Singapore Airlines and MasterCard Promo Alert!

The other day, I attended a media launch of Singapore Airlines and MasterCard for their second run of this awesome travel promotion for all of you extreme wanderlusts! I had two full hours all to myself (no kids!) while I collected news bits to share with ya’ll! Here we have it:

Love flying SQ? Are you flying from the Philippines? Great news for you! Singapore Airlines and MasterCard just recently launched the largest nationwide mid-year travel fair! From July 8-31, MasterCard holders and KrisFlyer members have the exclusive privilege of availing special promotional deals plus a chance to win a trip to Dusseldorf, Germany or Cape Town, South Africa! OMG! What a win win situation here!

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All-in economy fares to Singapore are available from 180USD, while tickets to Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia , Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong are available starting from 230USD and to Cambodia and Myanmar from 250USD. Japan and South Korea fares start from 450USD. Check out more fares below.

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Singapore Airlines launched the Premium Economy Class last year which is what the airline proudly boasts of because of the premium services offered such as free unlimited champagne (alleluia!), 35 kg baggage allowance and priority check-in and boarding (ooh, this comes so handy when traveling with kids!).

Experience the all-new Premium Economy Class when you travel to mystical Delhi (oooh, for that #FlowIndia Yoga + Adventure retreat this September!), Mumbai and Dubai for only 1,200USD, Sydney from 1,350USD, Cape Town and Johhanesburg from 1,700USD, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Franfurt, London, Manchester, Munich, Paris and Zurich from 1,900USD, Auckland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York from 1,900USD only. See rate chart below.

singapore airlines premium economy class

Luxury travelers and businessmen and women can also enjoy all-in business class treatment on board when they fly to the business centers of Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam for as low as 890USD, to Dubai and Maldives from 1,800USD.

Zen seeking vacationers in the south can smell spices in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka with promo rates starting at 2,200USD. Australia from 2,220USD and New Zealand at 2,800USD. You can also travel all the way to Europe for as low as 3,300USD or to South Africa starting at 3,300USD and the Americas from 3,500USD.

 

 

I personally have not flown Singapore Airlines just yet BUT I have heard spectacular reviews from friends who prefer to fly with SQ. I might just sign up at KrisFlyer.com and become a member for free to be eligible for this promo and enjoy the exclusive fares plus get a chance to win exciting travel prizes from Singapore Airlines and MasterCard!

JUST IN: Singapore Airlines will also be introducing 3 new destinations. They will be flying to Dusseldorf, Germany starting July 21, Canberra, Australia from September 20 and Wellington, New Zealand soon! More destinations to add on our travel bucket lists!

my little globetrotters mom blogger

HOW TO BOOK
Travelers can book via SingaporeAir.com using their MasterCard credit card for Economy Class and one-to-go Business Class. The promo code will be announced in the Singapore Airlines Facebook Page. For all promo fares, travelers can visit the Singapore Airlines and SilkAir ticket offices, contact SIA Reservations at (02) 756-8888 or any participating travel agent. Customers may also visit the Singapore Airlines booth at the Travel Madness Expo on July 8-10 at the SMX Convention Center. KrisFlyer members have the option of using Mastercard credit card or cash in Philippine Peso. More information may be found on SingaporeAir.com

*For my global readers, please check the website for flights and promos available in your country.

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Interview: Noelle Hilario & Kai’s European Trip

My all-time favorite travel blogger, Noelle Hilario and her little globetrotter Kai, traveled to 6 European countries in over 3 weeks. I’ve interviewed her about her recent Euro trip with her family primarily because I’m wanderlust-ing over Europe like crazy! This has been #1 on my bucket list for myself and my family for YEARS. I consider these interviews as sound research to help me create my very own kid-friendly itinerary one day! Enjoy!

berlin germany

1. Please share your itinerary

  • Paris, France
  • Stockholm Sweden
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Florence, Italy

    barcelona skates

2. Budget?
Since we traveled as a big group (10 of us in total!), we were able to save a lot on accommodation. We spent around P100K per person for 4 flights, 1 train ride and accommodations for 3 weeks. We booked via Agoda for hotels where we got really good deals on boutique hotels and 4-star hotels and for flights, we booked through Skyscanner. Our daily budget for food, transportation and entrance fees to sights and museums ranged from 40-60 euros a day (for both Kai and I) depending on our itinerary.

3. Favorite kid-friendly spots?
Most of our fave spots for kids were in Paris.

Jardin du Luxembourg has a little booth where you can rent a vintage sailboat and sail it on the pond. Kids of all ages will surely enjoy this.

Jardin du Luxembourg Paris

Musee de la Magie (Museum of Magic), a fascinating place with displays of antique magic sets and the entrance fee also includes a magic show. 

Galerie de Paleontologie at the Museum of Natural History houses a huge collection of animal fossils in a beautiful art deco building.

