2019 | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Dec 16, 2019

Helicopter Ride over Rio de Janeiro

Ed and I would always settle for budget and mid-range activities whenever we travel. However, during our trip to Brazil, we decided to see Rio de Janeiro in a ritzy way. We felt that if a hot air balloon ride is a must in Cappadocia, flying above Cidade Maravilhosa should be another travel experience that we need to splurge on.

To see Rio from above, we had two options: hang glide or helicopter ride.

My husband, as adventurous as he is, has dreamt about having a birds-eye of the city on a hang glide. But since he couldn't convince me to do it and also don't have the heart to leave me behind, he compromised with a less-thrilling but equally rewarding Heli Ride. 

Helicopter ride in Rio Brazil

Nov 18, 2019

A Quick Travel Guide to Brazil's Iguazu Falls

Right after a lazy travel day in Sao Paulo, Ed and I bid goodbye to the concrete jungle and made our way to a real one. The Iguazu Waterfalls was not in our travel wishlist, but we couldn't afford to miss this UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature while we're in Brazil.

Iguazu Falls is tucked in a lush rainforest between Brazil and Argentina. It is the largest waterfall system in the world, spanning over a distance of 2,700 meters and composed of over 270 mighty water cascades.

Well, enough of the Wiki facts. What I'm trying to say is, Iguazu Falls is so incredible that it turned out to be the highlight of our Brazil trip!

Here is a quick guide to visiting the Brazilian side of Iguazu Waterfalls... 

Iguazu Falls Travel Guide

Nov 13, 2019

Sao Paulo, Brazil: A 1-Day Lazy Travel Itinerary

From OC to Lazy real quick? Ed and I laughed at ourselves while we munch on pizza in our hotel room on our first night in Sao Paulo - our first night in South America to be exact. We arrived at Guarulhos International Airport past 5 PM and reached our accommodation in Avenida Paulista three hours later. The young receptionist suggested that we go to a pub street after we check-in, but instead, we called for pizza delivery. 

Lazy Travelers or have we become such a Tito and Tita? Hahaha.

I don't know how it happened, but I have developed a love for spontaneous slow travels. I no longer spend hours jotting down a packed travel schedule in Excel. And Ed who has always loved going with the flow excitedly embraced the idea of heading to Brazil without an actual day to day itinerary for his birthday.

Sao Paulo Travel Itinerary

Sep 18, 2019

Stylish City Staycation in Novotel Dubai Al Barsha

What makes up a short yet satisfying staycation?

If you ask me, it should be in a place not too far away from home; fewer travel hours and more time to kick back and relax. A spacious hotel room with a view will come in handy. And huge plus points if I can indulge in my fave comfort food (seafood dinner perhaps) and if it has a pool where I can swim my worries away!

How lucky I am to tick off all those when I badly needed a quick break a few weeks ago!

Novotel Al Barsha Hotel review

Sep 4, 2019

Ras al Khaimah: Hidden Gem of the UAE

This is a guest post.

Located on the northern tip of the Arabian Peninsula is a small but significant member of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – Ras al Khaimah.

Sitting on the coast of the Persian Gulf, Ras al Khaimah has been an active trading port for millennia, tracing its origins back 7000 years. The emirate is currently ruled by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, who also sits on the Federal Supreme Council of the UAE; the region is geographically diverse, with deserts, mountain ranges, mangroves, and a coastal region.

Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah
Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah

Aug 30, 2019

Things I Love about Premier Inn Al Jaddaf

I have heard about Al Jaddaf a few times before, but most of the time, it was all about the dhow building yard. I thought it is a far-off deserted place located at the end of the Dubai Metro's Green Line. Little did I know, Al Jaddaf has quickly flourished into one of the most sought after communities in Dubai! 

It is in this thriving localle that Premier Inn Dubai opened a new hotel! Judging from the outside, Premier Inn Al Jaddaf is quite different from all the other Premier Inns I've seen. It looks very Dubai with its sand-hued facade and windcatchers! And when we stayed there last weekend, it realized that it is much more than a charming traditional exterior! 

Premier Inn Al Jaddaf hotel review

Aug 22, 2019

Kuala Lumpur: Do-It-Yourself Walking Tour

It rained cats and dogs when we were about to start our do-it-yourself walking tour in Kuala Lumpur two years ago. Ed and I got stuck in Harrods Cafe (which is now permanently closed) in Suria KLCC. There's nothing a cup of teh tarik and a plate of scones can't fix, but I was plainly downhearted on that rainy afternoon. 

Fast forward to our return trip to KL this year, I made sure to settle our unfinished business! 

Old Kuala Lumpur DIY walking tour

Jul 31, 2019

Colmar Tropicale: Day Trip in a French-themed Resort in Malaysia

Two years ago, when I said I will go back to Malaysia, I truly meant it!

Ed and I traveled back to the Heart of Southeast Asia last May; this time together with my parents for my Mama's birthday trip. They haven't been to Malaysia before and I was longing to go back; hence it was an easy destination of choice.

