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.

6 reasons to staycation with the fam at Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

Summer is just around the corner, and pretty soon, we urbanites will be feeling the heat.

It will be high time to hie ourselves and our fam off somewhere cool for a bit of R ‘n R.

How about a sojourn in chilly and breezy Tagaytay? A staycation in this popular destination would be just the ticket when the mercury rises.

May I recommend a place my extended fam stayed in recently? Jennifer’s Abode just may be your ideal staycation venue in chilly Tagaytay, especially during a time when we need to maintain physical distancing due to the still present threat of the pandemic.

1) It’s within driving distance from the metro.

Located along Raflores Street, Tagaytay Country Homes 1 along the Tagaytay-Calamba Road (near Ayala Malls Serin and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church), Jennifer’s Abode is an easy two- to three-hour drive from Metro Manila.

The extended fam were able to travel safely and comfortably using our family cars, avoiding the risks entailed when using public transportation. The relatively short driving time also precluded the need for stopovers in crowded areas for meals or bathroom breaks.

2) It has everything the fam needs for a restful break from the metro.

If a relaxing stay is what your family is looking for, there are many opportunities to do just that at Jennifer’s Abode.

You can spend a quiet time taking in the morning sun in its lush garden.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

You may also catch up with each other or enjoy family game time in its spacious and comfortably furnished living room.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

Take a few steps up the stairs and sit back at the family room for a movie marathon. Here’s a tip: the house’s internet connection is actually strongest here so maximize your browsing or streaming time when you’re hanging out here.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

Meal preparations are hassle-free with a kitchen equipped with a refrigerator, a three-burner stove, a microwave oven, a rice cooker and water dispenser, as well as various kitchen implements to help you cook from scratch or reheat your prepared food, as well as clean up after your meals.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

You also have the option to visit nearby restaurants and order food for takeout such as our Korean feast from Neul Bolm located a little over three kilometers away.

Jennifer’s Abode
Samgyupsal and Woosamgyup
Jennifer’s Abode
Bibimbap
Jennifer’s Abode
Seafood Pajeon
Jennifer’s Abode
Banchan

You may also opt to just order from food delivery services such as our Bulalo dinner from Farmer’s Table which was ordered via FoodPanda.

Jennifer’s Abode
Bulalo
Jennifer’s Abode
Bulalo

These meals can be enjoyed family-style in the well-appointed dining room equipped with dinnerware and flatware.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

To take your rest during your stay, retreat to the Master’s Bedroom furnished with a double bed and has terrace overlooking the pool and a view of the surrounding pasture.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

The second bedroom is a cozy space as well with a canopied double bed and windows that let in the cool breezes.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

One of the place’s shared bath is also located in the second floor.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

Step up the stairs to the third floor and you will find the attic which is furnished with four single beds laid out dormitory-style.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

The attic also includes an extra bedroom with a double bed.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

Stepping outside will bring you to a gazebo where you can enjoy the cool Tagaytay breezes.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

A small pavilion equipped with a karaoke underneath the gazebo brings the perfect opportunity for you and your companions to rock out and have a great time.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

You may also take a dip in the swimming pool and wash up in the house’s second bathroom just up the stairs.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

With all the facilities available at Jennifer’s Abode, you and your fam can have fun yet relaxing stay, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

For any concerns you may have about the place, a caretaker lives just beside the house and can be immediately reached for assistance.

3) The family can enjoy the great outdoors in a nearby park

On the other hand, if you are in the mood to venture outdoors, you can take the kids out to the nearby park, also located inside Tagaytay Country Homes 1. Inside this sprawling grassy enclosure which houses various playground equipment such as slides, seesaws and swings, young and old alike can enjoy spending time outside.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

4) You can go on a food trip with great al fresco dining options.

