Saturday, November 22, 2014

Manila Stays: F1 Hotel Manila

There's no vacation without a hotel and there are no hotels like the one I've stayed in Manila. Now as I've mentioned, you will have to stay the night as you fly in to Manila from Kuala Lumpur if you're making your way to Tagbilaran and the hotel we bunked in is called F1 Hotel Manila.

Oh hello, lion. Didn't see you there!

Located just a little out of the heart of Manila, the F1 Hotel Manila spots 243 guest rooms and is separated into 3 categories - Deluxe Rooms, City Suite and the Fort Suite to cater to different guests who finds different needs in their stays.

The exterior of F1 Hotel Manila. If you go further, you can see the words "F1" in its red glory.

There was an unmistakable buzz for the group on this amazing trip as we were visibly drained from the flight and traffic that we were unfortunately stuck in but nothing stopped us short from being excited at the fantastic sight of the lobby in F1 Hotel Manila.

Lobby space to lift areas.

Graciously lit and open wide space.

And the unmistakable sight of the pools in F1 Hotel Manila.

It would definitely be a lie if I were to mention how I didn't give the hotel a quick look through online but I had no idea where I would be placed for the night. However, the lobby itself was as promising as it seemed and I had an immediate sigh of relief on how it didn't matter even if they put me into their worst of rooms; it really wouldn't be that bad.

I was absolutely NOT disappointed.

And neither was Max, my beloved stuffed dog who came along on the trip.

A flat screen TV for entertainment seekers.
Fun fact that my roommate Kittie found out: They air Korean series dubbed in Tagalog.

Complimentary coffee and tea, anyone?

Just about enough fridge space.

Bath robes, room slippers, safe, weighing scale (LOL!), clothes hangers, ironing board and a fire extinguisher. What more can you ask for? Stuffed dog not included.

It was such a shock to step into our City Suite and there was nothing but a, "Wow" that escaped the mouth of Kittie and I for the evening. That and an absolute plop of our items on the 2 double beds definitely set us down and we were graciously just waiting for dinner time to arrive.

Work stations for the less-holiday people who find the need to work on the go.

One of the best double beds. Period. And that pillow, good God...that pillow!

Shower space.

A mirror greets you as you enter the washroom too.

And there's nothing that says you've arrived like settling your toiletries at the sink, right?

Having said that, I was just mildly disappointed to know that the water pressure for the shower wasn't as strong as I expected for it to be and hot water does take a little while to arrive. The room was otherwise fantastically big and WiFi is available throughout the entire room, including the toilet. Don't ask me how I know, I just do. *Coughs* 

Facilities such as hair dryers are also available for those who have the need (Like myself) and there is an iPod dock for the ones who needs music and charging of iPhones. Unfortunately it only comes with the bigger ports so if you're holding the new generation of iPhone, you're out of luck. Do remember to also bring a travel adapter if you're used to travelling with a three-pin plug as the power points in Philippines are are dual ported and smaller than our regular two-pin plugs.

The room, available from PHP 10,200 comfortably houses 2 houses and 2 children while 24 hour security gives you that extreme knowledge that you're staying somewhere with tight care. In fact when you walk in, you'll be expected to walk through a metal detector and have your handbags searched by the security personnel. This; I was told, is a norm in Philippines as it is a way in ensuring that no firearms are entering the building.

A park for casual runs and exercises.

Friends coming out for a casual rugby play.

Cycling, jumping jacks, dances...you name it and you can do it here.

A plain clothed policeman with the most adorable looking golden retriever guarding the corners of our hotel.

It's also good to note that the Bonifacio Global City where F1 Hotel Manila is located is an urbanized area and you could possibly spot quite a number of expatriates having their roots set in this area where night runs and exercises is a common practice. It gave me the same vibe that Hong Kong set for me and I was thoroughly shocked that this was Manila; a completely different area that I had in mind. Canines are also readily placed in nooks and spots around the area as Ah Bok noted and this just got us feeling even more safe than we already did.

