Nothing is more satisfying than being excited when we first open the door of our well made rooms during staycations.
We were eyeing a few establishments in Pasig City and for me to be coming from San Pedro, Laguna, a whole day won’t be enough for me to be combing said itinerary. You wouldn’t believe, it even includes Divisoria. Ahaha
So, finally, after the holidays, we were able to book a weekend into this nice and looks really clean (with its’ black & white Italian theme) 3 star hotel – Privato.
It is less than 10 minutes from Shaw, Edsa blvd. Of course, if without the traffic. Jen and I wanted to do staycations as much as we want to though due to our conflicting schedules. We can only do them every once in a while.
As we intend to visit the following:
Van Gogh is Bipolar
Lia’s Cakes in Season
And I wasn’t kidding, Divisoria is included. Ahaha
As a 3 star hotel, Privato is equipped with meeting our typical expectations, except for the immaculate white robes I saw from their Instagram account. Or maybe Deluxe Double Queens doesn’t include the robes?
Amenities includes complimentary WI-FI, LCD Television with cable programs ( we were boob tube freaks for a day), watching movie marathons from HBO and Fox. =)
Also a safety box, a mini refrigerator with complimentary bottled waters daily, hair dryer, an electric kettle, and coffee and tea with choices of white or brown sugar.
I’m happy that there is a jar of infused water in the lobby, though only available until 9:00 pm.
It has 177 rooms, 3 Ballrooms, 2 Conference Rooms, a spa, (which is just beside our room at 8th floor), Rooftop Pool & Gym, and a Roof Deck Lounge.
roof deck & pool
There are 3 restaurants (Piazza Privato, Verona Roof deck and Privato Cafe. They have ex-deals with several establishments better known as Key to the City. Had we were informed about this, we might probably try one of these and enjoyed exclusive discounts. I heard Tittos with good reviews.
The nearest go to place from this hotel is Kapitolyo and Estancia mall. Though most of those places we have planned to visit are at Mega mall and Podium.
The nearest go to place from this hotel is Estancia mall and Kapitolyo which is like a Food Mecca in Pasig, its’ residents took it further by establishing a neighborhood of remarkable food spots. Though most of those places we have planned to visit are at Mega mall and Podium.
There are actually 3 locations, the other 2 is in Quezon City, and the recently opened one is in Makati. Jen and I were in sync with what we wanted our weekend be like and were so excited that finally we were able to do it once more.
This staycation seemed too fun not to be shared. A very relaxed weekend indeed. Looking forward to our next. =)
706 Shaw Boulevard, Ortigas, Pasig City, Philippines
Steam billows, the teapot fragrant. I enter a state of desires diminishing. Within the stillness, a further pleasure. Nothing coarse or superficial. This is drinking tea. – The Minister of Leaves: Republic of Tea
For a long time now, people are converting their lifestyles into a healthier one. I for one, is a coffee junkie and is guilty because I could have choose tea over it, but I didn’t.
My foodie travel and all in between buddy is a coffee addict too, however, she’s been hooked to teas lately. Years ago, I remember her just having one at every chance, if she spotted her favorite milk tea brand which is Dakasi.
We know that teas like coffee is rich in anti-oxidants too. And upon my first time to try this milk tea, I instantly love it and religiously researched for the best ones.
So what’s with milk teas? What kind of tea are they using and mixes it with milk and tapiocas? Or pearls or boba? Oh, another reason why I intentionally not that interested is due to my lactose intolerance to tea and milk. It is really hassle on my part to discover that my tummy is in trouble and I’m not home yet.
So, I really wondered, who (and where) this Milk tea craze began? I’ve been seeing Bubble tea stations here and there. In just one street? There are like 2-3 stations in awesome interiors and ingenious names. Hear some of them:
Sharetea and so on.
From where the teas came from? and where is the best tea coming from? I see symbols of the Buddha in most stations. It misled me into thinking it is from Thailand or India, and thinking that Taiwan is a Buddhist country too. Is it an indication that their teas came from the same country? Or of course only those with “Thais” on their names. =) When other countries like India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, are Buddhist too.
