Monday, August 8, 2016

Jardin De Miramar: Ideal Events Place + Casa Santa Claus Museum in Antipolo City

Capturing those unforgettable picture-perfect moments make every photograph a gem of treasure to keep. It reminds one of the event and people whom you shared that moment with. I’m fond of taking photographs and immediately share them on my social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. I’m pretty sure any millennial can easily relate well with me (and even those who are young-at-heart and are tech-savvy too). If you’re looking for a perfect spot for your prenuptial photo shoot or videos, don’t look far. I’ve recently discovered an ideal events place that which could also accommodate Christian weddings and its reception, team building seminars, among many others. Have you guys heard of Jardin de Miramar? Located in Barangay San Isidro in Antipolo City, it’s only a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A sweet escape if you ask my opinion. It’s a really awesome place to exchange “I Do’s.” 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite: A Must-Visit Historical Place for Every Filipino

I'm sure that the mere mention of Kawit Cavite instantly reminds one of the renowned Aguinaldo Shrine--where the First Philippine Republic took place and it's where they first waved the Philippine flag and sang our national anthem. It could also mean as the birthplace of the late Philippine President and General Emilio Aguinaldo. I used to just see them either in post cards, textbooks or in the old five-peso bill but I had never set foot in Kawit, Cavite until last year, December 30, 2014 to be exact. 

I had just been invited to cover Kawit's annual Pamaskong Aguinaldo event organized by Kawit Inc. and the city government. Part of the visit was the chance to tour the Aguinaldo Shrine. Touring the late General's house had given me a glimpse of the past--on how he had lived his life and how much he truly loved his country. I had learned so much about the Philippine history that afternoon. Seeing Gen. Aguinaldo's house is like getting to know him up close and personal or perceiving him in ways other people may not have known. His home speaks patriotism. You'll see it from the Philippine flags that adorned the poles of his house, the decors on the walls, even as you look up to the ceiling (their main dining room's ceiling had the Philippine map) or you look down on the spacious old wooden floor. He had designed a home that reflects his personality. Aguinaldo Shrine had lots of secret passages (one leading to his room), dual purpose decorative table, and it has a very unique architectural style. Looking from the outside, one would think it's only four or five storey. But Aguinaldo Shrine actually had seven floors + an attic. The structure is very clever, very shrewdly made. The late general is indeed a genius on his own. 

The beds and matresses used by Aguinaldo's family, old medicines and violet Filipiniana from his favorite daughter.

The intricate design found at the Aguinaldo Shrine's ceiling: Map of the country, Sun with the eight provinces that started the revolution etc.

Did you know that the late President of the First Philippine Republic, General Emilio Aguinaldo had his own bowling lanes and 10-feet swimming pool at his home? The old ancestral house of the Aguinaldos was indeed grand. It had the late General's medicine cabinet along with his used medicines intact. There was even a "loveseat" and a beautifully decorated "spit bowl". We were dumbfounded by all the sightings we've had. They also own a special compartment where they kept dry ice from the USA until they were able to acquire one of the very firsts 'General Electric' refrigerators in the country. Plus the Aguinaldos also own a manual washing machine using bamboo and a huge machine like structure. 

The Aguinaldo Love Seat
Aguinaldo's well decorated spit bowl.
Bowling Alley, 10feet Swimming Pool, First G.E. Refrigerator and Outdoor manual washing machine.
Aguinaldo shoe collection and his office.

I was so amazed at the old house that it had stood the test of time despite being made of entirely of hard wood. The tour guide even said that it is indeed the Aguinaldo Shrine that's the most expensive and e most difficult to maintain. According to the tour guide (who was a close friend of the late general himself), unlike in other shrines or museums, every little piece at Aguinaldo Shrine are still original--there's no need for restoration yet. 

Everything from the said shrine depicts the late general's patriotism. The late general also had a dungeon-like underground tunnel where one has to crawl to reach the town church in five to ten minutes. Unfortunately, it's the only thing that the shrine still needs a lot of money to restore and as of this time, it's not yet open to the public. 