The sun sets really early in the Philippines and the skies were already dark by 6 PM, setting us in the mood for a good night's sleep before our adventure began for Tagbilaran the next day. While I had initial plans to combine my hotel reviews, this has proven to be long enough to beat any old grandmother story so I shall keep that to the next.

Until then, please don't forget me.

I should just also say that they have a HUGE mirror next to the bed. Bliss for those who want to wake up and have a look at themselves I suppose. Cheerios!

32nd Street, Taguig,
1634 Metro Manila,
Bonifacio Global City
inquiry@f1hotelsandresorts.com

Disclaimer: This has been a trip graciously sponsored by AirAsia and the supporting parties on hotels, tour services and visitation fees in the Philippines. Much thanks shall be given to AirAsia MY and AirAsia PH as well as the F1 Hotel Manila, South Palms Resort Panglao, Angels' Wings Tours and Tourism Bohol for the gracious 4 days 3 night AirAsia Media Familiarization Trip. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Flying With AirAsia Zest

I am back! To kick start, I am extremely apologetic for having gone missing over the past 2 weeks but as you would have read in my previous post, I've been in Philippines for 4 days only to come back and prepare everything I could in order to go off to the Penang Bridge International Marathon 2014. Indeed, the fatty in me ran 21kms and I have the medal to prove it.

That aside, I did promise everyone to speak about my Philippines trip, did I not? Well then let's start with how to get to Bohol from Kuala Lumpur. The route when spelled out actually runs as...


KUALA LUMPUR - MANILA - TAGBILARAN

Of course then if you want to come back to Malaysia, it's the other way round. With 2 flights daily that operates between Kuala Lumpur and Manila, each AirAsia Zest flight takes about 3 and a half hours in order to arrive in either destinations and the airports involved are KLIA2 and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

A chart for easier understanding than me just talking typing.

The thing however is that you will have to put up the night in Manila before catching the next AirAsia Zest flight to Tagbilaran as they operate just 3 flights in and out from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to the Tagbilaran Airport.

Charting for Tagbilaran flights.

The journey will take you approximately an hour and 10 minutes but that's really just a child's play when you fill it up with interesting things to do...like sleeping for a good adventure ahead. If you aren't one for sleeping in flights however, I would suggest the next best thing to do: Eat. It's true that we Malaysians love our food so getting inflight food is something that we should all gear up to, especially if you're getting food from the AirAsia Cafe.

Maan's Pasta Arrabiata.

Penne goodness.

On the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Manila, we had Maan's Pasta Arrabiata that had a lacking in saltiness but did not skimp when it comes to ingredients. This is said with the fragrant smell of herbs it has and the extremely noticeable olives that hides within the strands of penne drenched with tomato sauce. 

Also snacked on chocolate Pocky sticks and had a good gulp of Minute Maid Pulpy orange juice while reading Ai Yori Aoshi!

I figure that when you're on a 3 and a half hour flight, you do tend to eat a little more than you expect, right? For those who don't already know, AirAsia Cafe also serves up light snacks such as chocolate and strawberry Pocky sticks and juices to your choice. I totally should have also had the strawberry Pocky sticks!

Pak Nasser's Nasi Lemak.

Absolutely as it looks in pictures.
To all who have given praise to Pak Nasser's Nasi Lemak that is available on board all AirAsia flights, praise your tastebuds because this is truly one of the best nasi lemaks I have ever had. The chicken pieces are also all boneless pieces for people who are just as lazy as I am enjoys a good bite of their meat but can be a little cloying towards the end for its sweet taste. One thing also to note is that the egg may taste a little rubbery but it is otherwise absolutely delicious and served piping hot!

It is also a good idea to have cookies from the AirAsia Cafe! They're in chocolate chip variants and have a real chewy bite to them.

Uncle Chin's Chicken Rice.

Includes chilli sauce in a separate pack.

Our return flight from Tagbilaran packed us Uncle Chin's Chicken Rice with rice that was really aromatic and chicken slices that were tender to bite while the chilli sauce was not overbearingly spicy. It had a good tang too, winning a lot of points as an inflight serviced cafe. 

Bless you AirAsia for stocking up Earl Grey onboard.

