jellyfish are sometimes called the “dancing sea fairies?”

This moniker is no doubt due to their grace and transparent beauty as they glide below and on the ocean’s surface.

They are showcased in their element against a fascinating display of multi-media effects and soothing music in the Jellies Dancing Sea Fairies Exhibit.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

World of Creepy Crawlies

Sure, they may be scary (and sort of icky) but they’re definitely interesting. These snakes, frogs, lizards, worms and insects all have their own beauty and seemingly amazing superpowers that drive their survival despite the harsh environments they inhabit. You and your pals can see them in a new light at the World of Creepy Crawlies.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Super Toy Collection

Got comic book fans in the barkada? Or those who idolize the Man of Steel?

Well, they can geek out at the largest collection of Superman toys and memorabilia at the Super Toy Collection. Your entire group can even immerse yourselves in memorable scenes from the Superman movies.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Christmas Village

Despite the feeling that we’re almost melting in the city because of the sweltering summer heat, we can still experience the chilly holiday season at the Christmas Village. You can all hang out with Santa Claus or check out the snowy gingerbread house; your sneak peek into a winter wonderland is right here.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

All these exciting experiences and more are waiting for you and your buddies at Manila Ocean Park.

So get set to enjoy the summer fun right here by booking your tickets online now with these fantastic deals available until May 29, 2022:

  • Jolly Splash 6 (Php560, previously Php2,300): includes access to six attractions – Oceanarium, Trails to Antarctica, Christmas Village, World of Creepy Crawlies, Jellies Dancing Sea Fairies, and Super Toy Collection
  • Festive Wave 8 (Php680, previously Php3,300): includes access to six attractions – Oceanarium, Trails to Antarctica, Christmas Village, World of Creepy Crawlies, Jellies Dancing Sea Fairies, Super Toy Collection, Sea Lion Show and Bird Show

Manila Ocean Park is located behind the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

For more news and updates on its attractions and offers, follow Manila Ocean Park on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out my previous posts about Manila Ocean Park:

Visita Iglesia and Easter Activity at The Manila Hotel

The Manila Hotel revives pre-pandemic traditions in observance of Lent and to celebrate Easter. With an array of activities for its staycation, dining, and walk-in guests, and even those staying at home, the iconic hotel gives city folk and those who prefer to stay in Metro Manila options for the coming week.

Visita Iglesia 2022

Lenten tradition of Visita Iglesia is a time to commemorate and solemnly celebrate Christ’s passion in prayer and sacrifice. With a stay at the hotel on April 13 and 14, 2022 for a minimum deluxe room rate of only P7,000 nett and suite room rate of only P10,000 nett, guests can register 2 adults and 2 children 12 years old and below to join the Visita Iglesia tour. Walk-in rate for adults is P1,500 nett and 50% off on walk-in rate for children 5 to 12 years old.

Manila Hotel Easter 2022

Stopping at seven churches, namely Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Pope Pius XII Church, St. Pancratius Church, Malate Catholic Church and the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guidance, the tour includes round-trip shuttle service, in-vehicle guides, bottled water, and a scheduled snack stop at Marcelino Street Café at The Manila Prince Hotel.

Registration for the Visita Iglesia guided tour is coursed through the hotel’s Front Desk/Reception upon room booking or for walk-in guests. For inquiries and reservation please call 85270011 or email resvn@themanilahotel.com.

A Bear-y Happy Easter

The popular Easter Egg Hunt is back this year. The Manila Hotel’s in-house guests and those having Easter lunch at Café Ilang-Ilang can register their kids 12 years old and below for the hotel’s Easter activity at the Fiesta Pavilion on April 17, 2022.

Manila Hotel Easter 2022

Let your kids complete the activities listed in our “A Bear-y Happy Easter” Kiddie Passport on this super fun Easter quest. Let them experience the thrill of finding Easter Eggs at our play area, and even win exciting prizes from the eggs find! Let them join activities like Arts & Crafts, Groovebeats Kiddie Dance workshop, and kiddie ballet; and watch a magic show. The whole family can also get one photo for free at our Family Easter Photo Booth.

