Tag Archives: Air Asia

Reclaiming Paradise in Boracay

Where fine white sands sprawl amid crystal clear blue sea, the Philippine’s most famous tropical island called Boracay is indeed paradise again. During the six months of closure from tourism operations, Boracay faced drastic rehabilitation to restore its innate beauty and pristine state. 

Volunteer divers unearth garbage from the sea during the six-month rehabilitation

Major works were facilitated to fix the waterways to make its prized crystalline sea clean and clear, roadways are fixed and widened to provide easy access inland, and wetlands were reinstated to pave for smooth rainwater flow and as additional tourist spots. At that time, the locals experienced the island that had allured them to make it their home.

Locals have the beach all to themselves at sunset during the closure

Such as an island emanating with a virgin-like beach that matched the radiant sunlight and where towering coconut trees outnumbered the people permeating on it.  No sign of major commercialism was present, save for a few local businesses that thrived to open and sustain its faithful employees.  These businesses, namely Dos Mestizos Restaurant, Cafe del Sol, Aria Ristorante Italiano, Lemoni Cafe, Real Coffee and Tea, Bom Bom Bar and Pat’s Creek Bar, Nagisa Japanese Restaurant, Coco Loco Restaurant, Levantin Bar and Restaurant, Nigi Nigi Beach Bar and Restaurant have garnered huge support from the locals who had come to commune in and enjoy the bare essence of the place like a part of their home that was permeated by only people they knew. Sunset gatherings were made sacred by the scenery’s serenity and parties were kept raw island style, impromptu, exclusive and simply fun.  While the sheer sounds of the island’s nature magnified with the absence of in-bound airplanes emitting its flight sounds, except for the constant flight services of Air Asia, which operation of Manila to Caticlan flights provided efficient and economical flights daily to the locals. 

Paradise reclaimed on the long white beach during closure

In those six months, paradise was truly reclaimed in Boracay’s most coveted long white beach. Now that the island has been open for almost a month, the beaches are once again enlivened by the addition of tourists.  

Time to fly on Air Asia bound for Caticlan
Touchdown at Caticlan International Airport, the gateway to Boracay Island

More flights from national airlines, including Air Asia, are back in full operation, thus tourists from all over the world get the visit Boracay and revel in its new and improved state. Through strictly implemented guidelines to sustain the island’s rehabilitation, tourists, especially families with children can already swim in safe and clean water, lay out their sarongs on spotless white sand to relax and sunbathe instead of the beach beds and dining set-ups that used to fill the beach front, and walk along the beach in tranquility and commune with the soft waves dancing to the star-lit night sky that shun the few shimmering lights on the beach path. 

Noontime dipping in a cleaner, clearer sea at Boracay’s most frequented spot, Station 2

The nourishing sea breeze has also become more potent with the lack of smoke coming from cigarettes, boat engines, and daily fire-dancing shows that not only emitted smoke but also harmful toxins to people and to the precious white beach.

Privacy and space on the beach are likewise enjoyed with the controlled number of tourist arrivals and the restriction of commissioners who incessantly solicit activities to tourists.

A profusion of towering coconut trees line up among the virgin-like white beach

The roadways, however, continues to undergo renovation, as it needed more time beyond the six months closure.

Beach baskers relax on their sarong

So while alert attention is required from tourists passing along the roads, the white sandy beaches of the island are ready to embrace and nurture them at best.

Sumptuous offerings at the island favorite food hub, Real Coffee and Tea

AirAsia connects you to more than 120 destinations via Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia flies out of Manila, Cebu, and Kalibo to domestic and international destinations like Palawan, Bohol, Davao, Korea, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Taipei, and many more! 

Find out more about AirAsia’s exclusive offers at airasia.com, and like facebook.com/AirAsia for more updates. 

Now everyone can fly!

Article by Amanda Virrey

Northern Thailand and BKK in August!

When Noelle, my business partner in FLOW, traveled solo to Northern Thailand years ago, I knew I had to visit. So, I am making it happen! This August, we bring to you two very unique Yoga + Adventure retreats. The first will be in Northern Thaland: Chiangmai and Pai while the second leg will be in vibrant Bangkok City!

