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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vigan In Less Than 24 Hours Series #2: Our Stay At Vigan Plaza Hotel

This is part 2 of our previous post- Exploring Vigan in Less Than 24 hours. Sharing with you our one-night stay at...

Vigan Plaza Hotel

What did I love about the hotel?

The hotel is at the heart of the city and as such is accessible to most of the MUST SEE spots as well as transportation and shopping areas. Those huge windows provide one with an awesome view of the city and a feel of fresh breeze. The architecture of Vigan Plaza Hotel is reminiscent of the olden times when Spaniards ruled the country. I loved it because it gave me a sense of connection with my ancestors. 

 The room we occupied was a DELUXE room good for four (4) persons and I was satisfied with its cleanliness and its amenities.

The rooms are equipped with electronic key card controlled access, telephone, split-type air-condition, cable TV, toilet and bath with plush of hot and cold water, and classic wood furnishings to adopt to modern day living. (-lifted from Vigan Plaza Hotel's brochure)

My travel buddies and I loved the comfortable king-sized beds with classic carved wooden headboards as well as the wooden floor which the youngest of us had fun sliding on. He stopped pretending to be wearing skateboards and swirling around the room when I aimed my cam. 

The furnishing inside the room took my interest at once, the three mirrored dresser reminded me of my grandma while the "aparador," cabinet in a corner and the chair made me think of my late grandpa and the movie Narnia. I must admit it felt a bit creepy inside because the atmosphere made our imaginations wild when we were about to call it a night. Our youngest buddy wanted the lights off while I wanted them on. We exchanged a few ghost tales and giggles before our eyes got too weary and sleep took over us. Hmmm nope, we did not see any old woman sitting by the chair or a long haired lady by the dresser in case you are curious to know hehehehe. So if you are looking for a creepy adventure, it's not the place to be.

But if tasteful and artsy relaxation is what you need, Vigan Plaza Hotel will satisfy your longing.

There's a mixture of modern luxuries and design in their lobbies and just exploring the whole building would immerse you in the heritage that the city exudes.

The charm of the hotel is in the history that is preserved in its walls and silently engraved on its floors. There is serenity in every corner, and I just wish we could have stayed longer.

The breakfast was superb. I love "Vigan longganisa" so much. The chocolate drink was enough to energize me for traveling back home. The kiddo loved it too! He poured fresh milk on it, stirred and drank like there was no tomorrow. Being in a colonial style atmosphere the choco drink brought to mind a chapter in the book written by our National Hero which eventually instilled patriotism in our fellowmen that led to the country's freedom. I took a snap of a copy of the book in our visit to the museum which I will write in another post. "burp"

Have I mentioned they have courteous and accommodating staff?

We will most certainly love to be back, in a heartbeat!

This isn't a sponsored post, just another happy visitor's honest opinion :)
Please stay tuned for more of our Vigan in less than 24 hours adventure!


~special thanks to friends who made it possible for us to be there~

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Exploring Vigan In Less Than Twenty Four Hours (1st Post in A Series)

Yep, you could have FUN in a short span of time in VIGAN where time freezes back to where horse-drawn carriages were the major means of transportation and cobblestones adorned floors. Last week a friend brought me there and sure thing I had a blast re-exploring The City of Vigan, a world heritage site where Spanish colonial architecture has been preserved.

kalesa in Vigan City

These were the HIGHLIGHTS of our trip. I will share with you detailed posts on each tourist spot in succeeding posts.

1. Our Stay At Vigan Plaza Hotel


2. Riding Horse-Drawn Carriages Around The City


3. Climbing The Bell Tower of Santuario de Nuestra Senora de Caridad


4. Getting a Glimpse of The Past at National Museum- Padre Burgos House


5. Bonding With Mother Nature at The Hidden Garden


6. A Glimpse at Hotel Luna


7. Early Morning Gastronomic Feast- Vigan Longganisa


8. Hunting for Souvenirs and Getting Lost in Time at Heritage Village


 ...and endless wacky poses and memories with my pre-teener watchamakulit!


I think I filled the boy's box of happy memories to the brim, as he had mine more than I can put to words.

~Detailed posts on each place to follow!
~Special thanks to our friend who brought us there, M and to my energetic travel buddies R and G...




