2017 | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Apr 20, 2017

Coming Up: A 9-day Sweet Escape in Indochina!

Selamat Datang! Xin Chao! Jumreap Soa!

I will be using those words frequently over the next few days! Ed and I will embark on a sweet escape tonight. We are traveling to 3 countries in Indochina (3 cities, actually) in 9 days. We will start and end the trip in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We will spend 3 days in Hanoi, Vietnam and another 3 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia!

Sweet Escapes in Indochina

Apr 9, 2017

Black Tap Dubai: Crazy Shakes and Craft Burgers

You know me, I can never say never to insanely outlandish beverages! I even wrote a full blog post about the ones I have tried last year. So, when I heard that Black Tap is heading out from NYC to DXB, I was beyond thrilled!

Black Tap is a popular joint for creative craft burgers, gravity-defying milkshakes and draft beers in New York. The brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Joe Isidori took the Big Apple by storm. And now, it is currently making waves in its first location outside the US; where else but Dubai!      

Black Tap Dubai

Apr 3, 2017

Overnight Stay at Royal Continental Hotel Dubai

Traveling to Dubai sometime soon? If you're searching for a good place to stay, I have a recommendation. Ed and I recently had an overnight stay at the newly-opened Royal Continental Hotel in Deira.

My first impression was that it is perfect for stylish yet budget-savvy travelers. And that impression lasted throughout our stay.     

Royal Continental Hotel Dubai

Mar 29, 2017

Dear Dubai Newbie: A Letter from a Filipina Expat who is celebrating her 9th Year in Dubai

Dear Dubai Newbie,


You might be surprised with this letter. You don't know me, and I am not in the position to welcome you in this mega-city. But today is special; hence, I'm writing this letter down whether you'll read it or not. I hope you'll read though. 

Today, exactly 9 years ago, I was like you. I got off an Emirates airplane and step foot in Dubai for the first time. Finally having a taste of independence at 25, I was excited, but tremendously scared. 

Looking back now, I want to give my younger self a pat on the back for taking that initial step. It was a bold move that prepared me to a lot of crazy beautiful changes, so please allow me to share some unsolicited advice today.

Mar 28, 2017

Enab Beirut Dubai: A Picture-Perfect Lebanese Restaurant in City Walk

Have you ever fell madly in love with a restaurant? Like it knocked you off your feet the moment you stepped in. You found yourself swooning over every little detail. You gushed over how perfect the concept is time and again. And you were already looking forward to coming back while you're halfway through your starters.

I did!

It happened to me with Enab Beirut Dubai last weekend. 

Enab Beirut Dubai Citywalk

Mar 23, 2017

Friday Brunch at Bamboo Lagoon

Over the weekend, I was at JW Marriott Hotel Dubai for brunch. But it wasn't just the usual Friday brunch. It was an Instameet, a photography workshop, a feast and a gathering of some of the most brilliant minds in social media all rolled into one!

The event was hosted by Illustrado (a lifestyle magazine dedicated to the thriving Filipino expat community in the Middle East) and Nikon Middle East and Africa. Ed and I are Nikon users ever since we took blogging seriously and I'm an avid Illustrado reader; hence I was so thrilled to be there!

At the workshop, we were introduced to Nikon D3400; a new entry level DSLR equipped with Snapbridge. The latter is a handy feature that automatically transfers photos from camera to smartphone; perfect for Bloggers and Instagrammers who like to share photos in instant while on the go.

And when brunch time came, we were ushered to JW Marriott Hotel Dubai's Bamboo Lagoon! 

Friday Brunch in Bamboo Lagoon Dubai

Mar 17, 2017

The Enchanted Riverland in Dubai

In a land far far away lies a quaint little town nestled on the banks of a winding river. It is a picturesque medieval village with adorable houses and cobblestone streets. Wizards roam. Puppet animals talk. Princesses sing. 

No, this is not a fairy tale. 

