Other Grandeur Travelers.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Palaui Adventure and Spontaneous Weekend Trip in Tokyo

Palaui Island

Next on my blog. 

You read that right. Finalmente! I managed to drag my itchy feet all the way to Palaui Island, located in Cagayan. They shot the recent US survivor chapter here. With its raw and rugged beauty, no wonder they chose this island to be the next location. 

Since I couldn't get enough of my urban landscapes too, I ended up in Tokyo for one weekend. It was one of the most spontaneous trips I had ever made. Tokyo teased me the right way. I will definitely be back. All coming soon on my blog. 
Imperial Palace
Takeshita Dora in Harajuku

Bellevue Resort Bohol: Another Reason to Visit Paradise

For Bohol.

Bohol has its way of making me fall in love with it again. I have a special connection with this island province - a connection that I don't have with any other place in the country. Bohol has all the elements of sustainable tourism - flora, fauna (Tarsier), history, and people's initiative and commitment. Unfortunately, a massive earthquake recently shook the island province, including Cebu and nearby islands, forever changing its milieu, landscape and and history. 

The tragedy that struck Bohol was something that no one had ever foreseen. The big ones seemingly come like a thief in the night. When you wake up, you realize you have already lost a lot. I know Bohol's historic structures may have crumbled like sand castles but the essence of Bohol is still there. Let that earthquake be part of its history. We can always rebuild something as long as the spirit of its people remains high and strong. I am saddened by the loss of life and historic churches there but at the end of the day, we will inevitably triumph.

This post will mostly be a photoblog about Bellevue Resort in Barangay Doljo, Panglao Island, the only five star resort on the Island. Let me give you another reason to visit my favorite Bohol. If you want luxurious accommodations with beautiful vistas of the sea, Bellevue Resort will certainly give you that and a few more extras.

The inviting pool of Bellevue. What you see in pictures is what you get. No editing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tarsier Paprika: Another Piece of Paradise in Bohol

I love beautiful surprises when I travel. That feeling when you discover something new and spectacular is pure joy. When I visited Bohol again, I fell in love with it more, thanks to our quick dining experience in this cliffside restaurant called Tarsier Paprika. It is located inside the Tarsier Botanic Park, a few minutes away from the popular Alona Beach.

We only had two hours left before our flight back to Manila but our tour guide from Bellevue resort easily convinced me this place was worth visiting. At that moment, I knew I could not skip this one. Tarsier Paprika went beyond my expectations. It immediately became one of my favorite quick getaways. There was something therapeutic about the whole environment.

Owned and managed by a Frenchman and his wife, Tariser Paprika has been their "passion project" for retirement. Must be a dream managing something like this. Everything you see is topnotch - the hardwood floors, modern LED lighting at night, lounge bars, and 2 air-conditioned dining areas. With the the restaurant's design concept, you know that the people behind this have a genuine artistic flair. The owners made sure that they were part of the building of this whole place from scratch.

Since this was a scorching day, we decided to eat in one of the airconditioned rooms with a panoramic view of the sea. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sometimes, Traveling is the Best Medicine.

Sometimes, Traveling is the Best Medicine. All you need is a good dose of the sun, sea and peace of mind.

Soon on Grandeur Traveler: 

I'll be writing about the only five star resort in one of my favorite island provinces in the country. Do you know where this is?

It's time to make this blog more active again.  I miss you all! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Stop, Look, It's Mira Hotel.

With my limited free time since the start of my dermatology residency training, I could only afford to have short weekend trips. I miss long flights to exotic or western destinations but I have to deal with the fact that my life will be like this for the next two and a half more years. Teleportation devices have never been invented (or will never be invented). In this lifetime, I'll only see those in science fiction movies or books.

Given my few options, it won't be that hard to pick a destination. I only had to choose from countries or places with less than 4 hours flight time. As a certified urban junkie, Hong Kong was the the number one alternative to Manila life. It was a one day affair in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, it was an affair to remember.

I am sure you have noticed that all my recent posts have been about hotels. Luxury hotels have been a regular part of my weekly indulgence.  For this trip, we still wanted a hotel that was, modern, youthful with a central location. The most important one of all the criteria, however, was that we were looking for a unique hotel property. Among all the hotels in the cosmopolitan Hong Kong, I was glad my cousin Trisha picked Mira Hotel, a cool non-generic choice for young travelers. Mira hotel has managed to bring a different kind of 21st century hotel experience for everyone.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Raffles (Makati) Experience

When you are included in Conde Nast's Traveler Hot List (Best New Hotel in the World, Best New Family Friendly Hotel, Amazing Pool at the Best New Hotel -2013 ), you must be doing something extraordinary. The Raffles Makati Hotel has only opened for a few months in Manila but it has already earned numerous distinctions, thanks to the "Raffles" brand of excellence. 

My idea of Raffles Hotel stems from its first treasured Singapore property. During a time when Singapore was welcoming sophisticated travelers, royalties and celebrities all over the world, Raffles became their home. People surrendered to the unique and luxurious Raffles Experience. Now, that legendary hotel is here, showing us the kind of service and hospitality we all want and expect from a hotel. 