Flight Schedule
Via Laoag International Airport
(Manila to Laoag)
PR 916  Mon, Thurs, Saturday 12:00 nn
PR 918 Daily 3:30 pm
 #Cebu Pacific
Daily 7:00 pm 

Phone Numbers of Bus Stations coming from Manila

Pasay: 09173186130
Cubao: 09175727827
Manila: 09178258196
Cubao: 726-7409/ 726-7412/727-3841
Manila: 741-6538
Cubao: 727-2350, 0932-441-2706

Must Have Gadgets For Business Travel

If your definition of glamorous is being stuck inside a four-walled confine in endless meetings, sporting the same outfit four days in a row, and sore-jaw syndrome from smiling all through client dinners when all you really want is to do is soothe your jet-lag with a warm bath, all the while not seeing any of the country you’re traveling to – then yes, business travel IS glamorous. That may have seemed a tad bitter. All-in-all, traveling for business isn’t that bad. It’s actually pretty cool. As someone who frequently lives out of a suitcase, it’s safe to say that I’m finally getting the hang of it. A few things are standard: business travel management companies are still relevant – check out this URL for their benefits, avoid checking your bags unless you absolutely have to, sign up for pre-check in processes, and always have the correct gadgets. Tech gadgets are essentially the key to saving your sanity during a corporate trip, so if you’re new to the world of business travel, or in need of a serious upgrade, here are the top gadgets to add in your carry-on luggage.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Think life is like a box of chocolates? Well, flights are that box of chocolates. Unless you’re lucky enough to be flying business class, you really don’t know what you’re going to get. Screaming or sick babies are at the top of the list (poor things) followed by the first time flier in row 37F, finished with the one person who answers their phone upon descent, ensuing a ridiculous amount of passenger chaos – yes this happened. If you’re on a long haul flight, a good quality set of noise-cancelling headphone will make you oblivious to your surrounds, allowing you to tune out to the soft sounds of your own music or entertainment.

Battery Extenders

I want to you to take a look at your smartphone, tablet, laptop or whatever technology is at your disposal. How much battery life do you have left? Chances are, if it’s after lunch, it would be below half. Not so surprisingly, all that tapping, swiping and cat videos put a huge dent in your battery life, so if you need to be productive during all that down time, it would be a wise investment to purchase a back-up battery.

Personal Wi-Fi

Standard hotels and airports are famous for providing limited or costly internet for users, with rates generally levelling extortionist prices the more fancy the establishment. Four days of hotel Wi-Fi use can send the financial department into a heart-palpitating spin, so you might be better off bringing your own internet. If you’re travelling interstate, grab a Wi-Fi USB that you can use on-the-go as long as there’s cell service. To put things in perspective, one day of hotel internet usage is the same cost as one month of personal internet.

Business and Travel Ready Tablet

Tablets are the all-mighty versatile technological device. Whether you’re drafting up offline emails during your flight, watching a movie, listening to music, using a multitude of business apps, or finalising your power point presentation, the tablet is the one gadget every business traveller can’t live without.
Do you have any items you can’t live without whilst travelling for business? Let us know in the comments below.

Healthy Thoughts: Happy To Serve

Yesterday afternoon I finally received the answer to my heart's desire for change. Apparently my wish was not granted. Initially I was distraught, saddened and in denial. However when I saw hubby's smile and the triumphant Joy on my sons' faces I said "Lord,  not my plan but thy will be done."

As if by stroke of chance or heavenly will I am now at a medical-dental mission where I am in the midst of the most angelic of people and I just feel so blessed and contented to be simply alive and serving kids and old people alike.

Sharing with you my inexplicable happiness today.... thank you Lord for every life you allow me to touch and everyone who selflessly lend me their time whenever I knock....

With kid patients at the medical -dental mission....

...and the wonderful people helping those in need...

...from Korea with love...

The Art Of Raising Boys: From Showering to Watering The Plants

Love for the environment, keeping their bodies always clean and goodness at heart, are three things the hubby and I love discussing with the kids. It is tough though I must admit, raising two boys and not having the hubby always around to manage their rough moments. I call it an ART, and something a LIFETIME will not be enough for me to master. Yet I am holding on and I have recently given up a personal dream to HAVE ALL THE TIME in the WORLD to watch our no longer so little BOYS turn into GOOD men.