The countries that grow the biggest production of teas are China, India, Sri Lanka and Kenya. While they are mainly grown in Asia, South America, some parts of the Black and Caspian tea. Other countries like America and Africa are trying to grow their own due to demands. https://www.palaisdesthes.com/en/understanding/countries/
It is said that tea is the most consumed drink after water.
The only tea I’ve known in my entire life are Twinings, Lipton and Nestea. I heard about Oolong tea when my sister in law encouraged me to drink it due to its’ high-dose of anti-oxidants. And the famous “salabat” which is made from ginger is something I really detested and we also refer to it is tea. My mentor used to make some for me before my performance as I used to sing during elementary days. I didn’t like its’ taste, I just have to drink it as swift as I can so as to please my mentor since they will be calling my attention if I wouldn’t be able to reach some octaves during rehearsals. I do not like the taste.
Nowadays, I even see on Social media, liters and liters of Bubble teas are being brought home by junkies. Perhaps, I should look at it positively, they are doing something good to their bodies. Instead of consuming softdrinks which I stopped drinking too for years now. They are having teas. =) Just a warning, tea on its’ own is healthy. however, when you mixed them with sugar and milk, the benefits of it is greatly reduced, when all I thought is that I’ve gone “healthier” drinking milk teas lately. Let’s discover which countries produce teas.
The Top 10 countries producing teas are as follows:
Twinnings is the oldest tea shop in London. It’s flagship store being 300 year old historically. Their pride is on challenging the status quo of tea. With a history dating back to 1706, quality tea has always been at the heart of what they do. Renowned for creating vibrant and aromatic blends that are loved by all, from Earl Grey and English Breakfast to Chai Lattes and super fruity infusions, they focus on the details, because it matters most. https://www.twinings.co.uk/
Tazo – Farm—>Kenyan highlands to the west of the Rift Valley, the tropical provinces of northern Argentina, the mountains of West Java, the beautiful settings in Malawi, the bustling port cities of Mombasa and Dubai.
Tazo’s founder: Steven Smith, explained the name and it’s as good an indicator as any of the spirit of creativity, adventure, and originality that TAZO is built on, comparing it to the whirling mating dance of pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It’s also synonymous with the cheery salutation used by residents of Easter Island in the 5th century. It’s pretty incredible. He conjured unexpected flavor blends by mixing unconventional ingredients wherever and whenever he found them. And he did it with style. https://www.tazo.com/us/en/
The Republic of Tea – Farm: Sri Lanka, India, Japan, China, Taiwan and South Africa.
The Republic of Tea is a privately owned American tea company based in Larkspur, California that makes and sells more than 300 varieties of teas throughout North America. The Republic of Tea is known for packaging its loose teas and tea bags in tall, cylindrical tins. https://www.republicoftea.com/
Lipton – Farm: Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, and China.
Lipton is a British brand of tea, owned by Unilever. Lipton was also a supermarket chain in the United Kingdom before it was sold off to Argyll Foods, to allow the company to focus solely on tea. The company is named after its founder Thomas Lipton. They have a long-term goal for sustainable tea production and sets out the strict standards of pesticide and chemical use their suppliers must meet. https://www.lipton.com/us/en/home.html
Yorkshire Tea – Farm: Africa and India.
Yorkshire Tea is a black tea blend produced by the Bettys & Taylors Group. It is the most popular traditional black tea brand sold in the UK. In 1886 Charles Edward Taylor Founded CE Taylor & Co., later shortened to “Taylors”, the company was purchased by ‘Betty’s Tea Rooms’ which today forms Bettys & Taylors Group. https://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk/
Celestial Seasonings – Farm: Colorado
Wild herbs hand-picked from the rocky mountains of Colorado, Celestial Seasonings serves more than 1.6 billion cups of tea a year. Included in their lines are green tea, chai tea, rooibos tea, wellness tea and Cool Brew iced tea, and the ingredients, over 100 of them, are sourced from over 35 countries. They’ve grown so much since they first started out picking those wild herbs in the Rockies, and still driven by that same entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for making tea that’s good for people and the planet. http://www.celestialseasonings.com/
Harney & Sons – Farm: China, Taiwan, Japan
Harney & Sons is an American tea company founded in 1983 in Salisbury, Connecticut, and now located in Millerton, New York. They specialize in high-quality loose teas and herbal teas, and offer several products that are organic and certified kosher. https://www.harney.com/
Dilmah – Farm: Sri Lanka
Dilmah is a Sri Lankan brand of tea, sold internationally. The company was founded in 1988 by Merrill J Fernando. The name Dilmah was chosen by combining the first names of Fernando’s sons Dilhan and Malik. https://estates.dilmahtea.com/
Dilmah is the brand that Picked is using. It is one of the nicest coffee shops in our area.