I'm talking about Riverland in Dubai Parks and Resorts. 

Riverland Dubai

Mar 13, 2017

Spanish Dinner and Drinks at Espana Lounge Bar

For date nights, Ed and I often go to restaurants where we can peacefully talk about sweet nothings. But on a few occasions, we are keen on trying out lounge bars where we can chill, dine, listen to good music and have a drink or two.

So, a few days ago, Ed and I found ourselves in Dubai's newest Spanish nightspot - Espana Lounge Bar. And it wowed us in all possible ways!

Espana Lounge Bar Dubai

Mar 7, 2017

Daycation Brunch in Lapita Hotel

Immaculate and exotic, Polynesia is a place that never fails to catch my attention in travel websites and magazines. Whenever I see a photo, I can almost hear the turquoise waters calling out my name, but I have never imagined stepping foot in one of the islands. I heard it's expensive and it's miles away from where I live now.

But then, I live in a city where nothing is impossible. I may not able to go to Polynesia, but surprise surprise, Polynesia came to me in the form of Lapita! 

Daycation in Lapita Hotel

Mar 1, 2017

Authentic Japanese Lunch in Miyako

A few months ago, I received a private message from a male blog reader. He was asking for an advice on where to take the love of his life on a date. He specifically wants a nice but affordable restaurant; I bet a restaurant that can impress his date but wouldn't leave a hole in his pocket.

I gave a few recommendations, mainly casual dining spots in the mall. Little did I know, there is one restaurant in a 5-star hotel that perfectly meets his specifications!

I came across Miyako - an authentic Japanese restaurant in Hyatt Regency Dubai - last weekend. If only I knew about it before he asked, it could have been my top recommendation. 

Here's why.  

Miyako Japanese Restaurant in Dubai

Feb 27, 2017

Overnight in Remington Hotel Manila

Location is one of things that matters to me whenever I search for a hotel room. It is a major plus point if the hotel is within walking distance to the places I intend to visit. If not, then at least it should be accessible by public transportation. But for long lay-overs, I opt to stay in a hotel near the airport; just like what happened during our last vacation in the Philippines.

Before heading back to Dubai last December, we spent a night in Manila. Our 24-hour stay mainly evolved in the airport - arrival in the morning, send-off relatives who are also in transit in the afternoon, and departure the next day - hence, I decided to book a room in a hotel within a stone's throw from NAIA Terminal 3.

The string of hotels in Resorts World Manila ticked the number one box on my checklist. They are not just located opposite T3, but offer free airport shuttle service as well. A big plus for convenience! The rest on my checklist - amenities, good rating and affordable price - were all ticked off by Remington Hotel.  

Resorts World Manila Hotel

Feb 22, 2017

Chew Love: Is this the cutest restaurant in the Philippines?

"Where do you want to eat?", my husband asked me minutes before the plane landed in Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban. I quickly browsed through the in-flight magazine and showed him a photo of the restaurant I have been stalking on social media since 2014. 

I lost count of how many times I told him about Chew Love. He must have forgotten. Ed is not a big fan of restaurants like I am, but he would happily oblige to my dining out requests more often than not.

And yet again, he did! On our second day in Tacloban, he finally took me to the cutest restaurant I have ever laid my eyes on.

Chew Love Tacloban

Feb 16, 2017

Vii Love Sushi

It seems like yesterday when my blogger beshie Myla and I went to Vii Dubai for EnVii Ladies Night. I can still remember how much I loved the lush foliage at the terrace. Vii is a bar and lounge, but it has that romantic vibe that made me want to go back with Ed the soonest. 

I startled when I realized that our girls night out happened a long time ago; not last year, but almost two years back! How quickly time flies! 

I wasn't able to go back to Vii with Ed in an instant, but the right time came a day before Valentine's this year. 

