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So, we were given a chance to go to Boracay before its closure on the 26th and we had to savor every moment.  It was a limited 3/d-2/n vacay and we had to manage our time.  Because our bodies were refueled last night, we were ready to explore White Beach on our 2nd day.  I soaked myself in the hot tub before preparing our things needed for the entire day.

There’s a waiting area in Villa Sycamore (the villa beside Villa Riviera).  After few minutes, a security officer approached us and he called a shuttle to drop us to Veranda Lobby where we will have our buffet breakfast.

We were the first guests to enter the Veranda Restaurant at 6 am.  I anticipated the fact that restaurants get busy at around 8 am and while it wasn’t jampacked with people yet, we could enjoy our breakfast.  We picked a table near the golf course view.

I wasn’t expecting much of their breakfast choices since I’ve read blogs and reviews that there was nothing special about the breakfast buffet.  Well, for that morning, I was satisfied because there were various food choices.

 

 

Cereals Station

Breakfast day 2

 

I took a lot of photos of their food, but I didn’t post all the pics here because I intend to make a review of Veranda Restaurant.  After filling out our tummies, we went for a short walk to explore Fairways before we head to White Beach to buy food which we will take with us in our island hopping.  While walking, we found Villa Lucia; unfortunately, we didn’t have our stuff with us at that time because we left it at the luggage counter and we had very limited time so we went back to the Veranda Lobby instead.

Fairways has shuttle service for their guests, but we had to wait for 30 minutes before we get a ride.  That morning, we had to be in Astoria at 10 am because BPHT will pick us up for our parasailing activity.  We didn’t have any choice but to just call a tricycle to bring us to D’Mall and we paid P100 for that.  After buying food at Andok’s D’Mall, we started our morning walk in White Beach and I fell in love with the beach!

White beach morning

White beach day 2

I understood why the government has decided to save the island and I truly support them in their advocacy.

Family pic day 2 white beach

At 10 am, I texted Mark, BPHT’s guide and he was already there.  A boat transported us in the part where they do the parasailing activity.  The guides gave us few instructions.  At first, it was normal to experience fear, but after few minutes, I felt relaxed and I couldn’t help but to admire the amazing view.

Parasailing 2

After the parasailing activity, the boat dropped us to Station 3 where we waited for the private boat for island hopping.  The funny thing is that… it couldn’t be considered island hopping because we just went to Puka Beach to have a swim and we opted not to go to Magic Island and Crystal Cove.  We had very limited time and I knew that island hopping would take us 3 to 4 hours.  Hubby would like to catch the sunset in White Beach that’s why we decided to cut the activity.

shane puka beach

 

After our activity booked via BPHT, we went back to our suite in Fairways & Bluewater.  We visited Monterey because the play lounge and the gym is located there.  I was quite surprised to see that the gym is small.  It’s been months that we haven’t had our workout that’s why we didn’t even perspire.  We headed to the Laguna pool, but when we saw it, we opted not to swim– the pool wasn’t inviting and we thought that it would be a waste of time.

 

 

Hubby workout

Unlike the other luxury hotels/resorts, Fairways only allow the guests to use the outdoor jacuzzi.  You have to pay if you will use their indoor jacuzzi.  So, we just took the shuttle to the main gate and hired a tricycle to take us to Station 1.  We paid P100 again because hubby didn’t want to miss the sunset in White Beach.   Well, it was worth the money because we were able to witness the Boracay sunset.

Sunset day 2

 

Boracay is considered a paradise and the favorite summer destination of tourists especially the foreigners.  In my short stay, there was something smelly in some areas, but there were locals who were busy with the road constructions and clean-up.

We keep on coming back to Boracay because of its fine, crystal-like sand and we are already excited to see it next year.  Yes!  My whole family will be there to see the NEW Boracay in 2019.  Thanks to Airasia because we have successfully rebooked our flights for next year.

White sand

We walked from Station 1 to D’mall and waited for the Fairways shuttle to drop us to the main gate.  We bought food in Citymall which is just across Fairways because that particular night, we wanted to have dinner in our suite.

 

Because we were extremely exhausted, we didn’t have night swimming.  Instead, we slept early to recharge our bodies for our last day in the island.  The following day, we planned a pool-hopping activity after breakfast before we finally say goodbye to Boracay.

Yey!  And so, I was able to take a sneak peek of paradise before Boracay will close on the 26th.  Though I’ve been to Boracay Island many times already, the excitement is just the same as my first visit.

 

Life vest 2

How to use the  life vest demonstration

I knew that we had to leave before 6am that’s why I prebooked our in-flight meals.  Our booking includes 20kg baggage allowance and value pack meal.

 

We didn’t expect to arrive early because all the time we have experienced delayed flights.

 

As soon as our plane landed, I texted Ms. Mariel of BPHT Booking Services and informed her that we were already there.  To my surprise, Ms. Joy of BPHT was already waving at me, holding a placard with my name in it.   Hmmm… that was impressive and so far, everything went well.

 

She ushered us to the Fairways van and we traveled from the airport to the Caticlan Jetty Port.  She bought tickets for us and assisted us with our luggage suntil we reached the Cagban Port and transferred to another van.   Everything was perfect until we arrived in the resort.

The Fairways shuttle dropped us to the Veranda Lobby where guests check in and out.  I approached Ms. Dindin, one of the Front Desk officers in the hotel and she was asking for my voucher.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to present one because Booking.com cancelled my reservation due to the Boracay closure.  I received an email from Booking.com saying that it is impossible for them to send a new voucher because the reservation was already cancelled.  I called the resort and they assured me that I won’t be encountering a problem since the changes regarding the date of my reservation was already in the system.  Ms. Dindin verified that thing to the Reservations Department and after few minutes, she told me that reservations is already putting my booking into their system.    Good thing, Ms. Joy was there to give me company while waiting.  She could have left already when we reached Fairways but she patiently waited until we checked in.  Thank you so much, BPHT!

Since it was only past 11am, we just left our luggage to the luggage room.  After we got our luggage stubs, we went to the Ventana pool area and we ordered pizza while charging our mobile phones.  We loved the view and we had a short photo session while waiting for 2pm.

 

 

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View 5 ventana pool

We definitely fell in love with the breathtaking view and we couldn’t wait to hit the beach and to have our swim in their inviting pools.

 

We waited for the shuttle service to drop us to the Veranda lobby.

Veranda lobby while waiting

We were assigned to room 17101 at Villa Riviera–a spacious one bedroom suite.  (A separate blog post will be written to feature our assigned suite.)  I was quite disappointed because our room was located in the basement.  We wanted a poolside room and the one with veranda in the upper floors, but we couldn’t do anything but to accept the fact that the hotel was already fully booked.

Riviera

Because we were exhausted, we decided to rest for two hours and get ready for an afternoon swim.   While hubby was taking a nap, my daughter Shane asked me if I wanted coffee.  How sweet it was when she prepared a cup of coffee for me.

Coffee service

 

There is a shuttle service that will transport you the different places inside the property or to the D’Mall.  We waited for a while and a security officer approached us and asked where we wanted to go.  The driver dropped us to Paradise Cove.

Paradise cove

Nice beach view

Beach view 1

Love

 

Private beach 1

The nice thing about Fairways is that they have their own private beach.  If you don’t like to go to White Beach, just ask the security officer to call a shuttle to drive you to Paradise Cove and ta-da!— in just a matter of minutes, you are already in their main beach.  They have lounge chairs for their guests, so you can relax while watching the sea.  The only thing that I have noticed, though the sand is white, it’s not as fine as they have in the White Beach.  Also, when we had our afternoon swim, my feet was hurt because there were lots of small rocks and shells under the water.

We decided to go back to the Ventana pool and we also tried the Hideaway Jacuzzi because it seemed nice in the photo and there was nobody using it at that time, but after finding out that the water was dirty, we transferred to the Ventana pool.  Eeew!  We felt like we were going to have a skin disease as my skin was becoming itchy already.

 

Ventana pool

We brought dry clothes with us because we wanted to go to D’Mall and have dinner there.

The beachfront was not as jampacked as it used to be– Yes, there were still tourists who visited the island but foreigners dominated the number, particularly Koreans and Chinese.  Boracay, despite of its present state remains to be my number one summer favorite destination.

 

 

We bought groceries at the Budget Mart, where the Fairways shuttle arrives every 30 minutes to pick up the guests.

We slept early because we had planned activities the following day.  Watch out for my next post featuring those activities.

Happy Summer!  By this time you might be seeing my Instagram and FB posts.  For those who follow my posts and those who know me personally, you might be wondering why the hell am I here in Boracay.   I already have rebooked our scheduled trip to April 29 ro May 4, 2019 and I started searching for other summer destinations.   Well, I really tried my best to find one, but I always end up being disappointed.  It’s either the hotels are fully booked, per night is expensive or the sand is dark gray.  I already have conditioned myself that for this summer, I only have staycations to enjoy– not until the day I was searching for the rates of Boracay Cruise via 2Go.  I compared the rates to Airasia and I was surprised to see the low rates P13k plus for 3 pax (roundtrip). That moment, I had a sudden interest to go to Boracay before the closure on the 26th of April.

