Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Where to Stay in Pakistan: Islamabad Serena Hotel

Warning: Photo heavy post

I stayed in two cities while in Pakistan. The first city we went to was Islambad. After two days in Islamabad, we flew to Daharki in the Sindh Province and then flew back to Islamabad for our flight back home. Just in case you happen to find yourself visiting Islamabad, I hope you find this helpful.

Where to Stay: Islamabad Serena Hotel

This hotel is the safest place in place in Islamabad for a foreigner. It’s in the same compound as other international organizations such as UN. So you can also just imagine the security. We arrived in Pakistan around 10:30 pm but I think we arrived at the hotel before 12midnight already because of airport immigration and security. Travel time from airport to hotel is around 30minutes. You can imagine our apprehension upon seeing the tight security for the first time that time of the night. I think we passed by atleast 3 guarded gates before arriving at the hotel parking lot.

But once I entered the hotel, I was amazed by the sheer elegance of the place.

Hallway leading to the elevators from the reception area (edited in Instagram)
Main lobby
I was booked in a Deluxe room (room 399) for my stay there. Photos of my room are from my iPhone 5.

When you enter the room, to your left is the cabinet. Yes, that's my yellow luggage from Samsonite which I love to bits :D


Two lavatories for his and her :)


This is the bath tub on the right side of the bathroom. Behind me, is the shower stall and the toilet area.


Shower stall

The throne heehee

The living sleeping area
The desk area
TV area

Wonderful bed. If not for the jetlag, I would've slept like a baby here.
Lovely couch

Took this photo the next day (edited in Instagram)
Clockwise from left: side table has the main control in the room (lights, aircon, etc.), snack bar, welcome message flashed on the TV set and laundry bags
More photos of the exterior of the hotel after the jump (photos taken from my Canon point-and-shoot camera except for the security).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pakistan 2013: Travelling Business Class

Last month, I had the opportunity to travel for work. I went to Pakistan and travelled business class. Okay, one of my fears is the fear of the unknown so I’m always weary when it’s my first time to do something especially if I will look stupid because I don’t know what to do hehehe. So if it’s your first time to fly business class too then let me orient you on how it goes. Flying business class is different from flying economy (aside from the price you pay), first difference is that business class flyers can wait for their flight at the lounge and not at the gate. Second, business class flyers get free food and overflowing drinks (even wine). Okay, I’m a budget flyer so I always fly without the free food hahaha!

For this trip, we travelled by Thai Airways. All international flights to and from Manila is in NAIA Terminal 1 except PAL I think. Although Thai Airways has a lounge in NAIA 1, since it is NAIA 1 the lounge doesn’t look as businessy or as sophisticated as the one in Suvarnabhumi airport. Sorry I wasn’t able to take a photo. But anyway, the lounge in NAIA 1 still offered free food and drinks. When you check-in at the counter, they will give you a voucher for your stay at the lounge. After checking in for your flight, you need to pay for the terminal fee (only in NAIA) then go through immigration. After immigration are the Duty Free shops. Just follow the signs at the airport to get to the lounge. At the lounge, there is buffet of different food and drinks. I remember there was arroz caldo, pizza, fish fillet and other appetizers. And then for drinks, they serve juice, softdrinks, water. I didn't notice if they offer alcoholic beverage.

Once boarded, we were immediately given hot towels and drinks (you can choose whatever you want). And then we given this menu cards where we chose our main entrĂ©e for our inflight meal. 

After take-off and once the seatbelt sign is off, the food was served. First was the bread, salad and appetizer. By this time you can also choose your beverage of choice – juice, coffee, red wine, white wine, etc.

Then main course.

Then a cheese and fruit platter. You can choose what type of cheese and/or fruit that you want from what they offer or of course you can have everything.

And then dessert and coffee.

Everything was delicious. Yes, even the garlic bread they served was yummy hahaha. 

I flew from Manila to Bangkok and was served this full meal. And then we had a stop-over at Suvarnabhumi airport where I ate again at the lounge.

And then on our flight from Bangkok to Pakistan, I was served another full meal again hahaha. I was so full by the time the dessert was served on that flight. I guess that’s one of the reason I didn’t get to sleep during the flight. On our flight back to Manila (Islamabad-Bangkok and then Bangkok-Manila), I had to remind myself that I don't have to finish everything they served if I'm already full hahaha. Or I can ask not be served dessert at all, which I think I did on the flight back to Manila.

