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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cocoon Boutique Hotel Formally OPENS October 25

Cocoon Boutique Hotel Filipino owners Rafael and Regina Vinzon hosted a Grand Launch Party on October 25, 2012 at the Grand Ballroom of the hotel.

During the launch, the couple announced the unique features of Cocoon Boutique Hotel which includes the following:

It  is the first truly green deluxe boutique hotel and the firstLEED-certified in the Philippines.  It is a member of the United States Green Building Council and is registered with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

It has pioneering projects for the community with Bridges Foundation, Inc. (a school for children with special needs) and the Sta. Rafaela feeding program. 

During the party, Atty. and Mrs. Vinzon also unveiled the model and perspectives for their new hotel project – HIVE Hotel and Conference Place. While Cocoon offers luxury, exclusivity, privacy, and nurturing; the Hive promises to be bustling with activity in its venues for meetings, conference and events, while providing the same comfortable accommodations and green advocacy.

Guests to the Grand Launch included government officials, members of the media, and clients from the corporate and travel industry.  Noel Cabangon was the guest performer of the night. 

For inquiries and reservations, please contact the Sales and Reservations Office
Telephone  632-998 3117     Mobile Phone  0922- 810 4692     Email   info@thecocoonhotel.com

Cocoon Boutique Hotel
61 Scout Tobias corner Scout Rallos Streets, Bgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City 1103, Philippines Telephone  632- 9212706 to 08     Mobile Phone 0917- 5567893     TeleFax  632- 4137281   
Website   www.thecocoonhotel.com    

Monday, November 5, 2012

Boracay: Still My Happy Place

So I had the good fortune of visiting Boracay twice this year, once in June and more recently in October,.  In the short span of time between those months, a good deal has changed, more buildings finished and more stalls were added at the market area or “talipapa”.  Those changes are nothing compared from the last visit in 2004 to this year’s visit 2012.  The beach has become urbanized, commercialized and still disorganized.

After taking the plane to Kalibo on my latest visit, I took the usual bus and boat ride to Boracay.  In 2004, my pump boat would have landed me in Station 1, 2 or 3 after the 2 hour bus ride, but now the air conditioned boat lands me in a port where I have to take a special trike ride to my destination. So that is a total of three rides from Kalibo to Boracay which means additional expense for a local like me.  In this port,  I am charged a terminal fee and an environment fee total of P175.  Upon alighting from the bus, it is not clear what is required prior to riding the boat.  Several times I was asked to go back outside to settle a fee then re-enter all over again waiting in line for my turn to have my bags cleared.  There should be some clear instructions, in the form of a signboard or an usher to direct the crowd.  The tourists were looking at each other along with the locals wondering what next to do. The little fees here and there seem unprofessional so tourists question these fees.  Why not package one total fee for the whole trip  so as not to inconvenience and waste these tourist’s patience and precious time. So that area needs to be improved.

Another annoying realization is upon paying the bus and boat package fee of P250 I discover that the adjacent stall charges only P200.  When I informed them I would want to check around for other rates, they outwardly lie that all the rates are the same. So shouldn’t there be a uniform fee so as not to make the tourists feel duped?

You would think that by this time, they would have found an efficient way of transporting tourists to the destination and make them feel good about coming over.  Instead they are greeted with unfriendly and not too smart people who make them go back and forth and confuse them with lousy instructions.  Especially since a lot  of the tourists  I encountered were not too fluent english speakers from Korea, China, Russia and the like.

Upon reaching the island, you would notice that it has become a busy place like a place of business.  So many restaurants and fast food outlets belonging to international groups dominated the sea shore area, which once upon a time was dotted with simple sari-sari stores.  Paths  of retail shops ran a mile deep from the beach area to the mains streets at the back.  I’m not totally against it as it gives more choices for the tourists with varied pricing budgets.

When one walks farther down station 3,  you would get a glimpse of the old, quiet boracay with nipa-type homes occupied the uncrowded  area.  Groups of 3 or 4 were simply sitting around having drinks and a laid-back conversation minus the fancy lights and loud music.

What still remains and still a personal attraction for me is waking up to the sight and sound of the waves over coffee and the “quaint village feel” that I still experience when I am there.  When I walk around on my own, I feel safe.  When I can’t sleep and want to look for a snack in the middle of the night, There’s always a lot of tourists around until the wee hours of the morning.  I can just walk out of my hotel room and check out the 24-hour fast food outlets or food stalls available, something I wouldn’t be able to do years before.  I like that freedom of walking alone picking up a take-out and chill in my hotel room or write in peace.