I immediately called Fairways & Bluewater and asked if it’s possible for me to rebook on April 15-17.  After 20 minutes, it has been approved by the Marketing Manager and the transfers and activities that were scheduled on the 29th will just be used on our trip.  Hmmm!  I was firm in my decision that I had to take a peek in Boracay Island this month.  Nothing beats the so-called paradise when it comes to the powdery white sand.  If I will be spending P20k plus to go to Batangas, Zambales or Pangasinan, it would be a better decision to go to Boracay for just P13k.    So, I booked our roundtrip Manila to Caticlan flights via Airasia and coordinated with BPHT and everything has been settled in few minutes.

I won’t be able to follow the itinerary that I have prepared for my 6-day Boracay vacay because it will just be a 3/d 2/n vacation instead.  Here’s what I have prepared:

April 15, 2018- 10:55am-Arrival to Boracay

11:30- Check in and explore Fairways

5:00pm-  walk to White Beach and D’Mall

April 16, 2018-  7am-  Breakfast

8am to 9:30- Morning walk

10:am-12nn- Parasailing

12nnto 1pm- LUNCH

1:00-3:30 pm-  Private Island Hopping

4pm-  Back to the resort to rest

7pm -Dinner

8pm- Night swimming

April 17m 2018 7am-breakfast

8am to 9am -pack the things and get ready

9:30am- Check out

The 6 Day Boracay Special will be scheduled on 2019 instead, but at least I will be able to see the island for the last time this year and on the peak season next year.  Watch out for my posts in IG and FB.  I will try to blog as soon as I get home on the 17th or 18th.   Bye for now, folks!

LIFE IS A BEACH.  These past few years, it’s been a habit for hubby and I to spend our summer vacay in Boracay.  People around us have been asking why do we always go there and why don’t we try other destinations?  I have actually considered to visit Palawan but I always end up in Boracay.  Now, I finally understood why…

Because of the Boracay closure, we decided to just spend our summer vacation in a nearer destination instead.  My friends and colleagues recommended Calatagan in Batangas and Pagudpud.  I thought it would be easy for me, but if I find a hotel that suits my taste, it’s either fully booked or too expensive.  I was surprised to find out that Boracay hotels and resorts are much affordable than hotels and resorts in Batangas, Subic and Pagudpud.  In Fairways, I paid P23k for 3d/2n and it’s just the same with average hotels in Batangas.  I even saw some that costs P20k per night and that would be the same as what I have paid in Discovery Shores.  What is funny is that Discovery Shores is a luxury hotel and that’s understandable for their rate, but absolutely NOT for those expensive beach resorts in Batangas.

jacuzzi 2

I’ve tried the presidential suite in True Home Boracay and it’s only less than 10k per night and that is BEACHFRONT, dear readers!

As I search in their websites, I also googled for reviews in Tripadvisor and blogs and based from what I have read, in Nasugbu, Batangas, the sand is grayish black and the activities would cost a fortune as well.  In that case, I prefer to wait for another year than to spend and waste money for something I would be disappointed with.  I know that I still have two months to have this VITAMIN SEA, but I need something decent and affordable.

There are white sand beaches in Zambales but those are campsites and probably the accommodations won’t suit my taste.  It has to be beachfront, airconditioned and preferably with sea view and a private veranda.  I know for a fact that I am choosy but we have to be comfortable in our stay and that is my priority.

I am also considering a Palawan cruise via 2Go but I will have to check if we have the budget and if the hotels are reasonably priced.  I might be able to try other destinations next year aside from Boracay but it has to be carefully planned.

To sum it up, I think it’s NOT a good idea to pick Batangas as my summer destination.  For now, I think I have to be contented in my upcoming staycations (Edsa Shangri-la and Holiday Inn Manila Galleria).  I will keep you posted if ever I will come up with a new travel plan.  I still have 2 months and I hope I can make the most out of that time.  HAPPY SUMMER!

 

shane puka beach

Hello, everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Everything happened so fast that I couldn’t figure out anymore what to do first.  It’s only few more days before our scheduled trip to Boracay, but unfortunately I will see Boracay after a year instead.  It was Wednesday evening when I received an email from the Philippine Airlines that my two of the flights I booked with them  (my father and kids’ flight) would be adjusted.  Instead of going back from Caticlan to Manila on the 1st of May, it would be on the 2nd.  I accepted the adjustment.  The same evening, I received another email from PAL that our flight has been cancelled. I called PAL customer service and the agent was apologetic and informed me that they had to cancel our flight because it has something to do with the Boracay closure issue.  I just asked for a full refund and it was processed in few minutes.  According to the agent, I had to wait for an email about the full details regarding our refund.

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I called Fairways and Bluewater and inquired about the Boracay closure issue and asked for a possible refund just in case the island would be closed.  The receptionist told me that in that case, they won’t give a refund but it is possible to have it rebooked.  I was also assured that as of the moment (while I was speaking to the receptionist), there was no formal instructions for them to close though the other establishments have already closed because they did not comply with the government’s order.  I was quite relieved but because I was still alarmed that we didn’t have a flight yet from Manila to Kalibo, I called Air Asia before I decided to book a flight because PAL cancelled my flight.  According to the agent, there was no announcement yet from the government so I can still book and if ever there will be an announcement, they will update me about possible refund/rebooking.  After few minutes, I booked our flight via Airasia.

After getting my new flight details with Airasia, I texted Ms. Mariel from BPHT.  She called to clear and confirm about the flight details and island hopping activity and she sent the updated voucher after our conversation.  I thought there will be no problem but my hubby woke me up at 3am only to show me a link in Facebook about the government’s decision to close Boracay for 6 months.  At first, I couldn’t believe it.  What happened to the one month notice they were talking about?  They have informed the people before that if the President would announce the Boracay closure on April 5, 2018, its effectivity would be May 5, 2018; therefore our trip won’t be affected because our supposed trip is April 29 to May 4, 2018.  I was confident because of that one month notice, and until now I still couldn’t believe I am experiencing this.

Luckily, yesterday morning, I got an email from Agoda Customer Service to inform me that my booking with them was cancelled because of the Boracay closure.  I didn’t have to worry about that anymore.

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I know that the government has done their part and even though they coordinated with the airlines to give us options (to get a full refund, reroute or move flight), still it has caused a big problem.  I’ve been trying to call Airasia yesterday but I couldn’t get through the line.  I was planning to reroute our flight to Palawan on the 29th but after my conversation with hubby, I decided to move the flight to April and May 2019 instead so I don’t have to worry about our trip next year.  Another thing is it is PEAK SEASON now and I only have few days to make my hotel bookings.  Most of the hotels are already fully booked and since I already paid Fairways with the full amount, I don’t have a budget anymore with another hotel booking.

After we had our breakfast this morning, I called PAL customer service and somebody answered my call in just less than five minutes. I was very thankful that the agent patiently answered my queries, cancelled the flights  and processed my refund for 2 more flights and I even followed up the refund of my cancelled flight last Wednesday.  So, mission accomplished for PAL but it took me 55 minutes for the Air Asia customer service call.  It took them 30  minutes to answer my call,  They put me on hold then processed my request for almost 30 minutes.  It was successful though and the confirmation email was sent to me for our April 29, 2019 flight from Manila to Kalibo.  They haven’t sent me yet the confirmation for May 4, 2019 for Caticlan to Manila flight.

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Just few minutes ago, I just got off the phone and called Fairways & Bluewater and requested them to rebook our reservation to April 29 to May 1, 2019 and I am glad that they are processing that already.

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I only have ONE BIG PROBLEM and because of this Boracay shut down, I am having difficulty in looking for a place to spend our family vacation.  So, we re not going to fly to far destinations this summer– we are actually thinking of having our vacay in nearer places instead.  Almost all the decent resorts in Batangas are already fully booked.  So, what do I now?  I’ve been searching for beachfront hotels/resorts in Calatagan, Batangas that suits my taste but it was unsuccessful.  I am looking forward to go to the beach this summer but it looks like we have a serious problem here.  I hope not to end up having staycations instead:-(

Whether we admit it or not, this Boracay closure has caused a problem not only to tourists like me, but to the business owners and workers as well.  We are hoping that this sacrifice would have a favorable result.  See you Boracay in 2019.

HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE!  Well, I purposely didn’t book for a trip/staycation this Holy Week as I would like to spend it at home with my family.  Yes, I just stayed at home and finished some paperworks (Unfortunately, I can’t rejoice yet and as much as I would like to motivate myself, I am still CLUELESS on what’s going to happen next.

