Embracing Serenity: 2 Staycation Hotels in Ermita, Manila

You might have been bombarded with pressures, deadlines, and circumstances lately and you are still pondering where to go. Give yourself a break and include these 2 hotels on your next staycation trip.

1. Hotel Kimberly

If you are on a budget yet you still want to embrace tranquil ambiance, and quality service and facilities, then you should go to Hotel Kimberly. The Hotel is just close to Robinson’s Ermita and LRT Pedro Gil Station. Perhaps you are familiar with their hotel in Tagaytay but if you’re sick having long trips, you can still have their hotel experience at their Manila Branch.

Interior Kimberly

I love their interior! 

Their staff are very welcoming and they even invited us for a dinner but since we are running out of time we opted to decline and will just look forward for another invitation from them. 

 

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Cafe K found just on the side of their lobby. Its ambiance is so cozy.

The following pictures are their rooms from Superior room to executive rooms. Their room rates are vastly affordable.

This is their smallest room or the Premier room that they offer. The space is well maximized that you can really feel relaxed upon checking-in on the room.

Deluxe Family Room. The room is certainly perfect for family.

Superior Room

Executive Room. Their rate for their biggest room is budget-friendly indeed. Regular rate is worth 5,900 per night but they have promo rate now worth 4,425, 25 percent off!

To check their budget-friendly rates, visit their website here 

 

 2. Miramar Hotel

An old hotel that has a lot of stories to tell. Built on the year of 1930, Miramar is classical and historical hotel perfectly located on Manila’s cultural hub and even facing the Manila Bay. The hotel is located along UN Avenue just beside the Bayview Park Hotel. 

From inside to outside look. Photo grabbed on Miramar’s website

What caught my attention is their wonderful paintings and artsy design wherever you go. 

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Attractive indeed. Found in the Cafe Bar of the Miramar just beside the lobby

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Small details and artsy craft have always attract me. Of course, a good and cozy rooms are already expected to a well-established hotels so I make sure I look for other details that hotel would stand out from others. 

If you’re into classical ambiance, then you can have your staycation in Miramar. But if you’re more into budget-friendly room rates and a relaxing ambiance, go to Hotel Kimberly. And if you’re still looking for more extreme relaxation than just staying on hotel, you can go hiking! Read my extreme adventure here

The tour was made possible by Ermita Malate Business Owners Association during their thanksgiving event #EMBOAHandogPasasalamat

It’s More Fun in Ph: Adventure at Mt. Balagbag

Kay ganda ng Pilipinas!

Priceless and amazing beauty of nature

Priceless and amazing beauty of nature

If you are looking for extreme adventure while witnessing the awesome and priceless beauty of nature, then hiking is just one of the best options.

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Mt. Pulag, Mt. Apo, Mt. Pico De Loro, Mt. Banahaw, Kanlaon etc. These are just some of the eminent mountains that hikers come over for their extreme adventure.

But  for a budget-friendly and hiking destination just close to the heart of Metro Manila, you can try  Mt. Balagbag at Sitio  Balagbag San Isidro, Rodriquez Rizal

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Mt. Balagbag is just about 1-2 hr ride from Manila. You can ride a bus heading to Tungko. From Tungko, ride a jeepney going to Licao-Licao and the last stop of the jeep will be the way to Mt. Balagbag. Fare just cost round  200-300Php from Quezon City.

Because of the almost one-week holiday caused by APEC 2015, my friends explored some possible activities we can enjoy over the long vacation. After the long deliberation, we came up  hiking at Mt. Balagbag.

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Arrival at the foot of Mt Balagbag. I felt like we were in Baguio.

We planned to reach Balagbag at 6am, but since we left our friend’s house pass 7am, we reached Balagbag pass 9am already. 

Upon arriving at the foot of Mt. Balagbag, we were already stunned on its view. The scenery from the foot is just a motivation to finish the hike.

Trekking going to the registration

Trekking going to the registration

Before the trekking, we need to register first. We thought that the registration is just minutes away from the starting phase, but to our surprise, it took us 30 minutes to get there.

Trekking began going to the registration. We conquered the muddy and the rocky side. The locals told us that it will take us just 10 minutes to get there. But since we are first timers, stop over is so inevitable specifically that we don’t have any preparation and enough sleep for this.