 Galerie Paleontologie in Paris travel blog review

Junibacken at Stockholm is a magical fantasy house with a Story Book Square, a play area inspired by Swedish children’s literature and a Story Train ride that journeys you to the world of Astrid Lindgren’s fairytales. This attraction also contains a bookstore, the largest children’s bookstore in Sweden.

The Spectrum Science Center in Berlin was very educational yet fun. It features 3 stories of different hands-on experiments for kids where they can learn about physics and technology in a playful way.

Spectrum Science Center Berlin

4. Recommended eats?
Since we’re lacto-ovo vegetarians we couldn’t really eat some traditional dishes from each country so these were our favorite desserts and treats in the places we visited:

  • Paris – banana nutella crepes, pain au chocolat (chocolate stuffed pastry)
  • Stockholm – chokladbollar (chocolate balls)
  • Copenhagen – flødeboller (chocolate-coated cream treats), danish pastries
  • Berlin Kaiserschmarren (shredded pancake served with jam)
  • Barcelona – churros (with hot chocolate or stuffed with dulce de leche), Filipinos (the infamous brand of donut-shaped biscuit snacks, it’s really good though!), Crema Catalana (similar to creme brulee)
  • Florence – Venchi gelato of course! (the best in the city), this shop also has a chocolate bar where you can buy mini chocolate pieces in different flavors per gram.

venchi gelato italy

5. What to pack for 4 weeks in Europe?
We travelled to Europe during spring time and coming from a tropical country, the temperature was still cold for us. We packed thermals for layering, long-sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, coats and boots. We also brought scarves and a beanie for Kai since it can get really chilly at night. I had a black sling tote as an everyday bag and I loved traveling with it since it’s light and small.

kai landrigan europe blog

When you’re wearing lots of layers, it’s good to have a bag that is handy and not bulky. Kai also had his backpack for his snacks and toys.

Since we also visited cities on the southern part of Europe (Barcelona and Florence) where it was a bit warmer, I also brought a short dress and sandals for myself, a pair shorts and some shirts for Kai.

florence sunset photo blog

Another essential for traveling to colder places is my all natural African Shea Butter from The Flow Shop! Cold temperatures causes skin to flake and dry so I use this as my daily moisturizer, plus it also helps me feel much warmer as it seals the skin. I also brought my travel-sized Laurin CocoMCT Oil which both Kai and I took everyday as vitamins to keep our immune system up while traveling. What’s great about this type of CocoMCT oil is that it doesn’t solidify in cold climates compared to regular coconut oil. Lastly, I packed my lavender essential oil to help ease jetlag and sleepless nights.

6. Tips for long haul flights?
I recommend for parents to prepare a goodie bag which includes your child’s favorite snacks, since kids always get hungry! Also travel-sized toys, 1 or 2 books, coloring materials and pad paper to keep kids entertained, as well as extra clothes just in case.

7. Lessons learned?

barcelona kid photo

I learned that children as young as 8 years old can enjoy Europe! Sure, they may not fully appreciate and understand history and culture but you can make it fun and educational for them in a different way. Kai learned how to say ‘Hello’, ‘Thank You’ and ‘Goodbye’ in six languages and tasted all sorts of food and treats from different countries. I also made sure that we had at least 1 day in each country where we did all the kiddie stuff, visited children’s museums and fun sights.

leaning tower of pisa photo

European cities have a lot of open spaces, parks, rivers and canals where you might spot an animal in their element from ducks to swans! I also always make an effort to make things fun for Kai. One time we visited the Royal Palace in Sweden, so to make it exciting I told Kai that we were going to a palace where the king and queen used to live and although that place may not be a popular attraction for kids, he actually enjoyed it! He marveled at the swords and jeweled crowns on display, elaborately decorated rooms and even took interest in portraits of kings, queens, princes and princesses. It’s such a great thing to witness your child  learn about new things and new places.

We hope that you learned just as much as I did from this interview! Got any tips or stories to share about traveling to Europe with kids? Email us at monica@mylittleglobetrotters.com

 

Best Kids Itinerary For Siquijor

They say that you can travel the whole mystical island of Siquijor in about half a day – on a motorbike. Yes, it’s true!