I know that you’ve heard about the Boracay closure issue and our trip is scheduled on April 29 to May 4, 2018.  If President Rodrigo Duterte would announce his approval of the Boracay closure by the first week of April, there is a possibility for us to enjoy Boracay in the peak season because it will take 30 days after the announcement will be effective.  So, I am praying for a miracle– to think of it, it will be too much of a hassle.  Why?  I have to deal with airline rebook/refund.  If I will rebook, there is no guarantee though that I will get a hotel on those dates because it’s PEAK Season.  I just hope that they would do the closure on the lean season because a lot of tourists have already made their plans and it’s pretty frustrating if that would be cancelled.

I actually have included LABoracay in my itinerary since I haven’t celebrated it before and it will be my first time if ever.   Boracay is such a paradise and my sympathy goes with the locals, business owners and the tourists.    I support the government agencies in their plans of saving the island and I will do my part in preserving its beauty.  If our planned Boracay 2018 trip won’t be cancelled, I will show everyone how beautiful Boracay is and why it is considered as a paradise and one of the world’s most beautiful beach.  So, I’m just keeping my fingers crossed and will leave it up to HIM up there.

I hate to entertain negative thoughts, but just in case our Boracay trip won’t push through this summer, I’m thinking of going to nearer destinations like Subic, Pangasinan, Tagaytay or Batangas but again my fear would be most of the hotels are fully booked already 😦

Since this is the first day of April, I started it with good vibes.  Yesterday I went to the salon and treated myself with foot spa with pedicure and gel manicure.  The only disaster that I have so far  is my hair and I’m actually having second thoughts if I would have it rebonded or not.

 

 

I am also thinking of having a productive summer vacation so I might as well feature home improvement segment in my blog as well including an upgrade of the home furnishings, accessories and appliances.  By next week, I will be posting the parts of our humble home and hopefully before the start of classes, it will have its new look.

I will also feature beauty rituals you can do at home for spa/salon alternative since I know going to spa is kinda expensive.

Before our Boracay trip, I will show you my very own PINK luggage and its contents (My BORACAY 2018 Packing List).

After April 20 to 28 and on May 2018, my schedule is still open for hotel/restaurant features/reviews.  Feel free to shoot me a message in my email if you have suggestions, ideas or you wanted to collaborate with me.

Cream with Eggs Easter Facebook Post

 

Hello, dear readers!  Ever since the month started, I haven’t had any opportunity to squeeze my precious time for beauty, destressing, staycation, fitness and pigging out sessions– it’s because I’m loaded with paperworks in school.  Next week will be even more toxic because we will start computing the grades and more paperworks to submit.

 

I already have anticipated this scenario that’s why I went to Fitness first on February 28 and asked the reception to have my March on freeze because I won’t be able to go to the club for the whole month.  I did the same thing for April so for two months, I will have my fitness routine and diet on my own.

It might take some time before I will have another blog post but I promise to give you updates as soon as I have finished everything on the first week of April.  Probably before April 6,  I will have my hair treatment, foot spa, manicure and pedicure session @ the salon to reward myself.  After that, I have two months of work and play 🙂  Vacation galore so I will spend my time to bond with my family.  It will start on April 19 for my daughter’s 11th birthday celebration @ Edsa Shangri-la.

Next will be the much-awaited 6-day Boracay 2018 special from April 29 to May 4, 2018.  I will be having a detailed review of Fairways and Bluewater Newcoast, Azalea Boracay and Estacio Uno Resort.  Please wait for my update because I will be sharing my Boracay 2018 packing list as soon as I have the time.  I am now in the process of sorting old and brand new swimsuits and ordering summer outfits.

I mentioned work and play earlier— of course, I need to work even on vacation.  Aside from being a public school teacher,  I am also managing SMART TUTEE In-Home Tutorials, On April 23, 2018 and May 7, 2018, SMART TUTEE will be screening in-home tutors for the following areas:  QC, Antipolo, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Cainta and Marikina.  We will be in the Linden Suites from 10 am to 12 nn to screen applicants.  Interested applicants may send their resumes to screening@smarttutee.net.

On May 8, I will also be in Holiday Inn for a staycation and will be visiting our new Smart Tutee office in Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas.  Starting May 18 also, we will be accepting registration in our new office for SY 2018-2019 and will screen tutor applicants.

I don’t know if I can still manage to feature or review hotels, spas and restaurants for April and May but I would love to do so 🙂  Please drop me a short message in my email for collab.  I will only take some time to rest this month but I promise to give you guys new updates soon!  Til next post, dear readers!

 

Probably you are wondering why of all the places to go this summer, why did I choose Boracay despite of the negative issues? Well, I already planned this trip as early as August and I already have booked our roundtrip flights and transfers via BPHT.  Boracay is one of my favorite summer destinations– the primary reason why I decided to have the our 6-day summer vacation there is the awesome powdery white sand beach.  There is something enigmatic with this paradise– something unexplainable that makes me keep coming back.

Supposedly, I have an important even scheduled on the 30th of April, but it was rescheduled due to some problems.  Since the trip was already prepared, all I need is to enjoy this long vacation before I finally face work this summer.

I would like to take advantage of our long stay, that is why 3 different hotels were lined up for my hotel review.  Here is the 6-day itenerary for my summer vacation.

April 29, 2018

-Depart from Manila to Caticlan

I chose to have a morning flight to enjoy the rest of the day.  This time, not only hubby and I will travel, but my family members as well.  They will be in another plane via Kalibo in the afternoon.

boracay airport

-Check in to Fairways & Blue Water.

 

-Tour of Fairways & Blue Water for my hotel review.  I alloted the whole day just to roam around the place and see their different pools, restaurants, and other facilities.  I will also check their spa for my Spa Detective Series.

– Night stroll @ White Beach (take out of dinner and buying of grocery                                      supplies).

firedancers

April 30, 2018-

-Restaurant Review

– Morning walk @ White Beach

– Private island Hopping @ 1pm

 

-Dinner and review of Mama’s Fish House

May 1, 2018       –

-Horseback Riding

– Transfer to Azalea Residences and hotel review

– LABORACAY celebration and feature

-family dinner and restaurant review

May 2, 2018 

-breakfast and restaurant review

– Parasailing

-Tirta Spa Review (for my Spa Detective Series)

treatment preparation

-dinner and restaurant review

May 3, 2018          –  Transfer to Estacio Uno

estacio uno seaside

-Terra Wellness Spa Review  (for my Spa Detective Series)

terra wellness2

-dinner and Restaurant Review

May 4, 2018 

-Last stroll in the island

-Depart from Caticlan to Manila

NOTE:  This is not yet final and could be updated for changes.  For suggestions of activities or place that you would like me to review, OR for collaborations, please contact me @ jasmine@thetravelbloggerinpink.com.

 

 

Black White Detective Murder Mystery Invitation

Welcome to the first review of my SPA DETECTIVE series.  As promised, I will give you a comprehensive review of the Golden Leaf Health Spa in Marcos Highway, Pasig City and ta-da!  Here it is!  If you will come from Masinag Market and you will go to Cubao, you will notice the sign at the right side. The spa is on the 3rd floor of the Semicon Bldg. (just before you reach Ayala Feliz Mall).

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A few days ago, I booked for body scrub and deep cleansing facial by texting their number.  The receptionist has successfully confirmed my booking for yesterday’s treatment at 11am.   Because I knew that I had to be on time, I even texted them while I was on my way to the spa– I got no reply.   When I reached the third floor, I thought that I had opened the glass door by mistake because it looks like an abandoned place, then I saw the Golden Leaf Spa sign– I was relieved that I came to the right place.   I was expecting that they knew about my appointment, but there was no receptionist when I came.  There were two ladies who entertained me and it was strange that they do not know about the services and packages that they offer.  They had to verify by calling the receptionist about the packages.

My first impression:  The reception area was just fine, but not that impressive.  In the metro area, I should say Z Spa has the coziest and most relaxing ambiance so far.  The place was big though, and I was excited to explore it.  There were decorations and floral arrangements, but the furnishings and accents are not as modern as what Z Spa and Soulscape Spa use.  Well, I knew that i couldn’t judge just because of the first impression and I waited patiently to find out more if I would enjoy the experience.

While the two ladies (which I found out to be food servers) were contacting the receptionist, they ushered us to the dining room area where they turned on the television and offered us glasses of iced tea and mini siopao.

After drinking the complimentary refreshments, Ms. Ruth ushered us to the Female Sanctuary wherein the wet area is located.  The place reminds me of Baguio City wherein the furnishings are quite old and worn-out, but I must commend them for having a wet area which is FREE usage in most of the services and packages that they offer.  Actually, that is what I am looking for in a hotel or fitness club– a functional wet area.  We were given the locker key and she assisted me with the use of the steambath, sauna and jacuzzi.

In the locker, there was a pair of old gold robe and shorts, old white towel, a bottle of mineral water, a pair of blue slippers and a mint.

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The place needs a TOTAL RENOVATION and MAKE-OVER as well as UPGRADE in everything that they use in the spa.  Theres should be new and fresh towels and linens.    In the wet area, there is one toilet, 3 shower areas, steambath, sauna and a jacuzzi.

