Friday, October 14, 2011

the singapore airlines experience

i have been in london now for a good six hours, but haven't gone out for a romp yet. so while i'm relaxing, i'll share my first-ever flight with singapore airlines.

everyone keeps saying that singapore air is one of the best, and while i never really doubted it, i didn't realize what the difference really was until i got the SQ treatment. it wasn't anything mind-blowing, but i sure felt that i was taken care of. very thoughtful service characterized by touches of hospitality.

boarding from NAIA terminal 1 was surprising orderly; no people rushing to the front of the line or trying to board even though their row numbers haven't been called yet. boarding procedure was the same in changi. i've been on other carriers before, and while boarding wasn't chaotic, there was still a sense of being rushed that i didn't feel this time with singapore airlines.

the overhead bins also didn't get filled. i remember worrying about not having space to stow my carry-on luggage, because i've seen happen before. with SQ, it looks like i didn't have to worry about that. i initially thought it was just because the MNL-SIN flight wasn't full, but our SIN-LHR leg was, and the bins still weren't jam-packed.

passengers are given warm towels while waiting for take-off, and before meals. so far, the meals i've had were great, but my friend kate hasn't been so lucky. i do like that they give a lot of meal options as well as an extensive drinks list (that i didn't take advantage of).

in-flight entertainment quality was good, though i was disappointed about the absence of "community," when the SQ website indicated there was going to be at least one episode. nonetheless, i spent a good part of the flight being entertained by the pritchetts of modern family and leslie knope & co. of parks & rec.

all seats were equipped with a socket where you can charge your electronics, and the entertainment system even allows you to connect your PC or a USB flash drive to the screen so you can view your photos or files.

pillows and blankets were provided to all passengers as well, and both made the flight very comfortable. passengers were also given a small comfort kit with socks, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. this may not come as a surprise for some, but i didn't get this when i flew economy with KLM and air france.

the airbus a380 for the SIN-LHR leg had a pretty spacious lavatory, and in there, they provided mouthwash, dental kits (in case you lost yours from the kit they provided), shaving kits, and even sanitary napkins. that's a lot for an airplane lavatory.

since we only paid for standard seats, we got the usual legroom and comfort. for the MNL-SIN flight, we got seats that had one inch more pitch than the most standard seats on the flight, but for the SIN-LHR leg, it was just ordinary.

the staff was always very efficient and accommodating, and even when there was a bawling child in the cabin with us, they didn't lose their cool, and even assisted the mother in setting up a baby cot. a lot of the passengers also requested seat changes, and they were all handled quietly and effciently. even last-minute meal requests were handled well. no fuss at all.

so will i fly singapore airlines again? oh, you bet! but only if i can get it for the same price that i did for this trip. kate and i were very lucky to have gotten our fares for just USD 1130, and if i'm ever this lucky again, i'd go for SQ in a heartbeat. another plus for SQ is that flight connections usually take place in changi, a very well-planned, efficient airport.

next time you have a long-haul flight tp book, try checking out SQ fares, you never know when they're having some sort of promo.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

europe, once more

i'm hitting the road again tomorrow, and i'm hoping it will give me the push i need to breathe new life into this blog.

i've been in a very dark kind of funk the whole year--i snap and get stressed so easily, and i've discovered a baul-ful of things that frustrate me. it drove me into a cave, and i have to admit, while i was unproductive, i did enjoy staying indoors whenever i could.

but travel has always helped me gain perspective and balance, and i hope that they come to me now, when i need them most.

of course, aside from such a serious, soul-searching purpose, i know i will have fun on this trip. and i'm crossing my fingers that i can share that part of the trip with you while i'm on the road.

so if you still haven't grown weary of my empty promises to fill this blog with stories of my supposed adventures, then please, check back and stay tuned. :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

see you tomorrow, singapore

tomorrow, i fly to SG to see one of my oldest friends get married. it doesn't hurt that the trip doubles as a vacation as well. susie and i didn't get to enjoy singapore the last time we were there, so we're hell-bent on doing that this time.

this is where we'll be staying:
Loading hotel video : :Berjaya Hotel - Singapore

Friday, April 1, 2011

baguio tomorrow

march has come and gone, but the sun still continues to hide. it's hard to be in a summery mood when the skies are as gray as they have been for the past few weeks. although this kind of weather is ideal for my daily walks to work, i'd like to wish for a few days of sunshiny goodness.

tomorrow, i'll wake up in chilly baguio. i'm excited to see the (former) summer capital of the country and see what there is to do. ukay-ukay and a strawberry scrubbin' at the north haven spa sounds enticing.

before i go on the long drive to the north, i leave you with this song by a group that i've been obsessing on lately:

enjoy your summer, everyone!

