Saturday, December 26, 2015

FABulous staycation at The Legend Villas, Mandaluyong City

It’s been an annual tradition of my high school bestfriends to meet before Christmas and have our exchange gifts. For the last years, we have been having our night out in one of our houses, but this year, we decided to try something new. We tried “staycation” last December 23, 2015. Staycation has been an option for those who would like to feel that they are on vacation, but are actually staying in a hotel in city, with all the amenities it has to offer. After looking for an affordable, yet quality hotels to stay in, we ended up in The Legend Villas in Pioneer, Mandaluyong City. For only Php 4,200 (that’s Php 1,050/pax for the four of us), we got to have a pleasurable stay!

The Legend Villas Entrance Marker

Why is The Legend Villas a great choice? Here are the five reasons.

First, the space. Unlike in other hotels, The Legend Villas provides space where you can stroll, especially at night, while enjoying the romantic lights and the Spanish-inspired façade of the two-storey sprawling buildings.

The space where you can stroll and roam around
What a romantic ambiance could do

Second, the rooms. I particularly liked the room that we’re able to book. It has 4 beds where you can comfortably sleep. Refrigerator, electric kettle, cups and saucers, packs of coffee and tea, and personal hygiene stuff, were provided. I also love the idea that the dresser, the toilet, the sink and mirror, and the bathroom are separate from one another. This means that 4 people can do different things at the same time! How efficient!

Karen welcomes you to our room.
My bed
The bathroom and the sink outside.
The toilet is separate, as well.

Third, the reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi. We’re able to listen to Spotify and watch videos in Youtube without buffering!

Taking pictures and uploading them on our social media accounts

The highlight of the night --- drinking beer and gift giving

Fourth, the amenities. The Legend Villas Hotel has a gym (though we’re not able to use it because we don’t have gym shoes!) and swimming pool with Jacuzzi! We dipped into the pool and Jacuzzi and had our usual photoshoot, as if it’s summer in December!

It's summer in December!

Dipping at the jacuzzi

Fifth, the breakfast buffet at Lola Maria Restaurant! The Legend Villas Hotel offers a wide selection of breakfast buffet – from congee, soup, salads, rice meals, noodles, fruits, and desserts, among others. If you love food, then you will definitely enjoy your stay here.

Staycation at The Legend Villas
Breakfast buffet

Have a fabulous breakfast with us!

At the end of the day, it is not the place that matters. It only enhances the mood. What’s more important is to share the moment with your favorite people in the world.

Merry Christmas from my best friends to yours!

(Take note, I walked from MRT-Guadalupe Station to The Legend Villas in Mandaluyong, which is approximately 5.3 kilometers, because of heavy traffic. The effort was all worth it, though.)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Angelo Barbecue+Drinks – the new go-to place in Cavite!

Black, brown, orange, and red. These are the colors that I associate with the word “barbecue”. Thus, for a barbecue place, I would expect the dominance of these colors. But Angelo Barbecue+Drinks surprised me. The newly opened restaurant along Centennial Avenue, Kawit, Cavite, is dominantly white, making the place truly conducive for chilling out and relaxation. I even thought that I was attending a wedding reception the first time I went there because of the interior decorations!

Affordable Restaurants in Cavite
Angelo Barbecue+Drink, along Centennial Ave., Kawit, Cavite
Affordable Restaurants in Cavite
Angelo Barbecue+Drinks Interior
Affordable Restaurants in Cavite
I really thought I was attending a wedding reception!

More than the interior design, however, it’s the food choices that would make you want to visit the place over and over again – truly an affordable gastronomical feast.

I visited the restaurant for the first time last December 18, 2015, with my officemates and friends, King, Ayen, and Liesbeth. I treated them to dinner because Liesbeth needed to “mend her broken heart”.

