Sunday, January 31, 2010

true home hotel boracay

finding accommodation in boracay shouldn't be hard, as the island is filled with every type of accommodation available. on my last trip to boracay, i decided to go the budget route, and contented myself with a pretty spartan room at chez de paris resort.

this time around, though, susie and i put a little more effort in looking for our boracay accommodation, and eventually settled on the quaint-looking true home hotel boracay.

the true home hotel website provides all the information you need--location, accommodation, rates, and contact details. when the hotel didn't reply to my email, i sent my inquiry via mobile, and got a prompt and clear response. when i expressed intent to reserve a room, they immediately asked for my email address and sent me a quotation within the day.

the quotation from true home hotel was done professionally--all the details were there, from the room type, price, and deadline of payment. their address and bank details were also included, along with clear guidelines about payment. this professionalism made me feel at ease about choosing them as my next boracay accommodation option.

in order to reserve a room at true home hotel, one needs to deposit the full amount to their bank account and fax the deposit slip to their office, or pay in person in their manila office. susie had some time to make the trip to manila, and was very impressed with the office. too bad i wasn't able to see it, but according to susie, the place was very tastefully done, and the people were very friendly.

fast forward to january 23. we're aboard a roaring tricycle from the boracay pier, heading for true home hotel at 8am. after about 20 to 30 minutes on the cement road, the driver pulls over in front of a golden yellow building with a cute arch for an entrance. true home hotel, a sign above it reads, and the arch frames a wooden table with two chairs, which, we later find out, is their front desk.

true home hotel is in boracay station 1, a stone's throw away from cocomangas, guilly's, and jonah's famous shakes. the back entrance, with the arch, is directly along boracay's main road, beside a pharmacy (that sells beer), and a branch of maƱana, a mexican restaurant. from this entrance, there is a little path that takes you directly to the beach, which is just a few meters away from the rock/grotto. you get the best of both worlds--easy access to transportation through the main road using the back entrance, and peaceful sunbaking time at the beachfront.

upon crossing the arch, we were greeted by a friendly woman at the front desk. i smile and hand her our receipt so she could check us in. in under two minutes, i was holding a key attached to a beaded necklace (it actually made a nice accessory), and being led upstairs to room #6, where we took some time to change, put on sunblock, and freshen up before hitting the beach. this room had two twin beds joined together with a queen-sized mattress placed on top. i had specifically requested for two twin beds for this room, which was going to be shared by javi (susie's brother), and our friend eduardo. when we brought this up with the front desk, they didn't waste time and immediately sent two of their personnel to change the mattress.

room ambience and amenities
the tiled floors from the front desk make for a great introduction to the quaint ambience you will experience in this hotel. rooms in true home hotel really exude a lot of character. they feature a quaint mix of old world furniture. our room had two antique-looking wooden aparadors, which matched the mirror/dresser/sink in the bathroom.

our large room, room #7, was equipped with a king-sized bed with metal frames, a television, table, two chairs, a refrigerator, air conditioner, and in-room safe. the room made me feel at home right away--it was so clean and cozy, i felt like i was staying over at a doting aunt's beach house. i was also quite enamored with the large chandelier that dangled from the ceiling.

the wooden bathroom door slides to reveal the lovely wooden sink/mirror/dresser, with a wooden shelf on the wall to put your toiletries and clothes in. the shower had a water heater, though hot water was hard to come by during "peak showering hours."

two sets of towels are provided in each room--one set for bathing, and another, a blue-and-white-striped set, is meant to be used for lounging on the beach chairs.

aside from the lovely rooms, the staff was very accommodating, always ready to help and listen to our requests. they would provide us with towels when we were on the beach, even though they have provided us with beach towels in the room.

breakfast was also one of the best parts of staying in true home hotel. they have a pretty good selection, and each serving was good enough to keep you satisfied. most meals are served with scrambled eggs, tropical fruit, and a drink. selections include filipino breakfast (longganiza, tocino, tapa, or bangus with garlic rice) and american breakfast (hotdog or bacon).

superior rooms (the rooms we got) at true home hotel cost P3,500.00 per night--pretty good value since you get free breakfast for 2 for each room, a host of useful amenities, friendly service, free wi-fi (though it's quite slow), and a location that keeps you close to everything. each superior room can accommodate a maximum of 4.

guests of true home hotel also enjoy 5% discount at aria, cafe del sol, mongkok, and true food. island activities can also be booked through the front desk, so you don't have to entertain those touts along the beach.

if my review of true home hotel boracay has convinced you to book a stay there as well, make sure you reserve right away. this lovely hotel only has 9 rooms available. :) you can also view my photos of true home hotel.