 The Art of Keeping Themselves Healthy

 It's funny how we sometimes find it a bit challenging waking up the boys to take a bath early in the morning for school. They'd tease each other endlessly and play betting games to decide who must take a shower first. "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," we keep telling them.

the younger boy enjoying a bath and intentionally swinging his head to and fro whilst the older boy was taking his photo

 The Art of Taking Turns

To resolve the issue we've made "TAKING TURNS" home rules. We've also made it a point to give the boys housekeeping responsibilities. Lately we've started with renovations at home, the plan includes installing new sliding shower doors, ones which are easy to clean for the boys. I think they'd argue whose task will that have to initially be. Since the younger one still has carelessness issues, it will have to be a routine for the bigger boy.

The Art of Conserving Energy, Re-cycling and Appreciating Nature

 The younger one's mission (they love referring to things you make them do as MISSIONS, derived from their favorite computer games which we allow them to play on school-free days) will be watering the plants around the yard. Conserving water is another lesson we love sharing to them by example. I would sometimes do the laundry the manual way to burn calories and save on power and re-use water for mopping the floor, watering our flowering plants and the hubby's newly planted tree seedlings.

Our son Roel with his dipper and pail giving our Hibiscus much needed pampering

The Art of Giving and Caring

We always tell them that Sharing is the best way to show our love for the Creator.  After all, he has gifted us with countless blessings....


"Mom, is a Penguin a fish?"- I remember the younger boy asking years ago and I was left dumbfounded and answered instead "Go take a shower, I'll tell you the answer after!"...

Raising Boys is Truly An Art I Love Mastering from Showering to Watering Plants and Everything in Between...

So, what should I have answered to the question on Penguins? LOL!




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Friend's Travel Tales: Mylene's PARIS Adventure....Dreams Do Come True

It's been quite awhile since The Letters In November shared a friend's travel adventure! This time we are taking you to....

The Most Romantic Place In The World- PARIS!

I'd love you all to meet my friend, a former student- Mylene Lumibao!

I have seen in her the potential for success even as a student. I guess her hard work and sacrifices paid off because she is now based in London, United Kingdom and has the time and resources to travel the world! Whew, indeed DREAMS TO COME TRUE...

The first time she shared on facebook about traveling to Paris I was glued to her adventure! I was gleeful when she allowed me to feature her trip with friends!

From London to Paris, they traveled via Eurostar for two hours. Then from Paris Gare Du Nord station to their hotel took them around twenty five minutes via taxi. Mylene says she appreciates the friendly taxi driver's effort to communicate well with them, even gladly sharing information about the note-worthy places they were passing by.


 Come, let's join them virtually!

1. The Eiffel Tower

The hotel they stayed in was near Eiffel tower. Mylene says the first time they saw the tower felt surreal.

The view was specially spectacular for her because she was fulfilling a long time dream.

 Hmmmm look at those happy excited smiles! Mylene shares the queue to go up the tower is usually very long but waiting for your turn is all worth it.

  The tower usually starts to light up at around 6:00 P.M. and then every hour sparkles for the first 5 minutes of every hour thereafter- something I would love to one sweet day see for myself!

Whew, sigh....wish one day I too could go up the Eiffel tower and feel the romance the place exudes.

Mylene and friends also went for the River Seine Cruise at around 7:00  in the evening.

She says the view was awesome and all of Paris is one artistic place deserving of the title- City of Light and Romance.

2. Pont des Amoureux - Love Lock Bridge

Paris' Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor pedestrian bridge, a very symbolic place where lovers write their names on a padlock and locks it onto the bridge. They would then throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of their undying love.

...above was Mylene/ Mhai sealing her love for Raffy forever by the bridge! Oh so romantic eh? I wish they'd be sealing their love through a ceremony soon and that I would be invited hehehe...

Mylene and friends toured the rest of Paris via a tour bus.

 Mylene at at Plaza de Leuve

She notes that Notre Dame was amazing. She jokingly said she was wondering where Quasimodo was, hehehe.

She and her friends also enjoyed Louvre Museum and the paintings there. The Pastry of Paris is one gastronomical adventure according to her with very delectable range of breads. Gee, the foodie in me would love to be there now!

