Experience Travel and Living Volume 3 Number 3

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EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016



EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Contents

35 A Parisian time out:

Regine Tolentino fulfills her dream of experiencing the City of Lights

50 Where sun, wind and water meet:

Sol y Viento Mountain Hot Springs and Resort is redefining Laguna’s hot spring experience

59 Back to basics

The tranquil place in faraway Subic Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon is a change from popular destinations

70 Falling in love with Japan One prefecture at a time


EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

Every issue 12 Living well 16 wellness 32 heritage 35 celebrity travel 59 travel lite 70 travel luxe 86 the good life 92 postings



The UP Manila-Museum of a History of Ideas chronicles physical well-being during the American period

Dusit Thani Manila’s The Pantry offers farm-to-fork dining and halal options


Emerald water

You need to hike to Paguriran Beach in Sawanga, Sorsogon to discover its comely delights


State of Health

Fresh alternatives


Heart and Seoul

The South Korean capital has numerous freebie experiences for an economical trip

Your own private paradise You are never far from the water with Plantation Bay’s pools and lagoons


All natural


Taiwan’s verdant countryside lets city dwellers experience the country life

On the Silk Road at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

On the cover

The ground around Osaka Castle is full of trees that delight with the changing of the season. (Photo by Martin San Diego)

EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience editor's note

Journeys in the Orient


ver since the 16th century, when the great powers of Spain and Portugal sought a route to the Moluccas, which was then known for its spices, much of East Asia remained unknown to Europeans. As trade with the Eastern Hemisphere flourished, the beauty and exoticism of the Far East continue to captivate and inspire travelers. Today, these countries continue to be favored destinations in this part of the world, primarily for their uniqueness: Japan for its peerless culture, one of gentility and delicacy; South Korea for its robust cuisine and colorful entertainment industry; and Taiwan for its adherence to a back-to-nature approach. For this issue of EXPERIENCE Travel & Living, we take a peek into these distant lands through the encounters our correspondents had with these countries. They offer an eye-opening gaze at three of the must-go places for Filipino tourists. In many of our travels, we seek a refresher from the cares of the everyday. The change of environment offers a reboot of our tired mindset, a necessary break before we resume our daily lives. We offer a selection of our favorite spas and wellness centers that will hopefully guide you in finding the pampering that suits your needs. Some are just right within the city, others necessitate a daytrip out of town, offering a pleasant excuse for a road trip or a bonding session with friends or your loved ones. Refreshed bodies need an outlet to show off their fine form. The monsoon might be upon us now, but for those few days of sunshine, weary city dwellers can choose to hie off to some unknown beach to soak up some sun or simply enjoy the water. Here are two beach options, both in faraway Sorsogon, that offer a calming experience that is a break from the crowded beachfront in other more popular destinations around the country. For true beach bums, distance is never an issue; it is the fine sand and the crystal clear waters that count most.

Joseph Cortes



EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

Experience LASIK at


ouldn’t it be great to be able to see the world clearly without eye glasses or contact lenses? With the advances in refractive surgery treatments, change is coming for people with vision problems. Refractive surgery includes any procedure designed to treat refractive errors or common eye disorders like myopia or nearsightedness, hyperopia or farsightedness, presbyopia and astigmatism. The most common refractive surgery is LASIK which stands for laser in situ keratomileusis, which means using a laser underneath a corneal flap (in situ) to reshape the cornea (keratomileusis). During the LASIK procedure, refractive

surgeons reshape the cornea by removing precise amounts of corneal tissue to correct the patient’s degree of refractive error. LASIK surgery only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to perform. Many people opt for LASIK surgery to eliminate the hassle of dealing with eye glasses or contact lenses while performing their normal activities. It is also a popular treatment for those who have problems associated with wearing contacts like allergies. If you are one of those people who have been wearing glasses or contacts all your life, consider undergoing LASIK to improve your vision and overall quality of life. But before you take the plunge, you have one decision to make -- selecting the right LASIK center for you. You may consider having it done at a reputable refractive surgery center such as the LASIK Center of The Medical City (TMC). Launched in 2012, TMC’s LASIK center specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all refractive errors. The center is equipped with the WaveLight Refractive Suite, which combines two of the most advanced lasers available for performing LASIK surgery—the WaveLight FS200, a 200

kHz Femtosecond laser for flap creation and the superfast WaveLight EX500, a 500 Hz repetition excimer laser that reshapes the cornea. The WaveLight Refractive Suite is a revolutionary bladeless technology for vision correction. It combines two different lasers; the FS200utilized in the first step of the procedure to make the flap and the EX500 used in the second step to reshape the cornea, correcting the patient’s nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. These two lasers have been ergonomically combined and optimized into the WaveLight® Refractive Suite to give the patient more comfort and less anxiety and efficiency for eye surgeons in performing vision correction procedures. And since the laser is guided by a computer, it is very precise and results are accurate. In most cases, a single treatment will achieve the desired outcome. Enhancements are possible if needed, even many years after the initial surgery. Since the surgery is done within the hospital and performed by highly skilled refractive surgeons, the procedure is guaranteed to be safe, precise, and effective. For more information about The Medical City LASIK Center, please call 988-1000 or 988-7000 ext. 7783 or 7784 or visit http:// themedicalcity.com/department/lasik/. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Publisher Editor-in-Chief Associate Editor Graphic Artist Editorial Assistant Contributing Editor Contributing Writers

Contributing Photographers

Admin and Circulation Manager Online and Creative Group Manager Sales Group Interns

US Liason Off icer/ Authorized Dealer

ANA M. MANANSALA JOSEPH CORTES MITCH ARCEO-CRUZ MAYNARD VILLADOLID ANGELA M. DENILLA CORA LLAMAS Eric Cabahug, Jay Cunanan-Canlas, Ailene Co, David Fabros, Lester Gopela Hallig, Suzette Jessica, Tanya T. Lara, Ma. Glaiza Lee, Karl Orit, and Anson Yu Martin San Diego, Patrick Uy, Renjie Tolentino, ArtConcentrix, and Teddy Pelaez JOANNE VERA CRUZ-FELIX JOY M. FLORES


Ex perience Travel and Living is published bi-monthly by

MODE DEVI PUBLISHING, INC. Manila Address: Suite 205 Corinthian Executive Regency Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City U.S. Address: Suite 535 West 2155 th Street, Carson, California 90745 LILIAN SIA SENGIA, Chief Finance Officer DENNIS SIA, Vice President

Visit www.experiencetravel.ph Email: experiencetravelandliving@gmail.com Like us at www.facebook.com/ExperienceTravel.Ph Instagram: ExperienceTravel.ph Twitter: @xptravel.ph The magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for all manuscripts and photographs submitted. While every reasonable effort is made to verify information, facts and figures, the magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for errors or misrepresentations that may appear in the publication. Opinions expressed in Experience are solely those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by the company and its editors. Printed in the Philippines. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No part of the magazine may be reproduced in full or in part without prior written permission from the editors.


EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016



EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Contributors

ERIC CABAHUG is a screenwriter, author, songwriter, and photographer. Among his works are the book Princess Maryam, the screenplay of the film adaptation of the Bob Ong bestseller Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin, and a photo published in Lonely Planet's Blue List 2008. He is currently the creative manager for films at Viva Films, marketing manager at Viva Artists Agency, and editorial director of VRJ Books.

JAY CUNANAN-CANLAS Her love for food and travel started when, as a child, her dad was assigned as a missionary to Malaysia. From then on, there has been no looking back as she managed to turn every single trip—whether to the grocery, the market, a new city or a new country—into an adventure. Married for 24 years and mother of one, her biggest dream is to turn her son into a lakwatsero like his parents; he prefers food over travel. She instead brings him pasalubong and writes about those adventures for him and sometimes for a living.

AILENE CO is recognized as a dedicated and multi-faceted corporate and business practitioner with a firm stance on business education and how financial success can be achieved through informed decisions. An advocate for education and personal development, she tirelessly campaigns for women empowerment, work-life balance, and the importance of drive and passion to achieve one’s best work. She is the mother of twin daughters and a traveler.

DAVID FABROS is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based in Manila, but lives a life of never-ending travel to many parts of the world. With a long career in television, events design and talent development, he has found gainful expression in fashion and showbiz magazines, print advertisement and portraiture, and coffee-table books on Philippine art and iconic personages, over the years. His favorite cities to travel to are Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Florence and Barcelona. Follow his posts in Instagram @thedavidfabros and his website www.visioncapturemedia.com

LESTER GOPELA HALLIG is a veteran travel journalist who treats his trips as opportunities to promote local tourism.

SUZETTE JESSICA is a veteran public relations practitioner.

TANYA T. LARA is a full-time lifestyle journalist at the Philippine Star, a book editor, wanderer, storyteller, dog lover, and sometimes Superwoman. She has a fascination for miniature parks and writes about her travel adventures—such as getting lost in Budapest, falling in love in Istanbul, discovering Santorini without people, and traveling solo through France for more than a decade—on her blog www.findingmyway.net.


EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

MA. GLAIZA LEE is a self-proclaimed traveler. Every person she meets, every adventure she does, and every little experience shapes her perception of the world around her. She looks forward to devouring sumptuous dishes, meeting interesting people, and enjoying life to the fullest.


Karl Orit usually documents his trips using film cameras he got from Quiapo, flea markets or surplus warehouses. Sometimes he puts his experiences and thoughts from a trip on paper, and writes fiction inspired by his trips.

TEDDY PELAEZ worked at Business World for 14 years as a photojournalist. He was the photographer of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Senator Mar Roxas when they ran for president and senator, respectively. He has done voluntary work with various nongovernmental organizations when calamities hit the country. He loves traveling and nature photography.



is a Computer Science graduate turned photojournalist and wannabe traveler. This young Green Archer wants to explore the world one photography genre at a time.

RENJIE TOLENTINO started his career in 1998 as a media relations officer in one of the biggest public relations firms in the country. In 2010, he shifted to freelance PR consulting while following his passion for photography. As a lifestyle and entertainment photographer, he has handled some of the country’s top brands and had worked with top PR and advertising agencies across the metro.



is a sought-after wedding photographer, whose clients include some of the biggest names in local business, politics and show business. He also specializes in advertising photography and is the proprietor of Pacific Light Studio. He is past president of both the Camera Club of the Philippines and of the Advertising Photographers of the Philippines.

ANSON YU loves to walk for long hours on end, loves to write freelance and is, as he says, an “occasional photography junkie.” He loves everything about Manila, a fascination born out of the very place where he grew up and worked in. This fascination with the glorious past of the city made him a renowned name when it comes to writing (storytelling, if you want) everything about Manila and its rich history. In 2008, he became part of an organization that regularly holds walking tours in famous Manila spots, like Intramuros, Binondo in Chinatown, and Divisoria, to name a few.


EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience living well

Lamb jogan rosh

Fresh alternatives

appetizers from the Italian section

Dusit Thani Manila’s The Pantry offers farm-to-fork dining and halal options

Words by Joseph Cortes Photos by Patrick Uy

a harvest of seafood


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here are buffets, and there is Dusit Thani Manila’s The Pantry. Compared with grand spreads in other hotels and restaurants, what the hotel takes pride in is the fact that its offering is organic. In fact, the whole allday dining restaurant promotes farm-to-fork dining. Whatever you choose from the lavish feast before you—be it salads, appetizers, entrees or desserts—you are assured that they are made with ingredients that have been chosen with care, namely locally sourced fair trade goods from reputable suppliers were made use of to deliver its delicious goodies. The Pantry is a major overhaul from Dusit’s old coffee shop. With an emphasis on open kitchens, diners can see for themselves how their meals are prepared. This includes a roasting pit where lechon is cooked on a daily basis; if you rarely see lechon cooked up close, drop by a few minutes before lunch, and you will witness a whole pig being roasted just before it is served. (Do come early if you want a serving of crispy lechon skin, because it is always the first to go.) It is this attention to detail, this delightful showmanship that makes dining here such a delight. At the

salad station, Caesar salad is made to order, while a variety of prepared salads, available in small amounts to ensure freshness. There is a selection of appetizers-in-a-jar, such as tuna tartare and couscous salad, which add a participative element to your meal. Just shake the bottle, and its ready to eat. Right beside it, the display of sushi and sashimi is kept under glass. No more stale tuna or salmon sashimi; everything is kept in chiller for utmost taste and flavor. Each food station has this interactive element—and there are nine of them: seafood, soup noodle, brick oven Italian pizza and pasta, Chinese bao bar, Japanese sushi, Indian tandoor oven, beverage studio, dessert station, and the roasting pit/ carvery. No matter what your food inclination, you will definitely find something yummy here. While it can rest on its laurels, The Pantry doesn’t. In fact, it added another feather to its cap when it recently received halal certification from the Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines, the only duly and internationally recognized halal accreditation authority in the country. Because of this, the hotel has received distinction from Crescent Rating, the

global authority in halal travel, as the first five-star luxury hotel in the Makati area to have a halal kitchen. This means that the Muslim faithful are assured that there are dishes on the buffet that are acceptable based on Islamic guidelines. Likewise, the hotel has staff and facilities capable of handling specific dietary requests when needed. The selection of halal items includes a variety of Indian dishes, from lamb rogan josh, a variety of curries and biryani, samosa and pakora, and even fish taco. And it is just as delicious as the other items on the buffet. The Pantry seats 280 guests in a variety of settings. For those who would like to drop by for coffee and some pastries, there is a casual seating area near the front suitable for afternoon tea or a snack. As you go in, the setup becomes more varied, with tables set for two or four diners and even bigger layouts for groups. The restaurant also has a graband-go section where guests can buy a packed meal if they are in a hurry. There are sandwiches and a variety of cakes and pastries that are ideal for baon, whether you are off to work or school or on a trip. There are also breads and cakes of all kinds.

The Pantry is at the lobby of Dusit Thani Manila. It is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For reservations or inquiries, call 238-8888.

The bar at The Pantry

Freshly-made fish tacos EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016



EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience WELLNESS

Heaven on the 22nd floor Delight in absolute pampering at Flow Spa Words by Joanne VC Felix


EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

A therapist soothes the week’s cares with her gentle hands.


he best way to end a busy workweek is with a visit to the spa. And if that spa happens to be as luxurious as Flow Spa at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, then you are sure to be starting your weekend on a heavenly note. Located at the 22nd floor of the hotel, Flow Spa is at the heart of the Wellness and Recreation Center, which also houses a fitness gym and an infinity pool. If you want to re-energize after hectic client calls, drop by here for some much needed de-stressing. There is a ritual in most spas, and here, they pamper you with warm, friendly service. After a therapist helped me change from my shoes to comfy slippers, I was led to a sumptuous treatment room. Furbished in a pale neutral color and decked with butterfly motifs, it was a room fit for a king… or his queen. After a quick shower, the therapist scrubbed my feet with a tingly moisturizing salt. It was a herald of things to come. In her capable hands, I felt my aches and pains melt away as her gentle hands kneaded the knots out of my back and shoulders. It was a fusion of Eastern and Western techniques— the stretching movements of a Thai massage and the firm strokes of Hawaiian lomi-lomi. The Serenity oil she used on me was so soothing I almost dozed off had it not been for my tendency to burp, proof that the excess air in my body was being stroked out of my body. After an hour under her careful ministrations, I was ready to face the weekend with a lovely smile. At the end of the treatment, as I was enjoying the glow of a calming treatment, my therapist served a cup of warm tea. It was a reassuring gesture, very much the cherry on my sundae of a visit to the spa. Aside from massages, Flow Spa also offers facials that help detoxify, moisturize and nourish the skin. It was a treat that would have to wait for a next visit, preferably an overnight one, so I can enjoy the amenities in one of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s well-appointed rooms. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Wellness

Organic beauty solutions Achieving perfect beauty is not just looking beautiful on the outside, but also being healthy and fit. With all the products in the market that promise to deliver beauty in an instant, one must be wary of just an item that is really beneficial and safe for the body. Organic Alley offers preservative- and chemical-free skincare solutions that fight aging, treat blemishes, allergies, rashes and dark spots, gently heal chemically damaged skin, relieve persistent redness, and calm reactive skin quickly and efficiently without clogging the pores. Unlike other brands, Organic Alley products are free from preservatives, synthetic chemical fragrances and dyes, petroleum by-products, parabens, pthalates, sulfates, EDTA, alum, DEET, and other harsh and carcinogenic chemicals. If you have skin blemishes, irritations, acne, insect bites and itchiness, psoriasis, exfoliative cheilitis, rashes, dry skin, rosacea, allergies, chicken skin, scars and open wounds, and cracked heel, Organic Alley’s Miracle Salve is the solution. Organic Alley has three kinds of oil that delay the signs of aging. The Body Treatment Oil reduces scars, stretch marks and cellulite, smoothens and regenerates skin, promotes blood circulation, and treats skin infections and warts. Another anti-aging shield is Argan Oil, which minimizes and softens wrinkles, prevents stretch marks, clarifies skin patches and marks, controls secretion of oil from pores, repairs sun and chemically damaged skin, treats itchiness, allergies, dermatitis and eczema. It is easily absorbed by the skin in four minutes and keeps the face and under-eye area moisturized all day. Hyperpigmentation, stretch marks, scars, marks and fine lines can be treated with Rosehip Oil, which contains vitamins A, C and E and essential fatty acids. It is fast absorbing, penetrating

the skin in 10 minutes, and makes the face and under-eye brighter and moisturized the whole day. Aside from salves and oils, Organic Alley also has its Acne and Scars Be Gone clarifying bar to treat pimple scars and fight oiliness and acne. On the other hand, the Ultra White Bengkoang and Glycolic Acid soap can whiten the skin without peeling and dryness, because it contains moisturizers and sunscreen. To delay the signs of aging, the face must be kept clean and hydrated. Its Cleansing Water is an alcohol-free solution that removes dirt, soap residue, eye makeup, tones and clarifies skin without the sting, and brightens the skin. It can be sprayed on the back and chest twice a day and before hitting the gym to prevent body acne. If you want to lighten lips and nipples, the Lightening Lip and Nipple Balm smoothens and minimizes lines and wrinkles on lips and nipples. You condition and treat your hair. Why not do the same for your lashes with the Lash and Brow Serum? It stimulates lash growth, thickens and hardens hair, and kills bacterial buildup caused by mascara use. With every purchase of Organic Alley’s products, a portion of proceeds goes to St. Luke’s Medical Center BGC’s Corridor of Hope, a group dedicated to helping indigent cancer patients with their treatment.