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the vanity

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the shower area

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When I arrived at 11 am, I was the only one there so I had the wet area only to myself.  After almost ten minutes in the steambath and sauna, I had a hot shower and used the jacuzzi!  The good news is that I was the first one also to use it 🙂

After few minutes, I talked to Ms. Percy, their supervisor/manager and clarified about the service I booked.  Originally, I booked for body scrub ala carte for P650 and deep cleansing facial for P350–that already includes the wet area usage.  What I wanted was to find out if they have other packages close to my budget.  If I will use a private room, which I really wanted because of privacy, I need to add P300 and the total bill that I have to settle is P1300.  I was informed that there is a package amounting to P1499 which includes 24k facial plus body scrub and usage of private jacuzzi.  (I was thinking that it would be practical to avail this since I will just add P200).  My mind was already set that I will be having that package instead.  I knew that I only had the jacuzzi for myself that time, but there might be customers who will use the wet area in a while, and I will have NO MORE privacy at all.

When I was already prepared for the body scrub, I was confused because they led me to a room with a curtain.  I was thinking that I would be in the private room, but I also thought that probably, they a room intended only for body scrub. In my mind, I knew there was something wrong already because if I chose a private room with private jacuzzi, why don’t they let me use the room for the body scrub so I can have my privacy?

Because it was already past 12nn, I decided to eat first.  We had our unlimited dimsum which was also included in the package.  We had bowl of goto and glass of iced tea.  They have food servers to assist you with the food and drinks.

After lunch, we went back to the Maple room and I was surprised to see what they are using in their body scrub.

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Oats and Milk Body Scrub

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Oats and milk body scrub

According to Leah, our therapist, they use oats and milk to moisturize the skin, leaving it soft and smooth after the treatment.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t itchy and Ms. Leah made me feel comfortable also.  I was advised to go to the steambath and sauna again after the body scrub treatment for a better effect in my skin.  I dipped in the jacuzzi and while I was enjoying, a customer came to the wet area.  I inquired about the private room with private jacuzzi that I availed earlier.  I was aghast when I was told that I won’t be using a private jacuzzi and there was no private room either.  That particular moment, I was about to explode, but I controlled myself.  Honestly, though the place is quite old, I like their wet area and the private jacuzzi and bath tub.  I was about to complain because I was really upset how they were disorganized–suddenly, Ms. Percy appeared and told me that she already prepared the private jacuzzi.

When I asked about the facial (because I was expecting that I will have the 24k facial for 1 hour, she told me it’s the same a la carte deep cleansing facial that i will have in a few minutes and because I added a private jacuzzi, I will just settle only P1300.  It was like, “Oh no! What the hell are you talking about?  A while ago, I already told you what i wanted.  I emphasized the word PRIVACY!   How can you be guys that disorganized?”   (I was only yelling at them mentally) Probably, she could have sensed that I was getting impatient, she left to check their packages and told me that in the P1499, the inclusions are the following:  body scrub, deep cleansing facial, hot milk bath, full body massage and private room.  Only in that particular moment, we have understood each other.  As much as I wanted to complain, I didn’t ruin my day anymore– the fact that the reason I was there was to destress.  We were ushered to the Bamboo room, and prepared for our hot milk bath.

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In the room, there were two beds intended for couple.  There was no door to isolate the toilet.  It’s just an open space wheiren the bath tub and shower area is located with dividers for the lavatory and watercloset.    I had the milk bath for about 20 minutes (next time, I will have it loooonger).   It was the best hot bath I had so far and I will have it again in my next visit.

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After the hot milk bath, I went to the facial area for my deep cleansing facial.  It only lasted for less than 30 minutes.  Honestly, the P350 is not worth it 😦  I would love to try the 24k Facial next time.

After the facial, I went back to the Bamboo room and got ready for the massage.  I only requested to have a back massage and Shane availed of the remaining minutes left.

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I enjoyed the massage, it was too relaxing.  In other spas, you won’t feel relaxed.  On the contrary, it looks like you were beaten after the treatment.   Thanks to Leah for listening well.

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After the treatment, I asked Ms. Hazel, the receptioinst for a cup of coffee in the dining area.  I was expecting her to order the servers to prepare that for me since in Soulscape Spa,  the receptionist request the hot tea/water over the phone as well as the treatments to be pfrepared.  I was even more astounded when Ms. Hazel prepared the cup of coffee herself and gave us bowls of goto, siomai and siopao.  She even served the other guests.

I remembered Ms. Leah told me earlier during our massage treatment that all the staff that I see are also massage therapists including the janitress and food servers.

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Ms. Hazel

MY VERDICT:

I was satisfied with the body scrub, facial, massage and wet area, BUT there are few things that they need to improve.

  1.  The staff should be knowledgeable about their spa packages.  They should be coordinated as well.
  2. The receptionist should be there in the opening to welcome the guests.
  3. Since they own the place, they should renovate it and give a modern and more relaxing ambiance plus an upgrade of the furnishings and almost everything in the spa.
  4. Add more food in their unlimited dimsum.
  5. The staff should be professional in dealing with customers.

Though I was quite disappointed, I will come back 🙂  Why?

GOOD POINTS

  1.  The place is spacious enough.
  2.  They have unlimited dimsum included already when you availed of their packages/services.
  3. They have free usage of wet area (jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna).
  4. They have private jacuzzi and bath tub in the private room.
  5. Their spa packages are reasonably priced.

I definitely recommend Golden Leaf Spa; however, clarify the service that you avail to avoid confusion.

GOLDEN LEAF HEALTH SPA

3/F Semicon Bldg., Marcos Highway, Pasig City

0917-3323378

 

 

 

Yes, I admit that I am beginning to be a spa addict.  With my stressful work, I really need to destress and pamper myself.  I just had this realization recently and it’s true that if you love and give time to yourself, you will feel better and will be more productive.

Ever since, I had dry skin and ever since I had the body scrub in Z Spa and my dead skin cells were removed, there is an improvement with my skin.  And because I already have established my beauty routine, I really need to give my skin a treat every two weeks.   What I need is body scrub for  and facial to achieve that youthful glow.  I need a radiant skin for my Boracay trip on April 29-May 4, 2018.

As a journalist and spa detective, I know that I have to give my honest opinion (based from my own experience) and it is my obligation to provide you also with facts and helpful information.  I will start this year of comprehensive reviews of different spas.  My aim here is to suggest and recommend treatments suited for the readers and also to warn them if ever the service is terrible.

Here is the tentative list of the spas that I will review this 2018.

1. Golden Leaf Health Spa (Marcos Highway, Cainta, Rizal)

This weekend, I will have my review of Golden Leaf Health Spa located in Marcos Highway, Cainta, Rizal.  I have learned that they have a wet area and that’s quite interesting.  Other spas don’t have jacuzzi and they have a plus point for that.  I still have to check whether their service is excellent and the place is well maintained and of course— a relaxing ambiance.  I have to see and experience for myself.  If you see posts of Golden Leaf Health Spa in Instagram, TBIP Facebook Page and here in WordPress until April 2018, it seems I found the perfect spa for me.

2.  Chi, The Spa at Edsa Shangri-la (Ortigas Center, Pasig)

We have booked a suite for my daughter’s birthday celebration in Edsa Shangrila on April 19, so this is the opportunity for me to hit their fitness center and experience their spa.  I will update you guys if it’s worth the money or just a waste of time.

3.  Terra Wellness Spa (Boracay)

I already booked myself for their Beauty and Bliss (massage and facial package) on May 3.  I am quite curious if Terra Wellness is comparable to Tirta Spa so I might as well try to find out.

4.  Tirta Spa (Boracay)

 

I’ve been here last summer and so far, it was the best that I have visited.  During that time though, I had their massage and Biodroga facial.  This time, I would like to try the body scrub and their wet area.

This post will be updated for additional spas that I will be visiting for the entire year.  Since this a review, please expect that i will have my HONEST opinions featuring positive and negative feedback about their service.

I have modified my Valentine’s Day plan since we have a long weekend for the Chinese New Year on February 16, so I just decided to book for an overnight stay in a hotel.  In blogs and reviews that I have read, Discovery Shores Boracay is often compared to The Lind Boracay so I am quite curious about this property.  If DSB has Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center, the Lind has the Linden Suites.  Last October, we have already spent our wedding anniversary in Discovery Suites, so for the Post Valentine Celebration, I have settled to the Linden Suites.  I booked a one-bedroom suite via Booking.com for about P5,00 inclusive of taxes.

My excitement was replaced with disappointment when we have reached the hotel’s lobby.  It wasn’t what I expected–I was visualizing the same large lobby as what they have in Discovery Suites.  There weren’t enough chairs for the people and while I was on queue for the check-in, my hubby and kids were standing and after about 20 minutes, they were able to find vacant seats.  It took me about 30 minutes or more to check in (which was another disappointment 😦 ) When finally it was my turn, I was pleased with the professionalism of the receptionist.  She asked for my ID and the credit card that I used in booking.  She has explained clearly why we need to give a security deposit of P2,000 which can be refunded upon check out.  She also explained about the rules of the hotel.

