September 29, 2023

10 Best Things To Do in Dubai This December

In December, Dubai comes alive with a plethora of exciting activities. Witness the city's stunning transformation at the Dubai Miracle Garden and Dubai Garden Glow, where dazzling light displays and intricate floral arrangements enchant visitors. Don't miss the grandeur of New Year's Eve fireworks at Burj Khalifa, a truly mesmerizing spectacle. Experience winter wonder at Ski Dubai's ice skating rink and indulge in retail therapy at the Dubai Shopping Festival. For an Arabian adventure, embark on a Desert Safari with a delectable BBQ dinner. Glide along Dubai Creek on a dhow cruise, explore the Dubai Frame, and discover diverse cultures at the Global Village. Finally, elevate your experience with a hot air balloon ride over the desert's golden dunes. Dubai in December offers an unforgettable blend of culture, entertainment, and natural beauty. 

1. Go for a hot air balloon ride in the desert 

Indulge in an exhilarating Dubai hot air balloon adventure as you ascend into the tranquil desert skies. This awe-inspiring journey promises a unique perspective of the city's iconic landscape. Drifting gracefully over the golden dunes at sunrise, you'll witness Dubai's modern marvels and natural wonders bathed in the soft morning light. The serenity of the desert, broken only by the occasional whisper of the wind, enhances the sense of adventure. Bedouin guides share their insights into desert life, adding depth to your experience. A Dubai hot air balloon ride is not just a ride; it's a breathtaking and unforgettable exploration of the city's enchanting desert landscapes. 

2. Explore the Dubai Miracle Garden 

Dubai Miracle Garden is a mesmerizing oasis in the heart of the desert city. It's not your typical garden; it's a floral wonderland that blooms with millions of colorful flowers, forming stunning patterns and sculptures. As you stroll through the garden, you'll be surrounded by a sea of vibrant blossoms in various shapes and sizes. From heart-shaped arches to life-sized peacocks, the garden is a true visual delight. It's a perfect place for a leisurely walk, taking pictures, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature. Open from November to April, it's a seasonal treat, and the best part is, that it's constantly evolving, with new designs and themes each year, ensuring every visit is unique. 

 3. Visit Dubai Garden Glow 

Dubai Garden Glow beckons with a magical world of illuminating artistry and eco-friendly marvels. As you book your Dubai Garden Glow tickets, prepare to be mesmerized by a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors and intricate light displays that come to life after sunset. This enchanting attraction showcases a fusion of art, nature, and sustainability, featuring themed gardens, glowing animals, and stunning replicas of famous landmarks, all intricately adorned with millions of LED lights. Beyond the visual splendor, Dubai Garden Glow promotes environmental awareness, making it an ideal family-friendly destination where you can immerse yourself in a world of wonder while also appreciating the importance of conservation. 

4. Attend New Year's Eve fireworks at Burj Khalifa 

Celebrating New Year's Eve in Dubai is a world-class experience, and the Burj Khalifa is at the heart of the festivities. As the tallest building in the world, it hosts one of the most spectacular fireworks shows you'll ever witness. The night sky is ablaze with a dazzling array of colors and patterns, perfectly synchronized with music and choreography. Thousands of people from around the globe gather in the area to witness this breathtaking display. It's a true bucket-list moment, and you'll feel the excitement and energy in the air as the clock strikes midnight. The Burj Khalifa fireworks are a symbol of Dubai's grandeur and a memorable way to start the new year. 

5. Go ice skating at Ski Dubai 

Ski Dubai is a winter wonderland nestled right in the middle of the desert. It's a place where you can experience the thrill of ice skating in a snowy setting, even in the scorching heat of Dubai. The facility offers a massive indoor ski slope complete with real snow, and the ice skating rink is one of its exciting attractions. Whether you're a seasoned skater or a beginner, you can glide on the ice to your heart's content. The rink is surrounded by the snow park, making it a great place for family fun. You can rent skates and protective gear, so you don't need to worry about bringing your own equipment. It's a unique and cool way to escape the desert heat and have a blast on the ice. 

6. Shop at the Dubai Shopping Festival 

The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) is a shopping extravaganza that happens once a year. It's a fantastic time for visitors and locals alike to shop for almost anything under the sun. From clothing to electronics, jewelry, and even cars, you can find great deals and discounts. The festival also offers entertainment, live music, and food stalls. The festive atmosphere is quite exciting, and you can enjoy street performances and fireworks. If you're a shopping enthusiast, DSF is the perfect time to visit Dubai. 