To join our Easter Kid Activities, every P5,000 worth of single receipt food bill in Café Ilang-Ilang on Easter Sunday lunch entitles a guest to one (1) complimentary pass (good for one kid with one adult). Additional kid walk-in rate is at P1,500 nett (for one kid with one adult). Discounts are not applicable to the walk-in rate.

For a room bundled with 2 complimentary passes (1 child and 1 adult each pass) to the Easter event, rates start at only P6,000 nett for a deluxe room, which accommodates 2 adults and 2 children ages 12 and below. Overnight package is inclusive of buffet breakfast (for two adults), use of swimming pool and gym facilities.

The Manila Hotel’s A Bear-y Happy Easter event is co-presented by Little Georgia Academy with Kinder City. Participating major sponsors are Make Believe Productions, Wonder Lab, Royal Artisans, Baby Fourth’s Couture, Star Baby Toy Store, Rhyme Lab Learning Center, S’mores Kit PH and Museo Pambata. Minor sponsors are Absolute Sales, DBE Fruits Trading (distributor of DOLE Fruits), ESV International Corporation, Globalinens Worldwide, Inc., RGL33 Fruits & Vegetable Dealer, SLC Agri Farm Ventures, Inc., Trisha’s Cakes and Pastries, and Werdenberg International.

For more information and reservation, please call 85270011 or email resvn@themanilahotel.com for room bookings, and restaurantrsvn@themanilahotel.com for dining reservations.

Healthy Lent and Iftar Meals

Stick to your fast with our special Lent and Iftar (feast after Ramadan) from The Manila Hotel’s M Takeout.

New to our rice and pasta bowl menu: the Vegan-friendly Halal Buddha Rice Bowl [Roasted Cauliflower, Potato with Indian Spices, Vegetable Pakora, Yellow Dhal]; the Svaadist Rice Bowl [Chicken Tikka Masala, and Vegetable Pakora]; the Fish Katsu Curry Rice Bowl [Breaded tilapia fillet, curry sauce, and sesame sauteed beans]; and Vincolo Pasta Bowl [Spaghetti Tuna Bolognese, Zucchini Parmesan Garlic Bread], all at P190 nett. There’s also the Healthy Tofu Rice Bowl [Tofu-mushroom-carrot salpicao, and ginataang kalabasa at sitaw] at only P175 nett.

Manila Hotel Easter 2022
Manila Hotel Easter 2022

The Lenten Specials also include new Solo Meals: Nabati (Vegan)[Okra Masala, Vegetable Pakora, Roasted Cauliflower and Potato with Indian Spices, Vegetable Biryani and Dhal at P330 nett]; Jamila [Aloo Tikki/Potato Cutlet, Chicken Tikka Masala, Garlic Mustard Fish Fillet at P430 nett]; Primavera [Tuna-Cannellini Bean Potato Salad, Parmesan-Garlic Baked Tilapia Fillet, Roasted Cherry Tomato-Basil Fusilli Pasta, Mini Calzone, Italian Orange Cake at P430 nett]; Tagsibol [Ensaladang Talong, Baked Pampano Steak, Adlai, Mushroom Salpicao, Pancit Bihon with Tofu and Vegetables, and Empanada with Heart of Palm and Shrimp at P430]; and Haru [Maki Sushi, Tamagoyaki, Green Bean Gomaae, Saba-O Teppanyaki  and Furikake Rice at P340 nett].

Our Lenten and Iftar Specials are available until May 31, 2022. Check out our Lenten Specials and place your order by visiting our website at https://www.themanila-hotel.com.ph/takeout/. You may also call our hotline at 85270011 or 0998-9501912.