Affordable Restaurants in Cavite
L-R: Me, Liesbeth, Jerome (owner/manager), King, and Ayen

I tried their yummy “Boss Burger” (with thick beef patty, pulled pork, and cheese, among others) served with fries for only Php 160.00. Aside from burgers and barbecues, Angelo’s also serves rice meals, pasta, and signature desserts, some of which you can only find at Angelo’s. This makes Angelo’s a potential go-to place in Cavite, just like its sister restaurant, the multi-awarded Pampini Halo-Halo.

The "Boss Burger"
Add caption

Barbecue Chicken Dodo Q with Rice
Barbecue Sampler (Liempo Q, Tocino Q, Chicken Dodo Q)

My friends ordered rice meals. We also tried Angelo’s starters, and all of us had drinks. Our bill was less than a thousand bucks!

Visit Angelo’s. They are open everyday from 11am-10pm. You may also like their Facebook page for updates.

Affordable Restaurants in Cavite
They have a board where you can leave your message! This one's for Lies.

Oh, they serve alcohol, if you are serious in mending a broken heart.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Joys of Voluntourism: M.A.F.I.A.’s Outreach Project at Mt. Timbak, Atok, Benguet

VOLUNTOURISM. Going to places not only to delight one’s senses, but to share happiness with others. I am proud that once in a while, I could travel and at the same time, volunteer and be of help to others. It's like hitting two birds with one stone. 

Last November 28-29, 2015, together with my friends from Mars and Friends In Action (M.A.F.I.A.), I was able to visit Mt. Timbak and volunteered as a storyteller for Mt. Timbak kids. M.A.F.I.A. has been doing this project for the fourth time this year. In the past, I just gave donations to the group, but this year, I decided to become an “active participant” of this year's initiative, titled Project Gitara.

Mars and Friends In Action (MAFIA)

What made this trip memorable?

It had my share of first times.
·         From Baguio going to Atok, it took us around three to four hours. In between, we’re able to ride atop the jeepney that we hired, while enjoying the view of mountain ranges.

Atop the jeepney going to Atok, Benguet. (C) Mars Mercado

·         We slept at Ate Josie’s house. The temperature was freezing that despite the jacket, socks, and bonnet that I was wearing, I had to cover myself with my bath towel!

Drinking coffee to keep myself warm.

I met wonderful people.
·         I was very fortunate to be with 16 fun-loving, selfless individuals who chose to devote time and share their blessing to the mountaintop community of Timbak.

These people collected from several sources the school supplies, books, guitars, raincoats, umbrellas, chocolates, and cookies, among others that we would donate to the kids.

School supplies for kids

The MAFIA packing the gifts for the kids

·         I got to share stories with lovely kids who were very participative. I read the story “Ang Alamat ng Matsing” to them, with the support of other story tellers, Ms. Reg who acted as the “diwata” (fairy) and Mars who acted as the “matsing” (monkey).

Storytelling Voluntourism
Ms. Reg (in fairy costume), me (storyteller with green cape),
and Mars (wearing monkey hat/mask)
Guitar sessions with Nay Azee at Tay Juan.
We donated the guitars to the community.

Art session with the kids led by Poveda teachers

To see and hear them laughing and enjoying my performance made this experience really worth it.

I visited new places worth blogging about.
·         We visited the Mummy Cave. However, we did not take photos of the “cave” itself because it was prohibited, as a sign of respect to the cultural integrity of the place.


·         I had my fourth summit and got to see the breathtaking view of the sea of clouds at Mt. Timbak. No doubt, people would mistake it for Mt. Pulag!


·          Finally, I was able to dine at Café by the Ruins, the restaurant featured in several magazines, and even in the movie “That Thing Called Tadhana”. I ordered their version of Pumpkin Soup (Kalabasa) and Suman at Tsokolate.

Viewed from the top (c) Mars Mercado

Suman at Tsokolate

"Pumpkin Soup" (Kalabasa)

The joys of voluntourism. We will definitely back in MT. Timbak. I hope that other people would also follow and share their blessings with our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

Thank you, Mt. Timbak kids! See you again!