Vii Love Sushi

Feb 12, 2017

2 in 1 Brunch: Cielo Sky Lounge X Casa de Tapas

As most of you know, I have always been a huge fan of Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, specifically of the dining venues. It's a no-brainer choice for special occasions and laid back weekends. So far, Ed and I have been to Boardwalk, QDs and Thai Kitchen. And the rest remains in my restaurants-to-try checklist!

So, I couldn't help but do my happy dance when I heard about the 2 in 1 Brunch at Cielo Sky Lounge and Casa de Tapas. Imagine this: Two amazing dining spots! Two different brunch concepts! It's hitting two birds with one stone!    

2 in 1 Friday Brunch in Dubai

Feb 9, 2017

Day Trip at Lakawon Island Resort

Lakawon Island Resort and Spa has been receiving a lot of media attention recently. Based on the photos circulating the internet, it is arguably a well-kept island paradise in Negros Occidental. But based on the feedback from people who have been there, Lakawon has its highs and lows.

Out of curiosity, I gave Lakawon Island a shot during my short vacation in the Philippines last December. 

Day trip at Lakawon Island Resort

Feb 5, 2017

#LetsEAT: Clinton Street Baking Company in City Walk Dubai

Great things start from humble beginnings.

Clinton Street Baking Company - considered as "New York's #1 Breakfast Spot" by Lonely Planet- was once a small wholesale bakeshop started by husband and wife Chef Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman. They had a few neighborhood patrons until their pancakes took NYC by storm! 

And the rest is history!     

Clinton Street Baking Co Dubai

Feb 2, 2017

What to Pack for a Summer Trip to Thailand

Packing for our summer trip to Thailand was less stressful compared to creating a travel wardrobe for our autumn trip to Turkey. One, because I grew up in Philippines; a country also located in Southeast Asia! Two, because I am familiar with the weather in the tropics... the warmth and the humidity during summer! Three, because it was only a 5-day trip!

But here's the catch, I was not accustomed with Thailand's culture! It was my first trip and I was not sure if my clothes are conservative enough for temple visits. Hence, while packing, I mainly relied on common sense. You never really know what you missed until you have arrived though. In short, I experienced a little wardrobe booboo.

what to pack for Thailand

Jan 30, 2017

5 Days in Thailand: Phuket-Bangkok Travel Itinerary

Early 2016, I bumped into a seat sale promotion which perfectly coincided with my homecoming trip. I have been planning to bring the parents to Bangkok and Phuket has been in my travel bucketlist for so long; hence I took the cheap flight offer as a sign to make a family trip happen. 

Wanting to make the most of our less than a week stay in Thailand, I quickly jotted down a Phuket and Bangkok itinerary never really knowing if it's doable for our family or not. Thankfully, although it was quite a hectic schedule for the seniors, my itinerary worked!

Here's our Phuket - Bangkok 5-day tour itinerary.    

Thailand Tour Itinerary

Jan 27, 2017

Things to Remember Before You Visit Manjuyod Sandbar

When travel vlogger Lost LeBlanc declared his admiration for Manjuyod Sandbar and fondly called it as The Maldives of The Philippines, I was stoked! The natural beauty is in MY HOME ISLAND - Negros! And it is only a 5-hour drive from my home town.

So, in spite of having a tight vacation schedule last December, my aunt and I made it a point to bring the family in this newly found gem. We were able to squeeze a 3-day Dumaguete family getaway with a side trip to Manjuyod Sandbar in between the holiday rush and Christmas reunions.

Internet-famous, but still an offbeat destination, Manjuyod Sandbar is definitely worth a visit. 

But wait! 

Before you pack your bags, here are 5 things to remember when planning for a trip to the place they call The Maldives of the Philippines.

Visit Manjuyod Sandbar

Jan 25, 2017

Centro Al Manhal: Hotel Stay and Adventure Package

Whenever we plan for a short break within the UAE, Ed and I often book a hotel promotion that includes accommodation and activities. It is a tested and proven way to save money as packages are offered at discounted rates. There are several good offers out there. We're actually spoilt for choice here, but choosing a perfect package depends on our staycation goal. 