If you want to hit all the major attractions though, it is best to save a full day for your personalized tour. I say personalized because you are most likely with kids (reading this blog!). Traveling with kids obviously take up much more time. You also cannot be renting a bike as most tourists do. Although this is the Philippines so I am sure you can get away with it (eep, no helmets!) but I wouldn’t recommend that! Safety first especially when traveling with young children!

siquijor jeep rental philippines

We went to hire a personal driver and jeep from a contact in Coco Grove Beach Resort. Tip: Ask for Franklin, he is the husband of one of the employees at Coco Grove’s restaurant. He charges 1,500php for a full-day tour in his open-air jeep which can comfortable ride 9-12 pax depending on your size. He also owns a trike so if you are traveling with a much smaller group 3-4pax, you can choose this cheaper option.

siquijor map philippines

The Filipinos love kids so if you are traveling solo with children, it is easy to find help with caring for them. While I took photos, Franklin who is a father himself, held my daughter at the opening of the cave entrance.

siquijor driver philippines

* Cantabon Cave While not for small kids, other parties in your group may want a thrilling adventure of spelunking 800 meters down the Cantabon Cave. Go to the nearby barangay hall and pay for the tour guide fees which includes rental of helmet and flashlight. I suggest proper shoes for this as your flip flops might break!

siquijor cave philippines

Those left behind chose to picnic on the sprawling grass listening to birds and crickets nearby. You must remember to always bring insect repellent, water and snacks for instances like this! Good thing my friend Adi had her Spotify album on her Iphone and speakers ready for this!

siquijor flow retreats philippines

Will you look at that view? That is just outside the cave entrance. So very peaceful out there! We waited about 2 hours. So, yes, we eventually got hungry and thirsty…

siquijor trees philippines

….So, get your local Siquijor tour guide or driver to find you a supply of coconuts. While the rest of the group were spelunking inside the Cantabon Cave or waiting at the picnic, me and my little one decided it was time for refreshments.

We drove to the nearby barangay or town hall and asked some local boys to climb a coconut tree for us. I paid only 200php for all of these. What a steal considering that in the resort you will have to pay 95php per coconut!

buko juice coconut juice philippines

Continue along the path around Siquijor Island. Imagine the road with absolutely no one else but you and your vehicle (jeep or motorbike). Here’s the stunning view from the open jeep.

siquijor roadtrip photo

I had my baby in my arms who was then napping so I didn’t get to go down the jeep at this point but took the opportunity to shoot my friends 🙂

flow yoga retreats philippines

  • Salagdoong Beach You will need to an pay entrance fee of P25 per person. There is a restaurant there if you decide to stop for lunch but they don’t serve anything fancy. If you are a vegetarian, the only edible thing on the menu for you would be the pancit or noodles. Request to have it cooked without MSG and any meat bits (which they normally put!).

salagdoong beach siquijor philippines

  • Cambugahay Falls Now this was physically challenging to get to! You will be going down 135 stones steps, some of them very steep and slippery. I was lucky to have brought a baby sling for my 2-year old daughter for safety measures but if you are with small children, you can also choose to have one of the locals carry your child down for you, as they offered me this service which I declined because I wanted the work out. Just pay them fairly for their labor. Prepare to be greeted by many tourists doing the same thing as you. So, if I may suggest, walk north away from the crowd.

cambugahay falls philippines photo

You will eventually find a quieter spot for you and your children. Remember that it is slippery so, wear aqua shoes with good grip! We didn’t come with shoes so we were barefoot which is OK too but we had to walk real slow.

siquijor falls philippines

siquijor waterfalls photo

cambugahay falls siquijor philippines

If you’ve got older kids, encourage them to jump from the waterfalls to gain confidence. Please do this though at your own risk!

go pro philippines waterfalls

Before leaving, make sure you try swinging on the rope at the main Cabugahay Falls (First one when you descend from the 135 steps!)

  • San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent Also known as the Lazi church, the San Isidro Labrador Church is a candidate of the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site Seal. Built with sea stones and wood back in 1884 by Filipino artisans, it is a sight to behold. I wish I had the energy to roam around but by this time, I was completely exhausted caring for my daughter so we stayed put in the jeep while waiting for others to tour the church and convent.

san isidro labrador church siquijor

Right across from the church is the beautiful convent. I totally regret not going down to check it out! I am sure it looks just as amazing inside. There will definitely be a next time, then!

lazi convent siquijor philippines

  • Enchanted Balete Tree This 400-year old Balete tree is believed to be enchanted. They say that locals perform rituals here and also conduct some sorcery.

Siquijor Enchanted Tree

True or not, you will find a sari-sari store just in front (annoyingly, it is blocking the beautiful view of the Balete tree) selling herbal oils and magical potions.

siquijor witchcraft philippines

siquijor potion

There is also a fish spa at the base of the Balete tree. With no entrance fees, you may choose to donate instead.

foot spa fish siquijor tree

  • You can also opt to visit the Butterfly Farm which we skipped because we didn’t have enough time.

There you have it, Siquijor in a day! If we missed out on any special spots, please do let me know so I can add this to my future itinerary when we return with my family.

 

Photos That Will Make You Want To Go To Coco Grove in Siquijor

I travel often (with my tot in tow!) because I co-founded Flow Retreats with my friends Denise and Noelle in 2009. Since then, we have been to many exotic destinations around Asia for yoga, surf and dance retreats. Early this year, I vowed to visit more of my own country – The Philippines. With over 7,100 islands, there certainly is an abundance of choice.

beach siquijor philippines

Siquijor has been on my bucket list for years since many claim how truly enchanted the island is. My former yoga student-turned-teacher Bri had only good things to say about Coco Grove Beach Resort.

