2014 | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Dec 31, 2014

Video Diary: A Very Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays!

Out of all my six Christmasses in Dubai, this year was the merriest! My parents are here for a month-long vacation, hence it's like spending the most wonderful time of the year at home away from home. That's also one of the reasons why I wasn't able to update this blog with the latest events. Sorry, but for now, allow me to drench myself with   some "Family Love". :)

Christmas in Dubai
my fun-filled December looks like this (see the happenings in our video diary below)

Dec 28, 2014

Global Village: A Mini Trip Around the World

Winter finally beckons. Breeze is cooler, nights are longer, but that doesn't mean it's time to hibernate. When the mercury drops, Dubai comes even more alive! It's the right time to dine alfresco, to enjoy the great outdoors, and most of all, to hit the seasonal attractions that only open during the cool months. 

Early this month, I got to visit a popular winter destination, the Global Village.

Global Village is a huge outdoor entertainment complex in Dubailand. It has over 30 pavilions representing different countries where visitors can experience the uniqueness of each culture, devour traditional cuisines and shop specialty items. Basically, it is a village where the world meets!

Global Village in Dubai
Global Village: a winter destination in Dubai

Dec 21, 2014

The Entertainer Dubai Mobile 2015

It's no secret that Dubai is an expensive place to live in. With the tremendous increase on the cost of living, some may have wondered how Ed and I can cope up when we constantly go on sweet escapes. Well, let me tell you something, but I bet you already noticed. We are crazy over buy one get one free vouchers!  

Remember when we had an extreme fun at Yas Waterworld during Ed's birthday? How about our romantic anniversary dinner by the sea at Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa? And not to forget our Atlantean adventure at the Lost Chambers followed by a superb feast in Kaleidoscope at Altantis The Palm on my 31st. We experienced all those at half the price! Thanks to The Entertainer!   

Entertainer Dubai: my precious blue books of Buy1Get1 FREE offers

Dec 19, 2014

Travel Video: 4-day Dubai Do-It-Yourself Tour

Late November, I was a tourist in a city that I call my second home for four days. My aunties, uncles and cousin came for a visit, and it was such a delight to show them how amazing Dubai truly is. A 4-day vacation isn't quite enough to experience everything that Dubai can offer, but we came up with a DIY tour itinerary that at least gave them an overview.

family in Atlantis the Palm
wacky family selfie in Atlantis the Palm (see the wackiness in motion down below)

Dec 11, 2014

Hanoi Naturally: Vietnamese Fare in JLT

I was in my early 20s when I had a bowl of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, for the first time. It was in a Vietnamese restaurant chain in Manila right after my first International trip. The sting of the travel bug lingered as I opened my taste buds to an unfamiliar pleasant flavor. The feeling of wanderlust was new to my senses, but that moment, it became clear to me that food and travel go hand in hand. I fell in love with the subtle Vietnamese noodle soup and wondered what it would be like having it in the streets of Vietnam. So, it went down on my travel list.

Several months after my first pho (pronounced as "fuh", by the way), I moved to Dubai and my dream to travel to Vietnam was temporarily pushed aside. I still have it on my list though, and while I'm waiting for it to happen, I satisfy my pho cravings in a humble Vietnamese restaurant in JLT.

Hanoi Naturally in JLT Dubai
Hanoi Naturally in JLT Dubai

Dec 6, 2014

Betawi: Authentic Indonesian Restaurant in Karama

Ed and I are residents of Al Karama for almost four years. Rent is a little high compared to some residential areas, but I don't think we'd move out anytime soon. Our humble home which is a four-cornered room in a flat is the most convenient place for us to be at as of the moment. Convenience for me means reaching the workplace by feet on weekdays and taking a short stroll to metro station on weekends. It also means having some perks around the corner, like a hidden foodie alley of pocket-friendly restaurants!

Al Karama has an answer to Sheikh Zayed Road's bustling foodie strip. With cuisines ranging from Indian to Nepalese, Filipino to Indonesian, the dimly-lit 4B street has something for every palate. One of my favorite hidden gems along that lane is Betawi.  

Betawi Indonesian Restaurant
Betawi Indonesian Restaurant in Karama

Dec 1, 2014

India: Taj Mahal - The Symbol of Eternal Love

The weather was unpredictable when we arrived in Agra. Rain clouds loomed over some areas, but we managed to explore Agra Fort without a drop of rain. The weather app reminded me of my history as a travel jinx when it indicated a huge percentage of rainfall in the afternoon. When things like this happen, I usually just shrug and laugh at myself and my misadventures. But on that day, being a jinx was plainly tragic! 