Visiting the Aguinaldo Shrine is likened to opening a historical book. The quaint town of Kawit in Cavite allows one to travel back in time and discover interesting trivia in the Philippine History + gives one a chance to get to know how the late general lived his life. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

My Manila Hotel Tour: A Glimpse of History

I have always marveled at Manila Hotel's magnificent lobby. As a young child, I am fascinated with its grand chandelier because it made me feel like a real princess dancing with her prince under such sparkling bright lights. I had no idea that several decades later, as a young adult, I'd still find myself in awe by the beauty and grandeur of Manila Hotel's ante-lobby. I guess one could call it serendipity that I had been invited to tour the hotel recently. 

A visit to Manila Hotel transports you back in time. Built on July 1912 in the heart of what used to be the Philippines' central business district--Manila--Manila Hotel opened its doors to the most influential people of the time, from the Ilustrados to high-ranking government officials.The hotel's main building boasts of five floors while the tower suite is 18 storey high with further plans of expansion in the offing. With 102 years of service in the hotel and tourism industry, Manila Hotel continues to celebrate history with their best personalized service and giving guests priceless memories. This is what sets the Grand Dame apart from all the other five star hotels that have sprouted in the last century--they offer not just a typical hotel but for their guests to experience and have a glimpse of the Philippine history. Not every hotel can do just that. 

Walking through the halls of Manila Hotel alone gives you a nostalgic ambiance. Imagine that you're walking on the very same venue where the prominent people of our history used to frequent. The alta de sociedad (elite society) and those who were well off in the olden times had actually partied in the rooms and maybe celebrated important occasions there. Each and every nook and cranny of Manila Hotel speaks of elegance and a great sense of history. This is what sets The Grand Dame (a monicker of Manila Hotel) apart from other modernized hotels that we now have. Checking in to Manila Hotel is tantamount to experiencing a glimpse of Philippine history. 

The Champagne Room alone is a sight to behold. The glass panel is bullet proof because it is the past Philippine presidents and other government officials would hold events, dinner and other private functions. The vintage glass trees gives the room an edge because they're still original, nevertheless untouched from what the Champagne Room used to be. Meanwhile the tasseled lamps add a romantic ambiance to the place which makes it perfect for intimate dates. The Roxas Room at Manila Hotel according to the guide also used to be bullet proof too. 

We were able to visit the Honeymoon Suite, and I'd have to say I was surprised to find it a room a whole lot bigger than what I had expected it to be--a spiral staircase, two sets of sofa can be found on the upper (TV room) and lower area (receiving area) of the said suite--huge enough to accommodate not only the newly weds but also including their guests prior to the wedding day. The said suite had two toilets, a bath tub and and enclosed shower as well.  But here's the best part of the suite: it has an amazing view of the splendid view of Manila's skyline at night from the second floor which is simply breathtaking.

But throughout the tour itself what interests me most is the part where we visited General Douglas MacArthur's Suite. Well, who wouldn't have known the man famous for his own words, "I Shall Return"? It felt really nice to know a little trivia or two about how the General lived in the Philippines during their time. I think it also helped that I was able to visit his close friend, former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon's Heritage House (which I have featured on this blog quite recently) to further understand the friendship that transpired between them. For someone who had only seen those two historical figures (the President and the General) on textbooks alone, it's refreshing to learn that they aren't just product of fiction or any fabricated story, but they were real people. I strongly suggest that the youngsters of today should try joining the My Manila Hotel tour so that they'd be able to learn something more interesting apart from the ones they only read on books. 

In fact, although the General's suite mostly had items made of replica, it is now only 1/3 of its original, there were two items which remained original, two chairs to be specific who were mere witness to the life of the famed General Douglas MacArthur. There was even his hat as well as old photographs of him, his family (wife and son Arthur MacArthur as a child) and his dear friend, former Philippine president Manuel Quezon. If those walls could only speak for themselves, they could tell us more how the General has lived his life. 

We also made a stop to Mabuhay Palace where the wall panels were said to be imported from China and that they were made from jade. They looked pretty sophisticated and they tell the story of Chinese famous philosopher, Confucius. The canopies were made of bamboo to somehow give some balance and harmony in feng shui. The place is a good venue for special occasions such as wedding and baptismal receptions, family reunions etc.  I was able to eat at Manila Hotel's Mabuhay Palace once during their celebration of the recent Chinese New Year but they highly recommend their salted egg ice cream found only at Mabuhay Palace. 

