Showing posts with label Travel and Experience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel and Experience. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Learn It To Earn It! Using Your Vacation As A Learning Experience For The Kids

It might not be the first thing on your list of priorities, but getting your child a holiday experience that proves to be educational is an extremely beneficial experience for your little ones. And it’s unlikely that they will take too kindly to you “forcing” any type of learning on them, especially if they’re a little older! But, if you take them to a place where they don’t even realise that they are learning, then you’ve won the battle. The standard school system doesn’t really make learning fun, so what better way to get your kids to learn than by enjoying themselves! Here are some ideas and travel tips for giving your kids a worthwhile learning experience.

Go Native!

Learning about our native amerian ancestors is a vacation package like no other! While making s’mores, you can listen to a native tribe member tell stories about the constellations, and you can learn how to make a pot using the old method of pinch and coil, or make your own bracelet out of copper. There are resorts, like the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa that do guided nature tours of the Rio Grande. Orignally tailored to kids, these are so popular, that it is now open to adults too. Other activities can include watching tribal dancers perform, learning how to bake bread in a traditional hurana oven and there are even more physical activities like horseback riding. For a package that’s educational and fun, these ones are hard to beat!

Never The Twain Shall Meet!

Mark Twain is one of America’s most celebrated authors, so if your child in school is studying The Adventures Of Huckleberrry Finn, you can go to The Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Conneticut. Here is where Twain spent a portion of his adult life, writing some of his most notable works, like The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, and his house was one home to an early incarnation of the telephone. One of the best getaways in a lovely setting, Hartford has many educational attractions, such as the Hartford Public Library, which has over 500,000 holdings.

You Can-Yacht Be Serious! 

Going yachting is a serious activity for kids, and places like the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda (which is part of the British Virgin Islands) teaches children how to be a sturdy sailor! There are basics courses that combine classroom sessions with hands-on experience on the side of the dock. There are other workshops such as beginners practice maneuvers, as well as learning how to anchor, understanding the waters and working with the winches. These are aimed at kids aged 7 and older, and once the skills have been learned by your trusty landlubber turned ship cap’n, you can all sail to one of the nearby cays, or go snorkeling. There are family vacation packages available which include lodging, outings, and meals.

If you really want to get your kids some educational time on vacation, these destinations will make them think that they didn’t learn a thing, but merely had a good time. In which case, mission accomplished!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Oh Canada! The Vacation Nation

Europeans are spoiled for choice when it comes to travelling. Apart from the UK and a few islands, the other countries are all joined together and allow for an amazing train or road-trip experience should wanderlust set in. There are a variety of different cultures, languages and places to explore with little regard needed to what they need to organize beforehand in terms of travel visas … mainly because not many places require one. 

In the USA, aka the ‘No Vacation Nation’, travel and holidays are often limited to other states. If you live in a cold state, you fly to a warmer one. If you live in a landlocked state, you go to one with a beach. If you live in a countrified state, you go to a city state - you get the drift. The culture of what literally lies above us (well, on a map at least) is one that isn’t too often thought about; Canada seems a bit too far away and a bit too cold and a bit too every-other-excuse-you-can-think-of. 

Quit the excuses. It’s time to fly (or drive!)


In Europe you can get the French experience. It’s the same in Africa too, in some countries. But forget those - it’s also the case in parts of Canada like Montreal and Quebec, where French is the majority official language (56% for Montreal and a whopping 95% for Quebec). It was initially called New France. Most children in French-speaking regions of Canada are brought up to be bilingual. So get your taste of Europe by visiting Canada - it’s a small victory, but one to be embraced. Unlike the Europeans with France, you will need to get a travel visa - try to get yourself covered

There’s A Moose Loose…

The wildlife in Canada is so varied that it’s mind-boggling how so many different animals exist there. If you venture up towards the Canadian islands of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, for example, you are more likely to see small creatures like the star-nosed mole or the northern flying squirrel, amazing mammals such as the beaver, coyote and the typical Canadian moose, and if you’re heading towards the ocean then seals and even humpback whales can be spotted - all brilliant animals to witness in the wild. 

