Sunday, June 20, 2010


The King's Palace facade

Malaysia's Motto: "Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu" (Unity Is Strength)

The Thean Hou Temple is a landmark six-tiered Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur. It is located on a 1.67 acres (6,760 m²) of land atop Robson Heights along Lorong Bellamy, overlooking Jalan Syed Putra (Federal Highway). This temple, built by the Hainanese community living in Kuala Lumpur is dedicated to Goddess Tian Hou (The Heavenly Mother).

Beryl - Chocolate Factory ... divine taste-all-you-can experience. A bite of heaven. Tiramisu Almond White Chocolate, Coconut Delight Bar Chocolate, Camior Milk Pralines ... the feast is endless. Now readily available in the Philippines.

The view from my hotel room ... The Petronas ... this is Mandarin Oriental, a 5-star international deluxe hotel. As part of the prestigious Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) development, the hotel has direct access to and from the world�s tallest buildings - the Petronas Twin Towers, Suria KLCC shopping centre and the Petronas Dewan Filharmonik. Best view there is ... at 620 Ringgit.

Skybridge Visit - Open: Tue-Sunday. The Skybridge Ticket Counter opens at 8.30am on every operational days. Visiting hours: 9.00am to 5.00pm. There are 1300 tickets to be issued on first come first serve basis. The ticket is free of charge. Normally the tickets would be finished around 11.00am. The tickets will be issued on the visit day itself. To avoid any disappointment, I would suggest you to come to the ticket counter as early as 8.30am. The Skybridge Ticket counter located at the Concourse Floor (underground) of the PETRONAS Twin Towers. The floor can be accessed from both Towers.

The Petronas Towers are some of the highest buildings in the world. They are 452 meters tall. Following the most recent details: the Bamboo Shoot in Taiwan is at this moment the highest building in the world. It is like two crystal skyscrapers at night.

The Kuala Lumpur Tower (officially known as Menara Kuala Lumpur; referred later as KL Tower) is a tall tower located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is used for communication purposes and features an antenna that reaches 421 m (1,381 ft), which currently makes it the eighteenth tallest freestanding tower in the world. The roof of the pod is at 335 m (1,099 ft). The rest of the tower below has a stairwell and an elevator to reach the upper area, which also contains a revolving restaurant, providing diners a beautiful view of the city. This is also an observatory where they look for the crescent moon to start the Muslim month.

VINCCI - love at 1st sight. This is where I bought my 1st 3 pairs of Vincci shoes ... and the love story continued ... it is now available in Philippines as VNC. The only shoe store which has size 3. There's always a room for one more pair of shoes ...

RESTORAN SERI MELAYU - Authentic Malaysian Restaurant with cultural show while dining

Don't ask me about this ... I don't know either.

1. Electronics is very cheap here. Some items are cheaper here than Singapore.
2. Restaurants accept on-the-day reservation.
3. Suria KLCC is the shopping haven.
4. Chinatown offers the best bargain for souvenirs.
5. Vincci is half the price !!!
6. Catherine Zeta Jones and Sean Connery had their shoot at the Petronas Skybridge.
7. Take pictures in the Petronas quickly because you are not allowed to stay longer than 10 minutes I think.
8. Terima Kasih (thank you)
9. You can go to Singapore by bus from Malaysia.
10. Taste the freshly baked Amos cookies - delish!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Have you ever met someone that you can't walk away from? This day will come, this person will appear when you least expect it. When this happens, this core shaker is bound to create chaos in your perfectly charmed life or peace in your topsy turvy world. It is when you will again trip in your own feet and be foolish once again.

But isn't it nice that this day and age, you'd be feeling like the high school kid you once was. Sometimes we all miss the novelty and the surge that the years stole away from us. The time where kids invade our waking hours , partners try to steal the minutes left of it and work constantly dominates. Where is "me and myself" in the equation? Gone ... and when you look in the mirror - you can't barely recognize the individual staring at you - and when someone walks in ... what is left of the energy that you once have allows you to just stare - to wander and wonder - "Have you ever met someone that you can't walk away from?" We all have but we have different ways of facing the situation. We totally walked out of it. We try walking around it. We let our hands dry over the fire for a while. We don't walk away from it. It is always a good choice, but good persons that we are - we always put other people that will hurt us in the process first. It will be nice to stop, stare and trip on your own feet. But regaining composure is what matters

Monday, June 14, 2010

EAT PRAY LOVE - Tale of 3 Countries

A journey of the palate, soul and heart. Traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia to find her core, Liz Gilbert, was given the chance to be "alone", to look for what is essential and find herself.