We were scheduled to visit an extraordinary monument, a Wonder of the World, India's crown jewel: the Taj Mahal. I longed to see it gloriously dazzling under the sun. I planned to sit in one of the benches just like Princess Diana. I wanted to celebrate love and walk with my husband hand in hand at the sprawling garden. 

Rain is the natural phenomenon that I never needed on that day!   

the majestic Taj Mahal
The Majestic Taj Mahal

Nov 25, 2014

India: Agra Fort - Citadel of the Mughal Empire

On our third day in India, we embarked on a road trip to our third destination; Agra, home of the majestic Taj Mahal. We left Jaipur a few minutes past 7 am and reached the third corner of the Golden Triangle circuit at 12 noon.

Agra, a city in Uttar Pradesh, was ruled by Mughal Emperors centuries ago. It became the center of the empire, thus scattered around the city are astounding monuments showcasing majestic Mughal architecture. Three of the monuments are UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Having only a day in Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was not included in our schedule as it is located in the outskirts. 

Our first stop was at the Agra Fort. The colossal fortress made of red sandstone has witnessed the Mughal Empire's prosperity and hardship. It was built as a military structure during the 11th century, then was turned into a palace complex during the Mughal empire's heyday, then unfortunately became a prison for the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan

Agra Fort in India
Agra Fort also known as the Red Fort of Agra

Nov 19, 2014

Dubai Tram: Stations, Attractions and Trip Tips

I am thrilled with Dubai's new public transportation system, The Dubai Tram. I remember getting so giddy when I saw it on trial run for the first time. Although I won't be using it on a daily basis as I live and work far from the tramway, it still spells out comfort and convenience to me.

Having the tram simply means no more long walks to my favorite beach and no more expensive taxi rides to hard-to-reach attractions! So, it when it was finally launched last week, I excitedly made my way to the Marina to check out Dubai's newest mode of transport.

Dubai Tram
Dubai Tram

Nov 16, 2014

India: Jaunts in Jaipur - The Pink City

I longed to visit Jaipur more than I wanted to see the Taj Mahal in Agra. There's something about the old historical town that fascinates me, not just because it is endearingly known as The Pink City. Well, I wouldn't deny that anything in pink could easily captivate my interest, but it is Jaipur's regal splendor that lured me to come.

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan. Found in its heart is the first planned city of India founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1727. The old city of Jaipur was built in perfect symmetry, secured with a massive fortification wall and seven gates. It was in 1876 that the whole city was painted in terracotta as a part of the warm welcome given to Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales. The color which symbolizes hospitality was maintained, hence Jaipur was called The Pink City

The color of Jaipur is not the "pink" that I know. For me, it is more on the "rust" shade and a hint of coral. But I do agree that the distinct color denotes congeniality. I felt so at home the moment we entered the majestic Ajmeri Gate. Then, a bunch of school girls riding a tuktuk smiled and waved at us; a scene that touched my heart as I have never felt that warmth in Delhi. We made a quick stop in Hawa Mahal, Jaipur's most popular landmark, and quickly went on with our journey as it wasn't supposed to be our first destination. We headed to the exit gate en route to Amber Fort with a promise that we'd go back to see more of it in the afternoon.

Hawa Mahal in Jaipur India
Hawa Mahal: Jaipur's iconic structure

Nov 12, 2014

Zaroob: Funky Levant Street Eatery

The bright neon signs, the strings of light bulbs and the bizarre pushcart have caught my attention several times while I'm in Sheikh Zayed Road. That spot is too quirky and it stood out from everything along the busy highway. It sure is an eye-magnet, but I never felt the need to check what it is. Neon lights are a bit odd for my liking!

Early this year, I saw a photo of a restaurant with hanging paper lanterns, pink handrails and graffiti walls. I swooned over the eccentric clutter, so I went searching and discovered that it is a Levant Street Eatery called Zaroob. I was taken aback when I learned that it has hot pink and lime green tube signs plastered on its facade. Yep, it's exactly the same neon signs that I found weird along E11 highway!

Zaroob Levant Street Eatery
Zaroob: Levant Street Eatery along Sheikh Zayed Road

Nov 10, 2014

Panda Express: Fast Casual American-Chinese Restaurant

Panda Express, the largest and the leading American-Chinese Food Chain in the US, has arrived in the UAE. That's definitely something to celebrate. In a city with a fast-paced lifestyle and rising commodity prices, we need more casual restaurants that can quickly serve budget-friendly meals without compromising the quality. Panda Express is one! 

In the year 1973, Panda Express' founder Andrew Cherng, together with his father Master Chef Ming-Tsai Cherng, opened Panda Inn; a Chinese fine-dining restaurant in Pasadena. It was where they introduced the full-flavored Mandarin and Szechuan dishes to Southern California. 10 years later, year 1983, they launched a new restaurant with a different concept. It was where guests can have the same premium dishes, but served in a faster way and in a more casual atmosphere. That's how Panda Express started... and the rest is history!

