My Boracay 2019 Day 5 (Summer Diaries Special)

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Hubby and I really wanted to go back to Puka Shell Beach because the kids wanted to collect seashells and have a morning swim, but if we will push through with that itinerary, nobody would buy food for the rest of the family members who will stay in the loft room for lunch and dinner.  We made sure though, that we squeezed our time in the morning to swim with the kids in the infinity pool.  Though we were not satisfied with the loft room in Alta Vista de Boracay, our consolation prize is the swimming pool.  As long as the kids are enjoying, I can temporarily forget that I was totally disappointed.

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buding

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As early as 6:15am , we were already in the lobby so we can wait for L’Altura where the buffet breakfast is served to open.  While waiting, I spoke to the front desk officer that we would be out to transfer to another hotel but two adults and 1 kid would be staying and the senior citizen will be the one to check out the following day.  We also paid the excess fee for breakfast of P175.00 for two days so my father won’t be having trouble during the check out.

at the veranda morning

We had our breakfast first before the morning swim and luckily, we were able to dine with a mountain view– so far, it was a great morning.

l altura

 

 

 

The kids can survive with cereals and egg and I can survive with chicken, pasta, eggs and hotdogs.  What I don’t like is that they don’t have an egg station where you can order on the spot and they cook on the spot too.  Hubby had to request the staff for eggs to be served in our table.  As for the sweets—Uhmmm, it’s understandable that they don’t have cakes and ice cream cos it  isn’t a five star hotel anyway.

After the breakfast, at past 7am, we got ready to swim with the kids.  Morning swim was our bonding with the kiddos and we had the fulfill that promise.

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SWIMMING TIME!

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family pic pool

After swimming, we went to Citymall to buy groceries for the rest of the family members and lunch.  We have discovered an eatery near BDO in Citymall (you will just walk across) where you can buy affordable “lutong bahay” dishes– lumpiang gulay for only P10 each, 1 cup of rice for only P10, the pork dishes for P40 and fish for P50.  Most of the people eating there are tricycle drivers.  You can come here if you are in a tight budget.  Too bad, we just discovered this place on that day 😦

 

Just across the eatery, you will find Belmar’s store where you can buy plastic bag and other stuff.

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After having our lunch in our hotel room, we packed our things, sorted out the wet clothes

We were transferred to Estacio Uno Boracay by BPHT and after few minutes of verification, we were given seashell necklaces and welcome drinks.

check in estacio

This is my second time in Estacio Uno and though the hotel is kinda small compared to other beachfront hotels, I like the interiors and the service.    There are only few things they have to improve but overall, I recommend this hotel and probably would be back some other time.

bruce and hubby waiting

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Bruce enjoying his welcome drink

We loved the room though it is small because of its chic design.  We only brought 1 kid with us because we would pay extra for additional guests.  Aside from that, the room is only good for two adults.

estacio room 1

After checking in, we rested for a while because it’s still freakin’ HOT outside and I had a cup of coffee while picking what we will wear for the rest of the day until the following day.

 

After the coffee break, we went out for the afternoon swim.

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I super loved their free toiletries and what they don’t have in other hotels is here– the sewing kit for wardrobe malfunction.

SWIMMING @ THE WHITE BEACH

afternoon swim beach

 

SWIMMING AT THE POOL

 

After the swimming, we got ready for our complimentary dinner in Estacio Uno and I thought we would have a problem because the front desk staff were not aware of that.  They told me that they only provide the guests with complimentary breakfast but the dinner is NOT complimentary.  I informed them that I only got the info in the hotel voucher and after a minute of verification, they asked us to choose from the menu of worth P1,000.

Surprisingly, the food is affordable– you can buy double burger patty with fries for only P185.  Other dishes were only averaging to P200 up and the food tasted good.

 

We just had the food served in our room because we were not comfortable eating in the lobby, hahaha!

dinner estacio room

After the dinner, we decided to sleep early because it will be the last day in Boracay the following day and whether we like it or not, we have to go back in Manila 😦

REFLECTIONS:

  1.  This day, I have realized that despite of being upset for different reasons, we still have to manage how to smile and be positive.
  2. We just realized we should have discovered the affordable eatery right away.  In that way, we could have saved a lot of money.  We just chilled in the first few days because what we have in mind is that we still have the time to explore.  Lesson learned:  Do what you have to do before it’s too late.
  3. We were glad we have organized everything in advance that’s why we didn’t have any hassle this day.

For the hotel review of Alta Vista and Estacio Uno, watch out for my next posts and my vlogs as well in my Youtube channel.

 

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My BORACAY 2019 Day 2 (Summer Diaries Special)

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This BORACAY trip was intended primarily for a special event which was the renewal of our vows.  I surprised hubby with this and we planned this event secretly with the members of my family for almost a year and a half.  We had lots of changes— the original plan of having a beachfront wedding at Estacio Uno , then I coordinated with Mama’s Fish House because I had to cut down expenses, but then since hubby’s relatives and some of our friends can’t go to Boracay, I decided to just have an intimate renewal of vows instead.  And now for the final change, with the help of Ms. Mariel of BPHT, I thought of having our renewal of vows on a boat.  Yey!  