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Upon checking in, we got 2 keycards (for the elevator and room) , 1 power card, the WIFI password details good for 2 devices and 2 breakfast coupons.

When we got our keycards, we waited for few minutes AGAIN for the elevator.  Our one bedroom suite was located in Tower 2 and our assigned suite number was 2107.  When we opened the door, I was quite pleased because the room was spacious.

 

I liked the kitchen–it is already complete with almost everything that you need.  You can cook there- no need to bring pans and other utensils.  They have provided liquid soap and soap dish, but there is no sponge.

What I like about Linden Suites is that they permit the guests to hold parties inside the room/suite but the limit of the number of guests is only up to 15 and they need to leave before 11pm.

 

Our living room has a small sofa and working table ideal for small family.

 

In the dining area, we have a welcome fruit plate and a complimentary tumbler courtesy of the hotel.  I was appreciative and thankful, but I couldn’t help but to compare with Discovery Suites.  With the latter, we were able to feel at home and special because they have carefully done their research.  There was a welcome banner, dessert and more freebies.

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A hotel stay is not complete without COFFEE, so I was thankful enough for these basic freebies (but I was not impressed).

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Anyway, we enjoyed our spacious bedroom.  The kids rested for a while while we have scrutinized every detail of the suite.

 

The floor was carpeted so even if our kids were super hyper, they were safe.

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This is our Post Valentine Date, so we just decided not to go out and just enjoy the room and other facilities.

 

There were two closets equipped with ironing board and iron (a plus for me!), but we were not able to use it during our stay.  We just noticed that there were only 1 bathrobe and 1 pair of slippers.  The one-bedroom suite is supposed to be for two people so they should have provided supplies for two.  I just let hubby used the slippers since we brought sandals with us.

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What I liked most about our stay is the spacious bathroom.  Literally, you can sleep inside! It was really convenient because there is enough room for you to change and there is even a vanity inside.  This is my ideal bathroom– so far, one of the best bathrooms alongside with Estacio Uno Boracay Seaside Suite.

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The free toiletries

 

 

 

Seeing the view made me realize that we shouln’t waste our time and we should enoy, enjoy and enjoy!

 

In my trips, most of the time, I bring my kids because BONDING with them is a very important moment that I have to treasure.  My daughter Shane loves to swim so she was looking forward to our swimming time.

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When i told her that we were going to swim, she immediately changed in her swimming outfit!

The indoor pool was located on the 9th floor inside the Health Club.  You need to sign first in the reception area and you will be given towels to use.  To my dismay, the pool was crowded with people 😦

 

 

 

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We went to the jacuzzi first since the pool was crowded with guests, but Shane immediately jumped to the pool.

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t swim in the swimming pool and just stayed in the jacuzzi.

 

 

After few minutes, hubby and Bruce tried the swimming pool.

 

 

 

 

It was bonding time for hubby and our four-year old son Bruce.  It was pretty obvious they have enjoyed the temperature-controlled swimming pool.

 

 

We didn’t notice that it was past 6pm already and we decided to just go back to our suite.  My plan was to head to the gym right after swimming, but since we wasted more or less 30 minutes waiting for the elevator, I just cancelled my plan.  I was planning also to go to their spa, but was disappointed because they do not offer body scrub. (Body scrub is what I was looking for to get ready for my summer-ready skin )

 

Out of desperation, we were about to use the stairs to reach the 21st floor but then the elevator door opened, and when we were able to reach our suite, we were already exhausted of standing and waiting.  We just opted to have room delivery service from the Happy Chef.

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While watching TV and waiting for the food, Shane offered me a mug of coffee. (How sweet!)

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We ordered Margarita pizza for P395 and Chicken a la Pobre for P355.  We loved the pizza but the chicken was too pricey.

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We slept early because we would like to enjoy more of the hotel.  I brought my lappy with me but I wasn’t able to use it– I had my beauty rest instead.

DAY 2

We woke up at 4:30am.  Hubby and I had coffee and planned how we are going to spend the rest of the morning in Linden Suites.

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I thought of going to the gym since I wasn’t able to go there the previous night due to the elevator problem.  Bruce was also sleeping at that time, so we just asked Shane to look after him while we were working out.

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And yes, we were ready to hit the gym!

 

At 6am, we were already in the gym and yay! We had the gym only to ourselves!  That’s what I really like–PRIVACY 🙂

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Well, it wasn’t big as the Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club.  I was looking forward to use the jacuzzi and the sauna in their female wet area right after working out.

 

Working out with sweetie 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After working out, I went to the restroom and asked if I can use the sauna.  UNFORTUNATELY, they haven’t prepared it yet 😦  There was no jacuzzi also in the female’s wet area.  The jacuzzi was in the indoor pool, so another X for me 😦

 

There were locker rooms and the shower area is quite old and worn out– it needs remodelling.  For a spa and beauty blogger like me, it would be a PLUS if the hotel has convenient and modern amenities like the gym and spa, but I wasn’t pleased with the female wet area and the spa services.

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We peeked in the indoor pool area and was tempted to have a dip in the pool while it was not crowded yet.

 

We decided to have our breakfast first becaise we have sensed that the restaurant will be crowded also at that time.  When we reached the suite, Bruce was still sleeping, so we took advantage of the time to enjoy the hot tub bath.

 

After the hot bath, we got ready for the breakfast buffet.

 

 

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The Happy Chef is located in the 2nd floor.  Our room rate includes the breakfast buffet already except for Shane. (We paid P275 for her.)

 

As what we were expecting, we waited for about 20 minutes outside and the reason for this is because they have small space for their restaurant and limited choices of food.  I didn’t bother to feature their food because there’s nothing much to show.

 

 

 

I just had garlic rice, chicken adobo, chicken hotdogs, chocolate cupcake, pancake with choco syrup, choco flake cereals and a slice of chocolate cake for dessert.  I had a cup of hot choco but I didn’t like the taste 😦

 

After the breakfast, we went to the 14th floor, so we used the bridgeway to Tower 2.

 

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It was time to go back to the suite and get ready to check out.   While we were preparing our things, Bruce was having his hot bath in the tub.

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So, there…  my final selfies before we go.

 

I got a call from the reception 30 minutes before the check out time, reminding me about their standard time of check out which is 12nn.  We left the suite before 12nn and as usual, the same scenario… crowded lobby.

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Hehehe, I realized I couldn’t compare it to Discovery Suites because they are NOT comparable– with the personalized service, professionalism, and the modern facilities/amenities.  Well, at least, we wouldn;t know if we haven’t experienced to stay there.

Would I recommend this to a friend who is also very particular with quality service like me? NO.

The Linden Suites

37 SAN MIGUEL AVENUE, ORTIGAS CENTER,
PASIG CITY 1600, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES
TEL: (632) 638 7878

I thought it was a smart decision to sign up with Fitness First, but after few months of being a member, I really feel that it wasn’t worth it.  I would like to make it crystal clear that it’s not the club’s fault– it was MY FAULT for having that impulse decision.  First of all, though the rate is reasonable enough (@ Php 2,300 per month), I couldn’t manage to have that unlimited session since I am a very busy person, and I’m also struggling to make it at least once per month so it’s just a waste of money!

If only I have gotten the reply from The Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club earlier, I wouldn’t have come up with this decision.  I inquired online before I signed up for Fitness First, but I got no reply so I took the opportunity to visit the club before my press trip that day.  Oh well, the only thing that I can do is to head there if I have the time so I could make use of what I paid for.

Yesterday, I inquired in their website again, and I was surprised to hear from Mr, Arem Ignacio, the club’s Lifestyle Supervisor.  He sent me the rates via email and if I will compare, the rates are the same in Fitness First if you will be a walk-in guest.  For P500 per visit, you can use the gym and their wet area including the sauna room, steam bath room and the jacuzzi.  Aside from that, you can also use their swimming pool.

jacuzzi disc suites

The jacuzzi

This is what I’m looking for in a fitness club– a jacuzzi wherein I could enjoy the warm water.  That is not available in other fitness clubs.

balance lifestyle receptionists

The downside in choosing crowded fitness clubs like Fitness First is that they have too many clients to give you some time (though if you approach the trainers, they will assist you).  In my experience in our staycation in Discovery Suites last October 2017, I was spoiled by the two receptionists.  I wasn’t able to use the workout machines because I forgot to bring my rubber shoes, but they suggested that I should use their wet area.  They assisted me from the time I put my things in the locker and served as my human timer.  After 15-20 minutes, they come to me and inform me that it’s time to go to sauna and steam bath area as they know that I had to be in the photoshoot at the Serendipity Lounge on time.  

yman machines discovery suites

Next time when I get back, I will use their modern workout equipments/machines (as what I have told Mr. Ignacio, I would just drop by as a walk-in guest because I still have an existing contract with Fitness First for 18 months.  After sweating out, I will head to the wet area.