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I chose this resort as our home base for the recent 4 day Yoga + Adventure retreat. Seeing these photos of Coco Grove Beach Resort… you just might want to book a plane ticket to go to this serene tropical paradise!

 

coco grove plants siquijor

coco grove beach resort siquijor

You can tell that the resort was built very well with spacious rooms and balcony plus well-maintained by staff, too!

coco grove mexican style resort siquijor photo

 

You can opt to open the floor to ceiling terrace windows to let the fresh ocean breeze in. If it weren’t for the mozzies, we would’ve left this open all day and night.

coco grove room siquijor

with Flow Tribe members: Nomadic travel blogger Adi Dela Rosa of Love The Search,  Latin dance teacher, Denise Bernardo and my darling daughter hanging out by our room balcony.

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Beach view from a hut during one of our sessions

Coco Grove Beach Siquijor photo

You can choose to be lazy on a hammock

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Or swim all day in clear waters.

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Luckily, we mostly had the beach to ourselves. Ahhh peace and quiet! I highly recommend this place to honeymooners or families wanting a peaceful vacation away from the maddening crowds.

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Lots of walking trails for little tots to discover. We liked watching the birds, observing strange fruits and unique plants in the garden.

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coco grove resort poolside siquijor philippines

You’ll see local instruments which I assume is used during the cultural shows at night.

coco grove beach resort instruments philippines photos

Don’t you love this festive hut? I really did want to hold a meditation session here.

coco grove beach resort philippines siquijor

This looks like a postcard saying “Hola! Welcome to my Mexican villa!” Seriously, Mexico is on our bucket list too so me and my daughter are channeling the spirit for a 2017 visit!

coco grove beach resort siquijor lobby

Coco Grove Beach Resort
Tubod, San Juan
Siquijor Island, Philippines
http://www.cocogrovebeachresort.com

 

100% Whole Mom Travels featuring Marilen Faustino Montenegro and Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio

A few weeks ago, I attended an intimate event hosted by the gorgeous ladies of 100% Whole Mom for Moleskine.

moleskine philippines

Thanks for my personalized notebooks, Moleskine Philippines! I will fill them up with travel inspiration, bucket lists and itineraries! Oooh… I can’t wait!

moleskine for mothers philippines

 

I interviewed 2 out of the 3 mothers of 100% Whole Mom! Marilen Faustino-Montenegro and Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio are TV personalities, models and celebrity bloggers here in Manila. They are also frequent travelers with their families.

Rica’s blog, Mrs. Bo has a tagline “Books, Babies and Boarding Passes” which I find too cute! Maybe because like her, I love to read and of course, my love for travel is obvious. I bring my babies with me too wherever I go!

Here is a photo of Rica’s son Philip who was only 4 months old during the time this was taken. Rica blogged about her tips on traveling with infants here.

rica peralejo bonifacio travel with baby

Parallel lives: Here is a photo of me touring Green School in Ubud, Bali with my 3-month old daughter in a baby pouch. I also wrote about a piece on Why You Should Travel With Your Babies here.

babywearing photo

Marilen Faustino-Montenegro, an interior designer by profession, just recently moved to Hong Kong with her family. She is another dear inspiration to me because not only is she always dressed to impress despite bring a very hands-on-mom, she also home schools her children! I have been wanting to do the same for my own kids but haven’t gotten myself to do it just yet.

marilen faustino montenegro hk

Read my interview on both of them to find out more about their family travels 🙂

Favorite holiday destinations with you family?

Rica: Japan because because it’s an almost perfect nation with its efficiency, cleanliness and weather!

japan winter rica peralejo

United States also because half of my family is there and it helps me connect Philip with them at least once a year.

carla peralejo bonifacio usa

Marilen: New York.. Who doesn’t live New York? We spent the last New Year there and being in the city was simply charming.

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El Nido Resorts Palawan.. My husband proposed to me on a sandbar on this island and it is a favorite place to this day. Just being surrounded by nature and basking in the sun is the most relaxing thing!

el nido palawan marilen montenegro

Our family farm in Tagaytay– we go there to reset and rest. We eat fresh produce, farm the soil and take care of the animals. The kids love it.

tagaytay farm marilen montenegro

What are your packing tips? Are you a light or heavy packer?

rica peralejo philipbo

Rica: Pack lightly especially if you are traveling to a destination that has almost everything you might need. But must haves are: allergy meds (read WHY here), usual homeopathic meds for coughs and colds, be aware of weather forecasts so you can right gear like winter clothing to umbrellas etc.

marilen faustino montenegro blogger

Marilen: I printed and laminated my own travel checklist for kids. I bring medicine in my hand carry, a set of clothes, kids activities so they’re not always on the Ipad and healthy snacks. Heavy packer is what my husband would say but I consider it light. Its just heavy because the kids need a lot.