You want have to travel far if you want to explore the gastronomic possibilities that Tagaytay has to offer as Jennifer’s Abode is conveniently located near top foodie destinations such as:

Lime and Basil for a delicious taste of authentic Thai cuisine…

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode
Jennifer’s Abode

… or at Mozu at Ming’s Garden for the delectable comfort of classic homegrown dishes.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode
Jennifer’s Abode

5) Nearby attractions provide you with a view of the scenic Taal Lake and Volcano

Tagaytay became a tourist destination because of its scenic views overlooking the Taal Lake and Volcano. Staying at Jennifer’s Abode also places you within easy distance of attractions that provide such views. These include:

The Picnic Grove, where you can go for a walk along an eco-trail…

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

… or Zoori, where you can take a ride on the cable car or go zip-lining as your take in the view.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode
Jennifer’s Abode Tagaytay

6) You have nearby options to shop for supplies and pasalubongs

Should you want to sample the local wares or bring home some pasalubongs for the folks in Manila, you can easily drop by popular shopping destinations such as:

The Mahogany Market located behind the new Tagaytay City Hall where you can shop for fresh meat, produce as well as herbs and flowers for the plantitos and plantitas back home…

Jennifer’s Abode
Jennifer’s Abode
Jennifer’s Abode
Jennifer’s Abode

… or Rowena’s, with three branches in the Tagaytay area, where you can shop for its famous fruit tarts, buko pie and other pasalubong favorites.

Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay
Jennifer’s Abode, Tagaytay

So when are you planning your next staycation in Tagaytay?

Book your stay at Jennifer’s Abode via Airbnb where it is rated an average of 4.46 stars.

For the health and safety of its guests, Jennifer’s Abode is committed to Airbnb‘s five-step cleaning process.

Jennifer’s Abode is located at the end of Raflores Street in Tagaytay Country Homes 1, Maitim 2nd West, Tagaytay City. Check in is after 3pm while checkout is at 11am.

6 reasons to staycation at Bayview Park Hotel Manila

With the loosening of quarantine restrictions, we Metro Manila denizens are now able to venture out of our homes and explore more of the metro.

If sight-seeing in Manila is in your itinerary, why not eliminate the hassle of long drives and traffic jams by booking a staycation at Bayview Park Hotel?

Let me share with you six reasons why this would be a good idea.

1) You can situate yourself in its historic and happenin’ backdrop

Situated along Roxas Boulevard, the hotel is at the hub of the action, with rows of restaurants and scenic attractions only short distances away.

Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel

2) You can relax and unwind in comfort in one of its well-appointed rooms.

Whether for a short visit or a fairly long stay, Bayview Park Hotel’s rooms are furnished and stylishly designed to keep you happy and comfortable.

Its 30sqm Superior Room, for instance, comes with either a queen-size bed or two single beds and is equipped with airconditioning, cable TV, WiFi access, NDD/IDD telephone, 110/120V electric outlets, a safety deposit box for your important items and a coffee and tea maker.

Bottles of mineral water and daily newspapers are also provided.

Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel

The rooms also comes with full toilet and bath equipped with tub and shower (hot and cold water available), and provisioned with consumables such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, dental kit and tissue paper.

Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel

When you look out from your window, you can take in the view of the stretch of Roxas Boulevard, overlook the US Embassy and survey the expanse of the glittering Manila Bay.

Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel

3) Staying inside the hotel also affords you with opportunities for physical activity.

There’s no need to feel cooped up in your hotel room in between your sight-seeing adventures. Take a revitalizing dip in the hotel’s roof deck swimming pool, or workout some sweat in the fitness gym equipped with a treadmill, stationary bikes, a stair climber and strength training equipment.

Your little ones can also enjoy some fun play time in the Children’s Activity Center which is open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel

4) You can feast on great eats in the area!

Foodies will definitely get their fill of gustatory delights from restos easily accessible from the hotel.

Bayview Coffee Shop

The hotel’s cafe, located at the lobby, serves international cuisines as well as local favorites. It’s perfect for breakfast or quick snack breaks during your staycation.

Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel

It is open daily to serve hotel guests from 6am to 10pm.

Ilustrado Restaurant

For a taste of Filipino cuisine, carefully crafted with European influences, check out Ilustrado Restaurant.

Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel

It is located at 5440 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila, open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 6pm to 9pm. For queries and reservations, call +63 2 5273674 or +63 939 9206822, or email catering@ilustradorestaurant.com.ph.

More information on Ilustrado Restaurant here.

Garden Dining by White Moon Bar

For Asian fusion dishes and a distinguished wine menu that you can enjoy al fresco, drop by Garden Dining by White Moon Bar.

