Sunday, January 29, 2006

>Rave: The Macau Experience

Our Macau trip was really a relief from the heat of Manila and the hassle of the Tiger/Clark Experience.

We knew the weather was going to be cool… but who knew it was going to be freezing?! It was 6º~12º?! We had to get off from the plane and disembark through the tarmac and the snippy breeze greeted us “Hello!”
TRAVEL TIP #1 > Be prepared for any weather ~ bring a fan & a small towel (hot) and sweater (cool)

We were able to get a good deal with our FOREX… through the agents that were in the airport itself!
TRAVEL TIP #2 > Scout for a good exchange rate…
MACAU SPECIFIC > From the Airport you can get a better rate from the agents beside the stall with the lighted sign: FOREIGN EXCHANGE and in MACAU CENTRAL, the Bank of America has a good exchange rate – especially if you’re exchanging a large amount Ü

Took a Van to our hotel: NEW WORLD EMPEROR HOTEL… it was a pretty nice hotel, near the bus stop, senate square and a very nice supermarket around the corner.
TRAVEL TIP #3 > Chat with Pinoys and ask about the best places to visit & the best restos too!
TRAVEL TIP #4 > Visit the Supermarket – best buys!!!

Had dinner at a corner Cantonese Resto [suggested by 2 Pinoy acquaintances] yummy and super cheap!!! Authentic + Ambiance = Yumyum Experience

Visited the Supermarket where we got our first pasalubong ideas, our midnight snacks and of course our H2O supply

Breakfast was on the house c/o the hotel >> thanks to Reg’s charm, we got this for free through the agent!
Left the hotel a little past 9:00am to head off to the MACAU TOWER [to experience the talked-about SKYWALK!]
Found our way via bus… after almost getting off the wrong stop!
What an experience! As Tricia said, it was really the highlight of our Macau twip!

TRAVEL TIP #5 > Be adventurous! Try the public bus… and scary rides!
MACAU SPECIFIC > commuting is cheaper using the bus at 2.50 patacas per trip > to any stop!
The SKYWALK is definitely worth a try! Get a funny guide and the ride is worth the 220 patacas fee!

and check out the tiger cubs! not as baby as i expected!

We missed the buffet at the 360º café… our mouths watered while we were at the skywalk, watching the guests eat their lunch [while they took photos of our group!]

So we decided to eat at Senate Square instead… tried to scout for the Portuguese resto Tricia was talking about but we were too hungry to keep on looking! Decided on McDo instead!
TRAVEL TIP #6 > When at a different country, try their take on McDonald’s…they have country-specific foodies!
MACAU SPECIFIC > McWings was the greatest! And they had wraps as well!

Visited the most famous symbol of Macau > THE RUINS OF ST. PAUL
On the way there, we had our tast of Almond Cakes… yum!

Shopped till we dropped at Senate Square… let the pix do the talking:

Finally got the chance to taste the yumyum food at Restaurante Vela Latina Portuguese Cuisine just across Senate Square…
TRAVELTIP #7 > Try the country’s most popular dishes
MACAU SPECIFIC > Portuguese: Egg Tarts, African Roasted Chicken, BBQ Ribs!

Went home to get early snoozies as we planned to visit the Red Market the following day before heading home…

After breakfast of DAY 3, we headed for the Red Market… not much to our delight though… it was more of a Farmer’s Market than the Tiangge we expected…

Rushed back to the hotel to check-out on time… while Shierel and Reg decided to get lost first and give us heart attacks for just a few minutes :P

It was definitely a great experience… 3 days weren’t enough… the original 4-day plan would’ve been great…
But we were thankful eniweiz for the experience! I would’ve wanted to try more of Macau… experience more of what it can offer…

  1. Eat more street food
  2. Visit the casinos
  3. Shop more at Senate Square
  4. Check out Yaohan
  5. Take more loads of pix!!!

Macau is such a colorful place! It has so much to offer...

…hope there will be a next time! ;)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

>Rant: The Clark Experience

7:00am ~ bring kids to school
8:00am ~ MEGA: breakfast at McDonald’s ~ oops… Starbucks ~ oops… Bali Blends ~ oops… Jollibee na nga lang
9:00am ~ tambay @ starbucks
11:00am ~ bus ride to Diosdado Macapagal Airport aka Clark Airport
12:30nn ~ start of rant:
  • passengers are only allowed inside the airport 2 hours before the flight
    we were made to wait under the sun until an hour before the flight, without any explanation as to why we were waiting out there
  • out of nowhere, amidst a restless mob, an airport officer shows himself and announces: “Yun pung flight papuntang Macau, yung Tiger, CANCELLED PO ANG FLIGHT NINYO. Yun pung papuntang Singapore, Tiger din po, Stand-by lang po muna.”