Kid-Friendly hotels / resorts and restaurants ?

Rica: It’s KID friendly everywhere unless it says it’s not — that’s what I think hahahaha! *We agree, Rica!

ippudo japan rica peralejo blog

Marilen: Gold Coast Hotel in Hong Kong has themed rooms kids will love.
kids room gold coast hong kong
room photo gold coast hotel hong kong
princess room gold coast hotel hong kong photo

Dream destination and what’s next on your travel bucketlist?

Rica: Macchu Picchu and …machu piccuPhoto credit to Famous Wonders

Anapurna circuit as dream destinations!
annapurna circuit trekking photo
Photo credit to Dream Discovery Treks

Rica: Next on my list is the US and maybe Peru and also South Africa!

peru photo my little globetrotters blog
Peru photo credit to Time For Kids

south africa photo map
South Africa map photo credit to Water For All

Marilen: I want to go to Turkey.
turkey hot air balloon cappadocia
Photo credit to Leah

Marilen: Bucket list for the next 2 years.. Explore Asia with the kids. Chiang Mai, Da Nang Vietnam, etc.

chiang mai pai map flow retreatsChiang Mai + Pai Map by Arielle Guevara for Flow Retreats

Thanks so much to both Rica and Marilen for the interview and sending in your travel photos! Please do follow their blogs Mrs. Bo and MarilenStyles for travel, design and motherhood stories and inspiration. Also join their 100% Whole Mom community here.

 

Where To Stay in Dumaguete with Kids?

En route to our #FlowSiquijor retreat, my daughter and I together with our friends from Flow stayed in Santa Monica Beach Club in Dumaguete for a night.

sta monica beach club resort room

If I had known how lovely it is over there, I would’ve planned ahead to stay longer! But to be honest, I get guilty leaving my son and husband in Manila and would want to save extended special trips to include them, too!

beach resort dumaguete

The sprawling gardens is perfect for children to roam free. Got an energetic toddler? No worries, you can set kids freely here without worries!

dumaguete my little globetrotters

Watch the skies turn into a canvas of art during sunset hour.

dumaguete sky philippines

I’m sure she was just as amazed as I was. Nature is so beautiful!

santa monica dumaguete

Santa Monica Beach Club is part of the mother company named One of Collection, a boutique hotel group which manages several distinctive properties around the Philippines. In the past, we have stayed in another of their resort, Momo Beach in Bohol where we also had two previous yoga retreats.

This overnight trip included me teaching a yoga class for Santa Monica Beach Club guests and staff. See how my two year old daughter seems like she is teaching the class? I know she will be a great yoga teacher one day — if she chooses to pursue this path!

flow retreats yoga santa monica beach resort dumaguete

I really admire local aesthetics in resorts and prefer this over the modern design, any day!

lanai restaurant dumaguete

My daughter loves the open breezy lay out of the Lanai restaurant facing the ocean for breakfast.

lanai restaurant sta monica beach club dumaguete

You have got to try the delicious suman and hot tsokolate drink – this winning combination is part of a traditional Filipino breakfast or mid-afternoon snack. I swear I could have eaten that whole tray! Make sure you pass by the Dumaguete market to purchase some before heading back home. The suman make easy airplane snacks, too!

dumaguete suman

We didn’t waste any precious sun-time. Before checking out the next day, my daughter and I headed to swim at their pool. The best part? We had it all to ourselves!

santa monica beach resort dumaguete poolside

hotel with pool dumguete

Then our friends joined us at the beach for a dip, too!

santa monica beach dumaguete photo

I spied on some local kids jumping (some naked) in pure bliss!

dumaguete beach

sta monica beach club room

We always take shots on the bed in rooms to show how much we enjoy lazing and sleeping in resorts and hotels. This bed obviously passed our standards with flying colors as we slept like a baby that night!

Santa Monica Beach Club of One of Collection sure does know how to make guests feel like they are home away from home. I hope to be able to visit their other resorts with my family in the near future: the Funny Lion in Coron and Amorita Resort in Bohol.

Santa Monica Beach Club
Banilad, Dumaguete
Negros Oriental, Philippines
www.stamonicabeachclub.com

 

Our Family Guide To Pico De Loro and Pico Sands Hotel

Summer season is almost over here in the Philippines as rains do come but it hasn’t stopped The Manzanos from making the most out of this extended school break! Just last week, we were invited to check out Pico Sands Hotel and Pico De Loro Beach and Country Club in Nasugbu, Batangas. It is a first for my family to go but we are familiar with the general area as we would frequent nearby Tali, Maya-Maya and Punta Fuego beaches in the past.

