TBIP Summer Fashion Blog Coming Up

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   Photos By:  Aldrin Quisay

Note:  These photos were taken in Baguio City last December 2016.

           Hey there!  It’s been a while since I updated this site.   I will be featuring my summer outfits for a 4-day adventure in Boracay next week.  Watch out for the contents of my pink luggage  (from dresses, tees and shorts, swimsuits to active wear).   


Formal Fashion in Karimadon

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            I’ve seen and heard of this boutique a lot of times and probably been there for few times, but I never bought anything there.  My first impression was– EXPENSIVE.  As a fashionista, I don’t only consider the appearance and quality of my outfits;  I also consider my budget in buying my clothes and accessories.
               Last month, we were damn busy that I didn’t really have the time to shop for our school’s big event.
           It’s just recently when we had a pageant in our school that we, English teachers, had to buy either black, silver or gold dress for the said event.  I finally got the chance to own a classic black dress from Karimadon because my co-teacher informed us that she bought a dress around P500 there.  If I didn’t know about the price tag, I wouldn’t have been there!  I never thought that it would be that affordable.  I saw the dresses- they are in different categories.  You can have the brand-new dresses or gowns at around P3k to P4k.  There are discounted dresses (20% to 50% off).  Because I was in a tight budget, I settled for the discounted items.  I actually bought two dresses- the first one was meant to be worn in the pageant (worth P1,800) and the black tube dress for the MNHS Socialization Night (worth P380).
The usherettes in the MNHS Ultimate Divergent 2016
                                    It was really worth the price because I got praises from the people around me that I looked great in my dress– it was simple yet elegant and most of all AFFORDABLE.   As a satisfied customer, I went there again after a week for my cousin’s debut.  I was supposed to be one of the emcees so I decided to buy another one.  The latest I bought was too simple but i found it classy.  There are no diamond studs or other stones to adorn the dress, just an off-white lace and my body to give shape to the long fitted dress.  I always believe that no matter how simple your dress is, the thing that matters is how you will bring life into it.
I bought the dress for less than P2000!
with the Grade 8 Teachers
with the English Department
with the TEAM BARBIE
                   The surprise I got the following day after the MNHS Socialization night was an award- who would’ve thought I would won Miss Fashionista for Grade 8?  I was not too confident of my figure yet because it’s still holiday season and I would be dead serious in losing weight AFTER New Year.  Wow, this is the start of my inspiration (to get a summer-ready body).  
                   To those who are looking for formal dreses/gowns, I highly recommend Karimadon.  They have branches in Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall and Robinsons Metro East.

Hysteria in Astoria

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         I booked Astoria Plaza in Ortigas Center, Pasig City last October for our 14th wedding anniversary because the rate seemed reasonable and I was curious as well because I’ve been offered for their club membership twice already when I was in Boracay.  Since the membership fee is sky-high, I was expecting something grand. I have done my research about this place through reading blogs and reviews. Some people were satisfied– some were not, but then since we are entitled to our own opinions, I have decided to at least give it a try and discover for myself.
       When we have arrived there, we were openmouthed  when the front desk officer asked us to deposit P3,000 in cash. I just brought 1k because my funds in the ATM are still in current and I couldn’t withdraw the money. All I have are my credit cards which I can use in case of emergency.  I was thankful because my hubby brought cash with him– if not, we couldn’t have stayed there.  I have booked through Agoda so I didn’t know that I should bring cash.  (I think information about this should be crystal clear in both the official website and other booking sites).  Of course, everybody prefers a hassle-free staycation and this incident really irked me, but I have tried to keep calm and just enjoy.



         We waited for less than 30 minutes for check-in and while we were waiting, we watched guests come and go.  Most of them are wearing shorts.  (I thought wearing of shorts is not allowed in all public areas)  Prior to our check-in, I have called the customer service hotline to confirm about their dress code.  I was informed that only smart casual attire is allowed in their cafe, but we can wear jeans in the public areas.  I asked if we can wear shorts, the answer is NO.  I didn’t know that time if I would burst into laughter or confront the receptionists because of anger and disappointment.  I just thought that probably, they have modified their dress code rules– well, if that’s the case, an updated information should be posted in their website.
         After more or less 30 minutes of waiting, I was given the keycard and the check-in info sheets  (info about the WIFI password  and schedule of shuttle services). We were expecting somebody to assist us and lead us into our room and help us with our luggages, but NOBODY approached us.  (In Fernandina Suites- a 3 star hotel, there was somebody who escorted us to our room and we were given welcome drinks).  So we had no choice but to head to the elevator and find the room on our own.   