3. Paris Disneyland

I think this is where Mylene had the best time in France. I could almost hear her exclaiming reading her thoughts on the place as somewhere where she felt like a kiddo again!

 Hmmm..her smiles show how happy she was!

Needless to say my friend had a wondrous time! She claims the experience was made meaningful having been shared with her dear friends and that traveling with great people makes it all worthwhile....

Found this quote on her facebook wall which fully describes her joy at having fulfilled a dream which I too could hold on to...

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henrydavid163655.html#jHtjC9XuGPxX7hk6.99
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henrydavid163655.html#jHtjC9XuGPxX7hk6.99
"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."- HENRY DAVID THOREAU

!Thank you so much for sharing your travel adventure with us Mylene


thank you for your time, for more travel adventures, you may click HERE

A Guide to Safe Travelling with Arthritis

Being diagnosed with arthritis doesn’t mean that life has to stop! Many people living with this condition continue to do all of the things they had ever hoped or dreamed of, without letting anything hold them back. Travelling and going on holiday is a prime example of something that doesn’t have to stop, just because you have arthritis. You may need to consider things more carefully than others, but as long as you follow these top tips then travelling should be a breeze.

Be Prepared
Consider the destination of your holiday, including the climate and environment, before jetting off abroad. Those with arthritis may find that it becomes more painful during certain temperatures, or when the weather is humid. Plan ahead carefully, thinking about all aspects of your travel plans before booking that dream holiday. Make sure you have emergency plans if anything were to go wrong, and that your holiday insurance will cover you with arthritis. Consider how you are going to get to the destination, how you’ll get from the airport to the hotel, and everything else inbetween.

Don’t Overpack
Certain types of arthritis, especially those that affect the joints such as osteoarthritis, can flare up when a lot of weight is put on your body. If you’re planning on going on a long vacation, or travelling round the world, then you need to pack lightly. Suitcases with wheels, that you can drag along, will be far easier than backpacks or carried luggage. Make sure your travel companions are happy to take the slack when you’re not feeling up to carrying your suitcase around, too!

Remember Medication
The general rule of thumb is to pack an extra week’s worth of medication, for every week that you are on holiday. So, if you’re going for 14 days then have 28 days spare. Another good idea is to pick up a prescription from the doctor and leave it with a friend or family member. If you need extra when you’re abroad then they should be able to fax the prescription over to you, so that you can pick up some more. Make sure that you split up your medication into several bags, in case one bag were to be lost or stolen. This will ensure you’re covered for nearly every eventuality and not without important meds.

Let The Hotel Know
Some people are worried about telling others that they have arthritis, but going on holiday is an important time to let the right people know. Make sure that you have let the travel agency, airline and/or hotel know that you have this condition. Special arrangements can be made, such as first floor hotel rooms, easy access options and even the ability to get onto the plane before everyone else (in some cases). If you don’t let the hotel know then don’t be surprised if you’re put on the top floor, miles away from any lift!

There’s nothing stopping you from having an incredible time on holiday, or even travelling around the world, if you live with arthritis. Just make sure that you’re fully prepared for all eventualities and then relax and enjoy your break.

The Hair Rebond Adventure at Hair Cut Encarnacion Francisco Salon

Let's face it, we women have to spend some time to pamper ourselves and undergo a make-over if only to make ourselves feel great and relaxed. After months of planning, me and my friends finally had the time to visit a salon and have our hairs groomed. The whole Hair Rebond Process takes around six (6) hours so scheduling our parlor adventure with our hectic schedule at work was quite a challenge. Eat just enough before going so you don't get hungry in the process. Believe me six hours of just sitting down looking at your face could be a bore for those of you who hate beautification thingy like me LOL.

It wasn't my first time to have my hair fixed to a totally straight appearance. The first time was around three years ago. It was not an impulsive decision because when it comes to chemicals being applied on my body and sitting for prolonged period of time in front of a mirror you'd have to convince me a gazillion of times before I oblige. My greatest fear is having an allergic reaction to the components of the hair straightening and treatment formula. Thankfully though, the ones used at reputable salons like HAIR CUT ENCARNACION FRANCISCO SALONS are of the best quality and very rarely do cause any irritation. I am writing this post for women who have not yet tried having a HAIR REBOND and are curious about the whole process, what to expect and HOW TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR REBONDED HAIR.

So here goes....