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The lockers are modern as well.  No need for old-style keys, you just use the bracelet with sensor and presto— the locker door will open.

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shower balance

At Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club, there are also toiletries that the guests and club members can use.  I was impressed!  The shower rooms are also clean.

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There are also pair of slippers that you can borrow while you are in the female’s area.

pool discovery suites

What I like from this is that you can take a swim first before heading to the fitness club.  Of course, with the same rate of P500, I would go for Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club.  There, you are not locked in a contract.  You may choose to be a walk-in guest or a club member (monthly, quarterly or semi-annual or annual package).  For busy persons like me, I would suggest to just avail the walk-in rate.

I am still super busy but I know I will be back soon and I am looking forward to that pleasant experience again.

 

 

 

 

It’s LOVE month and YES, I am already planning for a perfect way to celebrate Valentine.  It doesn’t have to be on that day as I know that it would be a rush ( I go home before 8pm and I had to wake up early to do some paperworks in school for the following day 😦 )  I actually reserved online for a buffet dinner at Vikings SM Marikina on the 14th but hubby was able to convince me to cancel it.  So, I just thought of buying simple takeout foods and cake for family dinner.

Instead of spending it in Vikings, I thought of just booking a one-bedroom suite in The Linden Suites on February 16, 2018 since it’s a looooooong weekend that day (Chinese New Year).  Spending it with hubby is romantic, but spending the LOVE month with the kiddos will be sweeter.

So, how can you surprise your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day (or even that week)?

  1.  Ordering food is acceptable especially if both of you are so busy, but if you have the time, your partner will appreciate it if you will be the one to personally prepare it for him/her.  If you have the time, though, a romantic dinner in a restaurant would be cool.

2.  A movie date sounds good also 🙂 (I will try to squeeze some time with hubby on                 the 14th, probably a post Valentine movie date will be possible.

3.  A good massage or spa treatment would also be sweet.  Soulscape Spa offers a                     special treat to couples this LOVE month.  For 1.5 hours, you and your other half                 can enjoy their signature Anti-Stress massage plus a bonus 30 minute foot reflex                 for only P1430.00.

4.  Hit the gym/fitness center with your special someone.  Since Feb, 16 is a holiday, I               will see if I can bring hubby to Fitness First in the morning, before we go to The                   Linden Suites in the afternoon.

5.  If you can afford, you may purchase something special for your  special someone.              In my case, my gift for him is QUALITY TIME not only for him but for our kids.

Whatever present or no matter how you celebrate the V day with your special someone, it’s your present that matters and how you were able to make him/her feel that he/she is special.

tbip valentine

   

 

Last week, I wrote about my weekend plans and it’s more on the beauty and destressing sessions.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go the fitness club because of my busy chedule.  I have signed up for an 18-month membership contract with Fitness First, but now I’ve ralized that it’s totally a waste of time and money.  It’s good enough if I will be able to squeeze a once per week visit to the club, but this January, I only visited twice.  It could have been better if I just purchased a treadmill so I can work out at home– but the thing is that I do not have enough money to buy one yet.  My PT suggested that I should downgrade my plan after 6 months so that my expenses will be reduced as well.

As for the destressing session, I was scheduled for the relaxing Volcanic Hot Stone Massage last Friday, so it was a perfect TGIF Spa Day for me 🙂

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After the stressful week, everybody deserves to have a Soulscape Destressing session.  The moment I entered the reception area, I felt at home already. (Special thanks to the accommodating receptionists Ella & Rose).  I think they have an idea already that I missed the sauna session last time so they asked me if I wanted a sauna and hot shower.  Because I know that one of sauna’s benefits is to cleanse the skin, I was too excited to head in the sauna area.  After few minutes, Ms. Shine (the assigned therapist) led us the Couple VIP Room.    I took a selfie first before taking a hot shower.

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Inside the bathroom where toiletries are available for the clients

 

I felt relaxed with the heat inside the sauna for 10 minutes.  After that, I drank the cold water and wiped my face with the cold towel.  When we went back to the room, Ms, Shine prepared and heated the stones for my treatment.  Volcanic Hot Stone Massage is different from the other types of massages because it requires skill in handling the stones.  In most cases, not all therapists are skilled with the Hot Stone Massage because they are scared in holding the hot stones.  Fortunately, Ms. Shine is good and very professional with this kind of massage.

While she was heating the stones, I was informed that she won’t put the stones directly in my skin as there is a tendency for it to be burned and damaged.  She started with a back massage that includes a little stretching and I savored every moment of it.  It was a total relief to feel the hot stones in every part of my body including in between the toes and my fingers as well.

According to my therapist, Ms. Shine, the benefits of hot stone massage is to help with the blood circulation, relieve stress and promote sleep.  At the last part of the treatment, when she was massaging my head with oil, I fell asleep but she woke me up after she has finished with the massage.  She knew probably that I might be able to spend until morning there and they need to close at 2am.  (Revelation:  At home, I got a good night sleep and was able to wake up the following day at past 7am already!) 

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After trying various kinds of massages, I should say that Volcanic Hot Stone Massage is one of my favorites along with the Soulscape Signature Anti-Stress Massage.

After getting dressed up, I was offered a glass of warm water and a piece of cookie.

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I felt relaxed after the treatment

For those who would like to book for a 90 minute Volcanic Hot Stone Massage for only P799 @ Soulscape Marcos Highway, you may call 0906 328 5939.

After my destressing session with Soulscape, my weekend wasn’t complete without my hair treatment and foot spa.  I wasn’t comfortable with my hair because it was totally damaged and very dry.  When I visited David’s Salon, my stylist wasn’t there but they accommodated me and I wasn’t informed that my hair couldn’t be rebonded at this time yet, but we can have a Keratin treatment.  Because I was too desperate, I had the 1 1/2 hour hair treatment.

 

 

While waiting,  I had foot spa with pedicure (P550) and manicure (P180).

 

My daughter Shane also had a haircut for her new look for P250.

 

David’s Salon’s Hair Keratin treatment is P4500 and it comes with a free Keratin Masque that you can use to maintain your hair (twice a week use is advised).

Note:  This February, I will feature some interesting things to do with your other half or sweetheart.  Watch out for my next post about my Valentine Date with hubby.  Ta-ta and Happy Feb-ibig month!

 

 

Who says that only adults need a break from the busy schedule?  Have you thought that kids deserve a destressing session too?  Yes, like us– they also get exhausted from the activities in school and just like the way we wanted to treat ourselves, they also deserve a pampering session at the spa.   A week prior my “spa day” , my daughter was not feeling well and after the stressful exams she had, I thought it was the perfect time for her to relax and have a Kiddie massage.    In this post, I will share about our mother and daughter bonding last Friday @ Soulscape Spa (Marcos Highway branch).

The moment that we have reached the reception and were greeted by the gorgeous staff (Ella and Rose), I can feel Shane’s excitement.  She used to accompany me in my destressing sessions, but now it was the time for her to destress.  While they were preparing our VIP family room, we were given a glass of lukewarm water and a cup of hot tea.

It’s good to know that it was SHINE, who was assigned to us again.  I felt comfortable with her in my last treatment, and as what I have expected, she made us feel comfortable.  She led us to the footwash area where Shane’s feet were washed.

After the soothing footwash, we were escorted to our VIP Family room.  It has 3 single beds and has its own bathroom.  As usual, I loved the ambiance and the privacy that we had in the room.   Before the treatment, I enjoyed few minutes first by just taking selfies before I wear that black silk Soulscape robe.

Everything that you need is already there in the bathroom imcluding cotton buds, handwash and moutwash so I felt really comfortable and at home 🙂  After prepping up, I had the Minty Peppermint Anti-Dandruff Hair Treatment first followed by the Coffee Body Scrub and Collagen Face Mask.  In my previous post, I have mentioned about the benefits of Collagen Face Mask, that’s why I always include this in my beauty routine.

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Coffee Body Scrub

Because summer is fast approaching, part of my preparation is having a flawless skin, so I have included this in my beauty routine too.  I decided to try the Coffee Body Scrub because aside from the fact that I was curious, I am also a coffee lover.  No wonder that during the treatment I was awake because of its aroma.  It has the same effect as the Kojic Salt Scrub– Aside from being a stimulant and anti-oxidant, it also helps in the blood circulation, exfoliates, smoothen,  and gives a youthful glow to the skin.  After the treatment, I enjoyed the hot shower and when I came out of the bathroom, Shane was already having her Kiddie massage.  (I totally forgot to go to the Sauna room because I didn’t want to miss Shane’s Kiddie massage).  

 

After our treatment, Shane felt better and energized and I felt refreshed and rejuvenated.  It was actually one of the best bonding that we had aside from eating and swimming.  I recommend that you should try this too!