Flow Northern Yoga Retreat

Flow Urban Yoga Retreat

And like a true attachment parent, I always bring baby along with me. Top reason is because we are still breastfeeding, then there’s always because she is less than 2 years old which means she is a lap child = almost free airline ticket!

If I could afford it by August, I will also be taking my 8 year old son. He’s never been to Thailand and since #TheWorldIsOurClassroom , this is another chance for me to introduce him a neighboring country in Asia. I’ve picked up this cool map from www.theydrawandtravel.com of 11 Things for Kids to Do in Bangkok which can serve as my guide for when we have free time in the city!


Join us? Kids are welcome, of course!

Registration at www.flowretreats.com

Kid-Friendly Theme Park Highlights and Tips at Everland, South Korea

My little tots and I just got back from a short but sweet trip to Korea. On our itinerary was a full day at Everland for my 8 year old son since he got bitten by the theme park bug in Ocean Park, Hong Kong a few weeks back.

First things first – How do you get to Everland from Seoul?

There are many ways to get there. Here are your options:

1. Take a taxi or hire a driver with a rental. This will be your most expensive option. If you have a local Korean friend to drive you, that will probably be best choice!

2. Take the subway. I asked the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) Facebook page for advice on how to get there from our hotel, Ibis Ambassador in Meyong-dong and this was the reply:

You can take Seoul Subway Line 2 from Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (을지로입구역), then transfer to the Bundang Line at Wangsimni Station (왕십리역). Ride the Bundang Line all the way to Giheung Station (기흥역), where you can transfer to the Everline. Ride the Everline to Jeondae Everland Station (전대 에버랜드역), where you will find Everland. The whole trip could take two hours or more.

We didn’t do this because we were taking a stroller and the thought of lugging it around the subway was too hectic.

3. Take the public bus. These are the instructions I got from KTO:

You can catch bus 1005-1 in front of Ibis Ambassador Hotel (across from Avenuel). Ride it for 6 stops and get off at Gangnam Station. There, change to bus 5002 (from the same bus stop). Ride it for 8 stops and get off at Everland bus stop. Travel time will be about an hour and a half, depending on traffic.

The cost is about 2,000won per person per way.

4. And then there is the Everland Shuttle Bus. The cost is 12,000won roundtrip per person and kids below 36 months are free for as long as your child sits on your lap. We chose this because we wanted to save 1 hour of our precious limited time. This option requires 1-day reservation so please call them ahead of time. If you do not have Everland tickets yet, you may purchase them through the shuttle staff at a discounted rate. Lucky for us, we already had tickets from Air Asia – THANK YOU!

Below are our theme park highlights. Note that this is the biggest family theme park in South Korea so one day alone is not enough to check out all the attractions – at least not for my group because I was with both kids ages 1.2 and 8 plus my parents who are in their 60’s.

Our first ride was the Human Sky which was big enough to fit all of us plus the stroller of Maya. This is very forgiving for babies asleep on strollers, no need to get off!

Santi takes a moment to pause and study the map by the fountain. He wanted to go to all the places and ride as many (non-scary) rides as possible 😛

Holland Village is a European-style outdoor restaurant which offers draft beer and BBQ chicken. Koreans are crazy about that specific combo.

The Rose Garden is a sight to behold! This is my personal favorite in the whole of Everland because not only is it beautiful to sit and stay in , maybe have a picnic underneath the rose tunnel, but the place also smells good! My phone camera photos doesn’t give this romantic place any justice.

The garden had lots of Instagram-friendly areas, too!

I spotted these Korean kids wearing a genius invention. This cold pack covers and cools your neck from the harsh heat of the sun. Boy, it was hot that day! I really wanted a few for me and the kids. Where can I get these in Manila?

The inner child in me enjoyed some of the rides with Santi who was on Cloud 9 that day!


We rode a boat and saw dolls dressed in national folk costumes from around the world in Global Village, a spin off from Disneyland’s “It’s a small world”.

Many times we took breaks under the shade for my parents to rest their tired legs and  to check the map and see which was worth doing. It is advisable to bring a reusable bottle and refill it with water at one of the many stations around the park.