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Ever since we visited Boracay for the first time in 2011, we always make it a point o visit or have a picture with this Gorilla.  So, since we stayed in Ambassador in Paradise for 3 days and 2 nights, we were free to have pictorial with this celebrity, hehehe!

with the gorilla 2

with hubby 2

After a tiring day that we had the previous day,  we woke up before 6am and had the traditional morning walk just near Willy’s Rock.  We did not swim because we had to go straight to Al Fresco Restaurant for the breakfast buffet at 6:30am.

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the towel area @the Ambassador in Paradise Hotel

Hubby went out first to return the towels we borrowed the previous night and I wondered why he has not come back yet, so I decided to go out already.  I was right with my instinct that he had encountered a problem.  He returned 5 towels but he only got 3 towel cards- the staff told him that the two other cards were missing!  When I heard that, I thought we would have a problem checking out because 1 missing towel card costs P1,600 and that would mean we would pay P3,200.  Of course, if they would ask us to pay for the missing cards, I would complain because we have returned 5 towels and it was not our problem if they have lost the two cards.  The staff assured us that the incident will be reported so at least we didn’t have to worry about anything at all– especially that the we were about to celebrate a very important event on that day.

breakfast

breakfast @ Al Fresco Restaurant

I didn’t want to ruin our special day so we just enjoyed the morning and filled our tummies with great food.  I  was super satisfied with our breakfast (being a very picky eater, it means the restaurant did a very good job because I was satisfied )— Hubby and I had a heavy meal because we knew that we would have a late lunch.

While I was taking a shower, hubby left to buy food @ Andok’s for the other family members.  We didn’t have our lunch yet because we were still full at that time.  We decided not to let my father and youngest kid join us because we already have anticipated the scenario–There would be a senior citizen complaining about the long walk and joint pains then a hyper kid who would run, jump and roll on the floor.  So only the two kids went with us in that event.

THE PREPARATION

I really couldn’t wear the white wedding gown because I wasn’t able to press it, so I just chose an off-shoulder light pink glittery dress that I would wear supposedly in the reception.  Hubby also didn’t want to get too much attention if we are going to walk in Station 1 in front of Astoria and wait for the boat tom dock.  If only I had pressed the gown the day before, I won’t mind the attention that we would be getting (hi hi hi!)

For the make up, I settled for the simple and natural look– wearing heavy make up would be a problem especially if I decide to swim after the event.  After applying the sunblock and day cream, I just put a little foundation and pressed powder with very light coral blush, bronzer and highlighter.  Special thanks to Anne Viray for the makeup tips!  I also didn’t style my hair- just sprayed it with Tresemme Hair Spray for the sides and just combed it.

We arrived at the pick up point (in front of Astoria) before 11am.  After few minutes, Mark and Ms Mariel of BPHT arrived and I received my bouquet of pink and white roses.

before the rov

It was my first time to meet Ms Mariel in person though I coordinated with her regarding our roundtrip transfers since 2016 through phone or email.  They decorated the boat with white and pink organza fabric and combination of red and white roses.   After few minutes, Pastor Angelo and Pastor Peter arrived and we have chosen to dock in a quiet spot at Puka Beach for the ceremony.

 

 

(For the complete details about our renewal of vows, you may check the updates here in my site or YouTube channel.)

with pastor angelo and peter

kiss beach

After the ceremony, we dropped Pastor Angelo and Pastor Peter in Puka Beach then we have decided to swim since we have plenty of time left.  Part of our itinerary was Ilig-iligan Beach.  While we were in the boat on the way to that beach, we have changed to rash guards so we can have our afternoon swim since we didn’t swim that morning.  As soon as the boat has docked, to our surprise, two police officers approached the boatmen and we have already sensed that we were in trouble.

Hmmm!  We were in trouble!  (Self-check:  Have we violated the rules? ) As far as I know, it was included in our itinerary so I thought that they were not aware that docking and swimming there was not allowed.  I called Ms Mariel and she informed me that they didn’t know about this yet.  Of course, if they already know that it’s not permitted to dock there, why would they include it in the itinerary?

One of the policemen went to our boat to get our IDs for the police report.  That was something that I can’t forget.  After the renewal of vows, we should have enjoyed, but it turned out to be a TOTAL DISASTER.  We were not able to use the remaining hours for the island hopping since we rented that boat for 4 hours.  We didn’t blame the boatmen nor BPHT because nobody wanted this to happen.  The boat provider was fined P11,000 and the boat was put on hold.  We were dropped to Station 1 where we were picked up because they will go to the jetty port.  In the video below, you will see that the two policemen were with us in the boat.

 

After the incident, we just went back to the hotel to rest and have lunch.  After that, we headed to the beach for the afternoon swim.  After the renewal of vows, we gave the remaining hours and days for the kids to enjoy.

no island hopping

family pic beach afttie

beach

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After the afternoon swim and gazing at the adorable sunset, we went to the pool for another round of swimming.  Just like what hubby said, this vacation is not just for the two of us, it’s for the kids to enjoy 🙂

REFLECTIONS:

  1.  As much as I wanted to have my vlog launch on the boat or during the island hopping, it didn’t push through because of what happened. I just planned to have it either in Alta Vista de Boracay where we will check in the following day or in Lemon Cafe.