Panda Express in Al Ghurair
Panda Express in Al Ghurair

Nov 7, 2014

India: Realization and Relaxation in Ramada Jaipur

The feeling of relief washed over me as I walked in Ramada Jaipur. Day #1 in India was mentally challenging for me. I was culture shocked in Old Delhi. I arrived in Jaipur extremely tired, although I only sat, slept and listened to India-related conversation for 4-hours in a fast moving vehicle. And on our first hour in Jaipur, in a gems store, I was persuaded to believe in things that I never believed in. I was there because I was curious on how the gems are made, not because I need one to shape my destiny or to help me transform into Darna! Hah! :)

I have been warned and I came ready, but I never thought that India could be so tough to my senses and even to my faith. 

So, after the long mind-boggling day, all I wanted was to be in a quiet room where I can share my thoughts to the person who understands me the most. I hurriedly jumped off the van, quickly replied to the doorman's Namaste greeting, zoomed into Ramada Jaipur's lobby and kept my fingers crossed for a pleasant two-nights stay.

view from Ramada Jaipur roof deck
Hello Jaipur! (aerial view from Ramada Jaipur's roof deck)

Nov 3, 2014

My Five Favorite Must-Eats in Bacolod

I come home for three reasons: family, friends and FOOD! 

Meet-ups are always fun with good food. And for me, good food is synonymous with Bacolod, my home province's capital. Aside from being known as the City of Smiles where Masskara Festival is held every October, Bacolod is a popular foodie destination in the country. 

Every time I come home, I always find myself in a foodie trail. I have my own restaurant checklist in my thoughts and my vacation would be incomplete without ticking each one off! I do have my classic favorites and I'm happy to share five of them in this post. :)

My Favorites in City of Smiles
My Favorites in City of Smiles

Nov 1, 2014

India: Half a Day in Delhi

"Don't ride the train." That advice from an Indian colleague lingered in my thoughts while I was planning for a short trip to India. With safety as my top priority, I drifted away from what could possibly be craziest train ride I'd ever experience. I made settlements with a travel agency that promised to tour us around India's Golden Triangle on board a private van.

Keeping true to their promise, an innova van waited for us outside our hotel in Delhi Aerocity right after breakfast. Mr. Bije, our driver/tour captain, discussed about our schedule as he drove through the streets of New Delhi.

Then, I found myself inside a tourist bubble.

India Golden Triangle Tour in Delhi
Golden Triangle destination #1: Delhi

Oct 29, 2014

India: Overnight Stay in Hotel Ibis Delhi Airport

After receiving a very warm Namaste from our travel agent at Indira Gandhi International Airport, we were instantly whisked to Hotel Ibis Delhi Airport. The hotel stay is included in our tour package, so I never really bothered to do some extensive research. All I know is that we're booked for a night in a trendy hotel chain for the budget-conscious travelers who are not willing to sacrifice comfort. That's so us! :)

Hotel Ibis Delhi Airport in Delhi Aerocity
Hotel Ibis Delhi Airport in Delhi Aerocity

Oct 26, 2014

The Vibrant BubblOrange Brunch at Centro Barsha

Orange is the color that represents energy, warmth and good health. That is probably the main reason why c.Taste restaurant in Centro Barsha was brimming with a lively ambiance during the BubblOrange Brunch

It was almost two in afternoon when Ed and I arrived. Very late and terribly hungry, I was glad to see warm smiles and hear boisterous laughs as we stepped inside the restaurant. My senses immediately feasted on everything orange; the zest of the fruit and the vibrancy of the hue. The high-spirited staff jumped from one table to another, delivering the best restaurant service I have experienced so far. The whole new brunch concept is a purveyor of happiness I must say!

BubblOrange Brunch  at Centro Barsha
BubblOrange Brunch  at Centro Barsha

Oct 24, 2014

Travel Video: Our Golden Triangle Tour in India

How can you squeeze an unforgettable 4-day trip in a 4-minute video? It is difficult, especially for us amateurs! That's why it took us more than a week to publish this travel video. 
For four days, we explored three equally interesting cities in North India with our mini versatile video camera. We went home with over a hundred of clips filled with overwhelming monuments, humble abodes, good food, lovely people, and most of all hearty laughters! 

It was an amazing trip that deserves to have an amazing video! But because we still have a lot to learn on video making, we came up with this 4-minute video that we hope could give justice to the incredibility of the places we have been and the beauty of the people we have met. 

