Tuesday, February 28

A Day in Dipolog

We stayed one night in Dipolog City before spending two nights in Dapitan. My long time travel buddy and I originally planned to just head straight to Dapitan because we thought there was nothing to see or do here. 

But my gut told me that a night's stay is a must. It turned out to be a nice introduction to the province of Zamboanga del Norte. My friend and I stayed at one of the more upscale hotels in the city, D'Hotel and Suites. But no matter how nice our room was, we dragged ourselves out as our main purpose was to see what this third class city and the capital of the province has to offer.
After getting some rest, My friend and I quickly headed to the city center as the sun was already beginning to set. I caught a quick glimpse of the cathedral when I alighted the van earlier and I made a mental note to make it as our first stop. 

Tuesday, February 21

A Relaxing Seda Nuvali Hotel Staycation via Traveloka

Sta. Rosa City, Laguna has seen its fair share of rapid development, thanks to its strategic location and vibrant local community. Several hotels have sprung up here over the years. 

I wanted to experience staying in a Seda hotel as soon as its Nuvali branch opened in my hometown a few years back. But budget was a major concern since this hotel is on the upscale side. But that all changed when I chanced upon a booking app called Traveloka. Here, I can easily find better rates and book my favorite hotels in no time. 

Tuesday, February 14

Experiencing Affordable Luxury at D' Hotel and Suites

It was my first time visiting Zamboanga del Norte in Mindanao and I chose Dipolog City as the first place to visit in the province. Being in an unfamiliar territory often leaves me a bit nervous so choosing a nice place to stay in was one of my priorities.

Upon learning of D'Hotel and Suites, I knew it will be where we will be spending our one-night stay in the city. Yes, it was rather short but it came out more comfortable than we expected.

We gladly took advantage of the complimentary airport shuttle. The weather upon our arrival was hot and the van's cool temperature helped us to settle down. The ride was quick, just under ten minutes.

Monday, February 6

BGC Hostel Makati

It was Miss Universe weekend and I was so pumped up that I needed to get out of the house before the big day last Monday. My friends and I had this tradition of meeting at least once a month for our usual get-together. This time, we were able to secure a one-night staycation at the hip BGC Makati Hostel.  There was supposed to be four of us but I ended up only with Jherson as the other two were not feeling well. 

The hostel is near the fast-rising BGC business district, just within walking distance from EDSA through Dinalag St. If commuting, its location may seem hard to find at first but is actually advantageous for those seeking a good place to relax within the city. 
My friend Jherson and I stayed in a room with four bunk beds. Bathroom is shared where the toilet is separated from the shower room. But that was just fine as each cubicle was neat and spacious enough. Linens were provided free of charge like towels and tissue. But you have to bring your own toiletries (i.e. soap, shampoo, toothpaste) as this wasn't included in the room rate. Lockers were also available to use free of charge for each guest. The lockers were secured by a digital rotating lock.

Our private sanctuary for the next 24 hours. 😄 #ponderingpaodaolei #themermaidwanders #bgchostel #bgchostelmakati

See this Instagram photo by @paodaolei * 57 likes

Our dorm room did not have any windows, and the super cool air coming from the air-conditioner felt like 10 degrees! Nonetheless, I had a good sleep, we just requested for the temperature to be adjusted. 

The reception will greet you upon entering the hostel premises. It has a common area, a pantry where you can have coffee and fix basic meals. The hostel 'living room' was filled with garden chairs and couches. There was also a lone computer. Just inform the staff if you will use it. 

While I thought there was no Wi-Fi, we were promptly given passwords when we mentioned it to the nice lady in charge. The connection was pretty decent so we didn't have a hard time going online to read our e-mails. 

At night, when all lights were turned on, the interiors come alive, very homey and softly lit. The strong colors of some accents were a perfect contrast to the wall's black and white graffiti.

There was a food house beside the hostel which opens at 10 AM and a nearby carinderia which operates from 7 AM. For other basic needs, 7-11 and Mercury Drug is also within the vicinity.

Since Miss Universe started at 8 AM the following day, I was out of the hostel at half past five. I woke up the still sleepy Jherson (sorry friend!). He was very kind to see me off safely in a bus. 

When I was alone in the room! Haha! #bgchostelmakati #bgchostel #ponderingpaodaolei #themermaidwanders

See this Instagram photo by @paodaolei * 68 likes
While I found the bed very comfortable and private (it has privacy curtains and a reading lamp), I wished I could've slept longer. But since Maxine finished at top 6 at Miss Universe, my sleepless state was worth it. I am looking forward to stay again at the hostel in March. This time with Mai who missed this staycation with me. :)

How To Get Here
* By public commute, taking the MRT or bus are the best options. Alight at Estrella St. and walk towards Dinalag St.  The hostel is just within a few meters from the highway. you will see the big and colorful BGC sign at the top of the building.

* Buendia MRT Station is the closest station to the hostel. Since I came from the south (and provincial buses aren't allowed to let off passengers everywhere), I alighted here and I took a bus towards Dinalag St. I tried walking but there was a segment along EDSA where there was no sidewalk at all! Dear me, I still want to live. I took an ordinary bus for P 10 and asked to be dropped off at Estrella, then I just walked towards Dinalag St. Next time, I will ask the bus to drop me off at Estrella so I won't have to take another bus. Pardon me, it was my first time in the area.

* Taking a cab would be the easiest wherever you will be coming from. Take Grab or Uber for they utilize maps. No reason for the driver to get lost.

BGC Hostel Makati

Wednesday, February 1

My First Time in Hong Kong and Macau

Hong Kong has always been one of the most popular tourist attractions for Southeast Asians. It was my first out of the country destination as a novice traveler. I have been to Hong Kong three times in the past in a span of one and a half years. It was so addicting that I traveled to this Asian megalopolis with different sets of people. The first time was with my family, the second one with my photographer friends and the last with my workmates.

We have visited the most popular Hong Kong tourist spots while we also dropped by at some quieter sites.

Victoria Harbour Lights Show
Cable Cars at the Ocean Park