I learned that even if you aren’t a Pico De Loro beach unit owner or Pico De Loro country club member, you can still book at the Pico Sands Hotel which is open to the public — we didn’t even know this! Have we been living under a rock?!

pico sands hotel nasugbu batangas review

We stayed for two nights at the Penthouse Loft Room which was suitable for us because we had all this space to work and roam for the kids — a very important factor when choosing for places to stay for families! The room even had a second toilet on the first floor which is a realistic need when 2 members of the family simultaneously goes t0 the loo! I know, I know, TMI but it’s the truth!

loft suite pico sands hotel batangas

*My only concern with this particular room is that for parents with very young children, you will probably need your own stairway safety locks if you don’t have yayas or nannies with you. I had to follow my daughter around and watch her like a hawk because she just wanted to test her ability to climb stairs on this trip LOL! Nevertheless, it was a good excuse for me to exercise and for her to discover her growing independence.

loft suite pico sands hotel stairs batangas

The King sized bed was enough to fit our family of four. There was an extra sofa which we placed on the side (just incase one of our kids wanted to sleep there – of course, no one did!). This force is strong in this co-sleeping family!

loft room pico sands hotel batangas

monica manzano mom blogger

Knowing that Pico Sands Hotel is a quite a walk from the beach, it’s good to know that there is a free shuttle service to different parts of the whole Hamilo Coast property (Note, it is HUGE!). If without young kids, the paths would probably be so cool for trail biking, running and what not!

hamilo coast philippines

The shuttle comes every 10 minutes or so at the hotel lobby. TIP: Make sure you bring the beach towels provided for you in the room.

pico de loro shuttle

The whole Hamilo Coast property has amaaaazing architecture. I noticed that despite having launched over 5 years ago, the aesthetics is not outdated and blends beautifully with the surrounding flora and fauna. I find out from my mom later on that the group responsible for this masterplan is Cadiz International, the architectural firm of my uncle Medardo Cadiz who has offices in the Philippines, Seattle and Dubai! Real awesome work they do! You should check it out if you want to build a tropical beach house. I just heard news that they are opening two resorts in Bali this year! But I digress.

pico de loro architecture

My son couldn’t resist and jumped right in the pool of the Pico De Loro Beach Club (only for members)

pico de loro beach

Father and daughter having a moment. We truly live for these precious moments!

pico de loro pool photo
That’s my darling daughter wanting and demanding for ice cream LOL!

my little globetrotters batangas

Good thing they have Halo Halo (a famous local Philippine dessert) and Banana Split at the Pico Restaurant and Bar which we had served to us by the pool. Nothing like eating something cool and refreshing under the scorching sun, then swimming immediately after! It was really hot that day so it melted quickly before I could take a good shot!

halo halo ice cream

Just some of the activities offered at Pico De Loro Beach (also available for non-members staying at the Pico Sands Hotel): Banana Boat, Frisbee, Cove Tour, Hiking, Volleyball, Jet Ski, Football, Water Taxi and Kayaks.

pico de loro summer 2016

Check out the other activities too in the brochure given to us upon checking in

pico de loro activities

Seeing this view of the serene beach made my family want to stay there longerrrrr….maybe do a yoga retreat? TIP: Try booking on weekdays to get less crowds. Summer is still alive and kicking so many will have the same idea as you, getting as much sun before the rains start seriously pouring in!

pico beach batangas

Right in front of the Reef Bar is this ultra magical place which reminds me of Goa beaches. I swear, it’s just missing the cows on the beach. This picture right here is the peg for a perfect beach wedding reception venue, I’d say!

wedding venue pico de loro beach

pico beach batangas

So, we took the cove tour which is a MUST do! Within a span of minutes, you are taken to pristine cyan and cerulean blue waters. The boatmen will stop at a nearby coral reef where you will see exotic looking fish. You won’t even need goggles to see them swimming just underneath the boat! I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, I can’t believe this is just in Batangas! I feel like we are in Palawan!” Yes, I’m so glad that we found a piece of paradise so close to Manila. A mere 1.5 hours and you’ve got access to this. Brilliant!

cove tour pico sands hotel

island hopping batangas pico de loro

IMG_7709 IMG_7707

Finally, a family photo! The boatmen were so kind to take. I reckon they’re used to this kind of requests 🙂

my little globetrotters travel blog island tour

Oh my children, they’re so used to being in the water and on the boat! Their love for the ocean is deep, something we parents have passed on to them since they were born.

my little globetrotters island hop batangas

My two-year old was actually born in the water! Yes, I had a home water birth for this little Piscean girl 🙂 She’s very comfortable in the water!

matching mommy and baby swimsuits my little globetrotters

And if the beach isn’t so much your thing (yes, I know some people who hibernate in the hotel or swim in the pool), there are tons to do at Pico Sands Hotel:

You can take your kids to swim at the kiddie pool (too bad the slide was being renovated when we visited but this is something both my kids would’ve enjoyed!)

