All posts filed under: Reviews

Qunci Villas, Lombok, Indonesia

First off, I want to greet everyone a very Merry Christmas! I had some wonderful time with family last night. Speaking of family, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? This year, my whole family will be spending time all together at our place during the holidays. They will be coming from abroad, so I wouldn’t be doing some traveling during Christmas like I usually do. But that does not keep me from reminiscing about some of my wonderful Christmas Holiday trips. Here is one from 2013 in Qunci Villas, Lombok. And if you’re ever looking for a place to spend your Christmas Holiday next year, I would highly recommend it. Here are some of my photos taken during our trip: The year 2013 was the first year of our return to the tropics, having lived in France for two years before that, so I had been thirsting to see the gorgeous tropical beaches that I have grown to be even more fond of during my stay in the temperate zone of Southern France. Lombok was …

Birthday at Boracay Shangri-La Resort

For the longest time, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to take a dip once again in the beautiful, warm waters of the Philippines. And what perfect excuse is there to spoil myself (and my family + a close friend who tagged along) at a nice luxury resort than on the weekend of my birthday. Sand, sea, sky in one of the best white sand beaches this world has to offer — the perfect gift for my birthday. You will notice that I am posting a lot of pictures of myself for the first time. I hope you will bear with me because it’s my birthday. The resort really offers perfectly blissful opportunities for glorious photo-ops. This is also the first time I’m posting pictures that were all taken via iPhone camera and not DSLR. I wanted to travel light and enjoy my time, so I decided to do away with the hassle of carrying a big camera and heavy lenses. 🙂 I was a little bit sad, though, to find how polluted the once glorious and pristine …

Old Town and Around Praha

So many people have been telling me how beautiful Prague is, and how it is a must-visit place when you are in Europe. As for me, I have always been interested to visit the place because of its historical connection to Jose Rizal, my country’s beloved national hero. But of course, Praha has so much more to offer. True enough, it was really a fascinating place with interesting culture and history. But like most beautiful places, it was a bit too touristy. To go to Charles Bridge and have a nice picture without being stampeded on by the crowd, I had to wake up at 6AM. Good thing our hotel was conveniently a 5-minute walk from there. Prague is a city that is good for walking. I guess this is why they have a lot of interesting walking tours that you can avail of. We walked around the Prague Castle at sunset with a guy doing small group tours. They call themselves The Naked Tour Guide. It was interesting to know about the history of …

Pays Basque, France

I am currently in Europe right now for our family’s annual three-week summer holiday. On our first week here in France, we visited the Basque Region on the French side — St. Jean de Luz and Biarritz for some good promenade by the sea, food and shopping. It was a perfect sunny, beachy weather. It was my second time in St. Jean de Luz. The first time I was here was during my first trip to France in 2010. I was having one of my tantrums the first time I visited this place. All I remember was having a terrible paella and forgetting to take pictures. Fortunately, our second visit was the complete opposite. We even had a chance to dine at a one-Michelin starred restaurant called, Kaiku. It was a very good meal and a very pleasant experience dining in this restaurant. And also very reasonably priced for the quality. I  most especially loved the paella-inspired main dish. After lunching and doing some shopping in St. Jean de Luz, we decided to visit Biarritz. …

The Great Wall at Jinshaling

The Great Wall of China had always been in my list of must-visit places. I can still vividly recall the first time I read about it in our high school text book. I was in complete awe reading about its history, how it was built spanning dynasties and centuries. When the opportunity to visit Beijing came along, the first thing I did was research on which part of the Great Wall is the least crowded of all. I quickly discovered this tour called China Highlights, which organizes a small group of 5 people for a three-hour trek along the wall. Although they advertise this on their web site as a trek from Simatai to Jinshaling, we actually trekked from Jinshaling to Shalingkou instead. But it was still a great walk. Jinshaling, is actually located in the town of Chengde, which is a couple of hours’ bus ride from Beijing. I chose this portion of the wall not only because it is a lot less crowded but also because these portions are authentic and unrestored, unlike the ones …

The Beijing Experience

My first impression of Beijing was unexpectedly nice. I was a bit wary to visit this city because of what people tell me — that it is very polluted, smoggy and that the people are rude. I was lucky to get there without so much smog and pollution, though. And I found most of the people quite nice and not rude at all, except maybe for the scamming cab drivers. I was impressed at how huge their airport is. You’d have to take a train after the immigration check to get your baggage. The immigration queue was considerably long but it took a very short time to get past it. I booked myself transportation in advance to take me to the hotel (since hubby was going straight to work) as I arrived very early in the morning and didn’t really want the hassle of haggling with the non-English speaking cab drivers. There was very thick traffic jams along the way. It took 45 minutes to get to the hotel. But I was impressed by the fact …

In and Around Melbourne

Note: This post contains a bit of reviews on the hotels and restaurants my family and I visited during our trip. I would like to interrupt my series of post on Tuscany for this recent trip to Melbourne. My family has been invited by long-time friends on their wedding in one of the beautiful vineyards of Yarra Valley, a few kilometers off Melbourne. We spent the first few days in the city. It was already autumn, but we were blessed with warm, sunny weather the whole time we were there. We stayed at a hotel close to Chinatown, where most of the sites of interests are conveniently located. Melbourne is a nice city for walking. Although, there is a free tram that conveniently takes you right around the tourist spots. We had a nice walk along the Yarra River and had lunch at one of the restaurants. Melbourne is a lot more relaxed than Sydney. But I found the people a lot less friendly and the streets more invaded by Chinese tourists and migrants. In …