Organic Alley products are available online at www.organicalley.me, www.zalora.com.ph, Purebeauty at Serendra 2, all Echostore branches, and Sesou Nature Source outlets.


EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

Look your ‘svelte best’ at SvelT’i

Quick, effective and non-invasive treatments address the effects of aging, obesity, and related medical conditions


ow would you like to look your svelte best, exuding a radiant aura from your glowing face to your flawless skin? This attractiveness extends to your now slim figure, which has shed off those unwanted pounds and flab that slowed down your every movement, and worse, stopped you from looking at the mirror. A new, younger looking, healthier, and yes, lovelier body can be yours in just a few sessions with SvelT’i, the new beauty and wellness center along Timog, Quezon City. The center offers a whole range of treatments that remove fat and speed up metabolism. Its services also reduce, if not, totally remove skin irritants, from acne and warts to visibly thick hair, pimples, creases, and wrinkles.

Relax and rejuvenate What makes these treatments impressive is that each session can last only from thirty minutes to one hour. They are non-intrusive, meaning no surgery is needed. You can relax and nap while the wonders of technology make you sweat away all those toxins, tighten flabby skin, or whittle away those fine lines. Recovery time is practically non-existent; you can go back to work, return home, or hangout with your friends after a session. Microlift uses low-level electrical current to tighten the areas where the facial skin tends to sag, like the cheeks, chin, or jaw line. Skin Renew+ by Oxygeneo makes the face look fresh and young-looking after each treatment. Vanish Hair Removal does away with the painful practice of waxing and plucking; instead, its laser light hones in on target and neutralizes hair roots that grow thick hair on the legs, thighs, arms, shoulders, or any part of the body. Thermogenic’s Far Infrared Rays break down unwanted fats in the body, making them leave through skin pores. A session or two has been known to reduce an inch from the waist or lessen weight by a couple of pounds. The extent of a treatment will depend on the kind of improvement you want to experience. Follow-up sessions are recommended for long lasting results. SvelT’i’s clinical specialists also check your medical history to customize your preferred treatment and provide needed advice to make you healthier and happier. For details, visit www.svelti.com.ph, or call 332-7546, 0925-332-8749, 0925-344-5326, and 0918-878-3584. Its clinic is located at the fifth floor, South Insula Condominium, Timog Avenue, Quezon City. Like SvelT’i FB page at www.facebook.com/sveltiph and IG account @SVELTI_PH. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience wellness

Organic aromatic and olive oils provide healing benefits

Relaxation at its best

Spa’s signature blend of healing olive and aromatic oils. An aromatic body masque is applied followed by a 15-minute wrap to allow the masque to deeply quench the thirsty skin while relaxing your mind and body. Finally, a soothing butter is applied to lock in the moisture, leaving you revitalized inside and out. The foot and hand spas use premium oing to a spa is not simply about getting a massage or a scrub. The scrubs to rid dead skin, revealing supple Mandara Spa at Bonifacio Global and young-looking hands and feet. After City has made the experience the the scrub and massage, the nails are ultimate in relaxation and renewal with a applied with imported nail polish. Though these are separate variety of signature services. Its Signature Rituals offer a complete treatments, they can all be availed in one package called the Ultimate Mandara package of scrub, massage, masque and Experience. Lasting about four hours, wrap, hand spa with manicure, and foot it is simply the best and most luxurious spa with pedicure. pampering retreat. The use of all-organic aromatic For massage lovers, Mandara and olive oils makes these services Spa offers different kinds of massage, unique in that they provide guests with including Swedish, Shiatsu, a combination healing benefits: you feel refreshed and of body reflexology techniques, its reconnected with your mind, body and signature massage, hot stone massage, soul at the end of a session. four hands therapy, traditional healing The signature scrub uses premium Dead Sea salt and a blend of healing olive massage by a master healer, authentic hilot, pre/post natal massage, and ventosa and aromatic oils. A body brush is used cupping with hilot. They also have a to lightly brush and stimulate the body special massage therapy for slimming, to help eliminate dead skin and promote whitening and defying age. lymph flow. The scrub exfoliates and A spa is not complete without facial softens the skin, while a soothing butter is applied to hydrate the skin, leaving it soft, treatments. Its whitening facial treats hyper-pigmentation through exfoliation smooth and invigorated. to achieve even skin tone and reduce The signature masque and wrap deeply hydrates the skin with an aromatic the appearance of dark spots and discoloration. wrap using Dead Sea mud and Mandara


The oil control treatment helps clear the skin without over-drying and irritating effects. With special focus on skin exfoliation and redness reduction, the skin’s appearance improves, helping to correct, as well as prevent, future blemishes. For those who want a facial lift without surgery, its non-surgical facelift leaves the skin supple and soft. Meanwhile, look younger with the Ageloc galvanic spa facial, an anti-aging facial treatment that focuses in reducing wrinkles, fine lines, sagging cheeks and eyebrows, dull skin and much more. It is a safe anti-aging treatment that is guaranteed to give the customer a youthful glow and aura. Other services include organic honey wax to remove unwanted hair and moisturize the skin, whether around the upper lip, underarms, half leg, full leg, bikini and Brazilian; ear candling to remove excess earway; semi-permanent eyelash extension; and threading services.

The Mandara Spa is located at McKinley Park Residences, Unit 308, 31st Street cor. 3rd Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For inquiries, contact (02)869-9910 or 0915-844-3003.


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A sweet way to glowing skin

lawless skin is further highlighted when it is smooth and hairless. No matter which era in time, be in ancient or modern, women—and sometimes, even men—go to great lengths to rid themselves of unwanted hair. One of natural ways of removing undesirable hair is by body sugaring, a special procedure that takes inspiration from the ancient art of hair removal as practiced by Egyptian women. Sugar paste is applied on the skin to take away hair and dead cells, leaving the skin smooth, soft and healthy-looking. This procedure is now available at Barenaked Body Sugaring Salon, the only body sugaring professional in the Philippines. Barenaked’s sugar paste is all-natural with no chemical additives, making it safe even for teenagers and children. It is so safe that it can even be eaten! There is less breakage, less ingrown hair, and less pain as the sugaring technique extracts hair following its natural growth. Body sugaring is less painful compared to waxing because the sugar paste is removed in the same direction of the hair growth resulting to less pain, less breakage and less ingrown hairs. Body sugaring also does not affect the skin the way plucking or shaving does. No need to worry about getting dark skin or chicken skin—the effect of plucking and shaving. With body sugaring, the skin maintains its natural color and even becomes smoother and softer. The hair is removed by the root so when it grows again, there is less hair. Even the hair that grows back are softer and finer and does not feel rough on the skin. Aside from body sugaring, a body scrub is helpful in revealing softer skin. The salon offers scrub services that slough off flakes and hydrate the skin, giving it a healthy youthful glow. The scrub treatments start with exfoliation, followed by the client’s preferred scrub mixture of milk honey, salt glow, or glutathione. After a gentle exfoliation, a honey wrap is applied to cocoon the body. Milk nourishes the skin, while honey peels off dead skin cells. Salt glow, also known as salt scrub or sea salt scrub, renews the skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and rejuvenates skin. Customer satisfaction is a top priority. Barenaked makes sure that all clients receive a high standard of service from its professionally trained technicians. Courteous personnel listen to clients to give them the service they need. Achieving a softer, whiter hairless skin has never been this sweet!

Barenaked Body Sugaring Salon branches are located in Katipunan, West Fairview, Maginhawa Teacher’s Village, Eastwood, Timog, Marcos Highway, Antipolo, SM City Fairview, SM City Taytay, Glorietta 5, Eton Parkview Greenbelt, Market! Market!, The Rock-Don Antonio, Taft, Angeles City, Subic Bay, and Gaisano Mall Davao. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016



IENCEPH.COM Vol.LI 3 VNo. // Vol. 20163 No. 2 // 2016 EXPER IENCE TR AV EL // A ND ING3 //

Experience heritage

EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Wellness

A wellness paradise in Antipolo Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa offers rejuvenation with all-natural ingredients


f daily life has become so stressful, take a breather and relax. Look for ways to rejuvenate your mind and body. It is time to love and pamper yourself, because you deserve it. Get a massage, swim, meditate, and be in touch with your inner self. Located within Loreland Farm Resort in Antipolo, Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa is the perfect place for some much needed respite. This wellness paradise features a sauna, fish spa, heated Jacuzzi, hydro-massage pool, infinity pools and meditation lounges. The experience is taken a notch higher with massage services, natural scrub treatments, and body baths. Customers may choose from many packages that Luljetta’s offers. The Spa Journey packages (Comfort, Nurture, and Rejuvenate) let customers experience a full spa experience for seven hours at its various hanging garden facilities, with either a massage, coffee scrub, or red wine scrub, and Antipolo’s famous snacks, like suman. To experience the water amenities in full, customers may opt to avail of the Hanging Gardens Retreat (good for five hours) and Hanging Gardens Getaway (good for six hours). These packages

provide guests access to facilities, such as sauna, fish spa, heated Jacuzzi, hydro-massage pool, infinity pools and meditation lounges. The packages include snacks and the use of a traditional batik bathrobe and towel. Kids three feet and below availing of the facilities can come in free. Luljetta's body scrubs use natural exfoliants that are safe and healthy for the skin: choose from coffee, sweet calamansi, chocolate and red wine. Often used as an anti-aging product, caffeine can tighten and stimulate the skin. On the other hand, the sweet calamansi is a popular choice because sugar removes dead and damaged skin cells, while the calamansi extract whitens the skin. Honey and olive oil help lock in the skin’s natural moisture. Chocolate contains flavonoids and anti-oxidant properties that detoxify the skin, with its natural and sweet properties. Meanwhile, red wine is packed with protective and nourishing anti-oxidants, vitamins, and nutrients needed for youthful, glowing skin. Aside from body scrubs, nothing provides relief than a massage. Here, guests may choose from Luljettta’s signature massage, hot stone massage,

ginger ventosa, hand or foot reflex, head and back massage, and ear candling. These therapeutic massages improve blood circulation, enhance the five key senses, and relax muscles. To enhance your spa experience, hand and foot spa/ bath, ear candling, manicure and pedicure are also available. Big groups can have a private pool party at the spa, and stay for as long as seven hours with private access to its Buddha lounge and infinity pool. They also have access to its other facilities, and avail of massages, snacks, a four-course wellness meal, and receive its Amu’in aromatherapy welcome kit. If a whole day is not enough, you may check in at Luljetta’s Place Bed and Breakfast, a newly opened wing within the vicinity of Loreland Farm Resort. Guests are provided upgraded room accommodations fit for couples and families. Although it is a short distance to the spa, they are assured of a private accommodation complete with coffee amenities, hot and cold shower and cable TV. There is also a lap pool, children's pool and spa for total relaxation and enjoyment. The dining area serving favorite breakfast and international dishes will open soon.

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa is located at Loreland Farm Resort, Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City. For reservations, call 0917-5444432 (Globe), 0928-6278897 (Smart), (02)570-2532, and (02)695-1965, or email reservations@bienvenidotours.com. For a seamless experience, customers are encouraged to book at least seven days in advance. Walk-in guests are welcome, but guests who reserve in advance will be prioritized.


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Experience wellness

Healing with nature Nurture Wellness Village is located at No. 7310 Pulong Sagingan, Brgy. Maitim II West, Tagaytay City, Cavite. For inquiries and reservation, call (02)710-9786, (046)5126273, 0918-8888772, 0917-6878873, 09228988654, or email info@nurture.com.ph. Visit www.nurturewellnessvillage.com for more information.


f you want to live life to the fullest, start by making right and healthy choices. Give yourself some time to relax to allow your body to replenish its energy. A quick getaway to reconnect with yourself is a must. It is the secret to staying well and living long. This is what Catherine Turvill, an internationally licensed therapist from CIBTAC (Confederation of International Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology) United Kingdom and founder and co-owner of Nurture Wellness Village, realized when she was going through some personal crisis. She needed a place where she could relax, rejuvenate and recover. The natural and cool ambience of Tagaytay calmed her spirit, and, soon, she regained her footing. After her commune with nature, she wanted to share her experience and lighten people’s inner burden. Thus, Nurture Wellness Village was born. Just 90 minutes away from Manila, Nurture Wellness Village promises to take you on a self-discovery that will leave you refreshed and reconnected with yourself. It is a Filipino-themed cultural, wellness and eco-tourism destination that promotes eco-therapy, or healing through and by nature. Filipino culture is showcased through the village’s design and décor.


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Aside from design and decor that highlight Filipino culture, this place is famous for its signature Filipino treatments, which are Nilaib (hot sand pouches wrapped in banana leaves), Hilot and Dagdagay. Only safe and pure natural oils are used. Co-owner Dr. Mike Turvil formulated its Amu’in massage oils that are made from pure therapeutic essential oils. These are used during therapeutic massages that relax the muscles and calm the mind. True to its philosophy of healing through nature, the village has an organic farm, the Nurture Farmacy, where it grows its own produce. They offer detoxification and natural healing programs, developed by Dr. Sam Dizon, a licensed medical doctor who has been practicing integrative and alternative medicine for almost 20 years. The weight loss programs include a digital meridian health scan – a Chinese medicine practice where it allows the practitioner to gather energetic information, thus leading to a deeper understanding of what acupuncture meridians are excessive, deficient or balanced.,detoxification and spa services, wellness coaching, healthy food preparation, organic gardening activities, food and accommodation. All services and treatments are based on a wellness model called CHOICES

that was developed by Catherine Turvill. It is an acronym for the basic rules for a healthy wellbeing: Control stress, choose to be positive; Healthy eating, hydrate; Oxygenate; Immune boost; Cleanse body, mind, emotion; Embrace natural healing therapies; and Sleep, social and spiritual connections. The place suits all types of groups— family, friends, colleagues, etc. It may serve as a venue for family occasions, seminars and other corporate events. It also features gardens that can serve as venues for weddings, intimate celebrations, birthdays, and more.

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Experience WELLNESS

In a heavenly garden

The Thais are known for their spas and unique wellness modalities inspiring foreigners, both from the East and West, to visit its lush country to savor the experience firsthand. Manila may just be less than four hours away from Bangkok, but you do Devarana Spa at Dusit Thani not really need to fly all the way there Manila offers unique therapies that just to get a good rub-down. Devarana soothe the mind and body Spa at Dusit Thani Manila brings the Words by Joseph Cortes best of Thailand to the Philippines, with its outstanding five-star services. Photos by Patrick Uy At Devarana Spa, the emphasis is trip to the spa is always a on pampering and healing treatments welcome treat especially in a soothing environment. The décor when the stress of daily living takes you away from the tired vision weighs you down. Under the of the concrete jungle, whisking you able hands of an experienced away in your own heavenly cocoon therapist, the care of the world goes for the duration of your stay. And the away as the knots on your back are congenial atmosphere is conducive to smoothened out, aches are melted calm. For once, set your smartphone away, and the mind is cleared of any to silent and just let the hours pass unwanted thoughts—even if just serenely. for an hour or two. The serene bliss The spa has a number of signature you experience after a session is massages that combine various enough reason to gift someone with techniques for a holistic package. The a treatment; if all the people of the Heavenly Nantha Garden Experience world have regular massages, surely uses the essence of flowers in a there would be more peace on this treatment that includes a specialty earth. bath and scrub and a massage that



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utilizes Thai, Ayurveda and Shiatsu techniques with influences of Swedish and aromatherapy treatments. The Harmony of Tad-Si is based on traditional Thai medicine that addresses the body’s four elements of earth, water, wind and fire, using herbal compress dipped in aromatic oil with Thai massage. Just recently, it introduced three new packages that are sure to delight spa enthusiasts. The Boreh-Hilot massage fuses Filipino hilot with Balinese boreh remedy. A therapeutic heated boreh paste of spices is applied to the body to warm the muscles, ease strain and improve circulation. This is followed by a massage with long soothing strokes to relive fatigue, provide energy and promote glowing skin. On the other hand, the ShiaLomi massage combines the direct pressure of shiatsu and the long strokes of Hawaiian lomilomi. The pinpoint treatment of shiatsu focuses on specific parts of the body that need attention, while the soothing long strokes of lomilomi provide relaxation.