While planning for the return trip, I asked my Instagram friends for tips on where to bring the family; preferably a special location where my Mama (who apparently has more Facebook followers than me) can take pretty photos and have a nice birthday celebration. Visiting Colmar Tropicale turned out to be the #1 recommendation!

Colmar Tropicale in Malaysia

Jul 15, 2019

Fun, Free, and Cheap Things to do in Singapore

Singapore is one of my favorite cities in the world. Other than the fact that it has the bestest airport, coolest attractions, and super organized transportation system, Singapore was my very first out of the country destination, that is why it holds a place in my heart.

Whether a quick layover or a proper holiday, I wouldn't mind visiting Singapore over and over.  However, it can be costly!

It was named as the world's most expensive city to live in for several years, and probably one of the priciest holiday destinations. Hence, spending a few days in Singapore has always been a challenge for budget travelers like me.

Free things to do in Singapore

Jun 30, 2019

Bluewaters Island: What's in the newest island in Dubai?

Set to be the tallest observation wheel in the world, I have watched Ain Dubai slowly taking shape for years! The giant ferris wheel is still under construction, but the man-made island where it proudly stands has already been opened to the public last winter.

It is called Bluewaters Island, and oh-em-gee, it looks gorgeous! 

Bluewaters Island in Dubai

Jun 26, 2019

How on point is The Pointe in Dubai?

I haven't been going out lately. I know I'm missing on a lot of new things in Dubai and this blog has dried up on new information. No FOMO and no apologies here though as I have personal -valid- reasons. ;) But I wouldn't deny, I've been dying to visit those cool new places popping on my Instagram feed.

On top of my list is The Pointe.

The Pointe Dubai

Jun 18, 2019

OYO Rooms: Budget Stay in the UAE

I'm a huge fan of budget travel, but here's the catch - I'm not the one who's willing to compromise comfort and convenience. Being always after the value of money, I was thrilled when I heard about the launching of OYO Rooms in the UAE.  

What is OYO? 

OYO Rooms is actually not a newbie in the budget travel category. It originated in India in 2013 as a startup which aimed to standardize the services in budget hotels and guesthouses. It has become South Asia's largest hospitality group, and now it's being introduced to the world; one country at a time.  

OYO Rooms UAE blog review

Jun 3, 2019

Family Staycation in Hili Rayhaan by Rotana

Al Ain is undoubtedly one of the popular holiday destinations in the UAE. It is where Ed and I usually go whenever we need to take a breather. Fondly called as The Garden City, Al Ain is a total opposite of Dubai; no skyscrapers, no bizarre structures, lots of lush greens, and time seemingly moves slower! 

Now that my parents are here again on a short vacation and I think they have seen much of Dubai already, we decided to let them have a whole new experience; a change of environment by having a lazy family staycation in Al Ain. 

Hili Rayhaan hotel review

May 12, 2019

3 Days in Taiwan: Travel Essentials, Itinerary and Expenses

Taiwan was not on my 20 before 2020 wish list, let alone in my travel radar before the visa-free access for Filipinos was granted and before I stumbled on (and got addicted) to Din Tai Fung. Hahah! 

With only a few months left in Taiwan's visa-free program, the perfect opportunity for me to visit came last March! My vacation leave got approved just in time for Spring! I've been longing to witness those delicate pink blossoms for a couple of years already, so, together with my favorite travel buddies - Ed and my parents, I excitedly flew to Taipei despite the rainy weather forecast.     

Taiwan Travel Itinerary

Mar 29, 2019

Chasing Cherry Blossoms in Taiwan

I came to Taiwan just to see the cherry blossoms!

Such a shallow reason, I know. But yes, that's the truth. :)

Ed and I have not traveled during springtime before, so when our vacation leaves were approved for March, I thought we should take it as an opportunity to visit a place where we can witness the true beauty of the season. And when you talk about spring, it is the cherry blossoms that first comes into my mind! 

Japan was, of course, the ultimate goal for cherry blossoms sighting but we had to keep it out of the picture because of the visa application. Taiwan, on the other hand, offers a visa-free entry for Filipinos until July 2019, and although not well-celebrated, the country also boasts a variety of sakura flowers during spring! A win-win situation right there!    

Spring Trip in Taiwan

Mar 25, 2019

Exploring Taiwan with OWNRIDES Customized Private Tour

If you've been following me on Instagram, you probably know that Ed and I just got back from the land of XLB and bubble tea - Taiwan! We explored some parts of the country with my parents who are still very much cool and groovy at their 60s. Although I know how "game" they are with my DIY itineraries, I always try my best to find more comfortable ways of traveling whenever we are with them.

So, for Taiwan, I opted to book a tour! Not the boring group tour kind, but a type that satiates my hunger for exploring a new place on my own; more like a do-it-yourself trip, but hassle-free and convenient! 

Here's how it went...

Taiwan Customize Tour

Mar 19, 2019

10 Instagrammable Spots in Tbilisi

Did I mention how much I fell in love with Tbilisi when Ed and I visited last Autumn?