Photo credit: Header image by Mara Rivera on Unsplash

Profile: Manila Ocean Park’s Francis Low

At 8.30 am on Saturday, April 9, while many top executives would be enjoying a leisurely start to their holiday weekend, Francis Low, Manila Ocean Park’s EVP and COO, was already with his team of animal trainers and park staff, getting ready for the day’s activities. After all, weekends are the busiest days for the country’s first world-class marine theme park and premiere educational entertainment destination.

Animal lover

It’s hardly surprising that Low would be hands-on when it comes to park operations, especially animal training and handling, being a certified professional animal trainer himself.

In fact, before eventually taking on the leadership role in Manila Ocean Park, he was first hired as a consultant by the holding company, China Oceanis Philippines, Inc., to conceptualize and set up its Birds of Prey Exhibit and All-Star Bird Show in a bid to expand the park’s attractions.

Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low
Mr Low is a Certified Professional Animal Trainer in birds, birds of prey, mammals, marine mammals, etc
Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low
Mr. Low joins MOP VP for Sales & Marketing Joyce Tarroza in welcoming bloggers

When he started to helm the MOP team, he set about designing the park experience in a way that encourages the same love for animals that he and his team have.

“We designed our attractions in line with three key pillars,” he reveals. “They have to be educational, interactive and experiential.”

With today’s more well-traveled and knowledgeable market for entertainment facilities such as theme parks, Low feels that these pillars help to differentiate Manila Ocean Park from similar establishments. “We try to give park visitors experiences that they can only have here, so they have something to bring home and tell others about.”

One such attraction is the Sea Lion Encounter. While there are similar sea lion shows in other countries, Manila Ocean Park enables guests to interact with its highly trained sea lions as they perform stunts or exhibit their skills. “When guests get up close and personal with the sea lions, they realize they aren’t scary and can be quite fun. These are moments… memories that they will remember for a long time.”

MOP Summer
Yeni, one of MOP’s smartest sea lions
MOP Summer
Yeni going through hoops
MOP Summer
Water Ballet with Yeni
MOP Summer
Getting up close and personal with Yeni

Advocates conservation awareness

Manila Ocean Park’s attractions are also geared to promote animal conservation.

“In the Philippines, conservation awareness is very high,” Low observes. “People’s efforts in saving certain species, protecting marine life and saving the trees, some with the help of LGUs and international organizations, are very noticeable.”

He also notes that since conservation is not a one-off thing but requires continuous effort and resources over many years before results can be seen, a lot of people may not choose to commit to it. “What is important is to make people understand that conservation has long-term benefits for many generations down the line.”

MOP Bamboo Sharks
Photo credit: manilaoceanpark.com
MOP Bamboo Sharks 2
Photo credit: manilaoceanpark.com

One of the park’s conservation activities is its “Back to the Wild” program wherein juvenile white-spotted bamboo sharks are bred and raised safely in the park’s facilities, and then released back to the coasts in cooperation with government agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, and local government units.

“With the help of NGOs, we scope out areas and ensure that these are ideal for the bambo sharks to thrive, then we release them. We also tagged them to see how they are faring. We hope to hold another releasing this year.” shares Low.

Leads with heart

Low’s first few months after he took over the management of Manila Ocean Park in 2011 was all about getting a feel for the local culture. He shares, “I did not do a lot major changes. I blended in: I tried to understand Filipinos, Filipino culture and the way things are done here. By understanding these, it’s easier to put in certain ideas to my team and get them to support the strategies.”

He is proud of the park’s employees and the concern they demonstrated for the park and its animal charges during the height of the pandemic when the park was closed down and he was away in his home country of Singapore. “There was a time when two of the sea lions got sick but we couldn’t get medicine because all the pharmacies are closed. It was a very scary moment for us. I’m so glad that staff proved to be very caring: they went to the canals, sat beside the sea lions to coax them to eat. Because of their care, the two sea lions recovered.”

