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Sunday, October 16, 2016

AHAVIA Lounge Spa UP Village

Previous Related Posts:
- Bridal Buff Package at AHAVIA LOUNGE SPA San Juan
- AHAVIA LOUNGE SPA Timog: Bringing the #Ahavia Brand in Quezon City
- Your Favorite AHAVIA LOUNGE SPA is now also in Katipunan Ave. Quezon City!

From the outside you can tell that it is relatively small compared to the three (3) other Ahavia Lounge Spa branches but this latest addition to the Ahavia brand certainly has a appeal that punches above its weight. I am referring to Ahavia Lounge Spa UP Village.

I have reviewed all other branches prior to this and they all have distinct features.

Ahvavia San Juan is about space.
Ahavia Timog is about class.
Ahavia Katipuna has its outdoor pool to brag.
Ahavia Spa UP Village has an art-deco classic interior that will mesmerize you.

All true to the the Ahavia brand with the same theme of classy interior, a wide-range of pampering offerings and consistent high quality service.

AHAVIA Lounge Spa UP Village

I couldn't help but marvel at the interior of this place. Very spacious waiting area. Walls are painted dark with dim lights making it look classy and intimate. Walls with wallpapers that enhance the the interior's sophistication. Massage rooms (common areas) for males at the ground floor and for females at the 2nd floor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

HALONG BAY Day Tour for Only $25

It would have been lovely if I were to make possible Hanoi-Halong-Sapa in this particular solo-backpacking trip on my birthday, but 5 days was too short. Sa Hanoi palang andami nang pwedeng i-explore for a first-timer. It was already a bonus that I was able to go as far as Halong City to see Halong Bay with my eyes and meet my friend there, Duc.

I left Hanoi at 6pm. Good thing I was able to catch the last bus to that passes through Halong City. I was in a hurry because I had a walking tour with Joy of HanoiKids that afternoon. Joy made sure I got some Vietnamese rolls with me to serve as my snack for the 2-hour or so ride.


How to get to Halong City/ Halong Bay

There are two bus stations with routes to Halong City but Luong Yen Bus Station is bigger and has more trips to the province where Halong City is located. That's where I took off. The motorbike driver I hired from.my hostel in the Old Quarters was quick to navigate the crazy flood of motorbikes around Hanoi and we were in the bus terminal a few minutes before my bus departed.

Paid 200,000 dong for the trip, 1-way. It was a luxury bus, or so they call it, thus a bit more expensive with an ordinary air conditioned bus which I took back to Hanoi a few days later at half the price. Well, at least there was wifi. It really helped me navigate my location which proved very helpful for.my peace of mind as the bus only passes trough the city en route to another city in Quang Ninh Province (where Halong is part of) near China border.

HALONG PARTY HOSTEL:Free wifi, Free coffee/tea, Free breakfast, Free beer. And for Dorm Rooms for only $5 !

True to its name, Halong Party Hostel becomes so alive at night because of its chick vibe and free beer. Add hip music and party lights and you are off for a fun, memorable night. It was here where I stayed for two nights when in Halong City.

It was quiet when I arrived because it was Friday night but was so lively the next night with the colorful lobby full of Caucasians. I originally booked a $25 private room but since the other section where the more expensive rooms are located was already closed when I arrived, they allowed me to stay at a dormitory room for only $5. I intentionally planned to stay only 1 night in Halong but I extended 1 night more due to the savings in my accommodation.


Halong Party Hostel is located in an area where my food (street food) establishment are available, forex exchange and atm's too. It is a few block away from the huge amusement park they are building which will surely be another tourist draw in Halong City.

I made a New Friend and Family in Halong City #HanoiHalongTrip2016

After the $25 tour of Halong Bay, Duc's mom called to ask if I want to spend dinner with them. Her sister who lives separate from the family was home for a visit so they prepared food. I found myself at the back ride of Duc's motorbike towards the other side of Halong City past the iconic bridge. I was warmly welcomed by his family -- mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law and nephew -- and the simple dinner I expected was grand.


They prepared potluck and bunch of other stuff. They were so cheerful as a family and very friendly to me. It was Duc's sister and brother-in-law who were talking to me most of the time but his mother and father also tried to communicate with gestures and translations from Duc. His father was seated opposite my chair and he kept putting meat on my dish to the point that I had to refuse with a big smile because I was already full. I was surprised how heavy Duc can eat and yet maintain a slim and toned body.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

HANOI BACKPACKERS HOSTEL: The Original Hanoi Backpackers’ Hostel on Ngo Huyen Lane

The name is so confusing right? I booked for Vietnam Backpacker Hostel but on their website and lobby it say Hanoi Backpackers Hostel. And I experienced the actual confusion when looking for the place. I ended up in Hanoi Backpackers Hostel somewhere a few intersections away only to find out they are not associated with each other. Hanoi on trademark after all is very different with Vietnam right? Good thing the receptionist at Hanoi Backpackers Hostel was kind enough to allow me access to their wifi or else it would have taken me too long to find this place.

Situated down a small, quiet lane just 1 block north of the steps of the St Joseph’s Cathedral in the centre of town and 3 minutes walk to Hoan Kiem Lake. The hostel is perfectly located to explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The Hostel’s feel is relaxed and friendly. The staff are there to help with any advice that you need to get you out, about and enjoying Hanoi to the fullest.

Vietnam Backpacker's Hostel

At any rate, I arrived at my "correct" hostel --- Vietnam Backpackers Hostel --- very early at 10:00 am but reception was kind enough to check me in earlier at no extra charge. She also waived my charges for my booking the day before since I slept over at my newfound buddies' hostel and didn't use it. Very cool indeed. Also, at $10 per night for a hostel, what more can you ask for.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

PUERTO GALERA and 5 Years of Friendship

I couldn't remember if I saved my gopro pictures of Puerto Galera somewhere or accidentally deleted the folder coz I cannot find them. So sad. But what is important i guess is that the good memories remain and the lasting friendship which started in Puerto Galera 5 years ago stays firm.

It was the summer of 2011 when I first met Rupert and RM via the now defunc Pinoy Exchange (PEX).

It was April, Holy Week and my partner and I were nowhere to go. And that is what Puerto Galera is all about --- quick escape and easy fun. Easy because it is so accessible. Since it was our first time, I contacted people on Pex to share accommodation. It is very hard to book a room in PG during this season. I remember it was Rupert who replied to my message on the board. After that day, Rupert and I have been travelling regularly in places like Camiguin, Capones, Jakarta, Jogjakarta to name a few. The latest being Apo Reef and the experience has always been pleasant.


I noticed that a lot have changed in Puerto Galera It is still popular for its party scene but I was a bit disappointed with the quality of shows. More of drag shows this time like those of comedy bars in Metro Manila. And if you are very familiar with comedy bar comedies, they are all the same and not very funny anymore coz it's the same thing over and over again. I also noticed that prices of food and alcoholic drinks are unreasonably expensive. Bomo-Boracay prices and hello, this is not Boracay at all! Tsk tsk.
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