Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tagaytay Christmas Get-Away (Part V: Pictures and More Pictures!)

My last entry for our Christmas vacation will be about the things that we did the most in Tagaytay... picture-taking!

Day 1

We checked in at the hotel and went to mass in the evening.

Day 2

Our plan to visit Paradizoo on Christmas Day didn't push through because I've seen from their website that they have increased their entrance fee from P99 to P199 per head. The Hubby was willing to go but I wasn't. Call me kill-joy but I call my self prudent. Hahaha, pagandahin naman natin ang term na kuripot. Basta lang, I don't feel like I should spend close to a thousand peso (since there are 5 of us) to meet and greet the farm animals, no matter how adorable they are, no matter how I wanted Amber to see them. Pero sabi nga ng Nanay ko, one of these days, you will be so willing to go there to the point of spending even more than that. O, e di sige, hintayin ko na lang kung kelan yun. Sana may manlibre. ;-p

Instead, we went around the hotel, let Amber play at the playground for a while...

And strolled around the hotel's premises...

Amber snoozed after her bath and while she waits for the elders to dress up... 

After that, we went to Taal Vista Lodge for a good view of the lake and volcano. I like that they allow non-guests to go in to take a full view of the Taal lake but if I were a guest, I will feel uneasy because there are just too many people already. Nevertheless, let us take advantage of this non-guests privilege while it lasts, shall we? ^_^

Paid P100 for the parking. That is good for 1-hour worth of picture-taking!

Amber says, "wul-key-noh! wul-key-now!"

We still took some shots back at the hotel lobby before calling it a day...

Day 3

We stayed on bed until there was just enough time to catch breakfast downstairs. After eating we went again to the hotel's backyard to greet the sheep. We had to because Amber kept on tugging us to their direction while she says, "sheeeeep! sheeeeep!!!".   

After that, we went back to our room to pack our things.  

A little pictorial while the bill is being settled

We went to the local market to buy fruits (pineapples!!! lots of them!), vegetables and some pasalubong. Mama also bought flowers from the stalls along the road on our way home. 

The pineapple farms were so nice to look at. I just couldn't take a good shot because I was carrying a toddler who is sound asleep. ^_^

There goes our 2011 Christmas get-away! Looking forward to more get-aways with the family this coming year. ^_^

Happy holidays everyone! 


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tagaytay Christmas Get-Away (Part IV: Christmas Mass)

I had to give this post some serious thoughts before publishing it. I know it's Christmas and there shouldn't be room for aversion on this merry season at least, but there's no better way I can write about this experience than what's on this entry. Anyhow, I'm sorry for those who will disagree but these are my thoughts and this is the way I felt.  

We heard mass at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church.  

The church is big and spacious. And the altar looked great!

They had a program which was led by the ministry’s teenage members. It started with performances of different choirs from every barangay. 

We always look forward to the “Panunuluyan” re-enactment which is done in churches before the Christmas eve mass begins. It was enjoyable to watch until they have dragged the scene for almost an hour. :(

Had we not reminded ourselves that we were there to hear mass and pay homage to our saviour, the Hubby and I would've walked-out of the church when they began showing video clips of actual abortion. I really couldn’t take it, I felt I would throw up if I continued on seeing it. I just had to look at Amber and cover her eyes for fear that it might give her nightmares. It was too graphic. I heard Nanay sniffling and it was just the worse church program that I’ve attended!

Apparently, they were campaigning against the RH bill and abortion, which I hope they didn’t do that night. There were children inside the church! The video was too horrifyingly graphic! Even I who used to watch and like gory films felt sick not even 30 seconds of seeing it. And they aired it for a good 5 minutes! It was Christmas eve for goodness’ sake! Where are the merry thoughts?

I believe there are a lot of ways to get the point across. I wish they have looked for more acceptable ways rather than causing trauma most especially to a large number of children who were present at that time.

It was just so tacky and insensitive. We still heard mass after that and prayed so hard that people will be guided towards what is appropriate and what is simply unacceptable.  

Tagaytay Christmas Get-Away (Part III: The Food)

We planned to have our dinner at LZM Restaurant (known for its famous boneless bangus) on our first night in Tagaytay. But it was already closed when we got there so we settled ourselves at Shakey’s in Robinsons. We had to make our dinner quick because we have to attend the 9PM mass and it was almost 8PM then.

Our dinner was uneventful, except for Mama’s outrage against the staff for their very poor service. I kept on telling myself to let it pass because it was Christmas and maybe they were just all eager to go home. But Mama couldn’t stop herself by the obvious inattentiveness.

The next day, we had the buffet breakfast at the hotel. The choices were very limited but I was surprised that I was so full from what they have served. 

Konsensha: Eh kasi naman yung plate nya pati lunch at dinner, kasama na!

Garlic Rice, Tocino, Chicken Adobo, Corned Beef and Ham

Vegetable Omelet

Breads, butter & jam with Lugaw

I said I can live for that day without having to eat again. Pero shempre chika lang yun! Ako pa, hindi kakain!?

We went out again in the afternoon and went to Josephine’s to have our late lunch there. But my goolay! Andami pa ring tao! It was already 3PM and the place was still packed! When the Hubby inquired, we were the 17th in the queue. As in aabutin na pala kami ng dinner dito!

