Star-studded Weekend Getaway | Manila, Philippines

(Late post, all of this happened exactly a month ago.)

Attend a celebrity wedding, check! It’s not often in your life you’re given such an opportunity so if you need to take a flight to attend that wedding, miss a couple of days of school, it’s a definite go.

We intended to take the first flight out on Friday morning but because flights were so full, we ended up getting bumped off. We did manage to get on the next flight out and made it in time for a lovely lunch at Fely J’s Kitchen in Greenbelt 5. Absolutely loved their food! Or maybe I’m just biased because it was Filipino food. But either way, it was delicious. Some of my favourites was their Tilapia with Sweet Plum Sauce, Lechon Kawali served along with Fely J’s Dilis-cious Rice.

We stayed two nights at five-star luxury hotel, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila and I was very pleased with their service. Very welcoming staff upon entry! I stayed in one of their Superior rooms which was the perfect fit for myself and my mom. It also made great space as our room was used the following day for hair and make up for the wedding. I’m so used to the hustle and bustle of Manila but Sofitel’s swimming pool landscaped by surrounding palm trees facing Manila Bay seems like the perfect getaway or even staycation for those in Manila. It’s said that Manila Bay’s Sunset is one of the must-sees of Sofitel but unfortunately, I didn’t make it in time as the sun was pretty much down by the time I headed to the pool area. But the music and fireworks made up for it thanks to another event going on! Dinner was at Spiral, quoted as the “Best Buffet in Manila”! All I can say is that I was very overwhelmed with Spiral’s range of cuisines – from Japanese to Italian to Filipino, I didn’t know what to eat! It was a lovely buffet with the bride, groom and their adorable daughter. Also appreciated Spiral’s surrounding decors. Overall, their buffet is perfect for family gatherings or date nights with your special someone.

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It was rise and shine at around eight in the morning the following day as we were to get started with hair and make up by nine. Thanks so much to my wonderful make-up artist, Elly and hair stylist, Page, for making me look and feel so beautiful!

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The wedding was held at The Blue Leaf Filipinas which was a generally convenient location with a lovely exterior – and interior thanks to their event decorator! Some celebrity sightings were most of the Two Wives cast, Jodi Sta. Maria, Zanjoe Marudo, Bernard and Mico Palanca, Doug and Cheska Kramer, Antoinette and Tom Taus and Gretchen Fullido. And the guest performer, Charice! I knew quite a bit of the wedding details prior to the event but I had no idea about Charice! All I can say is that you might think she sounds great in recordings but she sounds even better live! Her voice is just so clean – she has been blessed with such a beautiful voice! It was a lovely wedding – I’d say pretty simple for a celebrity wedding but still so perfect.

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The following day, we headed to the seaside Dampa located along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard which was also conveniently located by Sofitel. I’m no fan of seafood but I enjoyed the lovely food and having a meal with family friends I rarely ever see. By this point, I think my body was ready to give up because I wasn’t feeling so great but it was a nice end to my trip!

Overall, I genuinely enjoyed the weekend. Who knew hanging out with my mom’s best friends could be just as fun as being around your own friends!? Definitely a weekend worth remembering. And best of all, here’s wishing to the lovely couple that your love will stay true forever and that through each day, you bring each other and Chelsea (and future babies!) happiness and love.

Fely J’s Kitchen: 2/F, Greenbelt 5, Greenbelt Dr, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila: CCP Complex Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Manila, 1300, Philippines

Spiral: Pasay Plaza Level, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Roxas Boulevard, CCP Complex, Pasay City, Philippines

The Blue Leaf Filipinas: Belle Avenue, Aseana, Paranaque City, Pasay City, Philippines

Manila Trip – Part 2!

Now for the more “eventful” part of my trip where I got to spend time with more family, as well as the little ones from my Garcia side. 

Day 6: Family time

This was dad’s only full day in his very, very short trip to MNL. His two other siblings and my Lola were all complete for lunch at Sumo Sam in The Block, SM North Edsa. To be honest, I am not a fan of Japanese food – perhaps because I’m not into sushi but their Ebi Tempura was not bad at all. We also ordered Kisu Tempura which if I remember correctly, was fish tempura. Their Miso Soup was really good too! Well I’ve never really been disappointed with any Miso soup. We also enjoyed Beef Teppan which was medium rare – the meat was quite hard I’d have to say but good flavours. Also headed over to Gigi’s Custaroonery stall near the Cinemas of SM North Edsa which was what we gave away to our HK family back home.

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Day 7: Manila traffic and delicious food!