Lady and Ed in India
But first, let us take a selfie! :)

Oct 21, 2014

Chimes: Crab Fest and Dishes from the Far East

I love October! This time of the year is typically jampacked with awesomeness! :) Other than getting a year older and celebrating a journey to forever, October is filled with wonderful events. Just to name a few, there's the Oktoberfest funfair, the spooky Halloween parties and the annual Crab Fest at Chimes!  

For seafood lovers, Crab and Festival are two words that goes so well together. Think about succulent crab meat drizzled with scrumptious special sauce at a bargain price! So, the weekend after our short sweet escape in North India, Ed and I returned to Chimes; our crab haven in Al Barsha!

October Crab Fest 2014 at Chimes
October Crab Fest 2014 at Chimes

Oct 18, 2014

India: The Travel Plan and The Budget Flight

I can't remember how many times I was asked "Why?" and how many times I received a message with a "stay safe" at the end. I couldn't blame them and I am not surprised. If I was given the chance to travel to India 10 years ago, I think my naive self would tell me "don't even dare to go".     

When I was in college, during a Microbiology lecture on Delhi Belly or the Traveler's diarrhea, I said I'd never set foot in India. I perceive things differently back then. When I moved to Dubai, I discovered this strong desire to explore the world. Wanderlust! I always get the impulse to see, feel, smell and taste the unfamiliar.

After watching a series of travel shows and documentaries, my fascination for India grew. Because despite the flaws, India is beautiful! It was only this year that I felt I am ready for its incredible diversity. Call me crazy, but I was ready to experience the peace and the chaos, the revelry and the apathy, the pleasure and just in case I get hit by the dreaded Escherichia coli... the pain. 

India Gate in New Delhi

Oct 16, 2014

How to Get an Indian Tourist Visa on Arrival for Filipinos

As of February 2015, Indian Visa on Arrival should be processed online! Please check the application process here: Indian Tourist Visa on Arrival.

We have just returned from Incredible India! :)

Ed and I, together with two of our friends, went on a Golden Triangle tour. I can't wait to blog about the memorable, mind-boggling and life-changing trip. But before anything else, let me first share how we applied and successfully secured our Indian Tourist Visa on Arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

flight from Dubai to New Delhi
from DXB to DEL

Oct 10, 2014

The Fancy French Dinner at PAUL BurJuman

Last Wednesday night, I comfortably sat in a corner of a lovely French cafe. I love how it is at 10 in the evening; quiet, almost empty, but still charming as it has always been. When I took my phone out to take one quick snap, my husband asked me if I have already blogged about it. It was then that I realized that I have never shared the goodness of our favorite French cafe on this blog. Oh no! It's not my intention to keep PAUL all for myself! 

PAUL Bakery and Restaurant in BurJuman has been our constant date venue; be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I never got to blog about it though. A quality time in Paul is also some sort of a digital detox time for me and Ed. So, we usually end our meals without any photos. Or if ever I have, only a few decent ones solely for Instagram. 

As our recent visit was our anniversary night, I wanted to keep my hands away from my phone as much as possible. But then, I also felt it was about time to share something about PAUL. So, I did my blogger tasks as quickly as I can! And now, I think I finally got blog-worthy iPhone photos for a long overdue feature. 

PAUL French restaurant in BurJuman
PAUL French restaurant in BurJuman 

Oct 7, 2014

The Grand Eid Brunch at Radisson Blu Dubai

Just as the world commemorated Eid Al Adha, I turned thirty-two! :) 

I never had something in mind for my birthday this year. With so many things running in my head (my full-time job, this blog, the upcoming trip), I could let my personal holiday pass without doing anything special other than saying my prayers and wishes. Or is this a sign of aging? I could hear my 20-something self laughing and telling me how boring I turned out to be. Hahaha!

Apparently, the husband wouldn't let me blow my 32nd birthday candle at home. Without my suggestions, he searched for a place where we could celebrate both my Birthday and Eid al Adha. And I must say, he did a great job. I'm very impressed with his choice! :)

He found a wonderful deal online for a grand Eid brunch at Radisson Blu.

grand brunch at Radisson Blu Dubai
grand brunch at Radisson Blu Dubai  

Oct 1, 2014

A Taste of India in Gazebo Restaurant

My taste buds and my stomach are as fragile as my emotions, hence I was scared of Indian food. I was afraid of its intensity; the sting, the spice, everything! Then one day, I was lured by India, particularly Jaipur, through a travel documentary. So, I made a deal with myself. Before anything else, I must get over that senseless fear. I don't want to go hungry while travelling. :) 

Ed and I decided to go on an Indian date night for the first time three months ago. As most of our friends said that Gazebo is the safest choice when we want to acquaint ourselves with Indian cuisine, we went to the restaurant's branch in Deira City Centre.

