Other Grandeur Travelers.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I'M Hotel: Urban Escape in Makati


Barangay Poblacion in Makati City is experiencing some sort of rebirth lately. Its reputation as the Red Light District no longer precedes it. This side of Makati is now the home of the hippest cafés, restaurants, and bars.  It didn't come as a surprise to me when I heard that I'M hotel - a 5-star property - was finally breaking ground here. I'M hotel has a unique position because it is hotel of many "firsts" in the city.  Its signature facilities, location and design will surely appeal to all types of guests. The hotel's main feature is the Onsen Spa - the largest state-of-the-art spa in the Philippines. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Casa Kalaw: Your Latest Home in El Nido










A few days ago, I found myself back in my ultimate happy place - El Nido. This time, I was playing host and tour guide for friends visiting from Hong Kong.  After touring the world famous Puerto Princesa Underground River, we hired a private van and proceeded to the glorious Bacuit Bay. Timing was excellent since the 325-hectare Lio Tourism Estate opened its first resort called Casa Kalaw - a Filipino-inspired property located around 15 minutes from El Nido town proper and 5 minutes from Lio Airport. Casa Kalaw is a testament to Ayala Land's commitment to eco-tourism and sustainable development.



Friday, March 3, 2017

Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve: The Best in Ubud, Bali (A Photoblog)




The Ritz-Carlton group has finally made an incredible and stunning debut in Ubud. Mandapa, which means temples in Sanskrit, is the dream destination that will shift the way you think about quintessential paradise. There is no better place to see and feel the magic of Bali's spiritual and cultural center. It is a special place where people can rest their mind, body and soul.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Conrad Hotel Manila: An Inspiration by the Bay



I sometimes forget how magnificent the sunsets are in Manila Bay. With certainty and pride, I believe it is one of the best in the world. Those sunsets even helped me in deciding where I would take my Dermatology Residency (Not a big factor but a bonus. I knew that sunsets would save me every time I had a bad day at the hospital). However, I noticed something was missing -- that little extra that would add life and inspiration to the bay. Last June 15 2016, that became possible when Conrad Hotel, through its partnership with SM group, opened its first property in the Philippines.

Designed to look like a luxury cruise ship, Conrad Manila definitely stands out. WOW architects from Singapore wanted to bring a refreshing addition to the hotels in Manila.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

East Hong Kong: New Favorite Hotel



A few of you must be wondering why I have been in Hong Kong longer than usual for the past few weeks. Let's just say I am going where the wind takes me these days. Something that may be worth pursuing has led me back there but I wont be talking about that personal part of my life. After all, this is a travel blog so let's focus on that.

Finding the unfamiliar in the familiar has constantly been an exciting thought. Since I take regular trips to Hong Kong, I had to change things a little bit. I moved out of Kowloon and Central to discover a different side of the island - The East. With no competition, East Hotel of Swire Hotels was the only accommodation that could make this new experience a special one. 

Despite its positioning as a business hotel, I could say the East Hotel is ideal even for leisure travelers, families and couples who want to have a relatively quiet staycation in the city. There was something homey about Tai Koo and its neighborhood that made me feel like I was integrated in the local community. The proximity of the hotel to the MTR (It is literally right beside it!) will make it easy for anyone to reach it. 

Designed by the CL3 Architects, East Hotel has taken advantage of natural lighting and art. The airy lobby has some good energy overflowing through it. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Hotel Icon Hong Kong: Staycation in Style





Having visited Hong Kong countless number of times since my pre-teen years, I could not remember a vacation when I was not smitten by its beauty and grand scale. The former British colony was my first glimpse of the harmonious cultural intersection of the east and the west. Seeing that solidified my love for travel. Now, I look forward to taking trips there at least once or twice a year to draw more inspiration. I recently found that dose of inspiration in a hotel in the middle of bustling Kowloon. Its name is Hotel Icon.

Hotel Icon, owned by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is a hotel that marries hospitality and art in style. It is special because their students, who are future hoteliers, come here to work and learn about hotel management and everything in between.

The lobby alone is worth the visit. Designed by French Botanist Patrick Blanc, Hotel Icon is proud to have Asia's largest vertical indoor garden. It is a wonderful to see all that green inside a building in Hong Kong.


When we arrived, we were whisked immediately to the sleek executive floor for our hassle-freecheck-in. On the same floor was the Above and Beyond restaurant, which would most likely be one of the most romantic spots for dining in the city. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tarsier Botanika: Bohol's Most Extraordinary Luxury Boutique Resort


I have a confession to make. When I fall in love, I fall fast and hard. This truth can also be said for my favorite resorts and hotels. Every time I see a property that makes my jaw drop, I tend to get lost in it. A few years ago, we ate at this beautiful cliffside restaurant called Tarsier Paprika -- our last stop before going back to Manila. It was love at first sight. My immediate question to one of the staff was: "Are they planning to build villas here? It would be a waste if they did not". I believed the whole project was not yet done and I was right. I knew the vision of its owners, Nicholas and Patricia Moussempes, was slowly being brought to fruition. After years of careful planning, they now have Tarsier Botanika - an extraordinary boutique resort in Panglao Island with 12 unique villas that reflect luxury in nature. It is nothing like the resorts you have seen in this country or anywhere in the world. 