One thing that I have learned from this incident is not to freak out or overreact.                  Even the policemen who got our IDs for verification was calm in talking with us                  and the boatmen.  I think there was just a misunderstanding, but they should have            listened and spared them.  Nobody wanted this to happen that’s why i didn’t blame            anyone for this.  I just accepted what happened and enjoyed the rest of the day.

We also thought that we were still lucky because somebody asked if we wanted to               have our renewal of vows in Ilig-iligan Beach or in Puka Beach.  We just chose the             latter, and we were glad we did because if not, we wouldn’t have renewed our                     vows that day.

2. Another lesson was not to expect too much.  Because Ambassador in Paradise                     was categorized as five star hotel, I expected the same service and special                             treatment like what we have experienced in Edsa Shangri-la, and Discovery                         Hotels.  I thought they would give us a small surprise as well.

 

 

3.  No matter what happened to you, all you can cling to is your family so value the time that you have with them.  At the end of the day, before going to sleep, I thought of the vows that we have exchanged.  We didn’t have the time to write our vows so we just did it on the spot.  Hubby said he’s not that showy of his feelings but he did not leave me especially when I need someone to be with.  He already proved it to me a lot of times and exchanging the vows in front of our children is something that I would cherish til my last breath.

Despite of what happened, I would like to thank Ms. Mariel of BPHT for helping me out with this idea.  I just spent less than 20k for the intimate renewal of vows ceremony on a boat.  There was no special dinner and vlog launch but I got what I wanted already.  Of course, if you wanted to upgrade like hiring a make up artist, have the ceremony in the beachfront and set up a special dinner for your guests, it would cost more.  Let me tell you more how I renewed our vows on a budget in a separate blog post.

Til next post, dear readers and don’t forget to subscribe in my YouTube channel.

You can watch my vlog here.

 

 

 

Destressing Session Before the Summer Vacay

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nexus reception

the friendly staff @ Nexus 1 Body Spa

As part of my preparation for our upcoming summer trip in Boracay next week, I booked a body scrub, Swedish massage , manicure and pedicure at Nexus1 Body Spa in Xentro Mall Antipolo.   I would like to achieve that summer glow  ( radiant skin before our trip and I wanted to destress as well) Well, I’ve made the right decision to try their service.  At first I was hesitant because I thought I would also be disappointed like what I have experienced in Nails Glow Xentro Mall, but because it is the nearest nail salon/spa in our area and I didn’t want to come back anymore at Nails Glow, I had no choice but to give it a try.    In my first visit, I was very pleased and amazed because the staff treated us well and unlike the other spa attendants who refuse to answer queries and quite rude to their clients.  Even the owner greeted us with a smile. No wonder why their clients keep coming back (they have excellent service, affordable prices and nice treatment to their customers).

A QUICK TOUR AT NEXUS 1 BODY SPA

Just in case you have followed my previous posts, you might have discovered that I really like to destress and I am very particular with the place, class and exceptional service.  Sometimes, you can be fooled by a classy reception, but when you enter, you will discover how untidy the place is and how gross the materials they use.  I requested for a quick tour and I was glad that they have granted it 🙂   Now, let us have a tour of the 100 square meter establishment.

 

They have 6 rooms for body scrub and massage.  The massage area was larger than what I expected– each space is separated by curtain but the furnishings and designs are of excellent taste.

While waiting, because they still have to prepare our rooms and my father’s foot wash, we were offered with the very refreshing ginger tea.  I also booked a Swedish massage and they gave us 20% discount because he is a Senior citizen.  My hubby didn’t book for a service but they offered him a tea too.

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ginger tea for me and hubby 🙂

 

While my father was having his foot wash, I was in the massage area and after I have worn the boxer shorts and cover, we already proceeded with our body scrub session.

inside the massage area

 

THE BODY SCRUB

They have two kinds of body scrub- the Apricot and salt.  I already have tried Kojic salt that’s why I chose Apricot this time.  It’s cream based but it has also beads and I didn’t feel itchy during and after the treatment.

apricot body scrub

cream based Apricot body scrub

body scrub

 

When I go to the spa , I always check the restroom/shower area.  So far, the spas that I have visited with clean and impressive restrooms are Soulscape Spa in Marcos Highway and Z Spa in Pasig City (with sauna and bath tub)  .  I didn’t expect that it would meet my standards, but congratulations, you’re now in my list as one of the best spas I’ve visited.

I was impressed with their restroom and shower area– the rooms are very clean.  They already have prepared the towel, new cover and boxer that I will use.  After the hot shower, I headed to the room for the Swedish massage.

THE MASSAGE 

I enjoyed the Swedish massage– I requested for light pressure as I don’t want to feel like being beaten after the treatment.

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After the relaxing massage, April gave me hot towels and ginger tea.

ginger tea after the treatment

 

It was already past 6pm when we were done with the massage, so we headed to the nail area right away,

 

I quickly chose the colors for the toenails and fingernails.  I settled something green for the toenails and bright pink polish from Orly.