            We booked for one bedroom suite which was just right for us (2 adults and a nine-year old kid. It was neat and very organized, but if you will examine the wall coverings, you can trace that the hotel is quite old. Though the wall cover needs an upgrade, as well as some of the furnishings, I like the concept about utilizing mirrors (to make the room look spacious).



        A clearbook with detailed information about their services and number of items in the room was there in the table found in the bedroom.  






          I also like the toilet design as well as the good quality of the linens and curtains. Airconditioning is okay 🙂  We were comfortable during our stay.  I just noticed that they don’t have a comforter. They have a closet with hangers, ironing board and iron and a hair dryer in their toilet.



                        The one-bedroom suite comes with a kitchen where you can cook your own food; however, if you bring a lot, you have to pay for a corkage fee.  This is good if you intend to have a small party for the family.  There are cookwares and kitchen utensils that you can use.  The dining room is also spacious and relaxing.



        We also like their bathroom.  Their design is really cool- such a space saver.   With regards to freebies, they just have a small shampoo and lotion, and 2 pcs. of dental kits. I have read in a review about the mystery of the missing towels, so I counted the towels when we arrived. It seems I knew that we would have a problem with the check-out process.    



       I didn’t want to spoil everything so have used the amenities such as the pool and the fitness center.  We went to the gym after inspecting the assigned room to us.  




           The pool was quite okay and the staff are consistent in implementing the rules and regulations. They take the details such as the registered guest and the number of persons in the room. Also, they advise the guests to take a shower first before swimming. Only swimming attires are allowed.



 The lap pool

Shane in the Kiddie Pool

                Mother and daughter in the lounge chairs

          Another thing that made us disappointed is that we were not able to avail of their FREE shuttle service because the time when I have texted them, they claimed, service was already full.  We spent P70 or more for the one-way fare from the hotel to Robinson’s Galleria.  Also, the free WIFI for 2 devices was useless.  We used our internet data just to update our FB status and upload photos. 

         One thing I had to commend them though, is their customer service staff.  I called when the television in our room wasn’t working and the customer service representative sent a guy to fix our unit.  After it was repaired, the customer service representative called to make sure that our television is working.  


 Our view from our window

             Before we went to the cafe for our free breakfast, I had called their front desk officer about the 9 year old child with us if she will pay half of the rate.  According to them, she has to pay the full amount.  Because we had a problem with cash at that time, I asked also if I can use credit card to pay for the bill.  I was relieved when they confirmed that they accept credit card as payment.  



        I wasn’t surprised when we had encountered a problem when we were about to check out. The front desk officer asked me where could I possibly placed a hand towel that was missing. I insisted that the towels were all in the bathroom. After few minutes of waiting, we were relieved that we were able to get our full refund of our deposit.  



             Should I recommend Astoria Plaza?  Why not, but be guided with my tips.


1.  Bring P3,000 for cash deposit in your check-in.

2.  Bring a pocket-WIFI because the FREE wifi is useless.  

3.  Count the towels and if possible, have somebody from their staff to count them.  

 4.  Call their front desk staff in advance to book for their shuttle service in advance.  

 5.  You may bring shorts and jeans.  They are not strict in the cafe.          

6.  Bring your ATM cards, credit cards and as much as possible EXTRA CASH in case of emergency.  

The Travel Blogger in Pink’s Rating:  


Note:  I have received a phone call on November 14, 2016 from their front office manager apologizing about the experience I had.  I appreciate that effort 🙂


Should I Stay in Camp John Hay?

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         Last summer, I received an invitation to blog about The Manor and Forest Lodge in Camp John Hay, so when I decided to go to Baguio City to chill before I finally get back to work, I made it a point to visit this attraction.   I thought that was a great opportunity to share my experience to the public — to give them an idea what to expect if ever they will visit the place.


        Whenever we go to Baguio, ever since I was a kid, we always visit here, that’s why I was too excited to go there and get the chance to dicover and explore so I can share it to the world.  The view was still as relaxing as before, but as a traveller, I have considered few, but important things.  I do NOT own a car, that’s why I use a cab to travel.  Expect to have higher fare when going to CJH and worse, you need to have a very long walk in order for you to explore the different attractions there.  It is advisable to at least have your own car/service when going there.  We waited for eternity and had a loooooong walk before we finally got back to our hotel.  