No matter how I like to eat at Josephine’s while enjoying a good view of the Taal lake, I wasn’t crazy to wait that long so we went back to LZM Restaurant instead. No Taal lake and volcano in horizon but the food was great!
The restaurant is located at the 2nd floor of I-don't-know-building.

The famous boneless bangus. P350

What's a trip to Tagaytay without Bulalo? P450, unlimited soup

Ampalaya Con Carne (which I love!) and Pancit

After our late-lunch-snack or snack-early-dinner combo at LZM, we passed by Robinson’s Supermarket to buy crackers for Mama, potato chips for Hubby, milk for Amber, instant coffee for my coffee-addict Nanay and mountain dew for mwah!  

Side kwento... Mama is so funny! Hubby and I saw her smiled and blushed when she saw that there were a lot of Korean nationals inside the supermarket. Bakit kaya? Feeling nya nasa Korea na sha? I bet her ultimate dream now is to travel to Korea. Oo, kakabugin nun ang Europe trip nya with Papa and her US vacations. She even announced to us that her Mabuhay Miles can now give her a free airfare to Korea, kelangan na lang nya ng kasama. Ikaw na talaga, Ma! "It’s you already"!

The next day, we binged on the hotel’s buffet breakfast again. Sayang I wasn't able to take pictures but they served Pasta, Pancakes, Tapa, Danggit and Mami this time. The salad and bread bars were still there. I ordered for a Mushroom and Cheese Omelet and it was soooo good! ^_^

Hay! I'm still so hung-up on Josephine's. It was a decade since I last ate there, I was sooo craving for the Mutya ng Cavite (it's a seafood soup ^_^)! Haiz! 

Tagaytay Christmas Get-Away (Part II: The Hotel)

We stayed in Hotel Kimberly.

I learned about this hotel through one of their Account Executives who went to our office to offer us a corporate rate.

I had so many apprehensions when I made our reservations because I haven’t heard of this hotel yet. And there were a few negative reviews I’ve read from the internet written when the hotel just opened in 2008 -- from lack of hot water and limited cable channels to so many petty things. I am just hoping that they have improved on these areas since then.

I was even concerned that the weather might not be as cold in that part of Tagaytay because they are away from the Lake. Not the usual site where the well-known hotels are situated. I even asked the reservations officer if it is cold there to which she replied, “Malamig din po, Ma’am”. Her answer didn’t give me an assurance at all. Basta kelangan malamig or else, mapapahiya ako sa MIL ko!!! 

It was a good thing that I was able to avail of the corporate rate on my first booking. That gave us a savings of P1,000 per night! Yay!

We got to the hotel at 4PM. It wasn’t hard to locate despite it being in a more private area. We were welcomed by the coolest Tagaytay breeze! Nanginig kami sa lamig when we got out of the car. I had to let Amber put on her jacket for fear that she might catch colds. The weather was really comparable to Baguio. Tuwang-tuwa ang MIL! And that made me happy, too! ^_^

We were greeted by friendly people. One staff gave Amber a welcome candy cane that I allowed her to munch on, Christmas naman eh.
Her first candy experience!

Our room was in the 4th floor, the highest level and it has a veranda where we got to enjoy the cold air even more. We didn’t turn on the A/C anymore. We just opened the veranda doors to let the natural breeze come in. ^_^

View from the veranda

The beds were comfortable but the pillows were too soft that we needed extra pillows to support our heads. The TV wasn’t LCD TV yet like what other hotels already have but it wasn’t a problem at all since Mama and the Hubby were so engrossed on their respective laptops enjoying the hotel’s WiFi to even notice it.
Look at how they presented the towels, so creative!

The bathroom is small but we all agreed that this is the best place in the room! My bath time took longer than the usual. I love that the water was warm and the shower head is big and wide! It makes you feel like bathing in the rain with lukewarm water. It was so relaxing!

The room service was fast and we felt surrounded with cordial people talaga. 

Argh! I wasn’t able to take a picture of the lobby from the second floor, the view would’ve been nicer! Anyhow, the Christmas tree will greet you as you enter the lobby.
Front desk with Mama in the foreground

The Christmas Tree and the way leading to the Cafe

Waiting Lounge

Hotel Entrance (Exit)

They also have a make-shift fireplace on one side. Very cozy, isn’t it?

The hotel also has a small recreational area for families and friends. A mini-gym with a backdrop where you can get to have your before and after picture like this... ^_^
O, ayan Ma, your trice a week trips to the gym already paid off! Lol!

There is a swimming pool para sa mga malalakas ang loob na magswimming! The smaller one is a kiddie pool. Mind you guys, these pools didn’t remain untouched! There were actually some children swimming in spite of the very cold air. I think it’s okay though because the pools were strategically located in the area where the wind is being blocked by the hotel building. Still, it was cold! Brrr...

There is a play area for kids which Amber loved! Sayang lang the slides were wet because of the morning dew so the Hubby didn’t let Amber slide... alone! Yes, kasama shang nag-slide. Ang cute!

Further from the hotel is a small farm with chicken and sheep. There is also a mini-garden with some vegetables.

We loved the place! Mama said that we are definitely staying there again on our next Tagaytay vacation.

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