Bigelow Tea Company – Farm: Sri Lanka
The Bigelow Tea Company is an American manufacturer of dried teas based in Fairfield, Connecticut. It was founded by Ruth C. Bigelow in 1945, based on a recipe she marketed as “Constant Comment” tea. https://www.bigelowtea.com/
Tetley – Farm: Africa & Asia
Tetley is a beverage manufacturer founded in 1837 in Yorkshire, England. It is the largest tea company in the United Kingdom and Canada, and the second largest in the United States by volume. Tetley’s manufacturing and distribution business operates in forty countries, selling over sixty branded tea bags. https://www.tetley.co.uk/
And while we’ve finished dissecting what countries produces the best tea, So it now answered my wonderings why most of the shops I’ve seen has an image of the Buddha. =) Now, how do we classify a good tea?
According to Seven Cups, also an American tea company based in Tucson, Arizona: “Green tea should taste fresh, not stale, and should not be too astringent. Black tea should be full bodied and fresh. In general, good tea has a sweet aftertaste and should feel very slippery going down the throat. The aftertaste should linger for a noticeably long time, like the feeling you have after listening to music, when a good tune lingers. Some teas can provide a very interesting taste by sipping some water while the aftertaste is present, the effect being quite dramatic.
Remember that tasting tea is like tasting wine: slurp it to aerate it (unlike in Western countries, in China slurping your tea is a sign of appreciation and knowledge and not considered bad manners!), let it slide down the middle of the tongue in one sip, and down the sides of the tongue in the next, followed by the whole tongue with big slurping. Pay attention to the subtleties and the complexity of the tea. A large part of learning to appreciate tea is learning to slow down and pay attention to the subtleties.” https://sevencups.com/learn-about-tea/how-to-judge-tea/
So why the need to add milk to tea? One of the practical reasons based on history is:
That in the 17th and 18th centuries the china cups tea was served in were so delicate they would crack from the heat of the tea. Milk was added to cool the liquid and stop the cups from cracking. This is why, even today, many English people add milk to their cups BEFORE adding the tea! https://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/texte/drink_tea.htm
Makes sense right? And another reason is:
Adding milk creates a smoother flavor and slightly sweetens the tea. It’s a popular way to serve tea in many parts of the world and it is an easy way to dress up your average cup of tea. A perfect way to mellow and smooth out the flavors of tea, particularly some of the bitter notes especially found in black tea.
The addition of milk results in a less astringent, less bitter flavor. Not only does milk cover up the flavor of the tea, but it also binds to some of the bitter chemical compounds found in tea. Some of these bitter compounds are very beneficial to health. Due to this, if you’re drinking tea for health reasons, tea without milk is a better choice. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-milk-tea-765143
Health-wise, here are the top 10 healthiest teas you might want to stick into drinking:
Well known for its calming properties, and preliminary evidence supports this. It may also help relieve premenstrual symptoms and high blood lipid, blood sugar and insulin levels.
It relieves discomfort of the digestive tract. Studies have found that peppermint oil can help relieve nausea, cramping, spasms and stomach pain.
Best known as a remedy for nausea, and studies have repeatedly found it to be effective for this use. However, several studies have also found that ginger can help relieve period pain, and it may offer benefits for people with diabetes.
May help lower high blood pressure and fight oxidative stress. However, it shouldn’t be taken with a certain diuretic medication or at the same time as aspirin.
Prevent or shorten the duration of the common cold. While several studies have found it to be effective for this use, the evidence on the matter is conflicting.