Bayview Park Hotel
Garden Dining by White Moon Bar
Garden Dining by White Moon Bar
Garden Dining by White Moon Bar

It is located at The Barnyard, Manila Ocean Park, Luneta, Manila, open for outdoor dining Thursdays to Sundays from 11am to 8pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 85677777.

More info on Garden Dining by White Moon Bar here.

390 Degrees

For imaginative takes on Western dishes served in generous portions while in a luxurious setting, hop on over to 390 Degrees.

390 Degrees
390 Degrees
390 Degrees
390 Degrees

It is located at the Ground Floor, Sequioa Hotel Manila, Aseana City Business Park, Entertainment City, Paranaque, open daily from 10.30am to 8pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 82845110 or +63 921 2446502.

More info on 390 Degrees here.

5) There are so many exciting sights to see!

Manila is the site of many historic, cultural and entertainment attractions that can be easily visited from the hotel.

Rizal Park, for instance, houses the Rizal Monument (to commemorate the execution site of national hero Jose Rizal) as well as an Open-Air Auditorium, Independence Flagpole and the Central Musical and Dancing Fountain, along with the National Museum Complex which, in turn, houses the National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of Anthropology.

Bayview Park Hotel
Rizal Park
Bayview Park Hotel
National Museum of Natural History

Within its grounds, you will also find Manila Ocean Park, the country’s first world-class marine theme park and premiere educational entertainment destination.

Manila Ocean Park Reopening
Jellies Exhibit
Manila Ocean Park Reopening
Penguin Exhibit
Manila Ocean Park Reopening
Sea Lion Show
Manila Ocean Park Reopening
Oceanarium

More info on Manila Ocean Park here. Click here to book your tickets.

With just a short drive separating Bayview Park Hotel and Rizal Park, checking out these attractions is a breeze!

6) Enjoy an exciting deal when you book your staycation online!

Book your stay in Bayview Park Hotel’s Superior Room for just Php2,222/net. This promo will run until January 31, 2022 (with stay period until June 30, 2022, and is exclusively available at its website.

With this awesome deal, you can enjoy a comfortable stay in the hotel with great savings, plus all the interesting sights and delicious foodie adventures that the area has to offer.

Bayview Park Hotel
Bayview Park Hotel

Clearly, exploring the delights that Manila has to offer is even more enjoyable if you do so from #YourHomeByTheBay, Bayview Park Hotel.

Bayview Park Hotel Manila is a 3-star hotel located at 1118 Roxas Boulevard corner United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila. With a 75-year history as the preferred destination for both leisure and business travelers, it provides unparalleled service and exclusive privileges for its guests at affordable and friendly rates.

To know more about Bayview Park Hotel’s offers, visit its website or follow it on Facebook and Instagram. For bookings and reservations, contact the hotel via:

Photo Credit: Photos of Rizal Park and National Museum of Natural History by Erykah Rose Raton on Unsplash

Pictures of the hotel were taken during my stay before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Socially distant staycationing at Casa 1254 in Pansol, Laguna

Nearly two years into the pandemic, we can’t help but feel like we need a break from the stresses and hassles we encounter while quarantined in the city.

We also want to be able to spend time with our extended family after being separated for them for so long.

With quarantine restrictions loosening just a wee bit, we can now enjoy some time with our loved ones through socially distant staycations such as what I had with my in-laws at Casa 1254 in Pansol, Laguna.

Casa 1254
Casa 1254

Casa 1254 was deemed as the most suitable venue for our socially distant staycation-cum-family outing, as it ticked off the requirements that will enable us to keep ourselves safe during our trip:

  • It should be within driving distance. Casa 1254 is less than two hours away from Metro Manila by car. Traveling by car is a lot safer (in terms of social distancing) than traveling by plane or other public transport systems. Also, given the short driving time, we didn’t need to have stopovers in crowded areas for a meal or to rest from the drive.
  • It should be in a private, self-enclosed area. Casa 1254 is a single, detached house enclosed in a perimeter wall with parking slots for up to four cars inside the compound. We had the place all to ourselves, allowing us to minimize contact with anyone outside of our family circle.
  • It should have its own kitchen. We expected dining out options to be quite limited, and, since we didn’t plan on going in and out of the venue often, we brought enough food for the duration our stay which we either cooked or reheated in the kitchen.
  • It should have good internet connectivity. Since we didn’t plan on going out and will spend the entirety of our time within the property, we needed to have fast and reliable internet access for work and entertainment.