This care extended throughout the time when the park was closed down due to the community quarantine, but the trainers and staff simulated shows, despite the absence of audiences, so as not to stress the animals from the break from their routine.

Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low
Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low

He even boasts of how Manila Ocean Park’s security guards expanded their role beyond ensuring safety within the park by familiarizing themselves with the park’s various packages and pricing so that they can recommend attractions to the park visitors.

“I consider myself blessed that I have key leaders and key staff who go all out to make very good experiences for the guests, care for the park and the animals. These are things that money can not buy.”

By 6pm, activities within the park wind down but Mr. Low and his team are still seen up and about, assisting guests or overseeing operations. This routine plays out for six days every week as the park slowly but surely reopens attractions and dining establishments to cater to the public who are ready for new experiences after a long time spent indoors during quarantine.

Manila Ocean Park is located within Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila, open from 10am to 6pm, Tuesdays to Sundays (even during Public Holidays). For more details about the park or to book your tickets, visit its website.

Check out my previous posts about Manila Ocean Park:

6 relaxing things to do during your stopover at Nuvali Park

If you’re on your way to Tagaytay, or on your way back to Manila while traversing the Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road, you will most likely pass by Nuvali Park.

This expansive area is designed to be an integrated self-sustaining eco-city, where various residential communities, commercial and hospitality establishments, as well as schools can be conveniently situated while also highlighting the beauty and importance of nature.

The highlight of Nuvali Park is a four-hectare multi-functional lake. This man-made water feature not on beautifies the park but it also serves as a catch basin for rainwater and a water reservoir. It also functions as a fire reserve and as a means for alternative transport within the park.

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

In this sprawling green space, motorists can take a break from their journey to rest and and find some fun activities to occupy their time while allowing nature’s healing touch to rejuvenate them.

Take a stroll. With all the lush greenery and tree-lined designated walking trails around the park, it would be a shame not to put on your comfy shoes and go for a leisurely ramble. It would be an enjoyable way to achieve your 10,000 steps, wouldn’t it?

Work up a sweat. If a more strenuous type of activity is more to your liking, you can always go for a a bike ride around the park (bring your own or rent one at the Lake Evozone for Php60/hour. More adventurous bikers can take a crack at the 50-kilometer mountain bike trails which may provide scenic views of Mount Makiling, Laguna de Bay and Tagaytay Ridge. The post-workout buzz will surely be worth the exertion. Be sure to bring your own safety gear (helmets and pads) as well wear closed shoes. Register at the Evo-living Center concierge with a valid ID.

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

Go bird-watching. Nestled within the park is a 17-kilometer buffer zone and open area where migratory birds and other creatures make their home. It’s best to time your bird-watching activity between 6am to 9am or 4pm to 6pm when these creatures are most active and the sun is not so hot. Bring your binoculars so you can watch the birds up close without disturbing them.

Take a boat ride. Take advantage of the awesome views afforded by a scenic boat ride on the lake for Php100 per person.

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

Dine al fresco. Here, you can savor a delightful meal while in the great outdoors to refuel you for the rest of your journey. You can have a lakeside meal at one of the restaurants at Nuvali’s Solenad 1, or nibble as you browse through the food stalls every weekend during the Nuvali Mercato Centrale weekend food market.

Feed the fish. The lake is also home to a pod of koi fish who will gamely rise to the water surface for your entertainment when you drop some fish food their way.

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

Clearly, a stopover at Nuvali will give you a respite from the stresses of your travel and provide you with happy memories that you can take with you when you move on to your next destination.

I wish you safe travels, dear reader!

Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1
Nuvali Solenad 1

Nuvali is located along the Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road, Bgy. Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna. For updates on its events and activities, visit its website or follow Nuvali on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

The “Nature Park in the City’s Heart”: the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City

With the sweltering heat of the summer permeating the drab and grey streets of metro, it would be nice to go somewhere cool, fresh and green.