Truth be told, the one thing I had craved for while in Philippines was the heavenly scent of Earl Grey so when the cabin crew told me they had it infused with green tea, I told her in an extremely excited tone to just give it to me anyway. I needed an Earl Grey fix and STAT!

For those who need an extra leg room or have more freedom to board, I would also recommend you to get yourself the Hot Seats that AirAsia offers because you're not only allowed to board first, it also means your seats (somehow) feels like it has more leg room than regular seats.

And if you are lucky, even your soft toy gets a seat!

Hot Seats are available as an add on when you book online or you can even get them when you're at the service counter before you board. They're easily recognizable from the red cover that's placed on the top of the seat so it distinguishes you from the...others.

There is no flight like a flight with my selfie taken on it!
Roped in a new friend to join my vanity flight.

I'm also going to commend on the pilots that operate our flights because on all 4 flights I had taken, (KUL - MNL then MNL - TAG and back) they all had a great land and weren't as bumpy as the ones I once experienced with flight M. Indeed if you're looking for a good way to fly into Manila and Bohol, AirAsia Zest is going to be your absolute pick because they also somehow have amazingly pretty cabin crews onboard and I am not even kidding! Happy booking at AirAsia.com!

Disclaimer: This has been a trip graciously sponsored by AirAsia and the supporting parties on hotels, tour services and visitation fees in the Philippines. Much thanks shall be given to AirAsia MY and AirAsia PH as well as the F1 Hotel Manila, South Palms Resort Panglao, Angels' Wings Tours and Tourism Bohol for the gracious 4 days 3 night AirAsia Media Familiarization Trip. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gone Away

Hello people! Here's a filler post because I absolutely cannot deal with having to look at the word that says "Last updated 3 Nov" but at the same time, I haven't quite got the hours in my hands to work on the posts I have scheduled. For those of you who has avidly been stalking me on my Instagram, you would have known that I have just returned from a trip to Bohol, Philippines courtesy of AirAsia!

So yes, you may be expecting posts of Philippines coming around to conquer my blog for a little bit but that wouldn't come until I return from Penang for the Penang Bridge Run 2014. I'll be back soonest with better updates, I SWEAR UPON MY LIFE but until then...

Peace be upon those who wait!

I swear I'll be back soon enough.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Chichi & Chacha Blogging Contest

Call it the Monday blues but I've recently been really into times when I was around the age of 5 to 8 or so nowadays. A lot of you may be thinking, who would remember those times but heck can I recall most of them and they always involved...

Watching TV.

Of course, I never just watched any TV program, it was always a cartoon with really great moral values like never judging a beast by its looks or how much you should appreciate nature or something educational with dancing hosts and musical people who looked like they were having the time of their life bouncing up and down on TV.

And they would always just look so happy to be together!
 
I guess times have changed now too because I recently came to know about this new educational program that features live action celebrity hosts, songs, dances, music and 3D animated baby animals all packed into one to capture the attention of children from kindergarten stages to early primary days!


Oh yes, the show is called ChiChi & ChaCha!

Featuring 5 teenage celebrity hosts alongside 3D animated characters, this 30-minute show airs every Saturday at 10.30 AM and three times a day from Mondays to Fridays on Astro Ceria and Astro MayaHD! Within this half an hour, children are exposed to learn through music, stories, arts and craft sessions for creativity and a boost on interactive problem solving matters, making it an edutainment brand that houses 360° contents for a fun TV time!

But you know what makes TV time more than just TV time nowadays? TV times that rewards you for tuning in and bringing your child a chance in getting their talents honed by the five ChiChi & ChaCha hosts!

Get ready to join the ChiChi & ChaCha star search for kids!

The criteria is actually really simple and I would totally join...if I wasn't over the age limit. But you know what? If you are below the age of 18, here's how you can get a chunk of RM 1,000 along with the chance to perform next to the hosts of ChiChi & ChaCha!