All of the Lights

If you head to Canada, you are in with high chances of seeing the most amazing natural phenomenon on offer - the Aurora Borealis, the best light show around There are so many places across the country on offer to you as a viewing platform, spanning across all ten provinces; so wherever you are, there will always be the chance that you can bear witness to this brilliant display of light in the sky. It’s something that all of the family will enjoy; children will love seeing the bright flickers across the night sky and for adults, it’s a childhood fantasy come true. Plus, it’s free - and there is nothing better than a trip out for all the family that won’t cost you half a month’s salary to fund it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Exciting Beach Escapade at Aquaria Waterpark, Calatagan Batangas

So it's the new year, and after all those holiday festivities one of the many things most people look forward to is, Summer! As early as now, I'm sure most people are already getting ready for it, while others may already have everything planned out. And, what better way to celebrate summer than by soaking up the sun, with tan lines and sand in between our toes, cool dip at the sea and just lounge along the beach! Philippines is blessed with beautiful beaches and living in a tropical country, we can actually enjoy it all year round, not just during summer. That's just exactly what we did last December 10, 2016 as Jaear and I joined our fellow bloggers, tour Aquaria Water Park in Calatagan Batangas. 

It was around 5 in the morning of December 10, 2016 when Jaear and I left our place and head on to Makati where we met our fellow bloggers. Then we all left Makati around 7 in the morning and after about 3 hours drive via a private vehicle, we've arrived at our destination. And as a prelude to an exciting tropical escapade, a huge "Aquaria" signage greeted us upon our arrival.

Aquaria Water Park

Located within the Playa Calatagan Residences in Calatagan, Batangas, Aquaria Water Park is managed by Fuego Hotels and Properties and was developed by Landco Pacific Corporation. It boasts of 525-meter of fine beach and a water park especially designed for families, friends, beach-lovin’ travelers and for just about anyone who wants to have both adventure and relaxation. 

Note that Aquaria Water Park offers day tour only as of the moment, which means there's no overnight stay. But according to the management a condotel will rise soon on 2018. Nonetheless, Aquaria Water Park offers a pleasant and exciting experience especially if you are looking for a tropical destination to satisfy your vitamin sea cravings, which of course, isn't that far away from the Metro.

Tip: You can bring your own tent and go camping, with a minimal fee of Php 100 only. 
Note: Swimming in the pool or beach areas are prohibited after 6:00 pm during overnight camping.

Here's a short video of our Aquaria Water Park Experience:

Now let me visually tour you, as I share with you our experience, and give you a glimpse of what to expect and things to do when in Aquaria Water Park. Read on.

Welcome Center

Aquaria has a spacious and open-air Welcome Center, here, we were warmly welcomed by the staffs with a refreshing complementary drink. Since it was December when we visited, the centerpiece at the Welcome Center was an improvised Christmas Tree. There's also a small boutique available here where you can buy swimming gears, bath towel etc. After freshening up, we had a quick tour around the place to familiarize ourselves with it.

Kiddie Pool

Right after the Welcome Center, the Kiddie Pool is the first pool you'll see. It's a 3-feet swimming area which is designed for the kids to play around and have fun in the water safely. It also features, splash pads, water guns and animal rockers for kids to enjoy.

Note: Lifeguard could be sighted around the area but it's always best to watch over your kids to ensure their safety.

Resort Pool

View from all the way up  the 3-storey giant slide.
Aquaria Water Park has several pool areas where one can park themselves and swim to his heart’s content. They have Cove Pools, Sunken Pool Bar and the Landing Pool of the three-story giant slide. More pool options to choose from and most importantly it can accommodate more guests at once. It was December when we visited and there were groups of people who were celebrating their Company Christmas outing there but the pool didn't seem to be crowded at all.

Along the poolside are yellow lounge chairs under a yellow umbrella. As you can see at the photo above, there are also poolside Cabanas.

3-Storey Giant Slide

Aquaria's main attraction is the 3-Storey Giant Slide with a 6-feet deep landing pool. Don't know how to swim? Not a problem, because to be able to slide, inflatable floaters are required. Don't dare miss this, because I assure you that it's so much fun!

This is the inflatable floater used for the slide which can accommodate up to 2 people. The catch is you have to carry this floater all the way up to the top.

The kid in us can't contain our happiness, we got to slide several times. We definitely loved it!

Tip: Proper swimming attire such as bathing suits for women, rash guards, board shorts or trunks for men, is strictly observed. 


For a dose of comfort and convenience and a quick break from the water, Aquaria offers open-air Beach and Pool Cabanas.
  • Cove Pool Cabanas (may accommodate 8-10 pax)
      • Rental fee: P1,700
  • Resort Pool Cabanas (may accommodate 12-15 pax)
    • Rental fee: P2,000
  • Beach Front Cabanas (may accommodate 6-8 pax)
    • Rental fee: P1,200
Note: Rental fee is inclusive of tables and chairs already and is a first come first serve basis so make sure to arrive at the resort early. 