It was a good read especially if you are into traveling, journeys (literally or figuratively) and finding love. It also came to my life when I want to do something that I love - not that I'm ungrateful for what I have right now, but I also want to do something that brings joy and sends my adrenalin pumping like what I am feeling whenever I have done organizing my home or I have staged my home to entertain friends.

Lately I'm losing what I am essentially. I'm caught up with the many detours of deliverables which I have to do, not because I want to. But like the school kid that I was - I want to be the best in each task - but failing every time despite the "desperate efforts" to win. It came also during the time when what makes me happy was shown on TV ( My very own Passion Movement plug at Lifestyle Network ) and the time that I have to make a hard decision that can change lives.

Reading it was a personal journey - just like the author - but I would have wanted to eat Margherita pizza in Pizzeria da Michele in Naples, sat in a garden full of blooms in Bali or pray in a meditation cave in India. It will make you take a step back and introspect about your personal relationship with the world or with yourself or with God.

It discusses soul mate in a different light not in a fairy tale manner often written in love stories. What I have believed all this time is true after all: "you can never marry your soul mate”.

“A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave."

In my mind, there isn't one person who can fulfill all your needs - it's not like Home TV Shopping line - "but wait there is more”, more of "there's no more?" .... There are just aspects of your personality that some people can relate to, some who can’t. It's as simple as that. You are lucky if you have found that specific person for your specific need. We are born for specific roles anyway.

There are tifosos (fans) whom you need to fill your self-esteem bucket ... the cafones (assholes) who forced you to be strong and swim in life's current ... codega – “one who leads the way with a lit lantern and wards off thieves and demons”... guru - out of the darkness and into the light ... Ketut - your medicine man ... funny man - someone who makes you smile but takes no particular pull in the romantic landscape ... name behind the ever available icon in your contacts- not appointments needed, no time required, just as long as you need him ... the one that got away – self explanatory ... solace - your hope in times of depression and a witness to a glorious past ... bed buddy- cuddles you through the night ... or simply a shopping companion – the one that agrees with you that there is still room for another one in your shoe cabinet and that you deserve it.

The book is real in many aspects because most of us can totally relate to it. Most parts of the journey is like a bitter pill that you have to swallow - something that is very hard to take in but is essential to get well.

The book's beauty is basically seen through the many lines I have highlighted. Done differently from the other books I've read - I also marked the places , the food, the foreign words - hoping that it will come handy when I will be given the chance to visit the places.

I've only seen Indonesia - not impressive, though I was billeted in one of best hotels the place can offer - maybe because going to a place needs cultural immersion for appreciation. Visit the market, talk to the locals and be brave to taste the food - opening your senses to the different sights and sounds distinct to that place alone. All of which was lost in the millions of Rupiah that I had to count just to buy a toothpaste.

Along came something from the US from my Mamu, Dr. Edith Dalisay (where Liz was living all her life). After reading the book came the bracelet and accessories from Bali, Indonesia given by my good friend, Dr. Arnold Pineda. My bracelet from India came from Dr. Agnes Cruz from her trip to Agra. I got a Murano bracelet from Italy as well from Miles Sabaricos from her European vacation last year. Does it tell me anything? Mere coincidence? Maybe - but then again - "God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot you are standing right now.”

There are no coincidences. There is always a cosmic significance to a simple earthy event. Whatever you tell the universe, it will design ways to make it tangible, to make it real. Believe and pray hard … who knows? Love might be knocking on your door tomorrow when you least expect it.

Eat. Pray. Love.

Yummy. Mystic. Cheesy.

Available in National Bookstore. In theaters in August.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Singapore Fast Facts:
- from the word "Singapura" - Lion City
- has a diverse population of 5 Million people
- world's 4th leading financial district

Flights to Singapore:
1. Cebu Pacific - check out promos ; flying 3 times daily
2. Philippine Airlines
3. Tiger Air
4. Singapore Airlines

The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore's walk in past. This temple can be found at South Bridge Road near the Chinatown Night Market and Chinatown Heritage Center. It can be seen while shopping. Due to its architectural and historical importance, this has been hailed as a National Monument. It is founded in 1827 by Naraina Pillai. Great Bargains in this side of the city. Souvenirs abound.

