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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top 5 Most Popular Hotels in Manila as Seen on Expedia

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The charisma and beauty of Manila, the capital city of Philippines, is completely exotic and unique. The concrete sky-scrappers and well divided alleys also drag attention of the travelers. The enriched culture and tradition is well collaborated with the hasty development.

The original city is a cluster of 16 territorial districts, which symbolizes its unique identity. In fact, the city also has plenty of marvels that will urge you to step into the opulent hotels and book week-long holidays. If you really want to experience a memorable trip to Manila and enjoy a tranquil stay in the most praiseworthy hotels, then you need to peep into the reviews.

I was searching for some of the best hotels in Manila and I stumbled upon one of the biggest travel website, Expedia. I searched for hotels in Manila and found some of the most popular hotels out of total 303 listed hotels in that area.

New World Makati Hotel, Manila

The spotless hotel in the Ayala Center is an excellent pick by the visitors especially for dining, shopping and entertainment. The high-rated hotel is based in Makati business district and at proximity of only 0.4 km from the country’s Stock Exchange and just opposite to the classy Greenbelt shopping mall.

The hotel’s maximum occupancy for all types of rooms including Suit, Residence Club Deluxe, Director’s Suite, Deluxe and Premier room Business Plus and Superior room have 24x7 room service, outdoor pool, multi-disciplinary cuisines, fitness and spa arena, poolside bar and free Wi-Fi. The 25-lobby New World Makati Hotel, Manila has 584 rooms for the guests. The eateries adjacent to the hotel can offer you the traditional taste of Philippines.

Average per night charges shown were P4, 867 although there are certain offers available at Expedia Philippines and other deal sites in Philippines. Average rating of this hotel is 4.4 out of 5.

Hyatt City of Dreams Manila

The overall superb rating Hyatt City of Dreams Manila hotel will woo you with its extravagance. The 5-star hotel stands close to the airport in the Paranaque. The hotel’s location is a major plus point as it is close to SMX Convention center, Baclaran Church as well as Embassy of Japan. On top of that Manila Ocean Park, the oceanarium and SM Mall of Asia have offered greater charisma to the hotels.

The superior quality rooms with utmost indoor and outdoor amenities like wireless internet access, mini bars, fitness center, poolside bars, bar and lounge and outdoor pools is accessible for the total 9-floors and 365 rooms of the hotel.

Average rates at Expedia were P6, 205 with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5.

The Aruga by Rockwell Hotel

The 4-star Aruga by Rockwell Hotel in Makati region has delivered the top-class customer service and earned a great name through its flawless and convenient amenities and hospitality. The hotel is situated just at 8 minutes’ drive from the Makati Museum and Ayala Center. In fact, it is so close to the Power Plant Mall that visitors can walk in to the mall (220 meter) anytime. It is also close to other notable and famed places of Makati like Philippines Sports Complex and Alliance Francaise.

The rooms of the exceptional rated hotel exhibit all the prime attention grabbing amenities. Furthermore, conference center, coffee shop, outdoor pool, children pool, kitchenettes, wireless connections, free valet parking, fitness center and complementary breakfast will come free with the booking of the rooms. The 8-story building houses 114 rooms.

Average price of The Aruga at Expedia is P4, 750 with an average rating of 4.9 out of 5. So it’s pretty much popular among travelers.

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila

In the center of Pasay city, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila is a distinguished 5-star hotel. The sumptuous hotel can reach you to the Manila Airport in only 13 minutes. This hotel’s site is very next to Coconut Palace, SM Mall of Asia, Baywalk and Philippine International Convention Center.

The 5-star accommodation features exceptional recreational amenities and luxurious facilities like shopping center, free Wi-Fi, outdoor tennis, waterslide, spa and fitness center, sauna and steam room, tea and coffee lobby, business hall, barbecue and grill space, outdoor pool, golf ground, yoga center, children’s pool and many more to name. Needless to say, the spa service and aromatherapy are really something that is worth going for in this opulent 11-story 609-roomed hotel. The price per night stay is expensive but you can book online at Expedia and get some discount offers.

Average price per night stay at Expedia is P5, 400 and average rating is 4.2 out of 5.

Pan Pacific Manila

The towering Pan Pacific Manila is a 21-story lavish hotel in Malate in Manila has one of the finest state-of-the-art facilities. The position of the fabulous-rated hotel is close to several shopping plazas and restaurants. Moreover, it is only 2 Km away from the Intramuros district, the oldest and historic city of Manila. The 5-star hotel is also located in the hub of exhibition and business center.