The Beach 

If you are looking for a white sand beach, this is not it, but Aquaria boasts of 525-meter of fine beach which allows you to enjoy all the beach activities just the same.

A walk along the beach with your loved ones, building sand castles, photo shoots or just lounging around, you name it. You can do it all here. As for me, I took this opportunity to have my own kind of photo shoot, thanks to my ever reliable personal photographer slash husband. Lol! 

Visit at the Sandbar

30 minutes boat ride away from Aquaria is a Sandbar which is another attraction recently discovered. Luckily it was low tide when we went there so we were able to enjoy the view and sea creatures such as the starfish. Most probably all you can do here is just sight seeing or if you want a moment of peace as the place is very serene.

More photos at the Sandbar

What's a beach trip without a jump shot? lol (Photo credits to Sir Ted Claudio)

Sorry I just have to post this because I look tall in this photo. Haha!
Note. Boat rental to the sandbar costs  Php3000 and each boat can accommodate up to 15 people. 

Water Activities

Aside from beach bumming, experience outdoor fun by trying out Aquaria's various water activities with your friends and loved ones. You can enjoy beach sports such as beach volleyball and beach soccer. 

Jaear and I together with our fellow bloggers Lloyd and Me-an of Yogo and Cream tried the banana boat. It was our first time and it sure was a thrilling experience. Can't wait to get to try this again. Haha.

We were able to take selfie before the ride went fast and crazy.
The Banan Boat Ride costs Php 1,500 for 15 minutes and can accommodate a maximum of 5 people. 

Here are the other water activities you can try:

  • Jet ski: Php 3,500 for 1 hour and Php 2,000 for 30 minutes
  • Pedal Boat: Php 1,000 for 1 hour
  • Kayak: Php 400 for 1 hour
We only got to try the Banana Boat, though we already tried Kayaking before. On our next visit I would love to try the other activities as well.

Dining at The Sands

Aquaria's in house restaurant is called The Sands, where they offer local specialties and seafood dishes, and not to mention it's overlooking the beach. Cool aye!

AM Snack

During our visit, the management made sure that our tummies were full. Upon our arrival, right after the familiarization tour, we were served with our AM Snack which consists of; lasagna, buttered bread sticks and a refreshing glass of iced tea.


When we got back from the Sandbar, our lunch buffet was already waiting for us. We were served with an array of sumptuous food, from appetizer, main dish and desserts. There were 4 choices of viands and rice. There's also a DIY Salad and fruits section. Bread and different type of cheeses and a pasta section. But what I enjoyed the most was the shrimp skewer, I swear it was so yummy!
Shrimp and Chicken Skewers and Pork Chop

Our plate for lunch paired with refreshing blue lemonade
PM Snack

Before heading back to Manila, they served us our PM snack which was Carbonara, chicken lollipops and black gulaman for our drinks. Burp!

The Sands also offer Family Style- The Bilao Feast and The Bilao Overload, for groups of people

Bilao Feast- Php 1,100 and good for 5 people.
  • Rellenong Pusit
    • Choice of 
      • Liempo
      • Lechon Kawali
      • Chicken Pork Adobo
      • Daing na Bangus
      • Fried Tilapia
Bilao Overload- Php 2,500 and good for up to 10 people.
  • Liempo and Lechon Kawali
  • Tilapia and Daing na Bangus
  • Rellenong Pusit and Hilabos na Hipon
  • Fried Chicken
Each Family Style meal is served with rice, salted egg, egg plant, tomato, onion, bagoong alamang (shrimp paste) and a pitcher of iced tea.

Though I didn't get to taste all the foods served to us during lunch, I really got nothing bad to say with the food they served. Some were a hit to us while some are just okay. 

Corkage Fee

Dining at The Sands is not a requirement, but sure is an experience that will save you from the hassle of preparing and bringing your food. But if you opt to bring your own food there is a corkage fee of Php 100 per head only.

Bath House

Adjacent to the Kiddie Pool is the Bath House which is so nice and well maintained. The shower room is separate from the comfort room, there's also a vanity area equipped with sink and mirror. Staffs are also on standby ready to assist you and mops off drips of water on the floor. I wasn't able to take photos inside since there were other people with us, but I swear it's so clean and huge!

Locker Room

If you brought a long valuable things that you don't want to leave at the cabana, you can opt to rent one of the lockers at the locker room for only Php 150 for the whole day. Each lockers has a built in lock already. Note that you have to present at least 1 valid ID to avail this. 