If we need is to de-stress, we would search for a beach hotel package inclusive of aromatherapy massage. If we're celebrating something special, we would likely consider a romantic package of hotel stay, dinner and bubbly. But if our goal is to go on a weekend adventure, accommodation and theme park tickets are a perfect match! And for this hotel stay and adventure combo, we recently came across an amazing offer in Abu Dhabi.      

Centro Al Manhal hotel package

Jan 18, 2017

Dubai Do-It-Yourself Tour 3 Days Itinerary

This blog post is inspired by the emails and Facebook messages I have received from blog readers who are planning to visit Dubai. Aside from FAQs like "Is Dubai safe?" and "How can I go from here to there?" , I was also asked to check DIY tour itineraries a couple of times. 

So, I thought, why not share my own 3-day Dubai DIY tour itinerary?

Dubai DIY Tour

Jan 16, 2017

Barilla Restaurant in Dubai Festival City

There's a newly opened Italian restaurant in Dubai Festival City and its name rings a bell. If you're a pasta lover, surely you have come across Barilla pasta in the supermarkets. The company behind the world's best selling pasta brand - Barilla - has opened several restaurants in New York, and now, it has arrived in Dubai!

Ed and I had the pleasure of dining in Barilla's first outlet in the Middle East last weekend. Here's how our lunch went.
Barilla Restaurant in Dubai Festival City

Jan 11, 2017

Mr. Crab Seafood Restaurant in Dubai

I have been constantly hearing about this seafood place in Al Barsha called Mr. Crab. You know me, I go crazy when I hear the word "SEAFOOD". But the thing with Mr. Crab is, it's too far from where I live. And with all those seafood places popping out nearby, I wasn't sure if Mr. Crab will be worth the journey.

But Mr. Crab has good ways of reminding me to seek out for him. First, I saw photos of my friends devouring Mr. Crab's seafood paella on my Facebook feed. Second, I stumbled onto Mr. Crab's drool-worthy Instagram posts. Third, I received an email invitation from Mr. Crab, himself, to try out the newly-launched menu. 

The third reminder had me! 

Mr. Crab restaurant Dubai

Jan 9, 2017

Cool Instagrammable Cafes in Silay

My hometown hardly welcomes big national brands in the dining scene. I'm not sad, not even worried. Silay is one of those towns that proudly holds a striking balance between growth and cultural preservation. Popular dining spots in the city weren't franchised from the metropolis. They were created by the locals for the locals! 

One of the best things I have stumbled onto during my recent homecoming is Silay's booming coffee culture. There are plenty of new cafes, each with a different style and concept. And the bonus is, in this Instagram-era, most of those cafes are visually perfect. They aren't just spots for a caffeine fix, they are gram-worthy as well!

cafes in Silay City

Jan 3, 2017

Lunch at Punong Gary's Place in Silay

Tucked in the outskirts of my hometown - Silay City - in Negros Occidental is a little piece of paradise called Punong Gary's Place. It was once a secret culinary hideaway, but because of its uniqueness, it easily became the talk of the town, the world rather! Awesome places could never remain a secret in social media; hence, I already knew about it before Ed and I went home for Christmas!

The moment we got our flight tickets to the Philippines, I immediately placed a reservation for weekend lunch. Although Punong Gary's Place has gained popularity, it remained a hideaway as it is exclusive to guests with confirmed reservation.

I received a prompt reply in their Facebook Page. Getting a reservation wasn't as hard as I thought. I excitedly noted the important details: Sunday lunch. 11am to 3pm. Table for 10. 5-course meal. 750 Pesos per person. 

750 Pesos! Yes, that is not a typo. Punong Gary's Place is quite an expensive dining spot.

Is it worth it? 

Let me show you.   

Punong Gary's Place Silay