 

Now, I am summer ready– thanks to Nexus 1 Body Spa for the affordable packages!  You may check them at Xentro Mall and avail their summer promo.    For the complete video, please click the link and subscribe to my YouTube channel.  Til my next post “-)

NEXUS 1 BODY SPA

2/F Xentro Mall Antipolo, Mambugan, Antipolo City

                                                 Mobile number:  0966 761 1735

 

 

 

My Boracay 2019 Packing List

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OMG!  It’s only a week away and we are all set to our 6-day family vacay in BORACAY.  I am soooo excited already and because of that, I really need to make sure that I have planned everything well– and that starts with packing the stuff that we will be needing.

countdown to summer

Oh, yeah!  my pink luggage is ready again!  I’ve been using this for all my trips and I’m glad it’s still in good condition.   I have mentioned in my previous post that I am saving money and getting practical now, and because of that, I didn’t shop for new outfits that much– even the planned Divisoria shopping challenge did not push through and I only have a week to prepare.  Well, actually, I a;ready have packed my things this morning and if ever (probability is about 30%) , there is still a chance to add stuff, I will just add another bag or ask one of my companions to have my additional stuff in their bag.  So, I will be using some outfits and swimwear that I have worn in my previous summer trips to be more practical.  I will show my daily outfits in my vlogs (I will be covering the 6 days summer escapade with my family).

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My PINK luggage

Because we will stay longer than the usual, this luggage is not enough, so I have to bring a travel bag plus the big VS bag that I usually bring with me.  Aside from the 7kg baggage allowance, I had to book an add-on for the extra 20kg for my stuff.  Ok, now you’re all getting curious, let’s find out what I packed in my bags.

SKIN CARE

  • Moisturizing cream (Pond’s Day & Night cream)

ponds

It’s a BIG no-no for dry skin (especially for my event which will take place @ the boat under the heat of the sun). As part of my beauty routine,  I wash my face when I wake up in the morning using Pond’s Age Miracle Facial Foam and when I go out, I use the Pond’s Age Miracle day cream before I apply makeup.  After I have cleaned my face with Micellar Water, I apply the Pond’s Age Miracle night cream.  I think this is one of my secrets why I look younger (hi hi!)

  • LOTION and SUNSCREEN

sunscreen and lotion

To protect my skin, from getting dry, I prepared different sunscreens (from Belo & Beach Hut)  but they are already in the suitcase so I wasn’t able to take the photos.  I have something for the body, hair & scalp, for the face and one for the kids.  Of course, we don’t want to damage our skin with the sun exposure, that’s why it’s really a MUST to have this in our Boracay trip.

  • BABY WIPES and COLLAGEN makeup remover

I always have baby wipes in my bag so no dirty or messy moments.  I would love to bring my Micellar water but I am not sure if it will be permitted in the airport, so I just put the Collagen makeup remover instead.

BEAUTY SUPPLIES

I cancelled the make up artist for my event so I will have to do everything on my own.  You will see my summer look in my vlogs.

  • HAIR STRAIGHTENER & CURLER

I decided to bring this to style my hair for my very important event since I do not have a makeup artist with me on that day.  I don’t know yet if I will just have my hair straightened ot have few curls.

hiar straightener and curler

  • MAKE UP

I do not have expensive brands of make up but I think these will be enough for me to achieve the summer glow  in my event.  (L’oreal primer, foundation, face powder, BYS blush on, bronzer, highlighter, and lipstick)  I just want something light to look natural, but I want to make sure that I will have a different glow.  (On April 30, I will have my very first make up video that will be posted in YouTube)Oh my!  hahaha!  I think the challenge for me is how to cover my dark circles.  I have a Maybelline concealer but I don’t know if it will cover the dark circles that I have.  Let us all find out!  We will have an honest to goodness beauty product reviews here and in my Youtube channel.  I want you guys to watch out for that- it will also be shared in my Facebook page and personal FB account.

makeup

CLOTHES

  • gym outfits

I have not worked out since I had my D&C operation last September and cancelled my club membership @ Fitness First.   I was afraid that if I do, I might bleed again. The last bleeding I had was last month.  Now, I’m doing a 5 minute biking @ home because I need to have a summer-ready body in one week.  I brought these outfits just in case it will be possible for me to hit the gym for few minutes.  We need to make the most out of our 6-day vacay in Boracay and it would be bad if we couldn’t take advantage of using the gym in Ambassador in Paradise and Alta Vista de Boracay.

gym

  • swimwear

I packed my fave swimwears (one piece, tankinis and bikinis that I ordered in Zalora before.  I ordered a new one from Bench but I don’t know if  i will get it before the 29th.

clothes

swimwear

  • cover ups

These are very useful to cover unwanted fats especially now that I don’t get to work out, I really need these 🙂

  • maxi/summer dressesdress

I usually wear maxis in our morning walk.  I bought most of my beach dresses at the SM Store.

  • shorts (I have only few pieces —  I will see if I can still add more).
  • summer tops (I also have the old tops I used before)
  • dresses for the occasion

I ordered dresses that i will use for the special dinner with my family using Lazada app. 

BEACH SANDALS/ SLIPPERS

slippers and sandals

I bought few pairs of beach slippers that would be perfect to use while walking in the seashore and strolling.