The Waldorf parent and child were thrilled to have found this wooden playground paradise! This is the Play Yard in Magic Land where we spent most of our time that day. It is probably the most appropriate place for small children.

A refreshing water attraction was so inviting in the heat of the day!  Yes, I took her out of the stroller and set her free to play in the water. She is after all, my water birth Piscean baby. Good thing I brought an extra change of clothes. You must remember to pack clothing for your children!

A full 30 minutes of magnificent sightings, music and dancing of the Grand Parade at the Carnival Square.

My son was bummed we didn’t make it to Zootopia but perhaps that is a good reason to come back. I would recommend that you visit Zootopia FIRST since the Safari seems to be a popular and unique adventure. And if you are with young children, spend some time at Magic Land but not in the heat of noon (which is what we did!)

And lastly, be prepared to hit traffic on your way back to the hotel. Bring snacks with you especially for your kids. It took us 2 hours to get back to Myeongdong. We left the park 6:30pm and got back at 8:30pm on a Friday night. If you can, plan your theme park day on a weekday vs weekends.

I hope you picked up some useful information for your own theme park adventure! I’ll be blogging about our Seoul Eats and hotel choice in the next few days. Stay tuned!

How To Survive 9 Hours in Ocean Park with 2 Kids

Yes, it is inevitable. When traveling, be prepared to spend the whole day out to get the most out of your trip. Last Saturday, we spent a total of 9 hours at the revamped Ocean Park, Hong Kong. Now at 91 heactares with over 80 attractions, we were in for a family marathon! Yes, this is real exercise while having fun with your kids.

Here are tips on how we survived that day with an 8 year old and an infant in tow!

1. Use a baby carrier: As a nursing mother, this comes real handy because I can breastfeed while touring the grounds. I also have my hands free to take photos or hold my other child when needed. I personally bring 2 carriers when I travel, a Next9 sling for walking outdoors and a Saya carrier for air-conditioned places. Both carriers can be bought from INDIGObaby.

2. Invest in a stroller: Despite the fact that I am an attachment parenting advocate, my 1 year old daughter can get very heavy especially after a few hours. Be kind to your spine and consider investing in a lightweight umbrella type stroller for traveling purposes. It is so convenient because it’s light enough to be hand carried and folds up in seconds! The stroller is so worth it even for just when you’re baby is asleep or use when you are absolutely exhausted. I reckon my baby is able to sleep longer lying in the stroller while we push her on cobbled streets like in Old Hong Kong. This red stroller is from Happy Dino which we got from Landmark. It is also available in Lazada and Babyland. I chose the color red so that it is easy to spot among the crowds for my husband to find us incase we separate for toilet breaks. Red is also my favorite color at the moment 🙂

3. Bring your husband! LOL It is no joke. I don’t know how I would’ve survived the trip without him. I am used to traveling with my infant alone during FLOW retreats but to have to care for both kids – I definitely need assistance! If you’re husband isn’t available, make sure to bring a relative, friend or if you have the luxury, bring a trusted nanny when traveling with more than one child.

4. Take mini breaks. We used our mealtimes as opportunities to eat, sit and rest. It helps that Ocean Park has very good restaurants to keep the little tots entertained. You sit with amazing views of the grand aquarium or the penguins! Santi was very interested in how they made pizza from scratch at the Tuxedo Restaurant. Here he is watching the chefs in action.

5. Strategize Your Itinerary: We had a very good plan. Our itinerary consisted of many different kinds of attractions ranging from watching shows, taking rides and actually doing activities. The smart thing to do is mix it up so that you don’t over exert yourself. After walking for what seemed like forever, it was good to take the cable car to get a few minutes of rest.

Maybe instead of being out under the heat of the sun at noon, go watch a movie indoors.

6. Supplement with superfoods Aside from keeping hydrated and having proper nutritious meals, I use superfoods to keep my immunity up. This is something people take for granted when traveling – your health! It’s easy to pack supplements in your bag. I usually have a few when I go on trips. What I brought with me this time were packets of Fern-C and Moringana. I take a few capsules all throughout the day and it has proven to keep me energized.