1. Register yourself at http://goo.gl/forms/YlQy3bx5VC
2. Record a video of your singing, dancing or acting talent in less than 15 seconds on Instagram and also share it on Facebook
3. Don't forget to shout out, "Saya nak jadi bintang ChiChi & ChaCha" in your video
4. Tag any of your favourite Chichi & Chacha hosts with these handles: @afeiq, @farisha_iris, @jazashazleen, @harrisalif or @fqisminaa
5. Remember to also tag @chichidanchacha in your video
6. Be sure these are all done by 

All these also works if you know someone below the age of 18 and you have them nominated because if your nominee gets into the Grand Final, you're going home RM 100 richer too! 
 
There will be 30 lucky winners picked out on the 15th November and these 30 contestants will then be given 90 seconds to showcase their talents again before the Top 10 get picked out to perform during the Grand Final on the 16th November! Remember that these 3Ps - Performance, Potential and Personality works really well on increasing your chances of getting picked!

Go ahead, the sky is your limit.

For more information on Asia's first edutainment series, check out http://www.chichiandchaha.com/ and get yourself ready to shoot for the stars!

Friday, October 31, 2014

What's It Like To Make A Site

Did you know that when you're not exactly someone who has a job, it makes it so much more interesting because you have all the time in the world to experiment with new things or gain new experiences? Yes, having been grounded at home for about 3 months to date (I do go out for lunches and dinners with friends, I am not an anti-social child!) has given me so much time in doing a lot more than what I have been doing before this. In fact, I've come to learn that there are so many things you could get from the internet and full around with Adobe Illustrator...if you just put your heart to it.

Anyway, a recent project aside to the header for my blog was to create a portfolio for myself. I figured that it sounded like the most fantastic thing ever but pushing it on Blogger felt a little cliche...which led me to Wix. Don't get me wrong, this isn't an advertorial and I highly doubt Wix would notice me for any bit of this but yes, I created a portfolio on Wix.

Yes, I am on private browsing for this picture because the regular Chrome has my details logged in.

For those of you who don't know Wix, it's a place where you could create your own website without the need to know coding and almost everything is just set for you to move around; colours are customizable and other little details such as buttons or shadows have also been looked into. If you're lazy, there are even templates that you could pick from; be it free or premium and paid for.

Pick your template and have some fun.

My first encounter with Wix was actually back in the last semester of my diploma where we were all assigned to create our website to feature our write ups, much like an online magazine. Our topics were niche and I picked out something I used to love doing: Reading books. 

This used to be my website.

I suppose some people have come across issues with Wix such as saving matters (Cue Isabel who had the curse of a crashing Chrome and all her work just died along...) and what they would say are complicated uses, I found that it was fairly okay to deal with. 
[EDIT: I gave Isabel a blog preview and she laughed it off then said, "TWICE OKAY?" So it happened to her...twice. I didn't get it even once.]

In fact if you work enough, you just know what to do...

With different pages to play with...

Multiple backgrounds for experiments...

And playful tries with colours, buttons, uploads and social media apps!

The end result isn't exactly spectacular for my portfolio per say but I don't have a huge base to begin with. What I have are mini displays of things I have worked on and I thought that it would just look fairly decent to parade them all so I could one day look back and be happily proud of all that's been said and done. So yes, I now invite you to drop by http://lamyunqan.wix.com/elielam and leave me a hello message..because that's where I will try hard to strive and pick up more skills and improvise. 

And if you're thinking about setting up a site, you should give Wix a try. It's free and you're just allowed to do almost anything! Unless your name is also Isabel; that I have no promises.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dream Trip To Macau

Here's a major throwback to one of the holiday spots I've enjoyed: Macau.

Chegando Macau.

It's hard to believe that it has already been a year since my family and I set foot onto Hong Kong then took a ferry over to Macau to discover a different end to my entire escapade but now that I've gone on a road trip back to my old posts, it seems like it's true! Sometimes when I look back however, it feels like there is so much that I didn't do when I was in Macau because we had to solely follow what our tour guide said and went wherever he insisted we go.

So now that Nuffnang Malaysia and the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) are working together in bringing 3 overly enthusiastic Nuffnangers to Macau for a 3 days 2 nights trip, it's time to get planning!
First stop: Visit temples and churches all around Macau.

