“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage” ― Paulo Coelho, O Aleph

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Look Inside Mall of Asia Arena


Located on SM Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay, the new and recently opened indoor arena is a multi-purpose venue that can accommodate a seating capacity of 15,000.  It also has a full-house capacity of 20,000, which are 5,000 more than the Smart Araneta Coliseum.  It was designed for concerts and basketball games and can also be configured for boxing, theater, fashion and ice skating shows.

It was in the eyed-theme arena where the controversial Lady Gaga - Born This Way Ball Tour was recently held.  The public was not only awed by her show stopping performance, but by the venue, the new state-of-the-art SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena—according to Manila Bulletin.  Well, yours truly was not able to watch said concert. With the high-priced tickets, I don’t think so (haha!).  I just had a chance to look and experience the venue during our company’s event.







At the Coral Way, one of the main entry points.  Ticket is scanned and a sort of shield opens.

A long queue at snack bars.  There are snack bars on all levels.  I also noticed Krispy Kreme on the second level.

We had a complimentary snack (+ bottled water).

Btw, the arena has five levels.  The ticket indicates what section and row-seat are you.  Mine was at Lower Box (free seating).  Lower Box doors are on the second level.

Door numbers are noticeably indicated on the ceiling.  There are also Wi-Fi internet connections and smoking lounges.

These were the views from the Lower Box.








There are different sections inside the arena; from Corporate Suites, Patron VIP with meet-and-greet, Patron, Lower Box, Upper Box to General Admission.  Corporate suite is an exclusive and fully furnished room designed with its own lounge, mini bar, restroom, private gallery with cinema seats.

Hmmm..  Scoreboard feels like NBA  (anyone disagree?).

Here were some highlights of the event I have watched and attended.  My apologies for poor camera lenses.
Hosts for that event were Mr. Luis Manzano and Ms. Nikki Gil
A breathtaking performance from Ms. Ciara Sotto doing poll dancing
Song numbers from Mr. Xian Lim
And many more to mention.

There are more than 2,000 parking spaces on the south side of the mall. But you can conveniently park at the nearest MOA Arena Annex Bldg. in front of MOA Arena Coral Way Entrance with 1,400 more parking spaces (P45/flat rate) or at the open parking area located in front of SMX Convention Center (P30/flat rate).



Another tourist destination for entertainment and sporting events, certainly world class.  Till next time!  Smile

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gift Suggestion: Beauty and Relaxation Treat



Tired of endless thinking and finding the right gift for a friend, office mate or boss?  Well, this one might be the answer.  To be honest, this idea wasn't originally mine.


Another question is, is the recipient a beauty conscious or fan of salons and spas (like me)?  So maybe he/she will love this.

A gift certificate.

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GC is valid at any branches and has no expiration.  He/she can have his/her facial, treatments, hand and foot spa, body scrub, massage etc.


Gift wrapping suggestion and preparation.

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Ready-made box and ribbon from SM.  Don’t forget to cover or wrap the GC with gift tissue before placing it inside the box.  They won’t easily guess what’s inside.

Surprise!

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Till next time!  Party smile

Budget Puerto Princesa Trip: Day 2


We needed to wake up around 4:30 am. It means taking a bath early without hot water (oh no!).  I am not used to cold water in the morning except for summer.  But it was month of December and it rained the night before so it was pretty cold that early morning in Palawan.  Grets (roommate) found me a little weird and funny for seeing me jumping and quite dancing before I got inside the bathroom.  (Oh!) If only I could shout without waking up guests from other rooms after I splashed my body with cold water.

Without further ado, our itinerary that morning was Underground River.  All of us were very excited.  While inside the van (going to Sabang), Ate Rose (guide) was briefing us about the Underground River, its beauty and historical background.  Even she has been there many times being a local, you could still feel how excited she was or happy for us that we will be having this wonderful experience.  But in the middle of our trip going to Sabang (where boat is located going to Underground River), one phone call spoiled everything.  There was a call from other tour guide informing Ate Rose that there were big waves along Sabang and it wasn’t safe going to Underground River.  She was teary eyed while telling and explaining to us that very bad news. But we all agreed to proceed to Sabang and see if there was still hope.

A stroll along the beach was not an unpleasant idea after all.




Hmmm..  What a nice resort.  A luxury resort btw.


We had our lunch (brunch) buffet at Taraw.



Nature didn’t let us go to Underground River.  Boating along the shoreline wasn’t safe for either the boat or the people on board.


Instead of returning to the hotel and whine there, with Ate Rose suggestion, we just went to Ugong (humming) Rock (I had a separate blog for this).  It was a fun and exciting adventure.

After Ugong Rock experience, we had a city tour around Puerto Princesa.

Our first stop was Crocodile Farm.



At the hatchling house where the newborn and young crocodiles are found.

You need to cross the metal bridge to see the bigger crocodiles.


Eeeww!

Next was Baker’s Hill.  It’s a bakery, restaurant and a theme park.  What I loved most was their ube hopia.






We passed by the Baywalk.  This is not the Baywalk in Manila (of course).  But it looks identical except for the giant Christmas tree and wider walkway.