Massage by the Beach

After an action packed day, what better way to end the day than by getting a nice body massage by the beach. This is by request and it costs Php 500 for  full body massage.


Sunset at the beach is always a beautiful sight. As the sun sets, it's time for us to say goodbye to this tropical haven. 

Jump shot before heading to Manila
It's time to plan your day tour!

Resort Schedule:
Aquaria Water Park is open daily, (except Tuesdays during lean season) from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. 

Entrance Fee 

PEAK SEASON (January - June):
  • Weekdays (with free use of swimming facilities)
    • P600/ADULT
    • P300/CHILD
  • Weekends, Holidays & Long Weekends (with free use of swimming facilities)
    • P800/ADULT
    • P400/CHILD
LEAN SEASON (July - December):
  • Weekdays (with free use of swimming facilities)
    • P400/ADULT
    • P200/CHILD
  • Weekends, Holidays & Long Weekends (with free use of swimming facilities)
    • P600/ADULT
    • P300/CHILD
Child Policy:
- Child rate will apply to 4ft and below
- For 1 year old and below, free of charge. 

How to get to Aquaria Water Park
  • Via Private vehicle:
    • Coming from Metro Manila, travel through the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and take either the Southwoods Exit or the Sta. Rosa Exit. 
    • Head straight going Tagaytay Rotunda and drive along the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway.
    • At Palico intersection, turn left to Balayan-Calatagan passing by Lago De Oro and the Calatagan Municipal Hall
    •  A little after the Municipal Hall, turn left to M. Apacible.
  • Via Public Transportation:
    • From MRT Taft Station. Board the BSC Bus with the sign board Tagaytay- Lian. Ask to be dropped off in front of 7-Eleven in Lian. Bus fare is Php 152.
    • Ride an ordinary bus going to Calatagan Public Market. Travel time is 30-45 minutes. Bus fare is Php 30.
    • Lastly, ride a tricycle going to the resort. Travel time is 15-20 minutes. Tricycle fare is between Php 150-200.

Aquaria Water Park lived up to our expectations. Our one day visit was surely worthwhile, it was an exciting and relaxing experience for us. Indeed we need not to go far to experience a tropical haven because Aquaria is just 3 hours drive away from the Metro. It's an ideal destination for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city living.

I actually find the price of the water activities a bit pricey, but if you have the extra money and would like to experience it for the first time, I suggest you go for it. Nothing beats experience, besides you can always earn your money back. But then again, if budget doesn't permit, there are a lot of things to do and enjoy there like the pools and the 3-storey giant slide. It's also the time to reconnect with nature and just enjoy the serene and picturesque ambiance.

I look forward to visiting this place again soon, hopefully with our family and friends especially our kids, I'm sure they'll love it there. I also can't wait for the rise of the condotel, it will surely be another reason to love Aquaria Water Park as it can then cater to those who wants to stay longer.

Make sure to include Aquaria Water Park to your must visit resort!

For inquiries and reservations:
(632) 553-8888
(632) 750-1894

Makati Office:
15F 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City, Philippines
Resort Address:
Barangay Sta. Ana, Calatagan, Batangas
Office Hours:
8:00am to 6pm , Mondays to Fridays (Except Holidays)

For more details and updates:

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Travel Tips | Explore the Beauty of La Union

Situated on the North West Island of Luzon, with neighbouring provinces of Ilocos Sur, Benguet and Pangasinan and the West Philippine Sea, lies a progressive and developing province of La Union. La Union or “The Union” in Spanish holds a special spot in my heart as it is my hometown and growing up to this province I held witness to its captivating and promising beauty.

Carrying the slogan, “La Union: Where the mountains meet the sea” La Union is predominantly hilly and is surrounded by alluring beaches. Indeed you'll enjoy the best of both worlds. La Union, coined as ElYu (L.U for La Union) is also popularly known as the "Surfing Capital of the North". But more than just surfing and it's alluring beaches, La Union also has beautiful beachfront hotels, guesthouses, and inns, and a whole lot more to offer in its 19 municipalities and 1 city. And now I am very happy to know that its hidden wonders are starting to be discovered thus giving La Union the long overdue attention it deserves. 

Easily accessible, just 5-7 hours drive away from Metro Manila, La Union can be traveled back and forth in just a day for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the Metro. But if you wish to explore more of La Union or just simply relax and unwind, spend at least 2 days or more. Given its booming tourism, a huge array of accommodations are available, ranging from a hostel to luxurious hotels, depending on your budget. It's necessary to book your accommodation ahead of time to save yourself from any hassle, the good thing is, you can do that online.

