Bathe In The Sun At….

Summer in Samal

When we went home to the Philippines for a month long, very much needed vacay, my husband and I decided to book a weekend stay in the Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCOS, the Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort. This is our childhood favorite resort. Since we were kids this resort has been like a… well… a paradise. It seemed like the name Paradise Island was synonymous to GREAT FUN.

Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort is located at Barangay Caliclic, Babak district Samal Island. Please note that Samal Island used to be a part of Davao City before it was declared a city of its own on 30th January 1998; some websites though, still use the old address. This resort can be reached via a boat ride from a port in Sasa Wharf Davao City to the resort or via a Ferry if you so choose to bring your vehicles to the Island with you.

In general, we had a pleasant experience. My husband and I definitely had a great time at the beach. We love the powdery white sand, the blue clear water, and the fresh air. At that time there were only a few guests, so it felt like we had the beach to ourselves. It felt like paradise.

However, there were a few inconveniences.

For example, checking in was quite a hassle as the resort is quite strict with a lot of things. They do have a rule book that you need to familiarize with or else your stay will be ruined. Checking the bags to make sure you have no food, drinks and/or spirits brought with you, as one of the rules in the book says “NO FOOD AND DRINKS FROM OUTSIDE ARE ALLOWED”, was a bit annoying.

It was like we were being searched in a detention camp rather than a resort. Children under 12 years have additional fees. It was quite saddening especially when all the other resorts especially resorts in Thailand would consider them free.  The food and snacks in the resort are delicious but rather expensive. The drinks and spirits are downright overpriced.

And then there is this, no swimming pool. When we were kids it was OK because we never really had any idea about it, but now that we have gone to other resorts it seems like a pool is a given.  Our kids were extremely disappointed. They love hanging around the pool. In fact it is the very first thing they always look for whenever we check in on a hotel/resort.

I guess we sort of overlooked this. We were probably unconsciously expecting it after all these years. Anyway, the beach was irresistibly inviting, even to the kids.  They had so much fun that they didn’t want to get out of the water.  That reminded me of our childhood days. It was a blast.

If you are the kind of person who wants coffee in the morning just right after waking up… you’d be disappointed to know that there are no hotspots or whatsoever in the rooms. I know it’s not really a necessity for everyone but it’s kind of good to have just in case you need one. No refrigerator. Yup… you heard me right. There is no freakin fridge. So if you bought a large bottle of soda or bottled water from the bar or restaurant, drink it while it’s cold. It’s not a deal breaker but it is definitely disappointing since these are the kind of amenities even cheap hotels offer.

But then again when we got to our room that morning Lo and Behold… The room was really clean. The toilet was well maintained. We were able to breathe a sigh of relief as my husband and I are really particular about cleanliness. We have had very bad experiences with hotel rooms even with the pricey ones in Bangkok and in Penang Malaysia. The beddings, the mattress, the floor under the bed are well dusted. We are very particular about this since my husband and kids are all asthmatic.

We’ve been to quite a few resorts and hotels may it be for long vacay or just a weekend getaway, all these accommodations have their own good and bad points.  Nothing is perfect as they say.  But perfection is relative to one’s needs and preferences.

So, Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort despite its imperfection and the inconveniences we had, it was still a GREAT experience generally speaking.

Have you been to any of the beautiful beaches in the Philippines? How was it?

I’ll Return Back Your LOVE

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Unbeautiful Side of Being an Expatriate

life of an expat
Unbeautiful Side of Being An Expatriate

 

Being an expat has both beautiful and unbeautiful sides to it.

One of these is, we get to enjoy special occasions of loved ones like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, reunions, and weddings on photos and videos.  Although there are real time videos like skype, this could never replace personal, physical interactions.

Second, what’s in and new back home, we only get to know these from photos and news feeds.  We’d have to wait for a vacation to actually see, feel, and experience these changes.

Third, we can’t help but long for some things that we love dearly – like our favorite snacks and our preferred soap and moisturizer. We once tried shipping them directly from the Philippines, but we stopped because the cost is just insanely expensive. However, I found a better, cheaper, and easier way. I found them, from this site.

 

What do you miss about your country?