BOOK

book

Sweet Valley pocketbook

I decided to bring a book just in case I get bored, I have something to read.  This is my fave pocketbook series way back in High School 🙂  I ordered this in 2017 via Amazon but I never get the chance to read this – hopefully in Boracay i will be able to read this.

PLANNER, BLOGGING JOURNAL & VLOGGING CHECKLIST NOTEBOOK

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For me to be organized, I need to have my planner with me  (for the schedules and to do list ) , my blogging journal (this is where I jot down important information that I have to include here in my blog) and lastly, the vlogging checklist (it includes all the necessary things that I have to include in the vlog in proper sequence).

DOCUMENTS

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I bought a  BARBIE plastic envelope @ National Book Store for all our boarding passes and hotel vouchers.  This will keep the papers safe from getting wet.

 

 

 

 

BAGS

sling bags

I ordered a pink beach bag that I ordered from Zalora for our island hopping on the 30th.  I also included a pink sling bag and another one I bought in SM Masinag.

GADGETS

  • Mobile phone, charger and powerbank

I do not have a professional camera yet, I am just using my smartphone powered by Globe to take pictures and videos.  I also use this for business so I really need to have the phone with me everywhere I go.  I also have the monopod and tripod in my bag.

  • Laptop

I bring my lappy with me for posting entries in my blog and this is also used by Shane for her reading app.

MEDICINE

I am now beginning to be health conscious so I will bring my vitamins with me (Vitamin C and ferrous sulfate) and also Strepsils for my voice.

CASH/ATM

Of course, we will be needing cash to buy groceries and pay for the accommodations @ the Ambassador in Paradise Hotel and Alta Vista de Boracay.    

Thanks to Eastwest Dolce Vita Titanium card — I used this to book some flights and purchase from Zalora.

NOTE:  For the complete packing list ,I will be posting my vlog on YouTube and it will be shared on Facebook as well.  I will do the shoot after resting or getting a power nap after checking in.  I will show you what’s inside my pink luggage while I unpack.  Til next post 🙂

Nails Glow @ Xentro Mall Antipolo (Spa Detective Series)

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It’s been a while since I had my last spa treatment–that was before my summer Boracay trip last year.  I missed the skin pampering and destressing sessions I had when I wasn’t that busy yet.  Now, I have health issues and even if I have the time, I feel sooooo lazy to go to a spa and destress.

Oh well, Xentro Mall Antipolo was just built few months ago and it’s just walking distance from our place in Mambugan, Antipolo City (across Josefina Subdivision).   Now, it’s very convenient for me everytime I want to have my nails get polished and have a body scrub or foot spa, it’s just few somersaults away!

 

AMBIANCE: (4 stars) Very relaxing and clean.  Colorful and modern furnishings are pleasing to the eyes.  You will also be relaxed by the music as you enter the place.

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SPACE:  The space for foot and hand treatments are just for 5-6 pax and I won’t bother to come in if the place is already full with customers. They just have two small rooms for waxing, massage, facial treatment and body scrub.  They have a common CR where staff and customers use.

SERVICE:

FOOT SPA:  5 stars – I super love their premium foot spa for only P250.

MANI/PEDICURE:  3.5 stars- Probably, I just didn’t like the nail polish shades they have.

BODY SCRUB:  1 star- I wasn’t satisfied with the body scrub I had because I expected this to be done in almost an hour.  I would still go for Z Spa and Soulscape’s body scrub.  After the treatment, I didn’t feel anything special with my skin.

I wanted to try their facial treatment but it is kinda expensive.

PRICE:  3.5 stars – The premium foot spa is worth the price but the other services are overpriced.  It is not even inside a hotel.

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Because I’m a CERTIFIED SPA DETECTIVE, I am committed in giving you my honest opinion based from my experience.

SUGGESTIONS:

1. Create affordable packages that the customers won’t be able to resist.

2.  Offer tea/refreshments to the customers especially those who would avail the spa services/treatments.

3.  Renovate the small rooms and restroom.

This is all for now since I haven’t tried their other services yet.  If ever you would like to visit them at the 2nd level of Xentro Mall Antipolo in Mambugan, Antipolo City, look for Berly.  Everytime I wanted to have a foot spa or mani/pedi service, I look for her– she’s good 🙂

FREEZE! The Toxic Month Update

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Hello, dear readers!  Ever since the month started, I haven’t had any opportunity to squeeze my precious time for beauty, destressing, staycation, fitness and pigging out sessions– it’s because I’m loaded with paperworks in school.  Next week will be even more toxic because we will start computing the grades and more paperworks to submit.

 

I already have anticipated this scenario that’s why I went to Fitness first on February 28 and asked the reception to have my March on freeze because I won’t be able to go to the club for the whole month.  I did the same thing for April so for two months, I will have my fitness routine and diet on my own.

It might take some time before I will have another blog post but I promise to give you updates as soon as I have finished everything on the first week of April.  Probably before April 6,  I will have my hair treatment, foot spa, manicure and pedicure session @ the salon to reward myself.  After that, I have two months of work and play 🙂  Vacation galore so I will spend my time to bond with my family.  It will start on April 19 for my daughter’s 11th birthday celebration @ Edsa Shangri-la.

