Monday, December 20, 2004

Philippines 13-20 Dec 2004

Hotel: The Peninsula (Manila)

This was my second trip to the Philippines but my first Filipino wedding.  Purpose there was to attend a friend's wedding.  It was interesting especially the money dance where we get to pin money on the bride's gown as she dances with the groom.  Of course, besides getting all tired helping out with the wedding, we do get some time off for sight-seeing.

The couple arranged for us to stay in The Peninsula hotel at very good rates.  It's within walking distance to Hard Rock Cafe.  As this was my first experience with a business hotel, I was quite amused to see a fax machine and a box of stationery (complete with rubber band, paper clips, eraser, pencil) at the work table.  The mini bar even has an international adapter so guests who forgot to bring along theirs won't need to request from Housekeeping.

The bathroom is huge!!  Comes with bathtub, a separate room for standing shower and another separate room for the toilet.  The best part of the bathroom was the huge and well lit vanity unit!
 I thought the lobby of the hotel very well decorated for Christmas :)

The hotel is also walking distance to Greenbelt which is the shopping paradise to almost every lady.  Comes with 5 Belts and you can take your time to walk around.  Some of the brands available in Greenbelt are Charles & Keith, Kate Spade, LV, Prada....just to name a few.  You will just be so spoilt with choices.

After staying in the city for a few days, we went up to Tagaytay. The drive was about 2-3hours from Metro Manila (depending on traffic). Thanks to a lovely family for hosting us, we have free accommodation up the dormant volcanic land.  We were given two rooms in the basement and 1 room on the second level.  The helper in the house was also nice enough to help us open 30 coconuts :)  Thank goodness the helper was a male.
Our first stop was the flower night market.  This was also the place we bought 30 coconuts and got them stuffed in our MPV.
Another place we visited was the St Mary Magdalene Parish.  It was said to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.  Worth visiting if you like really old stuffs for photography's sake.
The Ilog Maria Honeybee farm was an experience to me.  The toilet looks like a beehive.  We manage to see how honey was being harvested, how it was made into candle, soap, cream, ointments, lip balm...etc.  Being a natural tourist, we took the shopping basket and practically swept whatever was on the shelf into the basket.  Having a stronger currency compared to pesos has its perks too.
My dream place - Yah, one day I would like to stay here - is Sonya's garden.  Fresh salad from the garden, cozy rooms and awesome greenery!  I love how welcoming the entire place is.
The interior was pretty too.  The first picture in the frame shows the massage bed near the bathroom.  They do have masseurs you can get into your room.  A full body massage cost P200 (equiv to about SGD7) The last picture in the frame was actually the shower area.  I mean, who on earth would shower near some cushions right?  And it didn't even look like a shower room! 
The view facing Taal Volcano was just spectacular.  Worth the few hours drive!  Sipping hot chocolate at Starbucks and facing this view is simply heavenly!
Places we had our meals in Tagaytay but I can't really recall the restaurant name.
The place my friends had their wedding was really romantic.  Too bad it was open air and very warm.  Besides perspiring the entire time, the mosquitoes were feasting on us.  Experience was one of a kind for me...would prefer either a wedding in Tagaytay or in a hotel :p

Clearer low-res photos here.