Monday, March 21, 2011

PNR adventure from makati to tutuban

last saturday, my friends and i were finally able to take the PNR train from pasay road in makati to tutuban.

i was able to find schedules online at the philippine railways blog. we were supposed to catch the 932am from the buendia station, but since we woke up late, we aimed for the 1030am train instead. we were running on the road behind waltermart and cityland at about 1028am, thinking we were going to miss the train. luckily, all our watches were set in advance, and we made it with a couple minutes to spare.

fare from pasay road to tutuban is a very affordable P10.00 each, and the ride took about 35 minutes--hard to beat if we had driven to binondo instead. the trains resembled the LRT2 trains, were air conditioned, and looked sturdy. there were a lot of people inside, but since the trains were pretty spacious, we all fit quite comfortably.

i was very, very happy to see that a lot of people were using the train, which means it will be in use for a long time. i hope they can add more schedules to it, because at the moment, trains arrive at hourly intervals.

i'm currently perusing the philippine railways blog, and i am pleasantly surprised to read that we will soon be having sleeper trains for long journeys. there is also one entry about a trial timeline to naga, which is exciting news, as this means we can get to the bicol region via the railway.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

las casas filipinas de acuzar

we are currently coasting along sctex, on our way back from las casas filipinas de acuzar.

it was lunchtime when we got there, so we availed of their 'la parilla' lunch offering, where we got to choose from a variety of fresh meat and seafood, and it will be served grilled. susie and i chose the prawns, and had an additional dish each for Php 150 more--he the pork belly, and i the squid.

on top of that, entrance to the complex is at Php 650 per head, which includes a two-hour tour of the estate.

i have absolutely nothing bad to say about their staff--they are all very warm and accommodating, and more importantly, knowledgeable.

as for the whole complex, the place definitely has a lot of potential. it isn't fully operational yet, there are still houses that are being fixed and restored. but there are four or five houses that can already be rented, and the hotel rooms are already open for guests. there are two restaurants, a tavern, souvenir shop, and a refreshment stand.

the houses from the outside are impressive, even moreso when you realize that they were all transported from their original locations to bagac, bataan. mr. acuzar, the owner, tries his best to use original materials when he rebuilds them.

the interiors, though, could use more authenticity. there are a few touches that i found quite tacky, which took away from that sense of being in another century. will expound more when i review my photos.

despite that, though, i can't wait to be back there again in a few months. i'm sure the place will look a whole lot better, especially when casa binondo III, their first class accommodations, is finished. :)

photo: the plaza at las casas filipinas de acuzar, casa luna on the left.

on our way to bataan

susie and i are driving through sctex at the moment to get to las casas filipinas de acuzar.

the view on the highway is just stunning. so many beautiful views that passed too quickly that there wasn't time enough for a snapshot. i saw men sitting on the branches of a sturdy mango tree, farmers busy harvesting, with mounds of the day's harvest dotting the square parcels of green.

hatd to believe that these landscapes are just a couple of hours away from busy, insane manila.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

sunday in shang mactan

as i write, my tummy is taking a nap after a buffet beating at tides. i'm hoping it'll wake up just in time for rounds 3 and 4. maybe 5? photo on the left is of my third plate.

we landed at 9 this morning, and got on the free shangri-la mactan shuttle from the airport straight to the hotel. we got our day passes at senses, and hit the beach.

day passes have gotten more expensive since the last time i went here. they're now PHP 2,500 net per person each (up from PHP 2,000), and includes access to the pools and beaches, and buffet lunch at tides. they provide towels for you as well.

sadly, there are a lot of people here right now, so we couldn't find a prime spot on the beach with enough shade. which is fine by me, i need a tan anyway.

after this, we'll be enjoying more time at the beach, then we.go to the city for some zubuchon. :)

*sigh* it's gonna be a bitch going to work tomorrow. :p

okay, what just happened?!

i blink, and suddenly, it's february. work has taken centerstage when the curtains went up in 2011, that i hardly noticed it was time for our cebu daytrip and my hk 'me-time' pre-birthday trip.

in a few hours, i'm off to hopefully sunny sugbo. the plan is to laze around shangri-la mactan, pig out there for lunch, laze around some more, then feast on some delectable zubuchon. all in one day. gotta love promo fares for making crazy trips like that possible.

i'm hoping this quick getaway will pick me up a bit. my nerves have been all wrung out the wrong way, and a beach trip might just straighten them all out.

i'll be reporting on the trip when i get back tomorrow night, or when i gets me some wifi.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

getting my pho fix at pho 24

pho 24 is a new vietnamese restaurant in swanky ayala triangle gardens. as someone who can eat pho every single day, i knew i had to try it.

i ordered a "well-done brisket noodle soup," or pho chin. my order arrived in less than five minutes, steaming hot. at this point, i was liking pho 24 A LOT.

their regular bowl is a tad smaller than pho hoa's (where i usually go for a pho run), which isn't actually a bad thing, because i almost always end up being ridiculously full after a meal at pho hoa. the bowl at pho 24 was just right, and the taste hit the spot as well. condiments, such as sriracha and soy paste, were placed on all tables. no more competing with other tables for seasoning.

the staff were quite friendly and attentive. didn't take long for my bill to arrive, and there was no need to call their attention after i've placed my moolah in the bill folder.

i just have a couple of beefs: while my bowl of pho was served steaming hot, it didn't take long for it to get cold, because the aircon was on full blast! and also, prices on their menu don't include VAT, so what was supposed to be a Php 138 bowl of brisket pho turned out to be Php 151.80. still a good price, but i really want to be able to know how much i'm really paying for something when i'm looking at the menu. besides, aren't they supposed to put the VAT-inclusive price?

still, though, you will definitely see me there again. i want to try their spring rolls and the vietnamese coffee. and more pho, of course. :)

view photos of pho 24 and ayala triangle here.

restaurant information
pho 24
ayala triangle gardens, makati,
and another branch at power plant mall
check out the menu here, thanks to munch punch!
phone number (power plant): (+632) 897-8088