February 28, 2018

7 Things I’ve Learned in 7 Years of Blogging

February is my favorite month because there are so many special events in my life. One of those events is my Blog Anniversary. I don’t usually write blogversary post but this time I will because this year is my 7th year blogging anniversary. Yey! I can’t believe that I’m blogging for years because, to be honest, it is not easy to maintain a blog. 

Looking back, I started this blog because I resigned from my online job. I stopped ghostwriting and started writing for my own website. Even though I know that I will not earn anything on this blog, I had fun posting. There are no deadlines to meet, no keywords to follow and I can freely write the things that really interest me. 

Michi Photostory started last February 16, 2011, I remember those days when I only have three readers, ME, MYSELF, and I. But now, I am proud to say that I have more than 7,000,000 page views on this blog. To my silent readers, regular readers, or to those who just stumbled on my blog. Thank you for the visit and support. I'm happy to receive emails and comments that this simple blog helped you. 

7 Things I’ve Learned in 7 Years of Blogging 

1. It is easy to start a blog but it’s hard to maintain it. 

There are tons of websites where you can start making your own blog for FREE. It is easy to create one but it is not easy to maintain a blog. It takes time and effort to create a post, edit pictures and share it. When I was starting, I’ve been following other mommy bloggers but after few years they just suddenly stopped blogging. I don’t know why. So it is really an achievement for me to reach my seven years and I have no plan of stopping yet because I still enjoy writing and sharing stories.

For me, Blogging is not yet Dead.

Read: How to Create a Website 

2. Start with the right goal and intention

If you are starting a blog just to earn money or just to get freebies, there is a possibility that you will lose interest in blogging. To be honest, it is not easy to earn money in blogging because there are millions of bloggers out there. Competition is high so you have to establish your blog first. 

Though I’m blogging for seven years, I’m still not an established/celebrity blogger but I'm still blogging because like what I’ve said before, I started this blog to keep me sane. It is my creative outlet so bonus na lang if I have blog opportunities. 

"Blogging is not all about earning but learning"

3. Blog can give headaches and heartaches 

A blog can bring headaches and heartaches too because you cannot please all people. Yes, there are haters and bashers too. Some people won’t agree with you but you just keep going!

"There will be haters, there will be doubters, there will be non-believers, and then there will be you, proving them wrong"

There are some people who will not pay for the work you've done even after numerous follow-ups. Some won't give the tokens that they promised. Well, I just charged it to experience and pray that it won't happen again. 

Read: The effect of Having a Blog 

4. Don’t spend a lot 

If you are just starting a blog, take advantage of the free platform like Blogger and Wordpress. Don’t spend a lot until you are starting to make money. Well, this is just my opinion, because there are some bloggers that I know, they spent money on blog makeover, domain, blog hosting then after few months, they became inactive. Sayang di ba but if you have the budget why not. It is really nice to have a good website. 

But if you feel that you really want to get serious with blogging then learn to invest. Invest in time and invest in money. It took me 10 months before I decided to buy my own domain and until now I’m using a free platform because I don’t want to pay for hosting services yet. It took me 6 years before I spent money on my blogger themes and social media templatesBut slowly, I’m learning to invest in this blog for more improvement and it increases my blog opportunities. 

Check Blogger Templates here
Check Wordpress Themes here

5. Say NO to opportunities 

When I started this blog, I have no idea that there are different blog opportunities. There are blog event invites, product reviews, service reviews, and even sponsored post opportunities. Yes, there are a lot of opportunities for you to grow and earn. It is up to you whether you accept it or not. 

But for seven years, I have learned to say NO to opportunities because it doesn’t align with my blog goals and values. I don’t accept a sponsored post that is not related to my niche. Products that I’m not really using. And I rarely attend blogging events because I want more time with my family. I know that attending events will help me in gaining new friends, meeting new people, and establishing my network but I always remind myself “the reason why I started my blog”. 