Planning a vacation to La Union anytime soon? Here are more tips that will surely come in handy for that.


Coming from Manila
Travel time: 5-7 hours
Fare: 400 plus

You can board the bus going to Vigan, Laoag or Abra, as these buses will pass through La Union. There’s also a bus going to San Fernando only. Most of La Union's major municipalities are just along the highway like Rosario, Sto. Tomas, Agoo, Aringay, Caba, Bauang, San Fernando City- it's capital, San Juan, Bacnotan, Balaoan, Bangar, Sudipen, while other municipalities are accessible through minor roads of other towns like Bagulin, Tubao, Pugo, Burgos, Naguilian, San Gabriel and Luna. You can ask the conductor to drop you off to your destination.

Bus Terminals:
  • Partas Transportation – Cubao
    • 816 Aurora Boulevard, Cubao, Quezon City
  • Partas Transportation – Pasay
    • Tramo corner Edang St., San Roque, Pasay City
  • Partas Transportation- Sampaloc
    • 1716 Vicente Cruz St Cor Laon Laan St, Bgy 488, Zone 048 Sampaloc Manila
  • Dominion Bus Lines
    • EDSA corner New York St., Quezon City
  • Viron Transportation Co., Inc.
    • 1209 Dapitan corner Blumentritt Streets, Sampaloc, Manila

Tricycles are commonly used to access must-see places within towns. Jeepneys and mini-buses between towns with minimal fare are also common. Car or van rentals are also available.


Surf in San Juan 

Large good quality waves bringing on a good swell, primarily in Urbiztondo, SanJuan isn't called "Surfing Capital of the North" for no reason. It's actually a shame that within 2 decades of living in La Union it was just last Summer of 2015 did I get to experience surfing for the first time. And I can't wait to come back for more!

Surfing lesson with husband last summer 2015
Don't know how to surf? Fret not, surfing lessons are readily available along San Juan beach and it costs around Php400 for an hour, inclusive of board rental and instructor fee. Since its launch in 2006, La Union Surfing Break is now being held every month of October. Surfing break is a festivity that is flocked by tourists for surfing, music, food and entertainment.

Beach Bumming

Sunset at San Francisco beach San Fernando La Union
If you are not into surfing then beach bumming, watching and photographing the sunset in La Union's alluring beaches is definitely a must do.

Trek and Cliff diving at Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel
I honestly haven't been here yet, where was I, 2 decades ago? LOL. But this overlooked but breathtaking attraction is perfect for adrenaline junkies. Get close to nature and enjoy its beauty as you go for an hour of trekking, then soak up in the refreshing water of Baroro river and go cliff diving if you dare!

Get adrenaline rush at Pugad in Pugo
Another one for the adrenaline junkies is the Pugad or Pugo Adventure. Get thrilled with their three ziplines, the longest and highest in Northern Philippines. Enjoy its breathtaking panoramic view of Pugo’s picturesque surroundings. ATV track and atower for rappelling and wall climbing is also available.

Take a dip at Tapuakan River in Pugo
A motorcycle road trip back in 2007 led us to Tapuakan river. Because of its pristine waters flowing from the mountain top towards the river mainstream, Tapuakan River has been awarded the Cleanest Inland River of the North. Along the river mainstream are giant boulders, engulfed into other rock formations. Entrance fee back then was Php10 there are cottages and changing areas available as well. Too bad we weren't able to back up our photos.

Get to know Ilocos heritage at Museo de Iloko in Agoo
Museo de Iloko is the old “presedencia” of Agoo. It houses artifacts and other pieces of cultural importance to the Ilocanos.

Get to know more about La Union at Museo de La Union in San Fernando
The museum showcases archeological finds in La Union which date back to Prehispanic Philippines.

Visit the Baluarte and Noble Stone House or Bahay na Bato in Luna
Luna is known for its beaches, particularly in Nalvo Sur and Darigayos- where our ancestral house is. Luna is also known for its pebbly beach, and along the stretch of pebbles rests the ruins of an old Spanish watch tower, locally named as Balauarte which stands still after more than three centuries. 

Nearby is the Noble Stone House or Bahay na Bato, it's actually a rest-house- turned-tourist-site owned by a Baguio couple. The stone house features several stone sculptures by Korean artist Vong Kim.

Admire Occalong Falls in Luna 
Another hidden beauty, occalong falls isn't that high compared to other falls but surely is worthy of a visit just to disconnect from the city and get close to nature.

