Aquaria Water Park and Beach Resort

Our last beach outing before we went back to school! Taking this trip with friends who turned into families made it more worth the while.

This was just an overnight beach trip but we really felt the bond with nature. Why wouldn’t we when our houses were located in front of the beach! The beach wasn’t that perfect but the fact that it was just a few steps away from where we stayed took all the stress away. I love how I was woken up by the sound of the waves crashing to the shore.

Aquaria Water Park is located in Calatagan, Batangas. It is just an hour and a half drive from Tagaytay.

Accommodations:

We booked our beachfront villa through one of the hotel sites. One side is all glass (with curtains for privacy) so you could hear and see the beach a few steps away from you!

I could stay on this swing all day! What can beat fresh and windy air.

Sofa Bed is available for use.

You can choose to have a queen bed and a double deck or 2 double decks!

The shower and toilet area’s just the right size.

Amenities:

Beach – a long stretch of fine sandy beach can be enjoyed.

There is a bar by the beach and instead of the usual bar chairs, you have swings!

Kids washing their sandy feet with the ‘banga’ (huge jar filled with water) outside our beachfront villa.

The kids and adults enjoyed the beach!

I personally was at a high just taking these wonderful pictures of the beach. I could just stare and immense myself in the beauty of God’s gift.

Pools:

The whole resort has about 5 pools everyone can enjoy. They also have a lot of cottages / spaces where you can lounge and chill while the kids swim.

Enjoyed this slide pool! It’s just tiring to go up with the inflatables, but so fun to go down!

Restaurants:

Taza Coffee – they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner plus coffee, shakes and liquors

Some of our breakfast…

The Sands – this is the main restaurant.

Some of our food for lunch and dinner.

Service

The service personnel were all very accommodating, nice and friendly. Not even the strong wind and rain at nighttime can hinder them from servicing us and our needs. 2 thumbs up for them!

Best of all, there’s not much people around when we were there. It’s like us and nature only. I would definitely like to be back and just chill.

Our beachfront villas are booked through Crusoe Cabins, you may book directly through their website by clicking the picture below!

You may also check their Facebook page, Crusoe Cabins.

Life’s a beach!๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ๐Ÿ–

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Our Taiwan Food Trip

Before our trip, pictures of Taiwan’s best eats are just that – pictures!

In a short span of 3 days, we tried to eat as many Taiwan famous food (especially street food) as we could.

Prepare to get hungry!

Din Tai Fung’s Xiao Long Bao, Shrimp Dumplings and Beef Noodle Soup

Ay Chung Misua Noodle

Everyone’s favorite, Stinky Tofu in Ximending

Jap Resto in Ximending open till 4am

Jiufen’s famous beef noodle store

Jiufen’s famous fish ball soup

TKK Fried Chicken

Taipei Main Station Underground Mall

Famous Pork Bun at Raohe Street Night Market

Wagyu Beef Cubes – Raohe Street Night Market

Resto in an alley near Tomorrow Hotel – Korean Style Pork Bbq Rice Toppings

Hot-Star XXL Fried Chicken

Prince Cheese Potatoes – food alley in Ximending

Taiwan Sausage – found everywhere

Taiwan Sausage in Sticky Rice – food alley in Ximending

Spring Onion Pancakes

Pan Fried Xiao Long Bao in Shilin

Chicken Wings stuffed with Rice – Shifen

DRINKS / DESSERTS

Chun Cui He Milk Teas

Sold in Carrefour at NTD 22.00 to 23.00, in 7-11 at NTD 28.00 to 30.00

Brown Sugar Boba Milk Tea

*look for this near H&M in Ximending, this is the cheapest and the best!

Another famous brown sugar milk tea but that one ๐Ÿ‘†is better.

Pineapple Shake at Shifen

Yakult Yogurt Smoothie at Shifen

Frozen Fresh Mango

Mango Smoothie in Yehliu Geopark

Oh boy! Wanna go back and eat some more!

To know more about our Taiwan Trip. Check out these blogs…

Taiwandering 2018

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Taiwandering 2018 – Preflight

Tomorrow Hotel Ximending

Taoyuan International Airport Free Lounges

Portablee WIFI Rental by Kkday

Din Tai Fung Original Branch

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Din Tai Fung – Original Branch

When Din Tai Fung arrived in Manila, everyone lined up to have a taste of what is known to have the best xiao long baos (steamed dumplings). During this trip to Taiwan, of course, we wouldn’t let the chance to visit the original branch pass. To get there, take the Metro Rail at Ximen Station and hop down at Dongmen Station, take the Exit 5, cross YongKang Street and walk straight.