Ed and Lady in Gazebo in Deira City Centre
Indian date night in Gazebo in DCC

Sep 28, 2014

A Spanish Feast in Seville's at WAFI Pyramids

Christmas Eve 2010, Ed and I came across Seville's; a Spanish restaurant in Wafi. That night, we found Seville's as an ideal dine-out spot for special occasions. It is a restaurant worth coming back to, so we said we'd go back soon. But the thing is, with so many options and so many new places to try in Dubai, "soon" turned out to be "after three years and couple of months!" It was only early this month, for Ed's 30th Birthday, that we finally had a chance to return.     

Tucked in Wafi Pyramids' rooftop, Seville's looks more like a homey Spanish villa than a restaurant. With its stucco walls and red bricks, rustic arched windows and vines clinging across its facade, Seville's is a secret hideaway in a shopping center! 
Seville's Spanish restaurant and bar in Wafi
Seville's: A Spanish restaurant and bar in Wafi

Sep 25, 2014

Serafina Italian Restaurant: A Piece of Northern Italy in Souk Al Bahar

Two hours. Three-course Italian meal. Four musical fountain shows. 

That's how our Satur-date went. It may sound like our normal date night in Downtown Dubai, but behind those words is an extraordinary dining experience. Ed and I were given the wonderful opportunity to have a taste of the authentic Northern Italian cuisine at Serafina Italian Restaurant in Souk Al Bahar

Serafina is a popular celebrity dine-out spot in New York. It is an intimate yet trendy Italian restaurant that has been welcoming famous stars like The Kardashians, Lady Gaga and Tom Cruise. It is well-loved by celebrities and non-celebrities, hence apart from its 10 locations in New York, Serafina also conquered the International scene. Today, it has branches in Moscow, Brazil, Tokyo, Mumbai and Dubai!  

Serafina Italian Restaurant in Souk Al Bahar Dubai
Serafina Italian Restaurant in Souk Al Bahar

Sep 22, 2014

Fortnum and Mason Dubai: Afternoon Indulgence at The Parlour

What can make you happy on an excruciating summer day? If you ask me, I'd say ICE CREAM!!! :) So when an invitation that says "melt away your afternoon and create your own ice cream sundae" arrived in my mailbox, I immediately gave it my big fat YES! 

Honestly, my mind was all over the "create-your-own-sundae" thing and I didn't care about the rest! That's how crazy over ice cream I was. Blame it on the weather! Heheh! It was only a day before the event when I had the time to check the location map. It was then that I realized that the event I'm happily looking forward to will be at the glass-clad three-floor structure in the middle of The Dubai Mall and The Address Downtown. I have been eyeing on that pretty standalone structure ever since it was still under construction early this year! Little did I know that it is the home of Fortnum and Mason in the UAE! 

Fortnum and Mason is a luxurious shopping destination for the rich and the royals in the UK. It was established in Picadilly in 1707! That's more than 300 years ago! Today, Fortnum and Mason is a British Icon with branches all over Great Britain. The shop in Downtown Dubai is their first standalone store outside the UK.

Fortnum and Mason in Downtown Dubai

Sep 20, 2014

Parasailing in Khorfakkan Corniche: The Great Adventure in the Sky

Ed's birthday celebration has always been an adventure of a lifetime. I am not as fearless as my husband, hence it's not just him that I surprise with a ticket to adventure, but pretty much myself as well. 

We initially planned to go snorkeling as Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort and Spa's diving center offers boat trips to Shark Island. However, when we were informed that the morning trip departs at around 9am and returns to the hotel at 2pm, we changed our minds. We wanted to go on an escapade and still have hours to relax before check out time. 

I somehow dreaded the moment when I mentioned "water sports activities". Those three words created a melody to my husband's ears. That moment, I knew that I had to prepare my physically and emotionally frail body for an adrenaline rush.

parasailing in Khorfakkan Corniche
Parasailing in Khorfakkan 

Sep 18, 2014

A Sensory Spa Experience at 360 Health Club and Spa in Oceanic Hotel

I received a spa treatment as a surprise during our stay at Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort and Spa. Upon knowing that I'll be having an hour of pampering, I immediately booked a treatment for my husband as well. Leaving him in our hotel room while we are on a sweet escape is the least I could do, plus the fact that it was his birthday weekend. Although he said he don't need to be pampered at all, I felt he actually deserved it more than I do! 

So, at four in the afternoon, on our first day in Oceanic Hotel, we went to 360 Health Club and Spa hand in hand. 

Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort and Spa

Sep 16, 2014

Al Murjan in Oceanic Hotel: Buffet Dining with a View

While on a sweet escape in Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort and Spa, Ed and I were treated to a fabulous buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner at Al Murjan. The restaurant's name sounds Arabic, but it's actually a trendy International buffet restaurant located at the hotel's ground floor. 

