August 31, 2023

Shop and Dine at IKEA Pasay City

I was so excited when I learned that there would be IKEA in the Philippines but when the store finally opened its doors last November 25, 2021, hindi naman ko pumunta agad and I told myself, next time na lang kapag lumipat na kami ng house. But the construction of our house was delayed hanggang sa tinamad na ko. 

Now that we are starting our home improvement project nagkainterest na ko pumunta so I can see the IKEA Showroom for some inspiration. I don’t want to go during weekend kasi ayaw ko ng crowded so my husband suggested sa birthday ko na lang daw ako pumunta.

So finally, after almost two years of waiting, nakapunta na rin ako ng IKEA Pasay City. So far, this is the fourth IKEA store that I have visited. Since the year 2016, I have tried to include IKEA in my travel itinerary but I failed to visit the IKEA store in Trondheim Norway, and Stockholm Sweden because I know na hindi naman ako makakabili kasi limited lang luggage allowance namin. 

Anyway, since my son doesn’t want to be absent from school, kami lang ni hubby ang nagpunta. I planned to arrive before the opening hours but because of the traffic, natagalan kami so we went straight to Swedish Restaurant for our early lunch. 

Every IKEA store has its own menu, but there are few meals na hindi pwede mawala like Swedish Meatballs. We ordered Local Breakfast which is Beef Tapa with Rice, Egg, Broccoli, and Coffee for PHP130, Swedish Meatballs PHP195. Almond Cake with Daim PHP100, Almond Cake PHP100 and Coke in Can

I don’t know kung nagbago na lang panlasa namin kasi hindi ko type yung cake nila and as far as I can remember, masarap yung Almond Cake pero ngayon parang matamis lang siya. I just took a bite and I let my husband finished the two cakes. And iba rin yung hitsura ng cake, compared sa nakain namin sa IKEA Bangna and IKEA Alexandra

Anyway, because it was my birthday dinala ko pa yung “Happy Birthday” easel card ko because I know that I won’t buy birthday cake, ito na yung cake ko kahit hindi ko nagustuhan. 

After lunch, we started exploring the store but hindi ko pinuntahan every aisle because nagmamadali din kami. Nagfocus lang ako sa Kitchen and Home Decor Area. 

Then before going home, we dropped by at Swedish Food Market because I saw some promo, so binili ko yung mga naka50% and I also bought coffee kasi nagustuhan ni hubby yung coffee sa restaurant, I was just hoping na ganoon din lasa nung binili ko sa store. Hehehe! We were done in less than 3 hours.

It was my first time in IKEA Pasay City and out of curiosity, I checked my IKEA Family eCard app after our trip, and ang laki lang ng panghihinayang ko because I have no idea sa mga offers, promos, and discounts so hindi ko naclaim yung freebies like coffee, ice cream, and parking. Waah! 

Free coffee all day, every day for members. 
Free Ice Cream at Swedish Bistro when you shop at least PHP1,000 worth of IKEA home furnishing products. 
Free parking at MOA Square: Shop and dine at IKEA Pasay City worth PHP5,000 and get your first 3-hour parking at MOA Square for free. 

Also, I have no idea about the Birthday Special Promo “Members get 3x Family points for your first purchase at IKEA store, IKEA online store, IKEA Restaurant, Bistro, Swedish Food Market or Cafe on your birthday month”. If I knew about this promo sana nagshopping muna ko bago kumain kasi yung pinakamura na purchase ko pa yung na-3x. Lesson learned, magbabasa-basa ng mga offers and promotions bago pumunta sa IKEA. 

IKEA Pasay City 
Marina Way, Mall of Asia Complex 
Brgy. 76 Zone 10, CBP-IA, 
1300 Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines 

Store Opening Hours 
Daily 10AM to 10PM 

Swedish Restaurant 
Daily 9:30AM to 9:30PM

August 29, 2023

Amazing Places to Visit in Southern Asia

Maldives is a tropical paradise nestled in the Indian Ocean which offers several reasons to visit. Its grandeur lies in its powdery white sandy beaches crystal-clear turquoise waters, vibrant marine life, and resorts. Maldives is synonymous with its luxurious accommodations, particularly its iconic overwater bungalows. These secluded villas on stilts above the ocean offer unparalleled privacy. 