“There are seasons in our life that we need to say no to good things in order to say yes to great things”. As of now, family time is my priority than blogging events. Maybe when my son is already old, I will have time to attend blog events. 

6. Know your worth

If you are blogging for some quite time now, you will receive a lot of emails, asking you to post their press release, giving you free content but there are advertisement links on that article or giving you cheap products in exchange for a blog post. 

I’m not saying it is wrong to post a press release, to accept a guest post, and to do a product review. But KNOW YOUR WORTH and DO NOT WORK for FREE. Blogging is not free, it is an expensive hobby. You need a laptop, internet, camera, and electricity. You are spending money on your domain or hosting service. In addition, it takes time and effort to post something on your blog so hindi pwedeng laging LIBRE. No more people-pleasing. 

"I gotta stop treating people like I owe them something" - Tupac

7. Have Fun 

Don’t compare your blog to other blogs because you will be depressed. Don’t mind the blog statistics because you will be distressed. Forget about the numbers because it doesn’t define your blog. It is better to have few followers but loyal because these people really read and follow your posts. Just keep on writing and posting. Someday, readers will discover your blog and blog opportunities will come. For now, keep your passion alive and have fun.

"Comparison is a thief of joy" - Theodore Roosevelt

Care to share your own blogging tips, experiences, or lessons.

February 27, 2018

Hotel Mulia Senayan in Jakarta Indonesia

I love to travel but I know that I cannot visit all the countries in the world so I need to have my own bucket list where I will prioritize those places and countries that I really wanted to visit. Jakarta, Indonesia is not part of my bucket list because I don’t know if there are interesting places to visit there but I would love to visit Bali, Indonesia. 

Hotel Mulia Senayan is the first hotel that my husband tried in Jakarta, Indonesia. He stayed here for three consecutive business trips but on his 4th and 5th business trip in Indonesia, his company booked a room at Shangri-la Hotel, you can check my review here. There is nothing wrong with Shangri-la hotel but if my husband has a choice, he likes Hotel Mulia Senayan because less ang traffic so nakakapahinga siya agad after work. I’m sure you are familiar too with Indonesia traffic, mala-EDSA lang. #mayforever.

My hubby doesn’t choose his hotel; fortunately, all hotels that his company booked are all good. When my husband told me that Hotel Mulia Senayan is one of the best hotels that he stayed in Asia, nacurious ako bigla. I immediately searched about this hotel and I read an article before that it was part of the Top 15 Hotels in South East Asia, that was year 2015. I couldn’t find the link of article that I’ve read but I found the most recent one, “Top Hotels in Asia: Readers’ Choice Awards 2017” On this article Hotel Mulia Senayan landed on second spot, yes Top 2. They have a branch in Bali, Indonesia and it is an award winning hotel too. It is one of the top hotels in the world in year 2013.

Few weeks ago, my husband told me that he will be going back to Indonesia and he will stay in Hotel Mulia Senayan, part of me wants to book a plane ticket so I can experience the hotel too. But of course, I have to consider my son’s schedule, final exam is near so we cannot afford to be absent and plane ticket is also expensive. So I just told my husband to take pictures so I can see the hotel.

Glimpse of Hotel Mulia Senayan 

My husband was back from his business trip and he shared me the photos during his 4 days trip. He stayed at Hotel Mulia Senayan. This hotel is near shopping malls and Jakarta Convention Centre so it is ideal for both business traveler and leisure traveler. It is 25 minutes away from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.  


Hotel Mulia offers spacious room, it has bed, couch and working table. 

This is the bed, according to my husband, this is the best bed that he tried so far. Bed is indeed comfortable, pillows are soft and fluffy and the bed sheets and pillow cases are so smooth. And because of this, he really use the table if he needs to finish his work kasi kung sa bed siya uupo, baka makatulog siya. Hehehe!

The bathroom has separate bath tub and shower area. 