Preliminary evidence suggests that rooibos tea may help improve bone health and reduce heart disease risk, but more studies are needed.
Improves cognitive function and memory. It may also benefit colon and heart health.
May improve antioxidant levels, heart and skin health and even aid in relieving anxiety.
High in vitamin C and antioxidants. Its anti-inflammatory properties may reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Studies have also found rose hips effective at fighting aging of the skin and reducing stomach fat.
Let me personally add Oolong tea. So that makes it 11. =) Oolong tea may not be as well known as green or black tea, but it has similar health benefits. These include benefits for heart, brain, bone and dental health. In addition, it may boost your metabolism, decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and protect against certain types of cancer. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oolong-tea-benefits
Why the craze?
There have been a few stores offering milk teas for the past years, however, there is a significant growth and popularity (probably because of social media) of this Milk tea trend, of people drinking milk tea, of business owners putting up one even there is a milk tea station some blocks away from theirs. Look at how the trend went on.
Thankful to Yummy.ph I discovered while doing my research that Carmen’s Best have a milk tea variant already. I really must try it. =)
This is what’s good about blogging, learning is truly infinite. Honestly, it took me days to do my researches, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Becoming an instant fan of Milk tea, what I define best is that I can taste the earthy flavor of the tea, better yet, experience its’ aroma. The creaminess of the milk, just the right sweetness (although most of them asked your preference), and the quality of the pearls or “sago”. It should be chewy for me. =) As I enjoy each cup, I can’t help but wonder, what brand of tea are they using? =)
So, here are my dozen favorites:
Hongkong King’s Milk tea
Currently, drinking a cup of milk tea makes me happy, just like coffee does. I have more on my list of brands to try. Though, I’m glad that those within my area great ones too. =) Also, since sugar is my number one enemy here, it’s a good thing that they now asked for your preferred sugar levels. So it isn’t 100% for me. =)
Nowadays, with the millennial’s meme that “Milk tea is Life.” I think I could agree. =) #pearlfever #milkteatrend #milkteaislife
“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”~Mark Black
This 4-star hotel has it’s own special way of pulling back their curtains. One weekend, Jen and I were able to witness Hotel Jen’s unique personality.
Hotel Jen has been alluring us since last year especially my travel buddy: Jen, since it bears her nick name. She’s declaring then she’s wanting to visit just to have a photo with that personalized pillow that says: “I’m staying with Jen.” Ahahaha!
Said pillow has been around some parts of the Asia Pacific (under Shangri-la Hotels & Resorts Management) and her excitement is overwhelming me. =) It is located along Roxas Boulevard, just across The Cultural Center of the Philippines,
and Star City. Our window is overlooking that giant “chubibo!” (Ferris wheel).
Manila bay with its’ beautiful sunset (and sunrise) is just a short walk away from us. However, we were too busy sleeping, we missed them both (sunrise and sunset). Like we went there just to rest, watch some movies, read and enjoy the placidness of our room with 2 comfy beds which allowed us to elude the city’s bustle. I was planning to unplug for that particular weekend but the speed of their internet is too fast so I enjoyed browsing and uploading photos as well. =)
Come dinner time, after scrutinizing choices of where we could eat at the lobby,
we opted to just go out and proceeded to this Seafood market which popularly known here in our country as “Dampa”. It took us less than 20 minutes to get there. The method of dining at Dampa is you choose first your seafood from the fresh market, everything are still in the water and the vendor will recommend restaurants where it is best to prepare and cook it. The charge will be separate.
You might want to look around and not settle right away on the first stall you bump into, who knows there’s a better price somewhere else. =)
What we had are shrimps, scallops, and lobsters. The last item is for Jen’s heart’s content. You’ll get crazy when she craves.
We partnered them with broccoli and Yang chow rice. We went back to the hotel after an hour with happy tummies.
Oh, there’s more. We later found out that our breakfast will not be sent to our room the following morning since what comes with our package is a Breakfast buffet. Hmmmn. Happy tummies again. =) I think this is the best part of the stay, we just enjoyed eating together without the need of going to the market, prepare our meal’s ingredients, cook them before we can eat, like everything here is free-flowing and just in front of us. Foodies!
