Bob’s bday in HK!

We continued the birthday bash of my friend Bob in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong for me has always been about the quick get away filled with lots of eating, shopping and partying.  So this was an obvious place to head to for my best friend’s birthday who always enjoys the top 3 activities in HK, which is eating, shopping and partying.  LOL!

We all decided to stay at the Lanson Place hotel   http://hongkong.lansonplace.com   right in the middle of Causeway bay Central.  I have never stayed in this boutique hotel before but I was really impressed with the amenities and how pretty everything looked.

After checking in we met up with my friends Audrey and Mack Puckett for some cake and coffee. They decided to meet up in SEVVA  http://www.sevva.hk which is always a good choice as they have arguably the best cakes in town.  Not to forget the best views in the city.

It was a perfect way to start Bob’s birthday Bash!

First time to stay at the Lanson Place hotel.

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THE FARM!

I haven’t been able to blog for a couple of weeks as my computer crashed and I was at first in a bit of a crisis.  I mean my computer was a very important tool in my work life but I learned to appreciate being computer free and after  3 weeks of not having a computer I learned to work around it and in the end it wasn’t that bad.

So I apologise for not being able to update my blog  but I guess the universe wanted me to take a break.  I have always believed in the power of the pause.  Taking a break and a breather from your daily routine is always good and in many ways it actually makes you more efficient and functional.  So I decided to take a break recently and head out to the farm http://www.thefarmatsanbenito.com.  I have always wanted to go to The Farm at San Benito but I was only able to go recently.  Located literally just an hour and half away from Makati, this is a virtual sanctum of peace and well being.  Just being around the lush green trees and clean air I already felt that I was being cleansed.

I was only able to stay for a day and half but I was able to do so many detoxifying activities like a yoga class, a meditation class a colon cleansing session using coffee and several massages that really helped my stressed out body body and mind.

You also have very nutritious food in the farm that promotes not only well being but weight loss as well.  I have never imagined myself being vegetarian and for 36 hours I was and I have to say it was not really that bad.  I actually cannot wait to be back.  It’s so assuring to know that we have this beautiful space to escape to when one needs to just get away and get healthy .  To everyone at The Farm thank you so very much I really needed this relaxing weekend and all of you made it so perfect!

After a short weekend drive before I knew it I was already at The Farm. The weather could not have been any more glorious as it was sunny but it was not very hot.

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Last night in Hanoi

It was my last night in Hanoi and there were a few things still on my list, most of which I was able to do like meet up with my friend Patrick and Chi-Chi Lizot who are dear family friends that go beyond generations.  They recently shuttle back and forth from Manila to Hanoi and it was lovely to see them and introduce them to my friends.

I loved the restaurant Cau Go so much that I wanted to eat there one more time and gladly had the same dishes all over again.  From there we had some drinks in a wine bar whose name I can’t recall but what I do recall is the lively and interesting conversations that we all had that night as it was truly an international cast of characters.

The highlight for me was going to the home of Trung’s friend she is an accessories designer specifically of scarves, pocket squares and soft leather pouches.  We went to see her items and did a midnight shopping escapade. What I love most about that experience was her beautiful home which was really personal and interesting.  I was then informed that the apartment had been featured in Elle Decoration magazine and I was really not surprised.  Because the house was really quirky and quite charming.  I admired how they were able to do some of the most unique decorative tableaus I have seen in a long time.  So for now I say farewell Hanoi, thank you for having us and blessing our trip with great weather, fantastic cuisine and fabulous new friends to make our world simply a better place.

Cross generating friends ChiChi and Patrick Lizot. So lovely to see them in Hanoi.

 

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The cave of surprises in Halong Bay

One of the most famous attractions in Halong Bay is the cave of Surprises  http://surprisinghalong.com/halong-bay-travel-guides/surprise-cave.html   It’s like no other cave that I have ever been to and it was certainly worth the visit. The walk up is not really difficult but our guides kept on managing our expectations in saying that it was difficult but actually it was quite easy.

Once you get into the cave the temperature drops and I would suggest that you wear some shoes with traction.  I was in slippers and the moisture in the cave made the floor wet and a bit slippery.  The first cave was really awesome as you begin to think that you’re in the film The Hobbit!  LOL!   Then we moved into the second cave, which was then I fell silent because this was MAJOR!  I mean the space inside was like a virtual city.  It was so massive and impressive that I was left in awe.