 Aside from the toiletries, what I like in this hotel is their room slippers, the free shopping bag and the cute accessory kit. The shopping bag is really nice because you can use it if you need more space for you stuff, okay na hand carry. It is water proof too so I use it for our beach getaway. Sayang lang kasi they only give one bag per stay, hindi siya one bag per night. Look how big the complimentary toothpaste, yung ibang hotel kasing laki lang ng thumb yung free toothpaste. 


The room is good and also the service. There are fruits in the room which my husband always eats. There was a time, he was so surprised because when he went back to his room, the staff already replenished the fruits. He was just out for few hours (dinner time), may bago na ulit fruits.

They also give complimentary chocolates every night. My son likes this chocolate so my husband has no choice but to keep this. Bawal kainin, Complimentary Chocolates = Instant Pasalubong

They know how to spoil their loyal guests, they give discounts and voucher for returning guests. During my husband’s trip, he was informed that he has IDR500,000 discount at Edogin if he likes to eat there and he was given a IDR250,000 voucher too. 


Hotel Mulia Senayan has 5 restaurants, one lounge, a bar and cake shop. You can choose from the following 

The Cafe ( 24 hours restaurant) 
Il Mare ( Italian Cuisine) 
Table8 (Chinese Cuisines) 
Orient8 (French and Pan Asian Dishes)
Edogin (Japanese Cuisine) 

Since my husband has a discount, he took advantage of it and ate at Edogin, Orient8 and The Cafe. There is a complimentary buffet breakfast at The Cafe, more of this on my next post, “Jakarta Eats: Hotel Mulia Senayan Restaurants” 

Facilities and Amenities 

This hotel has different amenities that you can enjoy too, there is Mulia Spa (with fee), Mulia Fitness Centre and swimming pool. Only in-house guest can use the fitness centre. The centre features one of the most expansive training space, which is true ang laki di ba? It also provides the latest weight training and cardiovascular training equipment. There is a standby personal fitness trainer if you need one. Drinks are also provided after your work-out, you can see complimentary infused water. 

Mulia Fitness Centre Open Daily from 5:30AM to 11PM 
Mulia Spa Open Daily from 9AM to 11PM 

Hotel Mulia Senayan is indeed a premier luxury hotel in Jakarta and there is no doubt why it received a lot of awards.

Hotel Mulia Senayan, 
Jakarta Jl. Asia Afrika, Senayan, 
DKI Jakarta 10270, Indonesia

February 26, 2018

Premier Lounge in Jakarta International Airport

If you are a frequent flyer, I’m pretty sure that you already stayed and experienced different airport lounge in the world. You can access the airport lounge if you have a first class or business class ticket or if you have premier status on your airline loyalty card. In my husband’s case, he always travels via Philippine Airlines so he has Mabuhay Miles Card and FREE access to all domestic and international lounge where PAL is a member. 

Who Has Access to Airport Lounge?  

You may stay in Mabuhay Miles Lounges if you are Mabuhay Miles Elite, Premier Elite, and Million Miler member. If you are not a member but you have a Business Class ticket you can access the lounge for FREE. Check the list below of different lounges. 

Domestic Lounges 
International Lounges 

My husband was back from Jakarta, Indonesia and before his flight back to Manila, he stayed at Premier Lounge. It is one of the airport lounges at Jakarta International Airport. I think they only have few lounges in CGK, maybe that is the reason why it is always crowded. This was not the first time that my husband stayed in this lounge but every visit, the lounge is packed with people. My husband’s flight is past 1AM, pero ang dami pa rin tao ng ganung oras sa lounge. 

According to him, mainit (hot) sa lounge or I guess, hindi kaya ng aircon sa dami ng tao. Hehehe! When it comes to free foods, the choices are very limited, there are snacks and hot dishes. For drinks, there are coffee, tea, juice, sodas and even alcoholic drinks (after 12PM). 

