Mall culture in the Philippines is not like anything in the world. Not even our neighbouring countries treat malls the way we do. It’s not the usual shop and dine space. We literally want our malls to be a one stop shop. Possibilities are endless. From groceries, to pharmacies, clinics, spas, barbershops, arcades, movie houses, gyms, parks, concert halls, galleries, and more. We even hear the mass in the mall.
But before our country has decided it will compete in creating the biggest and fanciest mall there is, Metro Manila had its first air-conditioned mall in 1976 under the name Harrison Plaza (HP). It’s the neighbourhood’s place to be. That’s what we used to call it. Actually, sometimes, we still do. Because it is. HP still has a charisma, and can offer a variety of things, big malls can’t.
A good friend of mine was participating in a fashion competition a few years back, and she was looking for a particular pair of shoes. Naturally, she visited the big branches of SM first to look for stocks, but she failed. Just when she was about to give up, she went back to HP and viola - the shoes she wanted for her show were readily available.
Because there are fewer visitors in HP compared to the big malls, anyone looking for a good deal has a greater chance of closing it there.
How’s your week so far? I hope everything is great.
It’s been almost a year since my friends from Shang and I decided to book a flight to Kota Kinabalu. Months after, my college friends got the same flights, and I couldn’t be more excited for what the trip will entail. The months of waiting ended, but due to some unforeseen events, the original group whom I planned the trip with wasn’t able to go. I guess we’ll just wait for another get together.
With the help and encouragement of friends and family, I decided to push through with the plan. It’s not like I’ll be missing out on a great opportunity such as this.
Day 1 started with a little of catching up: inside jokes, past travels, work. In an instant, it felt like nothing really changed. The empty boarding gate was then filled with our laughter.
After a smooth 2-hour flight from Manila to Kota Kinabalu, we found ourselves lining up for our visa stamp. The line was long, but we entertained ourselves nonetheless.
Originally, we all wanted to buy a local sim card, which is very advisable if you’re traveling with a group and need to navigate around a foreign country. Malaysian networks offer up to 10GB of mobile data for a week for 25RM. However, since it was our first time to travel abroad as a group, we wanted to take the chance to do some exploring. Sticking together is more fun anyway.
In addition to my earlier post, I want to share some of the experiences we’ve had when we visited Macau and Hong Kong during winter.
Our ever reliable planner, Gaye made the itinerary for the trip. She even called travel agencies, hotels, transportation companies, etc. to make sure that the spots we’re visiting will fit our schedules. As I recall, the trip actually started with a joke when Gaye asked Diego if he wanted to travel abroad. Surprisingly, we ended up booking one of our hotels on that same week, and our plane tickets for the 6-day trip a week after.
We rode a hotel bus from Macau airport, situated at the eastern end of Taipa island, to Macau Peninsula, then walked all the way to Ole London Hotel during the first night. Exploring a new city in a foreign country is awesome. You get to discover things, and meet friends while getting lost.
Hope you’re all doing well. I am excited for our flight next week! I even consulted my good friend, Gaye to help us plan. I’ll blog about it right after the trip.
Although I am glad that I will be packing lighter clothes this time, I can’t help but miss the outfits that I planned when we flew to Macau and Hong Kong.
As you would notice, I’m all for preppy clothes and layering. I love the challenge of creating multiple outfits with a limited number of clothing. You can build a mix-and-match wardrobe without worrying about your budget, as long as you check the quality of the garment that you’re buying.
For sweaters, go for items that are thick enough to give you warmth, but not enough to make you look bulky. Remember that you may also need to add a jacket or a coat on top of the sweater. Not to mention, that you might be wearing a shirt underneath it.
Pack shoes that you’re comfortable with, especially when your travel requires long walks. You don’t want to end up changing the entire look or missing the trip just because you brought a stiff pair.
Wearing a wide brim hat and a Mandarin collar shirt from H&M, matched with a biker’s jacket and dark skinny jeans from Forever 21, and a black pair of Dr. Martens.
Having an undershirt is an option, but I always do so as to protect the button-down shirt.
Black aviators from Sunnies, black sweater from H&M, skinny jeans and saddle brown clutch bag from Forever 21, Adidas sneakers, and a white collar shirt.
I like this sweater because of its square textures.
Dark turquoise sweater from Penshoppe.
I hope you like my first OOTD post. Enjoy the rest of the week!
Read more about this trip here.
Traveling as a family has been a tradition ever since our parents were kids. As we grew older and schedules changed, the trips became less frequent. However, now that there is a new kid in the house, we try to restore the practice.
This year, our second trip brought us to the province of Lobo, Batangas. A 2.5 to 3 hour drive from Manila or 45 minutes from the provincial capital, Batangas City, Almalin Beach Resort is a private beachfront property that was originally built as a holiday-retirement house for the owners. Nestled behind the mountain ranges of Mount Calo and Mount Hebangao, it opens up to the quiet stretch of Verde Island Passage.
To get there, you may take the South Luzon Express Way (SLEX), continue to the Star Toll Gate, then take the Batangas City Exit. A faster option is taking the Ibaan Exit from the Toll Gate, which leads to a steeper road, and hence should only be taken during the dry season. Although some roads of the province are still underway, both routes showcase the sprawling greenery of the mountain ranges, giving you an insight of the agricultural and trade activities of the area.
The resort offers 5 different accommodations that range from Php 1,000 (22 USD) to Php 13,800 (294 USD), air-conditioned rooms, European-style bathrooms, a shower area, a kid’s and adult beach level pool, cable tv, gas ranges and grills, and complimentary WiFi. Should you wish to go rustic, you may opt for the Bahay Kubo, a traidional 4-unit nipa house with full-size beds.
We stayed at Pola, a beachfront bungalow that features a queen size bed on the first floor and two double beds on the second floor, a European-style bathroom and a furnished balcony which we used for dining.
In case you forgot to pack your kitchenware or just open to some exploring, there’s a nearby market where you can purchase inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly), sweet potato, local fruits like atis (sugar apple) and mangoes, and other local food. The people are nice, and are ready for your haggling skills should you purchase more than a kilo of their products.
In addition to their facilities, Almalin also offers snorkeling, fishing lines, beach volleyball, frisbee, badminton, majhong tiles and table, chess, kayak, canoe and paddle board. You may also request for a full body massage, pedicure and manicure services, boat tours or rent a jet ski.
We were very lucky to have the entire resort to ourselves, since we left Manila during a thunderstorm. Not to mention that it was a little sunny when we arrived in the property. Prayers and taking risks do make the difference.
With over 15 years of hospitality experience, Almalin Beach Resort strives to develop their facilities for beach lovers and traveling groups alike.
You may visit www.almalinbeachresort.com or call (+63) 995 630 0442 for more information.
Last September 18 to 21, my friends and I went to Siem Reap, Cambodia. A much awaited trip for all of us; one could say that we needed the break from the monotony of our daily activities, and usual get-togethers. Growing up in the metro, I felt joyful after seeing and walking through their forests and temples. Everything was very magical for me. I can still remember how the butterflies flew around us as we were walking through Angkor Thom (Great City), which connects the Kingdom of Cambodia to the other states.
What struck me the most was the serious efforts being carried by their government and concerned institutions to restore their heritage sites. With such beautifully carved pillars and walls, incredible structures and rich history, how could you not do it, right? The trip became more educational because of our friendly tour guide, Vicheth Chan.
Niguel is an experienced creative and marketing professional pursuing his dreams while growing with infinite possibilities.