7. Come prepared – Fully charge your phone and camera so you don’t miss out on anything important. Admittedly, my phone’s memory seems to be full all the time so I have to constantly delete old photos while we are out which can be such a hassle. Do this before your trip to save you precious time. Also, bring a change of clothing for when you or your kids sweat or get rained on – which is precisely what happened to us! The rains poured heavily on us leaving my footwear drenched. This is a reminder to wear rubber shoes next time!

And when the day’s over…

8. Treat yourself to a massage! While we were not able to get massages during this trip in Hong Kong, I would recommend that you get an authentic foot massage in Gao’s Foot Massage in Lan Kwai Fong.

Do you have similar experiences in theme parks with children? Please do share your tips! I would love to hear from you!

Celebrating Milestones in Hong Kong with Air Asia

We happily painted the skies red with Air Asia as we celebrated Santi’s 8th Birthday and Mother’s Day in Hong Kong. I always knew my son chose to come Earthside on an aupicious time as an early Mother’s Day gift to me! (Read what The Washington Post has to say about babies born on the Year of the Golden Pig.)

Here is our 3 days 2 nights and itinerary to share with you, maybe your family can do the same short but sweet trip one of these long weekends! 🙂


We boarded the maiden flight to Hong Kong from Manila, excited for our very first trip abroad as a family of four.  On board flight Z21201, passengers were given PLDT travellers SIM Cards and all mothers were surprised with long stemmed roses by the cabin crew.

Did you know that roses have the highest vibrational frequencies used for healing? No wonder it is the flower of choice for suitors and husbands to honor women!

As we arrived L’Hotel Island South, we decompressed a bit in the room before the buffet dinner spread at the hotel’s LIS Cafe.

My husband was pleased to see red meat on the menu (which I don’t serve at home) and tried a wide range of dishes with Santi (who I have lost the battle with vegetarianism hahaha!). I sampled an assortment of sushi and vegetables but made sure to save room for dessert.

Ah, those sweet delicacies were so yummy! I liked the Peanut Butter Soup the best 🙂

With tired bodies and full bellies, the Manzanos decided to call it a night to prepare for the full itinerary in Ocean Park the next day.


Bright and early, birthday boy Santi rose with glee to greet the scenic mountains of Hong Kong from our room. After filling up with breakfast, we headed our way to Ocean Park which was only a few minutes drive from the hotel. I remember visiting with my family as a teen in 1995 and boy, there has been major upgrades!

See some of our photos

Grand Aquarium

Old Hong Kong


Cable Car

Have you ever seen a real penguin? We haven’t! It was such a surprise to see them up close!

The view inside Tuxedos Restaurant

My nutritious organic vegetable soup with barley for lunch

Sea Jellies

Santi was able to get his photo taken to become a jellyfish himself! Oh, what fun!


Dolphins at the Ocean Theatre

*A word on animals in captivity or under their care- I reflected on this issue as we spent the whole day at the park. From what I have seen, the people that work in Ocean Park take great pride and care for the animals. The Park has a commitment to education and conservation. By showing the children the animals, they make an impact in their consciousness.

Santi was so moved by his shark experience that he chose to buy a shark stuffed toy when the Ocean Park representative asked him what he wanted to take home for his birthday. He asked many questions about sea animals after and I answered as best as I could to increase his awareness on how to properly care for our animals and the environment.

While Santi didn’t get to ride the Rapids because we didn’t bring extra clothes (a must if you’re staying the whole day!), he was ecstatic shooting the watergun at the people on the ride.

We dined at Neptune’s Restaurant before heading back to the hotel. Look at that spectacular view! My husband commented that you can melt your tensions away by staring into the blue.


The last day was just for us to enjoy ourselves in the city at our own pace since the previous day proved to be quite hectic. We took the bus to Causeway Bay (5 stops from the hotel) and had lunch at Time Square where Santi and I found the most delicious dessert in my favorite food court and grocery, City Super.

Green Matcha Cream is oh so dreamy! I’ll be coming back for you!

Thank you, Air Asia for making this trip truly special and memorable for my little globetrotters!

Air Asia flies to Hong Kong from Manila every Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. You may discover more of Hong Kong and other ASEAN countries by downloading Air Asia’s travel guides here.

For more updates on Air Asia’s latest news and promos, connect with them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/AirAsiaPH).