Dive into the underwater wonderland with the Maldives Tour as it is a haven for snorkelers and divers. The warm waters are jam-packed with lively marine life, including colorful coral reefs, sea turtles, and manta rays. Diving and snorkeling allow one to explore the underwater world of beauty and biodiversity. Indulge in water sports like jet skiing, kayaking, and windsurfing, or embark on a fishing trip to catch your dinner. It is an ideal destination for couples seeking a romantic getaway, honeymooners or anyone looking to relax and rejuvenate in a tranquil setting. 

Thailand in Southeast Asia has in store numerous beaches, ancient temples, palaces, and water sports. Earlier known as Siam it offers an unforgettable holiday filled with adventurous, relaxing, and cultural activities. With the Thailand Tour explore places like Pattaya, Phuket, Bangkok, Krabi, and Surat Thani. A trip to Thailand would be incomplete without getting a Thai massage which is known for healing and rejuvenation practices. 

Male City 

Visit the capital city of Male with the Maldives Tour as it sits at the southern rim of North Male Atoll. It is well endowed with attractions ranging from heritage museums, splendid art galleries, and scenic parks. With an area of six square km, Male is among the smallest cities in the world. It is encompassed by blue seas all around and has a laid-back atmosphere. Once the place of sultans and kings for around nine hundred years it has many stories on this theme. The Tsunami Monument was built to remember the people who lost their lives in the natural disaster. There are two man-made beaches on Male Island where you can take a quick dip and chill. Friday mosque is the oldest and most sacred place with traditional carvings and art forms. 

Phi Phi Islands 

Visit this cluster of six islands of Phi Phi with the Thailand Tour. It lies forty km away from Phuket. The two most famous islands are Phi Phi Leh and Phi Phi Don. Phi Phi Island became famous after the 2000 Hollywood movie” The Beach” which was filmed in Ko Phi Phi Le. It houses the “Viking Cave” which is a thriving business that sells edible bird nests. It has white sand beaches, striking cliffs with jungles all around, and crystal-clear blue waters making it look nothing short of a paradise. None of the islands have roads making it one of the few unblemished beautiful landscapes left in the world. These islands are easily accessible from both Krabi and Phuket by a speedboat in just forty-five minutes or by a ferry in ninety minutes. The island becomes young every night with its beachside and open-air parties. The Phi Phi Viewpoint is an observation deck that can be reached after a short trek from Tonsai Village. Koh Phi Phi Leh is known for its gigantic vertical limestone cliffs decked with green foliage. 

Como Cocoa Islands 

The private islands of COMO Cocoa are located on Kaafu Island south of the capital city of Male. With the online booked Maldives Tour visit these islands well known for their picturesque views and luxurious resorts. It is easily accessible by a forty-minute speedboat transfer from Male International Airport. Accommodations here are designed for those who are seeking an easygoing, foot-in-the-sand experience. Como Cocoa islands have rich, warm waters and bountiful coral along with some of the best beaches and sites for diving and snorkeling. From catamaran sailing to reef exploring, it offers several experiences that fill your soul up to the brim and urge for more. Enjoy night snorkeling with an underwater torch, and diving suit and witness marine life like never before. Enjoy a Sandbank dinner under the shimmering stars along with the melodious sounds of cool breeze and water waves. A must-do activity to be part of is Windsurfing as it blends sailing and surfing as you ride the chilling waters of Maldives. 


Next up on the checklist of the Thailand Tour is Phuket. Located in southern Thailand on the Andaman Sea coastline is the largest island of Phuket. It is the land of golden sand beaches, eye-soothing turquoise water, architectural marvels, and hot-and-happening nightlife. One of the top tourist places in Phuket is Patong Beach with a golden sand strip on the west side of the island. Experience different kinds of watersports activities like jet skiing, parasailing to eating Thai foods at the beachfront restaurants, Patong undoubtedly will win the hearts of the visitors. 