Devarana Spa at Dusit Thani Manila offers suites for absolute pampering, and therapies that are tailor-fit for your needs

Another wellness treatment is the Abhyanga, a massage based on Ayurvedic medicine wherein copious amounts of heated oil is used in the massage. Long medium strokes knead away your pain as you come out of the treatment rejuvenated. Prior to a session of Abhyanga, you should inform your therapist of your specific concerns. When I informed her that I had problem with my right shoulder and lower back, she focused intently on working those stiff muscles. The warm oil gives you a jolt, but after the first pour, you get used to the gentle heat. It is quite soothing, even calming, unlike standard cool massage oil. Pressure is not hard; the repetitive strokes take its place. As the hour passes, and the treatment covers your whole body, a feeling of relaxation takes the place of the stress. The spa has a grand suite for those who want absolute pampering; it has a shower room, an outdoor shower, steam room, bath, massage area and lounge. There are also a corner suite, two deluxe suites, and two standard treatment rooms. There are also separate areas for manicures and pedicures. The best way to enjoy Devarana Spa is to book a room to go with your spa. It does not pay to be running back to your tiring life after your treatment. Give yourself the break you deserve and pamper yourself with the various wellness treatments and services it offers. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience WELLNESS

A temple for tired bodies

Knoi Esmane of Temple Garden Spa


ome people travel for food, others to shop. But for Knoi Esmane, co-owner of Temple Garden Spa at The Podium, he and his partners Harold and Grace Co travel to try out different spas. “We love traveling. Every time I go to a certain place, whether it is local or international, the first thing I normally check is the availability of a spa. It is mandatory for me, because it is usually the way I start or end my day,” says Esmane. “In my case, I visit the spa at least once a week. Grace, Harold and I spend a lot going to the spa, so we came up with our own. We love indulging ourselves with a pampering session. At least now we have our own, we can do it anytime we want and at our own convenience.” Since most countries have temples, especially in Asia, they chose their spa this name. Besides they see a spa as a temple where people with tired bodies come for relaxation. The concept for Temple Garden Spa is inspired from their experiences during their travels. After trying out a variety of spa treatments here and abroad, they opted to adapt suitable elements and applied them at the spa. Every guest is welcomed with a cup of tea and a cold towel that has been infused with a special oil. This practice was adapted from their favorite spa in Bangkok, Thailand, a signal that the pampering session has started. Therapists also check the guest’s condition before recommending any treatment. The Pinoy Hilot uses coconut oil and banana leaves to cover the body. Esmane recommends it for those who feel under the weather because of the healing benefits of coconut oil, which is applied warm to the body. If you are suffering from muscle pains, he recommends the Swedish massage: “If you have muscle pains, get the Swedish massage with peppermint oil or minty oil. If you are tired and


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you want to sleep, try Swedish with lavender oil,” he says. Aside from relaxing oils, the spa also has slimming oils. Those who prefer a dry massage can opt for the Thai massage, while those who want something Japanese should avail of the Shiatsu massage. Although it as only been open for a year, Temple Garden Spa has been constantly busy. It serves as a sanctuary for those within the Ortigas area who want a respite between breaks or after work. Even their expat guests for the Pinoy Hilot.

Achieve flawless, hairless skin at Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics Is hairy skin a problem for you? Mustaches and hairy legs and underarms are considered a no-no for women. Dark and hairy underarms may discourage you from raising your arms or wearing a sleeveless top, while a mustache or a beard is not an added charm to your face. Shaving may cause darkening of the skin, while plucking may cause bumps and pores much like the condition known as chicken skin. If you have no time to shave or pluck, and want to be hairless and flawless, the intense pulsed light (IPL) hair removal is the perfect solution. According to Dr. Emehly Sevilla-Castillo, medical director and founder of Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics, laser hair removal is one of the most commonly done cosmetic procedures worldwide. “It beams highly concentrated light into hair follicles. Pigment in the follicles absorbs the light and that destroys the hair,” she explained. This treatment removes hair, tightens pores, and whitens the skin. Though the procedure primarily removes hair, at Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics, the machines also work beyond that purpose. It also reduces erythema, or redness of the face, neck or chest, as well as medical condition called rosacea, and flushing (sporadic redness) on the face, neck and chest. The IPL treatments can treat signs of sun damage, such as fine wrinkles, freckling, irregular pigmentation, coarse or rough appearance, large pores and a dull texture, and pigmentation problems. It can visibly improve acne scarring and lighten postsurgical scars, stretch marks and reddish scars. Why is it more effective than plucking, shaving or waxing? IPL hair removal is precise, fast and effective. “Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged. Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time. The laser can treat an area approximately the size of a quarter every second. Small areas, such as the upper lip, can be treated in less than a minute, and large areas, such as the back or legs, may take up to an hour. Most patients have semi-permanent hair loss after an average of three to seven sessions,” related Dr. Sevilla-Castillo.

Each session lasts for around 30 minutes for small body areas such as the face, beard, moustache, bikini line and armpits. Bigger areas, like the thighs, legs, butt, and arms, will take one hour per session. “In our clinic, three to four sessions would yield obvious results, like thinner hair, hair becoming brittle, or hair falling off on the treated areas. It is recommended to finish 10 sessions, especially if the area is being treated for the first time. Recommended interval is every 10 to 14 days,” said Dr. SevillaCastillo. It is important to note that, before the procedure, the patient must not pluck, shave or wax the hair to be treated or go through electrolysis. Patients must not apply any kind of whitening treatments or topical on the area to be treated. After the procedure, some may feel a hot and tingling sensation, but that should not worry the patient as it is considered normal. Dr. Sevilla-Castillo recommends applying an after laser cream prescribed by their physicians, and reminds patients to keep the treated area dry for six to eight hours after the procedure. Applying alcohol-containing topical on the treated area is also not allowed. This procedure is permanently prohibited from being administered to patients with vitiligo, uncontrolled diabetes, porphyria, hemophilia, lupus, gold injections, keloid scarring, herpes simplex on area to be treated, xeroderma (XP), chronic liver or kidney disease, photosensitive epilepsy, heart diseases or pacemakers, cancer of any form at any time, autoimmune diseases, HIV or AIDS, thyroid problems (hormone imbalance), severe high blood pressure or circulation problems, and deep vein thrombosis. Meanwhile, temporary contraindications include pregnancy, breastfeeding or lactation, recently tanned skin, recent treatment with anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, hydrocortisone, roaccutane, electrolysis, wax, tweezing, plucking and threading. The start of the course will be delayed if any of the aforementioned contraindications apply.

Vine Aesthetics is located at Unit 2H, Mezzanine Level, Grand Hamptons Tower II, 1st Ave. cor. 31st St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For inquiries, call 0917-8590642, 217-2687 or 843-3023, email vineaesthetics@gmail.com or visit www.vineaesthetics.com EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Heritage

State of health

The UP Manila-Museum of a History of Ideas chronicles physical wellbeing during the American period

Words and Photos by Anson Yu Exterior of museum

Interior of museum


he Museum of the History of Ideas: the name alone may not tell you what is inside, but given its scale, it has a lot to offer. First, it celebrates the 100th year of the University of the Philippines (UP) and its contributions to the country’s intellectual and cultural enlightenment. Second, it also shows glimpses of that crucial period when our country was transitioning from one colonial era to another. Finally, it is a fascinating medical museum. The idea for this museum was birthed in 2008 during UP’s centennial celebration. It is now housed in what used to be the university’s original College Infirmary that was built in 1931 and which was repurposed as the University’s College of Dentistry in 1959. In 2002, the college moved to a new building nearby and finally went through renovation work in 2009. The museum was then inaugurated in 2014.


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Killer diseases

The museum is one of the better examples of adoptive reuse in the country. The building is practically an attraction by itself. All the interior walls have been removed and everything has been painted white. The windows have been enlarged, allowing more light to come in, making the museum’s interior bright and airy. The first things that visitors will see upon entering the museum are portraits of the five most notorious killers during the American colonial period—not serial killers or bandits, but the organisms that cause diseases such as cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy and smallpox. Even though the Spaniards had already established hospitals and medical schools, death rates from these illnesses were still high. Their periodic outbreaks led American authorities to implement vigorous health and sanitation campaigns. However, the Americans knew that in the long run Filipinos had to

learn to run and manage their own health care system. In 1907, the Philippine Commission enacted Act 1688 that led to the construction of the Philippine General Hospital. The following year, the Philippine Assembly and the American Governor General enacted Act 1870 that led to the establishment of UP. Since health was the government’s main concern, one of the earliest colleges to be established within UP was the College of Medicine.

Images from the past

But the fight against these communicable diseases sometimes had political implications as well. The Americans felt that if Filipinos were unable to manage their own health care system, they might then be unfit to be given independence. The Filipinos took this as a challenge and tried to show that they were competent enough to manage their own health issues. In one famous case, statesman-and-soon-to-be-

One of the earliest batch of nursing students in PGH

The Philippine General Hospital when it first opened in 1910. (Photo courtesy of the Co Tec Tai Medical Museum)

Operating ampitheter at PGH in 1911 (Photo courtesy of Co Tec Tai Medical Museum)

Early 20th century dentist chair with foot pedal drill

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Experience Heritage

Reconstruction of one of the earliest operating room in PGH

president Manila L. Quezon criticized American authorities for spending too much of their resources on leprosy instead of tuberculosis, the actual bigger killer. The events that led to the establishment of the university and the hospital are told through archival photos. Supplementing them are actual medical equipment and teaching materials from the early 20th century. Some of the items on exhibit are sure to make visitors wince, such as a foot pedal-operated dental drill from the 1920s. But others are sure to elicit a chuckle or two, such as illustrations from old medical textbooks. One of the highlights is a reconstruction of one of the original as the 20th century progressed, operating theaters. particularly during World War II. But fear not. Enclosed in a small A bigger museum glass display case is a scale model of Since the museum covers the a bigger and expanded museum. At years from 1899 to 1929, including the the back is an annex that they hope to founding of UP and PGH, you might build in the future. If what you have find the exhibit to be a bit incomplete. seen is any indication, the new annex It is unfortunate since the individual is something exciting to look forward stories of both institutions got better to.


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The Museum of History of Ideas is at the Philippine General Hospital compound, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance is free. For inquiries, call (02) 904-0122.

A Parisian time out Regine Tolentino fulfills her dream to experience the City of Lights Words by David Fabros

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Experience Celebrity travel

Regine Tolentino at the Palace of Versailles. She wears a striped tank top by Topshop, and jeans by Regine’s Boutique.


ho hasn’t dreamed of traveling the world and discovering different cultures that are new and exciting?” Regine Tolentino muses, alluding to the five days she spent in Paris, which she confesses might have been the most rewarding travel she’s ever embarked on. It was a longcherished dream that finally came true. Her home and office have collectible Eiffel Tower souvenirs, as well as paintings and posters of Parisian scenes. For this lifestyle celebrity and actress, it took a lot of rescheduling to finally make the trip, with her two teenage daughters in tow. “Great food, beautiful and romantic scenery, the lovely sound of the French language, and sharing it with the ones I love— it was the perfect time out,” says Tolentino. The three ladies—Regine and her daughters Reigne and Reigen—did not opt for a standard guided tour, but experienced the French capital leisurely with the help of their friends.

Surrounded by beauty La Tour Eiffel, as the French call the Eiffel Tower, was the first stop on their journey. On board a bateau-mouche, one of the sightseeing boats on the Seine River, the three ladies came face-to-face with the 1,063 foot-tall tower of steel built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World’s Fair. They alighted at the Trocadero boat stop to sample some crêpes sucre and take photos of the tower up close. The infamously long line of tourists at that time discouraged them from climbing up to its viewing decks; the magnificent view of Paris from high up would have to wait till their next visit. The Musée du Louvre, or Louvre Museum, their next stop, is home to thousands of the world’s most important works of art, from civilizations dating from pre-history until the 21st century. This complex of ornately decorated buildings was actually a palace for the kings of France dating back to 12th century, until the illustrious Louis XIV transferred the royal residence to Versailles. A total of 60,600 square meters of curated exhibits show about 35,000 objects for the viewing pleasure of an average of 15,000 visitors a day. The star of the show is Leonardo da Vinci’s legendary Mona Lisa, displayed under bulletproof glass alone in one of the many giant galleries. The world’s most famous painting has a circuitous and controversial history from the time it was commissioned, its theft in 1911,


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The entrance to the Louvres via I. M. Pei’s glass pyramid

Leonardo’s Mona Lisa under bulletproof glass with highlevel security keeping watch

One of the gardens at the Palace of Versailles Regine and her girls Reigne and Reigen romp through the lush gardens

Regine was called out a few times by the museum guards for trying to touch the thousand-year old statues. But shooting the rest of the photos around the Louvre was no problem. Every inch of the place lends itself as an eloquent backdrop for a “historical” photo shoot—the marble stairways, the gilded gates and doorways, or the flutings of antiquated French windows.

Legacy of the Sun King

its being kept in various safehouses in Europe during World War II, to the modern-day vandalisms that prompted the Louvre to give the painting the high-level security that it now has. Regine confesses to being totally overwhelmed by all the beauty and history around her inside the Louvre. She says, “A few times, I would be compelled to touch the marble and stone sculptures of the Greek antiquities, not only because they’re so beautiful, but a certain powerful vibe that draws me to them. Perhaps I wanted to learn more about the people who made them, or how it was to live during their time. This part of history had always fascinated me, imagining how it is to walk in the paths they walked on, and live how they lived, and what present day people can take away from it.”

The Château de Versailles, built in 1682, is the ultimate symbol of absolute monarchy that has fueled the fantasies of many artists. Regine and her daughters had to travel short of an hour outside of Paris on the RER train, and then walk for 15 minutes over an ancient cobblestone path to reach the gleaming golden gates of the royal chateau. The original gates were destroyed by the masses during the French Revolution in 1789. In 2008, all 80 meters of the steel gate were redone using 100,000 sheets of gold leaf to recreate the original look as intended by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who was chief architect of the king’s buildings during the 17th century. The effort cost €5 million. “We were hardly at the entrance to the chateau, yet we were already wowed by these awesome gates! It looked like entering heaven!” Regine enthuses. “We were in the midst of royalty. I could imagine horse-drawn carriages dropping off illustrious palace guests in gowns and jewels at the main entrance, with trumpets announcing their arrival, and orchestral music welcoming them into the castle.” EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Celebrity travel Regine soaks up some sun at the Palais de Chaillot esplanade at the Trocadero in central Paris, right by the iconic Eiffel Tower

“Such great beauty as far as the eye can see,” is how Regine describes the Palace of Versailles. “Just walking around the massive gardens, with its fabulous stone fountains and marble sculpture of ancient mythology, the lush trees and thousands of flowers in full bloom… this is probably what King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette must have enjoyed on those royal summer afternoons!” Inside the Château de Versailles are massive rooms with high ceilings, replete with frescoes, murals, and framed paintings by European masters in art, mostly to honor the royal family, military heroes, and mythical figures. One of its most-loved rooms is the Hall of Mirrors, a 73-meter long hall with 357 mirrors fitted on arched walls, facing 17 large windows looking out into the gardens, decorated with massive glass chandeliers and beautiful frescoes. Even the hour-long guided tour did not satisfy the touring appetites of Reigne and Reigen, who are both in high school and share a keen interest in ancient history. Versailles does require a whole day at least, to be fully appreciated.

Dancing by the Eiffel

After the Louvre and Versailles, Regine and her two girls returned to the Trocadero to fulfill a personal dream of theirs: to dance by the Eiffel Tower. With an impromptu invitation to some residents of Paris, she led an hourlong Zumba dance session on the steps of the Trocadero in front of the Eiffel Tower. After that exhilarating session, she still had energy to join a bunch of stylish and graceful locals who get together every evening near the tower to dance the Argentinian Tango. “This must be the most romantic experience there is in Paris,” Regine relates. “Since I was a little girl, I’ve seen pictures of the beautiful city with that graceful tower. Growing up, I leafed through magazines about fashion in Paris, that center of art and culture. Finally being there with my beloved girls was a welcome break for us and a chance to spend quiet, quality time together.” “Being around beautiful things in a beautiful place just seems to melt away the troubles and forgettable memories of the past. All you feel like doing is celebrating and appreciating. Paris is such a wondrous, magical experience that my daughters and I will talk about for a long, long time. I can’t wait for our next visit!”


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Regine’s teen daughters Reigen and Reigne take after their mom’s fascination with art and history

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Experience Sanctuaries

Your dream vacation from Azalea Boracay Words by Lester Gopela Hallig

Still planning of making true that Boracay holiday? An important part of any plan is finding accommodations that offer everything under one roof. The good news is that there is such a place that offers vacationers a chance to enjoy their Boracay holiday to the fullest. Azalea Boracay, the island’s pioneering four-star quality-serviced apartments, offers families and friends the chance to experience their dream holiday. Azalea Boracay provides guests with the necessities and niceties for a welldeserved break. It has spacious 1-, 2-, or 3-bedroom units, complete with kitchen amenities and separate dining and living areas. Suites range from 30- to 75-square meters to accommodate an entire party, so that no one is left out. Every kitchen comes complete with a cook-top range, microwave oven, refrigerator, rice cooker, electric kettle, cookware, and dinnerware. If guests decide to stay in for a change, they can easily prepare their meals and chill their drinks.


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A holiday in Boracay is best enjoyed in good company, and Azalea knows that all too well. How fun is it that everyone group is together in the same space on this island paradise? Here, there is no need to book multiple rooms. One room is big enough to fit the entire barkada: a bigger the group means more savings on accommodation. And those savings can go to spend on essential and must-do Boracay activities: sailing on an exclusive yacht, islandhopping, parasailing, cliff-diving, or even taking scuba-diving lessons. With Azalea’s value-for-money accommodations, there is more to do and enjoy. It is just as fun should guests decide to stay in and chill. Suites, from the smallest to the biggest, come with convertible sofa beds and baby cots. The entertainment facilities are complete with multiple cable-ready LCD TVs in the rooms. Snuggle up to a good series or a movie marathon and get snacks from the kitchen facility.