As Oceanic Hotel is situated in a magnificent spot in Khorfakkan, I had a strong feeling that Al Murjan is a perfect place to dine with a view. Perhaps, a restaurant where I can sit back, relax and satiate my senses. 

Al Murjan in Oceanic Hotel Khorfakkan

Sep 13, 2014

Travel Video: Sweet Escape in Khorfakkan

Sometimes, words are never enough. 

So, as a part of the blog makeover, Ed and I decided to share what it's really like when we are on a sweet escape. We will be sharing our travel videos every now and then! We wouldn't call it vlogging as we find speaking behind the camera really awkward. We just want to document our journey while still enjoying every minute of it. 

Recently, Ed got a GoPro as a Birthday gift and we overused used it during our trip to Khorfakkan! Heheh! As first time users, the shots weren't perfect; most turned out to be shaky, only a few are quite acceptable. My husband, armed with a basic video making skill, mounted our non-professional clips and created our first ever travel video! :)

Lady in Khorfakkan
keeping memories alive with a GoPro

Sep 12, 2014

Goodbye Pink Polka Blog!

Today marks an important milestone in my blog life! 

I no longer have a pink polka blog! Say a big HELLO to a newly-polished Lady and her Sweet Escapes! 

This major revamp is the most drastic change I've taken in the blog world so far. The thought of having a new look made me giddy, but scared... really scared. I desperately wanted a website suited for everyone; gents included, but I'm afraid that the blog might lose its identity. 

Goodbye Pink and Polka!

Sep 10, 2014

A True Escape in Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort and Spa

The weekend alarm sounded a bit early. Half awake, I tried not to hit the snooze button for an extra five minutes in bed. The Husband immediately offered me a piping hot coffee. Perhaps, he was as excited as I am. That day, we were scheduled to stay in Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort and Spa!

At 11 in the morning, we left the bustling city of Dubai on board an intercity bus bound to Fujairah. Khorfakkan is a part of Sharjah, but tucked between downtown Fujairah and Al Aqah. We traversed the concrete road built in the midst of a dramatic desert landscape and the rugged beauty of Hajar mountains. 

After a scenic 2-hour bus ride from Dubai to Fujairah, plus the 30-minute taxi ride from Fujairah to Khorfakkan, we finally arrived at Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort and Spa. We were both a little groggy from the long road trip, hence we jumped off the cab and readily succumbed to the weekend indulgence         

Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort and Spa

Sep 6, 2014

The New Seafood in a Bucket in Ansar Gallery

Seafood in a Bucket, the seafood restaurant that has taken Dubai by storm early last year, has finally opened a new branch! Finally! I hope this would be the answer to the longest restaurant queue I've ever seen in my entire life. 

It's no surprise why Seafood in a Bucket gained immediate popularity. During my first visit in their first branch in Karama, I had a strong feeling that people will love the restaurant as much as I do. Dining is fun and fancy, and the prices are fair enough for budget-conscious expats! 

I was excited to check out their new branch in Ansar Gallery. I know I'm not the only one!  :)     

Seafood in a Bucket in Ansar Gallery
the new Seafood in a Bucket in Ansar Gallery (photo taken minutes before closing time)

Sep 3, 2014

Sumo Sushi and Bento: Date Night in Al Qasba

I have been a maki monster lately. I've had California Maki almost every weekend, to the point that Ed already thinks my appetite is extremely weird. No, it's not what you think! Even during our recent date night in Al Qasba in Sharjah, I still bugged him for Japanese rolls although his palate was screaming for change. 

Ed wanted some peri-peri roast chicken. I, being submissive (sometimes), had our Entertainer voucher for the Portuguese restaurant ready. But, it turned out that the restaurant is under renovation! Hah! Good news for me in this case! Don't get me wrong, I love that peri-peri restaurant too. It's just that I desperately needed to go to Sumo Sushi and Bento to give in to my cravings! :)   

And so, it was Japanese night once again!

Sumo Sushi and Bento in Al Qasba

Sep 1, 2014

A Night in Al Qasba

One Saturday morning, Ed went to Sharjah for some tasks while I chose to be domesticated. I am not a home buddy, but that moment I felt it would be a burden for him if I tag along. So, I just watched him leave. 

And then, the itchy feet syndrome attacked!

It happened as soon as I learned that the Blogversary Giveaway winner lives in Sharjah. As I wanted to meet her and hand over the prize personally, impromptu plans started to roll. I took the intercity Dubai-Sharjah bus alone for the first time. I met Ed as soon as he fulfilled his tasks. Then, we met the Grace, the Instax winner, and her husband. 