Singapore Sling - cocktail concocted by Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender at Raffles Hotel. This is a mixture of grenadine syrup, gin, sweet and sour mix, club soda and cherry brandy. When in Raffles ... order this, a must! Dinner at Raffles ? I'm not too impressed.

Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay - located along the Marina Bay. Home of the operas, recitals and concerts. On the roof are aluminum sun shades .Seen as Durian by many ... but 2 copulating aardvarks to me .

Merlion - found also in the Marina Bay ... tourist icon of Singapore. Trip Tip: If you go there after 11pm ... you won't see the water coming out of its mouth.

Fullerton Hotel Singapore - 5 star boutique hotel which won major travel awards such as the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List award. This is also an architectural wonder of Singapore because of its marveled restoration. Built in 1928.

The Fountain of Wealth is situated in Suntec Singapore It is the world's largest fountain. During certain periods of the day, the fountain is turned off and visitors are invited to walk around a mini fountain at the centre of the fountain's base for good luck. One has to touch the water while circling the fountain. Bottled water from the fountain is also available for good luck in the nearby stall. The inward flowing water of the fountain was used for two reasons. Water is known as the symbol of life and wealth in Chinese culture, and the inward motion of the water symbolises the retention of wealth for Suntec City. According to the feng-shui experts , the water flowing inwards represents riches pouring in. This was also featured in Amazing Race Asia.

The Forbidden City is a restaurant found in Clarke Quay (pronounced as key) which is the home of the nightlife of Singapore. It also has stalls for night shopping. It is 5 blocks of restored warehouses. River cruises are also available to get a different view of Singapore by night. G-max reverse bungee - for the adventurous and thrill seekers. The Forbidden City's interior has monuments and artifacts.

Sentosa means peace and tranquility. It is a popular island resort in Singapore with attractions that include a two-kilometre long sheltered beach, Fort Siloso, two golf courses and two five-star hotels, and the Resorts World Sentosa, featuring the theme park Universal Studios Singapore. 2 ways to get there : by land or by cable car - opt for the latter - the ride is exciting.

Tiger Sky Tower - free standing observation tower giving you a panoramic view of Singapore and parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. Capacity : 72 pax. This used to be the Carlsberg Tower.

Images of Singapore - It is historical museum in that exhibits the culture and history of Singapore using mutli-media displays, multi-screen theatre presentations (my 1st hologram show!) and lifesize tableaus depicting major events in Singapore's history.

Sentosa Express - to get around Sentosa ... fun ride.

Imbiah Lookout zone in the centre of Sentosa

Underwater World is an underground oceanarium and has an 83 metre long travelator that moves visitors along a submerged glass-windowed tunnel from which they can look at an array of 2,500 marine life including a coral reef, stringrays, moray eels, turtles, sharks, and other fishes and even divers who are cleaning the tank. In the 'Dive-with-the-Sharks' program visitors can scuba dive in the large oceanarium, even if they are not scuba qualified. Qualified scuba divers can also 'Dive-with-the-Dugong".

Dolphins Lagoon is the home of the pink dolphins. Performing live.

Palawan (named after our island?) Beach lies in the centre of the southern coast of Sentosa. There is a suspension bridge that leads to a small islet off the coast which is said to be the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia, or Asia's closest point to the Equator.

Lunch Buffet at Rasa Sentosa Resort (Shangri-La) ... yummmmm!

See you soon , my love!!!!!

Trip Tips:
1. Sentosa is a whole day tour - make sure to see the Songs of the Sea
2. Singapore is a fine city. Don't litter or spit anywhere.
3. Little India and Chinatown - home of the best bargains.
4. Electronics - cheaper here but Malaysia is also ok.
5. Hawkers Centre - selling variety of inexpensive food.
6. Orchard Road - shopping and entertainment
7. Bamboo shellfish clams - a must try
8. River cruise - experience it
9. Universal Studios and LV Marina - here I come ...
10. It's hot in Singapore. Bring cotton outfits.
11. Clarke quay - look out for posh bargains
12. Taxi cabs - via phone
13. Suntec cab queue during the rush hour can be very very long ...