Wat Chalong is the largest Buddhist shrine in Phuket and offers a remarkable experience. It was built in the year 1837 and used to serve as a safe place for the injured during the rebellion against the Chinese. A revered landmark in Phuket is Big Buddha located in Karon, Mueang District. This iconic forty-five-meter-tall statue is seated atop Nakkerd Hill facing Chalong Bay and is visible from almost any corner of Phuket Town. Encounter the big cats at the Tiger Kingdom. Tiger Kingdom Phuket is the sister concern of Tiger Kingdom Chiang Mai. It is located in Kathu fifteen minutes away from Patong Beach. 

The Old Phuket Town is a historical part of Phuket. It is one of the best places to explore and learn about the urban legacy which is well-maintained. One can easily stroll around the alleys of the town and discover the colorful corners, along with the richness of the brightly painted ancient Sino-Portuguese houses, murals, and museums in Old Phuket Town. 

Baros Island 

An ideal place to visit with the Maldives Tour away from the crowds is Baros Island. It is a high-rated and famed island in the Maldives. Baros is known for its sun-kissed beaches, boutique luxury resort beautiful corals, and elegance of nature. It has several water villas and resorts which provide luxe amenities along with restaurants and bars in the vicinity. Visitors can dip their feet in the cyan-blue waters and relax in the spa. For those who are adventured spirited, there are several watersports. Lush vegetation makes the heart skip a beat and with its perfect surroundings and glistening sands, this coral island itself is a resort with the most exclusive amenities one can find. The natural environment is protected by Baros Island and a coral regeneration program is run. The house reef is a paddle away from the beach and has an eye-popping array of rays, mantas, turtles, and exotic fish to feast the eyes on. 


Visit this small city Ayuttaya short for Phra Nakhon Si with the Thailand Tour. It is famous for housing archaeological sites like temples, palaces, and monasteries. Ayuttaya is located eighty km north of Bangkok and is an ideal destination for a day trip from Bangkok. It is often referred to as Krung Kao or the “ancient capital” and flourished for over four hundred years. This beautiful city exudes history and culture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Ayutthaya derives its name from the Sanskrit word for Ayodhya of Ramayan the birthplace of Lord Ram. Bang Pa is the former residence of Thai Kings and was built in 1632 and is also known as the Summer Palace. The building is made in European style and was restored and constructed by King Chulalongkorn. Wat Mahathat is also popularly known as the “temple of great relics “. It is the place where Buddha’s relics were enshrined. The Supreme Father sat here and commanded his disciples. The structure of the temple looks nearly identical to those in the Angkor temple complex in Cambodia.

August 18, 2023

Vietnam Airlines Flight Experience

Vietnam Airlines is the flag carrier of Vietnam which was founded in the year 1956 and this airline flies in 17 countries and 64 destinations. This was our airline when we traveled from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang Vietnam. 

Manila to Ho Chi Minh City via Philippine Airlines - 2hrs and 45mins  
Layover 5hrs and 25mins   
Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang via Vietnam Airlines - 1hr and 20mins   

My husband booked our flight with the help of a travel agency but when I checked the Vietnam Airlines website, they also have flights from Manila to Da Nang with one layover at Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City. So this is another option if you are planning a trip to Vietnam. 

Browsing our ticket, one thing I noticed is the Handcarry Allowance which is up to 10kg because most airlines' limit is 7kg. 

Handcarry Allowance - up to 10kg 
Baggage Allowance 30kg 

Ho Chi Minh to Da Nang Vietnam 

Upon our arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport Terminal 2, we need to claim our luggage and walked to Tan Son Nhat International Airport Terminal 1 for our domestic flight. I am thankful that their domestic airport is only within walking distance unlike in Manila. 

We had more than 5 hours of layover but fortunately, when we went to Vietnam Airlines Counter, the staff allowed us to check in so we were able to explore Saigon without luggage in tow. 