Visit the Ma-cho Temple in San Fernando
The majestic Ma-cho Temple is a Taoist temple built by San Fernando City's substantial Chinese community in 1975 and is open to all worshipers and non-worshipers alike. This 11-tiered, multi-hued attraction stands on a more than one hectare of lot 70 feet above sea level and overlooking the sea. Housed in the Ma-cho Temple is Ma-cho's (Goddess of the Sea) 8 inch wooden image who is said to be the same with Our Lady of Caysasay who's wooden image was also found in Taal.

Be at peace with Nature at the hilly Botanical Garden in San Fernando
La Union Botanical Garden is home to a collection of Beautiful plants from the tropical Regions of the world. It showcases different garden themes like the serene Japanese setting, Friendship garden and more. Exotic birds like talking mynas and eagles, monkeys, iguana and other friendly animals are also put on display. 

Chase 4 waterfalls at Arosip Ecotrail in Bacnotan
Located 440 meters above sea-level of barangay Arosip in Bacnotan, Arosip Ecotrail welcomes guests with cool shades of towering trees planted along the road which is equipped with a number of tire-paths, offering a dramatic panoramic view of lowland Bacnotan. Countless springs, looking like miniature waterfalls can be seen as you go on a 45-minute descending trek where 4 waterfalls await; Zim-sim- ug Twin Falls to the east which has an estimated height of 20 feet and a basin deep of eight to nine feet, going down southwest, after a 10-minute walk, lies Pad-tok Falls which has an estimated height of 22 feet and has a shallow basin because of the usually weak flow of water, The combined water of the falls all meet in one main waterfall called Tekdag-aso which is located west of the bedrock. Going down, lays the wide and enchanting secondary basin which is most perfect for swimming. 

Witness Sillag Festival in San Fernando City
If you happen to visit La Union in summer preferably April, don’t miss out Sillag Festival of Lights which is a showcase of dramatic lighting of San Fernando skies. Sillag Festival is named after the Ilocano word “sellag” meaning “moonbeam” and started in year 2012.

La Union is also home to some historic churches:

Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity in Agoo
Better known as Agoo Basilica, it's dedicated to Our Lady of Charity. It is the seat of the Santa Monica Parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Fernando de La Union under the Vicariate of St. Francis Xavier (Vicar Forane Father Raul S. Panay).

Sts. Peter and Paul Church Bauang
It's one of the oldest church in the country which was founded in 1580 and was canonically finished on 25 April 1587 by the Augustinian missionaries.

Pinadangan Ruins in San Fernando
Pindangan in the Ilocano dialect means a place where meat is sun dried with salt for preservation. Here you can see the buttresses and walls of the ruins of one of the oldest church which was built in the year 1764. Behind the ruins is the monastery of the Carmelite Sisters the caretakers of the glorious landmark.

Cathedral of St. William the Hermit in San Fernando 
Also known as the San Fernando Cathedral. It's patron saint is William the Hermit (or William the Great) (died 10 February 1157), the founder of the Catholic congregation of Williamites, a branch of the Hermits of St. Augustine. The town feast is celebrated every February 10.

Namacpacan Church in Luna
Also known as the Santa Catalina de Alejandria Church. Formerly called as Luna Church, The church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.

All these tourist attractions are easily accessible whether you will be staying in San Fernando City or San Juan.


Some of La Union's specialty dishes are dinengdeng - a bagoong based vegetable stew, dinakdakan- an Ilokano food containing pork snout, pork ears and pig brain and is similar to sisig, pinapaitan- a soup dish mostly composed of cow or goat innards and a lot more. These are always available in small karinderya in every town of La Union. However, these days, a lot of resorts and restaurants have emerged offering more food choices for everyone. 

Here are some of the must-try restaurants in La Union (particularly in San Fernando and San Juan):

Night Market in San Fernando
Every night some roads along San Fernando dry market are closed for this night market. Here you can see food stalls offering comfort foods and street foods.

Halo-Halo de Iloko

Enjoy rustic, homey ambiance while devouring on their local Ilokano dishes offering with okoy and halo-halo as their specialty. 
Address: Zandueta St, San Fernando, La Union

Cafe Esperanza
Classic Filipino delicacies.
Address: Gen. Luna St, San Fernando, La Union

Midtown Food Palace
Looks like an upscale Karinderya serving decent local Filipino favorites.
Address: Quezon ave, San Fernando, 2500 La Union

Sunset Bay Resort
Good food by the beach.
Address: Canaoay Community School, Airport Rd, San Fernando, La Union

Patio del Sol Seafood Restaurant
Latin-American Seafood beachfront restaurant
Address: 39 San Vicente Road | Brgy Pagudpud, San Fernando La Union

Thunderbird Resort
A piece of Santorini in San Fernando, Thunderbird offers pleasure and luxury. A resort and casino in one with choices of delectable dishes. 