As much as possible have an appointment set with the salon of your choice.

~Especially during peak season, holidays, graduation time etc when the salon could be fully booked and you'd waste a lot of time just waiting for your turn. In our case we were lucky we went just at the perfect timing, no other customers yet and surprisingly one of my friends knew the senior stylist. 

1. You'd have to choose your hairstyle.

~So as not to regret after, you could decide on that weeks before you undergo the process. On my part I wanted a totally new look and let go of my long wiry hair. One thing I regret is forgetting to save my cut hair to donate to cancer foundations. 
with my friendly hair stylish IYAH cutting my locks

2. A straightening formula will be applied on your hair.

~You'd have to choose the kind of hair pampering you like, a first-timer would pay less because a less powerful formula will be needed to straighten the hair whereas for us who have previously undergone rebonding, apparently a stronger formula will be required and hair treatment is highly needed so we underwent milk rebonding (a milk based hair treatment was applied on our locks). More sophisticated treatments are also available but we chose the not too expensive one.

my friend who chose her hair length to be maintained and her friendly, entertaining Encarnacion sylist
~The formula has a somewhat offensive smell so I suggest you bring a mask if only to keep you more comfortable. It is fairly tolerable though but for those of you like me who hate chemical-like scent you'd better go armed :) It will take around twenty to thirty minutes to allow the cream to work on your hair strands so bring boredom busters like your favorite book, or mobile applications. The parlor had strong wifi connection. I was not in the mood for social networking though and I did not want to waste my smartphone battery so I played the archival game SNAKE on my not too techie mobile phone.

The salon offers complimentary drinks and an iced tea is a refreshing throat treat while your hair receives pampering

3. Your hair will be washed like a baby lying on bed.

~I loved this part- nothing like the feel of refreshing water hugging my head and having someone wrap towel on it. I suggest you do not eat and drink much just before undergoing the procedure otherwise that position will make you uncomfortable.

my other friend whose hair was being washed after the initial solution was applied on her hair, I took a snap while on my way to the loo because unfortunately I was having my monthly period

4. Your hair will be blow dried.

~Because I have a somewhat thick hair texture the drying stage took several minutes hahaha. I realized that there are gentle stylist who have the patience to handle your head with care unlike others who would pull each hair strand like their life depended on it. I truly appreciate Iyah's gentleness.

5. After drying, just like a cloth, your hair will be ironed.

my friend's hair being ironed to straightness
~This stage is crucial because very thin layers of strands have to be carefully ironed flat and you have to keep still otherwise you'll get your scalp burned LOL. If you are intolerant to heat, it could also be an issue. It isn't too uncomfortable though, just enough to make you say "beauty is pain"..as what Iyah told me while washing my hair to prepare me for the next process. It is worth noting though that there isn't any pain at all in the whole process, just the PATIENCE to endure the minutes of crucial beautification process which I personally think is worthwhile. 

6. Another cream will be applied on your hair, with cellophane treatment with a hair color of your choice.

~I chose a hazelnut kinda hue which will only be visible when light rays fall on my hair. My friends and I are thinking of having real hair dye for a change on our next salon visit.

  • the cream will be allowed to stay on your hair for several minutes before being washed off
  • a hair treatment (milk cream) was generously applied on my hair after the dye was washed off and I just love the smell of it! and yep the soft feel on my hair...
  • and then my hair was blow dried yet again and then trimmed off for the completion of the style....
  •  We were handed a pamphlet to read about TAKING CARE OF ONE'S HAIR AFTER REBONDING...

1. Avoid Hot Water
2.  Condition Your Hair
3. Use Clarifying Shampoo for at least once a month.
4.  Use Wide Teethed Comb
5. Avoid Tying Your Hair and Hair Dryer
6. Have A Balanced Diet.
7. Avoid Changing Your Hairstyle.

7. And then, after six hours or so, you are ready to face and SERVE the world with a smile! :)

 It wasn't just the pampering that I enjoyed but the GREAT TIME we had chatting and throwing away all our stress, for several hours at least. 

Thanks to the awesome CUT ENCARNACION FRANCISCO SALONS, Sevilla SFC Branch for the great service!

...until our next REBOND adventure!!


~DEFINITELY NOT A SPONSORED POST, just another happy customer's honest opinion~

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