Bumping into an Ex ... A Travel Back in Time

Have you ever wondered at night how the love you lost from a distant past is doing right this very moment? Was he looking on the same star? Have he ever thought of you while walking on the same streets you both walked on? Was he thinking about you?

Have you tried to re-enact the scene when both of you will meet again? Of course, the scene will depict that you are in a better state -that he will have to think that you were the girl that got away and not the other way around. It would also be nice to think that you were better looking than the one he married. And secretly hoping that your husband/boyfriend is better off than he is. Wouldn't it be nice that way? On the other hand, if everything else is the complete opposite? Like the way he left the relationship before, it will hurt like hell.

Once I was told a story that when she finally get see her ex in a mall, she was in a casually -thrown- over- her- excessively-voluptuous-body old t-shirt and jeans. She was using her son's sock as a pony tail holder because it was so hot (because of flushing) and she didn't bring any hair clasp. There is nowhere to run but straight at him. She afforded him a smile and very quick hi. No basking in the moment or a slow motion glamour scene from the movies with a prayer that he won't look over his shoulder and see the sock tied to her hair.

I know also of someone attending the mass and seeing him there - she tiptoed going at the back of the chapel for him not to see her because she was also wearing a " not-chic-enough-outfit-to-meet-u-again".

One classic story is seeing him in a supermarket. In order to avoid him, she entered another aisle with stuff not in her grocery list. Using one shelf after another to hide from him. Just because … again you left the house in your “mommy jeans”. Careful, careful … you owe this to your public. Don’t be caught in this pretty awkward situation.

It is always a better way to see him being suggested to you on Facebook and hoping he was suggested to you 1st. You will get to sneak on him 1st, assess and then decide if you would want to reconnect. Anything you have on Facebook is a part of you that you allow your friends to see anyway. But there are pictures that you’d wish they would stop tagging you.

A phone call from the past is also a good way to reconnect - safe, unseen and casual- unless you are using 3G. And when you decide to meet up for coffee or beer (depends on your era) - you get to wear your Sunday best hoping it wouldn't show that you came prepared or hired a stylist . And that you just casually looked over your closet and didn't give a thought what you will wear. Of course, he doesn't have to know you have rehearsed all the lines, how to smile without showing off your now wrinkled face - if you cannot afford Botox. The make up should not be too heavy, in fact it should look that you were just sun-kissed. The hair that lost its sheen (because of age) needs reconditioning. Darn, too many surgeries and make overs needed for this one important meeting. This for me is the best but it will hit the hardest because what if you came prepared and it wasn't good enough.

I also knew someone who met up with an ex- rock star look alike bf and find out that his dream of his being a rock star never left him. Everything about him is from the 80's except from the date of the meeting.

When the cycle has completed its turn – meeting up with an ex meant nothing but meeting up with an ex. It is casual and ordinary like meeting a client at a coffee shop. There aren’t fireworks that can compete with the Pyrolympics. There isn’t the magic that you would hope would mystically transform you in another place and time.

There is another kind that no matter how bad he has treated you or lied – one text is all it takes for you to come running to him. Forgetting how badly it ended the last time, you are just too blind to take the plunge again and again. Hit me baby one more time – as the song goes.

Meeting with an ex when he is coming out of a basketball game after he has showered could merit ooohs and aaahhs. Of course, he could be sweating despite the shower but this is no way to meet up - this is RED flag honey! Imagine the sinewy arms and abs when you just wished it was all flab and love handles! Whew! The world would stop and spin around, this is when the glamour shot will come in - he would walk towards you in slo-mo (slow motion) and somewhere bet the long strides and the short ones, your jaw fell - not a good sign - This is all beef and all male – and yummy - and walking towards you - believe me, you better run fast, if you are involved. This is a devil that can very well wear nothing but can look very dangerously handsome. If you falter and start to see trickles of sweat even if you didn't play basketball with him and your hands felt clammy - girl, this is just like using that sock in your hair. The look can make you swoon but the smell is going for the kill. You have been intimate with this man and how dare he look just as deadly!!!! And you realized, the years have made him look smarter. If this is the case, say hi and turn on your engine and go like you are competing for the Gran Turismo. This is bad! Run for your life , baby.

