Other Grandeur Travelers.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Story of Luneta Hotel: Is this Old Dame too Beautiful for Manila?

If Luneta Hotel were a lady, she would stand out in a crowd, leaving everyone captivated by her beauty. Men fawn over her, as if under a hypnotic spell. They fall in love with the effortless grace and charm of this lady that has seen it all -- a nation's progress, downfall, and war wounds. Over time, however, her beauty fades and one day, she finds herself alone in a city where her beauty no longer seems appealing and relevant. She feels out of place, lonely--almost like a derelict. Consequently, she never leaves her home for many years.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Bayleaf Hotel Intramuros: The Boutique Hotel with THE View

If you are looking for a new hotel that will show you Manila's rich history, lost magic and inimitable views, nothing would be more perfect than the Bayleaf Hotel, situated within the walls of old Intramuros (that sounds redundant if you understand Spanish). The Bayleaf Hotel recently opened its doors last November 2011, giving Intramuros the attention it needed to attract more local and foreign tourists. Everyone can now have a taste of an upscale accommodation in the heart of Manila's historic district.

FYI, this boutique hotel is owned by the prominent Laurel family, hence the name Bay leaf which refers to the aromatic leaf of the bay laurel plant, a familiar ingredient of the Philippines' most popular dish--the adobo. Call that Serendipity.

I came here without any expectations and that left me with more room for surprise. Sometimes, it's better that way. When we went to the Penthouse to have a quick merienda at the all day dining 9 Spoons Restaurant, I found the best view of Manila.

I did not realize Manila had something as beautiful as this. The Bayleaf Hotel, with certainty has the best 360 view of Manila!! It almost reminded me of New York City and Central Park.

The restaurant gives you a panaromic view of the Intramuros Golf Course, Manila's famous landmarks, and the Makati Skyline. The views are graciously unobstructed that I even saw our condo from where I stood.

At night, you can go up to the Skydeck where you can dine with this 360 degree view. It's not open during the day since it's obviously too hot in Manila.

Seeing so much green in Manila reminded me of  the potential of this city to regain its once glorious past.

A pool on top the hotel would have done wonders. It could have given this hotel another WOW factor. 
Having seen that, I will be coming back this weekend to experience this place at night. I  am also curious to try food here since the students of the Culinary Arts  of Lyceum of the Philippines University make the dishes for you.
I only had a club sandwich and a Mango + Banana Shake.

After my merienda, one of the staff gladly showed me some of Bayleaf's rooms (Thanks to Randy, btw). They are all modern, clean, and most of them have views of Intramuros. Rates are quite reasonable from P5,000 to P20,000 (The most expensive one is the Bayleaf Suite)

Premier Room. You are guaranteed to get five-star quality service and beddings in this hotel.

The Black Executive Room. I love the color combinations here.

It's like the quintessential Bachelor's Pad. Sleek.

The Bayleaf Suite. It was occupied during that time but I lifted this picture from their page (Source: Bayleaf Hotel's FB page).

On a separate day, we went back to the Bayleaf to see how it was in the evening. At night, Manila from the Skydeck totally tranforms into this romantic city. The cool breeze and the greenery around the hotel premises certainly make for a good date place.

Craving for meat, we had some chorizo and sausage pizza from the 9 Spoons Restaurant.

On the ground floor, you can also try the Cioccolata, a bar serving Spain's most popular food, Churros! You can have a fill of these delectable pastries for only P75.00.

For corporate events, conferences, weddings and other occasions, they have the Muralla Ballroom that can accomodate 300 guests.

The Bayleaf has certainly given me something that most hotels do not have here: It made me fall in love with Manila. I think only a few people can say that--those who understand its past, present, and future. I remain hopeful that one day, the vision of Burnham will still come to a reality. There's hope for Manila to be that shining city in Asia again. Manila will have its day to make the world what its namesake really means --The Pearl of the Orient. Go the the Skydeck of the Bayleaf and you'll believe me. 

Ill be back there this weekend and I will continue my review.

The Bayleaf: Muralla, Intramuros
Tel Nos. 02 318 5000

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Mind Museum: A Playground for the Curious Mind

Yes, that's Jollibee!

Kids are fortunate to have technology at their fingertips these days. Information can virtually be accessed anywhere, making learning an easier process for young ones. Now, they should consider themselves even luckier with the recent opening of the Mind Museum in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. 

Last year, I remember seeing this spaceship-like structure being built when was I studying for my board exam in Burgos Circle. The Mind Museum at Taguig (TMMT) seemed like THE project the Fort needed to make it a true world-class global city. The idea of having a modern museum in the most progressive (and not to mention cleanest and most organized) city of Metro Manila was promising. 

When it finally opened last March, I was perhaps one of the people that eagerly wanted to see it but I was out of the country. I felt the need to answer question some of you had: What can you expect from the Mind Museum? A few days ago, I was happy to cross the museum out of my list when I made time to visit it with my younger siblings. Here's what I think.

With certainty, I can tell you that the Mind Museum is specifically designed for kids.  However, it does not mean there isn't anything in the museum that adults can enjoy. There are more than 250 interactive and engaging exhibits waiting to be explored by any curious mind. The exhibitions are presented through five main galleries: Atom, Life, Earth, Universe, and Technology