There is nothing special about the lounge but this is still better because you have comfortable chairs, free wifi, reading materials in different language, shower rooms and foot reflexology (with fee). If you have Priority Pass, you can also access the Premier Lounge. 

You can check the other airport lounge that I have reviewed here.
Read: 5 Ways to Get into Airport Lounges

February 23, 2018

Breakfast at Hill Station

Since my husband and his colleagues did not avail the buffet breakfast at The Manor, they dropped by at Hill Station. Hill Station is one of the popular restaurants in Baguio, it is located in Casa Vallejo Hotel. It offers dishes that blend 3 flavors, the taste of Asia, Old Europe, and New World America. So you don’t need to travel that far in order to taste some international dishes.

When you look at the outside, the place looks ordinary and small so my husband was really surprised when they entered the restaurant. Maganda and maluwag pala sa loob. The restaurant looks like a fine dining place but the foods are not that expensive but not cheap too.

For breakfast, he ordered Tapang Usa (Wild Deer) which includes 2 eggs, garlic rice, pickled cucumber. Taste is okay but he liked the carrot cake. Yes, they have cakes and pastries too.

This restaurant is located inside the hotel and it is near North Haven Spa and Mt Cloud Bookshop so pwedeng mag sidetrip after kumain.

Read: Dinner at Hill Station

Hill Station 
Open everyday 7AM to 10:30PM
Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road
Baguio City, Philippines

February 22, 2018

The Manor at Camp John Hay

I’ve been to Baguio several times already since college but we don’t usually stay in the hotel. My friend’s family has a condominium in Baguio so we always stay there during my college days. When my relatives went to Baguio at sinama kami, they rented a transient house. When I was working, my officemate rented a house for our weekend getaway. The only time that we stayed in a hotel is when we had our 24 Hours Trip in Baguio, we stayed at Hotel Veniz which is a very affordable hotel near Session Road.

I now live in Southern Luzon so Tagaytay is now our go-to-place if we want to escape the summer heat.  But of course, I still want to visit Baguio if time and budget permit. One of the hotels that I would like to try is The Manor at Camp John Hay. The hotel is really old but still, it is the popular hotel accommodation in Baguio. It is situated 5000 feet above sea level so you will really feel that you are in the City of Pines.

My husband stayed here for one night during their business trip or let us say, several hours only since they just literally sleep at the hotel and left early to continue their work. His officemate (loyal guest) was the one who booked this hotel for them, so when they entered the room there are complimentary fruits, dessert and a welcome note stating the privileges that they can enjoy.

- Complimentary wifi and a daily newspaper
- Complimentary pressing of (1) suit upon arrival
- Use of gym, Jacuzzi, and Sauna at The Manor Health Spa.
- Shoe Shine Service

This is the room, it has a mini pantry with sink, fridge and coffee and tea making facility.

The bathroom is small and no bathtub.

They have a step-out veranda and this is the view from their room.

Surprisingly, there is no aircon in their room, only ceiling fan. We stayed in a cheap hotel before pero may aircon naman. It was February so malamig talaga kahit walang aircon, I’m not sure if ganun pa rin during summer season.

My husband likes the place, he even woke-up early to jog so he can also explore the hotel. He even said “kahit doon ka lang sa Camp John Hay, enjoy ka na, sa dami ng pwede gawin". There are golf course, pwedeng mag-picnic, Butterfly Sanctuary, Little Mermaid Garden, Horseback Riding, and Tree Top Adventure.

If you are staying in The Manor Camp John Hay, you might want to visit “The Historical Core”. You can see the following

1. The Bell House
2. The Bell House Library Museum
3. The Bell House Amphitheater
4. Cemetery of Negativism
5. The Secret Garden
6. Totem Pole
7. History Trail

Entrance Fee

Standard Fee: P60
BLISTT Residence P40
Senior Citizen/Students/PWDs P30
Photoshoot Fee P1000

If you watched Forevermore TV series, you are familiar with this hotel. All I thought, sa show lang yung The Lost Cemetery, yun pala meron talaga sa CJH and part of the Historical Core.