  • of course, after making us wait for hours without any airconditioning, without any explanation whatsoever, they expect us to be calm and collected – and understanding. With my resounding voice, I demanded: “GIVE US SOMEBODY FROM TIGER! SOMEONE WHO CAN ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS.” They cannot offer us any alternative because apparently, despite the fact the Tiger has been operating here for awhile now, they do not have any employees here. So I ask, “ARE YOU GOING TO PAY FOR THE HOTEL WE’VE PAID FOR IN MACAU? DO YOU HAVE COMPUTERS WE CAN USE SO THAT WE CAN RE-BOOK FOR THE FOLLOWING DAY? WILL YOU PAY FOR OUR HOTEL EXPENSE IF NEED BE THAT WE STAY OVERNIGHT IN CLARK?” wow. All I got was silence from the crowd and a mum from the officers. It made me wonder if they understood English…
  • after a few minutes, mr. airport officer comes out again, and practically whispered: “we’re allowing 86 passengers inside the airport to re-book for the flight tomorrow…” Thanks to Shierel’s super ears, we heard it… and thanks to our singit powers and our sungit disposition, we were able to squeeze up front…
  • Thanks to calm and focused chie, we were able to make it inside Ü got the booking for the following day soon as we were sure that the flight for that day was really cancelled. Got an explanation from them: Tiger Airways’ landing permit expired last Dec 31. they were given 4 days to renew ~ Jan 1, 2, 3, 4… and our flight: Jan 5!!! So they couldn’t land then…
  • got seats in the airport and went about calling the travel agent for a 1 day hotel refund and I got in touch with our hotel booking at clark for VILLA de LUGUE (hehehehe!) ~ Thanks Kuy Vic for all the help and to ‘Te Marge for the warm hospitality!
    a certain ms. Airport officer approached my buds and said: “Sa Macau po kayo? Nakapag re-book na kayo? Pwede na po kayong umalis.” >>panting ang tenga<< “NAGHAHANAP PA KAMI NANG MATITIRHAN ANO!”
  • we pitied the employees of Macau who were helpless… those that were able to re-book but had no place to stay… a couple, who expressed their angst earlier on the confusion, had to bus back to Manila because of the frustration…

5:30pm ~ ride to VILLA de LUGUE
… had mucho food to eat! … shierel was happy Ü

we don’t know if we’re unlucky to be the first flight of Tiger from Manila to ever be cancelled or if we’re lucky that we still got the opportunity to fly to Macau… They’ve stopped their flights to Macau since then…
we don’t know if we’re unlucky that we had to pay for that one night lost hotel room in Macau or if we’re lucky that we just paid 2,700 for the roundtrip tickets… and got the opportunity to stay over and experience the Capampangan hospitality everyones raving about...

nonetheless… our trip was great… the weather, the place, the food ~ wonderful! Read on about our adventure in MACAU…

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


i've had the sniffles & a sore throat since even before the new year came...
...m crossing my fingers that this isn't a preview of my health for 2006

but it has to be said that this may be because of all the activities we've been attending to the past few weeks...

and here i blog again about the last two...

january 1st

::a trek to tagaytay~batangas to visit taal::

with mike&mike around, we have to make sure they get a taste of what the philippines has to offer and on the first day of the year, we brought them to see the famous: Taal Volcano

it wuz mucho fun as we had lunch at the Taal Vista Hotel [managed by the Fuego Hotels] with everyone including the kids!

we took pictures with the view and just marveled at its beauty...
before heading home, we dropped by Cuenca, Batangas to finally see Archie's batangas home Ü it was really pretty! great job, arch!

january 2nd

::finally, d gang partee pushed through::
[unfortunately, jemil wasn't able to join us]

dinner was at Casita de Vimans a tiny resto in Makati that served home-cooked Filipino food ~ yum!

orders -- including those of my friends:

taco salad

grilled liempo
grilled chops with corn
porterhouse steak
macau sausage

dalandan slush

chocolate cookie a la mode

to cap off the night, we had our traditional Starbucks moment ~ chatting about... everything! hehehe!

up next: MACAU!

start: 2006

welcomed the new year with a bang!!!
...well, not really with our own firecrackers but hey, it did feel like it was ours! hehehe!Ü...
so here are the events for 01 january 2006:

new year's eve dinner was spent with the fam at the Zamuco residence in Magallanes Village...


assorted cheeses & dulong on crackers

pumpkin soup

grilled prawns
corn and mashed potatoes

dalandan slush

FIC ice cream of your choice

when the firecrackers were beginning to pop, we said our byebyes as we had to go to safeground before midnight!

>>then headed off to the Purugganan residence for medya noche...

deli food: ham & sausages
fish salad
chicken galantina
sweet and sour lapulapu
red wine
buko~fruit salad
carrot cake
7 pieces of grapes :þ
  • firecrackers galore [from the neighbors] and fireworks abound [from eastwood&neighboring villages] joined us in greeting the new year when 12:01am came! the kids -- adi, rafael, aniela -- were up and about, lighting up sparklers and jumping up and down for a luck-filled year!

  • momprecy rolled some oranges to the house and we had pasaboy of chocolates, candies, and cash!!! heheheÜ

  • magic mic singing & chikahing till the wee hours of the morning before we brought mike&mike back to the hotel!

~ welcome 2006 ~