Monthly Archives

April 2006

Boracay Island

My Mandala Spa Experience [ The Bora Life #2 ]

This scene welcomes you as you step out the tricycle from the main street walk along a stone road full of trees and withered vines. This exact photo was described by Marc Macapagal on his Praising Prana article as:

“The open air reception, with its wooden teak floors, lounge chairs and glass tables draped with colorful woven silk fabric, and surrounded with lush tropical plans is a calming sight. You feel like you’ve arrived in someone’s hacienda home.”

Mandala prides itself for being a sanctuary for the soul, a place where you experience yourself and go for presence walks. For me, I just came from a Bora night party and stepping into Mandala Spa, I felt like it transported me not into the past or the future, but into another dimension of the present. I felt at home where the staff is friendly, the food is healthy, the air is fresh, and where I felt like the nature and the trees are hugging me as a walk around the spa. Many articles and press releases have been written about this award winning, world class Mandala Spa in Boracay. This is not a press release article but this was my Mandala Spa experience…

Related BORACAY Blog Posts:

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Boracay Island

[The Bora Life.1] Top Ten 10 Cool Things to do in Boracay!

Update: BORACAY FOOD: 10 Most Awesome Boracay Restaurants! (2018)

Our Awesome Planet is not complete without a Boracay posts and here are the Top Ten Cool Things to do in Boracay this year! Just a warning, once you finish reading this post, you’ll be tempted to go to Bora as soon as you can…

1). Jonas Milkshakes — still the undisputed dessert place. This continues to be the best place to hang out for dessert or for watching the sunset. The best part is Jonas is now open 24 hours! It continues to be a mystery as to what is the ingredient of Jonas’ milkshakes? By the way, for the diet freaks you can order a Jonas Shake without milk. My favorite continues to be Banana-Choco-Peanut for P70, what’s your favorite?

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Batangas

[Golden Sunset 3] What to do in Golden Sunset?


Golden Sunset is a very nice place for the family and they have the best Philippines Cultural Show that I have ever seen! Food, Drinks, and Pets are not allowed inside the resort so you have to be contented with eating at the Filipino Fishpond Restaurant or at Cucina de Oro (which serves international cuisine pasta, pizza, etc.). I like the Fishpond restaurant a lot better than the Cucina de Oro (they need to have a better cook). Although the restaurants are not something to rave about in this place. My son, Aidan really enjoyed with the fun swimming pools, playground, kids room, and the butterfly sanctuary. My wife, Rache also enjoyed the massage at the Serendipity Spa for P500 🙂 For me, I enjoyed the cultural show and taking photos of the surroundings and the golden sunset. So everyone is happy 🙂

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Batangas

[Golden Sunset 2] The Golden Sunset Experience


I was actually skeptical when I first visited golden sunset because of the cheesy marketing gimmicks and later on, I found out that the resort does not have an actual beach front. But still we decided to stay for 3 days/ 2 nights during the holy week to rest and re-charge since this is “allegedly” the best resort (so far) in Calatagan. After our stay, I should say that we really had fun specially because the place caters to families with lots of things to do for the kids. Despite the hot weather, there is a gush of winds passing through the resort which makes the summer heat bearable and it is not that humid. Golden Sunset officially opened to the public just this January 2006 and there was a soft opening during the Ms. Earth pageant last October 2004. Ricky Reyes (commonly called Mader in the resort) proudly designed the entire place and I’m glad to see him during the Holy Week in his resort. The resort is very busy and it would be difficult to get a reservations during the summer weekends in this resort. I’ll give you a virtual tour anyway of the resort which is similar to an Island Cove setup but in a much cooler ambiance at night plus a great view of Calatagan’s famous golden sunset.

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Family

Got Milk? 1st Life Insurance Photo Contest Winner :)


I was pleasantly surprised to see that my winning photo entry in First Life Photo Contest, Aidan’s Got Milk photo, was used as the front cover of the First Life Policy Holder Newsletter. I just thought that I share this with my blog readers who are also a First Life policy holder. Mommy was proud, of course, and this encourages me to join more photo contest in the future 🙂 and maybe, turn pro someday.
Anton

Batangas

[Golden Sunset 1] Allegedly the Best Resort in Batangas :)


Golden Sunset is one of the hottest resorts in Batangas now! Thanks to Mader Ricky Reyes (people in the resort calls him Mader) for opening their suppose-to-be family vacation resort to the public. The resort is located in the heart of Calatagan, Batangas — 3 hours away from Manila via Tagaytay which is the half way point. I say that it’s hot because it just fully opened this January (soft opening last Oct during Ms. Earth Pageant) and all the weekends were fully booked and overflowing with tents on its open grounds! If you call the reservation office, nobody would answer you because a lot of people are inquiring about this place and they cannot handle the volume anymore. I actually had to drop by as a walk-in and risk that I will be rejected but fortunately I was able to get a standard room for 3 days and 2 nights. I’ll be creating a trilogy series on Golden Sunset to give you the overall experience, what to do and what to expect of the Golden Sunset Resort.