7. Enjoy Desert Safari and BBQ dinner 

A Desert Safari is an exciting adventure in the Dubai desert. You'll ride in a 4x4 vehicle over sand dunes, experiencing thrilling ups and downs. The desert landscape is breathtaking, and you can try sandboarding too. Afterward, you'll be treated to a delicious BBQ dinner at a desert camp. The dinner includes traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, and you can relax under the stars, watch belly dancers, and get henna tattoos. It's an unforgettable way to experience the desert and its culture. 

8. Take a Dhow cruise on Dubai Creek 

A Dhow Cruise on Dubai Creek is a serene and picturesque experience. Dhows are traditional wooden boats, and they take you on a gentle cruise along the historic Dubai Creek. You'll see both the old and new sides of Dubai, with modern skyscrapers on one side and historic buildings on the other. These cruises often include dinner, and you can enjoy the view of the city's skyline while savoring a meal. It's a peaceful way to spend an evening and learn about Dubai's heritage while enjoying the city's beautiful lights reflected in the water. 

9. Visit the Dubai Frame 

The Dubai Frame is an iconic landmark that stands tall as a symbol of Dubai's past and future. Shaped like a giant picture frame, it offers visitors a unique journey through time and vision. As you enter, you'll step into a museum that showcases Dubai's history, from its humble beginnings as a fishing village to its current status as a global metropolis. You can take an elevator ride to the top, where a glass-floored skywalk provides breathtaking views of both old and new Dubai. The frame beautifully frames the city's contrasting landscapes, offering a perspective of the past and present. It's a must-visit attraction that blends culture, architecture, and panoramic vistas in a single remarkable experience. 

10. Visit the Global Village 

The Global Village is a vibrant and diverse cultural extravaganza where the world comes together in one place. This lively destination features pavilions representing different countries, each offering a taste of their unique traditions, cuisine, and crafts. It's like taking a whirlwind trip around the globe in a single visit. You can explore these pavilions, shop for international products, savor delicious dishes, and enjoy live performances showcasing global talents. The Global Village is not just about entertainment; it's also a celebration of our world's rich diversity, fostering cross-cultural understanding and unity. It's a fantastic place to immerse yourself in different cultures, try new foods, and enjoy a vibrant atmosphere filled with music, dance, and fun.

September 28, 2023

Halloween Lollipop Holder

Just this week my son had a project in their Entrepreneurship Class with the following objectives. 

Think and create food products from existing sweet delicacies or buy a pack of sweets and resell. 
Make your own food packaging. 
Show the procedures and selling techniques in the form of a presentation. (Powerpoint) 

There is a note that they could ask help from their family members so dapat luto na yung food or nakaprepare na materials but they need to pack their food products in school. I suggested to my son na magresell na lang siya because it is more practical since they just need sample products for the presentation. 

Since Halloween is near, I bought candies and I cut these Halloween Lollipop Holders. I chose an easy SVG file: one layer only so it would be easy for my son to pack his food products. I only need a few pieces but in the end, I cut 16 pieces to maximize the 12x12 cardstock. Lastly, I taught my son how to assemble the cat, pumpkin, spider, and bat lollipop holder. 

After his presentation, he went home with a smile because he sold all his candies. Sana pala inubos ko na yung isang pack ng lollipop. Kaya siguro Entrepreneurship Class ang pinili ng anak ko sa TLE para may extra baon. Sa akin ang capital, sa kanya ang Sales + Profit. Hehehe! 

September 27, 2023

Hanoi Daewoo Hotel

It’s been a while since my last blog post because I spent my time crafting. But I am taking a break for now so I am back to blogging. Just this month my husband went back to Hanoi and he stayed at the Hanoi Daewoo Hotel. His Vietnamese colleagues suggested this hotel because this is near the event place. This is the fourth hotel that he tried in Hanoi, he stayed before at Sheraton Hanoi, JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi, and Movenpick Hotel Hanoi.

It was my first time to hear about this hotel so I checked their website and learned that this hotel is one of the best 5-star luxury hotels in Hanoi. It has been one of the options of dignitaries and heads of state for more than two decades because it is near embassies too. 

This hotel has been around for more than two decades so when you see the room and bathroom, it looks old already but it is still presentable. What you see on the website is what you get with a sign of wear and tear. The bathroom is small but it has a bathtub. 

What is nice about this hotel is the view, My husband can see the Thủ Lệ Lake and the swimming pool from his room. This hotel has the largest swimming pool in the city. 

Daewoo Hotel Restaurants 

Daewoo Hotel has different restaurants that offer local and international fare. You can dine at Cafe Promenade, Ngah Dinh Hanoi Restaurant, Duc Bao Gartenstadt, Edo Japanese Restaurant, Palm Court Lobby Lounge, Brodard Terrace, Brodard Gourmet, and Lakeview Sky Lounge. Among the options, my husband was able to try three restaurants during his trip. 