Even more good news is that there is free Wi-Fi in all rooms and public areas. You can be sure to immediately post those lovely photos of your vacation to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or SnapChat. There are two rooftop swimming pools that overlook the horizon, an infinity pool for adults, and a nearby wading pool for kids. Whether you decide to go out or stay in, trust Azalea to provide comfort and fun. Speaking of comfort and convenience, let the vacation concierge at the front desk help arrange for tours and activities within and around the island. His expertise ensures that all itineraries are covered, whether it is an in-room spa treatment or information on fun sites. More fun memories are in store as Azalea completes its 285 guest rooms, restaurant and pool bar. It is the second hotel development under the Azalea Group, the first one being its famous namesake in Baguio. Soon, Cebu, Davao and Angeles City will enjoy its unique accommodations and services.

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Azalea Boracay offers the amenities a family needs to make their vacation complete, from a fully furnished kitchen, spacious rooms, and rooftop pools that look out to the horizon.

For frequent holidayers, it is a good idea to become members of the Azalea Vacation Club (AVC), a premier holiday membership provider that grants members exclusive perpetual vacation rights in all Azalea Hotels & Residences properties. By owning a vacation with Azalea, members lock in the cost of today’s vacation for a lifetime of future holidays plus get access to a host of exclusive member privileges.

Azalea Boracay is located at Station 2, Boracay Island. For inquiries, call its Manila reservations number at (632) 450-1151, 0917-8611641, or 0919-9944140; email reservations@azalea.com.ph; or visit its website at http://www.azaleaboracay.com. For regular updates on events and promotions, follow its Facebook fan page at Azalea Hotels Residences Boracay and Twitter at @ AzaleaBoracay. For Vacation Club Membership inquiries, e-mail customerservice@azalea.com.ph or call (632) 634-7742.


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Prof. S. Bertel Squire, an expert in Clinical Tropical Medicine and director of the Center for Applied Health Research and Delivery (CAHRD) of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) in the United Kingdom, orients the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute (DLSHSI) and LSTM teams during the Stakeholders' Meeting for the DLSHSI-LSTM TB research project held in Manila recently. The LSTM team will be traveling to and from the Philippines in the next four years as it works on the project with its Philippines counterpart headed by lead investigator Prof. Charles Y. Yu of DLSHSI.

control TB for 2-14-2016. She has also been the site investigator for United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) projects. Mendoza is a health economist based at DLSHSI who has published award-winning cost-effectiveness studies in his field of specialization, namely internal medicine and cardiology. Abong is an internist with a subspecialty in allergy and clinical immunology. She is chair of the Clinical Epidemiology Department of DLSHSI’s College of Medicine and is the director of Research Administration and Development. Garfin is the manager of the Department of Health’s National Program for TB, and has published numerous articles on TB surveillance. She is the government’s point The De La Salle Health Sciences Institute’s because of the increasing cost of diagnosis and person for all TB-related activities in the (DLSHSI) tuberculosis (TB) and health management, and most infections affect the country. economics experts are gearing up for the poor who rely solely on the government’s health Yu’s team will be complemented by a UK implementation of an important research on infrastructure. team that will be composed of scientists from TB diagnostics, which aims to identify the most “It is important that we develop the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, cost-effective way of using diagnostic tools to appropriate strategies that will help health which has been a key partner in the TREATimprove detection rates of patients with both practitioners provide patients with cost TB (Technology, Research, Education and TB and the more potent multi-drug resistant effective options for diagnosis,” says Dr. Charles Technical Assistance for Tuberculosis) initiative tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Yu, the project’s primary investigator. Yu is responsible for impact assessment, as well as The research program, which will run for a professor at DLSHSI’s College of Medicine health economics and operational modeling. three years, will cost more than P50 million to and is its current Vice Chancellor for Lasallian An expert in Clinical Tropical Medicine, support activities of two groups of researchers. Mission. He is a renowned pulmonologist and Prof. S. Bertel Squire is director of the Center Aside from the DLSHSI team, there will also be expert in TB, especially in the Asia-Pacific for Applied Health Research and Delivery a counterpart team from the Liverpool School region, and serves as a WHO consultant on (CAHRD) of the Liverpool School of Tropical of Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom. Public-Private Management of the TB DOTS Medicine (LSTM) and past president of The This project is part of the Newton Agham program. He is currently the president of the International Union Against TB and Lung Program, or the UK-Philippines Joint Heath Global TB Alliance, and is the head of the Asia Disease. Together with his colleagues at LSTM, Research Grant for Infectious Diseases. Pacific Society’s TB assembly. He was also a Malawi and China, he has built a program of The project, titled “Impact Assessment member of The Union TB Education Working multi-disciplinary applied health research of Diagnostic Tools for Multi-Drug Resistant Group. aimed at providing knowledge for action in (MDR-TB) and Drug Sensitive Tuberculosis Yu will be aided by his co-investigators making health services for TB more accessible (DS-TB) in the Philippines,” is touted as an who are among DLSHSI’s noted researchers in to poor people in developing countries. important component of the Philippine’s TB, infectious diseases, and health economics. Squire will be joined in the DLSHSI study fight against TB, which continues to be the The Philippines team is composed of Dr. by Ivor Langley, a research analyst at LSTM, sixth largest cause of illness and death among Victoria Dalay, Dr. Victor Mendoza, Dr. Jovilia who is an expert in health systems modeling, Filipinos. While the Philippines, through its Abong, and Celine Garfin. and has also been involved in developing an National TB Program (NTP), has made great Dalay is the director for Research Support innovative modeling approach for impact headway in controlling infection in the country, and Extension Services at DLSHSI’s Angelo assessment of new diagnostic tools and detection rates for the more potent MDR-TB King Medical Research Center (DLSHSItreatments for TB and MDR-TB. Also part of is still low. In the province of Cavite, only AKMRC) and is the head of DLSHSI’s the British team is Dr. Elvis Gama, a health 35 percent of suspected MDR-TB cases are Programmatic Management of Drug-resistant economist at LSTM, whose current research actually detected. While this is better compared TB (PMDT) Treatment Center. She is co-chair includes the evaluation of catastrophic costs to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) of the Regional Coordinating Committee for patients seeking TB diagnosis and cost global rate of 12-16 percent, the burden of TB that leads the TB Control Program in Region effectiveness evaluations of new MDR-TB infection in the Philippines is doubly heavy IV-A and helped develop a plan of action to regimens.

DLSHSI to spearhead P50M TB research

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S Dr. Guia Favor-Jorge, resident dermatologist of Cosmedics Dermaster

K-beauty comes to Manila Cosmedics Dermaster Aesthetic Center offers Korean-based services and treatments Words by Ma. Glaiza Lee // Photos by Teddy Pelaez


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Favor-Jorge and partner Dr. Alvin Jorge

outh Korea's beauty and cosmetic industry has seen phenomenal growth, gaining prominence in the global aesthetics arena with the popularity of Korean dramas and movies. In many K-dramas, beauty products and skincare have been written into storylines, causing a rise in product visibility, not just in neighboring Asian countries, but globally. In some shows, actresses are seen focused on skincare, having a relaxing moment at a spa, undergoing a facial treatment in an aesthetic clinic, or dabbing on beauty products on their faces. When you have celebrities and actors as beauty ambassadors, it doesn't take long for the international audiences to ride the Korean beauty bandwagon. In fact, its beauty products and services have made steady inroads into Japan, China, the Middle East, United States, and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines. It has gained economic momentum due to their high quality, innovative products, advanced technology and reasonable prices. Dr. Guia Favor-Jorge, resident dermatologist of Cosmedics Dermaster, an aesthetic clinic with procedures patterned from the Korean way of doing aesthetic medicine, believes that all eyes are now on South Korea when it comes to beauty trends. “The Korean beauty industry is seen as the most advanced, high-technology out there,” says Favor-Jorge. “Korean women have the most extensive skincare regimens, and they are really dedicated to looking and feeling good. This demand for beauty has pushed South Korea in the forefront of research into new skincare technology and products.”

The Korean connection She and partner Dr. Alvin Jorge have been advancing the newest beauty services from South Korea at their Cosmedics Dermaster Aesthetic Center. The Jorges have been in the aesthetic medical business since 2007, when they established their first beauty center in Quezon City. In 2011, they expanded their operations to Bonifacio Global City. Partnering with Dr. Hanjin Kwon, a renowned Korean doctor and inventor of the Ultra V-Lift, they have incorporated Korean skincare treatments to their existing beauty services. Backed by the international Dermaster-Korea, a chain of aesthetic clinics that offer invasive and non-invasive treatments, Cosmedics Dermaster has now become the most sought-after Korean aesthetic center in the Philippines. Located at Mancor Corporate Center, the same building where the Korean Cultural Center Philippines is situated, the clinic boasts state-of-the-art facilities that are utilized by its team of doctors and specialists. “For more than seven years, we have dedicated ourselves to providing scientifically-based dermatological and cosmetic surgery treatments that are up to date with trusted and latest scientific breakthrough procedures,” enthused Jorge, adding that Filipinos who seek to enhance their appearance no longer need to go to South Korea for minor facial correction or dramatic makeovers.

The latest treatment modalities at Cosmedics Dermaster tap on its partnership with Korean health and beauty experts

Non-invasive facelift Those who are not keen to go under the knife but yearn for a beautifully enhanced face can look into Kwon’s Ultra V-Lift technology, which Cosmedics now offers. This non-invasive treatment involves using fine threads, called polydioxanon, that are strategically inserted into targeted areas under the skin in a parallel fashion to stimulate the skin tissue. When the facial tissue has been stimulated, it creates new tissue fibroblasts and collagen. “As the skin produces more collagen around the thread, it tightens the sagging skin from inside out. This treatment creates a more-sculpted, V-shaped face. This is quite popular among our Korean clients. We aim to be known internationally as the premiere center for non-surgical fine thread face-lifting,” shares Favor-Jorge. The Philippine Dermaster franchise also brings the Hiko treatment, a revolutionary non-surgical cosmetic procedure that uses specially designed synthetic absorbable threads to enhance the nose. Hiko comes from two Korean words: “hi,” meaning high, and “ko” meaning nose. Cosmedics offers laser treatments, such as the Revlight Laser Whitening, a treatment that selectively targets melanin deep inside the dermis to treat pigmentation. “This treatment is best to even out skin tone and color, reduce pore size, and treat acne marks and scars. It can also be used to remove tattoos, freckles, ageing spots and birthmark,” she enthuses.

Gender reassignment procedures

The clinic also performs invasive surgical procedures. One of the most prominent is sexual/gender reassignment surgery (SRS). The SRS Team is represented by the Jorge medical group. Jorge, who is a member of the team, trained at Phuket Plastic Surgery in Thailand under the tutelage of Dr. Sanguan Kunaporn. “The SRS team combines its original technique and Dr. Kunaporn's procedure to get better results. With the creation of

a neo-vagina, patient satisfaction increases, not only with the depth of the vagina, but also with the external appearance of the genitalia,” he shares. He understands that facial appearance is an important part of a person's transformation. That is why during consultations, he also assesses the aesthetics and structure of the client's facial features, and designs a tailored transformation plan to complement the gender reassignment.

Basic skincare tips The clinic offers other beauty treatments, such as lip, buttocks and breast augmentation; a 16-step facial treatment; Aquapeel, which combines mechanical and chemical peeling to gently cleanse, hydrate, extract and exfoliate the skin; and dermal filler injections to soften wrinkles and lines, as well as fill in hollows to create a smooth contour without surgery “As you age, the skin loses the collagen that helps shape and support it. Dermal fillers replace the lost volume and restore the youthful fullness and glow of the face,” she explains. When asked to suggest basic beauty tips, both doctors echoed: “With the harsh sun, it is a must to apply sunscreen. As much as possible avoid staying too long under the sun. It causes damage to the skin. Always keep the face clean. Hydrate and moisturize. Also, eat a healthy diet. Exercise and have a good night sleep.”

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or many travelers, the famed Manila Bay sunset is a big draw for booking a property along the bay area. While hotels within the various business districts might be more convenient for those who are here to do business, you cannot count out the extra value the marvelous view the setting sun adds to a place. Whether you are simply relaxing in your room or having a meeting at a nearby coffee shop or restaurant in the Manila area, the remarkable ambient lighting dusk brings with it is still a charmer in many books. Most bayside hotels are also nearer the airport. And if you’ve been stuck in traffic on EDSA during rush hour as you are catching a flight out, you know that location is very much a factor to choosing accommodations in either Manila or Pasay City.

The preferred address

The preferred business & leisure address Golden Phoenix Hotel is becoming a popular stop for many businessmen and travelers

Words by Joseph Cortes Photos by ArtConcentrix


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Since it opened in March 2015, Golden Phoenix Hotel along Sunrise Drive, D. Macapagal Blvd. in Pasay City has become the preferred address for balikbayans, OFWs and busy businessmen who value their time and money. This mid-sized property with 281 rooms, including suites, is right at the heart where the action is. Located just across Sea Residences, it is walking distance to a leading concert venue and convention center. Just down the road are the World Trade Center, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Aliw Theater and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Since it is just a block away from Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., you are assured of reaching the airport in no time at all. And those are just the practical attractions of this property. In terms of amenities and facilities, it can compare with a number of five-star properties. Golden Phoenix sales and marketing director Christine Urbanozo-Ibarreta boasts rooms that are larger and as well appointed as the best. “Our standard room size is 35 square meters, some even 40 square meters. That’s bigger than most hotel rooms now,” says Ibarreta.

Personalized service

But if the hotel is proud of something, it is its staff that gives guests, particularly longstaying ones, personalized service. “Our guests know that they will be treated well here,” she said. “Fact is, most of our longstaying guests stay for seven days—and we’ve even had a guest stay for six months—and within that time, we get to know them enough

Golden Phoenix Hotel’s pool on the seventh floor offers ample sun for those working on their tan

to address them by their names. We’re very proud of that fact.” The hotel describes itself as a business hotel, since most of its clientele are here for meetings and conventions. But it has also captured the market of balikbayans and OFWS who need a convenient place to hang out for a day before taking a flight back to their hometowns. It is the same case with foreigners who have seen the value of the hotel as a suitable pit stop for their journeys around the country. “Many of them check in and use the hotel as a jumping point for their travel. And when they are ready to leave, they come back again for a night before heading to the airport,” she explains.

More online reservations

Filipinos comprise the chunk of the hotel’s guest, followed by Americans and Europeans and Japanese. She credits the popularity of online travel agents for the hotel’s popularity among foreigners. “We haven’t even had our formal opening yet,” says Ibarreta. She also cites their participation in local and international travel fairs for their wide exposure

Golden Phoenix sales and marketing director Christine Urbanozo-Ibarreta

connectivity. For those needing relaxation, there is a pool and spacious gym on the seventh floor. The location is also ideal. While it is a stone’s throw away from the country’s biggest mall, the place is quiet. At the end of the day, there are no blinding lights to fill your window, except for maybe the glow of a streetlamp if you are on a lower floor. The hotel has just one restaurant at the moment, but a coffee shop and a premium Chinese restaurant are set to open within its premises. Although its restaurant boasts filling all-day buffets and set meals for groups, there are other dining options within the area. There are three convenience stores around the block, as well as casual dining and fast-food outlets. There are also beauty salons and spas to cater to any beauty emergency.

Business and leisure

Some might find the Golden Phoenix Hotel’s location odd, but you will be surprised to know that it enjoys brisk business all year round. With the number of conventions and meeting places in the area, it is the most convenient address for those doing business in this part of the metropolis. And if it’s a staycation that you are looking for, the mall is just right nearby. Whether you prefer to cocoon Sleep with us and ignore work for the weekend, or merely want a The hotel has a number of promotions to entice guests convenient hideaway for your grand shopping expedition, to stay at the hotel. In fact, its tagline “Sleep with us” is a it guarantees the privacy and security that you seek. subtle invitation to book a room here. And there is much to enjoy in its rooms. For one, all beds are chiropractic ones of 100 percent cotton and fireresistant materials. This assures guests of firm support Golden Phoenix Hotel is along Sunrise Drive, Central Business Park, Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City. For reservations and inquiries, and a good night’s sleep. call (02)683-2888, or email rsvnsales.goldenphoenixhotels@gmail.com All rooms come with 40-inch flat screen LED TVs, or rsvn2sales.goldenphoenixhotel@gmail.com. Visit its website at www.goldenphoenixhotelmanila.com individually controlled air conditioning, coffee and tea making facility, safety deposit box and wireless and LAN EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Clockwise: All rooms are fitted with chiropractic beds, a healthy serving of fresh lumpia, suites have sitting areas for private meetings, a hearty platter of bee salpicao

Experience Sanctuaries


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Experience Sanctuaries

Where sun, wind & water meet Sol y Viento Mountain Hot Springs and Resort is redefining Laguna’s hot spring experience

Words by Angela Louise Denilla Photos by Renjie Tolentino


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henever we go on an outing, Brgy. Pansol in Calamba, Laguna is always on our list because it is near Manila. It has lots of affordable private pools and resorts that the family can enjoy; in fact, it is because of its numerous hot springs that many consider Pansol to be the hot springs capital of the Philippines. Tourists come here just to enjoy its warm water to relax both mind and body. Travelers have a variety of options when it comes to pools. There are public pools that can get crowded on weekends and holidays, and private resorts that offer generic facilities. On a recent trip, I discovered a resort that offers an experience quite unlike those in the area, where you can quietly unwind in your own private pool and find the quality me-time you are looking for in the city.


It was a different Pansol that greeted me at Sol y Viento Mountain Hot Springs and Resort. Located atop a hill away from other establishments, it redefines the hot spring experience that I have come to know. True to its name, sun and wind surrounds you here, with a scenic view of Laguna de Bay to enchant you and the cool breeze cascading from Mt. Makiling to refresh you. In fact, it is as if you are not in Laguna, but in Baguio or Tagaytay, destinations known for bringing you closer to an appreciation of nature. Sol y Viento boasts five pools where you can dip and relax your body. And unlike in other resorts, the pools are open the whole day with a lifeguard on duty 24/7. If you suddenly feel uneasy in the middle of the night and you want to take a dip in a pool, you can do so and be assured that you will be safe and sound. With five pools to choose from, you can unwind and be greeted by a different view each time.