Who would not be affected by a picturesque sunrise and sunset? I hear of new and better beach spots such as Bohol, Coron, Quezon, Batanes and the like, but when I did visit one or two of them, I realized they lacked the charm of Boracay for me.  It’s not just about the place alone anymore, it is the combination of people, the interaction, and the safe-feeling that not many beaches can claim.

No matter how many negative things they say about Boracay, It is till my personal happy place.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Midnight Food Trip at MERCATO CENTRALE, Mandaluyong City!

Press Release:
The Mercato Centrale foodie experience has arrived in Mandaluyong and Pasig!  From the same organizers of the popular Mercato Centrale night food market in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig comes MANDA CENTRALE, the night food market and bazaar in the heart of Mandaluyong!  MANDA CENTRALE is located at the Mayflower Parking area, Greenfield District (formerly EDSA Central), in front of Greenfield Corporate Center, 88 United Street, MandaluyongCity (near the corner of EDSA and Shaw Boulevard).

MANDA CENTRALE brings together your favorite Mercato Centrale vendors like Carlos Kitchen’s Crunchy Belly, Lu Chi’s Mega Pork Siomai, Edgy’s Food Trip and Drinks, Big Bob’s Charcoal-Grilled Burgers, Piper’s Pan’s cakes and Mio Gelati’s premium ice cream. Along with new and innovative food, drink, pastry and dessert finds like B. Wings Buffalo Chicken, Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza, Let’s Salsa’s Mexican inspired dishes, Miss Sweets Cupcakes, Moshi Moshi’s authentic Japanese food, PAJ Grill’s inihaw na liempo and Panchados oversized pandesal with savory beef mechado.

“We are very excited to be share the Mercato night food market experience with our friends from Pasig and Mandaluyong!” shares Anton Diaz, co-organizer of MANDA CENTRALE. “Mercato has always wanted to serve this bustling foodie area, but we were just waiting for the right location for the night food market. We think that the Greenfield District area is a perfect location because it is in the heart of Mandaluyong where we can serve not only those who live and work in the area, but also those who commute or drive down EDSA Northbound after work.  This is a great place for a well-deserved foodie break!”

“We are on the lookout for up-and-coming food entrepreneurs who live in the area, and we want to give them an opportunity to shine in the market.” Adds television host and magazine editor RJ Ledesma, the other co-organizer of MANDA CENTRALE. “Among the entrepreneurs we look forward to are the students from the nearby colleges and universities along with the Pasig and Mandauyong-based homemakers, cooks, chefs and bakers who want to share their dishes with fellow food enthusiasts.” 

On top of the variety of food choices, MANDA CENTRALE marketgoers can also enjoy live acoustic performances and monthly bazaars. 
Manda Centrale at Mayflower Parking Area, Greenfield District, Mandaluyong is open every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 6:00pm to 3:00 am. For updates on the newest vendors and activities at Manda Centrale, please like www.Facebook.com/MandaCentrale or follow @MandaCentrale.  For vendor or bazaar inquiries at MANDA CENTRALE, please email admin@mandacentrale.com or contact 09178401152.  Please get in touch with us soonest as slots are limited.

The Dans: "The Way I Remember You"

Monday, October 15, 2012

High Rise Sunsets at theGrand Riviera Suites

Wouldn’t  you want to wrap up your day gazing at a glorious sunset while sipping your favorite cocktail drink with a good friend? Viewing the vista of a  sunset is an­­­ uplifting, inspiring, and humbling moment.  Living at the Grand Riviera Suites, you get to experience this every day.  Imagine getting home from work exhausted and stressed out then being greeted by the famous Roxas Boulevard sunset if you get home by 5pm.

The bloggers were given a chance to experience the feeling even for just a few hours last October 6 and 13 with a tour of the place and a photo competition of the best sunset shot. During the October 6 photo shoot, the sun was not as cooperative as we hoped for.  But we finally witnessed the grandeur of the sunset in the 49th floor of the building when we returned October 13.  After the golden hour, which occurred around 4:45, we were amazed at how fast the sun began to sink behind a mountain by the sea. So now after posting our shots, the decision as to who wins the best sunset shot is up to you. Our online readers will get to decide who will win. 


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