 

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Our Family’s Precious Weekend 3

 

 

Phuket, Thailand
The Family Went to Phuket

 

 

The Family went to Phuket.

phuket 2

Planning for a relaxed, laid-back, nature-themed getaway? Don’t go to Phuket.

Phuket is not really a very romantic and relaxing place to go to.  A lot of people for sure will disagree with me on this.  This is my stand, though.  Prior to going there, I had the same idea as most people. But after two trips to Phuket, I already know that it is no place for relaxation.

Don’t get me wrong! Phuket is a nice and very progressive city. It is one of Thailand’s business hubs. But for a long-awaited and well-deserved vacay with your special someone or your family, I hardly think Phuket is the right place.  If you are planning to go there to have quality time or to relax, I don’t think Phuket is the place.

Heavy traffic is one of the worst that I have experienced.  You can’t go to a temple and expect to get out within an hour because you will be spending quarter to a half an hour getting through and another 15 to 20 minutes looking for space to park.  From a distance the scenery is really spectacular with the eye-catching, well-designed villas on the mountain slopes and beautiful hotels by the beach, but if you take a closure look the water is full of rubbish. The water is dangerous and not suitable for swimming for kids, even for me. LOL. The strong rush of the waves towards the shore is quite typical but what really scared us the most was when the water recedes back to the sea it sucks you back so strong that you have to dig your feet deep into the sand to avoid stumbling over. We have been to many beaches. We live near a beach in our home town Davao in the Philippines but we have not experienced such pull by a receding wave. So, we have to stay really very near the shore. Very near that it is as if you are already swimming in sand. I particularly did not enjoy my swim.  I was worried and desperately trying to take all the sand from my skin the whole time.  I was stressed instead.

There are a lot of big shopping malls, bars, spas, and restaurants, though.  But for me these are just side dishes.  The main course, which is the reason why we went there in the first place isn’t what exactly as advertised.  It did not meet our expectation of clean, relaxing, and tranquil nature.

If I’d go back to Phuket, it would definitely be for a different reason other than vacay.  I would recommend Ao Nang Krabi and Island hopping for your vacay here.

No wonder I don’t remember that much of Phuket except the fact that we spent most of our time in the car.

What is your idea of Phuket?

Leave your comments and creative responses below ^_^

I’ll Return Back Your LOVE

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Koh Lipeh

One of the best islands I’ve been to in Thailand is Koh Lipeh.  Koh meaning Island, so the island of Lipeh.

My friends and I had a blast. We always have smiles in our faces every time we reminisce those moments.  We went there by super speedboat. It was damn scary. It felt like we were just gliding up and down the big waves.  There were few times when it felt like the boat was falling especially after a big wave.  I had the same feeling when I first went on a Ferris Wheel back in my primary years, which I swore never to ride again. Anyway, the ride was super fast.  It could dry your mouth, and blow your saliva into the air whenever you speak. My gosh… the wind was so strong it could distort your face. LOL!

Thankfully though we got there in one piece!

As you approach the island this beauty will welcome you.  This long stretch of super white, powdery sand is Pattaya Beach.  It is Lipeh’s main beach. The sparkling, crystal clear water is good for snorkeling right from the beach.

There are so many cottages to choose from. There are cottages near the shore, and the expensive ones up on the hill. The locals and resort owners are welcoming, you can even bargain.  The cordial owner allowed us (4 guests) to rent a cottage which is good for two. So we were able to do more activities on the island than what our budget could afford.

Night life in Koh Lipeh is exciting.  There are many restaurants and bars to choose from.  They are not very strict about the number of drinks you order. As long as you order something, they are a OK with that.

Other time-worthy activities that will give you good memories for a lifetime are snorkeling and island hopping.  It’s a whole day activity where a long tail boat will take you to different islands from any point in Koh Lipeh to surrounding islands.  You can snorkel at the middle of the sea, or swim once you reach the islands. Be sure to bring your underwater camera. There were many corals and fish. The water is clean and clear.  It’s totally an experience of a lifetime.

Or if you don’t feel like doing these, you can just stay on the island..lay down by the beach and watch the beautiful sunset.

 

The best time to go there is August to April.  From May to July, sea waves are gigantic.

I am so glad I was able to do this.  It felt good. I feel good recalling those days.

Have you been to any place in Thailand? Which one did you enjoy the most?

I’ll Return Back Your LOVE

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