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Once you see the Sitio Balagbag’s Health Center and its primary school, then you are on the right track for the registration. Locals there will tell you that it will just take you half an hour to get there at the summit.

The view from the registration

The view from the registration

Going to the summit, we were with other hikers. We encountered a 7-year-old guy hiking as well and he already hiked 8 mountains (Just wow!)

7-year-old yago who already climbed 7 mountains. Amazing!

7-year-old yago who already climbed 8 mountains. Amazing!

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It took us one and a half hour to reach the summit. The trip going to the summit wasn’t really easy especially for beginners. There is a cost before you see the majestic view at the top.

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Conquered. Mt. Balagbag’s summit point

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I just touched the sky!

I just touched the sky!

The scenery just took away all the muscle pain, gasping of breath, sun-scorched heat that we endured. Worth the hike!

With my college friends and the summit view on the back

With my friends and the summit view on the back

And since we wanted to make the most out of this adventure, we “tried” to go to Maranat. Most of the hikers that we met  encouraged us to go to Maranat after reaching Mt. Balagbag’s summit.

The idea sounds wonderful for us, so we asked the local about the way to Maranat from Mt. Balagbag’s summit. We understand the way going to Maranat from them, but they suggested that it is best to have a tour guide. Despite their suggestion, we decided to go to Maranat with just our instincts and the local’s instruction.

Trying to go to Maranat

Trying to go to Maranat. Going down with this kind of course was pretty challenging

But as we are on our trip to Maranat, we are unsure if we are heading the right way, so we just decided to come back on the summit. And going back to the summit, we met other hikers going to Maranat as well and they told us that we are on the right trail.

We just resolved to push our Maranat escapade to our next travel since we are running out of time going down to reach the 6pm and last trip of jeep. We went down by pass 4pm with our legs literally in pain.

Going down from the summit

Going down from the summit

When we reached the registration once again, we decided to ride a tricycle which we just trekked going up to send us to the Jeep’s Terminal.

pass 5pm view at the foot of Mt. Balagbag

Pass 5pm view at the foot of Mt. Balagbag

Riding a tricycle is still extreme! We felt like we were riding on a roller coaster with the sudden ups and down due to the course road.

Hiking is a stress relieving adventure. But despite its fun, there are still reminders that you should consider before trekking particularly for beginners. (I learn this the hard way!) 

  • PREPARE YOUR BODY before the hike.
  • PACK THE IMPORTANT THINGS including drinking water, sunblock, extra clothes. Don’t underestimate your drinking water; it is the first thing you’ll look when you wanted to just go back from the start. hihi.
  • EXERCISE,JOG, and have LONG WALK. PREPARE YOURSELF
  • If you are not familiar with the way up, better get a tourist guide to help you. It will save time from discussing with your fellow what trail is right or not
  • TALK WITH THE LOCAL PEOPLE and you will learn a lot from them. Don’t be snob on them.
Met this determined little girl goi

Met this determined little girl going down the mountain. 

Angelica Ambrocio, 9 years old, is just one of the kids I encountered while hiking. Despite her petite figure, she still managed to walk religiously for her class everyday. You can never hear any complains from her. She’s already in her 4th grade, but she looks like a 5-year-old little kid.

 Very adorable little girl!

Very adorable little girl!

I want to know more her story. The journalist inside compels me to come back. I hope the local government and NGOs will extend their hand for Sitio Balagbag particulary the children here. 

Don’t just hike for fun, learn from locals there and get to know more with their stories. 

Love local: Marikina’s Best – Shoes. Food. Places.

Love Local – the other way to tell everyone to love our own. Love our very own Philippines.

And if there’s someone who should  patronize our local product or Gawang Pinoy / Tatak Pinoy that should be us, Filipinos.

Let’s show our support to local craftsmanship and to all the raw talent of Filipinos behind the local product by patronizing our own. Like the annual Sapatos Festival 2015 of Marikina which started last October 26 and will last until December 30 of this year only.

Love local!

Love local!

Known from durability and high quality footwear, Marikina is currently handling the the annual Sapatos Festival 2015.