Next will be the much-awaited 6-day Boracay 2018 special from April 29 to May 4, 2018.  I will be having a detailed review of Fairways and Bluewater Newcoast, Azalea Boracay and Estacio Uno Resort.  Please wait for my update because I will be sharing my Boracay 2018 packing list as soon as I have the time.  I am now in the process of sorting old and brand new swimsuits and ordering summer outfits.

I mentioned work and play earlier— of course, I need to work even on vacation.  Aside from being a public school teacher,  I am also managing SMART TUTEE In-Home Tutorials, On April 23, 2018 and May 7, 2018, SMART TUTEE will be screening in-home tutors for the following areas:  QC, Antipolo, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Cainta and Marikina.  We will be in the Linden Suites from 10 am to 12 nn to screen applicants.  Interested applicants may send their resumes to screening@smarttutee.net.

On May 8, I will also be in Holiday Inn for a staycation and will be visiting our new Smart Tutee office in Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas.  Starting May 18 also, we will be accepting registration in our new office for SY 2018-2019 and will screen tutor applicants.

I don’t know if I can still manage to feature or review hotels, spas and restaurants for April and May but I would love to do so 🙂  Please drop me a short message in my email for collab.  I will only take some time to rest this month but I promise to give you guys new updates soon!  Til next post, dear readers!

 

5 Hours of Pampering: A Comprehensive Review of Golden Leaf Health Spa

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Black White Detective Murder Mystery Invitation

Welcome to the first review of my SPA DETECTIVE series.  As promised, I will give you a comprehensive review of the Golden Leaf Health Spa in Marcos Highway, Pasig City and ta-da!  Here it is!  If you will come from Masinag Market and you will go to Cubao, you will notice the sign at the right side. The spa is on the 3rd floor of the Semicon Bldg. (just before you reach Ayala Feliz Mall).

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A few days ago, I booked for body scrub and deep cleansing facial by texting their number.  The receptionist has successfully confirmed my booking for yesterday’s treatment at 11am.   Because I knew that I had to be on time, I even texted them while I was on my way to the spa– I got no reply.   When I reached the third floor, I thought that I had opened the glass door by mistake because it looks like an abandoned place, then I saw the Golden Leaf Spa sign– I was relieved that I came to the right place.   I was expecting that they knew about my appointment, but there was no receptionist when I came.  There were two ladies who entertained me and it was strange that they do not know about the services and packages that they offer.  They had to verify by calling the receptionist about the packages.

My first impression:  The reception area was just fine, but not that impressive.  In the metro area, I should say Z Spa has the coziest and most relaxing ambiance so far.  The place was big though, and I was excited to explore it.  There were decorations and floral arrangements, but the furnishings and accents are not as modern as what Z Spa and Soulscape Spa use.  Well, I knew that i couldn’t judge just because of the first impression and I waited patiently to find out more if I would enjoy the experience.

While the two ladies (which I found out to be food servers) were contacting the receptionist, they ushered us to the dining room area where they turned on the television and offered us glasses of iced tea and mini siopao.

After drinking the complimentary refreshments, Ms. Ruth ushered us to the Female Sanctuary wherein the wet area is located.  The place reminds me of Baguio City wherein the furnishings are quite old and worn-out, but I must commend them for having a wet area which is FREE usage in most of the services and packages that they offer.  Actually, that is what I am looking for in a hotel or fitness club– a functional wet area.  We were given the locker key and she assisted me with the use of the steambath, sauna and jacuzzi.

In the locker, there was a pair of old gold robe and shorts, old white towel, a bottle of mineral water, a pair of blue slippers and a mint.

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The place needs a TOTAL RENOVATION and MAKE-OVER as well as UPGRADE in everything that they use in the spa.  Theres should be new and fresh towels and linens.    In the wet area, there is one toilet, 3 shower areas, steambath, sauna and a jacuzzi.

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the vanity

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the shower area

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When I arrived at 11 am, I was the only one there so I had the wet area only to myself.  After almost ten minutes in the steambath and sauna, I had a hot shower and used the jacuzzi!  The good news is that I was the first one also to use it 🙂

After few minutes, I talked to Ms. Percy, their supervisor/manager and clarified about the service I booked.  Originally, I booked for body scrub ala carte for P650 and deep cleansing facial for P350–that already includes the wet area usage.  What I wanted was to find out if they have other packages close to my budget.  If I will use a private room, which I really wanted because of privacy, I need to add P300 and the total bill that I have to settle is P1300.  I was informed that there is a package amounting to P1499 which includes 24k facial plus body scrub and usage of private jacuzzi.  (I was thinking that it would be practical to avail this since I will just add P200).  My mind was already set that I will be having that package instead.  I knew that I only had the jacuzzi for myself that time, but there might be customers who will use the wet area in a while, and I will have NO MORE privacy at all.

When I was already prepared for the body scrub, I was confused because they led me to a room with a curtain.  I was thinking that I would be in the private room, but I also thought that probably, they a room intended only for body scrub. In my mind, I knew there was something wrong already because if I chose a private room with private jacuzzi, why don’t they let me use the room for the body scrub so I can have my privacy?

Because it was already past 12nn, I decided to eat first.  We had our unlimited dimsum which was also included in the package.  We had bowl of goto and glass of iced tea.  They have food servers to assist you with the food and drinks.