                 Our first stop was the Bell House.  When I was a kid, I’ve been there and all I knew then was that the had a great significance to the lives of the Americans who lived here, but honestly, i don’t know about the details.  Since it is open to the public, I think the visitors should be educated about this place.  The info written there is not enough– people won’t spare much of their time to read those.  As we explore the place, I find it creepy, just like the way I felt when I was in the Teacher’s Camp.  

                 We decided to take a walk and looked for a rest room because my daughter wanted to take a pee.  At last, we found a restroom in the abandoned building, seemed abandoned, but you have to pay (I forgot if we paid P2 or 5).  

                  While we were walking, hoping that we can go to the new shops where we can buy imported goods, we easily got exhausted and all we wanted that time was to go to the hotel and rest.  I saw The Manor , a hotel that I considered when I was looking for a place to stay in Baguio– the building is already old and creepy.  The price per night was also not practical, and I made the right choice of sticking with Microtel because staying in CJH it’s too far from the other attractions in the city.  You won’t be comfortable unless you have your private car/service.  I actually didn’t enjoy going there– I was bored to death.  Instead of going to SM to dine, I just opted to stay inside the hotel and had room service to feel comfortable.  

Note:  I came back just this December 2016 with my co-teachers and son.  We were six and cabs won’t let you ride if you are in a group of more than four.  Luckily, we had the cab but our 3 friends waited for more than an hour and they weren’t able to get any cab.  They just walked from CJH to Victory Liner (near Microtel Baguio).  It was indeed a horrible experience for them and I was thankful that we were able to get the ride or else we could have experienced the same 😦



1.  Make sure to have your own service/car so you’d be able to explore the whole place.  Prepare your P2k to P3k.  Most of the taxi drivers ask for P350 per hour.

2.  Try the picnic grounds with your family and friends.  This is a cool and inexpensive alternative for having lunch with your family. 

3.  Do not expect much–as there is nothing new (except for the few stores), but still boring.  Because we didn’t have our own service, we weren’t able to go to different stores.  I would really like to go to the Duty Free Shop to buy some stuff.

4. Consider booking other hotels (closer to the other attractions).  I highly recommend the following hotels:  Microtel Baguio and La Silvina Hotel in Outlook Drive.


            I personally don’t recommend this place especially if you are with senior citizens or kids.  

A Must-Try Budget-Friendly Hotel in Baguio

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   Before the opening of classes last June, I made it a point to book for a 3-day stay in Baguio City- a place where I can unwind and forget all the stress.  After days of extensive research, I settled for Microtel Inn & Suites primarily because of its location– it is very accessible to public transport.  I like the modern design though it is not as big as the other hotels.  I can say that our whole sleeping nights were peaceful because there was nothing creepy with the place and no disturbing noise either.  


            What I really love about their 2 queen beds room (though it’s kinda small) is that its is airconditioned.  Other hotels in Baguio don’t have a fan and aircon.  Their bedsheets and comforters are not itchy as well.  It was very relaxing to watch TV when you were exhausted to stroll the whole day.


the daybed

            Another thing that I LOVE is their UNLIMITED COFFEE, water station and free Wifi in the lobby.  They have a water container and glasses inside the room which I find very practical because you don’t have to stock drinks anymore.  Fortunately, we occupied room 207 which is near the lobby so I have an easy access to the coffee station and wifi as well.    



         They also provide a lot of clean towels in the restroom.  They have hot and cold shower, bidet, hair dryer and basic toiletries.  I just hope that next time they will include conditioner.  One thing they have to change also is their tiles which are kinda old already.  


            Overall, I can say that I am pleased with their service.  Even the daily breakfast was close to perfection.  There were variety of choices and we really enjoyed the food, that’s why we decided to have a room service for dinner.  Unexpectedly, they messed up and made me wait for less than 3 hours.  They have apologized and I saw their effort in making up with that mistake.  It was actually their partner restaurant’s fault (Te Quiero) , but unfortunately, it also reflects to the hotel’s service as well. and I hope that next time they will see to it that they cater to each guest’s request before they say yes.