You wouldn’t miss the shop becaus3 a lot of people are outside. We arrived around 11:00am and we had to wait for 60 mins. If you plan to go here, be sure to be there before their 10:00am opening.

The receptionist will give you your number and a checklist. It’s in English and the price is also written. They will take this once your number is called.

Outside is the enlarged menu board with pictures, if you can’t picture what’s written in the checklist.

After 60 years, minutes rather, we were finally seated at the 3rd floor. The main branch is just a small branch so it can really be tight! But you’ll still feel like you are in a restaurant with the service and the service charge of 10%! ๐Ÿ˜

Yey! Our orders finally arrived! The girls from the other table were looking at us because there’s only the 2 of us and the food’s so many!

The xiao long bao! So juicy, it really does tastes better than the other xiao long baos in the market. Best to devour it when hot and fresh.

For first timers, they have a guide on how to eat it.

Dip the dumpling into the sauce.

Poke a hole on top to release the broth before eating it. Danger here – it can be so hot!

Next to try is this Shrimp and Pork Dumpling. Unlike other shrimp dumpling, this one is filled with real shrimps and pork. It also has some juice inside. Tasty as well!

Their Hot and Sour Soup tasted good also. Didn’t mix it so the hotness was all consumed by my husband. Afraid I can’t take it. I still like the soup. Sourness is just right.

We were curious with this on the menu, so we ordered it. Turned out it’s just Machang, pork wrapped in sticky rice. Not their specialty.

Up next is the Beef Noodle. The soup’s too oily. The one we had in Jiufen is better. But the texture of the noodle is good.

On the 1st floor, the dumpling making station can be viewed through a glass partition. I wonder how many xiao long baos they make in a day?

When we left the shop, it’s a chaos outside. People can’t resist that cute little dumpling though!

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Taiwandering 2018

Detailed itinerary of our Taiwan Trip.

August 30, 2018

Took a red eye flight to Taiwan to maximize our weekend.

August 31, 2018

Arrived and passed through the immigration in a swift. Got our WIFI in the Unite Traveler Kiosk and we’re good to go.

Portable WIFI Rental by KKday

Good thing a friend’s mom arranged for a car to pick us up. We were surprised that it was actually a Benz. ๐Ÿ˜€

What a nice ride! Thank you to our sponsor auntie. ๐Ÿ˜˜

If you do not have an auntie who can sponsor your ride, you can either take the airport taxi – a few taxis were waiting in the taxi stand. There are also fixers who offer you a ride, but this is scary. I think the best thing is to book a Klook Pick Up Car Service. I have checked and it’s about Php1400.00. This is both convenient and safe.

We arrived in our hotel way earlier than expected. We can’t check in yet so we just deposited our luggages and off we went to explore the area – at 3am!

Tomorrow Hotel – Ximending

Most of the shops are already closed. The only shops open are the Watsons outside the hotel and the 7-11 beside the hotel.

Out front there is a Toy Catcher Shop that I think never closes. And you can see these kind of shops all over Taipei.

We didn’t know that Carrefour is open 24 hours. If we did, we might have stayed there and browse the aisles slowly. It’s only a 15 minute walk from the hotel.

We managed to find a restaurant that is open. It closes at 4am. So we have an hour to relax and to eat. It’s a quaint Japanese restaurant with a 3 man team.

Their menu is limited since it’s almost closing time when we arrived. So we just settled for these.

It’s a little cold so we ordered a clam soup.

Clam Soup

I love Gyoza and theirs had a thin buttery and crispy flake.

Gyoza

We also ordered a Beef Rice Toppings

Beef Rice Toppings

This was our super early breakfast. Tasted great especially the beef.

We again roamed around to check the area if there are still shops open, turned out Ximending closes at 1 or 2am.

We eventually found ourselves in a 24 hour Mcdonald’s nearby. Just like in Hong Kong, food order must be in their kiosk. This Mcdonald’s is pretty nice.

Thank you to to Mcdo for letting us stay for 3 hours. We stayed here until the night ๐ŸŒš turned into day.๐ŸŒž

This was the first time we did it and it’s not highly recommended! Better catch an earlier flight and just book a hotel so you could have rest before charging on to your itinerary.