Round the clock hospitality service along with complementary butler service, swimming pool, roof-top garden, conference center, spa and fitness arena, hair salon, pool table and billiards, golf course, coffee shop and restaurants are available for all 236 rooms of the fantastic hotel.

Average price at Expedia is P5, 400 and average rating is 4.4 out of 5.

These most popular and extravagant hotels give you the most pleasing and relaxing stay in one of the most exquisite locations of the world. These names have made a standard of their own that are indeed incomparable and unmatched in every aspect! These hotels seem to be expensive but with proper research you can find best deals before booking at Expedia or other deal aggregators in Philippines.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Using Movavi Screen Capture To Record Streaming Travel Visuals From Skype

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Thursday, February 19, 2015
Using Movavi Screen Capture To Record Streaming Travel Visuals From Skype

Is your best friend having a holiday abroad and shares the tourist attractions there with you on Skype? That’s great as it enables you to get a rare taste of the beautiful place just from your home? But it could be that your busy schedule might debar you from relishing all the travel visual on Skype while your friend is sharing those with you.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on those interesting travel visuals just because of lack of time. You will be glad to know that today you have the screen recording software programs that work to record the Skype calls so that you can watch them attentively  later in your free time.

The overwhelming number of screen recording software solutions might give you a hard time in picking the right software. You can take to Movavi Screen Capture for Mac as it’s one of the most recommended when it comes to choosing a great Skype recorder for Mac. Below is a post on recording the Skype calls on your Mac device with the Movavi program.

Step 1

In the first step, download and install the Movavi software program in your computer. The internationally recognized software is able to record audio from both output and input devices. Expand the list on input device & choose proper device for the recording.

Step 2

In the next step, you will set the sound parameters for the Skype call. Open your Mac menu followed by System Preferences and Sound. You will find current system output and input audio devices on corresponding tabs. Then, open Skype and press ⌘ to see settings window. Now, go Audio/Video tab and select “Same as System” for Speaker and microphone.

Step 3

Go to Skype window & call up your friend. As your friend takes the call, customize Capture Area as per your call window. Hit on REC to record your Skype call. You can pause the recording whenever you wish to.

Step 4

After the recording gets finished, you will be able to trim the video to delete off the unwanted captures from the Skype video.

Step 5

After the editing is done, open up Save as to pick a compatible video format. The Movavi program supports more than 180 multimedia formats for user convenience. Then, click on Save to save the Skype visual so that you can relish the beautiful travel visuals in your free time.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ilo-ilo City’s Netong’s Original Special La Paz Batchoy

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Monday, February 16, 2015
Netongs Original Special La Paz Batchoy in Iloilo City

Along with three (3) other bloggers from Cebu, we visited Ilo-ilo that is known for its delicious batchoy. But the thing is, there are “originals” everywhere and they’re all claiming that they’re all original. We talked to some locals in the area, and look it up online on where is the best batchoy in Ilo-ilo city. The name they gave us is Netong’s Orgiginal Special La Paz Batchoy.

The word “la paz” attracted us right away, and we’ve some interviews and videos of the owner about how they started, so we go ahead and look for them.

We stayed at Ong Bun Pension House, it’s a cheap hotel and we asked the guard on how to get to Netong’s and we’re very lucky that we just have to cross the street and get a jeepney that will pass by at the “La Paz Public Market”.

Netongs Orginal Special La Paz Batchoy

And yes, we realized that La Paz of the “La Paz Batchoy” actually means a Batchoy from the La Paz market. There are a lot of stores selling batchoy just outside the market, but Netong’s is located inside the market.

We enter that entrance there (photo above), we just follow the flow of the people there and there was a bit of crossing and we were a bit lost. So we asked a lady there, and it’s just right beside her store (didn’t noticed it. LOL.). So it’s best to asked around because they do know Netong’s and aware that there will be people looking for it.

We go inside, got a table, and the waitress gave us this menu.

Netongs Orginal Special La Paz Batchoy

I was actually not sure what to get (I mean what size), so I asked the waitress if she have a sample bowl for the serving so we’d know how big it is. It’s advisable for you to ask, if you’re like me. My friends got a huge bowl for themselves, the Mega Bowl but I only got myself the extra – and I was right, they were not able to finish it.