Should I recommend Microtel?  Yes, because the room rates are very affordable, yet you are comfortable.  I just hope that the management will do something about their guests’ requests.  


The Best Chicken & Pizza in Town

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          A week ago, I was searching for an Italian restaurant in Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City– it was actually my second day in the area when I discovered Red Buffalo Wings and Pizza. I  am a certified pizza and pasta lover that’s why I always crave for pizza.  A small and cozy restaurant was inviting us to come in, but we were hesitant at first.   Before we finally decide to enter, Hubby and I checked the prices on the glass wall.  Hubby decided to order the original hot buffalo wings (single -5 pieces) and Royal soda in can (P165) — he just chose the original though there is still the X-hot and Suicidal.  I settled for the three-cheese garlic pizza and iced tea (P295).



             We went to the second floor since the main floor was already full, yet we despised the long waiting time. .  There were vacant tables, but in just a span of minutes, they were all filled with people.  It took us eternity before we had our lunch. That time, I was in a rush since I had a bank transaction. Later on, we have figured out why it took them so long to serve the food– they had limited number of service crew– only two to be exact–the chef and the cashier. We just about burst into laughing when it was the cashier who served the food to us. They need to hire more individuals so they would have the capacity to serve their customers faster.



         When my pizza was served, I forgot about the time. I love its garlicky and cheesy taste that I totally forgot also that I’m on a diet.  Hubby’s original hot buffalo wings was truly fabulous–tender, vinegary, yet succulent.  I wonder how spicy it was if we have tried the X-hot or Suicidal buffalo wings (I will definetely try it next time!)  

        The restaurant is certainly a hit to people from all ages and class.  People go there not only to dine, but to bond or conduct meetings as well.  


         Though I don’t have any complain about the food, there are  minimal issues that they have to resolve.  

1.  Pizza is best served with hot sauce. (During my visit, they didn’t have any stock).  They have a condiment station where the disposable gloves and other condiments are placed; however, they need to ensure that there are sufficient stocks/supplies for the customers.

2.  They need to hire additional crew to ensure quality and efficient service.

3.  The restroom should be available to the customers. 


            Will I still recommend Red Buffalo Wings and Pizza? For the divine pizza that I have tasted–a BIG YES.  I will definitely go back and try their X-hot or Suicidal Buffalo Wings and other dishes as well.

A Showcase of Philippine Cuisine in Eastwood

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         Have you tried to explore Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City?  Let me share about my dining experience in MESA Filipino Moderne yesterday.  After getting exhausted because of our loooong walk and hours of waiting, we searched for an affordable restaurant for our late lunch. We hopped from one building to another until we ended in Eastwood Mall. I was actually looking for an Italian restaurant for pizza, but because of stress and hunger, all I wanted to do is to satisfy my stomach.  Finally, we stopped by and I was relaxed with the breezy and homey atmosphere— it’s as if the place was inviting me to check it out. I fell in love with the restaurant’s exceptional interior design and elegant furnishings.  I said, “Wait, let us ask for the menu.”
                  The prices were very affordable.  I had Chicken BBQ Honey Patis (P165)  and a glass of pineapple juice (P65) while hubby had Grid Liempo (195) and Bottomless Lemonade (P70).  Rice is not included so we paid P40 per order. The total amount that we settled is just P575– not bad at all.
             While we were waiting, the waiter handed us a glass of water.  We were fascinated like a child, examining the shape of the glass carefully.  It can be compared to the “Leaning Tower of Pisa.”  In terms of service, I can say that it was close to perfection.  The waiters and waitresses were courteous and very efficient.  We didn’t wait too long for the food to be served.
Drinks were served first– I was quenched and delighted with my pineapple juice.  It was made out of real pineapple (I can tell if it is just concentrated juice).  Most of the hotels serve concentrated pineapple juice in their free breakfast.  Contrary to my satisfaction though, hubby was not contented with his bottomless lemonade.  I have tasted it and he was right– the lemonade was not made out of real lemon, but the concentrated one.  We just thought that probably it’s because it’s bottomless, that’s why they just settled with that kind. 
    The chicken bbq was palatable, though the presentation looked appetizing.  I was expecting for the juicy taste, but it was insipid.  
  Hubby had the same experience– his liempo was also dull.  I don’t have an idea if it goes also for the rest of the food in the menu, or it just happened that it didn’t suit our taste and preferences.  
                        Overall, I couldn’t say that it was a terrible experience, but not satisfying either.  The welcoming atmosphere is their advantage and it is indeed a wonderful experience to find out that there are still restaurants like Mesa that showcase Filipino dishes.  They offer variety of food appetizers, meat, soup, salad, seafood, vegetables and noodles.  
Note:  This review was based from the food that we have ordered.  It doesn’t apply for the other dishes in their menu.  