There are also high school reunions reminiscent of the movie “Romeo and Michele”. Meeting up with an ex after 28 years of hibernation that merited you additional pounds, crow’s feet and receding hair lines – this is challenging. Whether you said “Darn, it’s a loss” or “Good Riddance” or “Let’s hook up some other time” or “To be continued … “ , it all depends on the history , on the situation. But believe me, this is one fun event you wouldn’t want to miss. I knew a story that started because of this as well. There is comfort in the thought that you have known this man when you were kids. There is an assurance of familiarity – which I hope wouldn’t breed contempt in the end.

I know a fave character meeting hers in a spice souk in Abu Dhabi ... the world stopped and amidst the buzzling market ... there's just the two of them. This ended with a dinner with the line finding what you are missing for a long time - yourself. It has the right ingredients , the history, the familiarity, the longing . The ending? A kiss - one that upon telling it honestly to her hubby gave her a black diamond. In the real world? A black eye would be more likely ....

There are just some love stories that won't go away. No closures. This is meant to be opened in the very far future. Love that never brought you to the altar but secretly wished it did. Fate designed it to be - or not to be. These are those stories running in your head in times that you need escape from your present boredom and loneliness that tries to creep in the wee hours of the morning. These are the heart pumping excitements that we are missing in our stable lives. Our what-might-have-beens.

To travel this way … not recommended, for your heart’s sake. Travel right!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your worries, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.” – Cesare Parese

In one of my provincial trips with doctors, while seated with a jet-setter, Dr. Rima Tan, we came across an article in a newspaper regarding Travel Tales in the Philippine Star. We took time to browse over the article and found it informative. I would like to share it with you. We took the liberty to update some of the items in the list.

Home Checklist:

• Arrange for pet and plant care.
• Stop routine deliveries.
• Make your home seem lived-in while away by putting lights and a radio on timers.
• Turn down thermostat. Not applicable in most houses in the Philippines
• Leave keys and itinerary with a friend.
• Lock windows, garage and doors.

Before you leave:

• Guide books and maps
• Passport and visa (s) – It should be valid 6 months from the day of travel.
• Foreign currency of your destination country
• Credit cards
• Travelers checks or ATM card
• Insurance: Trip Cancellation / Medical
• Personal Identification
• Photocopies of documentation – have somebody from the office or home. Keep these in case of emergency.
• Birth Certificate ( if necessary )
• Marriage License ( if necessary )
• Check weather and voltage from the internet.

* The documents you can scan and email to yourself ... print and open when needed.

Basic Essentials:

• Appropriate Luggage
• Luggage Locks & ID Tags - Do not lock checked baggage especially for baggage bound for the US. An option is locking it w/ a TSA luggage lock. With this, the baggage screeners can open, inspect and re-lock the baggage without destroying the pad lock.
• Appropriate Clothing. It is important also to place in your hand carry a set of clothes in cases of stop over delays, lost baggage, etc.
• Comfortable Footwear
• Rain Protection
• Camera and Film (Place film in carry-on baggage) - This is passé already because most of us use digital cameras. Have extra f batteries and battery chargers.
• Telephone plugs for modem - (If laptop is not wireless)
• Small flashlight – Maglites are recommended.
• Travel Alarm Clock – Most cell phones have this.
• Small Binoculars
• Brimmed Hat or Visor
• Reading Materials
• Playing Cards / Games
• Address Book
• Chargers for phones, cameras and batteries.
• Neck pillows for long travels and cotton scarf to be used as blanket if you don’t want to use the blanket provided by plane.

Maintenance Items

• Batteries for camera and flashlight.
• Mini Sewing Kit ( place in checked baggage )
• Travel Iron or Streamer Sink Stopper
• Folding Scissors ( place in checked baggage )
• Laundry Soap Packets. Most travelers recommend Ariel detergent powder.
• Laundry Bag. Most hotels have this
• Ziploc Plastic Bags. Lotions, moisturizers, shampoo and, conditioners should be placed inside these bags to prevent them from spilling on your things.
• International adaptor


• First Aid Kit
• Aspirin / Pain Reliever
• Cold / Sinus Medication
• Diarrhea Medicine
• Laxative
• Insect Repellent
• Contact Lens Preparations
• Antibiotic Ointment
• Alcohol Wipes
• Sunscreen
• Motion Sickness Medicine
• Personal Hygiene Items
• Personal Prescriptions
• Anti-allergy