The whole tour takes only 45 minutes but the images and experience that you take should last you a lifetime.  Right after the cave we were all raring to go for a swim in the beach.  I was a bit disappointed with the beach and the dip in the water as the beach was not really very pretty.  We do really have the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines.  Plus the water was actually murky unlike our pristine blue waters.  I still manage to enjoy my dip made new friends and proceeded to my favourite part of the day… SUNSET COCKTAILS!  LOL!

Our little yacht had like this really cool roof deck where we could enjoy the colours of the sun setting amidst the breath taking Halong Bay landscape.  This was indeed a highlight.  We then proceeded to dinner and had a little party on our private deck which led to some night swimming, much to the nervousness of our captain as we did not realise that it was forbidden to do so.  Oh well.  We still manage to have lots of fun and made plans for the next day.  Take a look at what activities you can do when you go to Halong Bay.

We begin our cave adventure by taking a smaller boat to reach the floating mountains.

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Happy in HALONG BAY!

One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Hanoi is because I wanted to see The Halong Bay.  I was not able to do this the last time I was in Vietnam so when my friend Bob told me he was going, I decided to join.  The best way to see Halong Bay is by taking a one or two day cruise.   We chose the Paradise Luxury cruise liner   http://www.halongbaytours.com/cruise/paradise-cruise.htmlwhich was really very beautiful and convenient as everything was except for the drinks were inclusive.  The whole experience was actually very exclusive as there were only around 12 rooms on the boat.  I felt that I was taken back in time when people travelled much more slower and gentler.

The only downside to the whole experience was the very long drive to Halong Bay from Hanoi.  Other than that I would definitely recommend this experience to everyone.  What makes the experience really memorable was truly the magical and dream like views that Halong Bay provides.  Often I would catch myself just lost in the scenery thinking how it looks like I am in another planet.  Do take a look at the first few hours of my Halong Bay experience.

This is how one should travel around Halong Bay!

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Hanoi Highlights!

If you’re a foodie like myself then Hanoi has to be on top of your must visits.  The city has some of the most vivid restaurant culture that has been steadily growing ever since the economy of Vietnam started booming more than a decade ago.  My friend Trung dutily narrowed the choices down and this entry is all about that.

If your up for a lazy delicious Brunch then head over to “The Kafe”  http://thekafe.vn/index.php/en/   Located in one of the more busy areas in Hanoi is this lovely restaurant with so much energy and from what I heard is always very busy.  The menu is very international and the flavours are very fresh and bright.  I loved their fresh juices and the vibrancy of their plating.  Me and my friends had the most delicious brunches ever that tied us over till dinner.

We wanted to walk our brunch off so we decided to head over the Vietnam Art Museum    http://vnfam.vn/index.php?lang=en    for a different kind of sustenance.  The feeding of our souls so to speak. The Museum is very beautiful and is filled with Vietnamese art from different decades of its recent history.  We all totally enjoyed this place as the air conditioning was excellent.  Hanoi during this time of the year is extremely humid.  I particularly loved the laquer art and the stair wells of the museum which were made from wood and were really elegant.

Before we knew it it was dinner time and Trung suggested we go to something more “authentic”  like old world Vietnames cuisine so we ate at  ”Chim Sao” http://chimsao.com  I really loved the space as it felt very old world.  The cuisine was Vietnamese but it had this vintage vibe to the flavours with the thought of what we be eating in Hanoi if this was like 1910?  LOL!  The results were very delicious and actually very healthy with lots of vegetables and  very little protein and carbs in the form of steamed rice.  Vietnamese cuisine is really quite healthy and I truly miss this already.

One of the best Brunch places in Hanoi!

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Hello Hanoi part 2!

Having a “local” friend to take you around their town makes your trip extra special.  We were all so fortunate to have my friend Trung take us around his town.  Trung is Vietnamese Canadian and he recently moved back to his roots in Hanoi.   So coming back to Hanoi with Trung opened my eyes to a brand new perspective.

We met right after lunch and he quickly took us around town.  What I really noticed about Hanoi is the proliferation of excellent coffee shops dotting almost every other street.  The coffee they serve is actually very good and while I was there I had an average of 3 cups a day!  LOL!  My personal favourites were “CONG CAPHE”  http://www.congcaphe.com  A derivative of the  Viet cong  era.  This coffee shop is very charming and their coffee is very delicious. We had the coconut cream coffee and I was very impressed.