  • Olives Restaurant- serves authentic Mediterranean cuisine
  • Ouzo Restaurant - offers Mediterranean and Asian dishes
  • Pianosa Deli Café- offers midday or after-meal treat
Address: VOA Compound, Pennsylvania Avenue San Fernando City, La Union

Gefseis Greek Grill
Get a taste of authentic Greek cuisine
Address: Urbiztondo Beach Urbiztondo, San Juan, 2514 La Union

Affordable restaurant offering classic, comfort Filipino dish.
Address: Manila North Rd., Urbiztondo Beach, San Juan, La Union

El Union Coffee
Coffee shop and roaster, serving great coffee in surf town since 2013.
Address: Kilometer 274+600 MacArthur National Highway, Barangay Urbiztondo San Juan, La Union

Mad Monkeys
Serves burgers with a little taste of madness
Address: Urbiztondo Beach San Juan, La Union

Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel
Offers a wide range of international and local cuisine. Open for non-guests.
Address: MacArthur Hwy, San Juan, La Union

Surf Shack
Laid back bar and restaurant 
Address: 239 National Highway, Urbiztondo, 2514 San Juan, La Union 

I'll be honest, some of the places or spots I mentioned above are fairly new to me since I moved to Manila in 2010. And for the past 2 decades of my stay in La Union my life mostly revolved around San Fernando City. Upon writing this, I realized that I missed out on a lot of things back then. So now La Union is definitely on my bucket list. Aside from visiting my parents there, I promised myself that I'll see more of La Union. So this post will be updated as soon as I check off all the things listed here. 

Hope you find this post helpful and if you have any tips you want to add up on the list,please feel free to share.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Super Afternoon with Superdudes at Century City Mall

Superdudes children’s book creator Stevie Nicholson held a meet and greet and a book signing event with the media and mommy bloggers last April 6 3PM at the Century City Mall Event Center. 

Superdudes is a funny and quirky children’s book created by Stevie Nicholson, a member of the well-loved Australian children’s musical group Hi-5. My 3 kids are huge fans of Hi-5 that's why I was so thrilled to be one of the Mommy Bloggers who got  invited to the event. I get to bring Brianna with me and it surely made Tristan and Athena jealous seeing our photos together with Stevie and the other Superdudes, but they do understand that they can't come because they have a summer workshop that day. Though of course they are asking me if I can take them to the next Superdudes event. haha!

The Superdudes book, with illustrations by Nick Rudich, focuses on capturing the imagination of children in a playful and engaging way and is based on the philosophy that absolutely anyone and anything can be Super!

The event started with a short but entertaining performance from the Superdudes then everyone were given the chance to ask them questions. Tristan also got some questions for the Superdudes but since he wasn't able to come, he just threw all his questions at me hahaha!

After the question and answer portion, the most awaited part of the event followed, the book signing and photo session. Yey! 

My Princess Brianna together with the Superdudes!

The kid in me has got to have a picture with at least 2 of the SuperDudes , Pencil Pirate and Bubble Trouble! too bad I didn't get to have a photo taken with Stevie, maybe next time haha! 

With 3 kids, watching kids TV show is a normal thing in the house so I myself knows almost all the cartoon there is. And with hi-5 as one of their favorites I know all their songs already making me a fan too, so it was really great seeing Stevie in person together with his new group, the Superdudes! I also admire Stevie's move in creating his own book as it encourages kids to read!

After the event with the media and the mommy bloggers 2 more shows followed with a different set of audience.

If you missed it, then fret no more because on April 16 at 1:30PM, 3:30PM and 5:30PM, you can still enjoy the ultimate Superdudes experience with a Show and VIP Workshop featuring Stevie Nicholson and the Superdudes in a fun-filled stage show! A ticket of Php1,500 admits 1 child and 1 adult, and comes with a free Php1,500 worth of Century City Mall Gift Certificates! 
It’s truly a super summer for kids and kids at heart as Century City Mall hosts Superdudes, live. So come along on an adventure and meet Stevie together with Pencil Pirate, Flutterby and Bubble Trouble!