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hot towel and a glass of lukewarm water after the massage

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With Shine, our therapist

For those who would like to treat their kids to a 60-minute Kid’s massage for only P249, you may head to Soulscape Spa (in Marcos Highway or Maria Clara, QC).  Aside from ala carte services, they also have interesting packages in their Facebook Page.  Call them in advance to book as they have many clients especially during weekends.

SOULSCAPE SPA & WELLNESS  LOUNGE

3rd Floor, The Pinnacle Plaza Bldg., # 1 Marcos Highway, San Isidro, Cainta, Rizal

697-1868 or 0906-3285939

717-9783 or 244-4350 (Ma. Clara branch)

 

When we go to the Summer Capital of the Philippines, we always pass by Microtel Inn & Suites in Upper Session Road.   I couldn’t help but to notice the cute blue structure next to Te Quiero Tapas & Bar Restaurant and Victory Liner.  It was just recently that I discovered that there is a shortcut from Te Quiero leading to Victory Liner Bus Terminal.

We traveled last month via Joy Bus because I thought that Victory Liner doesn’t have De Luxe so I didn’t bother to check.  (That was actually my fault!)  From the drop off point, we had to get a cab to bring us to the hotel (which was more of a hassle).  I was contacted by the reservations staff few days before we travel and I told them that our arrival will be around 9am, but because we had the non-stop bus, we have reached Baguio City at 7:30am.  There were no available rooms yet so I just settled the full payment and we just left the luggages in the front desk.  After few hours of strolling in Burnham Park and Botanical Garden, we went back at 1pm and luckily, we got a room. 

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Because we were dead tired when we checked in, I wasn’t able to take photos of our 2 Queen Beds Room.  As the name already describes, the room has two queen beds and a daybed.  I inspected the bathroom– it was ok, there were free toiletries but the shampoo was too small and obviously it wasn’t enough for all of us there.  I couldn’t help but to compare it to the other hotels we’ve checked in before.  If there is a kid or another person, he or she would be included in the toiletries.  On Day 1, we only had two toothbrushes.  We just bought another one in a pharmacy near the hotel the following morning.

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On our Day 2, we left the room unorganized, with towels, clothes and pairs of shoes everywhere, but to our surprise, when we came back, it was clean.  Hehehe, I just noticed that we left the sign on the table (we didn’t do that on a purpose but thanks to the staff!).  Also, they placed a new small bottle of shampoo and two boxes of toothbrush and replaced the towels.  (Too late because we already bought another toothbrush and sachets of shampoo and conditioner because I didn’t like the scent of their shampoo).

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Unlimited Coffee

If there is one thing that I like with Microtel aside from its very convenient location is that they have free flowing cofee in the lobby.  There is also a hot/cold water dispenser so you don’t have to spend much in buying bottled water.  Another thing, even if Baguio has already a cool weather, they still have airconditioning in the rooms.  In the other hotels, they do not have aircons anymore– they only provide fans.

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Mang Domeng, our private driver and tour guide in Day 3

If you will go out, taxi drivers are already waiting outside the hotel to drop you where you will go.  If there is none, the guard will help you look for one.  Unfortunately, it was peak season when we visited so it was seldom that we find a cab outside the hotel.  We were able to book Mang Domeng in our Baguio Day 3 Tour because he gave us his contact number the day when we arrived.

The room rate is quite reasonable already @ P3,300 per night with free breakfast.  (My review about Te Quiero will be in a separate post).

In our last night in Baguio, I found out that my booking with Joy Bus didn’t get through, so in my pajamas, we went to Victory Liner to purchase tickets.  There were many people on queue, but we patiently waited for our turn, and ALAS!  After an hour and few minutes, around 1 pm, it was already our turn and luckily, we were able to book bus tickets to Cubao at 9:50 am.

The check out was a breeze, the staff were efficient and we even got luggage help from the room to the bus station.  How convenient it was!

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If you plan to have a Baguio trip, I recommend Microtel Inn & Suites, however; there are things that they need to improve:

  1.  Give enough toiletries (shampoo and conditioner please!)
  2.  Provide iron and ironing board in the rooms.  My clothes were crumpled in my bags.
  3. One closet isn’t enough for 2 adults (probably that will work for others, but I was the only one to utilize the closet.  Hubby and my kid used their bags in storing their clothes.
  4. Consider having a fitness center and spa in the hotel.

These are just minor things, but if they will consider, it will give them a higher rating.   Other than that, no more complains— we LOVE Microtel Baguio and we will definitely be back!

MICROTEL INN & SUITES BAGUIO

Upper Session Road, Baguio City

(074) 619 3333

https://www.microtel-baguio.com

 

 

Happy New Year, everybody!  Let us welcome 2018 with GOOD VIBES and with that, I would like to share with you some achievements I had in 2017 and updates for TBIP’s relaunch on April 30, 2018.

2017″s HIGHLIGHTS

1.  TBIP’s NAME

Since I started blogging 11 years ago, I’ve been using different websites and different names, but in 2017, I finally decided to stick with WordPress and change MY BARBIE WORLD to THE TRAVEL BLOGGER IN PINK.

2.  ONGOING BEAUTY ROUTINE

With my stressful work as an educator and blogger, I was able to establish my beauty routine.  Thanks to Soulscape Spa & Wellness Lounge Marcos Highway and Nailaholics Spa & Nail Salon Metroeast Branch.

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3.  SUCCESSFUL BAGUIO PRESS TRIP

TBIP continues to share various contents to our followers and readers.  Though, there were changes with my original Baguio itinerary, it was still successful.  Big thanks to the following:

  1.  Belfrei Spa (CJH Branch)
  2.  JIC Baguio English Academy
  3.  Baguio Red Station
  4.  Le Vain Bakery
  5.  Cafe Lusso
  6.  Samgyeop Pocha Korean Restaurant
  7.  Sage Cafe
  8.  Route 55

 

TBIP’s RELAUNCH

On October 30, 2018, TBIP will have its formal relaunch @ Mama’s Fish House (beachfront) in Diniwid Beach, Boracay Island.  We will have live IG and FB coverage and exclusive posts about this event.

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To celebrate this, PRASHANT SPA (A Tirta Spa Brand) offers 40% of their rates to the spectators since that will be open to everyone as this will be held in the beachfront of Diniwid beach (Laboracay week).  We will distribute the brochures on the said event.  You may also send a message to jasmine@thetravelbloggerinpink so I can send you the coupon and brochure.

We hope to see you there on our special event.  For collaborations or if you would like to take part in our event, please shoot me a quick email.

 

Charcoal and Yellow Rocketship Business Launch Poster new

I included Cafe Lussoin my 4-day itinerary in my Baguio press trip last year.  I was quite curious why people have considered it as one of the best coffee shops in the City of Pines, and I had to find out why.

Lusso night

Cafe Lusso is located at Ecco One Bldg., Gen. Luna Road cor.  Assumption Rd., Baguio City.  The cafe caters mostly to students and professionals who would just like to hang out, work quietly, and have a cup of coffee.  The ambiance sets a homey feeling that would make you feel comfy and at ease when you are in the cafe.

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As a coffee lover, my day won’t be complete without having a cup of coffee.  Though that day, I just had a cup of cappuccino in Le Vain Bakery, there was an urge for me to try their coffee at Cafe Lusso; unfortunately, their hot drinks were not available so I just had cold Cafe Mocha.

Cafe Lusso has become very popular not only because of the homey ambiance but with the coffee and meals that they offer.  Yes- you read it right!  Customers do not just go crazy over their coffee but their meals as well (pasta, bingsu, breads and pastries by Le Vain bakery).

 

 

According to the staff, here are the best sellers that you should try:

Frappe:  Strawberry Mint @ P138

                Cookies & Cream @ P123

Meals:  Honey Bread – P99

               Pasta Alfredo or Pesto + Drink @ P169

 

 

I highly recommend this cafe to everybody.  Eveyrthing is quite perfect especially if they will renovate the place but I loved the classic look (Just minor renovation will do).  

CAFE LUSSO

Ecco One Bldg., Gen. Luna Road cor.  Assumption Rd., Baguio City. 

 

 

There are different countries that offer online and on-site ESL, IELTS assistance and TESOL certification and I never thought that Philippines would be one them– not until I have learned about JIC English Academy in Baguio City.  I had the chance to have a tour in their academy in my Baguio press trip last month.

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JIC Baguio is situated at 73 Del Nacia Apt., Upper West Camp 7, Baguio City.  Outside, it looks small, but when you enter the property, you will see the buildings with different facilities and dorm as well.  They have two main buildings:  the PS/IELTS Center and the IB Center.

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It’s not just a tutorial center.  JIC Baguio is an English academy with different amenities

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THE IB (Intensive Basic) CENTER

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The PSI Center (Power Speaking -IELTS)

(The two photos above are courtesy of JIC Baguio English Academy)

In my quick tour in their academy, I was really impressed with how the President, Mr. Leo Im and his staff has managed to make JIC Baguio as competitive as the other international schools are concerned. 