Our Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang flight was delayed for 25 minutes and our boarding gate was changed too so when you travel, it is really important to pay attention because flight information can be changed. 

Airline staff provided wet wipes to all the passengers. This is a domestic flight and there are no snacks, they only provided bottled water. 

Our flight was smooth and we landed safely in Da Nang Vietnam. 

Da Nang Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh City 

We had an early flight so we left the hotel 4 hours before our flight. Our travel time from Sheraton Grand Da Nang to Da Nang International Airport is more or less 30 minutes. When we checked in, the staff informed us that there are still available seats on the first flight so she can change our flight if we want but we declined since we have other companions and we are not in a hurry. Our Ho Chi Minh City to Manila flight is still in the afternoon so same lang na maghihintay ng matagal. 

Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City via Vietnam Airlines - 1hr and 20mins  
Layover 4hrs and 10mins  
Ho Chi Minh City via Philippine Airlines - 3hrs  

Our flight was a little bit delayed but it was still fine because we have more than 4 hours layover in Saigon. 

We had the same experience with our Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang flight and the only difference is the “in-flight streaming entertainment”, I don’t know if all domestic flights have this perk but I did not see the flyer on our way to Da Nang. 

Our flight is more than an hour only so watching a movie is not an option because I won’t be able to finish it. 

Upon our arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, we need to ride a bus to reach the gate.

August 17, 2023

How to Get to Da Nang Vietnam from Manila Philippines

A few months ago, I watched “A Tourist Guide of Love” movie; the story is all about Amanda Riley who went to Vietnam to gain insights about Vietnam Tourism. She visited different places including Da Nang and Hoi An. And because of this movie, I decided to continue my Vietnam series. Let me start reminiscing again about our trip; you can check my summary in this post “5 Days in Da Nang Vietnam”. 

Traveling to Da Nang Vietnam from Manila Philippines 

There was no direct flight from Manila to Da Nang so to make our life easier, my husband booked our ticket via travel agency. He purchased our ticket four months before the trip but despite that, our airfare is still not cheap. In fact, this is the most expensive airfare ticket that we purchased for an Asian trip because there was no seat sale, we booked via a travel agency and we rode two airplanes. 

Vietnam is just a few hours away from Manila but because there is no direct flight from Manila to Da Nang, we need to ride two airplanes; one international and one domestic flight. From the time we left the house until we reached Sheraton Grand Da Nang, we’ve traveled for more than 14 hours so it was really a long day for us. 

Manila to Ho Chi Minh City via Philippine Airlines - 2hrs and 45mins  
Layover 5hrs and 25mins  
Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang via Vietnam Airlines - 1hr and 20mins  

Manila to Ho Chi Minh City

We had an early flight and fortunately, our flight is on time. There was no monitor on our seat so for entertainment, we used “myPAL Player” app to watch movies. 

It’s been a long time since our last international trip via Philippine Airlines so I was surprised when they serve the food. What!?!, nasa paper na lang yung meals nila. The taste of the food is just okay. Nakakadisappoint lang kasi hindi naman budget airline ang Philippine Airlines so bakit kaya nagkaganito, malayo ito compared sa Bangkok, Thailand trip namin. 

On our way to Saigon, I’m happy to see part of the Mekong River; it is a transboundary river in East Asia and Southeast Asia. This river flows through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The Mekong River is the third longest river in Asia and the 12th longest river in the world. 

After a few hours, we landed at Tan Son Nhat International Terminal which is the Ho Chi Minh City Airport; we passed immigration, got our luggage, and looked for Foreign Exchange Kiosk. We exchanged some US Dollars for Vietnamese Dong and we also bought a sim card for 300,000VND

From International Airport Terminal 2, we need to transfer to Domestic Airport Terminal 1 for our Ho Chi Minh to Da Nang flight and it was a long walk. We have more than 5 hours of layover and looking at the Domestic Airport, there is nothing to do. We immediately looked for the Vietnam Airlines counter and we were so happy because we could already check in so we were able to go to Menas Mall Saigon Airport. 