Cattleya Resort: A Classy Private Resort in Antipolo

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                   If you are looking for a classy private pool, I highly recommend CATTLEYA RESORT.  It is located in Sitio Ibabaw, San Roque, Antipolo City (near Loreland Resort) .  Last year, we celabrated my daughter’s 8th birthday there and I’m glad that we did..  The place is like a village with private pools.  We didn’t have a hard time looking for our reserved pool (PATRICIA ) as they have the names with the pool number outside.
             Patricia 8 is the most affordable pool in the resort because the other pools cost around P10-12,000;  however it can only accommodate up to 12 people.  Since we were only seven, the place was just enough for us.  Upon enetering the gate, the utility man told us to be careful and just let the kid swim in the shallow part of the pool.  The water was clean (obviously, they have maintained the pool’s cleanliness for their customers).
                                                           The barbeque area
                    Patricia 8 was only opened to the public on March 2015—everything in the place was NEW.  Their rate  (P4,500) is reasonable enough because the place has everything you can ask for.  It has a kitchen where you can cook your own food, barbecue area and tables where you can prepare and eat your food.  It’s convenient because they also have a refrigerator where you can store your food and drinks.
         The use of videoke machine (with latest songs)  is already ncluded in the package.  The only thing they don’t have is a private bedroom where the customers can take a nap or rest, but it’s fine because they provided 3 folding beds where we put our bags and stuff and rest at the same time.  My daughter and my baby were able to use them when they took a nap.
                   My kids really enjoyed the pool– I just convinced them to step out of the water during lunchtime.  If the driver won’t pick us up at 5pm, they would have stayed.  
They let us use the jacuzzi for one hour.
I am really glad and SATISFIED that I have chosen CATTLEYA RESORT.  It is really recommended to do extensive research before you make any booking.  Impulsive bookings create terrible experiences.  
POSITIVE SIDE:  very clean, approachable staff, excellent customer service
For those who would like to check this out, here are the details:
Mobile number:  0917-8169759

The Negative Side of Being a Blogger

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                   Being a blogger is not an easy task– it requires HONESTY so that you won’t give your readers the false impression and details.  I create my blogs to inform them based from MY EXPERIENCES.  Part of being a travel blogger is also being a part of the Tripadvisor community (I also write to give my honest reviews of hotels, restaurants and attractions).  Before I have joined TA as a contributor, I read reviews before I decide to book a hotel, so it was really amazing because now, it’s my turn to help the readers by writing GENUINE and HONEST reviews.
            After a week of my vacation in Boracay, I got the shock of my life when a staff from a hotel I have received a call in my mobile phone about my post in Tripadvisor.  They told me I should have talked to them about my complains (the small room and the malfunctioned aircon)  before I publish my post.  I said we opted not to talk to them anymore and just apologized politely for giving my honest opinion.  What I want them to realize is that reviewers are here NOT to convince other people—we are NOT promoters of those establishments.  I am NOT paid to write fake reviews.  I use my own resources to book hotels, so everything that I post in TA and in my blogs are based from my OWN opinion.  I gave them a link to my website so they can read my more detailed blog about their hotel.  
           Here is my purpose why I review hotels/resorts:  
1.  To help the management identify what they need to improve and conceptualize ways on how they can resolve those concerns;
2.  For the management to be aware of their best practices (what do the customers love in their hotel) so they can keep doing those;
 3. To help the readers decide on their next trip      
           So, I think you have figured out by this time what is the negative side of being a hotel reviewer– the management put the blame on YOU when you post something about your bad experience with them.  They should have dealt with the issue professionally.  I have received responses from the management of the other hotels that I have reviewed, but those were professionally written and I believe that they understand that once you are in TA, you should be ready for criticisms—positive or negative.
          With this experience, NOBODY can stop me from writing reviews.  As long as I believe what I do is right and I am not violating any rules, nothing can change my views.  Cheers and more reviews to come!