The event will not only promote  world-class shoes but will also promote the hand-made bags and other local products from the Shoe Capital in the Philippines

Why you should go to Sapatos Festival 2015?

  • You will witness MEGA SALE of shoes of locally made brand shoes.
  • You can contribute to the local shoe industry of the Philippines and  appreciate the craftsmanship of Filipinos
  • These local products are perfect gifts for your loved ones

So two weeks ago, I was invited by the Marikina Public Information Office with the help of my friend to be part of the Marikina Grand Tour.

Through the grand tour, I got to experience the best of Marikina including its historical landmarks, shoe factories, and food establishment.

With my fellow bloggers and Mr. Brian Tenorio, renowned shoe designer.

I was with other bloggers and was ushered by none other than Mr. Brian Tenorio, renowned fashion shoe designer. Here are our destination:

  1. Valentino Shoes

Valentino stores are located at Marikina Shoe Gallery, The Landmark, Shoe Mart – Valenzuela, and Marikina Shoe Trade Fair . Photo by: Queenie Vinluan

Valentino Shoes Inc started way back 1932 but it was registered as family owned corporation 0nly on 1973. The third generation of the Family is currently handling the business.

Ms. Dolora Dela Paz, head of the operation of Valentino Shoe Inc, admitted that their sales slackened over the years as imported brand of shoes penetrated the country.

Valentino only have 65 employees and  can only produce at least 3000 shoes a month

Aling Alita Morez, Valentino worker

Aling Alita Morez, Valentino worker

Aling Alita, 58, is one of the 65 employees of Valentino Shoe Inc. She’s been working in the factory for 28 years already.

Though she admitted how her work is affected on the struggling shoe industry, she has no option but to remain on the factory since that’s the only job she’d grew up with.

“Hulmahan” in Valentino’s factory

3. Gibson’s shoe factory

Gibson is known for its military shoes. It is the supplier of military footwear products of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.


This just one of the shoe branches of Gibson's

This is just one of the shoe branches of Gibson’s

Gigantic machine from Gibson's shoe factory

Gigantic machine from Gibson’s shoe factory.

Gibson’s is one the successful local shoe brands and  they are also importing to our neighboring countries! (Proud Pinoy here!).

From my observation, the key factor of their success is their hunger to innovate their product and being a risk taker to bid and sell their brand.

They maximize their strength and were able to saturate different agencies and private companies for their product.

3. Marikina Shoe Museum 

Welcome to Marikina Shoe Museum!

Welcome to Marikina Shoe Museum!

Inside the Marikina Shoe Museum

Inside the Marikina Shoe Museum

The museum features the world class shoes of Marikina. The Different types of shoes from designer, stiletto, sandals, doll shoes, wedge, and other shoes worn by celebrities, politicians, and other influential personalities can be seen in the museum. It also showcased the hundreds of shoe pairs of former first lady Imelda Marcos.

Shoes worn by influential personalities

Shoes worn by influential personalities

Some pairs of shoes of Former First Lady Imelda Marcos

Some pairs of shoes of Former First Lady Imelda Marcos

You can visit the museum from Monday – Sunday 8am to 5 am with an affordable fee of Php 50.00. It is located at J.P Rizal St. Marikina near Our Lady of the Abandoned Church.

To wrap up our tour, we experience Marikina’s cuisine with the help of Industriya Marikina

Cozy ambiance and scrumptious food that's what Industriya Marikina will offer you!

Cozy ambiance and scrumptious food that’s what Industriya Marikina will offer you! Photo by: Ms. Kara Santos of http://www.travelling-up.com. Visit her wonderful travel and adventure blog.

Inside the Industriya Marikina

Inside the Industriya Marikina

Industriya Marikina’s Chef made their marikina recipe for us. Take note: These food are not on their menu.

Love Local: These are the main course

Love Local: These are the main course

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Kakanin with langka, ube, and others inside

Their very own bibingka!

Their very own bibingka!

Appetizer!

Appetizer!

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You can also have your event here at Industriya Marikina. Here is their sample venue

You can also have your event here at Industriya Marikina. Here is their sample venue

More than the beauty of Marikina and its rich history, the tour allowed me to see how we can boost the local shoe industry of our country. If you are aware enough on the news about how our shoe industry has struggled over the past years due to the competition of imported shoe brands and shoes that are made in China, you then know what I mean.