IMG_7747 IMG_7743

There’s a children’s play area, too! If you’re waiting for your meal to arrive at Lagoa (the restaurant next door), this is the perfect place for the kiddies to kill time. We did this for most of our meals! I was told that “there are weekly activities for kids called the Junior Explorers Club. While that is designed for member dependents, they  also have other weekly events for the kiddos such as overnight camping and a snorkeling “Finding Nemo” adventure.” Whoa sign us up for those!!!

kiddie playroom pico de loro

kids play area pico de loro

kids playroom pico de loro

Alternatively, there is a bowling alley too which is more inclusive for the whole family to enjoy! This is also a wonderful idea for corporate functions or family reunions. I’m thinking the likes of Amazing Race with many pit stops and challenges.

bowling pico de loro batangas

There is a gym for fitness freaksgym pico de loro

An indoor badminton court (and basketball court -not in photo)badminton pico de loro

For bird-lovers, try spotting flying ones right outside your hotel balcony. I assure you that there will be! We enjoyed the chirping birds right on those trees outside and the tranquil lagoon is also very relaxing to watch.

Got the munchies? Don’t fret, there is a Grab N Go convenient store selling chips and chocolate!grab n go pico de loro

You can also just opt to laze around too if rest is what you need. Many of us parents do!

pico sands hotel bedroom loft

For the ultimate pampering session, schedule a 90-minute Hilot massage in Rain Spa which is sure to lull you to sleep. I swear, I haven’t had a massage this good in ages!

pico de loro hilot massage

A splendid sanctuary for the soul, the Saint Therese of the Child Jesus chapel is another nearby trek which isn’t so much known as (but could also be) a really idyllic wedding venue for an intimate group.

st therese of child jesus chapel photo batangas

Will you just look at that full floor to ceiling glass structure?

pico de loro chapel batangas

Just imagine, hearing mass overlooking that beach cove. Picturesque right?

st therese of the child jesus chapel

We stepped outside and took turns taking photos (really wish we had a tripod at this point!)

monica eleazar manzano kids

Before heading back to the hotel, the kids found another perfect spot to play with stunning views of the beach cove below. Oh, Pico De Loro, you’re luring me back by these photos alone!

mountain view pico de loro

Next time, I vow to do the hiking trails. With those picture-perfect views of the mountains and seas – how can I resist? Who’s with me?

Pico Sands Hotel
Pico de Loro Cove, Hamilo Coast
Tel: +63 2 4647800 / +63 2 4647888
Mobile: +63 917 8091289
Barangay Papaya, Batangas
Philippines
http://www.picosandshotel.com

 

Splurge and Go Luxe with Kids at Cordis, Hong Kong

Traveling with kids can get expensive (especially if they’re beyond 2 years of age which means full airline fares per child…ouch!). So, our family usually find ways to stretch our budget to make the most out of every trip. I have this belief though to “end with a bang” wherever we might be. Try it yourselves! You will always have fond memories of your travels… even if you scrimp at first, but choose to splurge for a night or two in a luxurious hotel or resort. Let me know if that works for you!

two bedroom suite cordis hong kong photo

I’m so glad to have won a gift certificate from Agoda at last year’s 100% Whole Mom gathering for a two-night stay in the Family Two-Bedroom of Cordis, Hong Kong. I felt like I won the lottery! Seriously, many thanks to the glamorous Whole Mom trio (mom celebrities from Manila!), Carla, Cheska and Marilen for always inviting me to your meaningful events for mothers!

About The Hotel
Formerly known as Langham Hotel, this is one of the most luxurious hotels I have ever stayed in. Located in Kowloon side of Hong Kong where all the markets are, it is also conveniently connected to the Langham Place Shopping Mall with a foodcourt (Yay!).

Cordis Hotel Photo hong kong

The Family Two Bedroom
The Family Two Bedroom of Cordis Hong Kong is spacious enough for 4 guests. You can choose to have 2 king-sized beds or 4 twin beds. Parents can enjoy their privacy (at night) while their kids have their own beds in a separate but adjoined room.

two bedroom suite cordis hong kong my little globetrotters

familly room cordis hong kong

bath tub cordis hong kong

 

Things To Do in Cordis Hotel, Hong Kong

  • Go on an art crawl with your kids! Did you know that Cordis Hong Kong has over 1,500 art pieces in the hotel property? Apparently, the owners are huge art afficionados! Give a dose of some Chinese traditional and pop culture to your kids by checking out some of the masterpieces all over the halls and rooms!

art cordis hotel hong kong my little globetrotters

  • Swim, swim, swim! The top deck of Cordis Hong Kong has a pool with marvelous views of the city.pool deck cordis hotel hong kong my little globetrotters
    swimming pool cordis hotel hong kong my little globetrotters
  • Make friends on the jacuzzi. My daughter was thrilled to see another family with a little girl her age who was friendly enough to play with her. This giver mama times to relax and take some photos, too!