There is no dull moment because there are something tha you can do, whether indoor or outdoor activities. There is Kiddie Corner for the kids, gym, yoga area, health spa or just wander in the garden and mini falls.

After he jogged, he entered the Le Chef at The Manor restaurant to check the buffet breakfast. He took some photos kahit hindi naman sila kumain diyan. Their package is room only but if they want to eat breakfast, there is a fee of P750 per person.

Food and Beverage 

1. Le Chef at The Manor offers daily buffet breakfast and a wide a la carte selection of local and international dishes. 6Am to 11PM.
2. Le Chef Delicatessen - enjoy freshly baked bread, cakes, and pastries, ideal for pasalubong. 7AM to 11PM
3. The Piano Bar - a cozy sitting lounge by the fireplace where you can enjoy your favorite cocktails. 6PM to 12MN

Even my husband stayed for several hours only, he enjoyed his short trip. He said that the service is good and even though the hotel is already old, it is well-maintained.

Read: Pasalubong from Baguio 
Breakfast at Hill Station

February 21, 2018

Ciudad Elmina Fishing Village Resort & Restaurant

My husband was on a business trip last week and during their trip, they ate lunch at Ciudad Elmina Fishing Village Resort & Restaurant. It is a fishing village with recreational activities. They have rooms where you can stay, meeting room, conference room, gazebo garden plazuela which can accommodate 50 to 500 persons for your events.

As I mentioned, it is a recreational place so there are activities that you can enjoy like boating, catching live fish and let them cook it for you, horse-riding with carriage and you can also see a crocodile and turtles. The place is not along the main road so if you are commuting, you need to ride a tricycle in order to reach the fishing village.

If you are watching Kris TV show before, you are already familiar with this restaurant because they already featured this place. It is now one of the popular restaurants in Dagupan city. Price and food servings are reasonable and according to my husband, masarap ang food. 

Me: Hindi naman halata na gutom kayo sa biyahe, ang dami niyo order for two persons. Hehehe!

I hope we can visit this place if ever we will visit our in-laws in Pangasinan. If ever you like this kind of restaurant, you can also visit the following. 

Sungayan Grill in Bolinao Pangasinan 
Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Laguna  
J&A Fishpen in Camiguin
Harbor View Restaurant in Manila

Ciudad Elmina Fishing Village
Bacayao Norte Dagupan City, Pangasinan

9th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition

This year 2018 is already the 9th edition of the Philippine International Pyromusical Competition but it was only last weekend, we were able to witness the fireworks competition. Honestly, we have no idea that last February 17 was the first day of the competition. I just learned about it when we’re looking for a restaurant near Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila

February 17, 2018 - Philippines and Switzerland 

When we went to our room, I was sad at first because we don’t have the pool and bay view, gusto ko sana dun ang view namin. But I appreciated our room na because we can see the fireworks ng mas malapit. I took a video from the balcony of our room while my husband took a video from Sunset Bar. Watch the video here

I was happy that we were able to watch the Pyromusical Competition during our staycation. If you want to watch the fireworks show, you can buy tickets or you can also look for hotels within the area like Sofitel Philippine Plaza. You can have staycation or just avail the buffet BBQ meal at Sunset Bar.

Feast on sumptuous dishes inspired by culinary landscapes of featured countries each weekend. P2700 nett per person with unlimited serving of beer, iced tea, wine and cocktails. 

You still have 5 more Saturdays to watch the competition.

February 24, 2018 - USA and Germany 
March 3, 2018 - Austria and Canada 
March 10, 2018 - France and Italy
March 17, 2018 - Taiwan and United Kingdom 
March 24, 2018 - China and Philippines 

SM Ticket Prices 

Patron with dinner - P1500 
VIP P600 
Gold P300 
Silver P100