• Comb / Brush
• Toothbrush / Paste
• Dental Floss
• Shampoo
• Blow Dryer
• Deodorant
• Lotions / Creams
• Cologne
• Lip balm / Petroleum Jelly
• Towelettes
• Shaving Cream
• Towel / Washcloth
• Earplugs

(Checklist from

“ Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore . Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain


Written: August 2005

Tabuk is derived from the word “TOBOG” means a ferocious wild animal abounding in the area during the past. It is known as the “rice granary of the Cordillera”. It is now the informal capital of hybrid rice production in the country as well. It is one of the 8 towns of Kalinga which is fast being recognized as the “Land of the Living Waters”. It is nestled on an elevation of 300 to 5,000 feet above sea level with a northsouth grouping of the mountain ranges within the Cordillera Central.

Home of the country’s newest found extreme adventure called white-water rafting. It is a trip to the wilds in the hub of Sierra Madre Mountains, raft and swim in the sparkling clear waters of Chico River. The longest river in Kalinga is hewn by sceneries interspersed by the majestic rice terraces, hanging gardens and bridges, gorges, narrow limestone canyons, verdant foliage and picturesque villages.

Getting There:

By Land: Autobus, Dangwa & Victory Liner – daily trip 11 hours. Reservation is a must.

By Air: Cebu Pacific ( via Tuguegarao ) Monday 12:30PM

Asian Spirit/Air Phil. (via Tuguegarao)Monday – FridayTake a jeepney which will take 1 and a half hours to Tabuk.

Where to Stay:

Davidson Hotel – simple and clean. It speaks of the pristine way of life of the Kalingas. Back to basics type. It is interesting to note that the mirrors and lavatories in this hotel are placed relatively low.

Kalinga Hotel – haven’t stayed in this hotel

Places to Visit:

Chico River – whitewater rafting adventure. Launch point is at the foot of the Sleeping Beauty Range, the site of the Bloodiest was of the Kalingas of yesteryears. Experience the excitement and the adrenalin rush as you struggle to keep up with the raging waters. This can be arranged at the Davidson Hotel also. Village immersion, trekking, introductory and trial exercise on whitewater for 2 hours, full 7 – 8 hours of rafting between Tinglayan/Pasil/Tabuk on more than 20 rapids of Class 3-4

4 days / 3 nights minimum of 6 to a maximum of 18 people US$230 (WOW Philippines Adventure Tour Package)

Sleeping Beauty Mountain Range – found in Tinglayan. There are also hot springs and waterfalls here.

Underground River with caves in Balbalan.

Places to eat:

Eat at Emilia’s Kitchenette and taste their pancit guisado that is dubbed as the best in Region 2. Known also for their Siopao and Fried Chicken

Eat at Camille’s at the public market famous for their Halu-Halo.

For fine dining, Chum’s is the place to be.

Cliver’s – known for its burgers.

Trip Tips:

• Buy the famed Kalinga / Gayonan Oranges from Mangoaong’s Farms or from Tabuk Public Market for your pasalubong.
• Try Inandila (suman-like delicacy with latik)
• Kalinga Brewed Coffee can compete with imported coffee well.
• Bring jackets and sweaters during September to February trips because it can be bitingly cold.
• Their day ends at 7pm to retire or watch Koreanovelas, Teleseryes, Fantaseryes or watch DVDs
• Don’t expect to see men in G-strings … you’d be disappointed.

“Are we there yet?”, this question always break the long silence during the very long eleven hours land trip to this place. Nothing prepared me for this trip. But it was worth taking because I will finally get to see the place where two of my close friends spent their childhood and ultimately come to terms with themselves. The road seemed endless but arriving in the place was all well worth it because of the warm and genuine hospitality of the people. I felt profound joy in the simplicity of the place. Their reserved ways, the well mannered generosity and the bashful looks makes it more appealing to experience an basic rustic living in Tabuk. It was a place I never heard of because of my limited knowledge in geography, to my chagrin. But it was never too late to experience this one trip I made in this lifetime.