Dad was set to leave today but before heading off to the airport, I accompanied him with some final errands. We went to visit my Lolo. It does make me sad that I never got to meet him and I know so little about him… Soon after, dad decided to make a spontaneous trip to Estrel’s Caramel Cakes Bakery in Diliman to bring a cake back to HK. It then started to pour so we headed home for a quick lunch and decided to head to the airport early, anticipating traffic. And boyyyy were we right! We were on the road for maybe three hours? Crazy. After we got to the airport my Titas, cousin and I headed to Powerplant Mall where we did some window shopping! Then had a lovely dinner at Via Mare to treat ourselves from that drive! I honestly really enjoyed the food at Via Mare. It’s a Filipino restaurant (yes! Filipino again!) and pretty affordable I’d say. We ordered: Tuyo Fried Rice (dried fish flakes and scrambled eggs) – real good!, Oysters Rockefeller (spinach, bacon and 3-cheese!) – pretty good but to be honest, not a big fan of oysters., Pinalutong na Tilapia (Crispy Tilapia (fish)) – loved it! and Crispy tapa (beef sirloin) – also good! Later that evening I treated the boys to a late night Starbucks session at Tomas Morato (credits to my Tita who acted as our chauffeur haha). Got to try their Toffee Nut Latte Frappuccino (not the best to be honest) but was nice spending time with the boys.

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Day 8: Drama and the largest milkshake ever!

Rough start to the day with family drama but I’d rather not elaborate on that! Original plan for the day was to have lunch at Casa Verde and head to the mall afterwards with my aunt for some shopping but because lkahsg disrupted our plans for the day, we only went with lunch plans. We headed to UP Town Center – particularly liked the vibe here and tons of dining outlets to choose from! Lacking on the retail outlets but thats fine by me! There was Cotton On – where we spent over an hour while waiting for our table at Casa Verde. And I also managed to snatch a knock off version of Toms in cream lace! Casa Verde I’d assume would be a Filipino restaurant but to my surprise was a very American-Westernized place! With “The Milky Way” – the largest chocolate milkshake ever! Which by the way was VERY good – unexpected considering its size! “The Mighty Ton”, a 12-inch, 1 kilo, bacon mushroom cheeseburger looked too much it almost looked a bit sickening to me! I mean I am no burger fan to begin with so that might be why. “Brian’s Ribs” was a set of ribs and fries for just PHP250! Really cheap for what it was – and it wasn’t bad at all! Overall a very good meal despite the looooooong waiting time.

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Day 9: Cronuts and Little Ones

Got up bright and early as I headed over to stay with my cousin and her family in Greenhills for a couple of days before heading back to Hong Kong. We headed to The Podium, more of an upscale mall in Mandaluyong – basically the business district of Manila. Had lunch at Wildflour Cafe + Bakery where I FINALLY(!) got a taste of cronuts. It’s been a while since this was a craze in the Manila but I never got to try it. I particularly liked the Maple Bacon Cronut (yuuuuuuum). Also tried the Dulce de Leche Cronut but wasn’t a huge fan. For lunch, my cousin and I split a lasagna – not too bad as well but the cafe was on the pricey side. Also visited Greenhills later that afternoon and did a teeny bit of shopping and got to see my pamangkins (niece and nephew in English in case you were wondering!). Had dinner at Kimpura, a midscale Japanese restaurant. Again, not the biggest fan of Japanese food but not bad. Also got to see the annual Christmas story at Greenhills where a display was set up of the nativity story directly in front of a Christmas bazaar with lots of street food as well.

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Day 10: Shopping and pamper afternoon

Began the day with some shopping at Greenhills – take two! Shopped a little more today but practically circled the same area three times! Clearly not the best at directions!! What I like best about Greenhills is I can shop cheap and no one back home in HK would even know how affordable I got that top for hehehe. Had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen then it was pamper afternoon! Finally got that haircut and hot oil I was longing for. Went a little shorter this time and am honestly quite happy with it. Decided to go ahead and get a manicure too because why the heck not, it’s not like I get my nails done in HK! We later had dinner at Barrio Fiesta, a Filipino restaurant (yup! again).