Hotel Jen is in the following countries:
Hotel Jen Beijing
Hotel Jen Shenyang
Hotel Jen Hong Kong
Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour, Johor, Malaysia
Hotel Jen Penang
Hotel Jen Malé, Maldives
Hotel Jen Manila
There are 2 Hotel Jen in Singapore and they’re putting up one in Kota Kinabalu by year 2020.
Jen wanted to know how did they end-up with the hotel’s name. So I had to research for it. The website says that it is the brainchild of a virtual persona: Jen, that she owns a hotel, and all-time lover of life, travel and discovery.
It’s just great to know that some of our “Where to next” destination(s) were included in their list of locations. Jen is excited again. I was telling her can we try other hotels and she played deaf even on my second query. Hmmmn.
Hotel Jen isn’t too luxurious since it is just a 4- star hotel but as long as the people are friendly, the amenities are clean, everything is working, we are safe, all that we need is there, it is already truly an R&R for the two of us, and she is already checking her calendar for our next staycation.
We missed doing this a lot. The last one we had I think was a few years ago. =) I know we’re going to do it more often.
It is so gratifying to always have something to look forward to right? =) Because we deserve a break every once in a while and #seizethestay …
Hotel Jen is previously Traders Hotel also under Shangri-la Resorts and Hotels Management.
To book your stay, you can call them at: 02-795-8888
“If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough.” ~ Tory Burch
I have always been inspired by bloggers all these years and as I do my daily readings, I came across this place: Kaparkan Falls in Tineg, Abra.Upon research, Abra is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Bangued, and is bordered by Ilocos Norte on the northwest, Apayao on the northeast, Kalinga on the mid-east, Mountain Province on the southeast, and Ilocos Sur on the southwest. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abra_(province)
I have been to the Ilocos region several times, and I honestly wondered why I missed this spectacular province. Thanks to the bloggers I follow who’ve been there and densely illustrated its’ beauty and what to expect. In my heart, I knew then, Abra is one I shouldn’t miss. Specifically that falls in Tineg.
So one weekend of October, our travel agency announced that it’s time to go, it has been postponed for several times already due to the typhoons in the Philippines and my heart is pounding at the thought of waiting for another year to see Kaparkan falls. The best time to visit is during rainy season as it runs dry during the summer months. However, I’d still insist to call it my own Summer in October. =)
I have to thank the agency: Traveler Point PH for being so organized, caring and had us experience this “ABRAMAZING” weekend.
Day 1 – Friday night:
Our pick-up point is at Greenfields (Mandaluyong City) at 9:00 pm, our organizer is a couple who loves to travel too, we shared the trip along with 8 millennials who made the trip more exciting and full of fun despite of the perplexity of reaching our destination(s). We arrived at The Department of Tourism Office, Tineg around 6:00 am, it is estimated at 8 hours travel time from Manila, however due to several stop-overs, it took us 9 hours to reach Tineg, Abra. We were briefed before hitting the road. And at exactly 7:00 am, we are ready.
I am actually surprised knowing we’re riding on this Army truck.
Its’ tires at 1100 x 20 (all terrain), I thought I was lucky that my assigned seat is at the front with 2 millennial girls who made me laugh the whole time. While Jen is at the back along with the other travelers. I was telling her she wouldn’t like it in front, and she’s also saying I wouldn’t like it too at the back. As they say: “Sa harap, kitang-kita, sa likod, damang-dama!” (English translation: “The rough road is so visible in front, while the roughness and bumpiness is felt most at the back!”)
Connecting Tayum and Dolores municipalities:
is The Don Mariano Marcos bridge. The third longest bridge in the country with a total length of 886.812 linear meters. #thisthingwithwelcomearchs
As oriented, this “one hell of a ride” is more or less than 4 hours, and less than an hour trek to reach our destination.
It is my first time to experience one such ride, upon being there, and finally witnessing this magnificent falls, I hear everyone saying “Oh My God!” several times! Myself, speechless. I must say it (bruises, scratches, broken nails, etc.) was truly worth it, I totally forgot about that “ride” upon seeing Kaparkan falls. Let these pictures speak for themselves. =)
Nature has it’s own special way of taking my breath away.