Written:May 2006

Located in Alfonso, Cavite is a haven for ultimate relaxation and blissful tranquility called “Sonya’s Bed and Breakfast”. It is an hour away from Makati. Just take Sta. Rosa or Carmona Exit, from Tagaytay to Batangas, turn right at Buck Estates; it is the street after Royal Tagaytay Estates. The place is known for its deliciously concocted organic meals but they have ventured to bed and breakfast to give in to client’s clamor to stay in this cool fresh place.

Stay-in guests will be housed in their “shabby chic” type houses. A wood and capiz type of door with a crystal door handle is your first good impression of beautiful things to come. The whole foyer is screened for protection from various insects that roam the “forest – like” ambiance. The floors are made of cement and planks of wooden railroad tracks. A weather-beaten bench with carvings and designs will greet the new comer. A simple table with white embroidered cotton table cloth is located in the other side of the foyer. White orchid in a terra cotta pot ties up the whole foyer. The freshly squeezed dalandan juice with mint leaves cannot be missed.

Another wood and capiz door will lead you to the main bedroom. Here you will find two big beds made of wood and wrought iron with crisp white cotton bed sheets and pillow cases. Splashes of pink floral designed pillow cloths can be found to break the all white monotony. Large windows lined with screen with white valences and curtains are found around the bedroom. There are wood and capiz windows to give more privacy to the guests. As you peek through the windows green plants and colorful flowers bask in the warmth of the sun.

There is an antique wooden dresser at the foot of one bed. It is made of dark wood with elaborate designs. It is obviously well-maintained because of its glossy texture. It is the kind of dresser that our grandmothers use. A cabinet for clothes made of medium colored wood can be found on the other side of the room. Various ceramic tiles lined the cabinet with colored deep blue and emerald green glass.

A night stand with a vase containing a freshly picked white and pink colored roses, an old lamp with an ornate pattern and a book can be found in one side of the bed. Despite its lack of air conditioning unit, the place is very cool. But for those needing an electric fan, there is one housed in wooden grills to match the furnishings in the house.

A very well thought of part of the room is the bathroom. Again it is lined with screen and capiz windows. An option of seeing the “world outside” while taking a bath with pebbles tickling your naked feet can be done. The fact that nobody can see you is an assurance because outside the bathroom is a thick foliage. A curtain of white seashells covers the bath. All toiletries are made from herbs and flowers. Baskets of woven abaca contained white fluffy towels. A terra cotta jar (tapayan) can be found in one side that serves as a water container. While sitting in the toilet bowl, one can see the trees outside swaying with the wind.

Outside the bedrooms are numerous plants and flowers which is a feast to the eyes and nose. There are vines that crawl all over the place to serve as shaded areas in the garden. Numerous benches and sitting areas can be found all over the vast place. There are daybeds with soft white cloths over it found in nooks lined with creeping plants. Perfect for an afternoon nap. Soft music can be heard and together with the wood and metal chimes. A natural symphony.

There are cement bowls filled with water and flowers everywhere. There are birds and butterflies flying everywhere in this Garden of Eden.

Colored wine bottles adorn the fences and trees giving assorted hues each time the sun’s rays kissed the glass.

Meals are equally pleasing and well prepared. The hearty breakfast consists of fried rice with vegetables, egg omelet, crispy fried fish marinated in vinegar and garlic and chicken pork adobo with fruits as desserts and fresh dalandan juice.

The jewel colored glass container of chili is such a nice touch on the table.

The dinner is romantic and enchanting. Tables are set with votives inside a brown bag and fresh flowers. A kundiman quartet plays in the background. The dinner starts with freshly baked bread with an assortment of dips and creams. Followed with a salad of freshly harvested vegetables and fruits. Al dente pasta with choices of ingredients and sauces followed the salad. Fresh fruits for desserts and fresh juice heralded the appetizing conclusion.

You can avail of massage and foot spa for a reasonable price. Free scheduled demonstrations of yoga, craft making, flower arrangement and cooking can be availed. Plants and various herbal toiletries are for sale.

I never had a chance to meet the owner, she was in one of her various trips abroad where she gets some of her exquisite things but I wrote her a thank you letter in the guest book … for letting us in her world.

This experience is one very special treat of a lifetime. It is a walk back in time. It is an art appreciation. It is a personal journey of love and devotion. It is a living testimony that the past can be preserved and shared with people. It is a pleasurable awakening of our senses. It is pure, simple and rustic yet truly enriching. This is one place I highly recommend … a profound journey of past for you to fully appreciate the present.