Day 11: Crepes, Politics, Traffic and Departure

Last day in Manila! Scheduled my flight to be later in the afternoon so I could still enjoy a little of the day. We headed back to The Podium for lunch to pick up the cronuts I was bringing back home and had lunch at Cafe Breton, a quaint little cafe but does great with their crepes! I had their Galette Rustique (okay fine it was a Galette not a Crepe – potato, potatoh! same thing). It was a “galette” with smoked bacon, tomato provencal, mozarella and sunny side up egg – really, really good! Too bad I didn’t get to snap a photo of it. After that, we faced the traffic and headed to the airport – honestly, our trip was not as bad as when I had gone to the airport to drop dad off a couple of days before but was still not an easy breezy drive – typical Manila. I was at the airport a lot earlier than my scheduled flight – better early than late! Decided to get an iced coffee as I was beginning to feel a little under the weather. Look at my effort to become a coffee drinker. Still haven’t conquered hot coffees though! #2015goal The journey back to HKG was a little tough with heavy delays on ground and a little delay on air but was finally back at home by 10PM that evening.

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Overall my Manila trip was very worthwhile especially after not having been back for over a year. What was important was that I got to see my relatives and that’s all that matters. Really hoping I can make more of an effort to visit my family in Manila.

So sorry this post has been so delayed! So so SO delayed that my Christmas post overlapped but I had some trouble uploading the photos into the post but I’m on my laptop right now and told myself I needed to get this up before 2014 ends! I honestly haven’t been feeling the best since I’ve gotten back from my trip which was almost two weeks back. Been suffering from what I assume is a nasal allergy attack but woke up yesterday feeling a thousand times better (or it could be Sinutab working its magic) so I hope this keeps up.

I had originally intended for one more post to go up before the year comes to a close but I have an early start tomorrow with work and then NYE Party preparations all afternoon so we’ll see. If not, it could just be a look back at my 2014 once 2015 hits. Till next time xxx

Manila Trip – Part 1

Currently snuggled up in bed, wrapped in my duvet and trying to get over this cold in very, very cold weather. So this would be the perfect time for me to write my blog post on my Manila trip!

I was in Manila from the 7th of December till the 17th. Almost didn’t push through with my trip because of a typhoon hitting the Philippines at the start of my trip but thankfully went through as it was so nice and refreshing seeing my Manila family again!

Day 1: Arrival and food, food, food!

Got up at around 4:30 in the morning with roughly three hours of sleep to get on CX907 to Manila. My Ninong and Tita picked me up at Ninoy Aquino International Airport: Terminal 3. I began my trip with Chicken Mcdo, Shakey’s Pizza, Pepeton’s Kapalmuks (crispy pork face!) to name a few…To be honest, by the end of the day I wasn’t feeling too good with all the food! But that’s Manila folks, food, food, food! Most of my family and relatives were there to welcome me back and it was just so nice to see everyone again.

Day 2: Typhoon Ruby!

The day the typhoon was supposed to hit….but never came! My cousins’ classes were suspended and my Tita’s reported sick meaning, mall day! So we headed to the mall and did a little bit of shopping – empty handed for me though! It was also my cousin (well no he’s technically my cousin’s cousin)’s birthday so we had a nice meal with calamari, BBQ and more (there’s always more!).

Day 3: Typhoon Ruby – part 2!

My cousins’ classes were suspended again but my Tita’s headed to work this time around. My cousins, ninong and Lola and I headed to Buddys Pancit Lucban at Timog, a Filipino fast food/self serve restaurant. Their Sisig Pork w/ Egg & Rice was amazing! It had a Pepper Lunch feel to it, being served on a sizzling plate and all. I’m not typically one to eat sisig but looks like I’ve learned how to eat it now!

Day 4: Lazy Day

Today was a lazy day, my cousins headed back to school and everyone was back at work. It was just my Lola,  Ninong and I for lunch where we headed to Alex III at Tomas Morato. I had Pork BBQ with Rice. To be honest, the place was a bit on the pricey side for the food it served. But the place has a nice ambience with a more formal setting so could be good for business meetings where you’d like to dine over Filipino food but still have a feel of professionalism to it.

Day 5: Lazy Day – part 2!

Another lazy day today… My Ninong took me to Jay J’s Inasal, a Filipino restaurant. I’m sure at this point, my entire family was convinced that I only ate Filipino food!!!! My Ninong ordered Crispy Tenga for our appetizer. Which is basically translated as “crispy, pig ear”! I mean despite what it actually was, it wasn’t that bad at all! For my main, I had their specialty, Chicken Inasal served with Java Rice and Atchara and as always, it didn’t disappoint. My Tita and Cousin came to stay at the house later that evening and daddy-o arrived a little past midnight.

I guess that’s it for now because I am now battling a headache and would like to head to bed early today. The next post will be on the second half of my trip (I’d say, the more eventful part!).

Till next time xxx