If all imported shoe brands will continue to penetrate our country, our local shoe industry will soon die down. But of course, we won’t allow  that unfortunate event to happen. I know I’m not alone with this effort to promote and love our own.

Because if that happens, the livelihood of Filipinos depending on this industry will be affected. Like the photos below:

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Aling Alita Morez, Valentino worker

Aling Alita Morez, Valentino worker

Our local shoe industry has a GRAND POTENTIAL to make it once again be on the top market. But how will this happen? It needs COLLECTIVE EFFORT. The government can’t do it alone neither the local brands. We need each and every one.

Let’s run a campaign to boost our local shoe industry. Let the government, Filipinos, media be united for this.  If you are one with me, let’s start this campaign.

It’s a slap on me if I didn’t contribute something. This experience helps me to put up a blog focusing on promoting our very own – loving local.

Let’s love our own 💝

P.S: The idea of putting up a blog about loving local or our own is still on the process. If you are willing to collaborate and help, shoot me a message at airamaeguerrero@gmail.com

I know you are amazed with the qualities of the photos. Most of the Photos came from my friend, Queenie Vinluan, a very talented photographer/ layout artist. Check her Instagram account (@kweeeni)

It’s always a good time!

No more delay! At last, after all the conflict of schedules, We – my high school friends – had an outing to embrace the heat of summer. This is my first outing – to think that this outing happened on the first week of may – for my entire summer vacation this year. But more than sensing the sun rays and glaring heat, spending a day with the people  whom you could easily describe even in the simplest word is the best. So let the pictures do the talking, enjoy!

This is paradise!! (Tagaytay Country Homes)

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Pangasinan: My Home Town

It’s nice to be back to the place you considered home. After two years, I’m finally back to my mama’s hometown (Pangasinan) where half part of my childhood happened. I really did enjoy our vacation though it was just a short time. I got to meet my lola (grandmother) after for years and even my childhood friends.

I’m home!

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Feel the Heat of Summer ♥

Life’s most awesome and cool people – HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS =) We headed to sea breeze to have an outrageous swimming courtesy/treat – as a promise for us- of one of my friends.

Had a blast with them. I could never elucidate how happy I am, since this is something terrific and unforgettable for the following reasons. One, it’s our very first time to have an outing with numerous foods, so gazillion thanks to our well-blessed friends Bianca and Clarence. =) Second, it’s our first outing as “graduates” of Pasay Science 😐

Perhaps this photo can reveal how happy I am. Mcdo Shot XD

Priceless moments!

Anyhow, I’m both happy and sad for this event. Happy, since we find time despite conflicts of schedule and sad, since it’s still unknown if will get to see each other again and set an event like this.

Hanggang sa muli nating pagkikita! walang iwanan!

Love your neighbors :)))

Yesterday, we spent our easter at Pangasinan. Specifically in Manaoag and San Fabian. Supposedly, Our trip should just be with the our family but one of our tenants heard about our plan of going to Pangasinan. She also wanted to go there so she suggested going there with the whole gag of our tenants including her. Then, they planned about having a mass at manaoag then right after beach at San Fabian. They also agreed of dividing the expenses. We rented a van going there and I was so surprised because it’s really huge.

I told you 🙂 the Van we rented.

Inside the van 🙂

We arrived there ahead of the first mass because our driver is so punctual. That was my first time to attend the first and earliest mass. After the mass, We immediately hurried to go at the “pahawak”, ahmm. (For those who doesn’t know, you’ll be given a chance to hold or touch to Mother Mary’s Miraculous statue.) There was a long line and it took us an hour to be there.

the long line

myeal seems so weary

After our mass at manaoag, We went to San Fabian for our beach party. I was so burned out so I slept too long. When I woke up, felt so depressed of missing the chance to ride the boat. Almost everybody was not in the cottage when I woke up. So I decided to just take a photos of myself from our camera. Sadly due to my vanity, I broke our cam. The lens was stuck up. but still so happy because I was not reprimanded by my parents and my kuya even defended me for that.