Here are the different reasons also why JIC Baguio is now considered as a world-class English Academy:

  1.  They have learning facilities like the study area (free from distractions) where the students can have self-study and the CNN room where they can do their research during their vacant time.
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the study area

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the CNN room

2.  They have different classrooms suited for different number of students (a cubicle type and medium to large classroom) equipped with the learning materials that they have personally developed.

 

3.    They have one-on-one and group classes handled by professional and certified English teachers who teach American and British conversation classes.    The students don’t just learn English, but they also get to meet other foreign students.  (80% of the students are Koreans– the rest are Japanese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Thais and Chinese)

4.  They have amenities like the court where they can play outdoor games and gym where the students can have their daily workout and burn calories.

 

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the gym

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the court

5.  They implement the CHALLENGER PROGRAM which is very effective in enhancing the communication skills of the students.  In JIC Baguio, the students will pay P500 if they speak in vernacular.  I have adapted this technique in my English classes– everytime my students speak a Filipino/Tagalog word, they have to pay P3.00. I can see that the students are improving and they try to speak English. In less than a week, I have noticed that my students became confident of themselves even if most of the time they are not grammatically correct.

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6.  They have different type of rooms in the dormitory where the students can stay (single to 4 pax).  Each room is already furnished with sofa set and television.  It has a  kitchen where the students can cook their own food.  It also has a refrigerator where you can stock cold drinks and preserved foods.  It has single type beds and closet where they can place their clothes.

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7.  They provide customized classes or courses depending on the students’ needs.  After the assessment, the length of the program will be determined.   Interesting programs include the following:

a.  Working Holiday Program

This is for the students who would like to travel in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and develop their communication skills (speaking and writing) in preparation for employment.

b.  Internship Program (Part of the WH Program)

– Barista Program Internship at Cafe Lusso (The students will be equipped with everything they have to learn about coffee and hands-on training).

– Tour Guiding (The students will be trained how to mingle with different nationalities with Tour Guiding essentials and problem-solving skills.

– Volunteer Work (such as medical mission, feeding program, donation events and tree planting)

8.  They have a cafeteria that prepares nutritious meals for the students.  They have schedule of meals prepared in advance but students can also request their preferred meals.

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The mini store where the students can buy snacks and beverages

Here are some photos of our tour in the academy. (Photos are courtesy of JIC Baguio)

Thank you, JIC Baguio for accommodating TBIP.  In my next Baguio press trip (probably next year-2019) , I am planning to have a documentary blog/vlog about two topics:  how it feels to be a student in JIC (I will attend a class and will live in the dorm) and will teach as well.

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For more information about their courses and fees here are their contact details:

JIC Baguio English Academy

73 Del Nacia Apt., Upper West Camp 7, Baguio City

Website:  http://www.baguiojic.com

FB pagehttp://www.facebook.com/baguiojic

Phone Number:  +63 74 442 5970 (Main office)

Vice President:  +63 936 936 1833 

Marketing Consultant:  +63 995 463 0730

One of the things that I include when I travel is not only to discover about interesting activities to do, places to eat and hang out, but also a spa that you can recommend to my readers.  I know that most of us have a busy schedule and we need to squeeze our precious time to destress.  In 2017, I have discovered four of the best spas in the Philippines.  Please take note that I do not recommend all the spas that I have visited.  I may probably post some photos or videos, but to recommend or feature the spa or  service is something that I am careful of.    I do not want to mislead the public with false information– so when I recommend something, I believe that it would be beneficial to the other customers as well.

(The sequence of the numbers are not according to the ranking, but to the first one that I have visited.

  1.  TIRTA SPA (April 2017)

Sitio Malabunot, Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan, 5608

https://www.tirtaspa.com/

 

How can I forget about my summer escapade in paradise?  Tirta Spa made me feel like a queen when I visited Boracay.  From the moment I enter their gates til I hear the sound of the gongs announcing my arrival, and the professionalism of the front desk officer, Rose,  when she welcomed me with a glass of calamansi drink prepared personally by the owner’s mother, I was mesmerized and flabbergasted.  Not only the sight of their impressive architectural design, luxurious villas, classy Asian furnitures, relaxing ambiance and awards of excellence are the proofs why Tirta is the best spa in Boracay Island– it is their excellent service to their clients.

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Tirta’s professional therapists

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I had their Anti-time Facial and body massage for 2.5 hours.  My therapist, Ms. Lady started with the foot wash ritual.  She explained to me about the products that she will use prior the treatment.  I left the spa with an incredible feeling and even my family members noticed the different glow in my skin.

2.  Z SPA (November 2017)

2/F Ace Hotel, Brixton cor. United St., Pasig City

I was really impressed with the cleanliness and elegant furnishings that Z Spa has.  The place is very spacious- 400 plus square meters with VIP and common rooms.   I had the Swedish massage and Coco Body Scrub in their VIP room. The room had clean beds, TV, with own bathroom (with private Sauna room, bath tub and shower.

 

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What can you ask for? I have totally enjoyed everything that I almost forgot about the time.

INTERESTING THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

1. The owner, Ms. Chat, personally prepares the apple cucumber welcome drinks.

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2.  Ms. Chat personally makes sure that the therapists are really good.  They have the simulation test wherein she acts as the client.  If you can’t please her, you won’t be a good therapist– so in order to be one of the Z Spa attendants, you should pass her standards.

3.  Ms. Chat is very particular with the cleanliness of the spa.  She personally checks if the rooms are clean.

4.  They use all-natural products and NO MINERAL OILS.

When I visited, they just opened the spa so I think they have added more services now.  The underarm whitening is something that it quite interesting.  You should try that.

3.  SOULSCAPE SPA Marcos Highway (December 2017)

2/F The Pinnacle Plaza, Marcos Highway, Cainta, Rizal

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Finally, I’ve discovered a classy spa near our location.  It’s very convenient to me because in just few minutes, I am already there.  Here are the different areas in their spa:

 

Soulscape is a part of my Christmas glow achievement and of my beauty routine to achieve my summer-ready skin and stress-free look this coming April.  These are the treatments I had in my visit last month.

  1.  The Minty Peppermint Anti-Dandruff Treatment

This is the one that I really need as of the moment because my hair is exposed to dirt.  After the spa treatment, at home, I noticed some white flakes fell on my clothes.  I found out that peppermint has this ability or should I say magic to drive away all the flakes in your hair and to maintain its shine.  Until Christmas, I got rid of the flakes, but when I travelled to Baguio City on the 27th, I noticed that it went back.  I think I have to include this hair treatment in my spa package everytime I visit Soulscape.

2.  Kojic Salt Body Scrub

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Kojic Salt Body Scrub

This is also a must in my list as I am obsessed to anti-aging treatments.  Aside from that effect, it also reduces stress and improves blood circulation.  They also have the coffee and gluta body scrub.

3.  Collagen Face Mask

collagen face mask

Of course, as part of the beauty routine my face needs to be smooth and younger looking as well– that is already included in my list.

4.  60-minute Anti-Stress Massage 

This should be included in your Create-A-Spa package once you have decided to book an appointment with them.  I will guarantee that you will be relaxed and destressed.

4.  BELFREI SPA BAGUIO 

2/F Ayala Technohub, Camp John Hay, Baguio City

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I have included this in my recent press trip to Baguio and I am very impressed with their service.  I travelled for almost 5 hours and we were hella stressed but it was all worth it.  The customers have to book ahead of time because have a large volume of customers waiting– no wonder why they have 2 branches.  The one I visited in Camp John Hay is the 2nd branch.  The one in SM Baguio is there for a decade already.

I had their Indulge Package (facial, foot spa and massage) because I was in a hurry.  Next time I go back to Baguio, there’s no way that I won’t be able to have that Belfrei Pamper package that includes the body scrub.

 

MY SPA HORROR STORY: (I opted not to give the name of the spa as it would be a mean thing to do.  This will serve as a warning the next time that you choose a spa for your destressing session).  

Not in all times, you will be relaxed when you are in a spa.  Be careful in attractive flyers and ads, when you actually reach the place, it’s like a haunted house and the service is even terrible.  The furnishings seemed filled with dirt and instead of soothing music, you will hear the laughter of the people.

I didn’t use the toiletries because those are yucky and the weird thing is that I didn’t feel relaxed after the massage.  Usually, after a massage i won’t be feeling any pain as what I have experienced in the spas i’ve mentioned above but this one, I felt I was beaten after.

I think they should have genuine concern for their clients because if they were satisfied, they would come back and recommend the service.  I actually have a dark spot here in my right cheek.  I think I got this after the pricking which I do not need at all because i do not have pimples at all.  Worst of all, the prices are quite expensive!  Make a thorough research before you visit a spa.  If you have seen one or two negative reviews, that’s the hint.  Don’t bother to waste your time.

This year, I will be featuring more posts about beauty secrets and I hope this blog post helped you in a way.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

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