And at the end of the day, we went to grab some quality time in Al Qasba.    

Eye of the Emirates in Al Qasba Sharjah

Aug 30, 2014

Cape Verde: Africa’s Answer to the Caribbean

Cape Verde has been heralded as one of the best tourist destinations of 2014 by National Geographic and there’s no doubt that the popularity of this group of Atlantic islands is on the rise.

If you’re looking for sun-drenched islands with spectacular beaches then Cape Verde should be on your destination list.


Aug 28, 2014

Campuestohan Highland Resort: Fun in the Highlands

Nestled in the lush slopes of Mt. Makawili in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, is a 5 hectare mountain resort bustling with scenic views, fun activities and relaxation spots. With its uniqueness and world-class facilities, Campuestohan Highland Resort quickly made a name and became a premier tourist destination in the province.

During our homecoming last year, I never had the time to visit Campuestohan and I went back to Dubai with regrets. I'd cringe with envy every time I see photos of family and friends at the resort. Hence, three months ago, on our recent holiday in the Philippines, Campuestohan Highlands took the number one spot in my places-to-visit list!    

Lady and Ed in Campuestohan Highland Resort

Aug 25, 2014

RICH Cafe: British Bites at Mall of the Emirates

RICH, in striking capital letters, scared me away several times. 

I'm talking about RICH Cafe at Mall of the Emirates. It is very inviting and certainly charming, yet its posh name sounds like a nightmare to the food budget. So, I often wince and walk straight to the food court. It was only last Saturday that I noticed the cafe's buy1get1 coupons in my precious Entertainer book! Why haven't I seen it all along?

RICH Cafe at Mall of the Emirates

Aug 21, 2014

My Five Favorite Filipino Restaurants in Dubai

I have tons of reasons why I'm in love with Dubai, and culinary diversity is one. My taste buds have learned to love authentic cuisines from other nations. But the more I appreciate the different flavors of the world, the more I keep running back to the taste I am familiar with. 

I'm glad that there are Filipino restaurants that I can run to when my kitchen prowess isn't enough to whip up a special Filipino meal. Some of the restaurants are homegrown; the food outlets I have already loved back in the Philippines. And most are "Made in Dubai"; the small eateries and the lavish buffet restaurants that always make me happy and proud.    

my favorite Filipino restaurants in Dubai

Aug 18, 2014

Travel with a Surat Journal

I love creating memories and making them last forever. That's one of the reasons why I blog, why I always have camera with me and why I decided to have a travel journal. With so many things happening and so little time to sit in front of the computer, my journal comes in handy when need to pen down my thoughts while I'm still on a sweet escape. If the camera is for the sights that I want to see, the journal is for the thoughts that I want to keep.

I want my memory keeper to be special, so I got myself a pink little blank book from Surat Journals. I love it because it is hand-crafted, made of recycled paper and bound in Marikina leather, light and fits right into my sling bag! Know more about Surat Journals and very interesting The Traveling Journal Project here.

It's a travel companion that everyone must have. So, in line with Lady and her Sweet Escapes blogversary celebration, and in partnership with Surat Journals, we are giving away a classic story keeper! I'm so happy to say that this giveaway is open worldwide! Yay! If you are the lucky winner, you'll receive the journal right at your doorstep! :)

Surat Journal
It's time to explore places with your Surat Journal!

Aug 15, 2014

The Ruins, The Romance and The Ristorante

Tucked in the midst of a sugarcane plantation is my home province's precious gem; a structure created out of love and ruined because of a war, but has lived to tell the tale! It is called The Ruins.

I have been there countless times. I have seen it in broad daylight, in the golden hour, under the night sky and from all possible angles. But there was never a time when I felt I had enough. I just have to go back and embrace its enchantment year after year!  

Perhaps I'm not the only one. 

The Ruins in Talisay

Aug 10, 2014

Dragon's Place: Asian Fusion Restaurant at The Ajman Palace

Due to my husband's obsession with Manga and my fascination with different forms of dining, we have fallen in love with Japanese cuisine. We have witnessed a culinary entertainment in a Teppanyaki table, dined in a contemporary ramen bar and grabbed some sushi from the conveyor belt. Traditional Japanese-style dining in a private room with a low table and floor cushions is what we wanted to experience next. It has been in our foodie bucket list for quite awhile and it was finally fulfilled during our stay at The Ajman Palace Hotel and Resort. Believe me when I say that the magic of spontaneity truly works! :)

An hour before the Japanese dinner date happened, I was contemplating where to dine at The Ajman Palace. The hotel has eight dining options! Part of me already wanted to steer away from confusion and just call for a room service, until I clicked on the online menu of Dragon's Place. The Asian Fusion restaurant offers Thai and Japanese cuisine, which simply means I can have a flavorful chicken satay and a delicate Japanese roll in one sitting! The prices are not that bad either! So, I dropped the room service plan and asked my husband to take me to Dragon's Place instead.  