After lunch, we went back to the Maple room and I was surprised to see what they are using in their body scrub.

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Oats and Milk Body Scrub

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Oats and milk body scrub

According to Leah, our therapist, they use oats and milk to moisturize the skin, leaving it soft and smooth after the treatment.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t itchy and Ms. Leah made me feel comfortable also.  I was advised to go to the steambath and sauna again after the body scrub treatment for a better effect in my skin.  I dipped in the jacuzzi and while I was enjoying, a customer came to the wet area.  I inquired about the private room with private jacuzzi that I availed earlier.  I was aghast when I was told that I won’t be using a private jacuzzi and there was no private room either.  That particular moment, I was about to explode, but I controlled myself.  Honestly, though the place is quite old, I like their wet area and the private jacuzzi and bath tub.  I was about to complain because I was really upset how they were disorganized–suddenly, Ms. Percy appeared and told me that she already prepared the private jacuzzi.

When I asked about the facial (because I was expecting that I will have the 24k facial for 1 hour, she told me it’s the same a la carte deep cleansing facial that i will have in a few minutes and because I added a private jacuzzi, I will just settle only P1300.  It was like, “Oh no! What the hell are you talking about?  A while ago, I already told you what i wanted.  I emphasized the word PRIVACY!   How can you be guys that disorganized?”   (I was only yelling at them mentally) Probably, she could have sensed that I was getting impatient, she left to check their packages and told me that in the P1499, the inclusions are the following:  body scrub, deep cleansing facial, hot milk bath, full body massage and private room.  Only in that particular moment, we have understood each other.  As much as I wanted to complain, I didn’t ruin my day anymore– the fact that the reason I was there was to destress.  We were ushered to the Bamboo room, and prepared for our hot milk bath.

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In the room, there were two beds intended for couple.  There was no door to isolate the toilet.  It’s just an open space wheiren the bath tub and shower area is located with dividers for the lavatory and watercloset.    I had the milk bath for about 20 minutes (next time, I will have it loooonger).   It was the best hot bath I had so far and I will have it again in my next visit.

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After the hot milk bath, I went to the facial area for my deep cleansing facial.  It only lasted for less than 30 minutes.  Honestly, the P350 is not worth it 😦  I would love to try the 24k Facial next time.

After the facial, I went back to the Bamboo room and got ready for the massage.  I only requested to have a back massage and Shane availed of the remaining minutes left.

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I enjoyed the massage, it was too relaxing.  In other spas, you won’t feel relaxed.  On the contrary, it looks like you were beaten after the treatment.   Thanks to Leah for listening well.

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After the treatment, I asked Ms. Hazel, the receptioinst for a cup of coffee in the dining area.  I was expecting her to order the servers to prepare that for me since in Soulscape Spa,  the receptionist request the hot tea/water over the phone as well as the treatments to be pfrepared.  I was even more astounded when Ms. Hazel prepared the cup of coffee herself and gave us bowls of goto, siomai and siopao.  She even served the other guests.

I remembered Ms. Leah told me earlier during our massage treatment that all the staff that I see are also massage therapists including the janitress and food servers.

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Ms. Hazel

MY VERDICT:

I was satisfied with the body scrub, facial, massage and wet area, BUT there are few things that they need to improve.

  1.  The staff should be knowledgeable about their spa packages.  They should be coordinated as well.
  2. The receptionist should be there in the opening to welcome the guests.
  3. Since they own the place, they should renovate it and give a modern and more relaxing ambiance plus an upgrade of the furnishings and almost everything in the spa.
  4. Add more food in their unlimited dimsum.
  5. The staff should be professional in dealing with customers.

Though I was quite disappointed, I will come back 🙂  Why?

GOOD POINTS

  1.  The place is spacious enough.
  2.  They have unlimited dimsum included already when you availed of their packages/services.
  3. They have free usage of wet area (jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna).
  4. They have private jacuzzi and bath tub in the private room.
  5. Their spa packages are reasonably priced.

I definitely recommend Golden Leaf Spa; however, clarify the service that you avail to avoid confusion.

GOLDEN LEAF HEALTH SPA

3/F Semicon Bldg., Marcos Highway, Pasig City

0917-3323378

 

 

 

Certified Spa Detective 2018 Part I

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Yes, I admit that I am beginning to be a spa addict.  With my stressful work, I really need to destress and pamper myself.  I just had this realization recently and it’s true that if you love and give time to yourself, you will feel better and will be more productive.

Ever since, I had dry skin and ever since I had the body scrub in Z Spa and my dead skin cells were removed, there is an improvement with my skin.  And because I already have established my beauty routine, I really need to give my skin a treat every two weeks.   What I need is body scrub for  and facial to achieve that youthful glow.  I need a radiant skin for my Boracay trip on April 29-May 4, 2018.

As a journalist and spa detective, I know that I have to give my honest opinion (based from my own experience) and it is my obligation to provide you also with facts and helpful information.  I will start this year of comprehensive reviews of different spas.  My aim here is to suggest and recommend treatments suited for the readers and also to warn them if ever the service is terrible.

Here is the tentative list of the spas that I will review this 2018.