With those important considerations addressed, the entire extended family was able to enjoy our stay at Casa 1254 and maximize its amenities for family bonding:

Living Areas. We congregated at the living room and adjoining sitting area for lively conversations and catching up. The kids were also able to set up their mini tents and use their toys in this sprawling space between the two areas for their playtime.

Casa 1254
Casa 1254

Dining Room and Kitchen. Family bonding was made even more enjoyable with good food. We dined in style in the well-appointed dining room on dishes re-heated or cooked in the spacious kitchen which are furnished with a large refrigerator/freezer, a stove with oven, as well as a hot and cold water dispenser.

Casa 1254
Casa 1254
Casa 1254
Casa 1254

Plates, cutlery, cookware, cleaning items are already provided.

Swimming Pool. The heated pool was the piece de resistance for the kids who had lots of fun splashing around. An outdoor BBQ and patio with a cabana was available for poolside dining.

Casa 1254
Casa 1254
Casa 1254
Casa 1254

After pooltime, the kids washed up at the 3/4 bath in the ground floor.

Bedrooms. At the end of each fun-filled day, we retreated to our respective bedrooms to rest and recharge. Each air-conditioned room conveniently has an en-suite bathroom, complete with toilet and shower.

Casa 1254
Casa 1254
Casa 1254
Casa 1254

Bed linens, pillowcases, towels, shampoo, body wash, hand soap and toilet paper were also provided.

View. Upon waking up, we basked in the cool breezes and calming view of the mountainside from the wrap-around balcony of the second floor and the roof deck of the poolside cabana.

Casa 1254
Casa 1254
Casa 1254
Casa 1254

Our stay was fairly trouble-free as a caretaker who lives in a separate building was available to help us in operating the pool and other concerns during out stay.

Casa 1254

Planning your own socially distant staycation? Book your stay at Casa 1254 via Airbnb where it is rated an average of 4.98 stars.

For the health and safety of its guests, Casa1254 is committed to Airbnb‘s five-step cleaning process.

Casa 1254 is located at Purok 1 Bridge, 1-254 Kaimo, Calamba, 4027 Laguna. Check in is from 3pm to 8pm while checkout is at 12pm.

5 reasons why Novotel is your family’s staycation destination

Now that the holiday rush is over, I felt that the family deserves a treat. That’s why we hied off to Novotel Manila Araneta Center for our first family staycation.

This hotel is the first Novotel in the country. Situated in the hectic commercial district of Cubao, it provides a haven where the metro’s denizens and visitors alike can enjoy great food and outstanding accommodations.

There is a quite a number of hotels in the city but let me give you five reasons why Novotel is your family’s staycation destination.

One: Luxurious comfort in simple yet elegant surroundings

Upon entering Novotel’s well-appointed lobby, we were enveloped by a sense of welcome: from the clean lines and soft lighting of the interiors, soft music playing in the background, the hassle-free check-in process and the friendly assistance from the hotel staff – especially towards my inquisitive little boy – we were impressed by the feeling of warm hospitality and comfort.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

We opted for a Superior Twin Bed Room, perfect for our family of four. It is tastefully designed to have a modern yet homey feel with earth colors accented by cool blues and greens. The beds have nice firm matresses covered in cool and smooth white linen sheets that made me want to snuggle in under the covers with my kiddies while watching movies on the big-screen TV. The couch by the window is also the perfect place to catch up on my reading.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

A spacious closet is on hand to store clothes and other personal belongings with a mini-fridge built-in with complimentary bottles of drinking water for the guests’ convenience.

If you forgot to bring your personal items, don’t fret because Novotel supplies guests with eco-friendly toiletries in keeping with the hotel’s advocacy for global sustainable development.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Two: A wide variety of exercise and recreation options

As he is already a pre-teen, my little boy eschewed the the hotel’s Kids Club and headed straight for the pool. There, he was able to splash around to his heart’s content. (And I was able to teach him how to float!)