hotel information
boracay address: balabag, boracay island
phone number: +63 36 2883784

manila office address: 1850 vasquez street, malate, metro manila
phone number: +63 2 4041464
mobile number: +63 906 4925578

Thursday, January 28, 2010

boracay photos

i'm still drawing up the blog post for the boracay trip and my review of true home hotel in boracay. in the meantime, you guys can feast your eyes on the photos, although, i have to admit, they're not very good. :p

just click on the link:
no-booze boracay
true home hotel boracay

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

wine depot celebrates australia day!

wine depot is having a whole day fair filled with awesome events on friday, january 29, at wine depot reposo, from 10am to 10pm.

dubbed "true blue aussie sale," this exciting australia day celebration features a three-course lunch for P650, two free workshops, free wine and cheese tasting, and an outback barbecue dinner for P1,300.

for a detailed description of wine depot's australia day events, just click on the photo on the right.

before having fun at the aussie sale, please register at wine depot through joy at, or call +632 8894889.

establishment information
wine depot
makati-reposo: 217 nicanor garcia street, bel-air village
tel: 8973220
business hours: mondays to sundays, 10am to 10pm
email address:

i'm back from boracay!

hallo thar! :)

i'm back from boracay all heavy and fat from all the food i ate. i got sick on my wedding day (i lost my voice! it was such a challenge entertaining guests using charades techniques), and i couldn't drink alcohol on my pseudo-honeymoon.

regardless, boracay did not disappoint. while i felt sad when we docked and saw the many buildings occupying the island, i was still able to have some seaside fun. :) we did the old-fashioned island hopping trip with some snorkeling and seafood lunch, but most of the time, we were just by the beach, lounging, taking some sun, drinking (alcohol-them, fruit shakes-me), and eating (prawns, prawns, prawns).

will post photos soon (i forgot the card reader at home!). boracay still rocks!

Friday, January 15, 2010

wine depot presents vinos de arzuaga

wine aficionados, mark feb. 5 on your calendars! wine depot will be featuring vinos de arzuaga at a wine dinner at red, makati shangri-la at 7pm.

featured are wines from the bodegas arzuaga collection, to go with your five-course meal. the event is priced at P2,500 for toast club members, and P3,000 for non-members.

for tickets to this wine event, email, or drop by any wine depot store.

you can also join the toast club, or explore the wine depot website.

store information
wine depot
alabang: westgate corporate center, commerce cor. filinvest avenue
tel: +632 7719463
makati-yakal: 147 yakal street, san antonio village
tel: +632 8449133
makati-reposo: 217 nicanor garcia street, bel-air village
tel: 8973220
greenhills: 6 missouri street, north east greenhills, san juan
tel: +632 7274274; 7225952
business hours: mondays to sundays, 10am to 10pm
email address:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

the honeymoon

a week to go before i officially get hitched, and to set the theme for the coming week, i thought i'd write about the fun part of getting married: the honeymoon!

the honeymoon should be more fun if we followed deuteronomy 24:5, though (yep, i'm quoting a biblical passage), which says:
“When a man is newly wed, he need not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any public duty be imposed on him. He shall be exempt for one year for the sake of his family, to bring joy to the wife he has married."
but unfortunately, time and money rank high in our priorities, and a year on vacation is just not an option (because i believe going on a year-long vacation is a fantastic way to bring joy to any wife, or even husband). since we're planning to go to spain in october to visit susie's relatives, we thought we'd just opt for something simpler for the after-wedding vacation.

we've booked tickets to boracay--a place that's perfect for a whatever-goes getaway. we've paid for our rooms at true home hotel as well. the place looks cozy and quaint, and i'm pretty excited to write about it. i also vowed to be at the beach as much as i can this year, and this boracay honeymoon-ish trip is just the thing to get it all started.

before we decided on boracay, though, there were a few other destinations that we wanted to check out, since a honeymoon is the perfect time to splurge and explore a new place. here are some of the places on our list:

susie loves lighthouses, and i love the countryside. batanes is exotic and cool, and i've always wanted to see the place, especially after seeing these photos by my good friend owee salva:

basco lighthouse

breakwater jackstones :p

fantastic, right? :) and should i ever find myself in that part of the philippines, i would want to stay in fundacion pacita batanes. i think it just adds to the experience (even though the prices are pretty steep).

sumilon island, cebu
we saw this island along the southeastern cebu trail when we went to see the churches along the coast, and it's been on susie's list of places to go ever since. i haven't done much research on the place, but from what i've seen, the place is secluded and peaceful. i think sumilon blue water island resort is the only accommodation available on the island.