Let me show you why this is one of my favorites through these photos. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Reasons Why I love Pure Marula Facial Oil: The Pure Beauty OIl

With my profession as a board-certified dermatologist, the right skin care products will always be essential in my life. I am in constant search for the best ones here and around the world for my patients and myself. Recently, I have discovered this Miracle Oil that is perfect for all skin types. Let me introduce to all of you the Award-winning Marula by John Paul Selects: Pure Marula Facial Oil.   I cannot live without this being part of my regimen. Every time I travel, I bring this with me to treat and spoil my skin. 

Here are some of the reasons why I love this product:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Padma Resort Ubud: Longest (Heated) Infinity Pool in Bali



A new resort has claimed the title of having the longest infinity pool in Bali - Padma Resort Ubud. Recenly launched a few months ago, Padma Ubud is the freshest baby in the luxury resorts segment of Bali. It is located around 40-45 minutes from Ubud Centre.

Stretching 89 meters, the pool of Padma Resorts Ubud gives you a breathtaking view of the lush jungle in this northern part of Ubud. The best feature of the pool is that it is HEATED. Yes, you heard that right. It can get quite nippy in the mornings and nights in this part of Bali.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Samata: A Peaceful and Beautiful Retreat in Bali


Every year, the opening of a new resort is inevitable in Bali. The challenge for most properties here is making themselves stand out from the rest. It is necessary to have a unique position in the market. There is a need to elevate the resort experience to exciting and surprising ways. Otherwise, you will not make it in Bali.  

During my recent vacation here, I found one resort that had the "X" factor - The Samata. It is not located in the more popular areas like Kuta, Seminyak, Legian or Ubud. Situated in a quiet part of Sanur, The Samata is THE place for guests who completely want a relaxing getaway in Bali. The location is special since guests can have the best of both worlds -- the verdant rice fields directly fronting the whole property and the Indian Ocean from a short distance. Having only 10 exceptional and well-appointed Suites and Villas, The Samata has that air of exclusivity that I always look for. They even provide a 24-hour butler service. As part of the Lifestyle Retreats group, the Samata (which means the state of equilibrium between mind, body and soul in Sanskrit) promotes a more holistic kind of getaway. While eating healthy, they want guests to engage in sports or any fitness activity as well. I can attest that they have the most hardcore and impressive gym I had ever seen in a resort or hotel. 

Before arriving, I already knew this this trip was going to be about pure indulgence and pampering. I stayed in their beautiful Spa Suite (50 sqm), which was incredible since I had my own treatment room! They do know how to make things convenient for guests. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

My AirBnB Experience in Ubud: Bali's Cultural Center



(This is a Sponsored Post)

For obvious reasons, I am not really your AirBnB kind of traveler. I have always been been comfortable with my hotels and resorts. The first time I tried AirBnb was perhaps 5 or 6 years ago in London. Although it was not necessarily a bad experience, it was not the best either. Perhaps the reason for this was the fact that those were not the best options in the city. Now I am wiser.

Recently, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and give this a go one more time. I would say if there's one perfect place to do this again, it would be none other that the islands of the gods - Bali. My love affair with this island will continue to burn until I have stayed (or seen) all of  my favourite resorts here (That is quite impossible but I will do my best).

In between my resort stays, I chose one of the villas in charming Ubud for a change. To my surprise, my villa was actually part of a small resort near Ubud Centre called Suarti Boutique Village. My fears suddenly vanished! My chance of living in Bali "Eat, Pray" Love" style might have been thrown out of the window but it did not matter any more . The good thing about this was that I felt more comfortable and safer knowing that I could call someone at the front desk every time I needed something (True enough, I called them for a lot of things).

Since all the one-bedroom villas were booked, I was upgraded to a huge two-bedroom villa. I had no problems with that, of course.

My villa went beyond my expectations. I had a spacious common area with dining table and kitchen. Right in front was the Ubud I had imagined -- verdant surroundings that will relax any tired mind and soul. 

Thanks to Smart Communication's partnership with AirBnb, I was able to able to do this. It was an opportunity that I could not miss. if you are a SMART prepaid or Postpaid subscriber (I have been a one for more than a decade), their new promo entitles you to a P1,200 discount for a single eligible booking. Smart will give you a unique promo code when you text SMART Airbnd to 2855 for free. As soon as you get your code, you can already use your chosen Airbnb listing. A minimum of P4,500 is needed for this promo. Quite easy and brilliant, eh? 

Promo is until December 15, 2016 but don't fret since the codes can still be used for any booking until March 31, 2017!

Cannot wait to check more amazing AirBnBs around the world!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

La Mamounia Hotel: Velvet Dreams in Marrakech


In any city in the world, there is that one hotel that defines and represents it. In Marrakech, it is no less than La Mamounia - a historic and opulent palace hotel within the Medina. With its roots deeply tied to the city, it is no wonder that this hotel has become a symbol of Marrakech's past and future. La Mamounia, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), embodies Moroccan luxury at its finest.