Well, wouldn’t you know it! Right in the heart of Quezon City is a place where you can escape to enjoy a bit of nature: the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center.

This 22.7 hectare area located in Diliman, Quezon City is a zoological and botanical garden, named after Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. It is one of the ninety-four legislated Protected Areas in the Philippines under the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018.

Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center

It is also dubbed as the “Nature Park in the City’s Heart” being the home of various species of flora and fauna while still situated in a busy metropolis.

Here, park visitors can go exploring on pathways that weave through the park’s trees and open grassy areas, perfect places to jog or stroll while enjoying the peace and quiet.

Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center

With over 3,000 species of trees, some of which are endemic to the country, the park is also one of Metro Manila’s last remaining green spaces, which serve to mitigate urban air pollution and help counter the emergence of Urban Heat Islands (UHIs), metropolitan areas that are significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas due to the daily activities of urban populations concentrated in a small area.

Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center

Aside from enjoying the lush greenery, park visitors can view animals as well. As a wildlife rescue and research center, it serves as a quarantine area and rehabilitation center for wild animals captured while lingering in residential areas, or undomesticated animals confiscated from people involved in the illegal wildlife trade or exotic pet owners who are abusive to their animals.

Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center

The center also serves as a training ground for practitioners and students or veterinary medicine, zoology, botany, biology and natural science.

Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center

For park visitors who want to do a bit of sight-seeing or picture-taking, the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center also contains a manmade lagoon which houses various fishes. Within its vicinity is a picturesque Fishing Village which consist of five houses on stilts along the edge of the lagoon. These structures are patterned after fishing villages in Mindanao.

Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center

The park also houses other attractions which may be rented out:

  • A Tea House that may serve as a venue for workshops, meetings and other small parties
  • A 250-seater Amphitheater for larger gatherings
  • Picnic sheds to shelter people during their visit

For plantitos and plantitas, the Bernie Dizon Botanic Fruit and Techno-Demo Center is also located within the park. Owned and managed by the country’s leading pomologist the garden offers high-quality cuttings and seedlings that will grow into fruit trees for home gardens or farmlands.

Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center

So if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you won’t have to travel far. Simply visit the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center to enjoy that precious bit of nature.

Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center
Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center

The Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center is located along Elliptical Road and North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 5pm.

The following entrance fees apply:

  • Adults: Php30
  • Students: Php15
  • Foreigners: Php100
  • Senior citizens, PWDs and children below seven years old: FREE

For inquiries, call +63 2 89246031 local 236. For more details, visit its website or follow Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center on Facebook.

Burnout-busting staycation in Our Own Little Paradise

After a busy quarter into the year 2022, many of us may already be feeling tired, drained or stressed out.

Whether from work responsibilities, family duties or tasks we take on for our communities, the sheer magnitude of headspace and efforts we devote to so many areas in our lives can lead to burnout.

A great way to fight the effects of burnout is to take a break from the stressors in our lives. Over a recent long weekend, my extended fam and I took a staycation in a private home in Lipa, Batangas to do just that.

Staycationing in a time of pandemic

A portmanteau of “stay” and “vacation,” (and sometimes also referred to as a “holistay” from “holiday” and “stay”), a staycation usually involves a short trip to a local destination (as opposed to one abroad) to enjoy fun and relaxation without a lot of the effort and costs that long trips abroad usually incur.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

Especially in this time of pandemic, staycations are a great way to get that well-deserved break. Staycations can also be planned to enable us to practice social distancing and safety measures such as:

  • Traveling via short drives that require no stopovers at crowded stops for meals and bathroom breaks
  • Staying in a private and self-enclosed area with little contact to people outside our immediate circles
  • Bringing food in, cooking onsite or ordering in to that eliminate the need to dine out
Sa Aming Munting Paraiso
Sa Aming Munting Paraiso

All the time spent together while traveling, eating or hanging out during staycations also prove helpful to family bonding.