hangzhou, china
i came across hangzhou when i was looking for a good place to study mandarin in, and i swore to myself that i will one day visit this place. the west lake alone drew me in, and susie was just as enthusiastic when i told him about it. it's just a couple of hours away from shanghai by train, and to me, hangzhou has that feel of eternal autumn, which i find very scenic and serene, perfect for that honeymoon ambience people are always talking about. (photo by andrew goudie)

macau, china

true, we've all been to macau at one point in our lives, but susie and i have never seen macau since the boom of the big hotels, and we've never explored the place together yet. we thought of going all-out and booking a stay at the venetian, as a honeymoon splurge, but we thought twice after seeing that the love connection package was priced at HKD 3,388 for just a night's stay. maybe next time. :)

siem reap, cambodia
we've both been there, and we both want to go back. there are still some sights, especially temples, that we didn't get to see. i also wanted to visit the artisans area, and a stay in the villa is always a good enough reason to go back to siem reap again. plus, i heard the roads from poipet are now fixed, so the camry drive from the thai border shouldn't take so long now. worth checking out again, definitely.

belfast, northern ireland
a far jump from the rest of the places here, i know. the giant's causeway is on my list of things to see before i die, and 'sus is just as interested to go around the place. we both thought of doing a self-drive tour in the republic for our honeymoon, but there was just too much to see and do that we couldn't think of a way to cram everything in a week's time. since the causeway was in northern ireland, i thought just visiting that one first would be a good start. if this pushed through, i would have booked us in the old rectory guest house. nummy breakfast. :">

florence and bologna, italy
most people would automatically opt for venice or rome when honeymooning in italy, but sus and i have often steered clear of places that are packed with people. while florence is also a tourist-y place, it's not as populated as rome, and i want to check out the uffizi with 'sus telling me all about the masterpieces in it. bologna came as a suggestion to me, because there are ryanair flights to bologna from madrid, and after some research, i found out that bologna is the culinary capital of italy. great food always makes for unforgettable travel experiences!

there are definitely a lot of other destinations to cover, but these are some of the places we've discussed when we were talking about the honeymoon. we're not quite sure how a honeymoon is different from any old regular trip--we try to enjoy all our trips anyway, whether we're alone or with other people.

but like i said, a honeymoon is a good excuse to splurge and travel, and even to write a new blog, hence this post. :) i just wanted to get my ideas out, and get yours as well. where would/did you go for your honeymoon?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

renew your passports at the new DFA building

the department of foreign affairs (DFA) has just acquired a P530-billion building at aseana business park, located on macapagal corner bradco avenue in paranaque. the building is set to open to the public in the first quarter, and will be the new HQ for epassport applications, as well as the home of the electronic authentication system, electronic visa, and the consular records system.

according to this article from the inquirer, the place is (or will be) pretty high-tech--CCTV cameras, fiber-optic lines, and other modern telecommunications thingamajigs are installed in the 7,000-square-meter glass-and-steel structure. i'd like to see this one when they open, even though i have no reason to go to the DFA until my passport expires.

at the moment, epassport applications are still status quo: for those who want to renew their passports, just go to the DFA website, or call the helpline number at +632-5560000. i hope migrating the system won't be too much of a hassle.

thanks to pi santiago for the heads up on this article.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"deleted scenes" at the lopez museum

Deleted Scenes modestly explores omissions both in pictorial and literary accounts of national history as well as in purported narratives hinged on representation that a museum such as the Lopez hesitatingly but unavoidingly lays out.
quite an interesting premise--sort of like a behind-the-scenes look at history, a different take on making us think about what really happened.

check out the exhibit at the lopez museum before the exhibit closes on january 9. deleted scenes
features works by lyle buencamino, dada docot, sari dalena, and al manrique.

museum information
lopez museum
g/f benpres building
exchange road corner meralco avenue,
ortigas center, pasig city
phone number:
+632 6312417
email address:
blog: lopez museum and library

boracay package up for grabs!

start the year right by winning yourself a free boracay getaway!

check out and find out how you can win a boracay vacation for you and a friend.

Win a Free Boracay Vacation Package by WOW Philippines Travel Agency
WOW Philippines Travel Agency, Inc. is celebrating it's 5th year in business during July of 2010, and we would like you to have a chance to celebrate with us, so we have decided to give-away a FREE Boracay Package complete with 5 Star accommodations at the luxurious Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel on Boracay Island. The lucky winner will win the following Boracay vacation package.
Vacation Package Inclusions:
- 5 Days / 4 Nights Luxury 5 Star Accommodations at the Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel

- Flights to Boracay from Manila to Caticlan Airport on Philippine Airlines

- Island Transfers - Door-to-Door from Manila to the resort and back to Manila Domestic Airport

- Three (3) Meals each day, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

- Boracay Activities - Horseback Riding, Island Hopping, Glass Bottom Boat

- PLUS - 5,000 peso Spending Cash

Read More Information: