Cooper is missing

Our friend’s Yorkshire Terrier slipped through the gate on June 4, 2011.
He was last seen in Dasmariñas Village.
If you can help find this dog, please call the numbers below.
Family missing him badly.
844-0860 • 844-0861

My creation

Tour of Tagaytay

I’m sure there are nice places to stay in Tagaytay, they’re just not open to the public.
The best place to stay is a log cabin, but we have no access to one anymore.
That is one of life’s regrets. My dream is to own a log cabin in Tagaytay one day.

Tagaytay Highlands 3

I used to wish we had shares at The Spa and Lodge, but when I visited last year the place was in dire need of renovation. So sad.
I feel bad for the shareholders who deserve a well-kept place.

Spa Lodge

The boys don’t want to go home yet, so I went all over the place looking for a nice hotel to move into.
The first place I went to was Discovery Country Suites. It looks a like a big cozy house turned into a bed and breakfast. I’m not so crazy about the restaurant they set up in the lobby, but the food is supposed to be good at Verbena.
I checked out all seven bedrooms—most of them nice and cozy, but the bathrooms are all in bad condition.

Discovery Country Suites 3

Discovery Country Suites 2

Next, I checked out The Boutique. Don’t let the pictures and website fool you. Of all the places I looked at, this was the most dilapidated—from the lobby to the common areas, stairwell, and most especially the kitchen area. I had the urge to run out.

The Boutique Bed and Breakfast

The Boutique - 5

Right next door is The Theodore, so I walked over there.
The lobby looks like it was designed by a novice, but some of the rooms are OK.
The rooms are generally dark and moody, not for children at all. It has a bordello kind of feel, so maybe good for romantic couples.
What made me back out are the bathrooms—some have no walls (I hate open bathrooms), some are really small, you have to squeeze in to enter the toilet. So I gave up.

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(Photos: No Doors)

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Next I checked out the Summit Ridge Hotel, which is probably good for large company outings. It is really a budget hotel.

Facade

Lobby

Last, I checked out Taal Vista Hotel and all I can say is, mas maganda pa ang Medical City Hospital. I gave up.
Time to go home!

Taal Vista Lodge

After seeing all of that I conclude that the Inn at The Cliffhouse is still the best place to stay, but I’m not coming back.
Three things:
We just have to make money and get a place of our own.
We are better off just going to Hong Kong or some other country.
We can take the kids to Baguio or to Abaca Resort in Cebu. I really want to see.
Here’s wishing for better hotels in the country.

Sayang

This is why I rarely travel around the Philippines. It is very difficult to find a place to stay that is first class all the way—this includes even the “best” hotels around Metro Manila.
We’re currently on a Tagaytay trip—our last hurrah before the kids go back to school.
I found this place after researching extensively online. It is not cheap, mind you. Luckily there is an off-season, weekday 40% discount now.

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I chose it based on the pictures online, even though some relatives of mine warned me about their billing practices and other house rules, such as no extra beds and strictly no more than four people in a room—even though one room is 75 square-meters huge.

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So much space, it’s insane.

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Sayang, even the most high class hotels allow extra beds at an added cost, but this place absolutely doesn’t allow it.
We’re a group of three kids and four adults, so obviously we need two rooms. But if you’re a group of five, an extra bed should surely work since there are two queen beds per room.

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At first glance this room looks better than the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.

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There is a fantastic view outside and a tiny jacuzzi. It feels like Fantasy Island. Kulang na lang, Hervé Villechaize (de plane!).

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It should be a lovely place. The Inn at Cliffhouse, Tagaytay has only four guest rooms, called West Quoddy, Montauk Point, Brant Point, and Minot’s Lodge.
The rooms are accessed through an underground staircase. It feels like James Bond.

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Whoever did the interiors is really talented. But whoever did the bathrooms doesn’t know what a good bathroom is.
Montauk Point has the most decent bathroom at all—the rest use dark outdoor tiles you wouldn’t want to walk barefoot on.
The fixtures look low budget. They really look like they cut corners here.

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This is the most decent shower here. The others are creepy.

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Outside there are dining and eating places to choose from, some of which have really good reviews: Fire Lake Grill, Buon Giorno, Café Breton, and Mochiko, which my sister Ana loves.

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Unfortunately we ended up eating at a café that was so disappointing. Will not name it here, let’s just say it’s in the compound.

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Here’s what you have to know if you’re planning to stay:
1) If you book online, you’ll be required to make a bank deposit, which is a hassle. When you check in, they will demand full payment, instead of keeping your credit card on file like normal hotels. So odd.
We insisted on paying only for the first night in case something goes wrong.
2) When we arrived and checked in, the lobby was so hot, as in ang init ng aircon. They had ceiling fans, so I told them to use them.
3) I asked to use the restroom, having come from a long drive from Makati. There was no restroom at the lobby. Instead, the “inn keeper” led me to a dirty communal banyo at the outdoor restaurant row.
4) The bedrooms are really lovely but the bathrooms are substandard. I wish Filipinos would pay as much attention to bathrooms as they do to bedrooms.
5) Our aircon is defective, not cooling at 17 degrees and making this crazy noisy sound. We need Sleepasil. I’m really scared it will explode in the middle of the night.
6) They offered to move us to another room, but I checked and saw dead insects and a cockroach in one corner (I did not take a picture). All rooms should be cleaned everyday, even if there are no guests because you can have walk-ins at any time, like we did. Those bugs tell us that room hasn’t been cleaned in a while.
7) Our balcony is so dirty, my mother would faint. I asked them to sweep tomorrow.
8) At 10 PM they turned off the Internet!! Good thing I brought my Globe Tattoo, otherwise imbyerna na talaga ako.
Here’s a tip: if you’re using Globe Tattoo, search for an area in the room that has the best signal. Device doesn’t have to be next to your computer.
9) There are flying insects in the room. Like large bugs. Jeroen already killed two flying bugs and Ben is afraid to go back to bed.

The plus side is—the staff are really kind, nice people, so I can’t get mad.
Plus they use nice scenting. :)
I don’t know who owns this place, but they need to know their place cannot be run by just nice people. They have to be professionally trained in hospitality, maintenance, and cleanliness at all times.
It’s too bad because this could be the best place to stay in Tagaytay.
The reason I’m writing this is because I would like to come back in the hope that they can improve what they can.
For the price we’re paying I wish they would pay attention to details such as dead insects, aircons that need to be changed or maintained, and Internet that dies at 10 PM.
I also wish more Filipinos would push for higher standards in all bathrooms, toilets, restrooms in restaurants, hotels, malls, etc.
I find it so sayang that we strive for class but our restrooms remain wa-class.
P.S. This aircon is really stressing me. Boys are asleep now. I hope they can fix this tomorrow, otherwise, we should be going home.

Freeway’s capsule collection features F. Sionil José

After paying tribute to National Artists Nick Joaquin (Literature), Ang Kiukok (Visual Arts), José Garcia Villa (Literature) and Ramon Valera (Fashion Design), Freeway launched its fifth National Artist Collectors’ Series featuring the work of National Artist for Literature Francisco Sionil José.

Freeway x FSJ 01

Held last May 31, 2011 at The Row, Glorietta 5, Freeway, the intimate gathering was attended by media, bloggers, peers, friends and family of F. Sionil José.

Mrs. Jose, Katty Qua, Sheree Gotauco, F. Sionil José, Myrza Sison, Gilda Cordero Fernando
Mrs. Sionil Jose, Katty Qua, Sheree Gotauco, F. Sionil José, Myrza Sison, Gilda Cordero Fernando

Liza Macuja, Cherie Gil, Lourd de Veyra
Liza Macuja, Cherie Gil, Lourd de Veyra

Sheree Gotauco and Katty Qua
Freeway’s Sheree Gotauco and Katty Qua

The event was hosted by Prima Ballerina and Ballet Manila’s Artistic Director, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde.
It was a pleasure to have her host the event before her final performance in the Swan Song Series starting this October.

Lisa Macuja and F. Sionil José

The tribute began with a video presentation of F. Sionil José’s life, followed by a Tertulia, with readings for the evening chosen by Philippine Daily Inquirer Editor Lito Zulueta.
Excerpts from F. Sionil José’s works were interpreted by dramatic actress Cherie Gil and musician/poet/journalist/artist Lourd Ernest De Veyra, accompanied by live classical guitar by Ferdie Medina, a UP College of Music instructor.

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For this event, Freeway collaborated with Lomographic Embassy Manila, who covered the event using analog cameras.
Lomomanila will hold a mini exhibit that will showcase photographs taken during the event.
The capsule collection, featuring F. Sionil José’s works interpreted in graphic tees, tailored woven tops, dresses and accessories are available now at all Freeway stores.

Freeway x FSJ 02

To know more about the collection, visit http://www.freeway.net.ph.
Follow Freeway on Facebook and on Twitter.

Help for Filipina travelers vs. Bali immigration

Blas F. Ople Policy Center assists harassed Filipina bloggers to file complaint

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center, headed by Susan “Toots” Ople, is taking steps to help the Filipina bloggers who were harassed in Bali, Indonesia.
New Media Philippines reports a complaint has been filed with the Department of Foreign Affairs and hopes to see action on the case.

Ople

Hope to hear from Chyng Reyes for updates. Good luck girls!

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