Cafe Promenade 

My husband booked the promo rate room and he did not notice that breakfast was not included but he still ate at Cafe Promenade where the buffet breakfast was served. But unlike in other hotels, where you can charge the breakfast meal in your room and pay upon check-out; here you need to pay your meal immediately. 

One of my husband’s favorite cuisines is Vietnamese pero iba-iba rin pala ang taste ng food per places. I noticed that when we went to Saigon and Da Nang, napapaisip ako kung bakit favorite ni hubby ang Vietnamese cuisine kasi yung sa hotel lang naman na food ang nagustuhan ko. 

Anyway, there are so many choices in the buffet spread but my husband ate “pho” every single day. Hindi obvious na favorite niya. Hehehe! So whenever he is in Hanoi, nawawala ang diet sa vocabulary niya. Conclusion, yung food sa Hanoi ang favorite niya. 

Edo Japanese Restaurant 

My husband ate at Edo where you order your favorite teppanyaki, sushi, and sashimi dishes. 

Duc Bao Gartenstadt 

While waiting for my husband’s midnight flight, he went back to Daewoo Hotel for dinner. He ate at Duc Bao Gartenstadt, this restaurant serves German cuisine and beers with a swimming pool view. 

My husband is on a business trip so he has no time for leisure but this hotel is on Kim Ma Street where you can find the colorful houses and Thu Le Park where you can ride a swan boat, and visit the zoo and garden. 

Hanoi Daewoo Hotel 
360 Kim Ma Street,
Ba Dinh District 
Hanoi Vietnam

September 18, 2023

Birthday Getaway at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort

For my birthday celebration, we initially planned to have a food trip but I changed my mind because I gained weight so much so ayaw ko na muna magbuffet. Hehehe! There were two long weekends last month so pwede naman magtravel. 

We usually go to Batangas for a quick getaway pero sa totoo lang, wala na ko maisip puntahan sa Batangas. My husband informed me na may nakita daw siya sa Facebook na resort and I was surprised when he said Puerto Galera because I thought, ayaw na niya bumalik doon. During pandemic days, I suggested a resort din sa Puerto Galera but he was not interested so in my mind, hindi na ko makakabalik sa Oriental Mindoro but people changed.

Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort has a rainy daw promo of 25% off so my husband called the resort to inquire about it. And I immediately computed our possible expenses including the food, transportation, and other fees; and it turned out na same lang sa gastos namin sa Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

We were supposed to book the first long weekend but the only available room is good for 6 people so we changed our travel dates to save money. For our family of three, we chose the 1 Bedroom Seaview Villa, the total is PHP20,398 (3 persons) for 3 days and 2 nights. To confirm the booking, a 50% downpayment is needed via bank transfer or GCASH. The 25% discount will be deducted upon check-out. 

But as of this writing, when I tried to book this room again for the 1st and 2nd week of November (Sat to Mon), our total is only PHP 10,876.32 and PHP11,229.12. What!?! Mas mura pa rate nila kahit wala promo. Toink! I did not proceed with my booking, I just checked the curent rate. 

Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort 

Moving on, let me share my birthday getaway at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort. This resort is located in Sitio Daluran, Puerto Galera so there are few transfers and we traveled by land-sea-land-sea; we drove to Batangas Port, rode a ferry to Balatero Port, rode a tricycle to Muelle Port, and lastly, boat to Casalay Resort. You can read more information in this post “How to Go to Puerto Galera from Manila and Vice Versa” (our travel experience) 

Traveling to Puerto Galera takes a lot of patience, sa dami ng waiting time namin from parking, buying a ticket, and waiting for the resort boat. We left the house before 5AM and we arrived at the resort around 1:30PM, nalipasan na kami ng lunch. I’m thankful that I brought bread pero gutom na gutom pa rin kami sa biyahe. 

Upon arrival, the staff welcomed us with juice and we went straight to the reception. The staff asked for our IDs and after a few minutes, we received the key and voucher for the free wifi (one code per gadget). But before we went to our room, we already ordered food for our late lunch. 

Food Trip at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort 

There is only one restaurant in the resort so we ate our breakfast, lunch, and dinner there. Read my blog post here

1-Bedroom Seaview Villa 

I am aware that our villa is located in the mid-level of the resort so niready ko na sarili ko sa 80+ steps pero nakakahingal pa rin. The exterior of the villa looks good but once you enter the room, you will notice the signs of wear and tear. 

The bedroom is small and the space is tight, it features a loft where the extra bed is located. According to their website. they are using Award-Winning Emma Mattresses so the bed is comfortable. 