I also got a lot of frequently asked questions in my blog about Golden Sunset because there was really lack of honest-to-goodness article about this place. This is a well-marketed place so expect only the good reviews in the internet and good photos at their official website. Although, for the first time, I hope to provide you with what a Golden Sunset Resort experience is all about. In this first post, I’ll tackle the frequently asked questions about Golden Sunset.

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Food

What is the Best Buko Pie in the Philippines?

Every time I visit the Laguna area, I’ve always wondered which buko pie is the best among the San Pablo-based Collette’s and El Mare vs. the Los Banos-based The Original Buko Pie and Lety’s Buko Pie. All of these four brands are raved about by people and each one has its story to tell. Once and for all, I will settle the question for myself on “What is the Best Buko Pie in the Philippines?” (Laguna has the best buko pie in the Philippines). One of the best way to answer the question is to do a relative taste test at the same time. So my friend Lui and I decided to buy all the best buko pie in their main branch in San Pablo and in Los Banos, and decide for ourselves based on four criteria:

Buko Taste — 4pts
Yumminess — 2pts
Delicious Crust — 2pts
Overall Presentation — 2pts
Total: 10 pts scale.

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Viaje del Sol

Sitio de Amor Conversations [Viaje del Sol]


I had one of the most interesting and stimulating conversations with strangers lately which makes me love Philippines a lot lot more. Meet George and Amor Bondad, owners of Sitio de Amor in San Pablo, Laguna which is part of the Viaje del Sol group. My friend Luisa and I after visiting Tahanan ni aling Meding decided to check out Sitio de Amor because we are hearing some good stuff about it and they say it was featured in a Dec issue of cosmo magazine. This 4.7 hectares farm place is a budding private resort (turning into a public one) which is a hobby of the Bondad couple for 12 years now. I always like to see these places when they are young and you can see them transform into that beautiful resort. What I like about this place is its simplicity and honesty. Of course this is far from The Farm @ San Benito’s landscaping and concept, but this is a better than your typical Pansol Laguna resorts. Best time to go is during the Rambutan Festival in August or in time for the cool weather in Dec/Jan/Feb.

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#Restaurants

Are you a Vieux Chalet virgin?


Are you a Vieux Chalet virgin? If yes, then you are missing on one of the finest swiss cuisine in the Philippines for 21+ years now. Yes, I was a Vieux Chalet virgin too along with my friends Lui and Maong. I was ashamed that I was only able to try this out last Saturday and I cannot call myself a certified food adventurer if I was not able to try this out. If you are looking for that quaint out-of-the-way restaurant that serves excellent food made from the freshest natural ingredients and mostly home-made from its pasta, bread, cheese, etc., Vieux Chalet is the place to be! As an added bonus, you get a magnificent view of city lights during dinner time and excellent excellent service from Rico!! Vieux Chalet is Antipolo’s pride and best kept secret established by Tony Hassig for 21+ years now (since 1984) and it sits on top of the hill in the middle of a subdivision. It has been a witness to countless valentines date, anniversary dinners, and surprise dates for love ones that is truly memorable. Servings are generous perfect for sharing and family-style dining. The trip to this place is not that easy but it’s definitely worth it 🙂

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Viaje del Sol

[Viaje del Sol] Welcome to Tahanan ni Aling Meding


This is the scene that would greet you as you arrive in this mansion in San Pablo Laguna directly in front of the Sampalok Lake. I was curious to check out this mansion cum hotel and restaurant which was described by the viaje del sol brochure as: ” Tahanan ni Aling Meding is a tribute to the Borja sibling’s parents, especially their mother, Meding, who kept hearth and warm, soothing and comfortable.” One of my readers was also raving about the good filipino dishes they serve and that was enough for me to check this place out.

Just a side note: San Pablo, Laguna is a great alternative to tagaytay because it is merely 2 hours away. Imagine I already left manila at 10am and I was leisurely driving to this place and we still arrive at 12nn considering the traffic already in south super highway and in Batangas. Also, I tried to highlight the beauty of this mansion versus the scarry photos found in their brochure.

The verdict: Tahanan ni Aling Meding is San Pablo’s version of Tagaytay’s Josephine’s or Leslie’s. If you have a guest where you want them to taste authentic Filipino food at a homey Filipino Mansion ambiance, then this is the place to be. I love eating in their main dining area where you are served with good food with a hospitable service Filipinos are known for, while the Sampaloc Lake winds kissed your face through out your dining experience. Thanks to the Borja family for letting us enjoy their vacation mansion!!

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