Dragon's Place at The Ajman Palace Hotel

Aug 6, 2014

Eid Getaway at The Ajman Palace

"Where will you spend the Eid Holiday?" That's the question I often hear when the Holy Month of Ramadan comes to an end. For the first time in my six years in Dubai, I struggled for an answer. It has always been difficult to prepare for an Eid getaway in my line of work. Schedules are only released just a few hours before the holiday itself, but I always have something in mind. Well, except this year. 

My clueless stare and my "I have no idea" answer surprised a lot of people. Perhaps my holiday OCness, the force that made me do a Plan A, Plan B and even Plan C to Z, is already gone. Or maybe, I am already in love with the magic of spontaneity. :) 

It was only the day before Eid al Fitr that I knew I'd get a two-day holiday break, which simple means Ed and I can go on an out of town beach trip. Yay! So, when the official announcement was made, I immediately hit Booking.com for a last-minute hotel stay booking! The spur-of-the-moment planning made me giddy, but it also gave me a hard time as most rates have doubled or tripled. Even an overnight stay for two in a budget resort somewhere north had a whopping price of a thousand dirhams! Seriously? But after almost two hours of hotel-hunting online, I finally found a seemingly perfect sweet escape destination with a reasonable rate. 

Ed and I spent the Eid Holiday at The Ajman Palace.       

The Ajman Palace Hotel and Resort

Aug 3, 2014

2nd Blogversary Giveaway

It's Lady & her Sweet Escapes' anniversary month!

I can hardly believe that my little pink blog is turning two in couple of days. I have always been mellow dramatic when I'm counting my blessings, hence I'll try not to be a drama queen this time. I decided not to reward myself with a romantic getaway this year. The love and support I'm receiving from my readers are enough for me. So, I think it's payback time. :)      

I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the 2nd Blogversary than to say a massive THANK YOU to my loyal readers. With this, I'm launching not just one but two consecutive giveaways this August! The prices in store are not that grand, but I'm pretty sure you'll love them as much as I do.

Excited? Here you go... The first giveaway is cool, stylish, light and white! 

Lady and her Sweet Escapes Giveaway

Jul 31, 2014

Honda Bay DIY Trip: Two Islands in Two Hours

I never thought I could go island hopping in Honda Bay during our recent vacation in Puerto Princesa. Due to our limited time and the fear of delays, I opted to cross Honda Bay out the itinerary. I wanted to save it for next time, most probably two or three years from now, until a tricycle driver said that we can do a "two islands in two hours DIY trip".

The idea sounded great! So, on our 3rd and last day in Puerto Princesa, we asked him to fetch us at the break of dawn, take us to the wharf and back for a fee of Php 600. 

Honda Bay DIY Tour

Jul 27, 2014

Exotic Dining at Kinabuchs Grill and Bar in Palawan

On our last night in Puerto Princesa, my family and I had an exotic gastronomic experience. Though I love to eat, I have always been scared to dwell on the wild side. So, I felt it was about time to widen my culinary horizon! Heheh. I delightfully grabbed the opportunity to have the infamous bizarre cuisines of Palawan. 

We went to Kinabuchs Grill and Bar, a restaurant in Puerto Princesa famous for serving exotic delicacies such crocodile meat and tamilok (woodworm). Kinabuchs is an open-air native restobar. It was booming with a lively ambiance when we arrived for dinner. I could tell that it is where people can dine and chill at the same time. There's a spot for casual dining under the stars, an area with huge flat screen tvs for sports fans and a native cottage with billiard tables and a bar.

Kinabuchs Bar and Grill Palawan

Jul 24, 2014

Mo's: Contemporary American Diner in Citywalk

On a warm and humid Saturday night, I found myself walking in the moonlit pathway of Citywalk. The last time I was there was during the last days of winter. I remember, my friends and I talked about how the place would be like on summertime. I said it wouldn't be perfect without the cool breeze, but the trendy outdoor mall in the heart of the city proved me wrong! Even in the peak of summer, Citywalk still has the cool relaxing vibe and the undeniable charm!

I was there to meet fellow bloggers at Mo's, a casual restaurant serving American comfort food that we all have grown to love! I have heard wonderful things about Mo's. In fact, I have seen the restaurant almost jam-packed during my last visit at Citywalk. So, I wasn't just ecstatic to meet the bloggers, but to finally dine at Mo's as well!         

Citywalk Dubai