Even if the room feels cramped, it has a fridge, coffee, and tea facilities, and a safety deposit box. For our 3-day stay, they didn’t refill the coffee and tea. 

I’ve read about the “Outdoor bathroom with a shower” but I didn’t expect that it would be an open bathroom. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am not a fan of glass bathrooms, semi-open bathrooms and mas lalo na ang open bathrooms. I experienced that in The Farm at San Benito, Sheraton Manila Club and Chateau Hestia.   

I’m not comfortable with an open bathroom kasi and for safety reasons na rin. Just like what happened during our stay, may nalaglag na dahon, fortunately, wala naliligo. 

The bathroom is spacious, it has the usual toiletries like shampoo, body wash, conditioner, and lotion. There is no towel rack so we use the hanger for our towels pero hindi natutuyo so the following day, we requested new towels. We were advised that they would clean the room but it didn’t happen and no new towels too. 

What I love about our villa is the balcony, we have a nice view of the garden and the sea. Unfortunately, hindi namin gaano naenjoy kasi maulan at the time of our stay. 

Things to do at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort if you are not a diver...

During our trip, there was Typhoon Goring in North Luzon but I didn’t expect that it would affect Oriental Mindoro. Feeling ko dahil malayo naman hindi na aabot but I was wrong, there is Southwest Monsoon so we experienced heavy rainfall and strong winds. 

At that time, napapaisip ako na “gumastos pa kami para lang magkulong sa room. Nakakarelate tuloy ako sa mga ‘’meme” na nakikita ko sa Facebook “Tinuloy ang lakad kahit bumabagyo kasi non-refundable”. hehehe! 

Despite the harsh weather, God is still so good because we have good weather every morning so nakalabas naman kami ng room. We experienced snorkeling, clear kayaking, and paddle boating; both are complimentary use for 1 hour. And kapag low tide na, we transfer to the swimming pool. 

So overall, we still enjoyed our quick getaway at Puerto Galera. And despite the bad weather, I still prefer this trip compared to our first trip to Puerto Galera at white beach. Being an introvert, we prefer a resort that is not crowded. 

P.S. I am aware that there is power crisis in Mindoro but I am not updated kung hanggang ngayon pa ba, so I’m not sure kung rotational brownout ba yung naexperience namin during our stay, because of the bad weather or if the resort is run by generator only. 

Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort 
Sitio Dalaruan, Puerto Galera, 
5203 Oriental Mindoro

September 11, 2023

Food Trip at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort

We stayed in Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort for three days and throughout our stay we just ate inside the resort. This resort has a restaurant and bar that are also open for outside guests but keep in mind that you need to ride a boat just to reach Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort. On a positive note, they provide a complimentary boat shuttle from Muelle Pier, Sabang Pier, and nearby resorts; just call the resort for a boat schedule and to reserve your seat. 

I’m sharing with you what we ate during our stay. Let us start with breakfast since this is already included in our room package. They offer the usual Filipino Silog Meals, Omelet, Pancakes, and French Toast. If you want Western Breakfast, it is available too but there is an additional fee of PHP120 per order. We only ordered from Filipino Menu; served with two eggs of any style, garlic rice, pickled papaya, a slice of fruit, and a choice of coffee or tea. 

There are five choices which are Pork Tapa, Pork Tocino, Longganisa, Corned Beef and Daing na Bangus. Among the options, yung Tocino lang ang hindi namin na-try. For drinks, we requested hot chocolate since my son and I are not fond of coffee, buti na lang available. 

For lunch and dinner, we ordered the following meals: Among these food, we personally liked the Chicken Curry and Tanigue Steak. Kung hindi naman malakas kumain, their meals are good for sharing except for the Pork BBQ Skewers and Fried Chicken. Plus 10% Service Charge sa price. 

Fish and Chips PHP450 

Pork Schnitzel PHP450

Tanigue Steak PHP395 

Fried Chicken PHP370 

Pork BBQ Skewers PHP420 

Stuffed Squid PHP480 

Chicken Curry PHP390 

Adobo PHP390 

Margherita Pizza PHP450 

Pepperoni Pizza PHP570 

Seafood Pesto PHP420 

Extra Rice PHP75 
Softdrinks in Can PHP80 

BREAKFAST from 7am to 10am 
LUNCH from 11am to 2pm 
DINNER from 5pm to 9pm 
BAR from 11am to 11pm 

You can visit their Facebook page for the complete menu. 

Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort 
Sitio Dalaruan, Puerto Galera, 
 5203 Oriental Mindoro

Read: How to Go to Puerto Galera from Manila and Vice Versa