We decided to walk along the main lake in Hanoi and did a bit of the touristy stuff but to be honest it was so hot and humid that soon after that we wanted to just sit in a comfortable coffee house.  Good thing Trung had another charming coffee shop called COSA NOSTRA  https://vi-vn.facebook.com/cosanostrahn.  This time the feel was more luxurious with a certain dark patina to the interiors. I was very impressed with the leather chesterfield sofas that I was told were locally made. We all decided to rest after that and meet up for dinner.

Dinner was at  CAU GO  http://www.caugorestaurant.com  The restaurant features the best views in Hanoi as it overlooks the beautiful lake. Coming here during the evening gives you a gorgeous view of the city with all the lights.   Eating in Vietnam is always good but this place was so delicious that we ate here twice in our short visit to Hanoi!  Trust me it was that good!

We wanted to experience what the night life was like in Hanoi and although the entire city shuts down at 2am we were still able to go and visit some after hours club called HERO which just opened that very week we visited.  Trung even said that it was also his first time there. We filled our first day pretty well and in a nut shell that was my fist day in Hanoi!  Not bad for less than 24 hours.

This is CONG CAPHE! One of the most original and charming coffee houses in Hanoi.

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The Cosmo bash 2014

I felt that Christmas came a couple months early because of the annual Cosmo Bachelor Bash 2014!   It’s one of the shows that I never miss as I only leave completely inspired!  LOL!  This year’s beef fest was in a corporate mood. Saga events headed by Robby Carmona and Elmer Lapena left no single fantasy untouched, uncovered and unexplored.

Every single “Office” fantasy was checked out of the bucket list leaving everyone a bit hoarse from all the screaming and completely exhausted from all the heart stopping moments from the models.  What I love about the Cosmo Bachelor bash is the level of intimacy that the show provides.  You really get to feel the energy and the excitement from all the testosterone that occurs onstage.  I had the privilege of getting a back stage peek before seeing the show and was really quite impressed with this year’s line up.  Had to say hello first to a couple of friends and then I happily found my seat and really just took everything in.

I must congratulate Myrza Sison for a JOB WELL DONE!  I mean each year it gets hotter and hotter!  A huge congratulation has to go to SAGA events for another show stopping extravaganza!  No wonder you are on top of the game!  Enough talk and enjoy the photos my friends!

Happy to see my friend Ivan all ripped and ready! He is also preparing for an IRON man this weekend! Good luck my friend.

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Loup Noir pop up store at K I S H

From the entrepreneurial spirit of Janina Dizon comes Loup Noir!  This cool leather line that would certainly make Manila denies quiver with excitement!  Leave it to Janina to find the energy and the time to share her fashion find to everyone here at home!  I think this is really worth a gander and taking your credit card is indeed a must.

I for one have my eye of the lovely zippered clutch.  LOL!  I suggest you head on over KISH this Saturday and come early as the pieces are very limited!

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Hello Hanoi!

I decided to take a few days off and head over to Hanoi Vietnam.  I was going to meet up with one of my best friends to celebrate his birthday.   I have been to Hanoi once before and what I remember about this place is the delicious food and the amazing coffee!

I took the first flight out on Cathay Pacific and by 11 am I was already in Hanoi.  I stayed at this lovely boutique hotel called the  L’Opera  M Gallery  http://www.mgallery.com/gb/hotel-7832-hotel-de-l-opera-hanoi-mgallery-collection/index.shtml   The location was great but the decor seemed very early 90′s and the rooms were a bit odd and  too dark for me.  But the staff were really friendly and helpful.

I was really pleased that my room was already ready when I arrived and I did not have to wait till 3pm which was what I was expecting. So I had time to meet up with my friends for a welcome Vietnamese coffee and some massive catch up as I felt like I have not seen them for many many months.

After coffee I was really looking forward to a hearty Vietnamese lunch and we were told that Porte D’ Annam would be a great choice.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Porte-DAnnam-Restaurant/305174616334660?fref=nf  It was also a nice walking distance from our hotel.  Although it was really really hot and humid I enjoyed my walk that day as it made me see more details about Hanoi if I were in a car.  We stopped by several art galleries and even said a small prayer at the Cathedral which was right beside restaurant.

The restaurant was fantastic and the price points were excellent!  We practically ordered the entire menu as we were all so hungry from the heat and the walk. LOL!  My best dish was the pork ribs that were so perfectly flavoured and cooked  this is a real must when you come to Porte D’Annam!   We were all so lucky as we had  our friend Trung who made sure we had the best recommendations for restaurants and activities.  Thank you you Trung!   These were my memories for the first few hours in Hanoi.  Enjoy!

Someone once told me that always look out of the window when you are travelling as you never know what will inspire you.

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