Enjoy this PHOTOBLOG. 

Greeted with Moroccan hospitality by these gentlemen.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Amanjena: Peach-Walled Oasis in Marrakech




Outside the vibrant city of Marrakech, a peach-walled paradise with views of the majestic Atlas mountains exists. Located around 12 kilometers south of Morroco's tourist capital, Amanjena captures Arabian and Moorish fantasy to perfection. Architect Ed Tuttle outdid himself here when he designed the first Aman property in North Africa. Despite its grand scale, Amanjena does not seem to overwhelm the senses. Dotted by olive trees and date palms, the zen-like atmosphere will captivate any guest who visits. Life will never be the same after that.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Salaya Beach Houses: An Exceptional Luxury Boutique Resort in Dauin



It was Resort Love at first sight. Salaya Beach Houses is a dreamy tropical dive and yoga resort in Dauin, Negros Occidental. Built with love and passion, Salaya was a private retreat for an American couple but they eventually decided to open its doors to everyone. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Atmosphere Resorts and Spa: Dumaguete's Premier Luxury Eco-Resort



Negros Oriental was a revelation. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did. It was a packed beach vacation that showed some us of the country's best. Our home here was Atmosphere Resorts and Spa, a beautiful eco-resort within a seven-acre coconut plantation in Dauin (a municipality outside Dumaguete City). It was the absolute jump-off point to the islands within the region.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Amanpulo: The Most Beautiful Island in the Philippines




Some vacations are truly more special than the rest that they almost become transcendental.  This island, the most beautiful one I had ever seen, was clearly a defining moment in my life. It marked the start and end of a lot of things. I kept telling Ivan (my personal guest assistant) that I was most likely the happiest person on that island when I arrived. No one could surpass my bliss. Unquestionably. When dreams do come true, it still feels like dream. Pamalican Island, more popularly known as Amanpulo, was it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Pursuing Your Passion Without Getting Broke Through Security Bank


With my passion for travel, sometimes I tend to forget about the importance of financial security. I know that living in the moment is part of my philosophy but it is also essential to plan for the future Recently, I have decided to get out of my comfort zone and explore the world of UITF or Unit Investment a Trust Fund. I had always wanted to do this but the timing was always off. When I was invited by Game Changer PH to attend their talk at the Fairmont Hotel called "Pursuing Your Passion without Getting Broke", I knew I could not miss that opportunity. 

Basically, UITF pools money of investors (that's you) and professional fund managers will handle that investment for you. They choose the best investment outlets so you can get the return you deserve. The good thing about this is that everything will mostly depend on how much of a risk taker you are. You can go from minimal to hight risk. Most importantly, this process is easy! You can start investing in UITFs with just P10,000. If you have money sitting in your savings account, it might be more practical for you to put in in a place where it can generate income. I know this may sound a bit complicated and daunting but it is not.

There's really no better time to invest than NOW.  The whole world awaits. 


For inquiries, please call (02) 8887371
Email trustmarketing@securitybank.com.ph

OR CLICK
https://www.securitybank.com/personal/investments/unit-investment-trust-funds/






Friday, August 19, 2016

Under The Stars Luxury Apartment: Boracay's Secret Haven


If you are a group of 5 or 6 people planning a trip to Boracay, you should consider staying in Under the Stars (UTS) Luxury Apartment. UTS can give you all that privacy you want without being too far from the main action. Situated along Tambisaan beach (around 10-15 mins to D'Mall or Station 2. They have a regular shuttle service for this), UTS is the one of the most impressive accommodations in Boracay. Imagine a 500-sqm apartment all for you -- a complete bargain on this island! Guests also get their own butler who will be at your beck and call. 

Here are some of the photos. 

The Living Room. SO MUCH SPACE! The artworks add so much character to the whole apartment. During some of our "lazy" time, we would sit and decipher what some of them could mean.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Metropolitan by COMO Bangkok



The only thing I am not excited about whenever I visit Bangkok is the damn humidity. It is as bad or even worse than Manila. As for everything else though (food, sights and hotels), this bustling city never runs out of the best ones. In fact, Bangkok has all of them in excess. 

My hotel pick this time was the Metropolitan Hotel by Como for a few good reasons. The most essential among these was that I had never stayed in any of the COMO hotels and resorts before. They have thirteen (13) incredible properties scattered around the world -- from the mountains of Bhutan to the atolls of Maldives. Despite being relatively new in the hospitality scene, COMO has received a good following from a particular set of travelers. Founded by Christina Ong, a Singaporean entrepreneur, the COMO properties have been handpicked to make your experience a remarkable one. They believe that the "philosophy of hospitality and service should be both shared by the owners and the employees". 

When we reached the hotel, I carefully studied the sleek and minimal design of the lobby. I knew nothing about Chi but if did, I would say it flowed easily here. The Metropolitan's interiors and choice of furniture felt like a mix of Thai and Japanese design sensibilities. You could almost imagine it being an Aman property without the hefty rates.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Balesin and Apo Island Video


Here's a short clip from our recent trip. It was such a delight flying my drone to take a new perspective.