With about 8 temples and over 15 churches around Macau, these cultural places are just places that you cannot miss. Whether it is to visit so you could pray or to visit and stare at the architecture in awe, the temples and churches in Macau does not disappoint at all because they each have their own stories to tell and they are all diversely unique in their own ways.

Wishes and prayers hanging at the A Ma Temple.

Staring straight at the St. Dominic's Church.

That said, going around these temples and churches also incidentally takes you all around Macau as they are scattered around and you'll be going on the ultimate field trip just hunting them all down. So whether it's going to the A Ma Temple and coming out to stop by Koi Kei Bakery for the famous almond biscuits or walking around Senado Square in order to arrive at St. Dominic's Church, it's just as much an adventure as aimlessly going around for the fun of it!

Stop duo: Catch The House of Dancing Water at the Dancing Water Theater

My aunt who resides in Hong Kong once watched The House of Dancing Water and raved to the family WhatsApp group endlessly on how amazing it was so this is a definite must catch for me if I were to go back to Macau. With tickets starting from HKD 580 per adult, The House of Dancing Water is placed in a purpose-built theater that holds up to 3.7 million gallons of water for the amazing show of how one fisherman helps a stranger in defeating the evil queen in order to rescue the beautiful princess.

How spectacular can spectacular get?
Picture credits: Groupon Hong Kong

This, this, this!
Picture credits: The House of Dancing Water

For someone who has always loved live orchestras and shows alike, I think The House of Dancing Water will be a show I absolutely cannot miss! In fact, this is one of the shows I have listed down besides having to see Phantom of the Opera in UK and Mamma Mia again; so if I were to go to Macau again, this is where you'll find me. Possibly in awe with my mouth hanging down and just going, "Wah!"

Three is perfect: Making my way to Taipa Village

Truth be told, I have never been around to see what Taipa Village is about but when I hit up a search on this oddly named place, I fell in love.

Just look at how vibrantly colourful this village is!
Picture credits: EatandTravelwithus

And if colourful doesn't work for you, check out this European touch to the village!
Picture credits: Justindejesus

Located a mere 15 minutes away from the Galaxy Hotel, the Taipa Village has been known for its colourful buildings and western influence to capture the eyes of visitors who come by with glistening hopes for amazing sights. Whether you're coming by in the morning or at night, the Taipa Village looks equally as good and people who has a penchant for great photography would have a field time here. What, me? It's just about being in Europe without having to actually BE in Europe...plus a touch of Chinese.

This is how Taipa Village looks like at night. Amazing isn't it?
Picture credits: Eatandtravelwithus

I can't help it but to look at how the pretty lights just makes the village come alive and better yet that these pictures are circulating online by a couple who were there last November...which is just about the time I was around! I wonder if we had rubbed shoulders and never knew about it.

Bonus stop: Revisit the St. Paul's Ruins.

 Jump shot attempt 7: Success!

Although I have been to the St. Paul's Ruins during the first visit, I'd actually like to go right back and touch the crumbling stones again. Currently held together with steel builds, the St. Paul's Ruins is one of Macau's most iconic heritage ever. Beneath the ruins also lies the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt where we can see Japanese and Vietnamese martyrs being displayed as well as amazing statues and religious paintings dating from the 17th century in all its glory.

 How else would you prove that you've been here if not with a picture?

As a whole, I have believe that coming back to Calcada De S. Paolo will reconnect my to the great days of how Macau has become one of the most historic places in Asia. It's just an experience you cannot miss, regardless of how short your visit to Macau is. Plus, you can actually just go around and grab yourself some of the famous Portuguese egg tarts by Lord Stow's Bakery that's around the corner at the bottom of the stairs from the St. Paul's Ruins.

I mean come on, who doesn't love Lord Stow's Bakery's Portuguese egg tarts?
Picture credits: Jingdaily

So yes, Nuffnang and MGTO...please find my name on Santa's list of good children and grant me this early Christmas present by sending me to Macau again. I promise I'll also be good the following year and experience more parts of Macau as the time goes. You're all about fulfilling dreams in this city, right?  I shall sit around now and wait for awesome news without pouting! *Packs luggage anyway*