Tickets are available at The Concierge booth at the ground level of Century City Mall will also offer tickets starting April 4. For further inquiries call the Century City Mall Concierge at 705-6200 loc. 111/112.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Spa 101 : Things to know when going to a Spa (Wensha Edition)

The thought of being butt naked in front of people made us think twice but what made us decide to go? Continue reading and you'll find out.

It was actually our third wedding anniversary. We decided to go to Wensha and we're absolutely clueless as to what to do, things to bring and what to expect! The two of us said that we'll blog about our experience.

Here's the two of us on our way to Wensha Spa Pasay Branch. We came from south so we took a bus that went drove to coastal road straight near the World Trade Center. It's a walking distance from where we got off to the Spa. (Yes Extra stress before relaxing) Don't hesitate to bring a car cause they have a lot of parking space. Note: Google is your friend.

Wensha Spa Pasay Branch

Dining Area with TV

 Waiting Area (though we didn't really wait at all)

Dining Area Inside for a more private spot. The entrace all the way back there is for the massage area.

Magnetic bracelet for our lockers (quite cool to be honest)

Things to bring: Practically almost nothing except for yourselves and cash! They'll be providing you the things you need like slippers, towels and something to change to while staying.

Rates and Services included (We availed the Whole Body Massage) which already includes an 8 hours maximum stay together with the use of amenities like showers, spa swimming pool with TV, dry and wet sauna, dining area with buffet included.

Here's a somewhat itinerary for you to maximize your stay.

Things to do: 
We arrived at around 12:00pm
First thing we did is chose a package at the front desk. You don't really have to make a reservation but it's always a good thing to call just in case. They'll provide you with your magnetic bracelets for your locker. Just leave your shoes to the attendant and change into a slipper.

It was lunch time so we immediately went to their buffet. We didn't expect much since it was just a freebie included with the service we availed. It was 50/50 for the food and by that I mean some are quite good and some are just so so. We waited a bit after eating before finally trying the different amenities.

It was a lucky visit for us at that time cause there wasn't that much people during that hour when we entered. The girls spa, sauna, and showers are all separate from the boys by the way. Me and my wife decided to meet each other around 03:00pm. I left all my things at my locker together with gadgets (taking pictures is definitely not allowed, wouldn't want to see your naked pictures on the web right? ^_~) and got towels from the attendant and showered first, then went to the hot and cold pool. Yes I had to go there naked but good thing is there were about 5 people in the place at that time. Was it relaxing? Yes there's also a cable TV to watch while relaxing. There were two types of Saunas. Dry and Wet Sauna as they call it. The first one i tried was the one that filled the room with smoke. I was alone and didn't really last 5 minutes. I then tried the other sauna one which i preferred better. I think i stayed for 20 minutes while sipping a glass of water. (They provide water which you need so you don't get dehydrated) There were some nice people I met there which taught me some of the things they normally do in the Spa. I took a dip in the hot pool for a few minutes before taking a shower so I can meet my wife.

We ate again! Haha! We ate some snacks, mainly fruits, siomai and some soft ice cream while watching TV

The two of us thought of going back to either the pool or sauna before availing our massage. It was yet again another lucky hour cause most of the people are actually at the dining area.

We availed our whole body massages. The girls and boys room again are separated. Girls automatically get a woman to massage them while guys have an option to choose who to massage them. I didn't really like massages to be honest but this was a really nice experience. The masseur ask me if i want a mineral oil or ginger oil and i asked what's the difference. I swear, he said the other one was special and the other one was just regular. Hahaha of course i choose the special! He was polite and kept asking me whether it's alright to massage me in certain body parts like the neck, the legs or face. I didn't want to miss out anything to i just kept saying yes. It felt really good in a relaxing and hilarious way. He was making this funny sounds while massaging me. Luckily my head was covered so my grinning face was hidden. One hour felt like a breeze! He handed me this piece of paper asking me if I want to give a tip. I said sure (which i normally don't do but the service was really good) He said I can just pay it later at the front desk.

I met with my wife to have dinner! Yes it's our third time and we're just trying to get our money's worth. They serve different dishes for dinner. We also got the chance to try the Shabu Shabu. It was the highlight of our dinner and I didn't expect I would enjoy it that much.

We decided to pack our things, change back into our clothes, gave back our magnetic bracelet and paid the tip. We each gave 50 pesos each for the masseur and masseuse. 

What to expect?
I wouldn't want you to expect but pretty much experience and simply relax with you stay at the spa.
I personally believe that you won't look for something that you haven't experience and I can say that going to the Wensha Spa is definitely something I would look for from time to time because of this great experience. They definitely made our wedding anniversary special.

~Daddy Poreber