After preparing ourselves, we head on to our tour. I booked this with Klook – Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen Shuttle Bus Tour from Ximen. The bus will take you to Northern Taiwan and back, particularly Yehliu, Jiufen and Shifen. You can enjoy these places without having to worry about getting there. The bus meet up point is just walking distance from our hotel. GaKuDen Bakery is located at Exit 4 of Ximen Station.

For an 8:30am bus, we need to be there by 8:15am. The tour guide, York, checked on our vouchers and let us in on the bus. York is an English speaking tour guide so it’s very easy communicating with him. He is knowledgeable and he gives out advices on the best things to try out, the best food to eat and the best places to go to! He is the best!

Toured Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen from 8:30am to 6:00pm. This was a long hot and wet day for us.

Super hot when we were in Yehliu. A little humid when we were in Jiufen. Rain fell down when we were in Shifen.

To read more about this tour, check Klook: Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen Daytour

We were back at Ximending by 6pm. Decided to check in our hotel first before having dinner.

Tomorrow Hotel Taiwan

After resting, this was about 9pm already, we went down to enjoy Ximending. It’s the weekend so the place was packed! People walking down the streets, chattering, eating, and laughing. I love the vibe!

Here are some of the sights that night!

September 1, 2018

Woke up late to recharge. First on our list today is to have a meal at the Original Din Tai Fung Branch. But before anything else, we bought a 24 hour Taipei Metro Pass. This is only NTD180.00 or about Php 320.00. You get unlimited train and bus rides within the Metro line.

Din Tai Fung’s First Branch can be found in Zhongzheng District. To get here, take the train and alight at Dongmen Station (Red Line), then take Exit 5. Go straight and you’ll find Din Tai Fung in Xinyi Road.

Original Din Tai Fung – A Review

While waiting, we managed to discover the pastry shop called Red Sakura. Aside from yummy pastries, they also have a lot of Hello Kitty themed pastries and cookies, plus some merchandise.

After eating the best xiao long baos (steamed dumplings), we took the train and went to visit Taipei 101.

Taipei 101 used to be the tallest skyscraper until Burj Khalifa snatched the title. However, in 2011, it was awarded the tallest and largest green building in the world.

We alighted at the Taipei 101 Station

There is a high end mall and they have an exhibit that day. Take a look at some of the artsy Marvin the Martian displayed.

A few minutes in the outdoors and a few more minutes inside the mall, off we go to our next destination.

Back to the train and off to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. Take the Exit 5 and you will be greeted by the magnificent structure that is the National Theatre.

Exploring Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

The rain poured yet again while we were there, got so drenched – shoes wet, clothes wet – no choice but to go back to the hotel and change.

Someone informed us to drop by the Taipei Underground Mall, which can be reached through the Taipei Main Station. Except for the extensive food selection, there’s not much to do here.

Back on the train again to head to Raohe Street Night Market – known to be the oldest night market.

Literally a stretch of food kiosks of a variety of yummy treats. It’s a bit out of the way to get here. At the end of the Green Line, Songshan Station is where you can find Raohe Street Night Market. Take Exit 5 and walk a few steps, once you see the temple, Raohe is on the left.

After eating at Raohe, went back to the train station again, to the Red Line, to Jiantan Station. Take Exit 1 to get to the biggest night market, Shilin Market.

Shilin Market has a lot of these balloon games, where you could win a stuffed toy for your bae.

Check out what we ate at Our Taiwan Food Trip.

September 2, 2018

Went to visit my uncle in the morning. Checked out of the hotel already so that we don’t have to be back by 11:00am check out time. Unless we want to be charged NTD 200.00 per hour of excess.

Back at Ximen Station by 10:59am, this is the end of our 24 hour Metro Pass. Went straight to the place where we have been buying our pork floss since we were kids.

Learned that Carrefour (the 24 hour grocery) was just around the corner. Bought biscuits and rolls for our kids. Took the taxi cab for NTD 80.00 to get back to the hotel in just 3 minutes!

Bought some more pastries at Red Sakura. Repacked our luggages to stuff the things we bought.

Walked around Ximending for the last time. Chilled at this Jap Resto by the alley of the hotel.

Until the driver picked us up to send us to the airport.

The end of our trip! Hope you enjoyed and learned a thing or two from our trip.

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Tomorrow Hotel

Choosing where to stay when travelling is probably the hardest. You have to consider the location, price of the hotel, the amenities, cleanliness, friendliness of staff, and overall worthiness.