They also have other dishes available if you don’t like to try batchoy, but if you love soup and noodles do try it.

Netongs Orginal Special La Paz BatchoyIt just took few minutes to dig in, and it sip from our batchoy. The locals love the Netong’s Orgiginal Special La Paz Batchoy too, even the little boy who’s about 4 years old announced it in the restaurant that it is “Namit!” (Delicious!).

Netongs Orginal Special La Paz Batchoy

If you ask me to rate Netong’s batchoy, I’ll rate it 4 stars out of 5 stars. It’s different from regular batchoy’s I’ve tasted, so if you’re in Ilo-ilo city you should totally drop by and check it out. I was supposed to have a hunt for the best batchoy, but I think I’ll return in Ilo-ilo some other time and do that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Review – A 5 Nights Stay

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review


Exotic Philippines Hotel Rating:
3.5 stars out of 5

PROS:
* A walk away from SM Lanang
* They have a minipool
* Big and comfortable beds, comforter and pillows
* Well maintained and clean rooms
* Clean Bathrooms
* Cold, well maintained air-conditioner
* Complete toiletries
* Hot and Cold Water
* Far from jeepneys

CONS:
* Slow service at reception
* No air vacuum in the comfort room

Book the Hotel

October 23, 2014 – I was invited to come to Davao City to cover the BIMP EAGA event, and they checked me in at Park Inn Davao by Radisson for five (5) nights and six (6) days. After that, since I extended another day and they couldn’t cover for it anymore I stayed at ALU Hotel Davao – which is one of the affordable hotels in Davao.

Please take note that I did not pay for my stay at this hotel in Davao nor the hotel sponsored my stay. It was paid by the event organizers so I can cover the 4 days event – which was really awesome and I was able to meet other people from other Asian countries.

Anyway, we’re here to talk about my experience and review of the Park Inn Davao hotel. So let’s start with the details that I can share with you guys for my Park Inn Davao by Radisson review.

Park Inn Davao by Radisson

The hotel is just a walk away from the SM Lanang Premier. Yes, they’re so near that there’s actually a skywalk connected from the Park Inn Davao hotel to the mall which is really an advantage especially when it rains.

As for the transportation, since the hotel is near the mall you can easily find a taxi. But if you want to take the jeepney, you really have to walk (about 10-15 minutes) to go to the highway and take the jeepney.

When I arrived, the hotel boy assisted me with my bags and I go right away to the front desk to get my room. But then, there seems to be a problem because they find it hard to find my name (later I found out that the same happened to the other blogger who also covered the event). But it didn’t took hours or so, just about 5 to 10 minutes maybe – a miscommunication maybe.

The Hotel Rooms

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

When I got in to my room, I was actually like “WOW!”. It’s not really big like other Radisson hotels, but just big enough to go around.

I’m not sure what type of room I have (since I wasn’t the one who booked it), but they only have three (3) types of rooms and I believe this one is their standard room. I love the color combinations, and how it makes me feel relax and cool when it’s actually hot outside.

To be honest, every time I am in my room I feel so relaxed that I can fall asleep anytime. There was even one time that I just eat my lunch in the room, wait for my friend to finish what he needs to do and I fall asleep. I don’t usually fall asleep easily like that, I can stay up all night if I want to as long as I am not bored.

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

Their beds are so big (for me) that I think three (3) people can sleep on it. The bed is also comfortable, and the comforter is warm and big, and I love it. There are also four (4) soft, comfortable, and big pillows on the bed that they’re so many for me that I don’t know where else to put it. I just grab them all! I just really love the pillows, I wonder what’s the brand of the pillow, I want to get one.

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

As for their workstation, it’s actually simple and I love it. As someone who works at home, I actually wish my room have this kind of workstation. It’s high enough for me (maybe because the chair is also adjustable), it’s soft and cool for my laptop. For someone who’s in Davao Philippines for a business, I think the room will be really enough.

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

Attached to the workstation, (I’m not really sure what you call it) a (kind of) chair where you can sit on or put your bags, just under the chair you can place your usual shoes or more bags there.

There are actually a lot of place where you can put your things, there’s also one under the bed side table too. I have a lot of stuff that I want to easily access, so this was totally a plus. Also, there’s a mini (vault?) box on your wardrobe – some find it a plus.

I hardly use the coach. I don’t have a visitor in my room but I did use it once or twice just to try it for myself. But you’d surely choose the bed over the coach. LOL.