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Hubby, on the other hand, preferred to continue his workouts at In Balance, the hotel gym the next day. Equipped with various exercise equipment, the gym is an excellent option to burn off those calories.

I joined him for a while and worked on achieving my 10k steps on the treadmill.

Afterwards, we each retreated to the male and female locker rooms to get a relaxing steam bath before rejoining the kiddos in the hotel room.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Three: A myriad of food choices within the hotel

When we hied ourselves over here, we brought our appetites with us; fortunately, Novotel has a great selection of restaurants to satisfy our cravings.

Take Food Exchange, for example. The site for sumptuous lunches and dinners became our first stop for breakfast after a restful night.

It featured a wide sampling of breakfast and dessert dishes from various cuisines. I absolutely adored the kind of cheesebread served; I’ve only tasted this kind of fluffy, sweet and salty pastries when I went on a Pampanga Food Crawl with my fellow bloggers last year. It’s perfectly matched with a cup of rich hot choco.

My little boy was over the moon for getting his favorite food – pizzas! – for breakfast. The fact that he ate them immediately after downing a bowl of milk and cereal still astounds me.

Food Exchange, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Food Exchange, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Indulge, the hotel’s ice cream bar, was my kiddos’ request from Day 1. And why not? We made sure to treat ouselves to some decadent gelatos and premium ice creams before we left the hotel.

Indulge, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Indulge, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Indulge, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta

Alas, a nightcap at Sabor Bar de Vinos with Hubby would have to wait until our next visit. He would surely love its distinguished wine collection, while I would love to sink my teeth into its signature tapas.

Sabor Bar de Vinos, Novotel

Sabor Bar de Vinos, Novotel

Food Exchange, Novotel

Other foodie destinations within the hotel that I’d like to explore include the Gourmet Bar, a 24/7 lounge and and laid-back restaurant serving a gamut of dishes from breakfast treats, power lunches to midnight munchies, and The 6th Pool Bar, a relaxing venue where people can unwind beside the pool while enjoying the bar’s signature drinks and snacks.

Four: Proximity to various points of culture

This part of Quezon City is simply awash with things to see and places to go to.

You can catch concerts and theatrical plays at the Kia Performing Arts Theater, while a short distance away is the Art in Island Museum where visitors can take their pictures against wondrous 3D backdrops.

Within the immediate vicinity is Sining Kamalig, a contemporary Filipino art gallery within Ali Mall, which has become the home of works by the country’s finest artists.

A little further off are university-based galleries Arete in Ateneo de Manila University and and Vargas Museum in the University of the Philippines. Both have extensive collections of native and contemporary art.

Five: It’s loyalty program will make you feel welcome each time you stay.

By signing up as a member of Le Club AccorHotels, you will earn rewards points and status points for every stay at any of the 3,600 hotels in 100 countries where the AccorHotels group operates. Rewards and experiences that await you include premium packages reserved exclusively for members, frequent flyer points with major airlines and other partners, unforgettable experiences such as attendance to sports and cultural events in A VIP box.

As a new member, I was able enjoy online check-in and fast checkout, making the whole experience of our family staycation completely hassle-free.

My family and I had a great time with our staycation in Novotel, and we would definitely be back to enjoy more of its offerings.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center is located along General Aguinaldo Avenue, Araneta Center, Quezon City. For bookings and inquiries, call +63 2 9907888. For more details, visit novotelmanilaaranetacenter.com.

Room rates for 1-2 persons are:

  • Superior Room: Php6,641 (room only) | Php7,274 (bed and breakfast)
  • Deluxe Room: Php7,274 (room only) | Php7,906 (bed and breakfast)
  • Executive Room: Php9,804 (bed and breakfast)
  • Executive Suite: Php12,966 (bed and breakfast)
  • Presidential Suite: Php189,750 (bed and breakfast)
  • Additional person: Php1,265 (room only) | Php1,898 (bed and breakfast)

Disclosure: My family and I enjoyed a complimentary stay in a Superior Room, thanks to a voucher I received from the hotel.