Apart from Mabuhay Palace, we also dropped by the posh Cafe Ilang-Ilang. There was an array of sumptuous and delectable buffet choices as well as highlights of international cuisines such as Japanese, Mediterranean, Indian, Thai, Italian, Spanish and many others. There was even a fun activity where volunteers were asked to help the Chefs in putting their preferred toppings on their D-I-Y pizzas. Before the Manila Hotel Tour was over, we were lead to an upper deck behind the swimming pool where one could catch the famous Manila Bay sunset! It's such a romantic place by the sea where we devoured on pizzas made by our co-bloggers. With the sun setting as a backdrop, it was a perfect way to capped our My Manila Hotel Tour. 

According to Ms. Denise of Manila Hotel, they are now working on a special app using augmented reality where upon entering a specific room or place within Manila Hotel, using that special app would make you see the things what has happened or transpired in that specific place in history. It's like making your own My Manila Hotel Tour--at your own pace and time. It'll be an exciting adventure and another reason for you to come and visit Manila Hotel anytime soon. 

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions and impressions are 100% my own.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Quezon Heritage House: A Place of Refuge and Comfort

I have a confession to make: I do not know much about the late President Manuel Quezon--aside from seeing him on a twenty peso bill, knowing it was during his time that Commonwealth law had been implemented and that it was after him that the city where I live got its name. Apart from those I've mentioned, I knew very little about this guy most commonly known as Don Manuel. I recently went to the Quezon Memorial Circle and found out there's something new in there that's worth checking out for--especially those who want to find out more about the late Philippine President Manuel Quezon. The newly built Quezon Heritage House speaks more about the great president's character as well as that of his family. 

The Quezon family once lived in a house originally located in Gilmore Street, New Manila. The ancestral house stood as mere witness to the trying times of the late President and the resilience of his family after his passing. It is the only house associated with the Quezon clan, a testament to the bygone era so inextricably entwined with the birth of an independent nation. The Quezon City local government unit heads together with the descendants of President Quezon had put on all their efforts to rebuilt and transferred the original house to the newly constructed Quezon Heritage House found in the heart of Quezon Memorial Circle. From the huge doors, the bed linens, the good 'ol treasure trove or what we Filipinos call "baul" or treasure trove, bathroom tiles, all the way to the wooden floorings--they were all original--they were builtin each and every piece, just like a puzzle to make sure that the Quezon Heritage House will look exactly as it was in its original location. Of course, there had been some changes among the items that can no longer be retrieved such as the jalousie window that was damaged, as well as the images of Jesus and Our Lady of Miraculous Medal which the Quezon family decided to keep (so guests can only see photos of the said images instead of the real thing). 

Coming to the Quezon Heritage House is like going to your grandparents' house in the province. But it feels like getting to know Don Manuel and his wife Dona Aurora for the first time. It gives one a taste of history, an idea how the First family lived and in the process learn bits and pieces of the Quezon family's secrets. Did you know that President Manuel Quezon married his own cousin? Yes, you read that right. Dona Aurora and Don Manuel were cousins. Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon was not only the country's first lady but she was also the Philippine National Red Cross' founder. She was a key leader during her time. 

President Manuel Quezon's so-called Achilles' heel was his being a chain smoker, thus he later developed tuberculosis. Thus, when you come and visit the Quezon Heritage house, you'll find two rooms with a common rest room: one for Don Manuel and the other for Dona Aurora. The Quezon Heritage House also shared the late president's favorite recipe called Cocido Espanol--a heirloom chicken recipe which every guest can actually try to cook at home since the Quezon Heritage House had the special recipe posted on the walls (in English and Filipino). 

There were so many things I've learned about the great man where my city got its name. The late president Quezon isn't no longer just someone I see on my twenty peso bill. He became real to me more than ever after visiting an imitation of his original ancestral home. He's like a "lolo" to me. I feel proud to live in a place named after the great man that he is. 

Come and visit, former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon's Heritage house located at the Quezon Memorial Circle. Yes, just a stone's throw away from his final resting place--The Quezon Tower (that symbolizes Birth, Life and Death) at the heart of the Quezon Memorial Circle. At this time, entrance to the Quezon Heritage House is still FREE. But according to the tour guide, the management are still thinking if they'd be asking for a fee in the future for house's maintenance. 

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.