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

There’s also an LCD TV plus an electronic kettle with coffee and tea in your room – total plus and useful for me!

The Bathroom

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

Their bathroom is not huge but big enough. They have a pair of toothbrush, lotion, toothpaste, and other basic hygiene needs – the bottled of mineral water is also there. There are also a lot of white towels provided in different sizes that I was confused what the others are for. I also love the mini mirror that you can bring in closer to your face, plus the hair blower.

What I don’t like with the bathroom is that their toilet doesn’t have enough water during “your call of nature” that some may stick to the toilet – sorry if you’re eating. And when you do the call of nature, there’s no fan absorbing the odor that it may go out to the room. Good thing that no one’s with me. Ha!

Also, other bloggers complain about the complimentary DOVE body soap and shampoo, it was nice that they have Dove (because I’m a Dove girl due to my skin condition) but the others don’t like it. It was okay with me though.

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

I love their hot and cold shower and sink water – so careful when washing your face or brushing your teeth since you might twist it to hot water.

The Amenities

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

Good thing that I really insisted to take advantage with their skywalk connected to the mall, I was trying to find their gym and their pool and bar, and yes their just located there at the second (2nd) floor.

I was not able to try their mini pool (I really want to try it though), it’s not that big or deep but just enough for anyone who wants to swim and dip in. I’m not a gym type of person, but yes their gym is also located on the same floor just near the elevator.

They also have a meeting room, but I don’t know where and how big it is.

The Restaurant

I’m not sure if you’re able to eat there other than breakfast. But sadly, that time when were there was Halal week, and there’s no good food. No bacon, no ham, a lot of eggs, tuna, fish, fruits, breads, cereals that one day I just ate the fruits.

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

For food rating, it was okay. Nothing really special and I can’t really blame the hotel since it’s (again) Halal and there are guests from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.

But I wish they just made a separate area for us to get some meat. We wanted some meat! Bacon!

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Rates

I actually don’t know their room rates, but please do feel free to click on the button below to go and check out their hotel details and rates.

Book Park Inn Davao by Radisson
Click Here to Book the Hotel

Exotic Philippines Hotel Ratings

I want to stay there again. I guess that summarize my experience with Park Inn Davao by Radisson. Up to now thinking about the room and the bathroom, I love my 5 nights and 6 days there but yes I didn’t like the food.

Park Inn Davao by Radisson Hotel Review

Their staff also was nice, they greeted me when I pass by them. They also knock on the door if I want them to clean my room, and really (super clean) the room. I even loved the way my room is when I arrived that I realized on my fourth day there that I actually have a good view – because I didn’t open the curtains. LOL.

If you want me to rate Park Inn Davao by Radisson, for this hotel review I’ll rate them 3.5 stars out of 5. If I have the money, and if I want to bring my family in Davao Philippines then I’ll book them here. It’s near to the mall, few minutes away from the airport, and the room is really good enough for me.

Book Park Inn Davao by Radisson
Click Here to Book the Hotel

Will I recommend the hotel? Yes, that’s if you’re looking for a business and higher class hotel.

Will you be able to find a cheaper and as good as this hotel? I’m not really sure, but if you want cheaper, surely you can find one but if you want the same quality of service in a cheap price, I don’t think so.

Got something to share or ask about Park Inn Davao by Radisson?

Monday, February 2, 2015

10 Must Bring Items in Your Boracay Getaway

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Monday, February 02, 2015
10 Must Bring Items in Your Boracay Getaway

November 2014 I was in Boracay Philippines with three (3) other fellow bloggers from Cebu. It was our first time in the beautiful island of Boracay, we’ve done some research and stuff to find out what we should be prepared for. So, today through this article I was to share with you my tips on the ten must bring items in Boracay.

These items listed are items that you should bring other than your regular travel. Hopefully, with these items I can help you enjoy more your getaway in Boracay. Here are the ten (10) must bring items in your Boracay getaway – that is basing on my experience.

Swimwear

When you say swimwear, what I can think of immediately is bikinis and swimsuits which is not my type since I’m a fat. For me, my swimwear is a boarding shorts and a shirt – still planning to buy a rash guard. Most of the people in Boracay do wear the bikini and swimsuits, so if you’re comfortable wearing it then go for it.

