Monday, July 18

The Historic Hague Decision

It was 2012 when our fishermen were blocked by the Chinese coastguard into their traditional fishing grounds called the Scarborough Shoal. The Aquino administration was a newly minted government then and was barely two years old. The past administration faced many challenges, some involved the loss of lives due to internal conflict but none as pressing as this issue as it directs what the future of the West Philippine Sea, our sovereignty, will be.

I have followed this standoff 
closely. Our boats went home but our men feared for their future. China is a growing superpower and our country has no match to its military strength. But I am proud to say that our nation is restless and our former leaders were always in high spirits. 
Those who closely follow the news know now that the result of the case we lodged at the High Tribunal at The Hague was released last July 12 in favor of the Philippines. Many are elated with the much anticipated Philippine-favored ruling. But following this huge win for our country, are doubts with what the present administration will do after receiving the news. 

Being in Isla Pag-Asa over a year ago made this issue very close to me. I can only do so much but my heart and soul are one in thoughts that China should respect the decision. Ignoring it simply means that they know they are on the wrong footing and will do all means necessary to assert they they are right. Interpreting how this is being played, China is not the one to back down or get just a menial share. With their aggressive nine-dash line claim, it's either win or nothing at all.
You can never go wrong as long as you are treading the right path. And I sincerely pray that our new leaders will continue what their forebears has started for the sole benefit and goodness of the great Filipino nation. 

Monday, July 11

Amelie Hotel: Your Chic Sanctuary at the Heart of Manila

I was looking for a nice play to spend a one-night staycation with my friend. I opted to look in the city for a change of scenery. Then I heard about Amelie Hotel in Manila and quickly looked it up online. Good reviews from friends made me decide to choose this bohemian-inspired hotel

Amelie Hotel Manila is situated along Bocobo St. in Malate. It is near several universities and shopping malls. If not for the nice romantic movie we wanted to watch, seeing the hotel almost made me decide to just stay indoors. The ambience it gives is modern and cool - perfect for the young professional seeking for a quiet getaway for the next couple of days. 

It was raining on the day we checked in. And I think the gloomy weather was a perfect match to the hotel's chic and hip vibe. Amelie Hotel's exterior is simple and unassuming but the insides were definitely lovely. Since I am into earthy and warm tones, I truly appreciated the hotel's dark interiors. At night, it vibrates a seductive aura. And with that old house in front, I couldn't help but feel a little nostalgia. 


- Lobby and Reception -
The hotel has a receiving area complete with plump sofas, facing the elevators. (Staycation Hack: this is a great place to take your selfie!). A lone computer which guests can uses sits in a quiet corner near the in-house travel agency and reception. And I like the modern map they put up near the elevators, doubling as wall decor and a functioning cartograph. 

- Gym -
To my joy, the hotel has a mini gym - highly recommended for the fitness buff. The gym is air-conditioned, has several fitness equipment, a tv and a water dispenser. I only hope though that they would put up mirrors on the walls. It is because I want to see if I already lost weight after 30 minutes of non-stop exercise. Haha! Just kidding.

- Roof Deck -

The roof deck comes with a view of the city. It is a nice place to catch up on some reading or just relax while sipping on your hot cup of coffee. 

The courtyard is where you can hold small gatherings. The eye-popping orange garden umbrellas added some needed flair.

- Swimming Pool -
It was perhaps the cutest pool I have seen. Though small, the pool is actually pretty private since the roof deck and courtyard are physically separated from this area, making you feel like you are in an extra giant bathtub. 

When the sun is high, admire a nice view of the streets below while soaked in the cool waters four feet under.

- Conference/Meeting Area -
This 3-star hotel also boasts of a conference room which can hold up to 130 individuals. It has a side door leading to the courtyard which can also serve as a cocktail or receiving area. Inside, the wide transparent windows lets natural light flow and has a very good view of the cityscape. 

We were assigned to stay in a 2 Beds Deluxe Room. But guests can also choose to stay in a Deluxe Room (1 Bed) and in an Executive Room.

Room amenities include complimentary bottled water and coffee, toiletries, bedroom slippers, cable tv, reading desk and a mini-fridge. The Executive rooms have a mini-bar promoting Filipino products (I think that is really noble). Bathrobes are also available upon request though this is readily available for the Executive Rooms.

- 1 Bed Deluxe Room -
This room type is perfect for the solo traveler.

- 2 Beds Deluxe Room -
This room type is perfect for families or groups. Room is good up to four individuals.

- Executive Room -
This room type is perfect for couples and has a spacious receiving area.

Braska Restaurant
Now this is my favorite place in the hotel (who does not love food?). The restaurant is hip, modern and artsy. The bar is just lovely and the music they play is awesome. 

The lovely bar

We had a hard time choosing what to have for dinner since we wanted to taste everything they recommended. After a few minutes of discussion, we finally settled on Beef Kaldereta with rice and fruit juices. 
Short Ribs Beef Caldereta
L: American Breakfast (waffles) | R: Beef Tapa Rice Meal

Braska Restaurant's Short Ribs Beef Caldereta is a bestseller. Its perfect mixture of sweet and spicy taste bursts slowly inside your mouth. A serving is already good for two persons. Having this definitely made our night. 

For breakfast I chose to have American Breakfast while my friend selected Beef Tapa with Rice from the Filipino menu. I can say that Braska Restaurant's waffles are the most deliciousI have tasted. :)

Rated as a three-star hotel, I wouldn't mind giving Amelie Hotel Manila a higher grade. In our two-day stay, we never felt neglected. From the attentive entrance guards to the patient servers at the restaurant, to the dutiful managers and always-smiling reception staff, our stay was made more enjoyable by them. All of the hotel's great features would fade in the background if it wasn't coupled with their honest hospitality.  I see myself staying again in the near future, hopefully in October which is my birthday month.

Do stay in Amelie Manila Hotel when you decide to explore the greater Manila area. You will definitely have a great stay just like we did.

How To Get Here
Amelie Hotel Manila has ample parking space for those visiting with private vehicles. For those without, the hotel is easily accessible via public transportation like cab, jeepney and the LRT. 

If taking the LRT, alight at Pedro Gil station and walk towards Robinsons Place Manila along Pedro Gil St. Upon reaching the mall, turn left at Bocobo St. The hotel is located at the right side fronting an old house. 

For discounted rates, you may book through this link.

Amelie Hotel Manila
Main +63 (2) 875 7888 | Fax +63 (2) 995 3972
1667 Bocobo St.
Malate, Manila 1004 PH

Wednesday, June 22

Exploring Santa Cruz, Marinduque

This heart-shaped province had been on top of my bucket list for quite a while. I was eluding it for the longest time but I knew deep down that a weekend getaway will not suffice. Then the right time came after the wedding of one my closest friends. 

Our main purpose was to visit and enjoy the amenities of Marikit-Na Beach Resort in Maniwaya Island. But the rest of Marinduque is much more beautiful that just curling up in our room means wasting precious exploration time.
Left: A Roman soldier of the Moriones Festival
Right: An elderly woman lights up a candle as she watches the ongoing Santacruzan

Before we headed to Marikit-na Beach Resort, we spent one night in the municipality of Sta. Cruz after arriving from Manila. This sleepy town has its own share of treasures worth appreciating and our one night stopover was definitely not put to waste.