After eating you can choose to sleep, watch TV or listen to music. On the way to Pakistan from Bangkok, I really wanted to sleep since it was a night flight. I even ordered red wine with my cheese (photo above - I’m no wine connoisseur). But as much as I wanted to sleep I didn’t even sleep for a second during the flight.

I had to ask for a blanket because this wasn't automatically offered to passengers

For the budget travellers like me, this is how the business class part of the plane looks like. See how roomy?

Di ba kakulay ko lang ang Thai Airways flight attendants? LOL Photo was taken during the flight home back to Manila. I bought my top in Islamabad for P350. =) 

They also give out toiletry kits on the flight. Well, they don't actually give it out because it's already there on your seat when you get on the flight. On our way there, our BKK-ISL flight was the only one which had a toiletry kit. But on our flight back to Manila, the BKK-MNL provided toiletry kits. The kit includes socks, a mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, lip balm and lotion. I gave one kit to my mom, one kit to Joema, and then one for me. Didn't add up right? On our BKK-MNL flight, the  kit, the lipbalm and lotion are from Crabtree & Evelyn. I couldn't not ask my colleague for his kit when i saw that he was just going to leave his kit there. Sayang naman heehee.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mother's Day

On Mother's Day, I woke up to this silly girl and my darling husband giving me their Mother's Day cards.

My funny little daughter

I never knew I would love being a mother. Well, there are days that get me tired or frustrated  or sad but look at that face and tell me those days are not worth it. I know I'm not a perfect mother but I try my best to be there for her, to take care of her, to guide her. It is my hope and prayer that she will be a responsible and good human being when she grows up.

Anyway, we then had lunch with my parents at Burgoo. Here are some photos.

Using the colors provided

Trace daw nya yung paa nya hahaha. Sorry to the OC moms out there.
With Lola
Playing with the small umbrellas from our shake. "Ambyeya" daw sya kasi mainit haha!

Three generations

As long as she likes the food, she eats a lot
Group picture with the family

After lunch, we treated everyone to blizzard. :)

We let her indulge in ice cream once in a while :)
And then in the afternoon, I had a much-deserved haircut. Finally!!!

I hope you Mommies had a wonderful Mother's day as well!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Where to Stay in Tagaytay: Discovery Country Suites

As I've mentioned in my previous post, we went to Tagaytay for Joema's birthday. We stayed overnight at Discovery Country Suites. Bought a voucher from DealGrocer for P6,650 for our overnight stay here. This includes:
  • overnight stay at Andalucia suite (we had the option between Andalucia, Saint Tropez or Ceylon)
  • country breakfast specials for 2 at Restaurant Verbena
  • wine and cheese buffet
  • milk and cookies before bedtime
This was not included in the voucher, but they gave us 20% discount on our dinner at Restaurant Verbena.

I didn't have a hard time booking our rooms. They immediately sent an email for the confirmation form. And then on the day of our arrival at almost 2pm (check-in time), they even called us to ask what time we will be arriving.

Here's a tour of our room (I think my camera was in low-light set-up):

The foyer of our room

The door on the left from the foyer will lead you to the bathroom. The basket on top of that steel shelf holds the toiletries.

Here's the lavatory. When I first saw the lavatory, I thought no toiletries were provided. I didn't realize the toiletries were kept in the basket atop the toilet.

Acca Kappa toiletries. I only get to use luxurious toiletries when we check-in at hotels hehe.
Andalucia has two beds. This view is from the side of the foyer.

From the other side of the room. There are cabinets at the side of the wall connecting the room and the bathroom.


TV and seating area

Seating area with a bay window

Complimentary water and fruits

View from our window
Welcome drinks - pineapple with mint. If I had to go back to Discovery Country Suites just for this, I would! So delicious! I drank mine and Miya's share haha!
Discovery Country Suites
300 Calamba Road
Brgy. San Jose
Tagaytay City, Philippines

For inquiries and reservations
(0915) 517 2150
(02) 529 8172 (Manila)
(0927) 523 2139

(046) 413 2540 (Tagaytay)
(046) 413 4567

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