Revisiting Residence Inn in Tagaytay

If you've noticed, the Philippines had been experiencing cold weather lately due to polar vortex in other parts of the globe. If you're like most Filipinos who's a sucker for cold climate, you'd surely be rejoicing by this time since seldom do we experience such kind of climate since the country is a tropical one. Most of us would either go to Baguio City, but for the ones who do not like to travel that far, Tagaytay is the best option. After all, Tagaytay is just a few hours away from Manila. Known for its scenic sights and fresh produce, Tagaytay is also home to Residence Inn. 

I've been to Residence Inn a couple of times. The first time was when we had our field trip in my junior year in high school. I remember how much we had fun. Then, it also became a witness to one love story--my ex boyfriend and I once dated at the Residence Inn. So to be honest, there have been a whole lot of memories brought back to me when I revisited Residence Inn again after a long time. I wasn't surprised to see a lot of changes and improvements throughout the place. 

Exotic animals, birds, and serpents will be meeting you at Residence Inn. You can have your pictures taken with a friendly cockatoo, an awesome white owl like Harry Potter's Hedwig, an iguana or if you're brave enough, even with a serpent should you wish. There's no need to fear though as all these animals are trained by Residence Inn animal trainers to interact and welcome Residence Inn's guests and visitors. 

Kids will also be amazed with different animals' tricks during the special show where equally talented Residence Inn staff showcase their singing,dancing and even acting abilities. At the end of every show, guests can also interact with the different animals featured during the said show. 

For the more adventurous ones who like to fuel up their hunger for something extreme, they can try the zipline and cable car at Residence Inn. A breathtaking and scenic view filled with verdant field on a hill and the beauty of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake awaits you when you take the zipline. While you're up there, don't forget to smile on your right side, someone's taking your photo--say "Cheese!" You may claim your picture later for a minimal fee and take home a printed copy as a keepsake or a little souvenir of your Residence Inn zipline adventure. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Paradizoo: Power of Three-Festival Bloom of Agriculture

Mendez in Cavite may not be your usual go-to destination for families in need of some good R and R. That's why it came as a surprise that a small signage, which read, "This way to Paradizoo" would lead to this charming, quiet and eclectic paradise comprised of a vast garden foliage, amazing flora and faunas, some farm animals, butterfly area, bee kingdom, pet cemetery and a mini zoo. From Miniature horses to a thoroughbred one, one hump camels, albino water buffalos or carabao, local goat, wild boar, to different plants, kitchen and medicinal herbs and scented colorful flowers--you'll be seeing all these and more at this hidden paradise called Paradizoo.

In celebration of the year of the International Family Farming, Paradizoo presents the "Power of Three"--a Floral, Vegetable and Agri-Livestock Fair. Starting January 18 up to January 25, Flower Festival will be held covering topics on basic knowledge on caring for a bonsai plant, biotechnology products, health, fitness and wellness, vermi composting technology, pineapple jam making and aquavermiponics-the latest innovative in gardening. As you immerse yourself through all the said workshops, your kids can pick a spot on the lush garden, and get comfy in a hammock (there are for rents, but you can always bring your own). And for that special bonding moment, bring some picnic foods you can share with the rest of the family. 

From February 1 up to February 8, the Vegetable Festival teaches one how to propagate and maintain bamboo, topics on Urban Agriculture technology will also be discussed as well as the Vetiver Grass System. You and your kids will be taught how to milk a goat (and it is indeed a nice experience!) your kids can ride a horse, witness a chicken lay an egg, plant a coffee, basil leaves, a lettuce or a flower--there are also available on sale which you can bring home with you. 

For the Livestock Festival, topics will be from Farm selection to breeding goats and sheep in the country. Food safety will also be lectured on February 22. And on March 2, there will be a culminating activity which will feature an amazing horse parade. After enjoying the outdoors, your family can have a feast of Paradizoo's sumptuous local dishes with organic fresh produce straight from their vegetation. Try their version of lemongrass (tanglad) iced tea. My nephew Kyle simply can't get enough of it! 

Paradizoo is an ideal venue for picnics, educational field trips, outdoor and group outing programs. It is a fascinating paradise for the whole family. 

Get these wonderful experience and more, visit for more information. Call them at 899-9828 or 08. 899-9595 local 347.