THERAPEUTIC HOT SPRING WATER As in most resorts in Calamba, the water in Sol y Viento comes from natural hot springs in Mt. Makiling. The fresh water, enriched with natural elements and minerals and heated just right, is not only good for the body but most especially for one’s well being. The water from a hot spring is considered to be therapeutic. The heat is good for those with arthritis, rheumatism or just stiff joints. Soaking in this water relieves body pains and relaxes tired muscles. It also improves the body’s circulation and promotes rest and a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, natural elements and minerals the water contains are also good for the skin, particularly those with ailments such as dry, rough skin, eczema and psoriasis.

WELL-APPOINTED FACILITIES Holidayers are in for a treat at Sol y Viento since it offers several options for comfortable accommodation. Its Cabana and Amphi-Cabana rooms not only boast breathtaking views of Laguna de Bay but are also fitted with indoor natural hot spring

Jacuzzis. If you feel like cocooning, you can spend the duration of your stay in your own Jacuzzi. Whether you are alone, with a loved one or friends, you can enjoy the benefits of soaking in a hot spring in private. The resort is also big enough to accommodate groups, either on excursions or teambuilding activities. Its 36 Team Rooms can accommodate anywhere from four to eight persons per room. It also has conference and meeting rooms and a ballroom for business meetings and private parties and events. Apart from the benefits soaking in a hot spring bath offers, Sol y Viento also offers mountain trekking activities and a Zipline to provide guests with alternate activities.

GETTING YOUR FILL After enjoying the water, guests can have their fill at two of the resort’s dining outlets. Café Sabroso offers specials that will surely delight those with healthy appetites. It serves a variety of Filipino dishes and continental fare with portions that are big enough to share with family and friends. On the other hand, the poolside Fabero Chill Out Bar serves popular cocktails and drinks. Wind down in an al fresco setting with a magnificent view of Laguna de Bay and awe-inspiring mountains from the distance as relaxing music accompanies your break.

THE EXTRA MILE IN SERVICE More than the pools, the room and the amenities, what I will remember most about Soy y Viento is that it treats its guests like VIPs. Its staff takes the extra effort to make your stay a comfortable and pleasant one. Guest assistance is available 24 hours a day, so there is no need to worry if ever you should need help. During my stay, the staff volunteered to drive me to my room in a golf cart, even throwing in a tour of the property. You are truly at home at this resort. If you want a break from the hectic pace of the city one weekend, Sol y Viento Mountain Hot Springs and Resort is just two-hour’s drive away from Manila. It is now my preferred address in Brgy. Pansol in Calamba, Laguna.


From South Luzon Expressway, take Calamba Exit and drive on to the town proper. Upon reaching SM Calamba, turn right and drive towards Brgy. Pansol. Follow the signs to Sol y Viento Mountain Hot Springs and Resort. If you are going public, take a bus to Calamba from terminals in Cubao or Buendia. Get off at Pansol Compound, and take a tricycle to the resort.

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Experience Sanctuaries

Sol y Viento’s heart and soul: (standing, from left) Stuart Orme (Duty Manager), Ainer Ebue (Executive Sous Chef), Ace Lacap (Asst. F&B Mngr), Kathleen Capina (Accounting Manager), Robert Tamayo (Duty Manager), Cefri Avinante (Executive Chef), Marco Fetizanan (Front Office Manager), (seated) Jasmin Au (Sales and Marketing Manager), Bernie Corpus (President, Sol Y Viento Hotels and Resorts Group), and Emilie Duque (Exec Housekeeper)

Delicious meals use locally-source fresh ingredients


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Sol y Viento has lounges and dining areas where guests can unwind at the end of the day

Rooms offer basic amenities for a restful sleep

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Experience Sanctuaries

Treat yourself to a relaxing massage at Mogambo Springs Spa

Your own private paradise You are never far from the water with Plantation Bay’s pools and lagoons

Words by Ailene Co Art direction by Olive Repotente


lantation Bay in Mactan, Cebu has been in operation for more than 20 years, and it continues to be a favorite destination for discriminating travelers. In fact, guests are profuse with their comments about their stay at the resort. E. A. from Manila said, “We have never been to a resort with such courteous staff with effective and prompt service. Keep the torch burning with authentic service and captivating smiles from the heart. Plantation Bay is paradise.” On the other hand, P. T. from Cavite enthused, “Being frugal, of course I felt that the resort was pricey, but from what I received in terms of service and amazing food, the prices were spot on! The ambience and feel of the resort is grand. Mogambo Springs and Spa was the highlight of our stay. I also loved the ergonomics of the resort and the easy-access to all amenities.”


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Pools of refreshing water surround you at Plantation Bay

that food presentation is not one of their strong points, but assures guests that what they lack in look is made up for by the excellence in their taste and preparation. He is candid in saying the cuisine the resort offers is focused mostly on local dishes and other simple fare. For example, the pandesal at Kilimanjaro Kafe is baked fresh daily and is always one of the more popular pasalubong guests take home. It is not unusual for guests to order pandesal by the dozen.

Unique lagoon design Another important factor is the resort’s orientation. Plantation Bay has a strict no-tipping policy. Buencamino emphasized that what The esplanade offers picture-perfect A hassle-free stay matters most is that each guest enjoys moments his vacation. It is as simple as that. The key to its success, according This is another reason why to its amiable general manager Efren Plantation Bay is firm in its policy Buencamino, is the resort’s dedication of being honest with its guests. It to providing excellent service mixed openly admits that their open-sea with an honest regard for what the beachfront is only 88 meters long, staff can offer. Guests can expect compared with the 200 meters other no flowery words, no fluffy gestures hotels offer. However, they have during their stay—only pure and built several internal lagoons and family—daycare service for employees simple service. This is driven by the other freshwater swimming pools of is provided without charge, along resort’s goal in providing each guest varying dimensions to compensate hassle-free accommodation. Since its with shuttle service for those who for this. This gives the place a unique live far from the property. This launch, Plantation Bay has had one architectural freedom: every room of the highest occupancy rates among has resulted in guests who are is now only a few meters away from provided with service that is not all international-class resorts in the some sort of lagoon, pool, or seafront. only expedient but also involved. Philippines. There are also several function rooms Management is very particular Buencamino has been with the overlooking some body of water. This resort for 18 years, having previously about its training programs, which design layout has made it an ideal are heavily implemented across all worked with a hotel from a 12-year wedding destination. departments. These programs are stint as an airport transporter who received guests. His involvement with conducted regularly and Buencamino If you need to burn calories, climb the resort’s rock wall assures that the staff can handle any another hospitality establishment situation. In fact, Plantation Bay is helped widen his experience in the only resort in Mactan to boast resort management, allowing him a no-child-injury record since it to understand what can be done opened. The resort’s layout allows to truly make a guest feel welcome children to wander around without and comfortable. It is through his fear of danger. diligence, persistence, and passion that he has helped maintain the Delicious and Plantation Bay’s superior reputation. Take a break by the pool

Family-oriented staff The success the resort is enjoying is largely due to the staff’s familyoriented, safety-first, grace-underpressure mindset. Each employee is made to feel that they are part of the

sustainable meals

The management at Plantation Bay is conscious of sustainable dining and refrain from any type of exotic food. Buencamino says the focus of the restaurants is on quality and not on presentation. He jokingly admits EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Sanctuaries

Leisure activities There are several activities and packages guest may avail of during their stay. One of the more popular activities is scuba diving. It is available for any expertise level and covers various reefs, walls, caves, and wrecks depending on the package taken. Plantation Bay is an accredited PADI five-star dive resort. Another popular offering is the Daytripper Adventure Package for groups interested in having a full day packed with activities. They have access to selected lagoons and swimming pools, wall-climbing areas, 30-minute use of bicycles, 15-minute use of non-motorized aqua sports facilities, such as floaters or kayak, and have the chance to play foosball, air hockey, or table tennis.

Ambient light adds a romantic glow throughout Plantation Bay at nighttime


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The GM stresses that the resort has strict rules regarding noise, attire, and personal comportment, and says that guests must follow all instructions provided by the hotel staff. This not only ensures personal safety, but also takes in consideration other guests.

A spa like no other Guests who want something more relaxing may check in at Mogambo Springs Spa, which is the resort’s pride and joy, having been designed to mimic an 18th century Japanese village. There are manmade waterfalls and creeks and a fog-like mist feature. The spa has several Jacuzzis, pools, steam rooms, and a dry sauna. This is one of the attractions of the resort and makes for a romantic, yet peaceful, wedding destination.

A final note: The resort has a “Just Don’t Like It” money-back guarantee. Buencamino says words are just not enough. He is sure of his resort’s excellence, and says this guarantee is tangible proof of the staff’s commitment in providing guests a stress-free vacation. For inquiries and reservations, e-mail inquiry@plantationbay. com, or call 63 (32) 236-9040. Visit https://online.plantationbay.com/en/ booknow.asp.

2205 2205 Market Market St.St. Madrigal Madrigal Business Business Park, Park, 2205 Market St. Madrigal BusinessCity Park, Phase Phase III,III, Alabang, Alabang, Muntinlupa Muntinlupa City 2205 Market St. Madrigal Business Park, Phase III, Alabang, Muntinlupa City TF:TF: (632) (632) 869-9888 869-9888 E: reservations@azumi.ph E: reservations@azumi.ph 2205 Market St. Madrigal Business Park, Phase III, Alabang, Muntinlupa City TF: (632) 869-9888 E: reservations@azumi.ph www.azumi.ph Phase III, Alabang,www.azumi.ph Muntinlupa City TF: (632) 869-9888 E: reservations@azumi.ph www.azumi.ph /AzumiBoutiqueHotel /AzumiBoutiqueHotel /Azumihotel /Azumihotel /Azumihotel /Azumihotel TF: (632) 869-9888 E: reservations@azumi.ph www.azumi.ph /AzumiBoutiqueHotel /Azumihotel /Azumihotel www.azumi.ph /AzumiBoutiqueHotel /Azumihotel /Azumihotel /AzumiBoutiqueHotel /Azumihotel /Azumihotel


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Giving Giving a fresh a fresh new new take take onon urban urban living, living, Azumi Azumi elevates elevates thethe experience experience by by converging converging comfort, comfort, convenience, convenience, andand style style to give to give Giving a fresh new take on urban living, Azumi elevates the experience by converging comfort, convenience, and style to give guests guests value value forfor their their money. money.Access Access to to hotel hotel facilities facilities andand amenities amenities capped capped with with impeccable impeccable andand personalized personalized service service Giving a fresh new take onmoney. urban living, Azumi elevates the experience by converging comfort, convenience, and style to service give guests value for their Access to hotel facilities and amenities capped with impeccable and personalized guarantee guarantee utmost relaxation relaxation while residing residing in the in the metro. metro. Sothe So whether whether it’sit’s just just for for a night, a night, a few a few months months or even or even a year, aand year, you’ll you’ll truly Giving autmost fresh new take onwhile urban living, Azumi elevates experience by converging comfort, convenience, style to truly give guests value utmost for their money. while Access to hotel facilities and whether amenities impeccable andorpersonalized service guarantee relaxation residing in the it’scapped just for awith night, a few months even a year, you’ll truly feelfeel thethe comfort comfort and air air come come together together forto for you you at Azumi. atmetro. Azumi.Soand guests value forand their money. Access hotel facilities amenities capped with impeccable and personalized service guarantee utmost relaxation whiletogether residing in So whether it’s just for a night, a few months or even a year, you’ll truly feel the comfort and air come forthe youmetro. at Azumi. guarantee utmost relaxation while residing in the metro. So whether it’s just for a night, a few months or even a year, you’ll truly feel the comfort and air come together for you at Azumi. feel the comfort and air come together for you at Azumi. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Sanctuaries


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The tranquil pace in faraway Subic Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon is a change from popular destinations Words and Photos by Eric Cabahug

Experience Travel lite

here is another Subic in the country, and it is better than the one many people know. For one, it has pinkish sand—stress on the pinkish. The beach is in no way Barbie land. You won't even notice the pink right away as you step off the boat. You would have to give it more than a cursory look to see what gives it its unique hue: millions of super tiny fragments of crushed red coral that have been washed ashore and mixed with the beach's white sand. It is an alluring sight in the soft light of the late afternoon’s magic hour. Subic Beach is located on Calintaan Island in Matnog, Sorsogon at the southernmost tip of Luzon. Getting there requires a 45-minute boat ride from Matnog Port where ferries wait to take people, vehicles and goods to the Visayas. In fact, on a clear day, you can see a hazy silhouette of the tip of northern Samar, right across San Bernardino Strait where the port in the municipality of Allen is located.

Subic Beach’s pinkish sand is best appreciated at sunset EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Travel lite Swim in the emerald water inside Calintaan Cave

Quiet and laid-back Unlike its namesake in Luzon, Subic Beach is quiet, laid-back, and very unassuming. There are no resorts—only open cottages made of bamboo and nipa suited for daytrippers and closed huts, also made of the same materials, with thin mattresses and electric fans for overnighters. Of course, for more outdoorsy adventurers, there is plenty of room to pitch a tent on the beach. There are no restaurants, only sari-sari stores that sell the usual stuff—chips, candies, soft drinks, instant coffee, and instant noodles, among others. If you plan on visiting, make sure to bring your own food supply good enough for the duration of your stay. The good news is the food does not necessarily have to be pre-cooked. You can bring raw ingredients bought at the public market in Matnog and cook them on the island. You can bring your own stove and cookware, borrow from your boatman, or have it cooked from the locals or the cottage caretakers for a fee. And in case you forgot to go to market before the trip, there are vendors on the island selling freshly caught seafood.


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The shores at Subic Beach are free from seaweed

Big and Small Subic There are actually two beaches here: main beach and small Subic. Depending on how you look at it, they are connected, or rather separated, by a short stretch of big boulders and jagged rock formations that provide a very interesting contrast to the softness and creaminess of the two crescent moon-shaped beaches. If you are inclined to see this as a divider, you may call Subic a beach interrupted. In any case, you can easily walk over from one side to the other and back for the complete experience. Small Subic is the more charming of the two: it is more picturesque, owing to its curvier shape and a

collection of pretty trees that look like outstretched arms pointing to the sea. It also has fewer cottages. As for the sea, both beaches have the same very clear and very clean azure water that rivals what you find in the more popular Calaguas Island in another part of Bicol. Even better, the shore is free of seaweeds unlike Boracay Island in the summer. As though the place is not captivating enough, Subic Beach is also home to a few friendly stray dogs and their pups and at least a monkey—there are probably more, but that is what we only saw when we were there.

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Experience Travel lite

Island-hopping tour And they are not all the nonhumans you get to interact with. A package tour usually includes a visit to nearby Juag Lagoon Marine Sanctuary, a protected area that is home to an assortment of 10-year-old fish, including angelfish, grouper, and bangus. You can feed the fish with processed fish food and fishmeal from atop bamboo platforms raised above waist-high water. If you are inclined, you can wade or swim in the water for a close encounter with the fish. There is no wading option at Calintaan Cave, another stop on the Calintaan Island-hopping itinerary; but you can swim in five- to six-foot-

deep emerald water under a tunnellike passage that stretches about 15 meters from the sea. Not a swimmer or a confident one? No problem. There are life vests on your boat. You would be happy you did not hesitate to dive in and took the short watery “journey.” It is a small cave, sure, and there is nothing earth-shatteringly special about it, except for the fact that it is nicely bathed in sunlight peeping through a crack from its ceiling. Not every beach destination gives you this much fun swimming-into-a-cave experience. And it is not everyday that this cave is accessible. During high

tide, seawater blocks the tunnel that serves as an entrance to the cave. To complete the Subic Beach adventure, cross over to nearby Tikling Island, which is visible from Matnog Port. This small, undeveloped private island beckons travelers with its lush vegetation and white-sand beach. The calm, crystalclear, pastel-blue water surrounding it is inviting, hypnotizing visitors to just dive straight in from their boats even before they have docked properly on the shore. This is the country’s other Subic: smaller but definitely better, farther but certainly worth the trip.

You can only reach Subic Beach by taking a boat ride from Sorsogon’s Matnog Port

How to get there Take a 90-minute jeepney ride from Sorsogon City to Matnog town. From Matnog, take a 45-minute boat ride to Subic Beach.


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Experience Travel Lite

Emerald water

You need to hike to Paguriran Beach in Sawanga, Sorsogon to discover its comely delights Words and Photos by Eric Cabahug


any beaches boast being a short boat ride away from another destination: not Paguriran Beach. This tourist attraction can only be reached on foot. Paguriran is located in the sleepy barangay of Sawanga in Sorsogon. The beach is nothing extraordinary, just a short stretch of off-white sand and clean, clear water. The shore actually stretches farther in both directions. On one side is a longish stretch that includes a mangrove-like area lined with trees jutting from the water's edge. On the other end sits a private property that is about to be developed into a luxury resort.

The shifting tide The tide at Paguriran shifts a few times throughout the day, but even at its highest, for a few hours from midnight, the water does not reach much higher than an average-height adult’s chest. That is to say that Paguriran, unlike many beaches that gradually deepen further out into the sea, stays flat for about a hundred meters from the shore. And for a couple of hours during the day, the water recedes steadily, usually starting around 10 o'clock in the morning until the beach bed is fully exposed and drained of water at midday. The best time to enjoy this beach is actually just before the tide starts turning low. There is so much more fun to be had in walking or swimming, or a combination of walking and swimming, in waist-deep water than in just walking on dry land towards the rock formation that is the crown jewel of this location.


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A crown jewel of a pool Known as Paguriran Island, this oblong-shaped rock formation literally looks like a crown. It is made up of short, flat rocks on one section and gradually taller, slender ones that stand like limestone walls with jagged, pointy tips. It is best experienced during high tide, too. This is when a lagoon rises in its center with water oozing in from the sea through several openings around its base. The cool emerald water is perfect for swimming. The deepest part of the pool happens to be located near the highest peak of the formation, and because the rock easily lends itself for rock climbing, thrill seekers have a field day jumping from it into the pool.

Postcard-pretty backdrop On a clear day, Mayon Volcano looms majestically in the distance, providing a postcard-pretty backdrop. The sight is especially breathtaking during sunset, the orangered color of the sky and the silhouette of the volcano's perfect cone making for a painterly image. This in itself is another attraction of Paguriran Beach. And visitors can enjoy this vista right by the shore without even venturing foot on to the beach.

The lagoon at Paguriran Island offers a safe swimming experience, while a marvelous view of Mayon Volcano can be seen in the distance

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Experience Travel Lite How about lunch on a floating cabana?

How to get there Take a jeepney from Sorsogon City to Barangay Sawanga. Travel time is about an hour to 90 minutes.


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In full bloom Hotel Fleuris is your home-away-from-home in Puerto Princesa Words and Photos by Mitch M. Arceo


he French for flower is “fleur,” and this aptly describes a cozy hotel in Palawan, the island in the Philippines that has been unanimously voted as No. 1 in the world. Hotel Fleuris is very much like a garland of flowers given to guests as a sign of warm welcome in this part of the globe. Strategically located at the heart of the business and commercial district of Puerto Princesa City, Hotel Fleuris prides itself for being the first boutique hotel in the city. Since opening its door to the public in September 1999, it has been known for its well-appointed accommodation, delicious food, and amiable service. True to its name, the path leading to the hotel’s entrance is bordered by several kinds of flowers of different


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kinds and colors. A fountain surrounded with yellow bells just outside the hotel lobby brings a sense of peace to visiting travelers.

A dedicated staff for each guest This home-away-from-home has a helpful staff to welcome and assist guests upon their arrival, and ensure that every effort is made to make each guest’s stay as comfortable as possible, making them feel as if they are home. Each guest is assigned a dedicated staff to personally tend to your needs and answer concerns during your stay here. If you need directions to the market or anywhere in the city, he can provide ample directions, recommend routes, and suggest the best mode of transport

to your destination. Just as the song goes, he is just one call away. The three-story property has 47 spacious rooms and suites to satisfy guests with discerning tastes. Each air-conditioned room is equipped with hot and cold shower, fridge, mini bar, NDD/IDD telephone and cable television. Wi-Fi connectivity is also available throughout the hotel, from the rooms to hallways, and from the lobby to the restaurants. The 34 twin deluxe rooms and four king-sized deluxe rooms are perfect for couples or travel buddies, while eight suites are available for bigger groups. Since there are no elevators in this hotel, a special room at the ground floor is especially dedicated for the elderly and guests with disabilities.

Good food, complete amenities For those who want to unwind with friends over a cup of coffee and sweets, the Piano Bar and Coffee Shop is the perfect place for that. Located beside the lobby, the café offers cakes

and pastries anytime of the day, along with a menu of international and local favorites. There is live piano entertainment every night from Mondays to Saturdays. For those craving for Japanese and other Asian dishes, the We Be Sushi Restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The place is well known for its Asian specialties and is frequented not only by tourists, but by locals as well. Hotel Fleuris has amenities that experienced travelers often look for, such as a function room for meetings or private events, a fitness gym, and a pool for those who merely want to take a dip.

Delectable tonkatsu from We Be Sushi Restaurant

Bakers Hill offers a grand view of Sulu Sea

Exploring the city

Since it is in the business and commercial district of Puerto Princesa, guests may choose to walk to the local market, souvenir shops, malls, restaurants and fastfood chains, and other commercial establishments around the area. Tricycles and jeepneys are available for those who want to visit places that might be a bit far from the city center, like the Bay Area, where a row of restaurants are open at night, or Bakers Hill, where you can buy bread and yummy baked goodies. For those who want to further explore the city, there are available vans with guides for trip to the Crocodile Farm, Vietnamese Village or to the pier at Sabang where boats ferry guests to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park to experience the underground river, which has been named a Unesco world heritage site. Hotel Fleuris can arrange tours for guests who want to explore these destinations or go on the Honda Bay island-hopping tour. Since Hotel Fleuris is located along Lacao St., which is only a few minutes away from the airport, guests need not fear about not reaching the airport on time. The hotel has a shuttle service. Undoubtedly, Hotel Fleuris continues to bloom like a flower that gives its guests a feeling of warmth, joy and comfort.

One of Hotel Fleuris’ well-appointed rooms

The Puerto Princesa Underground River is Palawan’s must-see attraction EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience travel luxe

FALLING IN LOVE WITH JAPAN One prefecture at a time Words and Photos by Tanya T. Lara


Springtime in Kyoto, the City of Ten Thousand Shrines and former imperial capital of Japan. Warm weather breaks a week ahead of forecast and cherry blossoms fill the canals along the sakura-lined Philosopher’s Walk

t is so easy to fall in love with Japan on the first date. It is like meeting a smart, handsome guy that takes you out to a great dinner, some dancing and drinking, is extremely polite, and then he takes you home safely even when you are drunk and kissing everybody in the pub. I first went to Japan in 2001 on a whirlwind tour of three prefectures (provinces): Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto. Then I did not go back for 13 years, except for quick work trips to Tokyo last year and Yokohama in between. Coming back to Japan in April last year for a holiday, it felt like the first time all over again. To everyone else, Japan is an enigma, and I have a feeling the Japanese prefer it that way. Everything is so confusing at first, and no other thing symbolizes this better than Tokyo’s train system. Its subway route map looks like someone dropped a plate of spaghetti on the floor and everybody stood around to look—and only the Japanese could make any sense of it. I have never met a person who has been to Japan and did not like it. I have met lots of people who do not like Manila, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, or even Paris. But I have never met anyone who said Tokyo sucks. Or Kyoto. Or Hiroshima. Or Arashiyama. My friends and I have our itinerary all planned out. Manila to Osaka on a budget airline booked seven months before, Kyoto, Nara, Inari, Arashiyama, Harry Potter at Universal Studios, and lots of cherry blossoms and ramen in between—and Don Quixote, that crazy department store/supermarket that offers every flavor of KitKat found only in Japan and Japanese cuteness. We arrive at our hotel on Osaka at midnight after a


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four-and-a-half-hour flight from Manila. We had come from Osaka’s main train station, which is as big as an airport, and like many major train stations in Japan, you can live here for a month and never really master it. The stations are like cities that run efficiently. They are never overwhelmed by the millions of passengers or by the many different lines that come and go every second. Even when the queues are long, the Japanese wait patiently, never cutting in line—if someone does, it is probably a foreign tourist. But first, we discover that Osaka has a mind of its own. I looked at the calendar for 2015 and said, “F*ck this forecast!” Kyoto did the same damn rebellious thing. Warm weather broke a week ahead of schedule, and so when we arrive, the cherry blossoms are prematurely falling and floating on the canals and castle grounds in both cities. And perhaps this is the reason why sakura season is so revered in Japan: it lasts only a week. Despite the forecast, the flowers come out only when they want to, clinging to their stems through wind, sun and spring rains, and when the week is over, they begin to fall, never to be seen again until the following year. Isn’t that so poignant? Osaka Castle’s grounds are filled with cherry blossoms that you lose count of the places where you can take pictures and, even under the rain, people are doing hanami or picnic under sakura trees. They are seated on woven mats and holding up umbrellas and drinking sake. Kyoto is the same, except here, the walk to the Silver Castle is paved with pink flowers. The canals are pink, the Philosopher’s Walk is pink. The only other color is matcha green—in ice cream, crepes and pastries.

Osaka’s main shopping and entertainment district Dotonburi. (Clockwise) Ichiran, inarguably the best ramen chain in Japan, beside a takoyaki shop (octopus); giant crab; giant gyoza (dumpling); and a cow for yakiniku (grilled meat). No need for translation, just look at the giant food above the restaurants.

Dotonburi bridge and canal are flanked by illuminated signboards. Glico Man, which is a guy crossing the finish line, is both a symbol of Osaka and the confectionery company founded there. (Photo from wikipedia.com)

A quiet street in Gion, Kyoto.

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Experience travel luxe

There is something about Japanese women wearing kimonos that captivates visitors. The ones we met and talked to were tourists from China who had rented yukatas for the day and were doing hanami in Kyoto’s Maruyama Park (left) and walking around in Gion, Old Kyoto (right) — happy to be mistaken for Japanese women.

The first time It is so long ago now when I first made a trip to Japan. I was part of a tour group that went from Tokyo to the old capital of Kyoto where we were introduced to geishas and their trainees or geikos. We were in a restaurant where the geishas served food kneeling on tatami mats, and they laughed a certain way, moved a certain way—it was practiced and measured for many years, and even then, you thought it was all sincere. That trip also took me to the island of Miyajima (Itsukushima) in Hiroshima prefecture, and Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park at the center of the city. In the Pacific side of World War II, when Japan refused to surrender after the war in Europe had concluded, Hiroshima was the first city on which the United States dropped an atomic bomb and Nagasaki was second, the bombs instantly wiping out both cities and killing nearly 150,000 people. Hiroshima Peace Park was designed by Kenzo Tange, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect who was influenced by Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Tange was a pioneer of what would essentially become the template for Japanese modernism, a style that combines traditional Japanese with modern, western architecture. The Peace Park is located in an area that was leveled by the bomb. To me, the most moving monument here is Sadako and a Thousand Paper Cranes, a statue of a young girl named Sadako Sasaki who is holding up a crane. Sadako was only two years old when Hiroshima was bombed. When she was 12 and suffering from leukemia, she began making origami birds with the goal of making a


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The wonderful town of Arashiyama in Kyoto prefecture has a Kimono Forest exhibit at its tram station (Randen Line) — an installation of 600 acrylic poles featuring textile dyed in the traditional manner and curated by artist Yasumichi Morita.

THE BAMBOO FOREST Back to my Easter holiday this year with friends. No other town captivates us more than Arashiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto. We loathe leaving it in the evening to go back to Osaka, all of us wishing we had booked a night here. Arashiyama is famous for its bamboo forest, but little is said of the town itself. What a charming little town it is! We get lost in its streets and in trying to find our way back to the train station, so many surprises await us, like stores that sell only one thing and one thing only—from socks to chopsticks, umbrellas whose designs come out only when they get wet, purses and noodle bowls— restaurants, rickshaws, and minimalist Japanese houses. We also accidentally discover a spectacular exhibit at a tram station when trying to find a toilet. Created by artist Yasumichi Morita, Kimono Forest is an installation of 600 acrylic poles at the Randen station in Arashimaya. They are clustered together, just as the bamboo trees of the town, except they are printed textiles traditionally used for kimonos and lighted from within the poles. You can walk up and down this station for hours and just enjoy looking at the blue twilight skies and designs on the fabrics that are dyed in traditional style. Earlier that day, we were at Fushimi Shrine in Inari, also in Kyoto prefecture, which is famous for its torii gates. The shrines are located at the foot of the mountain, but it is the two kilometers that lead to them—orange bamboo gates with Japanese markings—that people go to and recreate that scene from the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. The rice god Inari is regarded as a business patron, and so companies or individual business owners sponsor a gate to give thanks to Inari. The price to dedicate a torii is 175,000 yen or $1,500. Business is good here, judging by the thousands of torii in the Fushimi complex.

The Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama, a favorite of day trippers. If you are going to Kyoto, spend a night in Arashiyama — there is so much more to this little town than the forest. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience Travel Luxe

The Silver Pavilion was built by a shogun (general) who wanted to emulate the Golden Pavilion.

Our fave Sesame Street character — Cookie Monster! (Photo by Ivy Lisa Mendoza)

Traveling with friends Nara Deer Park, spread across 500 hectares, is home to over a thousand deer. You can buy biscuits from kiosks for 150 yen—and they can smell it a mile away—to feed them. Up to 20 deer will poke at you and gather around, and then they lose interest when the plastic bag is empty. On our last day, we deposit our luggage at Osaka station to be collected at the end of the day when we take the train to Kansai Airport for our night flight back to Manila. From the station, Universal Studios Osaka, which opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter earlier this year, is less than 30 minutes away. We tour Hogwarts, drink butterbeer, chase our favorite Sesame Street characters for pictures, and highfive Hello Kitty. It is a great day to be at Universal, a great way to end a vacation because nothing makes you feel like a child again than visiting a theme park with friends.


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Tanya Lara at Deer Park in Nara prefecture, which hosts over 1,200 deer. They are extremely friendly when you feed them. If you do not have biscuits, they just ignore you.

Heart and Seoul

The South Korean capital has numerous freebie experiences for an economical trip

Words and Photos by Jay Cunanan-Canlas

A charming pavilion at Nami Island EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience travel luxe

A girl has her photo taken while wearing a hanbok

Seoul Tower looms over much of Seoul. (Photo by Kat Lorenzo)


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Myeongdong’s busy shopping district



t was the middle of a rainy night when our plane landed in Seoul, South Korea. Booked at a guesthouse near Hyehwa Station and a local university, Mr. Bong, the owner, advised our group of six to take the bus and get off at the stop nearest him. With our bags in tow, we waited at the corner of the traffic light to see three young men hollering and waving their arms and umbrellas. Turned out our host had sent them to meet us. The young Aussie, Spaniard and Korean were helping out at the guesthouse while they were "Seoul" searching, waiting for what life had to offer. After such a warm albeit quirky welcome, we immediately felt at home. Seoul is fun, vibrant, lively, and beautiful. It was also enchanting, captivating and, much to our surprise, not that heavy on the pocket. That is if you do not mind sharing a room with five others, taking mass transportation, walking a lot, and grabbing a bite from street kiosks and cozy inexpensive hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE Initially nervous of the language barrier, the city proved so tourist-friendly that we were never afraid to get lost. One young businessman even whipped out his mobile phone to show us a map of where we were headed and gave detailed instructions. We were looking for Myeongdong, a place we would use as our base, going back and forth four to five times to look for clothes, socks, souvenirs, makeup and street food. It was our base as we went to other districts. It was our stop on the way up to Namsan Tower. It was where we got to play dress up, lining up early in the morning at Seoul Global Cultural Center to wear the hanbok. The night market food trip in Myeongdong was also unforgettable as we mixed sights, sounds and shopping in between munches of scallops, takoyaki, piping hot roasted chestnut, rose ice cream, red bean fish toast and hotdog. In Myeongdong, we got to experience culture first-hand and for free. Yes, you will find a lot of free things, like entrances to palaces and old houses, photo exhibits in the subway, street performances— even makeup and skin care products! Oh, and did I mention that Korean makeup is one of the best in the world? It is but ordinary to find rows and rows of makeup stores right beside each other in almost every corner of Seoul: the sophisticated and the classic mixed with the young and funky.

Seoul is picturesque, not just because it is beautiful, but also because every corner of the city is picture-worthy. Stand back against a wall and you have a new profile pic; step into a pair of ornate wings in the streets of Itaewon and you are suddenly an angel; hold hands with your partner underneath a steel heart with a view to die for behind you at Namsan Tower and your IG feed will love you for it. The bonus: South Korea has one of the fastest Internet services in the world, all the better to post your photos with. It is easy to get into the swing of Seoul life, and riding the subway is one way to do that. Move too slowly, and you risk getting pushed, shoved and trampled. Move quickly, and you will easily get to your destination. Subway stations are also a fun place to grab a quick snack. We followed what the locals were doing, and stood up to gobble gimbap, dumplings and other Korean snack items.


While everything goes ever so swiftly in subway stations, everything seems more laidback at local restos. People-watching while waiting for your order to arrive can get pretty absorbing: girl friends bringing their kids in for a light snack, couples sharing a bowl of piping hot noodles, office people on a break to catch a meal. The servers are fast with their orders and patient with foreigners who do not understand the language. Also, most menus have photos. Now, no article about Korea would be the same without kimchi, the either-you-love-itor-hate-it Korean favorite. Frankly, I wanted to hijack the truck that was delivering pails and pails of it to the restaurant our tour guide brought us to. Yes, for all our scrimping, we managed to book a tour to Nami Island and Petite France, courtesy of Mr. Bong’s connections. Nami has got to be the most romantic island in the planet with or without the Winter Sonata drama, and Petite France transported us to the Little Prince’s world and everything French. But the highlight of that tour was lunch: barbecued chicken and unlimited kimchi. Fun fact: Monica, our guide, spoke very good English, and she said she learned it from doing a two-week extensive course in Manila. At the end of six days, it was hard to say goodbye to Seoul. Helping ease the pain was a performance at the airport by a group of Korean tenors who sang pop songs and the classics. Ah Seoul, quirky and warm till the very end.

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Experience travel luxe

Beef ball skewers

freshly made street food


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the popular bulgogi

a girl has a picture-perfect moment at Petite France

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Experience travel luxe

Fata’an Wetlands in Guangfu Township of Hualein County is a natural wetlands belonging to the Ami tribe who have been farming land and fishing for generations


Taiwan’s verdant countryside lets city dwellers experience the country life Words and Photos by Suzette Jessica


eyond the modern skyscrapers that dominate the landscape of Taipei, the bustling and ultracosmopolitan capital of Taiwan, lies a verdant countryside where the cycle of nature and ageold traditions still dictate the rhythm of life. Here,


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the weary urbanite who longs to get away from it all will delight in the more laid-back and leisurely pace. This fact is what Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association would like everyone to know: there is more to Taiwan than Taipei 101 or Sun Moon Lake.

This huge pumpkin at Wang Shang Leisure Farm sells for NT$8,000 and is used only for decoration

Some of the 450 varieties of pumpkin grown at the farm

Having fun with pumpkins The experience begins at Wang Shan Leisure Farm in Yilan County where pumpkins of different varieties are the main crop. Its owner, the hardworking Lin Wang Shan, started planting melons some 30 years ago. Later, when interest in pumpkin in Taiwan grew, he shifted to planting this cash crop. Today, after 10 years of careful cultivation and innovative research and development, the leisure farm showcases more than 450 types of pumpkins, squash, and other vegetables in the Cucurbitaceae family from all over the world. The leisure farm expanded into a theme park that features a landscape of vegetable and flower gardens. Visitors flock to this serene countryside attraction just to see pumpkins and gourds in all shapes, sizes, and colors, especially during the Dragon Boat Festival. At the entrance, a colorful arrangement of pumpkins greets guests and gives them an idea of its extensive collection of pumpkin varieties. Foodies are in for a treat, too. Here, they can have their fill of flavorful pumpkin-style meals, including pumpkin bombs, pumpkin noodles, and pumpkin coffee. They can even test their culinary skill by creating their own pumpkin pizza.

Immersing with the environment Located far from the big city, San-Fu Leisure Farm immerses you in nature’s tranquility. Its owners believe that it is in the ability to interact with the planet that man will be able to attain sustainable life on earth. San-Fu offers a natural environment in a pristine setting. The beautiful viewing pond in the Purple House Garden offers serene views of clear springs, lush grounds, and a fish-and-fowl sanctuary. Here, one can feed fish or parrots or simply soak in the relaxing and quiet ambience of the pond and gardens. After a slow, leisurely stroll, guests can head to the Purple House Café to enjoy a relaxed afternoon sipping Purple House Coffee, which San-Fu is famous for. Rare and majestic birds have made San-Fu their habitat and nesting ground. Uncommon species that call this sanctuary home include fairy pitta, vermillion bird, and black-naped monarch. Bird watchers and nature lovers will do well to bring along a pair of binoculars and a camera to witness and record nature’s splendor. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience travel luxe Picking strawberries is one of the activities at the Tai Yi Ecological Leisure Farm in Nantou County. (Photo from Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association)

A farm for living green Vegans, organic food buffs, and those who are simply ecologically conscious will be at home at Fairy-Story Village Organic Farm. Set amid a pastoral landscape, this farm has been duly certified as 100 percent organic for seven continuous years. Its pastures are planted to a dizzying multitude of organically grown crops, such as mulberry, sunflower, rosella, golden tomato, kumquat, garlic and organic seasonal vegetables. Because of this, guests are most likely to witness and participate in picking fruit and harvesting vegetable whatever season it may be. In spring, the farm is kept abuzz with mulberry silkworm mining and the harvesting of gold tomatoes. Summer is the season for picking sunflowers and longan, and is also the time for kiln control. As autumn creeps in, visitors might enjoy picking Persian chrysanthemum and roselle blooms. In winter, the canola flower field, onions, and garlic are ripe for harvesting. As in many leisure farms, Fairy-Story has been designed to offer the pleasures of simple and longforgotten activities. Here, one may take time off and unwind while nourishing the body with healthy, nourishing treats such as organic mulberry, milk-fed fish, live clams, and black shell shrimp. Urbanites may enjoy pampering with a slow foot massage, discover the life cycle of a silkworm, or learn more about the noble mulberry through a simple maze game.

Sweet treats Sweet treats have always been a favorite in Taiwan, inspiring many entrepreneurs to transform their manufacturing facilities into tourist attractions. In Yilan, an old candied fruits factory has also turned itself into a sweet attraction. Agrioz has long been famous among children and candy lovers for its golden oval candied kumquats. The oval golden kumquat, grown mainly in the Zhejiang province in eastern China, is used in traditional medicine to calm an itchy throat and to aid digestion. At the DIY space in Agrioz, visitors can make their own candied fruits and watch the fascinating process of manufacturing and packaging the candies. To help visitors understand the system, descriptions of the process and the ingredients have been placed along the tour areas.


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Harvest Festival, the main dining hall at Shing Kong Chao Feng Ranch and Resort

Home on the ranch

An ancient paradise

Situated in a 700-hectare ranch in Hualien County is Shin Kong Chao Feng Ranch & Resort, which combines rustic country living and luxury modern accommodations. The sprawling orchard is planted with fruit-bearing trees such as lemon, avocado, banana, grapefruit, kumquat and orange, among others. From October to April, guests can sample true farm living by participating in picking fruits and enjoying the fresh juicy harvest. Over 70 hectares of the property is dedicated to prime grazing pasture, which provides the 500 dairy cattle with ample fresh grass. The resort also has its own insect and butterfly ecology garden and a zoo with an ecological bird and parrot park. At the insect and butterfly ecology garden, tourists can stroll through garden paths while wonderful butterflies flit around them. In addition, those with green thumbs and nature enthusiasts will learn a lot about plant life in the aquatic plants ecological zone, desert botanical garden, and in the various greenhouses.

While tourists often imagine Taiwan as a young and modern country, it is surprising to know that for centuries the Amis have thrived and kept their traditions intact even in the face of development. This indigenous people have called the Fataan Wetlands their home since the beginning of time. A five-hectare lotus plantation here blooms profusely in summer, lending color and supernatural beauty to the marsh. The Fataan Wetlands Ecological Museum features various dioramas showing specific ecological habitats in the area to give guests a better understanding and a deeper respect for the Fataan environment. Fataan Wetlands is a veritable paradise that provides visitors an opportunity to commune with nature. They can closely observe the unique plant life and the fascinating insects endemic to the area. It is said that the area changes color with the seasons, and visitors will be able to see a different view and personality of the wetlands with the passing of time.

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Experience travel luxe

Where nature holds fort Despite the rapid industrialization of Taiwan, many of its natural attractions remain intact. At Master Bear Resort located along the Beinan River in Taitung County, a meal always features locally grown fruit, such as pineapple, banana, mango, cantaloupe, melon, and passion fruit, providing refreshing and delicious flavors. The place is nestled by the thick forests of the East Rift Valley which is home to majestic red cypress, insects, and clear, starry skies. The Holiday Village exudes an amiable old world feel as young and old alike enjoy the skating rink and the children’s outdoor playground. Here, one can enjoy a drink at the poolside coffee square, take leisurely strolls around the carp pond, dine at the wooden restaurant, or have a beer or two at the pub house. Those who wish to learn more about Taiwan’s rice industry should definitely visit the Kuan-shan Town Farmers' Association’s Recreation & Travel Center. Kuan-shan has long been famous for its agricultural products, and this destination’s attractions revolve around rice. Converted from a from a rice-milling barn, the Rice Country School shows tourists how rice is propagated, planted, processed, and made into assorted products. It also has a rice museum, a DIY grains room, a rice-carving room, and a retail area selling agricultural products. 84

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At Agrioz Candied Fruit Museum, tourists are taught how kumquat candies are made

Preserving natural bounties The Tai-Yi Ecological Leisure Farm in Nantou County was built carefully to conform to environmentally-sound building practices to highlight its breathtaking location. As soon as you enter the park, the scent of flowers calms the spirits. In fact, all if its 13 hectares is devoted to the celebration and preservation of nature’s magnificence and beauty. Tourists may visit any, or all, of the meticulously planned theme parks. There is the Flower God Temple, Rain Forest Culture Museum, Butterfly Pavilion, Green Sculpture Park, and Greenery Square. Also, visitors may try picking fruit at the orchards. Located in the middle of this sprawling paradise is Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort, a four-star hotel with pocket flower gardens and a natural spa. Located nearby is the famous Sun Moon Lake and Mt. Hehuan. For inquiries on Taiwan Leisure Farms, call Everbright Travel and Tours at +63(2)243-6077 or email everbighttravel@yahoo.com.

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Experience the good life Miss Intercontinental 2014 Kris Janson, Binibining Pilipinas Supranational 2015 Rogelie Catacutan, actress Alessandra de Rossi, fashion designer Kim Gan, Miss Universe Philippines 2009 Bianca Manalo, Binibining Pilipinas International 2015 Janicel Lubina, and child actor Alonzo Muhlach

Kim Gan brings out the beauty of springtime By Suzette Jessica

Antonio Crisanto and Kim Gan


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Springtime in Japan is a period full of wonder. The cherry trees blossom to delight the public with their ethereal display of delicate color. This is the same feeling renowned designer Kim Gan wanted to evoke in the fashion show "Seishun, The Springtime of Life," which was held recently at B Hotel QC, owned and managed by The Bellevue Hotels and Resorts (BH&R). Gan’s collection honors the quiet strength of Japanese women and the subtle power of their beauty. Created by Gakuya, her innovative fashion company, Gan’s outfits were inspired by the bijins—literally “beautiful persons”—of Kyoto, out and about in all their finery in days past, their clothes filled with the colors and delicacy of cherry blossoms at springtime and by the works of the 19th century female Japanese artist Shoen Uemura, who drew pictures of the bijin-ga. During the event, international violinist John Lesaca serenaded guests with his exceptional musicianship. Congratulations to B Hotels managing director Ryan Chan, the entire team of B Hotel QC, and Gan for this highly successful affair.

B Hotels managing director Ryan Chan

Gaye Lucas and Ana Manansala

Jayelles’ Suzette Morelos and Roselle Rebano

Marilou Arroyo with husband John Lesaca

Sandro, Niño and Alonzo Muhlach

Eric Ruiz and Gloria Teng

Event stylist Badang Rueda, Zac with mom Yasmin Lustre-Santos, The Velvet Stage’s Nona Clemente with chef Boyet Santos

Alex Aquino with Yayo Aguila

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Experience the good life

Ludovic Branellec, Kaye Sala, Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa general manager Rene Egle, Asian Dragon Magazine’s Benny Aw and wife Olivia Limpe-Aw, Jewelmer Joaillerie SVP and creative director Gaelle Branellec, Jewelmer Group president and CEO Jacques Branellec, Jewelmer Joaillerie EVP and deputy CEO Jacques Christophe Branellec, and Johnny Litton

Presenting the most exquisite South Sea pearl By Suzette Jessica

Pauline Hofer, Glenna Guidicelli, Marguerite Lhuillier, Nelly Egle, Bernie Aboitiz, and Iris Arcenas

Jewelmer Joaillerie AVP for Retail Sales Niza Capili, Carmen Campbell, Amparito Lhuillier, Rosebud Sala, Anna Marie Dizon, and Jacques Christophe Branellec


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Nothing exudes luxury more than a pearl. And that is exactly what Jewelmer Joaillerie presented in the Queen City of the South when it recently staged an astounding fashion gala “A Journey to the Extraordinary” to highlight the beauty of the golden South Sea pearl. Held in partnership with luxury resort ShangriLa’s Mactan Resort and Spa, the event was the first of its kind in Cebu. It was an intimate thanksgiving celebration with dedicated Cebuanos who have helped make Jewelmer the internationally renowned brand for the past 30 years. The program featured Jewelmer’s new corporate video that shares the story of the brand’s journey since Filipino businessman Manuel Cojuangco and French perliculturist Jacques Branellec founded it in 1979. Jewelmer Joaillerie’s 2016 Spring Summer Collection was presented by top models who were garbed in the collection of renowned fashion designers Rhett Eala and Mia Arcenas. Jewelmer Group president and CEO Jacques Branellec, together with his children, Jewelmer Joaillerie EVP and deputy CEO Jacques Christophe Branellec and SVP and creative director Gaelle Branellec, welcomed VIP guests and Cebu’s crème de la crème and guests from Manila at the Mactan Ballroom Foyer.

For the love of the Philippine eagle Words by Joseph Cortes

Marco Polo Hotels President Designate Jennifer Cronin turns over the donation to Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) and Halifax Davao Hotel Inc. (HDHI) Chairman Carlos G. Dominguez and PEF Executive Director Dennis Salvador Halifax Davao Hotel Inc. SVP Francis Ledesma, Marco Polo Davao GM Dottie Wurgler-Cronin, DOSM Pearl Peralta-Maclang, Japanese Consul Tomoko Dodo, Davao Light and Power Company COO Art Milan, Marcom Manager Josef Ledesma and Malaysian Consul Abdullah Tahir

Marco Polo Davao General Manager Dottie Wurgler-Cronin, HDHI and PEF Chairman Carlos G. Dominguez, Marco Polo Hotels President Designate Jennifer Cronin and DOSM Pearl Peralta-Maclang pose with Tsai, the stuffed Philippine Eagle preserved for educational purposes at the eagle center.

Camera Club of Davao President Anthony Serafin with DOT XI Regional Director Roberto Alabado III

What other animal represents the country’s pride and honor than the Philippine eagle? Native mostly to the mountains of Mindanao, it has been made a national symbol since it is unique here. However, the gradual decline of its natural habitat to unscrupulous logging has affected the numbers of this majestic creature. The Marco Polo Hotels in the Philippines showed its support for the Philippine eagle by donating P1 million to the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), which is spearheading conservation efforts for the national bird. The turnover of the donation was held during a special ceremony at the Marco Polo Davao (MPD) early this year, which was graced by key PEF officials, namely Carlos G. Dominguez, chairman of PEF and Halifax Davao Hotel Inc., MPD owning company; PEF executive director Dennis Salvador; Marco Polo Hotels presidentdesignate Jennifer Cronin, as well as the hotel’s partners and friends. Prior the donation, popular fashion designer Renee Salud presented a fashion show featuring members of the Hijos de Davao Foundation in his original indigenous-inspired outfits. They carried with them Philippine eagle stuffed dolls, which have been dressed in matching outfits. The show was choreographed by seasoned stage director Constantine Siñel. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience the good life

It was an occasion fit for royalty. And indeed, for successful fragrance magnate Joel Cruz, his twin sons, the adorable Prince Harry and Prince Harvey, were anything but. Their christening at Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati was attended by the who’s who in genteel society. The boys’ godparents alone—all 54 of them—truly made the occasion a regal one. Among the godfathers and godmothers were Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. president and chief operating officer Robina Gokongwei-Pe, Belo Medical Group founder and medical director Dr. Vicki Belo, Jayelles’ Roselle Rebano, former Miss Universe and entrepreneur Margie Moran-Floirendo, TV news anchor Mel Tiangco, celebrity couple Julius and Christine Babao, actress Erich Gonzales, and celebrity host Kris Aquino, among others. The Aficionado Germany Perfume president and CEO staged a strictly black-tie event for 300 guests, with cocktails immediately followed by a lavish dinner, at Makati Shangri-La’s Rizal Ballroom. Cruz was simply overjoyed with the latest addition to his growing family. In lieu of gifts, the proud parent requested all godparents and guests to make a donation to the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish in Sampaloc, Manila.

Aficionado Germany Perfume president and CEO Joel Cruz carries his new bundle of joy, twins Prince Harry and Prince Harvey, besides Princess Synne and Prince Sean

A regal affair By Suzette Jessica


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Alfrancis Chua, GMA Network Inc. chairman and CEO lawyer Felipe Gozon and Cory Quirino

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Experience postings

many years now. Born in Saga, Japan, he has been a regular in international balloon festivals in many countries. Though it was his first time to fly in the Philippines, he went up in the air confidently as if knowing the place like the back of his hand. His first flight out in the morning was when the wind was perfect and calm. Over the fields of Lubao, we were able to conquer our fear of heights with the help of this Japanese flyer. Contrary to what we initially thought, flying is not something to be afraid of. Though you might feel a tinge of nervousness as the ground goes further and further away from you and everything Words and Photos by Mitch M. Arceo is gets smaller and smaller, you feel a sense of calm and peace when you reach the sky. Ever heard of Lubao in Pampanga? It The sun rising in the horizon, the may not be as popular as its other towns green luscious land below, and the or cities, but this quiet town is slowly gigantic mountains from afar bring you making itself known by being host to one a sense of serenity—just what you need of the most exciting events, not just in the to detoxify from the a fast-paced and country, but in the whole of Southeast stressful existence. Indeed, our fear of Asia. heights was overshadowed by the beauty Forty gigantic hot air balloons filled before us. It was simply breathtaking that the sky once again during the Lubao we wanted to stay up there longer. International Balloon Fest, much to But alas, we eventually had to leave the delight of thousands of guests who our place in the heavens and return back trooped to Pradera Verde, Brgy. Prado to land. For four days, world-class pilots Siongco in Lubao. flew guests, both local and foreign, on The Lubao International Balloon Fest balloons of different sizes, shapes and is said to be the biggest hot air balloon colors. Those on the ground were in festival in Southeast Asia. Pilots from awe as they watched balloons hovering different countries, including Japan, overhead. They welcomed each and every Korea, Taiwan, Netherlands and more, one that landed, taking photos of both flew in to join in this event. balloons and pilots. We were lucky to experience the thrill The festival was packed with other of flying in a hot air balloon with Minoru activities, such as aerial exhibitions, kite Numata, an experienced Japanese pilot flying shows, and exhibits on land. At who has been flying around the world for night, Pradera Verde was transformed

Up, up and



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into a concert and party place as artists, such as Ely Buendia, Bamboo, True Faith, Sabado Boys and Mitoy&D’Draybers, rocked the stage with their performances. Foodies and shopaholics were not disappointed as concessionaires set up shop, offering local products and native Kapampangan dishes and delicacies. At night, the skies lit up with glowing hot air balloons, followed by a colorful display of fireworks. It was the perfect way to cap off the evening.

Park Inn by Radisson Clark: Your home in Pampanga Finding you home-away-from-home in an unfamiliar place is a daunting experience. However, you get less stress in looking for comfortable accommodations at Park Inn by Radisson Clark, an international midscale hotel, since it provides the essentials that frequent travelers seek. Strategically located within SM City Clark, Central Luzon’s leisure and destination mall complex, Park Inn by Radisson Clark has 154 rooms in three categories: standard, superior and junior suite. Regardless of room type, guests enjoy cabled LED televisions, fast and reliable Internet access, plush linens, and hip interiors. Guests can have a taste of Kapampangan culinary flair at Hues, the hotel’s all-day dining outlet, as it serves the best of Pampanga cooking. The personable restaurant and bar staff and highly skilled chefs make sure that diners return home with happy food stories. The hotel also has a fitness center and two swimming pools, which make it easy for guests to stay on top of their workout routines and then play with the kids. For other recreation plans, the onsite concierge can suggest nearby attractions. The hotel provides laundry with pressing, in-room dining, complimentary incoming faxes and 24/7 security.

What’s more, the hotel is just a few minutes away by car from Clark International Airport and Clark Freeport Zone. It is highly accessible via NLEX, SCTEX and national roads. The only property in the city that is managed by an international hotel chain, it offers free parking and transportation service at a nominal cost. Park Inn by Radisson Clark offers a fresh and attentive experience from start to finish. The hotel meeting space can accommodate 100 people or be divided into three function rooms perfect for more intimate gatherings. Hues restaurant can also be converted into a private meeting facility. All participants also have access to high-speed Wi-Fi, and audiovisual equipment is provided for free.

To learn more about Park Inn by Radisson Clark, visit parkinn.com/hotel-clark. For reservations, call +63 (45) 598-7000, or e-mail reservations.clark@parkinn.com. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


From top to bottom: Bunny Cake, Holy Smokey Ribs, Caesar Salad and Pesto Pasta

Experience postings

Happy Love Chef's chef Tony Cabusao

Your favorite comfort food at Happy Love Chef Words by Angela Louise Denilla Photos by Teddy Pelaez Foodies who are looking for a restaurant their favorite comfort food will delight in Happy Love Chef. Located at Tiendesitas, it serves affordable delicious meals that satisfy the whims of even the most demanding diner. And if the number of repeat customers is any indication, it just shows that its culinary offerings satisfy most food cravings. Happy Love Chef is the brainchild of Joey Enriquez, president of Charter International Inc., and chef Tony Cabusao, who is the restaurant’s head chef. It is Cabusao’s passion for cooking and love for food that inspires him in creating the delicious meals served at the restaurant. There’s something for everyone at Happy Love Chef: pasta, burgers and sandwiches, and all-time favorites


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and Pinoy breakfast. A popular order is the Holy Smokey Ribs, with tender hickory baby back ribs that have been grilled to perfection and served with a secret country barbecue sauce. Those looking for something to satisfy their sweet tooth or a light snack can choose from its ensaymada and Bunny Cakes. Its ensaymada is made with pillow soft baked dough slathered with sweet butter and a generous topping of quezo de bola. On the other hand, the Bunny Cake is the its version of carrot cake. Moist, butter carrot Bundt cakes are generously covered with cream cheese and sprinkled with crushed almonds. Pair them with a cup of coffee, and you are good to go for another meeting afterwards.

A taste of luxury in Batangas City Words by Mitch M. Arceo Photos by Teddy Pelaez

If city life is wearing you down, but you do not have the time to be away for that long, there is a place south of Luzon that promises to take you from the hustle and bustle of the city. Tucked away in nearby Batangas City, just a couple of hours drive from Metro Manila, is Pontefino Hotel and Residences; indeed, the property acts as a bridge connecting people with the finer things in life, offering the serenity and convenience that travelers seek. As you enter, a row of neoVictorian houses beckon at you. Just a short walk uphill, and you find yourself at Hotel Pontefino, a four-story hotel offering a luxurious vacation away from the city. Upon entering the lobby, guests receive a warm welcome from the staff who usher them to the reception area. The place features classic European design mixed with Filipino style. Couches are conveniently located here to give you a chance to catch your breath and admire the interior. A glass display contains souvenirs, such as jeepney key chains, miniature calesas, locally sewn pouches and locally made jewelry boxes, among others. Hotel Pontefino features 51 deluxe and premium rooms and 14 suites, all equipped with television, mini-refrigerator and telephones for

easy access for your needs or between rooms. Though Wi-Fi connectivity is only available at the lobby, a LAN cable is ready for use in each room. The rooms are furnished with artisanal pieces sourced from the province, from couches to reading chairs and writing desks. Bookworms and history enthusiasts will also appreciate the hotel’s initiative to promote Batangueño customs and traditions by providing each room with a handbook containing information about the province. The soft mattress and cotton pillows are guaranteed to give guests a good night’s rest. It will make you feel so comfortable that you would want to stay longer in bed even after waking up the next day. Looking out the window, you will either see the stunning view of the hotel’s poolside or Pontefino Residences, depending on where your room faces. The hotel has a 25 squaremeter swimming pool, including a children’s wading pool, a game room for table tennis and billiards, and a KTV entertainment center. The hotel’s poolside features a stylish architectural feature, which served as the perfect backdrop for the 2016 Miss Earth Philippines swimsuit fashion show and resort wear competition. For the past five years,

the hotel has served as venue for the said competition, transforming the poolside into a runway where beautiful candidates parade in bikinis and the resort wear of their choice, as well as to impress judges and guests with their environmental advocacies. On the other hand, the ballroom located by the poolside is a popular venue for weddings and private celebrations. Just across the poolside is Hotel Pontefino’s Robusta Café, which provides relaxed all-day dining, as well as delightful snacks with coffee or tea in the afternoon. A gym and fitness facility is also open with fitness consultants on hand to guide guests, as well as offering spa services. A tour of the property will take you to Pontefino Residences, an exclusive fully equipped townhouse development designed to give homeowners the best in leisure living. The units offer hotel-like facilities and amenities, modern home conveniences, and 24-hour guest services and security. The Pontefino Residences are now open for occupancy. Perhaps, a weekend stay at Hotel Pontefino will be enough to refresh your mind and inspire you to move forward when you return to the concrete jungle that is Metro Manila.

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The casts of the Silken Voices, Silken Roads: An Opera Gala Dinner

On the Silk Road

AT Marco Polo Ortigas Manila It was a journey unlike any experienced before. Marco Polo Ortigas Manila (MPOM) took the country’s crème de la crème on an adventure that brought together good food, exquisite fashion and divine music in one spectacular affair, dubbed Silken Voices, Silken Roads: An Opera Gala Dinner. The event celebrated the hotel’s second anniversary, and this grand affair found its inspiration from the fabulous journey of the Venetian explorer Marco Polo via the Silk Road. The journey was ushered in by a collection of couture pieces by esteemed fashion designer Renee Salud that took its inspiration from Venice, the home of the Marco Polo. As models stood at the center of the grand ballroom, canapés from Spain, China and the Philippines, such as Chinese black marinated fungus, and mahi-mahi crudo, were served. Executive chef Lluis Pesarrodona especially prepared these. As guests settled down, MPOM general manager Frank Reichenbach opened the ceremonies. Guests were serenaded with Verdi’s Brindisi, as performed by Asia’s Got Talent finalist Gerphil Flores, tenor Francisco Aseniero, and members of the Philippine Opera Company. The culinary journey continued on with beef tenderloin carpaccio, paired with a delightful 2014 Banfi Placido Pinot Grigio from Italy. From Europe, Marco Polo travelled through the Middle East. The Flower Duet from Delibes’ Lakme, performed by Karla Gutierrez and Marian Santiago of Philippine Opera Company (POC), highlighted the exotic beauty of this realm. This gave


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Asia’s Got Talent Runner-up, Gerphil Floresnner

way for the feast of baby calamari and roasted duck that gave a taste of Asian cuisine. The voyage continued as violinist Joseph Brian Cimafranca performed Kashmir, while diners sampled the chicken kebab with orange-flavored hummus and dried fruits. Flores returned onstage with “Un bel dì” from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. This popular aria was counterpointed with a taste of China in the stir-fried lapu-lapu and tiger prawn in XO sauce and soft tofu. Tenor Francisco Aseniero, together with POC’s Marian Santiago, Christian Nagaño and Lawrence Jatayna, sang “And This Is My Beloved” from the beloved musical Kismet. Marco Polo’s journey ended in China. From this land, he discovered pasta, now a dish associated with Italy. Diners partook of a medley of lemon ricotta tortellini and fried noodles with scallops. Aseniero then serenaded guests with operetta favorite “Yours Is My Heart Alone” by Lehar. The explorer’s return to Europe after 23 years with bounties accumulated during his travels served as proof of his journey. The evening’s culinary finale consisted of a joconde, a French cake of layers of almond sponge soaked in coffee syrup. On the other hand, the evening’s performance ended with Neapolitan favorites, “Funiculì Funiculà” and “O Sole Mio.” In one night, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila took its guests on a journey from West to East and back. This grand occasion served to usher in the yearlong celebration of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.

All-red collection by Renee Salud

(Standing) Frank Reichenbach, Renee Salud, Mrs. Norge Reichenbach (Seated) Madame Ziki, Johnny Litton, Madame Monthip

The performers with Mrs. Norge Reichenbach, and Marco Polo Ortigas Manila General Manager Frank Reichenbach

(Standing) Mayenne Carmona, Frank Reichenbach, Nelia Neri and husband, Atty. Julius Neri (Seating) Eva Gullas, Valeriano “Bobbit” Avila, Dr. Nestor Alonzo

Manila Times COO Blanca Mercado, Madame Eloisa and husband, US Embassy Deputy of Mission Michael Klecheski, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Director of Marketing Communications Judith Los Baños

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Mirko De Giorgo, Director of Human Resources Barbara Reyes, Front Office Manager Marlon Guevarra

US Embassy Deputy of Mission Michael Klecheski, Anna Sobrepeña, and Johnny Litton

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Director of Restaurants, Bars and Event Mirko De Giorgi, Titania Wine Cellar Inc. Chairman Tita Trillo, Paige Meneses

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Director of Marketing Communications Judith Los Baños, Renee Salud, Star Querubin

Madame Eloisa and husband, US Embassy Deputy of Mission Michael Klecheski, Marga and Ramon Tupaz, Sherrie and David Williams

Manila Times COO Blanca Mercado, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Director of Marketing Communications Judith Los Baños, Ailene Co, Bryan D.

(Standing) Elizabeth Canlas, Frank Reichenbach, Manny Canlas (Seated) Barbara Reyes, Ilizza and Isabelle Canlas

German Ambassador Thomas Ossowski, Indian Ambassador L.D. Ralte, Thai Ambassador Thanatip Upatising

Philippine Airlines Babyruth Chuaunsu, Pearl PeraltaMaclang, Frank Reichenbach, Arch. Michaelangelo Ebro Dakudao, Maya Padillo

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Communications Manager Manna Alcaraz, Marco Polo Davao Marketing and Communications Manager Josef Ledesma, Lara Scarrow-Constantino

Valeriano “Bobbit” Avila, Nelia Neri, Grace Glory Go, Eva Gullas, Mayenne Carmona

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Experience postings

accessible new style choice in the Philippines,” said Joe Fresh President Mario Grauso. Joe Fresh brings its spring collection that is alive with pretty prints, from fanciful butterfly and bird motifs to ornamental floral and mosaic patterns. With its signature details, shoppers will find a fresh take on essentials designs like the city trench, classic oxford shirt and the perfect pencil skirt. Faded denim and utility styles ground the collection in time-tested favorites while the shirtdress adds a key silhouette to spring wardrobes. Completing the season is an expanded active range in lightweight fabrics perfect for exercising in the warmer months ahead. “We are very excited for the addition of Joe Fresh to our portfolio of brands. Joe Fresh further strengthens our lineup of value brands, allowing us to tap and delight an even broader base of Philippine consumers,” said Anthony Huang, President of SSI Group, Inc. The stores in the Philippines are designed to mirror existing Joe Fresh locations around the world. The stores are clean, modern and uncluttered, creating an easy-to-shop environment that showcases the colorful and contemporary collections.

Joe Fresh now in Manila One of the leading fashion retailers in Canada is now in Manila. Joe Fresh opened its first branch at Shangri-La Plaza Mall last May. Loblaw Companies Limited and its affiliates, the owners of the Joe Fresh brand, worked in partnership with Stores Specialists, Inc., a division of SSI Group, Inc., to make this a reality. The inaugural Joe Fresh store at Shangri-La Plaza mall in Manila covers 674 square meters of space, and offers a complete lifestyle range of Joe Fresh women’s, men’s and children’s collections. A second store, located in Trinoma Mall is set to open in August 2016. Founded in 2006, Joe Fresh offers accessible, modern design in lifestyle collections for women, men and children, bringing a value-driven point of view to everyday wardrobe favorites full of color, polish and thoughtful details. In categories spanning apparel, accessories, footwear and beauty, it provides quality and style for the entire family. “We are pleased to introduce Joe Fresh to the Philippines, a dynamic new market for the brand. I believe our spirited, modern designs and exceptional value for the entire family will resonate with fashion consumers here. Leveraging SSI Group’s unparalleled expertise in the region, we look forward to providing an exciting and


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Fly to your dream destination with Skyjet Skyjet Airlines is the fastest flight to your dream destination. With local tourism showing robust growth, the airline increased its flights and is now flying daily to Boracay via Caticlan, 5x weekly to Basco (Batanes) and 10x weekly to Busuanga (Coron). Skyjet Airlines utilizes an 80-seater, four-engine jet whose specialty is landing in short runways. Passengers are treated to a more comfortable legroom space. Complimentary snacks and drinks are served onboard. The airline also offers 10 kilos free baggage allocation. Flying with Skyjet is not only a relaxing journey on its own, but it also gives treats with exclusive offers under its Boarding Pass Perqs program. Skyjet’s boarding pass is not a mere piece of paper: its holders can get as much as 20 percent discount on food and beverages from popular restaurants like TGI Fridays, Italliani’s, Aria, Hama, and Cafe del Sol in Boracay. They can also avail of discounted rates and special privileges at Discovery Shores, Mandala Spa in Boracay, and Club Paradise in Palawan, among others. For a complete list of its boarding pass partner’s establishments, to avail of its affordable rates and other information, call +63 (02) 863-1333 or (0917) 8631333, or visit their website at www.flyskyjetair.com.

Filipino hospitality at The Linden Suites It is known in foreign lands that the Philippines is the most hospitable country on the planet. Every home here respects its guests, providing them with utmost comfort during their visit. This is a trait that has made Filipinos remarkable, particularly in the tourism and hospitality industry. In this highly competitive industry, a remarkable hotel located in the heart of the Ortigas central business district provides true Filipino hospitality at its finest. That establishment is The Linden Suites. Established at the onset of the new millennium by visionaries and pioneers in the hospitality industry, The Linden Suites was initially managed by Swiss-Belhotel, an international hospitality management company until the early part of 2011. When operations were taken in-house, its then general adopted the same protocols in running the hotel with the available pool of talents.

In 2014, in consonance with the board’s decision to instill Filipino hospitality into its service, general manager Dominic A. Dorol led competent all-Filipino management and operations teams. The hotel prides itself with wellfurnished rooms equipped with basic amenities, a mark of Filipino hospitality that is selfless and compassionate. The rooms are spacious, making them perfect for family bonding to strengthen love, unity and togetherness. Since Filipinos value the comfort and satisfaction of their guests, the suites are specially designed for those with a discriminating taste for comfort, while the penthouses are built and furnished those who require more space and a bit of indulgence. Add to this, the hotel’s business center is well maintained, showing how the management values the importance of a business-conducive location for guests.

Linden Suites general manager Dominic Dorol and his all-Filipino team

Likewise, its health club offers much needed relaxation after a long workday. From accommodation to the dining experience, and down to business engagement and after-work pampering, The Linden Suites provides the Filipinostyle comfort.

The Linden Suites is located at 37 San Miguel Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For details, visit www.lindensuites.com. EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016


Experience postings

Though the summer heat was unimaginably scorching, it did not stop the crowd whose love for the outdoors has already reached treacherous mountain trails or the depths of the sea from coming out and playing at the ROX Outdoor Festival 2016, which was on its second year. Bonifacio High Street was filled with outdoor enthusiasts, from athletes to weekend warriors, who were ready for the day’s activities. Some curious onlookers also joined in the fun gamely tried the different challenges. Not only did they enjoy the event’s different games, participants also had the chance of watch professional players in two hardcore contests. The Zero Gravity National Lead Climbing Competition had contestants solving route problems on a wall, while testing their strength and endurance under the heat of the sun, as spectators cheered them to finish and tick off every task. On the other hand, Mountain Hardwear’s Last Man Standing tested the will of players as they stood on a pole and performed a series of challenges, such as raising their hands, clinching apples with the necks, or maintaining a yoga pose, in order ro weed out those the toughest contenders. Participants tested their stamina for the outdoors at a number of obstacles. Many had their lungs almost bursting at the North Face Mountain Athletics, while some had ran out of wind at the Fox and Salomon’s trail and bike track. Most of them came out of the challenges with smiles on their faces, seemingly ready for the real challenges in the city. At Columbia’s booth, people got to test their coordination while climbing a rope using an ascender. They also saw firsthand how bamboo bikes were built.

A taste of outdoor challenges from ROX Words and Photos by: Karl "Kid" Orit


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These were just of the things that gave guests to the festival a taste of the outdoors. With ROX providing most of the outdoor essentials to budding and long-time enthusiasts, going on an adventure trip is an encouragement for more people to go outside and experience more out of life.

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EXPER IENCEPH.COM // Vol. 3 No. 3 // 2016

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