1. Golden Leaf Health Spa (Marcos Highway, Cainta, Rizal)

This weekend, I will have my review of Golden Leaf Health Spa located in Marcos Highway, Cainta, Rizal.  I have learned that they have a wet area and that’s quite interesting.  Other spas don’t have jacuzzi and they have a plus point for that.  I still have to check whether their service is excellent and the place is well maintained and of course— a relaxing ambiance.  I have to see and experience for myself.  If you see posts of Golden Leaf Health Spa in Instagram, TBIP Facebook Page and here in WordPress until April 2018, it seems I found the perfect spa for me.

2.  Chi, The Spa at Edsa Shangri-la (Ortigas Center, Pasig)

We have booked a suite for my daughter’s birthday celebration in Edsa Shangrila on April 19, so this is the opportunity for me to hit their fitness center and experience their spa.  I will update you guys if it’s worth the money or just a waste of time.

3.  Terra Wellness Spa (Boracay)

I already booked myself for their Beauty and Bliss (massage and facial package) on May 3.  I am quite curious if Terra Wellness is comparable to Tirta Spa so I might as well try to find out.

4.  Tirta Spa (Boracay)

 

I’ve been here last summer and so far, it was the best that I have visited.  During that time though, I had their massage and Biodroga facial.  This time, I would like to try the body scrub and their wet area.

This post will be updated for additional spas that I will be visiting for the entire year.  Since this a review, please expect that i will have my HONEST opinions featuring positive and negative feedback about their service.

Last Weekend Accomplishments (Jan 2018)

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Last week, I wrote about my weekend plans and it’s more on the beauty and destressing sessions.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go the fitness club because of my busy chedule.  I have signed up for an 18-month membership contract with Fitness First, but now I’ve ralized that it’s totally a waste of time and money.  It’s good enough if I will be able to squeeze a once per week visit to the club, but this January, I only visited twice.  It could have been better if I just purchased a treadmill so I can work out at home– but the thing is that I do not have enough money to buy one yet.  My PT suggested that I should downgrade my plan after 6 months so that my expenses will be reduced as well.

As for the destressing session, I was scheduled for the relaxing Volcanic Hot Stone Massage last Friday, so it was a perfect TGIF Spa Day for me 🙂

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After the stressful week, everybody deserves to have a Soulscape Destressing session.  The moment I entered the reception area, I felt at home already. (Special thanks to the accommodating receptionists Ella & Rose).  I think they have an idea already that I missed the sauna session last time so they asked me if I wanted a sauna and hot shower.  Because I know that one of sauna’s benefits is to cleanse the skin, I was too excited to head in the sauna area.  After few minutes, Ms. Shine (the assigned therapist) led us the Couple VIP Room.    I took a selfie first before taking a hot shower.

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Inside the bathroom where toiletries are available for the clients

 

I felt relaxed with the heat inside the sauna for 10 minutes.  After that, I drank the cold water and wiped my face with the cold towel.  When we went back to the room, Ms, Shine prepared and heated the stones for my treatment.  Volcanic Hot Stone Massage is different from the other types of massages because it requires skill in handling the stones.  In most cases, not all therapists are skilled with the Hot Stone Massage because they are scared in holding the hot stones.  Fortunately, Ms. Shine is good and very professional with this kind of massage.

While she was heating the stones, I was informed that she won’t put the stones directly in my skin as there is a tendency for it to be burned and damaged.  She started with a back massage that includes a little stretching and I savored every moment of it.  It was a total relief to feel the hot stones in every part of my body including in between the toes and my fingers as well.

According to my therapist, Ms. Shine, the benefits of hot stone massage is to help with the blood circulation, relieve stress and promote sleep.  At the last part of the treatment, when she was massaging my head with oil, I fell asleep but she woke me up after she has finished with the massage.  She knew probably that I might be able to spend until morning there and they need to close at 2am.  (Revelation:  At home, I got a good night sleep and was able to wake up the following day at past 7am already!) 

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After trying various kinds of massages, I should say that Volcanic Hot Stone Massage is one of my favorites along with the Soulscape Signature Anti-Stress Massage.

After getting dressed up, I was offered a glass of warm water and a piece of cookie.

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I felt relaxed after the treatment

For those who would like to book for a 90 minute Volcanic Hot Stone Massage for only P799 @ Soulscape Marcos Highway, you may call 0906 328 5939.

After my destressing session with Soulscape, my weekend wasn’t complete without my hair treatment and foot spa.  I wasn’t comfortable with my hair because it was totally damaged and very dry.  When I visited David’s Salon, my stylist wasn’t there but they accommodated me and I wasn’t informed that my hair couldn’t be rebonded at this time yet, but we can have a Keratin treatment.  Because I was too desperate, I had the 1 1/2 hour hair treatment.

 

 

While waiting,  I had foot spa with pedicure (P550) and manicure (P180).

 

My daughter Shane also had a haircut for her new look for P250.

 

David’s Salon’s Hair Keratin treatment is P4500 and it comes with a free Keratin Masque that you can use to maintain your hair (twice a week use is advised).

Note:  This February, I will feature some interesting things to do with your other half or sweetheart.  Watch out for my next post about my Valentine Date with hubby.  Ta-ta and Happy Feb-ibig month!