Thankfully, we found a hotel that suited us, our budget and our needs for this particular trip – Tomorrow Hotel

Location: โœ”โœ”โœ”โœ”โœ”

Tomorrow Hotel is a few steps from the Ximen Station of Metro Rail Transit. It has its own 7-11 connected to it. Just right outside is a 24 hours with 3 floors Watsons shop and an H&M store. Add to that an Under Armour store and a Nike store out front. It is also 3 to 5 minutes drive away from Carrefour – a 24 hours grocery, about NTD80.00 for a cab.

The hotel has 3 entrances / exits.

One is through 7-11 way, outside to its left is the H&M I’m talking about.

Next is the main entrance and exit where they displayed a few of Taiwan’s main attractions. It goes to the reception area and the elevator going up.

The last one is through the side. This alleyway has one of the best Jap restos and some coffee shops. This alley is also a shortcut to the main Ximending area.

Ximending is probably the best of all the night markets. But we will talk about the night markets on another post.

Price: โœ”โœ”โœ”โœ”

I booked our hotel through Traveloka. The regular price per night was about 4 to 5 thousand pesos. But our 2 nights stay cost us Php4,961.48. I was able to get an additional few hundred pesos discount upon checkout by using a credit card that’s having a promo the time I booked. Should have come with breakfast but we learned that the area was under renovation. We were given NTD70.00 vouchers per person per night that we could use in 7-11. They wouldn’t give the vouchers to you all at once. We had to get it after the check in time the next day to qualify for the 2nd day. Take note that the voucher has a date and that it could only be used until 11:59pm of the supposed date of your breakfast.

For example, we checked in on August 31, the vouchers were given to us for our breakfast the next day. You should consume the voucher by 11:59pm of September 1. Your 2nd day voucher must be claimed at around 3:00pm of September 1, to be used until 11:59pm of September 2 only.

We didn’t know this and we only knew when we were trying to purchase at 7-11 at 1:00am of September 2. They wouldn’t accept our 1st day vouchers as they were technically “expired.”

I complained on the front desk and since they were not good English speakers and she couldn’t understand me, she ended up changing the date of our vouchers so we could use it.

Amenities: โœ”โœ”โœ”โœ”

I actually couldn’t think of any except if you’ll include the 7-11. Having a convenience store is so convenient! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Oh, they have a water fountain on our floor, but I didn’t dare use it.

Cleanliness: โœ”โœ”โœ”โœ”

Basically clean. Our room’s okay, the bed sheets don’t have stains, and the bathroom’s spotless and super white.

Shampoo and Body Soap in a dispenser. Freebie toothbrush, razor and comb.

Friendliness of Staff: โœ”โœ”

They couldn’t speak English. Very hard to communicate with them. And lastly, 2 of the front desk receptionists rolled their eyes on me.

You see, our flight’s 8:30pm, we leave the hotel by 4:00pm. But since check out is 11:00am, we need to deposit our luggages to them after check out. We checked out around 9:00am to have more time to roam around and buy some stuff. I went to my uncle and he gave me 7 kilos of frozen meat and squid balls to take home. We went back to the hotel to have them put in the freezer as advised by another aunt who works in another hotel. It’s a natural thing to do. They gladly obeyed, no questions asked. Thankful for that. We still have about a few hours so we went back to shopping. We came back to repack our luggages to put back the stuff we bought before heading to have late lunch before the driver picks us up. Of course, to save time, we wanted everything in order so that when driver arrives, we are ready to go.

The receptionists didn’t want to give our luggages, she just wanted to take the stuff we bought. I told her I needed the luggages so I could pack our things. That’s when she and a co worker rolled their eyes and started blubbering something to another co worker. First of all, they don’t have a couch that we could sit and stay on while waiting for the driver. Second, our luggages are just behind the front desk. Lastly, they were not doing anything that time. Was it really too hard to push the luggages out and push them back in?

When we came back, another receptionist assisted us and she even gave our luggages with a smile.

Rooms: โœ”โœ”โœ”โœ”

The bed consisted of 2 single beds put together, it’s big for 2 persons. The room size is just right. I chose the no window room since it’s not needed anyway. That’s a few hundred bucks savings! The room also has a flat screen tv with many channels. The airconditioning is great! If you are out for the whole day, a cool room is definitely what you need to relax. The downside, there is no fridge and no safety box. No cabinet also.