A restful idyll in paradise

In Barangay Bulaklakan in Lipa City, Batangas is a picturesque private residence called Sa Aming Munting Paraiso (“In Our Own Little Paradise”).

Its location affords it with ideal vantage points with which to view Mt. Maculot and Taal Lake.

These natural wonders were formed centuries ago when volcanic explosions destroyed the previous Taal Cone, creating a depression that is now called the Taal Caldera. This caldera contains what is now Taal Lake and has Mt. Maculot has its highest rim.

Sa Aming Munting Paraiso
Mt. Maculot
Sa Aming Munting Paraiso
Taal Lake

This 6300 square meter property is built to combine the comforts of home and the gifts of nature to provide urbanites with a restful getaway from the stresses of city living where they can renew friendships or revitalize familial bonds.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Entry to the property
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Pool Area
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Steps to the house
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Main House

The ground floor of main house boasts of a luxurious yet tastefully furnished lounge (with a toilet and bath to the side) well-suited for conversations and family activities.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

Equipped with adequate WIFI connection, it also provides spaces for work and entertainment.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

A spacious dining room wrapped with large windows and sliding doors that gaze out into the surrounding rainforest is an ideal setting for delicious family meals.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

A kitchen island (where dining ware and cutlery are kept) also serves as a surface for preparing salads or drinks, as well as a breakfast nook or buffet table during mealtime. Near it is a two-door refrigerator to house food and drinks.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

Adjoining the dining room is a secondary kitchen equipped with rice cookers, an oven toaster, a microwave, a four-burner gas stove and other implements for food preparation and cooking.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

Up the stairs is a master’s bedroom furnished a queen-sized bed and sitting area to provide guests with restful slumbers and an awesome view. Outside is a veranda that leads to a spiral staircase leading to the roofdeck.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

Downstairs from the kitchen is a second bedroom furnished with two double-sized beds.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

The family room next to it houses a single bed and three bunk beds to accommodate a larger group.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

Each bedroom has its own en-suite toilet and bath (with hot and cold water as well as handwash, body wash and shampoo). Each bedroom is also fitted with air conditioning and electric fans while fresh linens, blankets and pillows are also provided.

Stepping outdoors brings guests to more areas for recreation such as a bahay kubo where they can find shade and a quaint yet comfortable place to sit.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

They can take cooling dips in the two swimming pools with cascading water and given shade by the surrounding trees.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

They can also take a dip in outdoor jacuzzi and let the cool water jets massage their aches and pains away.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

A covered patio equipped with an outdoor grill, a karaoke machine, table and chairs as well as nearby lounge chairs provide a venue for barbecues and outdoor dining.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

In the evening, guests can venture out to the property’s backyard and hang out around the bonfire pit.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

They can also take a night-time stroll around the beautifully lit premises.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

However, for the really spectacular views, guests should proceed to the roofdeck which is also accessible through an external spiral staircase.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

It is the perfect spot for sunrise and sunset views of the local attractions Mt. Maculot and Taal Lake.

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Mt. Maculot at Sunrise
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso (“Our Own Little Paradise”)
Mt. Maculot at Sunset
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Taal Lake at Sunrise
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso (“Our Own Little Paradise”)
Taal Lake at Sunset

A restful sojourn in this little bit of paradise is sure to rejuvenate and recharge city slickers, busting their feelings of burnout.

So why don’t you treat yourself and your family to a staycation here?

Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”
Sa Ating Munting Paraiso “Our Own Little Paradise”

Book your stay at Our Own Little Paradise via Airbnb where it is rated an average of 4.46 stars.

For the health and safety of its guests, Our Own Little Paradise is committed to Airbnb‘s five-step cleaning process.

Our Own Little Paradise is located in Barangay Bulaklakan, Purok 4, Lipa City, Batangas. Check in is from 2pm to 7pm while checkout is at 11am.