Menas Mall Saigon Airport 

You can already see this mall from the airport, during our trip there are only a few shops that are open so we went straight to the 5th floor where the Menas Food Village or Yum Food Village is located. This food court offers traditional Vietnamese dishes, international cuisine, and fast food. 

My son ordered Beef Pepper Rice at Pepper Lunch for 95,000VND and my husband ordered Lau Thap Cam or Asian Hot Pot at Saigon Bistro for 160,000VND. Softdrinks in can is 20,000VND. Since we frequent Pepper Lunch, one thing I noticed is the price because if I will convert it to Philippine Peso, hindi nalalayo sa Pilipinas so Vietnam is a budget-friendly destination. 

I was excited to try the Asian Hot Pot but unfortunately, it was not a clear soup and I can’t take spicy food so I went to Pepper Lunch and ordered Beef Pepper Rice too. Hindi yata nagkaintindihan sa pag-order. 

What is nice about this food court is the view, you have a nice view of the airport while eating. We took our time eating while waiting for our next flight. 

Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang Vietnam 

Two hours before our boarding, we went back to Domestic Airport and passed Security Check. Our flight was delayed by 25 minutes and the boarding gate has been changed too. 

It was our first time on Vietnam Airlines and upon seated the flight attendant gave wet wipes to all passengers. No meals for this flight and we only got bottled water. 

After 1 hour and 25 minutes, we landed at Da Nang International Airport, from sunny weather in Saigon to cloudy and rainy weather in Da Nang. 

From the airport to Sheraton Grand Da Nang, we availed hotel transport service. Travel time is more than 30 minutes.

August 09, 2023

Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel

I can’t believe that we only have a few days left to enjoy our school break and to be honest, I did not feel the summer vacation this year because we did not have any trips. Well, for the past several weeks, my husband has frequent Jakarta Indonesia and we had the opportunities to travel with him but I let go of the chances because Jakarta is not on my bucket list, airfare is expensive, and for tourist spots, I only need a day or two to visit those. So I chose to have a staycation na lang at home and save money. 

Anyway, I mentioned in my other post that my husband usually stays at The Westin Jakarta but during his trip, it was fully booked so his colleagues informed him to book at Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City. This is the 6th hotel that my husband tried in Jakarta Indonesia and since he frequents Sheraton hotels, he has his own expectations. 

But unfortunately, his expectations were not met. It started with the reception where the staff wanted him to pay his booking in full. What?!? We are aware of incidental deposit pero full payment agad upon check-in, first-time sa Sheraton. What if he wanted to shorten his stay like his previous trip

When he reached his room, the room looks good but there is a certain smell that he doesn’t know kung saan ba nanggagaling, parang amoy kulob or molds. It is not the same with other Sheraton rooms na mabango pag open mo pa lang ng door. 

The room and bathroom are spacious. The staff even prepared welcome snacks and handwritten cards.

He stayed on the 17th floor but he can still hear the noise outside so it is hard to sleep. 

Buffet Breakfast at Anigre Restaurant 

The following day, while they were eating their breakfast, a hotel staff approached them and asked for feedback and my husband was surprised when his colleagues started talking because they stayed in 3 different rooms but they have the same concern which is the “smell of the room”. But the hotel did not transfer them to a different room so they endured the smell for almost a week. 

With regard to breakfast, there are so many options like Indonesian, Asian, and Western cuisine but the taste is just okay. I won’t go into details but after his colleagues shared their feedback about the food, the chef even went out and told them, if they want a certain meal, they can prepare it for them. But they did not make any special requests; it just so happened that the hotel staff went to their table and asked for their feedback. Unfortunately, their reviews are not positive. 

But on a positive note, Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel has a good location because it is adjacent to Gandaria City Mall so you can easily shop and dine. They have a 24-hour fitness center and swimming pool. 

Lobby Lounge 

Aside from Anigre Restaurant, they have a Lobby Lounge too which serves cocktails and appetizers. My husband stayed and dined here while waiting for his midnight flight. 

Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel 
Jl. Sultan Iskandar Muda, Kebayoran, 
Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia, 12240