Tbilisi, they say is "the city that loves you", and it's definitely not hard to love back. The city, especially the old town, is so charming that I felt welcome the moment I arrived. It is also too colorful - homes are dainty and drenched in pastel tones - that I immediately felt I belong!

Wahhh! It looks too perfect for my Instagram theme!

Don't get me wrong. Ed and I don't travel just for the 'gram. But I can't deny that I really swooned over Tbilisi's cute and colorful corners because it's like my Instagram grid came to life!  

Instagram Spots in Tbilisi Georgia

Feb 28, 2019

Short Break in Tbilisi: Travel Itinerary and Expenses

Georgia, the country, is one of the places I haven't heard about until it became a popular vacation spot for Filipinos in the UAE. Being a budget-friendly destination situated at the intersection of Europe and Asia, I often hear my friends rave about it. 

Those raves did spark curiosity, so one day, I found myself spontaneously booking a flight to Georgia's capital - Tbilisi. 

Tbilisi Georgia Travel Itinerary

Feb 18, 2019

Seychelles on a Budget: Travel Itinerary, Expenses and Things To Know Before You Go

For Filipinos living in the Middle East, Seychelles is one of the best destinations for long weekends. One, because of its location; only a 4-hour flight away from Dubai. Two, because it is visa-free!

However, as budget travelers, Ed and I never thought of visiting Seychelles. It is known to be an expensive romantic destination; a posh natural playground and a favorite honeymoon hideaway of royalties and celebrities. 

It was only last year when we heard budget-savvy and independent travelers talk about Seychelles. A lot of "normal" people have visited the islands without costing them an arm, a leg, and a kidney! Pun intended! :)

So, when we came to know that traveling to Seychelles on a budget is possible, we placed it in our dream destinations list! And we finally crossed it off during a long-weekend last year!

Seychelles on a budget

Feb 3, 2019

7 Best Things To Do in Mahe Island in Seychelles

The Seychelles is made up of 115 paradise islands. The largest of which is Mahe, where the nation's capital and the international airport are located. Mahe basically connects the world to the exotic islands and the popular honeymooners' haven. However, it shouldn't be considered as merely a gateway.

Mahe is a destination on its own.

things to do in Mahe island

Jan 27, 2019

How to Explore Mahe Island in Seychelles by Public Bus

When Ed and I thought about travelling to Seychelles during the long weekend, the first question that came into our minds was "Can we afford it?"

We knew Seychelles could instantly dry up our travel funds if we choose to stay in a resort and rent a chauffer-driven car (We don't drive). So the first thing that we looked up in the internet was Mahe's public transportation system - the cheapest way to move around the island. We found a few information in travel blogs and vlogs, but a lot of questions were left unanswered until we arrived and experienced the bus rides ourselves.

So for those who are planning to travel to Seychelles, but are not keen on spending a fortune, here is a quick guide on using the public buses in Mahe island.

How to explore mahe island by bus

Jan 23, 2019

Featured in Illustrado Magazine: 100 Most Influential Filipinos in Gulf 2018

2018 was not my best year as a Blogger, and not as a Traveler (if I can call myself as such) either. I had fewer blog posts and lesser collaborations. The latter was actually my choice as I have decided to focus on the brands I admire and would share even without a collaboration deal.

Ed and I also didn't get to travel as much as we have done in previous years because of work situation. It's a long story but to make it short, I had to involuntarily leave the workplace that brought so many good things in my career as a Lab Tech. But then, that gave me the opportunity to begin a new chapter in a company I truly adore. That was my silver lining, I must say!

2018 was a year of personal growth, of career, and of family... a year of embracing life as it is. I was pretty quiet on the blog and on social media, so you can imagine my surprise when the team behind Illustrado Magazine contacted me for their annual 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf issue. Humbled and extremely grateful, I thought I must have been doing something good throughout my blogging years to deserve this recognition for the second time around.

Illustrado Magazine 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf

Jan 14, 2019

10 Cool Things to Do in Dubai during Winter

How do you enjoy winter season in Dubai? 

Winter is such a precious time in this part of the globe. It is when temperature drops up to 15 °C (Finally!) after a long and sweaty summer! This season of fine weather, cool breeze, and just enough sunshine is short lived. It lasts only for about three to four months, hence we need to make the most out of it! Agree? :) 

I made a round up of the cool things to do in Dubai during winter. These are actually my favorite winter activities, so if there's something I miss, feel free to share it in comment section below.

winter activities in Dubai

Jan 8, 2019

Top Things To See in Dubai Miracle Garden This Season

The World's Largest Natural Flower Garden is back, and as I always say, it gets better year after year!

Dubai Miracle Garden, a top winter attraction in United Arab Emirates, is finally open to public after a long summer hiatus. Now on its seventh season, I couldn't help but reminisce how this amazing garden became the talk of the town (the world, rather) when it was launched in 2013. It became so popular that my blog post about it went viral and was even featured in an article at Today.com of NBC News! That's the reason why Dubai Miracle Garden holds a special place in my blogger heart. 

Dubai Miracle Garden 2019