Sunday, March 26, 2006
From the picture below, you can see the fishing village along the edge of the lake.
Tagaytay is located south of Manila, about more than an hour's drive away on a weekend drive. I had very gracious hosts who brought me to Sonia's Garden, which is really off the main road. However, through word of mouth, this bed and breakfast establishment is very well known as we had to book for lunch 2 days before.
Oh, did I mention that most of the greens are from their own garden. And they had a great salad and pasta spread.
After lunch, we had a walk about the garden. Below are photos of some of the flowers in the garden there. Of course it doesn't do justice to the place. It's a nice cosy garden with lots of benches to sit and enjoy the breeze.
[updated: 17th July 2006]
Sonia's Garden is actually called "Sonya's Secret Garden".
The official website is :http://sonyasgarden.com/
Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite, Philippines (near the vicinity of Tagaytay City, Philippines)
For reservations: call or text +63-9175329097 or +63-9175335140 Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to get there:
From South Superhighway exit Santa Rosa and turn right towards Tagaytay. Upon reaching main Aguinaldo highway, turn right toward Nasugbu, Batangas. Go past Tagaytay Rotonda and proceed for 10km. After Splendido Golf course adn Sunrise Hill make a right turn on the Buck Estate. Drive for 2km and watch out for Sonya's on the left side. Use the first gate and drive towards the end of the driveway and make a right towards parking lot.
For my first stay in February, it costs me USD85 per night, and now in March it costs USD105 (due to the holiday season). Anyway it was well worth it if you look at the pictures below.
This is a picture of the living room, dining area and a bit of the kitchen. You could see the microwave oven above the full size fridge, no mini fridge here ;)
This is a shot taken from the kitchen that shows the living room and a bit of the master bedroom on the right. You can see that the suite comes with a flat screen 29" Samsung Color TV and also a Stereo set that plays DVD and MP3s as well. Oh, the whole suite has 3 color TVs - the other 2 is in the master bedroom and the study.
This is the master bedroom. A very nice comfy bed and pillows. Not only does it have a simple master light switch by the bed, it also has a night light switch, for those time you want to leave a small light on.
A great kitchen. Great because it comes with all the utensils in the cupboard. It even has a toaster, though I haven't found a use for it.
This is the study. I had this during my visit in February. This is where the cable modem is located. It's great to be able to work in a room away from the bed...so there's less distraction.
This is the 2nd bedroom that I got for my stay now, instead of the study. Did not use it as I was using the master bedroom.
This is the bathroom. A bit of a dissapointment though. The shower is fixed and the pressure to the shower is dissapointing, compared to the outlet for filling the tub. And it was difficult adjusting the shower to the required temperature.
Broadband is available per 24 hour sessions or for a week for USD50.
Next to the hotel is a small convenience stall and also around it are various restaurants from local to western food. If you take a 5-10 minutes walk, you would get to the Shang mall or mega mall.
I would say that I would this is a definately good place to stay and I look forward to future visits.
A shot of Manila. Not sure which side of Manila it is overlooking though.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Well the 3rd week was pretty hectic with Hong Kong coming right up after Adelaide.
But my life was made easier with an upgrade to a Suite since the Royal Plaza Hotel was fully booked. But I still had to pay more than HKD1100 per night since it's the peak season.
The room was fantastic, with it's own separate dining, living and bathroom. On the other side, with it's own TV and bathroom is the bedroom. Of course the extra soft and comfortable goose down pillows is still there waiting for my weary head.
And what Hong Kong trip would be complete without...
Hmm my French holidays photos seem to be taking a long time to edit and put up so I figured I would just move on and post other photos before I forget about them. I would return to the French photo series later when possible.
My first trip in 2006. Right off after my holidays in France, it was back to work and I had to pack a new suitcase even before clearing out my previous stuffs.
The trip got off to a terrific start, when arriving at the airport early, I was told that the flight to Adelaide was overbooked and they would put me on a business class flight to Sydney instead. Wow, since I was still the business class-virgin then, I didn't mind the hassle of changing flights in Sydney. I had to rush to the gates since the flight was taking off in 15 minutes when they finally completed changing my tickets and boarding pass.
Well, the flight was memorable. The MAS business class was really top notch. The food was good and we were also given a travelling pouch with toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash etc.... and the bag itself is very stylish. Anyway it was a pleasant experience...if only I could afford another one.
Finally reached Adelaide, and found that the new airport is about to be opened. Relieved that the passengers don't have to all crowd around the small area to get our bags and then go through immigration checks.
Back to my old haunt, the Radisson at Playford, North Terrace. A very nice place with very friendly and pleasant staffs. It's also very close by a lot of eating places....especially the StoneGrill at Balcony Restaurant (Strathmore Hotel), where my colleage and myself when to TWICE in a row. If you are every in Adelaide, and non-vegetarian, then you should give this place a try.
OK, back to the room. It costs about AUD150 per night. Broadband internet is available but charged separately. Asked the concierge for directions for a good restaurant if needed, so far they have not dissapointed us with their choice.
Since my colleague was with me, I didn't shoot any photos during our weekday dinner outings. Adelaide at this time of the year is fun cause it doesn't get dark till 8pm. And since it gets bright very early, it just seems that your day is longer. So sometimes we ended up having dinner until 9pm cause you do not realise how late it got.
However, I was free on Saturday morning, so I just got out and have a look around the area that i did not manage to visit during the last visit - that means outside of Rundle Mall :)
For those who graduated from University of Adelaide, they should remember the Bonython Hall below. Yeah, I was there since the whole of Adelaide were still asleep before 10am. The museums and all were close so the only interesting place to see was the quite grounds of University. Nice campus, would be a cool place to be studying.
Then I walked towards the river, pass the Casino and the Festival Centre and saw this one legged bird (Magpie?) that was not afraid to pose for me. This one below is one of the better ones.
After a long walk, I sat on the park bench and just totally soaked up that morning's atmosphere.
View of North Terrace