cordis hotel pool hong kong

  • Try eating at Ming Court a Two-Michelin star Cantonese Restaurant

ming court two-michelin restaurant cordis hong kong

  • Wine and dine at Alibi, a modern industrial chic place for meals and drinks.

alibi cordis hong kong kowloon

  • Get a luxurious spa treatment from Chuan Spa (for parents needing a deserved break, at least!)

chuan spa hong kong

cordis chuan spa hong kong room view

  • Swing your babies to sleep at their impeccable Club lounge.

club lounge langham hotel hong kong

club lounge cordis langham hotel hong kong kowloon mongkok

  • Tell a bedtime story using the little plush sheep given to kids at night

cordis kids toy hong kong

  • Last but definitely not the least, get your rest. Whenever we stay in a luxurious hotel like Cordis, we almost stay in the room for the majority of the time and just leave to eat! Sleeping in their Signature Dream Bed is pure bliss! I never wanted to leave!

I’m sure my kids felt that way too 🙂

my little globetrotters kids cordis hk

Consider splurging and going luxe at Cordis Hotel in Hong Kong next time you plan your family’s getaway!

Cordis Hotel Hong Kong
555 Shanghai Street
Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
www.cordishotels.com

 

Where To Stay Near Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Parents, there is a really cool hotel near Ocean Park in Hong Kong! Ovolo Southside in Aberdeen is only 10 minutes walking distance from one of the most famous family attractions in Hong Kong (second to Disneyland, in my opinion).

ovolo hotel hong kong southside aberdeen

It’s a relatively new and super stylish hotel filled with contemporary art on its wall and halls.

ovolo hotel murals hong kong

ovolo southside hong kong elevator

What’s surprising is how green your room views are which isn’t standard for most Hong Kong hotels. If you book here, you’re in for a visual treat. Mountain views are obviously my thing!

ovolo hotel hong kong mountain view

ovolo long loft room photo hong kong southside aberdeen

We stayed in the long loft room which is the most spacious room they have. There is a queen sized bed and a pull out sofa-bed for the kids. What I love is the floor to ceiling windows which brings in the most natural light.

south aberdeen hotel hong kong

Love, love, love working with that view! ovolo southside aberdeen hotel hong kong room view

A plus is that their mini-bar is free for guests to enjoy and replenished daily! Yay! Seriously, which other hotel does that?!

free mini bar ovolo hong kong my little globetrotters

Now, their bathroom has got the BEST bath and body essentials I have ever encountered since my traveling life!

ovolo south aberdeen hong kong long loft bathroom photo

Biology Skin Care essentials are free from parabens, SLS, silicone, mineral oil,  synthetic fragrance, artificial colors, formaldehyde and other more nasties found in most other natural bath and body products. They’re not only super safe, but also, smells divine and really moisturizing to the skin which is definitely a real need when you travel.

biology skin care ovolo hotels hong kong south aberdeen

See our room in this short clip below:

(Follow us on Snapchat: mylittleglobe for our current adventures!)

There is free breakfast buffet, of course!
breakfast ovolo hong kong my little globetrotters

Aside from their all-day coffee and snacks…

ovolo southside aberdeen coffee and snacks

another superb highlight is their free happy hour. I know, I know, why am I even mentioning it in a family-friendly travel blog like mine? Because, let’s be honest – we parents drink alcohol sometimes for our sanity (well, maybe some of you do ALL the time! LOL!)

happy hour ovolo hotel hong kong

They’ve got juices and snacks too for the kiddies! I hear that the happy hour menu changes per day?

my little globetrotters happy hour ovolo hong kong

Yes, lollipops – I allowed, just this once!

kid treats ovolo hong kong

There is a billiards table which you can turn into a lesson (if you homeschool or unschool) on geometry!

ovolo billiards southside aberdeen hong kong

For those wanting to release , their gym is open 24 hours. My family used it to exhaust the excess energy of the kids. You might use this fab idea for yours as well!

ovolo southside abderdeen hong kong yoga mat

For more fantastic views, head up to Above, Ovolo’s roof-top bar. We sneaked in during the day so I could have a look with my kids. Naw, wouldn’t go there at night. Hands-on-mom over here!

ovolo roof top bar hong kong bar

If I return without kids, will definitely take friends for a drink or two at one of the prettiest rooftop bars I have seen!

above rooftop bar ovolo southside aberdeen

Now for slow travelers, self- laundry is heaven-sent! I try my best to pack light so having the option to do laundry was just an incredible add on in my opinion!

 

laundry ovolo hong kong

This is my daughter taking a peak at Ocean Park from our long loft room. Yes, you can actually see it from there!

my little globetrotters blog review hong kong

Ovolo Southside Hotel
100 Shek Pai Wan Rd, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
http://www.ovolohotels.com