Located in the heart of world-class Makati, Raffles has now become a landmark in the city. Unlike other Raffles properties, this development is also a luxury branded residence in city. That means that some lucky people get to wake up in a hotel everyday (I actually know someone who lives on the penthouse)! Raffles Makati has 30 well-appointed suites and 236 residences, all offering beautiful vistas of the city.

Living only a few cartwheels away from the Hotel, it was only a matter of time until I had the Raffles Experience in Manila. Before my weekend staycation, I was already talking to Joyce Bernal, one of Raffle's Guest Service Agents. Joyce  quickly responded to all my emails, which showed me how much they value guest relations. They even gave me a considerable media/blogger discount for my stay (Of course, free would have been better but I would stay here even if they didnt give me any).

Despite its modern facade, Raffles Makati still maintains an old world charm through its choice of furniture, design and paintings. The lobby isn't as grand as most hotels like the Peninsula but it has its own homey vibe. As I entered, I immediately proceeded to the reception where I was warmly received by the Guest Service Agents. When they addressed me as Dr. Baraan, I knew they were expecting my arrival. This was the kind of personalized service I wanted from a 6-star hotel. Knowing your guests well is an important mark of the Raffles brand. That moment, I suddenly found myself at home in Raffles for one special weekend.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Art and Dining in Hotel Eclat.

(This post is more of a photoblog since my mind is too full of things to do this week.)

Hotel Eclat.

I was already dreaming of staying in this Small Luxury Hotel (SLH) before going back to Taipei. Unfortunately, this dream did not fully materialize. Considering my initial plan to stay overnight in the city, it would be too painful to leave this unique hotel in less than a day. I need at least two nights to get the full SLH experience.

We ended up staying in Park Taipei Hotel, which was also a good second choice. We had a glorious view of Taipei 101 from our Balcony. The staff was also able to upgrade us to a bigger Executive Suite. Not Bad.

However, the Curious Cat in me still wanted to see Hotel Eclat. My love affair with beautiful and luxurious hotels was my driving force to see this property. I said: if I can't sleep here, I might as well try their restaurant. So we did just that.

Located in the prestigious Da-an district, Hotel Eclat shines like no other building in that area. You'll see a huge silver metal sculpture welcoming you before you enter the hotel.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why I love Traveling With Thee.

For You.

(This post would have been more appropriate for Valentine's Day but when the elusive inspiration comes, I go with the natural flow).

It is completely ridiculous to think that any brand or type of travel (i.e solo traveling vs. traveling with a partners/companions) is better than the other. There's a myriad of reasons why our restless feet continue to take us to places. Each of them we have to understand and respect. I have already written about the perks of solo traveling once but this short post is written so I can share why I love traveling with someone special.

To fully appreciate traveling with a companion or partner, solo traveling is vital. Nothing can be more liberating than you trying to discover this big world with no one to hold you back. I highly advise everyone to do it at least once. But sometimes, there are moments when we long for someone with whom we can share those experiences. We pause and wonder what it would be like to have those solo travel experiences with someone. Will it be more meaningful? More memorable? Honestly, I believe the whole experience of travel becomes extra special when you find a travel soul mate.

I don't want to sound like a hopeless romantic here but wouldn't it be nice to be holding hands with someone you love after going to Paris countless time alone or with friends? To share that unique time with that person when you see Macchu Picchu or the Pyramids of Egypt? To swim dive in the waters of Amanpulo or Maldives? The list goes on.

In life, our best investment would always be relationships. We are, after all, social beings. When we travel with someone we love, we become braver and more secure. Traveling with your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, or husband can help solidify and strengthen the foundation of your relationship. It can salvage a sinking ship. To have someone who will always be there to experience the best thing this world can offer--travel-- that's priceless.

If you have found that travel soulmate, consider yourself lucky. Hold on to that person because at the end of the day, what you two have will always be the greatest adventure of all.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sheridan Boutique Resort: A Haven in Iloilo

I get a different kind of high and excitement every time I discover something new while I'm traveling in our dear country. There's nothing better than exploring your own home. The best thing about it is that I get to share most of these discoveries with all of you. A few weeks ago, an invitation to travel to Iloilo fell on my lap. Another travel opportunity presented itself. One of my best friends from college wanted me to be at the opening of her new restaurant called Punot (Modern Flavors of Iloilo. Another blog post. Please do visit!). Since I had already been to Iloilo a few years before this trip, I did not like the idea of staying in a run-off-the-mill 3 or 4 star hotel. After all, as a blogger, I have a certain responsibility to my readers.  Thanks to my blog's Facebook page, I was able to ask you all where I could stay in Iloilo for the weekend. A good number of you had suggestions but I went with one resort that stood out: Sheridan Boutique Resort.

Sheridan Boutique Resort was everything I wanted for this short sojourn: Refreshing. Private. Clean. Relaxing.  Located in Oton, 15 minutes away from the city proper, this resort transports you to a different world. I could say this resort is comparable to most of the high end resorts in Bali. The only thing missing is the beach.

Our jaws dropped when we entered the premises of Sheridan. 

The Azure infinity pool is easily the center of the whole resort. Instead of the ocean or sea, you have a lake in front you.