Those rows of limestones are naturally formed in that wondrous presence through the years, though it made me wonder, they aren’t slippery. I was too careful as it glistens when one of them told me that it isn’t slippery. Because of this, I began my wanderings and conquered my fear. =)
Our coordinator must know how famished we’d be, upon reaching our Transient home dinner time, they had this “Boodle fight” dinner set-up to welcome our group. Yum! =) We have fresh fruits too!
Our itinerary come Sunday is composed of some interesting places which I will blog separately.
Just this one at Kaparkan Fallssubstantiates that my more than a year waiting time to visit Abra is truly worth it. While there’s more this province can offer.
It is the highlight of this trip while I have my own personal highlight too, it is our visit to Gabriela Silang Carino Gallery of Fine Arts, which really satiated not just my eyes but my soul too.
Our itinerary for Day 2 includes: A visit to St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral,Tangadan Tunnel,Gabriela Silang monument and Abra Pasalubong Center, passed by Don Mariano Marcos bridge, the open theater and view deck at Victoria park, another visit to an old heritage church: San Lorenzo Ruiz churchat the Camposanto, Bangued, side trip to Calle Crisologo, Vigan City, we also went to Balay ni Gianto buy Vigan longganiza and Bagnet(at Carl Louie) as pasalubong (goodies for loved ones at home). Our itinerary includes the Bantay Church Bell tower, the Gourd hat maker, the Loom weaving village, Acosta panciteria (that famous Abra pancit miki). But due to time constraint, we missed those ones. But it’s okay. For those who will visit Abra, these are also some spots you would want not to miss.
So this is how we spent this one amazing weekend at Abra. I must agree whenever they say it’s “Abramazing!”
“Every artist was first an amateur.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have not attempted to write about losing a loved-one. I do not have the strength for it. I lost my mother months ago and then I learned that there’s a proof that even in lowest times, you can find something positive from it. With me, I developed new relationships, or specifically new friendships.
Jen, the owner of Celestine Bazaar is my schoolmate during high school. We have common friends, though we’re not literally friends then. And very recently, that common friend brought us together. In a special way, it made me happy, because they reminded me of the good old days, and who I was.
Jen never stopped sending me comforting messages when she learned I lost my mom and it surprises me that she gives it to me, free-flowing. I really appreciate it. It meant a lot to me. I have been thinking of ways how I could give it back.
And during one of our chats, she invited me to visit her shop: “Celestine Bazaar”, she named it after her second mom, sister of her mom, who also passed away and we shared the same sentiments. She was very thoughtful. She and our common friend (who lost her mom too), made me feel that they understand what I’m going through.
She invited me to visit the shop once, and instantly, when I get there, I found nice items for myself, I also bought one for my mom even if she’s physically no longer with me, I bought her a mirror. =)
Onwards, the friendship continues and we discovered having the same interests, and one time, we ended up to collaborate by doing ex-deals. She allowed me to display my beaded stuff in her shop and I offered too that she can also display some stuff in my mom’s shop at home soon.
You will surely find items that will interest you at Celestine Bazaar. I, personally, each visit, left the place not empty handed. As there are too many good finds. Beautiful things in all corners are plenty and pretty. You’ll find yourself planning to go back again as you intend to buy more stuff.
Here’s a peek of her dazzling collection:
I am so proud of her to showcase and endorse the incredible craftsmanship of Filipino wood carvers from Paete, Laguna: The Wood carving capital of the Philippines. =)
She is also meticulous in offering new items. Soon, we are going together to Paete, where she gets all of her wooden items that are intricately created. I can’t wait for that too.
The floor lamps are one of her best sellers:
Just in time for the Holiday season, please drop by at Celestine Bazaar for your gift items need or if you’re wanting to add some items for your house, or doing some renovations, or looking for items to fill-in your new home, the shop can provide for you.
Celestine Bazaar is located at: Bro Business Center, Pacita Avenue, San Pedro, Laguna 4023. You can contact them at: (02) 919 3922.
For more items, please visit their Facebook page too: