23 May 2015

Paradoxical Paradise

We celebrated my brother's birthday last 9 May to 10 May in what I'd probably describe as among the best resorts we've ever stayed in and the worst food we've ever tasted. Our over night trip was eventful that it probably will always be included in our Top Ten list of both the best and the worst. I've noticed that I rarely talk about the places we go to enough that I'll be helpful to others who'd want to try them as well. So I'll attempt to write reviews about the resorts and hotels we visit as a family starting now. You'll see them all under the tag REVIEW. For my brother's birthday celebration, Mommy booked us in Cintai Corito's Garden

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Top: Bershka | Shorts: Topshop | Shoes: Old Navy | Bag: Kipling | Sunglasses: Oakley | Turban: Flatterbuy

Bear in mind that although I'm usually a scatterbrain, I tend to have a one-track mind sometimes. Resorts, hotels, and restaurants are either a hit or miss for me depending on the reason we've chosen the particular place. Cintai Corito's is perfect for those who want to have a relaxing weekend. The kind where there is a spa, a comfortable TV room, and lots of pools to swim in which are all complemented by the abundance of picture-perfect corners. There are plenty of roaming animals as well including peacocks (or were they peahens?) and donkeys.

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When staying in a resort, we assign high importance to the comfortability of the room. This includes beds that have thick mattresses, space that won't feel suffocating, bathroom that screams cleanliness, and most importantly airconditioning that works well. It's a big letdown when the place is beautiful but the room feels cramped with outdated amenities. Corito's has well-decorated villas that use real wood in all the furniture and tasteful showers and sinks. Each villa is spacious enough to accommodate the 12 of us but because no one feels comfortable in sleeping on extra beddings laid on the floor, we stayed in two adjacent villas where there are 3 king sized beds in each. Despite the summer heat, their airconditioning is in perfect condition. See, almost everything about the resort is perfect. Almost, but like everywhere else, not quite.

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Everything was going smoothly (save for the food but more on this later) throughout the night especially since 10 of us availed of the spa services then concluded with the usual alcoholic beverages. To those who'd want to bring in food and drinks, note that Corito's charges corkage fees. Around 1 in the morning, the resort suffered from power failure. The electricity went on and off for an hour that by then, majority of us were awaken. The aircon in our room completely failed that my brother Gian, Nanay, cousin Rayne, and I transferred to the other room. The front office wasn't answering any of our calls. We were already resigned to sleeping on the blankets laid out on the floor until even worse things happened. The aircon in the other villa was still working but it was barely blowing out cool breeze. In this entire ordeal, the front office can't be reached. The thing is, when someone is willing to pay as much, she deserves to receive full attention. We'd probably understand the situation had the power failure affected all villas but for reasons I can't understand, only our two villas were gravely troubled, or if it was not a resort boasting of its little touch of luxury.

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Now, on to the food. We're a family who's constantly trying new restaurants and new buffets in hotels and stand-alone alike that somehow, I'd like to believe that we can form sound opinions on food. Cintai Corito's buffet dinner and buffet breakfast are among the worst selection we've ever tried in terms of choices and tastes. I do not know how to cook. I can barely hold a ladle without creating a mess but I can at least identify a good tasting meal from a substandard option. The resort is filled with eye-catching wonders. It seems that the management exhausted all of its ideas on the facade and skipped on brainstorming about the food to be served. We've tried other resorts that have not so spectacular meals (Las Casas in Bataan, for example) but the latter at least serves meals that are pleasing to the eyes and are visually at par with the beauty of the place.

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To appease my Mom's anger, the owner himself approached her while we were having breakfast the following morning and explained what happened. He didn't charge us half of the dinner buffet fee (It's ludicrous to pay for P500 per person for a substandard meal. I suggest finding restaurants outside the resort. No kidding. I'm pretty much a spendthrift but I make sure I'm paying for something that's worth it.) and also didn't let us pay for half of the massage fee. We were given one villa to transfer to the night before (around 3AM) and a voucher which is good for an overnight trip for 4. Were they enough to compensate for a troublesome evening that left majority of us tired the following day? Maybe, maybe not. The bottom line is, we were willing to pay the rates they've demanded because it's the price of the comfort and exclusivity we wanted. I don't think they can ever give anything that can compensate for robbing us of what we ultimately paid for.

All these hassles aside, Cintai Corito's Garden is still among the list of relaxing resorts we've been to. All of its corners are worthy of taking pictures of. My Mom gave the voucher to my Tita and her family but who knows. Maybe in a few months I can convince her to go back. See, this is why we seldom accept invites from friends and relatives. We're very demanding. Then again, we are only demanding when we've paid the price to be demanding. Hahahaha :)

14 May 2015

The Two Constants

Because of my usual lazy state, I've practiced not to post photos and stories that only chronicle my activities with friends that do not have anything to do with any outfit shots. But since I've posted about Lina and I's swimming activity before, I'll just post about our recent swimming date again. This time, my best friend Karen and Lina's sister Laura joined us. See, Lina and Karen are my life's two constant. I seldom see anyone else aside from them but it doesn't really matter since their company more than makes up for the lack of quantity.

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Swimsuit: River Island

We stayed in Sofitel courtesy of Lina's mom. I rarely swim because as I've said plenty of times, I don't know how to aside from I dislike the inconvenience of waiting turns before I can change into dry clothes once more. But if the place is as inviting and luxurious as Sofitel, let my preferences be damned. Haha! We lounged around the lawn facing the Manila Bay in which our photos were beautifully illuminated by the sunset. Right after, we slipped into our onesies and roamed around the hotel like "furry animals in the wild", as Laura described us. I'll be posting photos of our next hotel destination!

11 May 2015

O Captain! My Captain!

It's finally happened!!! My brother graduated from college and is now a licensed private pilot to the delight of all our family members, well-wishers, and friends. By now, it's evident that I am someone whose top priorities include her family. I am the type of sister who involves herself way too much in her brothers' lives. When the older brother graduated in Manila Hotel last 1 April 2015, I was bursting with pride to the point that it's insane how I handled it. I mean, since I practically wrote his thesis and another final project, I deserve to jubilate right? Hahahaha

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Dress used as top: Promod | Necklace: from a bazaar | Skirt: Kultura | Belt: Mango | Shoes: Zara

Yet again, I found myself forgetting to take photos of what I'm wearing that I've to resort to uneven cropping. Oh well. The invitation clearly states that female guests must wear either a long gown or a Filipiniana gown. I've lots of both in my closet since I rarely give my gowns away even though I've already used them so it was easy to decide on what I'm going to wear. But a day before the graduation, it dawned on me that I'm only the sister of the graduate so I've to look less formal than my Mom while still being in theme which meant that I've to re-examine the pieces in my wardrobe. I wanted to wear a top that has the Imelda Sleeves then pair it off with dress shorts for the modernized youthful Filipiana look but I can't find it. I, however, managed to get my hands on its bottom counterpart. I can't find anything that will balance its length and design out so I opted for a simple top and a statement necklace. Perhaps the final look doesn't look much but do you realize how much thought process went into it? Hahaha

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Even my make-up and hair were evaluated the night before. Sometimes I really make someone else's event my event hahaha Just kidding!

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My brother with our proud parents
My brother happens to be the eldest grandchild in both our Mom's and Dad's sides so he has a special place in everyone's eyes (next to me, naturally). He also happens to be the first pilot in our family. He graduated with a degree in BS Aviation major in Flying from Airlink International Aviation School. We celebrated with the usual company - my two first cousins in the country, two grandmoms, and two uncles. This time though, my Mom invited my cousins' cousins from their Dad's side just to make it more festive. We dined in Market Cafe in New World Manila Bay Hotel. We've tried a couple of buffet restaurants in different hotels (which I'm trying to sort in under the RESTAURANTS tag for easier categorizing) and this is actually among those that are really deserving of its price. The food choices are diverse while the taste is superb.

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I briefly talked about being the Filipinana Queen when I was in elementary in this POST, a title that is self-bestowed. I used to ask my grandmom to make me a dress year after year just because even then, I didn't want to wear the same thing over and over again. Luckily I was able to store them. Here are my cousin Rayne and her cousin Jamille in the gowns I wore when I was in Grade 5 and Grade 6.

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My brother is among the few people who have found the perfect match in their chosen career. Not that I'm judging my brother and his preferences (although I enjoy doing that in front of him as a form of bonding), but he's among those whose personality is so strong and developed that he thinks that there is a certain way to live. His views are wrapped around the idea that exclusivity must be embraced. Personally, I also subscribe to the same philosophy but in a less extreme way. There's nothing wrong with aspiring to live the "good life" so to speak especially when one works hard to attain it, and subsequently choose to share it with people who also think the same way. Others might find his aloofness and opinions as hallmarks of snobbishness but he's always been the straightforward kind, one who doesn't do the typical mundane nonsense we all have to deal with. Perhaps it's a trait that has to be corrected but ultimately, I don't think that it posits big problems. After all, the extent of his clout is small. The damage, should there be any, is only within the people whom he likes to associate himself with. It actually sits well with me. There's nothing wrong in living with a certain set of standards and allowing only a few people to matter. It's all just a matter of choosing what's most comfortable to live with.

I've graduated from college more than a year before. Check it out HERE
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