Proof. haha 🙂 I totally looked tired and wasted. 🙂

Missed the chance! 😐

I swam when there’s no longer sunlight that can harm my skin. haha. I’m so conscious of getting darker. Though, it’s not a white-sand beach which I though it was because of what google has said, I still appreciate it for it has a huge and nice wave that it can considered as a good surfing site. I veritably enjoyed the striking waves. swear 🙂

The reason why our camera lens was stuck up hehe


With the cute dog 🙂

With my family

Going back home, we faced a stressful traffic but was lucky that our driver is so sagacious. Though he beat the trafiic rules, i find it cool. He’s so ma-diskarte although I was a bit scared.
Nonetheless, an extraordinary escapade with the neighbors. Our first and of course would not be our last. Thank you Lord for the gathering. Learn to love your neighbors xoxo♥

Kamay ni Hesus

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go in Kamay ni Hesus at Lucban, Quezon. I wasn’t veritably expecting that it was going to be a long trekked. Actually, I thought that it would only take us about 2 hrs to be there, but surprisingly I was wrong. It took us about 4 hours to be there but nonetheless, it was fulfilling and glorifying experience.

When we were in the vicinity, we parked 500 meters ( I assume) away from Kamay ni Hesus because there are actually lots of devotees who went there too. So off course we walked through out from the parking lot up to Kamay ni Hesus

This is the view of our parking lot.

My auntie and my mom looking stress free?!? 🙂 while preparing to go at Kamay ni Hesus

My cute and sweet niece Myeal seems excited to go at Kamay ni Hesus

with my cousin. Preparing to go

When we were there, we got surprised when the staff told us that there’s a line to be followed. At first, we just ignored that announcement then after a while we realized that there’s actually a line to be followed.

The line to be followed. Actually, it’s from the gate up to the grotto. It took us more or less 4 hours to be there at grotto. But its fulfilling finishing that long line. It’s an ample sacrifice indeed yet our experience can never be compared to what our Lord Jesus Christ did just to save us.

View from our line.

While we were in the line.

My cousin and I had a problem with what we wear. Basically naman There’s a dress code to be followed in church. I thought that what I wear is allowed but later on I conceived that I’m wearing A sleeveless top. While my cousin is wearing a short so absolutely we’re not allowed to enter to the grotto proper. My cousin was noticed by the stuff and told her that she couldn’t go to the grotto because of what she wear. But While we were on the line, I was really praying to the Lord to let me Please enter to Grotto as well as my Cousin. I even put towels to my shoulders so that they won’t notice what I’m wearing. On the other hand, My cousin use the jacket of his boyfriend to cover her legs. Fortunately, It rained so hard and I veritably felt like that the Lord answered my Prayer. I was so overjoyed that the Lord heard my Prayer. It rained then so the staffs didn’t notice us.

This is what I wear. Due to my sleeveless top, I was not about to make it in the grotto but lucky i did.

looked at my hands. Those are the towels I use to cover my sleeveless top.

My cousin whose wearing a short.

my cousin with her Boyfriend. looked at how she intelligently use the jacket of his boyfriend. hihi 🙂

the start of our walked. So i have taken photos while we were on the grotto proper

while escalading to the top of the grotto.

mama and me 🙂

after so many steps, finally we were on the top 🙂

The view from the top

going back, my niece myeal seems so irritated and tired so she doesn’t want to walk and my mom carry her. While mom was carrying myeal, she’s like losyang na. haha

but after that, she saw several statues of animals that made her happy and energetic again.

me 🙂

Way back home, it took us about 5 hours due to stressful traffic. But after all, It’s a glorious experience that I’ll surely never forget. Thank you Lord. xoxo 😀

Kamay ni Hesus

We’re going to Kamay ni Jesus at Lucban, Quezon tomorrow. I am indeed excited because i haven’t been there.

So basically, I searched it on google. The following are the informations I got from google (just few)

*The shrine is located on the slopes of Mt. Banahaw, Barangay Tinamnan, Lucban, Quezon.
* Its church celebrates healing masses everyday at 10am
* It has 292 steps.

As I googled it, woah! I was really astounded and astonished on its Architecture. It really looks God’s home.

After that glorious experience, I’ll immediately blog about it here. So I need to go on my bed now because I’m going to wake up so early tomorrow. Before sunrise, My body should be already awake. Goodnight 😀