I only brought my usual swimwear, thinking I’ll be only swimming in the beach once or twice I only brought 2 pairs. I was not able to count the pool of the Boracay Holiday Resort which I really wish to try, but lucky Mary brought a bikini (yes, a bikini – and she force me to wear it and she loves it and I’m like, yuck!? I’m fat.) so I have the swimwear for the pool. But then, we totally lack in time to try the pool so we’re not able to try it.

Sun block

One of the important things that I forgot. Good thing Chanel and Mary was prepared like a girl scout, and they brought a sun block for the body, and another one for the face – lucky me, no sunburns!
The sun didn’t hurt that much for us since it was that season of the year in the Philippines that it usually rains. The sun is there but you can still stand the heat and loving it, it’s a total balance of the heat from the tropical sun and the wind.

Sunglasses

Speaking of the sun, on our second day there we were out in the open and the sun light is really lovely but then you might not be able to take it any more longer. So, bring your sunglasses! But I forgot to bring mine, so I bought one in Boracay.

If you did forgot yours, and want to know where you can buy one. You can actually buy it in the beach area of Boracay. Some locals will walk around the beach area and sell it to you, but here’s a tip go to the station 2 area (near the McDonalds area) since it’s a lot cheaper. The people walking around selling it, sells their sunglasses around P200-P300 but one you buy one from the Station 2 it costs around P100, and don’t forget to haggle.

Flip Flops

I brought some shoes with me since we came from Ilo-ilo to go biking. But in Boracay, it’s an island, there are a lot of sands, so it’s wiser and better to bring and wear some flip flops.

Flip Flops
Wearing shoes or closed shoes will just let the water get inside the shoes. Plus, even though your shoes is a waterproof (or whatever you want to call it) the water will still get inside and surely it will be heavy for you.

I even wear my flip flops and still there are some white sands in my feet, and I didn’t realized I brought it into our room too, to our shower. Though it's nice to walk barefoot in the white sands of Boracay, you'll still need something for your feet. So get some flip flops!

Camera

I was not able to purchase a waterproof camera, and the only camera that I brought was my Sony Bloggie and my Canon DSLR – and none of them are waterproof.

Most of the activities in Boracay are water activities, so I can’t definitely bring my DSLR with me. The Bloggie is small but still it’s not a waterproof camera, but it serves the purpose of taking pictures and videos. But no matter how much I want to I can’t take videos underwater and not worrying of getting the camera wet.

If you want to share your experience online, want to take a picture of your moments in Boracay, it’s highly advisable to bring a waterproof camera with you. There are some cheap ones sold online, or you can just go for the GoPro Hero 2014 which is sold around $130. I’ve heard it’s good enough for the purpose.

Waterproof Bag

If you’re like me who doesn’t have a waterproof camera and have your cellphone with you in the beach then get a waterproof bag. Don’t dive or swim with it (with your gadgets in it) since it will still get wet, the purpose is that when you go jetskiing, or in the boat your gadgets will not get wet. Or as in our case, it was raining in the afternoon so though we’re in an open boat my gadgets did not get wet though I was wet head to foot.

You can also buy one at the Boracay Station 2, I forgot how much it was but it was around P100. Still do try to haggle especially if you and your friends are buying.

Small Bag

I actually have my backpack with me and my sling bag, if you have something more smaller and not bringing a DSLR with you then bring a small bag or body bag. A bag that your phone, camera, and wallet will fit in.

Raincoat

This is only optional, but a must bring when you’re visiting Boracay during the raining season in the Philippines. Which I believe around October to December. We were in Boracay in November of 2014, and when we arrived it was raining, the next night it was still raining, so we’re not able to go out twice at night because it was raining.

There are some locals selling this too in the area. Not sure how much was it but if you have one and you’re visiting on the same season, then bring it.

Selfie Stick!

If you’re a selfie addict like most Filipinos. It’s best to bring your selfie stick since it can help you capture a photo of you with a beautiful background. This is pretty useful when we were parasailing, check this out.

Boracay Philippines Para sailing

Medicines

Lastly, bring your own medicine. I didn’t see much pharmacy there but I do know there are some but they’re not that near and it’s kind of hard to walk to a pharmacy when you’re not feeling well (and raining).

I did have my headache, I was not able to bring some medicines so we did walk around and ask locals if they’re selling some paracetamol.

That’s it! That’s my top 10 must bring items in Boracay Philippines! If you have anything else to add, please feel free to leave it as a comment below and share it with everyone.
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