Overall Worthiness: โœ”โœ”โœ”โœ”

I will gladly go back and stay at this hotel. I am also recommending it to anyone who has a budget and just needs a comfortable place to stay. Super nice location. Right at the heart of everything.

More of our Taiwan trip:

Taoyuan International Airport Themed Lounges

Taiwandering: Pre-flight

Portable WIFI Rental by Kkday

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Kkday: Portable Wifi Rental (Taiwan)

It’s very important to be connected nowadays, especially since we left our kids back home. We needed to check on them even if we were away. We also need to have Google on call.

Good thing, I found Kkday’s Portable Wifi Rental. Would have gotten Klook’s as it was just the same price, but they didn’t have a 24 hour pick up site. Kkday did, so I booked it.

We arrived in the wee hours of the morning. Just as you got out from the main arrival hall, turn to your right and go straight ahead. On the corner, you will see Unite Traveller’s Kiosk.

You show them your voucher or the QR code, they will ask you to fill out a form and you will receive your portable WIFI. You will also be asked for a credit card. This will be charged when you fail to return the WIFI on the stated period.

Inside this red case, the portable WIFI, a charger and its cable.

This is so worth the money, for just Php 138.00 a day, you’re connected to the internet. From contacting family members to researching what to do or where to go, everything is possible with your own internet connection!

And yes, it’s easy to return as well. All terminals has their own Unite Traveler kiosk. You go up to the staff, they check it and the paper you signed on the pick up kiosk will be returned to you!

The kiosk is outside the immigration area, so better not forget before you go in. Don’t fret about returning the WIFI early, you can still connect to the airport’s WIFI all throughout your stay at the airport.

More of our Taiwan trip:

Taoyuan International Airport Themed Lounges

Taiwandering: Pre-flight

Tomorrow Hotel

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Taoyuan International Airport Lounges

It’s been a while since I came to visit Taiwan, about 5 years! And boy, has it changed!

When we arrived, we were in a hurry as it’s the wee hours of the morning. However, on our departure, we were able to roam around and discover the FREE lounges all over the airport!

Going to our boarding gate, I was amazed by these different themed lounges that lined up the whole C gates.

Starting off with Gate C1. Taiwan Music Waiting Lounge – Music themed lounge. The sofas have charging ports as well.

Gate C2 – Skyline Waiting Lounge – Travel themed lounge – with some bits of information about the origin of aviation.

Gate C3 is my favorite and was our boarding gate during our flight home from Taipei. Hello Kitty Lounge! All pretty in pink. There’s even a Sanrio store beside it. Also a mini playground for kids. The telephone booths outside the lounge works.

Another theme is the E-Library Waiting Lounge. It has reading nooks all over. This is the lounge for bookworms like me. ๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“–๐Ÿ“”๐Ÿ“š

These are just 4 of the lounges. They have a lot more but I just took pictures of these 4 as it was near my boarding gate.

Also along the C strip was a prayer room for 3 different religions. They have separate rooms. I didn’t peek inside as there might be someone praying.

If you are a flower lover, this area would suit you. Taiwan’s Phalaenopsis. Beautiful ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒบ๐Ÿต๐Ÿ’ฎ๐ŸŒธ right?

There is also an area for techie people. You get to use the computers, connect to the internet or charge your gadgets!

Oh and they also have a Hello Kitty themed breastfeeding room for our mommy breast warriors.

Taoyuan International Airport really upped its airport game. Who wouldn’t want to chill in those lounges?

Go see for yourself and visit Taiwan, the Heart of Asia.

Read more of my Taiwan Series:

Taiwandering – Pre-Flight!

Portable WIFI Rental by Kkday

Tomorrow Hotel

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Sleeping at Camp Netanya

Our room keeps up with the theme of white and blue, complete with basic hotel amenities like mini fridge, bathroom essentials, hot & cold water, hair dryer and fridge. The downside of this room was the aircon. It was too small that it couldn’t cool the whole room. Good thing service was great, they checked on the a/c twice and when it really couldn’t do its job, an electric fan was given to us.

Our room was located on the upper part of the resort, so guests have to go up and down a high flight of stairs before reaching the pool. The elevator’s not yet working. ๐Ÿค For youngsters, it would be okay; but for oldies, this could be a problem!

I got our Deluxe Twin Room with a corporate discount so I paid about Php 6,000.00 instead of the usual Php 8,100.00.

Read and see more of Camp Netanya – ๐ŸŠ๐ŸŠ๐ŸŠ

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