Our last stop was Cora’s Palawan Pearls & Souvenir ShopNo photos were taken, my apologies.  I was too busy shopping (one thing I love aside or while traveling).  Pearls there are really cheap.  I bought pairs of mother of pearl dangling earrings, a size of 25 cents coins for only P100 and less than hundreds (P) for fresh water pearls.  They are also selling original south sea pearls for P1,000-P2,500 as compared to P8,000 up cost here in Manila.  I as well bought “danggit” (a small thin salted dried fish, also known as rabbitfish or spinefoot fish), ref magnets (additions to my precious collections), key chains and other “pasalubongs”.

Two days trip wasn’t really enough.  We surely shall return.  I will add Dos Palmas, KaLui, Underground River (definitely) and more (I’ll do some research) on my next Puerto Princesa itinerary.  Till next time! Open-mouthed smile

“Spend less and yet experience more (fun) in the Philippines” – the frog

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Budget Puerto Princesa Trip: Day 1

Let us first have a short recap about Puerto Princesa.  Puerto Princesa has been formally declared the Cleanest and Greenest Component City in the Philippines.  Home of the country’s pride, the PPUR (Puerto Princesa Underground River) being one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

A dear friend Chell booked us (we were five actually) at Cebu Pacific a promo round trip ticket going to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.  Travel date was December 2011, last year.  Chell did her homework very well.  From hotel bookings, tour guide contacts etc., a couple of months before our travel date (love you mama!).

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Ate Rose, our tour guide fetched us from Puerto Princesa Airport.

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This was our ride, a Toyota Hiace.

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Btw, our tour package includes round trip airport-hotel transfers, land and boat transfers, entrance fees, Honda Bay island hopping, Underground River tour and buffet picnic lunch (2D); all for P2,200 per head.

We were all on a tight budget that time.  Rengel Hotel was the obvious choice.

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ambisyosang frog

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What would you expect?  Air con was functioning but not that cold. There was no hot water or shower in the bathroom, just use a deeper or tabo when taking a bath.  It is not advisable to bring laptops or valuables although it’s safe in Palawan according to Ate Rose (tour guide).  There was an unpleasant smell on the hallways.

In every pros, there are cons or vice versa.  The hotel’s location is near the market, fast food (Jollibee), banks, drugstore (Mercury Drug); stores, stalls and food carts (Master Siomai, Dunkin’ Donuts) at the ground; walking distance (2-3 blocks away) to capitol or kapitolyo, bar and restaurants.

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Puerto Princesa is at the center of a folded umbrella like Palawan map.  A statement I got from Ate Rose.  She was absolutely right by just looking at this photo. I found this frame hanging on the wall in the hotel lobby.

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From the airport, we dropped and left our things and backpacks to the hotel, except for our cameras, mobile phones, wallet and swimming outfit because the first place on our itinerary was..Honda Bay!

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Honda Bay:  Snake Island

There are cottages made of bamboo where you can sit, relax and eat. This is where we had our buffet picnic lunch.  Activities in Snake Island are swimming, snorkeling and fish feeding. You may bring your own snorkel or rent.  There’s a snorkel rental for P150 (more or less) along the way (going to Honda Bay).  If you can’t swim (like me) there were kind divers who can assist you.  Well in my case, though I was wearing a life jacket, kuya helped me go to 10 feet and was able to see and witness with my own eyes those beautiful and colorful fishes.

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Honda Bay:  Pandan Island

You can do the same activities in this island.  But we didn’t in our case.  We just had picture taking, walking and viewing.  In my opinion, Pandan Island is quite nicer than Snake Island.

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ambisyosang frog

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Honda Bay:  Pambato Reef

There are abundant fishes that swim and live around the living coral of the reef.  Snorkeling again?  Yes, you should.  But I didn't.  I was so anxious; the water there was deeper (of course) than at Snake Island.

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Dinner is not always included in tour packages.  This time, tourists have the option to choose or decide where to eat.  There is a famous restaurant in Puerto Princesa and a must visit place among tourists named KaLui.  Ate Rose told us that we need to make table reservations earlier or a day before since a lot of people and tourists dine there.  Too bad, we weren’t able to have dinner at said restaurant.

While we were walking from Valencia St. (hotel’s location) to Wharf Road to look for a place to eat, we spotted a restaurant named Balinsasayaw Restaurant.  It was a little late for dinner; my order of grilled chicken (their bestseller, daw?) was not available so I ordered grilled tuna (set meal) instead for P80-90.  Reasonable price (remember we were on a budget), yet delicious and fresh.

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After we had our dinner, we walked again, this time going to Kapitolyo.  I can’t remember what the occasion was or maybe because it was month of December (Christmas was near) but there were lots of tiangge (stalls selling different items on bargain, food etc.) at the Kapitolyo that time.  There was a band performing live on stage and plenty of people as well.

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Returning to our hotel, we took a tricycle.  Their tricycles are different from those found here in Metro Manila.  It’s bigger and can accommodate 6 persons, I think (I’m not sure).  Sorry that I forgot to take photo of it.  Our day 1 was so tiring yet we had fun indeed. 

P.s.
Sorry for the late post. It was only last month that I started to write/blog. Our Puerto Princesa experience, for me is just something I shouldn’t miss to share. Till next time!  Winking smile

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